DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Thursday, 09 June, 2022.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1793

Honest Miller

Closed 2020

The Street

Brook

01233 812927

https://whatpub.com/honest-miller

Honest Miller 1936

Above photo, circa 1936. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Honest Miller 1951

Above photo, 1951, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Honest Miller date unknown

Above photo date unknown.

Honest Miller 2009

Above photo 2009 by David Hawgood Creative Commons Licence.

Above photo showing a Royal Wedding street party at the Honest Miller in October 2011. From http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/

Honest Miller sign 1940sHonest Miller sign 1988

Above sign left, 1940s. Sign right, April 1988.

Honest Miller sign 1991Honest Miller sign 2013

Above sign left July 1991. Sign right, 2013.

Honest Millar sign

Above sign, left date unknown, sign right 2022.

With thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com.

Honest Miller 2018

Above photo March 2018 kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.

Honest Miller 2022

Above photo, 2022, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Honest Miller 2022

Above photo, 2022, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

 

OUR HISTORY

In the hundred of Wye and ancient parish of Brook, situate and lying under the ridge of the Brabourne downs can be found this inn known by name and sign of the "Honest Miller".

It was built in the 6th year of James I, in 1609. Brooke, called Brac or Brake as it is written in ancient records, was then in the possession of the dean and chapter of Canterbury and leased to one Richard Tidman of Gloucester. This house was one of just fifteen in the parish at the time. In 1638, one Cedric Smarte, miller of Braybourne lived here. He occupied the house with his wife and six children until his death in 1682.

Following this period the house was occupied by a number of families, mostly farmers and millers. At the turn of the seventeenth century one Jonas Martyn resided here with his family. In 1712, Johnathan Greene and family. Greene is described as a corn miller and seed merchant. Others are described as corn growers. In 1756 one Thomas Sedge corn grower and farmer lived here.

Toward the latter half of the eighteenth century changes began to take place in Brooke. There were now about twenty houses in the parish with two more in the eastern part called Cittle Bedlestun. One John Berry of Newbury in Berkshire was now the lease of Brooke. In 1789, there lived at this house one called Thomas Waite (Waile) hop grower and brewer of Stowting who sold the building to Richard and Martha Pepper in 1793 who turned it into a pub and became its first licensees they was granted a license to sell ales and ciders from these premises. Though a license had been granted to title was afforded to the property.

In 1804, the house was given the title the "Honest Miller" the significance of which dates back to the Saxons when a miller cheated the Romans by giving them a short measure. His ears were cut off as a penance and warning to others. After which millers not wishing to fall into the same category as their luckless and earless colleague hung a sign stating they were "Honest Millers".

Some years later, the Peppers sold to Stephen Andrews who, in 1841, sold the HM to George Ash, owner of the Dane John Brewery, Canterbury. The 1841 and 1851 Census returns list Richard Punyan as licensee (he was already 71 in 1841!) but he'd departed by 1861 as Thomas Rains is listed in that Census and he was still pulling pints in the 1901 Census. His son, William (or Billy) Rains ran the "Alma," Chilham. Henry Hayward ran the Honest Miller in the inter-war year but his exact dates aren't yet known.

For Many years the "Honest Miller" was the meeting place of sportsmen. Those wishing to take part in a pigeon shoot would meet here before and after a particular shoot. This was also the home of Hare Coursing. According to a contemporary report, bare-knuckle boxing also formed part of the entertainment offered by the Honest Miller.

Below stairs in the cellar a less legal but highly profitable sport took place, cock fighting. For this was the weekly venue where those wishing to could come to win or lose a days wages. For most of the nineteenth century the "Honest Miller" was kept by one family, the Punyers, first by Thomas Punyer then by his wife Ann, then down to son Thomas Jnr.

The Honest Miller has seen and undergone many changes since first it was built, but its historic atmosphere remains unchanged. So stay, enjoy the fayre and reflect on those bygone days.

 

Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 06 October 1855.

DEATH. ASHFORD.

Sept. 26, Mr. Richard Punyer, for nearly thirty years landlord of the "Honest Miller," Brook, near Ashford, aged 86.

