Sort file:- Ashford, August, 2019.

Page Updated Ashford:- Sunday, 25 August, 2019.


Earliest 1656-

Saracens Head Hotel


56 High Street


Saracen's Head Hotel Saracen's Head Hotel

Above two postcards showing the "Saracen's Head Hotel," dates unknown.

Saracen's Head Hotel 1918.

Above postcard showing the building in 1918.

Saracen's Head

Above postcard, date unknown. The hotel is on the right.

Saracen's Head card

Above showing a card used at the "Saracen's Head" date unknown.

Saracen's Head

Above photo, date unknown.


Known as the "Saracens Head Family & Commercial Hotel & Posting House" it can be traced back to 1666 to date, probably older when some tokens were being used, value d.

Saracen's Head 1666 token


In 1869-70 the pub was part of a consortium who were advertising their goods of selling tea in response to grocers' selling beer and wine. (Click for further details.)


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Wednesday, 21 September to Saturday, 24 September, 1768. Price 2d.

On Thursday next, the 20th Inst. there will be a Card and Dancing Assembly at the “Saracen Head” at Ashford.

September 22, 1768.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Wednesday, 21 September to Saturday, 24 September, 1768. Price 2d.


The next Meeting of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, acting within this Division, will be at the “Saracen's Head” at Ashford, on Saturday the 15th Day of October next; for proofing Accounts of Surveyors of the Highways, and appointing new Officers f9or the Year ensuing, at which Time and Place the Constables are torcsern Lists of Persons named by the Several Parties to be Surveyors, who are likewise to attend and accept the Office, or shew Cause against their being appointed by the Justices.

A. Ingles, Clerk.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 February, 1773. Price 1d.


On Saturday the third Day of April next, between the Hours of Ten and Eleven in the Forenoon.

At the “SARACEN'S HEAD,” in ASHFORD, in the County of Kent, (If not disposed of by private contract before that Day)

ALL that the MANOR and FARM of FALKNERSHURST, otherwise FALCONERSHURST, situate and being in the Parish of Hurst otherwise Falknershurst, and Bonnington, in the said County of Kent; which said Farm consists of 223 Acres, 1 Rood, and 37 Perches of Arable, Meadow, Wood, and Pasture Land, of which 105 Acrcs, 3 Roods and 15 Perches lye in Romney Marsh, and are let on Lease to John Dunk, at the yearly Rent of 135, of which ten years are unexpired at Michaelmas next. Together with the perpetual Advowson of the said Parish Church of Falkenhurst, otherwise Falconershurst, aftersaid.

The above Estate will be very improvable at the Expiration of the Lease; and the Purchaser will be entitled to all Privileges as a Lord of Romney Marsh.

Any Person desires of treating for the above Estate by private Contract, or for further Particulars, may enquire of Edward Woodcock, Esq. Lincoln's Inn, Mr. Carleton, in Arundell, Sussex, or of Mr. Pattinson, Attorney, at Ashford, in Kent.


Kentish Gazette 05 April 1780.

On Tuesday next, the 11th Instant.

There will be a Dancing and card assembly, at the "Saracen's Head," Ashford.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 11 October 1785.

On Wednesday, the 19th instant, there will be a Dancing and Card assembly, at the "Saracens Head Inn," Ashford, admittance to non-subscribers, 3d.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 4 October 1796.

Notice. Mr. John Stewart's Wood Treat will be at the "Saracens Head Inn," Ashford, on October 7th.

Dinner on table at 12 o'clock.

He hopes all concerned in the business will be sure to attend.

John Stewart.


From the Maidstone Gazette and West Kent Courier, 11 May, 1830.

A public meeting was held, on Wednesday last, at the "Saracens Head Inn," Ashford, for the purposes of forming a Society similar to the Friendly Association at Sittingbourne. A committee was appointed from among persons (who were few in number) to canvas the neighbourhood with a view to the establishment of the Society in Ashford.


Kentish Gazette, 19 Dec 1843.


Dec. 7 - at Ashford, Mr. George CRUX, late head-waiter at the Saracen's Head Inn, in that town, aged 37.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 3 March, 1860. Price 1d.


A meeting of the members of this corps was held at the “Saracen's Head Inn,” on Tuesday, at which the nominations of Captain Groves to the command of the corps, Mr. W. P. Burra as Lieut, and Mr. J. Furley as Ensign, were unanimously confirmed. The Chairman stated that in a conversation he had had with the Lord-Lieutenant, he had ascertained that the corps would be permitted to adopt the green or West Kent uniform, instead of the “work-house grey” which had been adopted by East Kent. A pattern of the West Kent uniform was handed round for inspection of the members. A resolution that it be adopted was met by an amendment in favour of the East Kent uniform, but the former was carried by a large majority. It was resolved that the drill should commence in the Assembly Room on Tuesday evening last, and the proceedings then terminated.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 13 April 1861.


