Sort file:- Chatham, December, 2022.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 10 December, 2022.


Earliest 1768-

Sun Family & Commercial Hotel and Posting House

Latest ????

76 High Street


Sun Hotel 1926

Above photo 1926 showing the entrance to the hotel on the right.

Sun Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown.

Sun advert 1864

Above advert 1864.

Commercial Hotel

Above photo showing what was described as the "Commercial Hotel and Dining Rooms" on the High Street, circa 1930s.

Sun Hotel 1960

Above photo 1960.

Above photo, date unknown.

Sun Hotel 1965

Above photo, circa 1965.


The Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre has referenced a set of documents, that I haven't seen yet, and is part of the Watts Charity MSS, 1579-1972.

Reference is made as follows:-


T38. Premises at Chatham, Maidstone and Milton-next-Sittingbourne [including land next to the "Sun Tavern;" The "Globe Hotel;" The "United Service;" The "Criterion" beershop; the "Red Lion;" and cafe, formerly the "General Havelock," all in High Street, Chatham; land, part of Room Lane Farm, Old Maidstone Road, Chatham; Fant Farm, Maidstone; Church Field (29 acres). Church Farm, Milton next Sittingbourne] (8 docs.)


The Licensing Records of 1872 stated the premises held a Full License and was owned by Edward Winch of Chatham.


I have reference to this pub from the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle September 1768, when the paper advertised the sale of household furniture at Minster Abbey, on the Isle of Sheppey. It was stated that catalogues could be obtained from this public house. See Notes of 1768.


It appears that the original premises were totally destroyed by a fire in 1820, along with the "King's Head," and "Crown and Anchor." Details below.


Kentish Gazette, 16 July, 1774.

"Sun Tavern," Chatham, July 15th, 1774.

Thomas Champion begs leave to acquaint his Friends, that being greatly distressed by the late dreadful fire, was thereby rendered incapable of proper Accommodations, as usual; but has used his upmost endeavours in having fitted up his House and Stables in the best Manner, for the Reception of his Customers, whose Favours shall ever be most gratefully acknowledged in every Respect.


Kentish Gazette 10 January 1778.

John Aldersley, Late Servant to Mr. Farley, of the "Fountain Inn," Canterbury, begs leave to acquaint his friends and the public in general, that he has taken the "Sun Tavern," at Chatham, in Kent. Late in the Occupation of Mrs. Champion.

He has laid in a fresh stock of Wines of all sorts, with a good Larder, pleasant Lodging Rooms open to the River Medway, with a fine prospect to his Majesty's Dockyard.

Those Gentlemen, who please to favour him with their Commands, may depend upon the best Accomodations, which will be gratefully acknowledged, and esteemed by their most humble Servant at Command. John Aldersley.

Neat Post-Chaises, with able Horses and careful Drivers.


Kentish Gazette, 3 January, 1792.

On Tuesday night last, about half past 11 o'clock, Mr. Greenwood of the Stamp Office, London, went to the "Sun Inn," at Chatham, where he supped and went to bed; at about 10:30 next morning, the charwoman heard a pistol go off in his bedroom, and ran to the door, which was locked; she called for assistance, and the door was broke open, when they found he had shot himself with a pistol by putting it in his mouth.

The Coroner's inquest sat on the body the same day, and brought in their verdict Lunacy.

He was interred on Saturday evening. Mr. Greenwood had slept at the above house three nights in the preceding week.


Kentish Chronicles, 22 December, 1795.

A letter from Chatham informs us, that on Wednesday night, about 9 o'clock, a terrible riot happened at the "Sun Inn," caused by some young officers of the Marines quartered in the lower Barracks; who, in a bit of intoxication, insisted on being admitted into the Assembly room, where the principal inhabitants of the town, according to monthly custom, were met to partake of the diversions of dancing and cards; as, however, they received a peremptory refusal, they ill-treated both Mr. and Mrs. Gurr, the master and mistress of the Inn. This so aggravated the company in the house, that they formed a resolution of taken away the offices swords or hangers, which they, with care, completely accomplished, and an Irish officer had his sword entirely broken to pieces. Then then sent to the barracks for a picquet guard, but the Commandant, Colonel Innis, sent an officer, of superior rank, to investigate the affair; when the officers were reprimanding, and ordered to disperse.


Kentish Gazette 3 March 1801.

Last week died at Chatham, Mr. Nelson, of the "Sun Tavern."


Kentish Gazette, 7 March 1820.

