Sort file:- Tenterden, March, 2024.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 27 March, 2024.


Earliest 1474

Woolpack Hotel

Open 2023+

High Street


01580 388501

Above painting by William Hyams (1878-1952) Kindly sent by Patricia Scott. The painting also depicts what shows the "Golden Fleece," however, I do not know of a public house called that in Tenterden.

Soldiers returning from fighting in the Boer War, 1901. The heroes were welcomed by the Mayor of Tenterden, and Privates Millen and Watson were pulled in triumph in the decorated mayor’s carriage through the streets of Tenterden by members of the local fire brigade. The "Woolpack" is left of the Town Hall.

Woolpack postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.


Above postcard, date unknown.


Above photo, date unknown.


Above postcard, date unknown.


Above photo, date unknown.

Woolpack Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown.

Woolpack Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

Woolpack Hotel 1907

Above postcard, date 1907, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Woolpack mounted rifles 1912

Mounted Rifles outside Tenterden Town Hall circa 1912-1914.

Woolpack Hotel 1930

Above photo, 1930.

Woolpace 1953

Above photo, circa 1953, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Woolpack 1953

Above photo, 1953 Coronation celebrations, photo by Steve Salter.

Woolpack Hotel 1970's

Above postcard, date 1970s, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Woolpack Hotel 1970

Above photo, 1970.

Woolpack Hotel drawing

Above drawing, date unknown.

Above photo showing the entrance to the car-park, 1989, kindly sent by David Anderson.

Woolpack sign 1989

Above sign to the car-park, 1989, kindly sent by David Anderson.

Woolpack sign 1991Woolpack sign 2008

Above sign left, March 1991, sign right June 2008, by Eric Hartland.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Woolpack 1995

Above photo 1995 by Mike Bennett.

Woolpack 2014

Above photo, 2014.

Woolpack 2021

Above photo, February 2021, by Mark Farrow.

Woolpack 2023

Above photo 2023.


The building was operating as a coaching inn as early as the 15th century.

The "Woolpack" was first recorded in 1474 under its original name of "Woolsack" in connection with upkeep of a charity in St Mildred's church. A much altered late 15th century hall house, it was much used by Archbishops and Bishops in Georgian times when visiting St Mildred for confirmations. It is interesting to note that the freehold of the 1790 Town Hall was held by the brewers until 1922 when Harry Judge purchased it and presented it to the Corporation three years later. The Mayor's Parlour was originally the card room of the inn and the mirror at the top of the Town Hall's stairs hides a connecting door - so useful to thirsty members of the Council!

The premises was described as a Common Lodging House in the 1861 Census.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Saturday, 24 September to Wednesday, 28 September, 1768. Price 2d.


To the highest Bidder, on Friday the 14th Day of October, 1768, at the “Woolpack” in Tenterden.

A Messuage, Barn, Stable, and Buildings, in good Repair, Garden Orchard (well planted with Fruit Trees), and several Pieces of Arable, Meadow, and Pasture Land, with the Appurtenances, containing sixty Acres, on which is a great quantity of thriving young Timber; situate near Redbrook Street, in Woodchurch; in kent, in the Occupation of Mr. Thomas Henry and Mr. Strictland, who quit the Premises at Old Michaelmas next, so the Purchaser may have immediate possession thereof.

Enquire Mr. Samson of Stone, in the Isle of Oxney; or of Messrs. Curteis and Waterman, Attornies at Law, at Rye, Sussex.


Kentish Gazette 02 September 1791.

To be Let by Auction to the highest Bidders, In eighteen or more lots, at the "Woolpack Inn," in Tenterden, Kent, on Friday the 16th September, 1791, between the hours of two and five o'clock in the afternoon.

The Indraught in Wittersham Level, containing about 540 acres of Marshland, in several lots, of about 30, 40, and 50 acres in each Lot, free and exempt from payments of tithes or taxes of any sort, for five years or there abouts, to commence from the expiration of the present leases, being of some Lots at Christmas 1791, and of the residue at Christmas 1793.

Proposals to be seen at the office of Messrs. Curteis, Waterman and Woollett, Attorneys, Rye; at Mr. Neve's, the "Expenditor," Tenterden; the "Ewe and Lamb Inn," Wittersham; and the "White Hart Inn," Newenden.


Kentish Gazette 08 June 1813.


