DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 11 April, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1663-

(Name from)

King's Arms

1 Mar 2023

(Name to)

Meopham Green

Meopham

01474 813323

https://whatpub.com/kings-arms

King's Arms

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Jason Kemsley.

King's Arms

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

King's Arms

Above postcard, date unknown.

King's Arms 1937

Above postcard 1937, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

King's Arms

Above photo, date circa 2013.

King's Arms 2023

Above photo 2023.

 

The King's Arms dates from just after the Restoration, and was probably named in honour of Charles II ascending the throne. Before this it was known as the "Smith's Arms" and change name some time in the 1660s.

In 1835 a sick man was lodged at the inn for five weeks, and the parish paid not only for his food and lodgings, but for 62 pints of beer at a cost of 15s. 6d. Obviously, beer was considered part of a well-balanced diet! About that time, the pub occupied a land area of 1 rood 15 perches, and the Vicar received a tithe of five shillings a year from the owners, Charles and Thomas Bennett. A later tenant at the inn was Henry Nordish, who used the shop incorporated in the premises as a butchery.

The village stocks used to be housed in the main bar, but as of 2020 appear to have vanished.

 

From the Register of Licenses granted in the North Division of Aylesford Lath.

1872, August 23rd, To sell by retail Excisable Liquors to be consumed on the premises. The "King's Arms," Meopham. Owner, George Wood, East Star Brewery, Gravesend. Licensee George Lynds.

 

From the Yorkshire Post, 22 July, 1930.

Machine Breaks in Pieces Over Village.

SIX OCCUPANTS KILLED.

Wreckage and Bodies Scattered Over Wide Area.

Four well-known Society people were killed, as well as two pilots, in an air disaster at the Kent village of Meopham Green, near Gravesend, yesterday. The victims were:—

The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava;

Viscountess Ednam;

Sir Edward Ward, Bart.;

Mrs. H. Loeffler;

Lieut.-Col. G. L. Henderson, the pilot; and

Charles Durban Shearing, assistant pilot.

The machine was on a taxi service between Le Touquet and London. Lord Dufferin and Sir Edward Ward were the guests of Mrs. Loeffler. Lady Ednam, whose husband is lying ill at Le Touquet, had accepted the offer of a vacant seat in order to cross to London for a few days.

The cause of the disaster is a mystery. When flying over Meopham Green in a rainstorm, the plane suddenly broke in pieces and the bodies of the passengers and wreckage were scattered over a wide area. All were killed instantly except Col. Henderson, who was still breathing when found strapped in the pilot's seat of the broken fuselage. He died in a few minutes.

The accounts of eye-witnesses differ as to whether there was an explosion, although most of them speak of hearing a loud crash before the wreckage began to fall. The mystery is deepened by the fact that the petrol tanks have been found practically intact, and there is no sign of fire.

It was revealed late last night that had there been room Colonel the Hon. Walter Piers Legh. the Prince of Wales’s equerry, would have travelled in the ill-fated 'plane. He was among the guests at Mrs. Loeffler’s week-end party at Le Touquet, and as there was not room for him in the ’plane crossed from the Continent by boat in the afternoon. Considerable anxiety for his fate was felt until his arrival in London.

The Prince has often flown to and from Le Touquet over the week-end, and has frequently been the guest of Mrs. Loeffler.

UNKNOWN CAUSE OF DISASTER.

Conflicting Evidence as to Explosion.

The cause of the disaster which overtook the machine over the little Kent village of Meopham Green is a mystery. At one moment the aeroplane—a large Junker monoplane operated by a British company—was flying steadily through a rainstorm and the next the bodies of its occupants and parts of the machine were being strewn over a large area.

Although a number of people saw the debris falling to the ground nobody appeared to have actually seen the 'plane first get into difficulties.

The bodies of five of the occupants were found terribly mutilated in an orchard nearly a quarter of a mile from where the main part of the fuselage crashed. The sixth occupant, Colonel Henderson, the pilot, was still strapped to the pilot’s seat. He was breathing, but died within a few minutes.

The main part of the fuselage, with one wing attached, fell in the garden of Cottage Meads, a little bungalow on the brow of a hill on the outskirts of the village, embedding itself in the earth only three feet from the back door.

