Sort file:- Peckham East and West, August, 2021.

Page Updated:- Monday, 02 August, 2021.


Earliest 1873-

Walnut Tree

Latest 1961

Hale Street

East Peckham

Walnut Tree 1931

Above photo 1931.

From Barclay, Perkins' Anchor Magazine. Volume XI No.10 - October 1931.

Walnut Tree 1931

The "Walnut Tree," East Peckham, shewing a typical crowd of hop-pickers enjoying a well-earned drink. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Walnut Tree 1938

Above photo, summer 1938, kindly sent by John Clements, showing from left to right, Violet Doris "Vidi" Snell, her mother Clara Snell, and Clara's sister, Florence Mable Clements nee Williams.

Walnut Tree 1945

Above postcard circa 1945, kindly sent by Roger Birt.


In 1740 the River Medway was rendered navigable for barge traffic and a wharf was created at  East Peckham at Branbridges. In addition a turnpike road, Seven Mile Lane, was built between  East Peckham and Wrotham in 1805 which hastened delivery of iron from the Weald in time of war. These transport innovations improved opportunities for trade as previously the area could only be accessed via poor clay roads which were virtually impassable in the winter months. The wharf stimulated demand for local craftsmen such as carpenters and blacksmiths and provided customers for the "Rose and Crown" and "Walnut Tree" Public Houses in Hale Street.

In the 19th century there was a cluster of buildings in this area which included the "Rose and Crown" Public House, a smithy and William Arnold's house. Today, the public house is under restoration. A garage occupies a prominent position at the junction on the site of the former "Walnut Tree" Public House.

The "Walnut Tree" building can be traced back to the 1500s and was originally a farm house, but I do not know when it opened as a beer house yet.


Peter Warnett, when he took over the pub from his father-in-law in 1956, was the youngest licensee in the country at the age of 21.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier 6 June, 1873. Price 1d.

AUCTION, at the Mart, Token-house-yard, London, on Monday, the 21st of July, 1873, At Two o'clock, the above Desirable FREEHOLD PROPERTY, situate in the parish of East Peckham, in Seven Lots, also a capital BEERHOUSE, known as the "Walnut Tree," doing a good trade, with large Blacksmiths' Forge adjoining, let on a yearly tenancy, and several pieces of building and accommodation land.


Kent Messenger & Gravesend Telegraph, Saturday 9 March 1918.

Licensing Sessions.

This being the Adjourned Licensing Sessions, Mr. A. J. Ellis formally applied for the renewal of the licence of the "Walnut Tree" beerhouse, East Peckham.

Superintendent Ford opposed by the instructions of the Chief Constable on the grounds that the tenant, John D. Harwood, was convicted at the Court of supplying a Constable while on duty with intoxicating liquor.

The Bench, however, decided to renew the licence, and on the application of Mr. Ellis they granted the transfer from John Harwood to William Rowe.


Kent Courier 8th May 8th 1925.

Licensing Business.

The licence of the "Walnut Tree," East Peckham, was transferred from Albert Bartingale to Charles William Laslett.


Kent & Sussex Courier 11 October 1929.


At the Malling once Court on Monday, the Bench approved the transfer of the license of the Walnut Tree Inn, East Peckham, from Charles William Laslett to Edmund Barrow.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 25 September 1931.


A Story of 150 Years' Old Curse.


A story of a curse laid 150 years ago by a woman who was the wife of a landlord of an inn, who, on her death-bed, cursed her husband and his heirs; of the lapse of about 150 years before any more was heard of the curse; of the now ghostly visitations, sometimes in the day, at other times at night.

In brief, this was a story which was found to be a general topic of conversation when our representative visited the village of East Peckham on Monday. Some people thought it a credendum; others were given to doubts as to its credibility.

In an endeavour to find out the facts, we sent our special investigator to the spot where the ghostly visitations were said to occur, and below we publish the information he obtained and the deductions which he made as a result of his inquiries.


