Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, December, 2021.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 23 December, 2021.


Earliest ????

Kentish Tap

Latest ????

Chapel Place

Royal Tunbridge Wells


This was the tap house to the hotel of the same name, and aparently only had the one license between the two in 1858.


From the Sussex Advertiser, Tuesday 5 October 1858.

Alleged manslaughter. The Kentish Tap Affair.

Mr. Trustram said he again appeared before the bench in consequence of receiving a note from the clerk to the magistrates, stating that at this setting the magistrates would proceed to make a full investigation on oath of the circumstances attending the death of the man young at the "Kentish Tap."

Mr. Deane said he was aware of the note being written, but he understood that Mr. Trustram was to appoint the day of the hearing.
Mr. Cripps, on behalf of Mr. Haines, was understood to say that there would be some difficulty in the case being investigated today.

Mr. Trustram must beg leave to say (referring to Mr. Deane's remark) that he was not a public prosecutor nor a private informer. As the medical gentleman connected with the case thought it right that the facts should be made known, and he made them known, and in consequence of that information, which was bona fide and for the public good, he had had sent to him a letter from the lawyer of a gentleman who thought himself aggrieved by this information. He must say that for a lawyer's letter it was a very courteous one. He acknowledged the very patient hearing which was given him last Monday, when, as a public man and a medical man, he affirmed his strong conviction that the man Young would have been alive at the present moment if he had had that accommodation which he (Mr. Trustram), in his simplicity thought could be demanded when a person was taken ill at a public house. He left the court last Monday with the impression that the bench had decided to procure an inquest into the case. He was willing, ready, and anxious to depose on public oath all the facts with which he was acquainted. Last Monday the father-in-law of the deceased told them the friends of the deceased, who were in attendance upon him, and express themselves satisfied with the accommodation; but he (Mr. Trustram) had been informed that morning by his partner, Mr. Satchel, who was with the man at the time of his death, and he had Mr. Satchels permission to affirm it in connection with his name, that the friend of the deceased at the time made a great noise about the accommodation. He (Mr. Trustram) was here to take any steps their worships as the custodes of the rights of the public might advise.

Mr. Deane said it was very true that the bench last Monday determine to write for an inquest, for ten minutes after they came to that decision they learned that the deceased was buried, and in order to have an inquest it would be necessary to go through the process of getting an order from a Secretary of State for the exhumation of the body, and under no circumstances they thought it was not worthwhile to have an inquest, especially as the father-in-law of the deceased said the deceased have been very ill for several years past. He (Mr. Deane) didn't believe that the person in charge of the "Kentish Tap" acted improperly wilfully. It didn't appear to him that the man asked for a bed on his first going into the tap, not until he fell ill. He was taken so ill that they were obliged to bring down the mattress to lay upon him upon. He (Mr. Dean) really could not charge anyone with doing anything wilfully. If the magistrates found that publicans must be provided with beds for the accommodation of customers, then at the next licensing day they must tell the publicans so. People in the deceased's position of life generally slept at lodging houses.

Mr. Trustram said Mr. Deane was wrongly informed altogether. The deceased came to his surgery, and was told that he must go to bed directly. He went immediately to the "Kentish Tap" and ask for a bed. He sat there till five o'clock when he (Mr. Trustram) went and saw him. At three, as they heard from a father-in-law he was so much better that they thought of taking him on to Tudeley. This confirmed his belief that if he had had a warm bed as he requested that he might have, his life would have been saved. If he (Mr. Trustram) was told that out of 50 or 60 beds that the "Kentish Hotel" contained, they couldn't spare one for a dying man he couldn't understand it. In the tap part of the building there was not a bed which the man could have, and on that point Mr. Prudence (the person conducting the tap) stood absolved from blame; and if the magistrate said that public houses were not bound to provide beds there was no blame at all.

Mr. Deane:- I didn't say that.

Mr. Trustram:- The man's wife came to me with tears in her eyes, and said, "Will you write a letter that I can demand a bed," and I told her that she could legally demand a bed.

