Sort file:- Canterbury, December, 2023.

Page Updated Canterbury:- Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton & Rory Kehoe

Earliest 1851-

(Name from)

Bat and Ball

19 Mar 2017

(Name to)

163 (55) Old Dover Dover Road


Bat and Ball 1897

Above photo 1897, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Huge crowds gather for a party at the St. Lawrence Ground, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The banner (centre of pic) is that of the Canterbury Ragged School, which existed to provide education for destitute children.

Bat and Ball 1910

Above photo circa 1910, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bat and Ball advert 1926

Above advert 1926. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bat and Ball circa 1940

Above postcard circa 1940.

Bat and Ball 1965

Above showing the "Bat and Ball" in 1965.

Bat and Ball 1991

Above photo 1991, from Kevin Thorpe.

Bat and Ball 2009

Above photo, 2009, kindly sent by Garth Wyver.

Bat and Ball 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball sign 1965Bat and Ball sign 1986

Bat and Ball sign left 1965, sign right, December 1986.

Bat and Ball sign 1991Bat and Ball sign 1991

Bat and Ball sign May 1991

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis


Originally the "First and Last" this pub had changed name by 1861, it is now popular with cricket players and watchers being housed opposite the Canterbury cricket ground.

In 1869-70 the pub was part of a consortium who were advertising their goods of selling tea in response to grocers' selling beer and wine. (Click for further details.)

An entry in Fremlin's 1950s publication called "Where shall we go," indicated the following:- Phone number - Canterbury 2995. Parking accommodation - Spaces available on the opposite side. Lunch - Snacks. Tea - Snacks. Remarks - This house faces the famous County Cricket Ground. During matches parking accommodation is provided on the ground.

The Kentish Gazette referred to it as the "Sportsman Tavern" in October 1961, but that may well have been an error on their part.


Kentish Gazette, 7 October 1851.


Assault on a Female.

John Foord, a private of the 88th Regiment was charged with an aggravated assault, under the following circumstances:— Mrs. Gutsole stated that about a quarter to nine o’clock the preceding evening, as she was proceeding home to the "Bat and Ball" public house kept by her husband, in the Old Dover-road, and when she had just passed the pump in the New-road, she was accosted by a soldier, who encircled her with his arms, and threw her to the ground with great force, he falling on her. She resisted him as much as she could, and scratched him, though having her gloves on, and in her struggles tore the strap from his cap. She called "murder" three times; and, as she supposed, he, hearing footsteps, got up and made off. There could be little doubt what his intentions were. On giving the strap to her husband, the man’s name and number were discovered; and accordingly, next morning, Inspector Spratt, repaired to the Barracks, and brought him a prisoner. Spratt stated that he found the soldier had another strap; and the bench scanned him somewhat minutely to discover his scratches, which were evident in his face. He denied the charge, but admitted that he had been out, and did not return to Barracks till after the usual time; and accounted for the scratches, by saying that he had received them some days previously. He denied that the strap produced belonged to him.—

Colour-Serjeant Macnamara, who was present, deposed, in reply to questions from the bench, that he had no doubt the strap belonged to the prisoner, though it sometimes occurred that a man losing a strap would obtain another. In reply to the prisoner, he stated that he had not, on the previous day, observed the scratches in his face. He added that prisoner was generally well conducted in his Regiment, otherwise he would not bear the conduct-stripe that he did.

The bench expressed themselves satisfied with the evidence, and said as numerous complaints of similar conduct had come to them, they were determined to visit this offence with the heaviest punishment—which was, that the defendant be fined £5., in default of payment to stand committed to gaol for two months.


Kentish Gazette, 30 May 1854.


The North Kent Cricket Club, which was for formed last year under the patronage of the Earl of Darnley, have fixed their head quarters at the "Bat and Ball," Cricket field, in the Wrotham Road, and the Committee are making strenuous exertions to play a few good matches, and have already completed a match with the Sussex club; the first match will be played at Brighton, on Monday, the 12th of June, with the return match in Gravesend, on Monday the third of July.


South Eastern Gazette, 1 May, 1860.


A CRICKETER, as tenant for the "Bat and Ball" Public-house, opposite to the entrance to the Kent County Cricket Ground, Canterbury. The occupant is likely to attain constant employment from the Club, if a good bowler. Rent and coming-in nominal.

