Sort file:- Maidstone, May, 2022.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Thursday, 05 May, 2022.


Earliest 1538-

Ship Inn

Closed 1990s

33 (31) (30) Gabriel's Hill


Ship Inn 1920

Above photo, 1920.

Ship Inn 1930

Above photo, 1930, by kind permission of Eric Hartland taken from Gabriel's Hill. The chimney of the lower brewery can just be seen.


Above photo, date unknown. the M&T building was Merchant and Tubb wholesale warehouse.

Ship charabanc trip

Above photo, date unknown, showing a men only pub outing to Brighton. Showing Stan "Johnny" Davis, next to Pete Noakes and Albert Daniels senior in the middle on the far left in a dark Trilby hat. It is said that the landlady peering through the window was not impressed at being left out, so she arranged a private taxi for a few of the ladies to go to the Charabanc's destination, and arrived before the men only trip and surprised them on their arrival.

Above photo showing same position, March 2008, by kind permission of Eric Hartland.

Ship Inn 1986

Above photo, May 1986, by kind permission of Erik Hartland.

Ship Inn 2011

Above photo, January 2011, by kind permission of Erik Hartland.

Ship Inn sign 1981Ship Inn sign 2019

Above sign left, September 1981. Sign right 2019.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Ship Inn 2019

Above photo, 2019, kindly taken and sent by Paul Narramore.


The pub is mentioned as in local historian John Leyland's account of 1538 as addressed as the east side. It is also mentioned in the song, "The Maidstone Landlords" in 1798.


Kentish Gazette, 8 October 1839.


Sept 28. After a long illness, Sophia, wife of Mr. Henry Hills, of the "Ship Inn," Maidstone, aged 53.


South Eastern Gazette 08 February 1853.

Henry Baker was charged with stealing two Cochin China fowls, the property of Jesse Kirby. The prosecutor, who is landlord of the "Ship Inn," keeps a number of fowls, which, on Monday afternoon, were fed by John Down, the ostler, in a yard behind the house. They usually roosted in the stable, the door of which was not locked. On Tuesday morning, two of them, of the Cochin China breed, were missed. Prisoner had formerly been in prosecutor's employ, but had left about a month since, and on Monday night he went, between seven and eight o'clock, and asked Mr. Dungey, of Stone-street, to purchase two fowls, which were produced and identified by the ostler. Prisoner said he wanted 3s. for them. Dungey, not knowing the breed, said he could not give more than 2s. 3p., which prisoner took, and went away. He exposed the fowls at the door for sale, and afterwards sold one to a person named Pattison for 1s. 9d. Prisoner said the fowls were his own. On the question being put to him by Dungey, he admitted having sold him the fowls, the value of which was 30s Committed for trial.


Kentish Gazette 16 October 1855.

Destruction of a Public House by Fire.

On Tuesday morning, about half-past four, as police sergeant Sunnucks was passing down Gabriel's Hill, be heard a noise as of the cracking of glass, and soon perceived a great light between the shutters at the "Ship." On looking through an opening between them, he saw that the bar was in a blaze. He immediately endeavoured to arouse the inmates, and asked several persons passing to give an alarm at the engine stations, but not one would do as he wished. He, however, gave the alarm himself at two offices, and when he came back found the landlord, Mr. Kirby, at the door. Kirby then returned into the house to save the children and alarm the sleepers, of whom there were fifteen including lodgers. Fortunately they all escaped uninjured, though the ostler had to be rescued by the escape ladder of the police station. As the alarm spread, seven engines were brought to the spot; they were plentifully supplied with water from the River Len, in Watery Lane, and, in addition, the police had got all the neighbouring plugs ready. A large body of men from the barracks, with several officers, also arrived with their engine, and three of the large engines were soon set to work, manned by relays of soldiers, who, as might be expected, worked most willingly and strenuously, though the civilians applied to would not work at the engines. The house was one of the old buildings in the town, and almost entirely composed of wood and plaster. The vast quantity of water poured upon the burning house soon stayed the progress of the flames, and prevented their spread, although the greater portion of the lower side of the house is completely destroyed, and most of the rooms throughout are partially burned A great number of the floors and rafters are burned through, but the walls of the house still stand, though it will he necessary to take them down. The contents of the house are also destroyed either the fire or water. The property was insured.


Kentish Gazette, 7 January 1851.


Turney:— Dec. 25, at Barming heath in the 55th year of his age, Mr. James Turney, late of the "Ship Inn," Maidstone.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 23 February 1861.

Coroner's Inquest.

Another inquest was held on the same day as the above, at the "Ship Inn," Gabriel's Hill, on the body of Sarah Goodwin, age 51 years.

Mary Weeden, widow, living in West Lane, at the house of deceased, stated that deceased of been very unwell for some time past, and Mr. Sanders had been attending her. She last saw deceased alive at about 11:30 on the previous night. She was then sitting on the bed undressing herself. Witness further stated that she slept with her, but did not see her get into bed, as she had fallen asleep. On the following morning witness, on a waking about 6 o'clock and finding deceased was not in bed, she went into the garden to search for her, and subsequently gave information to the police, who drew off the water in the mill pond, which joins the gardens. She afterwards saw the body brought into the house. Deceased was very strange at times, she would sit and rub her hands, pull things to pieces, and had said that she thought she should go out of her mind.

Mr. Sanders, surgeon, deposed that he had attended the deceased for the last 2 months, she been in a low, desponding state. She had no particular disease, but was suffering from debility. There was a great peculiarity about her, and on Monday last he found her so excited that he gave orders that she should not be left alone. Had seen the body, and found two slight bruises on the right side of the face, which might have been caused in getting the body out of the water. There were no other marks on the body.

Police-sergeant Sunnucks deposed that shortly before 7 o'clock on Wednesday morning he went to Pads-hole mill pond, and on going up deceased's gardens saw footmarks in some ashes near the water. On seeing a man named Henty he asked him to get his drags. He afterwards drew off the water, and found deceased by the sluice gates. Her clothes were hanging buy an iron rail at the back of the sluices. Deceased had on her night dress.

Edward Goodwin, son of deceased, deposed that he was a bricklayer's labourer. Had been living with his mother, and last saw her alive at about 11 o'clock on the night of Tuesday last. She was then sitting in the front room. He did not see her afterwards. Had helped to support her. On getting up on the Wednesday morning, shortly before 6, he found that his mother was missing, and he came first searching about the house and garden for her. He did not think she could have been able to walk to the top of the garden.

This was the whole of the evidence adduced, and after a few remarks on the coroner, the jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


The premises closed as a pub some time in the 1990s and then operated as a cafe class The Road House.



GOLDING John 1720+

PETTIT Samuel 1791+

HILLS Henry 1828-40+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Kentish Gazette

TURNEY James 1847-25/Dec/50 dec'd age 55

KENDALL Moses 1851+ (age 27 in 1851Census)

KIRBY Jesse 1853-55+

TANTON William George 1858-62+ (also saddler age 31 in 1861Census)

ELDRIDGE Richard Frederick 1867+ Post Office Directory 1867

TASSELL Charles 1871+

LEDGER William 1874+

TASSELL Charles 1881-82+

WILLIAMS John Edward 1882+

HILLS Thomas 1891+

WHITEBREAD/WHITEHEAD John 1899-1930+ Kelly's 1903

BROWN Edward Francis (Frank) 1960-69 Next pub licensee had

HOWARD Cecil Fenton 1938+

KENT Walter pre 1973 Next pub licensee had


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette

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:-