Sort file:- Chatham, December, 2022.

Page Updated:- Friday, 16 December, 2022.


Earliest 1746

Hen and Chickens

Closed Oct 2017

Luton High Street


Hen and Chickens

Above postcard, date unknown.

Hen and Chickens 1909

Above photo circa 1909, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Hen and Chickens 1920s

Above photo 1920s.

Hen and Chickens 2012

Above photo 2012 by Chris Whippet, Creative Commons Licence.

Hen and Chickens sign 1990

Above sign, 1990.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


The pub was first built as a farmhouse in 1702 but didn't start selling beer till 1746.


Hen and Chickens forge 1890

The small building above shows the blacksmiths forge in 1890; owned by the Hen and Chickens it burnt down shortly after the photo was taken.


From the Kentish Gazette, Tuesday, 15 April, 1800.

To be disposed off.

A very complete cottage, with two good parlours, two good bedrooms, two servants rooms, kitchen and large pantry; a two stall stable, cow house with ten stalls, and two calf pens; large yard, near two acres of garden grounds, and two acres of meadow lands; delightfully situated within half a mile of Chatham.

For further particulars, apply to Mr. Francis Gilling, at the "Hen and Chickens," Luton, near Chatham, the proprietor.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kent Advertiser, Tuesday, 26 April, 1842.

Maidstone Journal, 26 April, 1842.

Last week a young man named Henry Bartlett, and his brother Joseph, a lad, were committed by the county Justice's for trial at the next quarter sessions, for stealing at a horse belonging to a man lodging in the house of their mother, Mrs. Bartlett, of the "Hen and Chickens" alehouse, at Luton, in Chatham parish. The prisoners were apprehended in the night as they passed through Gravesend on their way to London with the horse, which they had bought from Luton having first stolen a halter and bit from the premises of Mr. Quarrington in the village. Some conversation which took place between the prisoners in the street at Gravesend respecting the animal, aroused the suspicion of Newing, the policeman on duty and very properly detained them till the morning, and made enquiries which led to their committal.


Dover Chronicles 21 February 1846.

On Saturday last an inquest was held before J. Hinde, Esq., at the "Hen and Chickens," Luton, on William Potton Bright, late landlord thereof, who was found hanging by the neck-scarf to a joint in an unfinished cottage, near Luton church, on the previous morning. It appeared that deceased, who was only 24 years of age comic came from Hertford, had very recently married, and taking the above public house; which turning out to be so very different a concern from what he had expected, it so preyed upon his mind as the tempt him to commit the rash act above-mentioned.

Verdict:- "Temporary Insanity."


From the Kentish Independent, Saturday, 28 February, 1846.

Melancholy Case of Self-Destruction.

On Saturday an inquest was held before J. Hinde Esq, at the "Hen and Chickens," Luton, near Chatham, on the body of William Potton Bright, late landlord thereof, it was found hanging by a neck scarf to a joist in an unfurnished cottage, near Luton Church, on the previous day.

It appeared that the deceased, who was only 24 years of age, came from Hertford, and had been married only 5 weeks; that he had taken the above house, and was told by several persons in the village that he would never see his money again, that he had paid for coming in - a circumstance that seemed to pray on his mind.

About 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon he left home, and told a person that the house was so very different to what he had expected, that it would be the death of him.

In consequence of the deceased's absence, the wife sent person's round to different places in search of him, and he was found during the night hanging in the cottage as described.

Verdict, "Temporary Insanity."


From the Kentish Independent, Saturday, 20 October, 1849.

Fire at Luton.

On Sunday night about 11 o'clock, a fire broke out at the "Hen and Chickens," public house, at Luton, near Chatham, and owing to a strong wind blowing from the east, and the rapidity with which the flames spread, the house was very soon a body of fire. An express was forwarded to Rochester and Chatham, and the Kent and the Sun engines were both quickly at the spot, and having a good supply water, the flames were confined to the house. The landlord (Mr. Payne) and his family and inmates were in bed at the time the alarm was given. So fierce was the fire that the whole of the furniture, &c., fell a prey to the devouring element. The loss sustained falls on the Norwich Union Fire-Officer and his about 800.


From the Sevenoaks Chronicle, 31 August 1852.


Friday being the day appointed for the general annual Licensing day, and for hearing applications fro granting new licenses, the county magistrates assembled in petty sessions at eleven o'clock. There were present, the Rev. G. Davies (chairman), Capt. Baker, W. M. Smith, Esq., M. P., W. H. Nicholson, Esq., Major Boys, and the Rev. J. J. Marsham.

There were several applications for granting new licenses, and the proceedings were watched with some interest by those concerned.


Mr. Arnold then applied for a license for the "Elephant and Castle" beer-shop, situate on the Luton Road, Chatham. The ground near it, he said, was laid out for building purposes. The nearest licensed house on the Chatham side was the "Dark Sun" and on the Luton side the "Hen and Chickens," the former being half a mile distant from the "Elephant and Castle."

