Earliest 1822

(Name from)

Valiant Sailor

Open 2017+

New Dover Road


Folkestone really.

01303 252 401

Valiant Sailor Nov 2011

Photo kindly supplied by the "Valiant Sailor" Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Bar Nov 2011

Above photo showing the main bar Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Restaurant Nov 2011

Above showing the restaurant area Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Pool area Nov 2011

Above showing the pool area, Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor 1978

Above photograph kindly supplied by Jan Pedersen, 1978.

Valiant Sailor Capel
Valiant Sailor

Above two photos by Paul Skelton 15 Sept 2007.

Valiant Sailor 1977 Valiant Sailor 1976 Valiant Sailor 1976

Above photographs kindly supplied by Jan Pedersen, 1977 showing the lorry crashed into the then front porch of the pub which was taken very shortly after the accident had happened.

Valiant Sailor

Picture above by kind permission Valiant Sailor. Circa 1880.

Horse drawn outing 1900

Above photo circa 1900.

Valiant Sailor

Above postcard, date unknown.


Originally called the "Jolly Sailor" this pub changed name in 1822.

The Valiant Sailor is actually listed as being Folkestone, yet it is so close to Capel-le-Ferne that I am going to list it as from that village. Misleadingly, it was addressed as Hawkinge, Folkestone in the Post Office Directory of 1913. Post Office Directory 1913

It is situated right at the top of Dover Hill, New Dover Road and Crete Road East.

Alfred Charles Aird had owned the Valiant Sailor public house and most of the land between Capel and Sugar Loaf Hill on which he farmed. He also owned and ran, with the aid of his wife, the Highcliffe Tea Gardens just behind the pub where they served home made scones and ice-cream and cream teas. The cliff path from East-Cliff was very popular with walkers from the Warren and the rival establishment, Little Switzerland at the foot of the cliff path.

Alfred Aird also owned a dairy farm at Martello and supplied Miss de la Mare (head of St. Margaret's School, Folkestone) in the early 1920s. His son Bill remembered riding on top of a hay wagon on the spot which is now the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

Although the Highcliffe Tea Gardens are no longer there, they were once enclosed by a Hazel fence and contained three thatched summer houses along with the tables and chairs amongst a series of rustic arbours.




Richard Kitham married Eleanor Kingsmill on 2 August 1841 at Alkham:

Richard Kitham, bachelor, groom of this parish son of Thomas Kitham, labourer to Eleanor Kingsmill, spinster of this parish, daughter of John Kingsmill, farmer.

Wits: Susanna Finch, Marjery Kitham, Simon Horton Smith.


In the 1841 census of Church Alkham both Richard Kitham (25) and Elinor Kingsmill (25) were listed as servants at the Rectory for William Slater, Lay Impropriator aged 60.


In 1845 Richard with Eleanor and their young family moved to Folkestone Hill, Capel-le-Ferne. Richard was Licensed Victualler at the “Valiant Sailor”.

In 1871 Richard was still Victualler at the “Valiant Sailor” but was also a farmer of 40 acres.


An historic event that occurred in the summer of 1856 was the murder of 2 sisters Caroline and Maria Back by a soldier of the Swiss Foreign Legion, Dedea Redanies who was stationed at Dover.

Caroline was reported to have spurned the advances of the soldier.

Thomas Gurling reported the incident to Richard Kitham and Richard found the bodies at Steddy Hole behind the “Valiant Sailor.”

Dedea Redanies was hanged in Maidstone on New Years Day 1857.

The ballad of “Switzerland John” describes the whole sorry story.


Richard Kitham died in 1878 and was buried at Capel-le-Ferne. His wife Eleanor who died in 1892 was buried with him.


In Loving memory of RICHARD KITHAM died May 24 1878 aged 66 years. Also ELEANOR wife of the above died January 10 1892 aged 80 years. I know that my Redeemer liveth.


The widowed Eleanor continued to live in Folkestone and in both 1881 and 1891 census her unmarried son, Richard, an agricultural labourer/groom, and her unmarried sister-in-law, Ann Kitham were living with her.


