Sort file:- Rainham, December, 2022.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 03 December, 2022.


Earliest 1732-

White Horse

Open 2020+

95 High Street


01634 231210

Ye Olde White Horse 1890

Identified as "Ye Olde White Horse" in the above photo, circa 1890. Kindly sent by Garth Wyver.

White Horse trip 1896

Above photo 1896, showing a trip to Sutton Valence, the driver being a Mr. Holloway the local lamp-lighter.

White Horse 1900

Above photo, circa 1900.

White Horse

Above postcard, date unknown, by kind permission of Kent Photo Archives.

White Horse 1906

Above postcard 1906, celebrating the arrival of the first tram, showing the "White Horse" right, and "Cricketer's" left.

White Hiorse 1910

Above photo circa 1910. Also showing the "Cricketer's" left.

White Horse 1929

Above photo circa 1929.

White Horse 1930

Above postcard circa 1930. Also showing the "Cricketer's" right.

VE day processions May 1945

Above photo showing the VE Day processions in May 1945, Ronald Williamson and Brian Toucher are the flag bearers and Mr. & Mrs. Clohessey on the right in the foreground and their daughter Anita on the tricycle. Mrs. Freeman, her daughter Mary, and Mrs. Wilkinson centre front, and Mrs. Gilberthorp, her son Peter, and Mrs. Clouhew centre back.

White Horse landlady 1950s

Above photo circa 1950s showing Vera Vickers the landlady.

Vera Vickars 1950s

Above photo circa 1950s showing Vera Vickers the landlady.

White Horse behind the bar 1950s

Above photo circa 1950s. All photos kindly sent by Linda Steer, the landlady's daughter.

White Horse 1970

Above photo, 1970.

Above photo 2013 by Nigel Chadwick Creative Commons Licence.

White Horse 2016

Above Google image, August 2016.

White Horse 2021

Above photo 2021.

White Horse 2021

Above photo, August 2021, kindly sent by Maggie Francis.

White Horse sign 2017

Above sign, 2017.


The sign of the House of Hanover, adopted by many 18th Century inns to demonstrate loyalty to the new Royal dynasty. A white horse is also the emblem of the County of Kent. The name can also refer to the chalk horses carved into hillsides.

The "White Horse" was one of four public houses listed in Rainham in Pigot's 1839 Directory, but all can also be traced much earlier. The other three were the "Cricketers," the "Green Lion" and the "George & Dragon," Moor Street. By the 1870s the "White Horse" boasted 'very fine livery stables’, and it was the Liberal Party’s headquarters during the election of 1874.

This premises operated its own Slate Club in which participants would save for a special occasion, such as Christmas.

I have also seen reference from vestry meetings written in the Gillingham Chronicles by a Mr. Baldwin that mentions the "White Horse" as early as 1732.


From the Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 19 September 1797.

Freehold Estate, in Kent.

To be sold by Auction, on Friday 29th day of September 1797, at the house of Mr. Henry Elvy, commonly called or known by the name or sign of the "White Horse," Rainham, near Chatham, in the county of Kent, between the hours of 4 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon.

All that last and substantial brick Messuage or Tenement, with the yard, gardens and outbuildings; and also all that orchard and cherry garden therunto belonging, with the appurtunities; situate, lying and being in the centre of the village of Rainham aforesaid, and late in the occupation of Mr. William Cartwright, his assigns or undertenants.

Further particulars may be had by applying to Mr. William Jeffrey's, Attorney at Law, Chatham; where a map of the estate may be seen.

All persons, who stand indebted to the estate and effects of Mr. John Elvy, late of Rainham in the county of Kent, yeoman, deceased, are requested immediately to pay their respective debts to Mr. Jefferys, who is duly authorised, by the executors of the deceased, to receive and give discharges for the same, or they will be sued for the amount.

And all persons having any claim or demand on the said estate and effects, are desired forthwith to transmit an account and apply to Mr. Jefferys for payment thereof.

Chatham, 2nd September, 1797.


Prerogative Court of Canterbury Will, dated 26th June 1800.

Henry Elvy, Victualler.

All his leasehold estate, ready money, securities, money in Public Funds, bonds, etc., household plate, linen, china, glass, and rest and residue, to his trustees, John Packman of Rainham, Gentleman and Edward Brocke of Chatham, Linen Draper, to sell, pay his debts, funeral and probate costs and invest the remainder at interest, upon trust. The interest to be paid to his wife, Mary, for her lifetime. After her death, upon trust, the principal money to be shared equally among his daughters, Sarah, Susannah, Elizabeth, Judith and Martha Elvy, respectively at 21 years of age.. His trustees are executors.

Witnesses: John Fowle and William Jefferys Attorney of Chatham.

