Sort file:- Canterbury, September, 2021.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 07 September, 2021.


Earliest 1689+

Star Inn

Latest 1801+ (Name to)

62 St. Dunstan's Street


Star Inn 1847

Above drawing, 2 December 1847.

Above drawing showing the back, 2 December 1847.


The following passages are from the Kent Archaeology Society.

[The drawings are the work of the late A.G.P. Minty, who at the time lived at Ospringe but later moved to Petersfield. He married a Miss Arden, a descendant of Shakespeare's mother.]

THE drawings of the "Star Inn," (above) in St. Dunstan's Street, made December 2nd, 1847, speaks of the inn as "about to be destroyed." This was apparently true of the rear of the building, but the gabled front, supported by carved brackets, is still standing, though much modernized. It faces the opening of Station Road West, and suffered considerable, though not irreparable, damage in the heavy air raids both of 1940 and June 1942. A passage shown in the drawing leads under the inn into a courtyard at the back, and is still called Star's Place. The portion to the west of this opening is now a small public house—the "Rose and Crown"; the eastern portion is divided into two shops. In a modern wall at the back of the building is inserted the stone plaque inscribed 1567 D.G.J.G.

Star Inn bracket

Brackets shown on the front side of the Star Inn.

Star Inn stone

Stone inserted in the back wall of the Star Inn.

It has not been possible to identify these initials; the records of Holy Cross parish near the boundary of which the inn stood, are fragmentary. The will of William Bygge (December 12th, 1470) of St. Peter's parish, leaves to his wife, among much other property throughout the city, his "tenement called the Sterre and one called the Forge in the parish of Holy Cross, Westgate."

Bygge, a baker by trade, was twice Mayor of Canterbury (1460 and 1466). He had some interest in the "Fleur-de-Lis Inn," and may have built some part of it. His bequest of 10 towards the completion of St. George's Gate is noticed by Somner. His son John Bygge (Mayor, 1472, 1473, and 1474), owned and enlarged Cogan House. The stone plate may thus record the reconstruction of an older inn. Is it possible that the initials stand for "Deo Gratia, Jesu gratia"? (The grace of God, the grace of Jesus.) (DOROTHY GARDINER.)


Called either the "Star" or perhaps the "Starr" this pub was operating as early as 1740, the house numbers have changed since then, making research rather difficult. The building is said to have been built in 1689.

The name was definitely the "Rose and Crown" in 1846, although reference to the "Star" coffee house exists in 1860, although this may possibly not be the pub itself.

Edward Wilmot, in his book the Inns of Canterbury (1988) says in 1843 the "Rose and Crown" is listed as being at 76 St. Dunstan's Street, and he gives the address of the "Star" as 77-79 St. Dunstan's Street. So it appears the two were knocked into one and the "Rose and Crown" may even go back as early as the "Star".


From the Kentish Chronicle, 4 August, 1860.


On Friday morning about two o’clock, a man named Davison, a vendor of water-cresses, wan near Mr. Collard’s hop garden, when he heard a sound as if of a kitten crying, in the direction of the drain, which runs down the road.

On his return about seven o'clock with his cresses, he heard the same noise, and on proceeding to the drain cleared away the mouth and inserted his arm, when he brought forth a female infant apparently about two months old; it was naked and cold—the bottom of the drain being muddy. It had a piece of tape tied tightly round its neck, which on being removed left a mark: the would-be murderer had doubtless intended to strangle it. Davison took the poor little infant to the Police-station, where it was attended upon by Mrs. Davis, the wife of the superintendent, under whose kind treatment it gradually recovered. In the course of the morning it was taken to the Union.

The police have since ascertained that a young woman, with a baby, slept at the "Star," Coffee House, St. Dunstan’s on Sunday night last, and Mr. Blackman’s daughter said that she should know the child again, by a mark which it had on its head. It was fed from a bottle. On Miss Blackman's arrival at the Union, she identified the child, pointed out the mark on its head, and one of the women at the Union placing the child to her breast, it refused, but readily took a bottle, this completely corroborated Miss Blackman's statement. The woman was traced as having slept at the "Monarch," in Stour-street, on Wednesday night. Mr. Omer, the landlord, observed in her arms, when he thought was a bundle, but which, on her going to bed, he saw was a child. Mr. Omer also saw her in Broad street, on Thursday evening, with the child. She is described as being showily dressed, and rather good-looking. There is not the slightest doubt, but that she will be shortly in the hands of the police, having obtained this clue to her.


Notwithstanding the care and attention bestowed on the little sufferer, its system had received such it shock that it expired last evening. An inquest will be held today (Saturday)

Up to the hour of going to press the perpetrator or this unnatural act has not been discovered. The police are using every exertion, and before long it is hoped their efforts will be crowned with success. It is wonderful that the child should have survived so long; as it must have been in the drain six or seven hours, with a string tightly round its neck.


On Saturday last an inquest was opened on the body of the child, found in the drain in the New Road, at the "Cross Keys" public-house, before T. T. Delasaux, Esq., and a respectable jury of which Mr. Gillman was foreman. The coroner having briefly stated the circumstances which had given rise to the inquiry, the jury proceeded to view the body, after which the following evidence was adduced.

Mrs. Harris, wife of a labourer, o being sworn, deposed:- Yesterday morning, between the hours of eight and nine I went to the police-station.

