DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, December, 2019.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 14 December, 2019.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1790-

(Royal) Sussex Hotel

Latest ????

(Name to)

Pantiles

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Sussex Tavern 1800

Above engraving 1800.

Sussex Hotel

Above painting by J Clifford, 1830.

Princess Victoria leaving Kent 1834

Above engraving 4 November 1834 showing Princess Victoria and Duchess of Kent leaving Tunbridge Wells.

Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel 1840

Above engraving 1840.

Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel 1880

Above engraving 1880.

 

I also have reference to an establishment called the "Sussex Arms" and I am not yet sure whether the two are related.

Behind the "Sussex Hotel" stood the Sussex Mews and the "Sussex Arms/Shades." By 1834 they had changed the name in honour of a visit from Princess Victoria and Duchess of Kent - 4th Nov 1834, and gained a Royal prefix of the "Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel." The "Sussex Arms/Shades" name remained unchanged.

I am also informed that this later became the "Swan Hotel."

The "Royal Victoria And Sussex Hotel" stands in the place of the Sussex Tavern next to the now Corn Exchange, which was once the theatre, which was rebuilt in 1801, which could be when they re-built the Hotel that stands now, the actors used the Tavern prior to the 'Temple of the muses' being erected.

Sometime between 1830 -1834 it was able to include Royal Victoria into the name, Victoria, then a princess, frequented the area and stayed at the hotel.

 

Information taken from http://theweald.org

The earliest information we have been able to collect concerning the theatricals of this place is, that in 1737, an itinerant group of comedians exhibited here. Afterwards Mr. Smith, better known as Canterbury Smith, visited it occasionally. He was succeeded in 1753 by an actor of his company named Peters, who used a room belonging to a public house not far from the present theatre. About 1770, Mrs. Baker erected a "Temple to the muses" on Mount Sion, a short distance from Cumberland House. She occupied this building two seasons only … Mrs. Baker afterwards pulled down the original theatre on Mount Sion, and erected a new one partly with the old materials, on the site of some premises adjoining the Sussex Hotel. But in 1801, finding it much out-of repair, she determined upon pulling it down, and building a new one upon a more extensive scale. This was accordingly done, and the present theatre was opened on the 8th July, 1802. It is a neat building, and, if properly painted and decorated, its appearance would be superior to most theatres of a similar size. … The theatre stands in two counties; the stage being in Sussex and the auditory in Kent.

The management for a few seasons was in the hands of Mr. W. Dowton, and in 1831 they were taken on lease by Mr. Sloman, who married the widow of Mr. H. Dowton. Mr. Sloman's lease having expired in 1838, he resigned the management, and the property is again in the hands of Mr. W. Dowton, son of the veteran actor. The theatre is open for about three or four months in the season; and, in addition to the "London stars," there is generally a very respectable company.

 

 

From The Morning Chronicle (London, England ) Friday, May 2, 1823; Issue 16859.

SUSSEX HOTEL, TUNBRIDGE WELLS.

The Nobility, Gentry, and the Public, who honour Tunbridge Wells and its Vicinity with their Patronage, are, with infinite respect, informed that the New Safety Coach, carrying Four Inside Only, constructed upon an improved plan, in which ease and security is combined, leaves the "Sussex Hotel" every afternoon, at four o'clock, through Tunbridge, Seven Oaks, and Bromley, to the George and Blue Boar Inn, Holborn, London; and returns from thence at 10 o'clock in the morning, daily.

Proprietors William Smith, Edward Auger, and Co.

 

From the Maidstone Gazette and East Kent Courier, 3 July, 1827.

Tunbridge Wells.

