Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, March, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 12 March, 2023.


Earliest 1849-

Elephant and Castle

Closed 2011

12 Goods Station Road

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Elephant and Castle

Above photo, date unknown.


Thomas Allum was, in 1894, a 'Gentleman's Gentleman' to Lord Lonsborough and Thomas's wife Anne was also employed in some capacity. When they left, they were given enough renumeration to take over the "Elephant and Castle." They had 3 children, Isabel, Ethel Caroline and Thomas Alexander.

20/07/1910 Their oldest daughter Isabel married William McEwen at Mount Pleasant Church in Tonbridge Wells and he followed Thomas Allum as licensee.

In 1916 a newspaper cutting reports that Thomas and Anne Allum, FORMERLY of the "Elephant and Castle," now kept by Mr & Mrs W McEwen, had received news of their son's wounding in July.


Kentish Gazette, 31 July 1849.


Mr. Bovill, with Mr. Hawkins, was for the plaintiffs: Mr. M. Chambers for the defendant.

The plaintiffs are brewers, at Tonbridge Wells, and the defendant is a grocer, at Greenwich. The action was brought to recover 101 2s. balance of accounts for goods supplied, for rent, and for cash lent to a person of the name of Cuckow, who keeps a public house at Tonbridge Wells, called the "Elephant and Castle," and who had given a bill of sale to the plaintiffs for 100, by which he made over all his furniture and other things to them. The defendant, however, put in an execution upon the property, and the object of the present action was to recover the amount of the goods seized, it being the property of the plaintiffs under the bill of sale.

His lordship told the jury the question was, was it a bona fide bill of sale for the purpose of security to the plaintiffs; if so, they had a right to do so; but if it were done to defeat the defendant's claim, and no transfer of the property made, then it was wrong.

Verdict for the plaintiffs.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Monday 21 October 1867.

Serious Affray at Tunbridge Wells.

Mary Ann Coyne, 26, married woman, was indicted for maliciously wounding James Monckton and Abraham Rolfe, at Tunbridge Wells, on the 24th August, she was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm and also with a common assault.

Mr. Hay Hill prosecuted.

James Monckton a labourer, living in the Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells, said on the night of 20th of August, he was at the "Castle Inn," about half past 6 o'clock. He went in and called for some beer, a man almost immediately struck him without any provocation, and he returned the blow in self-defence. Whilst they were scuffling the prisoner came up and struck him twice on the head with a trowel, and over the ear, several severely injuring him. One wound was an inch and a quarter in length. He had to go to the infirmary to have the wounds sewn up. Before the attack he had not spoken to the prisoner, or done anything whatever to provoke her or her husband. The trowel produced was of the same kind as the one with which the prisoner struck him.

Abraham Rolfe, a plasterer, living in the Goods Station Road, said he was at the "Elephant and Castle," and saw the last witness enter the house. He had been in about 2 or 3 minutes when a man on the right-hand side of him struck him. Prosecuted returned the blow, and the prisoner then swung a trowel about. He attempted to assist the prosecutor and the landlord, when the prisoner struck him with a trowel across the hand. He was laid up for 3 weeks. Witness had done nothing to provoke the prisoner.

William Francis Hunter, the landlord, gave corroborative evidence, and said he saw someone strike the prisoner, but it was either Monckton or Rolfe. He did not see the prisoner use the trowl.

Superintendent Embry said he apprehended the prisoner with her husband outside the public house. When charged at the police station the prisoner said there was a discussion about trade unions at the house. Some men knocked her husband about and she, having a trowel in a hand, used it to defend herself. She knew that she hit several. She was knocked down and kicked in the mouth. There was blood about the prisoners lips, as if she had had a blow. Monckton was very much exhausted, his ear was completely cut through, and he sent him to the infirmary; the other man was also severely cut. The trowel was brought in afterwards and the prisoner's husband admitted that it was his. The whole of the party were covered with blood, and it seemed evident that a very severe fight had taken place.

Henry Peerless deposed to seeing the woman strike Monckton with a trowel and to forcing it from her.

The jury found the prisoner guilty of a common assault and she was sentenced to 3 months' in prison.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 13 March 1874.

Strange Case of Cruelty to a Horse.

