Page Updated:- Thursday, 13 April, 2023.


Earliest 1828-

George and Dragon

Open 2020+

King Street


01227 710661

George and Dragon 1899

Above photo, circa 1899, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon 1900

Above postcard, circa 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Probably showing licensee George Swain and his wife.

George and Dragon 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon, Fordwich, 1912

Above photo, "George and Dragon," Fordwich, 1912.

George and Dragon 1920

Above photo, circa 1920. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon 1948

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

George and Dragon 1950

Above postcard, circa 1950, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon 1953

Above postcard, 1953, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon 1959

Above photo, circa 1959, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon drawing

Above postcard, date unknown.

George and Dragon 1975

Above postcard, 1975, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

George and Dragon, Fordwich

Same photo, 2009, photograph by Nigel Chadwick, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

George and Dragon

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

George and Dragon at Fordwich

Photograph by Nick Smith, also under the same licence.

George and Dragon
George and Dragon sign 1974George and Dragon sign 1991

George and Dragon sign left, July 1974, sign right, July 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

George and Dragon card

Above Whitbread card, 1973 and series unknown.

George and Dragon

Above taken from their web site (Click here)

George and Dragon, date unknown

Above postcard, date unknown.


I have found reference to a "Royal George" in Fordwich that was put up for auction in 1786, perhaps it changed name to this pub.


From the Kentish Gazette, 21 January 1840.


Jan. 13, Mr. Bourne, landlord of the "George," Fordwich, formerly a butcher of Canterbury.


East Kent Times 11 June 1859.


Mr. John Andrews, landlord of the "George and Dragon," Fordwich, was summoned for having his house open for the sale of beer and spirits at an unlawful hour. The defendant pleaded guilty. It appeared that on Sunday morning, the 22nd of May, about a quarter before nine, Sergeant Mayhew, K.C.C. visited the house. The door was open, and a horse and cart was standing at the door. He found five persons in the parlour, three of whom were drinking ale and two rum and milk. The landlord stated that the guests came from Margate, but the fact was they were tradesmen of Canterbury, who had previously been occupied in birds' nesting and gathering lilies. The bench found defendant 5s. and 10s. costs.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 30 March, 1861.


Cephas Keeler, of Littlebourne was brought up and charged with being drunk and disorderly in High-street on Saturday evening. It appeared that the defendant had 20 in his possession on Saturday morning, which amount he had received on account of a legacy left him by a relative; and it transpired that he had been robbed of a large portion of the money, as about 9 could not be accounted for. Keeler was discharged on payment of expenses.

A man named John Bradley was then placed in the dock on suspicion of having robbed Keeler of his money. Keeler stated that he and the prisoner came into Canterbury together on Saturday morning, and he (Keeler) got a 20 note changed at the bank. He spent 2 12s. 10d. on clothes, and put the balance in a bag, and he and Bradley afterwards went to different public houses drinking. In the evening, about half-past seven o'clock, they went to the “George and Dragon,” High-street, and at that time he had sixteen sovereigns in the bag. The prisoner and other persons were in the room. They got some rum, after which he could recollect nothing further. On Sunday night he was at the police station, and the prisoner said to him, “Here is the bag and money you gave me last night,” The bag which the prisoner thus gave him contained 7.

Mr. Gibbs, landlord of the “George and Dragon,” said he remembered the prosecutor, the prisoner and a person named Taylor being at his house on Saturday night, and he served the prosecutor with some rum. The prosecutor got out his bag and money to pay, but could not find, as he said a half-sovereign. The prisoner took the bag and found a half-sovereign, out of which he (Mr. Gibbs) took pay for the rum, and gave the difference in change. He did not know whether the prisoner gave the bag buck to the prosecutor. Mrs. Gibbs stated that she saw the prosecutor leave the house and on getting into the street he was apprehended by the police for indecent conduct. After he had gone she gave the prisoner change for a sovereign. The after movements of the prisoner could not be clearly traced, and the man, Taylor, who was with him at the “George and Dragon” was reported to be in the country. The prosecutor said he did not think the prisoner intended to steal the money but that being drunk he had got rid of it without knowing exactly how. The court was then cleared for a short time, and on the re-admission of the public, the chairman said it had not been clearly shown that the prisoner acted with any felonious intent. The bench would therefore give him the benefit of the doubt and discharge him. As for the prosecutor he would have to put up with the loss of his money.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 8 September 1866.

St Augustine's Petty Sessions. Saturday. Annual Licensing Day.

