DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Walmer, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 23 December, 2018.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

 

Rattling Cat

 

Dover Road

Walmer

Rattling Cat in Walmer Ratting Cat sign in Deal

Above photos by Paul Skelton, 26 July 2007.

 

The building is on the Dover Road between Church Street and Gothic Close. I am informed that the owners have stories about smuggling tunnels that lead to the local church underneath the house. The house itself has a sign upon it stating circa 1700.

According to the website http://www.aboutdeal.co.uk the Rattling Cat in Walmer used to be an old coaching inn and got its name from the many cats an owner once kept with pieces of bone attached to their collars. When strangers appeared in the area the cats would run home and the rattling of their collars would alert everyone that the might be Excise men in the area. The web also says that the house has the remains of old tunnels and secret hiding places underneath the building, obviously used by the smugglers.

Steve Glover is currently doing research into the pubs of Walmer and Deal and tells me that he knows the building was definitely called the "Rattling Cat" from the 1948 land registry, and that previously the building was called St. Clairs Cottage around 1800, although the house itself is reputed to go back to 1703 according to a plaque on the front. He also says he has seen some blocked up tunnels in the basement in the form of 3 Gothic Arches, rather like the Gothic house next door shown above ground. However, Steve can find no other indication that this was ever a public house, and tells me that there is a lot of misinformation about and this could well be a red herring.

Any further information, please let me know and I'll pass it on to Steve, who incidentally is writing a book on the subject of the pubs in the area.

 

From information kindly sent to me from Margaret Johnson.

I called at the Rattling Cat on Saturday (29 Jan 05) and spoke with a man who is the tenant there. Here is a summary of what the owner told him about the house:

 

“Originally it was three cottages, which were joined together to form a coaching inn with accommodation for travellers. Some – perhaps the coachman or poorer people – would hire space along a rope in an upper room to rest, standing up, at night. He says the rings that held the rope are still there. Tunnels run underneath the building to the sea and Old St. Mary's Church. Smuggled goods were stored there, guarded by a colony of cats fitted with collars with bones attach. These would rattle if the cats were disturbed by an intruder. The date of 1600 ‘and something' is carved somewhere on the building.”

When I first called at the house, I thought ‘what a nice place', but having heard some of its history and as I was standing in the doorway at dusk peering into the dark hallway because the tenant said the light didn't work, I felt a bit spooked. [I also noted that] the whole house rattled a bit in the wind. However, I think when we refer to it in The Document, we could describe it as a coaching inn – it sounds more intriguing."

 

We have no verification of this information. Perhaps the owner of the house would have more information. My colleague told me she thought she could find out who the owner was but would have to get permission to pass on their name. This is part of the delay in responding to your e-mail.

 

Margaret Johnson.

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

 

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

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