Page Updated:- Tuesday, 24 January, 2023.


Earliest ????

Spread Eagle

Closed 2021

(Name to)

119 Forest Road


01892 525414

Spread Eagle 2009

Above photo 2009.

Spread Eagle 2014

Above photo 2014.

Spread Eagle sign 1994

Above sign 1994.

With thanks from Roger Pester

Map 1875

Above map 1875.


I have just added this pub to that list but your help is definitely needed regarding it's history.

As the information is found or sent to me, including photographs, it will be shown here.

Thanks for your co-operation.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Wednesday 18 June 1879.

A Licensing Case.

Henry Funnell, of the “Spread Eagle,” was summoned for keeping open his licensed premises for the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sunday, the 8th of June.

Mr. W. C. Cripps appeared for the defence, and apologised for the absence of the defendant, who was represented by Mrs Funnell. He pleaded not guilty.

Sergt. Waghorne, K.C.C., said that on Sunday, the 8th inst, at 3.45 in the afternoon, he, in company with I.C. Eaglestone, visited the "Spread Eagle," kept by the defendant. They were in plain clothes at the time. On going to the back door he saw outside four men. He pushed by them and went into the house. He there saw three other man, named Cowens, Barnes, and Hollands. Mrs. Funnell was coming from the cellar with a glass of ale in her hand. The cellar was on the ground floor. As soon as he and Eaglestone got inside the house, Mrs. Funnell said, "I cannot have so many of you here at one time. Some of you had better go out in the garden for a while. I’ll serve you all presently. If we have too many in we shall have some one along presently, and we shall all get into trouble.” He (witness) immediately said, "What do you mean by this—keeping your house open in this manner?” He at the same time ordered the back door to he closed. Mrs. Funnell said, "Don't shut the door," She opened the door and waved her hand to the men outside, who immediately left He then proceeded to take the names of the men in the house. After he had taken Barnes’ name Mrs. Funnell looked at Barnes and said, "Yon came to see my husband about a horse. You had better see him before you go away.” He then took the names of the other persons, and went outside, when Hollands said "Oh, I've come to see about a horse too." After Mr. Cowens had left he asked her to account for his presence, when Mrs. Funnell said he drove up in a trap, and she had been told she could draw to all persons driving up in a trap. He told her that was wrong, and then she said that she had supplied him with a glass of ale and bottle of ginger beer, for which he had paid. When he first went into the house Barnes had a shilling in his hand, and asked Mrs Funnell to serve him with two cigars. One of the men outside had sixpence in his hand, and when witness made himself known this man pulled out a railway ticket. Mr. Funnell, who was upstairs, came down, and witness told him what he had seen. Defendant said he was not aware his house was open, and wished him (witness) not to take any notice of it this time. Before going to the house he saw in half an hour six or seven men go to the back door, and go away again after four or five minutes had elapsed.

By Mr. Cripps:- Had heard that a funeral was going on that afternoon at the Cemetery, but he could not say it was of a respected railway official. He saw none of the funeral party that afternoon, only pleasure takers. Found three men inside the house. Barnes had a shilling in his hand. Had heard that two of the people in the house were there about the sale of a horse. He could not say how far Mr. Cowens had travelled that day, but that did not matter.

Mr Cripps:- Don't let us have policeman's law, I am going to argue that presently. Mr. Cowens, I suppose, gave you his name?

"Witness:- He said his name was George Cowens, but I find it is George F. Cowens.

Mr. Cripps:- Oh indeed, he forgot to put the “F” in.

I.C, Eaglestone corroborated. When he served the summons on Mrs. Funnell, she said she was very sorry for what had taken place, and hoped it would not occur again, but she supposed she could get off by paying.