PETROL TANKS INTACT.

The engine of the machine fell in the drive of Leylands, an adjoining house, a wing fluttered down two miles away near the village at Harvel, and the tail and one of the seats were picked up about 500 yards away from Cottage Meads.

One extraordinary feature of the disaster is that when the wreckage was examined later the petrol tanks were found intact. This and the absence of any signs of fire are thought to rule out any suggestion of an explosion in mid air.

The Gravesend police and the local police had the task of picking up the scattered remains of the victims. The bodies were placed in a van and taken to the "King's Arms Hotel" to await definite identification.

The machine belonged to the Henderson Flying Bureau, and had been lent to Walcot Air Lines as the traffic from Le Touquet was particularly heavy. She was an all-metal ’plane, and similar to the one that crashed at Edenbridge recently. The ’plane was a Junker machine operated by a British company.

Long after nightfall police and volunteers, under the direction of Air Ministry officials, continued to search for debris over the surrounding countryside, anxious to recover any fragments in the hope of finding some clue as to the cause of the disaster.

EYE-WITNESSES’ STORIES.

“Fearful Crash” and Rain of Wreckage.

“I was in my garden at the time” she said to a reporter," and heard an aeroplane coming over. Suddenly there wan a fearful crash, and looking up I saw the air full of what for a second I thought were small aeroplanes.

"Then I realised that there were bits of one machine and I turned and ran for the house. Before I could get in I heard some dreadful thuds as bodies hit the ground, and there was another smaller crash when something fell on the root of my house. It was a terrible unnerving experience.”

Mr. Gray, the occupant of Cottage Mead, described how after hearing a crash he found the wreckage in his garden.

"I was in the house at the time and dashed out to see the wreckage in the garden nearly on top of the house. With help I extricated the pilot and he was carried into the house, but was beyond aid.”

WRECKAGE RAINING DOWN.

"I at first thought it was a Moth aeroplane coming down," was how Mr. C. Hogg, of Lower Farm, described the falling of the Junker's wing.

“I was on the farm,” he continued, "and saw a small aeroplane going over. I remarked to my brother that perhaps it was one of the machines in the round Europe race. A couple of minutes later I heard another machine in the clouds, and remarked, "Here’s another of them." I had hardly got the words out of my mouth when there was a crash, and pieces of wreckage were raining down. Besides the wing I saw the engine falling, and other pieces coming down as well."

Mr. F. Moore, son of the proprietor of the "King’s Arms Hotel," Meopham Green, heard a crash, and rushed into the street in time to see the fuselage fall into the garden of Cottage Meads.

"I dashed up the road, and found that the pilot was still in his seat in the wreckage," Mr. Moore said. "He was just breathing, but died in a few seconds. Then we commenced the heartrending task of picking up the victims and taking them back to my father’s hotel. I have never seen such a ghastly sight in my life. Parts of the bodies were strewn in all directions.”

FALLING LIKE LOGS.

Mr. James Howart, who lives at Harvel, two miles from the scene of the accident, said: "My wife and I were sitting in the front room of our bungalow when we heard the sound of a ’plane engine. My flying experience told me that something was amiss, but the low-lying clouds prevented me from seeing what the trouble was.

"Suddenly there was a dull thud and something which I afterwards discovered to be one of the wings of the ’plane crashed into a field near-by.”

Mr. Thomas Hildern, who lives in the village of Culverstone, said: "While I was cycling along the road near Meopham Green I heard a sound like a machine-gun. I looked up but could see nothing because of a thick drizzling rain. Suddenly a ’plane seemed to drop out of a low cloud and the engine parted company with the fuselage.
"The body of the machine carried on for about a hundred yards before it dropped like a stone. It was terrible to see the bodies of the victims falling like logs from the machine just as the engine fell out.”

WOBBLING BADLY.

Mr. W. Parsons, a grocer and stationer, of Meopham, said that as the ’plane approached he saw from the street that it was wobbling badly.

"The ’plane had passed over when there was an explosion—not a very loud one,” he said, "immediately pieces of wreckage and what looked like little aeroplanes came floating down. We did not realise then that they were bodies.”

