Sort file:- Rochester, April, 2023.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 29 April, 2023.


Earliest 1665-


Open 2020+

(Name from)

High Street


01634 814874

Crown painting

Above painting, date unknown, from Medway Archives. Also showing the "Three Post Boys" (right.)

Crown 1909

Above postcard showing the first tram through Rochester, 9 April, 1909, also showing the "Gundulph" (left,) kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

Crown 2013

Photos taken on 28 February, 2013 from by Dave Dunmall.

Crown 2018

Above photo 2018, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

Crown sign 1986Crown sign 2019

Above sign left, November 1986, sign right 2019.

With thanks from Brian Curtis and Roger Pester

Rochester map 1866

Identified on the 1866 map above as the dark blue building left.

Crown token 1675Crown token 1675

Above coins 1675, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


The "Crown Inn and Family Hotel," to give it its full name was a Posting House in the High Street.

The "Crown," or its predecessor, was where Henry VIII came in secret, to get a sneak preview of his intended fourth bride, Anne of Cleves. Bluff King Hal's opinions of his Flanders Mare are well recorded, but those of the landlord at the "Crown," regrettably, are not. Which is a pity, as ‘mine host's' views in the 1980s on almost any subject are always worth lending an ear to so says Michael David Mirams in his book "Kent Inns and Inn Signs."

From between the 1980s and around the turn of the century, the pub became the "Norman Conquest" but has now reverted back to the "Crown" again.


From the Diary of Samuel Pepys. Monday 25 September 1665.

We went to the Crowne Inne, at Rochester, and there to supper, and made ourselves merry with our poor fisher-boy, who told us he had not been in a bed in the whole seven years since he came to ‘prentice, and hath two or three more years to serve.


Kentish Gazette, 9 August, 1783.

On Thursday morning died at Mrs. Fairmarsh in this city, where she had been on a visit a few days. Mrs. Bayley, of the "Crown" at Rochester.


Kentish Gazette, 23 March, 1792.

"Bull Inn," Rochester.

Hester Heath and Son leave to acquaint the public, that in rebuilding their house (lately destroyed by fire) the greatest regards has been paid so to arrange the apartments as to render it most conveniently adapted to the accommodation of families, and fitted in a style of neatness that they trust will be much appreciated.

They most respectfully hope they may mentioned to the Gentlemen of the County, that Mr. Ayres, of the "Crown Inn," has let his house, and solicits a portion of that patronage he so long enjoyed; and are, with the utmost gratitude and respect, the public's most obedient humble servants. Hester and Matthew Heath.


Kentish Gazette, 23 March, 1792.

"Crown Inn," Rochester.

Thomas Cornwall, "many years Butler to Mr. John Sawbridge Esq.) Begs permission to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public in general, that he has taken the "Crown Inn," of Mr. Ayres, of Rochester, and enters upon it in a few weeks; when he humbly hopes for the favour and protection of his friends and the public in general; and they may depend that no care or attention shall be wanted to give satisfaction to every person that will do him the honour to use his house.

The flattering reception he met with at Maidstone, when he had the honour to wait on the Gentleman of the Grand Jury, gives him the greatest hopes of success.


Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 29 October 1793.

Crown Inn, Rochester.

Cornwell and Smith respectfully beg leave to return the most grateful acknowledgments to the Nobility Gentry, and Public in general, for the very great indulgence they have experienced during the time the stables have been under repair.

They are happy to inform them that they are now finished with large and convenience stalls, equal to any on the road; and have laid in a large quantity of hay and corn, of the very best quality. They also beg leave to observe, they have been particular attentive to the accommodation of the public in procuring the oldest and best wines of the first vintages, and take the liberty of assuring them, that every care, attention and assiduity, will be united in them to merit the continuance of those favours they have so liberally experienced.


From the Kentish Gazette, 28 August 1838.

Disturbance at Rochester.

