Sort file:- Canterbury, September, 2020.

Page Updated:- Monday, 21 September, 2020.


Earliest 1738-

Kings Arms

Latest 1930+

49 St. Peter's Street


King's Arms pre 1930                          King's Arms pre 1930

Above two photos taken from the Historic Canterbury web site

Former King's Arms

Above picture from Google, July 2009, showing the premises of 49 St. Peter's Street.

King's Arms 2017

Above photo, October 2017, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.


Traced back to 1828 so far and up to 1930. The premises seems to be the same today but to date I do not know when it ceased trading as a public house. Around the turn of the 20th century the licensee Richard Kempton was also a professor of music and I believe the building also operated as "The Canterbury Electric Theatre" and put on plays and exhibitions including the following:- "August 2, 1913 - Manager E. Cawse-Morgon. The Eagle's Claw, The study of a modern scientific criminal in a series of breathless sensations." Also:- "Special cricket week attractions. Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, George Gray in "The Fighting Parson" Thursday, Friday and Saturday - Will Evans in his screamingly absurdity, "Harnessing a Horse." Information taken from Historic Canterbury web site.


PARES, David, St. Peters Canterbury, pugilist - opened boxing school at King's Arms, St. Peter's Street. (Kentish Gazette 26-29 1790 p. 1 col. 2)


Derby Mercury, Thursday 26 October, 1738.

Canterbury, October 21st. On Monday the 16th instant was committed to our Gaol, one Caleb Campbel, soldier, who quartered at the "Kings Arms" in St. Peter's, for the horrid fact of ravishing Elizabeth Burton, a child about 5 years old. He abused the child's body, and gave her the foul disease, which is even attended with a very violent Gonorrhoea. She is under the hands of Mr. Sall, Man Midwife. The fellow is in Irons; but we hear denies the fact, tho' he confesses he has got the distemper upon him, and that he has had it for some months.


Kentish Gazette 09 October 1787.


Thursday last died Mr. William Lodge, one of his Majesty's Yeoman of the Guards, and the person who seized Maureen Nicholson, when she attempted to stab the King: he was some years since master of the "King's Arms Inn," in this city.


Kentish Gazette, 5 July 1794

With Mr. Ely at the "Kings Arms"..... at "Kings Arms" on a Jury of a drowned man. ....NB …desired Mr. Ely to give me an estimate of such repairs wanting at the "Kings Arms" in his business.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 13 February 1818.


Feb. 10, at St. Peter's Church, Canterbury, Mr. Tucker of Deal, to Mrs. Rouse, landlady of the "King's Arms" public-house, St. Peter's-street, Canterbury.


Kent Gazette, 15 January 1839.


The "King's Arms" public house, St. Peter's Street, Canterbury.

Apply on the premises.


From the Kentish Gazette, 29 August 1848.

The County Court was opened an Thursday last by C. Harwood, Esq. There were no cases of general importance, if we except that of the renewal of a demand upon the Secretary of the "King’s Arms" 20 Burial Society for payment of a claim upon the death of a member. The case had been referred to arbitration, and the decision, from some informality, had led to the plaintiff's being non-suited. The arguments pro and con. occupied the court a long time, when the judge stated that he had not the power to alter his judgment. He then confirmed the order of non-suit, reserving the question of costs to a future occasion, when the subject will probably be re-opened by a new trial.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 30 April 1853.


An inquest was held on Wednesday by Mr. Delasaux at the "King's Arms," on the body of an aged woman, named Elizabeth Clark, who was taken ill on Sunday, and died before medical attendance could be obtained. A witness deposed that she went to five surgeons, four of whom were out, and the fifth too ill to attend, and that by the time she did find one to comply with her request, the woman was dead, Mr. T. S. Cooper, who had since made an external examination, gave an opinion that there was nothing to indicate other than natural causes for death, and a verdict was returned accordingly.


South Eastern Gazette 07 September 1858.


On the 30th ult, at Brompton, Middlesex, Mr. W. Solly, aged 51 years. Deceased was son of the late Mr. Richard Solly of the "King's Arms Inn," Canterbury.


