Page Updated:- Wednesday, 24 January, 2024.


Earliest 1775

Bull Hotel

Closed Oct 2014

Holborough Road


Above photo circa 1900, show the "Bull" on the left and the "Old Bull" on the right. Picture by Malling Society and Snodland Historical Society.

Old Bull location 2022

Above photo showing the same location 2022.

Bull Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

Bull 2014

Above photo 2014.

Bull 2014

Above photo 2014 by Francisca Biggs.

Bull sign 2011

Above sign 2011.

Snodland pub inside 1968

Above photo 1968. Showing the inside of the pub.


Perry's Bankrupt Gazette 04 October 1830.


BLACKFORD, Thomas Ingram, of West Malling, Kent, licensed victualler, of late out of business.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 29 August 1873. Price 1d.


Intense excitement has been caused at Snodland and the neighbouring villages, by the discovery of a murder of a most ferocious and determined character.

The unfortunate victim, Israel May, a member of the Kent County Constabulary force, stationed at Snodland, was a man in the prime of life, and of great physical strength so that the probability is that he was taken unawares by his barbarous assailant, although he seems to have retained sufficient nerve and vigour to maintain—for what must remain for conjecture—a desperate struggle for life.

The murdered man was last seen alive at about one o'clock on the morning of Sunday last, at Ham Hill, a mile, probably, from the scene of the tragedy, by a Mrs. Upton. At six o'clock on the same morning his body, fearfully mutilated, was found in a turnip field, adjoining the turnpike road, leading from Snodland to Mailing, not more than 100 yards from the residence of the Rev. Canon Carey, and about 200 yards from the Snodland turnpike gate.

The corpse of the poor fellow was lying at a distance of about six yards from the road. The body was stretched out, nearly at full length, one leg slightly drawn up, and an arm stretched out as if to protect the head, which was almost literally shattered to pieces, the brains protruding, and some portions scattered over the ground and over the poor fellow's face. The other arm was extended full length at his side, near to it being a brace, torn from the murderers dress in the last desperate struggle for life. The ground for some distance round the corpse was covered with blood, and bore but too plainly the traces of the fierce contest that had taken place.

Suspicion points pretty clearly to a man who has lately been employed in the neighbourhood as a labourer, as the perpetrator of the barbarous deed.

The body of the deceased was, shortly after its discovery, removed to the "Bull Inn," to await an inquest. The unfortunate constable leaves a widow and three children.


The inquest was held at the "Bull Inn," Snodland, at one o'clock, on Monday, before J. N. Dudlow, Esq., coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr. Eustace Hook was foreman, when evidence was taken, from which it appeared that the body was discovered by James Stone, a bricklayer, living at Snodland, and it was also proved that two soldiers, privates in the Royal Engineers, were near the spot at the time, and the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown.

The two soldiers were arrested in London on Monday, and conveyed in custody to Snodland; but there was no charge against them, and they were discharged.


The remains of Constable May were yesterday interred in the Snodland churchyard. At four o'clock in the afternoon the superintendents and constables, more than 60 in number, from the Mailing, Sevenoaks, Rochester, Dartford, Ashford, Canterbury, Bearsted, and Wingham police divisions, together with Captain Ruxton, chief constable, the deputy chief constable, and representatives of the Rochester city force, formed in procession at the "Bull Inn," where the body lay, and the funeral cortege moved slowly towards the church, a distance of about 20 yards.

The shops were, without exception, closed and the blinds of private houses drawn, a striking evidence of the respect in which the deceased was held.

A brother and sister, the children, and other relatives of the deceased were amongst the mourners. The body was carried shoulder high by members of the division to which deceased had belonged. The funeral procession was met at the door by the vicar, the Rev. Canon Carey. The church was crowded. The officiating clergyman delivered a most impressive address. They had met together, he said, to pay their last respects to the memory of a brave man, who had fallen in the discharge of a duty, entrusted to him by the public. No one knew what he had gone through, on that terrible night. Few could imagine what dangers a policeman has to face, while his fellow-creatures could safely sleep. The sympathy and respect shown to his memory at once testified to the integrity, honour, and purity of character of the deceased. He could not refrain from remarking the uncertainty of life. It was only on Sunday night last that the deceased visited in that very churchyard the grave of his little child. How little did he think that, in the full strength of life, he would so soon be laid there himself. After a hymn had been sung, the body was carried to the grave. As the coffin was lowered immortelles were dropped on the lid, which bore the simple inscription ‘Israel May, died August 24, 1873, aged 37 years.'


Yesterday afternoon a man informed the police that as late as one o'clock on Sunday morning he saw the man he suspected of the murder lying in the road near the spot. Last night information was received that a man answering the description given by this witness had been seen at Batcliff, with fearful wounds about his head, of which he could give no account. There was not sufficient evidence to warrant his arrest, but he is still under surveillance. The murdered man was brother to P.C. Thomas May, a well known member of the Tunbridge Wells Local Police Force.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 5 September 1873. Price 1d.



