Above photograph of the Chequers, date unknown.
Above the Chequers at Hougham offering a village activity, in 1986.
Above Chequers taken 11 February 2001.
Above, yours truly with Sundance, date circa 1994.
Just after closing circa 2007.
Photo above and below by Paul Skelton (15 Sept 2007), boarded up and awaiting
Above pictures showing the front and back of number
22 from a set of cards by Whitbread. Date as yet unknown.
Earliest reference found so far is in the Wingham Division Ale Licence
list, which shows the "Chequers," Hougham, to be re-licensed for the sum of 8 shillings in
1740 indicating that the pub was present before 1740. Afraid at this time I
do not know when it was built.
Obviously renovated at some time with the addition of wood panels on the
outside to make it look older than it actually is, or perhaps not as the
case may be.
From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General
Advertiser, Saturday 21 April, 1838.
DOVER POLICE COURT
George Straw, 24, a private in the 69th Regt. stood indicted for
stealing in the parish of Hougham, Dover, a promissory note, value £5,
the property of Capt. C. J. Coote, of the same Regt. Sir Walter Riddel,
who had previously opened the case, when it was sent back to amend the
indictment, called the prosecutor. He stated that on 27th March, he
enclosed a £5 note of the bank of Messrs. Latham and Co. in a letter
addressed to Mr. Coote, at Liverpool Terrace, which Sergeant Poole, with
the concurrence of witness, gave to the prisoner to convey. It was the
duty of the latter to carry it, in obedience to the command of his
superior officer, Sergeant Poole deposed that he gave a letter, part of
which was produced in Court, and inside of which he had seen Capt. Coote
place a £5 note, to the prisoner for the purpose of its being conveyed
as above stated. Thomas Thackery, a private in the 69th, saw the letter
given by last witness to the prisoner. He was afterwards sent after
Straw, and found him in the evening at a public-house in Hougham.
Witness got a constable; and taking him into custody, conveyed him to
Dover. Colour Sergeant Phillips, of the 69th, received the prisoner from
the last witness and a constable, and conveyed him to the Regimental
guard-house, where, on searching him, the portion of the letter
produced, together with a sovereign and thirteen shillings, were found
on his person, and a sovereign in each of his boots. Hannah White, of
the "Chequers," at Hougham, deposed to a soldier coming there, at noon,
on the 27th of March, and saying he would have a glass of ale if she
could change him a £5 note. She sent out and got change, and the soldier
remained drinking with other persons, and spent more than a pound. In
answer to a question by the Recorder, the witness said she was not
surprised at a private soldier spending so much money. Mr. Thomas Loud
remembered giving change for the note, at Hougham, and which he
The prisoner said nothing in his defence. The Recorder, addressing
the jury, explained the nicety of the law in such cases; the prisoner
not being exactly in service of the prosecutor; but as a soldier liable
to obey orders. A question for the jury, was, whether the prisoner
intended to steal the note at the time of its being put in his charge?
If they considered so, it would become a felonious taking, and enable
them to convict the prisoner. The learned gentleman further explained
the law in cases similar to that of the prisoner; when the jury, after
some consideration, found the prisoner guilty of appropriating the money
to his own purpose; but not with that intention in the first instance.
The Recorder explained to them it was clear that the prisoner could not
have the intention to steal before he knew what was in the letter; but
he broke it open and took the note, he committed a larceny by doing so.
The then returned a verdict of Guilty; and the Recorder, addressing the
prisoner on his so disgracing Her Majesty's service, sentenced him to
twelve months' imprisonment. The note was ordered to be given up by Mr.
Loud; but it was understood that Capt. Coote immediately returned it to
From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 3 March, 1860. Price 1d.
On Thursday week, the deputy coroner, C. J. Fox Esq., held an inquest at
the “Chequers Inn,” West Hougham, touching the death of John Kingsmill a
labourer, aged 59 years. From the evidence of George Kingsmill, it
appeared that on the previous morning, about seven o'clock, he was
called by one of the children to the deceased's bed room. He there found
the deceased hanging from the bed-post, quite dead and cold. He saw
deceased alive on the previous (Thursday) night, at nine o'clock, when
he went to bed. The deceased was rather more low-spirited than usual,
and in the course of that day he had said” he should go to the union,
and should never come out again.” The deceased had been ill for some
time, and he had been out of work for some time in consequence.
Verdict, “Temporary Insanity.”
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday,
16 April, 1875.
A CONSTABLE SENTENCED TO HARD LABOUR
Thomas Harvey, a police-constable stationed at Hougham, was summoned
before the Dover County Magistrates on Saturday, charged with assaulting
Richard Holmes, a waggoner, in the employ of Mr. Bromley, at Church
Hougham. The affair arose out of the constable turning the complainant
out of a public-house, the "Chequers." He described the assault to the
Magistrates as follows:-
"On Saturday, March 21st I was at the "Chequers." I left at ten
minutes to ten, with George Smithson and William Ladd. I was sober.
