Page Updated:- Monday, 27 September, 2021.


Earliest 1870-

Royal Oak

Closed 2013

School Lane

Bean (Stonewood)

Royal Oak 1870

Above photo, circa 1870 showing Thomas Durling the landlords family and dog, and also their daughter Nancy who is reputed to haunt the pub.

Royal Oak 2014

Above photo 2014.

Royal Oak

Above photo 2015.

Royal Oak 2015

Above photo 2015.

Royal Oak map 2015

Above map 2015.


Said to date back to 1707 when it first opened as a beer and cider house, having been concerted from two cottages, the head of the house would go out to work and the woman would sell beer from the front room.

From at least 1841 through to 1861, Thomas Durling and his family lived in Stonewood. He was called variously a gardener or farm labourer. The 1871 census is the first time the Royal Oak is called as such and Thomas Durling is living at the Royal Oak, Stonewood and is described as a beer retailer. Thomas died in 1880 and his widow Sarah is listed as living at the "Oak" Beer House i the census of 1881 and she is now the beer retailer. In her probate of 1889 she is described as late of the "Royal Oak," Stonewood. In the census from 1891 onward it was variously called the "Royal Oak" or the "Royal Oak Beer House."

It is likely that Thomas Durling worked in the orchards around The "Royal Oak" as for many years which provided the apples for the cider as only beer and cider were sold.

It is said to house a poltergeist rumoured to be the landlord from the 1870s daughter, Nancy. However, the census's including the Durling family make no mention of a Nancy, although I am informed that Ann or Anne is another name for Nancy. The census of 1871 does mention that his wife was called Mary A Durning. The yearly rent in 1900 was 7 4s including the apply orchard. Their orchard used to provide apples for their cider which would have originally been brewed on the premises.

 A full license wasn't obtained until after WW2. Later it became a Free House but unfortunately closed in 2013 only to be demolished shortly afterwards.


From the 13 March 2014.

Filling in pond near The Royal Oak in Bean could lead to flooding say villagers.

Villagers fear the loss of a 150-year-old pond if a housing development on the site of a former pub goes ahead.

Royal Oak 2014

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean.

Bean Residents’ Association and the parish council have objected to plans to demolish the Royal Oak and build one four-bed and five three-bed houses.

They argue that the pond with its willow tree is a natural and historic feature of the village and provides a wildlife haven.

The association is also concerned that filling in the pond could lead to flooding at the junction of School Lane and Sandy Lane.

However, a report to Dartford council’s development control board states the pond has “limited amenity value” and, despite residents’ views, is “unlikely to be of significant value” to wildlife.

It also says the pond has not been identified by the Environment Agency as a “drain” or that the plans pose a flood risk.

The development has, therefore, been recommended for approval at the meeting tonight (Thursday).

Royal Oak 2014

The Royal Oak, School Lane, Bean.

Peter Luker, who lives in Drudgeon Way and is a member of the residents’ association, said the development would spoil one of the last bits of rural Bean.

He said: “The pond has been a feature of the village and provided pleasure for residents and visitors. Ducks, frogs, tadpoles, water boatmen and newts have made it their home.

"It is an ideal nature study resource for our local school.”

While Mr Luker agreed the pond was “something of an eyesore”, he added it was slowly recovering after a community payback team cleared debris in 2012.

He said: “This weekend the water was very healthy with lots of weed evident and the frogs were busy making the next generation of their species.

"The willow tree is alive and sprouting. Given time the pond will regenerate.

"We hope that the members of the board will decide to save our pond so that our children and grandchildren will enjoy it.”

However, the report to the council says that while it understood residents’ concerns, it was difficult to object to the scheme given the pond’s current state and there was not a strong case for its retention.

It adds, however, that an assessment should be carried out before development into any contamination resulting from previous commercial use of the land.

The residents’ association has suggested the pond be transferred to parish ownership.


From the By Chris Hunter. 18 March 2014.

Pond near The Royal Oak in Bean has been saved following Dartford council decision.

Don’t be surprised if you hear strains of the Frog Chorus drifting down from the Royal Oak at night – the frogs of Bean are jumping for joy after the reprieve of their home.

Royal Oak 2014

The 150-year-old pond had been threatened with destruction by a plan for a new housing development on the site, which would also involve the demolition of the former Royal Oak pub nearby.