This place has, for several days, been in considerable commotion in consequence of a robbery on Tuesday last, of rather a singular nature. It appears that Lady Grey Egerton, who has been sometime residing at Mr. Pegg's, the "Sussex Hotel," had, on retiring for the night, left in her sitting room, a box, containing jewellery and trinkets of very considerable value, amongst which were three watches, (one of which being set round with brilliants was supposed to be worth upwards of 100 guineas,) and about 17 in money, together with a variety of papers. On entering the room in the morning to breakfast, the first thing she had occasion to go to was the box in question, went to a great consternation she found it gone. Her Ladyship immediately questioned her own servants, who pleaded total ignorance, and consequently Mr. Pegg's domestics were looked upon with an eye of suspicion. Mr. P. For the credit of himself, the respectability of his house, and those under his immediate employ, lost no time, nor spared any expense, to fathom this mysterious affair. He dispatched a person to Bow Street for an experienced officer, who, in a few hours was on the spot; but he could not get no clue as to a discovery, yet said there was no doubt it will be proved to be some person near at hand. Soon after he had left the Wells, the delinquent was found out from the following circumstances:- The man servant of another lady who is also lodging at the hotel, and had but lately come into her service, had been in the habit of frequenting the dwelling of Mr. John Mercer, a tailor, near the hotel, whom he had occasionally employed to work for him. From his knowledge of the premises, having as well at times "dropt in" for a little chit-chat, it seems he had availed himself, in the absence of Mr. Mercer, to deposit under his counter, the identical box which was afterwards missing; but it's contents for carefully packed and a parcel which she had given to Mr. Mercer in the morning, with this injunction, "that he wished him to take charge of it, but on no pretence to open it; if he did, he should know, as he had tied the string in a particular manner." This was on the Tuesday, the day of the robbery. The next day Mr. Mercer was from home; but on the following morning, Thursday, he had to search under his counter for some materials, when he discovered the empty box. The circumstances of the robbery then being the topic of conversation and inquiry brought to his recollection that this very servant had been in his shop on the Tuesday whilst he was at dinner below stairs; and he therefore drew this conclusion, that the paper parcel delivered to him about 9 o'clock that morning, must contain the property missing. The embarrassment a tradesman must have felt in his situation, at ill-gotten property being unknowingly secreted on his premises, and deposited in his hands, and that for a moment he should be considered as accessory to it, caused some trifling hesitation in what way to make it known. He soon, however, communicated his suspicions to a friend, and requested him to go to Mr. Pegg, who, we understand, in the presence of a proper person, opened the parcel, and found the stolen property carefully packed in different papers to avoid suspicion. The thief was immediately taken into custody, and, the same evening, underwent a minute examination before our magistrates. This day, Friday, was nearly occupied with investigating the witnesses, which ended in the final conviction of the prisoner to the County Gaol. From the evidence of Mr. Mercer and the inmates of his house, it was proved that Mr. M. was totally ignorant of the contents of the parcel; for when the man gave it him, he expressed surprise at the injunction delivered with it, and asked "why should you give it to me in charge?" The reply was made in a very jocose manner. "O, it is only a trick, and you will find it out tomorrow." Mr. Mercer first took the parcel upstairs, but soon after threw it into an out-house, supposing its contents to be something that might prove offensive by keeping it indoors, and there it was left till the discovery of the box as before stated, which brought the whole to light. Mr. Mercer was fully acquitted by the Magistrates, and said they felt great pleasure in assuring him, that they had not the slightest reason to consider him as a party in this nefarious transaction. The servant, before the discovery of the parcel, conducted himself with greatest nonchalance; but since the investigation he has appeared very penitent, and acknowledges himself to be the only one who deserves to suffer for deviating from the path of honesty.

During the whole of this affair, we have felt not a little anxiety for the situation of Mr. Pegg, who, as proprietor of such an extensive and respectable establishment as the "Sussex Hotel," must, had it not been for this very fortunate discovery, have suffered great uneasiness, for (to say nothing of the great expense has already been at) the credit of his house, which, till it was thus luckily proved that the robbery was not committed by any one in his employ, was no doubt subjected to many censorious opinions, detrimental to that very liberal patronage and support which he has experienced since taking the Hotel. We presume, that too much publicity cannot be given to this circumstance in the event of any erroneous reports getting into circulation, to the prejudice of Mr. Pegg's establishment.

 

From the Kentish Chronicle, 27 July 1827.

