Sort file:- Tonbridge, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 22 January, 2023.


Earliest 1870-

Mitre Inn

Closed 1976+

24 Hadlow Road


Mitre Tavern

Above photo, date unknown.

By kind permission

Mitre 1979

Above photo, 18 October 1979, kindly sent by Stephen Brown.

Mitre Inn

Above photo, date unknown, by Nigel Humphrey.

Mitre sign 1993

Above sign, 1993.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Mitre Inn card 1953Mitre Inn card 1953

Above card issued March 1953. Sign series 4 number 26.


I am informed that the pub was definitely open in 1976 and closed some time in the 1980s, the area was developed between 1991-1994 and Mitre Court now stands on the same area..


Mitre Inn location 2021

Above Google images showing the location in 2021. Now known as Mitre Court. The house on the left is now number 24 Hadlow Road.


Maidstone Telegraph, Saturday 10 September 1870.

The inquest on the two children drowned in the River.

On Friday afternoon last an inquest was held at the "Mitre Inn," Hadlow Road, by J. N. Dudlow, Esq., coroner, respecting the deaths of the two children drowned on the preceding day. It had been ascertained that their names are William Welton two and a half years, and Daniel Welton, 8 years of age. From the evidence, which are readers will best appreciate if given in a summarised form, it appears that the mother of the deceased children lives at Charshalton in Surrey, and came with them to Tonbridge by train on Thursday morning last in order to commence hop-picking at Mr. Leney's, Hadlow-place.

On arriving at the station she went a short distance up the street and then along the towing path by the side of the river, accompanied by Thomas Payne, labourer, of Blindley Heath, near Godstone - a man who had known her for 8 or 9 years past, - one of Payne's sons, and also a Mrs. Smith, a widow, of Croydon, who she accidentally met, and who had come to Tonbridge "for the benefit of her health." After passing Cannon Bridge and getting into the fields Mrs. Smith noticed that the eldest boy was, in order to get some blackberries, placing himself in a position of danger - in fact the blackberries partly hung over the river. She appears to have been afraid to call out to him, but she went and gently touched him with her umbrella, telling him not to continue there or he would be drowned.

In the meanwhile she had left the younger brother and therefore told the elder to look after him. Before he overtook him a little fellow had run forward to the gate - the second one below Canon Bridge - tried to open it and get through, but missed his footing and fell into the river. He immediately sank and she did not see him rise again.

The elder brother directly jumped in after him, but sprang too far. At this moment the mother rushed forward with a child in her arms to jump in and was only prevented by Mrs. Smith, who, in keeping her from doing so was obliged to throw her on her back, kneel on her, and take her baby away. During this time the eldest boy was struggling on his back in the water but could not turn over.

The man Payne was a short distance behind, but his boy saw that something was the matter and ran to the spot and he ran too. When he got to the gate he saw the feet of the youngest boy, who was sinking - the other was then struggling as before described. Mrs. Smith begged him to render some help, and he went and got a cord from his sack, tied a piece of wood at the end of it, and threw it out to the drowning boy, but he was too far gone to be able to regard it, and after putting up his hand and saying, "Oh! mother," he immediately sank and did not rise again. The mother became exceedingly hysterical, and at length it took four women and a man to keep her back, for she seem determined to go into the river.

When the witness Payne was asked by the coroner why he did not make an attempt to save the lives of the deceased he replied that he could not swim and had not been in the water for 20 years, besides which he was so deaf that he did not hear Mrs. Smith call to him. When the bodies were discovered by a police constable with the drag irons, and with the assistance of Payne, they had probably been in the water two hours, and were quite cold. The elder one was in the middle of the river, but the younger was only two or three yards from the bank. It was the opinion of the witnesses that a fence put up on each side of the gate would prevent such an accident, and whilst therefore that the jury returned a verdict that deceased were accidentally drowned, and that no blame was attached to anyone, they also added the following, and requested the foreman (Mr. Snelling) to hand it to the Medway Company as soon as possible:- "That it is of the opinion of the jury that a fence should be put up a few feet on each side of the gates by the side of the river, so as to make the gate safe."

The coroner told Mrs. Smith that her conduct through was praiseworthy, and he also informed Payne that he believed he acted to the best of his ability. A collection was made among the jurors for the witnesses, in addition to which Mr. J. S. Charlton, a well-known agriculturist, has given the mother 5s., being part of a collection of 2 5s.

Mr. Charlton intended to give the remaining part when the hopping is finished.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier 11 July, 1873. Price 1d.


