Page Updated:- Wednesday, 09 November, 2022.


Earliest ????

Duke of Wellington

Latest ????

Woodside Green


Duke of Wellington 1890s

Above photo, circa 1890s.

Duke of Wellington 1950s

Above photo, circa 1950s.

Duke of Wellington 1950s

Above photo 1950s.

Duke of Wellington 1960

Above photo 1960, kindly sent by Jennifer Huntington. In both pictures, the older gentleman is (Jessie) Pat Turner b. 1903 d. 1967 his wife Sylvia Killpack Turner (married in 1935) and my mother Michael Williams Morrill (great, great granddaughter of James Turner b. 1819 d. 1995)

Duke of Wellington 1960

Above photo 1960, kindly sent by Jennifer Huntington.

Duke of Wellington 1960

Above photo 1960, kindly sent by Jennifer Huntington.

Duke of Wellington 1960s

Above photo, 1960s.

Duke of Wellington sign

Above sign, date unknown, from the Lenham History Society.

Duke of Wellington sign 2018

Above photo, 23 November 2018. Kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.

Duke of Wellington 2002

Above photo 2002 by Simon Mallett and Lesley Whitle.

Duke of Wellington 2002

Above photo 2002 by Simon Mallett and Lesley Whitle.

Duke of Wellington 2009

Above photo 2009 by David Anstiss Creative Commons Licence.

Duke of Wellington 2018

Above photo, 23 November 2018. Kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.

Duke of Wellington 2018

Above photo, 23 November 2018. Kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.

Woodside Green map


The earliest sale for this property after closing as a pub was recorded on 16/08/1996 for 135,000 and again on 12/05/1999 for 185,000.


From accessed 18 May 2019.

Written by Simon and Lesley White.

The story so far:-

The French were revolting - plus ca change etc. In fact they had just finished that bit of revolution and had decided to conquer Europe, it was 1790.

1790 was also the date that Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith died, John Tyler was born as was Champollion that great French Archeologist who got all the good stuff before the British museum got a look in! But I digress.

I believe that what was to be the "Duke of Wellington" PH was built.

The Turner's (who I guess were woodworkers, after all they lived in the hamlet of Woodside Green) noticed that their house was falling down about their ears, they decided to build a fine brick structure just 100 yards up the road towards Doddington on a new site. Building got underway but was paused due to lack of funds - apparently the level can be seen if one was to strip back the internal plaster - must do that sometime. The house was finally complete, a rectangular property and the family moved in.

The site of the old property still exists and is owned by one of our neighbours, Mr Couchman who has let it develop into a very pretty meadow.

The Turner family prospered (I'm guessing) and had many sons, far too many for the few local ladies. That was the unlikely start of the American off-shoot of the Turner family. Visiting Mormon missionaries suggested that rather than live a life of chastity etc they might sign up to Mr. Young's church, head across to America and make a match with a female population that had a sever lack of men - in fact have more than one as the 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' allowed for polygamy. I would be grateful for a more accurate version of this story!!!

The Turners at about the same date decided to benefit from the noticeable lack of any local hostelry, this was the days before public or private transport, most people used foot-power and a pub over a couple of miles away was a good hours walk and then back. At night, in the dark! (of course).

At that time, I would guess around 1880, the addition at the side was built. This was a single story add-on with a pitched roof that was built on the side of the existing house which at some time - possibly right from the start also housed the local shop. The add-on was to be the local pub, that it was called the "Duke of Wellington" rather implies it was opened as a pub during his life or shortly after he died.

We are told that the pub was small - of course being in that small extension, with no bar as such. Customers would bang on the door to the main house to be served. Seating was on a series of benches, each regular having their own seat and their own jug.

Between the Turners leaving and the late 1960s I have yet to ask or find out. Jim will no doubt have a good idea.

Some time towards the end of the 1960s the pub was bought by Mr Sergeant who had previously worked at ..... in Wrotham about 20 miles up the A20 towards London. Sergeant wanted to match or beat the quality of pub he had just come from and started to change the Duke. The Duke was to be changed into a 3 story 10 bedroom hotel. Plans were drawn up, agreed with the Council and work started. Foundations and ground floor walls then disaster happened. Mr Sergeant took one of his barmaids home one late night rather than have her walk down what is about 2 miles of quite lonely road - more dangerous now as we have maniacs who can barely drive going at stupid speeds on what is effectively a back road with many blind bends.

Clearly there was more happening than I have been told, equally I have been told a number of versions... Mr Saunders dropped the girl off, was confronted by her husband ... Mr Saunders died of a stab wound from a fish knife. The husband (and wife?) still live in the area so enough said.

