Page Updated:- Monday, 27 February, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Rory Kehoe

Earliest 1753

Three Horseshoes

Open 2020+

The Pound


01959 532102

Three Horseshoes 1900

Above photo 1900.

Three Horse Shoes 1903

Above postcard, 1905. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Horse Shoes 1914

Above postcard, circa 1914, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Horseshoes 1931

Above postcard 1931.

Three Horseshoes 1931

Above postcard the same as above but tinted. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

From Barclay, Perkin's Anchor Magazine. Vol. XV, No.6 - June 1935.

Three Horseshoes 1935

This house, in the countryside and yet so easy of access from town, offers every facility for catering for parties and is a well-known house of call.

Recently the inside has been modernised and refurnished and the gardens laid out attractively, as shewn in the photograph.

The popular tenant of the "Three Horseshoes," which belongs to the Dartford Brewery Company, is Mr. F. MacDonald.

Three Horseshows garden 1935

Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Thre Horse Shoes 1955

Above photo circa 1955, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Horseshoes 2012

Above image from Google, April 2012.

Three Horseshoes siign 1987

Above sign, March 1987.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Information taken from


The "Three Horseshoes" is believed to date back as far as 1753. It was then known as the "Horseshoes" and was a coaching inn as the road to Chevening was the road to Rye. Local persuasion has it that the entrance step is the same height above sea level as the top of the dome of St Paul's cathedral.

Legend has it that William the Conqueror watered his horse at a dew pond where the Knockholt beeches now stand - the highest point in the highest village in Kent. Knockholt used to be a busy commercial centre with farmers, fruit growers, shopkeepers, builders, blacksmiths, butcher, bakers etc. There was still a blacksmiths in the village in 1915 with the forge next to the "Three Horseshoes." By 1938 commercial life had declined with only a few trades remaining.

During the war years Ivy Farm, situated behind the "Three Horseshoes" was used as an outstation of Bletchley Park functioning as an intercept or relay station for radio signals. This work was concerned with Ultra, the breaking of the German cipher said to have been the single most significant achievement to have influenced the outcome of the war. It was so secret that the village and those that work at Ivy Farm themselves had little idea of what was going on.

The gates to Ivy Farm were guarded by military police, and the area surrounded by barrage balloons, which gave a feeling of security during the V1 raids. Workers often had lunch at the "Three Horseshoes" but wartime food was very basic.

The station is 3.0 miles north-northeast of the village of Knockholt but closer to several other settlements. The station serves several small communities in the Sevenoaks district in addition to Knockholt. Many people often wonder why the station is not named after the village within it sits. To avoid confusion with Halstead in Essex and due to Badgers Mount not entirely fulfilling the criteria for being a village, it was named after the next closest village, which is of course Knockholt.

E. S. Nesbit, resident in Halstead, set her famous novel "The Railway Children" in and around the station.

More history of Knockholt and the "Three Horseshoes" can be found here from the book - The History of Knockholt in the county of Kent by David Waldron Smithers.

The name "Three Horseshoes" is the heraldic symbol of the Worshipful Company of Farriers a Fellowship since 1356, chartered in 1674. The assumption is that the design employed only three shoes as the other one was being worked on or replaced by the farrier. Pubs bearing this name were probably owned by the company or by its members.

Some signs, however show horseshoes gathered around a stake in the ground, representing the horseshoe-throwing game which was popular at the time.

Horseshoes have been used as pub signs for centuries. With a largely illiterate population visual signs were an important means of attracting customers and in 1393 Richard II issued an edict requiring all who brewed and sold ale to display a sign to enable the ale conner (tester - Shakespeare's father was one) to locate the premises.

A horseshoe sign was a popular choice because it was an easily recognisable symbol and had the added reputation of being able to combat witchcraft. It was also associated with good luck, a superstition to which Lord Nelson, himself widely featured on pub signs, subscribed.

In addition to the "Horseshoes" and "Three Horseshoes," there are pubs named "Four Horseshoes," "Five Horseshoes" and "Nine Horseshoes." In 1753 the Landlady of the "Three Horseshoes" in Knockholt was Ann Lambert, there has been 35 Landlords/Landlady's since then. Today it is run by Sheena Welch who has been here since 2001.



Your help is needed here. If you have any information about the above pub or other pubs in the same village or indeed other photographs of this house, open or closed, please email me at the address below. Every email is answered.

Thanks for your co-operation.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 28 September 1861.


A friendly game of cricket was played at Knockholt on Wednesday, the party afterwards partook of an excellent supper at the "Three Horseshoes Inn."


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, Friday 6 September 1889.

County News.

At the Bromley Police Court on Monday, Henry Sheppard, who refused his address, was charged with stealing a watch, value 4, from the person of George Wells, at Knockholt.

As we reported last week, the case has been remanded from the Sevenoaks Police Court.

