DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Thursday, 06 October, 2022.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1827-

Chequers

Latest 1987

(Name to)

Savage Corner

West Farleigh

Chequers

Above postcard, date unknown.

Chequers 1909

Above postcard, circa 1909, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers 1948

Above painting by Algernon Newton, R.A. 1948.

Chequers 1950s

Above photo circa late1960s, from Jonathan Boakes. Possibly showing Reg Samuel, Brian Wheeler and Johnny Able.

Chequers 1950

Above postcard circa 1950. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers card 1950Chequers card 1950

Above aluminium card issued 1950. Sign series 2 number 26.

 

Not a lot of information on this pub at present. Found in the Pigot's Directory of 1828 and 1932. It was listed under Taverns and Public Houses.

I am informed that this changed name to the "Tickled Trout" in 1987.

 

From South Eastern Gazette 24 April 1827.

On Wednesday last, Sir Henry Fitzherbert, Bart. gave a dinner at the "Chequers," West Farleigh, to all his Cottage Tenants. A plentiful and solid supply of beef, pudding, punch, and ale, diffused a warm feeling of conviviality and the party spent the day in high glee.

 

From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 5 October 1861.

Farleigh, West.

At the Magistrates' Clerk's office at West Malling on Wednesday, George Lock, Alfred Lee, and Christopher Lee, gypsies, was brought up in custody, charged with assaulting and beating Samuel Mills and George Pearson, at West Farleigh, on the 22nd ult. It appeared that a number of hoppers had been drinking at the "Chequers Inn," on the day in question, and amongst them the prisoners and the complainants. There was a quarrel between the house dwellers and the strangers, and after leaving the house it resulting in a general fight, during which the complainants were severely kicked and beaten by defendants.

The prisoners were fined each 1, including costs, which was paid.

 

From The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Wednesday, July 8, 1891; Issue 16615.

A SEVERE SENTENCE FOR A PHEASANT.

At the last West Kent Quarter Sessions, presided over by Mr. J. G. Talbot, M.P., a publican named Nicholas Long, of the "Chequers Inn," West Farleigh, was convicted and sentenced to six months' hard labour for being in possession of a pheasant, which was found in his stable. The Home Secretary has ordered the sentence to be reduced to three months, on the ground of excessive severity.

 

Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 25 September 1903.

Death of an Unknown Man at West Farleigh.

Drowned in the Medway.

Mr. Coroner Thomas Buss held an inquest at the "Chequers," West Farleigh, on Monday evening concerning the death of a stranger, whose body was recovered from the River Medway, on Sunday, after 10 days immersion.

Edward Finn, a Londoner, hop-picking at Court Lodge Farm, stated that on Sunday he and a man, named Gregory, were near the river looking for watercress, when they saw a man lying on his back in the middle of the water. They got a pole, and drew the body to the bank. Deceased appeared to have been in the water some time, but witness did not know him, and had not seen him before. He was a man about 30 or 40 years of age, and there were no indications of foul play beyond a swelling over his eye. Witness was living in one of the tents in the meadow, but had not heard of anyone missing.

P.C. Waterman said he heard at 6 p.m. on Monday that a man had been taken from the water. He was roughly dressed, and the body was very muddy. On the clothes there were 2 song books, 2 pipes a purse without any money in it, and a knife. Witness did not know the man, and had not heard of anyone missing. He had been photographed and copies circulated with a description of the body. The hoppers would not have to go near the river to get to their tents.

Dr. Gerald Southwell Sander said he made a post-mortem examination of the body that day. The body was very far decomposed, and had been in the water some 10 days or a fortnight. It was that of a man about 45 years of age. There was a bruise on the leg, which might have been caused in the water. Internally there was heart trouble. The outside of the lungs was diseased. Death was due to drowning. The stomach was quite empty, and apparently he had not had any food for three or four days. The indication in the throat showed that he was alive when entering the water. There were no indications of foul play, which would have been traceable had they existed at the time of death.

The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."

 

From http://jonathanboakes.blogspot.com May 21, 2020. By Jonathan Boakes.

Haunted Locations - The Chequers Inn, West Farleigh.

Many, many years ago, one of my first jobs in rural Kent was 'cellar boy' in an old pub called 'The Chequers'. It was run by an eccentric couple called Len and Joan, who had been guvnors of the place for decades. My mother was a regular, back in the 1960's, and knew the couple very well. Len was a larger than life sort, stomping up and down the bar wearing a pith helmet and spouting lines from the Goon Show. He had the respect in the villages.