1 JANUARY 1857

In front of a large crowd, Dedea Redanies (26) was executed on top of the porter's lodge at Maidstone Gaol. He appeared little concerned, approaching the scaffold with ‘a cheerful step'. Once there, he called out: ‘In a few moments I shall be in the arms of my dear Caroline. I care not for death.'

Redanies had murdered 21-year-old Caroline Back along with her younger sister, Maria, one Sunday morning in August. Perhaps she was having doubts about marrying the Serb mercenary, now a member of the British-Swiss Legion, enlisted to fight alongside the British against the Russians in the Crimea.

Recently, Redanies had had doubts about her faithfulness and had become obsessively jealous. And so, on the day before he committed his double murder, he bought himself a knife with a 4-inch blade.

It was arranged that on this August Sunday the soldier and the two girls would set off before dawn to walk the 10 miles from the Backs' house in Albion Place, Dover, along the cliff-top path to Folkestone. When at about seven o'clock they passed the "Royal Oak", east of Capel-le-Ferne, the ostler thought they seemed very happy. But the bodies of Caroline and Maria were discovered only two hours later at Steddy Hole, a desolate spot, today called The Warren. They were both dead from deep stab wounds to the chest.

But where was Redanies? The next day he was first spotted at Barham Down. Later he called at a shop in Lower Hardres where he bought writing paper and wrote two letters. In the afternoon, a policeman approached him near Milton Chapel, outside Canterbury. The soldier took out a knife and stabbed himself.

Redanies recovered slowly in St Augustine's Gaol in Canterbury. He wrote letters to the Back family, expressing his sorrow, and these suggest that he was insane. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to hang. He said that he looked forward to being reunited with Caroline and her sister.

Another letter to the Backs, to be opened after his death, read: ‘We are above with our Father again... I greet you with my dear Caroline and Maria... It was signed: ‘Caroline Back. Dedea Redanies, Maria Back.'


 August 3, 1856 - Caroline and Maria Back murdered in Folkestone

January 1, 1857 - Tedea (Dedea?) Redanies hanged for the crime

Further reading click here.


I have seen several versions of the song "The Folkestone Murder", all are very similar and tell the story of Dedea Redanies and his murder of Caroline and Maria Beck.

The Folkestone Murder (sung by George Spicer) (Roud 897)

(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

The latest version by Nic.

Kind friends come pay attention and listen to my song

It is about a murder, it won't detain you long

'Twas near the town of Folkestone this shocking deed was done

Maria and sweet Caroline were murdered by Switzerland John.


He came unto their parents' house at nine o'clock one night

But little did poor Caroline think he owed her any spite.

"Will you walk with me, dear Caroline?" the murderer did say,

And she agreed to accompany him to Shorncliffe Camp next day.


Said the mother to the daughter "You'd better stay at home.

It is not fit for you to go with that young man alone.

You'd better take your sister to go along with you,

Then I have no objection, dear daughter, you may go."


Early next morning, before the break of day

Maria and sweet Caroline from Dover town did stray.

But before they reached to Folkestone the villain drew a knife,

Maria and sweet Caroline he took away their lives.


Down on the ground the sisters fell, all in their blooming years

For mercy cried, "We're innocent", their eyes were filled with tears.

He plunged the knife into their breasts, their lovely breasts so deep,

He robb'd them of their own sweet lives and left them there to sleep.


Three times he kissed their pale cold cheeks as they lay on the ground,

He took the capes from off their backs, for on him they were found.

He said "Farewell dear Caroline, your blood my hands have stained.

No more on earth shall I see you, but in heaven we'll meet again."


Early next morning their bodies they were found

At a lonely spot called Steady Hall, a-bleeding on the ground.

And if ever you go unto that spot, these letters you will find

Cut deeply in the grass so green: Maria and Caroline.


When the news it reached their parents' ears, they cried, "What shall we do?

Maria has been murdered, and lovely Caroline too"

They pulled and tore their old grey hair, in sorrow and in shame

And tears they rolled in torrents from their poor aged cheeks.


This murderer has been taken, his companions to him deny

And he is sent to Maidstone and is condemned to die

He said, "Farewell" to all his friends "In this world I am alone

And have to die for murder, far from my native home."