The prisoner was with a party of excursionists, and met the prosecutor at the "Three Horseshoes," Knockholt. On coming out of the house the prosecutors alleged that he was assaulted by a number of the prisoners companions, who knocked him down, when his watch was stolen. The party drove away, but were followed by Constable Simmonds, who caught up with them. A struggle ensued, but the prisoner was detained and the watch found. The officer, who was injured, was obliged to use his truncheon. The prisoner pleaded that he had nothing to do with the assault, and simply picked up the watch on Knockholt green.

The Bench sentence him to 3 months' hard labour.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 13 May 1890.

Knockholt. The transfer of the Horseshoes.

Mr. R. Bennett applied to the magistrates at Bromley, on Monday, for the licence of the "Horseshoe" to be transferred to him from Mr. Wood.

Superintendent Waghorn who was present in court, said that it was a difficult house to conduct in consequence of the noisy parties that occasionally visited there, but in the past Mr. Wood had taken every precaution, and he only hoped that the ingoing tenant would do the same.

He must warn him that it was a very rough house.

In reply to the Chairman Mr. Bennett said that had kept a house before.

The Chairman said the Bench would rant the transfer, but they warned him of what he would have to contend with as he had been in the same business before, he should be aware how his business should be conducted. He would always find that the Bench would protect him; that was to say; not against any infringements of the law, but if he required protection from the public.


Bromley & District Times, Friday 25 May 1894.

Funeral of Mr Bennett.

The funeral took place at Chatham Cemetery, on Friday afternoon, of the late Mr. James Bennett, for several years landlord of the "Three Horseshoes" at Knockholt, and whose death was recorded last week. The interment was witnessed by a large number of friends, the deceased's family being well known in the neighbourhood of Chatham, whilst a lovely wreath of flowers was sent as a mark of respect, from the Old Brompton Masonic Lodge, of which Mr. Bennet had for years been a member. He was also a member of the Cray Valley Lodge (St Mary's Cray,) and was well known in his immediate locality. The deceased was 41 years of age.


From the Anchor, (house magazine for Barclay, Perkins Anchor Brewery Volume XXXV, No.1, January 1955.

Three Horseshoes, Knockholt.

This house, following extensive alterations and redecorations, is now in full swing again under the able tenancy of Mr and Mrs Summers, who have recently come from the "Rising Sun" at Leatherhead.

Mr and Mrs Summers have been tenants of Messrs. Barclay, Perkins for many years in the New Cross area and are known to wide circle of friends and customers.

The "Three Horseshoes" (Dartford Brewery) standing as it does at the junction of five roads, has long been a source of attraction to visitors, from not only the immediate surroundings but from London and it was a favourite spot for outings in the old four-in-hands. The visitors, after walking through the lovely lanes and after viewing the famous Knockholt Beeches, would end their day in the bars and attractive gardens of the "Three Horseshoes."

A further point of interest, which has recently come to light in the grounds of a house adjacent to the "Three Horseshoes" is the summer house owned by Mrs Thrale and used extensively by Dr Johnson (the lexicographer.)

The "Three Horseshoes" stands on the second highest point in Kent and glorious views of the surrounding countryside can be obtained in the very near vicinity.

By Rory Kehoe:- Hester Thrale was the widow of Henley Thrale MP who owned the Anchor Brewery and who died in 1781. Henry Thrale was a close friend of Dr Samuel Johnson. A few months after Henry's death, Hester sold the Anchor Brewery (for the huge sum of 135,000 - about 23 million in 2020) to David Barclay (of the banking family) and John Perkins, the brewery manager.

Perhaps as a gesture of literary respect, Barclay, Perkins' trademark was the portly image of Dr Samuel Johnson.


Unfortunately the dates for most of the following licensees are as yet unknown, but I believe they are in the correct order.

The census of 1861 addressed this as in Halstead.



LAMBERT Ann 1753+


FERRIS William




STOW Thomas

STOW Hannah

HAYLE Stephen

YOUNG William


ATTWOOD John 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

WHIFFEN Thomas 1851-61+ (age 46 in 1851Census 50 in 1861Census)

ENGLISH Robert 1858-67+


WOOD(S) James 1871-May/90 (age 42 in 1881Census)

BENNETT James R May/1890-May/94 dec'd (age 58 in 1891Census)


STRUGNELL Richard  1903+ Kelly's 1903


MILES George



HARRIS Charles & family

HARRIS Adeline Louise Mrs to Jan/1933 Sevenoaks Chronicle

MACDONALD Fredrick Jan/1933-43+ Sevenoaks Chronicle

COOK Stanley




BROWN Michael & Jean

TURNET Gary & Steven

SUMMERS Mr 1955+

WELCH Paul & Sheena 2001+

WELCH Sheena ????

THOMPSON Michelle Nov/2017+


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


Sevenoaks ChronicleSevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser


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