Page Updated:- Friday, 07 June, 2024.


Earliest 1585

Crown Inn

Open 2022+

Groombridge Hill


01829 864742

Crown 1900

Above photo, circa 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown postcard 1905

Above postcard, circa 1905.

Crown 1911

Above photo, circa 1911, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1911

Above photo, circa 1911, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1911

Above photo, circa 1911, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1911

Above photo, circa 1911, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1912

Above postcard 1912. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1916

Above postcard, circa 1916, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1920

Above photo, circa 1920, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1923

Above postcard, circa 1923. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown PRHA sign 1925

Above PRHA sign, 1925, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Crown 1933

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

Unknown 122

Above photo "two gentlemen enjoying a drink in a cosy, country pub in Kent." Circa 1938. It is suggested it could be this pub.

Licensee Gwyn Bartlett 1960s

Above photo circa 1960s, showing licensee Gwyn Bartlett at the bar. Kindly sent by John Bartlett.

Gwyn Bartlett dispensing beer direct from the barrel, circa 1960s, kindly sent by John Bartlett.


Above sign kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. (Further info of the PRHA click here.)

Crown postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.


Above postcard, date unknown.

Crown at Groombridge map

Above map showing location of the "Crown."

Crown fireplace 2009

Above photo, 2009, kindly sent by Don.

Crown Inn 2012

Photo 8 September 2012, from by Jelltex.

Crown Inn sign 1989

Above photo 1989 by Roland Steinebach Creative Commons Licence.

Crown sign 1992

Above sign March 1992.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Crown sign 2019

Above sign 2019.

Crown sign 2022

Above sign 2022, renovated during the Covid lockdown by Trevor Myles.


I am informed by Gwyn Bartlett's son Jon the following:- The draught beer in my fathers days was served directly from barrels in the bar, though that later changed to pump dispense when wooden barrels were replaced by metal and it was difficult to keep the beer cool. The beers on offer were draught Bass and Fremlins 3 Star, though as you will well know Fremlins was acquired by Whitbread in the late 1960s. During my father’s time, no keg beer was served and even no ‘draught’ lager, but in those pre-Camra times it looked as though the days of real ale were numbered.


This pub was one of only two Kent pubs who were part for the 'People’s Refreshment House Association' a movement active in the early part of the 20th Century to encourage temperance and for pubs to sell non-alcoholic drinks.

(Further info of the PRHA click here.)


Details from their web site.

Dating back to about 1585 this lovely old pub with its low beams and inglenook fireplace has a wealth of history.

During the 18th Century the "Crown Inn" became the headquarters of the Groombridge Gang, ruthless smugglers who terrorised the country between the village and the South coast led by Robert Moreton and John Bowra. Using pack ponies they smuggled tea from Pevensey beaches and hid it in secret passages between the cellar and Groombridge Place. After many skirmishes with the Militia they were brought to justice in 1749. John Bowra was released and is said to have built a house in the village and become a cartographer.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, celebrated creator of the detective Sherlock Holmes, lived at Crowborough and was a frequent visitor to Groombridge Place in the late 19th Century taking part in sťances which were popular at the time. He based his book Valley of Fear on Groombridge Place and reported seeing the ghost of Dave Fletcher standing in the doorway of the cottage on the moat. According to Conan Doyle the ghost appeared behind him and his friends as they walked and told them that he had drowned in the moat in 1808. People still report seeing Dave Fletcher today. He was also known to visit the "Crown" for a tipple.

In 2005 the "Crown Inn" was a favourite haunt of Keira Knightley and the cast of Pride and Prejudice during filming at Groombridge Place.

In 2006 Hayley Westernra classic singer stayed here while filming for her latest CD.

In 2009 Jamie Oliver the famous Chef and TV personality voted the "Crown Inn" one of the Top 100 Pubs in the UK.


Kentish Gazette, 21 May 1778.

Lost supposed to be Stolen.

On Tuesday night, 16th of April, 1778, out of the stable of William Gibbs, known by the sign of the "Crown and Kings Head," in Groombridge in the parish of Speldhurst, in Kent.

A full aged bay mare about 14 hands and an inch high, a star in her forehead, and a white spot on a nearside under the saddle, a nag tail, and being founded before goes little lame.

Whoever brings the said mare to the said William Gibbs, shall have half a Guinea reward, and reasonable charges.

A saddle on a bridle were taken, the same night, out of a stable adjoining.


The Sussex Advertiser of 14 March 1836.

The Groombridge Ploughing Match which took place on Monday 7th March, & is followed by this report:-

"In the evening a respectable company of gentlemen, Baden Powell, Esq., of Langton, in the Chair, sat down to an excellent dinner provided by Mr. Hughes, of the "Crown Inn," Groombridge; after the cloth was removed a number of loyal and patriotic toasts and speeches were given, and the evening passed off, as the day had done, by giving the utmost satisfaction to all present.


