Sort file:- Canterbury, November, 2019.

Page Updated:- Friday, 15 November, 2019.


Earliest 1824-

Toby Fillpot

Latest 1858+

38 Watling Street (Dane John Place 1824Pigot's Directory 1824)


Location of Toby Fillpot 2017

Above photo, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Showing the location in 2017.

If the buildings were of "normal" size, then the "Toby Fillpot" would have been to the left of the Oasis Cafe and the "Dane John Tavern" where the street lamp is. Tina M's site supports the idea that the numbering ran then (late 19th Century) as it does now: consecutively. That puts 38 and 41 on the same side of the road as the entrance to the Dane John Gardens, opposite the Bus Station.

Further information says it was situated opposite the Countess of Huntington Church.

Toby Jug  Toby Jug  Toby Jug

Above pictures showing some typical Toby Jug designs.


A Toby Fillpot or Philpot is another name for the famous Toby Jugs. There are many theories in regard to how Toby Fillpot was brought into the world as a character. The name "Toby" was used originally to describe jugs which were made in the form of a seated male figure in a tri-cornered hat. He usually held a beer jug on his knee and sometimes held a pipe or glass in his hand. These hats acted as spouts and often had a lid seated inside that could be used as a cup.

In 1761 a London print shop, Carver and Bowles, published an engraving of a fictional character they called “Toby Fillpot.” The print depicts Toby as a jovial, obese, and intoxicated older man seated at a table enjoying a jug of beer and a pipe. English Staffordshire potter Ralph Wood of Burslem, who has been credited with designing and molding the first Toby jugs may have been inspired by this image. His earliest Toby Jugs, dating to the 1760s, look extremely similar to the engraving. One collector has described the Toby portrayed in Wood's jugs as “a short, corpulent, unsmiling old man with long, lank hair. He wears a full, long coat…a spacious waistcoat, a solitaire neckcloth left to dangle, knee breeches, stockings, and shoes ornamented with buckles. Sitting on a seat concealed beneath his coat skirts, Toby balances a jug on his left knee while his right hand raises a drink.”

Toby was dressed in the style of the 1700s, which consisted of a full length coat with low set pockets, waistcoat, cravat, knee breeches, stockings and buckled shoes. An interesting feature of the early jugs is the hollow cap which fitted into the top of the hat and was used as a cup.

He has been associated with the fat boisterous Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," and "My Uncle Toby" from Laurence Sterne's "Tristam Shandy." This book did appear about the same time as the earliest Tobies, around 1700.

Other characters who may have helped bring Toby into existence include Harry Elwes, a Yorkshire man who is alleged to have drunk two thousand gallons of strong ale from a brown jug, and who bore the nickname of Toby Fillpot. He died in 1761.

The name Toby Fillpot occurred, probably for the first time in print in the song "The Brown Jug," published in 1761 in a volume of "Original Poems and Translations" by the Reverend Francis Fawkes.


This establishment at 38 Watling Street was obviously named after this character, although whether their drinking vessels were actual Toby Jugs remains to be seen.

 The premises was operating as a public house from between 1828 and 1858 so far confirmed, although I do have the name W. Swain who was living at that address in 1917, but no information regarding whether this person was a licensed victualler was mentioned.



SEATH James 1824-28+ Pigot's Directory 1824Pigot's Directory 1828-29

HILL Henry 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

RANDALL Richard 1838-40+ Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840

RANDALL Maria 1847-58+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847Melville's 1858Historic Canterbury web site


Pigot's Directory 1824From the Pigot's Directory 1824

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

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

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site


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