Page Updated:- Sunday, 19 November, 2023.


Earliest 1802-

Duke's Head

Open 2020+


Ham Street

01233 732210

Duke's Head 1911

Above photo showing the Ham Street goal running team setting off for a match from the "Duke's Head" in 1911. (Barbara Ware - Orlistone, Ham Street & Ruckinge W.I.)

Duke's Head 1920

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

Duke's Head 1920s

Above postcard, date unknown, from Simon Ludbrook.

From Barclay, Perkin's Anchor Magazine. Volume XX, No.4, October 1947. Sent by Rory Kehoe.

Duke's Head, Ham Street.


Duke's Head 1947

Caption reads...

A Service in the grounds of the "Duke's Head."

Part of the congregation, which included members of the Ashford Motor Club, at an open-air service on the lawn of the "Duke's Head," Ham Street, on a Sunday on August. The service was part of the Rector of Ruckinge's "Bring Christianity to the People" campaign, which will also include brains trusts inside the inn.

Duke's Head congregation 1947

The second picture's caption reads...

The "Duke's Head," Ham Street, Ashford, Kent.

A Service is held in the grounds every fortnight.

Duke's Head 1930

Above postcard, circa 1930, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Duke's Head 1977

Above postcard, circa 1977, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Decorated for Queen's Silver Jubilee.

Duke's Head 2014

Above photo 2014.

Duke's Head sign 1991

Above sign, July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


This is a twin pub, along with the now demolished "Stonebridge Inn" at Woodchurch.


Kentish Gazette 19 January 1802.

Left at the sign of the "Duke's Head," Hamstreet, in the Parish of Orlastone.

The beginning of December last, a Black Pony, with one eye, and hog mained; an old bridle and saddle. This is to give notice, if they said Pony has not taken away, within 8 days from the date hereof, he will be sold to defray expenses.

Hamstreet, Jan. 16, 1802.


Kentish Gazette, 18 November, 1804.

LEFT at the "Duke’s Head," Ham Street, parish of Orlestone, 17th October last.


This is to inform the owner thereof, that, if the said Mare is not taken away within fourteen days from the dale hereof, she will he sold to defray expenses.

Ham Street, Dec, 15th, 1804.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Tuesday 28 October 1823.



ON MONDAY, the 3rd of NOVEMBER, 1823, at Four o'Clock in the Afternoon.


Lot 1.— Five Pieces of GRAZING LAND, containing 60A. 3R. 22P. more or less, chiefly in the Marsh.

Lot 2.— The WRAIGHT LAND FIELD, in Romney Marsh, containing 19A. 3R. 12P. of excellent MARSH LAND.

All Tenders to be sent to Mr. C. Howland, Orlestone; and the Stock on the Land to be taken by fair Appraisement.

J. Parsons, the Looker at Warehorn, will shew the Land.


From the Kentish Gazette, 12 February 1839.


Great excitement has prevailed in this neighbourhood for several weeks past, from the unaccountable absence of Mr. R. Fagg, landlord of the "Duke's Head," Hamstreet, in the parish of Orlestone. His body was found a few days ago in the Royal Military Canal, by a bargeman, who conveyed it ashore, and it was taken to his late residence. Nothing has transpired to give a clue to the cause of his death, and whether by accident or otherwise will most probably remain for ever a secret. An inquest was held on Saturday last, and the following evidence adduced.

William Whitehead was first sworn. He said, I am ostler at the "Duke's Head," I remember the deceased, my master, leaving his home at the latter part of November last, it was on a Monday, but the day of the month I don’t remember, I got his horse for him and put his spurs on, he seemed very well then; it was about two in the afternoon, he did not tell me where he was going nor when he should be back. I have not observed any uneasiness on his mind; I board in the house, he did not eat anything that day at dinner, I have never noticed but that he was on friendly terms with his family. I have lived with the deceased a year and a half.

James Austen sworn. I am a labourer and live at Hamstreet, I saw the deceased the day he left his home on horse back by the bridge at the bottom of the street, he was smoking, I did not speak to him or observe anything particular about his appearance.

