Page Updated:- Monday, 09 January, 2023.


Earliest 1847-

(Name from)

Three Crutches

Open 2022+

Old Wattling Street


01634 290148

Three Crutches 1930

Above photo, circa 1930.

Three Crutches 1930

Above photo, circa 1930.

Three Crutches 1920s 1930s

Above photo showing a carriage outside the pub circa 1920-30s.

Three Crutches bar area

Above photo showing the inside of the pub. Date unknown but Milky Way cost 1d.

Three Crutches 1988

Above photo, July 1988, showing Eric and Pat on the right, managers with a brewery representative, left.

Three Crutches 1978

Above photo 1978.

Three Crutches sign 1978

Above sign 1978.

Three Crutches 2012 Three Crutches 2012

Above images from Google Maps 2012.


I also have reference to a "Bear and Ragged Staff" and originally believed that this pub was called this before changing name some time before 1847. However, Richard Shaw informs me that the census for 1841, shows his 3 times great grandfather Thomas Sansom, a farmer, who was living at Crutches Farm, and is recorded as renting land on the farm. His son, 2 times great grandfather Henry Sansom, is recorded as living next door on Cobham Lane, and his occupation was recorded as a Publican. Unfortunately the name of the pub was not identified on the census.

The front of the building is Grade II listed and there is a traditional feel about the place with two fireplaces in the top bar and a third in the lower bar/family dining area.


Kentish Gazette, 9 February 1847.

Fatal Death by Fighting.

On Thursday afternoon, the 4th inst., an inquest was held by J. Hinde, Esq., one of the county coroners for Kent, on the body of a labouring man, named John Dalton, of the parish of Shorne next Gravesend. The body, which exhibited several marks of violence, laid at the "Crutches" public-house, where the fatal occurrence took place, leading on the road towards Cobham, and at which house the jury assembled. It appeared from the evidence of William Sledman and John Day, two men who were with others in the tap-room of the public-house on the evening of Saturday, the 30th ult., that the deceased and a man named William Fielder were aggravating each other, they both being intoxicated. The deceased offered to fight William Fielder, if Fielder would take off his coat. Fielder did so, and then the deceased ran out of the front door, and Fielder followed him. They returned into the tap-room, to all appearance friendly, and the deceased called for some beer, but the wife of the landlord refused to draw it. Fielder and the deceased began to quarrel again. The result was that the parties fought together outside the door, and in the course of the fray the deceased fell, and when picked up he was found to be dead. The coroner remarked, that under the circumstances which had come to his knowledge, he should adjourn the inquest, and instruct a medical man to make a post mortem examination of the body. The court was then adjourned.


Dover Chronicles 13 February 1847.

Death from fighting.

On Monday last an adjourned inquest was held by J. Hinde, Esq, coroner, at the "Crutches" public house, Frindsbury touching the death of John Dalton, a wood cutter, of Shorne, who had died on Tuesday, through injuries received in a fight with William Fielder, also a wood cutter from the same village, which took place on the previous Saturday evening.

Since the death of Dalton, Fielder had been confined to the lock-up house at Chatham, and was brought up in custody.

It appeared that on the evening of the fight deceased with the prisoner and several other labouring men, we're in the taproom of the "Crutches" public house drinking together; both of them were intoxicated. The deceased took Fielder's cap from off his head, and having first extinguish the candle with it, threw it on the fire. Words insude; Dalton challenged the prisoner to the combat; and they left the house, accompanied by their companions, to whom great blame attaches for not having prevented the fatal affray. Seconds being appointed, several rounds were fought, in which the deceased repeatedly fell, striking the back part of his head against the ground with great force violence; and not withstanding the repeated wish of the prisoner not to fight, the wrestling continued, tell at length Dalton was raised from the ground speechless and insensible. His companion thinking it more the effects of the drink than the fight, left him lying on the four-corner ground for nearly an hour, when he was taken into the house and put the bed.

