Sort file:- Rochester, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.


Earliest 1490

King's Head Hotel

Open 2020+

58 (188) High Street

St. Nicholas


01634 880508

Royal Lifeboat 1895

Above photo, circa 1895, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe, Also showing the "Royal Lifeboat."

King's Head Hotel 1904

Above photo 1904, from by Ben Levick. Also shown is the "Royal Life Boat."

King's Head 1908

Above photo circa 1908.

King's Head 1909

Above postcard, 25 April, 1909, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

King's Head

Above photo, date unknown. Kind permission from Eric Hartland.

King's Head 1938

Above photo, circa 1938, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

King's Head Hotel 1978

Above photo 1978, from by Ben Levick.

King's Head sign 1991

Above sign, October 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

King's Head 2017

Above photo 12 February 2017, by Bill Henderson Creative Commons Licence. Also showing the "Jolly Knight."


There has been an inn on the site of the "King's Head" since 1490, and an apple market was once held at the rear of the premises.

Reference has been found suggesting that it became the "County Hotel" for a short time around 1825 to 1828.


The Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre has referenced a set of documents, that I haven't seen yet, and is part of the Watts Charity MSS, 1579-1972.

Reference is made as follows:-


T32. The "Kings Arms," and Holborn Wharf and premises, Holborn Lane [deed of 1862 includes "King's Head," High Street and several other messuages. Particulars and conditions of sale, 1906, with plan] (11 docs.)



T35. Premises in Rochester and Chatham [including 4 messuages on North side of High St., St, Nicholas, adjoining the "Kings Head," and 3 messuages in Love Lane, St. Margaret's, Rochester; 2 messuages in Railway street, and Room Lane Farm (63 acres) and 5 messuages, Chatham] (6 docs.)


Kentish Gazette, Saturday 5 January 1771.

To be LET, and entered upon immediately,

PUBLIC HOUSE, ready Furnished; known by the Sign of the "Thistle and Crown," nearly opposite the "Kings Head Inn," Rochester.

The House is very complete, and well situated.

For further Particulars, enquire of Mrs. Rebecca Elliot, Brewer, in Rochester, or of Mr. Lachlen Maclean, at the "Globe," Chatham.

None but Principals will be treated with.


Kentish Gazette, 26 June, 1781.

Saturday morning died Mr. Read, "Kings Head Inn" at Rochester.


From the Kentish Gazette, Friday 1 March 1793.

Hurt and Clark, late of the "King's Head Inn," Rochester.

Embrace the earliest opportunity of returning their sincere thanks to the Nobility, Gentry, and their numerous friends, who have for a series of years honoured them with their favours; at the same time they respectively beg leave to inform them, that they have resigned the business in favour of Mr. Walter Grove.

Rochester, February 25th, 1793.


Water Grove, from St. James's.

Most respectfully informed Nobility, Gentry, and his friends, but having taken the "King's Head Inn," Rochester, he solicits it's their patronage.

Confident that no attention, aciduity or expense, will on his part be wanting to render his house deserving their favours, he hopes he shall merits their countenance and support.

Neat post-chaises, coaches, &c, with able horses, and careful drivers.

Rochester, February 25th 1793.


From the Kentish Gazette, Tuesday, 4 September 1798.

To the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public in General.

"Kings Head Inn," Rochester.

Mary Grove, widow of the unfortunate Walter Grove, who was murdered by some footpads near Shooters Hill in January last, deems it expedient to inform her friends, the Nobility and Public in general, who have hitherto humoured her with their patronage, that, as it has been most cruelly asserted by her enemies, without the least foundation whatever, that the "Kings Head" is shut up, and she gone away; this is to assure the world in general, that the house is neither shut up, nor has M. Grove left it, and therefore humbly solicits a continuance of their favours, which the cruel insinuations of some evil-disposed persons have endeavoured to obtain for other houses, and that, as a generous public, they will be more ready to commiserate her distressed situation by granting her that support which it shall ever be her study to deserve, by punctually opening all orders, and giving general satisfaction as long as she remains in the above Inn.


Kentish Gazette, Friday 5 October 1798.


S. Holloway, (formerly waiter at the above Inn) begs leave most respectfully to acquaint the Nobility, Gentry and Travellers in general, that he has taken the above Inn, where they will be sure to meet withy the best of beds and liquors. and every accommodation; and he hopes by the most respectful attention in his house, to merit the patronage of the public.

Rochester 25th September, 1798.


Mary Grove (widow of the late Walter Grove) offers the most grateful acknowledgement to those who, since her husband's decease, have honoured her with their support; and informs them, that she has departed with the "King's Head Inn" to S. Holloway, whom she humbly recommends to the notice of her friends, and who she is certain will at all times receive their commands with the utmost gratitude and respect.