The old "Chequers Inn," West Farleigh, now the "Tickled Trout." I used to clean that phone box, polish the chrome, and replace the flowers inside.

Like a lot of rural pubs, the place hadn't changed much over the decades. The electrical work was all self installed, no fridges for the mixers or softs, or wine. There was either white wine, or red wine, as the "Chequers" was in the heart of Hops country. The landscape around West Farleigh is still dotted with 'Oast Houses' the conical towers, which once dried the hops, they are now holiday cottages and posh bedrooms (a devil for wardrobe space though). Hops make beer! The air on some Summer days was intoxicating, literally, as the hop dust covered everything in a yellow powder. It hung on the air.

In these Summer months the migrant workers would arrive, often taking over the Public Bar in an evening, enjoying some raucous games of pool and pissing all over anything they could. It was okay, the place was built for it, and the workers returned every year to pick the hops and piss about in the pub. The ladies of the village were all safely stashed away in the Saloon Bar, which was Joan's (land lady) domain. This was the era of Gin & Lemon, and Sobranie cigarettes. But, the walls of the Ladies Saloon were a shock. It was a tiny cubicle space, but the entire wall surface was papered with ladies porn! Male flesh in every direction, and sausage aplenty. Back then the Johnny machines were in the Ladies too, and I guess Joan thought the Ladies wouldn't mind an eyeful in-between gins. It was all a bit Darling Buds of May, truth be told. My sister would often meet me after work, on her horse, Flash. I only had a BMX, but we would travel home across the Apple orchards and strawberry fields together. Sniff.

My job at the "Chequers" was to clean and relight the pub fireplaces, which as you can see from the old chimneys, were many. Each of the two stacks connected to many small fireplaces throughout the building. After, I would clean both bar areas, polish the tables, lay out the beer mats, clean ashtrays, restock the mixers, clean the Phone Box outside (original) and finally get down into the cellar...

The cellar of the "Chequers" was dark, very old, and had many nooks and crannies. All the pub stock was kept down in the cellar, alongside ancient bottles of Brandy (I only sipped once!), bottles of Canada Dry and mysterious old trunks full of papers, books and more bottles of Brandy. Scrubbing brass barrel fittings was a long job. The taps were often green, with mould, scrubbed off with a Brillo pad and left for 'changeover' of the barrels. This was all done in semi darkness, as the lighting in the cellar could be described as 'home made' at best, it would flicker when Len (landlord) walked back and forth above, in the bar. There were many occasions when I heard people walking above, before opening, but could tell it wasn't the landlord. Just a feeling. That pub was old, 17th century, at least, and the foundations were likely very old. The pub dog, Rambo, a huge German Sheppard would often react very strangely throughout the pub, but especially if I went down the cellar. He'd stand at the top, waiting for me to come back up. The only time he ever whined, actually.

Parts of the cellar were unlit, as there was no use for extra storage space. The vaulted rooms were pitch black, smelly and very creepy. There was one room that I only entered once, never again. It had a square hole in the middle of the space! It was too dark to see the bottom, and the hole was left uncovered. There was something moving down there. It absolutely terrified me. I've never been so scared as I was that afternoon, kind of transfixed on the spot. But, I swear to God, that I felt something looking back at me from that dark pit. It's just given me goosebumps to think about it, and type these words. Leaving the cellar, out into the Summer sun, I became aware (probably for the first time), that evil dwells in the dark spaces. Things, creatures if you like, that live in the darkness.

The Highwayman Inn, in Blackenrock, is based on my old experiences in Kent pubs. They are some of the creepiest places I know, with Hawkhurst or Goudhurst, being number one spots for me. Old villages, that still have a lot of identity today. Those country villages look so pretty on the postcards, but I suspect pretty much every village in Kent has a nasty story or two. I will never know what was at the bottom of the pit, as the pub has since been revamped into the "Tickled Trout," but many, like me, will remember the creepy Summers and Winters in the "Chequers Inn."

Jonathan Boakes.

 

LICENSEE LIST

PHILPOT John 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

MILLS John 1841+ Census

TOLHURST Thomas 1851-71+ (also postmaster age 57 in 1851Census)

MOLDEN James 1881+ (age 37 in 1881Census)

LONG Nicholas 1890-91+ Maidstone and Kentish Journal

MUNN Ernest 1891+ (age 28 in 1891Census)

HOMEWOOD Henley 1894-1903+ (age 43 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

PLATT Len & Joan 1960s-70s+

 

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

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

CensusCensus

Maidstone and Kentish JournalMaidstone and Kentish Journal

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

 

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