Sort file:- Deal, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 09 January, 2023.


Earliest 1747-

(Name from)


30 Dec 1922

84 Beach Street

53 Beach Street Pigot's Directory 1832-34Post Office Directory 1874


Fountain Hotel engraving

Above engraving, date unknown.

Fountain Hotel pre 1922

Above postcard, pre 1922, kindly sent by Graham Butterworth. Also showing the "Royal Hotel."

Fountain Hotel painting

Above painting showing the hotel from the beach.


Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Graham Butterworth.

Fountain, Deal

From the East Kent Mercury 26th December, 1968, kindly supplied by Deal library.

From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 14 December, 1833. Price 7d.

Some labourers in the employment of Mr. Buller of Upper Deal, were the other day digging in a field near that place for the purpose of forming a foundation to a house, when their tools suddenly came in contact with a hard substance, which on examination proved to be an Urn of that antiquity, containing twenty-five copper coins of the Emperor Carausius; upon the obverse side, is the laurel head of Carausius, crowned with the Imperial Laurel; and, on the reverse, are two children suckled by a wolf, in allusion to the fable of the infancy of Romulus and Remus. These fable remnants of things that are passed were most probably secreted there on the departure of the Romans from England. The landlord of the "Fountain" at Deal, has them present in his possession for the purpose of exhibiting them to the curious.


From the Kentish Gazette, 22 November 1842.


On Tuesday Mr. H. North, the spirited landlord of the "Fountain Inn," had a grand gala day in honour of her Majesty’s visit. The day’s sport commenced with pigeon shooting, and after several good matches had been contested, about fifty gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner, comprising soup, game, poultry, &c., got up in a style which reflects the highest credit on the worthy host. After doing ample justice to the excellent viands, the party sat down and enjoyed a right convivial evening, divested of all political feeling; and the loyalty of the company was fully tested by the cordial manner in which the following toasts were received, viz.— "The Queen," "Prince Albert," "The Prince of Wales," "The Princess Royal," &c. The evening was enlivened by several excellent songs and recitations, which detained the company till a late hour, when they departed highly gratified with the evening’s entertainment.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 18 October, 1845. Price 5d.


These sessions were held on Wednesday, before William Fuller Boteler, Esq., Recorder, and a full Bench of Magistrates, when the following prisoners were tried:-

Walief Court, a youth about 15 years old, was indicted for stealing sundry bottles of wine, the property of his employer, Mr. Henry North, of the “Fountain Inn.”

Three months imprisonment in Deal goal.


Kentish Gazette, 30 March 1847.


North:— March 21, at Deal, Emily, daughter of Mr. H. North, of the "Fountain Tavern," Beach-street, aged ten months.


Dover Chronicles 3 April 1847.

March 24th, at Deal, Emily, daughter of Mr. H. North, of the "Fountain Tavern," age 10 months.


From the Deal, Walmer & District and Kingsdown Telegram, 1 January 1863


Fountain Inn, Beach Street. S Collins

Gin 2/- per bottle 11/- per gallon

Rum 3/- per bottle 18/- per gallon

Rum 2/9 per bottle 16/- per gallon

Cognac Brandy 4/6 per bottle 27/- per gallon

Whisky 3/- per bottle 17/- per gallon.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 30 June, 1865. 1d.


Edward Hammond, painter, appeared in answer to a summons, charging him with shaking his fist in the face of G. Hamilton, and challenging him to a fight.

George Hamilton deposed: Yesterday, I was in Beach Street, when defendant left his work and came across the road and asked me to pay him what I owed him. I told him I would pay him 2s., which I offered him. He then used angry words and threatened to knock my eye out. I asked him to allow me to pass, and as I was doing so, he called me a rogue and a thief, and said that I had just come out of Maidstone Gaol, where I should soon be again. I then went into the "Fountain" where I stopped a short time, and on coming out, the defendant met me in the passage, and repeated his threatening language and challenged me to fight, which I declined. I then went into the street and he continued his abuse, ultimately I got away. Some time after this we again met, and he applied the same abusive language to me. This is the second time he has done so, and he has threatened me he would do it again, I go, therefore, in bodily fear of him.

In defence, Hammond stated that Hamilton owed him some money, which he asked for, and denied any threat on his part, but that plaintiff threatened him, but he admitted that he challenged him to fight.

He was ordered to pay 6s. costs, and be bound over to keep the peace for three months, in his own recognisance for 5.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 13 January, 1872.


James Larkins, waterman, was summoned by Mr. G. Porter, landlord of the "Fountain Inn," Beach Street, for having committed an assault upon him at Deal, on the night of the 6th instant.

Defendant pleaded not guilty.

George E. Porter deposed: On Saturday night last about half-past ten I was in the front room of the "Fountain," of which I am landlord, and the defendant Larkins came in. We had a quiet party in the room at the time. He called for a spencer of brandy, and my wife brought it to him. He said, "I want three more like that, and I don't mean to pay for them." "All right," I said "we don't want ant row, we are here to enjoy ourselves," and he said, "Who the ______ ____ are you?" I said, "I am nobody." I told the man who was singing, but who had stopped in consequence of this, to go on. Larkin again swore at me, and I told him to go away, as we did not want a noise in the house. He said, "You _____; who's going away for you?" calling me a rogue and other opprobrious names. He then came to me, and with his fist struck me in the face, and knocked me out of the chair. He then tried to get me by the throat, but I got hold of him and got him down in the corner. My wife then sent for a policeman, and then I let him get up. My wife stood between us to prevent him striking me again, and he then struck my wife in the face and made her nose bleed. I flew at him to defend my wife, and he then caught hold of my wife's hair and pulled her down with him as I was throwing him down. P.C. Cox came in just then, and I gave him into custody. Larkins had been drinking, but he was not drunk. The constable took him home, and he threatened to return, but he did not do so.

Defendant said the evidence was all wrong.

In cross-examination by defendant, Mr. Porter said: I do not recollect saying anything to you in front of the Reading-room the same morning. In did not say anything about a ship. I did not strike, or offer to strike you before you knocked me out of the chair.

Mark Nash said; I was at the "Fountain" on the 6th instant in the evening. I saw Larkins come in. He called for a spencer of brandy-and-water, and told Porter he was not going to pay for it, and he also told Porter he took people off to drown them, and that he was a monkey, and all his party. He also said that nothing but boys and trash used his house. I went out, and was away only about three minutes. When I went out both complainant and defendant were sitting on chairs close to each other, but when I came back they were struggling in a corner, and Larkins had hold of Porter's hair. I and Mrs. Porter tried to pull them apart. I saw Larkins hit Porter's wife on the wrist. I did not see him do anything more to her, but he might have hit her with his hands and I not have seen it. Potter I saw fall, and Larkins too. Larkins had hold of his hair, and pulled him down. Larkins got up first, and then Porter, and then Larkins got up and went out and came back in about two minutes and began "growl" - I mean quarrelling. Porter said, "Why don't you go?" and then he did go, and just as he got out P.C. Cox came. I did not see Porter strike Larkins, but they had hold of each other.

By the Mayor: Porter was bleeding in the face, and Mrs. Porter's wrist was also bleeding. Larkins knew what he was talking about, but I believe he had been drinking.

Defendant said he had no witnesses to call as he could not remember who was in the room, but from what one of the neighbours had told him, who said she heard the whole of the conversation that took place, they were talking together for a long time before any blows were struck.

P.C. Cox said: I was called to the "Fountain" on Saturday evening, and when I got there I found Porter and Larkins on the door-step quarrelling. Porter said, "Take this man in charge; he has struck me." I said, "I can't do so, as I did not see it." Larkins, when Porter said that, did not deny it, but said, "It was all through jealousy." Larkins went home - he appeared to be sober. I went as far as his house, and saw him go indoors.

Cross-examined by defendant: I did not hear anything said by Porter about doing for you, inside or outside. Porter followed to give you in charge, and I told him to go home, and he did so after I had told him three times.

