Sort file:- Canterbury, March, 2024.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 31 March, 2024.


Earliest 1776-

Shakespeare Hotel

Latest 1995+

(Name to)

Open 2019+

5 Butchery Lane


01227 463252

Above postcard, circa 1906, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe. Also showing the "City Arms."

Shakespeare Hotel 1910

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

Shakespeare 1948

Above photo, 1948, kindly sent by Tim Timpson.

Shakespeare sign 1990Shakespeare sign 1992

Shakespeare sign left August 1990, right July 1992.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Shakespeare Arms 1950

Above photo, circa 1950. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Shakespeare 1954

Above postcard, circa 1954, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Shakespeare Hotel 1965

Above photograph by Edward Wilmot in 1965.

Shakespeare Inn circa 1988

Above showing the Shakespeare Inn circa 1988.


On the licensing list of 1792, and in an 1867 directory the inn was listed as a Tavern with billiard room

The Inns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot's, 1988, mentions a document, date circa 1945 that gives the description of clientele at the pub as being "Commercial, farmers, shoppers, regulars."

Latterly this was a Shepherd Neame house.

The pub changed name by 1995 to "Casey's" but in 2013 this too closed, underwent some renovations and reopened again under its original name.

The "Shakespeare" had the ghost of William Corkine who was slain in Angel Yard – which is now the beer garden. He was murdered by Christopher Marlowe during a Sunday morning duel in 1594. Both men were fined for disturbing the peace. Corkine survived for three hours but bled to death from his injuries.


Kentish Gazette, 29 June, 1780.


The creditors of the late Henry Bateman, of the "Shakespeare's Head," Butchery Lane, Canterbury, are requested immediately to deliver in an account of their respective demands, at the said "Shakespeare's Head." This will not advertised any more.


Kentish Gazette 14 July 1801.

On the 1st of February died, in Russia, Mr. George Lacey, formerly of the "Shakespeare Tavern," in the city.


Kentish Gazette, 23 August 1803.

Thursday was married at Woolwich, Mr. John Elgar, of the "Shakespeare Tavern," in this city, to Mrs. Lacey, widow of the late Mr. George Lacey.


Kentish Gazette, 11 November 1803.


J. C. ELGAR, at the particular request of his Friends, has fixed his HOUSE WARMING on Monday, Nov. 14, 1803.

N. B. The Company of any Gentleman will be esteemed a favour.

Dinner on the table at three o'clock.


From the Kentish Gazette 6 May 1834.



(Late of the "Prince of Orange," in Orange Street), IN acknowledging with gratitude the very liberal favors of his friends and the public, begs respectfully to inform them that he has REMOVED to the "SHAKSPEARE TAVERN," where he pledges himself to use every exertion to merit a continuance of their patronage."

Genuine Wines and Spirits. - Good Beds.


From the Kentish Gazette, 9 January 1838.

Kings Head Tap, Canterbury.

J. Roberts, late of the "Shakespeare Tavern," in Butchery Lane, begs to return his grateful thanks to his friends, and the public generally, for the kind and liberal support which he has received these last 7 years, and begs respectfully to inform them that he is taking the above house, and respectfully solicits a continuance of their favours.

Wines and spirits of the best quality; genuine London Porter and fine ale.


Kent Gazette, 15 January 1839.

E. C. Rayner, "Shakespeare Tavern." Butchery Lane, Canterbury.

Begs to return thanks for the kind patronage he has received since he entered the above-named House, and to assure the Public that every attention shall continue to be paid to the accommodation of his friends.

The Billiard Room has been newly renovated, and the Table fitted in the first style.

January 14, 1839.


From the Kentish Gazette, 16 July 1839.

The first quarterly meeting of the Canterbury 50 Burial Society, was held at the "Shakespeare tavern," on the 1st inst. The report of the state of the society was very favourable.


From the Kentish Gazette, 26 May 1840.


May 24, Mr. James Roberts. aged 35, late of the "Shakespeare Tavern," Butchery Lane, Canterbury.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 October 1840.

50 Burial Society.

The members held their Quarterly meeting yesterday se'nnight at the "Shakespeare Tavern." The accounts which were very satisfactory, were laid before the meeting and passed. This Society has been established eighteen months, and not one death has yet occurred in it.


From the Kentish Gazette, 24 November 1840.