Mr Cripps, in addressing the Bench for the defence, said that before proceeding to argue the case he should like to call their worships attention to a case decided by them some time ago when they convicted a fly proprietor, of Groombridge, and the landlord of the "Bald Faced Stag," Ashurst, the latter for keeping open his home during prohibited hours, and the former for being on the premises. He was at the time of opinion the magistrates were wrong in convicting, because the man had put up at the house, but he had since found a precisely similar case which showed that their worships were right. With regard to the present case he remarked that the difficulty he had to contend with was the most unfair and improper way statements had been made with a view to ensure a conviction and prejudice the Bench. If these sort of inferential statements were to be allowed to be imported into a serious case of this description he did not know where it would end. The man might have had a shilling in his hand for some lawful purpose, he might have been going to Hawkenbury Church and intended it for the missionary box. It did not fellow that ha was going to spend it in beer. He did not see anything very unlawful even in several young man being seen in the neighbourhood of a public-house on a Sunday afternoon, in a beautiful neighbourhood, for it had been held by the most eminent judge that one of the most reasonable occupations was to go out and have a pleasant walk, and until the last Licensing Act they were allowed to have reasonable refreshment. He must ask their worships to dismiss from their minds all sorts of inferences with which the police wished to prejudice their minds. When the constable was asked whether one of the defendants had not given his right name, he replied, to prejudice the Bench, that he left out the " F." It was a disgrace, and he said it emphatically, for a police constable to come forward and ask a Bench of their experience to have a prejudice and undue influence against the defendant in that sort of way. He believed when they had heard the evidence on the other side they would really not believe what the police constables had said if they would dismiss from their minds all these inferences. Two of the men in the house were there for the purpose of inquiring about a horse. That they had a glass of ale given them he was going to admit, and they had a perfect right to be there for any lawful business. Mr. Cowens was a tradesman of the town. He had taken his wife and family out for a drive, and returning home one of the children wanted something to drink. They pulled up at the "Spread Eagle," where they had a bottle of ginger beer and a glass of ale—not a very unreasonable thing for a man to do. The question was did he do that which was unlawful. He submitted that if Mr. Cowens had travelled three miles, as he undoubtedly had done, he was entitled to reasonable refreshment, and in that opinion he was fortified by the opinion of Patterson, who had written a work on licensing.

Mrs. Martha Funnell, wife of the defendant, said there was no doubt when the constable called there were three men in the house. Barnes and Hollands called about a horse which my husband had for sale. The horse was sent away the next morning in consequence of the visit. She gave them a glass of beer and was going to send them away without seeing her husband who was ill upstairs. They did not pay anything. Mr. Cowens, whom she did not know, came up in a fly to the front door, and had a bottle of ginger beer and a glass of ale, which he paid for; she thought he was a traveller. There were some children and a lady in the fly. She served no one at the back door, and Mr. Cowens was the only person from when she had received any money.

By Supt. Barnes:- Did not ask Mr. Cowens whether he was a traveller.

Benjamin Barnes, coachman to a gentleman of Tunbridge Wells, said he went to the "Spread Eagle" on the afternoon of Sunday, the 8th inst to ask Mr. Funnell to allow a young man (Charles Hollands) to show a horse to his master the following morning. Mrs. Funnell gave him a glass of ale. He had no shilling in his hand, only a sixpence. Ha asked Mrs. Funnell for two cigars, and she refused to serve him.

Mr. George Fisher Cowens said he carried on business in Tunbridge Wells, within a mile of the "Spread Eagle." On the Sunday afternoon in question he, his wife and children went out for a walk, but his wife being unable to walk they want for a two hours' drive. On the way back one of the children said it wanted something to drink, so he ordered the cabman to pull up at the "Spread Eagle." He had a bottle of ginger beer and afterwards a glass of ale believing he had a right to it. He did not want the ale, as he was not then far away from home, where he had plenty, but believing that he was entitled to refreshment, he had the glass of ale, because he had troubled the landlady to open her house to supply him with a bottle of ginger beer.

Mr. Cripps said his contention was that having travelled more than three miles that afternoon, and not for the express purpose of tippling, Mr. Cowens was entitled to refreshment, and that Mrs. Funnell, although she had not asked him if he was a traveller, she believed him to be one, and that the actual question was not necessary.

Mr. Simpson (Magistrates' Clerk) said he thought the law was very clear that the man must be three miles from his abode at the time to make him a bona fide traveller.

The Bench said they considered the case proved, and asked Supt. Barnes what he knew about the house.

Supt. Barnes said they had received repeated complaint of Sunday trading, and that was the cause of the sergeant being in plain clothes.

Mr. Cripps considered that convictions only should be stated. Their worship had laid down a sensible rule, which he was sorry some of the Benches in the neighbourhood ignored, that they would only take into consideration convictions, and not complaints.

The Chairman said that in considering what the fine should be, they were bound to consider the character of the house.