In defence, Larkins said he believed Porter was as bad as he was. It was through him (Porter) the quarrel begun, and this was not the first or second time that he had tried to kick up a row with him. Porter had told one of the men on the beach that he was a better man than him (Larkins), and was ready to fight him at any time. This was enough to make any man cross, especially when he had a little drink. Both he and Porter had been to Ramsgate on the day in question, and they had each had more than they ought to - he knew he had. When he went into Porter's house he had a bit of an argument about a ship, and after a bit they quarrelled. He denied, most solemnly that he knocked Porter out of the chair - he had been in a good many squabbles, but he had never gone as far as to knock a man when he was sitting down. He had never taken such an advantage of any man.

Defendant said he should like his brother, who was in the room at the time, called, and he was accordingly sent for.

H. Larkin, the brother referred to, was sworn, and deposed the as follows: I was in the "Fountain Inn" on Saturday evening last with a few friends, having a pipe. The landlord was in the room sitting with us, and we were all pleasant. Mr brother came in between 10 and 11. He sat down, and after a bit spoke to Porter and they began to quarrel. Porter kept persuading my brother to be quiet and enjoy the song, but he would not be persuaded, and at last they got to blows, and Porter got the first of it, but not very hard - it was with the fist in the face. After that he got up to push my brother away, and then Porter's wife interfered, and that is all I saw of it.

The Magistrates consulted for a few minutes, and Mr. Brown in delivering the decision of the Bench said the Magistrates could find no excuse for the defendant who appeared to have gone into the "Fountain" in a very quarrelsome spirit, and very soon got to blows with the complainant. There was not justification for such treatment, and it was not the first time he had been before them for something similar. He was clearly in the wrong in this case, and so would be fined 1 including costs, or in default have to go to Sandwich gaol for 14 days with hard labour.

Defendant applied for permission to be allowed to fetch the money, and was rather dissatisfied when he was told that he could not go himself, but might send where he pleased. Ultimately, however, a friend was sent and the money was shortly afterwards paid.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 20 March, 1872. 1d.


George Porter, landlord of the "Fountain Inn," Beach Street, was summoned by the Superintendent of police for selling during prohibited hours on Sunday last, vis., between eleven and twelve a.m. Supt. Parker said he visited the house in question about the time named and was admitted through the front door by the landlady. He went into the tap-room or front parlour which he found empty, but he afterwards looked in the back parlour and there he found the defendant and three others. They each had a glass containing malt liquor in front of them, and one of them was smoking. He told defendant that he knew he was doing wrong in the latter and said the men had just called in to settle about some sails which he had purchased of them. In defence, Mr. Porter said that he only arrived home from sea on Saturday night, and on the following morning two part owners of one of the south-end boats called upon him respecting a sail and cable he had arranged to purchase of them. The men had been to sea and had only arrived home on the previous evening, and on looking over their stores they found that the sail and cable he was going to buy was gone, and as they had recently lost things from their storehouses, they were anxious to know what had become of them, and at once came to him to enquire if he had got the things; which he had, as they had been brought to him previously by another owner. When the men, Lambert and Bayly, found he had got the things they said he might as well settle for them at once, and they then went into the parlour and the bill was drawn up. After this had been done, Bayley remarked that the rope would not wear well if it were not wet, and he then drew him a glass of beer, and also one for himself. The third person present was his brother-in-law. He could swear that the beer was not paid for. The room where they were was his private living room, and the rest of the house was all closed. Mr. Lambert, the person referred to, corroborated the defendant's statement, and the Magistrates announced that they would allow the case to be withdrawn without a conviction upon the defendant paying the costs, 4s. 6d., but they would warn him to be very careful in future, and not draw any beer under any circumstance during prohibited hours.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 8 November, 1873.


James Bailey, waterman, was summoned for assaulting Thomas Nash on the 4th inst.

Thomas Nash said: On the 4th inst. I was standing at the bar of the "Fountain Inn," Beach Street, about nine o'clock having something to drink. Bailey came in with some others and commences swearing, and he called all the Nashes all the scamps he could lay his tongue to. He then struck my brother, and I called out to the latter not to strike him back, but take out a summons. Bailey then turned round and struck me in the face with his fist.

Defendant admitted that he struck complainant, but pleaded provocation, the other Nash having called him all the rogues and other names he could think of. Whilst they were talking complainant interfered which he had no business to do. Complainant had only taken out the summons through spite, and for the purpose of aggravating.

The Magistrated considered there had been an improvoked assault, and fined defendant 20s.



Lots of different and conflicting information on this pub at present, especially to what it was called before it became the "Fountain." As more information comes to light I will update this page and try to make some sense of the information.


According to the Deal History Society, this pub was situated next to the "Royal Hotel" and dates back to 1661 but latest date given is 1910. A J Langridge's research in 1977 says the pub closed in 1910, I don't believe this is correct. The Post Office Directory tells me this was still serving under that name in 1922. Further information just found states that the "Fountain" was scheduled as redundant under the Licensing Act, 1910, and it ceased to be a licensed house, but no date given. Whether this happened or not, I don't yet know. What is correct is that the Fountain pub, which was addressed as No.82 was separated from the "Royal Hotel" with an alleyway. The "Fountain" is believed to have originated from about 1661 and was reputed to have been notorious for its association with smugglers. The property was easily recognisable due to its weatherboarding and stood directly south of the "Royal Hotel." The "Fountain" finally closed for business on December 30, 1922, and was eventually acquired by the Deal Corporation in 1924 for 1,200, before it was demolished.


They do say that it was originally called the "Row Barge", so from my information, I would say the change of name took place somewhere between 1661 and 1776.

Again I also have reference to a "Beare" in Lower Deal and information that says that changed name to the "Fountain" from between 1713 and 1747. Not much information is known about the "Row Barge" but the dates of the "Beare" do fit in just between the "Row Barge" and "Fountain"

The Deal Borough Records show that in 1776 show that the pub refused to billet Dragoons.

A lot of confusion here with this pub and I am inclined to think that the names and time line are being confused with another pub of the same name. Perhaps all connected with the "Pelican."

Just found reference to that above mentioned "Fountain." This one is south of the "Royal Hotel," the other "Fountain" was north of it and was only serving during the mid 17th century anyway.

Further research shows a "Fountain and Capstan," again in Beach Street in 1804. I assume this to be one and the same.


From the Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich Mercury, 7 April, 1900. 1d.


This was a claim by Mrs. Friers, wife of the landlord of the "Fountain Inn," Beach Street, for 1 5s., for a piece of cloth rendered useless by the alleged bad workmanship of the defendant, who is a dressmaker. There was a counter claim for 1 12s., for work done and material supplied.

Mr. Wilks appeared for the defendant.

Plaintiff explained that she supplied to defendant a piece of cloth, two yards double width, to make a cape of, and when it came home she could not wear it, it was so badly made and finished, the scallops round it were all different sizes, and the stitching was zig-zag all round.

His Honor: And what is that soft stuff?

Plaintiff: That is the fur, for which she charged me 6s. 6d. a yard, and she has split it, and the width is not as when I first saw it.

His Honor: Who put the lining in?

Mrs. Woodcock.

And you supplied the cloth?


What did it cost you?


Have you tried it on?

Yes; and I have a witness here who will try to fit it on me, and let you see it. It is a disgrace.

Is it? Have had it tried on?

Yes, I stayed three-quarters of an hour while she fitted it.

I should think it aught to fit beautifully, then?

It ought to, she tried to make it fit, but could not. She told me so herself.

Well, you didn't want another, did you?

To make it fit, she put two pleats in.

Plaintiff: Will you examine it?

His Honor?

No, I want to see it or...

Plaintiff then proceeded to take off the cloak she was wearing, and to put on the one in question.

His Honor: Is it a summer cloak?

Plaintiff: It's a winter cloak.

His Honor: You have got a lovely cloak already.

Plaintiff: Ever since November she has had it.

Have you been obliged to wear the old one?

Yes, and I wanted this to go to London with. Like a good many more, I suppose I wanted a new cape.

Plaintiff was by this time sporting herself in the garment over which the dispute had arisen.

His Honor: Now, what is the matter with it?

