Page Updated:- Tuesday, 01 January, 2019.


Earliest 1740-

Black Robin

Open 2019+

Covet Lane


01227 830230

Black Robin

Above photo, date unknown, with permission from Eric Hartland.

From the Folkestone Herald, 14 January, 1928.

Black Robin floods 1928

Above photo showing the floods in January 1928.

Black Robin at Kingston Black Robin at Kingston Black Robin sign at KingstonBlack Robin sign 1991

Above photos and sign left taken by Paul Skelton, 22 Aug 2008.

Black Robin sign right May 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Black Robin sign 2017

Above sign August 2017, kindly sent by Ray Hopkins.

Black Robin 2018

Above photo, June 2018, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.


Reference found so far is in the Wingham Division Ale Licence list, which shows the "Black Robin," Kingston, to be re-licensed for the sum of 8 shillings in 1740 indicating that the pub was present before 1740.


Taken from

The "Black Robin" Public House stands at the gateway to the village of Kingston in Kent. Legend has it and many are thought to believe that it is named after a highwayman. But the term 'Black Robin' actually comes from the old Kentish slang for 'highwayman'. Basically similar to the Cockney slang 'Tea Leaf' (Thief). The "Black Robin" pub was used by smugglers and a network of other smuggling gangs as well as highwaymen. The most notorious of all being The Aldington Gang who operated from 1820-1826. They used local pubs to drop off their goods where they would then be sold to people within the community at a price but without the heavy tax. Goods would be unloaded from the Deal, St. Margaret's Bay area and down onto the Romney Marshes. The leader at the time was Cephas Quested who was doing quite well until he and two other gangs were involved in a battle with Customs men (Preventivemen) at the Battle of Brookland in February 1821. The battle took place when the gangs were caught unloading, they still managed to load up their goods while fighting and scatter across the county. Cephas Quested in the confusion of battle turned to a man near him, give him a musket and told him to 'Blow the officer's brains out'. Unfortunately for him, he mistook the man as a collegue and instead turned to Richard Morgan, a midshipman of the blockade force who promptly turned the gun on Quested. Cephas was tried at the Old Bailey on April 17th and later hung at Newgate Prison on 4th July, 1821. George Ransley took over as leader of the gang, he had excellent organisational abilities. According to legend, George was a Ploughman/carter. It is also said that one night there was a fight between gang members, leading to one of their members being murdered in the "Black Robin." He dragged outside and left on the road. Locals of the area and passers by have been witness to the sound of groans, possibly from the murdered gang member but no-one knows for certain. Many incidents have happened at this junction over the years and the eerie sounds that can sometimes be heard, could be from any number of sources. George Ransley and his gang were eventually caught on 4th July, 1826 on the beach at Dover. Ironically five years to the day Quested was hung. Richard Morgan the midshipman was killed and Ransley was arrested on suspicion of the murder. If found guilty, the charges carried the death penalty but their lawyer, a local gentleman from Maidstone, got the sentences reduced to transportation to Tasmania or Van Dieman's Land as it was known then by Europeans, because the crime had occurred in the dark and the actual circumstances were difficult to prove. George proved an excellent farmer, a good administrator, was granted a conditional pardon on 22 June 1838. His brother-in-law (Samuel Bailey) was also on board the same ship (Governor Ready) as was fellow gang members Thomas Gillham and James Hogben. Ransley was given 500 acres of land and his wife and ten children were allowed to sail out to join him. He farmed at River Plenty, Hobart. He died there in 1856. The "Black Robin" is still there today and has a model of a smuggler / highwayman beside the bar.


Reports of COUNTRYWIDE ROBBERIES reported in Northampton Mercury 16 October 1802, INCLUDE:-

Friday night some villains entered the public-house at Black-Robin's Corner, near Barham, and carried off a quantity of provisions, liquors, etc. They had the audacity to take a cart belonging to a person in the neighbourhood with which they removed the stolen goods, and got off undiscovered.