Application refused.

The Magistrates then proceeded to granting the renewal of the several licenses within their jurisdiction, and at the close of the business dined together at the "Crown Inn." ("Northfleet")


From the Maidstone and Kentish Journal, Monday, 28 May, 1866.


Messrs. Cobb have received instructions from the Executors of the late Mr. Joseph Ashley, to sell by auction, in the month of June, at the "Sun Hotel," Chatham.

The Valuable Freehold and Leasehold Public Houses, Beer Houses, Trade Premises, Dwelling Houses, &c., viz:-

The "Hen and Chickens," Luton, Chatham.


Further notice as to time, &c., of sale, will shortly be issued.

Particulars in the meantime may be obtained of Messrs. Acworth and Son, Solicitors, Star Hill, Rochester; of Messrs. Morris, Stone, Townson, and Morris, solicitors, Moorgate Street Chambers, Moorgate Street; and of Messrs. Cobb, surveyors and land agents, 26, Lincoln's-inn-fields, London, and Rochester, Kent.



Still open in 2012 the last posting on their Facebook page was on 2nd October 2017, and I believe it is now (2019) closed.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 25 February 2019.

Hen and Chicks closed but bid launched to find new manager.

One of Medway’s oldest pubs may have called last orders.

But publicans worried about the future of the Hen and Chicks in Luton, Chatham, which has been shut for several weeks, may have some hope after a bid was launched to find a new manager.

It is understood the former long-term licensee died a few years ago and a family member took over following his death.

Hen and Chickens 2019

Hen and Chicks pub in Luton, Chatham.

The pub, which was built in 1702, was originally a farmhouse.

It was converted into an ale house in 1746 and was frequented by brickmakers and agricultural workers in the surrounding areas.

As Chatham grew in size, it was a terminus for the bus horse and, later on, the tram.

There was at one point a forge on the side of the building in the heart of the village in Luton Road which burnt down many years ago.

The pub, formally called the Hen and Chickens, became a centre for Luton’s community activities and was popular among locals.

Over the decades most of the once numerous hostelries in Luton, which were used by dockyard workers and servicemen, have closed, with many converted into homes.

Trevor Wilson, a church warden at Christ Church in Luton Road, said: “I remember the days when this was the place working class people came for entertainment.”


From the By Nicola Jordan, 2 March 2019.

Ei Group brewery advertises for new publican at Hen and Chicks, in Luton, Chatham.

One of Medway’s oldest pubs may have called last orders.

Brewery,Ei Group, formerly Enterprise Inns, which has about 5,000 licensed premises across the country, has put a giant banner outside advertising for a publican.

And locals are keen that a new licensee is recruited as soon as possible to halt the demise of yet another hostelry in Luton.

It is understood the former long-term licensee died a few years ago and a family member took over following his death.

As Chatham grew in size, it was a terminus for the bus horse and, later on, the tram.

There was at one point a forge on the side of the building in the heart of the village in Luton Road which burnt down many years ago.

A spokesman for Ei Group , which is based in Solihull in the West Midlands, said the recruitment process was in hand.

We asked for your memories of the Hen and Chicks.

"With regard to the article of the Hen and Chicks pub in Luton Road Chatham, my husband was born there in 1948, and his grandparents, Mr and Mrs Alma Payne, and his parents ran the pub along with many other pubs around Medway.

"His nan, who ran the pub would tell us many stories. We would sit for hours hearing tales of pub life during the war.

"It was a great community pub and it's a shame that it cant be made that way again.

Mrs Mrs M Salt.


Latest news I have heard (2020) is that an application has been submitted to torn the premises into a Turkish Restaurant.



GILLING Francis 1800+

BROWN Stephen 1807-11

WATSON James 1811-18

CACKETT Benjamin 1818-20

ROSE Thomas 1920-23

MISKIN James 1823-30

CHAMBERS John 1830-39

HUNT James 1839-41

CHAMBERS John 1840+

BARTLETT Elizabeth 1841-45 (widow)

INGLETON William 1845-46

BRIGHT William Potton to Feb/1846 dec'd

BRIGHT Mary Ann Feb/1846-47 (widow)

SWANN William 1847-49

PAYNE George 1849-51 (age 49 in 1851Census)

WILLIAMS Thomas 1851-54

HOPPER Thomas 1854-60

Last pub licensee had OLIVER Edward 1860-68

McNIEL James 1868-70

STORRY William 1869 (Bankruptcy)

Last pub licensee had LANGRIDGE John Thomas 1870-14/July/91 dec'd (age 35 in 1871Census)

PILCHER William 1891-1919 (daughter's husband age 34 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

PILCHER Percy Edward 1919-20

PILCHER Bertha 1920-33 (widow)

PAYNE George Henry Trayton 1933-52

TILBURY Charles Cyril 1952-55

GREENSTREET William Edward 1955-58

POPPLE James 1958-66+

Last pub licensee had WEBB William R 1988-90+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-