Page Updated:- Sunday, 19 November, 2023.


Earliest 1770-


Closed 2014

High Street


Swan 1900

Above photo, 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan Inn

Above photo of a pub showing the Swan Inn, unknown date, kindly sent by Peter Moynahan.

Swan 1903

Above photo, circa 1903, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan 1906

Above postcard, circa 1906, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan 1912

Above postcard, 1912, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan 1980

Above photo, circa 1980, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Gent second from right may be the licensee, Laurie Ayris.

Swan 1981

Above photo, circa 1981, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan 1982

Above photo, circa 1982, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan 2009

Above image from Google 2009.

Swan 2016

Above image from Google, August 2009.

Swan 2017

Above photo, November 2017, by Rory Kehoe.

Swan sign 1986Swan sign 1991

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

Swan sign July 1991Swan sign 1995

Above sign left, July 1991, sign right, June 1995.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Kentish Gazette 17 April 1770.

On Wednesday last the farmers, tradesmen, and inhabitants in general of Sturry, met at the "Swan Inn," to celebrate the releasement of John Wilkes, Esq; 45 gallons of punch were given away to the populace, an exhibition of fireworks was played off, many loyal toasts were dranks, and every demonstration of joy was shewn by the company present, which consisted of two hundred people.


Kentish Gazette 22 October 1802.

On Tuesday were interred, with military honours, at St. James's Chapel, Tottenham Court Road, the remains of Lieutenant Fraser, late of the 1st Regiment of Life Guards. The spectacle was unusually grand and impressive.

As many erroneous and contradictory accounts have been given of the melancholy accident which occasions his death, we think it may not be improper to state the following particulars, upon authority:-

He was on his way to Ramsgate, in a tandem, accompanied by his groom. About 3 miles beyond Canterbury, he overtook a wagon on an uneven part of the road. He was at all times a steady and cautious driver; and, in truth, his extreme caution on this occasion prove fatal to him. That he might be at as great a distance as possible from the wagon, he unhappily drove too near the hedge, in which a post concealed in the quickset, coming in contact with the wheel of the tandem, overset it. The near-side, fell short of the wagon; but Mr' Fraser was thrown from a great height to a greater distance, and unfortunately fell between the fore and hind wheels of his wagon, which passed over the lower part of his breast. When he was raised from the ground, he said to his servants, "John don't leave me - I am a dead man." His servant having supported him against the hedge, and committed him to the humanity of some persons who were looking on, disengaged the leader from the traces, and rode full speed to Canterbury for professional assistance.

In the mean time, Mr. Fraser was conveyed, on a hurdle covered with straw, to the "Swan Inn" at Sturry, about a quarter of a mile from a spot where the fatal accident happened. He complained of being cold; and called for some brandy and water.

When the Surgeon arrived, Mr. Fraser begged that he might be bled; but the Surgeon, on examining his pulse, and finding it low and languid, and his body extremely cold, declared he could not venture to do so; but requested that he would suffer himself to be conveyed to Canterbury, where all proper attention might be paid him. He acquiesced; for he was by this time incapable of opposition. He was put into a post-chaise, in which, supported by the Surgeon and his faithful attendant, he was conveyed to Canterbury with as much expedition as the nature of his situation would admit. When he reached the "Kings Head Inn" at Canterbury, the Surgeon ventured to bleed him, and administered some of other remedies, but in vain, for in about a quarter of an hour he expired, after a slight convulsion. Thus perished, in the bloom of youth, a gentleman, of whom his friends had justly entertained the most sanguine expectations. He was in person remarkably handsome; frank and easy in his manners; of a manly deportment, and sound and firm principles.

His ultimate fate has excited a very great degree of sympathy, and has been to his friends and connections a cause of the deepest affliction.


Kentish Gazette, 25 November, 1806.


Sunday, Mr. Wm. Marsh, of the "White Swan" public-house, Sturry.


From the Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 7 September 1819.


Free Public Houses and other estates,

To be Sold By Auction, By Messrs. White, (Without Reserve).