Defendant, who was in plain clothes, came along with a young woman. I
did not speak to him, but he came up to me and said, "Get away." I said,
"I am going away." I was then saying good night to my friends. He then
took me by the collar and shoved me along. I told him to let go, and he
said, "If you say anything to me I will knock you down like a nine pin."
He said he would take me to Dover, and I told him I was willing to go. He said he would put me in the lock-up at Hougham. I told him he had not
got one. He took me to his lodging and told George Hogben to bring his
tunic, belt, and scarf out. He put them on, and putting his staff in his
belt he up fist and knocked me down three times. I got up each time and
he knocked me down again. Then he out with his staff and told me that if
I did not go off he would lay that over me. I ran off." The testimony
having been supported by two other witnesses, and no witness being
called to deny it (except the defendant, through his solicitor, Mr.
Worsfold Mowll, asserted the evidence as to violence was false,) the
Magistrates considered the case proved and sentenced the prisoner to one
month's imprisonment with hard labour.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 25 October, 1878
Finnis Beer, David Rouse, and William Hatton, were charged as follows:-
Finnis Beer with keeping his house open during prohibited hours, and the
other two men with being on the premises.
Police-constable Ross said: About 6 o'clock on Sunday morning the 6th, I
was in company with another Police-constable, and we watched the
“Chequers” public-house and saw defendant Rouse go to the back door and
he stayed there about five minutes, and about 9 a.m. I saw the other
defendant (Hatton) give the landlord a half-gallon and pint and a half
bottle. Afterwards he went into the stable with the landlord. The latter
left the stable and came back soon after with a jug as if full of
something, which Hatton drank. About ten o'clock I saw a man from Dover
go in, and I followed, but found the man was a traveller. I then told
the landlord what I had seen and he said he was sorry. I told him I
should report the case. When defendant Rouse entered, a young woman came
out to look about.
Defendants said they were very sorry.
The Superintendent said he had cautioned the landlord, and that Hatton
was up for the same thing in 1872.
The Magistrates fined Beer 40s., and 9s. 6d. costs, and Hatton 5s. and
9s. 6d. costs, but Rouse was dismissed.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer,
29 July, 1881. Price 1d.
On Thursday the Wingham Petty Sessions were held in the Sessions Roo,
of the Maison Dieu Hall, Dover, before Steriker Finnis, Esq. The only
business of the Court was an application on the part of Mr. F. Beer,
landlord of the "Chequers Inn," West Hougham, for a license to open his
house one hour earlier in the morning during harvest time. The
application was granted.
From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 17 March, 1882. Price 1d.
The license of the “Chequers,” at Hougham, was transferred from Finnis
Beer to Stephen Law Gilbert.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 18 June, 1886. Price 1d.
ALLEGED THEFT OF CLOTHING
George Cox, a farm labourer, was placed in the dock charged with
stealing a pair of fustian trousers, a pair of socks, and two
handkerchief's value 9s., from Hougham, the property of Edward Mutton.
The prosecutor, a farm labourer, in the employ of Mr. E. P. Robinson, of
Poulton Farm, said: On Monday afternoon I went to the “Chequer's Inn,”
Hougham, in company with two other men. I had a bundle containing the
articles produced with me. The prisoner came into the public house a few
minutes after me. I knew him and he spoke to me. My bundle was lying
upon the floor. I drank with the prisoner. I had had quite enough to
drink. I left the “Chequer's Inn” at about nine o'clock, leaving the
bundle there, and went to the “King's Head” public house. I left Cox in
the bar. I returned about half an hour, afterwards and found the
prisoner and the bundle gone. I made enquiries about it, and it was
brought to me this morning by the Police. The value of the articles is
James Hatton, a labourer, belonging to Capel gave evidence of being in
the “Chequer's Inn” on this evening in question. He saw the prisoner
leave the house with the bundle produced, a few minutes after the last
witness had gone out. When Mutton returned I told him of what I had
Instructing Constable Ross, Kent Constabulary, stationed at Alkham,
deposed to apprehending the prisoner at Hougham.
The case was remanded till the Sessions on Thursday.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 7 November, 1890. Price 5d.
FIRE AT HOUGHAM
On Wednesday evening, a stack, between the “Chequers Inn” and a cottage,
was discovered to be on fire. The flames quickly spread to another
stack, some cow-sheds, a piggery, and an outhouse, which were soon well
alight. There was great danger of the flames catching the public house,
the part nearest the stack being only a few yards distant. A mounted
messenger was at once despatched to Dover. The call was received at
7.10, and soon the fire engine, drawn by three horses, with the
Superintendent, Sergeant Barton, and three fireman, was at the road to
the fire. When they arrived, they found the public house in great
danger. A good supply of water was obtained from a pond on the opposite
side of the road, and they soon got the flames under and before the
brigade left, which was one o'clock, not a spark was left. The property
burnt was two stacks – one of hay and one of straw, a cow-shed, from
which the animals were got out unhurt; a piggery, and some out-houses.
