Page Updated:- Tuesday, 03 August, 2021.


Earliest 1841-

(Name from)

Darnley Arms

Open 2020+

40 Cobham Street


01474 814218

Cobham Arms 1920

Above postcard 1920.

Darnley Arms 2012

Photo taken 16 November 2012 from by Dayoff171.

Darnley Arms sign 1993Darnley Arms sign 1993

Above signs, June 1993.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


The wording on the sign says the following:- "Built in 1196 using the local flint the pub served as a hostelry until the demise of coaches in the early 20th century. The original stonework was refaced in the late 1800s and again in the early 1900s leaving the exterior as it is today. In fact the stables were only removed in 1979! Like the old village inns the "Darnsley" has its ghost - reported to be that of Sir Thomas Kemp (1410-14??), a relation to the sovereign, who having been sentenced to death, actually slept overnight at the "Darnley" when being taken for execution at Rochester. Reprieved at the last minute, he returned to live his last days at the "Darnley Arms." The religions wars led to many tunnels being constructed locally as "bolt holes" for the persecuted. One such tunnel is known to have run between the pub cellar and the college behind the village church but as the church was never sacked local folklore has it that the college monks used the tunnel to "bolt" for a secret tipple.


From the Morning Advertiser, Wednesday 18 July 1860.

In and near Rochester, Kent.

Messrs. Cobb are instruct to sell by auction at the "Crown Inn," Rochester, on Tuesday, July 24th, at one, in five lots, the following freehold properties, with early possession.

A freehold house, situated in Eastgate, Rochester, in the occupation of Miss Balfour; Three Freehold Cottages, adjoining the free Grammar School, Eastgate, Rochester, in the occupation of H. Lane and others; the "Darnley Arms" public house, at Cobham, the "Stone Horse" public house, at Higham, and a freehold Messuage and Forge, at Milton-next-Sittingbourne.

Particulars, with conditions of sale, may be had of Messrs Farefoot, Webb, and D'Aeth, Solicitors, 13, Clement's Inn; and of Messrs, Cobb, Surveyors and Land Agents, 25, Lincoln's Inn-fields, London, and Rochester.


From accessed 17 June 2015.


Recorded as having been built in the 12th century, this is the oldest secular building in Cobham. It connects by a tunnel to the church, used by smugglers hiding their contraband in the 18th century. The inn exhibits ghostly manifestations. These include Sir Thomas Kemp, from the 16th century, who spent his last night here before execution. In 1567, he and other Kent men met at Ashford as commissioners for the defence of the seacoast, with developed a system of signalling by means of beacon fires. In 1588, he commanded a band of Kentish men-at-arms during the attack on England by the Spanish Armada. Now, this is where records are somewhat awry and at differences. The ghost is also, locals knew, as Sir Thomas Kempe, created a Knight of the Carpet in 1546. It was Sheriff of Kent County for three terms. Sir Thomas may have been party to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, as were many Kentish aristocrats.



HILL Robert 1841-51+ (age 70 in 1851Census)

GOWAR Samuel G John 1855-61+ (age 50 in 1861Census)

GOWAR Robert Jeramiah 1881-1903+ (age 40 in 1881Census) Kelly's 1903

JAMES Alfred 1913-34+


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:-