Page Updated:- Wednesday, 27 October, 2021.


Earliest 1836-

Rising Sun

Latest 1913+

(Name to)

Grove Ferry


Rising Sun 1897

Above photo, circa 1897, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Rising Sun 1904

Above photo, circa 1904, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Rising Sun 1908

Above postcard, circa 1908, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Grove Ferry Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown.

Grove Ferry

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Bob Steel.

Rising Sun OS map 1874

Above OS map 1874, showing the Rising Sun area.

Grove Ferry map 1896

Above map 1896.


I am assuming the following passage refers to this public house at Grove Ferry. although the name of the pub was not given.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 13 February, 1836. Price 7d.


As Mr. Henry Johncock, of Grove, in the parish of Wickham, carpenter, was proceeding home from a public-house at Grove Ferry, on Tuesday night, about half-past ten o'clock, he was attacked by a man who tripped him up and fell upon him. A struggle ensued, when the fellow pulled out some sharp instrument, and cut the throat of Mr. Johncock in several places, and robbed him of all the money he had about him, amounting to eight or ten shillings. Mr. Johncock is in a very weak state from the loss of blood and confined to his bed. A man of the name of Thomas Pryer, is in custody, and will be had up for re-examination, this day, at the office of Messrs. Curtis and Kingsford, Canterbury.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 19 March, 1836. Price 7d.


Thomas Pryer, aged 18, was put to the bar, charged with robbing Henry Johncock of two half-crowns, two shillings, and other money, and of attempting to murder him, on the evening of 9th February last.

Mr. Bodkin stated the case, and called the prosecutor, who deposed that he was in the public house at Grove Ferry, on the evening named in the indictment. The prisoner who was also there left the house soon after ten o'clock, and witness did the same about ten minutes afterwards for the purpose of returning home. At forty rods from the house he was joined by a man, with a Newfoundland dog, who accompanied him as far as Grove Corner, and then took the road towards Preston. He should not know the man again. After he had proceeded about a mile upon the road, a man came up behind him and getting a little on one side of him, took hold of his breast, and threw him into a ditch by the road-side. The man then fell upon him, but did not speak; and immediately began to cut him under the ear, and about the throat and breast, with some sharp instrument. (The prosecutor here shewed the scars, which presented a dreadful appearance.) He called him by the name of Pryer; but he said his name was not Pryer, but Jack Chandler. Prosecutor replied, "let your name be Jack Chandler, or whatever it may be, it will do you no good to do this. I have got a few shillings in my pocket, and I will give them to you." The man let him get on his knee; when he gave him two half-crowns and other silver that he had, amounting to about ten or twelve shillings. He was sure Pryer was the man. He had known him ever since he was a child. In his cross-examination, by Mr. Clarkson, he said, that at the time of being attacked, he was sufficiently self-possessed, not only to know that his assailant was Pryer, but to let him know that he knew him.

George Cuff deposed to having fallen into company with Pryer, between five and six o'clock on the 9th February, when prisoner talked about travelling on that road being very dangerous, as many robberies had been committed; and he, prisoner, said, if he ever committed a robbery, "he would take care the man should not appear against him, for he would finish him before he left him." Prisoner had a Newfoundland dog with him.

Various other witnesses were examined.

The prisoner, in his defence, merely said, that the prosecutor was mistaken in supposing him to be the person who ill-used him. He certainly walked alongside of him from Grove Ferry; but he went to Grove Corner, and thence to Preston.

The prisoner's sister was called, to prove his having assisted his father, who is a butcher, in killing a bullock, on the 8th February. This was intended to account for the marks of blood found upon his clothes.

The Jury pronounced a verdict of guilty; and sentence of death was passed upon the prisoner by Mr. Justice Vaughan; who, during a most impressive address, observed, that he would not be doing his duty to his country if he held out to him the slightest hope of mercy.

The trial lasted six hours; and the Court was crowded to suffocation.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 9 April, 1836. Price 7d.


James Joy, aged 19, and Thomas Pryer, aged 18, the unfortunate criminals condemned to death at the late Assizes, the former for incendiarism, at Sturry, and the latter for a highway robbery, and the attempt to murder Mr. Johncock, were executed in front of the County Gaol, on Thursday week, at noon.