Apply to Messrs. Baggs and Dray, Brewers, Canterbury.

N.B. No other refreshment house within a quarter of a mile.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 5 January, 1861.


At the St. Augustine's Petty Sessions, on Friday, John Harris, and Edward G. Harris were charged with having assaulted Edward Chilton, on the 27th of Dec., at Petham.

Edward Chilton:- Last night, at about nine o’clock, I was in the "Eagle" beer-house, Canterbury. I was not tipsy. The prisoners were there. They were strangers to me. I left at about nine o'clock. My horse and cart were waiting for me. The prisoners proposed to ride with me as far as the "Bat and Ball," St, Lawrence. When we reached it the house was shut up. The prisoners then said they would go a little further with me; and I allowed them to do so. I drove off in the direction of Waltham. They said they wanted to go to Old Wives Lees. When I got to Street-end, I pointed out the way. They then said that they would go a little further. Just beyond Harmonsole Farm they got out of the cart, held my horse’s head, and said that they would go to Old Wives Lees in my cart. I said that they should not. I got out and took hold of the horse’s head. They tried to get me away. I threatened to stab them, if they did not leave off. I took my knife out of my pocket, and unclasped it. They continued to struggle with m, and in it my hand was cut, and the thumb of John Harris. Whilst we were struggling, Mr. Leggeit came by, and I called for his help. The prisoners offered to fight him, but he got them away from me. I said that I should fetch a policeman. They offered to go with me in the cart and I drove them to Pethnm, Mr. Leggett following. There was no policeman at Pelham, but Mr. Gibbs, the parish constable, took them into custody.

Corroborative evidence was given.

The prisoners said that the prosecutor offered them a ride, and promised to bring them back. Afterwards, he drew out a knife, and threatened their lives if they did not get out of the cart.

The Bench fined them each 2s, 6d., and the costs.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 26 April, 1862.


Mr. Brett, the landlord of the “Bat and Ball” public-house, Old Dover Road, appeared to answer a complaint for having people drinking in his house at two o’clock on Saturday morning, when, by his license, he ought to have kept it closed from eleven o’clock on Friday night till four on Saturday morning.

The Mayor said the bench were disposed to overlook the matter on that occasion; but if any further complaint should be made again his house he would be severely dealt with.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 4 July, 1863.


William Brown, 22, soldier, of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, was charged with assaulting George Duckett, with intent to rob him, in the pariah of St. Paul, on the 20th May. 1863.

From the prosecutor’s evidence it appeared that on the 26th May he was in the Cricket Ground seeing the sports which were then going forward there. In the evening, about half-past eight o’clock, he met the prisoner, whom he knew before. They went into the “Bat and Ball” where they had some beer. They afterwards went into the New-road, where he gave the prisoner a pipe of tobacco. They then went into Burton Fields, where he gave the prisoner another pipe of tobacco, he having broken the first. The prisoner then put his arm round his neck and tried to pull him down, he, however, grappled with him and threw him against the hedge. They struggled together, and the prisoner struck him several times with a loaded stick. He was covered with blood, and the prisoner ran away. He followed him as fast as he could, but could not catch him. The stick was found near where the struggle took place, and was given to a sergeant who was present there. He gave information to the police the same night. There and found the prisoner in the guard-room.

By the prisoner:- You left the “Bat and Ball” with me. You took my arm, and we went together. You gave me your gloves.

By Mr. Addison:- I gave the sergeant the gloves.

P.C. Cherrison:- I accompanied the prosecutor on the 27th. He was very much bruised about the head. I produce a stick which I received from Sergeant-Major Kaye. He went to the barracks, and saw the soldiers march out and the prosecutor said he was not there. We then entered the guard-room, where there were fifteen persons in a line. Prosecutor said he was not there, but I said to him “There are some down there you have not seen.” There were three prisoners there, and the defendant was in the centre. Prosecutor pointed out the prisoner, and I apprehended him.

The prisoner said he remained in the house half an hour after the prosecutor left the house.

The evidence was given fully at the time the charge was taken before the magistrates.

The Recorder having carefully summed up the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and he was sentenced to three years' penal servitude.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 6 June, 1863.