Plaintiff: Look at it. See how badly it hangs, and look at the back. Why it doesn't fit anywhere.

His Honor: Turn around. It is not intended to fit tight, is it?

Plaintiff: No sir.

His Honor: Turn round, so that the light shines on it. Ah, now it fits perfectly. What is the matter with it?

Plaintiff: I have a witness who will explain everything.

His Honor: Well, bring the witness.

Plaintiff: It will save your time, and trouble too.

His Honor: I should think it would be much better. Don't take the cloak off, please.

A young man stepped forward, and said his name was Herbert Bradshaw, and he was a practical tailor.

his Honor: Be kind enough to look at that cloak. What is the matter with it?

Witness: It is completely ruined in the cutting, sir. It is cut far too large up in the neck, and pleated under the collar to try and bring it back into its position.

But can't it be cut?

That would give it too small a flow at the bottom, and it is impossible to alter it. It is cut too short from the neck.

His Honor: I don't understand, but I daresay you are right.

Witness (passing his hand over the shoulder); All this should be entirely plain round here.

His Honor: Why can't that be taken away?

Witness: It is impossible. if you take it away there, you will have it drop here, and there will have to be a seam in here.

His Honor: Why? There seems to be too much of it, and I should have thought that if there were too much, you might get rid of some.

Witness: There has been an attempt made to get rid of it here, and a piece put in here.

His Honor: It is not the least use bringing a case of this kind before me. I don't understand it. I don't see why, if you cut that out, it would not come straight.

Witness: It is drafted entirely wrong. The neck should be cut to the size of the person.

But can't it be cut smaller?

It is impossible if the cloth is spoilt. The collar is the right size round the neck, but the cape is cut too large, and pleated round underneath it.

The more you cut it, the larger the hole will be, won't it? The more you reduce the neck, the smaller it will be round the bottom, it is not large enough at present. There is no flow to allow the arms to move.

Do you expect the arms to move, and the cape to remain unmoved?

There should be enough stuff in it for that.

Well, what else is the matter with it?

These scallops are not two alike.

Aren't they done with a scalloping machine?

I don't know.

His Honor (to defendant): Do you have a scalloping machine in the trade?

Defendant: No sir.

His Honor (to witness): What is the value of that cape?

Witness: About 50s., I should say, as it stands.

His Honor: The claim and counter claim only comes to 2 17s. It is only 5s. wrong then.

Witness: But the thing is spoilt. If you mean as it stands at present, it is not worth a shilling.

His Honor: But it can be worn, can't it?

Witness: I don't think so.

His Honor (to plaintiff): let me look again at the back. I confess I cannot see anything wrong with it. Turn around a little more. That's it; now the light shines on your shoulder. I daresay if it was another collar on it it would look very well, wouldn't it? It doesn't look bad now. Mr. Wilks, I believe you know all about this.

Mr. Wilks: I can't say very much about it. I believe it is the correct thing, according to the fashions of the day, to have it gathered on the shoulder.

His Honor: Oh, is it? It ought to fit round the shoulder, Mr. Bradshaw, hadn't it?

Witness: It ought to be entirely plain underneath the collar.

Defendant said she was a practical dressmaker, and had been practising in Deal twelve years. She fitted the cape on the plaintiff as well as one was able.

His Honor: Why did you make it so full round the shoulders?

Defendant: Because she had it altered. It was quite plain at first, and every scallop was perfect.

And what about the neck, of which Mr. Bradshaw seems to complain?

She said it was too tight round the neck, or something, and I altered it. I have done the best I could, considering it was too small, or too large. It was either too tight or too loose. I remember taking it in, but the young lady will remember what was done.

His Honor: It seems to be a little bulgy.

Defendant: It is a little full, but it could have been easily taken in in the shoulder darts.

His Honor: Haven't you got it too wide in the collar?

Defendant: No, sir, the collar is not too wide. We have not altered the outside collar.

His Honor: I mean the collar of the cape, under the down collar. Lift the collar and let me look at it. There, shouldn't that be smooth on the shoulder?

Defendant: It can be taken in in the darts. If I had pins I could show you.

His Honor: But you ladies always have pins.

Defendant: I have no pins with me.

His Honor (to the bailiff): Just get my waistcoat, will you?

The bailiff returned with the waistcoat and his Honor took some half dozen pins from the edge, and handed them down to the defendant.

His Honor (to the plaintiff): Do you mind her pinning your beautiful jacket?

Defendant had inserted several pins when his Honor remarked: Doesn't that lift it at the bottom, pinning it up like that?

Defendant: No sir, you will see it won't life it when i have pinned it in.

His Honor: You are not pinning the lady, are you?

Defendant: No sir, I am used to it.

His Honor: It seems to want a good deal of pinning. Now, Mr. Bradshaw, what is the effect of that?

The witness: It will have the effect of diminishing the size at the bottom.

Defendant (indignantly): Indeed it can't sir. Perhaps you have a different method. I did not take it on the tailor-made system.

Plaintiff (who had very patiently borne the ordeal of "trying on"): She has had the cape two months. I took it back to try to point it out, and she said, "I will not allow you to dictate to me." She has had the cape ever since, and said she would alter it. It was worse then than it is now.

His Honor: Tell me why it is so dreadfully full on the shoulders.

Defendant: I can't say that. I did not take it on the tailoring system.

Did you intend it to be bulgy like that?

It is not bulgy when it is stitched in.

Mr. Wilks: You can take these things out, and are quite willing to do so?

Defendant: Quite willing.

Mr. Wilks: It is the simplest thing in the world .

His Honor: You say so; is it, Mr. Bradshaw?

The witness: The thing is entirely spoilt, from my practical experience.

His Honor: Are you a ladies' tailor?

Witness: I have had fourteen years' experience in the trade.

His Honor: I have heard people talk about tailor-made gowns. I suppose they somewhat differ from others. Are they done upon a different principle?

Witness: They are cut on a more scientific principle altogether.

His Honor (who asked to be allowed to examine the cape more closely): What is the matter with the inside of it?

Plaintiff: Look at the difference in those scollops.

His Honor: Yes. How much would you charge for making a cape like this, Mr. Broadshaw?

Witness: It all depends. The making alone would be about 6s.

 Defendant: You work remarkably cheap.

His Honor: Including the lining?

Witness: No sir; that would include nothing .

His Honor: What about all that beautiful fur, and lovely shot lining?

Witness: Well, sir, that varies in price. I have not much experience in that cheap lining, sir.

Plaintiff: She charged me 3s. 6d.

His Honor: It is not fur you have in your hand?

Plaintiff: It is the fashionable fur they are using now.

His Honor: Now, Mr. Bradshaw, what do you say to this?

I don't like it myself (to defendant): You have put a large lump here. What was your idea of doing that? It should be loose.

Defendant: We never fit a cape tight. QWe always allow for it to be loose-fitting.

They are not meant to be?

They are taken away by darts - a piece taken out, and the material stitched together again.

How many darts would you have put? - According to the size of the figure?

And this figure would have required a certain number of darts?


How many?


His Honor (again lifting the collar): Tell me about this piece of put in here.

Mr. Bradshaw: It should not be there at all.

His Honor: It looks odd. Mr. Wilks, what do you think of this?

Mr. Wilks: I understand there was not sufficient material.

His Honor: But surely it ought to be a triangular piece. How do youb explain this, Mr. Bradshaw?

The witness: It seems to be a piece put in - an attempt to alter the collar after the cape was made.

His Honor (to defendant): What do you say?

Defendant: When the cape was sent home, it hung alright. Plaintiff wanted pleats put in the back, and I had used all the cloth.

How would putting pleats in the back render this necessary?

It would catch up if it had not this piece in.

Defendant called Miss Rogers, an assistant, who said she had not nine months' experience. She had nothing to do with the cutting out. She merely took the cloak home. A younger assistant was also called.

His Honor: What did you do with this cloak?

Witness: i basted the lining, sir.

And what about this little piece?

I know nothing about it.

His Honor: Well, who was it that put that piece in?

Defendant: The bodice hand, sir.