John Bull, Saturday 21 September 1844.


This important institution terminated on Saturday last, its first annual meeting, at Canterbury. In our last paper we noticed the proceedings of the earlier part of the week, and we have now briefly to mention some of the most interesting subjects which were subsequently brought before the Society.

Dr. Pettigrew, in his remarks on the barrows discovered on Breach Down and in Bourne Park, fixed their date to be the fifth or sixth century. But in respect to one of the skeletons, he stated distinctly that its age did not exceed half a century; and from the position in which it was found, gave rise to curious conjecture. It lay only a few inches under the surface, and to all appearances had never received burial rites. It was known that a notorious highway robber and murderer, who was still preserved in memory by the sign of “Black Robin’s Corner,’’ once selected that part for his unholy deeds; and it was just probable that this skeleton was the remains of one of his unfortunate victims. The skeleton was that of a man who had died in the prime of life, and by his side a spear or knife was found, which probably had been that by which he had been brought to an un-timely end. A unique spear head was discovered by the side of a female skeleton, which was very remarkable, as no such thing had ever before been found with a female. Another interesting feature of the learned Doctor’s remarks was, that of the teeth of a number of the skeletons being worn down in consequence of their having subsisted on vegetable food, or peas, or beans. But the most remarkable of all was the preservation of hair in all cases where the parties had not been shaven. It mattered not how old the remains were, hair was the last thing that perished. He related an instance of a young lady having beautiful ringlets of hair, who, by twisting them in her month had a hair ball formed in her, double the size of a walnut; which, by causing inflammation in the stomach, was followed by death. It behoved gentlemen also to take care as they were in the habit of biting their whiskers. (Laughter.)


Kentish Gazette. Tuesday 05 August 1856.


A painful degree of excitement was occasioned in these two towns, and surrounding neighbourhood, on Sunday, by the discovery of the murdered bodies of two young females named Back, of the respective ages of 17 and 19. It appears that a Neapolitan named Tedea Bedenies, (sic Dedea Redanies) in the 4th company of the 2nd battalion, 2nd regiment British Swiss Legion, now stationed at Shorncliffe, had for some time past been paying his addresses to Caroline Back, aged 19, the daughter of a laundress, residing in Albion Place, Dover. He paid a visit to the house on Saturday evening, and while there quarrelled with her, and accused her of carrying on a correspondence with a sergeant of the same regiment. In consequence she returned him his portrait which he had given her, and on taking it he said it was no good. Maria was present during the time. He returned to the house at three o’clock in the morning, and prevailed on Caroline to consent to go with him to the camp to spend the day, accompanied by her sister Maria. They cleaned themselves and left for that purpose; and were seen passing the "Royal Oak" on the road at about five in the morning. They were remarked as being particularly clean and tidy, and one of them wearing lavender boots. Nothing more was seen of them till past seven o’clock when a man named Curling, who worked on the South-Eastern Railway, having been to Dover to see a friend off, was returning, when he sat down on a bank bordering the sea, and took out a newspaper to read. Seeing something lying on the grass at a short distance, in a hollow close by the footpath, leading to Folkestone, he called out, thinking it was a person asleep, and finding no response went to the spot and discovered one of the murdered bodies. He ran to a friend whom he had left a little behind, and then they discovered the second body lifeless, at about twelve paces from the other.

This was about 2 1/2 miles from Folkestone and 3 1/2 from Dover. They immediately gave information to Superintendent Steer, of the former place, who with assistance got the bodies removed to the nearest cottage; and Dr. Bateman, who was called in, pronounced death to have resulted from the stabs which the deceased had received. The elder sister had received four stabs near the heart, three of which penetrated the lungs, and any one of the three was calculated to prove fatal. Her clothes were also much disordered. The younger girl, Maria, appeared to have struggled hard with her assailant. Several of her fingers were severely cut through her gloves, by some sharp knife; and various of the wounds which she had received in the upper part of her person, were pronounced to be mortal. The condition of the elder was also such as to awaken suspicions of the close intimacy that had existed; but whether any violence had been exercised in this respect, we are at present unable to state.