By order of the assignees of William Clarke, a Bankrupt, on Friday, the 11th day of June, 1813 between the hours of three and five in the afternoon, at the "Woolpack Inn," in the town of Tenterden, subject to such terms and conditions of sale as shall be then and there produced.

Lot 1. All that Freehold Messuage or Tenemant, called the "Woolpack Inn," in complete repair, most desirable situate in the centre of the town of Tenterden, in the County of Kent, with the tap-room, extensive stables, lofts, coach-houses, granary, yard, garden, and appurtenances thereto belonging, together with the Assignees' rights and interest in the Assembly Rooms.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 11 January 1814.

Woolpack Inn Tenterden.

Richard Fielder respectively acquaints his friends, gentleman travellers and the public in general that he has purchased the above Inn, and begs leave to assure them that no pains or assiduity shall be wanting on his part of their support. The greatest care is taken to keep the rooms and beds well aired. Neat Post Chaises and able Horses. Good stall stabling and coach houses.

Coaches from London every day except Fridays.

Wines and liquors of the most approved quality.


Kentish Gazette, 21 January 1820.


At the General Quartet Sessions off the Peace for the town and hundred of Tenterden, holden in the Court Hall, Jan. 8th, 1820, beftore J. D. Ponifret, Esq. Mayor, and the Recorder and Jurats.

Sam. Winser and Samuel Hesledon were convicted of on assault on Jesse Moon, and sentenced to three years imprisonment. The barbarous treatment of thee unfortunate object of their cruelty excited the attention of the neighbourhood, and the Hall was crowded to excess.

There were two counts to the indictment, the first for an assault with intent to murder; the second for an assault only.

Jesse Moon deposed, that he was at the "Woolpack tap," Tenterden, on Saturday evening, the 11th of October last, and that the prisoners and several other persons were there; did not recollect what time he went to the tap; might be thereabout an hour and a half; that he had some beer, not much, and that he was not intoxicated; does not remember quarrelling either with the prisoners or any one else; left the tap, a little before eleven o'clock, to go to Mr. Weller's farm; that when he was in Sawyer's field, Winser came up with him, and knocked him down; that Hesselden was about half a rod behind Winser; that he got up and was struck again, but did not know by which of the prisoners, us by that time Heselden was come up with Winser; that be ran to the barn, which is in a field out of the public footpath, and laid himself down; had no other place to sleep in, and had slept there some time: Prisoners followed, and came into the barn; be could not see them, but having asked them what business they had there, they said they would let him know; is sure that it was the prisoners, and that he knew them by their voices; one of them struck him on the head, it seemed to him with a stick; he fell insensible, and did not recollect more, but found himself, about a week after, in bed at Mr. Weller's house, and the doctor with him.

To a question from one of the Jury whether the barn doors were fastened, he replied, there was a little door which was not nor is used to be fastened.

----- Shoosmiih deposed:- He is a tap-boy at the "Woolpack;" remembered the prisoners and Moon being at the tap on the evening of the 11th of October last; Moon had two pints of beer; that the prisoners and Moon were talking together; did not hear them quarrel; must have heard them it there had been high words; did not see them go out, but missed them a little time before eleven o'clock.

----- Hutchinson deposed:— That he works for Mr. Weller, and had worked with Moon: went into the barn on Monday, October 13, about four o'clock in the afternoon; found Moon on the floor; thought him dead—his clothes stuck with the blood to the barn floor; his master s brother sent for Mr. Bishop, when Moon was removed into the house; he could not stand.

Mr. Thomas Bishop, Surgeon, deposed:— that he attended Moon on Monday, Oct. 13, about four o'clock in the afternoon, in the barn; that he found his face, hands, and clothes covered with blood; that his clothes were not torn; he at first thought him dead; witness opened his clothes, and by pressing his bosom discovered that there was life remaining; did not think proper to have him removed, as he thought he must die in a very little time. Witness then described the nature of the injuries the unfortunate man received—a wound and contusion under and upon the right ear, from which the blood oozed; the scalp under the ear driven up, and the skull left bare; the right eye swollen and appeared started out of the head, and the pupil full of blood; the collar bone was broke, and there was a severe wound on the right shoulder; the breast was bruised and discoloured; the seventh rib completely fractured; the whole of the abdomen much bruised; the bowels did not recover their action for a mouth, and there was a severe bruise on the left leg. Witness certainly expected that death would follow; thinks now the wounds and bruises were sufficient to have caused death; attended Moon two months; is of opinion that blows with the naked fist, or kicking with only a leather soled shoe, would not have produced such injuries, but that an iron shod shoe would.

