Sort file:- Canterbury, April, 2024.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 09 April, 2024.


Earliest 1768-

(Name from)

(Sir John) Falstaff Hotel

Open 2014+

8-10 St. Dunstan's Street (Westgate without 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868)


Canterbury map 1874

Above map 1874 identified by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1895

Above postcard, circa 1895, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1895

Above postcard, circa 1895, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff Hotel 1897

Above photo, 1897. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

The Falstaff Hotel (certainly in the early 1900s) was supplied (owned?) by Ash's Dane John Brewery. To the left of the door can clearly be seen George Beer, Star Brewery, Mild and Pale Ales. In later pictures, this part of the Hotel has been knocked though to create an undercroft, or maybe there was one there anyway and it was restored to allow vehicle access. It is strange to think that George Beer would lose the Hotel to a competitor but I guess we'll never know. Well, unless someone out there knows differently!

Above painting 1898, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Also showing "Gun Tavern" on right.

Falstaff Hotel

Above photo circa 1900, also showing the "Gun" on the right.

Falstaff 1900

Above photo circa 1900.

Falstaff 1901

Above photo, circa 1901, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Flag flying at half-mast possible in respect of Queen Victoria's death.

Falstaff 1905

Above postcard, circa 1905, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1909

Above photo, circa 1909, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


Above postcard showing "Falstaff" and the Westgate, date unknown.

Falstaff 1910

Above postcard circa 1910.

Falstaff circa 1900

Looks like a coloured close-up of the one above. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1925

Above photo, circa 1925, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff postcard 1930

Above postcard, date 1930, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Falstaff 1935

Above postcard, date 1935, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Falstaff Hotel April 1941

Above photo, April 1941.


Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.


Above postcard, date unknown.

Falstaff and Monty 1945

Above photo, 20 October 1945 showing procession with Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1948

Above photo, circa 1948, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff Hotel 1949

Above photo, circa 1949, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff Hotel 1952

Above photo, circa 1952, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Falstaff 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Roger Woodman.

Falstaff 1965

Above postcard, circa 1965, kindly sent by Roger Woodman.

Falstaff 1965

Above postcard dated 1965.

Falstaff Hotel

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent my Mark Jennings.

Falstaff Hotel Falstaff Hotel sign pre 1991Falstaff Hotel sign

Above sign left, pre 1991, with thanks from Brian Curtis

Above photos right taken by Paul Skelton, 19 May 2012.

Falstaff Hotel sign 1991Falstaff Hotel sign 1993

Falstaff Hotel sign left June 1991, sign right 1993

Falstaff sign 2010

Above sign 2010.

With thanks from Roger Pester

Falstaff Hotel signFalstaff Hotel sign

The above signs, weren't actually designed and released by Whitbread, but have been designed by Robert Greenham in the same style as the card sets they distributed as a representation of what the sign looked like. Robert says:- This was based on the image which appeared on Whitbread's metal map for East Kent which was painted by D. W. Burley in 1950, on commission from Whitbread.

Whitbread metal map 1950

The above metal map, kindly sent by Robert Greenham was released, in 1950 and painted by D. W. Burley, and was titled Inn-Signia of Whitbread Houses in East Kent, Whitbread & Co Ltd. The Inn Signs designed by:- M. C. Balston, Vena Chalker, Kathleen M Claxton, K. M. Doyle, Ralph Ellis, Marjorie Hutton, Harvey James, Prudence Rae-Martin, Violet Rutter, L. Toynbee and Kit Watson.

Falstaff Wills cigarette cardFalstaff Wills cigarette card

Above cards from the Wills Old Inns collection, number 7.

Falstaff Hotel 1965

Above photograph by Edward Wilmot 1965.

Falstaff Hotel circa 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910.

Falstaff postcard

Above postcard, date unknown, showing a view inside the pub.

Falstaff needlepoint

Above needlepoint design, by Penelope Design, date unknown, kindly sent by Kristina Jennings.


Although I have seen reference to the pub changing name from the "White Hart" in 1783, the following passage suggests the pub was called the "Sir John Falstaff" in 1774, so must have changed name before that year. I do not know when it lost its title of "Sir." Earliest reference I have found to it having the name "Falstaff" is 1769 to date.

It is said the pub has the spirit of a serving girl in what was the upstairs function room now converted into two bedrooms.


From the Kentish Gazette or Canterbury Chronicle, Saturday, 1 October, to Wednesday, 5 October, 1768. Price 2d.


A Peruke-Maker, capable of carrying on the Business of a Peruke-maker, Barber, and Hair-dresser. Such a Person, by applying to Mr. Gregg, at “Sir John Falstaff's” Westgate, may hear of an advantageous Situation.


Kentish Gazette 22 February 1769.

On Tuesday next will be a Match for One Hundred Guineas, between Two Horses, which are to Trot from the Sign of "Sir John Falstaff," in St. Dunstan's, or the "Cock" without Westgate, Canterbury, to the Fifty-One Mile Stone on Boughton-Hill, and back again, computed about nine Miles and a Half: To start at Ten o'Clock precisely.

There will be a genteel Ordinary at the "Three Tunns" in St. Margaret's, exactly at One o''clock; where the horses may both be seen on Tuesday Morning before starting.


Kentish Gazette 18 October 1769.

Edward Marsh, takes this opportunity of acquainting his friends, and the publick in general, that he is removed from the "Rose and Crown," Harbledown, to "Sir John Falstaff's, in Westgate, where he has laid in a fresh Stock of Wines, etc. and has provided good Entertainment for Man and Horse. Whoever shall be so obliging as to favour him with their Custom, may depend on civil Usage, and the best Accommodation, by their obedient humble Servant,

Edward Marsh.

