Sort file:- Canterbury, December, 2019.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 05 December, 2019.


Earliest 1741-

(Name from)

Cross Keys

Closed Nov 2019

24 Oaten Hill


01227 453302

Cross Keys 1935

Above photo circa 1935, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Richard Monk

Richard Monk, licensee of the Cross Keys from 1920 until 1957.

Cross Keys 1952

Above photo circa 1952, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Still being used as a bakery as well, hence the Hovis sign.

Cross Keys 1965

Above photo by Edward Wilmot in 1965.

Cross Keys 1984

Above photo, 1984, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Cross Keys 2009

Above picture taken from Google March 2009.

Cross Keys 2017

Above photo taken and sent by Rory Kehoe, August 2017.

Cros keys sign 1991

Cross Keys sign March 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Cross Keys outing.

The picture shows the landlord (6th from left) and regulars of the "Cross Keys," Oaten Hill, Canterbury on a day out in 1928, visiting a Shepherd Neame pub. The notes on the back are vague: "somewhere in East Kent" which is not actually all that helpful. In shot but not specifically identified are: Richard Monk (licensee of the "Cross Keys" for at least 35 years), Chalky Smith, Joe Wright, Henry Ticehurst, William Everton, Pasha Baker, Chas "Chippy" Norton, Bill Cook, Wally Whiffen, Alf Hoskin and several members of the Small family. Sitting bottom right is Alec (later Sir Alec) Rose, who in 1967/68 sailed around the world single-handed. Alec Rose was born in Canterbury in 1908 and attended the Simon Langton Boys' Grammar School.

Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. At present the location of the pub in the photo is unknown.


Originally referred to as the "Trumpet" in 1687, and by 1741 had changed name to the "Cross Keys" when a nearby premises was let and advertised as a good dwelling house in Parish of St. Mary Bredin near the sign of the "Cross Keys."

The sign displays the keys of the Papacy as still used on the flag of the Vatican City State.

During the 1950s the pub also housed a bakery.

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 "Local residents, good class trade."

In 1972 Brewers Charringtons and Co and Whitbread Fremlin Ltd exchanged inns in the South of England, this house was one of those exchanged.


From Kentish Gazette 16 September 1769.

To be LETT and Enter'd on the 29th of September Instant:

A Large and Commodious PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the Sign of the CROSS-KEYS, on the DOVER ROAD, adjoining to the City of CANTERBURY; now in the Occupation of Mr. JOHN HUMPHRY.

For further Particulars enquire of JOHN PARKER, near the said House.


From Kentish Gazette 27 September 1769.

JOHN GILLMAN, Takes this Opportunity of acquainting his Friends and the Public in general, That he has taken the CROSS-KEYS on the Dover-Road, adjoining to the City of Canterbury, where he has laid in a Stock of exceeding good Liquors, and every necessary Accommodation.

An ORDINARY will be provided every Day at Twelve o'Clock. - The Favours of the Public will be gratefully acknowledged.

N.B. He also continues his Business as a WHEELWRIGHT at his Shop near the same Place.


From the Kentish Chronicle. 16 July 1859. Price 1½d.


On Saturday morning last, William Clark, a labourer in the employ of Mr. Lancefield, met with his death through the slipping of the “callow" in the chalk pit in the old Dover-road. The decease was clearing up the chalk about 40 feet from the surface when two slips took place, and he was buried in the “callow” and chalk, about forty tons of which fell into the hole in which he was at work. The deceased was dug out in about half an hour, at a depth of about 6ft quite dead. The slip is supposed to have been caused by the recent heavy rains, but the place still looks dangerous, as the “callow” leans over the chalk, and appears rotten. The deceased was 68 years of age, and had been employed on the works for about 29 years. On Saturday evening Mr. T. T. Delasaux, coroner, held an inquest on the body, at the “Cross Keys,” when, as there did not appear to be blame attributable to any one, the jury, returned a verdict of “Accidentally suffocated in a chalk pit.”


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 17 October, 1873.

CANTERBURY. Municipal Elections.

A meeting of burgesses of the Dane John Ward was held on Friday, at the "Cross Keys Hotel." Alderman T. S. Cooper, presided, and among those present were the Worshipful the Mayor (H. G. Austin, Esq.), Councillors, Harrison, Dance, Mount, Capt. Lambert, Fielding, Furley, Mudford, &c. Mr Dance was unanimously invited to offer himself for re-election, and Mr Robert Godden, of the firm of Gaskin and Godden, was requested to contest the vacant seat in conjunction with Mr Dance. Both candidates issued addresses to the burgesses on Saturday.


From the Whitstable Times, 22 June, 1901.


The City Coroner (Dr. T. S. Johnson) held an inquest at the "Cross Keys," Oaten Hill, Canterbury, on Saturday, touching the death of Patrick White, late forage agent at the Cavalry Depot, Canterbury.

