Sort file:- Minster on Sea, July, 2021.

Page Updated:- Monday, 19 July, 2021.


Earliest ????


Closed 2013-

Back Road / Plough Road

Minster on Sea (Sheppey)

Plough 1960s

Above photo kindly sent by Reg Counsell.

Plough Licensees 1960s

Above photo showing licensees Joy Counsell and a barman.

Plough Clubhouse 1960s

Above photo showing club house 1960. Kindly sent by Reg Counsell.

Joy and Reg Counsell

Above photo showing Joy and Reg Counsell. Circa 1960s.

Plough sign 1960s

Above sign 1960s.


Originally built as a a coastguard cottage it was turned in to a pub by either Rigdens Fine Ales or Stile and Winch and later took over by Fremlins and then Whitbread. It also had a clubhouse built on the side.

The census of 1891 gave it the title of "Chequers (Plough Inn)", so I am wondering whether it had recently changed name, although I have no reference to a "Chequers" as yet in Minster.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday for October 1864.

Walter Ward, labourer, residing at the "Plough Inn," Minster in Sheppey, was charged with stabbing Stephen Brett, labourer, of Minster on the 24th September. The complainant stated that on the day in question he went into the "Plough," Upminster, and called for a pint of beer. He took the pint into the tap room, and sat there talking to a female servant. The prisoner was in the tap room, and after he had been there a short time went out into the back kitchen and called the servant after him. After they had been there a few minutes the servant called prosecutor out. He went in the kitchen and prisoner was there striped to fight him. He rushed at him, and hit him in the left shoulder. The complainant knocked prisoner down when they got outside, and on getting up again the prisoner stabbed him through the left leg with a knife, remarking at the time that he would "rip his guts out."

The prisoner made a statement to the effect that the row was begun by the prosecutor, which he denied.

The Prisoner was fined 3 including costs, or in default 6 weeks' hard labour at St. Augustine's.

Allowed 14 days to pay.


Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser, Saturday 7th August 1897.

The Barge fatality. The bodies found. Inquests and funeral.

On Saturday and Sunday last, the bodies of Henry Austen (owner) and Frederick Webb (captain), who were drowned during the sailing barge race around the Mouse light, on Sunday, 15th ult., were recovered, the one by a trawler near the South Ooze buoy, and the other of the Isle of Thanet. The particulars of the said occurrence were reported in our last issue, and no good service will be rendered by recaptulating them.

Inquest on the late owner.

The inquest on the body of the late Mr. H. Austen was held at the "Bell Inn," Leigh, near Southend, on Tuesday afternoon, before Mr. C. V. Lewis, coroner for South Essex. Mr. Tomlin was foreman of the jury, who, having viewed the body (which was in a very decompose state), heard the following evidence:-

George Austen, residing at 8, London Road, Northfleet, said he was a brickmaker, and the body now lying at those premises was that his son, Henry Hezekiah Austin, who was 32 years of age. Deceased was manager to Messrs. Tolhurst and Sons, of Northfleet, and was a barge owner, the ill-fated Victoria also belonged to deceased. Previous to Sunday, 28th July, they had been two barge races, one on the Medway and the other on the Thames, and the race on the 25th, he believed, had arisen out of the result of the former races. Witness said on the day in question he was not on either of the barges which were racing, but on his own barge. Deceased had been apprenticed to the water, and he was used to sailing. He (witness) was sent for on Saturday, and identified the body.

William Lawrence, living at 21, Factory Road, Northfleet, said he was a bargeman, and on Sunday, 25th July, was on the barge Victoria during a race from Lower Hope to the Mouse lightship and back to Gravesend. There were five other persons on board, including the deceased, who was sailing her. All went well until the third board back was taken when just below the West Ooze buoy. The wind at the time was blowing strong, and the barge had full canvas set; so much so that she was laying down well in the water, which was over the deck at times. This was not uncommon when blowing hard. There was no ballast on board, as it was one of the conditions of the race. In answer to the Coroner as to how he thought the barge turned over, witness said the winds giving a stronger puff and the barge lying down in the water with part of her sheet under, before she had time to right herself a second puff came and over she went. She then floated bottom upwards. Three of the crew were thrown into the water, whilst the others managed to get on her bottom as she heeled over. The tug Frank, which was accompanying the race, came to the assistance and took the three men off, and witness, who was holding onto the rudder. There were five barges in the race, and he believed the Victoria was lying second when the accident happened. There was no water in her before rounding, as witness had previously tried to pump her out. There was no ballast of any kind.