We are exceedingly concerned to state that the town of Chatham has been visited by one of the utmost destructive fires which it ever experienced. The conflagration commenced about two o'clock on Friday morning at the house of Mr. Hill, a baker, residing at 69, High-street. Before any assistance could be afforded, it had gained such strength as to put an end to all hopes of saving Mr. Hill's house, or that next to it, with which the flames had almost immediately communicated. The attention of those who first came to the spot was then directed to the adjoining houses, and those opposite, towards which the flames were driven by a violent North Westerly wind, which continue to blow strongly until a late hour in the morning. From Mr. Hill's house, and from those of Mr. Watson, a linen Draper; of Mr. Cohen, a pawnbroker; and two or three others which intervened, the devouring element reach the "Sun Tavern," a very extensive pile of building, and the principal Inn at Chatham. When this house caught fire the scene was most awful, the flames had been driven by the violence of the wind, to the opposite side of the street, which then presented to the eye a pile of burning buildings, between which, from the narrowness of the place, the passage was in some places impassable, and, in all extremely dangerous. About half-past four or five, the roof of the "Sun Tavern" fell with a tremendous crash, and shortly after only a very small part of the walls were still standing. At one time the brewery of Mr. Best was thought to be in such danger that it's otter rain was looking upon as inevitable; providentially, however, by the prompt assistance of great numbers of the town's people, aided by the active exertions of the military, it escaped with comparatively trifling danger. Mr. Best was not so fortunate with respect to his dwelling house, which, with several adjoining houses, also his property, were entirely consumed. The walls of Mr. Best's house were, from their great solidarity, the only parts which were not levelled with the Earth. At four, and between that and six o'clock, the confusion which resigned in the town was beyond description. From the appearance of the flames at the latter hour, it was thought that all the houses south-east of that where the fire began, would fall a sacrifice to its rage. So strong was this impression, that many families, considerably removed from the immediate scene of danger, had taken down there bedsteads and other articles of furniture, and had removed a large part of them to a still greater distance.

About 11 o'clock, the fury of the flames was checked by the partial destruction of some houses on the same side of the street where it began, and by the total demolition of one or two on the opposite side, which the flames of not then reached, but which were judged proper to take down, to prevent the further spread of the configuration. The whole number of houses destroyed in High Street is 38; and there were several small buildings destroyed in the rear of each. The violence of the wind was such that large flakes of burning matter were conveyed to some 100 yards' distance. One of those flakes fell upon a large stack of hay about 150 yards from High Street, which consumed that, and two others, which were close by. There was a considerable quality of hay besides these stacks, which fortunately escaped. From the extraordinary rapidity with which the flames spread, and the danger of which threatened, in a narrow street, both sides of which, for a great part, on fire, and immensity of property was destroyed, which, had the weather been more mild, might have been saved. Several houses, and those principally belonging to persons whose ruin must be the consequence, are wholly uninsured. It is, however, a satisfaction, and relating this melancholy accident, to be able to state that no life was lost on the occasion. One or two persons were hurt by the falling of a wall, but not dangerously. At an early hour of the day the news of the fire reached London, from which some engines were dispatched; but before their arrival the flames had been nearly subdued. The engines from Rochester and Maidstone on on the spot as soon as possible after the accident had reached those places. The Sun fire engine, drawn by 6 horses, reached Chatham at 6 in the afternoon. Great inconvenience was experience from the wants of a plentiful supply of water. In some places it was conveyed in casks to the spot where the engines were at work, and there emptied into the street. The fire is supposed to have originated from the carelessness of one of the baker's men, who carried out some hot ashes, which he emptied near a rick of faggotts, and which was fanned into a blaze by the excessive high winds.

This is the third severe visitation by fire which Chatham has experience within the last half-century. About 20 years ago a fire broke out nearly in the same place as the present one, which consumes nearly 70 houses; and about 22 years before that period a fire happened in the same street, to which 80 or 90 houses fell a pray.

Another Account.

The following are some further particulars which we have learned.
The family of Mr. Hill, at whose house the configuration commenced, and also that at the "Sun Tavern," had merely time to snatch a few garments, so rapid was the progress of the flames, there being only two small engines, that belong to the town, and a private one. When the flames reached Best's brewhouse, a large stone fronted building, the engines were supplied, owing to the scarcity of water with beer, to the amount of nearly 100 butts. The wind blew with considerable fury, and both sides of the street, which is very narrow, being in flames at the same time the falling ruins rounded it dangerous for persons to pass, or to render assistance. The watch-houses and places of confinement, it is lamentable to add, were filled with the lower order of townsfolks, who took advantage of their neighbours' distress and got intoxicated at their expense; and such was a scene of distress, that nothing less than the utter ruin of the town was expected. On the side of the High Street, next the Medway, there are about 15 houses destroyed. On the opposite side about 12, besides the number of courts and alleys.