Pursuant to certain orders of the Vice Chancellor of Great Britain, and before the Major part of the Commissioners named and authorised in and by a Commission of bankrupt awarded and issued against Matthew William Sankey, of the City of Canterbury, brewer, dealer and chapman, at the Guildhall, of the said city of Canterbury, on Wednesday next, the 22nd day of September next, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, (subject to such conditions of sale as shall be then and there produced.)
The following very Valuable Freehold Estates, in Lots.

Valuable Brewery free public houses and other Estates to be sold by auction by Mrs white without reserve.

Lot 15. A Messuage called the "Swan," with the stable, yard, garden and appurtenances, situate at Sturry, in the said county, and now in the occupation of Henry Hills.


Kentish Gazette, 30 January 1844.


Jan. 19, at Sturry, Elizabeth, wife of Mr. William Bowles, landlord of the "Swan" public house, aged 57.


From the Kentish Gazette, 25 February 1845.


Bowles:— Feb. 12, at the "Swan Inn," Sturry, alter a short illness, Mr. William Bowles, aged 60.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 12 June 1849.


Important sale of the extensive Brewery of Messr's Flint, including 30 old established Inns and Public Houses, and other valuable property.

Mr. V. J., has received instructions to sell by auction, at the "Fountain Hotel," Canterbury, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 26th and 27th of June, at 12 o'clock each day, (in consequence of the death of the senior acting partner and the retirement of the surviving partners,) the valuable property known as Messrs. Flint's Brewery, in Stour Street, Canterbury, and the Inns, Public Houses, and other valuable property connected with theirwith. The first day sale on Tuesday, 26th June, 1849, will comprise the following property in and near the city.

Public houses.

Lot 1. The "City of Canterbury," situate on the road to Whitstable. Freehold.

Lot 2. The "George and Dragon," Westgate without, leasehold under Hind's charity for 17 years unexpired.

Lot 3. The "Three Compasses," Westgate within. Freehold.

Lot 4. The "Bell Inn" and Coach Office, in the High Street. Freehold.

Lot 5. The "Prince of Wales," St. Alphege Lane,. Freehold.

Lot 6. The "Weavers Arms," Broad Street, freehold and partly leasehold.

Lot 7. The "White Swan," Northgate. Leasehold under St. John's Hospital for a short term, at a ground rent.

Lot 8. The "Kings Head," Northgate. Freehold.

Lot 9. The "Swan Inn," at Sturry (close to the railway station). Freehold.

Lot 10. The "Ship," St. Martins Hill, freehold.

Lots 12. The "Star Commercial Inn and Tap," St George's, close to the Cattle market and Dane John. Freehold.

Lot 13. The "Blue Anchor," Old Dover Lane, near the Cattle market. Freehold.

Lot 14. The "Fleece Inn," High Street, opposite to the Corn market. Freehold.

Lot 28. Three neat Cottages opposite the Brewery, with large gardens extending to the river.

Lot 29. The "Two Brewers" public house and Spirit Warehouse, adjoining the last lot.

Lot 31. The "Black Dog" public house, Castle Street.

Lot 34. The "Duke's Head" Public House, Wincheap Street.

Lot 35. The "King's Head," Public House, Wincheap Street.

Lot 37. The "Royal Exchange," public house, Stour Street.

Lot 38. The "Kentish Arms," public house, and 5 cottages in Jewry Lane. Leasehold for a short term at a low rent.

Lot 40. The "Duke William," at Ickham, abiout five miles from Canterbury. Freehold.

Lot 41. The "Royal Oak Inn," at Deal. Freehold except a small portion.

Lot 42. The "King's Arms," Beach Street, Deal, and Cottage in the rear. leasehold for a short term, at a Ground rent.

Lot 43. The "Fleur De Lis," near the Railway Station, Dover. Leasehold for a term of 6 years, at a Ground rent of £3.

Lot 44. The "Two Brewers," Limekiln Street, Dover. leasehold for a term of 46 years, at a ground rent of £3.

Lot 45. The "Fountain Inn, adjoining the Market place at Dover. Freehold.