"The dismal bell is tolling, the scaffold I must prepare

I trust in heaven my soul shall rest and meet dear Caroline there.

Now all young man take warning from this sad fate of mine

To the memory of Maria Back and lovely Caroline."


A horrible song, it seems to me, with few redeeming graces - yet it has seemed to be well known, certainly among Travellers. Something of a shock, then, to find only ten instances noted in Roud... and five of these refer to George Spicer! Other known singers have been Mrs Coomber of Blackham, Sussex (noted by Anne Gilchrist in 1906), Charlie Bridger and Phoebe Smith's brother Charlie Scamp (both of Kent). The other two entries are from Canada. But George Spicer's son Ron also recorded it, in 1994, on the cassette Steel Carpet (MATS 0010), and I remember Jack Smith, the Milford, Surrey, based Traveller, singing it in the mid-sixties. Jack sang not only this but at least eight other songs, including four of Pop Maynard's, to be found on this pair of CDs.

According to Brian Matthews, 'Switzerland John' was Dedea Redanies, born in the 1830s in Belgrade. He came to England in 1855 and was enlisted into the British Swiss Legion stationed at Dover Castle. He became acquainted with a laundry worker, Mrs Back, whose husband was a dredger in Dover harbour.

During the summer of 1856, Redanies was courting the elder Back daughter, Caroline.

On August 2nd he accused her of receiving attentions from a sergeant in his unit.

She denied this and he appeared satisfied. He proposed a walk over the downs to Shorncliffe Camp the following day. Mrs Back insisted that they be chaperoned by Caroline's younger sister Maria. At Steddy's Hole, some five miles out, he killed them both.

Redanies was captured the following day at Milton Chapel Farm, Chartham, near Canterbury, after having tried to commit suicide. He was tried, found guilty and hanged at Maidstone on New Year's Day 1857.


George claimed that his grandfather saw Redanies captured, and was most concerned about singing the song in public for fear of offending any relatives of the Backs who might be present.



I am informed by Barry O'Brien that the inquest on the body of the girls was held in the nearby "Royal Oak" and that John had drunk a swift half in the "Three Horseshoes" at Lower Hardres immediately before his capture and rest.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 15 February, 1867.


Joseph Davis, who had been remanded from a previous day on a charge of breaking into the house of William Fairbrass, and stealing therefrom a great coat value 10s. was again brought up.

The evidence of the prosecutor and of Superintendent English had been taken at the first examination.

That of the first wont to show that he was a labourer living in the parish of Hougham. On Wednesday morning, January 30, about half-past six he left his house to go to work, his wife and children being in bed. Everything in the house when he left was right as far as he noticed. In about an hour afterwards his wife sent for him and on going back to his house he found that several things had been taken from it. The great coat in question was one of the articles missed. The Superintendent, who is stationed at Seabrook, said that on the day in question he received information that several things had been taken from Mr. Fairbrass's house. He made enquiries, and on Thursday morning, on coming through Sandgate, he met the prisoner coming up the street. He was wearing the coat produced and identified by Fairbrass. Witness said, "This is the coat I have been looking for; where did you get it?" prisoner replied, "I bought it." Witness then charged him with stealing it, and took him into custody.

Frederick Kitham now deposed: I live at the "Valiant Sailor," at the top of Folkestone Hill. Last Wednesday week I was on the Dover Road, about eight o'clock in the morning, when I saw the prisoner. When I first saw him he appeared to have his coat off and to be in his shirt sleeves. It was rather foggy at the time. There was a bend in the road; and I lost sight of him for a little while; but when I saw him again he had a brown coat on. He looked towards Dover, and then took up a coat off the bank and went down the lane. When he came back he had the coat on and was buttoning it up. The coat now produced by Superintendent English is very much like it. He had two bundles in his hand, one tied up in a red and white handkerchief and the other in a blue one. After the prisoner had gone I looked and found the old coat now produced, stuffed in a hole in the bank, close to where I had seen the prisoner standing. I afterwards gave the coat to Superintendent English.