On Tuesday the general meeting of the subscribers of the Agricultural Association was held at the "Saracens Head Hotel," to decide whether the society should terminate, or whether a revision of the premiums should be made.

Sir. N. J. Knatchbull, Bart., presided.

A resolution dissolving the society was carried.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 23 March 1872.


A sale by auction took place at the "Saracen’s Head Hotel," on Tuesday, conducted by Mr. Alfred Thomas. There was a large attendance. The property is situated in the town and neighbourhood of Tenterden, and consisted of 14 lots.

The first lot was the freehold premises known as the Tenterden brewery; no offer.

Lot 2, a storehouse and stables, &c., and a cottage adjoining, attached to the brewery, no offer.

Lot 3, a freehold, known as the "Vine" wine, bear, and spirit stores, with two tenements adjoining, and a cottage, situate in High-street, Tenterden; this lot realised 680.

Lot 4. freehold land, having a frontage at 78 feet next the road to the brewery, with 48 feet next the High-street, with a depth of 43 feet; 190.

Lot 5, a similar piece, with 43 feet frontage, depth 134 feet; 135.

Lot 6, land, 43 feet frontage by 129 feet; 140.

Lot 7, land, with frontage to Brewery road of 88 feet by 168 feet; 125.

Lot 8, land, 108 feet frontage by 195 feet, with lodges and piggeries; 130.

The next lot, a freehold public house, the "Crown," Boar's Isle, with two tenements adjoining, realised 760.

The "Bonny Cravat," Woodchurch, was knocked down to Mr. Maile, of Faversham, for 1,100. The pasture land connected with the house, containing 1a. 3r. 34p., fetched 260, bought by Mr. Maile.

Lot 12, the "Ewe and Lamb" public house, Wittersham, fetched 900.

Lot 13, the "Star" beerhouse, at Rolvenden, was bought by Mr. Chapman for 275.

Lot 14, the "Cricketers" beerhouse, Hawkhurst, was purchased by Mr. R. Chapman for 320.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 5 January 1901. Price 1d.


A combined meeting of the local branch of tha N.A.U. and the Hop Growers' Association was heId at the "Saracan's Head Hotel" on Tuesday, Colonel Cheesman presiding. The Chairman adopted the view that it was not desirable for farmers' associations to take up the task of urging the Legislators to adopt a law to assure the provision of pure beer, and that is would be better to leave the agitation to the general public.

Mr. A. Brown urged that the present was an opportunity of which farmers should not omit to taka advantage. Meetings should be held in all parts of the country and there should also be a combined county meeting or a large general meeting in London to be held before the assembling of Parliament. Mr. Brown expressed his utter astonishment at the fact that the sanitary authorities of Manchester and Salford were supporting the brewers in the contention that bear brewed from malt and hops alone might be more deleterious than that obtained from saccharine and other things which had caused so much trouble. He would like to see beer put under the Food and Drugs Act, or else an Act passed compelling brewers to label their concoctions; seeing that it was too much to hope that Parliament should pass a bill preventing the employment of anything but barley, malt, and hops.

Mr. Pledge suggested that every parish council should take up the matter and get petitions signed by everybody, and remarked that the present conjuncture gave the growers of hops and barley an opportunity such as they had never before had, of laying before Parliament the grievances under which they had laboured so long.

Mr. E. Lord, jun., contended that representative bodies should take up the matter from the point of of the public health and the greatest good for the greatest number. What was the good of giving the people pure food, if they did not also give them pure drink. He proposed a resolution to the effect that the Legislature be earnestly entreated to ensure purity in drink as well as in food. This was carried, and it waa decided to send copies to Mr. Hanbury, the Local Government Board, Mr. L. Hardy, Mr. J. Lowther. Mr. Akers Douglas, Col. Warde. Col. Brookfeld, and Sir E. Sassoon. It was decided also to arrange for a public meeting to be held at Ashford.


From the Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press, Saturday 12 April 1930.


The Court confirmed the granting of the "off" licence and spirits licence granted by the Ashford Division in respect of premises at 57, High Street, Ashford.


From accessed 27 December 2013.

