Sort file:- Canterbury, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 14 December, 2023.


Earliest 1059-

Royal Fountain Hotel

Latest 1940

16 St. Margaret's Street


Royal Fountain Hotel

Above photo, taken by Mick Palmer's father when he was working for Fisk-Moore for the Kentish Gazette, date yet unknown.

Royal Oak 1930's

Above postcard, date 1930's, kindly submitted by Mark Jennings.

Royal Fountain Hotel circa 1930

Above photo taken from the Historic Canterbury web site, before circa 1930.

Carriage outside Royal Fountain Hotel

Above postcard showing a carriage outside the hotel, date unknown.

Royal Fountain Old Stagers 1910

Above photo, circa 1910, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Showing a group called "The Old Stagers" an amateur dramatic group, founded in 1842 and still going 2023, posing outside the pub.

Royal Fountain Hotel back 1920s

Above photo, circa 1920s, showing the back of the hotel, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Canterbury O S Map 1874

Above map 1874 identified by Rory Kehoe.



One of Kent's oldest inns was the "Royal Fountain Hotel", which was destroyed in a bombing raid on 1st June 1942. In 1299, legend tells us, the German Ambassador stayed at the inn en route to London to attend the wedding of Edward I and Queen Margaret, and found the amenities much to his liking. An even earlier tradition states that Earl Godwin's wife resided there in 1029. Dickens however certainly stayed there in 1861.


Another of the posting houses, this building was unfortunately destroyed by bombing in world war 2.

Originally the "Fountain Inn" the premises was renamed the "Fountain Hotel" in 1827 and by 1867 it had become the "Royal Fountain Hotel." See also the "Fountain Tap."

The license for this establishment was transferred to the "Abbot's Barton Hotel" after it was destroyed in 1942.


Royal Fountain Hotel ruins

Above photo showing the smoking ruins of the "Royal Fountain Hotel" shortly after the 1942 Luftwaffe raid on Canterbury.

Royal Fountain 1942

Above photo, 1942, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Rear of Royal Fountain Hotel

Photograph showing the rear of the hotel, date unknown.

From the Kentish Gazette, 13 June 1837.


June 18th, at the "Fountain Hotel," Canterbury, deeply regretted by all his friends, Lieut-Col. Nott, of Marston Hall, Warwickshire, Companion of the Bath. He commanded the 11th regiment with great distinction in several battles during the Peninsular War.


From the Kentish Gazette, 18 February 1840.


(The following was in response to Queen Victoria's recent marriage to Prince Albert on 10 February 1840. Paul Skelton.)

In our last week’s Gazette we detailed all the observances up to Monday night, as they had occurred in Canterbury. Of the festivities in the city we have very little to add. The only illuminations were a splendid display of gas at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," a transparency of a crown at Mr. Ward’s in Mercery-lane, and a full-length figure of the the Queen at Mr. Gutsole’s in St. George's street, and the globe in variegated lamps at the "Globe Tavern," also in St. George’s-street. About half a dozen houses were lighted with candles; and this was the extent of the illumination. The police were actively engaged in putting down the fire works; but notwithstanding their utmost vigilance, a flaming squib or cracker darted at intervals into the groups which occupied the streets, to the apparently high amusement of the bystanders.


Kentish Gazette, 2 January 1844.

The report in the Canterbury Journal of Saturday, the 22nd ultimo, relative to the "Royal Hotel" and Assembly Rooms, is like many other articles full of error. The facts are these.

It was stated to the meeting that the proposed tenant would not give security for any outlay beyond his own covenant, and that instead of Mr. Boys giving only a casting vote against the letting, all the proprietors (nine or ten in number), except one, were of Mr. Boys’s opinion, and therefore, that the proposal so to let, was not even seconded, nor put to a vote.


Kentish Gazette, 21 May 1844.

THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING of the TREASURER anil STEWARDS of the SOCIETY for the Relief of the WIDOWS and ORPHANS of CLERGYMEN within the Diocese of Canterbury, will be holden at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," CANTERBURY, on THURSDAY, the 30th instant. Business to commence at Twelve o'clock.