In cross-examination the prisoner witness said he had no doubt as to his identity.

This completed the case for the prosecution; and the prisoner, after having had the usual caution read over to him, said nothing in his defence.

The prisoner was then fully committed to take his trial at the next Maidstone Sessions, instead of at Canterbury, on account of there being a larger number of prisoner's then usual at St. Augustine's.

Three other charges were preferred against the prisoner, who was accused of stealing clothes the property of Sergeant Tilley, Corporal Seaton, and Private Elms.

It appeared from the evidence of Mrs. Tilley, wife of the first named prosecutor, that she washed for her husband and the two other men. On the 27th January her husband gave her white under flannel and a print shirt belonging to himself, a pair of drawers belonging to Corporal Seaton, and a night shirt of Private Elms. She washed them on the 29th, and on the 31st hung them out to dry, about ten o'clock in the morning. When she went, about three, to take them in, she missed them.

The prisoner was committed for trial on these charges also.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 October, 1895.


On Monday evening a sad trap accident occurred on Folkestone Hill, by which Mrs. Aird, landlady of the "Valiant Sailor," was killed, her husband and another occupant injured, and the horse killed.


Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald 07 July 1900.


Charles Bowman, employed by Mr. W. Aird, dairyman, the "Valiant Sailor," was charged with stealing £1 1s. 1d. from his master. It appeared that a balance to that amount was due to Mr. Aird by one of his customers, Mr. Alfred White, landlord of the "Martello," Dover-road, and that it was duly paid at the end of May to the defendant but never accounted for.

Sentenced to two months' imprisonment.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 2 March 1901. Price 1d.


While proceeding down Dover Hill recently a man named Hogben, who had been in the employ of Mr. W. Aird, of the “Valiant Sailor,” for over twenty years, slipped on the frozen snow and broke his leg. He sent a passer by to Folkestone for a cab, but without result, as the slippery condition of the hill rendered it impossible for vehicles to ascend, and the unfortunate man was compelled to lay in agony for over two hours before assistance arrived. Mr. Aird, on being informed of the accident sent a constable who was with him to bind up the sufferer's leg, and arrived on the scene directly after with his waggonette for the purpose of driving the man to the Victoria Hospital. Hogben was carefully lifted into the vehicle, but it had not proceeded a hundred yards when it suddenly swerved right round, and turning over threw all the occupants out onto the frozen road. Mr. Aird sustained a dislocated shoulder and the others a severe shaking. About three years ago Mr. Aird's wife was killed and his daughter seriously injured by a similar upset on the same spot.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, & Cheriton Herald, 12 August, 1903.

Telephone 36.

The “Valiant Sailor Inn”. On top of Folkestone Hill.

And on the main road to Dover

Unique Accommodation for Cyclists and Picnic Parties.

Afternoon Teas, served in well-appointed and Airy Rooms on the Cliffs, Cascading magnificent views of the Warren, Channel and Passing Ships.


Dover Express 09 April 1915.


At the Eltham County Bench on Thursday last week, the licence of the "Valiant Sailor", at the top of Folkestone Hill, was temporarily transferred from the executors of the late Mr. William Aird to Mr. Alfred Aird.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 30 April, 1926. Price 1½d.


At the Seabrook Police Court on Friday last week, Andrew Benedict Richards, of Chatham, who was charged on remand with breaking and entering the “Valiant Sailor,” Hawkinge, near Folkestone, and stealing five Masonic medals, a metal watch and a bunch of keys, valued £7 5s., was committed for trial at the Kent Assizes. The Magistrates adopted a similar course in regard to two other charges of housebreaking at Cheriton.

Mr. A. C. Aird, of the “Valiant Sailor,” stated that on the night of the 14th inst. he made an inspection of the premises and found them all secure. Just after six o'clock on the following morning, upon going downstairs, he noticed that the dining room window was open and one pane was broken near the catch. The room itself was in a state of great disorder. There was an office adjoining the dining room and the door had been locked. He unlocked the door and found that the window was open, and a pane of glass near the catch was broken. The office was also in great disorder. The front door was also unbolted. He missed nothing from the dining room, but he found that five of his Masonic jewels (three produced) and a gun metal watch, which had been kept in a drawer in his desk, had gone. Later he missed a bunch of keys, some foreign coins, and a small electric torch. He identified the three medals, whilst the keys and watch were similar to those he had had. The value of the missing articles was between £7 and £8.

