DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1972+

(Name from)

Cat and Custard Pot

Open 2020+

Paddlesworth

01303 892205

https://whatpub.com/cat-custard-pot

Cat and Custard Pot at Paddlesworth

Above painting is of the Cat ad Custard Pot at Paddlesworth, by kind permission of John Wiggins.

Paddlesworth

The Highest Church. The Lowest Steeple.

The Poorest Parish and the Fewest People.

Highest licensed house in Kent. 660 feet above sea level. Date unknown.

Birds eye view of Cat and Custard Pot

Birds-eye view of Cat and Custard Pot amongst the hops. Date unknown.

Cat and Custard Pot, Paddlesworth

Cat & Custard Pot, 2004.

Cat and Custard Pot signCat and Custard Pot sign 2007

Above sign left, date unknown, sign right, December 2007, taken by Eric Hartland.

Sign left with thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com.

Cat and Custard Pot signCat and Custard Pot sign 2015

Above sign left, date unknown, sign right, June 2015. By Paul Skelton.

Cat and Custard Pot sign

Above sign, date unknown.

Cat and Custard Pot sign 2015

Above sign by Paul Skelton, 27 July 2015.

Cat and Custard Pot at Paddlesworth

Cat and Custard Pot 2007.

Cat and Custard Pot 2013

Photo taken 24 September 2013 from http://www.flickr.com by Jelltex.

Cat and Custard Pot 2019

Above photo October 2019, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.

 

This pub was once called the "Red Lion Inn", but locally it has been called "The Cat" for as far back as anyone can remember.

 

Dover Express, Friday 21 January 1910.

Hunting.

The East Kent Fox Hounds will meet at 11 on Wednesday, January 26th, at the "Cat and Custard Pot Inn," Paddlesworth.

 

This pub has been reported as being the highest pub in Kent and is situated in the small hamlet of Paddlesworth near to Hawkinge.

This public house was used by pilots and other personnel who were stationed at the nearby Hawkinge Battle of Britain airfield.

Today the pub contains a varied collection of aviation memorabilia and photographs that represent the history of the area during the last 100 years.

I have heard two stories regarding how the pub gained its name of the "Cat and Custard Pot". The beginnings of both stories are very similar. The old sign for the "Red Lion" used to hang from a nearby tree and one day after some fierce winds it was blown down and either lost or damaged. A new board was commissioned and a local artist offered to take on the challenge. This is where the stories differ slightly. According to their web site the story goes:- "A new board was needed and the village artist obliged. The new signboard was painted in gorgeous colours. The lion was depicted with "fierce sprouting whiskers, his ears pricked and having boiling eyes." The villagers assembled to gaze at the work of art and all declared that the artist had not drawn a lion but a sprawling cat! Unfortunately the work of art is untraceable." The other story I have heard is that the painting was hung before the paint had dried properly, the artist had used Red Lead paint for the bright red colours of the Lion, and this does tend to take a little longer than ordinary paint to dry and of course is more prone to gravity, being that it is a lot heavier than ordinary paint. On hanging, the paint ran causing the resulting picture to look like a local ginger cat that had fallen into a custard pot.

Now, that isn't quite where the story ends, for, again quoted from their web site:- "At one time the East Kent Foxhounds met at "The Cat and the Mustard Pot", as it was called in the well known sporting volumes of Yorricks. The explanation for the name "The Cat" we accept, but we find no satisfactory origin for "The Cat and the Mustard Pot". We find this name in newspapers at the turn of the century, yet later it became "The Cat and Custard Pot." What was the reason? Just mispelling?" I do however also hear that the pub was well-known for it's pork pies and beef puddings, so perhaps that's where the name mustard comes in.

Who knows what the real story is? Unless someone out there can add any more light to the above.

 

From an email received 18 July 2020.

During this current lock-down period I’ve spent some time researching pub signs & and have thrown some light on the origin of the name for the above, other explanations I’ve seen being a bit vague to put it mildly.

The Cat and Custard Pot (Red Lion) - Paddlesworth

In the 1830s author Robert Smith Surtees launched a new publication called the 'New Sporting Magazine' targeting the exponents of country sports. In it he included a series of fictional humourous short stories, written by himself, featuring a John Bull type character named 'John Jorrocks'. This man had a passion for country sports and hunting with hounds, meeting at a fictional pub named The Cat and Custard Pot. The short stories were published in book form under the title 'Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities' in 1838 and became very popular, particularly with those like minded participants.

The Red Lion used to be a meeting place for the East Kent Foxhounds where people would gather and talk of every aspect of their favourite sport, likening their meeting place to the fictional pub in the stories and referring to it in a shortened way as The Cat. The nickname stuck and was adopted by other locals and eventually used generally by all.