Walter Michael White, forage issuer at the Cavalry Barracks, Canterbury, identified deceased as his father, who was aged 83. The deceased lost his wife about ten weeks ago and lately he had been living in lodgings. He had not been well for the past week or two. Witness saw him the night before his death, at about eight o'clock, when he seemed very comfortable. He was better than he had been for some days. The deceased was insured.

Rhoda Saville, living at 19, Oaten Hill Place, Canterbury, stated that she let apartments. The deceased came to her a fortnight ago the previous Tuesday and took two rooms. The deceased was very poorly all the week. On the evening before he died the deceased had his supper between eight and nine o’clock. Witness went in his room about 10.30 to see he was comfortable and he said he was. Witness bade him "Good night." The deceased seemed much better then. At that time he was in his bad. He had been in bed some days previously.

The next morning, a little after six o’clock, witness found the deceased's bedroom empty and at the bottom of the landing steps, about five steps down, she found him dead. Witness then sent for Mr. Prentice and the police.

Mr. Z. Prentice, surgeon, stated that he had attended the deceased on and off for the past six years. On the previous Saturday he prescribed for him. He attended him for bronchitis and other things. He had seen him every day since. He was better on Thursday. On the previous morning he was sent for and on his arrival he found him on the stairs dead. He had been dead some few hours. Witness examined the body and from the way he was lying he evidently pitched against the wall. Ha had concussion. His face was against the wall. He was undoubtedly suffocated from the way he was huddled up. Death was due to the fall.

The Coroner summed up and the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


November 2019 I was informed that it was all boarded up. So obviously closed.


From the By Gerry Warren, 5 December 2019.

Cross Keys pub in Canterbury closes after 12ft well opens in toilets.

A 17th century city pub has been closed and sealed off after a deep well opened up in the toilets.

A ‘danger - keep out’ sign has been posted outside the Cross Keys pub in Oaten Hill, Canterbury, following the collapse of the 12ft-wide shaft.

Cross Keys 2019

The Cross Keys pub in Canterbury has been sealed up for safety reasons.

The hole - thought to be more than 20ft deep - was found by maintenance workers in loos at the back of the Grade II-listed property.

As a result, owner Star Pubs and Bars, which is part of the Heineken group, has been forced to shut the business.

Specialist structural engineers are now using CCTV to examine the hole and decide the best course of action.

It is feared the pub - which is due to undergo a £650,000 refurbishment - could be closed for months.

It is a setback for Star Pubs and Bars, which has already commissioned architectural and interior designers to refurbish the property and create a boutique pub/hotel with six rooms.

Cross Keys well

The 12ft-wide hole which has caused the pub to close.

Faversham-based Design i.d. specialises in pub refurbishments and director Justin Prior says the issue has delayed the planned renovation, for which a planning application was recently submitted.

“We think it is probably a well, but it is certainly a very big, black hole and investigations are underway,” he said.

“The internal structural damage is minimal but we will know more when the investigation is complete as to whether the hole needs filling in or can be capped off.

“We have made the owners aware and it is likely that now this has cropped up it will set the refurbishment back. We still have to get planning permission.”

A spokesman for Star Pubs and Clubs confirmed the Cross Keys is temporarily closed “following the collapse of a well towards the back of the property”.

Cross Keys garden

The pub garden has been fenced off.

“We are currently assessing the damage before undertaking the required remedial work in order that the pub can reopen again as quickly as possible,” she added.

The business was bought from Punch Taverns by Star Pubs and Bars earlier this year and had continued to operate until the collapse of the well.

Mr Prior says the refurbishment plans are exciting and will enhance and revive the building, which is in a prime position. He hopes work can start early in the new year.

The planning application is for listed building consent for changes, including the installation of glazed double doors, the relocation of the bar, removal and erection of internal partition walls, installation of en-suites, kitchen and bathroom and the blocking up and creation of entrance ways.

Mr Prior said: “The pub is in a prime position and adding six en-suite rooms will broaden its appeal.”



HUMPHRY John to Sept/1769

GILLMAN John Sept/1769+

SMITHSON Miller Mr 1792-28+ Edward Wilmot CanterburyPigot's Directory 1824Pigot's Directory 1828-29

SMITHSON John (James) 1832-47+ Next pub licensee had (age 53 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1832-34Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840Bagshaw's Directory 1847

SMITHSON Caroline 1851+ (age 50 in 1851Census)

WILSON John 1858+ Melville's 1858

JORDAN J 1862+ Post Office Directory 1862

PILCHER Robert 1868-82+ Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1874CensusPost Office Directory 1882

DUTNALL William 1891-1903+ (age 47 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1891Post Office Directory 1903

FLAXMAN William C 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

Last pub licensee had MONK Richard Percy 1920-57+ (age 57 in 1939) Post Office Directory 1922Post Office Directory 1930Post Office Directory 1938


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

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

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

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

Edward Wilmot CanterburyInns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot, 1988


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