Sort file:- Canterbury, September, 2022.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 20 September, 2022.


Earliest 1787-

Eight Bells

Latest 1893+

43 King Street


Eight Bells 1930

Above photo, circa 1930. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.  Pictured at the far end, at King Street's junction with St. Alphege Lane, is the "Prince of Wales."

Canterbury map 1874

Above 1874 map identification by Rory Kehoe.

Eight Bells 1960

Above photo, 1960, kindly sent by Tim Timpson.

Former Eight Bells 2012

Above photograph kindly sent to me by Len Parrick showing the former "Eight Bells" taken in March 2012.

Kentish Gazette 5 October 1787.

To the Ladies and Gentlemen of Canterbury and its Environs.

Mr. Lavoine having met with very considerable Encouruement as a Teacher of the French (his native) Language, presume now more generally to offer his service, and hopes the Public will embrace so favourable an Opportunity of learning a Language, which is not only ornamental to his Gentleman, but is ever sound very convenient for the Man of Business.

He also begs Leave tn address himself to any Gentleman or Lady, who (together with the French) may have an Inclination to learn the Latin Tongue, in which he has likewise some Pupils under his Tuition, and assures them, that his utmost Abilities will be exerted to give the fame Satisfaction which he has already had the Happiness of doing.

Terms:- For teaching French only, One Guinea per Quarter; for French and Latin, Half-a-Guinea per Month, and no entrance Money.

N. B. Mr. Lavoine may be spoken with, or directed to, at Mr. Quested's, opposite the "Eight Bells," King Street, Canterbury.


Kentish Gazette, 25 August 1820.


Aug. 24, at an advanced age, Mr. Henry Smith, Landlord of the "Eight Bells," King Street, Canterbury.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 25 July 1846.

Mr. Ellen, landlord of the "Eight Bells," King-street, and three girls were summoned before our city magistrates on Thursday to answer a charge of secreting some regimental necessaries, belonging to a private in the 40th regt., who had deserted. It appeared that the articles in question had been deposited between the bed and mattress, in a room temporarily occupied by one of the girls, Mary Tenny, and that neither Ellen nor his housekeeper knew, of their being there. The adjutant pressed for a better answer than this, the Mutiny Act requiring that a person being in the possession of such articles should give a satisfactory account. The bench thought, under all the circumstances, that it would be straining a point to require this in the present instance, as it appeared that Ellen was too infirm to overlook his house, and his housekeeper had been in his service but a few days, and had hardly had the opportunity to do so. The girl Tenny declared her ignorance also of the things being where they were found; but her occupation of the room, and other matters, raised a doubt as to the correctness of this statement, and the bench sent her to prison for a fortnight, in default of paying the heavy fine levied in the usual way.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 17 April 1847.


At the sitting on Monday, a number of summonses against defaulters to the poor-rate were heard.

Michael Ellen, landlord of the "Eight Bells," public-house, King-street, appeared by his daughter, who stated inability as the only reason for not paying. The usual order was made.


Kentish Gazette, 3 September 1850.

Richard Dray, the landlord of the "Eight Bells" public house in King Street, was cited to appear before our city magistrates yesterday week, on an information for allowing disorderly conduct in his house. Mr. DeLasaux appeared for the defendant.

By the evidence adduced, it appeared grossly improper conduct was indulged in at the house. Mr. DeLasaux submitted, that though there had been great impropriety, it had not been shown that the defendant had knowingly encouraged it, for he was not at home at the time.

The Clerk referred to the act, which set forth that conviction could be brought home to an individual, whether he or his servants tolerated the improper conduct, as he was responsible for the acts of those employed under him.

The bench convicted the defendant and the penalty of 40s. and costs.


Kentish Gazette, 10 September 1850.

On the annual licensing day (Thursday last) our city magistrates suspended the following licenses:-

"Military Tavern," King Street;

"Eight Bells," King Street;

"Duke of York," Riding Gate;

"Kentish Arms," Jewry Lane;

"Eagle," Whitehorse Lane;

"Golden Cross," Northgate;

"Queen's Head," Northgate;

"City of London," Tower Street;

"Duke's Head," Wincheap;

"True Briton," Northgate;

"Royal George," Northgate;

"Queen's Arms," Northgate; and

"Three Grenadiers," Military Road.


Kentish Gazette, 24 September 1850.