The next morning Mr. Steele, surgeon, of Strood, was called to attend the deceased, and on his arrival he found him in a state of insensibility, the pupil of the left eye very much dilated, and the pulse full and strong. He found a lacerated wound over the right eyebrow, (which had appeared have been caused by the deceased coming in contact with the latch of the door during the scuffle,) and a small wound on the forehead. He adopted the usual treatment for compression of the brain; but deceased, who remain insensible, became gradually worse, and died early on Tuesday morning. By the coroner's order, he had since made a post-mortem examination. On examining the head he found some trifling effusion of blood under the scalp, at various places on the back and sides of the head. On opening the dura mater he found an extensive effusion of blood under the whole of the left parietal bone and smaller effusions of serum. The other portions of the brain were healthy, and there was no fracture or depression of the skull. He was of opinion that death rose from violence received on the head, which produced effusion of blood and compression of the brain.

By the coroner:- As far as you can form an opinion, what was the violence on the head?

Witness:- The violence might have been caused by repeated blows or by frequent falls; he was inclined to think that death arose from the latter circumstance.

The prison being asked by the Coroner if he wished to say anything, replied that he was very sorry for what had occurred - no man could be more so.

The Coroner then summed up; and having briefly explained the law in reference to murder and manslaughter, told the jury the question for them to determine was, whether the prisoner have been guilty of the crime of manslaughter.

The room was then cleared, and the jury remained for nearly 2 hours in deliberation, and ultimately returned a verdict of "Accidental Death."


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 10 August 1861.

Rochester and Chatham. Shocking Death.

On Monday an inquest was held at the "Brickmakers Arms," Cuxton Road, before B. Marsh, Esq., deputy coroner, on the body of John Atherfold, age 65, who met his death on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, under the following shocking circumstances. The deceased, a farm labourer, was returning to his lodgings at the "Three Crutches" public house, near Strood, and in doing so had occasion to cross the railway where there is a footpath over a level crossing. On attempting to do so, however, the 4.15 p.m. train from the Victoria station came up at a great speed, and although the driver attempted to attract the attention of the deceased by sounding the whistle, he appeared to take no notice of it, and before he got clear of the metals the engine caught him and mangled his body in a frightful manner. The deceased was very deaf.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and recommended that the public crossing at the spot in question should be abolished, and a tunnel made for foot passengers.


From the Cambridge Independent Press, Saturday 310 July 1886.

Thomas Staples, landlord of the "Three Crutches Inn," Cobham Road, near Rochester, was found hanging by his neck in his stable the other day.


From the Dundee Evening Telegraph, Saturday 19 November 1938.

Dick Turpin said with hidden gold at Inn.

Workmen who carry out alterations to be made at the "Three Crutches," a 300 year old, wood built-in on Watling Street, near Rochester, Kent, will have a treasure hunt thrown in.

According to tradition, Dick Turpin once hid a bag of gold pieces in one of the walls of the inn, and never came back to claim it.

The tale has been handed down from generation to generation of the country folk in the district and is still giving much credence.

Kent historians quote the exploits of one, "Nick of the Bay Mare," who is said to have held up a coach at Gad's Hill at four o'clock one morning, to have escaped across the Thames at Gravesend, and to have arrived in York the same afternoon. This is claimed to have been the origin of the legend of Dick Turpin's ride to York.

Smallest bar.

Close to the inn as a deep cave where highwaymen could have found shelter, and in what is now the garden of the inn was a spring which was the only fresh water supply for miles around.

It was first proposed to pull the inn down and erect a new one, but to preserve its atmosphere and it's associations, it was decided only to make alterations. These will involve the enlargement of what is said to be the smallest bar in England. It measures only 9 feet by 6 feet, and it's counter is only 4 feet long.

The "Three Crutches" has associations with Charles Dickens, too. Mr. Joshua Nicholls, the landlord, told a reporter:- "Dickens was a visitor when he lived at Gad's Hill Place. Old people still remember him sitting in the tap room with a glass of ale and a pipe playing crib.