N.B. A very good Post-chaise with able Horses to be Lett; and one Post-chaise to be Sold.


From the Kentish Gazette, 1 January 1774.


By G. FLINT, removed from Mr. Lutch's, Church-gate, Canterbury.

To the "Sir JOHN FALSTAFF" in St. DUNSTAN'S STREET. A Great Variety of printed Linen and Cotton from 18d. to 5s. per Yard.

Four quarter and seven eighths Irish, from 12d to 3s per Yard, plain, striped and flowered Muslins, from 20d to 5s. per Yard. A large quantity of plain, striped and flowered Lawns; etc.


From the Kentish Gazette, 11 October 1775.

At the Sign of "Sir John Falstaff, Canterbury.

TAKES this Opportunity to acquaint Gentlemen and Ladies, that he runs POST CHAISES and ABLE HORSES the regular Stages at NINEPENCE per Mile.

He has good Accommodations for Gentlemen and Ladies; like wife, good Stabling and a Coach-yard, with good Wines, &c. &c.

JOBS on easy Terms,


THE following Persons beg Leave to inform the Nobility, Gentleman, Ladies, and others, that they have agreed to run NEAT POST-CHAlSES and ABLE HORSES, with two Passengers, and moderate luggage, to and from London to Dover, at NINE PENCE per Mile; likewife GENTLEMEN'S CARRIAGES, with four Horses, at ONE SHILLING and SIXPENCE per Mile, and SADDLE HORSES to let. Edward Marsh, "Sir John Falstaff," Canterbury.

John Howard, "New Inn," Sittingbourne.

T. Champion and W. Alexander, in Chatham.

Robert Bat. "Queen's Head," Northfleet.

Joseph Leech, "Bull," Shooter’s Hill.

Good Accommodation at each House on the shortest Notice.


The following has been taken from their web site.

The 16th century accounts of the church wardens of the Holy Cross in Canterbury mention 22 Inns where vestry meetings were held. These include references to the "White Hart," the early name of the Falstaff in Canterbury.

The Inn stands close to Canterbury's Westgate which was built by Archbishop Simon Sudbury in 1380 to replace a crumbling structure erected on the site in 1023. It was at this gate in 1067 that William the Conqueror stopped on his way from London to Normandy to confirm the ancient law and privileges of the men of Kent.

In 1783 (incorrect, I have dated it as early as 1769) the Inn gained its new name as The Falstaff Inn. This was an era when many innkeepers throughout the country favoured the name, as popularity of Shakespeare's 'large' old knight began to spread. The character appeared first in "The History of Henry IV' (Parts 1 & 2).

Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I was so taken with the corpulent knight that she commented on how she would like to see him in his own story. Shakespeare quickly wrote a new play starring Sir John Falstaff and all of his companions and it is said that he wrote "The Merry Wives of Windsor" in only two weeks. The Queen was delighted with the new play.

The old knight's ways have continued to amuse and delight audiences the world over and throughout England has given some very worth Inns a new lease of life.

A decade ago the adjacent old Woodmill building and the 'Tap' public house were converted into more bedrooms thereby extending the original Inn on St Dunstan's Street.


Kentish Chronicles, 4 December, 1795.


Friday died, in the Borough of Staplegate, Mr. John Marsh, formerly of the "Falstaff Inn," in St. Dunstan's.


Kent Gazette Reports 18 June 1805.

A HORSE Detained, supposed to be Stolen.


A MAN who calls himself James Kent (but is sometimes called Captain) and says he is a smuggler, was taken into custody at Canterbury, on Saturday Inst, on suspicion ot having stolen a FINE CHESTNUT CART HORSE, which he had in his possession.

Whoever has lost a horse, of that description, may see the same on application to George Hadlee, at the "Falstaff Inn," Westgate, Canterbury,

June 18, 1805.


Kentish Gazette, 16 May, 1806.


BY Tender of Rent, on Lease, for the term of 14 years from Michaelmas 1806.

Lot 1. All that well-established PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the sign of the "Blue Anchor," with the buildings, yards, gardens, and appurtenances, situate in Littlebourne street, in the county of Kent.

Lot 2. All that other well-established PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the sign of the "King's Arms," with the buildings and appurtenances, situate in Saint Peter's-street, in the city of Canterbury.

Lot 3. All that other well-established PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the sign of the "Monument," with the garden and appurtenances, situate in the parish of Saint Dunstan, in the said county of Kent.

Lot 4. All that other well-established PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the sign of "Prince Charles," with the stable and yard, situate in the parish of Holy Cross Westgate, in the said country of Kent.

Lot 5. All that well-established CAPITAL INN, or PUBLIC HOUSE, known by the sign of "Sir John Falstaff," with the coach-houses, stables, yards, gardens, and appurtenances, situate in the said parish of Holy Cross Westgate.

All the above lots are in the occupation of Mr. John Abbott, or his undertenants.

Tenders of rent, for either or any of the above lots, to be delivered sealed up, on or before the 18th June next, to Mr. Cumming, of Canterbury; of whom, in the mean time, the conditions of letting may be seen.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 15 September 1809.

Falstaff Inn. St. Dunstan's Canterbury.

George Hadlee returns is grateful thanks for the public, for the support he has received during his residence at the "Falstaff Inn," from which he has retired, and begs to recommend Mr. Richard Foord as his successor.

Richard Ford, late of the "Swan Inn," Greenstreet, having taken the "Falstaff Inn," respectfully solicits to the support of his friends and the public, which it shall be his endeavour to deserve, by a strict attention to their commands, and by keeping a stock of the best wines, spirits &c. constantly on sale.