History was made on 8 January, 1856, when graziers and agriculturalists met at the Saracen's Head Inn and founded the Ashford Cattle Market Company Ltd.

Ashford Cattle Market sign

Lord of the Manor George Elwick Jemmett agreed to lease a field off Elwick road and the South Eastern Railway Company set out terms to provide a siding for a market site. The following month farmers and graziers signed a document pledging support for a new market. The company was formed with the issue of 250 shares at 10 each, a fair sum of money in those days.

Today, the company is the oldest, surviving, registered company in England and Wales.

The Market is used by some 5,000 farmers and provides direct employment for more than 100 people. It has become one of the most important in the United Kingdom, indeed Europe, with annual turnover of 20 million, which puts it in the top 15.

Open seven days a week, the new market reflects the same kind of vision of those intrepid farmers who set out on this path over 140 years ago.

The Relocation. The High Speed Rail Link.

As far back as 1986 when the Channel Tunnel Bill was in its early stages it was clear to Ashford Cattle Market Company that the Cattle Market would have to make way for the construction of a new railway line.

Between 1986 and 1995 the Market Company struggled under the blight of the High Speed Rail Link to relocate from Ashford town centre to an out of town site. These negotiations involved three abortive deals reached with different developers, each thwarted by problems directly related to the indecision and construction of the High Speed Rail Link.

Eventually, a Bill was to be put before Parliament dealing specifically with the construction of the High Speed Rail Link. This placed the Market Company under the threat of losing its town centre site and, at the very worst, the possibility of the business being extinguished by payment of a lump sum compensation.

The Market Company had originally been set up to provide services for the agricultural and rural community and the Market Company Directors were determined that the Company should continue in this vein. A highly and experienced professional team was put together to negotiate with London and Continental Railways. These negotiations took over 18 months and culminated in the Market Company petitioning the Bill at both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Thankfully, the Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee supported the Market Company's position and insisted on the very last day of the Select Committee's work that London and Continental Railways should agree terms with the Market Company within the next 24 hours to relocate the Company from the town centre site. London and Continental Railways would provide the Market Company with a 15 acre site on Orbital Park, close to Junction 10 of the M20 together with the funds to build the new facility.


From assessed 27 December 2013.


In 1549 the manor of Ashford was sold to Sir Anthony Aucher of Ottenden, and it remained in the family until 1765. The Jemmett family took it over in 1805 and held it until 1951. Until the beginning of the eighteenth century the manor owned much of the town, including parkland, shops, and houses. The "Saracen's Head Inn" was probably administrative centre of the manor, for it contained lodgings for the steward in the Middle Ages and later. Since its demolition at the beginning of the nineteenth century there has been no manorial presence in the town.


From an email received 28 March 2016.

Just a quick note to take the info on the "Saracen's Head" back a little further:

In 1656 Henry Lethbetter was the innkeeper until James Bowling (believed to be son of William Bowling alias Boulden/Boulding a "seperatist from the Church of England" - i.e. a puritan of some sort) hit him on the head with an iron bar.

Arthur Ruderman's A History of Ashford.

p57 In 1656 a coroner's inquest was held on Henry Lethbetter, a keeper of the "Saracen's Head." Evidence was given that "James Bowling, joiner, was moved by the instigation of the Divell to throw an iron file at Lethbetter", hitting him on the head and causing his death three weeks later.

U86 Doubleday Collection Maidstone mentions Coroner's Inquest (probably a reference to the above)

Kent Indictments 1649-59 at PRO

[ref 1541] Trial by Jury for...James Bowling..(amongst others)

[ref 1385] Writ, capias,..James Bowling of Ashford, joiner, 1656

CMB Maidstone

1658 Feb 19 bur Elizabeth Bowling wife of James in jail

James was married to an Elizabeth but I haven't found where and she died in 1658 while he was in jail in Maidstone.

What happened to him afterwards I don't know

Best wishes,

David Boulding.


Further research tells me the "Saracen's Head Hotel" has been demolished, and used as a Sainsbury's supermarket on closure, but as yet I do not know when.



LETHBETTER Henry to 1656

WOOD Samuel 1666+

WALTER William & Elizabeth 1832-40+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

HARRISON Charles 1858-66+ (age 49 in 1861Census)

FOSTER A H 1869-70

HARDING Thomas to Apr/1870

EDWARDS Thomas 1871-82+ (age 42 in 1871Census)

SERGEANT Daniel Wycliffe 1891+ (age 40 in 1891Census)

HITCHCOCK Thomas L 1901+ (age 52 in 1901Census)

TANNER C 1918+



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



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