On Thursday afternoon last an inquest was held at the “Mitre Hotel,” before H. D. Wilde, Esq., and a jury, of whom Mr. R. W. Annison was appointed foreman, on the body of a young man, named George Wallace, who was found drowned under circumstances detailed in the following evidence:-

Edward G. Hilder, junior booking clerk at Tonbridge Railway Station, said he knew the deceased, and last saw him alive on Monday morning between eleven and twelve o'clock. He had been a carriage-wheel tapper in the employ of the South Eastern Railway Company, and he passed the second lock when witness was bathing there. Deceased was then going down the river side. Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon he saw the deceased after being pulled out of the river and taken near the bathing lock. The deceased had not been at work at the railway station for some time past.

Alfred Bodkin, plasterer, of Tonbridge, said he knew the deceased. On Monday afternoon last he was going down the river, between two and three o'clock, when he met two men, who said there was a young man in the water drowned. He went down the river a little further, and about ten minutes afterwards saw some men dragging for the body, but as they could not get hold of it he went into the river and dived for about twenty minutes. A barge was then there, and the bargeman hooked the body, and with the assistance of witness and others pulled it out of the water. The deceased was entirely naked. He assisted in bringing the body to the “Mitre.” The body was found about half-past three o'clock. It was not out of depth there. Where the deceased was found there was a deep hole, which extended for some distance, and it appeared to witness that the body had been washed into shallow water. For about two feet out the shallow water. For about two feet out the water was shallow, and it was a very dangerous place for persons who could not swim to bathe.

Samuel Wallace, the father of the deceased, said he was gateman in the employ of the South Eastern Railway Company, at Beltring Crossing. The deceased was a single man, aged 22 years. He had been employed by the South Eastern Railway Company nearly two years, but left about five weeks ago. He frequently called at witness's house, and the last time was on Wednesday week, when he left witness at seven o'clock in the morning to go to Strood. He identified the watch produced as belonging to his son. The deceased could not swim, and was subject to cramps. He seemed very cheerful, and had money when he left home. He had never known the deceased to go bathing. He supposed the deceased was going down the river side home to Beltring. He had told witness he had got a fresh engagement under the London, Chatham, and Dover Company. He generally had a name put in his hat.

Mr. Henry Bishop, M.R.C.S., said that on Monday afternoon, at about half-past four o'clock he, in consequence of some information conveyed to him, went to the river side near the second lock, and met several persons bringing the body of the deceased towards this house. He had the body put down, and with Dr. Charlton, who was also present, tried to resuscitate him, but life was extinct. He had no doubt the deceased died from suffocation by drowning. There was a mark on the deceased's lip, as if he had bitten it by struggling. He noticed the back of the deceased was discoloured.

P.C. Nightingale, in answer to the jury, said nothing extraordinary was found in the clothing of the deceased.

The Foreman said it was rumoured that there was some, disagreement between the deceased and a young person to whom he was engaged, and that that would perhaps be the cause of his wishing to terminate his existence.

The Coroner asked whether there was anything to lead to such an inference or supposition, but the Jury did not think there was, and returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was ‘Found Drowned.'

The bargeman who had found the clothes had been warned to attend, but had failed to do so. No money was found in the deceased's purse.


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

An Extraordinary Case of Concealment of Birth at Tonbridge.

On Saturday afternoon last, before J. M. Dudley, Esq., Coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr. Joseph Snelling was appointed foreman, and inquest was held at the "Mitre Inn," Hadlow Road, on the body of a newly born female child, which had been found in the river Medway, under circumstances detailed:-

Joseph Gibbs, a labourer, in the employ of Mr. Monk, Said that about 5:10 on the morning of Friday last, he was walking along the banks of the river Medway, and when near Canon Bridge his dog swam after something in the river. This was about 20 yards below the bridge. The dog brought it to land, and he found it was a parcel tied up. He examined it, and found it contain the dead body of a child. As soon as he saw what it was, he put it under the hedge a short distance from the river, and they're left it, having made no further examination. He knew nothing further of the matter.

Superintendent Dance:- But have you not something which you found?

Witness here produced two parcels of linen from his waistcoat pocket; these were evidently cut out of some garment, and they, on being put together, contained in very legible letters, done in marking ink, "S. J. Crockford." Witness explained that he forgot to mention it before, and when requested to give a reason for not telling the police authorities about it when he saw them on Friday morning, he said the boy who worked under him, and who picked it up, had not found it until after the Superintendent and his man had left.

