Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest ????

Flower of Kent

Latest ????


East Farleigh


I am informed that the house is now privately owned and is called "Kent House".


Kent & Sussex Courier, 14 October 1892.

Fire at East Farleigh.

The "Flower of Kent" gutted alleged arson.

Early on Saturday morning a fire broke out at the "Flower of Kent Inn," East Farleigh. Messrs. A. F. Style and Co, brewers, Maidstone, are the owners of the property, which is tenanted by a Mr. French. Immediately after the discovery of the conflagration at ten minutes past two, a messenger was dispatched on foot to Maidstone, for the Kent Fire Brigade. So fast did the messenger run that the Brigade, under the able command of Captain Gates, passed under the town clock at seventeen minutes to three. In arriving at the spot the firemen saw it was impossible to save the house or it's contents, the roof already being well alight. The furniture and belongings of the landlord were all destroyed, the family only escaping with the clothes they hurriedly put on. The contents of the cellar were, however, saved from destruction. Two of Mr. French's sons had a narrow escape, only having just left their bed when a brick partition fell on it. The fire, it is supposed, originated in a lean-to. The firemen got back to Maidstone about 9 o'clock, the property is insured in the "Kent."

At the Bearsted Court of Summary Jurisdiction on Monday morning, John Knight, a sweep, was charged with setting fire to the premises of the "Flower of Kent" at East Farleigh on the 8th inst and doing damage to the extent of 550.

Gabriel French, landlord of the house in question, and fruit grower, disposed that he was aroused by crackling of fire, between 1 and 2 o'clock on Saturday morning. He got up as quickly as possible, and found the yard almost full of flames, which were proceeding from a lean-to adjoining the house. Witness ran for a neighbour, and sent a messenger for the Fire Brigade, and then came back and soused the flames with water. He soon received assistance, and whilst his friends played on the flames outside, he went indoors and worked from within. The fire, however, overpowered them, and they set to work to get things out of the house, but were unable to do much owing to the quickness with which the flame spread. Just about then he saw the prisoner in the house. The whole of the house was burnt with the exception of one ceiling. He had never seen the prisoner, a sweep, before, but he was very officious in helping to put the furniture downstairs. Witness thought it strange that prisoners should be there. The house was open for anyone to enter after he commenced throwing water on the flames.

Henley Homewood, landlord of the "Chequers Inn," West Farleigh deposed that on Friday evening he saw the prisoner in his house from 7 o'clock until 10 o'clock, when he left. Subsequently at 10:20 witness saw prisoner going in the direction of East Farleigh. Prisoner did not appear to be in any intoxicated.

John Martin, living at Gallant's Lane, East Farleigh, a farm labourer, deposed that prosecutor called him at about 1:45 early on Saturday morning. Whilst helping in the endeavour to extinguish the flames he saw the prisoner. After the fire was put out witness saw prisoner in the house, scratching, and raking about, and in reply to witness he said he had had lost a hoe. Witness asked him whether he had left it there overnight, and he said "No I was here this morning before you."

I.C. Purton stated that at about 8 p.m., on Saturday, from information he received, he went to the "Victoria" beershop at East Farleigh, and there saw the prisoner, who in reply to questions witness address to him, said he was coming up the road, and saw the house all in flames, and two women standing outside. He added that he stood his machine down beside the gates, and went and tried to put out the fire. He said at 10:30 on the previous night he was at the "Good Intent" on Farleigh Green, but on enquiries being made the landlady denied he had been there. Prisoner then refused to tell witness where he had been. When they arrived at the scene of the fire prisoner stopped and said "Now I will tell you the truth about this. I slept in the Hopper-house at the top of Wateringbury Hill, that stands beside the road, near the hop kilns, and I left there about 4 o'clock this morning. Witness ask him how that could be when he was helping to put out the fire at 3 o'clock, and prisoner then said "Perhaps it was sooner than that. It was moonlight, and I don't know what time I left there." Witness told him he should charge him on suspicion with setting fire to the house, and prisoner denied all knowledge of how the fire originated. On being searched a pipe and tobacco, some matches, and bread and cheese were found in his pockets.

The Magistrates (C. Whitehead, Esq., in the chair, A. W. Fulche, Esq., and Henry Sandilands, Esq., discharge the prisoner.

How the fire originated now remains a mystery.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Thursday 9 February 1893.

Mr. Case applied for the temporary transfer of the licence of the "Flower of Kent, East Farleigh, from Mr. French to John Boorman. It will be remembered that in November last Boorman applied for the transfer, but it so happened that part of the house had been destroyed by fire shortly before, and the magistrates declined to endorse the licence. Since then it has been restored, and is now fit for occupation, and attached to the house in about an acre of plantation ground. Boorman has been in the employ of Mr. Chambers as bailiff for 7 years, and since had been looking after this plantation. The licence was temporarily granted without prejudice.


The Courier, 10 March, 1905.

Flower of Kent. East Farleigh.

Mr. Pitman also appeared on behalf of Mr. Charles Carter, tenant of the "Flower of Kent," East Farleigh.

P.S. Picknell stated that the house was situated in Gallant's Lane, East Farleigh. The population of the parish numbered 1,537, and the area was 1,967 acres. There were 11 licensed houses in the district - viz. 5 ale, 5 "on" beer, and 1 "off" beer houses. The population worked out at 139 per house. There were 54 dwellings within a radius of half a mile. The "Victoria" public house was situated about 200 yards from a "Flower of Kent." Witness thought the house was not necessary. He knew nothing against the tenant.

The tenant said the trade of the house worked out at 6 barrels a week. It varied, however, and sometimes he did as much as 9 1/2 barrels a week.

The decisions.

After a retirement of nearly three quarters of an hour, the Chairman announced the Magistrates decisions as follows:- The "Flower of Kent," East Farleigh, referred to quarter sessions.



BURR Frederick Hayward 1858-74+ (also painter age 50 in 1861Census)

BURR Mary 1881+ (widow age 62 in 1881Census)

FRENCH Gabriel 1891-92+ (also farmer age 32 in 1891Census)

BOORMAN John Feb/1893+

MERCER Mr 1896+

CARTER Charles 1901+ (age 40 in 1901Census)




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