Good beds and stabling.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 27 January 1815.

To be Sold by Auction, by Messrs. White.

At the "Sir John Falstaff Inn," in the parish of Holy Cross, Westgate, without the walls of the City of Canterbury, in the county of Kent, on Wednesday the 8th day of February, 1815, at 12 o'clock at noon, the following Freehold and Leasehold Estates, in or near to the City of Canterbury, late the property of Mr. James Homersham, deceased, subject to such conditions as will be then produced.

Lot 1.


Lot 9.


From the Kentish Gazette, 16 October 1838.


JOHN DOUGHTY, in retiring from the above Inn, to the "PRINCE of ORANGE," GRAVESEND, gratefully acknowledges the kind support he has received, and respectfully solicits a continuance to his successor, Mr. Robert Fox.

ROBERT FOX in soliciting a continuance of the patronage bestowed on his predecessor, takes the opportunity to assure his friends, the Inhabitants of Canterbury and its Vicinity, that every effort shall he made to merit their support; and by moderate charges, strict attention to every department of the business, he earnestly hopes to secure a liberal share of their favors.

Wines and Spirits of the choicest quality.

Truman and Hanbury’s London Porter, and Home-Brewed Ales.


From the Kentish Gazette, 3 November 1840.


ROBERT G. FOX humbly solicits the orders of his Friends and the Public generally to his superior Stock of WINES and SPIRITS, BOTTLED ALES and STOUT, and trusts, from the quality of his goods and the moderate prices, to ensure a good share of their support. All goods delivered free within ten miles in any quantities.

R. G. F. at the same time respectfully offers his thanks for the support, both in and out doors, he has received since entering upon the above House, and begs to assure his friends that neither a good article nor attention shall be wanting to entire a continuance of their patronage already so liberally bestowed.


From the Kentish Gazette, 19 July 1842.


THE Entree of Horses for this Race, was unavoidably POSTPONED on Saturday last, until the 6th of AUGUST next, on which day they can be entered at the "Falstaff Inn," between the hours if Five and Eight.

All other Entries, the same as advertised in the Kentish Gazelle, July 12th.

Canterbury, July 18th, 1842.


From the Kentish Gazette, 28 March 1843.


ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29th, 1843, at the "FALSTAFF INN," St. Dunstan’s Street, CANTERBURY, the property of Mr. R. G. Fox, who is leaving the business;

Comprising sixty dozen of very superior choice old Port, and a variety of other Wines; about sixty dozen of Scotch and Welsh Ales, light Cart on springs, superior Stanhope, Chaise Harness, excellent gig Horse five years old, yellow painted Chariot, set of double Harness, light Wagon on springs, Pony Cart, Phaeton, useful Horse and Harness, a quantity of Spanish Mahogany, and many other useful articles, which will be particularised in catalogues, to be had on Saturday previous to the day of Sale of the Auctioneer No. 16, St. George’s Terrace, Canterbury and at the place of Sale.

Sale to commence at Eleven o'clock.


From the Kentish Gazette, 25 April 1843.

C TREVOR, in announcing to his Friends and the Public that he has left the "LION HOTEL," begs to return his thanks for the support he received whilst there, and also to recommend to their friendly notice his successor, Mr. R. G. FOX.

The BOTTLED ALE and PORTER TRADE will be carried on as usual by C. T., at his Grocery Establishment, 21, High-street.

ROBT. G. FOX, having removed from the "Falstaff Inn," St Dunstan, in succeeding Mr. C. Trevor at the "LION HOTEL," High-street, CANTERBURY, earnestly solicits the support of the Gentry, his Friends, and the Public generally, to the above spacious and excellently fitted Establishment, which has lately undergone, at a great expense, all repairs necessary to render it convenient and comfortable; and trusts, by moderate charges, strict attention to the business, and superior articles, to merit a liberal share of their patronage.

The Stables and Yard, which are also well arranged, have undergone thorough repair, offering good accommodation to livery or bait horses.

R. G. F. at the same time begs to call the attention of his Friends to his superior Stock of WINES and SPIRITS, which he will continue to serve in any quantity, and on the same liberal terms as heretofore for Cash.

N.B.— A good Ordinary every Saturday at Half-past One o’clock.


From the Kentish Gazette, 23 May 1843.


Alderman MASTERS in the Chair. Tickets, 3s. 6d., Including Dessert. Dinner on Table at Three o’clock.


From the Kentish Gazette, 5 September 1843.


E. BIRCH, In respectfully acknowledging the very liberal support he has received from his friends and the public generally, from the short time he has been engaged in the above Establishment, takes the opportunity of informing them that House and Premises have recently been ALTERED and IMPROVED, so as to increase their comfort and convenience, by which, with WINES and other REFRESHMENTS of the BEST QUALITY, and GOOD BEDS, with moderate charges, he hopes to secure a continuance of their kind favours.

Extensive STABLES and Lock up COACH-HOUSES, have been newly erected, and are now complete, with every accommodation for families travelling, for commercial gentlemen, and other visitors to Canterbury.



Kentish Gazette, 28 May 1844.



EDWARD BIRCH offers his grateful thanks to his Friends for the support he has received during the time he has conducted the above OLD ESTABLISHED INN and COMMERCIAL HOUSE, and at the same time begs to inform the Public generally, and more particularly COMMERCIAL GENTLEMEN and FAMILIES TRAVELLING, that while the best of accommodation is provided within doors, the out door establishment is of the first description, the stabling being commodious and entirely new built, with lock-up coach-houses, &c., &c.

Gigs and Saddle Horses to let or hire, on the most reasonable terms.

