Sort file:- Ashford, July, 2023.

Page Updated Ashford:- Tuesday, 04 July, 2023.


Earliest 1856-

Engineer Inn

Latest 1874+

(Name to)

Barrow Hill / Gravel Walk / Engineer Place


Former Engineer

Above photo, date unknown.


It has been suggested that the "Freedom of Opinion" and the "Engineer Inn" are one and the same building.

Situated behind the "Prince of Orange" this was operational in the mid 1800s and believed to finally closed before changing name to the "Freedom of Opinion" in 1922.


From the Kentish Express, 20 September, 1856.


On Wednesday last, as two men named Jarvis and Peasley, were at work on a farm at Barrow-hill, in the occupation of W. P. Burra, Esq., they discovered a bag in a pond near a footpath leading to the Warren; upon opening it, it was found to contain the dead body of a male child in a very decomposed state.

An Inquest was held on Thursday morning at twelve o'clock, at the "Engineer Inn," before Thomas Thorpe Delasaux, Esq., coroner for East Kent, and a respectable Jury; Mr. Geering, foreman.

The jury having been sworn, the Coroner said he hoped they would on this occasion take more than the usual cursory survey of the body, as they would not have the assistance of a medical gentleman unless they should express a wish to that effect. He understood the body was in an advanced stage of decomposition, and it would be impossible for any one to state the cause of death, or whether it ever had existence, as the old test of the lungs floating was now exploded, for if the child had once breathed and immediately expired, they would still float, and the same effect would follow from decomposition.

The jury then proceeded to view the body, which was lying in an outhouse belonging to the farm where it was discovered. It was in a frightful state of decomposition, and the coroner observed that if he had seen the body previously, he should not have troubled the jury to attend.

On their return, James Jarvis was sworn, and said:— I live at Barrow-hill, Ashford, and am a labourer in the employment of Mr. Burra. Yesterday morning I was at work about seven o’clock in the Home-field, on that gentleman’s farm, and saw a bag lying on the mud in a pond which is between the Home and Pond fields. I called Peasly, and we opened the bag, which we found to contain the dead body of a male child. The body was put in the bag head foremost, the legs were doubled up, and a stone in the bag close to the head. It was very much decomposed. Should say it had been dead many weeks. I have been to the pond for some weeks to get water. The water has recently been very much reduced. I never saw the bag before. I know nothing of the cause of death. There was a footmark in the mud. I cannot give any opinion as to whether it ever lived or what killed it, owing to the state of the body. I do not suspect any one.

By a juror:— I have seen hundreds of people going that way. The bag was tied up.

By the foreman:- I do not think any one had examined the bag before me. It was sewed up very neat, and tied up very tight indeed at the top.
George Peasly:— I am a labourer residing at Ashford. I have heard the evidence of Jarvis, and it is all true. I know nothing additional.

The Coroner said that there was no evidence what ever of the cause of death; it might have been drowned or otherwise killed, or it might not have ever breathed; he recommended the jury to return an open verdict, for if any clue were obtained, their verdict would not stop further enquiry.

The jury immediately returned a verdict of — "Found Dead."


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 9 November 1861.

Leve Jupp, 11, pleaded guilty to stealing 7s. 9 1/2d. from the bar till of the "Engineer Inn," Ashford, as the case was not pressed the magistrates directed that he should be well whipped by his father in the presence of a policeman.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 18 June 1870.


On Wednesday last Mr. Cooper Pope, a young man in business with his father as a veterinary surgeon, was brought before W. P. Burra, Esq., on an extraordinary charge of stealing oats from the stable of Mr. J. K. Philpott. Mr. Philpott’s son and a younger lad swore positively that they saw Mr. Pope come out from the stable about eleven o’clock the preceding night, with a bag full of something under his arm. About a gallon and a half of oats was missed from a sack full which had been recently put into a corn bin, and about that quantity of similar oats was found in the prisoner’s stable. Mr. Burra remanded the accused on substantial bail, until the petty sessions. The unfortunate young man seems to have brooded continually over the chance until Friday evening, when he went into the washhouse of his father’s residence, and blew his brains out in a most determined manner, with a gun which he had loaded with shot for the purpose. An inquest was held on the body at the "Engineer Inn," on Saturday evening, before T. T. Delasaux, Esq. The top of the deceased's head was blown clean off. He had addressed a long letter to his wife, in which he took an affectionate leave of her, and of his father and mother and friends; but said he could not live under such a stigma on his character, and he protested most solemnly his entire innocence of the charge imputed to him. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased committed suicide while suffering under mental derangement. It seems difficult to understand how he could have been guilty of a paltry theft like that imputed to him, as he was in a good business, and there were plenty of oats in his own stable. The melancholy event caused a painful sensation in the town.




PARKS David 1861-62+ (also Coal Merchant age 41 in 1861Census)

HARRIS George 1874+




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