Page Updated:- Saturday, 16 December, 2023.


Earliest 1442



(Name to)

Ashford Road

High Halden

Chequers 1904

Above photo, 1904, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1908

Above postcard, circa 1908, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1913

Above photo, 1913, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequer 1915

Above postcard, circa 1915, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1925

Above photo, 1925, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1953

Above photo, circa 1953, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


Above photo, date unknown, with permission from Eric Hartland.

Chequers 1955

Above postcard, circa 1955, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1955

Above photo 1955.


Above photo circa 1987.

Chequers 2011

Above photos, 16 November 2011, taken by Eric Hartland.


Above photo circa 2013.

Chequers sign 1966

Above sign 1966.

With thanks from Roger Pester

Chequers sign 1988Chequers sign 2005

Above sign left 1988, sign right 2005.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Chequers card 1955Chequers card 1955

Above card issued April 1955. Sign series 5 number 14.


The "Chequers" was first mentioned as early as 1442, and has functioned as an inn ever since. The brick front of the house hides the ancient timber beams, which were made from the wrecks of old English galleons, and the interesting inn sign depicts a game of draughts or checkers in full swing.

The pub is known to have been used by smugglers such as the Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and Aldingtion Gangs that were active in the 18th century. The name originates from the fact that the villagers paid their tithe taxes in the pub.

The pub was closed for the first half of 2013 but has now reopened as the "Chequers on the Green."


Kentish Gazette, Saturday 23 April 1785.

Tuesday last was married at Haldon, by the Rev Mr. Wilcox, Mr. William Betts, master of the "Chequer Inn," to Miss Elizabeth Waterman of that place.


Kentish Gazette, 19 June, 1792.

To be sold by private contract.

A good accustomed and new-built public house, known by the name of the "Chequers," well situated for trade in High Halden, now in the occupation of William Betts.

There is a convenient brewhouse, a new built stable and other suitable buildings with a garden and one acre of land planted with young fruit trees.

For particulars enquire of the said William Betts.


From Kentish Gazette 11 October 1842.


Late the Property of Samuel Shepherd, Esq. deceased, and by his Will directed to be sold.


At the "Saracen's Head Inn," in Ashford, on Tuesday, the 1st day of November, 1842, at Four for Five o'clock precisely in the afternoon,

Lot 5. - The "Chequer's" Public House, with the Garden, Stable, Out - buildings, and Land appertaining, at Halden, in the Occupation of Mr. John Day.


Kentish Gazette, 9 October 1849.

KENT FREEHOLD BREWERY, PUBLIC HOUSES, and LAND, situate in Tenterden, High Halden, Woodchurch, Wittersham, Biddenden, and Old Romney, late the property of Samuel Shepherd, Enq., deceased.

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, (By order of the Trustees,) BY MR. BENJAMIN HATCH,

AT the "White Lion Inn," TENTERDEN, on FRIDAY, the 26th day of October, 1843, at Four for Five o'clock precisely in the afternoon, (unless previously disposed of by private contract, of which due notice will be given.)

A most substantial and well-fitted BREWERY, with convenient Storehouses, Stabling for ten horses commodious Lofts over the same, BREWER’S HOUSE, ONE HOUSE adjoining thereto, with FIVE COTTAGES, situate in the centre of the town of TENTERDEN, wherein the business of a brewer was for several years carried on by the deceased, and is now continued by his sons.

Also the "CHEQUERS" PUBLIC HOUSE, with the Garden, Stable, Outbuildings, and Land appertaining situate at HIGH HALDEN, on the turnpike road between Tenterden and Ashford, and within three miles, or thereabouts, of the Brewery.


Kentish Gazette, 10 August 1852.


John James Davis, labourer, describing himself of Berkshire, was charged with feloniously stealing from the person of one John Ottaway, a sliver watch, of the value of 50s.

The prosecutor deposed:— On the evening of the 26th July last, I was at the "Chequers," in Halden; the prisoner was also there. I left the Inn at about half-past ten. The prisoner followed me out, and asked me if I knew where he might lie down. I stopped and talked to him five or ten minutes; we parted and I went to a barn on the farm where I was at work and laid down for the night. I was perfectly sober; in the morning about three o'clock I missed my watch. I am quite certain I had it when I left the "Chequers." The watch produced by the Superintendent is the same. I also missed my purse containing 4s., at the same time.