Now villagers are overjoyed after the application was sunk at a Dartford council planning meeting.

Planners refused it on the grounds of “over-dense development”, “lack of affordable housing”, “unsustainable housing”, and “loss of pond.”

Peter Luker, who lives in Drudgeon Way and is a member of the Bean Residents’ Association, said the pond, although in need of some tidying up, was in a healthy state – and was now full of relieved frogs celebrating the decision, and the arrival of spring, in the only way they know how.

“It’s a bit of a mess but it’s recovering,” he said. “It’s got a lots of duckweed and frogs at the moment, which is a sign that it’s in good health.

“We’re confident the pond will recover, and if it gets help from the villagers and the parish council it will recover faster.”

Previously the Bean Residents’ Association and the parish council had formally objected to plans to build one four-bed and five three-bed houses there, arguing the pond with its willow tree was a natural and historic feature of the village and provided a wildlife haven.

They were also worried filling in the pond could lead to flooding at the junction of School Lane and Sandy Lane.

But they feared the worst when a report to Dartford council’s development control board stated the pond had “limited amenity value” and was “unlikely to be of significant value” to wildlife.

Then came the latest decision.

“I sat there in a euphoric state,” said Mr Luker. “The net result is the villagers are delighted.”

He said the waters surrounding the application remain muddied as the applicants could still appeal and were also attempting to gain permission for another plan that does not affect the pond.


I am informed that the building has been sold, asking price 450,000-460,000 and has since been demolished and is now part of a small housing estate.


Royal Oak cottage 2017

Above photo showing Royal Oak cottage 2017.

Royal Oak cottage 2017

Above photo showing Royal Oak cottage 2017.

Royal Oak Cottage is a newly built four bedroom executive home offering about 1700 sqft of accommodation, spread across three levels whilst occupying a corner plot tucked away on the edge of Bean and offering a semi-rural feel.

Downstairs the home features an impressive open plan living/dining room, bright and airy due to several windows and dual aspect. Also, an uber smart kitchen with integrated appliances. The first and second floors host four well proportioned bedrooms, two with en-suites and the top with walk in storage. The corner plot facilitates ample off street parking, to the rear garden whilst adjacent to the local pond (not part of plot). EPC available on completion.

Location:- This home forms part of a development of three homes standing on a plot formally a pub. It is positioned on the edge of Bean, with a semi-rural feel and with the local Bean school is at the top of the road. Residents enjoy the easy access to Bluewater, Ebbsfleet and the A2.

Our View:- Great proportions, semi-rural location, ready to move straight in to whilst being on the doorstep virtually of Bluewater (certainly feels like it!). An ideal home for the growing family and with the benefit of no chain.

Lounge:- (6.65m x 5.79m) Kitchen (2.87m x 3.76m) Cloakroom / WC (2.16m x 0.97m) Bedroom 1 Bedroom 1 En-Suite Bedroom 2Bedroom 3 (3.25m x 3.78m) Bedroom 4Bedroom 4 En-Suite Bathroom (2.39m x 1.60m)

Parking:- To Side Grounds Rear Garden Important note to purchasers: We endeavour to make our sales particulars accurate and reliable, however, they do not constitute or form part of an offer or any contract and none is to be relied upon as statements of representation or fact. Any services, systems and appliances listed in this specification have not been tested by us and no guarantee as to their operating ability or efficiency is given. All measurements have been taken as a guide to prospective buyers only, and are not precise. Please be advised that some of the particulars may be awaiting vendor approval. If you require clarification or further information on any points, please contact us, especially if you are travelling some distance to view. Fixtures and fittings other than those mentioned are to be agreed with the seller.


Royal Oak location 2018

Above photo showing the location today (2018) kindly sent by Brian Brockie.


I will be adding the historical information when I find or are sent it, but this project is a very big one, and I do not know when or where the information will come from.

All emails are answered.



DURLING Thomas 1841-71+ (age 54 in 1871Census)

DURLING Sarah (widow) 1881-89 dec'd (age 70 in 1881Census)

Last pub licensee had NETTLINGHAM Austin 1891+ (age 48 in 1891Census)

ELLIS Henry 1901-11+ (age 73 in 1911Census)

FARRANCE Frederick F 1939+ (age 64 in 1939)




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