Is she her?

No, sir.

These are very young hands, are they not?

There are five hands altogether. The other has been with me four years.

Miss Rogers said she took the cloak home in December. Plaintiff complained of the scallops not being the same size, and that it hung down at the sides more than at the back, and of the scallops not being even.

Mr. Wilks: My experience of ladies' capes for the last six months has been that they have been full on the shoulder, and this was made with that intention.

Defendant: To get the necessary quantity of material, it must be full there.

Plaintiff: I never saw one in Deal like it, and i would defy anyone to find one made like it.

His Honor: Then if you have the only one like it in Deal, there must be something special about it.

Plaintiff: It would be a disgrace to walk about in it.

His Honor: Oh, no; I think you look very well indeed in it. But I am not at all satisfied about this (again raising the collar and inspecting the shoulders). Was this intended to be full like this?

Defendant: She came in such a tiff, and did not say what was to be done with it.

His Honor: What did you do with it?

Defendant: Took it in on the shoulders, to make this a little larger.

His Honor: Can't it be taken in more as suggested?

Mr. Bradshaw: It will be spoilt. In fact it is entirely spoilt now.

Why not, if this is made tighter?

It is too large around the neck, and the larger round the neck the smaller the flow round the bottom.

Yes, but won't it still hang very nicely when these are taken in?

No, sir, it does not hang nicely now.

His Honor: Let me see it on again. I confess I don't understand it. (Plaintiff again put the cloak on). Now turn round, and place your arms as you would like to have them. (Plaintiff raised her arms). It does not seem to me too tight.

Plaintiff: I don't want to be laughed at as I go along the street.

His Honor: I don't think anyone who looked at you would do so.

Plaintiff: When I took it back to her place to alter, she flew at me.

His Honor: Take out the pins. I think we shall see better now. (To defendant). Did you intend it to be baggy like that?

Defendant: It is intended to be loose in the neck.

Plaintiff: No sir. It was fitted quite plain at first. I stood three quarters of an hour while she was trying to fit it.

Defendant: I have always made capes for Mrs. Friers before, and they have always been bulgy. Some dresses she wears have very large sleeves.

His Honor: How many "darts" are there?

Plaintiff: About forty.

Defendant: Four.

His Honor (to plaintiff): Do you want to have it altered?

Plaintiff: I decline to have anything to do with it. It was spoilt at the very first onset.

His Honor (to defendant): I think it requires improvement. Can you improve it?

 Defendant: Yes, I am willing to make any improvement the lady likes.

His Honor: What will you give for the cloth?

Defendant: I could supply a piece like that, the size of that cape, for 8s.

Double with at 4s. a yard?

Yes, sir.

Well, if you have that cape can you sell it?

Yes, but I can only give her the value of the cloth.

His Honor (to plaintiff): How much did you give for the cloth?

Plaintiff: 25s.

His Honor: What would be the cost, Mr. Bradshaw?

Mr. Bradshaw: That all depends upon the market.

What could you buy it at?

Well sir, I don't as a rule buy such myself.

It it what you call coffin cloth?

No, sir, far superior to that.

His Honor: I got a fur coat once, and my tailor told me it was coffin cloth. What do you put the value at?

Mr. Bradshaw: 8s. a yard.

His Honor: That's just what I thought. Judgement for plaintiff for 16s., and Mrs. Woodcock must have the cape.

Mrs. Friers asked for costs, and his Honor said he would allow fees on 16s. and the witness Bradshaw's expenses, which he would leave the Registrar to fix.


From the East Kent Mercury, date as yet unknown.



Fountain Hotel print

The "Fountain Hotel," which stood on the east side of Beach Street, next to the "Royal Hotel," as the sketch above reproduced indicates, presented a quaint appearance with its boarded walls and its stagings overlooking the sea. It was at one time a good deal used by pilots and by seafarers generally, and many thrilling nautical yarns and stories of successful evasions of the Preventive men were related within the walls of the old house. Several of its proprietors were themselves, actively connected with maritime affairs. To the last an old sign, visible from the alley which divided the "Fountain" from the "Royal Hotel," bore the legend "Down pilots' night bell," in evidence of the associations of the house with clients who were once an important and prosperous section of the inhabitants of Deal. The house obtained an unwelcome notoriety as the scene of the murder of its licensee by an employee in 1905. Finally the "Fountain" was scheduled as redundant under the Licensing Act, 1910, and it ceased to be a licensed house. The premises were ultimately acquired by the Corporation and were demolished for the widening and improvement of Beach Street. At the present time the site is used as a car parking place.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 15 December, 1905.



Early on Sunday last, in fact, only fifteen minutes after midnight, a terrible murder was committed at Deal, the landlord of the "Fountain" public house, in Beach Street, being stabbed to the heart by his potman with a knife, causing a wound which severed the aorta and caused death within two minutes.

The "Fountain" is a small, old-fashioned public house on the sea side of Beach Street, the narrow street connecting the main Sea Front with the two little promenades and North Deal Promenade. The house was taken in June last by the murdered man, Robert William Pearce, immediately after his marriage. Pearce was an ex-soldier, and at the tine of his marriage was living with his father, Mr. R. J. Pearce, a coal and wood dealer, of Blue Town, Sheerness. He married a young woman who was at the time a barmaid at the "New Inn," Gravesend, where the young man who is now under arrest for the murder of Pearce was employed at that time as a potman. After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Pearce this young man, Percy John Murray, was engaged by the deceased to act as potman at the "Fountain" public house. During the inquest on the murdered man, a letter written by Murray to a mutual friend of all three in the house, disclosed that Murray considered that the Pearces were not leading a happy life, and that Pearce was to blame through drink and jealousy. This letter, written a week before the crime, describes the state of things as "as bad as ever," referring apparently to the time when the person written to (his name was only given as “Arthur”) had been at the house. The letter contains the significant remark that "you will probably hear of trouble," and expressed a determination to "defend our Hetty." Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Pearce occupied separate bedrooms. This state of things ended on Saturday night with a quarrel at bed time, i.e. midnight, between Pearce and Murray, Pearce accusing the latter of talking upstairs to Mrs. Pearce, and pointing to a hole in the partition of Mrs. Pearce’s bedroom immediately facing Murray’s door. Mrs. Pearce, hearing the quarrel, came out of her room, but was told to go back by her husband, and she did so. She says that her husband at the same time went to his bedroom in the front, leaving Murray at the door of his bedroom at the back. She adds, however, that as she shut the door she heard Murray say. "If you hit me you are a coward, because you know I can't fight." If that is so, it points to the two men having renewed the quarrel, but Mrs. Pearce says that she heard no more.

The minutes that followed are shrouded in mystery. Police Serjeant Curtis, K.C.C., stationed at Deal, heard a cry of a "Police." On making a search and finding blood on the doorstep of the "Fountain," he tried to get in, and failing, rattled the door. Murray opened it, and the Sergeant at once saw the body of the murdered man lying inside the door. Murray at once confessed that he had stabbed Pearce, but he has made no further statement.

How the men got downstairs, whether they were fighting, whether Murray was chased by Pearce and, picking up the knife, turned and stabbed him, or whether it was done stealthily by Murray, are all matters that must remain unsolved, unless Murray chooses to say more than he did at the moment of his arrest. The investigation on Monday by the Coroner was completed, and a verdict of Murder returned against Murray. The Police Court proceedings stand adjourned till Monday.

At Deal, the sensation caused by the crime is profound. It seemed to be the only topic of conversation on Monday, and all sorts of rumours were flying about as to the reason of the crime.

In reply to a representative of this paper who visited the scene of the murder, the widow said that Murray was the last person in the world that she would have imagined would do such a thing. Till quite recently Murray had been on good terms with her husband, and they used to play "darts" together. Latterly, deceased had given Murray blowings up on several occasions, but there had been no row before this. Murray had always seemed very quiet and of a rather brooding nature. She could not imagine how the two came to be downstairs again. She imagined that Murray must have gone suddenly mad, and she thought it probable that if she had heard anything and gone downstairs, Murray might have killed her also.