In my investigations of a story which was in circulation in the village of East Peckham and neighbourhood regarding the ghostly visitations of the wife of a one-time landlord of an inn in the village, I gleaned the information that it had been stated that a curse laid by the woman some 150 years ago had come into the limelight, and that at the present time she pays ghostly visitations to the inn, and her footsteps are heard in the room where she died. Further, that her gravestone has been moved, and that these visitations are probably a sequel to the moving of that stone.

The said inn is now occupied by Mr. W. Barrow, who is a Navy pensioner, his last ship being H.M.S. Canterbury, from which he signed off just after the Great War. Not quite two years ago he took over the license of the inn, the "Walnut Tree," which is a fine old-timbered inn.

It was at the inn that I was informed that shortly after he took up residence he, with his family and some London friends were talking in the kitchen one day when their conversation was arrested by what seemed to be footsteps in a room overhead. Mr. Barrow and another man immediately dashed upstairs and flung open the door. Nothing was there! There was no sign of anyone.


Since that occasion, I was told, the footsteps have been heard about a dozen times or more, and that there always seems to be four shuffling steps across the room and four back.

A desire expressed by me to visit this haunted room was granted, and Miss Barrow, the landlord’s daughter, took me to this room, which she occupies. I found on pacing it out that four steps took me to the fire-place, which is in the outer wall of the building.

Miss Barrow declared that sometimes when she entered the room it seemed as though some unseen person was following her.

It was whilst I was subsequently talking to her mother, Mrs. Barrow, that I was informed that there was also a story that two highwaymen were buried at the rear of the premises, but Mrs. Barrow could not say whether or not this story was a true one.

I next paid attention to what was said to be the gravestone. I was told that when someone had previously touched it that at the very moment the landlord's wife again heard the ghostly footsteps, and that to touch the stone was apparently to summon the ghost.


Possibly I did not touch it quite correctly or in the right spot! I turned it, rubbed it, took a paper impression of the writing on it, laid it down, stood it up, but all without result.

I did this in the day-time, and I did it again at night when it was pitch black, but I saw no signs of ghostly apparitions or felt an unseen presence near me, or heard any noises.

I examined this stone very carefully. My conclusions may be wrong, but to me this block of granite did not appear to be a memorial to anyone. It measures about three and a half feet by nine inches by six at the top, and is broader at the base. Obviously a portion, had been broken from the top.

From the bases of the broken letters and the two words beneath, I deduced the inscription, which was deeply cut, to be "Ends here. 1781."

This rather suggests a boundary stone, but whether it marked a "hundred" boundary, or was brought there from elsewhere, one cannot be certain. The parish boundary is more than half a mile away.

It also seems to be too narrow for a gravestone. Probably it marked the boundary of someone’s property.


Mr. Fred Parsons, a local resident, informed me that a year or two ago a forge stood in a corner of the inn yard, and the stone formed the corner post of the iron fencing, and was taken up when the forge was taken down.

At the same time, the brewers were making extensive alterations to one property, and the same date—1781—was found when the old sign board was removed.

This would seem to bear out my theory of the affair, the year 1781 being the probable date of the construction of the inn.

The stone has a groove on either side as though it had been used for some such purpose as marking a boundary, with the iron fence bored into each side.

The inscription on the stone was discovered by Mr. Parsons by accident one afternoon. He was sitting on the stone and was idly scraping mud from it when the wording came to light.

In making inquiries about this stone, a lady resident in the neighbourhood told me that she believed that a similar stone was at one time at Branbridges Mill.


The "curse" part of this story I left to the last. This was to the effect that the wife of the landlord 150 years ago cursed her husband and his heirs as she was dying. She was, if was said, buried in front of the inn.

I came into conversation with Mrs. Horscroft, who is one of the oldest residents, and whom, I had been informed, knew about the curse.

I asked her about this curse.

"What curse is this" she said.

I explained the story, as I had heard it.

