Page Updated:- Monday, 29 May, 2023.


Earliest 1782-

Red Lion

Open 2023+

Stodmarsh Road 


01227 721339

Red Lion 1910

Above postcard, circa 1910, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Red Lion 1968

Above photo, circa 1968, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Red Lion at Stodmarsh 2009

Above Google image 2009.

Red Lion at Stodmarsh 2009

Above Google image 2009.

Red Lion at Stodmarsh 2009

Above Google image 2009.

Red Lion 2020

Above photo circa 202 kindly sent by Leysen Luc.

   Red Lion sign at Stodmarsh

All above pictures taken from Google Maps 2010.

Red Lion card 1955Red Lion card 1955

Above card issued April 1955. Sign series 5 number 34.

Red Lion 2019

Above photo, 2019.


Bagshaw Directory 1847 mentions a "Lion" in Stodmarsh.

The following information has kindly been sent to me from Stephen Crowhurst:- James White was born in 1794 and died in 1872 making him 77 years old in 1871 so may well of died while still the landlord of the "Red Lion." Peter Holness who took over the Licensee in 1874 was his Son-in-law who was married to James Whites daughter Mary.

How all these people link up in my family is another of James Whites daughters, Sophia White married a Francis Stroud who was the Licensee of the "Woolpack" at 36 North Street, Westgate, Canterbury. Francis Stroud's daughter Julia Stroud married Richard Henry Robinson of the "New Inn."


From the Kentish Gazette, 18 April 1837.


At Stodmarsh, Mr. John Clark, aged 88 - 55 years landlord of the "Red Lion" in that place.


From the Sunday Times, 24 December 2005.


Village charm and English eccentricity at this inn, finds Mary Gold.

IT WAS a bad beginning, one way or another. We arrived to stay the night at the Red Lion with Dottie, our Dalmatian, and were met by a severe-looking woman who said, rather obviously: “Oh, you've brought your dog have you?” “The landlord said it would be all right,” I said.

“Oh, did he indeed? Well he can * * * * * * * well pick up every dog hair from your bedroom.”

The landlord in question is Robert Whigham, Kent's most colourful landlord, and a nephew of the late Margaret, Duchess of Argyll to boot. Robert appeared, winked broadly, put two glasses of rosť in front of us and said: “Don't worry, she's going in a minute.” So our spirits were swiftly restored.

This 15th-century inn, rebuilt in 1801 after a fire, sits by the green in an enchanting village four miles east of Canterbury. We had eaten at the Red Lion on many occasions but decided to enjoy a proper break with a night in one of the inn's three bedrooms.

We were shown to our large and light bedroom, simply decorated with pine furniture and bright gingham bed linen. Bizarrely, the mattress was too small for the bed frame and there was a witch's hat in a dresser drawer. There were nice prints, a hairdryer and robes, which was just as well as we were sharing a bathroom, but with only one other couple.

The Red Lion is stuffed with antiques, dried flowers and all manner of curios. Tables are set with large candleholders and fresh flowers, and two fat cats snooze on the pine church pews. People come from miles around along narrow country lanes to eat here — recent visitors include Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

Dinner was marvellous. The menu is imaginative and the wine list reasonably priced. My fillet steak (£18.95) was cooked to perfection and my husband's rack of lamb (£14.95) must have been good because he ate the lot, except the bones of course. There was a large bowl of vegetables, and we followed up with an apple crumble and a generous cheese platter, served with bread and biscuits.

Our bed proved comfortable and we had a peaceful night's sleep — us in the bed, Dottie in hers, and she was angelic and didn't shed any hairs. Robert is relaxed about a late breakfast. We could have had the full English but settled for excellent muesli, croissants, toast and coffee. “Everything OK?” said Robert as we were leaving, and we replied, truthfully, that we had had a great time.

“Splendid!” said he. “Come back soon and bring the dog, and rollocks to the management!” We will, too .. .