The opening of the Police Court proceedings took place at the Town Hall, Deal, on Monday at 11, when in the presence of a crowded Court the prisoner was brought up and charged with the crime before a full bench of Magistrates, consisting of the Mayor (Mr. Bayley), in the chair, and Messrs. Alderman Hayward, Alderman Soloman, G. W. Donne, W. H. Rammell, Alderman Hayman.

The charge was read by Inspector Heard as follows:-

"Percy John Murray, you stand charged that you, on the night of December 9th, or the morning of the 10th, this year, in the parish of Deal, did feloniously, wilfully and with malice aforethought, kill and murder one Robert William Pearce against the peace of our Lord the King, his crown and dignity.

Superintendent Chaney was in charge of the case for the Police. Mr. Bruce Payn appeared for the accused.



Sergeant Curtis, K C.C., stationed at Deal, said: About 12.15 on Sunday, December 10th. I was on duty in Beach Street, Deal, and when about 150 yards from the "Fountain," which I had passed, and was going southwards, I heard someone call ‘‘Police, police.” I at once went back in the direction where the sound came from, but could hear nothing more. I made a search, and on the front door step of the "Fountain" I saw some blood.

Superintendent Chaney said he believed the prisoner was deaf in one ear, and asked him whether he could hear.

The prisoner said he thought he had heard all.

Superintendent Chaney directed witness to stand closer to the dock.

Witness (continuing): I tried the door, and found it fastened. I knocked, and got no reply for a minute or two, and then the door was opened by the prisoner. As soon as he did so I turned my light on, and just inside the door I could see the body of someone lying just inside the door. I could see on looking further that it was the body of the landlord of the public house. Mr. Robert William Pearce. He was lying on his back, in a pool of blood. I said to the prisoner. "What’s the meaning of this? Did you call for the Police?" He said, "No. but I will go and ask the missus, who is upstairs." He then went upstairs, and returned very shortly afterwards with the landlady.

Superintendent Chaney: Did the prisoner do anything?

Witness: Yes, he picked up a knife a few yards from the body, which was on the floor of the passage.

The knife, which was produced, was a large black-handled kitchen knife, the blade 7 1/2 inches long. It was ground to a taper from the hilt to the point.

Witness, continuing, said: The landlady said, "What is it, Percy?" He said. "I have done it with that knife." I then took him into custody and brought him to the Station, where he was charged.

Mr. Bruce Payne: Did you caution him first before he said he had done it?

Superintendent Chaney: He had not been charged. This is all this witness’s evidence.

Mr. Bruce Payne said he would reserve his cross-examination.

Superintendent Chaney said he was in communication with the Treasury, and he did not wish to offer any further evidence that day. He therefore asked for a remand till next Monday, December 18th.

The Mayor said the prisoner would be remanded to Canterbury till next Monday at 11 o’clock.

Mr. Bruce Payne applied that the money found on the prisoner be handed over for the purpose of his defence.

Superintendent Chaney said that there might be some objection as he understood that some of it belonged to the landlady. There was only a pound belonging to prisoner.

The Mayor said that that question could be dealt with next Monday.



The inquest was opened at 2.30 p.m. on Monday at the Town Hall by Dr. Hardman, Mr. Chandler being foreman of the Jury. The Coroner then directed the Jury to view the body in the mortuary, and also to inspect the scene of the murder at the "Fountain Hotel," so as to more readily follow the details.

The evidence taken was as follows:—

Robert John Pearce said: I live at 28, Charles Street, Blue Town, Sheerness. The body at the mortuary is that of my son, Robert William Pearce, aged 38, a licensed victualler by occupation. I last saw him in October.

Sergeant Curtis, K.C.C., gave evidence in repetition of that he gave at the Police Court proceedings. He added that when he passed the "Fountain" at 12.15 there was a light in the bar, but he heard nothing. After passing about 150 yards he heard a man’s voice call "Police." He could not say whether the sound came from the outside or inside a house, but he should think from the inside. He went back, but could hear nothing more. There was then no light in the bar of the "Fountain." On the public bar doorstep of the "Fountain" he saw a quantity of blood. He tried both front and side doors of the "Fountain" and could not get in, so he returned to the front door and rattled it hard. Shortly afterwards a light appeared in the bar, and the barman, Percy John Murray, opened the door. A man named George William Baker had come up the street, and he waited, and entered with the witness. Just inside the door he saw the body of the landlord lying on his back in a pool of blood. And quite dead. His feet were towards the door. Witness said to Murray. "What is the meaning of this? Did you call for the Police?" He said, "No, but I will go upstairs and ask the landlady if she did." He then went upstairs, and returned a minute or two afterwards, the landlady following. The deceased had only his shirt and trousers on, no socks or anything else. The landlady was in a dressing gown. Murray had trousers, socks and waistcoat, no boots or coat or hat.



What happened when the landlady came down?

Mrs. Pearce said to me. "What is the matter? who is it?" I said, "It’s your husband lying there dead." Murray turned round into the passage and picked up the knife produced, and said to me, "Look at this." I said, "That looks like the knife that has caused his death." Mrs. Pearce then looked at Murray and said, "What is it, Percy, what is it?" Murray said, "I have done it with that knife, and shall have to suffer for it. We have a few words about 12 o'clock. I am done for; it's no use you worrying yourself.” (He was addressing the landlady in my presence.) I then sent for Inspector Heard. On his arrival, I told him what had occurred. I then took charge of the prisoner, and the Inspector made a search of the premises. Whilst the Inspector was doing that, Murray said to me. "There’s a letter in a shoemakers blotting pad under the sofa in the other room which I should like to have." I called out to the Inspector and told him. Shortly afterwards I brought the prisoner over to the Police Station. There were no blood stains on Murray’s clothing.

Did Murray make any further statement at the Police Station in your hearing?


Is the knife nearly as possible in the condition in which it was handed you?


Is the blade marked with bloodstains?


The Coroner: What would you call this knife?

Witness: A carving knife.

One of the Jury said it was a chef's kitchen knife.

The Coroner had the blade measured, one of the Jury producing a foot rule. It measured 7 inches, and tapered to a point.

Inspector Heard said that the blood stains showed on the back best. They extended for about 5 1/2 inches from the point.

Was Murray excited?

He seemed very excited.

Did you form any opinion as to whether he had been drinking?

I should say not.

One of the Jury said he was a teetotaller.

A Juryman said they noticed that the outside of the door was splashed with blood when they examined the house.

Witness, in reply to the Coroner, said that the splashes were on the left side of the door, and on the weatherboard and door jambs. The splashes were so situated that they would be close to where any person would have stood in the doorway. He thought the splashes must have got there when the door was open. When the door was opened by Murray he only turned the key in the lock, the bolts and latch not being moved.

Would it have been possible to have heard the shout if the door was shut?

I should say not.

The Coroner: There was blood round the outside of the house?


A Juryman: He must have stood there and shouted, and then fell back and died, and some one shut the door afterwards.

The Coroner: There is a mat between the bloodstains on the step and where deceased's feet were. Did you notice any mark on the door cill?

Yes, there was a faint mark of a grown persons bare foot.

A Juryman: Were the prisoner Murray’s hands examined?

Witness: There was no blood about the prisoner at all.

George William Baker said: I was passing along Beach Street about 12.30 on Sunday morning, going northwards. I heard nothing before I met Sergeant Curtis at the door of the "Fountain." He stopped me and said, "You are George Baker?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I want you as a witness." The Sergeant showed me the blood outside the door with his bull’s eye. I waited, and when the door was opened by Murray I went in with the Sergeant, and I remained till Murray was taken to the Station. When we got inside I saw a candle unlit on the counter. The only light came from the Sergeant’s bull's eye. The Sergeant said, "Light the gas," and the potman did so. The Sergeant said, "What's the matter here; what's the bother?" Murray said, "I have done it." The Sergeant asked who had called for the Police, and the potman went to fetch Mrs. Pearce. When she came down she asked what was the matter. The prisoner produced the knife and said, "I have done it with this knife." I went for Inspector Heard, and went back before he came, and then went for Dr. Mason. I did not hear all the conversation as I stood on one side.