William Merral deposed, that on the evening of the 11th of Oct. last he was at the "Woolpack tap;" that the prisoners and Moon were there; Moon proposed that Winser and witness play at falls, for a pint of beer; Winser refused, and they made it up; that being refused any more beer in the tap, they all went out to have some in the house, but the house being locked, they parted, and witness went home; they parted about 11 o'clock.

Winser, in his defence, said he was an innocent man, and that Moon had sworn falsely. He called Henry Barber as a witness, who proved that Winser was in his shop about a quarter before twelve, and that he appeared intoxicated.

Heselden called Mary brown, who said she saw Winser go down Honey-lane, leading to Sawyer's field, just before 11 o'clock, and heselden followed about two minutes later.

The Recorder, in summing up the evidence, directed the attention of the Jury to the agreement of all the evidence, even that of Mary Browne, the prisoners' witness, as to the time when the prisoners were in company with Moon, and that the testimony of Moon was so far corroborated. He then drew the line of distinction, supposing Moon had died, between manslaughter and murder, and read the opinion of Mr. Justice Foster on that subject.

The Jury, after an hour's deliberation, returned a verdict of Guilty of a violent assault (that is on the second count only.)

Moon showed on his defence a reluctance to bear hard on the prisoner, and his testimony was given with artless simplicity.

The description of the injuries he received excited in the Hall a feeling of horror.


Kentish Gazette, 16 June 1820.

June 11, at Tenterden, Mr. John Brungar, butcher, to Miss Mary Ann Dunk, of the "Woolpack Inn."


Kentish Gazette, 20 May 1851.

TENTERDEN. Coroner's Inquest.

On Wednesday an inquest was held at the "Lion Inn," by S. Beale, Esq., coroner, on the body of William Avery, a poor man, about 66 years of age, who was found in a dying state at the "Woolpack Inn," on the fair day, and died the day following. It appeared he was seized with a fit.

Verdict, "Died by the visitation of God."


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 14 October 1851.


The annual meeting of this association took place yesterday week. The ploughing match came off on land in the occupation of Mr. W. Hilder, in the parish of Tenterden, .............

The proceedings at the dinner which was served up shortly after five o'clock, at the Town Hall, the worthy host of the "Woolpack Inn," Mr. Fagg, catering, with his usual skill and ability, for the wants and requirements, as well as the pleasure and comfort of the company, numbering in all between forty and fifty. .......


Southeastern Gazette, 29 March 1853.

Kentish Gazette, 5 April 1853.

TENTERDEN. Coroner’s Inquest.

On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the "Woolpack Inn," before V. Pomfret, Esq., Mayor and coroner, on the body of Samuel Sharp, an infant about ten months old. It appeared that the deceased was one of three illegitimate children of a young woman named Sharp; that the mother and her children were in a wretched state of poverty and destitution, and that the deceased was taken ill in the night, when the mother called in a neighbour, who came and was present when the child died, which was about five o’clock in the evening. There was no evidence to show that the mother had been unkind to the deceased.

Verdict, "Died by the visitation of God."


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 29 June 1858.


A very interesting match was played here on Monday, between the elevens of Woodchurch and Tenterden, but the Tenterden players proved too strong for their opponents as will be seen by their totals. Woodchurch, First innings, 41; second innings, 52. Tenterden, 1st innings, 36; second innings, 58, and six wickets to go down.

A dinner was provided at the "Woolpack Inn" at 2 o'clock, by the worthy host, Benjamin Garnham, who created with his usual good skill and alacrity.


From an email received 31 October 2015

Here's another one for you from the inscription on his gravestone in St Mildred's Churchyard, Tenterden.

His wife's maiden name was Hughes and he was born in East Guldeford, Sussex.


Elizabeth, Wife of Richard Clarke of this Corporation

Who died without issue 27th January 1795. Aged 55 years.

The said Richard Clarke who was 25 years Master of the "Woolpack Inn" in this Corporation. Died 28th February 1799. Aged 65 years.


Catharine Hughes. Died August 1798. Aged 41 years



Jan Riley.


From the By Rachael Woods, 26 October 2018.

Rob Cowan leaves The Woolpack, Tenterden, after noise row.

A prominent landlord says noise complaints have forced him to call time at his pub.