Detective Constable Avory, stationed at Seabrook, deposed to examining the last witness's premises on the morning of the 15th inst. A room used as an office had been entered by the window, which had a pane of glass broken near the catch. The room had the appearance of having been hurriedly searched. On the 18th inst. he saw the accused in Custody at Chatham Police Station. When charged and cautioned Richards said, “Three of the medals I gave to three men at Folkestone; I also gave one of them the watch. I do not know who they were.” On the 20th he (witness) recovered the watch at New Romney.

Miss Mary Green, of Chatham, said the prisoner was her brother, and on the 15th inst. he gave her two medals, a tobacco pouch, a silver pen and pencil, and a pair of gloves.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton Herald, 3 July 1926.


Passenger flights daily at the Flying Ground, opposite the "Valiant Sailor", Dover Road, 10 a.m. till dusk, until Sunday July 11th.

We guarantee enjoyment or cash refunded.

Flights at 5/-, 10/-, 15/- and £1. Looping the loop 15/-, other stunts by appointment.

Wonderful trick and exhibition flying during Sunday afternoon. Including such daring feats as walking the wings mid air, and other acrobatics seldom seen except on the film.

Other stunts at arrangement.

Watch for the red machines.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, & Cheriton Herald, 16 May, 1931.

The “Valiant” Sailors.

We really have no need, perhaps, to be reminded that our sailors are valiant, be they associated with the Royal Navy, the Mercantile Marine, the Lifeboat Service, or three other callings connected with those who "go down to the sea in ships and do their business in the great waters.” Those who dwell inland possess much of that knowledge through the printed word or an occasional visit to the seaside, but many of us who have dwelt for the best part of our lives, as it were, on the margin of this immediate storm-swept coast, have this constantly brought before our minds. In extension of this thought we may refer to the forthcoming visit to Folkestone of H.M. battleship Valiant, with its crew of twice four hundred men of all ratings. Folkestone, true to itself, will accord these men, with the salt sea as it were, pulsating through their veins, that welcome which shall be British to the core.

That “Valiant Sailor" on the Hill-top.

Of course we have been reminded—if we needed reminding—by the "sailor" described as "Valiant" standing isolated alone on the edge of the cliff on the Folkestone-Dover Road, and standing all these years four square to all the winds that blow, and hundreds of feet above the level of the sea. Of course, I am referring to the famous inn "The Valiant Sailor" owned by Mr. A. C. Aird, as it was also by his father, the late Mr. W. Aird. Of course this particular "Sailor" is on the main road to Dover—six miles distant. Outside the establishment was at one time a toll-house or turnpike gate. So rapid is the flight of time that the present generation can hardly realise that every horse and vehicle, besides droves of sheep and cattle, were compelled to pay toll before they could pass through the aforesaid gate or similar gates on the main roads. A carrier van, and occasional horsed ’bus—that was all the communication that existed in those days, which many of us recall. And so it comes about that our "Valiant Sailor" on Dover Hill has witnessed a revolution. He has seen the old gate abolished, a ten minute motor 'bus service created between the two towns, whilst hundreds of motor vehicles pass by every day of the year. Here is progress if you like. I may be perhaps pardoned for mentioning it, that I made the first journey ever made from Folkestone to Dover on a motor vehicle named "The Pioneer." It was driven by Mr. Ernest Salter, motor engineer, and son of the late Alderman W. Salter. J.P., of Folkestone. Those of us who braved that journey, especially up Dover Hill, were proud of ourselves on that day. I often gaze on a photo which depicts the old "Pioneer" on its way to Dover. I could write a story—on exciting one, too—of on experience I had on this self-same "Pioneer” as it did a sprint down the famous Whitfield Hill. Space, however, just now forbids.

"The Jolly Sailor."