Later down the line someone involved in the brewing trade realised the connection and the pub was renamed the "Cat and Custard Pot" in recognition of Surtees's stories of John Jorrocks.

 

From RAMBLES AROUND FOLKESTONE BY "FELIX." (1891-1913)

THE CAT AND MUSTARD POT."

In the printed list of appointments for the East Kent Foxhounds I noticed recently that one of the meets was fixed to take place at "The Cat and Mustard Pot," Paddlesworth.

Now this, the highest village in Kent, is a tiny community, and is described in the ancient couplet as the "smallest parish."

Paddlesworth is remembered by many of us with feelings bordering on affection, and so many rubbed their eyes to find that a new (hostelry had been erected in this lofty position 650 feet above sea level. Some people were heard to ask : "What about the "Red Lion?" or, as it is more familiarly known, "The Cat" and "Sprawling Cat." I made a few enquiries, and discovered that "The Cat and Mustard Pot" was one and the same house.

"MUSTARD."

Why should this be associated with "The Cat ?" Our recollection goes back to the time of the cricket week, to the time, top, of the "harvest home" suppers, when the late Mrs. Dixon's famous beef puddings were devoured with ease by the sons of the plough, and other farm hands.

In the years that are passed the skittle alley and a game called "jennypins" figured largely. The ordinary townsman was no hand at this latter game, and the ploughman would generally lead the way. What splendid times they were, when a dozen young fellows would climb up the 650 feet from Folkestone, say on some Saturday afternoon, to sit down later to a nice supper. The appetites on those occasions were in good working order, and no sauces were needed to kindle hunger. And later the piano would be brought into requisition for the mirth and harmony. It was indeed "mustard" to listen to some of those countrymen's songs, comprising often forty verses or more.

Perhaps the memory of one of these vocalists would fail him, and then some one would suggest that "Charley should go back forty verses." There was a humour about it all. Yes, I contend that "mustard," if history informs us rightly, was not inappropriately associated with "The Cat."

BUT WHY " THE CAT?"

Well, if truth be told, this was due to the village artist. The old signboard hanging from the branch of the tree just outside of the hotel was blown down once upon a time. That was when it was known to be the "Red Lion." What was to be done? The village artist, who had earned a certain fame, was equal to the occasion. He painted a new signboard in gorgeous colours, and "the king of the forest" was depicted in remarkable style. His fierce sprouting whiskers, his pricked up ears, and bolting eyes rendered the representation of the lion as one of the most remarkable on record. The villagers assembled to gaze on the spectacle, and one and all declared that the artist had drawn, not a lion, but a "sprawling cat." Hence the popular designation. And now, after all these years we find that the real name is "The Cat and Mustard Pot."

Mr. Selby-Lowndes, a true sportsman, appears to have known of the title, for, as I have said, it is included in the hunting fixtures. Perhaps some of my readers can explain matters. Since writing the above I understand a reference to the "Cat and Mustard Pot" is made in the well-known sporting volume of "Yorricks." And now, after writing all this I hear the "Cat and Custard Pot" is the rightful designation. However, "Mustard" fits in well.

 

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald, Saturday 31 March 1923.

Cat and Custard Pot.

M.F. contribute to the way of "The Way of the World" column of the "Morning Post" the following verses apropose of the fact at the East Kent Foxhounds sometimes met at the "Cat and Custard Pot," Paddlesworth.

In all the countryside of Kent

Was ever a jollier spot

Than the inn that goes by the quaintest old name

Of the "Cat and Custard Pot?"

 

Tails are swag, and the Hunts away;

They move at a gentle trot-

A find - and the ringing hunt begins

From the "Cat and the Custard Pot."

 

A sporting line and a good stout fox,

And a capital hunt they got.

A six-mile point and they're all that way

From the "Cat and the Custard Pot."

 

So men of Kent, and ladies, too,

When the place is growing hot,

Remember how the day began

At the "Cat and the Custard Pot."

 

Another correspondent of the "Morning Post" has since written:- M.F.'s lively lines on hounds meeting at the "Cat and Custard Pot Inn" reminds me that the the appellation is a nickname given by local people to the "Red Lion" at Paddlesworth. "Cat" names of public houses are often interesting to antiquarians and etymologists. Thus the "Cat and Bagpipe's" of East Harley is said to be a humourous hit at the Highland drovers who passed that way with cattle for London. And the "Cat and Fiddle" at Hinton Admiral, which recalls the famous nursery rhyme is to perpetuate a corruption of Caton le Fiddle, whoever he may have been. To me such derivations seem too clever and far-fetched, and perhaps some of your readers can correct them.

 

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald. Saturday 15 September 1934.

"Red Lion," "Sprawling Cat," "Ramping Cat," or "Cat and Custard Pot."

