Page Updated:- Tuesday, 20 February, 2024.


Earliest 1573-

George Hotel

Open 2023+

Stone Street


01580 713348

George Hotel 1890

Above photo circa 1890.

George Hotel 1896

Above photo 1896.

George Hotel 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910.

George 1919

Above photo circa 1919, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George Hotel 1925

Above postcard, 1925.

George Hotel 1933

Above photo, 1933, by kind permission of Eric Hartland.

George Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown.

George Hotel 1920s

George Hotel postcard, circa 1920s.

George Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly submitted by Mark Jennings.

George Hotel staircase

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly submitted by Mark Jennings.

George restaurant 1976

Above photo showing the restaurant September 1976.

George Inn 2007

Above photo 2007.

George Hotel 2010

Above photo 2010 by Oast House Archives Creative Commons Licence.

George Hotel sign 1980sGeorge Hotel sign 2014

Above sign left, 1980s. Sign right, 2014.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

George bedroom 2019

Above photo, 2019 showing one of the bedrooms.


The one time Sharpe and Winch public house was later sold to Frederick Leney of the Phoenix Wateringbury Brewery.

Built in the 14th century the "George" has had its own famous Royal resident, for Elizabeth I stayed there in 1573 during a progress through Kent. At that time, Cranbrook was a prosperous cloth-making town, as can be seen by the magnificent parish church, reflecting the wealth of the cloth merchants. For over three hundred years until 1859, a magistrate's court was held in an upper room of the inn. Here, witches and warlocks were examined by local inquisitors before being committed for trial, and probable death by burning, at Maidstone. Later, French prisoners-of-war were tried at the inn, being chained to a heavy beam in the floor.


The following passage kindly researched by Rory Kehoe.

Born in Cranbrook in 1729, Stephen Wilmshurst bought the George from Elizabeth Weston in 1767. His brother, Thomas, had been licensee of the George since 1762 and using money borrowed from Stephen, purchased the Bull in 1771. Stephen Wilmshurst had previously been the licensee at the Bull c.1750 and the King's Head c.1755. In addition to running pubs, Stephen Wilmshurst also brewed his own beer at the George. In 1791, he leased the George to one of his sons, also called Thomas, who installed one of his brothers, Tilden, as licensee. I imagine that your "pre-1829 licensee Mr T Walmshurst" is either Thomas, or Tilden, Wilmshurst, though I don't yet know which brother this was, or when he left the George but it's likely it was in 1805.

Around 1790, the enterprising Stephen Wilmshurst had a brewery built nearby, at Baker's Cross Farm, which he also owned. The new brewery was presumably designed to supply the George, as well as other local hostelries, such as the Bull and King's Head, which were being run by other members of the Wilmshurst family. By the time he died in 1804, Stephen not only owned the George but also the Duke's Head (Hartley) and Orange Tree (Frittenden) which had previously been called Wren's Nest Farm. In accordance with Stephen Wilmhurst's will, the brewery and three pubs were sold as one lot, with the 21st June 1805 auction seeing James Dadson as the new owner. Between 1805 and his bankruptcy in 1810, James Dadson added to the tied estate by purchasing the Bell, Frittenden. After the bankruptcy auction, the new owner of the brewery and pubs was Jesse Dobell but he too was doomed to fail in running the business and was declared bankrupt in 1819. Another auction was held and it appears that the tied estate was broken up, with the George being purchased by George Tomkin, who went on to acquire the Baker's Cross brewery a couple of years later.

Skipping to the mid-19th century and partly due to the Beer House Act (1830) which relaxed licensing laws, business was brisk and the new owner of the Baker's Cross Brewery, Robert Tooth, set about rebuilding a tied estate. Meanwhile, his son, John, emigrated to Australia and founded Tooth's Kent Brewery, which went on to dominate beer production and supply in New South Wales. In 1848, Robert Tooth sold the brewery and small tied estate to William Barling Sharpe, who had been licensee of the George since 1831 and owner, since purchasing it in 1839. In 1890 and by then in his 80s, William Barling Sharpe sold the brewery and tied houses for 4,500 to his son-in-law, William Francis Winch, who renamed the company Sharpe & Winch. However, William Francis Winch was a widower twice over, who lost his only son in WW1 and by the time he was well into his 70s, he realised that the time had come to sell up. In 1928 Sharpe Winch's 13 pubs were sold to Frederick Leney's Phoenix Brewery, Wateringbury (by then, a subsidiary of Whitbread) for 20,000. On William Francis Winch's death in 1931, the brewery buildings and two former pubs (the Bird-in-Hand and Bull, both in Cranbrook, which had closed in 1914 and 1925 respectively) were put up for auction.

