Page Updated:- Saturday, 31 December, 2022.


Earliest ????

Black Horse

Demolished 1990s

Wheeler Street


Black Horse

Above photo, date unknown.

Black Horse

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Keith Armstrong.

Black Horse 2009

Above Google image, 2009 showing the site of the Black Horse. The sign on the house by the speed-bump sign says "Black Horse Court."

Black Horse Whitbread sign 1953Black Horse sign 1953

Above card issued March 1953. Sign series 4 number 2.


I am informed that the "Old Black Horse" was demolished in 1920, but the Whitbread sign series 4 issued the above card in 1953, so perhaps there was also another "Black Horse" in Headcorn.

Information received from Neil Aldridge confirms that both the Old Black Horse and latter day one were on the same site now occupied by Black Horse Court.


The Maidstone Telegraph, 15 August 1868.

Magistrates Clerks Office. Saturday.

Before I. Randall, Esquire.

Finding of a watch.

Mary Jane Richardson, a tramp, was brought up on remand, charged with being in the unlawful possession of a gold watch and chain., the property of Elizabeth Harden, on 29th July. Prosecute tricks disposed depots that she lived in the Albert Road, South Norwood. On the 29th of July she was on a visit at Cranbrook, and went for a walk that day. Shortly afterwards she discovered that the watch and change she had had appended to her dress up falling off. She looked for it on the road she had been but could not find it. She met prisoner on her return in company with another, and upon questioning them whether they have picked up a watch they denied all knowledge of it. The washing shame produced was her property. She last saw them about 10:30 in the morning. Eli Wood, landlord of the "Black Horse," at Headcorn, said that prisoner came into his house about 5 in the evening of 29th July, and asked for a glass of beer. After serving her she produced a gold watch, which he tended for sale for 2. He offered her 5s. To have a look at it for the purpose of getting possession of it. P. C. Backhurst deposed from the information he received he went in pursuit of prisoner, and found her sitting on the roadside. I'm questioning her as to whether she had a watch, or have picked One up, she replied that she had not. Noticing something under her left arm, in her address, he accused her of having it. She then took the Watch from under her armpit. She said she found it at Goudhurst. Prisoner denied having stated to the police constable that she found it at Goudhurst. She picked it up a little way out of Cranbrook, after she had seen the prosecute tricks and return the same road to see if she could find her. Committed for trial to the quarter sessions. Monday, August 10th. Before w. Boston, Esquire. Eliza Barden, a domestic servant in the service of Phineas darling, landlord of the White Horse, autumn, was charged with stealing a test. 90. His property. Prisoner was committed to the Bearsted sessions.


Saturday, February 19th, 1881.

Headcorn. The Charge of Murder.

At the County Magistrates' Clerk's Office, Maidstone, on Tuesday, before Charles Whitehead, Esq., James Smith was brought up on remand charged with the wilful murder of Robert John Millgate, on the 5th of February. Mr. T. Goodwin, solicitor, defended.

The witnesses called at the inquest were examined and repeated the evidence they have already given.

Horace Tassell, landlord at the "Black Horse" beer house, Headcorn, deposed that on February 5th the prisoner and deceased and several other men who had been at a sparrow shoot were at his house. Deceased and a man name Crouch had a little dispute, but witness did not know what it referred to. He did not hear that prisoner, who was in the room at the time, had anything to do with it. Witness stop the noise and ejected Crouch, who returned a few minutes afterwards. None of the party were the worst for liquor.

Charles Crouch, who is a labourer, said he had a few words with the deceased about raffling, but no blows were struck although he offered to fight. Witness did not see any dispute take place between prison and deceased.

Mr. J. Bingham, builder, produced a plan of the churchyard.

Mr. Goodwin, for the Defence, contended that it was a case of justifiable homicide. Millgate probably took deceased's money and turned him out and prisoner then struck deceased, who fell striking his head against some hard substance.

Prisoner was committed for trial for manslaughter, bail being refused.


Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 8th September 1899.

Theft and Assault.

William Eastwood and James Eastwood, two young men, was sentenced to one months' hard labour for stealing a quantity of harness, value 5s. The property of Eli Cooper, landlord of the "Black Horse," Headcorn.

Mr. H. J. Bracher defended.

William Eastwood was further sentenced to four months' hard labour for assaulting P.C. Fowle, whilst in the execution of his duty at Bethersden, on August 23rd.


The Courier, 10 March, 1905.

The Black Horse, Headcorn.

Mr. A. J. Ellis, solicitor, appeared in support of the renewal of the licence of the "Black Horse," at Headcorn.

Police sergeant Picknall stated that the house was situated in the High Street. The population of Headcorn was 1,405, and the area 5,077 acres. There were 6 houses on the neighbourhood - viz. 4 ale and 2 "on" beer houses. The population per house was 234. Witness did not think the house was required. The "Railway Hotel" was situated about 300 yards off.