At the adjourned petty sessions for licensing public houses on Thursday, those licences which have been suspended excepting for for the "Eight Bells," King Street,

"Queen's Head," and

"Queen's Arms," Northgate, we're granted; as also were a few of the cases of parties who were not in attendance on the regular licensing day.


Kentish Gazette, 21 September 1852.

Thursday. Licensing.

This being the adjourned licensing day, those parties, whose licences had been suspended, again attended, and after receiving animadversion for their irregularity of conduct, had their licences granted, but with a decided caution that if again complaints were made against them they would not have their licences in future.

These parties were:- John Stairs, of the "Eight Bells," King Street;

John Noble, "Kentish Arms;"

George Kilner, "City of London;"

John Jordan, "White Heart;"

John Gillis, "Bricklayers' Arms;"

Elizabeth Forbes, "Oddfellows Arms;"

John Murphy, "Carpenter's Arms;"

Richard Wellard, "George and Dragon," Westgate;

Joseph Pentecost, "Royal George;"

and George Crow, "Rose and Crown."

Applications for New Licences.

Thomas Rodgers, of the "Sir Robert Peel" beer shop;

David Tuthwell, "True Britain;"

and Edward Gordon, "Pine Apple,"

applied for spirit licences, but which were refused.


Kentish Gazette 15 May 1855.


On Wednesday, the usual monthly meeting of this body, was held, Mr. Williamson in the chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read.

One of the orders was, that a projecting sign-board, at the "Eight Bells," in King-street, should be removed: and the Chairman stated, that Messrs. Flint and Kingsford, brewers, the proprietors of the house, objected to its removal, as it had existed in its present position for the past thirty years, and could not in any way be deemed a nuisance or public annoyance. It now, therefore, became a question with that Court, whether the previous order should be persevered in, by compelling its removal. Several Commissioners spoke on the subject "pro and con"; and it was observed, that, if the order were enforced, the sign of "Sir John Falstaff, in Westgate Without, must also be removed.

After some half-hour spent over the matter, it was resolved, by 6 to 5, that the sign of the "Eight Bells" should remain.


Kentish Gazette 19 August 1856.



Alexander Todd, landlord of the "Eight Bells," in King-street, who has been so often before the bench on matters of dispute with his wife, was brought up for an assault on police-constable Ealse arising out of the same affair. Ealse deposed that at about half-past twelve o'clock that morning, hearing the cries of "Murder," he went towards the house—the neighbours being all up at their windows through the great disturbance that had been created,—and there saw defendant's wife, who begged him to come in, and was at the time bleeding much from a cut in the head. She gave her husband in charge, alleging that her life was in danger. He (Ealse) told the defendant that he must go with him, which he said he would not do, and struck him a severe blow on the head. Defendant charged three of the lodgers to assist him, but cowardly like, blew the candles out and ran away, which left him in darkness. Some Carabineers arriving at the time he summoned two of them to his aid, both of whom defendant bit in the hand, ran into the bar and armed himself with a shoemaker's hammer with which he threatened to split open deponent's head. He then collared him and with assistance took him to the station-house. In the scuffle defendant gave him a severe kick on the leg which had incapacitated him for continuing on duty, the pain being very great. In reply to the bench the constable stated that defendant had been drinking, but was not intoxicated.

Defendant stated his wife to have been the original disturber by breaking his windows with stones, and afterwards calling out "murder," which she was in the habit of doing; and he was not aware that he had kicked the constable.

The bench had two courses open—either to fine him 5, or prosecute him at the sessions. The Mayor told him that this was the worse conducted house in the city. For the two years that he had kept it, continually disturbances had prevailed between him and his wife, and he might rely on it he would not have the license renewed. The case brought before them in the present instance was of a most aggravated nature, which they should mark with the heaviest penalty of 5, and 6s. costs.

The money was immediately paid, and thus it may be said the disturber who had committed so much violence as to injure four persons, escaped almost without punishment; while the soldiers had to endure their smart uncomplainingly from the fear of punishment themselves for being out, and the policeman got no compensation for the serious injuries he sustained, and which but for the praiseworthy aid of the soldiers, might have proved still more serious, as it was evidently the intention of the brute to use the hammer with which he armed himself. As regards the wife—however unjustifiable such an assault as that which she received might be,—she appears to provoke much of this nature; and has but very recently emerged from prison for similar conduct herself.


From a report to the Mayor and Magistrates in Guildhall on 17th April 1859.