William Brown, a private in the 2nd Dragoon Guards, was committed for trial by the Canterbury Magistrates, last week, for a brutal assault upon William Duckett, a labouring man, who deposed that he was going on to the cricket field, in the old Dover-road, when the prisoner came up to him and said, “Hallo, old George, I haven’t seen you for ever so long; we’ll go and have a jolly good pot of beer together?” Witness said he did not want any, but eventually went with the prisoner into the “Bat and Ball” skittle ground just opposite. Witness just tasted a portion of a pot of beer, and then told the prisoner that he was off; the soldier said, “and I’m going with you.” He did so. When they got into a field near St. Martin’s-hill, the prisoner asked what o’clock it was? Witness looked at his watch, and said “Ten minutes past nine,” adding that he was off home, as he had got his living to get. The prisoner then asked for a pipe of tobacco, which witness gave to him, and almost immediately afterwards prisoner caught hold of witness round the neck, and committed the assault complained of. When on the ground, witness culled out “Murder," when the prisoner put his fist into witness's mouth to stop him doing so, but he (witness) bit the prisoner’s fingers, and he ran off. The prisoner knocked witness about the face and head with the stick produced (a heavily-loaded knobbed stick). Witness was covered with blood. Somebody went and found the stick where the struggle took place. The gloves produced were given to witness by the prisoner, to take care of, while in the skittle alley. He afterwards identified the prisoner at the barracks.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 9 January, 1864.


Edmund Lawrence and John Bradley were charged with stealing five pigs, value £8, the property of Charles Hambrook.

Mr. Hambrook, the prosecutor, lived at Staple. In October the prisoners went to his house and offered to buy his pigs. He told them that he would not sell without the money, and they agreed to come on the following Wednesday. Lawrence made a bargain for the pigs at 8s. 3d. a score. They came towards Canterbury, at the request of the prisoners, as they had not sufficient money to pay for them. When at Littlebourne prosecutor proposed that they should ride in a brewer's waggon that came along. He and Lawrence came into Canterbury, but could not get the money.

He asked for his pigs, and they went to a yard kept by a man named Wilkinson, but the door was fastened, and Lawrence then said the pigs were not in Canterbury yet. After he had waited about for some two or three hours he made a complaint to the police. Shortly after they met Bradley, who told them that the pigs were at Dixon’s, at the “Bat and Ball.” They gave him directions not to part with the pigs. On the following day (Saturday) he saw Bradley and told him it was a bad job his moving the pigs. Bradley said he hoped prosecutor would not go on with it. He said he must.

J. Dixon, landlord of the “Bat and Ball,” deposed to the pigs being left at his house, and receiving orders to keep the pigs. On the following morning the pigs were taken away by the prisoners.

Mr. Barrow addressing the jury for the prisoner, said the Recorder having summed up at some length, the jury consulted some few minutes and then asked to be allowed to retire. After an absence of an hour and ten minutes the jury returned with a verdict of Guilty against both prisoners.

They were sentenced – Lawrence to six months, and Bradley to three months’ hard labour.

The Recorder would not allow Wilkinson expenses.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 30 April, 1864.


A GOOD HOUSE in the above line known as the “Bat and Ball” near the Cricket Field, St. Lawrence, Canterbury; it has lately undergone considerable alterations and improvements, and affords an excellent opportunity to a married couple of doing a good trade, the incoming and rent very moderate. Possession can be had in a fortnight from the present time.

Apply to George Beer, Star Brewery, or to T. Thurston, Appraiser, Oaten Hill, Canterbury.


From the Whitstable Times, 3 December, 1870.


