Page Updated:- Monday, 06 December, 2021.


Earliest 1871-

Swan Inn

Latest July 1956

(Name to)



Swan 1950

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

Swan 1951

Above photo circa 1951, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Swan Inn card

Above card issued March 1955. Sign series 4 number 41.


This pub was renamed the "Hooden Horse" on 21st July 1956 in accordance with the breweries instructions.


From the Whitstable Times, 18 January, 1902.



A serious fire, unfortunately attended by loss of life, occurred at Supporton Farm, Wickhambreaux, in the early hours of Sunday morning, between 1 and 1.30 a.m. the housekeeper to the Messrs. Holdstock Bros., the tenants of the farm, aroused Mr. E. Holdstook, who was in the house with his brother, Mr. P. Holdstook, and announced that the farm buildings were ablaze. Mr. Holdstock on looking out found this to be only too true. He partially dressed and went out, and, with assistance, did all he could. In the meantime the housekeeper, Miss Hayward, went for further assistance, and although the maroon at Wingham was not sent up until two o’clock in about twenty-five minutes the local fire brigade, under Captain Robinson, was on the scene. The Brigade found a small supply of water at the farm, but it was a useless task to attempt to put out the conflagration—all they could do was to look after the stacks in the neighbourhood and endeavour to keep the flames from reaching the residence of the Messrs. Holdstock. This they accomplished, and great praise should he bestowed on the members of the Brigade for their prompt action, for although there were many stacks within a few yards of the burning buildings the firemen successfully managed to prevent them from taking fire. There was a slight S.E. wind blowing at the time and had it been blowing in an opposite direction undoubtedly the house would have been burned down. The fire originated in the large barn which was totally destroyed. For a few days previous to Sunday thrashing had been in progress at the farm and the work was being done by the Wingham Agricultural Implement Company. About a dozen men were employed, and it appears four or five of them had been in the habit of sleeping in the barn at night times, although this was not known to the occupier of the farm. On the night of the fire apparently there were three men sleeping on the premises, for during the progress of the fire one was found in a cart, and he being aroused, escaped with his life the other two were in the interior of the barn and were unfortunately burnt to death before assistance could reach them. When found one man was charred to such an extent that he was unrecognisable. At the inquest held on Tuesday, a man who had been thrashing with the others, gave evidence and stated that he could identify the body as that of his brother from the way he was lying, but the jury were not satisfied with this and returned a verdict that a man was burnt to death, but that the body was past identification. In the case of the other man who was burnt to death the circumstances are even sadder then as regards the one already referred to. The man was burned literally to a cinder, in fact, only the skull and a few bones were found. It is not known whom he was. He was a dark complexioned man, and he was only known by the nick-name of “Darkie.” Besides this sad loss of life a large quantity of live stock were burned, while the cow lodge and implement shed were totally destroyed. All the harrows, ploughs, waggons, carts, and mowers, used on the farm, were totally destroyed. All the harrows, ploughs, waggons, carts, and mowers, used on the farm, were burned to such an extent as to render them utterly useless. Fortunately the farm buildings and contents are insured, the policies being affected with the County Fire Office. The barn was full of wurtzel, roots, corn, and barley at the time, and, of course, all of this was utterly destroyed. The farm belongs to the Marques Conyngham. The fire apparently originated inside the barn where the men were sleeping either by the upsetting of a lamp or by lighted cigarettes or pipes being thrown down. It will he seen by the report of the inquest below that one of the men was in the habit of smoking cigarettes, while several pipes were picked up amongst the debris. Besides the good services of the Fire Brigade the County Police rendered able assistance at the fire, and Superintendent Jacobs, Sergeant Heard, P.C.'s Vince, Binfield, Hopkins. Sands, Whitall, and Wells were soon on the scene. The damage is estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000. As the inquest was being held by Mr. Mercer on Tuesday afternoon at the farm house the corn and roots on the site of the fire were still smouldering, and at intervals broke out in flames. It should he added that the thrashing machine of the Wingham Agricultural Implement Company was totally destroyed, but is covered by insurance, and the engine is very seriously damaged.


The East Kent Coroner (Mr. R. M. Mercer) held an Inquest at Sapperton Farm, Wickham, on Tuesday afternoon, respecting the death of Charles William Sylvester.