Lady Grey, while residing at Pegg's "Sussex Hotel," was robbed in a very curious manner of a box, containing valuable gold trinkets, and 3 gold watches, besides 19 in money. Suspicion fell upon Mr. Pegg's establishment, and that gentleman lost no time in procuring an officer from Bow Street, but could get no clue to the robber. Soon after he left the Wells, it was ascertained that the servant of another lady had entered the room, where the property was deposited, and stolen. To avoid detection he place the box in the hands of Mr. Mercer, a tailor, with injunction not to open it, but a report of the robbery having got about Mr. Mercer examined the box, which proved to belong to Lady Grey. The servant was committed.

 

From the Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Tuesday 21 August 1827.

Saturday, August 18th.

John Rofe, age 21, charged with stealing a box, value 5, containing several gold watches, chains, seals, and other property, belonging to Dame Maria Grey Egerton.

It appeared on the 25th June last, lady Egerton (the widow of the late Sir John Egerton, Bart.) was residing at the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells. Prisoner was servant to Lady Faulkner, who was also staying at the hotel. In the night of the 25th, prisoner went into the sitting room of Lady Egerton, and from thence took the box, containing three watches, &c. In the morning he broke the box open, and tied up the valuables in brown paper, and left a parcel in the care of Mr. Mercer, a tailor, requesting him to take care of it. Merca wanted to open the parcel, but prisoner forbade him to do so, and said it was only a little trunk.

Prisoner went to the shop afterwards more than once, and was seen to go under the shop board, when, on Thursday morning, Mr. Mercer found the box that had been stolen.

Investigation ensued, and the property was delivered up to Mr. Pegg. Prisoner acknowledge his guilt, and said he was tempted suddenly (he believed of the Devil) to get out of bed, and commit a robbery.

Prisoner was found guilty. His lordship stated that the offence was a most serious one, but in consequence of prisoners youth, his life would be spared, but he would be "Transported for the remainder of his existence."

 

From the Morning Advertiser, Tuesday 21 August, 1827.

From the Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, Tuesday 21 August, 1827.

CROWN SIDE.

John Rofe, age 21, was indicted for stealing, in the dwelling house of Harry Pegg, jewellery to the value of 40 shillings., at Speldhurst, the property of Lady Maria Grey Egerton, widow.

Lady Egerton deposed, that she was, on 25th June, residing at the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells. She had a box, containing watches and other articles; saw it on the 25th of June last, and then locked it up; she missed it on the following morning; saw the property few days afterwards.

Eliza Vizer lived chambermaid at the "Sussex Hotel." Lady Faulkner resided there in June last. The prisoner was her servant. Remember the loss of the box on Tuesday 26th of June last. Saw the prisoner on that day with a bundle in his hand; it was tied up in a blue spotted handkerchief; saw him in his bedroom when he was apprehended on the following Thursday; several persons were then present; she asked him how he came to take the box? He replied that he thought the devil was in him, he got up in the night to do it. Cockshead was there. Nothing was said to him about confessing before that he said that he went into four sitting rooms, last of which was Lady Egerton's.

John Mercer, a tailor, of Tunbridge Wells, and his son, deposed that the prisoner left the box secretly in the house of the former, without their having any knowledge of it's contents. When, however, they heard of the loss, and found the box, they gave it up, and told all they knew.

John Cockshead was handcuffed to the prisoner by Hook, the constable; the prisoner told him that on Tuesday morning something came and nearly threw him from his bed, and he awoke with the impression that he must commit a robbery; he went to several rooms before he could see anything which would suit him. He, however, at last found the box, and took it to his own room, where it took him some time to open it, which he at length accomplish with a knife.

Harry Pegg, landlord of the "Sussex Hotel," deposed that some of his apartments were in the county of Sussex, and some in the parish of Speldhurst, Kent. The robbery was committed in the county of Kent. Produced the property, consisting of a 5 Bank note, three gold watches, and appendages, to a great value. They were all identified by Lady Egerton.

The prisoner, on being called on for his defence, replied that the constable had given him to understand that if he confessed, and restored the property, her ladyship would say nothing further about it.

The constables was called, but was not in attendance.

