Sort file:- Tenterden, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1600s

Queen's Arms

Latest 1721

23 High Street


Former Queen's Arms 2010

Above image from Google, October 2010.


Situated opposite the Town Hall today this establishment opened some time in the 17th century the premises were part of 3 two-storey buildings, which had replaced an earlier hall house. It was refaced in the late 18th century. Unfortunately very little else is known about these premises. I do not yet know when it closed but it has been suggested after 1721. It has also, at one time been referred to as the "King's Arms."


February 1929.


A famous and well-known house in Tenterden during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was that bearing the above sign, but at the present day it does not exist. It is generally supposed to have stood opposite the Town Hall, a little to the eastward of that picturesque black and white Tudor shop which is such a conspicuous feature of Tenterden's broad and green High Street. As early as 1632 this house was designated the "Queen's Arms," but under date of October 12th, 1633, it is recorded that Richard Forth and Susan, his wife, were examined before the mayor and jurats, when they confessed that the said Susan hath and doth sell beerr in the house called the "Kinge's Armes" in Tenterden by the allowance of her husband, and do keep a common alehouse there; whereupiwn the fine of XXs. is set and assessed according to the statute. The next year September 16th, 1634, six thirsty souls, including some from Rolverden, confessed to tippling at the sign of the "King’s Arms," for which offence every of them hath forfeited 3s. 4d. to the use of the poor of the parish of Tenterden to be levied by distress.

By 1667 it was again known as the "Queen's Arms," and in that year the then host was also fined XXs. for  being unlicensed. "and p'ticulerly for publiquely selling in ye said house two Juggs of Beece on 4 ffeb. inst. and taking 4d. for ye same."

Among the chamberlain's accounts are preserved various bills sent in from the various houses when festivities at the town's expense were incurred. A few notices of those from the "Queen's Arms" are here given. One item is for the entertainment of some poor seamen, and, being a modest one at that, is here transcribed from the original:—

Att ye Queenes Armes. When the seamen where here.

Left to paye for bere ............... 0 1 8

For bread and chese .............. 0 0 8 2-1

For fire and candel for ye gard 0 1 0

Total ...................................... 0 3 4 2-1


20 April 1696. Allowed. Robert Stace, Mayor Reeed. ve full of this bill by mee, Jos. Greenland.

Another records a feast on a somewhat elaborate seale. and we may be sure there was plenty of octivity and excitement (especially in the kitchens) at the "Queen's Arms" on the visit of the Governor of Dover Castle and his retinue with their horses. This is lather too long to be quoted in full, so a few of the principal dishes only (in the original spelling) will be mentioned. It commences:—

July ye 30. 1696. A bill of what wos spent when the Governor came downe.

For a rib end rump of befe and dresing ... 00 15 00

for a leg of muton and dresing and saso 00 04 06

for 2 geese and dreeing and saso 00 05 00

for 6 duckes saso and dresing 00 08 00

for six chiken and dresing and saso baken and colefloure 00 09 06

forapel pastes, goosbere tarts, cheskrakes, custard 00 10 00

for bread 00 06 00

for wine 07 00 00

for beere 02 05 06

for 3 bottels brock 00 01 00

The total cost of this feast amounted to 14 13s. 8d., of which it will be noticed that the wine consumed was nearly half, and that the last item, for breakages, was a very small one. This bill was allowed by the Mayor, Jeremiah Curteis, and paid on August 23-d, 1697.

During the year 1702 and frequently on to 1721 the Courts of Sessions were held at this house. At that of July 9th. 1705.

Thomas Hughes, of the "Angel," was warned to keep his hogs from going about the town, being a nuisance to the highways and the inhabitants.

A few years later, on the occasion of peace being proclaimed and a long war brought to a conclusion by the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, another feast was held at the "Queen’s Arms," but this was strictly official and reveals the class distinctions then prevailing, but the items shall speak for themselves. The bill is headed:—

May 15th, 1713. On p'claming peace.

In the Court Chamber, 19............ 0 19 0

Below stairs, 8 freemen ............ 0 5 4

More common p'sons, 18 ............ 0 0 0

Beer to ye Musq'trs .................. 0 5 0

More to ye Gren'dears snd Waggonrs ... 0 3 6

More Wine and Beer without doors 0 15 0

More Beer and Tobacco for musqrs 0 1 6

More for beer and backer, soger and lamonos. 0 2 5

The total amount come to 8 6s. 3 1/2d. but only 8 6s. was paid, and this was accepted "in full of ye above bill."

The Corporation appear to have held their Common Halla regularly at the "Queen's Arms" from 1694 till 1708 or thereabouts, and at one of them held on January 2nd, 1695, it was debated whether to expend 20 or only 15 in procuring a copy of the charter to replace that which was lost in the fire. On September 15th it was decreed that the charter should be exemplified in parchment. This was done in 1700, and is now in the possession of the Corporation. At a Common Hall on August 29th, 1708, the following order was made:—

"The two keys belonging to the chest standing in the Court Chamber at the signe of the "Queens Armes" in Tenterden were deliver'd, vixt. one to the p'sent Mayor and the other to the p'scnt Towne Clerk."

Probably with a view to relieve the quietude of a winter evening, a wrestling match was held in the kitchen of the "Query's Arms" on November 18th, 1704, when, unfortunately, one man named William Jefferys, of Tenterden, husbandman, was so injured that he died from the effects on the 29th of the same month. A jury of twenty-four was summoned and an inquest held at the house of the deputy mayor on the following day, the record of which, with signatures and seals, remains in perfect condition. The coroner's records also show that inquests were held at this house in 1706, 1711 and 1721; on the latter occasion it was to enquire into the death of a man through falling from a horse.

An inquisition was held at the "Queen's Arms" on June 8th, 1721, by Georgo Stace. Esq., Mayor and Coroner, with a jury of twenty-four. The following verdict was recorded: "The said Samuel Startup, late servant with with Mr. William Children, yesterday being tho seventh of this instant, June, about six of the clock in the afternoone, being then rideing on a certain sorrel ball mare of the said Mr. Children at Tenterden abovesaid, did p'sently receive a fall from the said mare in the lands of the said William Children, from which fall he received hurt and incontinently died, and that such fall from the said mare then moveing was the cause of the death of the said Samuel Startup.

This appears to be the latest reference to the "Queen's Arms" I have met with, and at what date it ceased to exist as an inn cannot at present be ascertained.




SORSBY Thomas 1704+


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