Ernest Holdstock, living at Supperton Farm, Wickhambreaux, stated that he was one of the occupiers of the farm the Wingham Agricultural Implement Company were employed to thrush at the farm, and they sent the engine on Tuesday morning. They thrashed on Saturday. Witness could not say how many men there were. He did not know any of them except the driver and the feeder. There would be about a dozen men the driver’s name was Rose and the feeder's name was Impett. The men did not sleep about the premises as far as witness knew. He never gave the man permission to sleep in the barn. On Sunday morning between 1 and 1.30 witness was aroused by Miss Hayward, his housekeeper, who told him that the barn was on fire. Witness went out as soon as possible and saw the barn, lodges, and all the buildings round the yard on fire. When witness was shouting to his brother a man in a cart woke up and got out. The place was burning for a long while. No one should have slept in the barn. Witness and his brother returned from Puxton, Stodmarsh, at about 9.30 on Sunday night, and there was nothing unusual then. There was no light then. Witness knew a lamp and a pipe were found in the barn.

Thomas Sylvester, labourer, of no fixed abode, stated that he had a brother named Charles William, who went with a thrashing machine and worked for the driver of the Wingham Company. On Friday afternoon witness and his brother arrived at the farm soon after the engine. They came to thrash the wheat in the barn. They thrashed on Friday and Saturday, and it was all then done. On Saturday they went to Wickham soon after four o’clock. They went to the “Swan” and stayed there about an hour, and they then went to the “Rose” also at Wickham. They remained there till 9 or 10, when his brother and another man left. Witness was left at the public-house with a man whom they called Darkie. Witness' brother left to go to that farm, and he did not see him again until he saw the body lying on a wattle the knife produced belonged to deceased; the deceased never smoked a pipe—he always smoked cigarettes. Witness was positive that the charred remains were those of his brother. He could recognise his shape and the way in which he lay when he was asleep. On the Friday night witness saw where his brother laid and he was found in the same place so knew it was his brother. He was 29 years of age and was 5 feet 10 inches in height, and he was very long in his back. Instead of going back to the farm that night witness slept in a cabbage field. He was not drunk but he had had a little. When he woke at 7 o’clock he went up to the farm and saw the fire. He wanted to know then where the body was picked up.

Harry Bates, a member of the Wingham Fire Brigade, stated that he was summoned at about 2 o’clock on Sunday morning, and he, with the Brigade, got to the fire about 2.35 a.m. He was told that men were sleeping in the barn. At 3.30 he found the body in the barn the last witness pointed out the spot where his brother had made his bed, and that was the same spot where he found the body. When found the deceased was lying on his chest. On other set of bones had been found besides the deceased—there was no other complete body found, however. There were two clay pipes found.

The Coroner said he did not want the jury to return a verdict that it was Sylvester that was dead and then next week for the man to walk round and say that he slept in a carrot field. He thought that a verdict should be returned that a man who was past identification was burned to death.

The Foreman of the jury (Mr. A. Sole) agreed with the Coroner, and most of the jury concurred in what he had said.

The jury then returned a verdict that a man was burned to death, but that he was past identification.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 4 April, 1902. Price 1d.


William Thomas Bradley, landlord of the “Swan Inn,” Wickhambreaux, was summoned for knowingly permitting drunkenness to take place on his premises on Sunday, March 2nd.

Police Constable Binfield, Littlebourne, gave evidence that on Sunday evening, March 2nd, at 10.p.m., he saw William Williams, and James Holman come out of the “Swan.” Both men were drunk, and rolled about in the road. Next day he called on the landlady, who stated the men had been in the house since 8.30, but that neither was served with drink. They were with friends, and he could not help them letting the two men drink. As the men left they wanted a two-gallon bottle filled with beer, and the landlord said he refused this because he did not want a row outside.

Sergeant C. Hearn gave evidence in corroboration.

The inspector said that the two men were fined at the last Sessions, when they pleaded guilty, and in consequence the Chief Constable ordered a prosecution.

John Fox, landlord of the “Duke William” public house, at Ickham, gave evidence that the men left his house at 8.20 p.m. on March 2nd, when the landlady asked them to leave as they were noisy and the worse for liquor.

Thomas Mount gave evidence that Williams and Holman were a little the worse for liquor, but they were quiet, and were not served.

William Williams gave evidence that he was fined for being drunk last Sessions. He never paid for any drink on March 2nd at the “Swan.”

James Holman, the other man who was fined, now declared that he left the house sober.

The Inspector: But you pleaded guilty last Sessions to being drunk.

Holman said he was sober when he left the house, but the fresh air took effect on him, and this, together with a big cigar, caused the drunken symptoms.

Lord Northbourne asked witness if the “fresh air” often had this effect?

Witness said it did. (laughter.)

Mr. Rutley Mowll, for the defence, urged that there was no cause mad out, as it had not been proved that, even if the men left the house drunk (which he could call evidence to prove was not the case), the landlord knew they were drunk. The evidence had been rather that the men were quiet in the house.

