Sort file:- Sittingbourne, November, 2022.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 17 November, 2022.


Earliest 1415-

Red Lion

Open 2020+

58 High Street


01795 472706

Lion Inn yard 1895

Above engraving circa 1895 from the book "The Old Dover Road," showing the yard of the "Lion Inn."

Red Lion painting

Above painting, date unknown.

Red Lion

Above postcard, date unknown.

Red Lion

Above postcard date unknown, with kind permission from Eric Hartland.

Red Lion 2014

Above photo 2014.

Red Lion

Above photo, date unknown, kindly taken and sent by Brian Brockie.

Red Lion 2016

Above Google image, July 2016.

Lion sign 1973Lion sign 1980

Above sign left, August 1973, sign right, 1980.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Also known as simply the "Lion." I have also reference to a "Red Lion" addressed as being in Milton Regis.

The "Red Lion," it is said, has been the sign of an inn on one and the same spot for over six hundred years. It is here, that in November, 1415, King Henry V was entertained on his return from the battle of Agincourt by Squire Northwode, of Milton. Seven years later, on the 3rd, October, this inn and the other inns in Sittingbourne, were crowded with travellers who were sadly doing honour to the same great King; Henry V having died at Vincennes, his remains were brought from France to Westminster Abbey. The sad procession was headed by King James I of Scotland and Queen Catherine of Valois, Henry's widow.

Other visitors include King Henry VII in 1492, Cardinal Wolsey wrote from here in 1514, Cardinal Campeggie in 1518, Deputed by the Pope to preside at the trial of Queen Catherine and In May, 1522, Henry VIII and the Emperor Charles V.

Ten years later, Henery VIII was here again. In his Privvy Purse expenses it is mentioned that on the 19th November 1532 there was paid "to the wife of the Lion in Sittingbourne, by way of a reward IIIIs VIIId" - Four shillings and eight pence, if you are wondering!

In 1562 the "Lyon" was the property of Sir William Garrett Knight, a Sittingbourne man, who had been the Lord Mayor of London in 1555. In the sixteenth century Kings and Emperors were the usual guests of the "Red Lion". The landlord at the time sniffed at Princes and Archbishops, and turned away such riff-raff as Dukes and Earls. By 1610 however, we find an untitled traveller received at the "Red Lion" called Herr Zinzerling from Germany. He found the landlord of the "Red Lion" to be a scottish man who new Latin and on this common ground of good fellowship they drunk to one another and quoted the classics until drink tied their tongues and deposited their bodies under the table.

Within a few years of 1835 the celebrated hotel was divided into private dwellings after being a house given to public hospitality for more than 400 years. Before the year 1841 the western and central portions had become private dwellings with the eastern portion left to carry on the time honoured sign of the "Lion" as an inn.

Incidentally, when Henry V stayed at the "Lion," the whole reckoning came to only 9s 9d., wine then being a penny a pint. You can ask the present incumbent but don't hold your breath!


(Information below from Brian Brockie, 2017.)

Dating back to 1415, the Red Lion, although smaller than in its prime, has retained its cobbled courtyard and stable block. The fabulous old building is steeped in history. In the sixteenth century Kings and Emperors were regular patrons. The landlord at the time was said to have reluctantly accepted the presence of Princes and Archbishops but turned away lower aristocrats like Dukes and Earls. Here, in November 1415, Henry V was entertained on his return from the Battle of Agincourt by Squire Northwode of Milton. Other visitors to the inn include King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey and the Emperor Charles V. (ruler of both the Spanish Empire from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire from 1519). In 1562 the "Lyon" was the property of Sir William Garrett Knight - a Sittingbourne man, who had also been the Lord Mayor of London in 1555. Within a few years of 1835 the celebrated hotel was divided into private dwellings after being a house given to public hospitality for more than 400 years. Before the year 1841 the western and central portions had become private dwellings with the eastern portion left to carry on the time-honoured duties of the Lion as an inn. It seemed a slightly surreal scenario for Cream Crackered to be punching out songs from ‘King Elvis’ in the very same courtyard where Kings of England (and afar) had raised their flagons of ale. I wonder what they would have thought of Mustang Sally?


