Page Updated Aldington:- Friday, 17 November, 2023.


Earliest 1600s

Walnut Tree

Open 2023+

Forge Hill, Roman Road


01233 720298

Walniut Tree inside 1888

Above drawing 1885, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Showing the kitchen area inside the pub.

Walnut Tree inside 1885

Above drawing 1885, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Showing the fireplace area inside the pub.

Walnut Tree 1933

Above photo, circa 1933, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Walnut Tree

Above photo, circa 1940.

Walnut Tree

Above photo, circa 1940.

Walnut Tree inside

Above photo, circa 1940, showing the inside of the pub.

Walnut Tree garden

Above photo, circa 1940, showing the garden.

Walnut Tree 1952

Above postcard, 1952, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Walnut Tree 1973

Above photo, circa 1973, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Waknut Tree 1974

Above photo, circa 1974, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Walnut Tree, Aldington

Picture taken from Shepherd Neame web site 2011.

Walnut Tree sketch

"Walnut Tree" Sketch taken from their web site.

Walnut Tree 2009

Photo by Oast House Archive 2009 from

Sign April 1986Sign July 1991

Sign left April 1986, sign right July 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Sign June 1992Walnut Tree sign 2011

Above sign left June 1992, sign right 2011.

Walnut Tree sign 2019

Above sign, 2019, by Dougie Moon.

Walnut Tree 2019

Above photo, May 2019, kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.

Walnut Tree 2019

Above photo, May 2019, kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.


The "Walnut Tree Inn" was built during the reign of Richard II (1377-1399) in the year of the crusades. Five years before, seventeen horses fetched 19 shillings each and six 15 shillings each at auction held in St Martins church.

When first built, the house was no more than a timber framed, wattle and doubt hut with a thatched roof. A fire burned in a central hearth and an aperture in the roof, a louvre, acted as a flue. The floor, of the only room (called the hall) was covered with straw, there were no bedrooms, cupboards or furniture. Supplies and possessions were kept in baskets or boxes. Everyone in the family lived, ate and slept in this one room. The average cost of a dwelling of this type was about six pounds.

In the mid fifteenth century a small bedroom was added at a higher level. Reached by ladder, here the children of the family would sleep on wooden cot beds, often suspended from beams.

In 1456, one Septimus Longbarrow, a yeoman of Ashford. purchased the house and 10 acres of arable land for 11 pounds. In 1502 one Joseph Silver, yeoman, resided here with his wife Rebecca and seven children, by the turn of the sixteenth century great improvements had been carried out to the property and the main dwelling enlarged. In 1611, the property was purchased by one Nicholas Marren a former bailiff of the Manor of Aldington.

Sometime during the seventeenth century ale began to be brewed here, for in a sale document of 1687, a "brew-house" is included in the inventory. In 1704, the property was purchased by one Jonas Quilter.

In August of the same year Quilter stood before two justices at Ashford and was granted a license to sell ales and ciders, from the premises which at this date bore no title but was registered as an ale house under ownership. In 1749, the property was purchased by Thomas Gadhew, who upon being granted a license registered the house under the title of the "Walnut Tree".

Walnut Tree Song


During the Napoleonic wars Aldington was the stronghold of the Aldington Gang, an infamous band of smugglers that roamed the marshes and shores of Kent plying their nefarious trade. The gang's prolific leaders, Cephas Quested and George Ransley, both natives of Aldington, made the "Walnut Tree" their headquarters and drop point for their illicit contraband. High up on the southern side of the inn is a small window through which the gang would shine a signal light to their confederates up to Aldington Knoll.

The "Walnut Tree's" association with lawlessness did not end with the demise of the smugglers for as late as 1904 the inn was centre of the cock fighting contests.

The "Walnut Tree" has seen and undergone many changes since first it was built but the historic character remains unchanged. The food and liquor served here these days is strictly legal... so stay, enjoy the fayre and reflect on those bygone days.

The "Walnut Tree" offers open fires in the winter and a beer garden in the summer. Children are welcome with and there is a garden play area with a bouncy castle at weekends.

Now supplied by Shephard Neame this pub also serves meals where there is a menu to suit all, including meat and fish dishes cooked on sizzling grillstones.


Kentish Gazette 20 July 1802.

On Monday the 26th instant will be played at Aldington, the return match of cricket between the Gentleman of Tenterden and the Gentleman of the Aldington Club, for 1 Guinea a man. The wickets to be pitched at 9 o'clock, and the game played out.

N.B. Good ordinary at the "Walnut Tree Inn," at 2 o'clock.


Kentish Gazette, 17 July, 1804.