The 13 Sharpe & Winch pubs which were bought by Leney's were: George, Duke of York and 3 Chimneys, Cranbrook. King William IV, Benenden. Royal Oak, Iden Green. New inn, Frittenden. Woolpack, Goudhurst. Bull, Sissinghurst. Man of Kent, High Halden. Oak & Ivy, Hawkhurst. Harrier, Sandhurst. South Eastern Hotel, Staplehurst. Swan, Wittersham.


Kent Gazette, 3 October, 1778.

Friday morning about 3 o'clock, a fire broke out in the bar of the "George Inn," in Cranbrook, which had like to have been attended with dreadful consequences, but providentially it was timely discovered and extinguished. It was occasioned by the carelessly leaving a pair of snuffers. It is hoped this will warm persons to take care to secure them before going to bed, that accidents of so destructive a nature may be prevented.


Kentish Gazette, 14 October, 1780.

To be let, and entered upon immediately.

The "George Inn," in Cranbrook.

Every Thing to be took at a fair appraisement.

For further particulars enquire of Mr. Samuel Field, at the "George," in Maidstone; or the "George Inn," in Cranbrook.


Kent Gazette Reports 28 May 1805.


On Friday the 21st day of June, 1805, between the hours of three and six, at the "George Inn," in Cranbrook (unless in the mean time disposed of by private contract) of which notice will be given.

A Most desirable and valuable FREEHOLD ESTATE, together with a compact and convenient common brewery, and three public inns, known by the names of the "George," the "Bull," and "Duke's Head," now in full trade, and calculated for extensive business. Also a neat and substantial Dwelling House, lately built with substantial offices, garden, orchard, barn, stable, oast and lodgings, and about 30 acres of rich meadow, arable, and hop grounds, pleasantly situated in the town of Cranbrook, in the county of Kent, late the property of Mr. Stephen Wilmshurst, deceased; which will be sold in separate lots. Printed particulars of which may be had at the Auctioneer's general Agence Office, or the executer, Messrs. Wilmshurst, Buss and Elliott, Cranbrook, who will treat for the same, or by letters post-paid.


Morning Chronicle, 18 June 1806.

Goudhurst and Cranbrook, Kent.

By Messrs. Skinner, Dyke and Co. on Tuesday next, at 12, at Garraways in six lots.

Very desirable freehold estates, situate in and near the town of Goudhurst, 3 miles from Lamberhurst, 10 from Tunbridge Wells, 13 from Maidstone, and 43 from London. Consisting of a genteel dwelling house, offices, stabling, and good garden, on a delightful entrance commanding beautiful and extensive prospects, 10 acres of rich meadow land and hop garden, and old established draper and grocer's shop, and two cottages and gardens. Also an eligible Leasehold Estate, held of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, and renewable according to custom; consisting of the "Star and Crown Inn" and about 50 acres of rich meadow, hop garden, and productive wood land. A freehold substantial Brick Dwelling House and Shop most desirable situate for trade, opposite the market house, in the town of Cranbrook, late the market house of S. F. Waddington, Esq. Land Tax is redeemed. Immediate possession may be had of the several lots.

To be viewed, and particulars may be had at the "Star and Crown Inn;" Goudhurst; "George," Cranbrook; of Mr. Blake, Printer, Maidstone, at the "Crown," Tonbridge; Place of Sale, and of Messrs. Skinner, Dyke and Co. Aldersgate Street.


The Sussex Weekly Advertiser or Lewes and Brighthemston Journal, Monday 30 August 1819.

Valuable Freehold Brewery, Inns, and Public Houses, Farms and Lands, situated in Cranbrook, Frittenden, and Staplehurst, in Kent; and Leasehold Public House, in Wadhurst, Sussex.

To be sold by auction by Mr. Jeremiah Pethurst, at the "George Inn," Cranbrook, on Tuesday the 31st day of August next, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, (by order of the assignees of Jessie Dobell, a Bankrupt, and with the consent of the Mortgages) subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced, in Seven Lots, as follows.

Lot 2.

All that valuable freehold Messuage or Inn, known by the name of the "George," with the stables, buildings and premises, most eligibly situated in the centre of the Town of Cranbrook, and now in the occupation of Mr. James Hawkins.


Birmingham Chronicle, Thursday 19 December 1822.


J. Dobell, Cranbrook, brewer, at the "George," Cranbrook, Jan 2.


From the Maidstone Gazette and West Kent Courier, 29 May, 1827.

To be Let.

With possession at Midsummer next, that valuable Free Inn and public house, the "George Inn," Cranbrook, long established as a commodious house, with convenient rooms, stabling, &c. and 12 acres of Meadow Land, if required.

For particulars, apply (if by letter, post-paid) to Mr. George Hawkins, 90, High Street, Maidstone; or to Mr. Cloutt, Appraiser, Cranbrook.


Kentish Chronicle, 14 April 1829.