Lot 46. The "Lord Nelson," Radnor Street, near the harbour, Folkestone. Freehold.

Lot 47. The "Bricklayers Arms," Fancy Street, Folkestone. Freehold.

Lot 48. The "Castle Inn," at Sandgate. Leasehold for a short term, at a ground rent of 7s. 6d.

Lot 49. The "King's Head Hotel and Tap," at Margate. Freehold.

Lot 50. The "New Inn," at Elham, on the road to Hythe. Freehold.

Lot 51. The "King's Arms," at Milton near Sittingbourne. Freehold.

The Public Houses are for the most part in the occupation of unexceptionable tenants, and the majority of them are doing trades, both in beer and spirits, considerably above the average run of Country houses. (None of them have been beer shops; they're all old Licence Houses, with connections of long standing, thereby affording ample security for the permanency of the trade). The Premises generally are in a superior state of repair.

Particulars and Plans, price 1s. each, may be had of Messr's. Furleys and Mercer, Solicitors, Canterbury; at the "Fountain Hotel;" and of Mr. V. J. Collins, 3, Moorgate Street, London.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 14 September 1867. Price 1d.


At the annual licensing day for the Home division of the County of Kent, held at Canterbury on Saturday last,

A man named Evan Llowarch then applied for a license for the “Swan,” but his application was refused.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 21 February 1874.


On Friday last an inquest was held at the "Swan Inn," Sturry, upon the body of Mr. Charles Mead, who met his death through a fall from his home while hunting with the East Kent Fox Hounds. T. T. Delasaux, Esq., was the coroner, and Mr. James Groombridge was the foreman of the jury. The following evidence was taken.

Henry Pett, of the parish of St. Paul, in the city of Canterbury, said that on Friday, the 30th day of January last, he was out hunting with the deceased and other persons with the East Kent Fox Hounds. He was near Hamden Wood, and witness saw him jump a small hedge and fall off his horse, which ran away and was afterwards caught. It was purely an accident. Deceased placed his hand on his side and seemed to be in great pain.

John Kingsmill, of Elmsted, corroborated the evidence of the previous witness.

Mr. Henry Denne, surgeon, of Canterbury, said that on Tuesday, the 3rd of February, he was called to the deceased at Sturry. Deceased appeared to be in great pain and experienced a difficulty in breathing. Witness continued to attend him until his death, which occurred on Monday, the 9th. Yesterday and that day he made a post-mortem examination, assisted by Mr. Jameson and Mr. Atkins, and he found the right lung much congested and hurt, and the left partially so. This was the cause of his death, and witness believed it to have been caused in the manner described by the two former witnesses.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."


The pub closed in 2014, although KentOnLone suggests it closed in 2011, and at the time of writing (February 2015) it is believed it is going to re-open as a restaurant with small bar area.


From the By Lydia Chantler-Hicks,13 December 2019.

The Junior King's School plans to turn The Swan Inn pub in Sturry into cafe.

A school hopes to transform a village pub that has stood empty for almost a decade into a café.

The Swan Inn in Sturry High Street stopped trading in 2011, and has since stood vacant.

Its boarded-up frontage has deteriorated over the years, with the building frequently targeted by vandals.


The Swan Inn in Sturry.

But the Junior King’s School hopes to breathe new life into the property by transforming its ground floor into a café serving hot and cold drinks and food.

Parts of the premises are thought to date back to the 1400s.

But despite its prominent position in the centre of Sturry, little is known about its history, other than that is was likely once used as a staging post for coaches travelling to Herne Bay and Thanet.

Several years ago, an application to have The Swan registered as an “asset of community value” was rejected by the council. It was then marketed as a pub, but no buyer was found.

It was purchased by the school less than a year ago.

The private co-ed says turning the inn into a café would have a positive impact on the village community, while "no significant changes" would be made to the Grade II-listed building.

Documents attached to its planning application say: “There is no similar facility or service available in the immediate area.

“It will provide a venue where people can meet during the day, socialise whilst obtaining food and refreshments in a centrally accessible and highly sustainable location.

