Sort file:- Ashford, July, 2023.

Page Updated Ashford:- Tuesday, 04 July, 2023.


Earliest 1856-

Somerset Arms

Demolished 1975

1 Somerset Road & 46 North Street


Somerset Arms

Above postcard, date unknown.

Somerset Arms 1951

Above photo, circa 1951, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


The pub was named after the family with the same name who owned a lot of land around Ashford.

Richard Ticknall tell me that this was closed and demolished for the construction of the Tufton Shopping Centre in 1975.


From the South Eastern Gazette, 22 January 1856.

Pigeon shooting.

A match, which have been on the tapes sometime, came off here on Monday last, in the presence of upwards of 300 persons, between Mr. Barling Sharpe, of the "Somerset Arms," Ashford, and Mr. John Kenyon, of Hothfield (the former taking 12 10s. to 10,) at 21 birds each at 21 yards Rise, 80 yards boundary, H and F traps, which resulted in favour of the former who killed 15, to Mr. Kenyon's 14. There was some very good shooting on both sides, that of Mr. Sharp being the best, as, besides the number killed within bounds, two of the birds dropped within a short distance of them.


From the Kentish Express, 8 March, 1856.

Thursday, March 6th. Before W. Burra, Esq.

Barling Sharpe, landlord of the "Somerset Arms," was charged with being drunk, and with furious driving. Police-constable Goodwin stated that on the previous evening complaints were made to him at the furious driving of defendant, in consequence of which he went to the railway station, and saw defendant then with a horse and cart; he persuaded him to let Mr. Hayward lead the horse home, and he did so, but prisoner suddenly lashed the animal, and caused it to start off at a furious rate towards the town, defendant said he was rather in liquor, but denied driving furiously. Mr. Barra said as it was the first time defendant had been brought up, he should only inflict a penalty of 5s. for being drunk, furious driving.


Kentish Gazette 18 March 1856.

A pigeon shoot came off last week between Mr. Barling Sharpe, of the "Somerset Arms," and Mr. Medhurst, of Folkestone, ("King's Arms") for 5 a side at 21 yard rise. The former killed 15 out of 21 birds, and the latter only 13.


From the Kentish Express, 24 May, 1856.

Ashford County Court.

Monday, May 19, 1854.

Before Charles Harwood, Esq. The cause list contained about fifty cases, nearly all of which were for small amounts, and not disputed.

Sharpe v. Allard.

Claim for 1 Os. 6 1/2d., for beer supplied from the "Somerset Arms" to defendant, during the harvest season.

Defendant's wife appeared and disputed the claim, saying she never had more than came to the value of 3s. 8 1/4d., which she had paid at the time.

His Honour said the husband ought to have appeared, and he did not believe the defence, and gave judgment for plaintiff.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 15 September 1857.


Mr. Towne (of Margate) applied on behalf of the landlord of the "Somerset Arms," Ashford (Mr. Streeter), for a license to sell wine and spirits, and presented a memorial largely and respectably signed. Amongst the names were those of the churchwardens and overseers.

There was no opposition, and the Bench, after a deliberation with closed doors, granted the license.


Sussex Agricultural Express, Saturday 25 May 1861.

Police intelligence, Saturday.

Before V. P., Esq.

James Coveney, a respectable man belonging to Dover, was charged with horse stealing. The man who gave him into custody, a horse dealer, named Cornelius Reeves, did not appear, and from the statement of Sergeant Dunk, K.C.C., it appeared that the proper Court for the settlement of the matter was a County Court.

Coveney, with a publican at Dover, named David Brockham, had sold a horse to Reeves for 10 at Canterbury market. Coveney was unable to get the money, and on the previous day at Ashford Market brought through Brockman another colt of Reeves for 14. Upon tendering him 4 as the balance due to him, Reeves finding how matters stood, refused to let them have the horse, and said it belong to his brother. They, however, went and got it from the "Somerset Arms" stables, but Reeves and his brother meeting them outside, a long struggle took place for its possession, which ended in Coveney getting up on the back of the horse, and galloping off with it to Willesborough without saddle or bridle, where he was pursued and given into custody by Cornelius Reeves. As he was not in attendance, the magistrates dismissed the case; but fined both Coveney and Brockman, and also Reeves, who subsequently unwittingly entered of the court, 5s. each for fighting and causing an obstruction in North Street.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 27 November 1865.