The whole of the property is insured.
Dover Express 03 September 1926.
The "Chequers," in West Hougham was granted an extension from 10 to 11
p.m. on September 11th for a cricket club dinner and concert.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 18
September, 1931. Price 1½d.
Extensions were granted to the "Chequers Inn," Hougham, for September
19th for a cricket club dinner, till 11.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 6
January, 1933. Price 1½d.
the Magistrates approved of the plans for alterations to the "Chequers"
Public House, Hougham, which would convert two rooms into one.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 18 February, 1938. Price 1½d.
Approval was asked for, for alterations, consisting of the erection of
lavatory convenience at the “Chequers,” Hougham.
The Chairman said that that would be adjourned for a month for the
Magistrates to inspect the premises.
Dover Express 22 March 1940.
FROM SHEFFIELD TO DOVER.
Mr. J. Moon, of the "Chequers Inn," West Hougham, writes:- One often
hears of children evacuees tramping home from the country, but you don't
often hear of them evacuating themselves. Two years ago a Minister of
Labour official from Lincoln spent his Summer holiday at the "Chequers"
West Hougham, with his wife and child, aged nine years. They have since
been moved from Lincoln to Sheffield. At midnight on Monday the Police
of Dover rang Mrs. Moon up to say a little schoolgirl, aged eleven, was
there and wanted to get to the "Chequers." She had travelled from
Sheffield to London, then on the Tube to Victoria, then to Dover Priory.
After enquiries had been made the police car brought the little girl up
to the "Chequers," where she is being cared for. After extensive
telephone calls, her parents were found and you can imagine their relief
to hear the child was safe, as she had been missing from her home since
the morning, when she set off for school. The curious part is that when
this child was here for her summer holiday two years ago she was taken
to the Dover Hospital the first day and remained in there till three
days before returning by car to Lincoln, so she did not know much about
West Hougham. However, both Mr. and Mrs. Moon are as delighted as her
parents to know that the child has come to no harm.
From an email received 10 November 2011.
I found a little snippet that
might be of interest. I've obtained the War Diary of the 11th East
Surrey Rt. who were based in The Citadel in early 1941. One of the pages
lists the units stationed around Dover, and as you can see from the
attached page, The Chequers at Hougham is mentioned. In May 1941 it was
the base for the 6th Platoon, 'C' Company, 8th Cinque Ports Battalion
HOME GUARD! They had 1 NCO and 23 men stationed there with 21 rifles.
Well I never!
In February 2001 the pub was put up for auction but managed to remain open for a
few more years after this.
Village that has no draughts.
From the Dover Express 15 May 2001, by Nadine Miller.
FOR SALE BY AUCTION: Chequers Inn at Hougham Without which is losing
THE Chequers Inn in Hougham Without - which closed in February - will go
under the hammer in London today.
But residents fear they will lose the
heart of the village once it is sold off to the highest bidder and
turned into housing.
After losing the Post Office and bus service,
villagers met and unanimously agreed to fight any plans to turn the
building into residential property.
Parish councillor Tony Rawlings
said: "The pub has been there for time immemorial and it was
expressed that there was a possibility it would be built upon.
decision was made to take all action to stop the loss of our pub."
Council spokesman Andy Steele said: "There is a policy in Dover District
Council called the 'Draught Local Plan' which states that planning
permission will not be granted for change of use for a rural shop or
"That is unless its loss would not harm the economic and social
viability of the community which it serves, or genuine and adequate
attempts to market the premises for retail purposes or as a pub have
Councillor Trevor Bamfield is committed to help the village
retain its public house.
He said: "The parish council was asked to write
to the auction house in London to say that strong objections will be
made to any planning application.
"I support this action 100 per cent
and we will oppose change at any stage.
"We've lost the school, the Post
Office and the bus service. If our pub is taken away it will mean the
heart of the village will be gone."
Joy as hotel group snaps up Chequers
From the Dover Mercury 24 May 2001.
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Villagers collect signatures for their 'save the pub'
petition in the run-up to the auction.
VILLAGERS at Hougham are celebrating this week after their village pub
was sold to a Kent based hotel group which has said it intends to reopen
it as a pub and restaurant.
The London Inn Group, from Maidstone, has
bought and restored several other pubs in various parts of the country
and villagers are hoping the same will now happen to The Chequers.
It is believed the group paid nearly £300,000 for the property, which closed
as a pub in February and was put on the market.
Villagers feared that a
new buyer might want to convert it into a private house and began a
campaign to keep it as a pub.