On Monday and Tuesday, the 23rd and 24th inst. will he played at ALDINGTON, a match of Cricket, between eleven gentlemen of West Kent and eleven gentlemen of East Kent, for One Guinea a man; the wickets to be pitched at nine o’clock each day, and the came played out.

N.B. A good ordinary at the "Walnut-tree," at 2 o’clock.


Kentish Gazette 13 February 1849.


A few evenings since, the landlord of the "Black Horse Inn," Pluckley, on crossing the road at about nine o'clock, saw a person lying on his back, with his arms extended. He (supposing the person to be intoxicated) went to assist him by placing him on his legs, when to all appearance he was asleep, but on taking him into his house, with the assistance of other parties, it was discovered that he was dead. He proved to be Mr. Firman, late of the "Walnut Tree Inn," Aldington, who had arrived at the Pluckley station, and was on his way to Charing, where he resided. He had a considerable sum of money on his person.


Kentish Gazette 04 February 1851.


Mr. R. Thompson will sell by auction, at the "Walnut Tree Inn," Aldington, on Thursday, the 6th February, 1851, at One o'clock in the Afternoon, a Stack of excellent Meadow Hay, standing at Stone Street Green, containing about 22 Tons.

Mr. Divers, of the "Walnut Tree Inn," will show the Stack, and further particulars may be had of the Auctioneer, Saltwood, Hythe.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 16 June 1860.


An inquest was held by C. J. Fox, Esq-, deputy coroner for Kent, at the "Walnut Tree Inn," Aldington, on Thursday last, upon the body of William Kesby, a farmer, belonging to the adjoining parish of Bonnington. It appeared that on Tuesday afternoon Charlotte Kesby, a niece of deceased, saw his gabardine and dog beside the pond, near their house, and his coat floating on the water. She called John Kesby, a brother of deceased, who now deposed—on going to the pond I found my brother, quite dead and cold. His legs were tied together by a cord near the ankles. The pond was four or five feet deep. The deceased's mind has been very much affected for the last two years, and he has had several fits. He had a severe fall from a hay stack last Christmas, and fell with his head upon a stone I believe that the fall very materially affected his spirits, and led him to commit suicide. He was 70 years of age, and was always a very quiet, inoffensive, and sober man. The jury returned a verdict of "Temporary insanity."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 20 March 1880.


On Friday evening a fatal accident occurred to Mr. James Smith, landlord of the "Walnut Tree Inn" at AIdington Corner. Mr. Smith was driving a commercial traveller to Hythe, and stopping at the "Shepherd and Crook," Burmarsh, the landlord, Ovenden, said he was about to drive to Hythe and would take the traveller with him. Mr. Smith accepted the offer, and started in a few minutes to return to Aldington. On the journey the cart was overturned into a ditch near the Rectory. The Rev. Mr. Valpy heard the noise of the horse splashing in the water, and summoning assistance Mr. Smith was found on his face forced down in the mud; the splash board of the cart being on his neck. He was completely smothered, and could not be resuscitated. At an inquest on Saturday a verdict of " Accidental death " was returned.


From, 26 March, 2008


Walnut Tree 2008

THE historic "Walnut Tree" pub in the village of Aldington was built during the reign of Richard II.

It started as no more than a timber-framed wattle-and-daub hut with a thatched roof, but in the mid-15th century a small bedroom was added at a higher level - it was reached by ladder.

Ale was brewed on site in the 17th century and the inn grew in popularity.

But during the Napoleonic wars with France the village was the stronghold of the Aldington Gang - an infamous band of smugglers who roamed the marshes and shoreline.

High up on the southern side of the pub is a small window, through which the gang would shine a signal to their confederates on Aldington Knoll.

The ghost of George Ransley, a bygone smuggler, is reputed to haunt the inn and many strange happenings have been reported.

The "Walnut Tree" has an excellent restaurant which serves fine food - sizzling grillstones, the oldest form of cooking meat on stones on the table.

The inn prides itself on home-cooked fare and Sunday roasts. It also has outside bars and a marquee can be arranged for large functions such as weddings.

The pub is opposite the village cricket green and there is ample car-parking space and an excellent beer garden.


From the By Suz Elvey, 8 September 2014.

The Reverend Martin Jones of St Martin's church, Aldington, near Ashford, is holding services at Shepherd Neame pub the Walnut Tree.

Prayers can now be said over a pint after an Ashford vicar came up with a quirky new venue for a church service... a village pub.

The Reverend Martin Jones, vicar at St Martin’s in Aldington, is conducting a weekly service at Shepherd Neame pub the Walnut Tree.