Mr. Cripps said the Licensing Act required everything to be given on oath.

The Bench fined the defendant 1, and 13s. costs.

Mr. Cripps said the defendant had evidentially made a mistake ignorantly, and he asked that the license should not be endorsed.

The Bench said they would not order the license to be endorsed.

George Fisher Cowens, Benjamin Barnes, and Charles Hollands were summoned for being on the licensed premises at the time.

Mr Cripps appeared for the defendants. Ha pleaded guilty on behalf of Mr. Cowens, and not guilty to the others.

Sergeant Waghorne said he had forgotten to add that Mrs. Funnell, when she brought the glass of beer from the caller, said, “Who is this for?” Hollands said it was for him, and drank it.

I.C. Eaglestone also corroborated this statement. He did not see him pay for it.

Mr. Cripps commented strongly on the fact of the constable forgetting such an important part of their case, and said he could not find words sufficiently strong in reprehension of such conduct.

Mrs. Funnell denied that she sold any ale to Hollands. She might have used the words imputed to her by the police, but she did not believe she did. Barnes told her he had brought a young man with him, and she did not know him.

Mr. Cripps said Hollands could corroborate that statement.

Mr. Browell said he did not think it was necessary.

The Bench fined Hollands and Cowens 10s. each and costs.

Mr. Cripps said he should appeal against the fine on Hollands.

The Chairman said the Bench wished him to state that the police were only doing their duty in every respect, and that the remarks made against them were not justified.


From the By Katie Boyden, 28 December 2017.

The Spread Eagle, on Forest Road in Tunbridge Wells.

Spread Eagle 2017

The Spread Eagle was awarded a 1 out of five when it was inspected on February 13.

The inspector noted a number of issues with food hygiene and safety procedures, including:

Food sauces kept inside the hand wash basin, which should be used exclusively for washing hands.

Loose potatoes on the floor and mouldy baguettes behind freezers in the external storage shed. The inspector added: "This is particularly important as there has recently been pest activity in the shed."

A mouldy squash was found in a crate in the external storage shed.

Their pest control contractor reported that bait had been taken, meaning that the external shed was not pest proof and should not be used to store open or lightly packaged food.

Two chopping boards were heavily scored and could no longer be effectively cleaned.

The water pipe in the external potato peeling room was broken and water was spraying over the floor.

The meat fridge was dirty on the inside.

One of the business's probe thermometers was not working.

Plastic containers of raw chicken and raw sausages had been placed on the worktop in "close proximity" to cooked beef, which could lead to contamination.


A report from stated that "The slightly spit-and-sawdust local pub, the "Spread Eagle," has just been sold and is in line for a much-needed upgrade. “It is like living in a village in the centre of town,” says Davies. “You can walk into the centre of Tunbridge Wells, but if you go the other way you are in open countryside.”



Tunbridge Wells pub sold to local operator.

Spread Eagle 2021

Specialist licensed business adviser, Sidney Phillips has completed on the sale of the Spread Eagle, a family friendly pub in the popular residential area of Hawkenbury in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to experienced local operators.

The Spread Eagle is a prominent public house located close to the crematorium and cricket ground, benefitting from local trade and lots of passing trade. The property houses two trade areas capable of providing seating for 71 as well as a spacious three bedroom owners accommodation.

Held on a 25 year fully repairing and insuring lease from EI Group, free of tie on wine, spirits, minerals, bottled beer and cider, the pub has been taken over by a successful local operator, who also owns another EI Group lease in the town.

Robert Cockayne, Regional Valuations Manager for the London & South East handled the sale and comments, “The sale of the Spread Eagle demonstrates that despite the current economic uncertainty, operators with a keen eye for sites with great potential continue to invest in the sector.”

Sidney Phillips sold the Leasehold interest off an asking price of 44,950.



PEARCE John 1851+ Census

FUNNELL Henry 1861+ (age 46 in 1861Census)

YOUNG Richard 1867+

FUNNELL Henry 1871-82+ (also farmer age 59 in 1871Census)

TITCHENER George 1903+ Kelly's 1903

PARSONS George 1911+ (age 48 in 1911Census)

COPPARD Thomas 1913+

FOWLE John William 1918+

FUNNELL Henry 1922+

RICE Maud Mary Miss 1930+



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:-