Page Updated:- Monday, 06 September, 2021.


Earliest 1754-

King's Head

Latest 1970s

(Name to)

Wateringbury Street


King's Head Hotel 1890

Above photo circa 1890. Permission given from John Gilham.

King's Head 1908

Above photo, circa 1908, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. The pub is the building with the flag pole outside.

King's Head Hotel

Above photo date unknown. Permission given from John Gilham.

King's Head

Above photo, date unknown.

King's Head

Above photo date unknown. Permission given from John Gilham.

King's Head

Above photo date unknown. Permission given from John Gilham.

King's Head location 2014.

Above photo showing the location of the former "King's Head," which would have been on the right of the photo behind the traffic lights. Photo kindly supplied by Roy Moore. 21 April 2014.


There have been two pubs with this name in Wateringbury. The first "Kings Head" stood on the cross roads and dated back to the 18th century it was originally a farm house owned by Thomas Luck. I am informed by local, Mrs Dail Whiting, that it opened as an Inn in 1785. William Croson was the inn keeper in 1754. On the 27th December 1876 it was sold to Frederic, Charles Frederick and Augustus Leney for 3100. Queen Victoria is said to have stopped there to enjoy a meal on her way from London to the coast. It closed on the 17th February 1938 to allow for the road to be widened. The original "King's Head" ceased trading when a new "Kings Head" was opened on February 18th, 1938, further to the East on the Tonbridge Road. The old building was eventually demolished in the early 1960’s


King's Head King's Head Hotel

Above pictures showing the rebuild of the King's Head.

Permission  and information from John Gilham.

The Weather vane that can be seen on the "Kings Head" above was the original from the Phoenix brewery when it was demolished. The storm of 1987 blew it down from the roof here and it was sent away for repair and then lost. Today there is a smaller replica on the "Kings Head."

King's Head 2

Above postcard, circa 1970.

King's Head 2 inside

Above postcard circa 1970 showing the inside of the pub.

King's Head 2 inside

Above postcard circa 1970s showing the inside of the pub.

King's Head 2 inside

Above postcard circa 1970s showing the inside of the pub.

King's head business card, circa 1970s.

King's Head cardKing's Head card 1949

Above aluminium card issued May 1949. Sign series 1 number 30.

King's Head card 1953King's Head card 1953

Above card issued March 1953. Sign series 4 number 21.

King's Head sign 1960s

Above sign 1960s.


Kentish Gazette 23 October 1770.

Joseph Drywood, from Cranbrooke, Worsted and Yarn Maker, in Mill-Lane, Maidstone. Advertising his products, also continues that he delivers the Kentish Gazette every Tuesday & Saturday, setting out from his house or the "Bull."

While delivering the papers he calls at the following named Public-Houses, to collect parcels & orders.

The "King's Head" at Wateringbury,.....


Kentish Gazette, 23 January 1844.


Jan. 12, at Wateringbury, Mrs Freeman, of the "King's Head Inn," aged 64.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 14 August 1849.


The christening of the son and heir of S. L. Lancaster Lucas, Esq., took place on Tuesday last accompanied with great rejoicings. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Henry Stephens, vicar, the sponsors being the Hon. and Rev. Henry Stevens and Lady Grey de Ruthven, and William Poynder, Esq., of Snodland. A large party of Mr. Lucas' friends and principal tenants were invited on the occasion, and to the number of about 80 dined in the hall, a sumptuous banquet being provided by Messrs. Gunter, of the "London Tavern." At the same time about 700 of the parishioners, including all over 18 years of age, were regaled in a spacious booth with a handsome entertainment, supplied in an excellent manner by Mr. Harris, of the "Kings Head." Three pounds of meat, and an ad libitum supply of final, were allowed to each guest, and a similar supply was sent to the labourers on Mr. Lucas' estates at Hollingbourne, Bearsted, and Yalding. The Cavalry depot band was in attendance, and greatly enhance the gaiety of the scene. In the evening there was a magnificent display of fireworks prepared by the pyrotechnic artist of Vauxhall. The general company then retired, but the party at the house, with numerous additions from the neighbourhood, including the Baroness Le Despencer, E. Boscawen, Esq., &c, &c, concluded the festivity with a ball, which was kept up with great spirit for some hours. Everything went off well, and everybody enjoyed themselves to the utmost.


Kentish Gazette, 20 August 1850.