The supposed murderer was seen running through the village of Capel-le-Ferne shortly after the occurrence, wearing a military cap and a black mantle turned inside out, belonging to one of the females. Various reports were in circulation as to the places at which he was afterwards seen, and among them this city, but we could learn nothing authentic of this. He was traced yesterday to Black Robin’s Corner, near Barham Downs, and thence to a cottage in Broome Park, where he had some bread and cheese, for which he gave the woman of the house sixpence, he afterwards went to the house of a person named Atwood, at Lower Hardres, where he wrote two letters—then went to the "Horse Shoes" public-house and had some beer, and posted two letters, one of which was addressed to Mrs. Caroline Back, the mother of the deceased, and the other to Lieut. Schmid, surgeon of his regiment. There all clue of him was lost, notwithstanding the vigilance of Superintendents Walker, Stokes, Robins, and Steer; but the letters were obtained and impounded; and we should have thought that means would have been obtained for learning their contents, but neither the post master nor the magistrate to whom they were taken felt himself justified in opening them; upon which they were forwarded to their destination, by special messengers, with the view of learning the contents. The murderer is 25years of age, 5ft. 6in. high, with black hair, no whiskers and small black moustache.

Mr. Delasaux opened an inquiry on the bodies of the deceased yesterday, and after taking some evidence to justify a farther inquiry, adjourned the sitting.


The active steps adopted by the different Superintendents left little chance of the murderer long escaping detection. It appears that in consequence of the in formation they disseminated, parties were on the look out in every direction, and whither also various individuals were despatched to arrest the fugitive. The last seen of him, according to the above account, was at Lower Hardres, between twelve and one yesterday afternoon. Between three and four a man stopped Mr. Lake, of Milton, and asked him for work, and while doing so, he suddenly pointed to the approach of the murderer, saying “here comes the fellow.” But how he came to dive into the subject so readily, we are at a loss to comprehend, as was Mr. Lake, who had said nothing to him about the affair; nor did he know who the man was. At that moment, a number of Mr. Lake’s men were also on the qui vive, they having received intimation of the horrid crime and the probability of the murderer coming that way. He had first come in the direction of Howfield and crossed the viaduct, and suspecting that he was the object of their observation and pursuit, he stabbed himself three times in the breast before he was reached, and fell to the ground bathed in blood. The men had felt at first a little intimidated when they saw him flourishing the knife, and something of a stiletto form; but seeing what he did they bounced upon him and at once made him secure. The attendance of Mr. Bond, surgeon, of Chartham, was procured, but he could not tell whether the wounds would prove mortal. His apprehensions were that an internal haemorrhage might be going on; the result of which might easily be conjectured.

Information was speedily conveyed to Canterbury, and Superintendent Clements went and took charge of the man, brought him to Canterbury, and conveyed him to the hospital, where he was left in care of a police constable.

The murderer, and would be suicide, was examined by Mr. Reid, who could not pronounce the stabs he had given himself fatal, though he was equally at a loss whether the internal flow of blood might not terminate in that. It being thought advisable to have the man undisturbed, no unnecessary questions were put to him; but the attendance of a gentleman was obtained, as interpreter, and to him the prisoner confessed that he had done something very dreadful. Everything necessary was done to revive the prisoner; and at nine o'clock he had much improved, and there were hopes that his recovery would take place.

The murderer is described as indicating nothing very furious; his height is little over five feet and a half, slight in stature, small features, and somewhat sickly in appearance.