Wm. Chapman deposed:— On Wednesday, the 28th ult., about half-past five in the afternoon, the prisoner came to me in Sittingbourne, and asked me to buy the watch now produced. I told him I had no money to buy it with; he then asked me to lend him 5s. upon it. I agreed to do so, and he left the watch in my hands; on the following Friday, in consequence of information I had received, I gave the watch to Mr. Bigg, the sherriff's officer at Sittingbourne.

Robert Gifford deposed:— I am superintendent constable in the Ashford district. On Friday, the 30th July last, I apprehended the prisoner on the charge of stealing this watch, and on suspicion of another offence. On the following morning as I was conveying him to Cranbrook he said, "You've got me all right for the watch, it's no use denying it; the truth is that on Monday last I was drunk and when I awoke on Tuesday morning. I went in the direction of Tenterden, and I found something hanging against my knee, I put my hand in my pocket, and I found this watch." I received the watch I now produce of Mr. Bigg, the sheriff's officer.

The prisoner said:— I have nothing to say; Mr. Gifford has taken a false oath.

Committed for trial.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 26 October 1852.

Second Court.

About noon on Tuesday, a second quarter was opened by Aretast Akers, Esq., (Chairman) J. Espinasse, Esq., and E. Burton, Esq., in which the following cases were tried.

John James Davis, 23, (imp.) stealing a silver watch value 50s. the property of John Ottaway, from his person at Haldon, on the 26th July. Mr. Ribron was for the prosecution.

Prosecutor stated that on the 26th July, he was at the "Chequers" public house, drinking, and saw the prisoner there. About 10:30 he left the house with the prisoner and walked some distance with him and had some conversation with him. Afterwards he went to Mr. Tucker's Farm where he slept that night in a barn. Next morning, on his waking, he found that a watch, a purse and 4s. 6d., which he had safe in his possession when he left the "Chequers," were gone. He was somewhat in liquor, as was also the prisoner, but was capable of taking care of himself.

William Chapman deposed that, on the 28th July, the prisoner came to him at Sittingbourne, and offered to sell him a watch. He (witness) refused to buy it, but lent the prisoner 5s. upon it. Two days afterwards he handed the watch over to Mr. Bigg the constable of Sittingbourne.

Some other avid evidence in corroboration was adduced.

The prisoner, in defence said, that on the night of the 26th, he was much intoxicated and did not know how the watch came into his possession. Guilty.

Superintendent Everest, of Rochester, stated he had known the prisoner some years. He was a regular associate of thieves and he (Everest) had been in search of him for donkey stealing.

The hon. chairman stated that the prisoner had also been previously convicted of damaging with intent to steal underwood, and sentenced him to three months hard labour, and to be once privately whipped.


Southeastern Gazette, 10 May 1853.

CRANBROOK. Petty Sessions, Thursday. (Before C. T. Pattenson, Esq., chairman, T. L. Hodges,. Esq., the Rev. F. Barrow, the Rev. J. Deedes, G. R. Stevenson, Esq., and W. P. Croughton, Esq.)

William Woodgate, landlord of the "Chequers Inn," Halden, Charles Santer, beer-house keeper, Cranbrook, (possibly "Crown Inn") and Richard Elmstone, beer-house keeper, Biddenden, (possibly "Chequer") were severally charged on the information of Rumens, with opening their houses for the sale of beer before half-past twelve o’clock on Sunday morning, the 17th April last.

Defendants all pleaded guilty, and were severally fined 40s. and costs.


South Eastern Gazette, 1 November 1853.

CRANBROOK. Magistrates’ Clerk’s Office.

On Wednesday last, George Martin, a journeyman tailor, describing himself as of Winchester, was brought before T. L. Hodges, Esq., on a charge of stealing a great coat, value 2, the property of Mr. John Masters, silversmith, of Tenterden.