The Chairman said there was some difficulty in the magistrates taking any steps in the matter, as Mr. Trustram must be perfectly well aware. He thought the magistrates could not on a legal point of view separate the "Kentish Hotel" from the "Kentish Tap." There was but one licence granted for the whole; in the eye of the law therefore, and with reference to every responsibility attached to that licence, the tap must be considered as a part of the hotel. If then there was proper accommodation in the hotel that was all that the bench of require in granting the licence. He very much doubted that they could bring an action against the holder of the licence for violating the tenor of it, the house being properly supplied with beds. It appeared to him that if this was not an offence against the tenor of the license, it must be an offence such as any person committed who did not do what he was going to do. In this view of the matter the offence appeared to be manslaughter or nothing. If a person who was bound to do a certain thing, would not do it, and that's caused a person's death, supposing there was no malice in it, that was in the eye of the law manslaughter. If Mr. Trustram, as a medical man, could give evidence in support of a charge of manslaughter, the accused could be summoned before them, or the house might be indicted at assizes. This bench would not show anything for the protection of the poor - the rich could take care of themselves - if the case was brought before, them. Mr. Trustram could put the matter into the hands of the constabulary, or he could communicate with the clerk. It would not be right for the bench to initiate proceedings, and afterwards to sit as judges. Magistrates could not keep too much room from the initiative.

Mr. Deane asked, did anybody suppose that they could commit Mr. Prudence or Mr. Haines on a charge of manslaughter on such evidence as they had heard? It was utterly impossible.

Mr. Trustram said if the deceased was sacrificed on the altar of improvement in these houses the case would be somewhat ameliorated. Certainly the man was sacrificed to a want of accommodation.

Mr. Deane:- People who drink in taps rarely go into hotels to sleep.

Mr Cripps said, on the part of Mr. Haines, he was really glad of the way in which the chairman had put the matter. Mr. Trustram had now the option of bringing a charge against Mr. Haines or of explaining his conduct.

Mr. Trustram (warmly) what have I to explain?

Mr. Deane:- We are satisfied with what has been said. Let it drop.

Mr. Cripps said Mr. Haines would be prejudiced if the statements made went forth uncontraverted. What Mr. Trustram had stated as facts were no facts. A medical gentlemen of this town had told him (Mr. Cripps) that Mr. Trustram was altogether controvertible - that he was wrong in his opinion of the man being in a state of collapse. At the same time their worships had put the case just where it should be.

Mr. Trustram said Mr. Cripps have been misinformed. If he (Mr. Cripps) or his medical friend was a better doctor than him (Mr. Trustram) he (Mr. Trustram) had nothing more to say. But as he had attended 50 patients daily for many years it seemed that some people thought his opinions worth something. He thought he was a little accused of giving wrong opinions as any medical man. If Mr. Cripps, or his medical friend, who did not see the deceased, knew better than him (Mr. Tristram) he should be glad for an inquest to be held simply to get a little medical information (a laugh).

The Chairman said this was a very unsatisfactory states for the matter to be left in. These facts did amount to a very serious charge and it was a very painful thing for such to be made in the presence of the magistrates without their issuing a warrant. Supposing Mr. Trustram had been upon oath, he did not see how he could sit there as Chairman of the Bench without putting the matter in the hands of the police. The statements made mounted to a very serious charge of crime, which had been made in such a form that it could not be rebutted. He didn't not like, as a magistrate, to sit there and hear such statements made without doing something.

Mr. Deane justified the course Mr. Trustram had taken.

Mr. Cripps said unfortunately Mr. Trustram and Mr. Haines had not been good friends for some time past.

Mr. Deane:- I do not believe anything has been done wilfully. There has been no wilful intention in this case, and therefore I do not see how we can take it.

Mr. Trustram warmly rebutted the insinuation that he had been activated by personal feelings in the present proceedings. As a public man he challenged anyone to come there and show that he had ever been actuated by personal feelings and his public conduct. That legal touch of personality was not worthy of Mr. Cripps or anyone else.

The chairman thought it was due to Mr. Trustram to state that when he mentioned the subject to him at the onset, he never mentioned Mr. Haines name or blamed any one. He simply mentioned to him, that at the licensing day Mr. Onslow might be asked if the deceased had proper accommodation.