On the Saturday following between four and five in the afternoon, I met the deceased on horseback between Kenardington and Appledore bridges; he was riding along the Towing Path at a foot pace. I was in the barge and did not speak to him, he was coming towards Hamstreet, I have not seen him since till this day.

Martha Mary Fagg sworn:- I am the mother of the deceased and a widow, I saw the deceased on the day he left his home, it was I think the 26th of November; I spoke to him as he passed my house, I asked him where he was going? he said "in the Marsh, mother." He rode quite at a foot pace down the street. I have at times thought him rather flighty; he was very fond of has wife and children.

John Higgins sworn:- I am a bargeman; about half-past five last evening, I found the deceased floating in the Royal Military Canal about four or five rods on the eastward side of the first angle from Hamstreet bridge; his head at times was just visible above water. With the aid of a boat-hook I got him out and gave information immediately.

The Jury after considering the evidence, which was summed up very ably, by Mr. Fisher, the Coroner, returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


Kentish Gazette, 10 August 1847.

John Eaton, a navvy, from Ham-street, was convicted before the Bailiff of Romney Marsh, at Dymchurch, on the 27th ult., and committed to St. Augustine’s, for a month’s hard labour, for stealing about, three gallons of onions from the garden of Mr. Wanstall, of the "Duke’s Head," Ham-street.


From the Kentish Gazette, 28 November 1848.

NEW ROMNEY. Coroner’s Inquest.

On Saturday the 18th inst. an inquest was held at the "Duke’s Head," Ham-street, in the parish of Orlestone, before Thomas Fisher Esq. coroner, upon the body of Clark Rummery, aged five years. From the evidence of the mother it appeared the child had suffered severely from a violent cold, and that she applied to Mr. Washford, of Warehorn, a chemist, for syrup of coltsfoot, when Mr. Washford said he thought he could prescribe something better. He accordingly made a mixture giving instructions that it was to be taken every two or three hours until sickness came on, and then to be discontinued. This the mother did, but, finding the child grew worse she went for Mr. Jones, a surgeon, residing at Ham-street; he was from home; and about 10 o'clock the child died. This evidence was corroborated by a neighbour, Mrs. Fagg, who was present when the last dose was taken, and remained in the house with the child. Mr. Jones, the surgeon, stated that he was called on by the constable to view the body on the following Monday, and had not the least doubt but that the child died from natural causes. He further stated that the medicine prescribed by Mr. Washford was perfectly harmless, but not sufficiently powerful for the purpose.

Verdict, "Natural Death."


From the By Secret Drinker, 23 January 2020.

Secret Drinker reviews the Dukes Head pub in Hamstreet, Ashford.

Driving past and looking in through the window all I could see was a large group of very bloke-looking blokes craning their necks upwards like a group of excited meerkats.

But, by the time Mrs SD and I entered the Dukes Head in Hamstreet, near Ashford, the footie had finished and the fellas were able to rest their necks.

The pub has various deals on food throughout the week including two steaks for 25 on Thursday nights.

The place was fairly rammed on a Saturday evening and, according to the barmaid, had been manic since she started her shift at 5pm – there must be more people interested in the Scousers beating Spurs 1-0 than I thought.

The left hand bar was raucous to the point of being unnerving and we swiftly turned right for what we hoped would be a more serene environment.

There is actually a restaurant area at the back for diners but the open fire was at the front so we settled here – although the thing barely flickered into life while we were in.

Duke's Head fireplace 2020

Maybe the fire wasn’t stoked for fear it might burst into life and a spark could ruin the carpet!

What did fire up almost immediately was the girl standing at the bar, obviously here under sufferance, who looked up from her mobile just long enough to rip a strip of her fella or ‘tool’ as she called him. He, not caring two jots for her foul-mouthed outburst, carried on drinking and slurring to his mates.

With a Doom Bar and large sauvignon in our respective hands we’d already ordered food by now so didn’t really have any choice but to watch the floor show.

Fortunately, after threatening to throw it all over him if he dared have another drink, they both took their full-on screaming, swearing and arm-flinging argument outside.

