Page Updated:- Friday, 11 February, 2022.


Earliest 1642

(Ye Olde) Sportsman

Open 2020+

Faversham Road


01227 273370

Ye Olde Sportsman 1920

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

Above postcard, circa 1926, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Sportsman 2011

Photos taken in September, 2011 from by Ewan Munrow.

Sportsman 2013

Above photo 2013 by Malc McDonald Creative Commons Licence.

Sportsman 2015

Above photo 2015.

Sportsman 2019

Above photo, 2019.

Ye Olde Sportsman sign 1987Ye Olde Sportsman sign 1994

Above sign left, 1987, sign right, January 1994.

Ye Olds Sportsman sign 1986Sportsman sign 2010

Above sign left, April 1986, sign right, 2010.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


I have also seen this addressed as Graveney.

The first evidence of an inn at the site of the "Sportsman" dates back to 1642. However, the surrounding area of Seasalter was entered in the Domesday book as belonging to the kitchens of Canterbury cathedral. Even then it was an area of food production supplying produce for the influx of religious tourists after the murder of Thomas Beckett in 1170.

By 1920 this was called "Ye Olde Sportsman" but it appears to have changed back again to its simpler name of "Sportsman" by 2010.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 31 May 1873.

Graveney Suicide by Hanging.

A case of suicide was discovered in this parish on Saturday morning last.

John Knowler, 65 years of age, who has of late lodged at the "Sportsmans Arms," Seasalter, paid a visit to his son, Thomas Knowler, at Graveley, on Friday evening, leaving about 8 o'clock, as was thought, to return to his lodging.

On Saturday morning at about 7:30, Thomas Knowler went into his stable and there found his father hanging by a rope used for the purpose of pulling up pigs. He was quite dead, and appeared to have been so for some time. The deceased once before attempted self-destruction in a similar manner, and was cut down by his daughter. He has also been in a lunatic asylum.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette. Saturday 19 November 1898.

The Seasalter Weirs. A Curious Point.

George Jasper Newson v. George Youens.

Plaintive, who is landlord of the "Sportsmans Inn," Seasalter, sued defendant, a cockeller, of 1, Marine Cottages, Sheerness, for 2 8s. 9d., the value of cockles wrongfully taken from ground which plaintive hires at Seasalter. The plaintiff was not legally represented, but Mr. D. Blome-Jones, of Sheerness, appeared for the defendant.

Plaintiff stated that his claim was for six and a half loads of cockles, which defendant took in the month of September. The price was 7s. 6d. a load. Youens had dealt with him for some time, but suddenly he refused, on some ground or another, to pay for what he owed.

His Honour:- Why are you not legally represented?

Plaintive said he thought his case was clear enough, and, besides, he could not afford to pay for legal advice. He claimed a right to sell the cockles, as he held certain land within fishing rights under Earl Sonds, the Lord of the Manor. He agreed to let the defendant have the cockles at 7s. 6d. a load, and he promised to play in a fortnight's time. He had not done so on the ground, he (plaintiff) believed, that cockles were "wild fish."

His Honour:- Most fish are wild, are they not? (Laughter.)

Plaintive produced his agreement for hiring the land which his honour perused.

Cross-examined by Mr. Blome-Jones. The extent of ground which his agreement covered was about to 280 acres. He had a right to all the fish there. The agreement did not simply mean the ground round the weirs but from the top of the bank to low water mark. The land he hired was not bouyed but marked with a wire fence on the bank. A man named Cork paid him 10 a year for the cockles on the ground. Sometimes Cork collected money for cockles which was sold, and they shared the proceeds. Cork never collected for himself. He (witness) had warned the defendant not to come on his grounds again for cockles, but only the previous Sunday he was there in a boat getting cockles.

Mr. Blome-Jones said the present action was only brought in order to prove who really was entitled to receive the money for the cockles. He understood that the man Cork also claimed the right to charge for the cockles as well as plaintive. That was the first time he had seen the agreement between Earl Sondes and Newson, and if his Honour held that plaintiff was entitled to the fish on the grounds which extended a distance of 2 miles from the weirs it was of no use fighting the case further.

His Honour asked if anyone represented the Lord of the Manor. They now saw the need plaintiff had of legal advice on the subject.

The Deputy Registrar stated that Earl Sondes' agent had informed him that if any question arose as to his lordships rights he should like to be legally represented.

Mr. Richard Griggs, managing clerk to Mr. F. Name, Lord Sondes' agent, was then sworn, and in answer to his honour he said Earl Sondes was Lord of the Manor of Graveney, and he claimed the usual manorial rights which consisted of the collection of quit rents.

His Honour:- How does he claim the fishing rights?

