Sort file:- Chatham, October, 2022.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 04 October, 2022.


Earliest 1806-

Chest Arms

Latest 1881+

55 (57) High Street



The "Crest Arms" had the "Crest Arms Tap" situated at the back. This was listed under Inns and Hotels in Pigot's Directory of 1828.

The 1858 directory called it the "Chest Hotel and Commercial Inn."

The 1871 census listed a John Hanninger, Plasterer, age 43, as being the head of the "Crest Arms Tap."

In 1872 the premises was owned by James Hulkes of Frindsbury.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 3 June 1806.


On Saturday morning, aged 15, Mr. S. Chaney son of Mr. Chaney, of the "Chest Arms Tavern," Chatham; he was lately a midshipman on board the Agincourt.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 22 January 1808.

CHATHAM, Jan. 19.

Yesterday the New Rooms at the "Chest Arms Tavern," which have been finished and fitted in a style of considerable elegance and convenience, were fitted for the reception of the Pokerian Society, for whose use it is principally intended. About 130 of the principal Members of that extensive and respectable Club sat down to an elegant dinner, provided by Brother Chany. After dinner the glass circulated freely with "Friendship, Love, and Harmony" till a late hour.


Kentish Gazette, Friday 22 March 1811.

On the death of Mrs. Chany, of the "Chest Arms," Chatham.

Oh! Death, alas! from this defeat,

Thy vict'ry sure must be complete,

Where will they ravage stop? Oh say!

Or must pure nature fall a prey

Eternally! - unto thy spleen:

Or, Could'st thou not in pity screen

The gen'ral Friend to human kind?

Who scarse, I fear, have left behind

Her equal in such goodly things,

As from the purest virtue springs.

Behold her neighbours, one and all!

Who knew her worth, bewail her fall;

Behold the gloom! behold the tear!

Which ever doth, from sympathy appear;

Which ever doth, with truth impart,

The inmost language of the heart;

Which can but in this case appease,

And give the Soul it's wonted case;

Which mitigates the general grief,

And give to sorrow some relief:

For that the Tyrants, Death! did rend,

The tender Mother, Wife, and Friend!

From every tie, from children dear,

From relatives and friends sincere;

Who yet should be consol'd by this,

To think her Soul is now in bliss.

Chatham, March 16, 1811.



Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 6 March 1818.

On Sunday night or Monday morning, a room being part of the premises of the "Chest Arms Tavern," in this town, in which Mr. Chany keeps a deposit of beer, spirits, tobacco, &c., for the accommodation of his customers on the wharf at the back of the house, was broke open, and robbed of all the spirits and tobacco it contained, a quantity of beer, which was pumped up by the machine, and twenty-two large flint glass rummers. The thieves got off with their booty undiscovered.


Kentish Gazette, 4 August 1820.


Last week, after a long illness, Thomas, son of Mr. Chany, of the "Chest Arms Tavern," Chatham.


From Liverpool Mercury, Friday, June 19, 1829.


Copied from the London Gazette, June 12,1829.

Alexander Bernard, "Chest Arms Inn", Chatham, Kent.


Kentish Gazette 14 January 1834.


Jan. 4. at Chatham, aged 70, Mr. Thomas Chanay, formerly of the "Chest Arms."


Kentish Gazette, 19 March 1844.

Intense interest has been manifested during the past week in the neighbourhood of Chatham, for the fate of a young man named Louis Isaacs, son of Mr. Isaac Isaacs, army and navy outfitter. It is feared he is drowned, but so much mystery hangs over his disappearance, now ten days since, that conjecture is exhausted. He merely left home, after business was over, for the purpose of taking a glass of ale with a friend at the "Chest Arms Tap," and was last seen at that house about five on the following morning, and said to be perfectly sober. His friend left him between twelve and one o’clock. A hat has been found in the river, which is supposed to be his. He was a young man of very excellent character, and of steady habits. Suspicion exists that he has not been fairly dealt with.


From the South Eastern Gazette, 6 December 1853.


On Friday night last, at about half-past nine o'clock, a violent explosion took place at the Gillingham gas works near St. Mary's barracks, Brompton, by which the lives of two men, named John Rensby Culyer and William Hall, have been sacrificed.

It appears that the Messrs. Rickon have been engaged for several months past in erecting extensive gas works near the river Medway, at Gillingham. The works had

Maidstone Journal, 10 May, 1842.