Bottom line: Mary Gold paid £60 for a double, which includes breakfast or lunch.

Sampling the fare: £55 for a two-course dinner for two, with wine.

What we think: English eccentricity at its very best.

Best thing: The food.

Worst thing: The bath takes a while to fill.

Need to know: The Red Lion (01227 721339).

Access all areas: No.

Room: 6 out of 10.

Food: 9 out of 10.

Service: 7 out of 10.


From 2005

I am not a great fan of the decorative hop. Nailing stalks of the stuff to suburban pub beams on the mostly spurious belief that it is used for flavouring beer is as kitsch as piping a cocktail bar with squeezed lemon wedges. The American Bar at the Savoy, for example, would not consider stringing dried martini olives around its silver cocktail shakers.

However, there is an exception to every rule and the "Red Lion" at Stodmarsh is it. The clapboard and red-brick 15th-century inn, which was rebuilt in 1801 after a fire in the adjoining pigsty burnt it to the ground, sits by the green in this enchanting village four miles east of Canterbury.

It was necessary to shoo away pecking chickens and insouciant ducks before one could push open the pub's front door. Inside, there were enough hops draped over the beams to start a microbrewery (and, if one found oneself short, then there was more greenery in the gents').

Fair enough. Kent is the spiritual home of the hop and, just as one would not tease a Lancashire pub for hanging up a line of black puddings or mob up a Liverpool boozer for its collection of hankies, so one must be circumspect to a Kentish inn during the hop-picking season.

But the hops at the "Red Lion" were more than a nod to the county's legendary crop. They seemed to be part of a permanent "Pop" Larkin-style harvest festival.

The low ceilings were covered with menus, wine bottles (some full, others empty) were dotted about the place, as were well-used cookery books, stuffed chickens and some milk churns. There were baskets of vegetables on the stone floors and sheaves of wheat leaning against beams. Home-made chutney, free-range eggs and even hay at £2.50 a bale was on sale.

The cider was local and mulled with nutmeg and cloves, and the three cask beers, including Old Speckled Hen, came from barrels with upside-down top hats collecting the drips. If a Stodmarsh local had walked in wearing a smock with string around his trouser legs, it would not have surprised me. This was not just the Garden of England, it was its allotment and I was standing in the shed.


From the By Kevin O'Sullivan, 26th October 2009.

Landlord who sups 15 pints every day.

BOOZY landlord Robert Whigham insists he is in “tip-top condition” – despite knocking back 15 pints of ale every day.

Robert Whigham drinks 10 times the recommended daily intake.

The well-oiled pub boss even prides himself on having an 8am “sharpener” so he is “ready to rock ’n roll”.

And, though he sups 10 times the recommended safe daily intake, he says: “It doesn’t seem to affect me in a bad way at all.” The beer-swilling 60-year-old said: “I have to make my customers feel welcome.

“It’s impolite if they come in and they want to have a pint with me and I turn them down.

“I have around 15 pints of ale a day but it’s not excessive. I drink in moderation in half-pint measures. I’m not a binge-drinker.”

Robert said he was “not concerned” about his health and has a check-up at the doctor’s every six months. He beamed: “My liver and kidneys are in tip-top condition.

“I couldn’t drink 15 pints in one session, mind you. I’d be plastered.

“And I don’t drink spirits or lagers, just real ales which are mostly from local brewers.”

Robert has run the "Red Lion" in Stodmarsh, near Canterbury, Kent, for 16 years. His daily intake is the equivalent of 34.5 units each day, 10 times the average three to four units recommended by the NHS drinking advice website.

He admitted wife Hetty, 54, nags him to cut down but he often has a drink with daughter Charlotte, 25.

He said: “It is 15 pints over the whole day after all, which isn’t too bad. All these figures they bandy around are just numbers anyway.

“I’m happy helping everybody else enjoy themselves. I’ve always been a lovable drinker.”


From an email received, 10 July, 2016.

