Sort file:- Dover, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 20 December, 2018.


Earliest 1592

York Hotel

Latest 1844

Union Street

Opposite the sea Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840



It has been said that a "York Hotel" stood near the angle of the Pent in 1592.


I am not able to elaborate on that statement, I am only able to say that a well-renowned hotel, opened in 1780 by Anthony Payn, then aged 32. The hotel was situated within the harbour itself, in the pier district, at the seaward end of what was then called Snargate Street-over-Sluice.


The Dover and Deal Directory and Guide of 1792 states that the "York Hotel" was one of the Principle Inns in Dover, and in 1792 was owned by Rutley and Willement.


Kentish Gazette, Saturday 8 January 1785.

Lost, last night.

(Supposed in a post chase which took up a lady, a young gentleman, and a little girl, from the "Sun" at Chatham, changed horses at Bexleyheath, and put down the lady and her companions, about 9:30 last night, at the corner of Warwick Court, Holborn.)

A draft, drawn by Lord Cholmondley, dated at Dover, on Messrs. Drummonds, Charing Cross, value £30, payable to bearer; a Dover Bank Bill of exchange, drawn by Peter Fector, on Messrs. Minet and Fector, No. 21, Austin Friars, London, value £100. payable three days after Sight to Mr. Anthony Payne or Order, and endorsed by the said Anthony Payne.

Whoever will bring the above Draught and Bill to Mr. Rocke, No. 6, Warwick Court, Holborn, shall receive 2 guineas reward; if offered to be negotiated, please to stop the person or persons offering the same, and give notice as above, and the same reward will be given.

These Bills are of no use to any persons but the owner of them, as payment is stopped; neither will these Bills the advertised anymore, nor any greater reward offered.


From the London Gazette, 24 June, 1794.

Notice is hereby given, that the Co-partnership between Messrs. Thomas Rutley and James Willement, of the "York House," in the Town and Port of Dover, in the County of Kent, Innkeepers and Co-partners, is dissolved on and from the 20th Day of June instant; and all Persons having any Claims on the said Co-partnership are desired forthwith to send the Particulars of their respective Demands to Samuel Latham, of Dover aforesaid, Banker, in order that the same may be discharged; and all Persons who are indebted to the said late Co-partnership are requested forthwith to pay their respective Debts to the said Samuel Latham, who is duly empowered to receive the same.

T. Rutley

J. Willement


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 31 March 1795.

Notice is hereby given that the co-partnership between Anthony Payn and James Williment, late of "York House Inn," Dover, Innkeeper's, is dissolving and any persons having any demands on the said co-partnership are requested to transmit an account thereof immediately to Mr. John Shipdem, Attorney at Law, Dover.

Dated 26th March, 1795.


Though not quite as elevated socially as the "Ship Hotel" opposite, on Custom House Quay, the York was nevertheless patronised by Royalty. In 1797 the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) stayed here and later still, in 1840, Prince Albert on 6 February 1840 on his way to marry Victoria. The 1841 census referred to this as the "Royal York Hotel."


Morning Post, Friday 13 December 1816.

Dover. December 10th.

Last night, about 10:30 o clock, a fire broke out at the York Hotel, which was first threatened destruction to the premises, but we are happy to say it was subdued, for the most prompt exertions and assistance rendered for the inhabitants and the military, to both of whom the greatest praise is due, with a comparatively small lost the proprietor, Mr. Anthony Payne, who, we are authorised to state, as already made the necessary arrangements for the reception and entertainment of those friends who are the "York Hotel" with a preference.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 12 January, 1839. Price 5d.

An accident, which might have been of a fatal nature, befell an elderly gentleman before daylight on Tuesday morning. Sir Joseph Hoare, who left the "York House" for the purpose of embarking for Ostend, dispensed with the assistance of an attendant at the quay; and in stepping from one packet to another, unfortunately fell between the vessels into the water. A boat, and ropes being handy, Sir Joseph was quickly hauled on board, in rather a pitiable condition; but nothing could induce him to quit the vessel, although after putting to sea, he was compelled to return to the roads for some hours, by the violence of a contrary wind.