I am informed by the present proprietor Mr. Alfred C. Aird (whom I have already mentioned) that the old inn alluded to was originally designated the "Jolly Sailor.” Why its name was altered I cannot tell, and my friend. Mr. Aird, cannot throw any light on the subject. Certainly there is something very jolly associated with that word Jolly. But from what I can gather from a volume I have before me, there were certain people in other days that did approve of it. Thus I read: "The use of the word 'Jolly’ on the signboards of various inns formerly so common in our ‘Merrie England’ is now so common in our 'Merrie England' is now gradually dying away. Whatever be the opinion upon the subject of national good humour it seems some people no longer desire to be advertised us jolly." Why object, for instance to the “Jolly Britisher," the ‘Molly Farmer," or the "Jolly Sailor.” What a funny world is this. It would seem then that in the Merrie England of those other days they had their "killjoys” with their sour faces and the canker of envy, malice, and uncharitableness over gnawing at their hands. However, when we pause to think, the word valiant is a very fine one.

Old Coastguard Station.

When, then, our valiant guests pay us their forthcoming visit we hope they will remember that "Valiant Sailor” who has stood sentinel on yonder hill-top since that time when Folkestone was nothing more (as Defoe described it) "a miserable fishing village." Let us forget for the moment telephones, wireless, and even the (then) partly developed telegraph service. In a meadow at the rear of "The Jolly Sailor" was established a coast-guard station, with a high flag staff near it. There was a chain of these stations all along the coast. The nearest to the one mentioned were Sandgate on one side and the Lydden Spout on the other. Coastguards watched in pursuance of their calling. Here, with the aid of telescopes, they would sweep the horizon, keeping a watch the while on suspicious looking craft (smuggling perchance) or the various types of vessels (all under sail in those days) going to or coming from all parts of the globe. Of course those on board exchanged signals with those on shore by means of flags. I don't quite know how it was, but in a nearby meadow Mr. Aird caused some minor excavations to be made, for what purpose I do not for the moment remember. However the man or men employed came across a bricked structure which apparently was used by the coastguard as a much needed shelter on that bleak hill-top. In the course of digging thousands of oyster shells were found, and these were in layers. These were not the shell covering of the renowned Royal Whitstable, but the shells of the real Channel oysters, many larger than the palm of a large hand. How was it those shells formed a part in this underground cavern or shelter? There were several hundred of them.

In Close Proximity to the Meadow.

Leading from this meadow, perched on the cliff. and with the beautiful undulating Warren below, are the famous High-cliff Tea Gardens which are part and parcel of the property on which the parcel of the property on which the "Valiant Sailor" stands. Painted with the loveliest early spring flowers, these gardens provides one of the fairest of Kentish pictures. They are indeed unique in their way.

The ‘'Valiant” Boys in Blue.

Folkestone, as I have already mentioned, may be trusted to do the right thing in welcoming the "boys" associated with the fine warship bearing a name that will be on everybody’s lips in Folkestone in a few weeks’ time. One of the first objects these brave boys will "pick out" from the sea will be their namesake "The Valiant Sailor." And so this particular old "sailor" only one in England—will come at last into its own, and it may be taken for granted that their name-sake, standing on the top of the Dover Hill and keeping watch and ward on the coast during their absence, will not be one whit behind. There is not such another "Sailor" in England, and its proprietor rejoices in this tact.

Missionaries for Folkestone.

I really believe that if the hundreds of licensed victuallers, together with their lady friends, who left Folkestone after the recent conference, had been canvassed, there would not have been found a grumble in regard to their visit to this-town. Thus these have departed to the north, east, west, and south, as so many potential missionaries for our town. Each of those in their several ways—in their saloons, private, and public bars—will preach, as it were, the Gospel of Folkestone. This especially applies to the North and Midlands. On my occasional visits to distant places I have invariably tested this point. “Yes, I know Folkestone, having passed through it during the war on my way to the front." That sums up the situation in regard to many I have met. Strolling on the ''Stray'’ at Harrogate one fine day I came across an individual (a young man about town" he appeared to be) who had not then heard of Folkestone. Of course he could not have read much. It is, however, no astounding fact that with all our publicity, there still remains much to be done in the way of advertising propaganda, and it in cheerful to know that the hundreds of licensed victuallers will now do their share. Of course, the great success of the visit was the splendid behaviour of the Clerk of the Weather. He it was that painted our scenery and attractions in golden rays of sunlight.