The Duke was sold on by Mrs Sergeant in 1971, I am not sure of the state, but the ground floor had been completed, and it substantially remains in that state now.

Still to be recorded:-

In between owners:- Sergeant The Docherties, Butch, others...

The Duke as a bikers pub

Thai food

Lee's attempts to make his fortune

Our local planning office - not for the fainthearted.

We bought the pub in 1999, a year after our return from Pakistan and just as the property market was about to boom, phew! just in time.

Of the Photographs

Jim who lives in the cottage across the road and has been a regular all his life believes that he is to the left of the lad in the cloth cap in the image with the hunt gathered round the pub.

The other people I have had identified by Mr Turner, who, as a younger man was offered the Duke back in the 1950s. He declined but has since made contact with us, a great deal of these notes come from his recollections.


From the, 16 October 2011.

Nick, the history teacher.

He has renovated more houses than most of us have had hot dinners but Nick Knowles still finds new quirks in every house he enters. Chris Price caught up with him.

The Mormon faith began its life in Maidstone. It is not a fact many people know but Nick Knowles could not help but chuckle when he found out while filming for his latest TV series.

The presenter was visiting the former "Duke of Wellington" pub in Woodside Green, a hamlet on the North Downs near Lenham. It is owned by Simon Mallett and Lesley Whitle, who have lived there for 10 years and are slowly restoring it back into a house.

In the first episode of the new series of Original Features – Nick’s show for digital channel Home – the 49-year-old helps the pair unlock the history of their property and convert it sympathetically. Yet he was not just impressed by the pub’s traditional features in Simon and Lesley’s case.

It turns out the "Duke of Wellington" is something of a minor tourist destination for Americans. The sons of the original owners of the pub moved to Utah in the early 19th century, where they became one of the founder members of the Mormon faith.

“It is quite funny that the Mormons are anti-alcohol and one of its founder members is from a pub family,” said Nick, who rose to fame as the presenter of DIY SOS on BBC1 and used to live in Hawkhurst, near Cranbrook.

“What I have always loved about social history is you always find out things along the way. A house over 100 years old will have had several generations live there and life will have changed considerably.

“A posh place now was a workers’ hovel 200 years ago.”

There is a hint of sadness in Nick’s work on Original Features, as he tries to protect the architecture and values of bygone eras. Yet the potential financial gain of looking after an old building like the "Duke of Wellington" makes the effort more than worth it for the owners.

“It stinks of beer from where people have spilt their drinks but if you can deal with that you get a lot of house for your money,” said Nick, who was a pupil at the Skinners School in Tunbridge Wells as a boy.

“You also get a lot of land with the car park, which you can dig up and lay a lawn. So it is good value.

Simon Mallett and Lesley White

Simon Mallett and Lesley Whitle outside the former "Duke of Wellington" pub.

“It is sad pubs are being sold because they are not making money. They are such historic places but so long as the people who take them on renovate them in a sympathetic way they will still look fantastic.”

It is easy to see why Nick has such an affection for the "Duke of Wellington." He began his broadcasting career as a journalist at TVS and then Meridian, working from the studios in Vinters Park in Grove Green, now called the Maidstone Studios. He was a regular at several Maidstone drinking holes, stating he was “not backwards in coming forwards in going for a pint”.

He added: “The history of the "Duke of Wellington" is fascinating because it was a pub in the very oldest sense of the word. It was literally an ale house.

“Its licence to sell ale started out because a change in the law in the 1790s meant local farmers could brew their own beer and sell it in their front room. More people decided to drink beer so the family built the big building to sell the beer. Until the 1960s, it still looked like someone’s front room.

“There were kegs in the beer area and the owner would bring over a jug of ale to your table, like a restaurant. It has a really rustic flavour to it and has a history of eccentrics living there. Simon and Lesley won’t be upset if I said they were eccentric themselves.”

The second series of Nick Knowles’ Original Features is shown on weekdays on Home from Monday, October 17, at 10pm (Sky channel 246, Virgin 265). The first episode features The "Duke of Wellington."


From an email received 1 July 2020.

Duke of Wellington Pub.

Memories of Gerald Neaves from Lenham. (Aged 80+ in 2020)

In the early 20th century the landlord was Mr. Turner, a big man who was an amateur boxer He used to go to local Fairs to take up the challenge of boxing the fighters who had rinks there.

Circa 1930 his son Patrick became landlord and Pat’s wife Sylvia was noted for the food she cooked, particularly the steak & kidney feasts near Christmas. Patrick had a hunch back and had no children (he did not wish to pass on the deformity.)