The letter of a correspondent gives the following as a correct list of the person whose houses have been destroyed and much damaged by the dreadful configuration.

On The North Side.

Mr. Schnebbelie, confectioner, Mr. Benjamin; Mr. Hills, baker; Mrs. Burdett, tallow chandley; Mr. Watson, ironmonger; "Crown and Anchor;" Mr. Cohen, pawnbroker; Mr. Hall, tailor; "Sun Tavern," Mrs. Etherington, stationery; Mr. Whitehead, sadler; Mr. Fisher, draper; Mr. Stronghill, glazier; "Kings Head," entirely destroyed.

Mr. Hendy, breeches maker, Mr. Large, shoemaker, Mr Williams, draper, Mr. Delasour, silversmith, much damaged.


On The South Side.

Mr. Catchpool, draper; Mr. Thompson, grocer; Mr. Crockford, cabinet-maker; Mr. Poole, hatter; Mr. Harris, green-grocer; Mr. Hawkins, fishmonger; Mr. Appleby, stay-maker; Mr. Pye, butcher; Mr. Frid, pawnbroker; Mr. G. Miller; Mr. Matthews, tailor; Mr. Brittain, hair-dresser; Mr. E. Wickham; Mr. H. Wickham; entirely destroyed.

The mansion of J. Best esq. burnt and Brewhouse very much damaged.

Mr. Godfrey, surgeon, Mr Bishop, grocer; Mr. Lucas, slopseller; Mr. Ray, butcher; Mr. Davis, ironmonger; very much damaged. Several small houses and back premises on both sides the way, burnt down, it is supposed that 100,000 will not repair the loss.


Kentish Chronicle, 11 August, 1829.

On Wednesday last a trial took place at the "Sun Tavern," Chatham, before F. Whitemarsh, Esq., one of the Commissioners of Lunatics, assisted by John Gibbs and Edward Twopeny, Esqrs., arising out of the following circumstances:-

A young lady named Chapman, who we understand had formerly been confined in the private Lunatic Asylum, at Town-Malling, was living under the care of her aunt, Mrs. Groombridge, at Chatham. An individual, having 9 children by a deceased wife, and living on terms of intimacy with Mrs. Groombridge, succeeded in marrying Miss Chapman, in the month of June last, removed her from the care of her aunt, and was concealed with her several weeks from the knowledge of her friends. They, however, to defeat the sordid intentions of her husband, sued out of commission of lunacy in the Court of Chancery, and a jury was empanelled on Wednesday to try the sanity of the young lady. A number of witnesses were examined on both sides, chiefly medical gentleman. For the young lady there were examined Mr. Smith, Dr. Perfect of Town-Malling, and Messrs. Godfrey and Seaton, surgeons. The sitting was commenced at 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning, and continued until 4 o'clock on the following morning, when the jury returned a verdict - "That the young lady was of unsound mind, and incapable of managing her affairs." The result will therefore be as usual in such cases, - she will be placed under a guardian appointed by the Court of Chancery.


From the Kentish Gazette, 19 December 1837.

On Friday morning last the 15th inst. a man of the name of Evans, in a state of intoxication, was unfortunately drowned at the "Sun Inn," Hard, Chatham. A jury sat on the body the following day, at his residence, in Ordnance Place, before R. Hinde, esq. the coroner, and a verdict was returned of "Found drowned.”


From the Kentish Gazette, 17 September 1839.


On Monday last Madame Panormo had announced a concert to take place at the "Sun Inn." However, the awfully sudden death of her husband, which took place that day, deprived the inhabitants of the performance. It appeared that the gentleman's death took place in one of the rooms where he was lodging, which was on St. Margaret's Bank, Rochester, and that he had been in excellent spirits throughout the day. He was watching the arrival of the vans from Gravesend, as his son, who was coming from London to take part in the performances of the evening, was expected by one of them; and having caught sight of him, he exclaimed, "here he is," when he instantly fell down dead. A coroner’s inquest was held on Wednesday, at the "Nag's Head, before R. Hinde, Esq., touching the death of the deceased, when the jury, after a patient investigation, returned a verdict of "Died in a fit of apoplexy."


From the Kentish Gazette, 1 February 1842.


On Saturday a public meeting was held at the "Sun Tavern," Chatham, the High Constable in the chair, for the purpose of considering the best mode of celebrating the christening of the Prince of Wales. It was proposed to have a public dinner on that day at the "Sun Tavern;" and also suggested that the inhabitants should close their shops, and that business be suspended.


From the Kentish Gazette, 10 November 1846.


Alarming Accident to Capt. Scott and his Lady.

