Sort file:- Whitstable, August, 2021.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 05 August, 2021.


Earliest 1851-


Latest 1906

13 Sea Wall (beach Wall 1881Census)



Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Garth Wyver.

Stag 1890

Above photo, 1890, by Douglas West. Showing the rear of the pub.

Stag 1900

Above photo, 1900, kindly sent by Blake Mackinnon.

Stag 1933

Above photo, circa 1933, kindly sent by Blake Mackinnon.


Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Garth Wyver.


Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Garth Wyver.

Stag oil painting

Above oil painting on canvas by Vincent Donlin.

Former Stag 2010

Above photo 2010, looking from the beach at the Horsebridge, the Oyster Head Quarters being the building on the right.


The "Stag" was owned by Flint and Co Brewery and was eventually sold to the Whitstable Oyster Company in 1924, although the licence was not renewed in 1906.

The 1881 census indicates that it was two doors down from the "Dredgerman's."


From the Kentish Chronicle, Saturday, 10 September, 1859. Price 1d.



This was the annual general licensing day. All the old licenses were renewed, and the chairman said he was pleased to be able to state that out of the fifty-four licensed houses in the Home division there had been only one complaint made during the year, which was exceedingly creditable to the landlords. There were four applications for new licenses, viz:-

John Anderson, for the “Stag,” at Whitstable; Mr. H. T. Sankey supported the application, and handed in a memorial and petition, most respectably signed. He said that for the past twenty years only one license had been granted for Whitstable. In 1851 there was a population of 3,000, and at the present time he believed it numbered between 5,000 and 6,000. The house was situated on the sea wall, and lately had been a place of resort by visitors. The applicant had kept a beer house for sixteen years.

The decision of the Bench upon these applications will not be announced until the adjourned licensing day, the 21st of September.


From the Kentish Chronicle, Saturday, 1 October, 1859. Price 1d.



This was the adjourned licensing day.

In the case of the "Stag," Whitstable, the application was refused.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 8 September, 1860.


This was the annual general licensing day for the various public-houses situate within the Home Division. All the old licenses were renewed, and there were the following applications for new ones.

John Anderson, for the "Stag," at Whitstable and T Ougham, for the "Rose," Whitstable. The decision upon these two cases will not be announced until the adjourned licensing day, the 29th September.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 6 October, 1860.


(Before W. Delmar, Esq., in the chair, T, Hilton, and W. Ellis, Esqrs.)

This was the adjourned licensing day, and the Bench, according to their usual practice, announced their determination with respect to the application for new license the particulars of which were gone into at the annual licensing day. There were two applications; viz:—J. Anderson for the "Stag," and Thomas Ougham, for the "Rose," both at Whitstable. To-day Mr. H. T. Sankey, on the part of the landlord of the "Stag," handed in a memorial from the inhabitants of Whitstable, in favour of the application. He also reminded the Bench, that on the previous year’s licensing day an intimation was made that in the event of the applicant's house being improved, and rendered convenient for a licensed house, the bench would, in all probability accede to the application for a license. Such improvements had been made, and the house was now much used by visitors. The Bench, after a brief consultation, granted both applications.

From the Canterbury Journal and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 6 October, 1906.


Mr. R. M. Mercer, Canterbury, applied for the renewal of this licence, while Mr. R. F. Gibson represented the Licensing Justices of the Home Division.

Superintendent Jacobs said the "Stag" was very small and was practically a private house which had been turned into a public bar. The rent paid was 10 a year.

In reply to Mr. mercer, witness said the house was very clean.

Mr. Mercer submitted that the trade of the "Stag" was large as compared with many houses.

Edward White, the tenant of the "Stag," stated that he had received no complaint as to the way in which he conducted his house. His annual trade of 161 barrels of beer and 100 gallons of spirits afforded him a very decent living. The trade had increased during the past year. Dredgermen used his house very considerably.

Mrs. White said she had let rooms to very respectable people during the past season.

The committee refused to renew the licence.


The pub used to look out over the sea and was later called Stag Cottage and was very near to the Whitstable Oyster Co's store on the Horsebridge.


From the, 26 August, 2004.

Pensioner's house divided in two.

A pensioner has lost half his home, after bailiffs moved in and built a wall down the middle of it.

Derrick Bensted pattition

Derrick Bensted, 77, had been ordered to move out of half of Stag Cottage in Whitstable, Kent, because of a dispute over a lease, but had vowed to remain.

He inherited the home unaware previous owners had rented half of it from the Whitstable Oyster and Fishery Company.

He has now lost the kitchen, a bedroom and half the living room after a court upheld an ancient Victorian lease.

Mr Bensted now has to wash up in his bath, but said he still intended to live in the property.

Derrick Bensted

"It's just an aggravation, but I am just going to live in this part of the house, partition or not.

"I don't understand the legality of it.

"I'm quite amazed that it's come to this, but I intend to stand up for any rights I may have."

