Page Updated:- Tuesday, 06 September, 2022.


Earliest ????

Wheel Inn

Closed Jan 2022

Westwell Street


01233 712223

Wheel Inn 1904

Above postcard, circa 1904, kindly supplied by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel Inn 1909

Above postcard, circa 1909, kindly supplied by Rory Kehoe. Obviously a coloured version of the one above.


Above postcard, postmarked 1911.

Wheel 1911

Above photo, circa 1911, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel Inn 1913

Above photo, circa 1913, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel 1920

Above photo, circa 1920, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel 1950

Above photo, circa 1950, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel Inn 1960

Above postcard, circa 1960, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Wheel 1960s

Above postcard circa 1960s. From Chris Cleave.

Wheel 2003

Above photo 2003.

Wheel 2013

Above photo 2013.

Wheel Inn

Above photo, date unknown.

Wheel Inn 2007

Above photos, 19 November 2007, taken by Eric Hartland.

Wheel Inn sign 2010Wheel Inn sign 2016

Above sign left, 2010, sign right 2016.

Morris Dancers

Above photo, date unknown, showing Morris Dancers.

Wheel Inn 2018

Above photo, February 2018.

Wheel 2021

Above photo, 2021.


The pub's name is derived from the Catherine Wheel, an old inn name which commemorates the martyrdom of St Catherine, bound to a wheel.

Previously George Ware's Frant Brewery, of Bells Yew Green, Sussex. Ware's were bought out by E H Kelsey, of the Culverden Brewery, Tunbridge Wells in 1950.

In October 2017 the building was covered in scaffolding and sheeting, hopefully being renovated and not closed and converted. It did, however still look like a pub inside.

Certainly open again in 2018.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 21 July 1846.

Frightful Accident on the Eastern Counties Railway.

An accident of a very dreadful character, whereby nearly 20 persons were more or less seriously injured, occurred on the Eastern Counties Railway, between 4 and 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon. The up train from Ipswich, due at Stratford at 56 minutes past 3, did not arrive at that station until about 20 minutes after it's proper time. Several passengers had alighted, others were in the act of entering carriages, and the engine-driver was taking in a supply water, when a train was observed coming rapidly towards the station.

Mr. Richardson, the station-master, was upon the platform at this moment, superintending the dispatch of passengers, &c. The noise of the approaching train at once attracted his attention, and, looking eastward, he saw the imminent danger in which the passengers of the stationary train were placed. He immediately ran towards the engine, intending to induce the driver to go on with the train then at the station, but before he could explain his object the collision took place, and on returning along the platform a scene presented itself which almost baffles description.

The train, which, but a moment previous, and consisted of seven or eight first and second class carriages and two horse-boxes, now presented little more than a mass of broken framework and rubbish. Of a second class carriage which had been attached to the train at Romford, and placed in the rear of the two horse-boxes, there was literally nothing left, and the unfortunate passengers which it had contained were seen, bleeding and wounded, lying about the railway in various directions among the fragments. Two other second class carriages was so crushed as to be rendered entirely useless, scarcely one of their hapless inmates escaping some serious fracture or contusion, and of the remaining carriages all were more or less broken, and their inmates seriously shaken and otherwise injured.

When the first momentary shock had subsided, the station-master, with what assistance he could procure, proceeded to collect the wounded persons and assist them into the passengers' waiting room. Medical aid was at the same time sent for, and in a very few minutes Messrs. Elliot, Vincent, Valence, and Kennedy, all medical gentleman residing at Stratford, where upon the spot, vying with each other in their attention to the wounded.

The worst cases were forwarded with as little loss of time as possible in on the omnibuses to the London Hospital, and some persons, also very seriously injured, after being medically attended to, were sent, upon their own request, to their respective residences.
The following is a list of the sufferers, so far as can at present be ascertained:-

Mr. William Millward, bandbox-maker, Bethnal Green, a large toe of the left foot cut off, and foot otherwise much mutilated.

Henry Olive, one of the company's porters, fracture of the right leg.

John Smith, one of the company's porter's, chest and back much injured.

William Prentice, porter, a very bad fracture of the leg.

Mr. Hiram Morris, "Hoop Inn," Deptford, left foot partly cut off, and the right jaw much injured.