Miss W. J. Newall, of Meopham, described the noise before the machine fell as "a terrific roar.” Then there was a crash, and the gardener rushed in to say that a 'plane was down near Meopham Green.

Dr. Goldenberg, a retired surgeon, said while in his house about three o'clock he heard a terrific crash, and running out saw bits of an aeroplane lying in the field.

"There was a wing and a large piece of the body of the machine, and the pilot was covered with a large piece of fabric. By the time I got to him he was dying,” said Dr. Goldenberg. "He passed away in ten minutes. My niece saw the whole affair. She says that the aeroplane broke in pieces in the air, and the different portions crashed to the ground.”

BODIES IDENTIFIED.

Relatives’ Sad Journey to Village.

There were pathetic scenes when relatives and friends of the six victims of the crash arrived at Meopham Green in the evening to fulfil the sad task of identifying the bodies.

They were taken by sympathetic police officers to the hut where the bodies were lying, and as a policeman unlocked the door two women in the party broke down. They were too grief-stricken to enter and stood outside overcome.

General Cannot and the other men enlarged a few moments later. Before the party left a police officer brought out some stained and torn clothing which one of the women identified.

The news of Sir Edward Ward's death was broken to his aged mother, Lady Ward, by Commander Ward, her other son. Commander Ward was informed of his brother’s death while at business, and immediately left for Meopham. Sir Edward Ward's valet also went to Meopham to identify the body. He had been at Le Touquet with Sir Edward, but travelled back by train and boat.

THE PILOT’S WIFE.

One of the tragic features of the disaster is that in the morning, only a few hours before the crash, Mrs. Henderson, the pretty young wife of the pilot, flew with her husband from Le Touquet in the ill-fated machine. Captain Henderson then returned to France to pick up the party who were the victims of the tragedy.

Mrs. Henderson heard of the disaster in London and immediately rushed to Meopham Green by car. Friends, who accompanied her, kept her in ignorance of the fact that her husband was dead until some time after her arrival.

Mrs. Henderson seemed too dazed to realise the magnitude of the disaster and that her husband was dead. She walked down the narrow lane to Cottage Meads and stood for a time gazing at the crumpled fuselage.

Lady Veronica Blackwood, the daughter of the Marquesas of Dufferin, left for Meopham shortly after the family had been informed of the tragedy. The Marchioness, who had remained in England while her husband had gone abroad for the week-end, is overcome with grief.

Throughout the night a detective kept a lonely vigil outside the hut which served as a mortuary. Before he took over his duties there were others to visit the place. Among them were the Duke of Sutherland, a brother of Lady Ednam, and Lord Londonderry. They entered the hut with the fathers of the two pilots. The only woman to see the remains was Miss Loeiffler.

 

From ‘A Precis of Meopham’s pubs, past and present.’ By James Carley. Date Unknown.

The Kings Arms.

Almost opposite the "Cricketers" is the "Kings Arms." This is also a house of some antiquity. A reference to it appears in the Manorial Roll of 1663, where it refers to “A Messuage with the appurtenances called ‘The Smith’s Arms, and one croft of land thereunto belonging to Pitfield Green, in the occupation of Richard Hasling.” By the time that Richard Hasling died (in 1680) the name had been changed to its present one, no doubt to celebrate the restoration of the monarchy. Probably the house changed little over the next century or so, and the first real description comes in the Tithe schedule of 1840. This refers to the Public House, Shop etc. The shop was what is now the public bar on the south side, but no record remains to show what trade was carried on there. In 1847 the tenancy passed to Henry Nordish, a member of another well known Meopham family who had owned and farmed land in the parish for many years. He used the shop for butchery. The use of the house by the parish authorities for the accommodation of people who could not be housed elsewhere can be illustrated by an entry in the parish register for 1759, recording on October 28 the baptism of Margaret, the daughter of a travelling woman who lay in at Thomas Howes, the "Kings Arms." In 1835 the Vestry paid the landlord for board and lodging for a sick man for five weeks, and at the same time also paid him 15s. 6d. for 62 pints of beer.