 

From the Kentish Gazette, 25 October 1859.

CHARGE OF THEFT.

William Punyer and Richard Hawkins, labourers, were charged by Mr. J. Brett, farmer, of Brabourne, with stealing a vermin trap, worth when new about 16s., belonging to him.

William Pellatt, Brabourne, deposed that the prosecutor (who lives at Hamilton Farm) had recently taken a part of it which had been occupied by witness. He had lent witness the trap in question three or four years ago, and it was left for him in a lodge on the farm, when witness left last Friday.

The prosecutor deposed that he sent a man who was to occupy the lodge to look for the trap, and it was not there.

Mr. Stephen Whitehead, farmer, Wye, deposed that he saw the prisoners pass and repass his house on the road to the lodge on the day in question.

George Brett, a boy, son of prosecutor, deposed that having been sent by his mother on an errand to Brook, on Friday, he saw the two prisoners take the trap in question and a ferret hutch from their donkey cart, and place them in the stable of the "Honest Miller," public-house at that place.

Superintendent Dewar deposed that from information he received he went to the "Honest Miller," which is kept by Punyer’s grandmother, Mrs. Ann Punyer. She said he was welcome to search the premises, and, in company with Mr. Brett, he found the trap in a loft which was locked. Mrs. Punyer told witness that the two prisoners had access to the loft. Witness afterwards had the prisoners apprehended, when they said they had not taken it with the intention of stealing it; they thought it belonged to Mr. Pellatt, and having been to fetch a hutch and ferret which he had sold to Punyer, they took the trap away also to take care of it for him. On the previous day they had let Pellatt's wife know it was in their possession; but that was after a stir had been made about it.

The prisoners made a similar defence now, and a witness came up in support of it.

Mr. Toke dismissed the case; but told the prisoners they had had a narrow escape of being sent to the sessions for trial; and that it ought to be a warning to them to be very careful how they meddled with other people's property.

 

From the Kentish Gazette, 25 October 1859.

BROOK.

The hop season in this district has now ended, and although it has been anything but favourable to the planters or pickers, still the same kindly feeling has existed between them as though the season had been a more fortunate one. The "hopkin" took place at the "Honest Miller," on Thursday, when the pickers received their money, the amount paid varying from 9d. to 1s. 3d. per bushel. After the payment had ended, they were plentifully regaled by the planters. Mr. Daniel Manuel took the chair, being supported by Mr. Noble. Mr. Whitehead, and others. Some very excellent speeches were made, songs sung, and toasts given; and after a hearty cheer for the "next merry meeting," the company separated with the kindliest feeling between employers and employed. The new landlord, Mr. Raines, did his utmost to keep up the conviviality of the meeting, and evinced the greatest desire to promote the comfort of all. Altogether it was a very pleasant affair, and will long be remembered in the neighbourhood.

 

Kentish Gazette 23 October 1860.

BROOK.

The hop season in this district has now ended, and although it has been anything but favourable to the planters or pickers, still the same kindly feeling has existed between them as though the season had been a more fortunate one. The "hopkin" took place at the "Honest Miller," on Thursday, when the pickers received their money, the amount paid varying from 9d. to 1s. 3d. per bushel. After the payment had ended, they were plentifully regaled by the planters. Mr. Daniel Manuel took the chair, being supported by Mr. Noble, Mr. Whitehead, and others. Some very excellent speeches were made, songs sung, and toasts given; and after a hearty cheer for the "next merry meeting," the company separated with the kindliest feeling between employers and employed. The new landlord, Mr. Raines, did his utmost to keep up the conviviaty of the meeting, and evinced the greatest desire to promote the comfort of all. Altogether it was a very pleasant affair, and will long be remembered in the neighbourhood.

 

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 27 May 1862.

DEATH.

On the 21st inst., at Dover, Mrs Ann Punyer, late landlady of the "Honest Miller," Brook, aged 78 years.

 

Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 7 February 1865.

Public House Offences.

Thomas Rains, landlord of the "Honest Miller," Brook, was lined 2 10s. for selling beer before half-past twelve o’clock on Sunday morning, Jan. 1st. The offence was proved by P.C. Edward Butcher.

