Sort file:- Ramsgate, September, 2023.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 06 September, 2023.


Earliest 1726

Spread Eagle

Latest 1850

(Name to)

153 (7 to 1867) High Street



Also known under the sign of the "Eagle" from around 1850. Newly built in 1726. It has been said that in the winter 1809, an exceptionally cold one, a large flight of cranes and eagles passed over the Isle of Thanet. An eagle was shot down by licensee William Tomson, who took it into the inn, quite dead and obviously without its wings spread, and the pub was known simply as the "Eagle" from that day on. However, that story has not been substantiated as being true but is probably another one of those folk stories that have been made up over a few pints of beer and believed to be true over time.

Barry J White suggests this has connections with the "Crystal Palace."


From an email received, 19 March 2022.

My research as always delves as far back in history as can be achieved, and in regard to ‘Spread Eagle’, my finding a Kentish Post-Canterbury News Letter article dated September 1726 revealed all in regard to the pub’s close-to-exact opening date and its given name. It’s always satisfying to find something like this that surely cannot be challenged in any way.

In regard to the name and its signage emanating from the coach travel industry that thrived during its 200 years lifespan mid-1600s through to c1830. Ending of course with the advent of railways to ‘kill-off’ the coach travel business. The biggest name in the coach-house and coach travel business was William James Chaplin 1787-1859 whose three coach-houses in London included one in Gracechurch Street that since 1637 was called ‘Spread Eagle’. As a consequence, many pubs along a coach route that had residential, refreshment, and especially stabling facilities cashed-in on the name for their pubs. Very good business for both pubs and Chaplin, with no copyright infringement clause to worry about!

Chaplin Coach Company Spread Eagle

Above picture showing the Spread Eagle Coaching stop at Graceland Street, London EC3.


Regarding the name of the pub, it already had a name going back to 1726 and it wasn’t Eagle but Spread Eagle. Eagle became the name of the pub when the coach travel business ceased c1850. As was the case with Blazing Donkey and "Alexandra Arms" in Ramsgate, there were some publicans and patrons etc. post 1850 who couldn’t come to grips with its new name and persisted with not dropping Spread from its name. Publican George Mussared did the right thing as is seen in the 1851 census, but others who followed him turned a blind eye on its newly acquired name.

Above painting showing Ramsgate Chaplins J & W Dover-London Stage by John Cordrey in 1814.

The 1809 Cock and Bull story should be labelled as such. Footnote: you are probably aware that the old term ‘cock and bull story’ emanated from two separate pubs in London way back in history, one named The Cock, the other The Bull, where ‘tall’ tales were often told by some of their patrons that were proven over time to be mere myths.

Thanks and Regards,

Bob Lee.


The Kentish Post or Canterbury Newsletter, Saturday September 10th, to Wednesday September 14th, 1726.

To be Lett at Michaelmas next, at a very reasonable rent.

The "Spread Eagle Tavern" at Ramsgate in the Isle of Thanet, being a handsome new built house with Sash'd Windows, and well accustom'd; with a Garden, very good Stabling, and all other Conveniences.

Enquire of Mr. Thomas Tenson at Ramsgate aforesaid.


Kentish Gazette, 20 April, 1774.

To be sold to the highest bidder.

On Saturday, the 30th day of this instant April, about 17, at the "Spread Eagle" in Ramsgate, the following freehold premises, vis.

Lot 1. A Dwelling-house, with an old accustomed Bakehouse and Bakers shop, Yard, Garden and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, now in the occupation of William Hales.

Lot 2. A Dwelling-house, with the appurtenances, now or late in the Occupation of the Widow Hardy.

Lot 3. A Dwelling-house will the appurtenances, in the occupation of Robert Stock. All which premises are adjoined together, and situate in the New End, near the Harbour in Ramsgate.

Inquire of Mr. Fagg, Attorney at Ramsgate.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 6 January 1797.

To be Sold by Auction.

At the "Spread Eagle" in Ramsgate, on Friday the 13th day of January next, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

A piece of Freehold arable last (late pasture) containing by estimation one acre and a half, more or less, situate in Ramsgate, nearly opposite to the Work-house there; now in the occupation of Mr. Joseph Elson, of or his assignees.

For particulars, enquire, Mr. Sawkins, Margate.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 11 November 1803.

On Friday was married at St. Laurence in Thanet, Mr. R. Dyason, to Miss Smith, daughter of Mr. John Smith, of the "Spread Eagle Inn," Ramsgate.


From the Kentish Gazette, 17 January 1804. Price 6d.


TO be Sold by Auction, at the “Spread Eagle,” in Ramsgate, on Tuesday the 24th day of January instant, about six o'clock in the evening.

A Freehold Dwelling house with the appurtenances; situate in the principal street of the Town of Ramsgate; formerly in the occupation of Mr. John Gray, and since of Mr. William Caister.

For particulars enquire of Mr. Sawkins, Cecil-square, or of Mr. Boys, attorney at law, Margate.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 13 June 1806.

By Virtue of Commissions of Appraisement and Sale from the High Court of Admiralty.

To be Sold by Auction, by Mr. Lara.

On Monday the 16th June, 1806, at the "Spread Eagle Inn," Ramsgate, at eleven o'clock.