William Barnes, described as a dealer, of no fixed residence, was summoned for cruelly ill treating and torturing a horse, by neglecting to give it sufficient food, and by working it in an unfit state.

Mr. W. C. Cripps, solicitor, conducted the prosecution on behalf of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and after briefly stating the facts of the case, called as the first witness P.C. Hartnell, who said that in consequence of information he received he went to Goods Station Road on the morning of the 16th ult. He there saw a dark brown horse lying down in front of the "Elephant and Castle." Mr. Worsley was sent for, and, by his directions, defendant gave the horse some mash oats. The animal seemed a little stronger afterwards, and after about 3 hours it was got up by means of a spring pole. It look nearly starved, and was so weak that it could not stand. It ate the food most ravenously.

P.C. Judge said he saw the horse after it was removed from the spot, and saw it fall after walking about 50 yards. He asked defendant what he was going to do with it, and he replied, "Sell it." He did sell it in witness's presence for 10s. The horse was in a very emaciated condition, and actually turned round to eat the straw with which the men were rubbing its body. Witness had seen the horse that morning, and it certainly had much improved.

Sergeant Boorman said he saw the defendant riding a horse on the morning in question. It was then in a weak state, and seemed to stagger along. He afterwards saw it in the Goods Station Road. Mr. Worsley, veterinary surgeon, said he was sent for on the day in question to examine defendants horse. It was, he found, in a debilitated state, and he therefore advised the defendant to destroy it. It was a "living skeleton." Defendant thought it was suffering from some abdominal disease, but he told him it was suffering only from having insufficient food. He had since seen the animal; there was a slight improvement, but not so much as he expected.

Mr. William Barber, Inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that he saw the horse 3 days afterwards when it was in a wretchedly poor condition - it was covered with sores and the ribs protruding. On the 2nd of March he saw it again, and then found it was propped up by poles, as it could not rise after lying down.

Thomas Card, innkeeper of Southborough, said that on the 2nd of February, the horse was brought to his stables, and it remains there 9 days. On going to and fro he's saw that defendant did not give it sufficient food, and he spoke to defendant about it. Defending alleged that he had not sufficient means to keep the horse as it ought to be. It was in a very poor condition. The horse was not works during this time.

Similar evidence was given by a man named Groombridge, a fly proprietor, to whom the defendant had appealed for hay or something to give the horse.

Defendant said he bought the horse the day after Christmas day for 16 10s., and had said it on beans and chaff as long as he was able. He denied that he had ill-treated the animal, but the fact was that he had been deceived in it. The horse always ate ravenously, and he believe that if it put inside a haystack it would eat its way out (laughter).

He did not work the horse after it began to fall away, and he merely rode it over to Tunbridge Wells for a change, but it fell over the dangerous kerb at the "Elephant and Castle," and he believed that the horse "ricked" itself, so that it could not get up. If there was any cruelty at all, he thought it must have been since. When he sold the horse he thought it was for the purpose of being killed - in fact, he sent for the poll-axe for the purpose, but somebody said that Ribbons would buy it for 10s.

The defendant then called Edward Feast, a groom at Southborough, who said he knew that defendant paid 5s. for two trustees of hay. This was for one week only.

Thomas Middleton, corn dealer, Southborough, said that defendant purchases four or five trusses of hay, two trustees of straw, and some bran for the horse during the time it was that Mr. George's stable.

Mr. Worsley was here with recalled by the Bench, and he said that, notwithstanding the horse did not show as much improvement as he should have expected after 3 weeks care, he was still of opinion that the original cause of weakness was insufficient food.

Mr. George was then called, and he said that during the time the horse was at his stable it had all that was sufficient, and the defendant told him that he was to give the horse as much food as it could eat. Defendant also gave it bran mashes, and appeared to take every care of it.

Mr. Worsley having examined the horse, on his return into court said he could find no trace of disease. It was still weak, and might be pushed down, and he adhered to his opinion that the original cause was insufficient food. He understood that in this weak state it was driven from Tonbridge to Maidstone and back in a 'bus five days a week.

Defendant said there was no doubt he was "took in" by the horse. It always ate ravenously, and he only drove it from 27th December until 13th February. He also produced a bill showing it had had oats and beans, &c, besides the hay and other food supplied from Mr. Middleton's.