 

Kentish Gazette 15 February 1876. (Ashford Honest Miller)

PETTY SESSIONS, TUESDAY.

Before Colonel Groves, Sir H. J. Tufton, W. D. Walker, and R. Furley, Esqrs.

The application by Mr. Rains, of Brook, inn-keeper, for an extension until 11.30 p.m., on the occasion of a pigeon shoot, formed the subject of much argument between the Bench and the applicant.

The latter admitted that the shooting would commence at nine p.m., and eventually the Bench considered that the privilege was not required, and although they were willing, on Mr. Rains's entreaty, to grant him till eleven, they refused to go beyond, and he left the court without the license.

 

Kentish Express, Friday 5 January 1979.

As you like it for Customers.

Peter & Mary Hogarth 1979

PUBLICAN Peter Hogarth, who recently took over the "Honest Miller" at Brook, has switched from one set of pumps to another.

Before going into the licensed trade, he owned a garage at Nottingham and, before that, was a car salesman in Surrey.

Peter, 32. and his wife, Mary, 31, have achieved a long-standing ambition by taking over the "Honest Miller."

They had useful training at the "Castle Hotel," Saltwood, where they helped out for nine months, learning the tricks of the trade.

Settling in at the "Honest Miller" proved no problem, with the regulars giving them a warm welcome over Christmas.

In these days of instant modernisation of our hallowed halls of traditional toping, it is heartening to report that the Hogarths are planning no radical changes at the "Honest Miller."

They think the customers like things the way they are. Chances are that they are right.

 

Kentish Express, Friday 4 December 1981.

Mystery fire at voillage pub.

The 300 year old "Honest Miller" village pub at Brook was severely damaged by a mystery fire on Wednesday afternoon.

Honest Miller fire

Landlord Peter Hogarth was driven back by smoke and flames when he went to the kitchen to cook his own lunch after his last lunchtime customer had left.

The whole kitchen plus a store and thousands of pounds worth of stock and equipment were destroyed.

The bar areas were damaged by smoke and heat and the living accommodation by smoke. The family pet cat died in the blaze.

Peter and Mary Hogarth moved to the pub 3 years ago from Surrey, is their first venture in the licensed trade.

Fireman from Ashford, Chilham and Aldington fought the blaze.

Late on Wednesday afternoon firemen were still trying to discover the cause of the fire.

 

From an email received 20 July 2014.

Thomas Rains was landlord of the "Honest Miller" at Brook in 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 & 1901 according to Census records. He signed a will on 3 Oct 1900. This is an extract of the will - “This is the last will & testament of me Thomas Rains of the "Honest Miller Inn" Brook in the County of Kent Licensed Victualler ......” & he died in 1903 at the "Alma" in Chilham where his son William Rains was landlord.

Also in 1900 on Jan 15 Thomas Rains' brother-in-law William Nickolls of Amage Farm, Wye signed a will & named as one of the executors “.... my nephew William Rains of The "Alma" Chilham in the County of Kent .....” & he also mentions Thomas Rains of the "Honest Miller." William Rains was my grandfather's cousin & Thomas was his uncle.

Val Snow.

 

From the Dover Express, 28 January, 2016.

New owners promising you a warm welcome at gastro pub.

THERE’S nothing like the feeling of being in a British pub, eating great food with good friends and excellent service.

Gareth Cox and his wife Liza would love to welcome you to their gastro pub in the heart of Brook in the Kent Downs in Ashford.

Formerly head chef of the Town House in Maidstone, Gareth Cox brings a wealth of experience, ideas and most importantly great food.

Gareth has created a contemporary modern British gastro pub menu with lots of twists on classics, which is all based on the great british pub.

He said: “At The Honest Miller, we prepare everything homemade, baking our own bread and making our own ice-creams.

“We serve great cask ales from Kent, a range of fantastic wines and are always refreshing our ideas on food wine and beer.

“Come and try our new selection of ales, we have spirit of Kent from Westerham, Tonbridge Rustic and Fife and Drum from Maidstone musket brewery “We also cater for large parties, weddings and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries; and use local seasonal produce and buy only the best quality ingredients.”

