Sort file:- Maidstone, July, 2021.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Wednesday, 21 July, 2021.


Earliest 1861-

Rifle Volunteers

Open 2020+

28 Wyatt Street / Union Street


01622 758891

Rifle Volunteer 1960s

Above photo 1960s.

Rifle Volunteer

Photo date unknown from by John Law.

Rifle Volunteer sign 1986Rifle Volunteer sign 1991

Above sign left, September 1986, sign right, May 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


In the mid 1800s this used to be the recruitment centre for the local Army regiment, which is probably how it got its name.

One time a Mason's tied house, but the brewery was bought out by Shepherd Neame in 1956 and the brewery was subsequently closed and the brewery demolished.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 14 January,1860. Price 1d.


Known as the “Brewer's Arms” Union Street and Wyatt Street., Maidstone.

Is acknowledged to be the best house for buying your Wines, Spirits, genuine London Stout and Porter, and Plane's Fine Sparkling XX and XXX Ales.

Good Sound Port, Sherry, and other Wines, Brown, Pale, Cognac, Brandy, Cherry, Ginger &c., &c., good old Jamaican and other Rum, Cream, Old Tom and Maidstone Holland Gin, Fine Irish and Scotch Whiskeys (noted). Cordials of every description, Lemonade, Soda Water and Ginger Beer, Allsopp's Bass's Scotch and Pale Ales, East India, &c., &c.

Dublin Stout and Perry. Fine Sparkling Ale, 6d. per pot. Genuine London Stout, 5d. per pot. Genuine London Porter 3d. per Pot. Splendid Mild Beer, 3d. per pot.

May be obtained on 4d or Nine gallon Casks.



There's barrels I have in my cellar so snug,

Well stored with stout, porter, and ale;

With a tankard of each how the time will slip by,

With a pipe and a song or good tale:

If a friend from just over the way should step in,

We'll hail them with a hearty good cheer.

And they'll never repent as they taste the contents,

Of ROFF'S splendid ale, stout and beer.


There's a barrel I have, but much stronger than beer

Is the charge which for that I intend;

It hangs by the Chimney, in readiness near,

For I mean it my heart's to defend.

If our foes from just over the water should drop in,

We'll meet them with three hearty cheers;

But I think they'll repent when they taste the contents

Of the barrels of Stout Volunteers.


And thus double-barrelled, my boys, let us live,

Prepared for our friends, or our foes,

The hand that in friendship we readily give,

Is as ready at need to give blows.

And whether the spigot or trigger we draw,

Our barrels won't fail us, I seen;

So tankards and rifle's let's charge, hip-hurrah!

For our Freedom, our Country and Queen.


The following Papers are taken at the above Inn:-

By W. T. Roff, Volunteers' Service Gazette and Military Dispatch; naval and Military Gazette, Daily Times; Bell's Life; South Eastern Gazette; and the Maidstone Telegraph.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 16 March 1861.

Opening of a new Court of the Ancient Order of Foresters.

A new Court (Nullis Secun dus No. 3,579) of the above order was opened on Tuesday last by Br. Roff's, "Rifle Volunteers' Inn," Union Street, Maidstone. Br. Milliner, C.R. of the Court Star of Maidstone, officiating, assisted by the members thereof, who mustered very strong. A great number were initiated, and the necessary officers selected. There is every prospect of the new court warrington itself in assuming the proud distinction of being second to none. A few appropriate remarks from Br. Wood P.C.R. closed the proceedings of the evening.


South Eastern Gazette 02 September 1862.


Saturday was the annual licensing day at Maidstone. The Magistrates present were W Haynes, Esq (Mayor), H. Argles, R. Cooper, and H. W. Joy, Esqrs.

The whole of the old licenses were renewed, with one exception, that of the "Rifle Volunteers," Wyatt Street. Supt Blundell said he had an objection to make to the renewal of this license; but as he was not then present with the evidence to support the complaint, he would ask the magistrates to suspend the granting of the license until the 20th Sept., the adjourned licensing day he had heard repeated complaints against the landlord, for allowing skittles to be played in his alley till half-past one o'clock in the morning. Fights, too, were constantly occurring at the house, a serious one having taken place there as late as last Tuesday.

The magistrates adjourned the renewal accordingly. There were several applications to be made for new licenses, but they also were postponed until the adjourned licensing day.


Local News on this day 9th January 1865.

On 5th January 1865, an old man named Curtis, with his grandson aged 22, a son and another boy were digging some sand in Mr Stoke's pit at Boxley, when the old man noticed a "slip" about to take place, and shouted to his companions to run away. All escaped except the grandson, who fell in the attempt by the side of a cart, they were using and was buried beneath a large quantity of sand, which also filled the cart. The others endeavoured to rescue the young man for about twenty minutes, when they discovered he was deceased. It was estimated about 100 tons gave way. An inquest was held at the Rifle Volunteers Inn, on Saturday, before Knowles King. The facts elicited from Henry Curtis, grandfather of deceased, John Jarmin and Robert Newsome, after a short deliberation, a verdict of "Accidental death."

Henry Curtis, the grandfather of the deceased was also charged at the Maidstone Police Court on 7th January, with damaging underwood in Mr Lushington's wood on 31st December and was remanded for a week.


From the 3 March 2017.

CAMRA pub of the year 2017: Britain's best boozer revealed.

Tied to the local Goachers brewery, which uses 100% malted barley and Kentish hops, the "Rifle Volunteers" was voted CAMRA Local Branch Pub of the Year in 2016. A traditional-looking, cosy bar for a quiet drink.


From the By Lauren MacDougall, 21 December 2019.

The 33 pubs in Kent you have to drink at in 2020 according to CAMRA.

In total Kent has heaps of pubs listed in the guide and, while 33 of these are new entries, others have appeared in previous editions of the guide.

A total of 33 pubs from around Kent make up the new entries that feature in the 2020 edition of the Good Beer Guide.

The guide is produced annually by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the independent guide to the best boozers in the UK that is researched by unpaid and independent volunteers nationwide.

Tom Stainer, CAMRA’s chief executive, said: “For nearly five decades, the Good Beer Guide has been a comprehensive guide to the UK’s breweries, their ales, and the best outlets to find them in across the country.

“What makes the Guide unique is that all the entries are compiled and vetted by a huge volunteer team, based around the country. We work hard to ensure that all areas of the country are covered and, unlike with some competitor titles, inclusion in this book is dependent only on merit, not on payment.

“The Good Beer Guide has always had an important role in acting as a barometer of the beer and pub industry. We believe information gleaned from the Guide is absolutely vital in the drive to save our pubs from closure and campaign for policies that better support pubs, local brewers and their customers.”

This pub is included in the 2020 list.

Rifle Volunteers, Maidstone.

What the guide says: "One of only two Goacher’s tied houses. A short walk away from the town centre, this Victorian stone-built single-bar pub has been recognised by CAMRA for its unspoilt interior.

"The absence of noisy machines ensures that it is a place for conversation or quiet drinking."



ROFF William J 1861+ (age 30 in 1861Census)

ROFF William Thomas 1862+ (and Music Hall)

BEAUMONT Augustus 1867-82+ (widower also wood dealer age 61 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1867

GARDNER Alfred 1891+

GRANT Charles 1899-1904+ Kelly's 1903

CRITTENDEN Alfred 1911-22+ (age 30 in 1911Census)

MITCHELL Henry George 1930+

WHIBLEY Frederick 1938+


Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867

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:-