Mr. Pollock here stated, from Lady Grey Egerton, that she had intimated to the constable that if the property was restored she had no wish to prosecute; but this prosecution was at the instance of Mr. Pegg, the landlord of the "Sussex Hotel," the robbery having taken place in his house.

The prisoner called several witnesses to character.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the learner judge ordered sentence of death to be recorded.

 

From the South Eastern Gazette, 21 August 1827.

John Roth, 21, blacksmith, for stealing a box, value 5 shillings, a gold watch, chain, and seals, value 20, and divers other article, the property of Dame Maria Grey Egerton, at Speldhurst.

Lady Maria grey Egerton, on the 25th of June, was residing at the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells; on the evening of that day her Ladyship had a box containing the property in question. Her Ladyship was the widow of Sir John Grey Egerton, Bart.

Eliza Vizor, chambermaid at the "Sussex Hotel" examined. In June last, Lady Falconer was residing at the Hotel. Prisoner was her ladyship's servant. On the 26th June, between 12 and half past 1 o0'clock she saw prisoner with a bundle tied up in a handkerchief. He was going towards the Tap. On the following Thursday, she saw him in his bedroom with other person's. She asked him how he came to do it? He said he thought the devil was in him for he got up in the night to do it. He went into No. 7, 9, 10, and 11, bedrooms. No. 11 was Lady Egerton's sitting room.

John Mercer, the Younger, son of Mr. Mercer, tailor at Tunbridge Wells, had known Prisoner a month before the box was stolen. Prisoner called of witnesses house on a Tuesday, with a brown paper parcel. He asked for a bit of string too tie it around. This was about 10 o'clock in the morning. He took a piece of string from a cupboard and tied the parcel up. Witness saw him again the same day at the shop. He then brought a bundle tied up in a blue spotted handkerchief. He asked with this if he had dined, and being told that he was at dinner prisoner desired him to go down and finish his dinner. Witness came up again in 10 minutes, and prisoner was then gone. Next morning about 9 o'clock under the shop board witness and a bundle. Between 11 and 12 o'clock prisoner came in. He said "I am come for my great coat." He then got under the shop board, and brought his great coat. He was longer in doing so than was necessary. He went away with his coat. On Thursday morning witness saw his father looking for a bit of canvas in the shred box, under the board shop board; his father there found the box. About 5 o'clock, prisoner called again and asked for witness's father, and ask witness to go for him. Witness said he did not know where to go for him. Prisoner went into the passage and asked Mrs. Mercer where her husband was. He then came into the shop and witness told him that his father had found a box beneath the board. Witness's father came in and said "Is there anything under my board that belongs to you John." He said yes. Mercer then asked what were the contents of the paper parcel? Prisoner said "It is the contents of the box." Prisoner then went away. He was taken into custody that day. The box and parcel were put into the hands of Mr. Pegg. When witness told prisoner the box was found, he cried and said "it is all over."

Mr. Mercer, senior, tailor, deposed that prisoner came into his shop on a Tuesday in June, laughing, and asking for a piece of string, with which he tied up a parcel. He called witness into the passage and asked him to take care of the parcel; witness wanted to know what was in it, but prison replied "no! no! it's only a bit of a trick. Witness took it and said he should open it. prisoner told him not to do so, adding if he did open it he should know as he had tied it with a curious know. Witnessed took it up into his room at night; witness thought it might contain something unpleasant, and took the parcel into and outhouse. On Thursday morning witness found a box under the shop board. He came about 5 o'clock in the afternoon and witness said "John is there anything under my board, belonging to you?" He said "yes a small box," and on witness asking what was in the parcel he said "the contents of that box." Witness said "good God, John how came you to do such a thing as this?" He replied, the devil must have possessed him; it was all over with him and what witness had split against him. He asked witness to let him take the things away but witness said "Good God, can you make my hands clean by taking it away when you have made me and my son accomplices to you?" Witness would not let him have the things and afterwards mentioned the fact of John Coxey. He mentioned to Mr. Pegg, the box and parcel, and Mr. Pegg took them away from witnesses house.