Proved 29th December 1800.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 5 February 1822.


Jan. 26, Mr. Sykes, landlord of the "White Horse" public-house, Rainham.


Kentish Independent 18 November 1843.


On Wednesday Mr. Coningsby, of the "White Horse," Rainham, had a splendid dinner party, composed of gentlemen from the surrounding neighbourhood. Mr. G. Jefferys, was chairman, and mirth and harmony prevailed to a late hour, but we are sorry to say that the finale was anything but friendly, as someone imprudently introduced politics.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 21 January,1860. Price 1d.


Last week a meeting was held at the “White Horse Inn,” Rainham, for the purpose of considering the propriety of forming a branch to the above corps. Mr. F. Mansfield presided, and after a few practical remarks proceeded to read the rules about to be established by the committee of the Sittingbourne corps. The rules were received with universal approbation. In the course of the evening about 20 persons were enrolled. At the conclusion of the meeting the chairman announced that should a sufficient number be enrolled, the committee were desirous of having drill twice a week, at Rainham, Sittingbourne, and Greenstreet.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 4 May 1868.


On Thursday afternoon, about two o'clock, a fire broke out on the premises of the "White Horse Inn," Rainham. The fire commenced in the store and coach house, and shortly afterwards the wind carried the sparks to the stable and back premises of Dr. Knight's residence, about 50 yards down the street, which were completely destroyed. Fortunately, the horses were not in the stable, but some valuable harness was destroyed. A new chaise the property of Mr. Sayers was destroyed by the fire, and the premises attached to the "White Horse" were burnt to the ground, the house itself receiving but slight damage. The Kent fire engine stationed at Chatham was promptly on the spot, and rendered good service. The premises were insured.


Kentish Gazette, 25 January 1876.


Yesterday week, at the Sittingbourne Petty Sessions, before the Rev. George Bridges Moore (chairman), Colonel Dyke, and other magistrates, Charles Sayer, landlord of a public house at Rainham, near Sittingbourne, and John Manning, veterinary surgeon, of Rochester, appeared in answer to summonses issued at the instance of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the former being charged with having unlawfully caused to be ill-treated, and the latter for having unlawfully ill-treating, three bantam cocks. Mr. Morton W. Smith, of the Home Circuit, appeared for the prosecution; Mr. W. Webb Hayward, solicitor, of Rochester, defended. Mr. Smith, in opening the case, said that the society wished to put down the practice of "dubbing" cocks, an operation which he should prove was, to use the words of the section, "ill-treating, abusing, or torturing" the animals. This was a specimen case. The case turned on the single point whether cutting the combs of cocks was an act of cruelty.

Mr. James Broad, a member of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, stated on oath that the practice of "dubbing" or cutting the combs of cocks inflicted great pain upon them, and they were not benefited or improved by the operation. Several nerves had to be severed in the operation. Mr. William Henry Jones, M.R.C.V.S. gave corroborative evidence.

Mr. Fred Crook, one of the editors of Land and Water, and one of the principle judges at the Crystal Palace Poultry Shows, deposed that it was very detrimental to the birds to cut their combs. He discouraged the practice as much as possible. He wrote against it, and it was he who suggested to Lady Burdett Coutts to offer prizes for "undubbed" birds. He would like to make it a sine que non (without which not.) in all poultry shows that the birds should not have their combs cut. Mr. Harrison Weir, the animal painter, was then called, and gave it as his decided opinion that the practice of cutting the combs of cocks caused them great pain and spoilt their appearance. For the defence, it was urged that the combs were cut for the purpose of exhibiting the birds, and that the evidence of cruelty failed. It was also contended that it was a benefit for the cocks to have their combs cut, as in fighting they could not pull one another by the comb; and that, if there were a conviction in this case, masters of foxhounds must be proceeded against for rounding the ears of their dogs. It was stated that the practice was very common in Lincolnshire, and the witness, a veterinary surgeon from Gravesend, but not a member of the College, who was called for the defence, said also that he had cut the combs of hundreds of cocks, and he did not consider that it inflicted pain. The magistrates, after consulting in private, dismissed the summons, the chairman stating that the Bench did not consider this was an offence within the meaning of the Act. Mr. Smith applied for a case to a higher Court, and the magistrates granted it. The court was crowded during the hearing of the case.


Faversham Times and Mercury and North-East Kent Journal, Saturday 20 September 1879.

Sittingbourne Petty Sessions.

The Bench then proceeded to the consideration of the licence in the cases in which there were complaints about the manner in which the houses were conducted, or in which the holders of the licences had been convicted during the last 12 months of offence against the Licensing Act.