William Cotgrove, fisherman, of Leigh, said on Saturday morning last, when sailing about 4 miles below the Nore lightship, he saw a body floating on the water. He took it into his boat and at once brought it to Leigh and handed it over to the custody of the police.

P.C. William Davidson, stationed at Leigh, said at about 2:30 on Saturday last, he received the body from the former witness at Bale wharf. Upon searching the clothing he found 14 in gold, a two shilling piece in silver and one penny in bronze, a gold signet ring (by which the deceased was identified), a leather purse and bunch of keys. As far as witness could tell, there were no marks of violence on the body.

Mr. Austen said the only thing he found in the cabin of the barge when righted was deceased's gold watch and chain, which had become entangled round a post.

The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that the evidence was very clear. The barge appeared to have gone over through carrying too much canvas, and a sudden squall. He was sure the jurymen all sympathized with Mr. Austen and all the family in their heavy bereavement.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."

The Forman then tendered to Mr Austen a note of condolence, and also to the friends of the captain, remarking he hoped it would be the last time they would hear of races taking place on a Sunday. It was the first time in his recollection that he had heard of a barge race in the Thames on Sunday.

Removal of body.

The body was first placed in an inch elm shell and then in a one and a half inch polished oak coffin, with brass fittings, under the superintendence of Messrs. Thorpe and Sons, undertakers, Leigh, and brought to Gravesend for the 7:30 train the same evening, being conveyed by special boat from Tilbury to West Street pier, where it was handed over to Mr. Fisher, Undertaker, Northfleet.

Inquest on the Captain.

Mr. W. J. Harris, county coroner, conducted the enquiry into the death of Frederick Webb, master of the barge Victoria, it being held at the "Plough Inn," Minster, Sheppey, on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. John Smith Beale was foreman of the jury. The following evidence was adduced:-

William Alfred deposed:- I am a boatman in the coastguard services, stationed at East End Lane, Minster, Sheppey. On Sunday afternoon last, about 4 o'clock, I was on duty on the cliffs when I saw the body viewed by the jury floating down on the tide. The tide was taking it out to sea. Another coastguardsman, named James Amery, and I went down on the beach and swam out and brought the body to the shore. The body was carried up the cliffs by us and the other coastguardsmen from our station, and brought to the house.

Information was given to P. C. Fuggle when we brought it on shore, and before it was removed here.

The Coroner commended the conduct of the coastguardsman.

George Edmund Smith deposed:- I am a waterman and lighterman, and reside at 6, Northcote Road, Gravesend. I have seen the body of the deceased, which is that of Frederick Webb, of 23 Factory Road, Northfleet. Deceased was captain of the barge Victoria, of Rochester, and was about 40 years of age.

The Coroner:- I'm afraid there's a large family left.

Witness:- No, sir; he has left a wife and one child.

The Coroner:- I'm glad to hear that are no more children.

The Forman:- It was reported in Sheppey that there were 8 children.

Witness, continuing:- On Sunday, 25th July, I was acting as jib-sheetman on board the Victoria, which was engaged in a race that day from Gravesend round the Mouse Lightship and back. The race was made between the owners of five barges. The owner of each barge engaged had charge of and steered his own vessel. Mr. Henry Austen was the owner of the Victoria, he was himself steering on this occasion. He was drowned. We ran very comfortably until the Mouse was rounded. It had been blowing hard all day. After coming round the Mouse and getting the sheets down, the weather became very squally, and the vessel made to tacks. In the third tack standing from the Middle Ooze buoy, we caught a very stiff squall. The barge could not recover itself and capsized, throwing the owner, the deceased and the mate into the water. There were three others on board, and they got over her side and climb to the bottom. I was one of them. We were holding on for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, when the tug Frank, the committee boat, came up. The last time I saw the deceased he was clinging on the mizen split. I saw the owner floating away face downwards within three minutes after the boat capsized. When the tug came alongside, I saw the deceased was nearly exhausted, and called the attention of the crew to the of the tug to him. They caught him by the sleeve of his guernsey, but it gave way and tore down to the wrist. They fixed his right hand in the hook of the hitcher, but he would not let go the sprit with the other hand.