Superintendent Dance pointedly told witness he did not believe him, adding that he was most careful in examining the ground and picked up everything there was about the spot. Witness was closely pressed both by the Coroner and Superintendent on this point, and he swore they did not cut it out himself; that he never saw it until the boy brought it to him, between 9 and 10 o'clock; that it was too dark when he discovered the parcel to see anything as to the state of the child; and on leaving the parcel, he went to his work, and informed Mr. Charlton's man that what he have found; and he denied very strongly that he had said he should keep the pieces of linen produced (containing the name) back in order to get a reward. He seemed to treat this as a joke, and exclaimed, "What an idea!"

The next witness was a man named Denton, a gardener to Mr. J. S. Charlton, who deposed to receiving information from the last witness respecting the child, and going to the spot indicated by him, where he found the child in an old box, which was so rotten that he could not do anything with it, and he, therefore, took the piece of a dress in the box and wrapped around the body, and conveyed it to Mr. Charlton's haystack, after which he sent to the police. It seemed to him that the child had been in the water a long time for the face was very much swollen.

Superintendent Dance deposed to going to the haystack about half past 7 o'clock on Friday morning, and examining with P.C. Hayesmore in the most careful manner the place where the body was found, the hedge, and the haystack where it was laid. The body was wrapped up in a dark thick stiff petticoat, apparently lined with silk, which had been a good material sometime. There was a piece of new calico round the neck - rather tight. The body was very much decomposed, and he should think it had been a fortnight in the water.

Henry Wolf, the boy referred to above, and who would been sent for by the request of the jury, was next called. He said he picked up the pieces of linen produced between 9 and 10 o'clock on Friday morning, at the place where Gibbs placed the child. He immediately gave them to Gibbs. Gibbs told him what he had found, and witness thought the pieces produced were of some consequence. Gibbs said nothing to him about getting a reward. Superintendent Dance said it was impossible for the boy to have found the pieces of rag at the spot, for at 8 o'clock he went there and picked up every little piece that could be discovered. He particularly searched for anything with a name on. It was an extraordinary thing that the only piece containing any name, should be taken in this way.

Dr. Ivers said he examined the body, which was that of a full-grown female child in a state of very great decomposition. He could not discover any marks of violence. The calico round the child's neck was not sufficiently tight to cause suffocation. The navel string was entire and had not been removed from the after-birth. It was impossible to say whether it was born alive or not. He did not think a post-mortem examination would enable him to ascertain that fact. It was evidence that no medical man attended, and that nothing had been done to preserve life. It might have been still-born. There was nothing to induce him to believe the child had been strangled.

The foreman of the jury said that the piece of calico round the neck was a strong presumption that the child had been strangled, and Superintendent Dance said that when he saw the child this piece of calico was tied tightly round the neck. He now said that he had matched the two pieces of rag, and was satisfied they had been torn from the chemise.

The Coroner said that as far as the enquiry went that day it fell to the ground, because to establish a criminal charge it must be shown that the child was actually born alive. There was no evidence to satisfy the jury on that point, on account of the state of decomposition. The jury had nothing to do with the concealment of birth, as that would form matter for investigation before the magistrates.

The jury returned a verdict to the effects that the body of deceased was found dead in the river Medway, but that there was no evidence to show that it was born alive or not.

On Tuesday last, Sarah Jane Crockford a young woman about 27 years of age, who has been for some time past bookkeeper in the employ of Mr. Henry Richardson, butcher, of Tonbridge, was brought up at the Petty Sessions, charged with the concealment of the birth of a child.

Mr. J. Rogers defended.

Superintendent Dance:- On Saturday morning last, about half past 7 o'clock, I received information that a child had been found in the Medway, near Cannon Bridge. I at once proceeded with P.C. Hasemore to some hay stacks belonging to Mr. Charlton. There I found a newly-born infant child, wrapped up in a dark petticoat. I went to the towing-path of the river near Cannon Bridge, and there I saw a small box broken partly to pieces. In it was a chemise, a petticoat, and a quantity of paper. He took possession of it and the body of the child to the "Mitre Inn." The child had a piece of cloth round it's neck, I should say not tight enough to produce strangulation. The child was very much decomposed, and I should suppose it had been in the water 3 weeks and upwards. On Saturday, an inquest was held before J. N. Dudlow, Esq., when a verdict was returned that the child was found dead, but no evidence to show whether it was born alive or not. On the same day, at the inquest, he received from a man name Gibbs, two pieces of rag, which I now produced. It has "S. J. Crockford" upon them. I found a place on the chemise, to which three pieces match exactly. Today I apprehended the prisoner under a warrant. I read the warrant to her, and cautioned her.