Between six and seven thousand spectators were present, including a considerable number of females, some of whom exhibited extraordinary levity. The behaviour of the unhappy culprits, since their condemnation, has been becoming their dreadful situation, and they evinced great readiness at all times to attend the spiritual instructions of the Rev. Mr. Winter, his excellent chaplain to the prison, who was indefatigable in his endeavours to bring them to a proper sense of their awful condition, and to direct them to the only source from which pardon could be obtained. We are happy to find that his pious exertions combined with those of the Revs. Messrs. Edmonson and Jinkings, who occasionally visited them, were successful.

At ten minutes before twelve o'clock, Calcraft, the executioner, proceeded to the room in which the criminals were placed, after they had received the sacrament, for the purpose of pinioning their arms; to which they submitted without betraying the slightest emotion. In answer to the observation of a person present, that he hoped they had made their peace with all. Joy replied, "I hope I have, and trust that our fate will be a warning to all young men." The prison bell them commenced tolling, and the criminals, then left the room, preceded by the Under Sheriff, Mr. Palmer, the Rev. Mr. Minter, and Mr. Agar, the governor; followed by the executioner and turnkey. On arriving at the porter's gate the Rev. Chaplain commenced reading the burial service, to which the unhappy men appeared to pay great attention. On arriving at the door leading to the drop, Pryer first ascended the platform, and Joy kept his eyes fixed on the beam while the executioner was adjusting the rope. He then took his station by the side of his fellow sufferer and exhibited an astonishing degree of self possession. After the executioner had completed the awful preparations, Joy, in a firm and distinct manner addressed the spectators nearly in the following words:-

"You see the dreadful condition of two young men who are about to depart this life. Consider the danger of being tempted and drawn away by your own lusts, and seek the Lord, lest you should be cut off as cumberers of the ground. I trust in the mercy of God for forgiveness, and hope to be accepted through Christ, and received into the kingdom of glory. I would say to each of you who hear me. - time is short, and eternity is hastening, and there is no safety but in Christ, who is the Saviour of the World. Oh, consider your ways and turn to God. The youngest and heartiest among you may be called into eternity in a few hours, and if you repent not of your evil ways you will stand at the left hand of the Judge. My earnest prayer for each of you is, that you may return into the 'Shepherd and Bishop of Souls.'" He then turned to Pryer, and shaking him heartily by the hand said "Good bye, I trust we shall meet in the kingdom of glory, and praise the Lord for ever and ever." Pryer replied in a trembling voice "I hope we shall." In a few moments the fatal bolt was withdrawn, and they were launched into eternity.

The sufferings of Joy were of short duration, but Pryer was convulsed for several minutes, in consequence of the rope having slipped from the position in which it was first placed, while he was shaking hands with Joy. After hanging the usual time, the body of Joy was taken away by the constable who apprehended him, and Pryer was delivered to his uncle, who forthwith conveyed the body into East Kent, and it was privately interred in the Church Yard at Preston, next Wingham, between nine and ten o'clock on the same evening.

Great exertions had been made to save the lives of both the criminals by their respective friends, who petitioned the Home Secretary to that effect. The application in favour of Pryer, was headed by the name of Mr. Johncock, the person whose life he had so nearly sacrificed; but no favourable representations, sufficient to alter the sentence, could be made regarding the prisoner. It is highly creditable to the Home Secretary that on a memorial being presented on behalf of Joy, relating that he had been subject to fits of insanity, and had even been delirious whilst in Gaol, a King's messenger was dispatched to Maidstone on Tuesday evening, to enquire into the circumstances. W. G. D. Tyssen, Esq., the visiting magistrates, Messrs. Whatman and Taunton, the surgeons, and the Rev. Mr. Winter, the chaplain, underwent an examination in the gaol. It was found, however, that Joy's delirium in the past was the effect of typhus fever, which might have produced similar effects on any other person; and that no other symptoms of insanity had been exhibited by him since his confinement. These circumstances, on being represented to the Home Secretary, were not considered sufficient to justify any ameliorates of the sentence.

A letter of a very feeling and affectionate character was sent to Joy to his parents after his condemnation, which indicates that he had a very proper sense of his awful situation.




EPPS Edward W 1848-51+ (widower age 52 in 1851Census)

EPPS William 1858+

AXFORD James 1871-74+ (age 46 in 1871Census) Post Office Directory 1874

BING John 1881+99 (also ferry keeper age 49 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882Kelly's 1899

OSBORN Robert 1901+ Whitstable Times

REEVE B D 1902+

REEVE Herbert Dolby 1903+ Kelly's 1903 ("Grove Ferry")

ARCHER Alfred 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913


Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

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:-