In answer to a question from his Lordship witness said he heard of the robbery on Wednesday morning.

John Coxey, on Thursday saw Mr. Mercer, and he told witness something, in consequence of which witness went to Mr. Pegg. They went to Mercer and received from him a box and parcel. Witness had prisoner in his charge after the latter had been taken. Prisoner told him that on Tuesday morning about 3 o'clock, something threw him from his bed and told him he must go and commit a robbery. He said, "he went to two or three rooms before he could see anything that would suit him, but that in No. 11 he took with box and conveyed it to his room. In the morning he opened it with a key and knife."

Mr. Pegg proprietor of the "Sussex" deposed, that the Hotel is part in Frant, Sussex, and some in Staplehurst, Kent. Number 11, is in Staplehurst. On the 28th June, witness received a parcel from Mr. Mercer. Witness produced a box and parcel in brown paper.

Lady Egerton deposed to the contents of the parcel, and the box being those stolen on the night in question.

Prisoner then called for his defence and said the constable told him that if her ladyship got the things she would not take any more notice of the affair.

Mr. Iggulden, shoemaker, of Cranbrook, had known prisoner from a child, and gave him an excellent character.

Major Austen did not know prisoner, but he knew his father who were very respectable people.

Verdict:- Guilty - His lordship told prisoner that is youth induced him to spare his life, but he must expect to be sent out of the country forever.

For more information about the Rofe family Click Here.

 

From the Transcript, HO 17/98/43 National Archives (UK).

John Rolfe - Refused - 23/Nov/1827

To His Most Gracious Majesty. The Humble Petition of John Rolfe.

Father of John Rolfe a Convict now under sentence of Transportation for Felony.

Most Respectfully Sheweth.

That the said John Rolfe then living with Lady Faulkner, as Footman, at the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells, in a moment of Intoxication, purloined several articles of Jewellery from Lady Grey Egerton, who was likewise residing at the said hotel, and for this offense was apprehended, and tried at the Maidstone Assizes last August, when sentence of Death was recorded and the said sentence commuted to Transportation for life.

The Father is most anxious from the good character the Prisoner has heretofore to obtain if possible, through the well known clemency of your Majesty, a further commutation of his sentence, more particularly as it was his first and only offence, and as a proof of his good conduct up to the unfortunate period of the Robbery, certificates are herewith enclosed from Mr. Cooper, and others, in whose service the prisoner lived previous to the act in question being committed.

The Prisoner from his extreme youth, being only 21 years of age, was Induced to commit the depredation when in a state of Intoxication, without the least Intention of making away with the property, which in fact was immediately restored to the Prosecutrix, and under this Impression it is most humbly hoped, that your Majesty will be graciously pleased to extend the Royal Clemency towards the unfortunate youth, and your, his afflicted Father, as in duty bound will ever pray.

John Rolfe, Blacksmith.

Cranbrook, Kent.

 

* * * *

We the undersigned having employ'd John Rolfe now a convict and under sentence of transportation for life, beg most respectfully to state that during the time he was in our service, his conduct was mark'd by every attention to his duty, and we always found him to act with strict honesty and sobriety while so engaged

Mr. ? Cooper - Proprietor of Batts Hotel Dover st.

Tom(?) Willis of the Rose & Crown Inn Wimbledon

Francis Fenton St. James's ?

? Hodgins(?) Queens Head Tavern

 

* * * *

London ? 16 November 1827

My Lord

Mr Cooper of Batts Hotel, Dover street, having solicited me, to get the enclosed Petition laid before His Most Gracious Majesty; tho[ugh] wishing to forward the objects, I could not attempt to effect it thro[ugh] any other channel than your Lordship; having the honor to be known to Your Lordship, only lately, ? the liberty of soliciting Your Lordship[']s favourable recommendation of the same to His Majesty, which will very much oblige.

Your Lordship[']s,

Most Obedient, and ? ?,

John Meyer.

To The Most Noble ? Marquis of Lansdown

Secretary of State L L L(?)