Mrs. Hetty Pearce said: I am the widow of Robert William Pearce. We married in June last, not more than six months ago. Before my husband became a licensed victualler he was working for his father, who was a coal merchant. He had never had a house before.

Had you any experience in managing a public house before?

Yes sir, all that was necessary. I was in the business some years?

Who lived in the house?

My husband, myself, and Percy Murray; no one else.

On Saturday night, had there been a quarrel or disturbance?

Not till the time I went to bed.

What time did you go to bed?

Just a little before 12.

Did you sleep alone?

I have done for over a fortnight.

You have not occupied the same room as your husband for over a fortnight?


Your room was the first on the left?

Yes, at the back. It is marked "Private."

Your husband's room, was his in the front?

Yes, it was in the right, on the other side of the sitting room.

Was Murry's again on the left, but beyond yours?

Yes, down through the passage.

Had you undressed before you heard anything?

I heard Bob go through the passage to Murray's room, and I heard them talking. Murray came up first about five or ten minutes before I did. I sat talking a little time to my husband. A few minutes after I came up my husband came up. He went straight through the passage to Murray’s room, without going to his own. I could hear because he had his shoes on.

You heard someone talking. What did you hear?

When I heard them talking loudly I opened the door and went into the passage. I had not begun to undress. I could not hear what they said at first, but it got louder.

Did you think they were quarrelling?


What was the first thing you heard?

My husband said he thought he heard some talking upstairs. He shouted this as I came out. I said, "There’s been no talking up here. You must be mistaken." I said this as I came through the passage to them.

Your husband meant you were talking, didn’t he?

I did not stop to think; I said, "You must be mistaken."

What happened then?

He pointed to a small hole in the wall in the passage. He was not talking to me then.

What did he say?

He was talking quickly and said a lot. He wanted to know the meaning of the hole.

Was this a small hole in the wooden partition that formed one side of your bedroom and the other side of the hole is into a passage nearly opposite Murray’s door?

Yes, I said I had noticed it before.

Was there a light in your room?

Yes, or else the hole would not have been visible. I first noticed the hole two months ago.

What else was said?

My husband pushed me away and told me to go to my own room as it was not my business, and nothing to do with me. As I turned to go he said. "You can clear out of this (meaning the house) to-morrow morning." He meant Murray. My husband went on, "I have had enough of this." I said to Murray also, "Yes, go to-morrow morning." I also have had enough of this."

Did Murray say anything?

I did not hear anything. I went into my room then.

Did the conversation continue after you went into your room?

I don't think so. Bob went into the sitting room, closing the door after him. He had the cash box in one hand and the candle in the other as he spoke.

You think that was all that was said?

As I went into my room the last words I heard were from Murray, "If you hit me now, Bob, you are a coward; I can t fight." I can't say exactly that they were the words. I heard no more except the door closing.

Did you hear anything of Murray?

No, he was nearer to his room.

What was the next thing?

I heard nothing more for a long time till I was just getting into bed. Once I thought I heard some voices. Then I thought it might be Faney, or someone outside.

Just as you were about to got into bed, what did you hear?

A knock or tap on my door. I put on my dressing gown and said, "Who is it?" I did not hear any answer, so I opened the door because I thought it was Bob.

Who was there?

Percy. I said, "What are you here for? What do you want?" He said, "Give me that sovereign that belongs to me which you have had of mine." I said. Go away, don’t stop here; if Bob sees you he will kill you." He said, "Well, then, give me my sovereign." I put my hand up and got my purse, which was on the chest of drawers, and gave it to him, and said, "Oh take it, be off; it's in there." I wanted him to go as I was afraid Daddy would come.

Did he take it.?

Yes, took it, and as I was trying to close the door he pushed it open with his foot, and said, "I have done it. Did you shout out Police?" I could not make out what he meant, he looked so strange. I felt frightened, he looked so funny. Then he turned to go, so I put my slippers on and followed him downstairs.

Had you a candle?

The gas was lit in my room; I always have it.

What was the first thing you noticed?

The Police Sergeant standing close to the door.

Was anything said?

I looked round wondering where Bob was. I saw the Sergeant and Percy there, and said, "What's the matter? Where's Bob?" Then Percy moved, and I saw Bob lying on the ground. I asked what was the matter. Someone said, "There he is, dead." I looked at Percy, and knowing they had quarrelled, and seeing how he looked, I knew he had done it. He said, "I did it, and I shall suffer for it."

The inquest at this stage, 5 p.m., was adjourned till 6 p.m., whilst the Jury went to tea.

After the adjournment, the examination of Mrs. Pearce was continued. She said she could scarcely remember anything after this, as it all seemed blurred to her mind. She saw the knife picked up, but she did not remember who did so. Everyone kept asking questions, including Inspector Heard and the doctor, but she could not remember what they were. She took them to show them where the knife box was. She know the knife produced as one she had used many a time. It was left with another like it at their house by a cook. They were kept in the knife box with other knives, on the end of the dresser. Percy always cleaned the knives. She could not remember using those knives for the last day or two. The knife was used for carving.

Whichever way you go you have to go down steps into the kitchen?


Whilst witness was giving this portion of her evidence, prisoner broke into convulsive sobbing, which lasted for some minutes.



The Coroner then asked Inspector Heard for the letter found in the blotting pad, which he handed to the witness and asked whose handwriting it was?


How do you know?

I have received letters lots of times, and so has my husband, from him.

Had Percy a friend named Arthur?

Yes; he is a friend also of mine and my husbands. He stayed with us in the summer.

Did you know Percy had written a letter to Arthur?


How did you know?

I asked him, and he said he had partly done it.

When was this?

Last Saturday week; I can’t say exactly.

Did he show it you?

I looked at it, but I did not read it. He told me what it contained.

Do you believe it was the letter you have just seen?

I know it was.

Was there any further conversation about it?

I told him he was not to send it if he mentioned our affairs in it. He said, "Oh, all right."

The Coroner: I will read the portion of the letter. It is:-

The Fountain, Beach Street,

Deal, Dec. 4. 1905.

Dear Arthur.— I hear from a reliable source tonight that there is likely to be trouble. I think it would be best to avoid it, so I have found courage to write to you.

Well, old boy, your opinion of me now must be at about the lowest. I can't give proper exotics now, Arthur, but I must wait until such times as we are together to settle these minor accounts. I am sorry to say, dear Arthur, that things down here are as bad as ever, and if something does not soon turn up, you may possibly hear of trouble.

I am not writing in this strain for fun, but it is only too true. Dear Hetty is about broken down, and drink and jealousy are the two chief causes. On Friday evening, or rather about 1 a.m., Hetty came home from a dance. Bob grot drunk and went to meet her. She evidently thought he had had enough. She asked me what I would have, and got one for herself, and then he "started." Believe me, Arthur, he raved like a maniac, cursing and swearing, and I made sure he would have would have killed her. He made to strike her, but dropped his band. Thank God he did. I am not a man capable of fighting him, but I would defend our Hetty——

Here the letter stopped.

The Coroner: Had you been living on good terms with your husband?

Until very lately, sir.

What was the cause of any differences that may have arisen?

Things were going rather bad in the place, and sometimes we got irritable one with another.

Do you mean trade?




You heard what was stated in the letter. Two things were mentioned, one was drink and the other was jealousy. Was your husband given to drinking?

Only sometimes.

Did he take more recently than he was accustomed to?

When we first came to the house he used to take hardly anything, but he may have taken a little too much lately.

Did you say that you took more?

No; I don't take much.

Did drink make his disposition more irritable?

I think it was not doing much trade more than anything else.

Was your husband jealous of Murray?

I don’t think so; not until quite recently—that is—he seemed to be at times.

Did he object to your going out at nights?

I did not go out except on Fridays, that was the only time unless to shop, and that not often.

Was your husband's conversation with Murray on Saturday night caused by jealousy?

I don’t think so. We had been on such good terms all the evening and the day previous.

To what reason did you put down your husbands conversation on Saturday night?