"Sergeant Ells reports that he found the following number of Prostitutes at the following public houses and beer-shops yesterday morning:

Eight Bells, King Street, 3.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 13 April, 1867. Price 1d.


Monday. (Before W. Plummer, Esq., in the chair; and J. Hemery, Esq.)


Henry Henley was charged with stealing three counterpanes, (bed-spreads) the property of Henry Tolputt, landlord of the “Eight Bells,” King's Street, on Monday, the 1st of April.

Emma Tolpatt said:- I am the wife of Henry Tolputt. Prisoner came to our house on Saturday night, 30th of March, and asked for a bed. He slept at our house that night and the following (Sunday) night. Prisoner left our house on Monday evening, and did not pay for his lodgings. I missed the counterpanes the following morning. I saw the counterpanes on Monday afternoon in their respective places. The counterpanes produced are my husband's property. I last saw the prisoner at about 8 of clock on Monday evening.

Maria Hollingsworth said she was the wife of Frederic Hollingsworth, licensed hawker, of Northgate. On Monday afternoon last, at about two o'clock in the afternoon, the prisoner came to their house, and offered a counterpane for sale. Her husband was in the shop, and he called her down to buy the counterpane as he was not in the habit of buying such articles. She went down and paid the prisoner for the counterpane. She asked him his name and he said he was an engineer, named Hancock, and that he was living three or four houses from the “Eight Bells.” He came again at four or five, in the same afternoon, and said he had got another to sell, and Mrs. Hollingsworth gave him the same amount (2s.) for it. On the Tuesday following he amount (2a.) for it. On the Tuesday following ho came again and offered another for sale. This one was not so good as the others and she gave prisoner 1s. 6d. for it, asking him, at the same time, how he came by so many counterpanes, and why he wanted to sell them. Prisoner replied that he was going to sell off. Mrs. Hollingsworth added that each time prisoner came to her he asked if she would keep the counterpanes till Saturday, and he would re-buy them of her, but she told him that they were not allowed to deal in that way.

Superintendent Davies stated that the prisoner was handed over to him from the Folkestone police, where he had been sentenced to three months imprisonment.

The Bench fully committed prisoner to take his trial at the ensuing Quarter Sessions.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 23 August, 1881.

Conviction Notice.

William Ditton, Staplegate: drunk in charge of a horse on Church Street. Fined 5s plus 6s 6d costs payable forthwith. If in default of payment the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant's goods or 7 days in HMP St Augustine's Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 24 October, 1881.

Conviction Notice.

William Ridden, St Alphege: remaining on the licensed premises of William Ditton, after hours permitted by The Licensing Act 1874. Fined 2s 6d plus 12s 6d costs payable forthwith. If in default of payment the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant's goods or 14 days in HMP St Augustine's Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 24 October, 1881.

Conviction Notice.

John Dawkins St Alphege: remaining on the licensed premises of William Ditton after hours permitted by The Licensing Act 1874. Fined 2s 6d plus 10s 6d costs payable by 31 October. If in default of payment the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant's goods or 14 days in HMP St Augustine's Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 1, May, 1886.

Conviction Notice.

Rose Kelsey, St Alphege: drunk on the licensed premises of William Ditton. Fined 2s 6d plus 10s 6d costs forthwith. If in default of payment the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant’s goods or 14 days, hard labour, in HMP St Augustine’s, Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 20 November, 1890.

Conviction Notice.

Richard Raynor: stealing 2 live tame rabbits, value 8s, goods and chattels of Jane Ditton Witness statements: Jane Ditton living at the "Eight Bells Inn," St Alphege, Canterbury and Inspector John William Farmery Canterbury Police. Imprisoned 2 calendar months, hard labour, in HMP St Augustine’s Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 14 May, 1891.

Conviction Notice.

William Ditton: being a person licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors at his premises in St Alphege Canterbury did unlawfully sell beer to Edward Knight and Ann Taylor during part of the period when the premises were required under “The Licensing Act 1874” to be closed; to wit on a Sunday at 10.15am. Fined 2 plus 1/9s/9d costs payable forthwith.

If in default of payment the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant’s goods or 1 calendar month in St Augustine’s Canterbury. “And it is further adjudged that this conviction be not endorsed on the Defendant’s License.”


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 23 May, 1891.

A publican fined.