The Honest Miller also has a beautiful pub garden and plenty of parking.

Bookings are now being taken for the three-course Valentines Saturday February 13 (45pp) and Mothers Day Sunday March 6, 25 pp with a bag of homemade chocolates for mums.

Gareth adds: “So come along and try us and let us leave a taste on your palate that will make you tell a million people - we hope to see you soon!”

Menus are now ready at www.opentable.co.uk/gareth-cox-at-the-honest-miller

 

From the Dover Express, 25 February, 2016.

Gastro pub mixes it up with great food offers.

HOW is this for variety -Monday for gourmet burgers and Thursday steak night!

Gareth Cox and his wife Liza welcome you to their gastro pub in the heart of Brook in the Kent downs in Ashford. Gareth has created a contemporary modern British gastro pub menu with lots of twists on classics, which are all based on the great British pub.

Food

Every Monday at The "Honest Miller" is Gourmet Burger night where they change flavours of the burger according to the seasons. So you can get a gourmet burger, chunky chips and coleslaw for just 10. Try their venison and black pudding burger, with streaky bacon and apple sauce, or 8 oz beefburger with braised beef shin inside, ashmore cheddar, chunky chips, gherkins and salad or spiced lamb burger with halloumi cheese, lettuce, tomato taziki served in a home made rosemary flat bread, chunky chips and coleslaw - all for just 10.

Every Thursday is Steak Night, superb choice of steaks including 14oz T bones, only 20 includes a glass of house wine or a pint of beer, try this fantastic weekly event.

Garest Cox

At the "Honest Miller," they prepare everything homemade, baking their own bread and making their own ice-creams. We serve great cask ales from Kent, a range of fantastic wines and are always refreshing their ideas on food wine and beer.

Chef Gareth Cox says: “My promise to our customers is that we only use the best seasonal ingredients in all our dishes and buy only the best quality ingredients.”

There’s nothing like the feeling of being in a British pub. Eating great food with good friends and excellent service.

 

From the Dover Express, 26 October 2017.

The fire is lit and the menu is ready at The Honest Miller.

The festive season is underway at The Honest Miller in Brook, with Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to enjoy what better place to be.

Gareth Cox and his wife Liza would love to welcome you to their gastro pub with a log fire for those chilly evenings. Gareth has created a contemporary modern British gastro pub menu with lots of twists on classics, which is all based on the great British pub.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Charlie Harman, 26 March 2020.

The Honest Miller pub in Brook near Ashford up for sale.

A well-known village pub is up for sale after its owners departed two years after taking the reins.

The freehold of The Honest Miller, in Brook near Ashford, is available to buy for 495,000 plus VAT.

Unfortunately the signage of the pub - owned by Admiral Taverns - has fallen into disrepair, with letters missing from its name.

Now the property is being sold by Sidney Phillips, who highlight the 1.68 acres of land included in the site.

Residents and locals have suggested since its closure in February the community could buy it, hoping to follow in the footsteps of residents in Ash and Stockbury.

While it has been highlighted as an 'Asset of Community Value', this does not mean those living nearby have priority.

Sidney Phillips' Robert Cockayne said: "The property is listed as an Asset of Community Value with Ashford Borough Council.

Honest Miller bar 2020

The Honest Miller has wide rooms and a period fireplace.

"Should the owner of an ACV listed property wish to sell their interest, this would trigger an interim moratorium period for the nominating group or charity to express their interest in purchasing, which, if enacted, then grants a full moratorium period for them to raise funds and complete the purchase.

"However under the Localism Act 2011 which provides for Assets of Community Value, there are exemptions to this situation, which is the case with the Honest Miller as the property is being sold for continued public house use and is a part-listed disposal.

"The nominating group and/or community can still purchase the property, they just have to go through the same motions as the rest of the market rather then relying on a Right to Bid during a moratorium period."

Honest Miller resraurant 2020

The large dining room has a capacity of 40 to 50, depending on the layout of tables.

Honest Miller land 2020

A large tract of land is included in the property sale.

