Page Updated:- Thursday, 12 January, 2023.


Earliest 1670-

Sir John Falstaff

Open 2020+

Gravesend Road, Gadds Hill


01634 717104

Sir John Falstaff drawing

Above drawing, date unknown.


Above engraving circa 1895 from the book "The Old Dover Road."

Sir John Falstaff 1903

Above photo 1903, kindly submitted by Mark Jennings.

Sir John Falstaff Christmas card 1905

Above Christmas card, 1905, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Sir John Falstaff 1905

Above postcard 1905.

Sir John Falstaff 1907

Above postcard, circa 1907.

Sir John Falstaff 1907

Above postcard 1907, a coloured version of the one above.

Falstaff postcard 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910. Kindly supplied by Rory Kehoe.

Sir John Falstaff

Above photo, date unknown, with permission from Eric Hartland.

Sir John Falstaff 1920s

Above photo 1920s, from Medway Council web.

Sir John Falstaff

Above photo, date unknown, with permission from Eric Hartland.

Sir John Falstaff 1936 Pickwick celebrations

Above photo, 1936. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Sir John Falstaff 1936 Pickwick celebrations

Above photo, 1936. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Mr Pickwick meets Charles Dickens 1936

On the 100th anniversary of the publishing of Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers, Mr. Pickwick gets the chance to shake the hand of his creator. Who the principal character actors and costumed extras were, is sadly not recorded. Charles Dickens, who lived nearby at Gad's Hill House, described The Sir John Falstaff in his book, The Uncommercial Traveller, as "a little hostelry, which no man possessed of a penny was ever known to pass in warm weather."

Sir John Falstahh 2008

Above photo, date 2008, with permission from Eric Hartland.

Sir John Falstaff 2009

Above photos, 4 October 2009, taken by Eric Hartland.

John Falstaff sign 1964

Above sign 1964.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Sit John Falstaff sign 1986Sir John Falstaff sign 1986

Above sign left, May 1986, sign right October 1986.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 20 August, 1771.

Saturday as Richard Hussey a labourer, who works in Chatham Dock, was returning from Greenhithe, he was stopped by two men, near the sign of the "Falstaff" on Gadshill, who robbed him of 4 pence his hat and wig, and threw him into a ditch. He was soon after taken out by some people coming that way, almost suffocated.


Kentish Gazette 17 December 1802.

Chatham Dec. 13.

Thursday last in the afternoon, between 3 and 4 o'clock, as Mr. Thomas Howell, who keeps a public house at Gravesend, was coming to Chatham to pay his brewer, he was attacked by two footpads and coming down Gads-hill near the "Sir John Falstaff," who knocked him down and beat him in so unmerciful a manner as to break two of his ribs, and bruising in many other places; they robbed him of 40, and left him in the road helpless; a returned post-chase going to Gravesend coming up, the driver saw him lie, and his pocket book open by him. The boy got him into the chaise and drove him to his own house, where is he continues dangerously ill.

The next afternoon about the same time, as three men were coming to Chatham; two of them went into the "Sir John Falstaff" to light their pipes; one who's pipe was not out, kept walking on; when he came near the same spot where Mr. Howell was stopped, two men rushed out of the wood and knocked him down, and one got upon him to rifle his pockets, they took one pound notes and a few shillings, pulled hard at his watch but the chain breaking they missed taking it, for the man's companions coming out saw the circumstance and ran, the footpads seeing them, left their prey and fled into the wood.


Canterbury Weekly, 17 December, 1836.

On Sunday afternoon as serious accident occurred near the "Falstaff Inn," at Higham. A post-chaise belonging to the "Crown Inn," was proceeding up the road, when a trace broke, and Mr. Whatman, who was on his way to Gravesend with passengers for the steam-boat's, offered one of his own to the post-boy, and whilst engaged in adjusting it he received a severe kick from one of the horses, by which it is feared some of his ribs are broken, and the hostler at the same time had an arm broken.


From the Maidstone Gazette and Kentish Courier, 20th January, 1846.

To be let.

(The present tenant having taken a larger business.)

The "Sir John Falstaff Inn," pleasantly situated on the high road at the very healthy and celebrated spot, Gads Hill, in the parish of Higham, Kent, halfway between Gravesend and Chatham, containing 18 rooms, with good sellers, stable, &c, and a large garden attached. The fittings are convenient. Coming in moderate.

For further particulars apply to Mr George Wilson, on the premises.


Morning Advertiser 02 December 1846.


On Thursday night a fire occurred at the "Sir John Falstaff Inn," Gad's Hill, near Rochester which fortunately was discovered before it had attained much power. It appears that a farmer residing in the neighbourhood, in passing the premises, about ten o'clock, observed a body of smoke issuing from the stable adjoining the inn. He instantly raised an alarm, and on the doors being opened the flames burst forth, and it was with some difficulty that a horse, belonging to Mr. Gregory, the landlord, was extricated. The flames were then speedily subdued. But for the fortunate discovery, most probably the whole of the premises would have fallen prey to the devouring element. The accident arose from a lighted candle being left in the stable, which communicated with the straw.


Kentish Gazette, 23 November 1847.


An inquiry, which has occupied Mr. Hinde one of the county coroners, and a jury, for several days, was brought to a close late on Friday evening, at the "Falstaff Inn," Gad’s Hill, near Rochester.