William Ditton, landlord of the "Eight Bells," St Dunstan's, was summoned for keeping his house open during prohibited hours. Mr. R. M. Mercer defended.

Edward Knight, a labourer, living in Northgate, deposed that on the night of 2nd May he slept at Northgate. The next morning at 6.30 a.m. he went to Dittons; Mrs. Taylor went with him. Witness saw Ditton opening the shutters. He went into the house accompanied by Mrs. Taylor, and called for half a pint of beer. After he had breakfast witnessed asked for a quart of beer, for which he paid 4d. He only saw one lodger there. He had had some drink when he went in and was not drunk, only "freshy." When he left the house he was drunk. Sargent Ross deposed to visiting the "Eight Bells" on the Sunday in question with P.C. Dunk. In the kitchen was Knight sitting on a form helplessly drunk. They took Knight into the bar, and from there took him to the police station. When he saw the landlord afterwards, he replied that he said that he was a traveller.

P.C. Goddard said that Knight was sober when he left him at 6.30 on Sunday morning.

Thomas Dunton said that he had been a licensed victualler for over 11 years and had never had a complaint. Knight came to him on Sunday morning and asked him for breakfast. He never asked for any beer. He did not drink any as far as he (witness) knew. Knight afterwards went out, but witness did not see him go. He could not say that Knight did not get drunk in his house.

Jane Ditton said that she did not see Knight supplied with any drink, he was sober when the policeman took him out.

Kate Ditton also gave evidence.

The Bench, after a short consideration, found the defendant guilty, and he was find 40s and 1 9s. 9d. costs, in default one month's hard labour.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 10 April, 1894.

Conviction Notice.

Amy Barton: drunk on the licensed premises in St Alphege of William Ditton. Fined 2s 6d plus 6s costs payable on 24 Apr 1894. If in default of payments the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant’s goods or 7 days in HMP St Augustine’s, Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 10, April, 1894.

Conviction Notice.

John Wilson: drunk on the licensed premises in St Alphege of William Ditton. Fined 2s 6d plus 8s costs payable on 24 Apr 1894. If in default of payments the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant’s goods or 7 days in HMP St Augustine’s, Canterbury.


From the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, 10 April, 1894.

Conviction Notice.

William Ditton: being a licensed person sold drink, in his premises in St Alphege parish, to John Wilson a drunken person. Fined 3 plus 18s costs forthwith. If in default of payments the sum to be raised by the sale of the defendant’s goods or 1 calendar month in HMP St Augustine’s Canterbury. “And it is further adjudged that this conviction be note endorsed on Defendant’s License.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 30 May 1891.


In our Police Court news last week we inadvertently described Henry Ditton, a publican convicted of keeping his house open during prohibited hours, as the landlord of the "Eight Bells," St. Dunstan's. The house kept by Hutton is the "Eight Bells," King's Street. The "Eight Bells," St. Dunstan's, is kept by a person of quite a different name, a highly respectable man, against whom there have been no police proceedings whatever.



I am informed that Edward Ditton was often fined for selling drink after hours, serving drunks and was fined 5 shillings with 6s 6d costs himself for being drunk in charge of a horse on Church Street in August 1881.

In the street directory for 1878 William's brother James Ditton was licensee of the "Plough" in Pound Lane, then in the 1881 Census, licensee of the "Marquis of Lorne" in Broad Street.

A report in 1893 mentioned the death of of a 4 year old child at the house and the name Jane Grant mentioned.

The premises has been mentioned as both an Inn and Tavern at various times.

The census of 1901 mentioned a Stephen Castle age 49 living there with his family and Stephen Castle was a brewers' labourer, so perhaps this premises brewed their own beer as well.

After closing in the 1920s, the building was used by Amos and Dawton as an auction room. Despite the Luftwaffe's best efforts, King Street largely survived WW2, only to fall foul of the City Council's plans and this row of houses was demolished in 1962.

Information from the 1939 resister suggested that the premises was empty in that year.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 07 January 1905.




It alleged at the inquest last week that Stephen Castle, landlord of the "Eight Bells," King Street, Canterbury was refused to the Herne Bay Cottage Hospital when taken there on the advice of Dr, T, A. Bowes, and that he was sent in a critical condition to his home at Canterbury, where he died early the following morning.

The adjourned enquiry was held at the Municipal Buildlings Guildhall Street, Canterbury on Thursday afternoon, by the City Coroner, (Dr. T. S. Johnson).