On Monday and Wednesday the county Justices proceeded with the hearing of the information's against the publicans and beersellers of Chatham, whose cases had not come on at the last previous sitting. Only two cases were got though on Monday, namely, that of Mr. Tassell, of the "Red Lion," who was acquitted; and that of Mr. Champion the "Chest Arms." Mr. Birch attended for the defendant, and cross-examined the witness, who proved the offence against the tenor of the license with regard to the tap of the "Chest Arms Tavern," and detailed the scenes they had witnessed there. It appeared that the business of the tap was, as usual, in Inns, superintended by another person under agreement with Mr. Champion; but the premises being all under one roof and the same licence, the latter was the only person responsible for the well conducting the house, and he was consequently find for a first offence the sum of 5 and the expenses.


 been proceeded with all possible despatch, and at the time of the explosion were in so forward a state that a supply of gas would have been ready by the next night. During the whole of Friday evening the workmen were engaged, under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Rickon, in charging the gasometer, a large quantity of gas having been admitted. A loud noise attracting the attention of the men, it was at once suspected that there was something wrong, and Culyer, the engineer, accompanied by Hall, ascended to the top of the gasometer to discover what was amiss, foolishly taking a light with them. Mr. Rickson advised Culyer not to go that evening, but he appeared not to have attended to the directions given. On the two men reaching the top the escape of gas must have come in contact with the flame, for immediately after a loud explosion took place, bursting the top of the gasometer, which was lifted some height, and tearing of three of the new pillars or “guide lines."

The body of Culyer was found in the tank of the gasometer, frightfully disfigured, and quite dead. The body of Hall had not been discovered on Sunday evening, but it was supposed to be lying beneath the gasometer. At the time of the explosion there were several persons in and about the premises, none of whom were hurt. It is a rather singular circumstance that one of the persons who has met with his death was the individual who got Mrs. Henniker out of the ruins at the recent fatal explosion of fireworks, at Chatham, and carried her across the street to the "Chest Arms."

Owing to this untoward accident it will be some time before the works are in a fit state to supply the parish of Gillingham with gas.


The inquest was held yesterday (Monday) morning, at the "Green Dragon" on the bodies of the unfortunate men. John Ormsby Culyer and John Richard Hall, who were killed by the explosion.

Mr. Shindler, solicitor, attended to watch the proceedings for the Messrs. Rickon.

The Coroner and jury having viewed the bodies which lay at the the gas-house, the following evidence was taken.

Mr. Weeks, surgeon, at Brompton, deposed that he was called on Friday night to the gas-works. The body of Culver was then lying near the retort-house and quite dead. The body had been taken out of the gasometer tank, having been thrown in by the force of the explosion Witness made an external examination, and discovered a severe bruise on the right side of the head. The cause of death was from drowning, the blow on the head having no doubt stunned him.

John James Rickson, the manager at the works, deposed that they had been forcing gas into the holder all day on Friday, having commenced at 4 o’clock. About 9 o’clock in the evening, witness was sitting in the retort-house, telling a workman what to do, when the deceased (Culyer) came in; witness had not seen him since Monday afternoon. The deceased was in very high spirits. Witness at this time was congratulating the workman that the third charge just driven in would forca the crown of the holder out. Two charges, each of 49lbs. of coal, had been driven in, the mixture causing what was known as "choke damp." Deceased called for a candle, went out with Hall, and ascending to the top of the holder, on his return said that everything was going on right. As far as witness could judge Culyer was perfectly sober. When deceased arrived at the top of the holder, Hall turned the tap of the standpipe, to which he applied a light, when there appeared a beautiful blue flame about the size of a pea. When Colyer went to the top witness felt a peculiar sense of dread come over him. Deceased put out the flame and returned to the retort-house. On finding that the burner in the retort-house would not burn, they proceeded to the top of the holder a second, and subsequently a third time, on each occasion taking the lighted candle with them, trying the same experiment. On the third occasion witness saw Culver apply the light as before, and for a few seconds no flame appeared from the pipe, but witness saw the light of the candle as if drawn into the pipe. The gas holder then rose bodily, and when it was not able to resist the force, the explosion took place. The holder was rent asunder, and the men went down into it. Culyer’s body was taken out, quite dead, a few minutes afterwards, but Hall's was not discovered till Sunday night.

Henry Beaumont, one of the workmen in the retort-house, hearing the explosion, ran out. Heard Culyer struggle in the water and groan two or three times, when taken out he was quite dead.

Mr. Pope was also examined, who proved assisting to get Culyer’s body out of the water.

The jury, after a few remarks from the coroner, returned a verdict, “That the deceased John Ormsby Culyer was killed by an explosion at the gas works, but whether drowned or suffocated by gas there was not sufficient evidence to show.


From the West Kent Guardian, 15 July, 1843.

Robbery by female servant.

A respectable young woman named Ann Ost, 23 years of age, was placed in the dock charged with stealing several half crowns, and other moneys, the property of Mr. Champion of the "Chest Arms Tavern," High Street, Chatham. The prisoner was also charged with stealing a cambric petticoat of Mrs. Champion.

