Sort file:- Tonbridge, March, 2022.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 06 March, 2022.


Earliest 1808

(Name from)

Castle Inn

Closed ????

(Name to)

89 High Street


Castle Inn 1880s

Above photo circa 1880s.

Kindly supplied by

Castle Hotel 1895

Above photo, 1895.

Castle Hotel 1905

Above postcard, 1905.

Castle Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

Castle Hotel 1967

Above photo, 2 July, 1967.

Kindly supplied by

Castle Hotel 1967

Above photo, 2 July, 1967.

Kindly supplied by


Above photo, date unknown by Wendy Lawrence.

Castle Hotel sign 1960sCastle sign 1984

Above sign left, 1960s, sign right, 1984, kindly sent by Brian Curtis.


The current building (2016) was built in 1887 after the original one was demolished the same year with the building of the new Great Bridge along with the Wise Tunbridge ware manufactures buildings directly opposite side of the river. The "Castle Inn" then became the "Castle hotel" the Wise manufacture then became the Masonic buildings and was occupied by the Bridge Mineral water company Known as the ‘B’ Mineral Water Company (Today Pizza Express).

From the

 Castle flagon 1862

Above photo showing flagon used at the "Castle Hotel" circa 1862.


Kentish Gazette, 20 August 1850.


The annual hop sweepstakes dinner at the "Castle Inn," came off on Thursday last. A most excellent spread was prepared on the occasion by the respected landlady, Mrs. Marshall. Mr. John Mills occupied the chair, and mirth and good humour were the order of the day. Mr. T. Waite was the winner of the stakes. The sets for the present year ranged from 180,000 to 230,000.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser. Saturday 30 October 1858.


The license of the "Castle Inn," Tonbridge, was transferred from Mr. Jesse Simes to Mr. George Snashall.


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


Thomas Nugent, a peddler selling needles, was charged with stealing a shilling from a till, the property of John Vigar, at the "Castle Inn," on the 29th ult. Prosecutor said he was in his kitchen, and his niece went to the bar when the defendant came in. He had given change for half a sovereign about three minutes previously, and he knew what money was in the till. The prisoner came in, and gave to witness's niece a bundle of needles which he requested she would take to her aunt. In a second or so after the prisoner came in, he heard the till being opened and the silver rattled about. He immediately rushed out and saw the till opened, and that a shilling had been taken out. He then accused the prisoner of having stolen a shilling, and opening his hands, found a shilling in one and three pence-halfpenny in the other. He then sent for a police-constable. P. C. Irwen said he took the prisoner in custody. The prisoner, who elected to be tried by the Bench, made a long rambling defence, protesting his innocence, and he was sentenced to ten days' imprisonment with hard labour.


The Sussex Express, Surry Standard, Weald of Kent Mail. Hants and County Advertiser. 15 June 1889.


I passed some hours on Monday evening (says "Merlin" in Land and Water) in a company which included Charles Payne, the veteran umpire, and this worthy old teller of romances was in grand form. Among other trifling achievements which he claimed to have accomplished was running and winning a quarter-mile hurdle race on the grass curse at St. Lawrence Cricket Ground, Canterbury, over ten flights, starting from scratch, and having to run outside his opponents, and yet finishing first in 60 seconds. Considering that it takes a pretty good man to get inside 52 seconds, on the flat, with a well-made cinder path under his feet, instead of turf. I thought this uncommonly tall, but it was nothing to what followed. Payne calmly assured the hearers that once on a turnpike road, close to Tunbridge Wells, from a milestone to milestone, during the break up of a frost, when the road was partly frozen and partly slush, he ran a mile in 4 minutes 4 seconds. He was good enough to explain afterwards, when we were a little too open in our incredibility, that the best part of this mile was downhill, and that it was afterwards discovered that the course was 50 yards short, though I was not clear how they altered the milestone. I think this was a sort of after-thought when we could not be got to swallow the story in its original shape. However, his defective memory as to times being forgiven him. Payne certainly showed himself an amusing fellow, and the worst that I wish him is that he may think well to put on another 20 seconds, or so to that mile on the ice.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 20 October 1961.

Now it's farewell to the hotel by the river...

Since 1759 a public house has stood here.

Castle Hotel 1961

THE CASTLE HOTEL, in Tonbridge High Street, is to close next year. It will be demolished and the site redeveloped. A spokesman for Courage and Barclay, owners of the hotel, said he could not say what form the development would take.

News of the closure of the "Castle" comes a few months after the announcement that the "Dorset Arms," another Courage and Barclay house, is to be redeveloped as shop and business premises.

Two years ago Courage and Barclay successfully applied to Tonbridge Urban Council for outline permission to develop the site of the two public houses as shops and offices. In the case of the "Castle," permission was given subject to the ground floor development taking the form of a cafe.

The present licensee of the "Castle," Mr. Roland Shaw-Kew, who, with his wife, Betty, took over the hotel in April, 1960, has been given 12 months notice.

A brewery spokesman said that Mr. Shaw-Kew, according to his company's policy, would be offered another house as it became available. Mr. Shaw-key said he would prefer to stay in the district and wound be happy if the brewers could find suitable premises locally.

Beer House.

The present "Castle Hotel" was built after the reconstruction of the Great Bridge in 1888. The first public house built on the site in 1759. Known as the "Bells," it was erected by the Medway Navigation Company as a beer house for its employees working on the river. They were paid 12 shillings a week and allowed a free jug of beer every day.

In 1808 the name was changed to the "Castle." In 1850 Benjamin Herring, son of a famous horse painter, married then licensee, Mrs. Marshall, a widow, in a first floor room overlooking the river. He subsequently became the landlord himself and painted the sign for the "Bull," which was recently presented to the urban council when that pub, too, was scheduled for demolition.


Closed as a public house, as yet date unknown, but was converted into one of the "Graze" chain of restaurants.



MERCER Robert 1828-40+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

MARSHALL Amy 1850-51+ (widow age 31 in 1851Census)

HERRING Benjamin 1850+ (married Amy Marshall in 1850)

SIMES Jesse to Oct/1858 Maidstone and Kentish Journal

SNASHALL George Oct/1858+ Maidstone and Kentish Journal

(BARTON Thomas 1858+)?

VIGAR John 1862-74+ (also pleasure boat proprietor)

SMITH John 1881-82+ (age 56 in 1881Census)

PAYNE Charles 1889-91+

CORNER Messrs to Aug/1901 Kent and Sussex Courier

MOSS James Aug/1901-03+ Kent and Sussex Courier

SPOONER John Gilbert 1913+

DAWSON Edward Nathaniel 1938+

SHAW-KEW Rowland to 1961


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

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


Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier

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:-