When arrested he had with him the black capes belonging to his unfortunate victims; one of which he carried on his arm, and the other he wore, evidently to hide his military jacket. This cape had three perforations on the left breast—whether through stabbing himself, or one of his unfortunate victims when she wore it, we are unable to state. Had there been a more efficient parish constabulary his apprehension would have been effected earlier; for at five o’clock yesterday morning, the murderer was found asleep at Black Robin’s Corner by two boys, who roused him. Had there been a vigilant parish constable he would have been on the alert and soon followed in his track. This like many other cases shows the importance of having an efficient county constabulary, with prompt and methodical means of communication. We find no fault with the superintendents—they did all they could, aided by our own city police, one of whom (Inspector Spratt) posted as far as Sittingbourne and had to trudge his way home on foot. This ought not to have been. He should have been mounted, or at least had a vehicle.

A melancholy gloom has been thrown over the minds of many who knew the unfortunate deceased, as they were very respectable young women for their sphere in life and bore a good character.

Further reading click here.


Kentish Gazette 09 March 1869.


A delightful evening was spent by the country lads and lasses at the famous old "Black Robin" Inn, on the night of Tuesday week, in consequence of the worthy landlord (Mr. Coltham), having thrown open his room for a dance.

The room was beautifully decorated by Miss Coltham.

After a breakfast served up in "mine host's" best style, the party broke up, all highly delighted with their evenings entertainment.


From the Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 3 October 1896.


At the Comity Magistrates' Clerks' office, at Canterbury, on Thursday, Henry Fullick and Walkin Philips, both of the Army Service Corps, were charged on remand with assaulting and beating William Henry Rose, on the 16th September.

Fullick pleaded guilty, and Philips not guilty.

Prosecutor, who is the landlord of the "Black Robin," Kingston, deposed that about half-past nine on the night of the 16th, prisoners and three other soldiers came to his house and were supplied with beer. He closed the house at 10 p.m., and told every one to leave. He went to the back of the house and a few minutes afterwards heard some one knock at the front door demanding some beer. He called out "Serve no one, it has gone ten," He went and found the prisoners outside the house, and requested them to go after their comrades. Philips then threw him down by catching hold of his legs and Fullick struck him over the head with a belt or something of that description. He was wounded and covered with blood, but he got away from them and went indoors. He afterwards went to the camp and had his wounds dressed. He had since been medically attended. The prisoners were not drunk. Philips sat on his neck and held him down while Fullick struck him, he did not think Philips struck him. Replying to Fullick, witness said he did not strike him.

By Philips:- He went hack to the house and fetched a gun for for self defence because prisonetrs broke a hurdle and threatened him.

P.C. Luckhurst deposed to apprehending Fullick, who was covered with blood. On the way to the police station Fullick said it was a wonder they did not kill the old man. Both the prisoners were the worse for liquor.

William Hunt, Corporal of the Military Mounted Police, said that on the night of the 16th September he placed men round the camp to watch for the two prisoners. Fullick, who was brought to him, was covered with blood. Later he arrested Philips, and handed him over to the civil police. Both the prisoners were sober.

Corporal Darock, of the Medical Staff Corps, stated that prosecutor was brought to him on the night of the 16th September. He had wounds on his head and bridge of his nose. Witness dressed the wounds and put in some stitches. The wounds might have been caused by a belt.

Fullick said he would not have struck the landlord if he had not struck him first. They both fell to the ground, and in the struggle the landlord bit his hand. The landlord got a gun and said he would shoot the lot of them if they did not hurry home.

Philips said he heard Fullick cry out "You coward, you are biting me let me go, and fight like a man."

The Chairman said it was a very cruel thing to strike the landlord as Fullick did, as it might have led to a more serious result. He would be sentenced to two months' hard labour, and Phillips to one month's hard labour.


Dover Express 07 February 1902.

The first house in Kingston, is the "Black Robin Inn," an ancient house which for more than two centuries was held in the family of the Pilchers, a descendant of whom is the host there now. "Black Robin" is rather a peculiar name—a rara avis. (rare bird) As we never heard of a robin of that colour, we presume the name of the Inn has been changed from its old title, "Black Robber" for the sake of respectability at the risk of incongruity. Years ago the "Black Robber" appeared on the signboard, and tradition has it that that objectionable individual had a den on the side of the Downs from which he used to issue forth to terrorise and gather booty from travellers on that lonely part of the Dover road.