From the Kentish Chronicle. 20 August 1859. Price 1d.


(Before the Mayor, Alderman Plummer, T. Philpott Esq., and Captain Love.)

John West Tolhurst, landlord of the “King's Arms.” St. Peters, was charged with having sold two glasses of foreign wine without a license, on the 30th alt.

The defendant pleaded guilty to selling the wine, but submitted in extenuating that he was asked for some wine by a party and that he sent out and bought it of a neighbour, and sold it at the same price as he gave for it. He was not aware that he was doing wrong. as he made no profit by selling the wine.

Mr. Hamilton said he had reasons to believe that the defendant had carried on the practice for the put twelve months.

This the defend denied.

The Major said the fine for such an offence was 50 but the bench had power to mitigate it, and they would do so its much as they could. The defendant would therefore have to pay a fine of 12 10s.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 14 May 1870.


Edwin Standven was charged with assaulting Police Sergeant Hayward whilst in the execution of his duty on Saturday morning.

Defendant pleaded not guilty.

P.S. Hayward stated that he was in the High Street on Saturday morning between one and two, and heard a disturbance taking place in the upper part of the town, in which direction he immediately proceeded. On arriving as far as Mercery Lane, he heard the noise of a stone against the shutters of Mr. Mason’s shop, and saw three men in the road, one of whom he recognised as Standven, who on seeing him ran down Butchery Lane. He met the other two and complained to them of their conduct in the streets, and whilst he was talking to them several stones were thrown at him from the corner of Mercery Lane by a person whom he thought was Standven.

P.C. Rye being also on the scene, witness dispatched him in pursuit of defendant, who ran away. Witness was afterwards passing the "King’s Arms," St. Peter’s when he heard the defendant talking inside at the bar about the affair, and boasting about what he had done to a policeman who had tried to take up one of his friends. Witness looked in and observed "This is exactly what I want, Standven;" and the defendant then admitted that he threw the stones, and said he did not wish to get any one else into a row. A complaint was also made to him of one of the coke fires being upset in the road by the three men.

Cross-examined by defendant: Could not swear it was you who threw the stones, but you afterwards admitted it was you.

P.C. Rye said he was with the last witness at the time mentioned. Stones were thrown against Mr. Reeves’ shutters and three persons were seen running from that direction, the defendant being one. He ran round an afterwards stood at the corner of Mercery Lane and pelted P.C. Hayward with stones. Witness ran after him but could not catch him. He was afterwards outside the "King's Arms" and heard defendant boasting of what he had done and subsequently make the admission to P.C. Hayward. He could swear the defendant was the person who threw the stones and the one whom he chased.

Defendant stated that he had been out to a party and was talking to a friend with whom he had been in company, at the "King's Arms," the latter, being somewhat inebriated, telling the other persons who were in the bar that he had been throwing stones at a policeman. He (defendant) thereupon declared that it was him who threw the stones. He said so more out of a joke than anything, and he did not think the magistrates would convict on such an admission, in the absence of actual proof of the offence.

The Superintendent having stated that the defendant was a very respectable young man, but that he was very fond of a spree, the Mayor impressed upon the defendant the serious nature of the offence in the eyes of the law and his liability either to fine or imprisonment, but remarked that as the defendant did not appear to have any enmity towards the police sergeant, the magistrates would punish the offence with as much leniency as possible, and would inflict a fine only of 1 and 11s. costs.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 14 February 1903.



I have given notice of objection to the following houses:-

"King's Arms," St. Peter's Street.— That the house is used as a common lodging house; that disorderly conduct has been permitted on the premises; that the sanitary arrangements are unsatisfactory; that the side doors in St. Peter’s drove are dangerous to persons leaving the premises; that the premises are not properly adapted for police supervision, and that the licence is not required to meet the wants of the neighbourhood.


The first case dealt with was that of the "King’s Arms," St. Peter's Street, the renewal of the licence of which the Superintendent opposed.