Killed by arrow.

Near this spot Sir Reginald Braybrooke, a Knight Templar, was killed by an arrow shot from a tree. On the site of the crime his brethren erected a memorial of three crosses to him.

Years later another Templar riding the same way sought shelter from a storm in a cottage and found there a dying woman covered with Sir Reginald's cloak. She confessed that her husband, fancying himself wronged by Sir Reginald, had shot the fatal arrow, and then, mad with remorse, killed himself.

"Three Crosses" became corrupted to "Three Crouches," then to "Three Crutches."


Kent & Sussex Courier 26 May 1939.

A George 3rd penny (1760-1820) has been found during alterations to the 300 year old "Three Crutches Inn," near Cobham, Kent.


Information below taken from 2014.


One night in the 13th century a Templar Knight named Sir Richard or Reginald Braybrooke was murdered whilst travelling (probably) to Temple Manor after visiting Lord Cobham. He was shot through the heart by and arrow and his body was not discovered until the following day at a location where three roads met. The murderer was never caught or brought to justice. A three sided monument in memory of Sir Richard Braybrooke was erected at the scene of the killing and on each of the three sides was a cross. The site was henceforth known as 'The Three Crosses'. The monument has long since been lost, though the old public house called 'The Three Crutches' is thought to be close to the site of the murder and is thought to be named after the 'The Three Crosses'. It has been suggested that Crutches (pronounced 'crootches') is possibly an old country name for 'crosses', and that the Inn was originally known as 'The Three Crouches' before a more recent landlord changed its name to 'The Three Crutches'.

Henry Smetham in his 'History of Strood' (1899) gives the following account of the legend and throws some doubt on the connection between the Inn and the murder site. "The village of Luddesden, at a short distance from the river, and on the road to Cobham Park, is connected with an old legend of the Medway and the ruins of the Temple.... When the Knights Templars flourished in all their glory, one of their members, Sir Reginald Braybrooke, had been to visit the Lord Cobham, and was returning to the Temple by a lonely path on the river's brink, when he was pierced to the heart by an arrow from a hand unseen. Next morning he was found weltering in his blood, quite dead, and the fatal arrow still sticking in his side. The Templars used every means to discover the assassin, but in vain; and in commemoration of the deed, and to solicit the prayers of all faithful passengers for the soul of their brother, they erected a triangular monument on the spot where the corpse was found, with a cross on each side, fronting the three roads that united at this place. The spot ever afterwards obtained the name of the Three Crosses. The murderer was not discovered during his own lifetime; but the secret was brought to light in a singular manner.

"On one bitterly cold winter night, some years afterwards, one of the brethren, who had been to administer the last consolations of religion to an expiring sinner, arrived at Luddesden in a woeful plight from cold and exhaustion. He saw but one light, from the window of a poor hovel in the village, and, knocking at the door, he entered to solicit shelter and a seat by the fire. He found the place inhabited but by one poor old woman, who was sick in bed. She was almost in the last extremities, and the instant the ecclesiastic entered, he remarked that the coverlet of her bed was no other than the cloak of the murdered Sir Reginald Braybrooke, whose confessor he had been. He immediately conjured her, ere she hastened into the presence of her God, to tell whether she knew anything of the murder. She then confessed that her husband, an old soldier, who had fancied himself wronged and insulted by Sir Reginald, had shot the fatal arrow to his heart; that after the commission of the deed he never enjoyed one moment's repose or happiness, and that one morning, a few months afterwards, he was found at the bottom of the chalk pit dashed to pieces. She did not know whether this catastrophe was accidental, or whether in a fit of remorse he had put an end to his miserable life. Having made this confession she expired, and the priest, taking away the cloak, conveyed it to the Temple, where it was long preserved by the Knights as a sad relic of their brother.