From the Maidstone Assizes.

23 March 1680.

Before William Mountagu, CB.

578. Indictment of Thomas Peirce of Sittingbourne, grocer, for making a dunghill in the highway leading from the "Red Lion" to the "White Hart" in Sittingbourne.

[endorsed] True bill.


From the Kentish Gazette, June 21-25, 1777. Article kindly sent from Alec Hasenson.

Advert in the Gazette – James Fordred (from the "King's Head," Dover) has taken the "Red Lion" at Sittingborn.


Kentish Gazette, 18 January, 1783.

At the last Michelman Quarter Sessions held at the "Old Castle," near the city, James Anderson, servant or assistant to Mr. Turner, an excise officer at Faversham, was indicted for assaulting Thomas Becket, a post-boy, who lived at the "Red Lion" at Sittingbourne: and on Tuesday last the "Old Castle" came on the trial of the traverse, when it was proved Anderson wantonly, and without any provocation, cut Becket very severely across the head with a hanger, whereupon the jury found him guilty, and the court sentenced him to pay a fine of 20, to be imprisoned six months, and until the fine is paid. It is hoped this will be a caution to officers and their assistants, not wantonly to make use of the arms, which has been lately too much the practice, to their very great discredit, and contrary to the laws of their country.


From the Kentish Gazette, 11 July, 1788.


William Whitaker having taken the above House, most respectfully solicit the Custom and Support of the Nobility, Gentry, Families and Travellers, passing through that Town; for whole Accommodation he has provided neat and elegant Post-chaises, with able and expeditious Horses, and rode by careful Drivers to this particular Branch of Business he has paid the utmost attention, and flatters himself that he shall give every possible Satisfaction. At a very great Expense the above Inn is considerably enlarged and rendered most exceedingly commodious, being fitted up in a convenient Manner with Furniture, the most fashionable and complete, for the Reception of Families and Travellers. The Larder is well and seasonably provided, and his Wines, Spirits and Beers, are of the choicest Kind. He hopes also to be honoured with the Friendship and Support of the Inhabitants of the Town of Sittingbourne and its Neighbourhood, to whom he shall at all Times think himself much obliged, and their Favours gratefully acknowledged. As public Protection and Support are seldom wanting, where Endeavours are used to obtain them, he trusts that his Care and Assiduity, will entitle him thereto.

And remains, most respectfully The Public's very humble Servant.
The Antiquity of the above Inn, and the respectable Character which it holds in history, are recorded as under; "Sittingbourne, in Kent, is a considerable Thoroughfare on the Dover Road, where there are several good Inns particularly the "Red Lion," which is remarkable for an Entertainment made by Mr. John Norwood for King Henry V. as he returned from the battle of Agincourt, in France, in the Year 1415, the whole amounting to no more than NINE SHILLINGS and NINE PENCE, Wine being at that Time only One Penny a Pint, and all other Things proportionately cheap.

The same Character, in a like proportionate Degree, Whitaker hopes to obtain his moderate Charges at the present time.


Kentish Chronicles, 10 June, 1794.

A Caution to Innholders.

William Whitacre, of the "Red Lion," Sittingbourne, was this day fined by the Magistrates of Faversham, for not providing the Soldiers quartered on him with proper accommodations.

June 5, 1794.


From the Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 2 June 1812.

Bull Inn, Wrotham, Kent.

Robert Gibbs, late of the "Lion Inn," Sittingbourne, returns his sincere thanks to his friends and the public in general, for their past favours, and respectfully informs the nobility and gentry and general (and the late friends of Mr. John Lacey) that he has taken and entered the above Inn, and hopes, by strict attention, to merit a continuance of the favours centred upon his predecessor.

Neat Post Chaise and able horses.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 8 June 1841.


To be heard at Maidstone, in the county of Kent, on the 30th day of June, 1841, at the hour of ten in the forenoon precisely.


Formerly of Dartford, in the county of Kent, out of business or employment; then of the "Rose Inn," Sittingbourne, in the said county of Kent, waiter to Mrs. Sophis Payn, of the same place, innkeeper; then of the same place, waiter to Mr. Robert Pettman Hams, of the "Rose Inn," Sittingbourne aforesaid, innkeeper; and late of the "Lion Inn," Sittingbourne aforesaid, licensed victualler.