By Mr. Ellis:- On the Stanley Park Estate most of the plots of land was sold, and villas were being erected. The house was situated at branch roads to Smarden and Biddenden. Witness admitted that the railway station at Headcorn was a busy one; he did not know, however, that it was the only station for the transport of all produce from the Weald.

Mr. Ellis:- It is the only station for produce from Pluckley, Biddenden, and the other villages round about.

Witness:- There is the Tenterden station.

Mr. Ellis:- Do you know how long it takes to get from Maidstone to Tenterden?

Witness:- All day, I should think (laughter).

Mr. Ellis:- That's right; and do you know you have to sleep the night at Tenterden in order to get back? (Loud laughter).

Continuing, which is admitted that the house did a good trade with waggoners.

Mr. William Mercer said he was one of the oldest farmers in the neighbourhood. He thought the house was very much needed, there being a great many teams passing along the road daily. The house did a kind of trade different from that of the "Railway Hotel."

Mr. William Offen, another farmer, said he had known the "Black Horse" for the last 50 years. It was greatly needed. The better class of house did not want waggoners drawn up at their doors with guano, rape, &c. People drawing up in their carriages did not want to stare at that stuff (laughter).

Superintendent Ford:- If this house was done away with your men would have trouble to get their beer?

Witness:- My dear sir, I'd just think they would (laughter).

Mr. John Jones, another farmer of long standing at Headcorn, corroborated.

Mr. Charles Lambkin, the tenant of the house in question, said his takings during the year ending October, 1904, were 556 13s. 1d. for beer sold on the premises; for beer in jugs 47 5s. 4d.; and for beds let, &c, 35 3s. 1d. He sold about 5 barrels per week. His trade was largely with waggoners and small farmers. They would come up to his house and sleep the night; he had stabling for 20 horses, and it was daily in use. At times he had as many as a dozen teams outside his house at one time. The "Black Horse" was situated in the main road from Headcorn station to the Weald of Kent.

The decisions.

After a retirement of nearly three quarters of an hour, the Chairman announced the Magistrates decisions as follows:-The "Black Horse," Headcorn, renewed.


Chatham News, Friday 27 January 1939.


On January 21st, 1939, at his daughter's residence, 31, Minard Road, Catford, S.E.6. Stephen Thomas, beloved husband of Minnie Keir, late of St George's Road, Gillingham, and the "Black Horse," Headcorn, passed away peacefully after a few days illness; aged 78 years.


Chatham News, Friday 3 February 1939.

Obituary. Mr. S. T. Keir.

The funeral of the late Mr. Stephen Thomas Keir, the husband of Mrs. Minnie Keir, of 31, Minard Road, Catford, took place at Gillingham Old Cemetery on Wednesday of last week, the Rev. J. D. Jones, of Holy Trinity, Brompton, conducting the service. Mr. Keir, who was 78 years of age, passed away after only a few days' illness at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, and leaves a widow, two sons and two daughters to mourn their loss. He was a native of Gillingham, and served 40 years in Chatham Dockyard, where he was employed as a boilermaker, being invalided in 1920 at the age of 59 on pension. For 13 years following this he was associated with the management of the "Black Horse Inn," Headcorn, retiring to make his home with his daughter and son-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Bell at Catford. The chief mourners at the funeral were Mr. S. S. Keir (son) Mr. A. Bell (son-in-law,) Mr. R. Keir, Mr J. Keir and Mrs. S. Bell (grandsons,) and Mr. Tricky (cousin.) His youngest son, Mr. A. Keir, who was away at sea, was represented by his wife.

Beautiful Floral Tributes were from:- In ever-loving memory, from his loving wife Minnie; Vi, Albert, and Stevie; Stan and Elsie, Albert, Florie, Betty, Michael and Donald; Edna, Bob and Brenda; Vi, and Dick; Doris, Jack and children; Stanley and Jack; Mr. and Mrs. Whittingham (Catford); Mrs. Precey and family; Will and family (Hither Green); Mrs. Irwin (Catford); Mrs. Crooks, Ede and Walter; Lol and Perce (Gravesend); Alice and Arthur (niece and nephew); Cousin Tom and Lizzie; Mrs. Deakin and family; Harry Wal, George and Frank; Frank, Gert and Ted.


Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 3 February 1939.

They threw well.

The "George Hotel" darts team entered the Divisional final of the Kent Championship by defeating the "Black Horse," Headcorn, by two straight legs at Headcorn on Tuesday. The "George" players threw exceptionally well, W. Perry (69) and S. Bilsby (65) showing the best averages. Even R. Couchman and F. Mercer, who normally play for the reserve team, made the average scores of 43 and 37 respectively. The team average was 53. Harry Collins threw out in both games.



WOOD Eli 1868+

COOPER Eli 1891+ (age 44 in 1891Census)

UPTON John 1901-Oct/03 (age 54 in 1901Census) Kent and Sussex Courier

LAMBKIN Charles Oct/1903+ Kent and Sussex Courier

KEIR Stephen Thomas 1920-Jan/33



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:-