The county Magistrates renewed the publicans' spirit licence today.

Applications were also heard for new licences, and, as well be seen by the following list, the majority of these were granted.

Licences granted, George Elliot, "George and Dragon," Sturry.

Although this is addressed as Sturry, I believe this is actually the pub in Fordwich.


Kentish Gazette, 28 March 1876.


On Saturday last, Mr. T. T. Delasaux, acting as the deputy for Denne Denne, Esq., Mayor and also Coroner for the borough of Fordwich, held an inquest on the body of William Dibley, aged 4 years, son of a porter on the South Eastern Railway, at Chartham. About nine o'clock that morning, as Mr. Mountford, landlord of the "George and Dragon Inn," was walking along the bank of the river Stour, he observed something floating in the water. he took a boat and went to the spot, where he found the body of the deceased, who was last seen alive playing alone on a bridge which spans the river at Chartham, on the 22nd of February last. He was missed on that day, and it must have happened that the body was washed down the river from thence to Fordwich, going through Canterbury and passing several mills, during the recent floods. There was nothing to show how the deceased got into the water, and the jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 15 October 1898.

At the Bridge Rural District Council Meeting it was said that a letter had been received from Dr. Robinson stating that he had analysed a sample of water taken from the well at the "George and Dragon," Fordwich, and found it so contaminated as to be unfit for drinking purposes.

The usual order for closing the well was made.


From the Whitstable Times, 22 February, 1902.


The Fordwich Church Bell Ringers’ Club Supper, was held at the “George and Dragon Inn,” Fordwich, on Wednesday evening, February 19th.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 19 February, 1909.


A body which was found on the railway near Knockholt station on Saturday evening, was identified as that of William Watson, aged 56 years, who for some years kept the "George and Dragon," Fordwich near Canterbury, and last October moved into the Commercial Hotel, Gravesend, the trade of which disappointed him. On the body were two letters showing that he was very jealous of his wife. At the inquest it was proved that these were based on a pure delusion. He had, however, been very queer in the head lately, and left home after threatening his wife with a gun. She closed with him and pulled the trigger to discharge it, and the shots went into the wall. - The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of unsound mind."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 26 August 1933.


The lawn of the "George and Dragon" Hotel, Fordwich was transformed on Saturday night into a typical German beer garden, when a dance and cabaret, organised by the Misses Bailey, was held, in aid of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital New Building Fund. The lawn was brilliantly illuminated, and the German effect was admirably produced by the upturned beer barrels which served as tables, and the variety of sausage dishes which were served! This effect was heightened by the "English Spoken" notices prominently displayed on the wall. Dancing was indulged in to music provided by Norman Steele and his band.

Two exhibitions of dancing were given by Miss Eunice Gardiner and her talented pupils during the evening. In the first display the numbers included "Love it the sweetest thing," by Margaret Couchman and Joyce Webb; the Dance of the Fan, beautifully contributed by Miss Eunice Gardiner; "Breathing on the Window," by little Valerie Swinnard, who gave an effective rendering of the vocal part; and an acrobatic trio-Sheila Huntley, Joyce Webb and Joan Welldon, who executed some most amazing turns, etc. The second display opened with a soldier number, by S Huntley, T. Webb, and Margaret Couchman, and this was followed by "Don't Say Goodbye," by Miss Gardiner; a hornpipe solo, by V. Swinnard; "Shepherdess," by S. Huntley; and "Please Don't Mention It," by M. Couchman and T. Webb. The performance concluded with an acrobatic solo by V. Swinnard.

The lighting arrangements were carried out by Mr. Roberts, of Herne Bay, and Mr. Brett lent an engine for this purpose.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 7 December 1935.

Extensions at Christmas. In St Augustine's Division.

Licence houses in Whitstable and Herne Bay, where applications have been made, are to remain open for an extra hour on the night of December 24th and December 26th for 2 hours on New Year's Eve.

In the case of the "George and Dragon," Fordwich, similar extensions were granted as in the case of Whitstable and Herne Bay.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 13 August 1938.


On August 7th, 1938, Frederick Charles Bailey, "George and Dragon" Hotel, Fordwich, passed away, aged 70 years.


Saturday 12th November 2005. Ghost Search.