The annual hop dinner at the "King’s Head" took place on Wednesday last, I. Woodbridge, Esq., in the chair. The winner of last year’s sweepstakes was Mr. S. Monckton, of East Peckham; the set for the present year ranged from 137,000 to 307,000! The average was from 179,000 to 200,000.


Kentish Gazette, 7 March 1854.


Smallbones-Harris:- Feb. 28, at Wateringbury, Mr. Charles Smallbones, of London, to Fanny, daughter of Mr. Richard Harris, of the "King's Head Inn," Wateringbury.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 17 April 1860.


A large-sized and very strong donkey, to draw a Mowing Machine.

Apply to Mr. Luther, "King's Head Inn," Wateringbury.


Kent & Sussex Courier 17 July 1908.


The Bench refused to grant temporary authority in respect of the "King's Head," Wateringbury, to Mr Harry Charters, on the ground that he did not produce sufficient testimonials.


Kent & Sussex Courier, 18 February 1938.

Wateringbury New "Kings Head."

Another building Enterprise by Messrs F. Leney and Sons, Ltd.

But village inn character preserved.

The new "Kings Head Hotel," which is being opened at Wateringbury today (Friday) brings yet another new type of country inn to add charm to Kent countryside. The old "King's Head," which stood at the crossroads nearby, had, in its latter years, become quite noted for its associations with travellers through the country, and for upwards of a century was in the nature of a landmark. It's rambling buildings, in there slow graduation from inn and stable to hotel and garage, had sheltered celebrities since Corinthian days, and had adapted themselves to every change in the pleasant village of which they were the meeting place for generations. Every rustic jollification, where harvest supper or brewery dinner, was nobly provided for in the old "Long Room," and now at last these events will be enjoyed in real comfort.

Commands a beautiful view.

The old premises, which have been acquired by the County Council, will, it is understood, disappear in the course of road improvement. In the old posting days the "King's Head" stood very well on it's quiet corner, but it has long outlived its usefulness in the present age of speed in road traffic, and has at last fallen victim in the cause of public safety. Traffic-lights were installed at the crossroads some time ago, and although they solve the problem very efficiently, the demolition of the old "King's Head" and the clearing of the corner will know make considerable improvement in the amenities of Wateringbury.

The new "Kings Head Hotel," which is fully licensed, was built for Messrs. Frederick Leney and Sons, Ltd, the Wateringbury brewers, who are an associated company of Whitbread's. It stands in the midst of one of the most extensive and beautiful views of the Medway Valley. The building itself, which was designed by Messrs. Seymour, Orman and Adie, the well-known West End architects, is of considerable interest. Being in effect a village inn, it was thought important to preserve that character and flavour as much as possible, and the result is a design reminiscent of traditional forms, yet unfettered by them. No attempt has been made to steal the character of any other building. Economy of Space has been achieved by the most ingenious methods, and parts of the new house - the assembley Hall, for instance - can be changed in a few moments by means of sliding doors to any one of three sizes according to the requirements of the gathering.

Makes a pleasant picture.

The exterior of the building has been treated with a multi-coloured facing brick, with warm-toned tiles on walls and roof which will later weather to the warm brown. At night the house is floodlit, and makes a pleasant picture. Standing well back from the road, it has been possible to provide the "Kings Head" with a large car park, and a garage is also available for guests.

Inside the hotel has been furnished in the simplest manner. The dadoes throughout the licensed portion of the premises are panelled with deal and pine, finished to a soft tone with Stanax, and the cabinets and bar counters have been similarly toned. All beers are drawn from the wood, the cellar being immediately behind the surgery, the heads of the casks only appearing. Heating throughout is by Courtier stoves and radiators to ensure a steady warmth in all the bars and every hour of the day. There are touches of more lavish treatment in the lighting, tiling and furnishing of the saloon and private bars, and the public bar has been provided with a few more comforts than are usually to be found in country inns.



CROSON William 1754+

FREEMAN Edward 1828-41+ (age 55 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

FREEMAN John to 1848 Next pub licensee had

HARRIS Richard 1849-54+ Census

LUTHER Elijas 1858-81+ (age 71 in 1881Census)

ROSE George 1891+ (widower age 65 in 1891Census)

JONES Arthur 1901+ (age 50 in 1901Census)

LEE William George 1911+ (age 22 in 1911Census)

DARTNELL Arthur 1913+

BENNETT William Edward 1918-30+

TYRER Harry 1938-39+ (age 32 in 1939)

KING V circa 1970


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

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


Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier


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