Mrs. Harriot Ann Champion the wife of Mr. Benjamin Champion, deposed that the prisoner had been in her service about 15 months. Witnessed first engaged her as cook, but afterwards, has chambermaid, which situation she filled up to the time of the robbery. In consequence of missing money, witness saw her husband mark some half-crowns and other money on Wednesday afternoon last, and on the next morning three of the half-crowns were missing. On Thursday witness saw her husband mark some more half-crowns, and when she went to bed on Friday night about half past 11 o'clock, she put into her pocket 4 half crowns, 2 shillings, and 1 six-pence, all marked. The marks on the money she examined before she put them into her pocket. The prisoner was in the room the whole time witness was undressing until she was in bed, when the prisoner took away the candle and bade her good night. Witnesses laid her pocket on the dressing table. About 2 minutes afterwards the prisoner again entered the bedroom without a candle, and said she had come in to see if any water was in the water jug. Having suspicion, witness got out of bed and examined her pocket, and found that two half crowns and one shilling were gone. Witnessed rang the bell, and the prisoner answered it; witness told her to call her master. On his arrival, witness told him money was missing, and gave him the pocket and her husband left the room. Witness afterwards got up and came downstairs and found Binds, the constable, in a room with a prisoner.

Benjamin Champion examined:- On Friday night after 12 o'clock, I was called to my wife's bedroom, and received from Mrs. Champion a pocket containing 2 half-crowns, 1 shilling and sixpence, all bearing marks I have previously put on them by a punch. I went downstairs and found the prisoner in the passage, and I directed her to go into a room. The constable came, and I gave him the pocket. I produced the punch with which I marked the money.

Thomas Bines, constable of Chatham, said, I was called into the "Chest Arms," after midnight on Friday last, and then found the prisoner with Mr. Champion in one of the rooms. I told the prisoner she was accused of taking money from her mistress's pocket. The prisoner denied having done so, saying that she had no occasion to do that, as she had plenty of money of her own, and immediately took from her pocket a purse, and threw it on the table containing 4 shillings and two sixpences. I told her that was not what I wanted; I wanted the two half-crowns. The prisoner hesitated and I requested Mr. Champion to procure a female to search her. The prisoner then gave me from her pocket, 2 half-crowns, which I produce. The prisoner then gave me a bunch of keys, and from information I received I went to the house of Mr. Thomas Costa, in Best Street, Chatham, and applied one of the keys to the trunk, which was pointed out to me by Mrs. Costa, as belonging to the prisoner. I took possession of the trunk, and upon it being examined, the petticoat now produced was sworn to by Mrs. Champion, as her's, and which had been stolen.

Eliza Ann Coster, sworn:- My husband is a bricklayer. I have known the prisoner for the last 7 or 8 weeks. On the 28th of June, the prisoner called on me and said she had had a difference with her mistress, and was, therefore, going to leave her place; and asked permission to leave her boxes at my house as she was shortly going to be married to an acquaintance of my husband's. As I knew that an acquaintance existed I consented. The "boots" of the "Chest Arms" brought the boxes of the prisoner the same day. The prisoner afterwards used to come to my house and go to her trunk.

The money and petticoat was sworn to by the prosecutor, and the prisoner was fully committed for trial.

A second charge of stealing money was then gone into, and the evidence being clear, the prisoner was again committed.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 02 January 1865.


William Wilson and Jane Wilson, man and wife, the latter remanded from Wednesday, charged with stealing a flannel petticoat, stockings and other articles, the property of Mr. Wilson landlord of the "Chest Arms," Chatham, were again placed at the bar. Several witnesses were examined, amongst them being the prosecutor, prosecutor's wife, Sarah Lorden (female searcher at the county magistrates), and Police-constable Kilby, from whose evidence there appeared little doubt that the male prisoner, with the assistance of his wife, stole the articles. Both were fully committed for trial.


Maidstone Telegraph. 5 June 1869.

Chatham local board of health rights.

Mr. T. Hills, Clerk to the local board of health, appeared to support two applications to recover payment of arrears of rates. The summonses were adjourned from last week to enable the defendant's to have professional assistance.

On the cases being called the defendant answered but no solicitor appeared for them.

The first case was against James Wilson late landlord of the "Chester Arms Tap," who disputed payment on the grounds that he had left the house before the rates became payable, but after a brief investigation it was clearly established that the defendant was legally liable to pay the rates and the magistrates made the usual order for payment.

The defendant said he would not pay unless a distress warrant was issued. He did not mean to pay for other people.


From the Rochester and Chatham Journal and Mid-Kent Advertiser, Saturday, September 2, 1876.


The magistrates hear adjourned for some time to take of luncheon. On business being resumed the following persons, who had been convicted of various offences during the year, and his cases had been deferred in consequence, apply for the renewal of their licences. vis. Mrs. Harcus, "Chest Arms," Chatham......

The other licences were renewed after the holders had been cautioned.



CHANEY Mr 1806+

MATHER Thomas 1808+

CHANY Mr 1818-20+

WARMAN Thomas 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

BERNARD Alexander to June/1828

CHAMPION Benjamin 1826-43+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34Census

CHANEY Thomas to Jan/1834 dec'd

FRANCIS William 1858-62+

WILSON James 1865+

Last pub licensee had TOMLIN Joseph Thomas 1867+ Post Office Directory 1866

HARCUS Selina Mrs 1871-76+ Licensing Records 1872 (age 47 in 1871Census)

CHARD Henry 1881+ (age 55 in 1881Census)


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

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

Post Office Directory 1866From the Post Office Directory 1866-67

Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872



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