I there found a child in the arms of a man. I took the child and shortly afterward put it in a warm bath; it apparently partially recovered, and it was afterwards taken to the Union Workhouse. It died at half-past three on the afternoon of yesterday. I did not know to whom the child belonged. There was a small mark on the left side of the head. I took a piece of tape from the neck of the deceased, which had been tied very tight and fastened behind. It was crossed on the chest and tied round the waist.

The inquest was then adjourned till Tuesday, in order to give the police time for further inquiries.

On Tuesday the coroner and jury again assembled at the house of Mr. Wison, "Cross Keys," St. Sepulehre's, when the following evidence was adduced:-

Robert Davison and Samuel Carter, labourers, jointly stated that they on the morning of Friday last were on the Dover road, on their way to bridge, going to gather water cresses, and on reaching the hop grounds a short distance from the turnpike they heard, as they then thought, the whining of a dog in the drain which passes from the road under the footway into the hop ground; it was dark at the time, being then about two o'clock. They returned to Canterbury the same morning, and between seven and eight o'clock reached the same spot, and were induced to look into the drain in order to ascertain what the noise they had heard proceeded from, when at about three feet up the drain they discovered the deceased child wrapt in a piece of black cloth or stuff (Coburg cloth, apparently a part of a workman's apron). It was naked with this exception, and round its waist was tied a piece of broad course tape. The body was still warm, but appeared to be dead. A cart was passing at the time towards Canterbury, and the child was conveyed in it to the police station and given by the witnesses to the police authorities. Witnesses saw no one near the spot where the child was found, early in the morning, nor on the road, except a policeman on duty.

Charlotte Blackman, daughter of Mr. Blackman, who keeps the "Star" Coffee-shop in St. Dunstan’s-street, stated that shortly after the arrival of the last train of the South Eastern Railway on Saturday night, the 28th of July, a woman, having the appearance of being a respectable servant, came to her father's house and asked if she could have some tea and a bed. She had with her a very young child, which was dressed in white coloured bed clothes; it appeared a weakly child, and the woman gave it some warm milk from out of a sucking bottle, which she had brought with her. She said she had just come to Canterbury by the train, and wanted to leave again by the first train next morning. Witness observed that the child had a particular mark on its head and by which she felt perfectly satisfied that the deceased was the same child that the woman brought to her father's house on the previous Saturday. Witness saw the child alive at the Workhouse on Friday last, and identified it; it appeared to be about two months’ old. The woman changed a sovereign to pay for her refreshments and her bed, and left early on the following (Sunday) morning in time to have gone by the first train, as she had stated her intention to do. On her having ascertained that she could have a bed on the Saturday night, the woman went to the door and conversed for a short time with a man in the street, as witness had been informed by her father, but this circumstance witness did not see.

T. S. Cooper, Esq., surgeon, stated that the deceased was brought to his surgery in a cab by the Relieving Officer (Mr. Duly) in care of a female named Mrs. Harris, on Friday morning, on the way to the Union Workhouse. It had been previously attended to at the police-station by Mr. T. Andrews. The child appeared to be recovering from its exhausted state, as described by the witnesses who found it. It was placed in the lying-in ward at the Union and duly attended to by the nurse there. Witness saw it twice during the day, and it died between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. The cause of death he attributed to exhaustion from having been exposed to the night air in the place in which it was found. Under the direction and request of the Coroner and the Jury, he, on Saturday afternoon, made a post mortem examination of the body, when he found the heart and lungs perfectly healthy and discovered nothing internally that would cause death. The bowels contained nothing but milk and water. He opened the head and found the brain also in a healthy state. The child had no external marks of injury sufficient to cause death. Round the neck there was a laceration or rather an abrasion of the skin caused by the tape which was found tied on it; but he considered that its death could only be attributed to the length of time it had been exposed. The body bore evident signs of having been much neglected to nursing, and had not been kept clean, as is necessary for children to be kept to promote health.

Mr. Robert Parsons Davis, the Superintendent of Police for the city and borough, stated that from information received he went by way of Ashford to London in search of the person suspected to have deserted the child in the way above described, and proceeded to the neighbourhood of Victoria Park, and at a house there saw a female with a young child, and he was satisfied that she could not be the person he was in search of. He gave information to all the public officers of the circumstances of the murder, with every description of the suspected party that had come to his knowledge.

The above is the whole of the evidence available for the purpose of the inquest that could be given. There were some other witnesses present but they were not examined by the Coroner, they not being able to identify the deceased. Their statements were as having seen a female with a child at various parts of the town during the several days prior to last Friday, and subsequently to the woman and child having been at the "Star" Coffee house.

The Coroner explained to the jury that he had now examined the whole of the witnesses whose testimony had reference to the cause of death of diseased. When he adjourned the inquiry on Saturday there was some cause to believe that more evidence than that before them might have been obtained, but unfortunately such cause to believe that more evidence than that before them might have been obtained, but unfortunately such was not at present the case, but the circumstances under which the child had come by its death, and that was what the jury was empanelled to enquire into, were fully before them, and left no other verdict for the jury to give but that of Wilful Murder against some person or persons at present unknown. There were but two conclusions that could be come to under the circumstances of leaving an helpless child to perish,—those of Wilful Murder or Manslaughter. The latter verdict might be come to where a child might have been laid at a door for the purpose of its being found and taken care of, but if the child died while so exposed to chance the law would hold the parties guilty of Manslaughter, but in leaving a child in an open heath or roadside no other conclusion could be come to but that it had been so placed to cause its death, consequently the verdict in this case must be that of Wilful Murder.

The jury unhesitatingly returned a verdict to that effect.



BLACKMAN Mr 1860+ (Coffee House)


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