He thought he heard me talking upstairs. I was very much surprised.

Was not that jealousy. He thought you were upstairs talking to Murray?


How long have you known Murray?

Since last June twelve months. He came to work at the same place where I was.

Were you acquainted with Murray before you know your husband?


Did your husband know Murray before you were married?

Yes. I introduced him the first time he came over.

You have known Murray 18 months through both working at the same place? When did Murray come to you at the "Fountain"?

About a fortnight after we came.

In what capacity?

As potman. He helped all over the place.

He got on with your husband until quite recently?

They were always friends together until very recently.

When did Arthur stay at your house?

About two months ago from a Saturday till Wednesday.

It is two months since Arthur had been in the house, and the letter said "Things are as bad as ever." Do you say things were right then?
There had always been little differences, but not quite so much as now.

Had you some of Murray’s money?

A sovereign that he drew from the Bank to buy a present for his sister, but Bob said he would be silly, as he would want the money at Christmas to be like other people.

Did Murray and your husband ever come to blows?

No, my husband always seemed to treat Percy as a boy, and my husband would not hit a boy.

Did you know his age?

We used to tease him about being a boy, and he said he would be a man in July—that is, he would be 21.

Did you wish Murray to leave the house?

No, he seemed to do so much for us. Once before I said he was to leave, but Bob said, "Talk it over again." Bob used to pay him. He hired him, not me.

Did you think it better Murray should go owing to the disturbance?
Yes, I did at last.

You thought that things would be better?

Bob used to think so much of him. He used to smooth things over at first, but not so much lately.

In reply to the Coroner, witness said Murray was abstemious. He did not take much drink. She had never seen him the worse for drink since he had been at Deal. On Saturday night Murray was sober, as far as she knew.

The Foreman said the Jury could not understand how it was that witness heard no noise, whilst the sergeant heard the cry of "Police!" 150 yards away.

The Coroner: Did you hear any noise?

Witness: I don’t think so, or I should have gone down. I once thought I heard a noise, and then I thought that it was nothing.

The Foreman said the letter read referred to a ball. Where was that, and did her husband go to it?

Witness said that she went to the Sergeants' dance at the Depot. The invitation came for both her husband and her. She went at 9 and her husband was coming at 10. She had been to four dances, but her husband had been at each.

Inspector C. A. Heard, Kent County Constabulary, at Deal, said: I was called about 12.45 on Sunday morning by the witness Baker to the "Fountain Hotel," Beach Street. On arriving there I saw a large quantity of blood on the doorstep leading to the bar, and just inside the door was the body of deceased, in a pool of blood, on the floor. Mrs. Pearce, Murray, Sergeant Curtis, and witness Baker were all in the bar. Deceased was only dressed in trousers, cotton tennis shirt, and flannel undershirt. His feet were bare, and both covered with blood. Sergeant Curtis having told me about the affair, I at once searched the prisoner. In his pocket was the purse produced, containing 1 4s. 11d., also a knife, a pencil in a case, some studs and sleeve links, and also a small photo of the witness Hetty Pearce. I said to the witness Hetty Pearce, "I want you to account to me for the movements of persons in the house since closing time, and I will take it down." She stated: "About a quarter to 12, I went to my bedroom. My husband and myself have been on bad terms. About three minutes later my husband came upstairs and shouted in the passage. "What’s all that talking about?" I then opened my bedroom door and said, "There is not any talking here." My husband then went along to Percy's room. I then came on to the landing. He said, "You go back to bed." I went back to bed, and afterwards heard some talking. Percy then came up and said, "here is my money, you have a sovereign of mine?" I then opened my door, and Percy put one foot inside the door. I then handed him my purse and said. "There’s your money." Percy said, "I have done it; the police are downstairs. Did you shout out of the window?" I said, "What's up then?" and came downstairs, and found the policeman there, and my husband lying on the floor." When Mrs. Pearce finished, prisoner said, "I did it." Sergeant Curtis then took charge of the prisoner, and I examined the premises and deceased.



On the top of deceased's left breast, about two inches below the collar bone, was a clean cut wound about an inch in length and perpendicular in its shape. The two shirts deceased had on were saturated with blood, and there were two clean cuts through the left side of the shirts corresponding with the wound on the shoulder.

I took some measurements. The deceased’s feet were 23 inches from the door. You had to move the right foot slightly to open the door. The head was resting in a spittoon which was touching the counter. From the front door to deceased there was a mat partly under his feet, and blood had trickled from the doorstop to where deceased was lying—four or five trickles as if it had dropped off something. There were four or five patches of blood in different places till within six feet of the bottom of the stairs. On the door at the bottom of the stairs, between the passage and some part of the bar, there were splashes of blood from the floor to about 18 inches upwards. There were also several small splashes between these and the bottom of the stairs, some six feet high.

Did you find any trace of blood beyond this part towards the stairs?

That was the furthest point. Sergeant Curtis had previously pointed out to me where the knife was found. From where the body was lying to there was twelve feet distant. Sergeant Curtis, who was in charge of Murray, told me that prisoner stated that there was a letter in a pad under the sofa in a room behind the bar, and in a blotting pad was the letter that was previously produced. I went through the whole of the place, and failed to find the place disarranged in any way. There was no appearance of a struggle having taken place. I also took possession of other letters I found in a room upstairs, said to be occupied by Murray. There were several letters and picture postcards, some received from witness Pearce and also from her husband. I also produce a letter prisoner received today. I afterwards went to the station, where I cautioned prisoner, and charged him with the murder of deceased. He made no reply.

In reply to the Coroner, Mr. Bruce Payne said prisoner did not intend to give evidence.

Dr. Mason, of Deal, said that he was called at 1.06 a.m. on Sunday, and arrived at the "Fountain" at 11 minutes past one. Deceased was lying inside the door in a pool of blood, as described. His left hand was covered with dry bloodstains, and the soles and backs of both feet covered in blood, and the soles with a small amount of dust mingled with the blood. The right hand was clean except for a bloodstain on one of the fingers, due to lying in a pool of blood. There was a wound in the chest. The vest and shirt were saturated with blood and cut with a mark corresponding to the wound beneath them. There was a small splash of blood on the front of the chin. Witness made a post mortem on Sunday afternoon with Dr. Hunt. The body was that of a strong man about 5ft. 5in. high. On the left side of the chest was a clean cut gaping wound about one inch in length, the centre being situated two inches below the junction between the collar bone and the breast bone. It was 2 1/2 inches from the middle line of the body. Passing a probe down the wound, it went for a distance of five inches in a direction downwards and inwards towards the middle line of the body. The wound passed through the muscles on the front of the chest, the space between the second and third ribs, divided the third rib, and went partly into the space between the third and fourth ribs. On deeper dissection the wound was found to pierce the anterior edge of the left lung, the lining of the heart, the left auricular cavity of the heart, the junction of the aorta—the largest body coming from the heart—and the left ventricle. The rupture of the aorta would cause bleeding from which death would ensue very quickly. The wound might have been caused with the knife produced, and he considered considerable force must have been used. If a right-handed man stabbed another, he should expect the stab to be on the left side. There was no possibility of a wound like this being self-inflicted.

Do you think this wound was caused by a person standing on the same level, or by one standing higher or lower?

It might have been either higher or on the same level.

Would it have been possible for a person being wounded in this way to have gone from the foot of the stairs to the door and called for the Police?

Yes, I don’t think he could have called very loud.

Would the wound cause a person to bleed to death in a few minutes?

Yes, I could almost say in one minute or two minutes at most. The actual cause of death would be haemorrhage from the wound.

In reply to the Coroner, witness said that the mortuary at Deal had neither proper water supply, lighting, nor a proper table.

The Coroner said that perhaps the Committee were considering the improvement of the building.

The Jury asked whether the doctor found from his post mortem if the organs showed if deceased was addicted to drink?

Witness: No, the organs were perfectly healthy.

Dr. Hunt, of Deal, corroborated the medical evidence.



