Sort file:- Maidstone, December, 2023.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.


Earliest 1853-

Spencer's Arms

Latest 1860

Sandling Road



Just the one reference to this one found at present.


Southeastern Gazette, 8 March 1853.

Friday. (Before J. Whichcord, W. Hills, and T. Hyde, Esqrs.)

The newly elected auditors and assessors were sworn into office.

John Smithy landlord of the "Spencer’s Arms" beer-shop, Sandling-road, appeared to answer to an information laid against him for having permitted the play of "Othello," to be performed for hire in a place not duly licensed for such a performance.

Mr. Monckton said the information against the defendant had been laid by the authorities of the town under the 68 sec. of the 6th and 7th Victoria, which Act repealed all the Acts which had previously been passed, and which was for the better regulation and management of theatres, and granting licenses under proper restrictions, in order that such performances might be under the surveillance of the authorities of the town, and that proper order and decorum should be preserved. Mr. Monckton then called the attention of the magistrates to the various clauses in the Act, and stated that the defendant was the landlord of the "Spencer’s Arms" beer-shop, near the barracks, and for some time past, in a building behind the house, various plays had been performed, for which a certain charge was made, viz. for reserved seats, 6d.; pit, 4d.; gallery, 2d. It was, however, his duty to say that although the performances were almost nightly attended by great numbers, sometimes as many as 200 persons being present, of both sexes, the majority of whom were under 20 years of age, he was not aware of any impropriety or indecent conduct, which, if the building was duly licensed, would have been complained of; but the authorities felt that if this performance was allowed to continue, other persons would follow their example, strolling players would come in, and the town would be inundated by such exhibitions. The information had therefore been laid, not so much with a view to punishing the performers, as to let the public know that no performances of the kind would be allowed without being under the restrictions specified by the Act of Parliament.

Mr. Monckton then called Mr. J. W. S. Norton, who deposed that on the previous Friday night he went to the "Spencer’s Arms" to witness the performance of “Othello." While going through the house into the building, he was accosted by a young man, who said, "You must pay here." He procured a box ticket, which was afterwards taken by another person, and he took a seat which was pointed out to him. The building was fitted up as a theatre, with boxes, pit, and gallery, and a stage. There were about 200 persons present, principally boys and girls and persons under 20 years of age. The greatest decorum was used throughout, and there was no noise or indecent conduct whatever. Believed the play to have been curtailed. The parts of Emilia and Desdemona were performed by some "ladies" [a laugh]. The premises were part of those occupied by Mr. Smith.

The defendant said he was quite ignorant that he had committed a breach of the law. He had been brought up in the country, and had never been into a theatre. He had let the premises to Mr. Powell and his company, and did not take any of the proceeds, but merely supplied the beer. He called Mr. Powell, as a witness on his behalf, who deposed to himself and company hiring the premises of Mr. Smith, for the hire of which, however, he paid nothing, in consideration of Mr. Smith supplying the beer. The magistrates said the charge had clearly been proved, and the authorities had acted very properly in preventing the spreading of such performances, which would have a great tendency to demoralise the younger inhabitants of the town. However, as the performances had been hitherto so well conducted they should not impose the full penally, which was 10 for each performance, but defendant must bear in mind that if the performances were continued he would not be dealt with so leniently. The fine in the present instance was 20s. Defendant paid the money.


South Eastern Gazette, 22 May, 1860.



Mr. B. TOMPSETT. IS instructed, by Miss E. Merrony, leaving the above house, to SELL by AUCTION, on the premises, on Saturday, May 26th, 1860, at Twelve o’clock precisely, the STAGE and FITTINGS of the MUSIC HALL, consisting of paintings and scenery and a portion of a booth, with a large quantity of deal planks and boarding from 1in. to 1 1/2in., table-tops and trestles', a quantity of 12ft. forms, a quantity of variegated and naphtha lamps, shoot coal weighing machine, nearly new, coal bags, four-corner pins and balls, several sets of quoits, all the glass and earthenware of an inn, &c. &c.

Also the HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, consisting of beds and bedding, dressing and other tables, four-post, tent, iron and other bedsteads, sofa and sofa bedstead, chest of drawers, washstands, chairs, dressing glasses, tables, and all the gas fittings, &c. &c.

May be viewed on the morning of sale. Further particulars and catalogues may be obtained of the Auctioneer, 37, Gabriel’s-hill, Maidstone.


South Eastern Gazette, 29 May, 1860.

Daring Attempt at Escape by Soldiers.

Shortly after two o’clock on Thursday morning last Police-constable Drawbridge was on duty near the Maidstone Cavalry Depot, when he observed two soldiers approach the gates of the "Spencer's Arms" beer-shop, and each throw over a bundle. One of them got over, and on the constable coming up the other man asked him to assist him in doing so. Drawbridge, thinking it would be a good opportunity to entrap the men, rendered the desired assistance, but immediately went and gate information at the barracks, and the sergeant of the guard and four men proceeded to the "Spencer’s Arms," when both men were found concealed in the yard, one being a private in the 6th Dragoon Guards, named Richardson, alias Deeks, who was tried a few days since for desertion, and sentenced to 168 days’ imprisonment at Fort Clarence, in addition to being branded with the letter "D;" and the other, named Washington, alias Ryan, belonging to the 17th Lancers, and who was awaiting his trial for the same offence. It seems that they had cut away the plastering and weather-boarding of the guardroom, by which they were enabled to get out on to the roof of the gun-shed, and thence over the fence into the Sandling-road. The bundles contained two shirts, two pairs of trowsers, a pair of overalls, and a pair of boots. The men have since been tried by court-martial for breaking out of the room, but their sentences will not be known until confirmed by the War Office authorities.




SMITHY John 1853+

MERRONY E Miss to May/1860


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