"The precise spot where the monument stood is not now known, all traces of it having long since disappeared. A small public house in the neighbourhood has borrowed a name from it, with a most whimsical perversion. From Three Crosses, the original name of the monument, it was corrupted in the course of time to the Three Crowches; and a modern landlord, seeing no meaning in these words, improved it, and made it more intelligible to his customers, by giving his house the sign of the ' Three Crutches.' Close to this house, on a rising ground over-shadowed by one of the largest walnut trees in England, is the spring that formerly supplied the pilgrims to this spot with water."

The explanation lies probably in the following:-

Crouch, a cross (from the Latin crux). That all cross-roads had formerly a cross of wood or stone near the intersection, is pretty clear from the names still retained as John's Cross, Mark Cross, Stone Cross, High Cross, Hand Cross, New Cross, Wych Cross (perhaps so named in honour of St. Robert de la Wych, Bishop of Chichester). All these and many others occur in Sussex. [These crosses served also for direction posts. Probably this was their primary use, the religious idea being an afterthought.] At Seaford such a spot bears the name of " the Crouch." We find also High Crouch, Katty's Crouch [St Katherine's], Fair Crouch, Crow Crouch, &c., &c. Crouched or Crutched Friars were an order of religion, who bore a cross upon their robes. The name crutch applied to the supports used by cripples is evidently from the same root. A person dwelling near some wayside cross would feel proud of such an appellative as, John atte Crouch, a form in which the name frequently occurs. Croucher is another form of the word.

This narrative, in its application to the inn concerned, is open to doubt. It is difficult to conjecture " the lonely path on the river's brink .... fronting three roads that united at this place," leading from Ivuddesdown to the Temple. Again, it is rather a far cry that a murder at a spot so far removed from the " Three Crutches " inn on Cobham Road, should give rise to its name. The writer has also been informed that the anterior name of the "Three Crutches " inn was The "Bear and Ragged Staff." His informant was an old lady, now dead, who was born there.


The Three Crutches Inn is also said to be haunted by two ghosts.

One is seen sitting at an upper floor window. The other is a finely dressed man who walks through the wall in the dining room.

Nearby are four sarson stones which were found during roadworks. They have been set up in a four poster like setting.


From accessed 17 June 2015.


At this six centuries old Second-grade pub with weatherboarding and slate roof, the inn sign shows Cruched Friars, who were distinguished by one cross on their habits ‘Cruches' is a corruption from the Crossed Friars, who were of the Holy Cross order. They wore a red cross on their habit and carried a silver cross before them as they travelled. At least two ghosts haunt this pub. The proprietor mentioned that she, with a number of employees and regulars, have seen a well-dressed ghostly man. He walks through the public bar and into the dining room where he disappears. “But he seems quite a harmless old ghost'' she said. Another ghostly figure, witnesses have seen, leaning through a window of a locked and empty room on the top floor waving, with laughing at people passing by.



ODDS George 1851-58+ (age 42 in 1851Census) Post Office Directory 1855Melville's 1858

ROWE Benjamin 1861-74+ (age 44 in 1861Census) Post Office Directory 1862Post Office Directory 1874

BROOMFIELD John 1881+ (age 44 in 1881Census)

STAPLES Thomas to July/1886 dec'd

OFFEN Alfred to Jul/86-87 dec'd

OFFEN Ann 1887-92 dec'd Census

HAWES John William 1901-03+ (age 63 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

JUDGES Joseph B 1913-22+ Post Office Directory 1913Post Office Directory 1918Post Office Directory 1922

JUDGES Mrs Maud 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

NICHOLLS Joshua & Eliza 1938-39+ (age 68 & 66 in 1939) Post Office Directory 1938

STAGG Jim to 1985

WELSH Paul & Kairen 1985-88

???? Eric & Pat 1988-94

GWYTHER Alan & Lesley 1994-97

???? Jane 1997-2004

Temps 2004-2009

LEWIN Andy 2009-17

COWARD 2012-22+



Post Office Directory 1855From the Post Office Directory 1855

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1918From the Post Office Directory 1918

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938


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