About 14,000 Round and Flat Cheeses, being part of the cargo of the Prussian Galliot Anna Margaretha, J. R. Klinkamer, master, detained by his Majesty's ship Ariadne, the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Falkland, commander, and his Majesty's gun-brig Bold, Lieut. William Chivers, commander.

Also about 2,600 Flat Dutch Cheeses, being part of a cargo of the Prussian Galliot Vrow Cornelia, R. R. Krugenga, master, detained by his Majesty's ship Musquito, Samuel Jackson, esq., commander.

May be viewed two days prior to and on the morning of sale, when catalogues and particulars may be had, by application to John Jackson, esq., No. 8, New Bond-street, London; at the offices of Messrs. Goodwin, Curling, Friend, and Co. Agents, Ramsgate, Deal, and No. 3, Castle-court, Birchin-lane, London; and of Mr. Lara, broker, Ramsgate.


Kentish Gazette 22 March 1811.


At the "Spread Eagle," Ramsgate, at six o'clock in the evening, on Wednesday the 27th of March, 1811.

A New Brick-built Freehold House called "Bellevue Cottage," with a piece of Freehold Land (eighty-six feet by seventy) - situate near Bellevue Place, Ramsgate, in a very genteel and improving neighbourhood.

For further particulars apply to the Auctioneers, or Mr. Woolterton, carpenter, Ramsgate.


Kentish Gazette 1 December 1840.


With good action. He has been accustomed to harness, and is perfectly safe and quiet. The animal is Eight years old, and well adapted for a four wheel chaise.

For particulars apply to Mr. Terry, "Spread Eagle Inn," Ramsgate.


Southeastern Gazette, 13 September 1853.

Nicholls v. Merryweather, proprietor of the "Royal Albion Hotel," for selling wines. The same witnesses proved the case. The defence in this case was that the party who was supplied with the wine went into a private room, and the waiter supplied the wine thinking they were guests of the occupants of the rooms.

Fined 15s. and 14s. costs.


At this stage of the proceedings Mr. Child suggested that as they did not press for penalties, they were willing to withdraw the informations upon the several defendants paying the costs incurred. The following persons were then mulcted in 5s. 6d. each:—

Wm. Hudson, "Bull and George Hotel;" James Corben, "Royal Oak;" Thomas Parnell, "Admiral Harvey;" Charles Brittain, the "Mitre;" Charles Page, the "Woodman;" George Holmes, "Trafalgar Hotel;" Henry Simmons, "Lord Nelson;" George Mussared, "Spread Eagle;" Richard Butler, "Cinque Ports Arms."


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 9 December 1871.


Ellen Miller, a married woman, and Eliza Straus, a character well known to the police, were charged with having stolen a boy's cloth coat, of the value of 10s., the property of Mr. Thomas Wootton, of the "Spread Eagle Inn," High Street.

It appeared that the prisoner Straus was drinking in a room in the house, and that after she left, the coat which had been placed on one of the chairs in the room, was missed. P.C. Petley called at Miller's house, in which Straus lodged, and, on searching it, found the coat hidden in the coal-cellar. Miller thereupon admitted having received it from Straus after she left the "Spread Eagle," and having carried it home.

The prisoners both pleaded guilty, Miller asking the Bench to deal leniently with her, as she was the mother of five children, and her husband was at work away from home.

Mrs. Wotton, the wife of the prosecutor, also recommended Miller to Mercy.

The Bench, after some consideration, sentenced each of the prisoners to three weeks' hard labour.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 27 October, 1860.


James Legge, a tailor of Ramsgate was charged with maliciously breaking a pane of glass, at the house of Mr. John Cosgrave, "Spread Engle Inn," of the value of 4s. 6d. From the evidence of Mr. Cosgrave it appeared defendant came there on the 22nd intoxicated; he refused to serve him, when the prisoner began annoying every one that came to his house, and came in front of the bar, when he was obliged to put him out, and he afterwards broke a pane of glass in his door.

Convicted in the damage, 4s. 6d., and costs 7s., in default seven days.


East Kent Times 8 October 1864.


Wanted, a Nursemaid, age from 16 to 17, with good character.

Apply to J. Wotton, "Spread Eagle," High Street, Ramsgate.


Thanet Advertiser 9 March 1872.

Transfer of License.

Before the Sandwich Bench of Magistrates, on Monday, when there were present R. Harrison, sen, J. L. Drayson, J. Dorman, and R. L. Harrison, Esqs., an application was made by William Kennett for the transfer of the license of the "Sandwich Arms," Princes-street, Ramsgate, to William Thompson.

The license of the "Spread Eagle," High street, Ramsgate, was transferred from Thomas Wotton to John William Godfrey.



SMITH John 1803-26+

TOMSON William 1809+

SMITH John 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

TERRY William 1839-47+ (age 50 in 1841Census)

MUSSARED George 1851-53+

COSGRAVE John 1860+

WOTTON Thomas 1861-71+ (also inland revenue office age 37 in 1871Census)

GODFREY John William Mar/1872-74+

KNIGHT William Main A 1881-91+ (age 40 in 1881Census)

BUSHELL John 1901-03+ (age 42 in 1901Census)


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



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