The premises, three stories high are under a tiled roof. The exterior is covered with concrete rendering, concealing its actual construction, but from its age it seems likely that it is a timber frame building with brick infill. When a modernisation scheme was carried out in the early 1970s two copper half pennies were found in the cellar, one from the reign of George II and the other from George III.

 

 

I am informed (2018) that the pub is operating more along the lines of a restaurant than a public house. After closing for a short time at the end of July 2019, it reopened again in January 2020 after being renovated.

 

From the https://www.kentlive.news By Will Rider, 1 September 2020.

The Kings Arms in Meopham closes for investigation after reported case of COVID-19.

A pub in Meopham has temporarily closed after a reported case of coronavirus.

The Kings Arms posted a notice on Facebook yesterday (August 31), informing customers of the news.

They say they will be contacting every booking that has visited the pub within the last 21 days.

The pub will remain closed while investigations are carried out.

A spokesman said: "It has been brought to our attention that we have had a reported case of COVID-19.

"We take the responsibility of our patrons' health extremely seriously and so with regret we have decided to implement a temporary closure while investigations are carried out.

"We will provide further updates as and when possible.

"All customers with bookings will be contacted.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding on this matter."

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Alex Langridge, 25 February 2023.

Owners of Sultan Sofrasi in Gravesend to open Mediterranean restaurant in Kings Arms pub, Meopham.

Two brothers have invested 300,000 to turn a village pub into a Mediterranean restaurant.

The owners of popular Turkish eatery Sultan Sofrasi, in Gravesend are renovating the Kings Arms, in Meopham, with hopes of welcoming customers in March.

Mehmet and Muzo Celik 2023

New owners Mehmet and Muzo Celik.

Mehmet and Muzo Celik signed a 20-year lease with the Wellington Pub Company for the site in Wrotham Road earlier this year.

Muzo, 25, said: "Meopham needs a Mediterranean restaurant. When we took it over a renovation was needed."

The pair are in the process of completely refurbishing the inside of the 17th century building to give the restaurant a fresher look while also keeping the historical features.

Muzo said: "We do not want to upset the local people or lose the history of the building. We want to keep it as historical as much as we can."

His older brother Mehmet, 29, added: "We did not think it was going to be a big project but it was. We have gone over budget.

"This is part of making a business. You need to look after the property even if you do not own it and that is what we are going to do."

It will be serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes including steaks, pasta, shish kebab, and vegetarian options – although the menu is still being decided.

The restaurant will seat 120 people, use local food and produce where possible and hire 20 staff. They will also be renovating the garden and outside area.

Originally from Norfolk, Muzo and Mehmet learned the trade from their father who ran a restaurant for around 35 years. They say they were always working there when they were younger.

Muzo added: "When we were young we would learn from our father. It is not just our job but it has been our whole life.

"For us it is about the quality of food and the community. We will have great customers and it will do well. We have a few people coming in every day asking when we are opening."

The pair also own Sultan Sofrasi in New Road, Gravesend, which opened in 2016.

Muzo said: "We are both young. We just want to expand in Kent and if we see a need we will be there, like we have here.

"We have people coming to visit us from the likes of Canterbury and Rochester.

"If another great opportunity comes up, we would check it out."

The Kings Arms restaurant is planning to hold a soft launch on Wednesday, March 1.

 

Apparently the name was also changed and it's now going under the name of "Minel," whatever that means.

 

LICENSEE LIST

SHAPLES Edward 1715+

HOWES Thomas 1753+

BUGGS Henry 1841+ (age 50 in 1841Census)

BEVAN Mr 1844+

NORDISH Henry 1847-62+ (also farmer and butcher age 41 in 1851Census)

LYNDS George 1871-72+ (age 33 in 1871Census)

LYNDS Mary Ann 1874+

LEE Edmund 1881-82+ (age 38 in 1881Census)

BISHOP Alfred 1882-94+ (age 48 in 1891Census)

BANCE James 1899+

GANDER Thomas Warden 1901-03+ (age 45 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

JARVEY George 1905+

SARGENT William 1909-13+ (age 34 in 1911Census)

MILLS Walter 1918+

MOORE John E 1922-38+

MOORE F W 1963+

GEORGE Cliff & Margaret 1970+

???? Peter & ???? Jack 2017+

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

http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/kingsarms.html

 

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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