My researchers were unable to find any documented history on The George & Dragon, yet have unearthed a little history on Fordwich itself.... The George and Dragon was built around the 15th century and lies in the village of Fordwich. Fordwich was described in the doomsday book as a 'small burgh', one of only seven boroughs in Kent. By the 11th century Fordwich became self governing. In the village you can find a ducking chair and it is believed that women accused of witchcraft were ducked here. In 1944 The George & Dragon was used externally for a movie called 'Canterbury Tales', the main star and film crew stayed at The George & Dragon whilst filming took place. Within The George & Dragon energy was found to be high, not just due to the residential Spirit, but ley lines are also to be found running through the property, which for Mediums, is great as Spirit have an on line supply of energy to work off. I was also intrigued to hear about a cupboard that house's a public telephone (now used as a storage space, phone still in situ), there are times when this phone rings...yet the phone is not connected?! Throughout this building Spirit roam quite freely, in the kitchen I was to meet a young lad of thirteen who thought it funny to run up and down the kitchen itself banging and moving objects, staff have reported they feel an 'energy' pass by and that equipment and appliances do have a 'mind of their own'. In the dinning room I was met by a gentleman who stood 5' 8" to 5' 9" in height, he was a military man who rode on horse back. This man brings a sadness with him, he told me he took his own life by falling on his sword the reason as yet, unknown, but he gave me the year of 1845. Still in the dinning area there are an additional three Spirit's, one male, two female. I could clearly feel that poltergeist activity takes place here, to which the staff agreed things have a habit of moving and guests have reported seeing a 'ghost' in the area. In the rooms upstairs, to which we have full access to, you will find a number of male energies. In one of the self contained flats you will find a male energy who likes to act tough, he gives off energy as being strong and powerful, we shall see on the night just how powerful he is! This is a great place to explore for Spiritual evidence, lots of active Spirit who all seemed very eager to step forward and be noticed, I anticipate a productive night whilst staying at The George & Dragon.


The Investigation Report

If I said that we as a team enjoyed this investigation I would be a liar. We found that most of the guests were hard to work with, so many had closed minds and were despondent before the investigation started. Despite what you may think this does have a detrimental effect on Spirit's ability to step near, negative thinking builds up a barrier that Spirit find hard to over come and Mediums to work through. We felt so much potential evidence was lost.

We welcome the non believer, all we ask is you have an open mind to the possibility of...

This report will be short, for myself there was only one room that offered 'something', this was due to Spirit thinning guests numbers down leaving those with 'open' minds.


In the flat above The George & Dragon I took a small number of guests to one of the back rooms as the energy felt very high. There were originally six guests, who accompanied me, and we all found the room began to get darker as we opened up to work. This occurred at the same time three male energy's joined us in the room. The guests with me had their arms moved by Spirit and the atmosphere changed rapidly. Several of the guests had to leave the room because they felt scared. One of the male energies said “Then there were five”, (he indicated to the number of guests left in the room). He continued counting down each time a guest vacated the room. I felt 'something' in my hair and lifted my hand to touch it; a number of guests saw lights around my head at that time. It was also pointed out by the guests that the light from the two way radio appeared to be turning off and on, as if someone was walking in front of it. The three male energies were afraid to cross over for fear of retribution, they were criminals and had abused young boys/men alongside murdered a number of people. I was then shown a scene where a man (who had discovered what they were doing with young boys and threatened to report them to the Police) was forced in to a barrel to which the lid was then nailed down, leaving the man to die slowly. I was given a date and an area to which this had taken place (not revealed due to sensitivity). The guests were very aware of intense cold spots throughout this description that I was relaying. Two of my guests (one male, one female said they could feel an energy coming in close to them but then seemed to back off. I asked the Spirits why they did this, to which the male energies said they didn't like 'the law' (as in people). It turned out that both guests worked for the Police!

Only two surnames were caught on cam 'Raymond's' and 'Richmond', the tape ended before the third was given: to which I cannot recall the surname given, sorry. Throughout our time in this room lights were seen darting about the room, intense cold spots were felt, drafts blew past people and a heavy atmosphere was also felt.

Table tilting and glass movement were good.


Donna (Ghost Search Uk Paranormal investigators).



The Hotel was operating as a Beefeater Steakhouse in 1987; there was an alehouse on or near this site over 500 years ago, at a convenient spot close to the ford and town quay. In the early part of this century the toll rights of the narrow Fordwich bridge were leased to the licensees of the pub for three guineas a year.


The "George and Dragon" pub was named after St George, the patron saint of England. The legend of George and the dragon was a myth bought back by the crusaders, and the earliest known depiction of the story dates from the eleventh century.