At Camden Hill, Cranbrook, Mr. T. Walmshurst - the deceased was many years landlord of the "George Inn," and much respected.


From the Kentish Gazette, 1 February 1842.


The christening was celebrated at Cranbrook by a public dinner, provided at the "George Inn," Thomas L. Hodges, Esq., was chairman, the Hon. Captain King, R.N., vice-chairman. The company, we understand, was numerous and highly respectable, and the evening spent in harmony and conviviality suited to the joyous occasion.

Regarding the christening of the Prince of Wales, the Heir Apparent to the British crown. Paul Skelton.


Kentish Gazette, 2 February 1847.

Weald of Kent Farmers’ Club.

On Wednesday evening, the 20th ult. the monthly meeting of this club took place at the "George Inn," Cranbrook. Mr. Walker was unavoidably prevented attending, and consequently his second lecture on agricultural chemistry was postponed till the next meeting. The club, accordingly proceeded to discuss the subject which stood over from the last meeting.

"Tenant Rights."— Mr. Barnes took the chair, and there were about sixty members present. An animated discussion ensued, in which a large number of the members present took part. The disposition was strikingly manifested to entertain the question in an enlarged and liberal spirit. It was strenuously maintained that a just and fitting relation between landlord and tenant must be equally as beneficial to the former as the latter, and that this was the true light in which the question of tenant rights ought to be viewed. The subject again stands over for another meeting. We shall present our readers with the whole of the resolutions when the discussion is finished. After electing Messrs. George and William Crampton, of Cranbrook, members of the club, the proceedings terminated.


Kentish Gazette, 24 April 1849.


At the annual court leet, held at the "George Inn," Mr. George Dadson, our respected townsman, was appointed high constable for the ensuing year. At two o'clock an excellent dinner was prepared by Mr. Mills, to which a large party sat down.


Kentish Gazette, 17 September 1850.

MARRIAGE. Winch - Mills.

Sept 5, at St. Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook, by the Rev. F. Barrow, vicar, Mr. William Huffinian Winch, estate agent, &c., to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Mr. Francis Mills, of the "George Inn," Cranbrook.


Kentish Gazette, 7 March 1854.


TO BE LET. With Possession on the 4th day of APRIL next, The above old established and establishes and well-known COMMERCIAL HOUSE.

Apply to Mr. Wm. B. Sharp, Bakers Cross, Cranbrook.


Southeastern Gazette 4 January 1853.

CRANBROOK. Caution to Innkeepers.

On Thursday evening last, a man of respectable appearance, who gave the name of John Vallance, but who no doubt is one of the gentlemen we have lately heard of visiting the inns in different parts of the county, gave Mrs. Mills, of the "George Inn," a call, and after making many kind enquiries as to the health of the family, wished to be accommodated with a bed for four or five nights, and called for ale, bread, and cheese, to the amount of 1s. 2d. Having demolished it he desired a bottle of gin and another of rum to be sent into his room, and then went into the yard; but this arousing Mrs. Mills’s suspicions, she refused to serve him. He then made himself scarce without paving for his ale, &c. After some little time search was made for him, and he was found at Mr. Dyke’s beer-house, where he had also asked to be accommodated with a bed for several nights. On being searched he had not a farthing, but a bill was found on him, without any name, for ale, spirits, and tobacco, &c., amounting to 1 15s., which was receipted; also a copy of an agreement showing or pretending to show that he had hired a house at 24 per year of Mr. Frederick Crow, of King-street, Ramsgate. As no false pretence had been used, Mrs. Mills's only remedy was to proceed against the scamp for the amount, which of course she declined to do. The fellow’s plea was that he had lost his money in the water-closet, and having made this discovery he did not return to the house. About a fortnight since Mrs. Mills was favored with a visit from a respectably dressed man carrying a brown paper parcel, who had supper, bed, and breakfast, and then decamped without paying his bill.


Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 2 December 1860.


On Thursday last the annual rent audit of Lady Julia Cornwallis was held at the "George Hotel," where the tenantry sat down to an excellent dinner, provided by Mr. Davis.

Ample justice was done to the spread.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 20 April 1861.


At the meeting of the Court Leet for the manor, held at the "George Hotel," on Monday, Mr. G. Dadson was appointed constable of the hundred, and Mr. Steven Price, street-driver.

After the business had been disposed of, the company partook of an excellent dinner, and a most agreeable evening was spent.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 16 November 1861.


The annual rectorial and vicarial audits were held at the "George Inn" on the 4th and 5th inst. where an excellent dinner was provided.


From the Sussex Express, Surrey Standard. 9 December 1893.


Extensions of time were granted to the proprietors of the "George Hotel," Cranbrook, and the "Queen's Hotel," Hawkhurst, on the occasion of "Cinderella," lawn tennis, and football club balls.


Sussex Agricultural Express, Saturday 8th January, 1898.