Sad to report the death of Robert Whigham former landlord of "Red Lion," Stodmarsh a much loved and colourful character not only when running the pub but also on his frequent appearances at local pubs in the area over the years.

After retirement his life was still very much pub orientated only this side of the bar, mainly in one of the three pubs in the village of Bridge.

He would have corrected me on calling him the landlord, he preferred to refer to himself as the innkeeper.


From 11 July 2016.

Robert Whigham, former landlord of the Red Lion at Stodmarsh near Canterbury, has died.

Robert Whigham, one of Kent’s most colourful and popular landlords, has died.

Best known for running the "Red Lion" in the village of Stodmarsh near Canterbury, he once appeared in a documentary about pubs of that name, the most popular in Britain.

He died on Saturday at his home in Bridge, his death announced by daughter Charlotte via Facebook on Sunday.

Robert Whigham

Robert Whigham, above, with the late Dave Lee helping raise money for the comic's Happy Holidays charity.

She said: “Very sad to say that my father passed away at home yesterday afternoon. Feeling absolutely gutted, shocked and so sad to have lost my absolute hero.

“I hope everyone raises a glass or two or three for him this evening!”

Canterbury City Council chief executive Colin Carmichael was among those to raise a glass in Robert’s direction: “I have a bottle of Margaux and will open it in his honour.”

Robert’s friend Brian Thompson said: “His bubbly personality only added to the fabulous atmosphere in what had to be one of Britain’s finest pubs.

“He will be sadly missed. He was a true friend and the perfect gentleman whose catchphrase was ‘tip-top’.”

Robert Whigham

Matt Hudson, who knew Robert from the pub, said: “So sad! What a fantastic man and funny man, so many happy times at the "Red Lion" with him.”

Craig White added: “A true character and bon viveur. There are not enough of them left! Will be missed by so many he touched!”

And Paul Barrett, managing director of Barrett’s of Canterbury and chairman of Canterbury 4 Business, said: “What sad news. I’ve such fond memories of Thursday nights at the "Red Lion" with Robert and The Buffalo Boys.”

An obituary will appear in this week’s edition of the Kentish Gazette.


From the By Jack Dyson, 14 October 2019.

Kentucky-fried squirrel and wood ants on the menu at The Red Lion in Stodmarsh.

In a competitive market it's hard to stand out in the crowd when it comes to running a pub. One place near Canterbury has created a unique menu to do just that and KentOnline's Jack Dyson went to find out more.

As I drive through a narrow sequence of winding, country roads blotched with murky puddles, my mind is occupied by what I will be eating for dinner. I’m travelling to The Red Lion in Stodmarsh, where I will be sampling a number of dishes from its menu.

The pub’s unassuming exterior belies the fact it produces a litany of unusual dishes containing foraged plants, garlic cooked for eight weeks uninterrupted, fermented fruit, wood ants and squirrel.

In an earlier exchange over the phone, its general manager Morgan Lewis promised to put my claims that I would eat absolutely anything to the test. And, as I approach the pub’s umber door, I do not know whether to be concerned or excited.

I’m welcomed by Morgan, who is bespectacled and dressed in a dark-blue apron. After seating me next to a window facing Stodmarsh Road, he dashes to the kitchen to add the finishing touches to the meal. Opposite me are shelves of jars containing homemade gins, vodkas, rums and whiskys.

Shortly afterwards, the distinct smell of Kentucky-fried chicken hits my nostrils before Morgan returns to my table flanked by head chef John Young.

They lay a series of dishes in front of me and, pointing to one with a cylindrical piece of dark meat covered in bright-white skin, Morgan insists I eat a slice.

We use a culture through the sausage, which stops bacteria from propagating, and then cover it in a penicillin mould, which we grow on the outside of it,” he says. “In there are Alexander seeds, which grow all over – we got these in Highstead – and taste strongly of green peppercorns.