After the lapse of nearly a week from the commission of the crime, the perpetrator of the murder of the unfortunate constable May, was arrested.

On the Tuesday following the murder two boys and a girl, whose ages vary between 11 and 14 years, were out gleaning in a field near Birling Lees wood, a wood extending over many miles, when a man ran from the wood into another near by, returning in about ten minutes. He was dressed, the children state, in light trousers, and monkey jacket, and had neither cap or hat, but apparently a handkerchief bound round his head. The eldest child remarked, ‘Why that looks like Tommy Atkins,' whom they knew from having worked with him. The children did not think any more of the matter, and it was not till Thursday that this came to the knowledge of the police. As soon as the latter, however, were apprised of it, Supt. Hulse got together all the constables he could and directed a portion of them to go into the wood at the Birling side, under the command of Instructing constable Hannan, whilst another detachment entered the wood on the Stansted, or Wrotham, side, under Instructing Constable Girton.

Atkins seems to have broken cover at about this time, for early on Saturday morning he begged for something to eat at the "Horse and Groom," Stansted, and was there recognised by the ostler, who gave information to the police, and shortly before eight o'clock Supt Hulse received the following telegram from I.C. Girton:— "Atkins just seen by a man who knows him. Gone by the "Horse and Groom." We are close upon him. There are no marks upon him."

The next person who saw Atkins was a carrier of West Mailing, plying between there and London, named Hayes, who met the prisoner going towards London near Kingsdown.

Hayes hurried on to Kingsdown and luckily found Constable Euden, K.C.C., at home, he having been up all night. Euden at once followed on the track of the now doomed man, and arrested him without meeting with the slightest resistance.

At about half-past eight Supt. Hulse received the following telegram, which our readers will observe is brief out to the point:- ‘Atkins apprehended."

The prisoner was immediately conveyed to Mailing and at eleven o'clock was taken before the Hon. R. P. Nevill, at the police court, and charged with the murder of second-class constable Israel May, at Snodland, on the previous Saturday morning. The appearance of the prisoner is slight, and at first he does not seem an antagonist a constable should fear to meet. On a closer examination, however, it is at once noticed that Atkins is exceedingly well built, with hands of a size which betoken the strength of the muscles in the arms that wield them. He is very fair, with a fresh colour on his cheeks. He has a slight growth of sandy hair, about an inch long, on his chin, while his upper lip appears as if it had not recently been shaved, and is what is termed ‘slightly scrubby.' The prisoner looks no older than 24, but is in reality 27 years of age.

He appeared to feel his position in the dock very acutely, and trembled slightly. He is stated to have been three days without food whilst in the wood at Birling, and possibly his slight agitation was the result of that abstention.

Supt. Hulse deposed:— The prisoner was brought to the police station between nine and ten o'clock this morning, when I took all the clothing he had from him. I then told him he was charged with the murder of P.C. May, at Snodland, on Sunday morning. His only reply was, 'So the constable has told me.' About an hour afterwards I received a message that the prisoner wished to see me. I went into the cell where he was, and finding that he was apparently about to say something with reference to the charge; I told him that any such statement would be used in evidence against him. Prisoner hesitated for a moment, and then said:— "I was lying by the road, and the constable came and shook me. I got up, and the constable then struck me with his staff, and made the wound you see here (pointing to his head, which bore a contused wound). We struggled together, and fell through the hedge into the field. We continued the struggle there, and I took the constable's staff from him and hit him about the head. I threw away the staff, I don't know where. I should not have done it if the constable had not interfered with me. That is the truth, so help me God."

The prisoner was then remanded till Monday. Subsequently, however, he was again brought up, and remanded by the Hon. R. P. Nevill to Maidstone Gaol till to-day (Friday). The conduct of Atkins since he has been confined in the gaol at Maidstone has been quiet and orderly. It has been ascertained that he is exactly 5ft. 7in. in height. On Tuesday the staff of the murdered Constable was found near the spot where the fatal occurrence took place.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 5 September 1873. Price 1d.


These Petty Sessions were held on Monday, before the Hon. and Rev. E. V. Bligh (in the chair), Viscount Falmouth, the Hon. R. P. Nevill, R. Alexander, Esq., and W Lee, Esq.

The Chairman stated that a letter had been received; from the Rev. Canon Carey, introducing the subject of a subscription list in aid of the widow and children of the late P.C. May, who was murdered at Snodland. The magistrates cordially approved the scheme, and would be pleased to aid it by personal donations. It was announced that a handsome sum had been already subscribed.


From 16 October 2014, by Ed McConnell.

Plans announced to turn Bull into Co-Op

Snodland residents are in shock after it was announced that a historic town centre pub will be replaced by a supermarket next autumn.