 

* * * *

My Lord

I trust your Lordship will deign to listen to the petition of the Sister of an unfortunate young man, by the name of John Rofe, who now lies at Sheerness, under sentence of transportation for life, for a robbery committed on the property of Lady Grey Egerton, his senses being at the time overpowered with liquor, She most humbly begs Your Lordship would intercede for a mitigation of his punishment, till now he has never strayed from the paths of honesty, and many respectable persons can be brought forward to speak on behalf of his former good character.

Indeed he is now penitent for his past crime and should Your Lordship kindly listen to this humble petition an unhappy family would once more be restored to happiness, trusting to Your Lordship[']s benevolence.

I am Your Lordship[']s Most obedient humble Servant

Martha Rofe

Servant of the Right Honble the Speaker of the House of Commons

October 12th 1827

 

* * * *

County Gaol, Maidstone 2nd Dec 1827.

Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your note relative to John Rofe and enclose herewith the newspaper report of his trial from which you will probably be able to collect the desired information.

The young man certainly was never before in custody at this place and I should hope, indeed I have no reason to suppose but this may have been his first offence.

I have the honor to be Sir your obedient Servt

Thomas Agar, Keeper
? ? ? ? Esq(?)

 

From the Maidstone Gazette and East Kent Courier, 23 November, 1830.

On Friday last the magistrates invited the officers, belonging to the troop of horse, stationed in this town, to a grand dinner at the "Sussex Hotel." The excellent band attached to the troop played some lively tunes, and the evening was spent with the greatest hilarity.

A Court Martial assembled on Saturday at the "Sussex Hotel" for the trial of a sergeant belonging to the cavalry, for a breach of discipline. After a very full investigation, the Court decided, that the delinquent should have his stripes cut off, and, the following morning, the sentence was carried into effect in the presence of the corps.

 

From the South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 17 October, 1837.

THE COURT FOR RELIEF OF INSOLVENT DEBTORS.

James Gillett, formerly of the "White Lion Inn," Locks Bottom, in the parish of Farnborough, in the county of Kent, licensed victualler; then of Croyden, in the county of Surrey, out of business; and late of the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells," in the parish of Tonbridge, in the county of Kent, Stage Coach, Book-keeper.

 

From the South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 1 September, 1857.

TUNBRIDGE WELLS. MR. WOODIE'S "OLIO OF ODDITIES."

Mr. W. S. Woodin, the popular polygrnphist, gave an entertainment at the "Royal Sussex Hotel," on Wednesday evening last, and a second on the following morning, much to the satisfaction of the crowded audiences which assembled to hear them.

 

From the Sussex Advertiser, Tuesday 5 October 1858.

The Swedish National Singers, with Madal.

Humla, the noted violinist, who were here a week or two ago, paid us another visit this week, performing twice at the "Sussex Hotel," on Wednesday. The morning concert was well attended, but the evening attendance was poor. On the former visit many were turned away at the evening performance. The present concerts were as satisfactory as the former.

 

From the Kent and Sussex Courier 6 June, 1873. Price 1d.

LONDON ROAD, SOUTHBOROUGH.

To Investors and Others.

MESSRS James H Richardson & Son have been directed by the Proprietor, to Submit to PUBLIC COMPETITION, at the "Sussex Hotel," Tunbridge Wells, on FRIDAY, June 27th, 1873, At 3 for 4 o'clock, in FOUR LOTS, various VALUABLE FREEHOLD, Substantially-erected DWELLING-HOUSES, with Commodious Shops, and VILLA RESIDENCES, eligibly situate, as above; full particulars whereof in due time may be obtained of Messrs. Pearless and Sons, Solicitors, East Grinstead, or of the Auctioneers and Surveyors, 1, Wilton Place, Tunbridge Wells.

 

LICENSEE LIST

FRY Mrs 1790+ (Sussex Tavern)

SMITH William & AUGER Edward & Co 1823+

PEGG Harry 1827-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29(Pigot's Directory 1832-34 Royal Sussex Hotel)

Last pub licensee had GILLETT James pre 1837

 

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

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

CensusCensus

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

TOP Valid CSS Valid XTHML

 

LINK to www.Pubshistory.com