The deceased was a healthy woman, and on Tuesday, the 9th of last month, she was delivered of a child which is still living. Mr. Wiblin, a surgeon, residing at Strood, attended her. He saw her on Wednesday and Thursday, and he neither saw nor heard of any unfavourable symptoms. He considered her to be going on so well that he did not deem it necessary to call and see her on the Friday. At this period the nurse, Ann Caush, noticed a remarkable change in her state. She reached violently, and threw oft her stomach a slimy substance of different colours. During the day her mother, Mrs. Fisher who is blind and lives in Gravesend, visited her, and hearing the alarming turn her condition had taken, begged the husband to send for the doctor. She suffered considerably during the night in vomiting, and on Mr. Wiblin seeing her he found her in a state of collapse. She was apparently asleep; he touched her on the shoulder, and she awoke. He inquired of her whether she had any pain, and she immediately fell into a state of slumber. He ordered her such medicines as he deemed advisable and saw her frequently during the day, when she appeared in the same state. Gruel seemed to have been her principal nourishment; it was made either by the nurse or Mrs. Fisher, and it frequently happened that it was left on a hob in the adjoining room, with no one present, so that any person could mix anything in the gruel without the attendants knowing it. The nurse generally gave the unfortunate woman gruel when she required it, but the husband in the course of the Sunday night helped her to some, which she took. An hour or so afterwards, her state became more alarming. She was in a state of frenzy, and had jumped out of bed, and it required all in the house to prevent her injuring herself. Mr. Wiblin attended her. She was sensible to a certain extent. She complained of a burning sensation in the throat, thirst, sickness, and a pain in the region of the stomach. What was thought proper was given her, but she kept sinking very fast during the following day, and on the next (Tuesday) morning she expired, at four o’clock. Previously to this, Mr. Fisher had written to a Mr. Holmes, an appraiser and undertaker in the London-road, Borough, London, who was an uncle to the deceased about her mysterious change, and begging that he would go down to advise her. On reaching Mrs. Fisher’s residence at Gravesend, on Tuesday morning, Mr. Holmes found the husband of the deceased there, and heard that she was dead, hearing the circumstance, he immediately proposed accompanying him to see the corpse. They accordingly went. As soon as the husband heard of the parish constable summoning a jury, he decamped, no one knows whither. The result of the post mortem examination of the body of the deceased Mr. Wiblin detailed at some length. Externally he saw nothing to cause death; there was a large bruise on one hip, which was the only external mark of violence on the body, but it had nothing to do with death. Internally he found the throat much inflamed, discoloured and swollen; the stomach and intestines were considerably inflamed; there were recent ulcerations in the stomach. He took away the throat and stomach, and after applying the different tests, he discovered the presence of oxalic acid. He was of opinion that deceased had died from oxalic acid.

The Coroner then at some length summed up the evidence, and alluded to the remarkable fact that the husband of the deceased leaving his family, his home, his business his all, the moment an inquest was about being held.

The jury consulted for a considerable time, and then found a verdict of Wilful Murder against William Brown the husband.


The Stage, Thursday 11 November 1976.

Kentish is where the hops really come from. That fact alone makes the County pubs Country! And pubs are big business on the showbiz front today. You can forget the idea that down here that all the pubs are oak-beamed and full of yokels moving at a snail's pace.

Entertainment is IN at the INNS take my word. No, don't take my word just listen to the people I've been talking to in an in-depth round up.


Like the "Falstaff," at Higham, bang opposite the house in which Charles Dickens lived and died. The old reformist would, I suspect, approve of the changes in his "local," although he might have found it difficult to concentrate on writing on Sunday lunch times when a regular jazz band goes into action.

But then, shouldn't we all put our pens down on a Sunday?

I think I will - and pop out for a ginger ale.

Jimmy Hodge Jnr.


The Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre has referenced a set of documents, that I haven't seen yet, and is part of the Watts Charity MSS, 1579-1972.

Reference is made as follows:-


T39. Premises at Rochester, Gillingham, Frindsbury & Higham [including 2 messuages, High St., St. Nicholas; 3 messuages next to The "Cossack," Delce Lane; 4 messuages next to the "Royal George," High Street; 1 messuage next to the "Angel," all in St, Margaret's, Rochester; Quarrington House, High Street, Gillingham; farm at Frindsbury and Higham; and l messuage near the "Falstaff," Higham) (1 bundle)


There is some evidence to suggest that the Sir John Falstaff Inn, which dates from c.1670, was originally located in the building next door, which, for many years, was a doctor's surgery.


Found at Gad's Hill Place and mentioned in the book "The Old Dover Road" by Charles G Harper 1895, it is stated that:- "The pranks of Falstaff and Prince Hal, whose doings were to be “argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever,” are commemorated, in a fashion, by a large roadside inn, the “Falstaff,” standing nearly opposite Gad's Hill Place, the successor, built in the time of Queen Anne, of a lonely beerhouse, the resort of characters more than questionable; more than kin to highwaymen, and much less than kind to unprotected wayfarers."



WILSON George 1841-46+ (age 30 in 1841Census)

TROOD William Stocker 1851-61 (age 45 in 1851Census)

FROST William 1861+ (age 55 in 1861Census)

BROWN James Adams 1874-82+ (age 34 in 1881Census)

MISSING George 1891-1911+ (age 49 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

NEWTON William Henry Edward 1938+


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:-