The establishment of a musical or convivial evening at the "Shakespeare Tavern," in the city, under the able presidents of the landlord, (Mr. T Farris) affords a rich treat to the the Rivers of Harmony. We understand it will be held every Tuesday evening during the season. The large room has hitherto been crowded by the most respectable company, who expressed their delight at the arrangements. The programme of Mr. Farris on the Musical Glasses is particularly admired.


Kentish Gazette, 16 April 1844.

Shakespeare 50 Burial Society.

Last week this society held its quarterly meeting at the "Shakespeare Tavern," in Butchery-lane, when the secretary and treasurer’s accounts were most satisfactorily approved and passed, and a balance of eighty pounds shown to be in hand, with no arrears either from members or for debts owing. This society has been carried on many years, the benefits of which have been duly appreciated by the relatives of deceased members, thus showing that the advantage held out by the rules have been realised. There are now 400 members, and the committee are prepared to receive 20 more from the ages of 18 to 40 to complete its original number, therefore, all those who are desirous of alleviating in part the difficulties their families are oftentimes placed in by their bereavement, should lose no time in applying for admission.


From the Kentish Gazette, 15 July 1845.

The 50 Burial club, held at the "Shakespeare," Canterbury, had its annual meeting on Monday evening last, when the usual business was transacted. There have been only four deaths in the society during the past year, and that there is now a balance of nearly 70 in hand. In consequence of its being deemed more convenient to have the annual meeting in the winter, it was agreed that they should take place the first week in January, and after the election of a fresh committee, they re-appointments of the president's, &c. and general satisfaction have been expressed with the proceedings of the society, the meeting broke up. We understand there are only a few vacancies.


From the Kentish Gazette, 11 January 1846.

The annual general meeting of the members of the "Shakespeare" 50 Burial Club, Canterbury, took place on Tuesday evening, when the accounts were audited and passed, a balance of 87 17s. 9d. being in hand to meet the next death. The President and Vice-President were re-appointed, with nineteen members as a Board of Management for the ensuing year, together with the Secretary and Auditor. It was also agreed the members should sup together.


Kentish Gazette, 14 January 1851.

The "Shakespeare" 50 burial Society held their annual meeting on Tuesday last, when a gratifying statements of the funds was produced, showing a balance in hands of 111 12s. 1d. On Thursday evening the members sat down to an excellent supper, provided by the worthy host.


South Eastern Gazette, 9 October, 1860.

Highway Robbery by Soldiers.

On Wednesday last two privates in the 90th Regt., named Jas, Buckley and John Bremner, were charged with having stolen a watch, a bunch of keys, and several other articles, from the person of George Hatton, also a private in the same regiment, on the previous night. It appeared that at about half-past six o’clock on the previous evening prosecutor went to the "Shakespeare" public-house with the prisoners and had some beer. They shortly afterwards left. Buckley told prosecutor that they wanted to make a call, and would show him a near cut home. They went across the fields from the "Ship Inn," St. Martin’s, in the direction towards the Military Hospital, and Buckley asked the prosecutor to show him the time. He refused to take his watch out, and replied that it was half-past 8. Buckley then asked him to show him the watch, and said he would not hurt it. Prosecutor, however, said it was too dark for him to see it. Buckley then put his arms round prosecutor’s waist and threw him down. Bremner sat upon him, and the prisoners put their hands into his pockets. Prosecutor called out, and Bremner then placed his hand over his mouth and his knuckles against his throat. Prosecutor was getting weak and took his hand out of his pocket (where he had been holding his watch), when Buckley seized the watch and then ran off. He identified the bunch of keys as his property. In addition to the watch and keys, 1s. 5d., and a piece of tobacco were taken from him. The value of the watch (which had not been found) was 25s.

Sergt. Carr proved finding the keys, a knife, and a piece of tobacco, in the field spoken of by the prosecutor, at seven o’clock that morning.

P.S. Andrews deposed to taking the prisoners into custody at half-past 11 on the night in question. The prisoners, who denied all knowledge of the robbery, were committed for trial.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 20 October, 1860.

James Buckley, 30, and John Bremner, 24, soldiers, were charged with stealing one watch, value 25s., and certain money and other articles from the person of George Hatton, his property, at the parish of St. Mary Northgate, on the 2nd of October.

The evidence against the prisoners was very conclusive, although for the most part but circumstantial, the principal point being the fact that in the cell of the station-house in which they were confined on the night of their apprehension, the strap of the cup worn by the prosecutor at the time of the robbery was found.

