Sort file:- Dover, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Barry Smith and Paul Skelton

Earliest 1788


Latest 1870

55 Snargate Street

56 Margate Street Bagshaw's Directory 1847 (Sic)



A "Golden Fleece Tap" was reported on Commercial Quay in 1865. Presuming that to be the same would denote an entrance from two streets. A common practice in the area at the time.


Sometime around 1788, Stephen Court took over The Fleece public house in Snargate Street (later to be numbered as No. 55). He subsequently purchased his freedom as a victualler, on 17 April 1789, for which he would have needed to be in business for at least a year and a day beforehand. He would have been 28 years old at the time. The Universal British Directory of 1793 lists ‘Stephen Court, victualler (Fleece)' in the section on Dover. There were undoubtedly opportunities for him in the flourishing wine and spirit trade in the town at that time, but it would have taken time to make the necessary contacts and establish his credentials before he could have gone into business as an importer. According to later advertising literature, Stephen Court began his business of importing wines and spirits in 1807. This may have always been based in Snargate Street, but the earliest record (found so far) of him leasing premises there dates from January 1814. In the section for Dover in Holden's Annual London and Country Directory of 1811, there is an entry for a ‘Thomas Court, porter merchant', but this is probably a mistake and should have read as Stephen. The business was to remain a family concern for four generations, until finally sold off in 1896. (info from Mike Mead-Briggs)

A "Golden Fleece" was also reported in Snargate Street in 1862 and a writer describing it in 1856 added alias "Swiss House".


A "Fleece Tap" can certainly be eliminated in 1842. It had developed a reputation for doing the wrong thing by then and its licence was refused.


Nevertheless a "Fleece Inn Tap" did flourish under the care of Whitnall in 1845 and served up to 1869, when that in its turn was refused a licence renewal. It was also thrown out the following year so I think we can regard that as finish.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 30 November, 1833. Price 7d.

The Anacicontle Society has been revived at the Fleece Tavern, under the presidency of G W Gravener, Esq. An orchestra of amateurs has been formed, and no doubt is entertained of the society's recovering the celebrity it formerly acquired.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 September 1836.


September 5th, at Dover, whilst sitting in his chair, Mr. John Reynolds, driver of the Eagle Dover and London Coach, and formerly landlord of the "Fleece Inn," in this city.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 2 March, 1839. Price 5d.


On Monday evening last, the brethren of the Seron Lodge at Hythe, paid a friendly visit to the brothers of the Independent Lodge, at the "Fleece Inn," Dover; when friendship and unanimity, the characteristics o the fraternity, prevailed throughout the evening. About eighty of the members assembled on the occasion, and the conviviality of the evening being promoted to a reasonable hour, the brethren partook of an excellent supper provided by the worthy host; after which the visitors departed on their return to Hythe, greeted by the cordial hosts of their brothers of Dover.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 6 April, 1839. Price 5d


Richard Beer, for an assault on John Pine, police constable, in the execution of his duty. Pine stated that about a fortnight ago, on clearing the Fleece Tap, the prisoner committed the assault. On his being convicted thereof before the Magistrates, he immediately threatened the prosecutor with violence as soon as he got out of gaol.

Verdict - Guilty.

Sentence, 4 calendar months' imprisonment and hard labour.


From the Kentish Gazette, 12 May 1840.


May 3, at Dover, the widow of Mr. Joseph Harvey, many years landlord of the "Fleece Inn."


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 12 July, 1845. Price 5d.


Frederick Whitnall, landlord of the “Fleece Inn Tap,” was charged by a seaman of H. M. Ship Porcupine, named Thomas Brown, with robbing him of 14s. the previous evening. The prisoner did not make any defence, and was committed for trial.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 19 July, 1845. Price 5d.


Frederick Twyman Whitnall, bricklayer, aged 31, charged with stealing, at Dover, from the person of Thomas Brown, three half-crowns, and other money. Mr. Dickeson conducted the prosecution, and prisoner was defended by Mr. Horne.

Thomas Brown, prosecutor, deposed:- I am a seaman of H. M. S. Porcupine. On the 8th July last, about 12 o'clock at night, I went with a shipmate into the “Fleece Tap” to get a bed. Prisoner said he had no beds, but we might lie down in the tap-room, and make ourselves as comfortable as we could. We had two pots of beer, and my shipmate was rather groggy. We then laid down on the benches, and I fell asleep. On waking I found my pockets turned inside out, and prisoner was standing beside me. I had 14s. in my pocket when I entered the house, which was gone. Prisoner denied all knowledge of the affair, and my shipmate went for a Policeman. When he arrived prisoner said, “Come on – I will make it all right.”