From Folkestone Hythe Sandgate and Cheriton Herald

Saturday June 26, 1926: (under Rural District News - BARHAM column):


We regret to announce the death, on Sunday, at the Black Robin Inn, Kingston, of Mr William Henry ROSE.

Deceased who was seventy-eight years of age was widely respected. He had been proprietor of the Black Robin Inn, which is known to thousands of the travelling public, for thirty years. The hostelry has been in possession of the same family for generations.

A man of fine stature, the late Mr ROSE served for twenty-one years in the 1st Life Guards, retiring with an exemplary record. Of a cheery disposition he had a kindly word for all, and his death removes a well-beloved figure.

The funeral took place on Monday in the Churchyard of Kingston, the Rector (the Rev. R.V.POTTS), officiating.

The mourners were:- Mr Alf ROSE (son), Miss ROSE (daughter), Mrs H. ROSE (daughter-in-law), Mr A. ROSE (nephew), Mr T. CARLISLE, Miss READ, Mr SETTERFIELD, Mr H. BAKER and many of the villagers.

There were floral tributes from:- Alf, Lill, and the girls; Freda, May; Arthur and Emme; the Rector and Miss POTTS, Sybil and Ethel CORNISH; Minnie and Girlie; Mrs G. E. Saville YOUNG and Master Saville YOUNG; Captain and Mrs W. T. STONE; Miss A. HODGES-MARLEY; Mr and Mrs BARRY; Mr and Mrs CHARLTON; Mr and Mrs CARTER; Major MEAKIN, J.P. and Mrs MEAKIN; the churchwardens of Kingston; Major and Mrs TATERSALL (Charlton Park); George SETTERFIELD and family; Tommy and Harry; Mr Alfred PARKER; and Harry KELLY, and the boys; Mr C. COTHAM (Barham) efficiently carried out the funeral arrangements.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, and Cheriton Herald, Saturday, 14 August, 1926.


On Saturday a quiet wedding took place at the Parish Church, the contracting parties being Mr. Thomas Carlisle, of Kingston (late sergt-major in the Royal Air Force) and Miss Minnie Rose (daughter of the late Mr. W. H. Rose, of the "Black Robin Inn.") The Rector (the Rev. R. U. Potts) officiated. The bride, who was given away by her brother (Mr. Alfred Rose), was attired in a grey silk dress with a deep lace fringe of the same colour. Mr Herbert Baker, of Kingston, was best man. After the ceremony a reception was held at the home of the bride, a large number of guests being present. Several useful presents were received.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton Herald, Saturday 22 January 1927.


At the parish church of St. Giles, the Rector (the Rev. R. U. Potts) officiating, Mr. Herbert Baker formerly a police officer at Barham was married to Miss Frances Rose, who had been brought up from childhood by her grandfather, the late and much respected proprietor of the well-known wayside inn, the "Black Robin." After the ceremony and reception was held at the "Black Robin," the home of Mrs. Carlisle, the bride's aunt. A number of valuable presents were received. Later in the day the happy pair left for Cranbrook, where the bridegroom is now stationed.


From the Kentish Gazette, 15 February, 2001.

Black Robin licensee, Jill White

Licensee Jill White (above) takes refuge from the white-water rapids of the Nailbourne as it races past her "Black Robin" pub at Kingston.

Ms. White, who has just lost a planning battle to close the pub, was optimistically showing a "business as usual" sign.

Her pub has been marooned in flood water since November, but the latest deluge was the worst.


From the Dover Express, Thursday 8 May, 2008. (Advertising)

The ideal job for a food lover.

Nick Holt

Nick Holt, 33, from Canterbury, has recently become the new head chef at the Black Robin, Kingston, near Canterbury.


Job description:

I am very much a hands-on chef and start the day dealing with any paperwork. I will then compile the menus, check the food requirements and order what is needed.