The prosecutor (also a soldier), stated that he and the prisoners went together, on the evening of the robbery, at the Soldiers' Institute in Burgate-street; on leaving which they went together to the "Shakespeare Tavern" and had something to drink. On leaving there the prisoners said they would show him a near way to the Barracks, and they took him to St. Martin's-hill, passing over the fields leading to the Military Hospital. When in the fields they threw him down and took from him his watch, and in the scuffle he lost his cap, but had one of the prisoners' caps in its place on his head when he reached the Barracks. The strap found at the Police-station he could swear to, having been fastened to his cap by a pin in place of being sewed on.

Four years’ each penal servitude.


South Eastern Gazette, 23 October, 1860.


The Autumn Quarter Sessions for this city and borough were held before the Recorder, John Deedes, Esq., on Wednesday last. There were 12 prisoners for trial.

James Buckley and John Bremner, soldiers, were indicted for stealing from the person of Geo. Hatton, a watch, value 25s., and other articles, at St. Mary Northgate, on the 2nd inst. Mr. Barrow prosecuted.

The prosecutor, also a soldier, deposed that on the evening in question he saw both prisoners at the Soldiers’ Institute. They asked him to go and have some beer, and he accompanied them to the "Shakespeare." They stayed there about half-an-hour. When they left they went towards St. Martin’s-hill, and called in at the "Ship." The prisoners then told him they would show him a short cut to the barracks, and took him across the hospital fields. While going along, Bremner asked witness the time, and he replied that it was half-past eight. Witness had his watch in his fob pocket, and the prisoners asked him to show it to them. He told them that it was too dark for them to see it, and, having his suspicions, he put it into his trowsers pocket. Buckley then threw him down, and Bremner pressed his knuckles upon his throat and sat upon him. Witness called out as loud as be was able. Buckley, however, put his hand in witness’s pocket, took the watch out, and wrenched it from the chain. The prisoners then ran off. Witness afterwards found that he had lost a bunch of keys, a knife, and a piece of tobacco. When he went with the prisoners he had his own cap, but on the following morning he found that he had got another man's, and he believed it was Bremner’s.

Sergeant Carr, 90th Regt., proved that on the night of the 2nd inst. he apprehended the prisoners. On the following morning he went across the hospital fields, and there he found a bunch of keys, a knife, and a piece of tobacco. Where he found the articles, the grass had the appearance of a struggle having taken place.

P.C. Andrews was with the last witness when the prisoners were apprehended. On the morning following, he found a soldier’s cap strap in the cell in which the prisoners were locked up.

The prosecutor was re-called, and he identified the knife, keys, and also the strap as his property.

The jury found the prisoners guilty, and they were each sentenced to four years’ penal servitude.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 11 April, 1863.


Mr. Petts, of the “Shakespeare Tavern,” complained of a travelling mender of cane chairs, a real native of the Emerald Isle, boasting the name of Patrick Mooney, for having called for a pot of best ale, a screw of tobacco, and a clean pipe, which was duly supplied him by Mr. Petts, but when requested to pay for them said he had spent all his money, but he could, if acceptable, give the landlord “a rale Irish howl for it.” This not satisfying Mr. Petts he was given into the custody of the police and lodged at the station-house for the night. Mr. Petts said that the accused with a companion had victimised several other persons in a similar manner. The Mayor asked Pat Mooney if he was discharged for this offence would he at once leave the town? This he most readily promised, and was therefore discharged with a caution.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 14 May 1870.


William Field, of the "Shakespeare" public-house, was charged with neglecting to have his child vaccinated, and thereby committing an offence against the provisions of the Vaccination Act.

Mr. Harris, public prosecutor, stated that the child was born in June, 1868. He had called on the defendant five times respecting the performance of the operation of vaccination, and gave him a notice on the 22nd April, which had not been complied with.

Mr. Field stated in support of his neglect that the child was not well enough to undergo the operation, and to substantiate this statement he produced a medical certificate signed by Mr. H. E. Hutchings.

Alderman Aris:- Have you shown the certificate to Mr. Harris?

Mr. Field stated that he only procured it that morning. The original document, which he intended showing to Mr. Harris, had been mislaid.

Mr. Harris said defendant acquainted him with this fact at the time, but he considered he had allowed him an opportunity of getting another by staying proceedings for such a time.

The Mayor asked defendant if he would have the operation performed if they dismissed the case with costs.

Defendant: Very likely I will.

Mr. Cooper:- We can’t accept that answer.