Rob Cowan has stood behind the bar at The Woolpack in Tenterden High Street for six and a half years, turning around the fortunes of the then abandoned hostelry.

His tenure was not without controversy as his decision to paint the 15th century pub a heritage pink colour in 2014 saw him clash with Ashford Borough Council (ABC) and ultimately lose an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Rob Cowan at the Woolpack

Rob pictured when The Woolpack was painted pink.

The grade II listed building was returned to its original shade of white last summer, despite the backing of more than 500 people who signed a petition asking for the pub to remain pink.

Speaking at the time Mr Cowan said he had never received "a single complaint" from customers about the new hue, which he had chosen to help market the pub and give it a distinct identity.

But it was a run-in with a small number of Eastwell Meadows residents, whose protests about the noise coming from the pub's adjacent live music venue the Barrelhouse barn, that Mr Cowan says forced his decision to quit The Woolpack.

Woolpack protesters

Protesters at The Woolpack complaining that the right to hold music events at the barn was withdrawn. Picture: Paul Amos.

The Eastwell Meadows Management Company, triggered a review of Mr Cowan's music licence which was revoked by ABC in October 2016, after which he was permitted to apply for a maximum of 15 temporary events notices per year.

Mr Cowan, who will vacate The Woolpack during the week of November 12, said he staged just seven events last year: "I warned at the time it would make it very difficult to continue at The Woolpack and without full use of the barn the business that we want to run is not commercially viable.

"The complaints of a tiny number of residents who chose to live near a 500-year-old pub have meant that we are unable to continue."

Woolpack barn

Rob Cowan at The Woolpack barn where there were noise complaints.

Mr Cowan added: "Ashford council needs to encourage and support small businesses and cut traders a bit of slack."

In a message to his supporters Mr Cowan said: "We would like to thank our staff, our suppliers and our customers for their involvement and loyalty over the years and we offer our gratitude and thanks to everyone involved. We would like to think that we have been a force for good on the High Street and that hope that we leave having contributed to the community in a positive way."

The pub is due to be taken over by Hush Heath Inns.

A spokesman for ABC said: "The council has previously gone on record stating the reasons behind our decisions over the temporary licences for events following receiving noise complaints from neighbours.

"Regarding our decision over the colour of the pub, this was endorsed by an independent planning inspector, we therefore do not wish to comment any further."


From the By Rachael Woods, 15 September 2019.

The Woolpack in Tenterden High Street given major makeover.

A pub dating back to the 15th century is being given a 300,000 makeover to create a modern boutique feel.

The Woolpack in Tenterden High Street was purchased by Hush Heath Hospitality last November, following the departure of its colourful landlord Rob Cowan, who famously clashed with planners after painting the historic hostelry a shade of pink.

Woolpack 2019

From left, Woolpack assistant general manager Alfie Draper and general manager George Wilkins.

Refurbishment works have begun on the interior, which will see the bar extended across the width of pub to the High Street end, while carpets are being ripped out and wooden flooring laid throughout.

Canterbury Archaeology was consulted ahead of work on The Woolpack, the origins of which can be traced back to medieval times.

General manager George Wilkins said the emphasis of the work at all times would be "sympathetic to the building and leaving the charm and character of a 15th century inn intact".

Hotel rooms will have new furniture, with updated decor to reflect the "boutique look and feel" of the Hush Heath brand.

Former staff accommodation is being turned into a family suite, bringing the total number of hotels rooms to seven.

A reconfiguration of the pub’s restaurant will up the number of covers from 45 to 60.

Woolpack garden 2019

The new-look garden at The Woolpack pub.

Outside the garden has already been transformed with landscaping and the addition of a climbing frame to create a family-friendly space.

Major work on the Woolpack’s adjacent barn, will see extra glass fronted doors added and new windows, plus toilets including for disabled use.

Repairs are being made to the roof, while wood-burning stoves will be added for winter warmth.

An events kitchen is set to cater for more functions in the barn, where the emphasis will be on working in close co-operation with neighbours in Eastwell Barn Mews, who previously complained to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) about excessive noise coming from the building during live music shows.

George said: “We were be working with our neighbours and the licensing department with regards to the barn and the emphasis will be avoiding any disruption.”

London-based AMA Architects has drawn up the plans to upgrade The Woolpack, where work on the barn is expected to be completed by Christmas and the pub itself finished in January.


From the By Secret Drinker, 24 February 2023.