Mr. Griggs replied that from time immemorial the family had collected the rent's, and he supposed that gave Earl Sondes the right to let the fishery.

His Honour:- Can you claim the rights of fishery against Her Majesty's Subjects?

Mr. Greggs:- Yes, as Lord of the Manor.

His Honour:- The question is - what right has the Lord of the Manor to the fishery?

Mr. Griggs:- The right to let a portion of the Manor, which includes the fishery.

His Honour:- This is a matter of importace not only to Earl Sondes, but to the public generally.

Mr. Blome-Jones said he was quite prepared to admit that plaintiff had a right to the fish caught in the weirs, because they were fenced off, but was he entitled to two miles off ground? The agreement said he had the privilege to fish on the ground, but not the exclusive privilege of so doing. The grounds will let the 10 a year, and from what he understood they were worth to the plaintiff considerably over 300.

His Honour:- What does Lord Sondes claim?

Mr. Greggs:- He claims the right to let the fishery. If there is any question as to his Lordships rights he would like to be legally represented.

Mr. Blome-Jones said the defendant wished plaintiff to prove his right to receive money for the cockles.

Mr. Griggs produced the Act of Parliament with regard to the Faversham oyster fishery, but in answer to his Honour said he knew of no Act of Parliament regulating the Manor of Graveney.

Defendant was then called and stated that for some time past he had had cockles from Seasalter, but he made arrangements with a man named Cork at first to take 16 bushels for 6s. 6d. Sometimes he paid Cork, sometimes the plaintiff or his sons. On one occasion in September he had no money, and he asked plaintive if he would let him go to work and pay for the cockles next time he came. Mr. Newson replied "Yes," and he went to work. Meanwhile Cork came to him and said the next time he came without money he would not be allowed to have any cockles. He was landlord and he could show him (defendants) the deeds. Both Cork and Newson had applied to him for the money, and he really did not know which one to pay.

William Cork, fish hawker, of High Street St. Gregory's Canterbury, who is very deaf, stated that he paid Mr. Newson 10 a year for the winkles, cockles, and muscles on the ground, and that he and plaintiff shared the proceeds.

Plaintiff, re-called, bore out Cork's statements with regard to the sharing of the money. and his Honour joined Cork as a plaintiff with Newson.

His Honour, in giving judgement for the amount claimed, said he could not decide that day, in the absence of Earl Sondes, whether his lordship had any right or not. It was an exceedingly difficult question to establish a right to a fishery, especially in navigable waters. It was a matter rather for the High Court to decide than for him. The difficulty had arisen through two persons claiming from defendant, money for the cockles. As Cork had consented, as a partner, to be joined when Newson as plaintiff in the action, he would give judgement for the amount claimed, but under the circumstances he would allow no costs.


The Scotsman, Thursday 16 June 1932.


Inquest opened on three victims. Soldier remanded.

The inquest was opened at Ashford Hospital, Kent, yesterday, on the two women and a girl whose bodies were found on Monday in King's Wood, Challock, Ashford. They were Mrs. Janie Swift, aged about 65, of "Old Sportsman's Inn," Seasalter, near Whitstable, Kent, Mrs. Janie Tremayne Stemp, age 35, of the "White Hart Inn," Wadhurst, Sussex, Mrs. Swift's daughter, and Peggy Stemp, age 13, Mrs. Stemp's daughter.

Mr. Swift and Mr. Stemp, the two husbands, sat side by side at the back of the court.

The Coroner, Mr. Rutley Mowll, addressing the jury, said:- "You are called upon to take part in three inquests relating to the same set of circumstances. Today you will have brought before you evidence of identification. On Friday of next week we shall meet again for you to receive medical evidence as to the cause of death of each of these persons. I should tell you that by the Coroner's Amendment Act, 1926, the scope of the enquiry of the Coroner's Court is limited in this particular case, because I have had a notice from the clerk to the magistrates informing me that a person has been charged before examining Justice's with a murder of these persons."

In these circumstances, the coroner added, he proposed to adjourn the inquest until after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, except with regard to the actual cause of death, about which evidence will be given at the adjourned hearing on Friday of next week.


The Coroner with the jury and a police officer then went to view the three bodies which were lying side by side in the mortuary. A minute or two after the Coroner and the jury had left the Court to view the bodies, Mr. Swift rose from his seat from the back of the Court and followed them to the mortuary. When he returned he was visibly affected and sobbed during the evidence.

The Coroner asked who would identify the three bodies and was told that a Mr. Codden would do so.

The Coroner:— Is he a relation?

Detective-Superintendent Avory:— No sir.

Are you satisfied with that?:— Yes, he is a very great friend of the families.