By the Recorder: My shipmate awoke me, and I then felt a hand in my pocket. – Witness was severely cross-examined by Mr. Horne, but nothing further was elicited; and his evidence was fully corroborated by his shipmate, Daniel Christy.

Police-constable Gardner deposed:- I went to the “Fleece Tap” on the night in question, when brown gave prisoner in charge. He denied taking the money, but refused to go to the station-house, and threatened to punch Brown's head. He then wanted to make it up, and said he found 13s. 6d. on the floor. I took him to the station-house, and found 22s. in his possession, including three half-crowns, and a four-penny piece, which prosecutor said were his. I met prisoner previously when he said he had got some sailors at his house with prize money.

Mr. Horne called several witnesses to character, and made a powerful appeal to the Jury, who returned a verdict of guilty, and prisoner was sentenced to seven years transportation.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 16 February, 1850.

Ann Davison, charged with making a noise and creating a disturbance on the Commercial Quay on Sunday night.

Police-constable Scutt stated that his attention was drawn towards the prisoner on Sunday evening, shortly after 9. She was on the Quay making a great noise, and took her into custody.

Prisoner, in defence, said she was kicked out of the “Fleece Tap,” the landlord telling her that she had taken a customer from the house; but she would be careful not again to commit a breach of the peace.

The Bench expressed their willingness to order her discharge, upon the promise she had given of her future conduct; but as she had now twice appeared before them, (once on suspicion of felony, in the ring case some few months back,) they advised her to be careful of a third appearance, as she would not then experience the same leniency.


From the Dover Express, Saturday 1 December 1860.

Infringement of public house licence.

George Goodman, landlord of the "Fleece" public house, Commercial Quay, was charged with having his house unlawfully open for the sale of beer at 8:30 o'clock on Sunday morning last. The defendant said he could not deny the charge; but explained how the matter had arisen.

A vessel of Mr. Godfrey's had come into the harbour shortly before 8 o'clock in the morning named, and the owner and captain came into his house to have a glass of beer together. He did not know he was doing wrong in serving them. The provisions of his license, as he understood, restricted him from opening his house during the hours of divine service.

The Clerk asking if he have read his license?

Defending replied that he had, and had understood this to be purport of the restriction as to Sunday drawing.

The Clerk said he would find, if he read the licence more attentively, that a landlord must not have his house open before 12:30 o'clock on Sundays.

The superintendent of police said the defendant's house was very well conducted, and as he had lately had occasion to recommend one or two cases of this sort to the favourable consideration of the Bench, he was glad to adopt the same course in the present instance.

The Mayor questioned whether, if the vessel had just entered the harbour, the parties applying for refreshment might not be regarded in the light of ordinary travellers?

The Clerk said that if the arrival of a vessel could constitute persons who came in it ordinary travellers, the construction of his worship would not apply, as one of the parties at the "Fleece" at the time in question was the owner of the vessel and a resident.

The Bench, after what had fallen from the superintendent, decided to mulct the defendant in the costs only, 6s. 6d., at the same time recommended him to study his licence more carefully, and informing him that after this morning any future infraction of the same sort would be rigorously dealt with.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 16 September, 1870. Price 1d.



The applications of John Bromley, for the “Fleece” was refused.




COURT Stephen 1788-92+ Dover and Deal Directory and Guide 1792


HARVEY Sarah 1823-28+ Pigot's Directory 1823Pigot's Directory 1828-29

ROSE John 1839 Pigot's Directory 1839

LAKE William 1840+ Pigot's Directory 1840

WHITNALL Twyman Frederick to July 1845 (Also bricklayer) (Fleece Inn Tap)

COTTEREL Joseph 1841-47 (age 60 in 1841Census) Bagshaw's Directory 1847

HINE Mary Anne 1848 (Fleece Tap)

CLEMENTS Sarah 1850 Dover Telegraph

KRAUNT Henry 1856

GOODMAN Joseph 1857

SAUNTER Mrs 1857

GOODMAN Charles 1858

MATSON John 1865-68

ROSE John 1868+ (also poulterer in 1868)

Last pub licensee had BROMLEY John Mark Sept/1870 (License refused) (Died at age of 35 in 1875)


Dover and Deal Directory and Guide 1792Dover and Deal Directory and Guide 1792

Pigot's Directory 1823From the Pigot's Directory 1823

Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-9

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Dover TelegraphFrom the Dover Telegraph


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