The "Bull," which has been on the corner of Holborough Road and Constitution Hill since 1881, was closed two weeks ago.

Owner, Enterprise Inns, has now confirmed that The Co-Operative Group has acquired the lease.

Luke Chapman 2014

Above photo:- Lib Dem candidate for Snodland East in the upcoming borough election, Luke Chapman, who is campaigning against the proposed transformation of The Bull pub in to a Co-op.

Local Liberal Democrat candidate for Snodland East, Luke Chapman, has launched an online petition on the grounds that people in the town should have been informed about the plans.

The 21-year-old said: “I am utterly shocked that residents haven't been consulted on this, it is a major development for Snodland. I am also shocked that elected borough councillors haven't asked for constituents' views on this matter.

"Snodland used to be very well known for its independent shops, if this development goes ahead it will be a very corporate town.”

A spokesman for the chain confirmed there are plans to expand the site to accommodate the 3,000 sq ft store, which will open as a replacement to the Co-Op's 46-48 High Street premises but will not affect the shop at number 11 of the same road.

An Enterprise Inns spokesman said: “Trade at the "Bull" has fallen to such an extent that we do not believe it can continue successfully as a licensed premises. After careful consideration, we decided to explore alternative uses and have agreed a lease which will secure the property's future and see it continue as a community asset.”

Chairman of Snodland Town Council, Cllr Anne Moloney, said: “We regret losing a pub but are happy to welcome a business that will offer good options to the local community.

“As a town we still have two pubs and two working men's clubs. I am yet to meet someone in the town who is opposed to the Co-Op plan.”

Co-Op is yet to request advice from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council's planning department on whether permission is required for the change of use, with the decision hinging on whether the premises is classed as a pub or a hotel.

Local resident, Neil Vinall, said: “The "Bull" is a building of architectural merit and we have fewer buildings like it left in the centre of Snodland. When we moved here nine years ago, we moved into a community, not a housing estate.”


From the By Amy Tregenna, 10 September 2022.

The Bull and The Old Bull.

First records of this ancient pub that closed in 2014 date back to the 18th Century. During the period, there were two "Bull" pubs in Snodland – The "Old Bull," on the east side of Holborough Road at its junction with the High Street, and The Bull, which was directly opposite, on the west.

The "Old Bull" is believed to pre-date The Bull, although its exact age is unclear. Its first reference was in 1727, in the will of a man named Richard Everest.

The Bull was then built in 1775. It was rebuilt several times, but the existing building on the corner of Holborough Road and Constitution Hill was erected in 1881.

The "Old Bull" is thought to only have been a pub for a short time, and became a grocer's or butcher shop in around 1800.

The Bull Inn across the road, which closed in 2014, has become a Co-op and a Post Office.

Residents disapproved of the historic pub becoming a supermarket after its closure, and local Lib Dem candidate at the time, Luke Chapman, launched an online petition against the proposed store.

At the time, an Enterprise Inns spokesman said: “Trade at the "Bull" has fallen to such an extent that we do not believe it can continue successfully as a licensed premises. After careful consideration, we decided to explore alternative uses and have agreed a lease which will secure the property's future and see it continue as a community asset.”

Chairman of Snodland Town Council, Cllr Anne Moloney, said: “We regret losing a pub but are happy to welcome a business that will offer good options to the local community.

“As a town we still have two pubs and two working men's clubs. I am yet to meet someone in the town who is opposed to the Co-op plan.”




EASON Richard 1753-1756

ALDRIDGE Francis 1757-1760

KNIGHT William 1761-1765

HADLOW William 1766-1781

BOWYER James 1787-1800

HILLS William 1801-1813

HILLS Robert 1814-1827

BLACKFORD Thomas Ingram 1830 (bankrupt)

MARDEN John 1831-1840

PHILLIPS Stephen 1841-1874 Bagshaw's Directory 1847Kelly's 1955Melville's 1858Kelly's 1862Kelly's 1874 (also carrier to Strood, Rochester and Chatham age 59 in 1871Census)

GOWAR Richard 1878-1894 (commercial hotel and posting house age 40 in 1881Census) Maidstone and Kentish Journal

GOWAR Jane 1895-1901 (age 46 in 1891Census) Kelly's 1899

GOWAR William Edward 1901-1924 (age 46 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903Kelly's 1913

SEARS Arthur Daniel 1925-1927

CHAFEN Charles 1928-1930

STEVENS Isaac Thomas 1930-1946 (age 60 in 1939)

STEVENS Amy 1947

STEVENS Isaac Henry 1948-1963

PHILLIPS Claud Henry Charles 1964

SHRIMPTON Arthur Robert 1965-1974


Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Kelly's 1862From the Kelly's Directory 1862

Kelly's 1874From the Kelly's Directory 1874

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kelly's 1913From the Kelly's Directory 1913

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal



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