The Bench said there was no doubt whatever that the horse was in a most deplorable condition. Considering the evidence, they thought the charge was proved, and that it was owing to the defendants neglect in not treating it properly, more especially in respect of insufficient food. They should find him 1, and the costs were 1 14s. 2d., and would allow him a weak for payments. In default of payment, one month's imprisonment with hard labour.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 1 July 1874.

The following licences were transformed.

The "Elephant and Castle," Goods Station Road, from Mr. William McDonald to Mr John Clapson, late of the "Crown," Little Cowden, Brenchley.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 7 October, 1874.

Tunbridge Wells Petty Sessions. Licensing.

Mr. David Stuart applied for temporary authority to be granted him to carry on the "Elephant and Castle" public house, but as the transferee - Mr. John Chapman (sic) - was not in attendance, the application was not granted.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 9 October, 1874.

Tunbridge Wells Petty sessions. Serious Assault Case.

Emily Hursell, alias "Waxwork," was charged with assaulting and beating Ellen Hart, at Golding Street, Tunbridge Wells, on the 30th ult.

Superintendent Embery said he was not sure that the case was not one of a more serious nature than a common assault. The woman after the assault was taken to the Infirmary, where she was attended by Dr. Rix. As the charge was one of common assault only, the doctor was not in attendance. There worships directed that Dr. Rix should be sent for.

Complainant said:- I am the wife of Thomas Hart, a costermonger, and live in Basinghill Street. On the evening of 30th September, I was in the "Elephant and Castle," where defendant asked me to stand something to drink. I said I should not, as she never gave me anything. We had a row there, and we came to blows. We had a scramble and I fell, and defendant kicked me. About an hour afterwards I went into Gas Lane, where defendant came up to me and struck me on the temple with something she had in her hand. I felt something cut me, but could not see what it was, as I was covered with blood. She struck me several times in the face afterwards, but did not mark me. I asked two men, named Head, to help me to the Infirmary, and they did so. When I was there I lost a great deal of blood, and was unable to be moved for an hour and a half. Mr. Rix said it was a very bad cut, and asked me who did it. At the "Elephant and Castle," defendant said that she often paid for drinks for me, and I replied to her, and we both had a strike. I should not have made any complaint of what occurred at the "Elephant and Castle" had she not struck me in Gas Lane. I left the "Elephant and Castle" an hour and a half after defendant did. I did not go to her house, but was standing near Mrs. Chapman's fence. I did not say anything to her, or call her names.

Cross-examined by defendant:- I did not throw a glass of ale at you at the "Elephant and Castle." I did not go near your house.

Defendant said that complainant came to her house, called her a rotten thing, and struck her.

Mr. B. Rix, surgeon at the Tunbridge Wells Infirmary, said:- On the evening of the 30th ult., about 8 o'clock, Mrs. Hart was brought to the Infirmary, and she was bleeding from a wound on the left temple. It was a small cut, which had been done by a blunt instrument. It might have been done by a key, a ring, or a stone. She lost a great deal of blood. There was no immediate danger to be apprehended from the wound, except erysipelas or anything of that sort set in.

By the Chairman:- The wounds might have been caused by a fall. It would have been caused as easily by a fall as by a blow from a stone.

Mr. Mills:- You mean that if she had fallen on a stone it would have been much about the same.

Witness:- I do.

Defendant said she had nothing in her hand which would cause the wound. Complainant fell down several times. After the row at the "Elephant and Castle," she (defendant) went to her home, but defendant followed her, threw off her shawl, and pitched into her, taking a hold of her by the hair of the head, and striking her. She called Mrs. Bailey, the wife of a greengrocer, who said that on Wednesday night, as she was passing defendant's house, she saw complainant looking into the window of defendants house. They went together to the top of the lane, where they met the defendant, who did not speak, but complainant threw off her shawl, and said, "Now, if you can fight me, fight me." Defendant did not accept the challenge, but they both turned around and went down the lane.

John Peerless, who keeps a shop in Basinghall Lane, said that on the night in question, on looking outside his shop, he saw Mrs. Hart and defendant together, Mrs. Hart having hold of defendants hair with both hands. They were parted, and Mrs. Hart danced and jumped, and said she could "whack a thing like that any day." Defendant cried, and said she should make Mrs. Hart pay for it. They had another turn, and Mrs. Hart getting the worst of it, cried and threatened what she would do if she had daylight to go at the defendant in. He knew from his own knowledge that Mrs. Hart had been drinking for several days.