It appeared that Mr. Masters left home on Sunday morning last to attend the morning service at Halden church; on arriving at Halden he put up his chaise at the "Chequers Inn," leaving two great coats, a cloak, and an umbrella in the chaise, requesting the ostler to take charge of them, and the chaise was placed under cover. On Mr. Masters returning to the inn, his chaise was waiting at the door for him, when he missed one of his coats, and on enquiring of the ostler he could give no account of it. The prisoner, who had been about the premises for the last fortnight, having shortly afterwards left, the constables were sent in all directions, and the prisoner was found at Biddenden on Monday morning, where it was ascertained he had sold the coat to Mr. Smith, a publican, for 5s. Mr. Smith asked the prisoner how he became possessed of it, when he stated that he had been working at the Exhibition and had left 8s. a week for three weeks to pay for it, but that he was broken down and was very hungry. This circumstance having come to the knowledge of Mr. Masters, he proceeded to Biddenden, and having repaid Mr. Smith the 6s., took the coat, but not being disposed to take any farther trouble in the matter, the prisoner was allowed to go about his business, but the facts of the case being made known to Mr. Rigg, the superintending-constable, the prisoner was again apprehended at Woodchurch on Monday evening. The prisoner declined to say anything in his defence and was committed for trial.


South Eastern Gazette, 21 August, 1860.

HIGH HALDEN. A Singing Mouse.

Mr. Woodgate, of the "Chequers Inn," about a month since succeeded in capturing one of these extraordinary animals, who on being taken immediately began to sing in his prison. A great many persons, both in Halden and elsewhere, say the note was very much like that of a canary bird, and Mr. Woodgate says be was offered 5 for the animal, which he refused, but had the misfortune soon after to kill it in changing its trap, after enjoying its notes for about three weeks. It was heard about the house some time before its capture.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 13 September 1901.

Licensed Victuallers convicted.

Thomas Jennings, of the "Chequers Inn," Halden, was summoned for selling gin which, on analysis proved to be 4.84 degrees below the legal limit, with selling whisky 3.61 below limit, and rum 11.83 degrees below the legal limit.

The Bench imposed the following fine:- For the gin, 1 and 10s. costs; rum, ditto; whisky, 5 and 12 s. costs, the licence to be endorsed.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, Friday 6 December 1940.


A full transfer of the "Bull Inn," Rolvenden, was granted to Veda Porter, whose husband, Leslie John Porter is serving in the Forces. For a similar cause the licence of the "Chequers Inn," High Halden, was fully transferred from Kenneth Ian Makeleken to his wife, Ellen Marguerite Makeleken.



William Woodgate Martin

Above photo, showing William Woodgate Martin. Born in 1837 to a farmer in High Halden, Near Ashford. Whilst a child, his father fell on hard times and the young William Woodgate went to live with his grandfather in the local inn (The Chequers public house) in High Halden. He started as an apprentice carpenter at the age of 14.

As the years passed, he became very adept at building and as a result, his grandfather, set him up in business some thirty miles away, in Collier Street near Cranbrook. This was, incidentally, to ensure that he did no impinge on his own business.

He dabbled in farming to a certain extent and would barter farmed goods for building materials and vice versa.

In later years, he suffered with asthma and was advised by his doctor to move to the seaside. He chose to live in Deal, right up to his death in 1934. In the meantime, he started his business in Ramsgate before the turn of the century, and was located adjacent to Hudson's Mill on the Margate Road and the town's original railway station. The company then moved to Dane Park Road, following a fire.



BETTS William 1785-92+

OLLIVER Henry 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

FOWLER John 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

DAY John 1842+

WOODGATE William 1853-91+ (also carpenter age 62 in 1881Census)

? MOLDEN James 1881+ (age 37 in 1881Census) (Smith Hill)

JENNINGS Thomas 1901+ (age 53 in 1901Census)

LUCKHURST Frederick 1903+ Kelly's 1903

CROMWELL ???? 1904+

MAKELEKEN Kenneth Ian to Dec/1940

MAKELEKEN Ellen Marguerite Dec/1940+

SHAW Brian & Pauline 1963-94+

Last pub licensee had CONNELLY Trevor after 1994


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:-