Page Updated:- Wednesday, 15 March, 2023.


Earliest 1847-

Jolly Fisherman

Open 2019+

The Parade


01797 362224

Jolly Fisherman

Above photo, date unknown showing the original "Jolly Fisherman".

Jolly Fisherman 1936

From Barclay, Perkin's Anchor Magazine, Volume XVI, No.1, January 1936. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Jolly Fisherman 1939

Above postcard, circa 1939, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Jolly Fisherman 1952

Above postcard, circa 1952, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Jolly Fisherman 1967

Above photo, 1967, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Jolly Fisherman 1975

Above postcard circa 1975. Kindly submitted by Rory Kehoe.

Jolly Fisherman 2014

Above photo 2014.

Jolly Fisherman 2019

Above photo 2019.

Jolly Fiosherman sign 2015

Above sign 2015, kindly sent by Brian Curtis.


During the 1947 UK tour, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were invited to re-open the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway.

After travelling down by regular train, the pair performed a couple of skits to entertain the crowds - and the gathered news crews - before riding the light railway. The duo then lunched with dignitaries at the "Jolly Fisherman" before returning for tea at the railway's restaurant at Hythe.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 2 December 1862.

Dungeness. A mystery.

On Monday and inquest was held before Edwin Cock, Esq., coroner, on the body of Mr. John Adams, landlord of the "Jolly Fisherman," who was found drowned in a well near his house.

From the evidence it appeared that the deceased left home on Saturday morning for the purpose, according to his usual custom, of walking to New Romney, to see if there were any letters for Dungeness. Not returning at the usual time, his wife became alarmed, and a messenger was dispatched to Romney to see if he had been to the Post-office. It was ascertained he had not, and the search was forthwith made.

About 2 o'clock one of the coastguardsmen, Edward Hooker, bethought him to look into the well, which is about 250 yards from the deceased's house. In doing so he was horrified to find the poor fellow head downwards, partly immersed in water. Assistance was at once procured, and he was removed to his house, quite dead. There was about 4 feet of water in the well.

In the absence of any testimony to establish the inference of suicide, and open verdict of "Found Drowned" was returned. The deceased was about 50 years of age.

It has been stated that the deceased had of light been rather abstracted, but no evidence was adduced to establish the truth of this assertion.


From the Thanet Advertiser, Saturday 18 May, 1878.

Dungeness. Sad case of suicide.

On Saturday and inquest was held at the "Jolly Fisherman Inn," touching the death of a fisherman, named Robert Ditton, who had lived at Dungeness for about eight years. The evidence of Mr. W. L. George, innkeeper, and Mr. J. Haigs, landlord of the "Jolly Fisherman Inn," showed that he had been in low spirits for some months, through poverty. He had no poles for his fishing nets, and no money to buy any, and consequently had been earning nothing. The poor man had often intimated to his friends that in all probability he should make away with himself if such bad fortune continued. On Thursday, at about noon, when returning from his nets, he met his wife and child. After taking the child in his arms, and kissing it in a most affectionate manor, he returned it to its mother, and then went back to work. He was last seen late on Thursday evening, greatly depressed in mind. On Saturday morning he was missed, and, on search being made, he was found quite dead in a well belonging to the "Jolly Fisherman Inn," feet uppermost, his head being under the water. The unfortunate man was 45 years of age, and had been married only about a year. The jury found a verdict of "Found Dead."


Information below from their web site.

History: The Jolly Fisherman Pub

There has been a "Jolly Fisherman" pub in Greatstone for over 450 years, since the 16th century.

Old Jolly Fisherman 1920

Above photo shows the old "Jolly Fisherman" circa 1920.

The Old Jolly Fisherman

The pub is shown on old 1908 Ordnance Survey map which confirms its location has being on the now Dungeness Nature Reserve, to the west of Leonard Road and just before Hull Road.

Map 1908

This location is some 2 miles to the south of where the now "Jolly Fisherman" stands.

It ceased being a pub at that location when its license was transferred to the present day "Jolly Fisherman" in c1935.

Nothing remains of the old site today (2010).

Jolly Fisherman 1930

Above photo showing the original "Jolly Fisherman" circa 1935.