Mr. Richard Murphy, Hendon, Middlesex, solicitor, confusing left leg.

Mr. William Keeler, publican, Westwell, Kent, ("Wheel Inn") a fractured collar bone.

James Stone gentleman's servant, a severe contused face.

All the above were removed from Stratford direct to the London Hospital. Messrs. Keeler, Murphy, and Stone, were subsequently sent to their homes.

The following persons were sent to their own residence, after having been attended to by the medical gentleman at the station:-

Mrs. Payne, of Ilford, Essex, comminuted fracture of the two bones of the left leg below the knee.

Mrs. Weddenhall, of Chiswell, Essex, a supposed fracture of the left thigh.

Mrs. Brownley, a contusion.

A gentleman residing at Chelmsford, leg seriously injured.

A gentleman living at Victoria Villas, Dalston, a contusion of the brain.

It is a somewhat extraordinary circumstance in connection with the accident, that none of the carriages which retained their wheels, nor the engine which caused the accident, was thrown off the rails, nor were the rails and themselves injured in the slightest degree. The engine, after striking the last carriage mounted on its ruins, and remained in this position until forcibly removed, when it fell over and slightly injured the platform of the station. It was however, again placed on the rails, and remove without further difficulty.

Among the passengers in the Ipswich train was General Sir De Lacy Evans. The back of the carriage in which the gallant General was sitting was completely driven in, and a fragment passing upwards, tore his coat and trousers, and severely injured his back and legs. He was removed to the "Swan Tavern," Stratford, in a chaise, and in the course of the evening was taken to his residence.
Sir John Tyrrell, Bart., Mr. Cotton, late governor of the Bank, and several other well-known gentlemen, are also described to have been passengers in the same train.

The truck train had "shunted" the Romford station, to allow the Ipswich passengers train to pass it.

Mr. Morris, of Deptford, has since suffered amputation of the foot. All the other sufferers are going on favourably.


Unfortunately closed in 2021, hopefully awaiting new licensees. However, previously owned by Shepherd Neame, they have released the tenancy and it's now free of tie.


From the By Alex Jee, 14 January 2022.

The Wheel Inn pub in Westwell near Ashford boarded up as search launched for new landlord.

A village pub is facing an uncertain future after being boarded up this week.

The Wheel Inn in Westwell near Ashford closed on Tuesday, sparking concern among residents.

Wheel 2022

All windows have been boarded up at the site.
The inn, which overlooks the village green, had been under the care of James Kelland for almost five years but was hit hard by the pandemic.

Now all of the windows and doors have been sealed while the business has been put on the market for 330,000.

Parish councillor Clive Bainbridge said: “James did fantastically with the pub and it was popular, especially among locals, but the last two years had been hard.

“Shepherd Neame has been very good in that it let the pub run on a free-of-tie basis, and it is now selling the pub only on the basis that whoever buys it continues to run it as one.

“That’s really important to us as we don’t want to lose the pub.”

Matthew Bare & James Kellard 2017

Matthew Bare and James Kelland became the new managers of the pub in 2017.

Garden Party 2011

Jodi Bonner, Dave Mullins and Wendy Bonner enjoy a Pimms during a royal wedding garden party in April 2011.

The ‘free-of-tie’ arrangement means whoever buys the pub will own it outright, with the Shepherd Neame logo and drinks already having been removed by the business under Mr Kelland, who had previously managed the Swan restaurant at the Chapel Down winery in Tenterden.

But villagers now face an anxious wait to see who will step in to run the business.

Resident Mike Jemmerson says the pub – to which he has been going for more than 40 years – was vital to the village.

“We didn’t go in there to drink as I don’t drink alcohol, but the food was great,” he explained.

“We went there just the other day, a lot of people did the same, there were always regulars in there for both food and drink.

Leg Wax 2003

Neil Cackett has his legs waxed by Valerie Wren for charity at The Wheel Inn in 2003.

Running Club 2015

Members of the Ashford and District Road Running Club at their Christmas party at The Wheel Inn in 2015.

Wheel 2022

The Wheel Inn was boarded up earlier this week.

“We have already had the shop close some years ago, and the school even further back than that, this is one of the last things in the village and it’s a huge community asset.”