I usually change the menu every couple of days so there is always plenty of variety for our customers.

Most of the food is provided by local farms as the owner of the Black Robin is a farmer. All the food is fresh and we primarily use seasonal fruit and vegetables so some of the menu choices are governed by the time of year.

Everything is cooked to order and I will do virtually all the preparing and cooking, although I have an assistant.

Some days are busier than others. For instance, it can get a bit hectic if we are having a large function. We can do buffets for around 50 and up to 100 for a stand-up reception.


How many hours a week do you work?

I work five-and-a-half days a week on a split shift system, from 9.30am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 10pm, so it's about 55.


What qualifications and experience do you need?

I've been in catering since I was 17. I went to Thanet College for three years to study as a chef, but originally started on a work placement at "Wallet's Court", St Margaret at Cliffe, when I was growing up in Dover. I achieved the City & Guilds qualifications 7061 and 7062, as well as an advanced cookery diploma and a 711 patisserie certificate. Since qualifying I have worked in Ireland and Oxford but wanted to come back to my roots.


How much could a newly-qualified chef expect to earn?

It would probably be between 14,000 and 17,000, depending on who he or she was working for and where.


What made you pursue this career?

I've always wanted to cook. I expect it's my mother's fault - every time it rained I had to stay home and make gingerbread!


What personal skills are important?

You must love food and be able to work as a leader and as part of a team and be a stickler for hygiene in your kitchen. You need to be fit as the hours are long and you spend a great deal of time working in a hot kitchen. It is also important to have a creative and artistic talent because food presentation is essential.


Best and worst things about the job?

It is fun trying out new dishes and having satisfied customers who come back time and again. And it's good when there's someone else to do the washing up! Sometimes the unsocial hours can affect my private life.


From accessed 17 June 2015.


The inn people called after a highwayman who terrorised this area until he was caught and hanged. A life size effigy of "Black Robin" stands in the lounge bar of the inn. Apart from the pub being haunted by the ghost of that outlaw, it is also home to the ghost of the daughter of a former proprietor. She had been attacked nearby and seriously injured by a man who escaped. Folks took the woman back to the "Black Robin." She died shortly afterwards from her injuries. The ghost of this woman, witnesses have seen, on many occasions and she is always sobbing.


From an email received 20 April 2016.

I found your website while researching my family history its been very helpful filling in some gaps.

I can tell you that the "Black Robin" was originally built by the Pilcher family and that all of the landlords until at least 1933 are related by marriage.

The Plicher and the Browings are related by marriage and Thomas Browing married into the File family and Edmund File is his son in law I believe.

Edmund File is the maternal great grandfather of William Henry Rose and James Coltham is also William's uncle with Thomas Carlise being William's son in law by marriage to his daughter Minnie Rose.


Ian Rose (great great grandson of William Henry Rose.)

William Henry Rose

Above photo showing William Henry Rose in his guards uniform. Taken about 1869, his year of enrolment in the army, before he became licensee.



BROWNING Thomas 1740+ Wingham Ale Licences 1740

FILE Edward 1847-51+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847(age 61 in 1851Census)

COLTHAM James 1858-74+ (age 58 in 1871Census) Melville's 1858

COLTHAM Mary 1881-95+ (widow age 62 in 1881Census)

ROSE William Henry 1896-Sept/1926 dec'd (age 52 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1899Post Office Directory 1913

CARLISLE Thomas Outram Crewe Sept/1926-Sept/1931 Dover Express

Last pub licensee had COLE Raymond Sept/1931-Mar/33 Dover Express

FILES Mr Lewis Sydney Mar/1933-Jul/41 Kelly's 1934Dover Express

TAYLOR Edward Bertram Jul/1941+ Dover Express

WHITE Jill 2001+


Wingham Ale Licences 1740From Wingham Division Ale Licences 1740 Ref: KAO - QRLV 3/1

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express



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