“We were also given a sack of garlic that someone grew in the village and turned it into black garlic by cooking it continuously at 55 degrees for eight weeks.

"It was done in a slow cooker that you wrap and leave. It tastes of caramel and molasses – not like garlic at all. That’s also in there.”

Morgan adds that the meat is Mangalitsa pork bought from a farmer in Wales, who kills just one pig each week and sends a cut to the pub as well as a number of other high-end restaurants.

While chewing the meat, I’m struck by the mildness of the flavours – the initial peppercorn and tangy undercurrent.

A plate containing a fillet of uncooked fish, bloated berries and what looked like a green-leafed shoot is the next to be placed in front of me.

Morgan Lewis and John Young 2019

Morgan Lewis and John Young.

Morgan explains it is raw trout that has been pickled for 24 hours accompanied by fermented blackberries and a blackthorn shoot, which apparently tastes “more like almonds than almonds”. It’s a heady combination as my taste buds are instantly hit by the fruit's salty punch, before the mouthful is rounded off by the creamy fish.

“Then we’ve got the squirrel,” Morgan says plainly. “There’s really not much to say about it – it sounds more exciting than it is. It tastes like a cross-between rabbit and quail – you get a chicken texture and gamey taste.”

On the dish were deep-fried legs, served with an onion puree. The Kentucky-fried squirrel is served as a £6.50 snack. After spreading the puree – described as a “tomato-less barbecue sauce” by Morgan – onto the leg, I take a bite, exposing the grey meat underneath the crumbly brown topping. It is succulent, falls off the bone and tastes like a richer form of chicken.

“The squirrel comes in as a whole animal and we skin it, gut it and break it down and slow cook it for about 24 hours,” John says. “Some of the squirrels are from our game dealer and also from landowners who are trying to control them. Grey squirrels usually go to landfill and get composted. It’s a lovely meat, so why waste it?”

Morgan adds: “We push the kitchen far beyond what it’s capable of. But it’s a small country pub and my view of country food is what this is – homefare. Everything is done in-house and in season.”

Morgan and John nip once more to the kitchen and return with two new plates. The redolence of melted dark chocolate immediately fills the air.

“This bit here is a savoury cake made from brown butter and cobnuts,” Morgan explains. “On top you’ve got fermented cherries, a dark chocolate sauce and rare venison haunch. It’s a jokey take on black-forest gateau.”

Wow. My mouth was in total confusion, believing this should not work. But each of the textures and flavours complemented the other.

To my right, is a pile of leaves, decorated with foraged crab apples, bilberries, sea buckthorns and more than a dozen other ingredients. But upon closer inspection, I see dark specks among the salad – wood ants.

Morgan presents me with a small mound of the insects to dip my finger into and as my teeth bite down on them, out bursts a sharp, acidic, citrusy flavour.

“We’ve got an amazing forager who brings in a lot of the wild plants, seeds and berries,” Morgan says. “We were reading his price list and saw ants. We weren’t expecting to like them because I’ve had insects before and they’ve tended to be mealy and crispy. John and I tried them at the same time and were like ‘what the hell is that?’ It’s crazy.

"They’ve been on the menu ever since and don’t see them going anywhere.

“Both of us are into foraging and game. We sometimes go on day’s excursions to go foraging or even will walk out onto the green outside the pub and pick ingredients.

"We were using ribwort that grows there and in the spine of the flower it has a mushroom that grows parasitically and tastes really strongly of chestnut – we were chopping that through our bread.”

Throughout the evening, with the chefs’ expectant eyes on me, I picked at each of the dishes, not wanting to appear gluttonous. But, as they start to clear the table, I abandon my inhibitions and wolf down the remainder of the venison and sponge. With accumulations of the chocolate sauce in the corners of my mouth, I say my goodbyes.

As I tentatively navigate my way home through the slender country roads, which by this time are enveloped in darkness, I contentedly conjure up the memories and tastes of the last couple of hours. With the memory of each extraordinary dish replaying in my mind, I decide this is a pub I must visit again.


