Sort file:- Ashford, March, 2023.

Page Updated Ashford:- Sunday, 26 March, 2023.


Earliest 1871-

British Volunteers

Closed 2015

56-58 New Street


British Volunteers

Above photo, date unknown.

British Volunteers

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Andy Turner.

British Volunteer

Above photo, the same as the one above this, by kind permission

Forge Lane 1912

Above photo 21 August 1912 showing the sign under the MOTOR GARAGE one. Taken from outside the "New Inn."

British Volunteer

Above photo kindly sent by Chris Excell, date unknown.

Later photo taken by Chris Excell, 2009.

British Volunteer sign 1975

Above sign 1975.

With thanks from Roger Pester

British Volunteers sign 1991British Volunteer sign 2009

Above sign left 1991, sign right 2009.

British Volunteer 2010

Above sign 2010.

British Volunteer card 1951British Volunteer card 1951

Above aluminium card issued June 1951. Sign series 3 number 7.


Originally owned and converted from two cottages by the Army in the 1860s, after several licensees refused to serve troublesome soldiers from the barracks opposite.

One time property of the "Tenterden Brewery" the brewery went up for auction in February of 1922.

The premises closed circa 2015 and has now (2019) been converted into flats.

At some time the name seems to have changed from the "British Volunteers" to the singular "British Volunteer."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 26 March 1870.

Kentish Gazette, 22 March, 1870. (Ashford)


On Friday afternoon an inquest was held at the "British Volunteers Inn," New Street, touching the death of a young woman, aged 24 years, named Sarah Sutton Hill, the daughter of Mr. William Hill, millwright, who committed suicide under very distressing circumstances. The deceased, we hear, came down as usual early on Tuesday morning and began making preparations for breakfast. She seems then to have gone upstairs and with a sharp pocket knife belonging to her brother cut her throat in a very determined manner, making two severe wounds, besides stabbing herself in the side. She appears to have made no noise, and her father coming home about half-past seven o'clock went upstairs and found her bleeding, with the knife clasped in her hand. G. F. Wilks, Esq., surgeon, sewed up the wound, but she sunk and died on Thursday. Mr. A. Hart was chosen foreman of the Jury, and after viewing the body, the following evidence was taken:—

Mr. William Hill, father of the deceased, who seemed overwhelmed with grief, deposed:— On Tuesday morning last I found my daughter in her brother’s bedroom with her throat cut. She died yesterday morning from the injury. She had been strange at times for some period: I think I may say for some few years; she had the gastric fever, and I think it left an aberration of intellect behind.

By the Jury:— She had been worse for the last three or four weeks. I have heard that on Monday night she went down the street wearing my boots. We have tried since the act was committed to get from her why she did it, but she could give no reason. She has never said anything which would lead us to think she would commit suicide. I found this penknife in her hand when I discovered her.

The brother of the deceased was about to be examined but Mr. A. Williams, one of the jury, said he did not think it necessary to hear any further evidence.

One or two jurymen said they had not heard anything as to how the death was caused, and suggested that the medical gentleman should be sent for; but the Coroner observed there could not be a doubt the poor girl took her own life in a state of insanity, and a verdict to that effect was accordingly returned.


Kentish Gazette, 11 January 1876.


Before C. J. Plumptry, Esq., (in the chair); Captain Hilton, J. J. Harvey, K. W. Wilkie, and F. W. Curteis, Esqs.

Edward Swaffer, alias "Navvy" Swaffer, and Walter Swaffer, labourers, were charged with stealing fourteen live tame fowls, value £10, the property of Owen Russell and Charles Edward Andrews, at Kingsnorth, on the 14th November.

Mr. Deering prosecuted, and Mr. Ormerod defended.

Owen Russell, one of the prosecutors deposed that he and his brother-in-law (the other prosecutor) kept fowls in a lodge at Kingsnorth. On Sunday, 14th November, there were 23 fowls in the lodge. They were then safe, and the lodge was secured with a padlock. On the following morning when he visited the lodge, he discovered that it had been broken open, and there were fourteen birds missing. The police showed him twelve fowls and he identified several of them. He was certain four out of the game cocks were his.

Charles Cooms stated that he was a labourer and employed by the last witness's brother-in-law (the prosecutor Andrews). The two prosecutors kept fowls in a lodge at Kingsnorth and he attended to them. When he went to the lodge on Monday morning, the 15th November, he found that there were several missing. The padlock had been broken off and was lying on the ground. He was shown several fowls at the police-court and identified five or six of them as belonging to the prosecutors.

Felix Giles, landlord of the "British Volunteer Inn," Ashford, said that on Sunday evening, the 14th November, the two prisoners came into his house. The prisoner Walter asked witness if he bought fowls, and he replied that he did not. He then asked him (witness) if he would give him 12s. for twelve fowls, which he declined to do; prisoner then offered them to him for 10s. 6d., and which offer he also declined. Both prisoners had a bag in their hands, and he noticed that they looked rather bulky. The other prisoner (Edward) did not say anything. The prisoner Walter asked the way out the back, and he showed both prisoners into his yard.

John Bird, plumber, living at Ashford, gave evidence to the effect that he was in the "Old English Gentleman" public house at Ashford, on the Sunday evening. he was standing at the bar and the prisoner Walter beckoned him to come into a room. He went and the prisoner then took a white fowl out of a bag and showed it to witness. He was looking at it when a policeman came in and took possession of it.

Thomas Mills deposed that he was a police-constable residing at Ashford. On the evening of the 14th inst. (Sunday) he went into the "Old English Gentleman" public house; he was the prisoner Walter sitting on a seat in the front room/The last witness was standing near the prisoner and had a fowl in his hand. There was a bag lying on the seat near the prisoner, in which he found a fowl which the prisoner said was his property. he told the prisoner he did not believe him, and should take him into custody on a charge of stealing them. On taking him to the police station the prisoner said he bought the fowls of a man up the street. On Monday, the 15th November, he went into the garden at the back of the "British Volunteer" public house, and found a bag containing either fowls near a faggot stack. The fowls were the same that had been identified by the witness Cooms and Russell. On the same day he visited the lodge at Kingsnorth, and noticed footprints on the ground leading to and from the lodge.

Police constable Lane, of Ashford, proved going to the prosecutors' premises on the 15h November, and discovering some footprints near the lodge, he obtained the prisoner Walter's boots, and upon comparing the shoes with the footprints found them to correspond. He cut out the footprints, but they had since fallen to pieces. He also corroborated the last witness as to finding the bag at the back of the "British Volunteer."

Mr. Ormerod, in an able address for the prisoners, contended that there was not the slightest evidence against Edward Swaffer, and argued that although the evidence was stronger against the other prisoner it was not sufficient to convict upon.

The Jury, after some consultation acquitted Edward Swaffer, and found the prisoner Walter, "Guilty."

A sentence of six months' had labour was inflicted.




SKINNER Thomas 1871+ (age 28 in 1871Census)

RICHARDS Lewis 1874+

GILES Felix 1876+

SHARP Thomas 1881-82+ Next pub licensee had (also painter age 48 in 1881Census)

PELLATT Roland 1891+ (widower age 37 in 1891Census)

FOULGER Frederick William 1901-22+ (age 60 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

LASHAM Thomas George 1930+

WATERMAN John 1938+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903



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