Sort file:- Canterbury, July, 2020.

Page Updated Canterbury:- Thursday, 23 July, 2020.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Rory Kehoe

Earliest 1840-

Ben Jonson

Closed 1969

10 Guildhall Street


Above photo 1961 showing the landlord, Mr. H. Bacon, ringing time on the "Mafeking Bell." The notice says, "Time gentleman please - It's still a warning bell!" which refers to the fact that this bell was rung during the Siege of Mafeking, in the Boer War, to alert the British defenders of imminent attack. Sadly, the current whereabouts of the Mafeking Bell are not known. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ben Jonson 1965

Above showing the "Ben Jonson" in 1965.

Canterbury map 1874

Above map 1874 identified by Rory Kehoe.

Ben Jonson window

Above photo showing the window of the "Ben Jonson" date unknown.


Probably built in the 18th century, the earliest reference found is for a Stephen Wood in 1840, but he was listed as being a brazier. Earliest listing of the premises being a public house is in a list of public houses of 1858.

The Inns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot's,1988, mentions a document, date circa 1945 that gives the description of clientele at the pub as being "Artisans and labouring, casual callers."

A George Beer tied house in 1888 it was leased by them for 30 per annum, and later purchased by Flint and Co in 1909.

After licensee Mr. Bacon retired (c.1965) the "Ben Jonson" was taken over by Bob and Sherry Lucas. After Whitbread's acquisition of Fremlin's in 1967 the "right-sizing/asset stripping started and in 1969 the "Ben Jonson" was one of several ex-Fremlin's pubs to be axed. Bob and Sherry Lucas went on to run the "City Arms," Butchery Lane from 1969 until they retired c.1983.

The "Ben Jonson" was the only Canterbury tied house for Francis A White's Stourmouth Brewery, until 1904 when Flint & Co's St. Dunstan's Brewery acquired/closed their smaller rival. The "Ben Jonson" then became a Leney's of Dover house, when Flint's were bought out by them in 1924 and eventually a Fremlin's house when, in 1926, all Leney's houses were leased to Fremlin's, in what was, in effect, a brewery merger. The two familes were related and Alfred Leney became Chairman of Fremlin's, with Major Claude Leney acting as MD.

Unfortunately closed in 1969 this pub was reputed to be the smallest pub in Canterbury, it was taken over in 1971 as steak house and later a restaurant.

By 2014 it was operating as a Bistro called Oscar & Bentleys.

Former Ben Jonson 2014

Above Google image, June 2014.


From the Whitstable Times, 17 September, 1870.


An inquest was held before Mr. Coroner Delasaux at the “Ben Jonson,” Guildhall Street, on Saturday last, on the body of Edille Eliza Errey, aged 2 years, residing in Northgate, whose death was caused by the upsetting of a kettle of boiling water. Benjamin John Errey, brother of the deceased, stated that his sister attempted to get into a chair, which fell forward, upsetting the kettle which was on the fire, the water running over her. His mother was in the room at the time, and sent him for her neighbour, Mrs. Stone. It was quite an accident Mary Ann Stone deposed that an Thursday last she was called by the last witness, and in consequence went to Mrs. Errey’s house, who was then holding the scalded child in her lap. A kettle was on the door, and the water which it contained. Mr. Dalrymple, nurse at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, stated that the deceased was brought to the Working Men's Institute (now used for the reception of patients) on Thursday, suffering from severe scalds on the neck, shoulders, and chest. It was attended to at once by the medical officer, but died from the effects of the injuries received at half-past eleven on Friday night. Elizabeth Gibbs, night nurse at the above institution, corroborated the evidence of the last witness, and the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 28 February 1885.


The licence of the "Ben Jonson Inn," Canterbury, has been transferred from Mr. J. Sheppard to Mr. James Cooper.




WOOD Stephen 1840 (brazier, possibly not publican)

ASHTON John 1858-66+ (also bookbinder age 50 in 1861Census) Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Edward Wilmot Canterbury

BOTTRELL W 1868+ Greens Canterbury Directory 1868

STAPLETON William 1871+ (age 37 in 1871Census)

WADE Mrs M A 1874+ Post Office Directory 1874

COATES Moriah Mrs 1878-Nov/79 Edward Wilmot CanterburySouth Eastern Gazette

GOLDING John Edwin Nov/1879+ South Eastern Gazette

SHEPHARD John 1881-Feb/85 CensusPost Office Directory 1882

COOPER James Feb/1885+

GAMMON George 1889-91+ Post Office Directory 1891

NORRIS George G 1901-03+ (age 36 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903

STEGGLES James 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

HUCKSTEP George 1917+

PIERCE George W 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

OSBOURNE Mrs Jessie 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938

BACON Mr to 1965

LUCAS Charles Bob to 1969 Next pub licensee had Edward Wilmot Canterbury

Pub closed 1969


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 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Edward Wilmot CanterburyInns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot, 1988

South Eastern GazetteSouth Eastern Gazette

Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868


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