Secret Drinker reviews the Woolpack Hotel in Tenterden.

Looking every inch a historic watering hole, with a wealth of interesting features and traditional architecture, the Woolpack Hotel, right at the heart of Tenterden, was just too inviting to pass.

Walking past the sign for a secret garden we entered through the side door and stepped over the junk mail which had landed in front of the log store. Although none of the fires were alight when we were in we were immediately met by the atmospheric smell of old wood smoke.

We waited at the bar for a little while before anyone came through and I would describe the welcome as courteous, rather than polite or friendly.

Faced with a couple of more unusual options on tap I sampled both – Jakes 4.3% IPA and Cellar Head’s 3.8% session pale ale.

In the end I chose the former as it had a smoothness and a slight nuttiness which suited my Saturday lunchtime mood, though I also made a note the Cellar Head was easily good enough to be my next pint.

Woolpack Hotel inside 2023

Tables in the bars at the front of the pub filled up quickly at lunchtime so, as more folks came in for food, they were shown through to the dining room.

Mrs SD wasn’t able to go for her usual as someone had already drunk the bar dry of Sauvignon Blanc and, although it was drier and slightly less fruity, she reckoned the Pinot Grigio was a decent substitute.

The next decision was food and, having considered both the main menu and lunch bites, we decided upon a pair of ciabattas – at 22 the pair, they weren’t cheap but I loved the sound of a chargrilled bavette with pickled shallots and Kentish blue cheese and Mrs SD can’t resist a Cumberland sausage.

We needn’t have worried about the price though as my order was met with a short, sharp: “We don’t serve any of that on a Saturday”.

After a little deliberation, and again considering the price, we decided to share a portion of halloumi fries, pork cheeks and fish cakes – these, I’m pleased to report, were available.

While we waited for the food we considered our surroundings and agreed the low, beamed ceilings with traditional stone, or heavy wooden floorboards are exactly what you’d expect to see in a 15th century pub like The Woolley.

The food arrived reasonably quickly and everything was extremely tasty.

The halloumi fries were served with spiced mayo and the fishcakes with tartare sauce, the pork cheeks were accompanied by some lovely bits of light crackling. It was all hot, very flavourful and there was plenty for the two of us – the total cost was 21.50.

By this time the manager had taken up position behind the bar and, with his impressive, flowery shirt (he assured me he owns 35 similar shirts), and even more impressive beard, made an immediate impact as the staff brightened up measurably.

The bars at the front of the pub had filled up considerably so as extra folks came in for lunch they were shown through to the larger dining room at the back.

Having eaten, I took a wander around and discovered the secret garden at the back of the pub behind the car park.

Empty, unsurprisingly on a slightly chilly February lunchtime, it is a decent-sized area and I can imagine it is buzzing on warmer summer days.

There were plenty of folk passing in and out of the pub and when I checked with staff they informed me all the hotel rooms were taken and it was quite a busy weekend.

Woolpack secret garden 2023

Sshhhh, step this way to discover The Woolly’s secret garden – you’ll find it by walking to the back of the car park.

Woolpack garden 2023

The weather wasn’t good enough on Saturday to entice anyone into the garden, but I can imagine it is well used on a warm summer day.

I saw several signs promoting Six Nations rugby games as well as a number of others advertising future live music gigs.

A part of the Balfour Hush Heath Estate at Staplehurst, there are seven other pubs in the group, dotted around the south east – each promoting and selling Balfour wines and Jake’s beers.

Each venue has been carefully selected and I’m sure The Woolpack is well-loved with many townsfolk as well as visitors, though I can’t help feeling it’s better suited to a one-off special occasion, rather than a regular watering hole.

Woolpack dining room 2023

The dining room, at the back of the pub, had plenty of empty tables for folk seeking a Saturday lunch.

Woolpack men's toilets 2023

Bevelled white tiles cover all the walls of the gents and the toilets were clean and fresh.



READ William 1704+

CLARKE Richard 1773-Feb/99

CLARKE William to June/1813 bankrupt

FIELDER Richard 1814-28+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

ARNETT Charles 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

MILSTED Stephen 1841-51 (age 59 in 1851Census)

FAGG Mr 1851-Sept/54

GARNHAM Benjamin Sept/1854-71+ (age 57 in 1871Census)

BISHOP Albert Edward 1911-18+ (age 44 in 1911Census)

COWEN Rob 2012-18


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

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:-