On the 19th instant, at the "Somerset Arms," Ashford, Stephen Goldup, aged 54.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, 1 January 1870. Price 1d.


On Monday an elderly man named Abbott residing in East Hill, committed suicide by hanging himself in a cow-shed. An inquest was held on the body on Tuesday by T. T. Delasaux, Esq., coroner, at the “Somerset Arms Inn,” when the following evidence was adduced.

Cooper Joy, a lad of 16 years of age, living in Ashford said that on Monday morning he went to his father's cow lodge, in Magazine Lane, Ashford, at about a quarter to eleven. On arriving at the lodge he found deceased William Abbott suspended by a piece of rope, and one end of which was fastened to a beam overhead. He immediately went for a police officer, who took the body down. The deceased was quite dead. George Willia, labourer, Ashford, deposed that he had known the deceased for the past three or four years, and had lived near him for a short time. He had never noticed anything particularly strange in his behaviour. On the previous day, about a quarter to eleven in the morning, he saw the deceased going down North street in the direction of Mr. Joy's cow lodge. He was walking with the aid of two sticks, and had the piece of rope and strap in his hand which he had since been produced. Deceased was 61 years of age. Esther Abbott, a young girl 15 years of age, daughter of the deceased, said she last saw her father on Sunday evening about half-past eight o'clock, when he went to bed. He appeared low spirited; in fact, he had been so for the past nine months, ever since April last, when his leg was bad, and he had to go to bridge union. This appeared to have preyed on his mind, and he seemed scarcely to know what he was about. She heard deceased get up and go out about twenty minutes to seven on Monday morning, when he said “Good morning” to her mother. Prior to the time when his leg was bad he had appeared all right in his mind. The Coroner having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of, “Suicide from temporary derangement.”

The deceased worked at the Ashford tanyard for some time, in the glove making department. He seems to have carried out his purpose very deliberately, for on his way up to the cow lodge with the rope in his hand, he posted the following letter to Mr. Head, hatter and outfitter, of High Street, whose shop he would have to pass:- Ashford, December 20, 1869:- From Mr. Abbott to Mr. Head:- Sir, If you will be so kind as to forward this 4s worth of stamps to my wife, No. 16, Easthill, and tell she I have no more, and please to bring it round to her, not to tell she wot is the matter or you may cause her death. You can find me in Postage Barn or the cow shed in the lane near the corner of the Burial Ground. May the Lord receive my sole:- This letter, however, was not discovered until the evening.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 22 April 1882.

Mysterious Case of Drowning.

An inquest was held on Monday evening at the "Somerset Arms Inn," Canterbury Road on the body of John File, age 33 years, which was found in a pond at Parsonage Barn, near the cemetery, early on Monday morning. The deceased was a son of Mr. Elgar File, who for many years kept the "Queens Head Inn," (sic) at Hythe. He has two brothers keeping licensed houses in that time. The man had been working for some months at Warehorne, but recently he received the legacy under the will of an uncle who died at Elham. After that he left his employment and went about drinking, until it seems all his money was spent. On Sunday night he called at the "Somerset Arms" and had a glass of ale, and told the landlady that he was "played out." He was not seen again alive, but his body was found in the ponds with the face in the mud, although the water was only about 2 feet deep. A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned.



Dennis Huckerby tells me that licensees Frederick Godfrey and Olive Mewett lived in Ashford and had the "Somerset Arms." They had a lot of American soldiers as patrons during the war and Bob was fair to them and after the war they delivered a load of provisions e.g. butter, blankets etc. and said there was a load of jeeps if he wanted them. The hotel is no longer and was demolished for the motorway.


SHARPE Barling 1856+

STREETER Stephen William 1857-58+

HILL Lewis 1874+

HILL Harriett 1881-82+ (widow age 44 in 1881Census)

WYLES Frederick 1891-1903+ (age 41 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

PETO Jack 1913+

EXCELL Charles Edward 1922-38+

GODFREY Frederick (Bob) & MEWETT Olive Grave 1939-45+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


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