Sort file:- Tonbridge, June, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 11 June, 2023.


Earliest 1264

Ye Olde Chequers Inn

Open 2020+

122 High Street (Whetstead Road)


01732 358957


Chequers circa 1798

Above showing an artists impression (building left) prior to 1798, with the stocks and market cross in the road outside.

Chequers 1832

Above print showing the same view of the First United Kingdom general election Tonbridge 8th December 1832.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn painting 1899

Above painting 1899.

By kind permission http://tonbridgecollectables.com/index.php

Ye Olde Chequers Inn painting 1901

Above painting 1901.

By kind permission http://tonbridgecollectables.com/index.php


Above photo, date unknown.

By kind permission http://tonbridgecollectables.com/index.php

Chequers postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn 1900

Above photo circa 1900.


Above postcard date unknown.

Ye Olds Chequers Inn

Above postcard, date unknown.

By kind permission http://tonbridgecollectables.com/index.php

Chequers 1906

Above postcard, 1906.

Ye Olde Chequers 1907

Above postcard, circa 1907, kindly send by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn painting 1908

Above painting, circa 1908, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Artist is by ???? Williams.

Chequers 1908

Above postcard, 1908.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn 1910

Above photo, circa 1910. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers drawing 1914

Above drawing taken from Highways and Byways in Kent, 1914.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn 1919

Above postcard, date 1919, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Ye Olde Chequers 1919

Above photo, circa 1919, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn 1921

Above postcard franked 1921.

Kindly supplied by http://www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/

Chequers 1922

Above postcard, 1922, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olds Chequers 1924

Above postcard, postmarked 1924.

Ye Olde Chequers Inn 1924

Above postcard, 1924, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olds Chequers 1927

Above postcard circa 1927, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers Inn postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.

Kindly supplied by http://www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/

Chequers 1935

Above postcard, date 1935, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Chequers 1934

Above postcard, circa 1934, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Chequers 1944

Above photo, 1944, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Chequers 1944

Above photo, 1944, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Chequers sign 1944

Above sign, 1944, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1960

Above photo circa 1960.


Above postcard, date probably the same as above, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Ye Old Chequers Inn 1990

Above photo 1990, kindly sent by Philip Dymott.

Ye Old Chequers Inn cigarette card Ye Old Chequers Inn cigarette card

Above picture from the Lloyds Bondman cigarette card collection Old English Inns, number 2.

Chequers 2011

Above photos, 2 January 2011, taken by Eric Hartland.

Above photo 2012 by Nigel Chadwick Creative Commons Licence.


The building gained Grade II listing on 8 May 1950.

The "Chequers Inn" dates from c.1264. The present building, one of the oldest in the town, is largely sixteenth century, but the inn has catered for thirsty travellers and townsfolk for nearly seven hundred years.

The name could be linked to the word "Exchequer" and a connection with fee-gathering for the lords of the castle.

A room on the first floor was possibly used as a Justices' room and at times a hangman's noose dangled from a strong oak sign post that jutted out over the street. Close to The Chequers was the traditional place for legal punishments – such as the stocks and a whipping post. In July 1555 Margery Polley was burnt here for her religious beliefs and in July 1575 Katherine, the wife of Edmund Brystowe, was burnt for poisoning her husband.

Wat Tyler's brother was reputedly the last man hanged outside the "Chequers."

The inn was also used as a location in many of the novels of Jeffrey Farnol.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Saturday 09 May 1857.

Tonbridge Petty Sessions. Stealing Clothes.

The man who gave the name of James Serriff, and stated that he lived in London, was brought up by Police-constable Waghorn and charged with stealing (with another man not in custody), a waistcoat, value 3s. the property of Edward Pelling, at Tonbridge, on the 27th April.

Prosecutor deposed:- I am ostler at the "Chequers Inn." On Sunday evening, April 26, the prisoner and another came into our house and engaged a bed for the night. They had no bundle with them. They slept in the next room to mine. The next morning the other man called out t me from his room and asked if I wasn't going to get up. This was about six o'clock. I got up and went down stairs. I left my room the articles mentioned in the charge. The prisoner and the other man came down in about a quarter of an hour after I did. Prisoner had a bundle - something wrapped up in the handkerchief produced. I gave them something to drink and 6d., and they went away.

Thomas Goddard deposed to prisoner telling him since he was taken into custody, that the other man gave him a bundle in their bedroom at the "Chequers," which he said contained a dirty shirt; that they went on the road, and then parted, and prisoner saw the other man take a handkerchief and other articles from the bundle.

Remanded till Saturday (this day).

John Cox was afterwards charged with being concerned in the above case.