Mr. Field:- Well, I should like a month or two to consider the matter.

Alderman Aris thought defendant was already very much indebted to Mr. Harris for the leniency he had displayed towards him in the matter. He regretted seeing a respectable tradesman occupying such a position.

Mr. Cooper:- The medical gentlemen in these cases are also liable to heavy penalties if they do not supply the registrar with proper certificates.

Mr. Field did not see why he should be compelled to have the child vaccinated when one of his children had already died under the operation.

Alderman Aris:- If you persist we have only one alternative, now that the case has been proved. If you consent to have the child vaccinated as soon as it is well enough, the probability is you will only have the costs to pay.

The Mayor:- Otherwise we must inflict a fine of 1s. and costs.

Defendant:- I would rather submit to the fine and costs than make any promise.

The costs were 10s.


From the Whitstable Times, 1 June, 1901.


The City Coroner (Dr. T. S. Johnson) held an inquest at the "Shakespeare," Butchery Lane, Canterbury, on Tuesday evening, touching the death of Mr. James Clinch, a member of the Board of Guardians and an ex-Town Councillor.

Edwin Clinch, plasterer, living at 12, the Borough, identified the body of the deceased as that of his father, who was aged 78. He was a retired plasterer and resided at 1, Albion Terrace, Canterbury. Witness last saw him alive the previous evening when he was called to the "Shakespeare." Deceased was then in an unconscious state. Previous to then he was called to the deceased on Saturday evening, when he was in his usual health. The deceased had been a Town Councillor and he was a Guardian up to the time of his death. For the past three weeks the deceased had seemed poorly. He had had a doctor now and then, but had not had one attending him of late. When witness was called to the "Shakespeare" the previous evening he found the deceased lying on the sofa. A doctor had been sent for. Witness remained with the deceased up till the time of his death, which occurred about a quarter past eleven.

Edmund Ravine, landlord of the "Shakespeare," Butchery Line, stated that ha had known the deceased for the past forty years. He came to his house about 8.30 the previous evening, when he seemed very well. He had a small glass of beer, after which he said he would try a Guinness. The deceased then said he did not think be could drink it and he had a little brandy. He asked if he might lie down on the couch as he did not feel well. Witness said he had better send for a cab to take him home, but the deceased said he would sooner stay there a little while. However, witness sent for a carriage and also for a doctor, and for the deceased's son. The decease was unconscious. He had been in the habit of visiting witness' house.

P.C. J. Goddard stated that at about 11.10 the previous night he was called to the "Shakespeare." There he searched the deceased and found on him 1 1s. 4 1/2d. in money, a purse, a gold ring, a knife, a silver watch, and a bunch of keys.

Mr. Z. Prentice, surgeon, stated that he was called to see the deceased the previous night at about 10.20. He was lying on a sofa unconscious. He was paralysed on the right side. He died at 11.10. The deceased never spoke to witness. The cause of death was apoplexy. Witness attended the deceased some six years ago but had not done so since.

The Coroner having summed up the jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes.



BATEMAN Henry to June/1780 dec'd

LACEY George 1792-Apr/1798 Edward Wilmot Canterbury

TANDY Richard Apr/1798+

ELGAR John C 1803+

HOOPER Robert 1824-28+ Pigot's Directory 1824Pigot's Directory 1828-29

EVANS Benjamin 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

Last pub licensee had ROBERTS James May/1834-Jan/38 Next pub licensee had

RAYNER Edward Charles 1838-41+ (age 35 in 1841Census) Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840

FARRIS T Nov/1840+

GOLDSMITH Thomas 1847+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

PETTS Thomas Porter 1858-63+ (age 41 in 1861Census) Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862

FIELD William 1867-91+ (age 56 in 1891Census) Edward Wilmot CanterburyGreens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1874Post Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891

RAVINE Edmund 1901-03+ (age 47 in 1901Census) Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

PALIN Walter S 1911+ (age 42 in 1911Census)

BUTLER Thomas 1913-38+ Post Office Directory 1913Post Office Directory 1922Post Office Directory 1930Post Office Directory 1938

DEMPSEY Mr & Mrs Ignatius to 1972-82 Edward Wilmot Canterbury


Cllr Ignatius (Iggy) B Dempsey was elected Sheriff of Canterbury in 1982


Pigot's Directory 1824From the Pigot's Directory 1824

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

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

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

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

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Edward Wilmot CanterburyInns of Canterbury by Edward Wilmot, 1988


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