Mr. James Godden, an undertaker, of Durgates, Wadhurst, Sussex, was then called. He first identified Mrs. Janie Tremayne Swift. He said she lived at "Ye Olde Sportsman’s Hotel," Seasalter, near Whitstable, and was the wife of Edward Swift, licensed victualler. He last saw her alive about mid-day on Monday. She was in a motor car at Wadhurst.

The Coroner:— Who was driving the car?

Mrs. Stemp.

Was there anybody else in the car?:— Mrs. Stemp's daughter was inside the car.

Mr. Codden also identified the bodies of Mrs. Stemp and her daughter. He said that Mrs. Stemp was the wife of Thomas Stemp, the licensed victualler of the "White Hart Hotel," Wadhurst. Peggy was a schoolgirl. In each case he saw them for the last time at the same time as he had previously mentioned, on Monday.

Superintendent Robertson told the Coroner that he would prefer to attend the next hearing at the Police Court, and the jury were directed to attend there.


Earlier in the day James Thomas Collins (26), described as a private in the 2nd Battalion the Buffs, East Kent Regiment, stationed at Shorncliffe, made a four minutes’ appearance at Ashford Police Court, charged with the wilful murder of the two women and the girl. The wording of the charge relating to Mrs. Swift was as follows:— “That you feloniously, wilfully, and of your malice aforethought did kill and murder one Janie Swift by shooting her with a rifle at Wye on June 13, 1952.”

The wording of the other two charges was similar, with the exception of the names.

The only witness was Superintendent W. J. Robertson, of Kent County Constabulary, who stated that he saw Collins detained at Barnet Police Station on Tuesday and took him to Ashford , where he cautioned him and charged him with the murder of Mrs. Swift, Mrs. Stemp, and Peggy Stemp.

Collins was remanded until Wednesday next.


Aberdeen Press and Journal. Wednesday 29 June 1932.

Soldier committed for trial.

Charge with triple murder at Ashford.

James Thomas Collins (26), private of the Buffs, East Kent Regiment, was committed for trial at Ashford yesterday, charged with the murder of two young two women and a girl, whose bodies were found in King's Wood, Challock, near Ashford, on June 13.

Collins pleaded not guilty, and reserved his defence.

The victims, who it is alleged was shot by Collins with a rifle at Wye, were:-

Mrs. Janie Tremayne Swift (69), the "Old sportsman Inn," Seasalter, near Whitstable; her daughter, Mrs. Janie Swift (35,) "White Hart Inn," Wadhurst, Sussex, and Mrs. Stemp's 13 year old daughter Peggy.

Divisional Detective Inspector Ockey, despite objection by Mr. Levy, defending, gave details of Collin's career.


Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Saturday 26 November 1932.


Verdict of "Guilty But Insane. Praise for police.

James Thomas Collins (26), a private in the 2nd Battalion the Buffs (East Kent Regiment), stationed at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone, was found "Guilty but Insane" at Kent Assizes yesterday when he was accused of the murder of Mrs, Janie Tremayne Swift (69), of the "Old Sportsman Inn," Seasalter, Whitstable, Mrs. Janie Tremayne Stemp (35), of the "White Hart Inn," Wadhurst, Sussex, her daughter, and Peggy Stemp (13), daughter of Mrs. Stemp.

The bodies of the two women and the girl was found in King's Wood, Challock, near Ashford, on June 13 last. They had been shot.
Sir Gervais Rentoul, K.C., who appeared for the prosecution, said on June 13th the women and girls were in an open sports car travelling to Mrs. Swift's home at Whitstable. They would pass on the Ashford-Faversham main road a place called King's Wood Hill, and here in a wood at the side of the road the three were discovered later in the day murdered.

He hoped to show that Collins was certainly in the near vicinity shortly before the crime was committed. He was spoken to or seen during that morning by at least 3 people. He was seen later in the afternoon in a car of the same colour and description as that which was driven by Mrs. Stemp.

Seen by lorry driver.

At 1 a.m. on June 14th, Police Constable Chapman, who was stationed at Barnet, was on duty in the neighborhood of Potter's Bar when he saw Collins standing at the corner of the road. P.C. Chapman noticed that there was something on his shoulder. His suspicions were raised, and he challenged him, asking him what he was carrying.

Collins took the object from his shoulder, undid the covering and revealed a rifle. This he immediately pointed at the constables chest, saying. "Stand there or I will shoot you dead."

The constable tried to keep him in conversation, and if possible to distract his attention. "He undoubtedly behaved with exceptional courage," said Sir Gervais.

Finally Collins backed away still threatening to shoot the Constable, who at last was able to mount his cycle and pretend to ride off. He, however, continue to follow Collins, and finally got the assistance.