May 13, 1844.


From the Kentish Gazette, 7 January 1845.

On the evening of Saturday week, two post-boys at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," Canterbury, were frolicking, when one of them fell and broke his leg.


Kentish Gazette, 11 May 1847.


THE Opening of the Season of this Club will be celebrated by a DINNER at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," CANTERBURY, on SATURDAY next, the 15th Inst.

Sir E. C. DERING, Bart. President, IN THE CHAIR, when the company of Members of the Club and Friends of Cricket will be esteemed.

Dinner on Table at Four o'clock precisely.

Gentlemen intending to dine are requested to apply at the Bar for Tickets on or before Thursday next.

A friendly Match will be played in the Morning on the Saint Lawrence New Ground, CANTERBURY.

Subscriptions, payable at the Bank of Messrs. Hammond and Co., Canterbury, and to the Honorary Secretary, due May 1.

By order of the Committee, W. M. SMITHSON, Hon. Sec. Canterbury, May 8, 1847.


Kentish Gazette, 6 July 1847.


Messrs. WARLTERS, LOVEJOY, and SON. BEG leave to announce they are instructed by Mr. Wright, who has conducted the above Hotel for nearly half a Century, but who is now desirous of retiring from business, to SELL the above CONCERN, with Immediate Possession or LET it on LEASE for a term, at a moderate rent.

The Premises are in the most complete repair, and from the situation and the high character of the House, it has long secured pre-eminance, together with the great leading Business of the County.

For Particulars apply to Messrs. Warlters, Lovejoy, and Son 55, Chancery Lane.


Kentish Gazette, 3 August 1847.


The above Annual DINNER will take place at the "Royal Fountain Hotel" on SATURDAY the 14th August next.

Charles Neame, Esq., in the Chair.

The company of any Gentleman will be esteemed.

Dinner on the Table at Five o'clock.

Thos. Collard, Jun., Secretary.

August 24, 1847.


From the Kentish Gazette, 27 June 1848.


MR. WRIGHT, the respected Proprietor of this well-known and old-established Concern, being about to retire from business, would be happy to treat with any respectable person to succeed him upon liberal terms. The premises are in excellent repair, and the business is of first-rate character and extent.

Apply to Wariters, Lovejoy, and Son, 55, Chancery-lane, London.


Kentish Gazette, 6 March 1849.


A GENERAL MEETING of MEMBERS, will be holden on SATURDAY, MARCH 17, at One o'clock in the Afternoon, at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," CANTERBURY, to determine upon the Continuance or Dissolution of the Club.

Members who have not paid their Subscriptions are requested to do so without delay, at the Bank of Messrs. Hammond and Co., or to the Honorary Secretary.

All persons having any claim or demand upon the Club are desired to send in the particulars before the 10th Inst.

By the Committee.


Honorary Secretary.


Kentish Gazette, 17 April 1849.


THE ANNUAL DINNER of this Club will take place on SATURDAY, May 19th, at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," CANTERBURY, when the company of Members and Friends to Cricket will be esteemed.

Dinner on table at Half-past Two o'clock.

Gentlemen intending to dine are requested to leave their names at the Bar of the "Royal Fountain Hotel" on or before Thursday, the 17th of May.


Kentish Gazette, 28 August 1849.


MESSRS. WHITE Have received instructions from Mr. Wright, the present owner and occupier, who is about to retire from business, TO SELL BY PRIVATE CONTRACT, The above Well-Known and Long-Established FAMILY- HOTEL.

The Premises are very extensive, and possess every requisite for the accommodation of FAMILIES OF THE HIGHEST DISTINCTION, as well as for the general tavern trade, and for the facilitating of public business; in all which departments THE ROYAL FOUNTAIN HOTEL stands justly and proudly pre-eminent, it being a well-established fact, that of late this FIRST-RATE HOUSE; has not known a competitor.