N.B.— Livery and Bait Stabling.


Kentish Gazette, 19 November 1844.


E. BIRCH begs to acquaint his Friends and the Public generally, that his ANNUAL HOP DINNER will take place on TUESDAY, the 26th instant.

Dinner on Table at Four o'clock precisely.


From the Kentish Gazette, 25 November 1845.


E. BIRCH, BEGS to inform his Friends that his Annual HOP BETTING DINNER will take place on THURSDAY Next, NOVEMBER 27.

Dinner on Table at Four o'clock.


From the Kentish Gazette, 17 February 1846.


EDWARD BIRCH BEGS most respectfully to offer his thanks to his friends and the public generally, for the kind patronage conferred on him during the time he has conducted the above establishment, and respectfully solicits a continuance of the same.

E. B. also begs to call the attention of persons travelling by the South-Eastern Railway, that the "Falstaff" is near adjoining the Canterbury Station, and that he provides conveyances to and from the coast and surrounding country.

N. B.— Good Beds and excellent Stabling, with lock-up Coach-houses.


From the Kentish Gazette, 29 September 1846.


EDWARD BIRCH, IN gratefully acknowledging the kind patronage with which his Establishment has been favoured, begs respectfully to inform his friends and the public generally that he has on draught a choice supply of CROWLEY’S GENUINE ALTON ALES, so universally approved of, and hopes, by supplying Wines, Spirits, and other refreshments of the best quality, at moderate charges, to meet a continuance of their favours, which to deserve will ever be his study.

The "Falstaff" is open for the accommodation of travellers by the Night Mail Railway Train.

Good Beds, Stabling, and lock up Coach houses.

Close and Open Cabs on hire by the day or hour.


Kentish Gazette, 16 November 1847.

Hop Dinner.

The first of these social meetings, took place on Thursday last, at the "Falstaff Inn," St. Dunstans. Upwards of thirty gentleman sat dawn to a well-served dinner, consisting of turbot and other fish, haunches of mutton and other favourite dishes of meat, game, &c. &c. The wines were excellent, and elicited high commendation. Mr. E. Bennett ably presided, and the conviviality of the evening was maintained uninterrupted to a late hour. The duty of 1848 was set at 150,000.


Kentish Gazette, 3 December 1850.

On Thursday the city magistrates transferred the license of the "Falstaff Inn," St. Dunstan’s, from E. Burch to Susannah Coulter, late of Rochester, but now the occupier of the house.


Kentish Gazette, 24 December 1850.

MR. POUT has received instructions TO SELL BY AUCTION, ON FRIDAY, the 27th December, 1850, (without reserve) at the "Falstaff Inn," WESTGATE-STREET, CANTERBURY.

About FIFTY DOZEN of PRIME PORT WINES, the property of Mr. Edward Birch, late of the "Falstaff Inn," leaving Canterbury.

Sale will commence at Eleven o'clock.


Kentish Gazette, 4 March 1851.

Canterbury and Harbledown.

Desirable Freehold and Leasehold Estates, and Life Assurance Policy, to be sold by auction by Messrs. Cooper. On Thursday the 6th day of March 1851, at three o'clock precisely at the "Falstaff Inn," Canterbury.

By order of the Devieces in Trust under the Will of the late Mr. John Collins, and subject to such conditions shall be then and there produced.

Lot 11. All that Messuage, Tenement, or Public House, called "Whitehall," with the buildings, gardens, pleasure ground, bowling green, and 2 pieces or parcels of pasture land thereto adjoining, containing 9 Acres more or less, situate and being in the parish of St. Michael, Harbledown, in the county of Kent and now in the occupation of Thomas Howland at the yearly rent of 30.

The above well-known property is held under a lease from the Master of Kent Bridge Hospital, Canterbury for 21 years, from 11th October, 1842, at yearly rents amounting to 3 8s. Is situated within one mile of the City of Canterbury, and abuts on the South Eastern Branch Railway, from Canterbury to Ashford.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 26 March, 1864.


A memorial to the Pavement Commissioners, asking that body to spare the “Sir John Falstaff” sign from its proposed fate, and to permit the favourite portrait to hang over the pavement as before, lies for signature at the Canterbury Bank.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 16 April, 1864.


The Clerk having read the minutes of the last meeting, read a memorial from eleven innkeepers in the parish of Westgate Without, asking to be allowed to suspend sign boards, similar to the one permitted in front of the “Falstaff Inn.”

Mr. Gee, solicitor, said he appeared at the Court, as the representative of Mrs. Cronsdill, the owner of the inn, Messrs. Shepherd and Mares, the lessees, and Mr. Smith, the tenant. He would briefly state to them the reason of the sign board and irons being removed. Some few months back, the lease of the premises was held by Mr. Winch, of Rochester, and the lease having expired he proceeded to remove the fixtures of the house, the incoming tenant refusing to pay him anything for them. Among other things, he removed the sign board and irons. The owner of the property being away from home, he (Mr. Gee), had no instructions how to act in the matter. However, on her return about two months since, she directed him to obtain possession of the irons and board from Mr. Winch, which he did, and they were then suspended as heretofore. He felt bound to tell them that he had a petition signed by one of the members for the city, the minister and churchwardens of the parish, and about 260 of the principal inhabitants of the city, which be produced.

Mr. Jackson moved that the order given at the last Court for the removal of the sign board be carried out at once.

Mr. Solly seconded the proposition.

Mr. Boorman thought some respect ought to be paid to a petition signed by such a large number of the inhabitants of Canterbury.

