Page Updated:- Sunday, 31 October, 2021.


Earliest 1709

Red Lion

Open 2020+

Charing Heath


01233 712418

Above postcard, date unknown.

Red Lion

Above photo, date unknown.

Red Lion sign

Above photo, date unknown.

Red Lion 2010

Above photo 2010 by David Anstiss Creative Commons Licence.

Red Lion 2012

Above photo 2012 by Nigel Chadwick Creative Commons Licence.

Red Lion sign 2002Red Lion sign 2011

Above left, August 2002. Sign right 2011.

Thanks from Brian Curtis


Originally a thatched farmhouse built in 1562, the building’s history can be traced back to the reign of Elizabeth I. An ale and cider licence was granted in 1709 before it officially became an Inn later that century. The pub has been trading ever since - including a period of time when it doubled as a postal sorting office.

A coin has been found bearing the name of Thomas Chapman, 1666, and the words Ye Red Lion.

Customers can see for themselves a piece of the pub's fascinating history - a child's leather shoe found in the chimney during refurbishment. Dating from 1850, rumour has it that strange things occur if it is taken off the premises.

I was informed in 2016 that the pub closed. Date of closure as yet unknown.

If it did close, it's certainly open again now (April 2018).


Kentish Gazette, 22 December 1773.

On Friday evening, between the hours of 8 and 9, (whilst the servants, after having feed the horses, were retired to the house to supper) the stables of the "Red Lion Inn," upon Charing Heath, were entered by a horse stealer, who carried off a valuable black cart gelding. The master of the house, Mr. Sherwood, being soon apprized of the robbery, lost no time in making the necessary dispositions for an effectual pursuit, upon the supposition that the robber would direct his course either for Ashford or Maidstone; himself, well mounted, took the former road, having dispatched to servants in light pursuit upon the other. Mr. Sherwood had the good fortune to overtake the villain upon Westworld Leighton, who finding his escape together with his prize impractical, dismounted from the horse, and endeavoured to secure his retreat. This was, with great spirit, contested by Mr. Sherwood, who seized him as he was attempting to gain a field adjoining the Leighton. In the struggle a great coat, the fellow had under his arm, gave way, which he readily relinquished; he then, recovered himself, drew a pistol, with which he swore he would put Sherwood instantly to death, unless he desisted from the pursuit, which, be an unarmed, he very prudently complied with.In the pocket of the great coat, which is in the possession of Mr. Sherwood, were a pair of gloves, a pair of pistol-cases, and about an ounce and a half of gunpowder.

The fellow is described to be about 5 feet three or 4 inches high, had a slouched hat, and appeared to wear his own hair. It is supposed he must be much dirtied, as the field to which he retreated was deep boggy ground.


From the By Rebecca Tuffin, 23 January 2020.

The Red Lion pub in Charing Heath reopens after huge refurbishment.

A village pub has reopened following a major refurbishment which included transforming a disused barn into guest rooms.

The Red Lion, in the picturesque village of Charing Heath between Maidstone and Ashford, has been redecorated with new, stylish décor but still retains its historic features and traditional feel.

Red Lion 2019

The Red Lion has reopened after a refurbishment.

The 16th century tavern, owned by Shepherd Neame, has a new patio area, swinging sign and four new double en suite guest rooms in the disused barn next to the pub.

Licensee Matt Hollis, who took over the pub in August, said: "This is my first time running a pub, but I grew up in Charing Heath and have lived here on and off all my life, so I know the Red Lion well. When the tenancy became available, I went for it. The Red Lion is the only pub in the village, and I know exactly what people need from their local – a warm welcome, fantastic food and well-kept beer. We have already had a lot of interest in the guest rooms, so I think they are going to be really successful."

Father-of-four Matt is being helped by manager Nicola Smith and head chef Dominic Knight, who has introduced a new food menu. His menu changes monthly, using as many locally sourced, seasonal ingredients as possible, including from Lenham Bakery.

Red Lion inside 2019

The Red Lion has reopened after a refurbishment.

Former licensees Richard and Eileen Wood

Former licensees Richard and Eileen Wood.

Residents were invited to the official opening last week, with former licensee Richard Wood invited to pull the first pint. He ran the hostelry with his wife Eileen from 1985 to 1997.

Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame came along, and to mark the occasion presented a £1,000 cheque to the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance charity.

He said: "The Red Lion is a characterful pub with a fascinating history, in a beautiful country village setting. Our aim with this investment was to maximise its potential and ensure that it remains at the heart of its local community for many years to come."

Red Lion cheque presentation 2019

Matt Hollis, Nicola Smith, Johnathan Neame and Trevor Smith from the Air Ambulance.

Red Lion restaurant 2019

The Red Lion has reopened after a refurbishment.

Red Lion bedroom 2019

One of the new guest rooms as the Red Lion.


During the Covid 19 crisis of 2020, this pub was able to offer a take away service in June, possibly earlier.



CHAPMAN Thomas 1666+


JENKINS/JENNINGS Henry 1841-58+ (age 38 in 1851Census)

HILLS George 1861-71+ (also farmer age 29 in 1861Census)

DAY James 1881+ (also farmer age 66 in 1881Census)

MORETON John 1891+ (age 54 in 1891Census)(Licensed Victualler)

FEAKINS/FAKINS James 1901-03+ (age 39 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

SPICER William 1911+ (age 49 in 1911Census)

WOOD Richard & Eileen 1985-97

HOLLIS Matt Aug/2019+


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:-