Sussex Advertiser 31 August 1858.


Aug. 22, after a lingering illness, Miss Susan Hughes, in her 51st. year, many years landlady of the "Crown Inn," Groombridge.


Kent Times, 21 June 1862.

Assault in a public house.

Petty Sessions. Towk Hall, June 16. Before A. C. Ramsden. Esq., (in the chair) , Capt. Fisher, James Deane, W. Elers, H. G. W. Sperling. F. W. Curteis. Esqrs., and the Hon. F. G. Molyneux.

William Luxford, farm labourer, was charged with having assaulted John Upton, at Groombridge, on the 7th instant.

The complainant, ostler at Mr. Haffenden’s, said:— On the 7th inst, when I had done my work, a little past nine o’clock, I went into the tap-room. The defendant, who was there, took off my hat and threw it across the room; he afterwards took it up and sat upon it. He then took off his clothes and challenged me to fight. I did not say anything to him.

Mr. Robert Haffenden, landlord of the "Crown Inn," Groombridge, said that when the complainant, who is my man, had done his work I wanted him to come into the tap-room, and sometimes when he is there the parties wont let him alone. On this occasion I did not see the defendant do anything, but I heard him swear at the complainant.

The defendant called William Waghorn, butcher, who said:— I was in Mr. Haffenden’s tap-room in the evening in question. All I saw Luxford do was, he went up to Upton and said "Pull off this old smock, and put on a white apron, like a waiter should do." The defendant took off his coat to put a pair of braces on. I did not hear him challenge the complainant to fight.

Abraham Hall, waggoner, Groombridge, who was also in the tap-room, said the defendant did not assault the complainant at all while he was there. He saw nothing pass between them.

Mrs. Haffenden said this witness was not in the room until after the assault took place.

Isaac Wickens, labourer, Park-corner, said he was in the tap-room of the "Crown Inn" between nine and ten o'clock before the complainant entered. He saw the complainant come in a little before 10 o’clock. Nothing took place between him and the defendant.

The defendant was fined 1s., with 15s. costs; in default, to be committed for 14 days. A fortnight allowed for payment


Kentish Gazette 14 October 1862.


On Friday week the workpeople on the estate of G. Field, Esq., of Ashurst Park, were invited to a dinner at Tophill Farm, to commemorate the marriage of George Hanbury Field, Esq., eldest son of G. Field, Esq., to Lady Georgiana Turnour, daughter of the Earl of Winterton, of Shillinglee Park, Petsworth. The weather being fine the labourers spent the day at cricket, and at four o’clock repaired with their wives to the spacious granary, which was tastefully decorated for the occasion, where an excellent dinner awaited them, furnished by Mr. Haffenden, of the "Crown Inn," Groombridge, in his usual good style, giving general satisfaction to those present. The chair was ably taken by Barclay Field, Esq., Mr. Batchelor occupying the vice; and among the company we noticed the Rev. — Polhill, Arthur Ramsden, Esq., Mr. Turner, Overy, Turley, Edwards, Messrs. Pearce, Goodwin, and Brown. Upon the removal of the cloth, the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, with the health of the bride and bridegroom, also of G. Field, Esq., and Lady, &c., were given and right heartily responded to by those present. Various speeches followed, embodying the good wishes and fuelling of those present for the absent couple. At the conclusion of dinner dancing commenced, and was kept up with great spirit until a late hour. The company separated very grateful to their generous donor for their day’s enjoyment.


From the 1907 PRHA guide.

11. Crown, Groombridge. Tunbridge Wells 4 miles. Lovely scenery. 3 B (bedrooms) P (private sitting room) Curious old taproom. Miss Saint (owner).


Crown 2020

During the covid lockdown to start on 2nd December 2020, as the pub is address as Kent which was deemed to be in tier 3, this was not allowed to remain open, yet the "Junction Inn" a short walk away and addressed as East Sussex which was in tier 2 was allowed to remain open.


Glad to say, it survived and is serving again with no restrictions.



GIBBS William 1778+

HUGHES George 1828-39+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

HUGHES Susan Mrs 1840-Aug/58 dec'd (also Post Mistress aged 44 in 1851Census)

HAFFENDEN Robert 1861-62+ Next pub licensee had (age 53 in 1861Census)

TROWELL William 1874-82+ (age 58 in 1881Census)

HILL Spencer Edgar 1891-1903+ (widower age 44 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

DUNKLEY Richard Bates 1913+

People’s Refreshment House Association 1916-56

BARTLETT Gwyn 1956-74

ROBERTS Martin 1974+

HARMES Steve 2015+


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

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

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



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