There have been from time to time many stories current with regard to the descriptive designation of the one in that served the needs of the few inhabitants of the Hamlet. I don't know how it came about that the irreverent came to call this inn by anything but it's first title, namely, the "Red Lion." But I do know that at one time sign board swung from one of the branches of a tree outside the establishment. Right enough the "King of the Forest," with a real mane, was well depicted on the board.

One night a gale from the southwest blew with such terrible force that the board crashed to the ground in pieces. Here was a "pretty to do." A new board had to be ordered at once. The landlord of many years ago was about to give commission to a Folkestone decorative artist to paint a new board, but the whole village was against this. They argued, why not give the job to "Old Jarge" the ploughman. He can draw, they argued, and "Jarge" got the job.

What is the strange animal?

In his little spare time "Old Jarge" started on his work. In the matter of colourings (paints) he had secured all the shades of the rainbow. When the village artist had completed his work the rustics and mandarins of the village gathered round to inspect the new sign board on which was represented the "King of the Forest."

Some would have it that "Old Jarge" had produced a cross between a Bengal tiger and an African lion. I recall it was a curious looking animal, with bolting eyes, long sprouting whiskers, and a generally fierce appearance.

The sign hung over the neighbouring roadway, and it is said that many a huntsman's mount bolted when it gazed on Old Jarges" work. Visitors and residents were wont to travel up to Paddlesworth in order to decide whether the animal depicted was a lion, tiger, wildcat, or a mixture of all.

The splendid sportsman, the late Mr. H. Selby Lowndes, got so "fed up" with the discussion that he designated the inn as "The Cat and Custard Pot." Whether that appears in the pages of "Jorrocks" it is not for me to say. However it never was decided whether "Old Jarge's" painted animal was a crossbred specimen or not.

 

From KentNews.co.uk 2 Oct 2010.

SPOOF VILLAGE NEWSPAPER REALLY IS THE END OF THE WORLD.

By STEVE KNIGHT

 

NAME GAME:

The website's fictional town has the same name as the Folkestone village.

 

"COUNCIL Killjoys: No More Cat Throwing" screams the headline from one of the many bizarre stories featured on the new Paddlesworth Press website.

When it comes to blurring fact with fiction, there are few more baffling ventures out there than this online newspaper spoof inspired by two very real Kentish locations.

Although the website has shamelessly stolen certain elements of the real-life Paddlesworth, near Folkestone - including village pub the "Cat and Custard Pot" - the make-believe community is based in the also-factual lost settlement of Paddles worth, in Snodland, near Maidstone.

And to make things even more confusing, many of the characters featured in the stories have Facebook, Twitter or MySpace accounts which are regularly updated to keep the charade going.

Former Cambridge University student Stephen Eisenhammer, 23, is one of the cocreators of the website, which he describes as "the world's first mixed-media, collaborative novel".

He added: "We thought it would be exciting to let readers influence what happens in Paddlesworth. We only launched the site this week, but within a day we had people posting comments and claiming to be characters from our community, playing along and asking the editor to launch a campaign to save the cat-throwing tradition.

"What really thrilled us was the way we could lose the boundaries between us and the readers, because we felt there was a slight pointlessness in writing satirical papers without that interaction."

Economic climate

In addition to the news stories, blogs and sports profiles included on the Paddlesworth Press website, there are other familiar newspaper sections such as horoscopes and letters.

The website is only planning to run for the next 10 weeks, as one of the main stories featured reveals the Earth will be wiped out at that point by an errant solar flare.

Mr Eisenhammer revealed that about 50 people work on the site, including television stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall.

He added: "It's a reflection of the current economic climate because if we all had really good jobs then we wouldn't need to do it.

"We all remember the excitement of writing plays and editing newspapers at university, but now we've graduated to find there are no opportunities to do what we know we are good at.

"People were so keen to get involved with the project because it's so nice to have a forum on which to demonstrate your creativity."

Mr Eisenhammer revealed that although the fictional village of Paddlesworth has a Medway postcode, he has no idea where any parcels or letters sent to it will end up.

He also admitted he had not considered how those people living in the real-life community near Folkestone might feel about the light-hearted identity theft.

"I'm sure they'll see the funny side," he said.

 

From the spoof online newspaper Paddlesworth Press. 2 Oct 2010.

PADDLESWORTH'S COUPLE OF THE WEEK.

Love is in the air! Mr Ed Tomlinson and Miss Emily Gena are loved up and getting married. They met after Ed spied Emily's plea for a philosophy loving energetic male, published in Lovelight last summer. He took her for a picnic at the stone circle, where they drank wine and had a cheeky fumble… the rest is history! ‘I have struck on the perfect country bumpkin' says Emily, ‘he spices his home-grown vegetable soups with a dose of Plato Talk'. Awww, inspired and in love the soon to be Tomlinsons are a triumph of the Paddlesworth lurve scene. Celebratory engagement drinks will be held at the "Cat and Custard" next Wednesday.