From the Dover Express, 19 August, 1938.


Radio enthusiasts will be interested to learn of the splendid reception of television programmes at the Highcliffe Tea Gardens (adjoining the “Valiant Sailor”) which is 546ft. above sea level. Although some 80 miles from the television transmitter at Alexandra Palace, programmes are received with the utmost clarity. The demonstrations are arranged by Bobby’s wireless department, of 8, Bouverie Place, Folkestone, and two Pye vision receivers are used.


From the Dover Express, 13 May, 1970

£80 pub raid at Capel

Drinks and cigarettes worth £80 were stolen during the weekend from the "Valiant Sailor" public house at the top of Dover Hill, Folkestone, by raiders who got through a window.


Valiant Sailor business card 2007

Valiant Sailor business card 2007

From an email received 3 October 2009.

Dear Mr Skelton.

Thank you for an interesting resume of some history together with photographs of the Valiant Sailor Inn, Capel le Ferne, which I found particularly interesting as my grandmother Lilian Lizzie VIDLER was born there in 1882 as per the copy of her birth certificate.

Her mother was Ann Elizabeth nee GIBSON of Elham,Kent and father was Charles VIDLER born Brenzett, Romney Marsh, who as a single man in the 1881 census was employed by William AIRD, Innkeeper at the Valiant Sailor and farmer of 175 acres, as a milkman.

By 1882 he had married and he was described as a milkman on both his marriage certificate and again on the birth certificate of his daughter Lilian, the following year. On the census record his surname is erroneously transcribed as DIDLER.

By 1890, the VIDLER family were living at Sandgate, Folkestone, where Charles was by now, employed by a man named KEELER as a carrier when in October of that year whilst engaged in collecting rocks from the beach at Sandgate with his horse and cart, he sadly was found drowned at the waters edge early one morning, apparently the victim of an accident.

Lilian Lizzie VIDLER was eventually to marry my grandfather Walter NICOLL at Elham in 1903, where he was employed as a groom at the East Kent Hunt kennels at Elham where his father William NICOLL was huntsman. since 1897. and when the mastership of the hunt changed in 1900, to Harry SELBY-LOWNDES, William NICOLL was to become 1st Whipper in, as the master took it upon himself to be the huntsman too and carried the horn. I mention these subsequent events as during the 30 or so years tenure of H SELBY-LOWNDES at the East Kent, he apparently instituted a tradition of a hunt meet at the Warren, Capel le Ferne, each Easter Monday, when around 2000 people would travel to see the huntsmen, members and hounds. The old photo you have published appears to have at least a couple of what look like fox hunters in the background, and I wondered if you could give a better idea of the circa this was taken and if indeed it was an occasion of a hunt meet there.

Thank you also for the more recent photographs of my grandmothers birthplace.

I live in retirement in France but will be visiting Kent in November and in particular The Valiant Sailor during this time, but if you can tell me if any other old photographs of the Valiant Sailor exist from around 1880 into the 20th century, and if so, and how and who I could contact regarding gaining sight of such copies. I should be most grateful.

Yours Faithfully Ian William NICOLL.


Read follow up story at "Castle Inn," Folkestone.




KITHAM Richard 1845-May/78 dec'd Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Post Office Directory 1874

AIRD William 1881-Apr/1915 dec'd Dover ExpressPost Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891Kelly's 1899Post Office Directory 1903Post Office Directory 1913

AIRD Alfred Charles Apr/1915-38+ Post Office Directory 1922Kelly's 1934Post Office Directory 1938 the Aird's reputed to have been there for 68 years. That makes them till 1949.

KNIGHT John 1976+

HEARNE Steve 2007+

JACKSON Dennis 2011+

CROSS Matt ???? Next pub licensee had

Last pub licensee had TOWNSEND John & Michael (son) 3/Oct/2014+


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express


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