Cllr Bainbridge said that Savills, the estate agents in charge of the pub’s sale, was confident of getting interest in the property.

“I have been informed by Shepherd Neame that Savills will be responsible for the sale of The Wheel and that it has booked viewings to take place this week,” he added.

“So at this stage it does believe there is potential interest, and it has agreed to let us at the parish council know if it receives a credible offer that they wish to accept.”

In 2017, Shepherd Neame spent 80,000 transforming the outside of the site, which dates back to the 17th century.

This week, the brewery's commercial estates manager John Barnes said: “The Wheel has been for sale as a public house since April 2021, as it no longer fits the needs of our business.

"Shepherd Neame is in communication with the local parish council, ensuring it remains up to date with proceedings.”


From the By Alex Jee, 5 September 2022

Anger as plans for The Wheel, Westwell, near Ashford, thrown out.

Villagers have hit out after plans that would help reopen their only pub were thrown out.

A vital proposal to expand The Wheel Inn in Westwell, near Ashford, has been turned down by a council planning officer.

The move has sparked backlash from the shocked owners, locals and their MP, who gathered together outside the 17th century inn, which overlooks the village green.

The Wheel initially closed in January, with the windows and doors quickly boarded up, and concrete barriers blocking off the car park.

Worried residents likened the sealed-up pub to Fort Knox, however new owners John Forge and Mandy Keefe soon removed all of the barriers and unblocked the windows and doors.

The pair also announced plans to rejuvenate the former Shepherd Neame pub, including redecorating and adding a restaurant-cum-tea room that would link into the bar area.

To allow this to take place, Mr Forge submitted a planning application for a short extension to the rear of the building to allow for the kitchen to be moved.

Wheel supporters 2022

Ashford MP Damian Green met with Westwell residents outside the pub this week.

The extension would be clad in black weatherboard rather than brick, similarly to several other houses near the building.

However, a planning officer torpedoed the plans, saying the weatherboard "does not respond to the character" of the historic pub.

"As such, it would detract from the character and appearance of the property and the wider Conservation Area," he added in a report.

The decision has incensed and confused residents, all of whom are in favour of the works, which have also been supported by the parish council.

"It is such an inconsequential piece of work, but it will make all the difference for the long-term future of the pub," Mr Forge said.

Wheel extension 2022

The extension would cover a small space behind the pub.

"It's simply three walls and a roof, and it will barely be noticeable.

"When you boil it down to those facts it seems incredible that the officer has taken this decision, especially when you look at the buildings surrounding the pub and see that so many of them have identical black weatherboarding.

"We will obviously go back and resubmit the plans, but it took them four months to get back to us on this. If it takes that long again, and the work takes four months, we're already looking at finally being ready to open more than a year since submitting the plans."

Village resident Kevin Williams says the decision is "unfair" and that a council officer needed to visit the village to talk to the owners and residents.

"John has been at the site everyday working on restoring the property and giving it some TLC," he added.

Wheel houses

There are new-build houses next to the pub with similar black cladding.

"At a time when so many pubs are facing difficulties with bills and recovering from the pandemic, this seems like the exact opposite to what the council should be doing."

Ashford MP Damian Green visited the pub on Thursday to talk to Mr Forge and Ms Keefe and to get the residents' views on the matter.

He told KentOnline: "I am very keen to help village pubs survive in this climate.

"I am hoping to see a quick solution to this situation so that the people of Westwell can get back to enjoying their local."

A council spokesperson said: “The application was refused because of concerns about the form of the extension and the selection of materials.

"This is a sensitive heritage location but the decision made does not rule out a possible alternative proposal.

"We know that the pub is important to the local community and are willing to work with the applicant to find a mutually acceptable solution."




KEELER William & Maltida 1839-48 Next pub licensee had (also butcher age 25 in 1841Census)

HOBDAY Valentine sen. 1851-81+ dec'd (also eggler/poulterer age 53 in 1881Census)

HOBDAY Valentine jun. 1891-1911+ (age 46 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

HOBDAY Walter (son) 1911+

HOBDAY Valentine 1911-30+

LEWIS William 1938+

KAY E G 1960s+

KELLAND James 2017-22


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



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