Kentish Gazette, 16 April 1850.

Smashing, Suicide, and Inquest.

On Saturday se’nnight a man named Collins (caught in the same fact three weeks since) was apprehended, and brought to the Sittingbourne lock-up house, for passing counterfeit coin. On Monday last he was examined before the authorities and remanded, in order that further information might be procured. In the meantime he, by means of steelyards which he had in his possession, so affixed them in the interstices of the upper part of the building, that he tied himself up by his handkerchief, and was not discovered until it was supposed that life must have been extinct at least two hours. An inquest was held on Tuesday evening before Mr. J. Hinde, at the "Lion Inn," when a verdict was returned of the act having been committed under the influence of "Temporary Insanity."

It is reported that deceased’s wife is safely lodged in Tonbridge gaol for a similar offence. There is no doubt they are old offenders.


East Kent Gazette, Saturday 18 March 1871.

Lion Hotel, Sittingbourne.

Edward Wood, late of the "Kings Arms Inn," Milton, begs to return his sincere thanks to his numerous friends and customers for past favours, and wishes to inform them that he has removed to the "Lion Hotel," Sittingbourne, where, by strict attention to business, combined with moderate charges, he hopes to receive an increased share of the patronage.

All Wines and Spirits sold at his Establishment will be of the very best quality, will recommend themselves, and can be obtained at the lowest possible price consistent with a fair profit.

From 20 January 2012, by Danny Boyle.


Red Lion 2012

A doorman has been convicted of assaulting a difficult pub customer he was trying to get to leave at closing time.

But father-of-three Jonathan Laver was spared jail after a judge said he had tried his best to get Patrick Ascott to go, "but he was having none of it".

Laver was sentenced to 100 hours' unpaid work under a community order and ordered to pay 300 costs.

A jury heard how two police officers saw the 39-year-old, also a construction worker, punch Mr Ascott in the face and tell him: "You deserved that."

He added as the victim lay injured on the ground: "You want it, come and get it."

Anthony Prosser, prosecuting, told Maidstone Crown Court the officers saw there was a disturbance outside the "Red Lion" in Sittingbourne High Street at around 1am on May 22 last year.

One later described seeing Laver drag Mr Ascott out of the pub and across the pavement into the road.

"He said the customer was like a rag doll in the defendant's hands," said Mr Prosser.

"He said he held the customer at arms' reach and then punched him in the face."

"He said the customer was like a rag doll in the defendant's hands…” – anthony prosser, prosecuting

Mr Ascott was also arrested for alleged affray and assault, but was bailed because he had to go to hospital for treatment to his cut face.

Before he did so, the doorman was also heard to say to him: "You want some more I will see you tomorrow."

Laver, of Staplehurst Road, Sittingbourne, denied assault causing actual bodily harm, claiming he acted in lawful self-defence.

He hit out, he said, because he believed Mr Ascott was going to assault him, but he was convicted.

Judge Philip Statman said he accepted Laver had set out with the intention of pacifying a difficult man.

"You tried your best inside the public house to ask him to leave, but he was having none of it," he said.

Laver struck him once and in all likelihood on the way to the ground he hit a bin, causing an unattractive facial injury, he said.

The judge said Laver was a hard-working father and husband, adding: "It is not easy raising a family these days. In the construction industry you will be working long and hard and it is extremely physical work."



Last pub licensee had FORDRED James June 1777+

WHITAKER William July/1788+

GIBBS Robert to June 1812 Next pub licensee had

TIDY Henry 1828-39+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

COOK George 1840+

LOFT William 1841+

TIDY Henry 1845-51+ (also builder age 62 in 1851Census)

GOLDSMITH James 1855-62+

Last pub licensee had WOOD Edward 1871-82+ (age 46 in 1881Census)

BUGGS Alfred 1899-1913+ (also Job Master age 44 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

HOGBEN Herbert Edward 1918-22+

BUGGS Alfred 1930-38+


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

East Kent GazetteEast Kent Gazette


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