The quiet neighbourhood of Rochester was on Thursday disturbed by an extraordinary riot and attempt on the part of a large mob of respectable persons, composed principally of women, to execute summary vengeance on a person named Willmett. It will be recollected that he was apprehended some months ago for having intermarried with Miss Eliza Crisp, his former wife, Hannah Hodgson, being alive. The defence set up was that Hannah Hodgson was not his wife, though he had married her, because her former husband was alive. This defence, it is said, has turned out to have been supported by false evidence. On his acquittal he left Maidstone in a carriage and four, with his first wife, and a girl named Sophia Short. This Willmett used originally to live at Rochester, where his father and he got into debt with the greater part of their tradesmen, and took French leave of the place about five years ago. When Willmett got out on a day rule from the Fleet he came down to Rochester to renew his acquaintance with and marry Miss Crisp. The second wife lives in Upper George-street, Portman-square. She, accompanied by Willmett and his father, arrived at the "Crown" on Thursday evening in a hired carriage and four, ordering her dinner at eight o’clock, and in the meantime Willmett and his father paraded up and down opposite Miss Crisp’s house. In the interval a crowd collected, who began handling the precious couple very unceremoniously, both of them being knocked down and pelted with mud, struck over the head with sticks, their cloths torn off, their watches and money stolen, and every insult possible heaped upon them. A large number of old women assembled in Ironmonger-lane, whither the crowd would have taken the Willmetts but for the interference of the police, for the purpose of putting them into a stagnant ditch. It ought before to have been mentioned that the contusion was much heightened by the appearance of another alleged wife of Willmett’s, who abused him very much, and still further added to the fury of the mob. On arriving opposite the "Bull Hotel" they were nearly torn away from the police, and Willmett managed to run up the Bull-yard, where he was followed, and only escaped with his life by climbing over a wall ten feet high. The old man was caught by the landlord of the "Bull," and handed over to the police, the landlord requesting that he might not be allowed to come there again. The landlord of the "Crown," where they were staying, ordered them off, and they were obliged to go to Gravesend at twelve o'clock at night. Willmet has taken out Warrants for the apprehension of numerous persons for assaulting him.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 23 November 1861.

Rochester and Chatham.

The wardens have decided on completing the approaches to Rochester Bridge on the city side, which will necessitate the demolition of a portion of the ancient "Crown Hotel," together with the "City Arms Tavern," and the adjoining buildings. A large hotel is to be erected on the present "Crown Inn."


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 19 February 1808.


Thursday, Feb. 18, at Wingham, Mr. Thomas Cornwell, late of the "Crown Inn," Rochester, aged 62.


From the Maidstone Gazette and West Kent Courier, 11 September, 1827.

Tolls to let.

Notice is hereby given, that the tolls payable at the Tollgates near the "Angel Inn," in Strood, and on the New Road, leading from Rochester to Chatham Hill, in the county of Kent, will separately be let to farm, to the best bidders, for the term of 2 years, from the 30th day of November, 1827, at the house of Mr. William Wright, called the "Crown Inn," in Rochester, aforesaid, on Tuesday, 9th day of October next, between the hours of 11 in the forenoon and 1 in the afternoon.

No person will be permitted to advance less than 5 at each bidding, and whoever happens to be the best bidder, must, at the same time, give security with sufficient sureties to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of the said Tollgates for Payment of the Rent agreed for by Quarterly Payments in Advance. The highest bidders will be required to pay, at the time of the Letting, One Half part of the first quarters rent and the remainder before the said 30th day of November. The present Yearly Rent of the Tolls at Strood is 1,185, and of the Tolls at the New Road 195.

By order of the Commissioners Edward Twopeny, Clerk.

Rochester 3rd August. 1827.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 2 November 1861.

The Annual Dinner of the Gravesend and Rochester Agricultural Society took place on Wednesday last, at the "Crown Hotel," Rochester. About 100 gentlemen were present, and the chair was filled by T. H. Day, Esq. On his rights sat the Mayor of Rochester, and on his left Lord Holmesdale, M.P. for West Kent. The latter gentleman in his remarks, alluded to the question of invasion as a reason why the army should not be reduced.


From the By Alice Evans, 28 May 2017.

Cyclist is airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries 'after a road rage row with a motorcyclist sparked when he jumped a red light'.

A cyclist has suffered serious head injuries after an alleged road rage argument with a motorcylist became violent, it has been reported.