 

From the spoof online newspaper "Paddlesworth Press". 2 October 2010

FETE DESTINED TO BE BEST EVER.

Oliver Reed

This year's fete is set to be the best in years. The village has responded to Monday's terrible news determined to make Saturday's event "the fete to end all fetes".

Mary Burgess, this year's chief organiser, has been working round the clock but is delighted with the village support she has received. "I had been worried Monday's exclusive would put a dampener on proceedings but everyone has been fantastic. We all want to make Saturday perfect", she told the Paddle.

In the midst of Snodland Council's decision to ban Cat Throwing, Jimmy Crowhurst has proposed hiding the cats in wellies. This has been met with general accord. The proposal, which both protects and removes the cats from public view, bypasses new legislation which states, "Felines may not be openly thrown in public competition".

However, Mark Upton, village PC will be on hand to check that everything goes smoothly so villagers will have to be on their guard that no cats crawl out of their projectile rubber homes.

This year's Cat Throwing competition is predicted to be the closest in over a decade. Peter Muddle is attempting to become the first ever Paddlesworthian to win the event four years running. He is currently tied with the legendary village athlete, Cuthbert Howard (the Major's grandfather).

However, rival Jimmy Crowhurst has sworn to stop Muddle from getting his name in the history books. Last year's silver medallist has made no secret of his hatred of Muddle and the two reportedly had a minor clash outside the Cat and Custard Pot free house yesterday evening.

Crowhurst has been in fine form, but is known to struggle in big game situations. There's no bigger stage than the annual fete, so it remains to be seen if Crowhurst can hold his nerve. If he can it would go down as one of the greatest sporting upsets the village has ever seen.

The award for the best marrow will also be awarded this Saturday and many are tipping Farmer Joe Smitten to take the crown. Smitten who has been embroiled in scandal over the death of cellist Henry Joy, killed by a hay bale from one of Smitten's fields, is looking for redemption. "I just want to put that terrible accident behind me". However, villagers who have boycotted milk from Smitten's Landlowes farm in since the tragedy have shown little sign of backing down despite the critical milk shortage.

All in all it looks set to be a very exciting Saturday.

 

From YourDover 20 Oct 2010.

Familiarity breeds comic possibilities in 'virtual' village

By STEVE KNIGHT

Cat & Custard Pot

"COUNCIL Killjoys: No More Cat Throwing" screams the headline from one of the many bizarre stories featured on the new Paddlesworth Press website.

When it comes to blurring fact with fiction, there are few more baffling ventures out there than this online newspaper spoof inspired by two very real Kent locations.

Although the website has shamelessly stolen certain elements of the real-life Paddlesworth, near Folkestone - including village pub The Cat And Custard Pot - the make-believe community is based in the also-factual lost settlement of Paddlesworth, in Snodland. And to make things even more confusing, many of the characters featured in the stories have Facebook, Twitter or MySpace accounts which are updated regularly to keep the charade going.

Former Cambridge University student Stephen Eisenhammer, 23, is one of the creators of the website, which he describes as "the world's first mixed-media, collaborative novel".

He said: "We thought it would be exciting to let readers influence what happens in Paddlesworth.

"Within a day [of starting the site] we had people posting comments and claiming to be characters from our community, playing along and asking the editor to launch a campaign to save the cat-throwing tradition.

"What really thrilled us was the way we could lose the boundaries between us and the readers, because we felt there was a slight pointlessness in writing satirical papers without that interaction."

In addition to the numerous news stories, blogs and sports profiles included on the Paddlesworth Press website, there are also other familiar newspaper sections including horoscopes and letters.

The website is only planning to run for 10 weeks, as one of the main stories featured leaked to reporters by a rogue astrophysicist - reveals that Earth will be wiped out at that point by an errant solar flare.

Mr Eisenhammer revealed that about 50 people work on the site, including television stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall.

He said: "It's a reflection of the current economic climate because if we all had really good jobs then we wouldn't need to do it.

"We all remember the excitement of writing plays and editing newspapers at university, but now we've graduated to find there are no opportunities to do what we know we are good at.

"People were so keen to get involved with the project because it's so nice to have a forum on which to demonstrate your creativity."

Mr Eisenhammer revealed that although the fictional village of Paddlesworth has a Medway postcode, he has no idea where any parcels or letters sent to it will end up.

He also admitted he had not considered how those people living in the real-life community near Folkestone might feel about the light-hearted identity theft.

"I hope they're not upset," he said. "I can imagine it would be very odd to read about certain parts of their village on our website, but it's a very small place so I'm sure they'll see the funny side."

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

WIGGINS Peter 1975-95

WIGGING Jeane and John (Son) 1995 current date.

 

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

 

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

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