To a purchaser the "ROYAL FOUNTAIN HOTEL cannot fail to afford a secure and improving investment, the establishment having long possessed the confidence and exclusive support of the LEADING COUNTY FAMILIES visiting Canterbury; and its peculiarly advantageous situation, in the centre of the Eastern Division, securing to the proprietor the patronage, amounting almost to a monopoly, the members of the several professions, and of the numerous meetings in connexion with the PUBLIC BUSINESS OF THE COUNTY, there being no other home within the limit capable of affording the required accommodation.

If not previously disposed of by Private Contract, the Estate will be offered by PUBLIC AUCTION in October next. In the mean time, lithographed Plans of the Estate, and full particulars of the property, may be obtained of Messrs. White, Canterbury.

Two Thirds of the PURCHASE MONEY may remain on Mortgage of the Premises, at Four per Cent.


Kentish Gazette, 4 June 1850.


An extensive FREEHOLD ESTATE, and worthy of the attention of Capitalists.

MESSRS. WHITE Beg to announce that they have received instructions from the Proprietor, who is about to retire from business, to offer FOR SALE BY AUCTION, AT the Mart, London, on THURSDAY, the 4th of July, 1850, at Twelve o'clock at noon, The very extensive and long-established concern known in THE ROYAL FOUNTAIN HOTEL, CANTERBURY, situate in the centre of the city, Comprising all the requisites of a first-rate family hotel, with numerous and convenient sitting rooms, sleeping apartments, large public room, arranged so as to form two rooms when necessary; extensive stabling and coachhouses, granaries, harness rooms, and bar commanding the yard and entrance.

The Fountain is the sole resort of the principal county families, the military, and of the numerous visitors attracted to Canterbury by the many interesting objects abounding in the city.

The public dinners of the neighbourhood are provided and numerous public meetings held at the hotel, which tend to keep together the connexion of the house.

The premises are in excellent repair.

There is a Tap on the premises, doing a good business, and adjoining are Two newly-erected brick Cottages. A small portion of the tap and the cottages are held under a lease, of which 80 years are unexpired.

Immediate possession can be given, and a portion of the purchase money may remain on mortgage if required.

The premises may be viewed prior to the sale; and printed particulars, with lithographic plans of the estate, may be had at the Auction Mart, London; on the Premises; of Messrs. Furleys and Mercer, Solicitors, Canterbury and Ashford; and of Messrs. White, Canterbury.


Kentish Gazette, 6 August 1850.


TO LET, on very advantageous Terms, for One Year, or any longer Term, with immediate possession, or at Michaelmas next.

For particulars, inquire of Messrs. White, Canterbury.


Kentish Gazette, 26 August 1851.

East Kent and Canterbury Hop Dinner.

The annual hop dinner will take place at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," Canterbury on Saturday, August 30th, 1851, at 5 o'clock.

President Charles Neame, Esq.

Canterbury, August 18th, 1851.


South Eastern Gazette, 17 July, 1860.

Robbery or Jewellery Belonging to the President of the R.A.S.E.

Between the hours of 11 on Monday evening and 8 o’clock on the following morning, a robbery was effected at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," in St. Margaret’s, of jewellery belonging to the President of the Royal Agricultural Society (Lord Walsingham). His lordship placed on his dressing table a gold repeater watch, a gold neck chain, a gold octagon snuff-box (about 2in. in width by 4in. in length) a gold ring, set with turquoise, a gold wedding ring, and a dark silk purse containing about 4 in gold; but upon looking for these articles, at the hour named, they had all disappeared. The police were called in — two London detectives set to work, but all to no purpose; the thief had managed his business skilfully, and then taken his departure to safer quarters.


South Eastern Gazette, 17 July, 1860.


Mr. G. T. DAVIS HAS received Instructions to SELL by AUCTION, on Monday, the 23rd of July, 1860, at the "Royal Fountain Hotel," St. Margaret’s-street, Canterbury, at Three o'clock to a minute, the following FREEHOLD HOUSES, in ten lots:

Lot 1. Brick-built Messuage in Wincheap, in the occupation of Mrs. Croft, at the yearly rent of 13.

