Sort file:- Hythe, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Monday, 31 December, 2018.


Earliest 1828-


Open 2019+

1 Seabrook Road


01303 267175

Bell sign 1990

Above sign 1990.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Awaiting picture of Whitbread sign.

Above card issued March 1955. Sign series 4 number 4.


The "Bell Inn" is believed to be the oldest in the town, and was probably the ancient harbour pub when Hythe was a flourishing port. The inn has smuggling connections; beneath the floor is a tunnel close to a millstream, a convenient hiding-place for contraband. A hook in the attic once held a hoist for swift removal of smuggled goods after the departure of curious Revenue Officers.


From the Whitstable Times, 2 February 1867. Price 1d.

Pigeon Shoot.

On Saturday last Mr. John Spain, the host of the “Bell Inn,” Newington, advertised a fat hog to be shot for by 20 members, at 10s. each, but enough members not entering, several sweeps were shot off, and also a match at ten sparrows each. Sweeps 1, 2, and 7 were at sparrows, and 3, 4, 5, and 6 at pigeons. After No.6 sweep, Sergeant-Major Wilson shot at a double rise of pigeons, and brought one down, when the match followed. It was nearly dark before No. 7 sweep was finished. Sergeant-Major Wilson was in fine form, dividing No. 1 with Mr. George, No. 2 with Mr. Piddock, No. 8 with Mr. Bishopp, winning No. 4, dividing No. 6 with Messrs. Brown, Butcher, and Bishopp, No. 6 with Mr. Brown, and winning the match. No. 7 was won by Mr. Beale, after shooting off bird for bird with Mr. Butcher. The style in which Mr. Bishopp killed four or five difficult birds was much admired.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 26 June, 1868. Price 1d.


Alfred Molsher, 28, soldier, was indicted for having stolen the sum of 15s. the money of John Spain, at Newington next Hythe on the 8th June. Mr. Ormerod prosecuted:-

Ellen Spain, wife of John Spain, who keeps the "Bell" at Newington: On the evening of the 8th of June three persons came in, one of whom was the prisoner. Prisoner called for a pot of ale, and gave me a shilling. I put it into the till, where there were about 15s. or 16s. besides. I left the bar and went into the parlour. I heard a rattling of money; I got up and saw the prisoner in the act of shutting the till. I then went into the bar and met the prisoner crawling away from the bar on his hands and knees. I looked at the till, and missed about 15s. I told the prisoner I believed he had taken the money, and he denied it. I sent for a constable and gave the prisoner into custody. An officer's servant who was there showed me some money and asked me if it was mine. He said he would leave his watch rather than see the prisoner given into custody. Prisoner turned out his pockets, and he had only 1s. 6d. in them.

Joseph Bates, father of the last witness: She was with me in the parlour. We heard money rattling, and my daughter went into the bar. I followed her and saw the prisoner leaving the bar in a stooping manner. In leaving the bar he passed close to the officer's servant.

John Ferrell, officer's servant: I went into the "Bell" with Sergeant Jury and the prisoner. I left the "Bell" for a short time and on my return the landlord was accusing the prisoner of stealing some money.

By the Court: When I returned to the bar the landlady was inside and the prisoner was outside the bar. The statement of the landlady that I was there when the prisoner came out of the bar, is not true.

Sergeant Jury: I went into the parlour, and while I was there the landlady left in a hurry. I heard her accuse some men of stealing some money. I came out and saw prisoner standing in front of the bar. Ferrell was standing by the front door.

P.C. Brennon deposed: Mrs. Spain sent for me, and there was some delay before she gave prisoner into custody. She said she would not give him into custody if he acknowledged that he had taken the money and would give it back. the prisoner said he would give 5s. but had not got it. The officer's servant said he would get the money, and offered to leave his watch while he went to fetch it. I searched prisoner and found 1s. 3d. upon him. He did not acknowledge taking the money.

The prisoner, in defence, said he reached to look into the parlour, because he suspected something was going on between the landlady and the servant; and just as he was doing so the landlady come out and said she had caught him. He told her she had not caught him doing anything. He denied the charge in toto.

The Chairman said the only evidence against the prisoner was that of the woman. The question for the jury was whether they believed her evidence, or whether they thought it had been got up in spite against the prisoner for his looking into the parlour to see what was going on.

The jury acquitted the prisoner.


I have only just started to research into this area of Kent and I am hoping to be able to update this page with further information later.

The list of licensees below is all that I have found to date.


From accessed 17 June 2015.


Parts of the inn have history from the 15th century. A Grey Lady haunts the cellars. She, witnesses report, to have been a former proprietor who died giving birth to a child at the "Bell Inn." When the huge inglenook fireplace here was opened up for renovation some years ago, the builders unearthed old beer mugs, clay pipes and a bunch of keys. They also found the bodies of two Revenue Officers who had been murdered and bricked up. It, witnesses report at the time that their uniforms, boots and belts were still in good condition. Various local customers maintain they have seen the ghosts of those two men sitting adjacent to the inglenook fireplace.



MARSHALL Henry 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

JEFFERY Henry 1832-39+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

HORTON Charles 1858-62+ Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862 ( also Builder)

SPAIN John 1868+

NELSON Charles Rice 1874-82+ Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

DENNE Mrs Annie 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

DOWN James 1899+

CORLESS Joseph Next pub licensee had 1901-03+ CensusPost Office Directory 1903

BROWN Mr Mary Ann 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

RIDLEY Albert Frederick 1922+ Post Office Directory 1922

RIDLEY Ellen M 1930-34+ Post Office Directory 1930

RIDLEY Frederick Albert 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938

DAVIES John date unknown.


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

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

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938



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