The Coroner, in summing up, said that the Jury had been occupied something like five hours in listening in great detail to the evidence of the case, but as there were not two stories or two theories for them to consider, it would not be necessary for him to deal with it at length. It appeared that in June last Mr. and Mrs. Pearce took the "Fountain" at Deal. They were previously acquainted with Murray, who came a fortnight later to act as barman and render general assistance, and he had remained since that time. From the evidence of the wife, there appeared to have been little disagreements, but they must take it that nothing actually wrong occurred till recently, although the state of things existing in the house for two months past had not been a comfortable state of things, as was shown by the reference in the letter to the person “Arthur.” It was no duty of the Jury however, to apportion moral blame in this matter. They had simply to consider the cause of death. Whether all or any of the parties have done what they ought not to according to moral law was not a matter which concerned the Jury’s attention or his except so far as the cause of death was concerned. It seemed that matters between Mr. and Mrs. Pearce had arrived at such a state that 14 days previously they had occupied different rooms. Mrs. Pearce accounted for the difference because the business was small, but that did not appear to be a cause which would be likely to lead to an issue of life or death. There were suggestions that deceased had been drinking more of late, but that was not borne out by the evidence of the doctor or the statement of the wife. There remained the question of jealousy. It was not for them to say whether or not the jealousy which existed on the part of the deceased was well founded. He had refrained from asking Mrs. Pearce any question which would tend to throw doubt upon her fidelity to her husband, and he would be the last to suggest anything of a blameworthy character in her conduct. It was not their business—they had not enquired into it. They did not know, and could not say. The fact of importance was that there was jealousy, and that there was a strong feeling on the part of Percy Murray which was right, and which was wrong, or whether both were wrong, was not of great importance as regards that enquiry. After the incidents recounted by Mrs. Pearce as to the loud talk in the passage, there was no distinct evidence as to the movements of the deceased and Murray in the few crucial minutes that followed this interview. There was a quarrel, and the husband appeared to have gone back to his room. The potman was not wearing boots, nor was the husband, and would not make much noise in walking about the house after Mrs. Pearce's door was closed. It was not clear in what order these two men got downstairs, where they were next seen. The knife was kept in the kitchen, and both men would know where it was. It was hard to draw an inference from the actual facts. It could hardly be that the deceased man went downstairs first, and that the potman followed him. The tragedy seemed to have occurred at the foot of the stairs. It appeared to be clear from the blood stains that it was there that the deceased received his death wound. The Doctor had said that although the wound was of such a deadly character that it would cause death in a minute or two, it would still be possible for the deceased to have gone to the front door and called for the police and then to have fallen back and died. The evidence of the Sergeant was that when he went by the house first there was a light in the bar, and that when he returned after hearing the cry of "Police," that the light was out. A curious thing about the conduct of the potman was that when he went up to tell Mrs. Pearce that the Police had come, he asked her for the sovereign, and also asked her if she had called for the Police through the window. In concluding the Coroner pointed out that the Jury would have no difficulty as to their decision, as Murray had said he did it, and set up no defence or explanation such as that the wound occurred in a struggle, or was done in self defence. Murray, however, had repeated several times the declaration that, he did it, and must suffer for it, and therefore there should be little doubt, to cause the Jury trouble. He also pointed out that they could not return any other verdict than murder, as there could be no question of manslaughter under the evidence before them.

The Jury then retired, and after an absence of about a quarter of an hour, the Foreman returned and said: We find the prisoner guilty of murder—that is to say, we find that deceased met his death by the hand of Percy George Murray, being stabbed, and therefore we bring in a verdict of "Wilful murder."


From the Dover Express, March, 1906.

Pub murder death sentence

Deal pub "potman" Percy Murray was sentenced to death for the murder of his boss at the town's "Fountain Inn" but the jury recommended mercy because of his age. Kent Assizes heard of rows between licensee John Pearce and his wife Hetty, a friend of Murray. The court heard of a hole bored in a wall between Murray's room and the couple's room.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 16 February 1907.


The annual licensing meeting for the Borough of Deal was held on Thursday, the justices present being the Mayor (Alderman H. S. Chapman), Councillor Bayly (ex-Mayor), Alderman Edgar, and Messrs. W. H. Barnett and C. J. Burgess.

The Mayor said the Magistrates were very pleased that the report was so satisfactory. They had decided to renew the whole of the licences with the exception of six—the "Crown," "Druids Arms," "Crispin," "Friendly Port," "Lifeboat," and "Fountain." In these cases notice of objection would be served, and the cases would be heard at the adjourned meeting on the 7th March.


From the East Kent Mercury Thursday 30th December, 1971, kindly supplied by Deal library.

Fountain Hotel, Deal

Above picture reproduced from another sketch of "The Fountain"

The "Fountain Hotel" once stood in Beach Street next to the "Royal Hotel." It was greatly used by seafarers, especially pilots. And many famous people who came to Deal to take boats to all parts of the world stayed there. It achieved notoriety in 1905 when its licensee was murdered. It ceased to function in 1910 and was demolished soon afterwards by Deal Corporation in one of its road widening schemes. In it heyday, the "Fountain Hotel" was known throughout the world to seafarers and its comforts were recalled as many a fine ship staggered around Cape Horn.


From an email received 12 November 2015.

Hello, I've been researching an old watercolour of the "Fountain Hotel." Judging from the two images you already have I would imagine the watercolour was probably painted some time between 1900 - 1910, as the "Fountain Hotel" sign is now fitted over the right side of the hotel. Probably more towards 1900 as it seems to also have flag poles? - on various parts of the roof.

Fountain Hotel watercolour

The signature on the back appears to be O Lessor.

Karl Donaldson

From the East Kent Mercury 13th October, 1982, kindly supplied by Deal library.

One of Deal's long forgotten public houses is the "Fountain Hotel," which stood on the east side of Beach Street, right next door to the "Royal Hotel." It was an eye-catching building with wooden boarded walls and its stagings overlooked the sea. It was, in its day, greatly used by pilots and seafarers of all nations. For most of its life the proprietors of the "Fountain Hotel" were themselves successful boatmen, providing a victualling service to the vessels at anchor in the Downs. And the landlords and customers alike were not averse to a little smuggling. Many a successful run was planned in the bar of the "Fountain hotel" and there were secret panels, false stairs and a tunnel all used by the smugglers. The "Fountain" lost its smuggling association when the activity came to an end in Deal but it became notorious again in 1905 when the licensee was murdered by one of the barmen. A few years later the old premises were demolished for the widening of Beach Street.


Fountain Hotel circa 1909

Above photo circa 1909 shows the "Fountain Hotel" between the two masts, centre of the picture. On the right of that is the "Royal Hotel." The building of the "Fountain" was demolished with the widening of Beach Street around about the same time and the site is now occupied by a car-park.



BATELEY Edward 1776+

COLLAR Widow 1804+

MORGAN Giles 1823-24+ Pigot's Directory 1823Pigot's Directory 1824

BAKER William 1828 Deal Licensing Register alehouse

BAKER Mary 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

WOOD Gilbert 1832-39+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839

NORTH Henry 1840-47+ Pigot's Directory 1840Bagshaw's Directory 1847

PHILPOTT William Deane 1851-58+ Melville's 1858

PHILPOTT Catherine 1861+ (age 54 in 1861Census)

COLLIS Samuel S 1862+ Kelly's 1862

OTTAWAY Mr J to Jan/1872 Deal Mercury

PORTER George Edward Jan/1872-74+ Deal MercuryKelly's 1874Post Office Directory 1874

REA Edward 1882+ Post Office Directory 1882

ALMOND Caroline Mrs 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

FRIERS John 1899-1903+ Kelly's 1899Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

PEARCE Robert William June-Dec/1905 dec'd

JENNINGS M A Mrs 1913-22+ Post Office Directory 1913Deal library 1914Post Office Directory 1922


Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

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

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

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

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Kelly's 1862From the Kelly's Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Kelly's 1874From the Kelly's Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Deal library 1914Deal Library List 1914

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Deal Licensing RegisterDeal Licensing Register

Deal MercuryFrom the Deal Walmer & Sandwich Mercury


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