Four police cars were called out this morning and officers cordoned off an area around the "Crown" pub in Rochester, Kent.

Crown 2017

The cyclist, who has been airlifted to a London hospital, reportedly had a fit after being assaulted on the busy dual carriageway.

An area outside the pub on Rochester High Street was cordoned off after the alleged attack.

Crown cordoned off 2017

Detectives are now investigating the alleged bust-up, which happened near the 103-year-old Rochester Bridge.

A police spokesman told MailOnline: 'Kent Police was called at 10.07am on Sunday 28 May 2017 to a report of an assault in Rochester High Street.

'It is believed there was an altercation between a motorcyclist and a cyclist prior to the assault.

'Officers attended along with SECAMB (air ambulance) and the cyclist has been flown to a London hospital with serious head injuries. Officers remain at the scene at this time and enquiries are ongoing.'

It was reported that a man on a bike 'jumped a red light' before allegedly being hit by a motorbike driver.

After the alleged attack the motorcyclist drove off while a member of the public put the victim in the recovery position.

One witness, who did not wish to be named, told Kent Online that a male cyclist jumped a red light before a motorcyclist dismounted and began hitting him.

The witness said the victim then fell to the floor and had what appeared to be a fit.

A member of the public put the victim into the recovery position but witnesses said the motorcyclist drove off as a baseball cap and a blood-stained item of clothing were left on the pavement.

The Crown Pub was open as usual as officers inspected the scene this morning.

They tweeted: 'Open as usual! Incident outside is nothing to do with pub.'

Officers are now understood to be examining CCTV footage of the area to try and piece together what happened.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 29 October 2019.

Shepherd Neame buys Rochester's Crown pub.

A landmark town centre pub has been bought by Kent brewery Shepherd Neame.

The Crown is at the top of High Street, Rochester, looking out onto the historic bridge and River Medway.

Crown 2019

Crown Pub, Corporation Street, Rochester.

The present building dates back to the late 1700s.

It is not known at this stage what the Faversham-based brewery intends to do with it or how much it paid.

But the guide price for the business was 1.1million.

For the past 20 years, father Steve Kray and his eldest son Pete have been manning the pumps.

They firmly believe their hands-on teamwork has helped them survive a series of challenges.

Steve and Pete Kray 2019

Steve and Pete Kray at The Crownin Rochester High Street. Picture: Chris Davey. (12958306)

Steve, 58, has now retired and 35-year-old Pete, who started helping out when he was 15, will continue to work at the pub as manager.

When Steve bought the pub, he closed it for six weeks for refurbishment and reverted the name from the "Norman Conquest," adopted by the previous owner, back to the "Crown" to be more in-keeping with the historic town.

The original pub on the site catered for royalty, including Elizabeth I and King Charles V of Spain, before it was demolished.

Shepherd Neame's director of retail and tenanted operations, Nigel Bunting, said: "We are always looking for opportunities to add high-quality outlets to our estate.

"The Crown is a great pub in a fantastic location, and we are confident it will prove a valuable addition to our portfolio.

"We look forward to working with Peter and the team to ensure The Crown’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Shepherd Neame, Britain's oldest brewer, has 323 pubs across London and the south east.



BROOKER Art 1675+

WAREHAM Mr 1735+

BAYLEY 1783+

AYRES Mr 1792

CORNWELL Thomas & SMITH ???? Mar/1792-Feb/1808

WRIGHT William 1827-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

CALDER Mr to Dec/1845 Kentish Chronicle

WILLSON George 1847+

DUNCAN James 1851+ ("Crown Inn Tap," St Nicholas.)

Last pub licensee had DUFFILL William Daniel 1911+ (age 69 in 1911Census)

KRAY Steve & Pete (son) 1999-2020+


William Duffill died in the "Dover Castle," Teynham in 1924.

Probate:- of "Dover Castle," Green Street, Teynham, Kent to Edward David Duffill and David James Duffill Licensed Victuallers.

The assumption could be made that his two sons were the Publicans of that establishment – however, I have no proof other than this Probate record.


Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle

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

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



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