The tug dropped astern with a lurch, drawing the hitcher from his hand. Then a young man dived from the tug and got hold of the deceased's body, and both sank. Another dived from the tug and got the two men adrift; and as he did so the deceased sank. The young fellow made a dive for him and fetched him to the service again. The deceased was then quite dead, and the man had to let him go to save the one who dived first. The tug steamed ahead, picked up one man, and also the second man from the bottom of the barge. Owing to the heavy sea, the tug could not get near enough to rescue me at the same time; but as she steamed ahead her crew threw a life-buoy to me, and I threw it to the second man who dived over in order to save him, as he was getting exhausted.

Another man was taken from the bottom of the barge, and the tug then steamed up and I was hauled on board. I was afterwards landed at Gravesend.

The Coroner:- All you men seemed to have behaved remarkably well. Do you know the names of the two men who dived off the tug and behaved so gallantly?

Witness:- No, sir.

The Coroner:- I should like to have known them, so that their names could be published to the world. They certainly deserve to be known.

The Foreman:- I am sure we are all greatly indebted to this witness for the very clear and straightforward manner in which he has

given his evidence. He has detailed everything so clearly that nobody could misunderstand it.

Witness:- It's only by God's mercy we are here today. One of the other men is also here with me.

The Foreman:- We must heartily congratulate you upon your narrow escape. You behaved very gallantly indeed.

Witness:- Thank you, sir.

Replying to a juryman, witness said they were lose hauling into the wind when the accident happened.

James Dye, captain of the sailing barge Rathbale, belonging to Mr. Austin, of Northfleet and owner of the Victoria, was then called, and the Coroner read over the evidence given by the previous witness, and asked if he could throw any further light on the unfortunate disaster.

Mr. Dye:- The whole statement is perfectly true.

The Coroner:- I should like to know the names of the two young men who behave so gallantly.

Witness:- I have no doubt I can get them if you wish it.

The Coroner:- It would not assist this enquiry, but I think their names ought to be known. The Gravesend borough will hold an enquiry on the body of Mr. Austen this evening, and I hope those young men will be there, so that their names might be known.

Mr. Dye said he would convey the Coroner's remarks to the young fellows whenever he met them.

The Coroner said the story of the witnesses was extremely clear, but he could not help expressing his regret that the owners of vessels should desecrate the Sabbath by holding sailing matches on Sundays. He would say a great deal more on the subject, but this was not a court of morals. The evidence was very clear, and it was one of those unfortunate mishaps where no blame was attached to anybody.

The jury returned a verdict of "Death by misadventure," and added a rider that the Coroner should bring the conduct of the coast guardsman under the notice of their superior officer, in the hope that their services should be rewarded in a practical manner.

The Coroner said it would give him the greatest possible pleasure to carry out the wishes of the jury; unfortunately, his hands were tied in these matters, and he could only give the men 5s. for the recovery of the body, in addition to a shilling each for attending as witnesses. He, however, hoped the men's officer would do what he (the coroner) had no power to do.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 1 July 1911.

A Double Crime.

John Thomas, laborer, 35, pleaded not guilty to stealing a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of brandy, value 10s., the property of Ronald Robert Mamuz, of the "Plough Inn," Minster in Sheppey, on June 3rd, also with indecently assaulting Blanche Castle at Minster on the June 23rd.

Mr. Thesiger prosecuted.

The jury found the prisoner guilty of both charges, but expressed the opinion that the assault was committed under the influence of drink.

Sentenced to 2 years' hard labour for the assault and 12 months hard labour for the larceny, to run concurrently.


Reported by CAMRA in 2013 as being closed, but exact date unknown.



WARD James 1861-67 dec'd (age 62 in 1861Census)

TOWN Robert 1891+ (age 34 in 1891Census)

PULLEN Alfred 1901+ (age 36 in 1901Census)

PULLEN Elizabeth M 1903-11+ (widow age 52 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

COUNSELL Reg 1960s



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:-