Overpowered by police.

Later the same morning, added Sir Gervais, the police were able to surround a field where Collins was and to overpower him. Just before he was seized he deliberately emptied the magazine of the gun by firing several shots into the air.

Evidence of Collins's mental instability was given, and it was stated that from childhood he had been fascinated by firearms.

The jury, after a retirement of 15 minutes, returned a verdict of "Guilty but Insane," and Mr. Justice Hawke ordered Collins to be detained during His Majesty's pleasure.

The jury said that they wanted to commend Police Constable Chapman for his very plucky act.

Mr. Justice Hawke: I was going to say the same myself. It is one of the most courageous things I've ever heard.

Mr. Justice Hawke also commended the officers who assisted in the arrest of Collins. They knew by that time, he said, that he was supposed to have taken three lives, and that he had a rifle and was suspected of having cartridges. "It is very satisfactory to know that we can rely upon the police in this way," said the judge.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. Saturday 10 January 1942.

Death Fessenden.

On 4th January, 1942, at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. William Nelson Fessenden, age 56, of the "Old Sportsman Inn," Seasalter, dearly beloved husband of Arlene Ann and eldest son of the late Charles C. and Mrs. Fessenden, of Montreal, Canada. Cremation at Charing, Kent, at 1 p.m. today (Friday). No flowers or mourning by request.


From the Whitstable Times, 12 February, 1944.

Licensed Houses in St. Augustine’s Division.

The Chairman (Mr. W. Colthup) congratulated all the licensees. All licences were renewed with the exception of the "Red Lion," Sturry (demolished by enemy action) and the "Sportsman," Seasalter.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 11 February 1950.


February opened with torrential rains and high winds, the country around Whitstable being particularly affected. Graveney marshes were flooded, due both to rain settling on the flat land and to the dykes themselves overflowing, and farm land in the Dargate area was under water. On Thursday morning in last week buses ploughed through several inches of water and residents had to use all available gum boots.

Once again the "Sportsman" public house was affected, the floors of the bars being under water, and for some twenty-four hours customers entered and left by walking along garden seats which the licensee, Mr. Smith, had placed in the doorway to serve as a "gangplank" over the deep ponds of water.

The high wind on Thursday evening fetched down a tree at Syndale Park, which crashed across the London Road near Gambell's garage. For a time the road was blocked to traffic and County Council workmen worked until 11.15 p.m. removing the tree. The same evening a tree came down in Park Road, opposite William Street, and broke the window of a house in the first named street.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Friday 16 September 1983

Death of former publican.

Mr. Brian Martin, former landlord of the "Sportsman" public house at Seasalter died in Whitstable and Tankerton Hospital on Wednesday. He was 45.

He had been at the "Sportsman" since 1959, when his parents took over the licence. He became landlord following their deaths and he stayed at the pub until he had to retire through ill-health this summer.

He leaves a widow, Pat and children Gary and Hayley.


From the By Chris Britcher, 1 February 2019.

The Sportsman in Seasalter named winner of the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards.

A seaside eatery has been named the best gastropub in Britain for a fourth year.

The Sportsman in Seasalter, near Whitstable, scooped the prize at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

The Shepherd Neame-owned pub, run by brothers Stephen and Phil Harris, picked up the title at an awards lunch on Monday, January 28, after receiving the most votes in an industry poll organised by leading pub industry magazine the Publican’s Morning Advertiser.Hundreds of votes were cast to determine the top 50 by industry experts including food critics and writers, gastropub chefs and other food influencers.

The Sportsman, which has held a Michelin star for 11 years, previously topped the list in 2015, 2016 and 2018. It has been recognised with numerous accolades in recent years, including winning first place in the 2017 UK National Restaurant Awards.

Phil Harris said: “We are delighted that the hard work of our staff has been recognised with this accolade. We asked two of our chefs, Joe McMahon and Pete Cribbin, to attend the event on our behalf, as this is something to be shared by the whole team. Their talent, dedication and passion for their work is key to The Sportsman’s success.”



DUNK Thomas 1861+ (also businessman age 52 in 1861Census)

DUNK William T 1874-82+ (also fisherman age 49 in 1881Census)

BUSBRIDGE William 1891+ (age 66 in 1891Census)

HOLLINGSWORTH Frederick William 1901-11+ (age 49 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

STOREY G 1927-28+

FESSENDEN William Nelson 1938-39-Jan/42 (age 54 in 1939)

SMITH Mr 1950+

MARTIN Mr 1959+

MARTIN Brian (son) to Sept/1983 dec'd

???? 8/Nov/1999+

HARRIS Stephen & Phil 2019+


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:-