Page Updated:- Saturday, 16 March, 2024.


Earliest  1841-

(Name from)

Flying Horse

Open 2023+

Cage Lane / Nub's Green 1901Census


01233 770432

Flying Horse

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

Flying Horse 1923

Above postcard, circa 1923, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Flying Horse 1949

Above postcard circa 1949, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Flying Horse

Above photo, date unknown.

Flying Horse 2011

Above photo 2010 by Oast House Archives Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Horse sign 1980sFlying Horse sign 1992

Above sign left, 1980s, sign right, June 1992.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Flying Horse sign 2011Flying Horse sign 2020

Above sign left, 2011. Sign right, 2020, kindly taken and sent by Roger Pester.

Flying Horse matchbox 1980s

Above matchbox, circa 1980s.


I also have reference to a "White Horse" which could be the same building.


Kentish Express, Friday 7 September 1979.

Garden Glory for the Village.

THE attractive garden and flower decorated front of the "Flying Horsee" public house in Smarden has won a lot of admirers — and a prize for the licensees.

The design of hanging baskets featuring a profusion of colourful geraniums, the work of publican Terry Rounce, gained first prize in Courage's floral decoration and garden competition.

It was not until after Terry had done all the work that he found out about the competition, said his wife Margaret, who went with him to a special party in Swanley to receive their prize of a crystal decanter and glasses.

The competition attracted entries from all over the south East.

Flying Horse licensees 1979

Terry and Margaret Roance are pictured outside the "Flying Horse" with their winning certificate.


From the accessed 15/April/2021

The History Of The Flying Horse.

The Pub Today.

The Flying Horse is a family owned pub run by Daniel Gibbs and Nathasha Hartfield, as well as, Daniel’s wife Louisa Gibbs (Nathasha’s Sister).

This pub has had a long line of landlords over the years with a rich history to match.

The "Hog and Donkey."

The Flying Horse was built in around 1790 on a section of St Michael's Churchyard; this part of Smarden was called Nub’s Green.

The pub started life as the “Hog and Donkey” this was probably due to the amount of pigs and donkeys that were brought to Smarden for grazing. Smarden actually means “Fat Pasture” presumably because of the amount of pigs that roamed the fields.

The First Owner of The Flying Horse.

The Hog and Donkey later changed its name to The Flying Horse. It’s first recorded landlord was Richard Giles around 1841 on a village map of the time. Richard was born in 1790, he was a local dealer and trader and he would travel to Canterbury market for pigs as well as Rye’s market for Fish.

The Racecourse.

It’s believed the “Hog and Donkey” changed its name to the “Flying Horse” because of the racecourse that was in the field opposite. The then famous racecourse attracted huge crowds and the countries top jockeys during the 1800s. Smarden Raceday was held on the 3rd Monday in July. The pub would have profited very well out from this yearly event. The last race was in 1852 after a professional rider named Paget was thrown from his horse and injured.

More Than A Pub.

The pub once a had forge which took care of horses that had been swapped over at the Nules Green exchange point found at Smarden town bridge. At the time coaches between Ashford and Headcorn were run by Calehill Hundred. In the 1890’s the mail was brought into Smarden from Cranbrook in a trap by a man named Osbourne. He would leave his horse in good care at The Flyer while he sorted out all the incoming and outgoing mail. In the afternoon he would return to Cranbrook with all of Smarden’s letters.

The Hop Pickers.

During 1958 - 1960, the pub was owned by husband and wife Bryan and Margaret Hills-Johnes. At that time, what is now the car park that sits opposite the pub, was a vegetable garden that supplied The Flying Horse with fresh veg.

This was also around the time floods of Londoners from the East end would descend on Smarden to help harvest the hops. Farmers would setup hop huts for the hop pickers, mainly women and children during the week and joined by the men at the weekend. This was their holiday. A chance to get out of smokey, sooty London and enjoy some fresh country air. The Flying horse was the hop farmers choice of drinking establishment as well as the hop pickers!

The Flying Horse proudly hangs hops from the rafters of the pub to embrace the long history of hops grown within the local area. Hops are sold to the local brewery Shepherd Neame in Faversham which go into the beer that is served in the pub.


From the By Rachael Woods, 22 October 2018.

Saboteur hurt in clash with Ashford Valley Tickham hunt at Flying Horse, Smarden.

Fox hunting supporters were seen laughing as a female saboteur was sent hurtling to the ground from a gate where she landed on her head.

The men, thought to be linked to the Ashford Valley Tickham hunt, were videoed laughing near the Flying Horse, Smarden, as the masked women attempted to scale the gate and follow a pack of dogs.

Recruitment consultant Harry Blackhurst, a member of the West Kent Hunt Saboteurs, witnessed her fall, which happened as the men appeared to rattle the gate.

He said: "They were shaking the gate to get her off it and their behaviour was outrageous.

"Luckily there were no serious injuries but my associate has pulled some muscles in her shoulder.

"She was also badly shaken by what happened."

The 31-year-old, who claimed he had been tipped off about the Ashford Valley Tickham hunt by an insider claimed: "It was very aggressive and threatening atmosphere and the men were swearing at us."

The incident took place last Wednesday and a video of it has emerged on social media.

Mr Blackhurst alleges a fox had been chased into the centre of the village earlier on and that the hunt was not simply following a legal trail.

He says the group consisted of three fox hunters in red jackets, 10 other riders and around 30 supporters on foot, with a pack of 30 foxhounds.

A police spokesman said: "We are aware of video footage reported to be in the Smarden area and officers are seeking to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident."


The licensee Charles Marshall died on 16 February 1916 and is buried in the churchyard nearby.


Charles Marshall gravestone

Above gravestone of Charles Marshall. At St. Michael the Archangel Churchyard.



GILES Richard 1841+

WHITE Charles 1881-1901+ (also farmer age 57 in 1901Census)

MARSHALL Charles 1911-16/Feb/16 dec'd (age 52 in 1911Census)

HILLS-JOHNES Bryan & Margaret 1958-60

TIDY Pete & Chris 1980s

GIBBS Daniel & Louise and HARTFIELD Natasha 2021+




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