Page Updated:- Tuesday, 01 January, 2019.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Rory Kehoe

Earliest ????

(Name from)

Old Coach and Horses

Open 2019+

Church Hill


01227 766609

Old Coach and Horses 1916

Above postcard, 1916, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Coach and Horses 1920

Above postcard, circa 1920, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Old Coach and Horses 1930

Above photo 1930, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Old Coach and Horses

Above photo showing the "Old Coach and Horses"

Old Coach and Horses sign 1991

Above sign July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


According to Historic Harbledown, the "Coach and Horses" was originally on the other side of the road, a bit further up Church Hill, opposite St. Michael's Church. So, there was obviously two of them with the same name. This property is now called The Grange. Exactly when the "Coach and Horses" ceased trading and crossed over the road isn't currently known. However, it is known that what had been the original pub was purchased in 1864 by George Neame Esq and the deeds state that "All that messuage and tenement then lately used as a public house and called or known by the sign of the "Coach and Horses." So the original "Coach and Horses" had certainly closed by 1864.

At present I am not sure whether the "Old Coach and Horses" is actually older than the original "Coach and Horses" and why the name "Old" was attached to this building.

Further information suggests that the pub was originally called the "Wagon & Horses." Not sure when the Wagon became Coach but if the story is correct, probably c.1800.

New, more recent history.

The "Old Coach and Horses" was a Fremlin's house, so became a Whitbread pub after the 1967 takeover. Like so many newly acquired ex-Fremlin's pubs, the pub fell victim to the post-acquisition right-sizing/asset stripping and was closed/sold without a licence in 1973.

In 1981, the owners re-opened the pub, although it was quite a basic, shabby pub and unsurprisingly, it failed, closing again in 1984. After a two year gap, the pub re-opened in 1986 under new owners Nick and Caroline, both of whom had previously worked for British Airways. Once again, the business failed and the pub closed in late 1987. The next owners, Mark and Val Robinson, opened up the pub again in 1988 adding food to the pub's offering and built up a good local following. Mark (who bore a close resemblance to Postman Pat) offered well kept Real Ales and Val tempted customers with home made curries.

The Robinsons retired in 2001 and sold the pub to the Legge family (close relatives of Dave Lee, the comedian) with Charlotte Whigham running the bar. The pub was sold some years later to local builders, ST Abbott Ltd., with Charlotte staying on as tenant/manager until c.2012. Since 2014 the pub has been managed by Anita Turner, who also runs the "Kentish Cricketers," Canterbury and the "Queen's Head," Boughton.

Above with thanks to John Hipplisley and Rory Kehoe.


I estimated that Flint & Kingsford, who leased the "Old Coach and Horses" in 1838, probably replaced the "Earl Grey" with a new build in the 1840s/50s. As guesses go, not that far off. Bagshaw's 1847 lists the "Coach and Horses" (original pub, over the road from current "Old Coach and Horses") with Thomas Pilcher as licensee. The "Earl Grey" has James Shaxby as Baker, Shopkeeper and Beer House licensee. So, the "Earl Grey"/"Coach and Horses" building replacement must have been between 1847 and 1864. New guess... Shaxby died c.1850 and Flint and Kingsford bought the pub from his widow/family, then transferred the "Coach and Horses licence over to the new build.

By Rory Kehoe.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 10 March 1900. Price 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.), held an inquest at the “Coach and Horses,” Harbledown, on Tuesday, on the body of Sarah Ann Wraight, aged 87. It appeared that deceased, who lived in an almshouse at Harbledown, was standing on a chair, endeavouring to poll down a blind on February 5th, when she over-balanced and fell, fracturing her thigh. Mr. Greasley was sent for and attended deceased until her death on March 5th. Her death was the result of fracture of the thigh, senile debility, and shock.

The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 14 April 1900. Price 1d.


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer.Esq.) held an inquest on Saturdays at the "Coach and Horses," Harbledown, on the body of Benjamin Gomme, aged 86.

Charles John Gomme, school-master, Harbledown, stated that deceased was his father. He had been a carpenter but had done no work for 30 years. About a fortnight ago he was knocking up some old boxes for firewood, and witness learned that he hurt his forefinger of the left hand. He made no remark about it, and witness' attention was only drawn to it on the next day. Early on Tuesday, about 3.50, witness heard a noise and got out of bed and went to deceased's room, but on trying to get in he found there was something blocking the door. Witness called to his little boys who were sleeping in the same room and they lifted deceased's head. Witness then went in and found deceased supported by the boys on the floor. Witness thought he must have fallen off his bed.

Mr. H. O. Preston, surgeon, Canterbury, deposed that on the 3rd last, he found deceased in a high fever suffering from erysipelas of left arm and shoulder. He died on the 6th inst. from wound on forefinger of left hand and erysipelas.

The jury returned a verdict accordingly.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 16 February 1901. Price 1d.


John Coackworth, landlord of the “Coach and Horses,” Harbledown, was summoned for having eight unstamped measures in his possession.

Defendant pleaded guilty and said he bought the measures under the impression that they ware stamped.
John Wellfare, inspector of Weights and Measures, deposed that he found the jugs on defendant's bar on the day named. He asked defendant where he got them from, and he said he bought them in Canterbury from a dealer in earthenware, and he was told they ware stamped. There was however, no stamp upon them. Defendant had some jugs of a similar kind in his bar which were stamped. He (the Inspector) believed that defendant was misled by the dealer he bought them from, as he had heard of similar eases.

The bench imposed a fine of 20s. and costs 10s. and ordered the jugs to be forfeited.


From the Whitstable Times, 27 September, 1902.


George Royal was charged, on remand, with damaging a gas bracket, the property of John Coachworth, at the “Coach and Horses,” Harbledown, to the extent of 15s.

Mr. Scripps prosecuted.

Defendant, who was represented by Mr. Briggs, pleaded not guilty.

Complainant repeated the evidence he gave at a previous bearing that after refusing to serve defendant and another man with drink he heard a noise and the two men ran out of the house. Complainant found the gas bracket broken down.

Sir. Briggs submitted that as there were several men in the room at the time the complainant could not see who committed the damage, and he asked the Magistrates to dismiss the case.

The Bench gave defendant the benefit of the doubt and dismissed the case.


I am informed that the licensee in 1987, Mark Robinson was a dead ringer for Postman Pat, and that's what the locals referred to him as.



HARDY Edwin 1881-82+ (Also grocer & druggist age 40 in 1881Census)Post Office Directory 1882

COACHWORTH John 1891-02+ (age 59 in 1901Census)

STEGGLES Walter to Mar/1909

SOAMES Thomas George Mar/1909+

DAWES Frederick 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

???? 1981-84

Closed 1984-86

???? Nick & Caroline 1986-87

Closed 1987

ROBINSON Mark & Val 1988-2001

WHIGHAM Charlotte 2001-12


TURNER Anita 2017+ (also running the "Kentish Cricketer" Canterbury, and "Queen's Head," Boughton Under Blean.")


Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette

Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle

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

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838


Post Office Directory 1855From the Post Office Directory 1855

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913


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