He was a staunch hunt follower and would follow the hounds in his old Hillman coupe.

Gerald said it was dodgy taking a ride with him in the rain as the roof leaked!

Pat had a pet fox that was chained to its shelter in the garden but it was crafty. It rarely used the full length of the chain as if to hoodwink the chicken in believing they were safe, then occasionally would pounce and eat one! When the hunt came round the fox would take refuge in the house and tease the hounds from the safety of a window!

The pub was a free house (so Gerald thinks) and during the war would often run dry when the soldiers from a nearby billet descended on it.

Pre war there was no electric light and no water supply. People relied on wells and/or water butts and the pond across the road. Legend has it that a man drowned in the pond whilst collecting water.

The pub was always a pub and grocery shop.

Beside the pub was the local cricket field and when the soldiers came in the war they made it into a really good one. The cricket team after the war was a good one too and London Philharmonic Orchestra team used to come down to play once a year.

Much more recently Gerald has metal detected the field (owned by John Philpott of Lenham) and he found a gold sovereign and an old brass buckle.

Kindly written by Lesley Feakes.


From an email received 28 October 2020.

Hi, the following was told to my by my late mother-in-law.

Her Grandfather Edward Bradley died in the Duke of Wellington in 1914, he was 74 and was the Farm Bailiff at Tory Hill Farm Frinsted.

Angela Voyce.


From an email received, 21 April 2021.


I am the 3rd great-granddaughter of James Turner, son of Mary Stedman who ran a grocery and beer shop out of the home in 1851 and 1861 (Census), and brother to William Turner who owned the pub 1871-1891 (Census). I have some pictures and information that you may want to share on your site.

Jessie Turner

Photo of (Jessie) Pat Turner given to my grandmother from John Turner nephew of (Jessie) Pat Turner. Circa 1920s.

Sara and William Turner

Photo of Sarah Stedman Turner wife of William Turner who owned the pub from 1871-1890's with William Turner (brother-in-law Henry's grandson (son of Jessie Turner and Jane Godfrey) in front of the pub. This photo was given to my grandmother by John Turner, son of William Turner in the photo.

James Turner

Photo of James Turner, the brother of William Turner who joined the "Mormon" church in London in 1850, returned to Lenham in 1851 and organized and presided over a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until he immigrated to America in 1854. He was the only one from his family to join the Church.

Best of Luck!

Jennifer Huntington.


From an email received 12 October 2022.

My name is Steve Easton and I was a biker from Maidstone. My family moved to Lenham in 1966 or 67. I grew up there and went to school at Swadelands.

Doug and Chris owned the pub for years in the 70s and 80s.

In the early 70s (I think) Chris was married to a different guy than Doug. One night in the pub an altercation took place between him and a fellow with the last name Tippins. Tippins family ran the newsagents in the main street in Lenham and everybody knew when you said Tippins you were talking about the newsagents.

Anyway Tippins, in this fight, stabbed Chris's husband and killed him. It was a huge scandal at the time and Tippins went to prison. His mother continued to run the shop.

After a while Chris remarried to Doug. Chris was very beautiful and Doug was just an opportunist. He was a pikey type and would keep the pub open longer than opening hours. They were left alone mostly because of its remote location.

I was a biker running with a club out of Maidstone. The Duke was a regular haunt for us. Every Sunday we would gather there. I even ran a social club with Doug. I was a good friend of Chris. As time went by she became incredibly unhappy and turned more and more to booze. She missed her first husband and despised the new one. But she could do nothing.

We would talk all the time over the saloon bar. I left for America in 1984 and I know this made her very sad. Not long after she died.

I went back in 1986 and visited with a friend. Apparently Doug had died and someone new had bought it. They were attempting to turn it into some twee quaint village pub for the green welly brigade. This was a sad moment because it was anything but elegant when I went there and I went for years through the 70s and early 80s.

Now I see it is a private house. Everything changes. I live in Mississippi and most of my biker friends are long gone. However I am still in touch with quite a few who can back up everything I have said. All the names in your piece are familiar to me. Good old village names you see everywhere - on tombstones and many of the kids I went to school with.

Anyway you have a nice site and if you have any questions, fire away.

Steve Easton.



TURNER Mary (nee Steadman) 1851-61+ (also grocer age 65 in 1861Census)

TURNER William 1871-90+ (also grocer age 45 in 1871Census)

TURNER Patrick 1930s+

???? Doug & Chris 1970s-80s




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