Sort file:- Gravesend, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 04 December, 2023.


Earliest 1784

(Name from)

Three Daws Hotel

Open 2023+

7 Town Pier

Royal Pier Road


01474 566869

Three Crows-painting-1873-Gravesend

Above painting titled L'Auberge des Trois-Corbeaux (The Three Crows Inn, Gravesend) by James Tissot 1873. Crows and Daws meaning the same bird. At the time the area was a departing place for ships to Australia and new Zealand.

Three Daws Tavern

Above photo, date unknown. Kindly supplied by John Hopperton.

Three Daws

Above photo kindly sent by Jason Kemsley and Tom Baines. The "Castle" is the building on the right.

Three Daws

Above photo, date unknown. Kindly supplied by John Hopperton.

4 pubs in a row

Above photo showing the "Three Daws," "Falcon Hotel," "King of Prussia," and "Old Amsterdam." 4 in a row.

Three Daws 1915

Above photo 1915.

Three Daws

Above photo, date unknown, showing the rear of the "Three Daws."

Three Daws Hotel

Above drawing 1925.

Mr. H Perry 1950

Above photo, March 1950, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe, Mr. H. Perry behind the bar.

Three Daws 1967

Above photo 1967.

Three Daws licensees

Above licensees, date and name unknown.

Three Daws 1985

Above photo, 1985.

Three Daws waterside painting

Above painting, date unknown, kindly sent by Susan Clark.

Three Daws 2000

Above photo 2000, kindly sent by Susan Clark.

Three Daws 2013

Above photo 2013.

Three Daws 2013

Above photo 2013 by Malc McDonald Creative Commons Licence.

Three Daws 2019

Above photo, 2019, kindly sent by Shaun Gardiner.

Three Daws sign 2019

Above sign, 2019, kindly taken and sent by Tom Duff.


The building dates from 1488 and was serving ales by 1551. This is said to be oldest public house in Gravesend, with many passages and stairs to aid smugglers and those hoping to escape the press gang. Its earlier name was the "Cornish Chough," and later the "Three Cornish Choughs." It may have been associated with pilgrims crossing the river en route to Canterbury; the three Cornish Choughs are on the Canterbury arms. It was originally five wood fronted cottages probably dating as early as 1488. Its wooden structure thought to be the work of shipwrights. Once used as a hotel it had eleven bedrooms, connected by five staircases. It remains open today (2018).

It is said that the premises boasted no less then seven staircases to ensure that the smugglers in the pub could always make a getaway.


The Three Daws, a Grade II listed building on the east side of the Town Pier square, is now the oldest public house in the town and probably the oldest pub in Kent with its mixture of timber framing, weatherboarding and tiled roof. The "Three Daws" and the Old Pilots' House to the rear (now demolished) are reported to have had seven staircases and three underground tunnels enabling sailors to escape the press gang and smugglers to ply their trade.

By some miracle, the "Three Daws" escaped the many fires, in spite of its wooden construction. Its earlier name was the "Cornish Chough" (1488 1707), and later the "Three Cornish Choughs" (1707 1778). In 1582, the innkeeper was Ralph Wellett. It seems to have been associated with pilgrims crossing the river on their way to the shrine of St. Thomas, the three Cornish Choughs appearing in the arms of Canterbury City. A reference to it as the "Three Daws" appears in the Gravesend Register of 1667.


From their web site at


Standing at the river edge at the foot of the old High Street, it has for centuries served as a home from home for the river men, been the haunt of smugglers and was regularly raided by the old naval press gangs.

It is older than Shakespeare's house, older than many well known ancient buildings, and is a place to reflect on past and very hard times.

One of the oldest taverns in the country - this ancient inn (now named) the Three Daws is almost four hundred and fifty years old and first gained its licence in 1565.

The Three Daws began its life by being converted from five traditional styled wood fronted cottages. The general structure is therefore some years older that the length of its history as a Thames tavern, and probably goes further back to at least 1501.

A rambling building typical of its period, the wooden structure of its construction is reputed to be the work of shipwrights who were seeking work at that time, owing to a depression in their waterside trade.

During the days of the big sailing merchant ships of two centuries ago, it was also used as an accommodation and it had eleven bedrooms, connected by five complete staircases.

The outer structure has evidence of fire damage in its history, particularly where the wood front has been replaced by plaster facing and brickwork. However, during the great fire of 1727, the main structure was undamaged by the disaster which did manage to reach the surrounding properties.