James Sullivan, and Irish comic singer, stated that on Wednesday night he was returning from 'business' to his lodgings in Gas Lane, where he saw Mrs. Hart strike the defendant. Complainant struck defendant a second time, who then took her own part.

In reply to the Bench, witness said it was after the first blow was struck that the complainant bled, but he did not see where the blood came from.

The Chairman said the magistrates were of opinion that both sides were much to blame, and that the complainant had conducted herself extremely ill, and in a very insulting and provoking manner. They were of opinion that defendant must have used some weapon or another to inflict such a dangerous wound on such a dangerous part of the person, and they, therefore, sentenced her to a month's imprisonment with hard labour, without the option of a fine.


From a paper dated, Friday, 11 August, 1916.

Wounded. Tunbridge Wells.

Private B. A. Allum (Australians.)

Mr. and Mrs. T. Allen, formerly of the "Elephant and Castle," Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells, have received news from their son Private T. A. Allen, Australian Imperial Forces, that he has been wounded. Private Allum is an old Ardingly College boy, and is well known in Tunbridge Wells, where his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. W. McEwan, keep the "Elephant and Castle." The letter was as follows:-

I don't know if you received the P.C. saying I was in hospital, as I had it sent to the Tunbridge Wells address, so I am writing to let you know I was wounded on the night of July 27th down at the push. chest. I got a bullet through the chest. Please to say that it went right through, so the wound is not so bad as it might have been, and am pleased to tell you that I am getting along A1. and hope to be in a place where you can come and pay me a visit.

It is terrible down there where the advance is going on. Our artillery must have given the Germans an awful time. You can't walk down there without stepping in a shell hole. No wonder a lot of the Germans were so willing to give themselves up. They must have had the time of their lives. Well, they are getting a little of their own back, so perhaps it will do them good.


09/02/1922 Thomas Allum died aged 64 of prostate and bladder cancer (and other causes I can't decipher).

William McEwen had a long illness before his death at the pub (11/08/1926) and during that time, Isabel ran the business.


Thomas & Anne Allum

Above photo showing licensee Thomas Allum and his wife Anne, kindly sent by D Oliver. Circa 1910.

Thomas Allum, son Thomas Alexanderand William McEwen

Thomas Allum, his son Thomas Alexander, and William McEwen his son-in-law. Circa 1910, kindly sent by D Oliver.

Isabel McEwen

Above photo showing licensee Isabel McEwen (Nee Allum), circa 1926. Kindly sent by D Oliver.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 6 December 1974.

20 fine for pub damage.

Patrick O'Malley, age 39, of 28 York Road, Tunbridge Wells, was fined 20 by the town's magistrates' on Monday for smashing to plate glass windows at the "Elephant and Castle" public house.

The court was told by Mr. Brendan Kenny, prosecuting, that on November 2nd the landlady, Mrs. Beryl Franklin, heard the sound of a window breaking in the public bar. She ran outside to see O'Malley throwing a bottle through the saloon bar window.

O'Malley, who pleaded guilty, told the court he had been drinking and did not realise what he was doing.



This was owned by the Kelsey brewery but was derelict when the late Peter Hoare opened Peter Hoare interior designs in 1978, now The Curtain Shop. (2023)


HUNTER William 1851+ (age 39 in 1851Census)

TWORT James 1855+

LANGRIDGE William 1862+

HUNTER William Francis 1867-71+ (age 42 in 1871Census)

MACDONALD/McDONALD William to May/1874 Next pub licensee had Kent and Sussex Courier

Last pub licensee had CLAPSON John July/1874+ Kent and Sussex Courier

CURTIS John 1881+ (also blacksmith age 49 in 1881Census)

CARTER John 1882+

TIDY George 1891+ (age 40 in 1891Census)

WESTON E Mr to Apr/1892Thanet Advertiser

MARKS H Mr Apr/1892+Thanet Advertiser

ALLUM Thomas 1901-13+ (age 43 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

McEWEN William 1918-26

McEWEN Isabel Mrs 1926-30+


HOARE Jo & Peter 1970s+

FRANKLIN Beryl 1974+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


Thanet AdvertiserThanet Advertiser

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier


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