Worship takes place in the bar from 9am every Wednesday and the congregation is already bigger than he imagined it would be.

Reverand Martin Jones and andlady

The Reverend Martin Jones with landlady Karen Barrett and her partner Steve Worrow.

The Rev Jones said: "The village of Aldington has moved since St Martin’s was built in the 12 century and the church is now about a mile outside. The aim of holding these services at the pub is to meet people where they are, instead of expecting them to come to us.

"The last session we had was attended by 18 people, which is fantastic and more than I expected."

He said the sessions are less formal than a traditional church service and people are encouraged to ask questions and share opinions.

Reverand Martin Jones 2014

The Reverend Martin Jones at the Walnut Tree.

Licensee Karen Barrett, who has been at the pub 13 years, said: "When Reverend Jones approached me with the idea I was delighted to get involved.

"Everyone has busy lives and it can be difficult to find the time to go to church. I was brought up as a Christian but I am working all day on Sunday so don’t get the chance to go along for a service.

"Getting together at the pub on a weekday morning is not only more convenient for lots of people but also a comfortable, familiar environment. I provide everyone with tea, coffee and biscuits and it is a really relaxed atmosphere.

"It is a great way to bring the community together."


From accessed 17 June 2015.


Built in the reign of Richard 2nd between 1377 and 1399, it was timber-framed wattle and daub with thatched roof until rebuilt. Inside the inn is a bread oven built into an inglenook fireplace. There is still a spy-hole, once used by the smugglers, to view the marshes searching for Revenue men. Cock fighting took place here until 1904. The "Walnut Tree" exhibits ghostly manifestations. These include a smuggler, who expired in the pub during a poker game with a gang of outlaws. His throat was slit, and his body was thrown down a well. There have been further reports of several phantom children in Victorian style dress being seen and heard in the bars. Aldington Knoll, nearby, people have claimed, to be the burial site of a giant. Author, H.G. Wells, said this site was the entrance to fairyland.


From the By Luke May, 20 June 2019.

 The "Walnut Tree," East Farleigh was named Turnaround Pub of the Year.

 Elsewhere in Kent, the "Walnut Tree Inn" in Aldington won the Heart of the Community award, Dargate's the "Dove" scooped the Pub Food gong, New Licensee went to Joe and Jane Mullane of the "Four Fathoms," Herne Bay, "Dover Castle" in Teynham won Tenanted Pub of the Year, the "Alma" in Painters Forstal had the Best Floral Display, and Nick Kings-Kemsley of the "Marine Hotel," Tankerton was named Manager of the Year.

Meanwhile, The "Green Man" in Hernogate, Essex, won the Best Hero award.


From the By Ed McConnell, 28 October 2019.

Haunted pubs in Kent this Halloween.

Kent's colourful history and strong ties to smuggling mean it has its fair share of ghost stories.

An ill-tempered poker game is behind this tale. The 14th century inn was once the headquarters of The Aldington Gang, a group of smugglers who brought in goods across the Romney Marshes. One night while waiting for a signal from colleagues some of the gang began playing cards. Violence erupted and one member slit the throat of another. Nowadays the murderer can be heard at night taking the body to the well to be disposed of. Sometimes the sounds of scuffling and a body being dragged outside can also be heard. On an unrelated note nearby Aldington Knoll, from which the smugglers' signal would have been shone if the trivial matter of a murder hadn't got in the way, is said to be the burial place of a giant and author, H.G. Wells said this site was the entrance to 'fairyland'. Just down the road in Bilsington the long since shut "Bourne Tap" was apparently purchased with smuggling money. A ghost manifesting itself as a severed head scared the curious away.


During the Covid 19 crisis of 2020, this pub was able to offer a take away service in June, possibly earlier.



QUILTER Jonas 1704+

GADHEW Thomas 1749+

AMESS Elgar 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

FIRMAN John 1832-Feb/49 dec'd (age 40 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1832-34

DIVERS William 1851-58+ (age 40 in 1851Census) Melville's 1858

FIRMAN Mary 1861+ (age 59 in 1861Census)

SMITH James 1871+Mar/80 dec'd (age 49 in 1871Census)

SMITH Mary (widow) Mar/1880-1901+ (age 66 in 1901Census) Whitstable TimesPost Office Directory 1882

DENNE Annie Mrs 1903+ Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

MOODIE Ernest 1911-13+ (age 35 in 1911Census) Post Office Directory 1913

AWFORD Herbert George 1922-39+ Post Office Directory 1922Post Office Directory 1930Post Office Directory 1938

BARRETT Graham & Karen 2001-14+


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

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

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938


Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald


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