Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1833

Knight Arms

Latest 1851+

7-7a Godmersham Park


Former Knight Arms 2018

Above Google image, August 2018.


The pub was opened in 1833, probably taking advantage of the 1830 beer act, but no mention can be found in the 20th century so probably closed before 1900.

The name probably arose from Jane Austen's (1775-1817) brother Edward (1768-1852) who was adopted by the very wealthy but childless Thomas and Catherine Knight of Godmersham Park in Kent. Thomas Knight was the son of Thomas Brodnax (c1701 - 1781.) Brodnax changed his name to May in order to inherit from his mother's cousin and then to Knight in order to inherit Chawton from his father's cousin, Elizabeth Knight. It required a private Act of Parliament each time, allegedly prompting one MP to propose a general bill 'to enable that gentleman to take what name he pleased.' Thomas Brodnax/May/Knight's wife Jane Monk was a second cousin of Jane's father, George Austen. (Jane Monk's grandmother was the sister of George Austen's grandfather.)

Although I don't have any names yet, it was probably owned and run by the same family and closed upon their deaths.

The property is now known as No 7 & 7a, Godmersham Park, and it is one of the buildings that was relocated from inside the Park's walls to the "new" village in the 1800s by Edward Knight (née Austen). The plaque over the door has the initials EK (Edward Knight) and the date. In more recent years, at the beginning of the 20th century it served as the village Post Office, before the PO moved to the white house on the opposite side of the road. Very little information on the pub survives aside from its name and the legend that it was closed by Mr. Knight when parishioners were regularly found to be still worse for wear on Sunday morning when they should have been attending church.


From the Kentish Gazette, 20 May 1845.



AT the "KNIGHT ARMS," GODMERSHAM, on FRIDAY, the 6th of JUNE, 1845, at Three o'clock in the Afternoon, in one Lot:-

All that MESSUAGE or TENEMENT with the barn, outbuildings, Garden, and four pieces or parcels of ARABLE and PASTURE LAND, containing 4a. 2r. 2p., more or less, situate at BILTING, in the parish of GODMERSHAM, in the county of Kent, in the occupation of Mrs. Sarah Newport, and Daniel Tuff, abutting to the proposed Railway from Ashford to Canterbury, and adjoining the lands of Edward Knight, Esq , and J. S. W. S. E. Drax, Esq., M.P.

For further particulars apply to Mr. William Newport, High Street, Canterbury; Messrs. Furleys and Mercer, Solicitors, or the Auctioneers, Ashford.


Kentish Gazette, 8 June 1847.

The Godmersham Friendly Benefit Society attended divine service at Godmersham church on Whit Tuesday, when an admirable sermon was preached by the Rev. T. H. Dale, A.M., after which the members sat down to a good dinner at the "Knight Arms," provided by the Host, Mr. Elvy. Subscriptions were announced from E. Knight, Esq., of Godmersham Park, and Mr. James Hayward, towards defraying the expenses of the next year. The evening was spent in harmony and good fellowship.


Kentish Gazette, 30 January 1849.

Accidental Drowning.

The same day, at Godmersham, on the body of James Beeney, who was found drowned the previous Tuesday in the river. It appeared that the deceased had, with others, been drinking at the "Knight's Arms" till a late hour on the Monday and left for home with one of his companions, George Crow, parting on arriving at the latter's house, the deceased living at Shottenden. Another companion, it appeared, had been overcome by liquor at an earlier hour in the evening, through which he fell asleep in the back yard. On awakening and proceeding home, he had occasion to cross the suspension bridge, on which he found deceased's hat; and obtaining the aid of William Dodd, searched for deceased, whose body was not found till some hours after, quite dead. It was stated by the witness who accompanied the deceased part the way home, that he was quite sober and in good spirits, that he had arranged to meet the witness next day at Ashford market, and that it was not a very dark night. There also appeared the mark of a person having slipped from the bridge, it having been a frosty night.

Verdict:- "Accidental death."



COOK Thomas 1851+ (age 61 in 1851Census)




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