"The proposals will provide a positive contribution by enhancing the range of services available locally.”

If the plans are given the green light, the café would employ three full-time staff.

It would run from 9am until 5pm daily, occasionally staying open until 9pm for private events.

Upstairs, the property’s four-bedroom flat would be used as accommodation for school staff, while outside there would be parking for cars, as well as a seating area and garden.


From the By Lydia Chantler-Hicks, 12 February 2021.

The Swan Inn pub in Sturry to be restored by Junior King's School in Canterbury.

A historic village pub which has stood empty for a decade is set to be restored to its former glory - by one of Kent's most prestigious private schools.

The Swan Inn in Sturry High Street, near Canterbury, called last orders for the final time in 2011 and has been vacant ever since.

But The Junior King's School wants to transform it into "the premier licensed premises in the village" - by relaunching it as a pub and bed-and-breakfast.

The £9,000-a-term school purchased the Grade II-listed site, parts of which are thought to date back to the 1400s, several years ago.

The boarded-up tavern had deteriorated over the years and been targeted by vandals but has recently undergone renovation.

Last year, The Junior King's School was granted permission to transform the Swan Inn's ground floor into a café, with accommodation for school staff upstairs.

But new plans show the private co-ed now wants to relaunch it as a pub, while developing the restaurant side of the business and letting out rooms to tourists.

Swan boarded up

The boarded-up Swan Inn in Sturry.

It hopes to build a single-storey block in the pub grounds that will house six double bedrooms; along with a two-storey extension behind the main building that would accommodate a kitchen, storage and staff facilities.

It also intends to revamp the inn's outside areas and to resurface the car park, keeping its current capacity of about 12 cars.

But the application has already been met with several objections.

Sturry Parish Council says there is "insufficient off-road parking" to accommodate both bed-and-breakfast guests and pub visitors.

The plans would see the pub open at 10am each day, with the option of staying open until 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight the rest of the week.

But the parish council says the proposed weekend opening hours are "excessive for a premises in a residential area".

Sturry resident Garry Smith echoes these concerns, describing the parking as "woefully inadequate for a development of this size".

"The proposed late-night opening on Friday and Saturday nights will be intolerable, with the inevitable shouting, doors slamming and loud engines," he added, suggesting a midnight closing time would be more appropriate.

"This is a large-scale development of a historic listed building that will undoubtedly spoil the character and heritage of the building forever."

But the applicant says the pub would be a "quality business" that it hopes would "become part of the local scene with an image befitting the character of old Sturry village".

The applicant says the designs incorporate "traditional forms and materials, so that the development would fit into the existing fabric of the village".

It adds: "It is anticipated that any parking required in connection with the rooms will only occur overnight and in the late evening, when the car park is otherwise not used by pub customers."

The Junior King's School hopes the historic inn will function "very much as it did prior to closing down in 2011".

But it hopes that focusing more on food and offering bed-and-breakfast facilities will provide a more economically viable business model than that of a traditional pub.

"The intention is that the reinvigorated Swan Inn would act as a focus for the village but also be attractive as a base for tourists wishing to visit Canterbury and east Kent," say the plans.

If given the green light, the business would employ five to 10 people and would "represent a significant investment in the local economy of Sturry, bringing trade, employment and staying tourists to the village environment", it adds.

The plans are available to view on the city council's planning website, under reference CA/20/02882.



MARSH William to Nov/1806 dec'd

HILLS Henry 1819+

BOWLES William 1828-Feb/45 dec'd age 60 Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

DEWE Joseph 1858+

LAWRENCE Robert 1862+

Last pub licensee had JEZARD James 1873-74+ (age 55 in 1871Census)

Last pub licensee had JEZARD Robert Tassel 1871-91+ (age 54 in 1871Census)

GRANT William 1901-03+ (age 30 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

LUCAS Harry 1911-22+ (age 50 in 1911Census)

LUCAS Louisa Mrs 1930-38

AYRIS Laurie 1970-88+


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

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


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:-