On Saturday afternoon considerable excitement was caused in the city by a report that the body of a man had been found in a chalk-pit in the parish of Nackington. This report was soon afterwards confirmed by the appearance of a hand-bill, signed by the Right Worshipful the Mayor, announcing the tremendous and most unprecedented awful circumstance. The consequence was a general rush of the more excitable portion of the public to the shop of the Mayor in the High-street, and after having gazed for some time into its windows without any very satisfactory result, they dispersed. By the way, what on earth had Mr. Hart to do with the matter that he should thus interfere with the duties of the police, the Coroner, and everybody else concerned? Can it be that his Worship craves to see his name in print with the addenda of “Mayor” on every possible occasion, and that, therefore, he misses no opportunity of gratifying this childish vanity? But if he wishes to take upon his own shoulders all the duties of all the public officers in the city, he had better at once state the fact, and turn his shop into an autocratic bureau, from whence alone the city may be governed. Should his aspirations fall short of this, he need be under no apprehension that the citizens will forget that he is Mayor. The unpleasant fact is made patent to them daily in a variety of disagreeable ways. It appears that the dead man was found by the coachman at Captain Hilton's, of Nackington House; life was not then wholly extinct, but his throat was cut so fearfully as to preclude all possibility of his surviving, and before the arrival of Superintendent Davies and Mr. Holttum, police surgeon, he had expired without giving any hint as to who he was or the cause which had incited him to commit the rash set. Upon his person, however, was found a pocket-book, in which was written the following:—

To Superintendent of Police, Kent.

My last wish is to be buried as found, so, dear wife, children, parents, and friends, forgive the rash and fatal act, and try to forget I ever lived. The Guardians have acted cruelly to me, confident of my innocence, I would not ask a favour of them, or explain anything to them only • • • to make publicly. It is said only a coward can commit suicide out what I suffered • • • • • My dear friends, prevent, as my last wish, my loving wife and children to see my remains. I could have lived and taken the punishment I deserved for the many faults I have committed, but not for the woeful perjury of Hutchinson. He may swear ’tis truth, but this is my last dying words, and I call God to witness he is a false perjured man • • • • clock now struck ten, and buried in the nearest church-yard at your earliest haste.

He was dressed in a blue jacket, black cloth waistcoat, and striped cloth trousers, with laced-up boots, and high crowned hat. The body was removed to the “Bat and Ball” public-house, Old Dover Road, where an inquest was opened upon it on Saturday before Mr. Coroner Delasaux, and, after some merely formal evidence as to the finding of it had been given, the inquiry was adjourned until Wednesday evening in order to allow time for inquiries to be made as to the identity of the deceased. We understand that since the adjournment, the question of the deceased's identity has been solved. A letter was on Monday received from Ipswich by the Superintendent of the Police, which leads to the conclusion that the deceased was a person named Henry Fisk, late relieving officer at the Ipswich Union. The letter in question (written by the Superintendent of Police at Ipswich) states that— “Henry Fisk, whose portrait I enclose, left Ipswich by the 1.25 train for Chelmsford; arriving there, he wrote a letter to me threatening to destroy himself. I went on his track, and found that he left Chelmsford for London, where he arrived at 11 o’clock on Tuesday night last. Other letters received proved that he was in the borough of London on the Wednesday. I could not trace him further; but this Sunday morning I received a letter dated “Canterbury, November 24th,” in which he says “I have walked about nearly all day, and I should hardly dare believe without being noticed the state of mind I've been in, reflecting upon the past, thinking of the sorrow and grief I have brought on a dear wife. I do not know what I am writing about. When you read this I shall be no more, and have left this world. I cannot describe my feelings. You will receive when too late your information, providing I should not be discovered before you receive this. From yours in distress and sorrow, Henry Fisk.” The Superintendent of Police at Ipswich adds that the deceased was “a relieving officer at Ipswich, in difficulties, and money matters bore upon his mind.”

At the adjourned inquest, on Wednesday night, Mr. Francis Fisk, brother of the deceased, stated that he last saw his brother in Ipswich on the 18th inst. He was then in a very melancholy state. He was Relieving Officer of the Ipswich Union, and he (witness) knew there was cause for a depression of spirits in the deceased. Stephen Debock, coachman to Mr. Hilton, deposed to finding the body of the deceased on Friday last. There was no other evidence adduced, and the jury returned a verdict of “Suicide whilst in a state of unsound mind.”


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 22 October, 1886. Price 1d.


On Tuesday, at the City Police Court, Canterbury, before the Mayor (W. R. Young. E.d,) R. Y. Fill, and G. R. Friend, Esqrs, Charles Fairbrass and Emily Fairbrass, a man and wife, aged about 40, were charged with stealing a basket containing goods to the amount of 10s. (the property of John Gillis, the landlord of the “Three Bells Inn,” Swingfield,) from the “Bat and Ball,” Canterbury.