There is no way I’d ever describe this as a family pub, but there was one young lad pinging off the walls fuelled by a mixture of Monster Munch and Haribo - he at least kept regulars in the left hand bar busy with his dancing.

When footie’s on, the huge TV screen dominates but once the final whistle blows the pool table, under a phenomenally bright fluorescent tube, takes over – it was in constant use and every frame was keenly contested.

Likewise, the biggest electronic fruit machine I’ve ever seen was in action non-stop.

We’d only ordered starters, and there didn’t seem to be too many people eating, but the chicken/chorizo salad, cheesy garlic bread and bacon/stilton bites did take 40 minutes to arrive. When the waitress did finally proclaim: “There you go darlin”, I have to say each generous-sized dish, whilst a fraction greasy, was very tasty.

This is very much a boozer for locals and there was a high percentage of baseball caps being worn as well trackie bottoms and colourful trainers which competed with the brightness of the pool table light.

At this point a group walked in with all the women sporting animal print coats which really challenged the flamboyant pattern on the carpet. I’m not sure what they were when alive, but it looked to me as if a snow leopard was taking on a cougar.

Duke's Head bar 2020

There is an intricate wrought-iron shelf above the bar to hold the clean glasses.

As well as the fruit machine there was a quiz machine and a jukebox, but I don’t know if it would have kicked in above the radio which was blasting out Heart. Sadly it’s another local pub where the stools dominate the bar so much it’s almost impossible to get served.

At this point the arguing guy re-entered the bar and dared to drink another large drink and stumble out before climbing into his van parked just outside the front door and disappearing into the night – presumably to find the girlfriend who’d snatched a key earlier and left ahead of him.

Like the disgruntled duo we also felt it was time to settle our tab and head back into the night, leaving the locals to practice for Poco Loco Karaoke which is already being heavily advertised despite not taking place until 8pm on Thursday, April 9.

I’m told the current owners have improved the Dukes Head beyond recognition which just leaves me feeling very grateful I didn’t get to sample it before now.

Duke's Head gents 2020

The gents may have been retiled fairly recently, but it’s a shame they chose beige and brown.

Duke's Head ladies 2020

There seemed to be a problem with mould in the cubicle in the ladies.


From the By Secret Drinker, 6 April 2020.

Secret Drinker looks back at his 10 worst pubs across Kent.

It’s almost a year since I landed the best job in the world and I’ve been travelling around Kent ever since discovering the very best, and worst, pubs right around the county.

Fortunately the majority of boozers I’ve been lucky enough to visit have been great, but some, sadly, have been found wanting.

I can only ever report exactly what I find at a given moment in time and I realise a fly-on-the-wall review can’t possibly take into account everything going on in a pub. - and many of these pubs may well have improved since my visit.

But, I was tasked with discovering the good, the bad and the ugly – and, in my humble opinion on the day, these are the 10 worst boozers I’ve visited...

6. Full of footie meerkats, with an assortment of other wildlife adorning the backs of several locals, I have to place the Dukes Head in Hamstreet at No. 6. Being as kind as possible I described it as raucous and unnerving. We’d barely had time to order before a woman launched a foul-mouthed outburst at her fella. Whatever else, there is no way this place could consider itself a ‘family-friendly pub’ although there was one young lad, fuelled by Haribo and fizzy drinks, pinging off the walls.

There might be a zero tolerance to drugs at the Dukes Head, but it needs to spend a little time improving the ladies loos.



FAGG J 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

FAGG Mary 1841+ (age 33 in 1841Census)

WANSTALL Thomas 1847-61+ (also farmer age 51 in 1861Census)

JOHNSON James 1862+ Post Office Directory 1862

BUSS Thomas Sargent 1874+ Post Office Directory 1874

BUSS Sarah Ann Mrs 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

TIMMINS Joseph 1901-03+ (age 51 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

LONKHURST Clarke 1913-22+ Post Office Directory 1913Post Office Directory 1922

LONKHURST Edith Jane Mrs 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

HAWHWORTH Frad Frederick 1938+ Post Office Directory 1938


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

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


Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938


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