When asked if - due to its community value listing - it had to remain a pub, the sale's agent said: "In order to not use the property as a pub, they would need to seek planning permission from Ashford Borough Council for a Change of Use to an alternative class usage, depending on what they wanted to do.

"Being listed as an Asset of Community Value is not a definitive blocker for a change of use, but can be a strong argument against permitting it.

"Again this would depend on what somebody wanted to use it for, as for example, change of use to residential does not produce an asset beneficial to the community (unless say it was all affordable housing), whereas change of use to say a community centre or place of worship would."

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Georgia Woolf, 15 August 2018.

The Honest Miller near Ashford to reopen.

A village pub is due to reopen under new management this week.

The Honest Miller in Brook closed in July after the previous owners decided to leave the pub after four years.

It will open again for the first time since changing hands at 6pm on Friday, August 17.

A new menu serving homemade food will launch on Tuesday August, 21.

The pub will open from noon until 10pm from Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

It will open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

On Mondays, the pub will be closed.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Alex Jee, 1 April 2021.

The Honest Miller in Brook, near Ashford, bought from Admiral Taverns by Churchill Property Group.

A village pub has been saved from an uncertain future more than a year after it closed for good.

The fate of the Honest Miller in Brook, near Ashford, has been decided after it was left in the balance after it was boarded up in February 2020.

Honest Miller 2020

The Honest Miller in Brook has been saved more than a year after closing.

The popular haunt had only reopened in August 2018 under new management, but owners Admiral Taverns shut it down less than two years later.

The inn, which dates back to the 16th Century, was put on the market for just shy of 500,000 in March of last year.

New owners Churchill Property Group are now planning to reopen the pub and an increased capacity restaurant, once major renovation work has taken place.

The proposed work will include an upgrade of the pub’s interior and kitchen, the addition of outdoor dining areas, function room, letting rooms and manager accommodation.

A detailed planning application will be submitted this spring and it is anticipated the upgraded pub and restaurant will also bring around 20 new jobs to the village, as well as supporting local farmers and food and drink producers.

Pat Heathcote of Churchill Property Group explains: “In recent years The Honest Miller has had a number of tenants and it has been unsuccessful for several reasons, most notably caused by a lack of investment.

"Pubs and restaurants in a rural location like this need to be financially sustainable to ensure their long-term future and along with serving the local community, the pub will draw customers from a wider area.”

As part of the renovation work, the company is also proposing the building of four new homes next to the pub gardens, on the side facing onto Troy Town Lane.

Mr Heathcote said: "The development of this smaller parcel of redundant land will enable the significant funding of the building and refurbishment works to the pub and coach house to take place.

"At a time when other village pubs in this area are sadly closing and with many facing an uncertain future if they reopen this summer, we think this is an exciting opportunity to bring a new food and tourism business offering to the area as well as much needed homes to a sought-after village.

"In all the doom and gloom for the hospitality sector over the last 12 months, this is a good news story for Brook and the wider Ashford area, as we believe we will create an intimate village pub and restaurant which offers quality and great service, a function/meeting room to support local and special occasion need, letting rooms for visitors to the area, and fantastic outdoor spaces.”

Churchill Property is holding a consultation on their plans to refurbish and re-open The Honest Miller and an online Q & A event will be held on Thursday April 8 at 4.30pm, and again the next day at 7pm.

 

As the information is found or sent to me, including photographs, it will be shown here.

Thanks for your co-operation.

 

LICENSEE LIST

WAITE Thomas 1793+

PUNYERS Thomas 1800s

PUNYERS Thomas jun. 1800s

PUNYER Richard 1826-55 dec'd (age 80 in 1851Census)

PUNYERS Ann before May/1862 dec'd (age 86 in 1862)

RAINS Thomas 1859-1903+ (age 54 in 1881Census) Kelly's 1903

HAYWARD Henry Thomas 1911-39+ (age 64 in 1939)

HOGARTH Peter 1978-81+

COX Gareth & Lisa 2016-18

https://pubwiki.co.uk/HonestMiller.shtml

 

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

CensusCensus

 

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

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