A small extension at the North of the main building has its own independent record, for it was once separated from the tavern and used as steam packet offices... Later it became a reading room for the local watermen until brought in to use as steam tug offices.

At one time large sailing merchant ships used to anchor off the Three Daws while awaiting supplies and a fair wind or, on returning from long overseas voyages. Back in those days, the waterside tavern was a very popular place for seamen of all nationalities, echoing to the sound of the sea shanties whilst liquid refreshments were consumed by the gallon.

A century or more ago, the Three Daws was just one of a large number of taverns catering for waterside people along the front. Other nearby houses included the Falcon, King of Prussia, and the very famous Amsterdam, which was immortalised in a well-known sea shanty.

In 1984, the Three Daws was closed for the first time in almost five centuries. During all of the fires in Gravesend, including the great fire of 1850, the Three Daws remained virtually unscathed. Today it is owned by Mr. Lester Banks and was been sympathetically restored from 1985 and reopened in October 1988 to its original charm and character.

So stay and enjoy the fayre and reflect on those bygone times.

Three Daws 1986

Above photo, 16 September 1986.

Three Daws 1986

Above photo 1986.

Three Daws renovation 1986

Above photo showing the renovation in 1986.

Three Daws inside 1986

Above photo showing the inside 1986.

Three Daws inside 1986

Above photo showing the inside 1986.

Three Daws inside 1986

Above photo showing the inside 1986.

Three daws inside 1986

Above photo showing the inside 1986.

Three Daws 1986

Above photo 1986.



From the Kentish Gazette, 28 March 1837.


Mr. Solomon Ribbens, of the "Three Daws," Gravesend.


From the Kentish Gazette, 31 January 1843.


An extraordinary suicide was committed by a man of the name of Wheeler, a highly-respectable lighterman and waterman, residing at Gravesend. It appears that the last time the deceased was seen alive was on Sunday night, when he was at the "Three Daws" at Gravesend, and spent the evening with his friends; he left there about nine o'clock, and nothing unusual was observed in his manner. Soon afterwards his jacket and hat were seen on the barge, near the pier, and this induced the man on duty to order a search to be made in the river, and the means were speedily supplied for the purpose. It was not long before the body was found, very near the spot, and a most extraordinary evidence of the determination of the suicide was witnessed. After leaving the "Three Daws," he must have proceeded to one of the barges attached to the pier at Gravesend and obtained a pig or iron, weighing between 50 and 100 pounds; each end of these "pigs," as they are technically called, has holes for the purpose of removal when they are used as ballast. Having obtained this, be placed a cord through the top part of it, and suspended the immense weight round his neck, the ends were then closely fastened round his waist, so that the "pig"’ could not remove from its place. With this iron attached to his neck was the body taken out. The deceased man was between 50 and 60 years of age; a man who had served in most of our great naval wars, and was generally respected in Gravesend for his uniform good conduct. Not the slightest motive has been ascertained which could have led to the commission of such a desperate act.


From Lloyd s Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, March 31, 1844; Issue 71.


On Sunday morning the ferry-boat belonging to Mr. Creed, of the World's End Ferry, Tilbury Fort, left the jetty in charge of two men, named Bailey and Howard, having two passengers. The sail was made fast, and a sudden squall upset the boat about three-quarters of a mile from shore. Bailey and Howard sank, but the passengers were taken up in an exhausted state, and conveyed to the "Three Daws" public-house, Gravesend.



SCRUGGS Thomas 1651+

SCRUGGS Lucy 1698+

SCRUGGS Richard 1705+

QUICK Cedric 1718+

SALMON Joseph 1722+

BENNING Jack 1736+

FRENCH Thomas 1742+

COOPER William 1754+

GRABBER Thomas 1769+

RIBBENS Esau 1783+

RIBBENS Solomon 1805-Mar/37 dec'd Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

RIBBENS Martha 1837-40+

BAKER Edward 1855+

BALL Frederick 1858-82+ (age 42 in 1861Census)

BALL Catherine Mrs 1885-91+ (widow age 55 in 1891Census)

BASS Kate Mrs 1903+ Kelly's 1903

KNIGHT Alfred 1913+

KNIGHE Alfred Knight exors of 1922+

PILCHER Alonin Bilham 1923+

KNIGHT S E Mrs 1928-38+

PERRY Harry H 1944-50+

KITE A E 1960+

CHIDGEY Charles 1966+

GAMMON Doris 1976+

BANKS Lester Mr 1985-2014+


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

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

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:-