In 1798, at the age of 50, Anthony Payn married Sophia Smith and two sons were born, in 1799 and 1803.


Anthony Payn died in 1817, at the age of 69. Presumably Sophia continued to run the hotel during the hiatus period when her sons were still young, but in 1820 at the age of 21, the elder son, Anthony Freeman Payn obtained Freemanship of the Town of Dover (compulsory for businessmen) and took over the running of his father's hotel.


In 1836 the Phoenix coach left the hotel at seven a.m. every day and made its run to the "George" and the "Blue Boar" at Holborn, in the centre of London. The fare was £1.3s.6d. by mail coach and £1 by the others.


The hotel was closed and demolished in 1844, when the tidal harbour was enlarged and many of the buildings on the quay side removed. The old harbour area of Dover on the western side of the town (as opposed to the newer Eastern Docks area) has undergone many changes in the last 200 years, not least because of the advent of the railway. The three basins which make up the Western Docks have changed their shapes, water having sometimes become land and land water.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 22 February, 1845. Price 5d.


Last week, at Dover, suddenly, Mr. Gardner, many years in the employ of Mr. Payne, “Royal York Hotel,” in this town.


We have fortunately been left with many descriptions of its location. One says 'that in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth it stood at the seaward end of Union Street' and another 'that the "York Hotel" stood near the end of the Esplanade during the early part of the (nineteenth) century' and finally, 'a "York Hotel" was in the pier district at the end of the eighteenth century'.

This was another part of the town which had to go when the tidal harbour was enlarged in 1844. Another description at that time says 'that the hotel occupied the site of that part of the harbour bounded by the Esplanade and the North quay'.

The notification for Anthony Freeman Payn's death in 1866 mentions Buckland, but I believe this was where he was living at the time and just mentions the "York House" meaning the "York Hotel" as licensee there till it was demolished in 1844.


Dover Express, Friday 06 July 1866.

Anthony Freeman Payn, Esquire., deceased.

Notice is hereby given that all person's having any claim or demand upon or against the estate of Anthony Freeman Payn, late of "York House," Buckland, near Dover, in the county of Kent, Esquire, deceased, who died on 24th day of March last, are requested to send the particulars thereof to us the undersigned or to Messrs. Worsfold and Haywood of Dover, Estate Agents, forthwith, in order that the same may be examined and if correct discharged. And all person's indebted to the Estate of the said deceased are requested to pay the amount of their respective debts forthwith.

Sankey Son and Flint, Solicitors to the the Executives of the said Anthony Freeman Payn. Canterbury, 23rd June, 1866.


Bearing in mind that a ropewalk was later superseded by Waterloo Crescent and Cambridge Terrace, we are informed that in 1823 it was situated at the lower end of the ropewalk, fronting the sea. That year also, the name of Sophia Payn can be associated with it.


Today the exact spot of the "York Hotel" is a small car-park on the way to the Hoverport, on the right-hand side immediately after crossing the blue bridge. It may most easily be approached by driving westwards in front of Marine Parade and Waterloo Crescent; park by the roundabout there; the site of the York Hotel is then just across the road.


Another with this name had traded between wars from 15 Waterloo Crescent and was mentioned in Pikes directory of 1924 Pikes 1924 as "York House Commercial Temperance Hotel," the proprietor being a Mrs R Greenwood at the time. It was a private hotel and a temperance one at that. I mention it here because it later combined with its neighbour, "Brown House", to form the "White Cliffs Hotel".

I have also found reference to the "York Commercial Hotel" still addressed as 15 Waterloo Crescent and being run by a Mrs. M Tipple in 1934-35.



PAYNE Anthony Freeman 1780-1828+ Historical Sketch 1799Pigot's Directory 1828-29

STANBURY 1820's, 30's

PAYNE Sophia 1823

PAYNE Anthony Freeman 1832-44 (age 40 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840


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

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

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

Historical Sketch 1799Historical Sketch of the Town of Dover 1799 by G Ledger


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