"No, no," she said. "It wasn't 150 years ago. It was not so long ago as that, it was in 1915 or 1918 that I nursed a woman—who was not the landlord's wife or anything to do with the landlord, but who was staying there—she was not a native of these parts—during the early part of the war. And in her moments of semi-consciousness she cursed a great deal."

"But this is not the woman who cursed 150 years ago," I said.

Mrs. Horscroft replied that she could not enlighten me at all on the matter.

Apparently nothing had been heard of the curse until some short time ago, for Mr. F. A. Webb, who is clerk to the Pariah Council and the local tax collector, informed me that his grandfather kept the "Walnut Tree" for many years and never heard any footsteps. Neither did Mr. Cheeseman, his predecessor.


Mr. Webb’s father, who had never heard the story before, in discussing the matter, queried why the woman in the case who was said to have died 150 years ago was not buried in the old churchyard on the hill, which was hundreds of years old.

The story is not yet finished. Let me complete it.

I gathered that the story was that no animals will stay in an adjacent field.

I viewed the field. My deduction was that animals will not slay there because there is quite a large opening through which they can stray. And being animals they would stray if put there.

It was said that campers in the field have been alarmed. I went to the camp and found a Mrs. Saunders, who informed me that she and her family "did not get much sleep at nights and often woke up for some inexplicable reason," and "dogs whine in an unusual way at odd times during the night."


"My brother in-law, Mr. John Ball," she staled, "swears that he has seen a man sitting on a gate, but when he goes over toward him he disappears. Once or twice he saw a woman there as well, but she vanished, too."

Possibly the ghosts of the woman and one of the highwaymen making ghostly love, or chasing each other in the shadows!

At any rate, these people seem to be a little agitated about the affair.

After hearing this part of the story, I thought I could do no better than pay a night visit myself.

In the same manner as I was unlucky in rubbing the stone, so was my luck out in so far as seeing any ghostly apparitions. I must have spent an hour and a half, before mid-night, waiting and watching. The only "‘shock" I got was when a twig, blown by the wind, brushed my face. Probably, in the darkness, some would have said it was a ghostly hand that touched them. I know it wasn't because I grabbed it.

Dogs certainly howled, but it was only because my old ’bus made such a noise en route.

These, readers, are my deductions: Probably because I do not believe in ghostly apparitions and the like; I want "‘too much for my money," in delving into the mysteries. If I actually lived on the spot, no doubt at some time or other I should have the real experience.

But I would like to lay these ghostly apparitions and the curse by the heels!


Kent & Sussex Courier 03 July 1942.

The Wedding took place at St. Nicholas, Tooting, Parish Church on Saturday of Mr. Edmund C. Barrow, son of Mr and Mrs. Barrow, of the Walnut Tree Inn, East Peckham, and Miss Nancy E. Brennan, of 25, Gilbey-road. Tooting. The bride, given away by her uncle, Mr. Harry Wadmore, wore white satin and lace with a headdress of orange blossom and white roses. She carried red and white carnations She was attended by Miss P. Barrow and Miss P. Brennan (sisters of bridegroom and bride) and Miss Iris Jones (cousin of bride) who wore turquoise blue satin with headdresses of pink and white carnations, and Miss E. Wadmore (cousin of bride) and Miss June Taylor, who were in pink satin. They carried pink carnations and yellow rosebuds. Mr. D. F. Longley was best man.



MARTIN John 1881-1901+ (also blacksmith age 40 in 1881Census)

HARWOOD John to Mar/1918

ROWE William Mar/1918+

JARVIS W J to Dec/1923 Kent and Sussex Courier

BARTINGALE Albert F Dec/1923-May/25 Kent and Sussex Courier

LASLETT Charles William May/1925-Oct/29

BARROW Emund Oct/1929-42+ (beer retailer) Post Office Directory 1930Post Office Directory 1938

HILLIER Chris to 1956

WARNETT Peter (son-in-law) 1956-61


Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

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:-