These were John Hughes, "Cricketers Arms," Sheerness (convicted for permitting gambling on February 28th); Peter Newton Barlow "Shipwrights Arms," Sheerness, (convicted of a similar offence); John Bircham, "Highlanders Arms," Minster; Samuel Jarrett, "Cricketers," Rainham; Thomas Grewcock, "Green Lion," Rainham; Elizabeth Sayer, "White Horse," Rainham; Richard Charles Wallace, "Three King's," Sittingbourne; James Millington, beer house keeper, Borden, William Kitchenham, "Rose," Rainham; John Jordan, "Billet beer house", Milton.

The publicans having been cautioned, the Bench renewed each licence, with the exception of those of Bircham and Jarrett, Superintendent Mayne objected to the renewal of the licence to Bircham because of the manner in which it was conducted, owing to the drunkenness, &c., of his wife and frequent quarrels between them. Jarrett's house had also been conducted in a very unsatisfactory way. The bench refused to renew the licence to Bircham and Jarrett, but adjourned the question of renewal until September 29th, notice of which will be given to the owners of the houses.



A fire in 1892 destroyed the original pub.


By David Wood.


On May 14th 1892 one of the biggest blazes seen in Rainham took place when a fire broke out in the "White Horse Inn" on the corner of Station Road and the High Street.

The Inn closed as usual on the night of Friday May 13th and the customers left while publican Charles Adie, his wife, their two children and four lodgers including two Royal Engineers stayed in the building. When everyone went to bed everything seemed normal according to Mrs Adie but at 4.20am she awoke to see smoke coming from the bedroom fireplace and heard knocking but at first she decided not to do anything. Unable to sleep she got up and went to the landing where she saw thick smoke coming from below. She realized that a fire had started so she woke her husband then the two Royal Engineers sleeping in the adjoining room. She went to the children’s bedroom, woke them up, wrapped a blanket around each and then took them out of the building by the back staircase. Mr Adie and the lodgers also managed to vacate the premises.

While Mrs Adie and her children were taken into the "Cricketer’s Inn" opposite by the landlord Mr Jarrett, Mr Adie, assisted by police constables Packman and Bridgeland who had arrived on the scene, managed to take the horses and traps from the coach-house next to the inn to safety before the fire engulfed it.

By this time a large crowd of Rainham residents had converged on the scene after the alarm had been sounded. A mounted messenger was immediately sent to Chatham to rouse the fire brigade. Richard Wakeley junior from Moor Street Farm cycled to the waterworks at Keycol Hill to request that the water be turned on as it had been turned off during the night. Meanwhile, people present at the fire could only watch as large orange flames and thick smoke shot up into the sky and completely engulfed the building. According to the East Kent Gazette a large amount of spirits stored in the cellar contributed to the speed of the fire expanding. Just before this Mr Adie managed to get into the bar where he recovered the safe containing a large amount of cash before the roof caved in at about 6am. The two Royal Engineers managed to prevent the fire from spreading to ‘Church House’ next to the inn by cutting down a wooden shed between the two buildings with axes.

When the fire brigade arrived from Chatham the inn with all its contents had been completely destroyed and only the charred walls and the inn sign remained. The Chatham firemen could only push down the walls of the building with poles to make it safe leaving a heap of ruins apart from the coach-house which survived.

The "White Horse" building belonged to E Winch & Sons from Chatham. Fortunately, they had insured it so although the estimated damage totalled 2,000 the inn was rebuilt immediately and still exists today.

An investigation later attributed the cause of the fire to a beam that ran into the chimney at the back of the bar. The end had ignited then burst into flames. However, the biggest concern regarded the water being turned off and fire hydrants not being available. Mr Adie later commented that if the water had been turned on buckets of it could have been used to extinguish the fire before it took hold. This led to the establishment of Rainham Fire Brigade and hydrants being placed in different parts of the village during the following decade.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 2 February 1901. Price 1d.


A lad named Hammond Clarke, aged 15, son of Mr. William Clarke, hay dealer, of Rainham, was in charge of a horse and van proceeding to Gore Farm, Upchurch, for a load of straw on Wednesday, when he slipped off the rods and fell beneath the wheels, which passed over his head, completely crushing it. The poor lad died shortly afterwards. An inquest was held at the “White Horse,” Rainham, on Thursday afternoon, before Mr. Coroner Harris, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned.


From the East Kent Gazette, Friday 25 April 1952.


Chatham magistrates on Monday granted the transfer of the licence of the "White Horse Hotel," Rainham, from the late Mr. J. Leigh Adie to his son, Mr. Ronald John Adie.