Alderman Philpott considered the sign an ornament to the city. He could not conceive how it could be a nuisance. If it was looked on in such a light, he could point to a far greater one, and one he felt sure the citizens of Canterbury would refuse, to a man, to have removed. He always looked at the sign in front of the “Falstaff” in conjunction with Westgate Towers, and he would ask them which was the greater nuisance? The towers, of course. But suppose that the Council should propose to remove the towers, would the citizens put up with it? Certainly not. Should the Commissioners order the sign to be taken down it would be a great eyesore to him.

Mr. Hart considered that the sign was an ornament to Westgate and it was a pity to have it removed.

Mr. Carter was of opinion that the sign should be allowed to remain. He thought that as the members of the Court were elected by the citizens, they certainly ought to pay some respect to public opinion.

After a great deal of discussion, the chairman put the question to the meeting, when there voted for the taking down of the sign, 12; against it, 11.

Some conversation ensued as to who was to remove the sign and irons.

Mr. Gee, on the part of the owner, stated that he was certain Mrs. Croasdill would not remove it, and it was ultimately decided that the Commissioners should take down the board, and charge the expenses attending the same to Mrs. Croasdill.

Mr. Gee then informed the Court that if they touched the sign board or irons, he was instructed to bring an action against them for trespass.

The Court then adjourned.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 16 April, 1864.


Canterbury has disgraced itself in the eyes of the literary world at a time when all nations are preparing to do honour to the name of our immortal Shakespeare. The Canterbury Pavement Commissioners, by a majority of one have decreed the removal of “Sir John Falstaff” in that city. For nearly a century has the sign been suspended by handsome iron work before an inn at the West entrance to the city, near the Westgate towers. It is but just to say that all the thinking and intelligent members of the Court opposed its removal. As a proof of the obtuseness of one of the Dogberry's who voted for its being taken down, he was heard to say that “Shakspeare's works were rubbish.”


From the Kentish Chronicle, 23 April, 1864.


On Tuesday an attempt was made to remove the sign, in St, Dunstan’s, Canterbury, but was resisted by Mr. Smith, the landlord, acting under Mr. Gee's instructions on behalf of the proprietor of the inn. A policeman was present to prevent a breach of the peace, and the affair finished by Messrs, Jones and Gentry, the builders, retreating with their ladder, and the general laughter of the bystanders. A special meeting of the Commissioners is called for the 4th of May, to consider the propriety of rescinding the order for demolition.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 7 May, 1864.



A special meeting of this Court was held on Wednesday, “to rescind the order made at the last Court, for the removal of the sign board and irons, suspended in front of the “Sir John Falstaff Inn.” Mr. Moore occupied the chair.

The Clerk having read the notice calling the meeting, Mr. Hobday rose and said:— I beg leave to propose that the resolution made at the last Court, to remove the sign in front of the “Falstaff Hotel,” be rescinded. There is a strong feeling out of doors against the sign being removed. I think also that some respect ought to be paid to the numerously signed memorial which was presented to this Court at its last meeting. If it is the wish of the public that this sign should remain, it is our duty to allow it to be suspended.

Mr. Hart seconded the motion. He considered that the Commissioners were doing wrong in voting for this sign to be removed, and his opinion was that they should endeavour to steer clear of litigation; but if they decided on removing the sign, they would most surely have to go to law in the matter.

Mr. Boorman said Mrs. Croasdill was desirous of being represented in the question, and she had therefore requested that Mr. Gee and Mr. Day, Barrister, of the Inner Temple, should appear. Those gentlemen might be able to throw some further light on the subject.

Mr. Hart thought the Court ought to have all the information it was possible to obtain on the point.

Mr. Chambers was of opinion that the question should be fully discussed, and he should, therefore, move “that counsel be heard in the case.”

Mr. Hart seconded the motion, and it was put to the vote, when there appeared in favour 12 against 3. The motion was declared carried.

Mr. Day then rose and said he had been instructed on behalf of Mr, Croasdill to appear before them, to ask them to reconsider the question of permitting a sign board and irons suspended in front of the “Falstaff Hotel” to remain. Some question had arisen as to the legality of his addressing them, but he believed he was correct in stating that the law throughout this country, and not only this, but in all other countries, was that any persons affected by a resolution at any board or meeting were allowed to attend that meeting, and make any explanation they might wish; and where from any infirmity, age, sex, or other cause, they were unable to attend, they were permitted to be represented by advocate. When he used the word law he did not do so in the way in which that term was generally understood, for he had studiously determined not to use the word in its common sense if he could possibly avoid it. In the remarks he was about to make he should abstain from making use of any words that might by any means be construed into a threat; and he should also refrain from touching at all on the law of the case. Doubtless, when they came to the conclusion that the “Falstaff” sign should come down, they did so considering that they were performing a duty to the citizens; but it was certainly strange that after having allowed the sign to remain suspended from the house so many years, they should in the spring of the present year come to the determination to have it taken down. He could only from one conclusion from this, viz., that they had very strong reasons for removing this sign. What could these reasons be? If he were rightly informed, the Commissioners had received no complaints from the inhabitants of the parish of Westgate, neither had they received any complaints from persons passing beneath the sign of any obstruction or annoyance caused by this sign. He was instructed, and of course he was open to their contradiction if wrong, that the only reason assigned for the removal of this sign was, that other publicans in the same district had applied for permission to suspend signs in front of their house. Could this possibly be the reason why the Commissioners of Pavement wished to remove this sign? What was the Act under which they proposed to remove it? Why it was an Act passed between seventy and eighty years ago, viz., in 1787, and they were all aware of the difficulties of proceeding under such old Acts. This brought him to consider the position of the sign itself. He was told to consider the position of the sign itself. He was told that the sign was permitted to remain when all the other signs in the neighbourhood were removed. Surely their predecessors had some very strong grounds for sparing the sign from the general spoliation, if he might so term it. Again, he was informed that the sign did not hang over the property belonging to the Commissioners but on the Whitstable Turnpike Trust; and if they placed ladders for the removal of the sign they might make themselves liable to an action for trespass. The removal of this sign certainly appeared to him to have been brought before the Commissioners at a peculiar time, and if the reason he had mentioned was really what caused the Commissioners to come to their resolution, he must say it was a very strange one. The other publicans came before them as persons taking their houses without signs, but in this case the only thing asked was to permit the existing sign to remain. This motion put him very much in mind of Falstaff’s own words when Prince Henry threatened to banish him for leading him into bad company:—

“Banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins; but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him thy Harry’s Company, banish not him thy Harry's Company; banish plump Jack Falstaff, and banish all the world.”

This was exactly what the Commissioners were about to do. They were going to banish Sir John after permitting him to remain for 30 years—for that, he was instructed, was the time, that that district had been under the jurisdiction of the Pavement Commissioners—for he understood that all the signs in the city were removed, but that one was permitted to remain, and now it was decided that he should be removed because some other publicans had asked to have permission to suspend similar signs. He looked upon their application more in the spirit of memorial got up to counteract the one presented on behalf of Mrs, Croasdill. He hoped the Commissioners would not ratify the motion which they earned the other day, but would if they thought they possibly could, consistently with their duties to the ratepayers permit Sir John to remain. It was true that they had passed April, and the 23rd of that month was consequently gone too; but he thought that it would have been better had the motion been put off another year, and he hoped this course would be adopted. Mrs. Croasdill did not appear before them as a person seeking this point in a pecuniary view. For it mattered very little to her in that respect whether it were up or down. Neither did the lessee care, for he had a long lease of which he believed as long a course as twenty-one years were yet unexpired. Mr. Day was greeted with a hearty burst of applause as he resumed his seat.

Mr. Harrison said there was one fact of which Mr. Day did not seem to be aware, viz,, that when the present lessee took the house the sign was not then in its present position. The sign had been taken down and re-hung.

Mr. Gee said he must contradict that statement, because he commenced the negotiations between the lessee and Mrs, Croasdill, and the sign was then suspended.

The Chairman put the motion of Mr. Hobday to the meeting when they voted for it. Alderman Philpott, Messrs. Boorman, Bligh, Mount, Andrews, Ganibier, Hart, Hobday, and Chambers—9. Against it Messrs. Moore, Harrison, Small, Dixon, Williamson, Gillman, Rayner, Jackson, Crow, Hall, Poole, and Solly—12.

The motion was declared to be lost.

Mr. Hobday said he protested against the sign being removed.

Mr. Boorman asked what course would now be taken as to the removal of the sign.

The Clerk replied that it would fall back to the order made at the last Court, via., that it be left to the Committee.

Mr. Chambers said the Committee had expired. It was appointed for three months, and that time being up, how was the order to be carried into effect.

Mr. Boorman suggested that the question had better stand over till the next ordinary meeting of the Board.

The Chairman thought the question had better be left to the Clerk to carry out the orders but he smiled and shook his head, and the Commissioners seemed thoroughly to understand that.

Mr. Small rose to make a proposition, but as no motion could be put to the meeting on account of its being convened for a special purposes he resumed his seat amid much laughter, and the Court Adjourned, it being understood that the necessary orders for carrying out the resolution, will be given at the ordinary meeting on Wednesday next.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 11 June, 1864.


The Clerk staled that in obedience to an order of the Court he had caused the “Falstaff” sign boards and irons to be taken down, and removed. The irons were in the yard belonging to the Commissioners, but the board had been given up. He wished for the instructions of the Board as to what he was to do with them. He produced Messrs, Jones and Gentry’s bill amounting to 4 15s., and Messrs Drury's bill of 12s for removing the sign.

Mr. Jackson considered that the amount charged very exorbitant.

The Clerk thought it was but fair to state that he had great difficulty in getting any tradesman to take the sign down. Even Messrs, Jones and Gentry hesitated before they would do it. He led them to expect that they would be paid something extra for getting up in the middle of the night.

Mr. Williamson said it had been, he believed, the usual proceeding of that Court to charge the owners of property with the expense.

The Clerk answered that there were two ways of looking at the question, and it was difficult for him as a solicitor, to advise the court as his clients while reporters were in the room, as they might, perhaps, inform their opponents of his opinion. But he would say that if they looked at the sign its an old erection they were bound to remove it at the expense of the ratepayers, but if they looked at it as a new erection then they could charge the owner with the expenses which were incurred in the removal. The question had now nearly died out; and it would, perhaps, avert litigation if the Court made an order for the immediate payment of the costs incurred, without making mention of the sign irons.

This suggestion was adopted.

The Court ordered that posts should be placed at the corners of St. Margaret’s street.

After transacting some other minor Court adjourned.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 16 July, 1864.


The annual election of one-third of the members of the above commission took place on Wednesday last. It had been known for some time previous that an attempt would be made by a large body of ratepayers to return members favourable to reinstating the “Falstaff” sign, at Westgate, to its original position. Great exertions were made by the partisans of these, who oppose its re-erection. The result of the content has, however, proved a triumph to Sir John Falstaff, by the return of six Commissioners favourable to the re-display of “Plump Jack,” and two only against it. At the close of the poll the numbers stood as follow, the first eight names being these elected.