The house was first built as a pub and was expanded on to land owned by the oyster firm.

Successive owners paid rent to the company for the section it owned.

But when Mr Bensted inherited the house in the 1990s, he believed he owned it all and did not pay.

The oyster company offered Mr Bensted 80,000 for his half of the house, while he offered the firm 14,000 to buy its part.

The Whitstable Oyster and Fishery Company said on Thursday it had never wanted the situation to come to this.

It said they had tried to negotiate with Mr Bensted, but that he had not wanted to talk.

It said someone else could move into the other half of the house.


Horsebridge map 1850

Above map 1850. Showing the Stag as in blue.

Stag map 1853

Above plans indicated the NW side of 'top of the wall' ... over which the storehouse extends it was a 33ft by 18ft 6in storehouse and appurtenances existing there in 1853 that later formed the main body of the Stag Public House and its curtilage. (Post purchase in 1858 by Flint, brewers of Canterbury.)

From the 26 March 2016.

Pensioner Derrick Bensted in battle with Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company over split house.

Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company boss James Green says he is open to negotiations to buy a “split down the middle” seafront house from an elderly pensioner.

His most recent offer of 100,000 to purchase Stag Cottage in Sea Wall, was rejected by 89-year-old Derrick Bensted as “insulting and ridiculous”.

The offer also included alternative accommodation for the rest of Mr Bensted’s life.

Derrick Bensted's home has been cut in half amid a legal wrangle

The retired taxi driver has been living in half the property ever since a wall was built down the middle on August 23, 2004.

This followed a decision at Canterbury County Court based partly on evidence supplied by a surveyor who determined the boundaries of Mr Bensted’s land and that of WOFC.

Since this time Mr Bensted has been living in substandard conditions with many residents claiming the back of the property, belonging to WOFC, is a visual blight along the seafront.

The divide meant he lost his kitchen, use of a main bedroom and can no longer use the veranda looking out to sea.

Mr Green claims that the saga continues because Mr Bensted still seems unwilling to negotiate. He said: “I don’t want to see a 89-year-old man living in those conditions.

Derreck Bensted 2016

Mr Bensted is refusing to sell up - despite the condition of the home.

“It has always been our opinion that the property needs to be developed in total. It would be very difficult to just do our half.

“I don’t think it is the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company’s fault he is still there, it is his choice.

“He’s got an opportunity to get out and does not want to take it.

“The offer still stands at 100,000 and we would negotiate with him to find the alternative accommodation he would like.

“We are open to negotiations, he could get an independent valuation showing us what he thinks it is worth and he could come to us.”

Mr Bensted described what it is like to live in Stag Cottage.

He said: “I have everything I need in my half.

Derrick Bensted 2016

“It does get cold living here and the upstairs bedroom next to the wall is so cold and dark it is unusable.

“On their side there has been trouble with pigeons coming in and messing on the floor and there is only one sheet of plasterboard dividing their side from mine, which was supposed to be a short-term solution.

“The company offered me 100,000 and it is insulting and ridiculous, this is a big house with three bedrooms.

“This is a nice little place along the seafront, one in a million.

“I would be quite happy staying here, it’s near the sea and the shops and I don’t want the hassle of moving and why should I?”

Mr Bensted inherited the property from previous owners, mother and daughter Mrs Blair and Ms Blair, in 1993.

When taking over, he was aware of an ongoing legal dispute and eventually moved from Ocean Cottage next door in 2000.

The mother and daughter had tried to register the whole property as theirs with the Land Registry in 1971, but were only granted half due to an 1860 agreement.

This agreement still exists as a Victorian document and was interpreted by Land Registry in 1971 to show that publicans leased the premises, beach and shore from The Free Fishers and Dredgers in 1860.

In 1896 The Free Fishers and Dredgers became the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company.

Mr Bensted’s son-in-law Blake Mackinnon has been looking into the history of Stag Cottage ever since legal proceedings began in 2004.

He claims that nobody has correctly understood the data during the court case and it has been a collection of errors since 1971.

Derrick Bensted 2016

The home has sea views.

He said: “Both parties relied on the expert advice they were given and also the court relied on their own individual surveyor as evidence.

“Mr Bensted has continued to challenge the judgement in various ways and I have attempted to help.

“We spent quite a few days in Canterbury Cathedral looking into the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company archive and historic papers of the Commissioners of Sewers who owned the old Sea Wall.

“It became clear that the barristers and other professionals, Land Registry too, had not correctly assessed the survey, geographic and historical aspects of the case.

“The investigations over the years leading up to hearing lacked rigour, were superficial and in effect the position is just a massive registration error compounded by legal cock-up.”

Red Boundary

Above map showing the red claimed boundary cutting the Stag Cottage in two.



ANDERSON John 1851-74+ (age 55 in 1871Census)

BROWN John C 1881-82+ (age 54 in 1881Census)

SPENCER William 1889-1903+ (age 61 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903


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:-