Page Updated:- Sunday, 17 October, 2021.


Earliest 1711-


Open 2020+

St Mary in the Marsh

01797 362139

Star 1983

Above photo 21 August 1983. Kindly supplied by Chris Excell.

Star 2020

Above photo, June 2020, kindly taken and sent by Dougie Moon.

Star Inn sign 1985Star sign 2015

Above sign left, May 1985, sign right 2015.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Star card

The above sign, wasn't actually designed and released by Whitbread, but has been designed by Robert Greenham in the same style as the card sets they distributed as a representation of what the sign looked like. Robert says:- This was based on the image which appeared on Whitbread's metal map for East Kent which was painted by D. W. Burley in 1950, on commission from Whitbread.

Whitbread metal map 1950

The above metal map, kindly sent by Robert Greenham was released, in 1950 and painted by D. W. Burley, and was titled Inn-Signia of Whitbread Houses in East Kent, Whitbread & Co Ltd. The Inn Signs designed by:- M. C. Balston, Vena Chalker, Kathleen M Claxton, K. M. Doyle, Ralph Ellis, Marjorie Hutton, Harvey James, Prudence Rae-Martin, Violet Rutter, L. Toynbee and Kit Watson.

Christmas inside the Star

Above postcard, date unknown, show a Christmas scene inside the Star. Date unknown.


The building dates back to the late 15th Century as thatched farm dwelling, with the earliest sale document dated 1542 when the property was sold for 18. In 1711 the property passed to Anthony Jessup, a farmer and brewer who had moved to the Marsh from nearby Ashford. In the same year Jessup registered the building as an ale house and was granted an ale and cider licence, however it was not until 1732 that the house became The Star.

During the latter half of the 18th and early 19th Centuries The Star provided shelter for shepherds and their sheep during the lambing season.

In the early 20th Century Noel Coward rented The Star Inn cottage whilst looking for a house to buy. It was during his stay that Coward became acquainted with Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, who lived nearby and is buried in the churchyard opposite. It is believed that Coward wrote his first successful play whilst staying in the cottage.


The Inn known as "The Star" was built during the reign of Edward IV (1471 - 1483) in the year 1476. The same year that William Caxton set up his first printing press at Westminster.

When first built, the house was a thatched farm dwelling. The earliest recorded occupant of the property is one Isaac Coats, Yeoman of the parish of Tenterden who is mentioned in a sale document of 1542 when the property was taken over by one Thomas Bealey. The property, which was described as:- "One messuage, with attached kitchen, barn, 18 acres of arable land held by Walter Goden previously held by Isaac Coats purchased by said Bealey", was sold for the sum of 18 pounds. The sale included two stock horses purchased by Bealey at 1 guinea each.

Over a century later in 1658 the property was in the hands of one Amos Dunstare a farmer and harness maker of Ashford. Dunstare resided here with his wife Maudistly and five children. In 1687, Maudistly Dunstare is recorded as a widow, still in occupation here with three of her children remaining.

In 1711 the property was purchased by one Anthony Jessup, a farmer and brewer, previously residing in Ashford. In the same year Jessup was granted an ale and cider licence and the house was registered as an ale house. At this date no title was given to the inn. In 1732 one Thomas Kemp came and resided here and named the house "The Star" the origin of which dates back to the eleventh century when inns and taverns stood within the precincts of parish churches and many of them were given titles bearing religous meaning.

The Star is mentioned in the will of one Jonathan Titmas drawn up in 1763. Titmas a former shepherd decreed that:- "upon mye passinge mye tenemente situate and lyinge within St Marys, knowne bye nayme and sine of "The Star", with its lande and cattle theretoe belonginge be tayken up bye mye wiefe Charlotte and lete nothinge contrarie to this the trewe menainge of this mye laste will and testamente".

During the eighteenth century when tithes were collected from the parish, the rector held tithe suppers at The Star. Easter Vestry meetings were also held here and on the odd occasion when attendance at the church was thin the rector held sermons here.

During the latter half of the eighteenth century and early part of the nineteenth centuries fires burned continually at The Star during lambing season, as a sign to shepherds tending their flock to come and take shelter at the inn. Many came, bringing sick lambs with them.

In the earlier days of his career the eminent playwright Sir Noel Coward lived in the cottage adjacent to the inn. It was here he wrote his first successful play.

The author and poet Edith Nesbit, famous for her book "The Railway Children" is buried in the gaveyard at St Mary the Virgin Church, St Mary in the Marsh.

The Star has seen and undergone many changes since it was first built but its historic character remains unchanged.


From the Kentish Gazette, 9 August 1842.


July 31, at St. Mary's, New Romney, Rebecca, wife of Mr. William Hayward, of the "Star" public-house, aged 51.


From the Kentish Gazette, 18 January 1848.


On Friday last, an inquest was held at the "Guildhall," before J. Russell, Esq., coroner, and a respectable jury, touching the death of Robert Lung, a shoemaker, of this town, who was found drowned. The depositions of the witnesses were to the following effect:—

Nathaniel Leonard said, I am a labourer, living in New Romney. About five minutes past eight o'clock this morning I was walking on the road leading from New Romney to Saint Mary’s, and in the ditch adjoining Mr. Coates’s field I discovered the body of a man. The body was covered with water except part of the right arm. I and another person raised it. There was about two feet and a half of water in the ditch. The deceased had on all his clothes except his hat, which was stuck in the mud under the water. He had no marks of violence on his person.

Thomas Ealse said, I am a labourer, living at Saint Mary's. A little after ten o’clock on Tuesday night last I heard a person calling out. I was gone to bed; I opened the window and asked what was the matter, when the deceased, Robert Long, asked me to point out the way to New Romney. He was standing against the fence. I directed him, and he wished me good night three or four times, and then walked up the road towards Romney.

Edward Lester, landlord of the "Star Inn," at Saint Mary’s, said the deceased, Robert Long, was at my house upwards of two hours on the evening of Tuesday last; he had half a quartern of rum and a pint of stout; he left my house about a quarter past nine, and said he should go home round the road. It was not dark; there was a little moonlight. He was, in my opinion, quite capable of walking home. Thomas Ealse's house is nearly a mile nearer Romney than mine.

Nathaniel Leonard recalled:— The spot where I discovered the deceased is about a quarter of a mile from the "Plough," and not quite half a mile from Thomas Ealse's house at St. Mary's.

Verdict, "Found drowned."


Kentish Gazette, 13 February 1849.

The Village Perty.

On Thursday evening last the "Star Inn" was the scene of mirth and gaiety. A party of eighty respectable friends assembled to enjoy an agreeable evening, which was on conducted throughout with the greatest spirit and good feeling. Dancing was kept up with the greatest animation to a late hour. On parting the revellers greeted each other with the hope of being spared to meet again another year. The worthy host, Mr. Lester, and the hostess, paid every attention to their guests, and under the guidance of the most respectable inhabitants, the arrangements were such that nothing was wanting to enhance and maintain the festivity of the evening.



HAYWARD/HAYWOOD William 1841-42+ (age 50 in 1841Census)

LESTER Edward 1848-51+ (age 38 in 1851Census)

LESTER Henry 1858-62 Post Office Directory 1862

LESTER Edward 1861-91+ (widower age 77 in 1891Census) Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882

HINDS Thomas 1901-22+ (age 60 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

BARTON Douglas 1930+

PRITCHARD John 1938+


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882



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