Mr. Vincent * 92; Mr. G. H. Eillent + 48; Mr. Mount * 84; Mr. Andrews 41; Mr. Boorman * 80; Mr. Welby 41; Mr. Harrison 67; Mr. Cooley 40; Mr. T. W. Collard * + 61; Mr. Finn 36; Mr. Grow 59; Mr. Bligh 33; Mr. C. Goulden * 57; Mr. Young 31; Mr. G. P. Collard * 48; Mr. Bushell 11.

Those marked thus * are favourable to the re-erection of the sign of “Sir John Falstaff.”

+ Lots were cast between these two, when Mr. G. P. Collard’s name was drawn, and he was declared elected.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 16 July, 1864.

To the Editor of the Kent Chronicle.

Sir,—I shall feel obliged if you will contradict the report that I was a candidate for the office of Commissioner of Pavement, I did not ask a single person to vote for me, and if there were printed forma with my name on them, it was done without my knowledge or consent— so that 40 votes were given me spontaneously.



Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 24 September 1864.

The Sir John Falstaff sign.

The ponderous ironwork from which the portrait of Sir John Falstaff was suspended, and which was removed by the Pavement Commission at a cost to the rate payers of 8, has, during the past few days, been re-fixed. We hear that it is the intention of the owner of the house to fix a first class portrait of Sir John, as soon as it can be got ready.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 13 September 1884.


Before the Mayor (H. B. Wilson, Esq.), R. Y. Fill, and H. Hart, Esqrs.


The license of the "Falstaff Hotel" was provisionally transferred from Charlotte A. Moore to Charles Smith.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 28 April 1900. Price 1d.


Richard Hermann Jebauer, a German waiter was charged with attempting to commit suicide by drowning himself on the previous Tuesday, in the river Stour. Superintendent Farmery said that the prisoner was seen by a Mr. Drake, who was staying at the "Falstaff Hotel," to run across the fields near Bingley, take some of his clothes off, and then jump into the river Stour.

Mr. Drake, who was taking a walk along the banks of the Stour, went to prisoner's assistance, and with the help of a Canterbury man named Jones, he got him out of the water and then sent for the police.

P. C. Roe, who was on duty at the police office at 10. 4f a. m. on the morning in question proceeded to the spot immediately and found the prisoner lying on the bank unconscious. Artificial respiration was prescribed to and the police constable then removed the prisoner to the hospital on the ambulance. He had been at the hospital since.

P. O. Roe gave formal evidence of arresting prisoner, and the Chief Constable then applied for a remand until the following Friday, so that he could communicate with the prisoner's friends.

The Bench granted the application.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 5 May 1900. Price 1d.


The German waiter Richard Hermann Jebauer, who was last week charged with attempting to commit suicide, was on the suggestion of the Superintendent, discharged on his promising to go back to Germany under the control of a representative of the Consul.


From the Whitstable Times, 13 October, 1900.



A sad case of death accelerated by alcoholic poisoning was investigated by the City Coroner (Dr. T. S. Johnson) at the "Falstaff Hotel," Canterbury, on Monday, when an inquest was held on the body of Elizabeth Mary Land, the wife of a Reservist in the 21st Lancers, living at Artillery Street, Canterbury.

Robert William Land, the husband of deceased was a lance-corporal in the 21st Lancers, stated that he had been married ten years. He had two children. On Tuesday night his wife was seized with pains in her stomach. Witness did what he could for her, and on the following morning she said she felt better. On Tuesday witness called Mr. Preston in. The deceased was addicted to drink. Witness had provided her with money which he was sorry to say she had spent on drink. He always looked after her. On 3rd inst, she had been drinking while he was away. On Friday night she died at a quarter to eleven o'clock.

The Coroner said it was one thing for a man to provide his wife with proper nourishment, but another to let her have it and spend all on alcoholic drink.

Witness said that sometimes for a month or six weeks the deceased would not touch a drop of alcoholic drink. he had a great deal of trouble with his wife when he lived with her in London.

The son of the last witness, aged nine, was then brought before the Coroner, but was not sworn as he did not understand that taking an oath instant. He said he had often fetched gin for his mother. He used to teach it two or three times a day while in Canterbury, and a rule got it at the "Union Castle." he had also fetched gin for her in London.

Rose Mary cave, wife of John Cave, plasterer, living at 72, Military Road, stated that she knew the deceased owing to her husband (Robert Land) and witness' daughter's husband both being in the 21sr Lancers. She had known the deceased's husband a few weeks. The husband asked her to go and look after his wife and she did. She stayed with the deceased a little while. She never saw the deceased the worse for drink.

Emily Hymers, a widow, living at 8, Artillery Street, stated that the deceased had lived with her for about a month. She was very quiet and witness never saw her the worse for drink. She had been away nursing for three weeks. The deceased occupied the front room upstairs.

In answer to the Coroner, witness said she had never smelt gin or other spirits about the place. She knew the smell of gin - she hoped she did.

P.C. Ives, Coroner's officer, stated that he received information on the deceased's death on Saturday. he went to Artillery Street, and owing to the inconvenience of the place the husband asked that the body might be removed to the mortuary. He then obtained the permission of the Coroner and the body was removed. he heard from the previous two witnesses that there was some discolouration of the body.

Mr. H. O. Preston, surgeon, stated that he was called to see the deceased on Friday afternoon. He found her extremely ill. he examined her very carefully and found that has had a disease of the liver, which was generally enlarged. She had an extremely weak heart. She was scarcely able to answer his questions as she was so weak. Witness asked her husband if she was addicted to drinking and he told him practically what he had told the jury. Witness prescribed for the deceased. At 11.30 at night a message was sent up to say that she had died. The next morning witness went down and saw the deceased. There were post mortem discolouration on the body only. The cause of death was syncope, the result of chronic alcoholic poisoning.


From Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 03 August 1912.

Mr. W. Trueman, who for some time past has been the landlord of the "Bear and Key Hotel," Whitstable, has taken the old "Falstaff Hotel," Westgate, Canterbury. His many friends will wish him all success in his new enterprise.


East Kent Gazette, Saturday 12 July 1913.

Co-operative Employers' Outing.

The annual outing of the employees and friends of the Rainham Co-operative Society, Limited, took place on the 2nd instant, and proved a great success. The Rainham party were joined by a party from the Hoo Co-operative Society, the whole numbering 65. Two motor char-a-bancs (from Sittingbourne and Maidstone) had been engaged. and the party motored to the "Anchor Inn," Ospringe, where they had breakfast. There the journey to Margate was resumed, this favourite resort being reached in good time. At Margate the party dispersed, and spent the day as they chose. On the return journey in the evening a brief halt was made at the "Falstaff," Canterbury, and advantage was taken of the opportunity to pass a hearty vote of thanks to the Rainham Society for voting three guineas to the outing fund, and also of thanking Mr. A. W. Barnes, the managing-secretary, for the excellent manner in which he had carried out the arrangements for the day. The homeward journey was then resumed, and the party pulled up at the "Man of Kent," the house of Mr. F. Barden, the President of the Society, at 10.30, having had a delightful trip.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 6 March 1920.

New Licensee of the Falstaff Hotel.

Application was made to the Canterbury City Justice's on Friday by Mr. Ben Twyman for the transfer of the licence of the "Falstaff Hotel," Westgate without, from Mr. Marshall Shepherd to Mrs. Fannie Roberts, formerly of the "Bear and Key Hotel," Whitstable.

Mr. E. G. Hammond asked Mrs. Roberts if she had satisfied herself that she was going to get a living there, and the applicant replied that she hoped so. She should try anyway.

Mr. Hammond:- That is not my question, which is. Have you satisfied yourself that you will get a living there?

Mrs. Roberts:- Yes, I think so.

The transfer was granted.


From the Whitstable Times and Tankerton Press, Saturday, 26th January, 1946.


At Canterbury Magistrates' Court on Friday a Dover man changed his mind twice when asked whether he was drunk and incapable on the night of January 12th.

He was Henry W. Piggott. 12, George Street, and he was fined 5/-. It was said that he had been convicted for a similar offence in 1942.

The prosecution's 'case was that P.C. Gurney found Piggott propped in a doorway in St. Peter's Street at 10.15 p-m. He was helplessly drunk—head forward, eyes closed, and unable to speak. The policeman fetched assistance and defendant was carried to the Police Station. Charged, he made no reply but later he staggered about the office until he collapsed.

Piggott explained from the dock that he came out of the “Falstaff” at 9.40 p.m. to see if it was time to catch his bus home. He tripped himself up and was unconscious 7 hours. That was why he had been incapable.

When the police constable stated, however, that Piggott had no marks of falling down, smelt strongly of drink, and sang and shouted when put in a cell prisoner suddenly changed his plea to one of guilty.

(Originally he seemed to admit the offence, then he denied it. This was the second change).


Dover Express 24 November 1950.


The Foxhounds meet at 11 a.m. as follows:

25th Nov., Canterbury ("Falstaff")

28th Nov., Sholden.

Ringwould & R. A. Beagles Meets at 1.30 p.m.; Saturday, 25th November, "White Horse," Finglesham;

Saturday, 2nd December, "Green Windows Hotel," St. Margaret's.


The Inns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot's,1988, mentions a document, date circa 1945 that gives the description of clientele at the pub as being "Businessmen, tourists."


Falstaff Hotel advert

Above showing an advert, date unknown.


I have just been informed (3/Jan/2016) that the pub has emerged from a major overhaul and have added a very swish cocktail-style bar that serves decent beer.



GREGG Mr 1768+ Kentish Gazette

Last pub licensee had MARSH Edward Oct/1769-75+ Kentish Gazette

MILES William to Nov/1787 Next pub licensee had Kentish Gazette

HADLEE George 1805-Sept/09

Last pub licensee had FOORDE Richard Sept/1809-24+ Pigot's Directory 1824

FAGG George 1828-32+ Historic Canterbury web site (Sir John Falstaff Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34)

DOUGHTY John to Oct/1838+ Stapletons Guide

FOX Robert G Oct/1838-Apr/43 Next pub licensee had

Last pub licensee had TREVOR C Apr/43+

BIRCH Edward Sept/1843-Nov/50 Bagshaw's Directory 1847

COULTER Susannah Nov/1850+

MULLEN Robert Joseph 1858+ Melville's 1858


PACKMAN Isaac 1861+ (age 50 in 1861Census) (Falstaff Tap)

FLETCHER Ann 1861+ Census

SPENDRIFF Richard to Jan/1864

SMITH Thomas Jan/1864-67+ Post Office 1867

MOORE Mrs Charlotte Ann 1874-Sept/84 Post Office Directory 1874CensusGreens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1882Whitstable Times

SMITH Charles Sept/1884+ Whitstable Times

READE James Mar/1885+ (from Southampton) Whitstable Times

HATTON Miss Sarah 1889-91+ Historic Canterbury web sitePost Office Directory 1891

LIDINGTON William 1903+ Historic Canterbury web site

Last pub licensee had TRUEMAN W Mr  Aug/1912+

KEMP Herbert 1917+ Historic Canterbury web site

SHEPHERDS Marshall Mr to Mar/1920

Last pub licensee had ROBERTS Fanny Mar/1920+



Pigot's Directory 1824From the Pigot's Directory 1824

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette


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