A frightful accident occurred yesterday afternoon in the High-street of this town, by a dray, drawn by two powerful horses, which had run away from the lower part of Chatham, and taking the course of the High-street, just as Captain John S. Scott, of the 31st Regiment, accompanied by his lady, was driving in an open carriage drawn by two spirited horses. The dray came in contact with the hind wheels of the carriage, which forced it round, and the concussion threw Captain Scott and his lady into the road with much violence. The horses, with part of the dray, proceeded with alarming velocity towards Rochester, upsetting everything in their way, and the horses of Captain Scott’s carriage started off down Chatham, and came in contact with a cart laden with coals, the force of which caused the body of the carriage to separate from the pole, and the horses being uncontrolled, one of them (a valuable animal worth 80 guineas) was so severely hurt that it was taken to the stables of the "Sun Hotel," where it died this this morning. Captain Scott and his lady were promptly taken into the "Sun Hotel," and were attended immediately by Mr. A. Robertson, surgeon; several military medical officers were also quickly in attendance. Owing to the severe contusions about the legs and body of Captain Scott, it was deemed expedient to remove him to his residence, at Brompton, and he was taken to the carriage in the arms of three serjeants of his regiment. It is hoped that no bones are broken. Mrs. Scott fortunately escaped unhurt. The dray and horses were the property of Mr. Woodham, of Strood.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 31 May 1859.


Mr. J. T. Skinner, HAS received instructions from the Proprietor to SELL by AUCTION, at the "Sun Hotel," Chatham, on Wednesday, the 15th June, 1859, At five o'clock in the evening, The following valuable FREEHOLD ESTATES, in seven lots, vis.

Lot 3.— Two brick and tiled DWELLING-HOUSES, with outbuildings in rear, and valuable piece of BUILDING LAND, at the north side thereof, situate opposite the "Plough" public-house, Upper Britton-street, New Brompton, Gillingham, Kent, and now in the tenures of John Shorter and James Southgate, at weekly rentals amounting to 12 11s. 4d. per annum (less rates and taxes).

Lot 5:— A brick and slated DWELLING-HOUSE, containing 5 rooms, washhouse and cellar, together with the outbuildings, front and back gardens, and passage-way at side, situate adjoining the "Lord Exmouth" public-house, Exmouth terrace, Gillingham, now in the tenure of Richard Sears, at an annual rental of 8 (tenants paying rates and taxes).



Henry Spurrier died of complications following surgery. He had lived in Chatham only for five years, taking over the "Sun Hotel", Chatham, in 1884. Before this he ran an hotel at Deal, ("The Black Horse"), prior to this he was in the slate business at Folkestone.

His time at the "Sun" was so successful that he purchased the freehold recently, he had also run the "Mitre Hotel", also in Chatham.
Six years before his death, he was elected to Chatham Council for St. Mary's Ward, he was a Conservative, but not dogmatically so. He was for some time on the Board of Guardians; he was a Director of the Rochester and Chatham Savings Bank and a Director of the Chatham Constitutional Club.

Tribute from the Mayor of Chatham, ".....not only had the family been deprived of a good husband and excellent father, but the Borough had lost a good citizen, whose memory would be cherished by his colleagues on the council and by his brother tradesmen ("hear, hear")"


The pub also housed the "Sun Tap" at the rear.

Pigot's Directory of 1828 called the premises the "Sun Tavern and York Hotel."

In 1927 a new building was erected to the right hand side of the original.

According to the book called "Royal Bastards" by Peter Beauclerk-Dewar and Roger Powell, the eldest bastard of George IV lived at the "Sun Hotel," Chatham after he quit the army in approx 1831 after the King died, and lived the rest of his life there.



CHAMPION Thomas 1774+

CHAMPION Mrs to Jan/1778 Kentish Gazette

ALDERSLEY John Jan/1778+ Kentish Gazette

GURR John 1793+ Trade Directory 1793

NELSON ???? to Mar/1801 dec'd

ASHENDEN William 25/Mar/1803+

GREENSTREET William 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34 (Sun, High Street)

RICKMAN Thomas 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29 (Sun Tavern and York Hotel)

BIRCH Henry 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34 (Sun Tavern and York Hotel)

WINCH Edward 1838-64+ (also brewer and wine merchant age 53 in 1861Census) Wright's Topography 1838

WILLIS William 1872-82+ (age 60 in 1881Census) Licensing Records 1872

Last pub licensee had SPURRIER Henry 1884-91+ (age 49 in 1891Census)

DOWLAND Douglas 1911-13+ (age 45 in 1911Census)



Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette

Trade Directory 1793Universal British Directory of Trade 1793

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

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

Wright's Topography 1838Wright's Topography 1838

Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872



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