Extension of time for New Year's festivities were granted to the proprietors of the "George" and "Bull Hotel," Cranbrook.


Sussex Agricultural Express. Friday 13 April 1900.


Good character; about 18. Mrs. Miles, "George Hotel," Cranbrook.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 13 September 1901.

Licensing business.

In the case of the "George Hotel," Cranbrook, the objection was to the use of the yard by four adjoining houses, but on Mr. Winch stating there was really no use of the yard, the licence was renewed.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, Friday 3 February 1922.

The license of the "George Hotel," Cranbrook, was transferred to Peter Warner.


From an email received 18 July 2021.


I was very excited to find the photos of and information about the Roebuck Inn, 41 Weeks Street, Maidstone because I have been researching my ancestry for a number of years and the "Roebuck" is where my great grandparents were in the final years of their lives.

Although I was born in Maidstone I grew up and am still living in Canada. I hope that you will find the following of some interest.

My maternal family were publicans, licensed victuallers, innkeepers in Kent beginning with my Great, Great Grandfather, James C. Miles, who, upon inheriting 150 pounds from his father, John, in 1848, bought the "George," Trotterscliffe, Kent from Stedman Shrubsole in 1849.

In the Census of 1851 and 1861, James is noted as a Publican of the "George Inn." James died in 1865 leaving his effects to his son John. However, James' wife Eliza nee Jeffery, continued to run the George. In the Census of 1871, Kelly's Directory of 1874 and of 1882, she is listed as Mrs. Eliza Miles, Publican, "George," Trottescliffe. In 1882 Eliza sold the George to Frederick Leney and Sons of Phoenix Brewery, Wateringbury. When Eliza died in 1886, she named her son Thomas Miles 'Innkeeper, Cranbrook" sole executor.

Thomas Miles, my Great Grandfather, followed in his parent's footsteps when between 1867 and 1868 he became the Innkeeper of the "South Eastern Railway Hotel," Staplehurst, Kent. In the Census of 1871 and Kelly's Directory of 1874, he is noted as the Innkeeper and Publican of the S.E.R.Hotel (my abbreviation), Staplehurst.

Between 1875 and 1876, Thomas took over the "George Hotel," Stone Street, Cranbrook, Kent. In the 1881 Census, he is a licensed victualler of the "George Hotel" whereas in the 1891 Census, he is a publican. Between 1878 and 1895, Thomas is also an agent for the "South Eastern Railway Hotel," and between 1884 and 1885 a wine and spirit merchant from the "George Hotel."

When Thomas moved on to the "George Hotel" in Cranbrook, he left the operation of the "S.E.R. Hotel" to his brother-in-law, William Allingham who, in the 1881 Census is noted as a Hotel Keeper employing 3 women and 1 man. William died in 1887 and his sister, Sarah Ann Allingham, who had been working for him took over. Great Aunt Sally, as she was known to the family was Hotel Keeper and Proprietor of "S.E.R. Hotel" Staplehurst until her marriage in 1905. She is listed as such in all of the Census' and Directories between those dates.

In 1896, Thomas Miles turned over the "George Hotel," Cranbrook to his son James Arthur Miles who continued there until 1912. Thomas, his wife Ann nee Allingham, and his daughter, Evelyn Margaret (my Grandmother) moved on to the "Roebuck Inn," 41 Weeks Street, Maidstone where he is listed in Kelly's Trade Directory 1899. On 23 December 1900, Thomas died at the "Roebuck" and left all of his effects to his wife Ann. In the 1901 Census, Ann Miles is listed as a Licensed Victualler at the "Roebuck Inn," 41 Weeks Street, Maidstone.

Ann Miles Died at the "Roebuck" 22 April 1902 and left all of her effects to my Grandmother, Evelyn Margaret, who had been a barmaid at the "Roebuck." However, she left to live and be married later in 1902 with Great Aunt Sally at "S.E.R. Hotel" in Staplehurst.

Although I have photos of many of my family members, they are relatively formal and none are taken at the various hotels and inns other than my Grandmother's wedding in the garden of the "S.E.R. Hotel" but it does not show the building.

Thank you for all you do,

Marilyn White.



HAWKINS Tom 1819+

DOBELL J 1822+

HAWKINS James 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

WALMSHURST T Mr pre 1829

Last pub licensee had TAYLOR Thomas 1832+ Next pub licensee had Pigot's Directory 1832-34

MILLS Francis 1850+

MILLS E Mrs 1853-55+

DAVIS Edward Mason 1858-60+

FULLER Mrs 1865+

BIXLEY Caroline Mrs 1874+

Last pub licensee had MILES Thomas 1875-96 Next pub licensee had (age 41 in 1881Census)

MILES James Arthur (son) 1896-12

MORRIS George 1918-20+

WARNER Peter Feb/1922+


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

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



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