The Present Jolly Fisherman

The present Jolly Fisherman pub is located in the centre of Greatstone at the junction of Dunes Road and The Parade.

This was built by the brewers Style and Winch Ltd, who owned the old "Jolly Fisherman," in about 1935 as a pub and hotel. It was to form part of a major development scheme for Greatstone.

It was given a grand opening, with Cllr C E Andrews, who owned and developed the Greatstone area estate, the Mayors of New Romney and Lydd and other local dignitaries attending. Directors of Style and Winch, including Colonel G B Winch, who presided over the opening event, also attended.

The first licensees were Mr and Mrs D H Smith.


Jolly Fisherman new 1935

Above showing the "Jolly Fisherman" circa 1935.

On opening the pub, or country hotel as it was referred to, had a large saloon bar with its circular window and an extensive lounge bar leading to the cosy dining room on the ground floor. Above were delightful balconies overlooking the dunes and giving a fine view of the English Channel.

On each side of the corridor there were about 12 single and double bedrooms, each with hot and cold water. There was a large tea lounge on this floor, above which was a roof garden providing even better views of the surrounding area.

Locals, who were about at the time, say that the pub was to be called 'The Ship'. Indeed they say that if you look at the pub side-on, it does resemble a ship, bows, bridge and all.

Be that as it may, there was already a "Ship" pub at Lydd-on-Sea, so the new pub took over the licence from the old "Jolly Fisherman" and thus became The "Jolly Fisherman."

The Jolly Fisherman Today

The pub today still thrives today as the centre of the local community. The present licensees Steve and Shirley Wilmott took over in January 1995 and have run the pub ever since, together with their son Lee.


From Barclay, Perkin's Anchor Magazine, Volume XVI, No.1, January 1936.

The "Jolly Fishermen" at Dungeness, Kent.

The transfer of the Jolly Fishermen at Dungeness, Kent, has been approved and a new house of this name is in the course of erection at Greatstone, an area between Dungeness and Littlestone-on-Sea, which is being rapidly developed. There could not be a greater contrast between the old and the new houses. The present one is of weather-boarding and surrounded by little but pebbles, in an area used almost exclusively by the few fishermen who live on the beach. The new house, of ultra-modern design, will be fitted for every comfort for holiday and resident visitors and will meet the growing needs of the district. Mr Percy G Searles, FRIBA, Surveyor to Mssrs. Style & Winch, is the Architect.

History doesn't record if the local fishermen were very jolly about their local being closed/replaced with the new "ultra-modern" pub. I doubt it!

From the Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 23 December 1938.

Re David Henry Smith, Deceased.

Pursuant to the Trustee act 1925, section 27.

Notice is hereby given that all creditors and other persons having any claims or demands against the estate of David Henry Smith formerly of the "Jolly Fisherman Hotel," Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent but late of "Shenandoah" Coast Drive, Greatstone-on-Sea aforesaid, deceased who died on the 16th day of July 1938 and whose Will was duly proved by Mr. Henry Charles Browne the sole executor therein named, on the 15th day of September 1938 in the Lewes District Probate Registry, are required to send particulars thereof to the undersigned on or before the 28th day of February 1939, after which date the said executor will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims and demands on which he shall then have had notice and he will not be liable for the assets of the said deceased or any part thereof so distributed to any person or persons of whom debts claims or demands he shall not then have had notice.

Dated this 15th day of December, 1938.

Langham, Parkin and Mason, Grove Road Chambers, Eastbourne, Sussex, solicitors for the said executor.


Also identified as being in Dungeness. The census seem to address this as Lydd.



ADAMS John 1847-Dec/62 dec'd (age 48 in 1861Census)

DOWLE Thomas 1871+ (age 50 in 1871Census)

HAIGS James 1874-78+

HAYES James 1881+ (age 66 in 1881Census)

RAMSEY William 1891+ (age 27 in 1891Census)

MILLS John Mills Mrs 1899+

MILLS Kate 1901+ (widow age 40 in 1901Census)

MILLS Fanny Mrs 1903+ Kelly's 1903

BALL Fanny 1913-22+

BUTLER Edward 1930+

SMITH David Henry 1935-July38 dec'd

WILMOTT Steve & Shirley Jan/1995+


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:-