Kentish Gazette 31 January 1800.

The cook belonging to the "King's Head Inn" at Rochester, underwent the amputation of her right arm a few days since, in consequence of a stab she received by a carving-knife from her fellow-servant; but she seems in a fair way of recovery.


Kentish Gazette 6 April 1802.

The following melancholy affair happened at Rochester on Monday night.

A young gentleman, son of Mr. S-----, of Woolwich, decamped from his father a day or two before with a considerable sum of money, in company with a female, and slept at the "Kings Head Inn" on Sunday night; his father, with a friend, arrived early in the morning, and finding his son was in bed sent his friend before to the room door for admittance, during which the son hearing his father's voice on the stairs immediately took a pistol from his trunk and discharged its contents just below his temple. Mr. Adams was immediately sent for who extracted the ball, but with little hopes of his recovery; he lingered from 6 o'clock in the morning till 2 in the afternoon when he expired.

The jury sat on his body and after a long consultation, returned a verdict:- Lunacy.


Kentish Gazette, 20 July, 1804.

Friday last, a post-boy, known by the name of Rapadore, was found dead, hanging in a stable of the "King's Head Inn," Rochester.


Kentish Gazette, 13 June, 1806.


A few days since, M. Abraham Vincent, of the "King's Head Tap, Rochester, late of the "Two Brewers" public-house, in Maidstone.


Kentish Gazette, 16 July 1844.


July 4, at Rochester, of dropsy in the chest, Mr. Thomas Saxton, landlord of the "King's Head Inn," in his 61st year.


Southeastern Gazette, 6 September 1853. Rochester


Saturday. (Before J. L. Levy and E. R. Coles, Esqrs.)

Thomas Williams who had been apprehended for creating a disturbance in front of the "King's Head Inn," was discharged on paying 1s.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 16 March 1858.

George Webster was charged with assaulting Richard Payne, who exhibited several confused wounds on his face, which he alleged to be the result of the defendant's violence. Mr. M. Stevenson appeared for the defence.

The parties are both waterman engaged on the river at the Sun Pier, and on the occasion of the assault were together at the "King's Head Tavern," High Street, drinking, when a quarrel arose between them respecting some old grievance, which resulted in the defendant assaulting the prosecutor in a very savage manner.

Fined, including costs, 1 14s., and in default 1 month's hard labour.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Saturday 17 September 1859.

Kings Head Commercial and Family Hotel, High Street, Rochester.

James Flisher, respectfully announces that he has taken the above old established house, where he hopes by strict attention and assiduity in providing for the comforts of those who may honour him with their patronage, to merit that support which he respectfully solicits.

An Ordinary as usual on Market Days.

Wines and spirits of every description of the best quality.

Bass's Pale Ale and Guinness Stout.


South Eastern Gazette, 27 March, 1860.


On the 18th Dec., 1859, at Beaufort, Fiery Creek Diggins, Melbourne, Mr. James Flisher, late of Gravesend, Kent, builder, and eldest son of Mr. Flisher, "King’s Head Inn," Rochester leaving a widow and two children.


South Eastern Gazette, 24 April, 1860.

Sheerness Guardian, 28 April, 1860.

Shocking Suicide Through Jealously.

On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the "King's Head Hotel," Rochester, before J. Lewis, Esq., city coroner, on the body of Louisa Jones, aged 29, a fine young woman possession considerable personal attractions, who committed suicide that morning.

Frances Tomkin said the deceased was a fellow-servant of hers at Mr. K. Clements High-street, where she had lived thirteen years in tin capacity of housekeeper.

Witness and deceased took breakfast together that morning, but deceased did not appear more depressed in her manner than usual, although she appeared of a rather melancholy disposition. She often talked to witness about a young man with whom she had been keeping company for thirteen years, and had latterly spoken of him as "that fellow," complaining that he had not used her well. She had told witness that the individual alluded to had slighted her, and deceased appeared to grieve very much about it. Latterly she appeared to be more depressed than usual. Witness saw her at half past 10 that morning, and at that time noticed nothing particular about her. In about a quarter of an hour after deceased rang her bell very violently, and on witness running up she found her lying on the bed, and the deceased told her she was dying. She appeared to be in great agony, and called out for Mr. Clements. She said she had taken something which the boy had fetched, and again alluded to "that fellow."

Mr. Bell, surgeon, was immediately sent for, but deceased expired in a minute or two after he arrived.