"I am looking forward to being able to
drink at The Chequers again," said campaigner, Linda Alvey, this week.
Six people from the village went to the auction at the Portman Hotel
in London. Although the auctioneer would not allow them to hand out
leaflets he did tell would-be purchasers about the villagers' desire to
keep it as a pub.
"We've already lost our bus service, post office and
shop," said Tony Rawlins.
"The pub could be a thriving business, with the right management.
People from all over East Kent know The Chequers, and villagers would
support it as well."
Peg Stopford started collecting signatures for a
petition to retain the pub the previous weekend and within four days she
had collected more than 230 names.
About 500 people live in Hougham,
which is formally known as Hougham Without.
"The problem is we'll soon
be without everything," said Mike Connolly, "We have a subsidised taxi
service once a week, but that's about all."
From the Dover Express 15 November 2001.
New chapter in Chequers' history.
THE centuries-old public house at West Hougham, The Chequers, is to
re-open this month.
When it closed in January this year there were
fears in the village, between Dover and Folkestone, that "last orders"
would never be called again.
Villagers were afraid that when the
property was auctioned the pub would be converted into a private
But Dennis Ironmonger, 53, who has lived in the village for many
years, decided to do
something about it.
Now he has leased the property; which is said to have a history as a
back to 1507.
Former truck-driver Mr Ironmonger and his wife Jenny are
aiming to re-open The Chequers next Friday.
The restaurant at the pub has been extended to 40 covers and chef Steve
Shaw is standing by ready to start providing meals.
At this moment there's just one problem," said Londonderry-born Mr
Ironmonger this week.
"I have been trying to get gas suppliers Transco to get cracking. They
tell me it might be six weeks before they can supply The Chequers.
"I'm trying to speed up the process.
During 2006 The Chequers became a Thi Restaurant as well as a public house, but
alas now closed (2007).
September 2007. I believe the pub has been bought by a property developer
who is going to demolish the pub and build houses or flats on the grounds.
From the Dover Express, Thursday, 1 May, 2008.
Checkmate for former boozer.
THE once popular Chequers Inn, off The Street at West Hougham, is to be
demolished if a planning application goes through to build five houses
with garages on the site. The pub, with its garden, was popular during
the Hellfire Corner wartime days when Dover families used to walk out
there for a picnic in relative peace. Years later it became a
well-visited pub serving table meals. The planning application is
to go before district council planners shortly.
The CAMRA branch meeting of June 2008 reported that approval for change of use
has been approved.
From an email sent 22 October, 2012.
The following photos have kindly been sent from Hougham resident, Tim Delbaere.
The sad demolition of a fine old country pub.
And to think this used to be a fine old pub full of character.
All photographs taken by Tim Delbaere
More coming down.
That's about it, I'm afraid. Although Tim has kindly sent me some sad
pictures of the inside of the building.
I believe this was the main bar serving area.
The chimney breast still stands amongst the rubble.
More carnage inside.
The dining area, looking relatively tidy compared to the rest.
More empty space.
To the left as you went through the main door.
The last welcoming menu. Years after the pub closed.
Now for the rebuilding, but not a pub in sight.
Above photographs show the now demolished pub taken by Paul Skelton
31 October 2010.
Above pictures taken by Paul Skelton, 3rd September, 2011.
Advertisement for the new buildings.
DIXON Thomas 1740+
WHITE Hannah 1838-47+
WHITE John 1858+
WHITE Charles 1874+
BEER Finnis William 1878-Mar/82
William Finnis was at the "Duke of
GILBERT Stephen Law Mar/1882+
JENKINS Alfred to Feb/1891
ANDREWS John Feb/1891+ (age 56 in 1901)
SMITH Stephen 1899+
HUNT James H to Sept/1901
(age 38 in 1901)
GOODALL/GOODHAM Andrew Sept/1901-Jan/1912
HOARE Charles S Jan/1912+
RANKIN James O 1913-Aug/15
WHITE Reginald Aug/1915-Oct/22
(Temporary during war)
PEARCE Charles Oct/1922-May/27
OTTAWAY Alfred George May/1927-June/28
LETCHFORD Frederick E G June/1928+
FRIZELLE Mr Percival Alexander 1934-Mar/35
MOON James Mar/1935-Feb/49
INGRAM J T Feb/1949+
SCOPES George 1974+
PHILLIPS Stephenie to 2001
IRONMONGER Dennis 2001+
DUDLEY K 2006
From Wingham Division Ale Licences 1740 Ref: KAO - QRLV 3/1
Bagshaw Directory 1847
From Melville's Directory 1858
From the Post Office Directory 1874
From the Post Office Directory 1882
the Kelly's Directory 1899
From the Post Office Directory 1901
From the Post Office Directory 1913
From the Post Office Directory 1914
the Kelly's Directory 1934
Library archives 1974
From the Dover Express