Mr. Cripps, to put himself right with Mr. Trustram, said that he had acted bona fide in the matter, as there had been some desperate quarrel between them.

Mr. Trustram said there had been no such thing. Mr. Cripps was talking about what he didn't know.

Mr. Trustram then thanked the bench for its attention, and withdrew.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 19 September 1864.

Tunbridge Wells. A Rather Serious Lark.

On Tuesday three respectably-looking young men, named William Cook, Walter Dunk, and G. Atkinson, were charged before W. F. Browell, Esq., with stealing a number of cigars, value 10s., from the "Kentish Tap," on the 13th inst., the property of Henry Swift, of London.

It appeared that the prisoners had been drinking at the house during the evening, and left it about 1 o'clock, the door being locked after then. After getting outside, however, they asked for a quart more ale, and the landlord brought it to the door. Atkinson then went inside, coming out in a few minutes, on going off with the other prisoners. Shortly afterwards the box of cigars was missed, and, information having been given to the police, Police Constables Bayley and Ware traced Atkinson to the stables of Grecian Villa. On the steps leading to the loft the constables found a quantity of cigars, and they asked Atkinson if he knew anything about them, and he replied he did not. The constables then charged him was stealing the cigars, and he denied it, and said they were given to him. Prisoner then showed the constables where some more cigars were, and brought them from beneath a horse manger. About a dozen others were found in his pocket. Cook was afterwards found at the "Bridge Tavern," and Dunk at the "Calverley Mews," the former with eight cigars, and the latter with about two dozen in his possession. The magistrate told Coke and Dunk that the circumstances were very suspicious, but as there was a doubt as to whether they had a guilty knowledge of the way the cigars were got, they would receive the benefit of the doubt, and be discharged. Atkinson then received the usual caution, and in reply said it was done in a lark.

He was committed for trial.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 19 June 1874.

Tunbridge Wells Petty Sessions.

Assaulting A Cellerman.

George Hooper was summoned for assaulting George Thorne, at Tunbridge Wells, on the 16th.

Mr. J. Burton, solicitor, appeared in support of the summons.

Complainant said he was celler-man at the "Kentish Hotel," and on the night of Saturday, the 6th inst., he was at the "Shades," in Chapel Place. At 10 minutes to 11 o'clock, the defendant and 5 other young men came into the "Shades" singing. At 5 minutes to 11 o'clock, he (witness) put up the shutters and said, "Time, please," meaning that it was time to close the house.

Hooper said, "If you say time again I will b______ well throw you out into the road." Witness repeated that it was time, when defendant seized him by the shoulder and thrust him out into the street, and his friends who were with Hooper spat in his (witness's) face. He went into the "Shades," when defendant threw him into the street again, and a bottle of beer was thrown at him by one of the defendant's friends, and which struck him on the side of the head. He was pushed out a third time, and, when in the dark, he was thrown down, and kicked while on the ground. He could not say that defendant was one of the man who threw him down, but he was the ringleader of the party. Two persons, who were present, interfered on his behalf, and they were savagely assaulted. On the following night the defendant challenged him to fight, when he fetched Mr. Braby to him. Defendant subsequently wanted to make up the affair.

In answer to questions put by the defendant, witness denied that he committed any assault or challenged the defendant to fight.

A witness, named Hoadly, gave corroborative evidence, saying that the defendant threw the complainant out of the bar into the street three times. The complainant would have been much more hurt had it not been for the interference on his behalf of a young man who worked at Mr. Elliott's.

Mr. Burton was able about to call other witnesses, when the Magistrates intimated that they did not think it necessary.

Defendant denied that he committed any assault.

Mr. Burton said, on behalf of Mr. Braby, who have felt it his duty to bring the case before the Bench, he did not press for a severe punishment.

The Chairman said the Magistrates felt it their duty to protect publicans in doing what was their duty, and they fined the defendant 1 and 16s. costs or in default 1 months imprisonment.

Defendant asked for time to be allowed him in which to pay the money, but the Magistrate said that if he did not raise the money by 3 o'clock, he must go to gaol.



OWEN William 1841+ (age 40 in 1841Census)

PRUDENCE Peter 1858-61+ Census

DOGGETT William 1871+ (age 56 in 1871Census)




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