Thomas Goddard deposed to finding a piece of paper on the prisoner Sheriff with the names of several places on it upwards from Hastings. In consequence of which he went to Hastings, and succeeded in apprehending the prisoner Cox, who confessed that he and Sheriff had stolen the things from the "Chequers.

Remanded to Saturday (this day.)


Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 22nd September 1860.


On Friday, John Price, a tramp, was charged before Major Schoones and J. Ridgway Esq., with stealing about 5s. in money, the property of John Luck, of East Peckham. Both parties were lodging at the "Chequers Inn," and on Wednesday night prosecutor lost his money, which was found on prisoner.

Committed for trial.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 24 September, 1870.


The Petty Sessions were held on Tuesday before C. Powell, Esq., (in the Chair), A. Pott, Esq., Major Scones, Sir David Solomons, Bart., M.P. and J. G. Talbot, Esq., M.P.

Mr. Rogers applied for a license to be granted on behalf of the "Chequers," that the license should be granted to Mrs. Birch who was about giving up the position of the house to Mr. John Seale, so that at the transfer day it might be transferred to Mr. Scale.

The application was granted.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 7 February, 1908.

Supt. Styles in his annual report to the licensing justices, said the licensees had generally conducted their houses in a satisfactory manner, with the following exceptions: .... Frank Paskins, "Chequers Inn," Tonbridge, permitting drunkenness; ....


From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Secret Drinker, 27 January 2020.

Secret Drinker reviews Ye Olde Chequers Inn, Tonbridge.

Perfectly placed, just up from the river, I discovered this incredible 14th century pub, complete with beams and a hangman’s noose, backing straight onto Tonbridge Castle.

The bar was quiet, just half a dozen locals surrounding it on high stools, but I received a warm welcome from both them and the cheery barmaid in Ye Olde Chequers Inn.

There wasn’t a huge selection of beers - just three on tap - so I took the safe option with a Harvey’s Sussex Best – at 4% it cost me a pound for each point. Well served and as tasty as always. Mrs SD’s large sauvignon blanc (she only knows one size!) was just 20p more.

It’s a long bar with some impressively leaded windows looking out onto the High Street – I turned right and we sat back to observe the regulars in full flow.

At this point the landlord shouted ‘Play up Pompey’ before putting a fag in his mouth and switching on all four TV screens to show Portsmouth v Sunderland in the League 1 play-offs. Locals and landlord then began a long conversation about TV shows, particularly Game of Thrones, and didn’t look at the screens again. Probably as well given the success of the Black Cats.

At any given time there were as many folk, including the landlord, landlady and barmaid, in the smoker’s corridor as there were in the pub. Smoking is taken seriously and those enjoying a fag get a great view of the castle. The barmaid went out three times while I was in. There’s a decent garden area with plenty of seating and colourful hanging baskets.

The whole place, inside and out, looks as if it has had a makeover recently and is pretty well furnished – though personally I’d lose the old gas fire and avoid the fairly lights on sticks in the ceiling.

There are two fruit machines, a jukebox and a regular karaoke slot for willing participants.

The gents, with trendy bevelled tiles roof to floor was fresh and sweet smelling, complete with a pot plant and air freshener. Actually they smelt better than the slightly smoky bar.

But, the joy of this place isn’t in the furnishings, the quality of the beer (which was fine) or even the aroma, it’s in the banter around the bar.

Landlord John takes pleasure in insulting all his locals equally at great length - the level of effing and jeffing achieved in his favourite pastime is astonishing.

According to his regulars the affable landlord saves his hospitable side for visitors who haven’t got to know him yet – I assume he warmed to me as he disappeared upstairs to shower, shave and don a salmon pink pullover in super quick time before returning to chat.

We exchanged pleasantries and I headed back onto the High Street.





STAFF ★★★★



BATCHELOR William 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

POPELL James 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

SLATTER Edward 1840+

WEBB Francis 1851+ (age 28 in 1851Census)

JOY Henry 1861-62+ (age 41 in 1861Census)

SIMES Jesse to Sept/1865 Sussex Advertiser

BIRCH Thomas Sept/1865+ Sussex Advertiser

BIRCH Mrs to Sept/1870

SEARLE John Sept/1870+

CLARK William to Feb/1877

LONGLEY William Feb/1877+

BUGDEN Henry 1881+ (age 56 in 1881Census)

WRIGHT George 1891-1903+

WRIGHT Gage Edward 1903+ Kelly's 1903

PASKINS Frank 1908+ Kent and Sussex Courier

CANTLE A J 1913+

CANTLE Joseph Alfred 1918+

CANTLE Alfred Reuben 1922-Aug/23 Kent and Sussex Courier

CANTLE Claud Victor John (brother) Aug/1923-30+ Kent and Sussex Courier

YATES John W 1938+




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

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

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier


Sussex AdvertiserSussex Advertiser


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