From the By Gerry Warren, 21 September 2022.

Shock at sudden closure of Red Lion pub at Stodmarsh near Canterbury.

A popular 200-year-old pub best known for its unconventional menu has suddenly shut.

Villagers in Stodmarsh near Canterbury have been left shocked after their local, The Red Lion, was boarded up.

Red Lion 2022

The Red Lion at Stodmarsh is now boarded up.

The pub's menu featured food partly foraged and "inspired by the wilds of Kent", including Kentucky fried squirrel and wood ants.

But last Wednesday, workmen arrived to board up the windows. A hand-written note on the door simply says "pub now closed".

The building is owned by the Fun Pub Company and was being run by tenants, business partners Mark Winstone and Morgan Lewis.

Mr Winstone said it was a "heartbreaking" decision to close but had been taken because of a slump in trade and rocketing energy bills.

"We have seen a decline in business this summer which together with sky high energy bills has just made it unviable. For example, our electricity bill had gone up from £4,500 a quarter to the same amount a month.

"It's heartbreaking because we had a great team who worked really hard.

"But it's only a little village and like many in hospitality we have been struggling. Sadly, I think many others will end up having to close too."

Farmer Martin Twyman, of Wickhambreaux parish council which covers Stodmarsh, says the sudden closure has come as a shock and surprise.

"It is well known and has been very popular in the past but I don't think the upmarket menu was to everyone's taste," he said.

Red Lion note 2022

A note on the door simply says 'pub now closed'.

A retired academic who recently moved to Stodmarsh says part of the attraction of the hamlet was that it had a pub.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: "It's a lovely pub, although the food was a bit expensive and took quite a while to arrive. It's a pity because the staff were very friendly and now seeing it boarded up is quite a sorry sight.

"The pub would normally be closed on Mondays but when it didn't open on Tuesday either, we thought something was wrong. And then some people arrived on Wednesday to board it up."

The Red Lion was owned for 25 years by eccentric, colourful landlord Robert Whigham and then run by his family before it was sold prior to his death in 2016.

It then changed hands again, with the current tenants taking over in 2018.

Reporter Jack Dyson visited the Red Lion for Kent Online to sample its unconventional menu in 2019 and was hosted by general manager Morgan Lewis, who explained that squirrel tasted "like a cross-between rabbit and quail" with a chicken texture and gamey taste.

He added: "We push the kitchen far beyond what it’s capable of. But it’s a small country pub and my view of country food is what this is – homefare. Everything is done in-house and in season."


Red Lion 2022

Above photo, September 2022. Kindly taken and sent by Ray Hopkins.


After being closed in September 2022 I have just been informed that a local lady has reopened the pub with a complete redecoration and kitchen update as of May 2023.



CLARKE John 1782-Apr/1837

WHITE James 1841-71+ (also brewer age 77 in 1871Census) Bagshaw's Directory 1847

HOLNESS Peter 1874-81+ (age 56 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1874

WEBB Edwin 1891+ (also agricultural labourer age 64 in 1891Census)

FUGGLE Horace 1899+ Kelly's 1899 (beer retailer)

GILLIS John 1901+ (age 80 in 1901Census)

TODD William Richard 1911+ (army pensioner age 41 in 1911Census)

ARTER A W to Sept/1919 Dover Express

ARTER Agnes Sept/1919-Nov/22 Dover Express

ARNOLD Edwin James Nov/1922-Sept/29 Dover Express

BROWN Charles Sept/1929-Jun/1932 Dover Express

MADDELL Joshua William Jun/1932-35 dec'd Dover Express

MADDELL Mrs Cotra (widow) Feb/1935+ Dover Express

TURNER Cora George 1938-39+ (age 67 in 1939)

WHIGHAM Robert 2005-13 dec'd 2016

WINSTONE Mark & LEWIS Morgan 2018-22


Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express



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