Superintendent McBean said: About 11 o'clock last night the prisoners were brought from near Bridge, and were charged with stealing on Saturday from Mr. Gillis, landlord of the “Three Bells Inn,” Swingfield, the other side of Barham, a wicker basket containing ½lb. of tobacco, a bottle of castor oil, two boxes of pills, a pair of earrings, and a Post Office Savings Bank book.

Upon this evidence the Superintendent applied for a remand, as the witness had not come. But while the Bench were considering the matter, prosecutor and the other witnesses arrived, and so the case was proceeded with.

John Gillis (prosecutor) said: I am the landlord of the “Three Bells Inn,” at Swingfield. I was at the “Bat and Ball Inn,” Canterbury, at about six o'clock on Saturday evening. I was in a cart with my housekeeper, and she got out of the cart for a short time and took the basket with her which contained ½lb. tobacco, two boxes of pills, a bottle of castor oil, a pair of earrings, and a Post Office Savings Bank book. I gave the basket to my housekeeper when she went to pay for a drink, and I saw he take it into the house. The value of the articles was 10s.

The Bench dismissed both prisoners on the ground that there was great doubt about the case.

On Wednesday prisoners were re-apprehended and on the following day they were charged on remand with stealing a basket and other articles mentioned.

Fairbrass is about 30 years of age, and his wife (who appeared with an infant in her arms) is a few years younger.

Mrs. Cheeseman (prosecutor's housekeeper) gave evidence.

Police-constable Crow, K.C.C., deposed that on the previous day he went to Fairbrass' garden, in the parish of Kingstone, and found a handkerchief and two boxes of pills in the earth. The pill boxes were enclosed in a tin box.

The Bench sentenced Fairbrass to six weeks' hard labour, but discharged his wife, remarking that she would suffer by her husband's imprisonment.


From the Whitstable Times, 20 December, 1902.

At the Police Court on Friday, before Mr. D. Amos (in the chair), Mr. G. J. Drury, Mr. W. Nettersclift, and Mr. E. G. Stead, Mr. Arrowsmith (Messrs. Kingsford and Co.), appeared on behalf of Messrs. Rigden and Co., brewers, in reference to proposed alterations at the “Little Rose Inn,” King Street, a, common lodging house which it is proposed to convert into a licensed house. Plans were put in.

Mr. G. Wiltshire, builder, applied on behalf of Messrs. Ash and Co. as to alterations at the “Dane John Tavern,” and put in plans.

Mr. W. J. Jennings, architects, handed in plans for the re-building of the “Bat and Ball,” Old Dover road, and explained them.

The Chairman said that in view of the alterations which were coming into force they deemed it undesirable to deal with any of these applications at the present time.


Information gathered in November 2016 says the pub is up for sale at £400,000 but needs £250,000 spent on it, and local knowledge says developers are looking at turning it into flats.

Further information gathered says the following:- The Bat & Ball, Canterbury closed on Sunday 19th March. Tony Saxby will stay on until the premises change hands on 5th April. He was Canterbury's longest serving licensee, having been there since 1987.

The premises is all set to become flats.


Bat and Ball closing sign 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon. The sign on the door says, " The end is nigh, closing on Sunday 17th March."

Bat and Ball closure 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Tony Saxby

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon. Showing licensee Tony Saxby.

Bat and Ball inside 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball inside 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball inside 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.

Bat and Ball inside 2017

Above photo, March 2017, kindly taken and sent by Doogie Moon.


The premises looks close to re-opening. All the old George Beer & Co windows have been removed and been replaced with "L'Hote a la batte et balle." At least it looks like it's not been turned into the promised flats.



Last pub licensee had GUTSOLE Edward 1851-58+ (age 28 in 1851Census) Melville's 1858

AUSTIN George 1861+ (age 30 in 1861Census)

BRETT W 1862+ Post Office Directory 1862

DIXON J 1864+


WOODGATE A 1869-70+

FAGG John 1874-82+ (age 32 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

FAGG Hannah 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

HEARNE Walter 1903-13+ Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903Post Office Directory 1913

MEARS Frederick Walter 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

GRAY Robert 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938

PITMAN George 1960-77 Edward Wilmot Canterbury

SAXBY Tony 1987-2017


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Edward Wilmot CanterburyInns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot, 1988


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