Fordwich, first mentioned in 675AD as Fordewicum (meaning ‘inhabited place beside the ford') has been home to the George and Dragon since around the 15th Century. The town has a unique and vibrant history.

In Roman times and up until the Middle Ages, Thanet was an island, separated from Kent by a channel some miles wide called the Wantsum (twinned with an estuary in France called the 'Avsum). An arm of the sea came as far as Canterbury and was navigable as far as Fordwich. The port no longer exists as the estuary became silted up over time, and by the late 18th century, the geography of the area had changed dramatically. As a consequence of its position at the head of the estuary, controlling crucial transport links, the town has always had an importance beyond its size.

In the Domesday book, Fordwich is described as a ‘small burgh', one of seven such boroughs in Kent. By the 11th century it became self governing and freed from paying national taxes, in return for providing ships and men to fight for the crown.

As part of the self-governance of Fordwich, in the late 13th Century, a substantial document delineating the customs and laws of Fordwich was produced, called the Fordwich Customal.

Later the provision of ships was changed to the payment of money, and Fordwich to this day still pays its Ship money of forty old pence to its Head Port of Sandwich, at a ceremony held annually in the Guildhall.

Until the middle ages Fordwich was known as ‘The Port of Canterbury' (more accurately, the port for Canterbury), because it was indeed a port. It sat at the head of the estuary of the River Stour, and was both tidal and navigable. The town owned the quay and the crane, and derived income from duty on imported goods and the hire of the crane. Indeed Canterbury Cathedral passed through the port stone-by-stone from Caen in France as boat cargo, on its way to its final home. The crane can still be seen folded back against the back of the town hall, where it would have been ready to swing out over the river to unload cargo.

A further use for this crane was to raise and lower the Ducking Chair, which can also be seen in the town hall. This was an instrument of punishment whereby female scolds and gossips were dunked in the river repeatedly to quieten their tongues.

But as we have seen, by the late 1700's the estuary had largely silted up. Fordwich found itself stranded inland with restricted access along the River Stour, and had consequently slipped from prosperity.

In 1800, Edward Hasted, in the History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, wrote, “The town of Fordwich lies very low and unhealthy, close to the marshes, on the southern bank of the river Stour, a lonely place, of little or no thoroughfare. It is but small and mean, consisting of about thirty houses and cottages. The only remains of antiquity, of its having belonged to the abbey of St. Augustine for a great length of time past, was a losty arched gateway, built of brick, at the entrance to their wharf here, lately pulled down, and a small length of flint wall close to the river. Near which is a large handsome house, belonging to the Blaxlands, and now made use of as a soap manufactory”

By Victorian times Fordwich had become inaccessible to cargo boats, and finally ceased trading as a port in 1830 when a railway was built linking Canterbury with Whitstable Harbour. With an ever-beady entrepreneurial eye, at this point the town built a narrow bridge over the river and derived income from tolls as carts and wagons came into town. These tolls were leased by the landlord of the George and Dragon. The charge was 1d for a cart and 2d for a wagon, and the toll notice board may still be seen in the Town Hall.

In 1944, Fordwich and in particular the George and Dragon became the film set for the ‘Hand of Glory' pub in the famous film ‘A Canterbury Tale' directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Many of the stars and film crew stayed at the George and Dragon whilst filming took place, and film buffs regularly visit the pub to this day.

The George and Dragon is said to be home to ‘The Lady with the Green Hat', who is believed to have haunted the building for as long as anyone can remember. She is thought to wander the pub and grounds, always wearing her green hat. And whether it has anything to do with our ‘Lady in The Green Hat' or not, the story goes that the telephone downstairs, although having been disconnected many years ago, still rings at times.



THORPE Edward 1826-32+ Pigots 1826Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

BROWNE/BOURNE Thomas to Jan/1840 dec'd

MACE Greensreet 1847+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

HOOPER J 1855+

AUSTEN Thomas 1858+

ANDREWS John 1859+

GIBBS Mr 1861+ Kentish Chronicle

ELLIOT George 1866+

MOUNTFORD John 1874-76+

MOUNTFORD Anne Mrs 1881-91+ Post Office Directory 1882 (also coal merchant age 56 in 1881Census)

BROOKER George Swain 1899-1903+ (age 31 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1899Kelly's 1903

WATSON William ????-????

BAILEY Frederick Charles 1911-Aug/38 dec'd (age 43 in 1911Census) Post Office Directory 1913Kelly's 1934


Pigots 1826From the Pigot's Directory 1826

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

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

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle


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