Lot 2. All those Two Freehold Messuages or Tenements, adjoining Lot 1, in the occupation of Mrs. Prior and Mrs. Horseley, at the yearly rent of 24 each.

Lot 3. A desirable Freehold Residence, situate in Castle-street, in the occupation of Mr. George Deverson, at the yearly rent of 20.

Lot 4. The Freehold Public House, situate in Military-road, St. Gregory, "Princess Royal," in the occupation of Robert Whittaker, at the yearly rent of 24.

Lot 5. Two Messuages or Tenements, adjoining Lot 4, in the occupation of John Jackson and Stephen Marsh, at the yearly rent of 9 2s. each.

Lot 6. The Freehold Messuages and Premises, with Shop, Bakehouse, and Loft, adjoining Lot 5, in the occupation of Mr. Barton, at the yearly rent of 19 10s.

Lot 7. Two Freehold Messuages or Tenements, situate in Artillery-street, in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Peckman and Henry Glover, at the yearly rent of 16 18s.

Lot 8. Two Freehold Messuages or Tenements, adjoining Lot 7, and a Coal Shed attached, in the occupation of William Driscoll and Edward Duly, at the yearly rent of 20 16s.

Lot 9. Two Freehold Messuages or Tenements, situate in Abbott’s place, in the occupation of Joseph Hammond and Thomas Taylor, at the yearly rent of 15 12s.

Lot 10. The Freehold Messuage or Tenement, situate in Abbott’s-place, in the occupation of Mr. Joseph Permayer Pizarro, at the yearly rent of 7 3s.

The several properties may be viewed on application to the tenants, and particulars may be obtained of the Auctioneer, G. T. Davis, Sun-street, Canterbury, or of Messrs. Sankey and Son, Solicitors, Canterbury.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 19 January, 1867. Price 1d.


At the rent audit of the Marquis of Conyngham, held at the “Royal Fountain Hotel,” Canterbury, on the 10th inst., the noble landlord presented each of his tenants who had suffered by the Cattle Plague with the amount of one half his loss.


From the Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser, 10 May, 1907.


In his work entitled “Some Old English Inns” George T. Burrows says, “Nothing has been left on record to show that inns were, or were not, in existent in Early Britain.” Yet, since the Roman had inns, it is pretty safe to assume that they established them during their stay in Britain. “But with the coming of the English and the disorder brought in its train, it is quite reasonable to suppose that the houses which then exist – it is believed by some antiquarians that official posting-houses were dotted along the man roads every twenty miles or so apart – were rudely swept away and for some considerable time England was innless.” It is difficult to conceive of an innless England. The monasteries, doubtless, served the same purpose; any traveller was always readily received; if he could pay, so much the better; if not, he was allowed cheerfully to depart in the name of charity.


The author concludes that the oldest inn in England is “the Fountain” in Canterbury, where stayed the wife of Earl Goodwin when she went to meet her husband on his return from Denmark in 1029. This is a respectable antiquity indeed! It is also claimed for “The Fountain” that Archbishop Lanfranc stayed there during the rebuilding of his palace in 1070. “The story, also goes that the four knights who murdered Thomas a Becket made the house their meeting place. It has its place, too, in later history, in that it was a scene of gaiety and activity in the September of 1299, where the marriage of Edward I, to Margaret of France was solemnised at Canterbury Cathedral.




FARLEY John 1794-

MILES Mrs dec'd to 1801

MILES Mr 1802+

WRIGHT Samuel 1824-48 (age 67 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Stapletons GuideBagshaw's Directory 1847

FINN William 1858-81+ Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1874

FINN Annie M 1881+ Census

WARD Horatio 1882-95+ Next pub licensee had Post Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891

SPARK Mrs A 1903+

LUND Amelia before 1932 Next pub licensee had Dover Express

LARGE F C 1922-34+


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

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Greens Canterbury Directory 1868

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874


Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Historic Canterbury web siteHistoric Canterbury web site

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:-