The following letter, which was identified as being in the handwriting of the deceased, was found in her jacket, and read to the jury by the coroner:—

"----- ------ has brought me to this. No one but myself has known what I have gone through with him. He has led me to believe for the last 13 years that he would never marry any other girl than myself, and now the time has arrived that he has been looking forward, for he has treated me with the greatest contempt. If I had been a girl such as ----'s cook, and others that he is with on an opportunities of evenings. I think I should have suited him better. How can he expect to prosper? I will never forgive him in this world nor in the world I come. I do not think if I had been married to him I should have been happy, for he is too fund of bad women to make a good husband. I wish I had taken the good advice of sincere friends, then I should not have come to this."

There had been something more written on the half sheet of note paper, which had been torn off.

Thomas George, errand boy in the employ of Mr. Clements deposed that about 11 o'clock that morning the deceased sent him to the chemist’s for a pennyworth of essence of almonds, and two pennyworth of oxalic acid. The essence of almonds was for pastry, andl the oxalic acid for cleaning the articles in the kitchen. Witness was frequently in the habit of fetching the acid for deceased.

Mr. Bell, surgeon, said he was sent for that morning, and went immediately to the deceased, whom he found dying, he asked her if she had taken oil of almonds, when she replied "No," and made a remark about "the boy." In a minute or two afterwards she died. The quantity of oxalic acid deceased swallowed was very large, half an ounce. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased committed suicide during a fit of temporary insanity.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Thursday 14 September 1893.


Mr. Charles Marracott, Rochester.

Charles Marracott, landlord of the "Kings Head Hotel," Rochester, died at his residence, on Saturday morning, from diphtheria after a brief illness. The funeral took place on Tuesday morning in St. Nicholas Cemetery, amidst numerous tokens of regret.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 26 May 2017.

 Generator used to power the King's Head pub in Rochester High Street for four months.

Sparks have been flying over a generator which has been installed in Rochester for more than four months to supply power to a High Street pub.

An ongoing legal dispute with the utility company has forced the owners of the "King’s Head" to hire the appliance.

It was initially placed in the disabled parking area next to the "Jolly Knight" pub. But after complaints about the noise it was relocated to a corner in the Boley Hill car park.


The generator has been in the Rochester car park for months.

It now looks as if problems over a bill have been resolved and the plug on the generator could be pulled in about a week.

Iltan Uslu, manager of the pub and hotel, said hire charges had cost thousands and “the sooner it was out the way the better”.

Mr Uslu said: “We employ about 20 people and we have a duty of care to them and our guests including a family who live here who would have left without a roof over the heads. The alternative would have to close the business for six months.”

Mr Iltan has paid out a weekly fee to the council for the parking slot.

He added: “We had not thought it would have taken so long to get sorted. It’s been a nightmare.”

A cable connects the generator across the car park and Epaul Lane to the pub.

Cllr Stuart Tranter, who represents Rochester, has taken on the case on behalf of objectors.

He said: “It’s been a case of striking a balance. On the one hand it is helping to keep a business going as well as keeping jobs, against the safety and inconvenience to the public.

“Let’s hope the owners have got it right and this will soon all be over.”


The cable from the car park to the pub.

Alan Moss, chairman of the City of Rochester Society, said he drove over the cable several times a week and found it dangerous.

Mr Moss said: “It must be even more irksome to a driver who is unfamiliar with it and drives over it at more than a snail’s pace. I will be heartily glad to see the back of it.”

Chris Webb from Strood, said: “I first approached it at night and there was no warning as you come down Castle Hill.

"My initial thoughts were that it was dangerous and could damage cars along there.”

A Medway Council spokesman said: “We agreed the generator could be moved and temporarily kept in Boley Hill car park to help reduce noise disruption to residents.

“The cable has been covered by a rubber protector to keep the area safe, and due to the size of the cable it does not require a temporary Traffic Regulation Order.

“Without the generator the public house would have to close.

“We will continue to take appropriate steps to help support our local businesses.”



READ Mr to June/1781 dec'd

HURT & CLARK to Feb/1793

GROVE Walter Feb/1793-Jan/98 dec'd

GROVE Mary Jan-Oct/1798

HOLLOWAY S Oct/1798+

Last pub licensee had VINCENT M Abraham to June/1806 dec'd

ROBERTS Ann 1824+

WOODHAM William 1833+ (also baker & barge-owner)

SAXTON Thomas 1832-July/44 dec'd age 61 Pigot's Directory 1832-34

SAXTON Sarah 1847+


FLISHER James Sept/1859-62+

FLISHER Eliza 1870-74+

BAKER Mr 1881+

LOGAN George 1891+

MARRACOTT Charles to Sept/1893 dec'd

VERDI Arthur John 1911-13+

LEDSON George 1918+

LEE George 1922+

CHAPMAN George Frederick 1930+

Trust Houses Ltd 1938+

KING Bill pre 2014

USLU Iltan 2017+


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


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