The first witness called was Christine Nash, the matron of the Herne Bay Cottage Hospital.

The Coroner.— What do yon remember about Thursday, December 22nd?

As regards what?

The Coroner (sharply).— What are you here for?

Why, to answer questions.

The Coroner.— No. You have got to give me a little bit of outline. Do you want to have a little bit of fun out of me?

No, not at all.

The Coroner.— Then you must tell the jury what you have to say.

Continuing witness said that the deceased was brought to the hospital by a cabman and two friends.

The Coroner.— Well, what did you do under the circumstances?

Well, there was no letter with him, and no doctor with him. It was not an accident, and after I had seen the man I saw that it was a hopeless case. I could not admit him. Continuing, witness said she communicated with Dr. Fenoalhet by telephone, and let the man go on to Canterbury. She lent him some blankets and made him as comfortable as possible.

Harry Hawkins, a carpenter in the employ of Mr. Douglass Collard, at Herne Bay, said that he was a fellow workman of the deceased. On December 22nd deceased was taken a little queer whilst at work about 10.80, and he walked down the road about a quarter of a mile. When he (witness) went home to dinner, just after 12 o'clock, deceased was worst, and he (witness) sent for a doctor. Dr. Bowes came and said the deceased was not fit to be moved further than the Cottage Hospital. Dr. Bowes did not prescribe for him in any way or give him any instructions except to take the deceased to the Hospital.

Dr Fenoulhet, who attended voluntarily on behalf of the governors of the Herne Bay Cottage Hospital, made a statement to the jury, in which be explained that Dr. Senior was the Cottage Hospital doctor for the week, but that, owing to delay he (Dr. Fenoulhet) had to give instructions in the master. He would like to mention that the Herne Bay Hospital was not like the Canterbury one; they had no resident medical man to attend to cases immediately they came in, and they had only one nurse matron and a probationer. They had lately had patients sent to them without any notice and, moreover, hopeless cases. The Governors considered that they had been abused in this way, and a rule had been passed and instructions given to the Matron, not to admit patients without some kind of notice. In that case there was no doctor or message with the man.

The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that that was the second case which had come before him in which Dr. Bowes had sent a man to a hospital without a note. The duty of a medical man, he said, was to see a case through, and not deal with it in that happy-go-lucky fashion, for it was after all, very little trouble for a man who took charge of a case to write a note to be taken to any institution. Dr. Bowes had had a notice about that adjourned inquest and yet he had not seen fit to attend. He was of opinion that the man should have been kept at his lodgings for if there was no hope of his recovery, he should have been allowed to pass away peacefully, and to have had a nurse and that sort of thing. It was, there was no doubt, a very improper thing to send a man all that distance when he was suffering from an attack of apoplexy.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence of Mr. Greasley that death was due to apoplexy, and added a rider that Dr. Bowes acted neglectfully in not sending a note to the Cottage Hospital when ordering the deceased to the deceased to be taken there.

At the request of the jury, the Coroner commended Hawkins for his action in the matter.


The building is now (2017) called Eight Bells House.



SMITH Henry to 24/Aug/1820 dec'd

PLANK Richard 1824+ Pigot's Directory 1824

ELLEN Michael 1828-46+ (age 63 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840

DRAY Richard 1847-50+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

STAIRS John 1851-52+ (age 46 in 1851Census)

TODD Alexander 1854-56+ Kentish Gazette

WALLER Henry 1858-Feb/67 (age 28 in 1861CensusMelville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Whitstable Times

TOLPUTT George Feb/1867-68+ Whitstable TimesGreens Canterbury Directory 1868

MILLS Edward 1871-Nov/79 (age 55 in 1871Census) Post Office Directory 1874South Eastern Gazette

DITTON William Nov/1879-95+ (labourer and publican age 53 in 1881 Census) South Eastern GazetteHistoric Canterbury web sitePost Office Directory 1882Kelly's 1882

CASTLE Stephen 1901+ (brewers labourer age 49 in 1901Census)

PITHER William Robert 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

BARKER Richard 1917-21+ Historic Canterbury web site

LONGLAND Edward 1920-22+ Post Office Directory 1922


Pigot's Directory 1824From the Pigot's Directory 1824

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

Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Kelly's 1882From the Kelly's Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

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

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette

South Eastern GazetteSouth Eastern Gazette


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