Chief Constable Farmery stated that he visited the house on December 4th. Besides being licensed premises it was used as a common lodging-house. There was accommodation for over twenty lodgers. The trade of the house was three barrels besides two gallons of spirits. The premises were in a fair state of repair. The lodgers constituted a great nuisance and there had been complaints of disorderly scenes in the back yard. The complaints were chiefly made by the deacons of the Wesleyan Chapel and owners of adjoining property. There was a side door to the house in St. Peter’s Grove and it was very dangerous, the door being flush with the road and there being no foot path. There were two other entrances to the house in St. Peter’s Grove. The house was placed out of bounds by the military authorities in 1891, and it had not since been withdrawn. He also objected to the house as being unnecessary. The "Black Griffin" was 218 feet away, the "Crown and Sceptre" 168 feet, the "Three Compasses" 118 feet, and the "Cricketers" 50 feet. There were five houses within seventy yards.

Mr. Lewis Glyn, K.C. (instructed by Messrs. Mowll and Mowll), appeared for the brewers, Messrs. Leney and Co , Dover, and said there had never been any summons against the holder of the licence of the house.

Superintendent Farmery said that was so.

Mr. Glyn:— The tenant has held the licence for ten years?

Superintendent Farmery:— Yes.

Mr. Glyn asked the Superintendent if his objection was chiefly to the use of the house as a common lodging-house.

Superintendent Farmery said that if that was done away with a great part of the trouble would go, but he objected to a side door and other matters, which he described in detail.

The Chairman asked Mr. Glyn if he gave an undertaking that the lodgers would be taken away.

Mr. Glyn replied in the affirmative and said the house belonged to Messrs. Leney and was the only house they had in Canterbury. The tenant of the house, Bushell, was of exemplary character. He was formerly in the Kent County Constabulary, and there had never been a summons against him during the whole period he had kept the house. Messrs. Leney were prepared to do anything that the Bench considered ought to be done.

Superintendent Farmery said there was an entrance to the house at the back and he considered that a wall should be built there.

The Chairman said the licence would be renewed if the common lodging house business were done away with and if the side doors were closed and a wall erected at the back of the premises. The Justices could not say what might happen next year when another Bench considered the question of the licences in the ward.

Mr. Glyn gave the required undertaking regarding the structural alterations and the doing away of the common lodging-house business.


The Magistrates retired for the purpose of considering the cases. On their return into Court the Chairman said the Magistrates had given a great deal of consideration to the cases having regard to the consequences of their decisions. In the case of the "King's Arm’s" the Justices had decided that it must stand over in order that plans could be submitted and approved for the alterations required by the police and the Surveyor. The plans would have to be submitted by the 21st inst., so that they might be considered before the adjourned Sessions to be held on the 25th, and an undertaking would have to be given that the plans would be carried out to the satisfaction of the police and the Surveyor and a written undertaking would have to be given agreeing to the withdrawal of the lodgers.

The Sessions were then adjourned until February 25th.


At one stage I believe this was operating as Longley's Pork Shop, but the date of this is at present unknown.



LODGE William (master) pre Oct/1787

ELY Mr 1794+

ROUSE Mrs to Feb/1818

TUCKER Mrs (nee Rouse) Feb/1818+

SOLLY Richard 1824-29+ Pigot's Directory 1824Pigot's Directory 1828-29

MARSH John 1832-34+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

GORELY Mary Ann 1838-40+ Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840

MORRIS Joseph 1847+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

TOLHEST/TOLHURST John West 1858-59+ Melville's 1858Kentish Chronicle

WINCLES William 1862+ Post Office Directory 1862

ALLEN S 1867+

CLAY D 1868+ Greens Canterbury Directory 1868

KEMPTON Richard Kempton 1871+ (also Professor of Music age 31 in 1871Census)

MAJOR Henry 1874-82+ (age 52 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

MILLER John 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

KEMPTON Richard date unknown Historic Canterbury web site (professor of music and victualler.)

BUSHELL William S 1901-03+ (age 47 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903Historic Canterbury web site

BEECH Alfred 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

MILES W J 1922+ Post Office Directory 1922

BOISSON Sidney 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930


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


Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site


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