She made no answer. I searched the bedroom, and took possession of a garment which is exactly the same initials and name. In a box in a bedroom I found several things very much discoloured not fit to be seen, and the bed was also discoloured. As the prisoner is now in custody, and Dr. Ievers in court, I wish your worships to order her to be examined.

Mr. Rogers objected, as at present there was only a prima facie evidence of remand.

Superintendent Dance said the case would not rest on the two piece of rag as identification, but the petticoat also would be identified.

Mr. Eyre Ievers was then called. He said:- I am a surgeon, practicing at Tonbridge. I was examined at the inquest held on the body of this child on Saturday, I was called to see the body on Saturday morning. I found it in such an advanced state of decomposition that it was impossible to say whether it had breathed or not. It had a piece of calico round it's neck, but not sufficiently tight to produce strangulation. I saw no marks of violence upon it. Water would tend to prevent decomposition it is slower in than out of water. I could not say exactly how long the child had been born; between a fortnight and a month probably. The umbilical cord has not been divided as it usually done; the afterbirth was attached to it. That might of itself caused death. The child might bleed to death, but not of necessity. It would show that no assistance was given to save the child after birth. That would not be of any danger to the mother. A person not having had a child before might not think that that was necessary. I have examined the linen produced (taken by Superintendent Dance, that morning, out of the defendant's box in her bedroom); it is soaked with blood, such as might exist in cases of confinement. In my opinion, a day at this period would be of the greatest importance in an examination of the person as to whether she had been confined of a child or not, because the longer the time that elapses the less likely should I be to find any signs of delivery.

Mr. Rogers said in the absence of any authority on the point, he could not advise his client to submit to an examination, and he requested Dr. Ievers with a view to show that he could not positively state whether the child had been born a month or six weeks.

Dr Ievers said his opinion was that the child was probably between a fortnight and a month old. If a female had been confined a month, he might find out certain signs which would render it probable; in fact, in some women there were signs for life.

The Chairman was of opinion that they could order the prisoner to be examined, and he was corroborated by the Clerk (T. F. Walker, Esq.), and an adjournment was made for the production of Taylor's Medical Jurisprudence. It was there clearly stated that they could do so, and they at once ordered Dr. Ievers to proceed with an examination of the prisoner, who was removed into an adjoining room for that purpose.

Dr. Ievers, on his returning to court, said:- I have made an examination of the prisoner. It is my opinion she has been confined recently within a month. There are certain signs which justify me in that opinion.

The Chairman:- And you have no doubts on the subject?

Witness:- None.

Mr. Rogers:- But may you not be in error on the subject?

Witness:- I don't think I am.

The Bench then remanded the prisoner, bail being accepted as follows. Prisoner in 100, Mr. Richardson, Penshurst, 100, and Mr. C. Pain, Tonbridge, 100.


From the Sussex Agricultural Express, Saturday 16 April 1892.

Better without him then with him.

Stephen Giles pleaded guilty to being quarrelsome, disorderly, and refusing to quit the "Mitre Inn," Tonbridge, and also to assaulting Mr. H. J. Bates, the landlord, on the 2nd March.

Mr. Daish, from the office of Mr. W. C. Cripps, Tunbridge Wells, prosecuted on behalf of the District Licensed Victuallers' Association, and explained that on the evening in question the defendant, his brother, and several other people went into the house, and were served with liquor. Shortly afterwards the landlord heard a disturbance, and on going to the taproom found the defendant fighting with his brother. He ordered them to leave, and they did so, but fought some distance from the house, the defendant's brother having his leg broken. The defendant then returned and asked to be served with beer, but was refused, and ordered to leave. He would not go, and took hold of the landlord and knocked his head against the wall, afterwards striking him a blow beside the head.

The defendant said that he was very sorry, but he had the drop of drink, and was excited.

The bench considered it a serious case, and fined the defendant 5s. and 11s. 6d., or 7 days, for refusing to leave the house, and 15s. and 11s. 6d. costs for the assault, or 14 days hard labour.



PERCH William to Dec/1870 Maidstone and Kentish Journal

ANGELL James Dec/1870-Sept/74+ (age 54 in 1871Census) Maidstone and Kentish Journal

ANNISON James & Richard (sons of above) Oct/1874+

ROGERS Edwin Sept/1874-81+ (age 37 in 1881Census) Kent and Sussex Courier

BATCHELOR John 1882+

MERCER Frederick 1891+

BATES H J Mr 1892+

EAGLESTONE James to Aug/1901 Kent and Sussex Courier

DRAY Harry Aug/1901-13+ (age 48 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903Kent and Sussex Courier

CATT George 1918+

CATT Arthur William Ernest 1922-30+

CATT Catherine Mrs 1938+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal


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