For many years the Inn was run by Charles Adie assisted by his sons. It is said that opposite the pub was a Chestnut Tree  reputed to have been planted by licensee Charles Sayer, to commemorate the birth of each of his children. By the end of the 1930s there were garages rather than stables, and aviaries to attract visitors who called for lunch or tea. Sadly after reopening under new management only a year ago (2016) the "White Horse" is now boarded up, having closed last month, giving a rather despondent feel to the centre of Rainham.

A notice in the window stated the following:- "Lyon and Craig along with all our staff would like to thank all our customers who have proven loyal support over the last two and a half years. We have had a fantastic time with you all and hope to see you all again very soon. We shall miss you all!

Liam and Craig.

This pub has now been handed back to Enterprise Inns PLC whom own the building. Any regards about the building please contact them on 0121 733 7700. All items of value have been removed from this building."


From the By Ashford Herald, 20 July 2016.

White Horse pub in Rainham announces opening date.

The Horse opens this Saturday.

A popular Gillingham boozer is set to reopen this week after coming under new management.

The "White Horse," on 95 Gillingham High Street shut last month, after the previous owners "suddenly left".

The re-opening will take place this Friday (July 22) with lots to keep punters entertained.

Now under new management, a worker at the Horse told the M&M News "We have three nights of great music, and the whole place looks a million times better than ever before.

"We hope the locals are back on Friday - and looking forward to getting back into the community."

On Friday DJ Kev Jones will be playing a set, on Saturday DJ Danny will be keeping the punters entertained, and Sunday has a live band from the afternoon.


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.



ELVY Henry to Sept/1797-26/Sept/1800 dec'd aged 51

SYKES Mr to Feb/1822

MOSS William 1826-40+ Pigots 1826Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840

MANSER Robert 1841+ Census

CONINGSBY Charles 1843+

CONINGSBY William 1845+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

CONINGSBY Charles 1847+ Post Office Directory 1845

CONINGSBY William 1851-55+ CensusPost Office Directory 1851Post Office Directory 1855

SAYER Charles 1858-76+ (age 46 in 1871Census) Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1859Post Office Directory 1862Post Office Directory 1867Kent Harrods Directory 1867Post Office Directory 1870

SAYER Elizabeth Mrs 1874-79+ Post Office Directory 1874Mannings & Co Directory 1877Post Office Directory 1878

FISKE Alfred 1881-87+ CensusKelly's 1882Kelly's 1887

MORGAN Edwin 1891 Kelly's 1891

RICE John 1891+ (age 34 in 1891Census)

ADIE Charles Adie 1901-37 (widower age 41 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1895Kelly's 1899Kelly's 1903Kelly's 1905Kelly's 1907Sitingbourne District Parrett's Directory 1908Kelly's 1909Kelly's 1937

ADIE John Leigh 1938-Apr/52 dec'd (age 53 in 1939) Kelly's 1838Kelly's 1948Kelly's 1951


VICKERS George & Vera 1952-68 Kelly's 1953Kelly's 1955Kelly's 1969

GIBBONS Dennis H 1969-72+ Kelly's 1969Kelly's 1970Kelly's 1971Kelly's 1972

HUTCHINS R B 1973-74+ Kelly's 1973Kelly's 1974

KIRTON Lee 2016+


Pigots 1826From the Pigot's Directory 1826

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

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Post Office Directory 1845From the Post Office Directory 1845

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Post Office Directory 1851From the Post Office Directory 1851

Post Office Directory 1855From the Post Office Directory 1855

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1859From the Post Office Directory 1859

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867

Kent Harrods Directory 1867From Kent Harrods Directory 1867

Post Office Directory 1870From the Post Office Directory 1870

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Mannings & Co Directory 1877Mannings & Co Directory 1877

Post Office Directory 1878From the Post Office Directory 1878

Kelly's 1882From the Kelly's Directory 1882

Kelly's 1887From the Kelly's Directory 1887

Kelly's 1891From the Kelly's Directory 1891

Kelly's 1895From the Kelly's Directory 1895

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kelly's 1905From the Kelly's Directory 1905

Kelly's 1907From the Kelly's Directory 1907

Sitingbourne District Parrett's Directory 1908From the Sittingbourne District Parrett's Directory 1908

Kelly's 1909From the Kelly's Directory 1909

Kelly's 1937From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1937

Kelly's 1838From the Kelly's Directory 1938

Kelly's 1948From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1948

Kelly's 1951From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1951

Kelly's 1953From the Kelly's Directory 1953

Kelly's 1955From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1955

Kelly's 1969From the Medway Kelly's Directory of 1968

Kelly's 1969From the Medway Kelly's Directory of 1969

Kelly's 1970From the Medway Kelly's Directory of 1970

Kelly's 1971From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1971

Kelly's 1972From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1972

Kelly's 1973From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1973

Kelly's 1974From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1974



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