He called The Defendant, W. T. Bradley, who said that he did not serve the men, and that they did not appear to be drunk.

Cross-examined: The reason he refused to sell them beer in a bottle was because it was ten o'clock.

Mr. Mowll then called Edward Harman, James Burrows, J. C. Wyles, Harry Spicer Harris, William Hill, John Rook, and William Sladden, who each gave evidence most positively that they either saw the two men leave the house or in it, perfectly sober all the time.

Lord Northbourn (amidst laughter) asked each witness (all witnesses having been ordered out of Court) if he knew that Williams and Holmes had last month pleaded guilty to the charge of being drunk when they left the house?

The witnesses, one and all, professed to be quite unaware of this.

The Bench, after retiring, decided that the case was a very proper one to bring before the Court, and it had been proved. The defendant would be fined 17/6, 2 2s. 6d. costs, and the license would be endorsed.

Mr. Rutley Mowll said the Chairman completely staggered him when he said the license would be endorsed. He had appeared in a very large number of licensing cases, and with one exception, a very serious case, the license had never been endorsed on a conviction. This man had been in the house for 13 years, and it was obvious that a man did not hold such a position for 13 years without being a man of respectability.

The Chairman: The Police or the Bench may have been lax!

Mr. Mowll: You surely have confidence in your Police officers!

The Chairman: I make no charge; I only say they may have been lax.

Mr. Mowll said the question of endorsing the license hit someone else. The defendant had been punished, and he would have to go.

The owners would not let a convicted landlord remain.

The Chairman asked if that was so?

Mr. Mowll said he would give an understanding that the landlord would leave the house.

After a minute's consultation, the Chairman said the bench were unable to alter their decision.

Mr. Mowll then gave notice of appeal, and the bench fixed the recognisance's at 50.


From the Whitstable Times, 12 April, 1902.


At Wingham Petty Sessions held on Thursday, William T. Bradley was summoned for allowing drunkenness on his licensed premises, the “Swan,” Wickhambreaux. The case arose from two men being convicted, at the previous sitting of the Bench, for being drunk and disorderly, and the police summoned Bradley, as the two men were seen coming from the house a few minutes before 10 on the night of the offence.

P.C. Binfield said he saw the two men come out of the house drunk.

Mr. Mowll appeared for the defence and called the two men, who denied having been served with liquor. They did have some beer in the house which their friends treated them to. Although they pleaded guilty to being drunk when they were charged, they said they were all right when in the house, but on coming out into the fresh air they seemed to be overcome.

Mr. Mowll said defendant had been in the house 13 years, and during that time had conducted it in a proper manner.

The Bench decided to convict, and fined defendant 2 2s. 6d. with 17s. 6d. costs, also endorsing the licence.

Mr. Mowll said the decision to endorse the licence thoroughly staggered him, as the most serious cases only caused the license to be endorsed.

The Bench declined to alter their decision, and Mr. Mowll gave notice of appeal.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 2 May, 1902. Price 1d.


The Magistrates granted a temporary transfer of the licence of the "Swan Inn," Wickhambreux, from William Thomas Bradley, to William Thomas Setterfield.

Lord Northbourne asked if this was the licence that was endorsed last month for a conviction.

The Clerk said that it was not actually endorsed, as Mr. Rutley Mowll gave notice of appeal.

Mr. Bradley said he had now lost the licence, and asked that a certificate copy should be substituted for transference.


This extract is from the book "Inns of Kent"; Whitbread & Co. Ltd.; 1948 :-

Wickhambreux (pronounced locally Wickhambreu-ex) is a picture-postcard village, complete with green, church, stream and mill house, rectory and squire's house all very correct and according to Hoyle. The "Swan Inn," however, must be sought, never a very tedious job in a village like Wickhambreux; and when found will be just another lovely Kentish house, warm weather-tiled walls and tiled roof, unostentatiously minding its own business now as ever.


Further details hopefully to follow.



WEST John 1871+ (age 56 in 1871Census)

KENNETT James 1881+ (age 34 in 1881Census)

BRADLEY William Thomas 1891-1902+ (age 53 in 1901Census)

GARSIDE Peter to Apr/1904 Dover Express

MASTERS Mary Grace Apr-Nov/1904 Dover Express

CORNHILL/CORNFIELD William Nov/1904-July/08 Dover Express

AGED Frederick July/1908+ Dover Express

MAYGER Mr Fred dec'd 1918-Jan/24 Dover Express

MAYGER Esther (widow) Jan/1924+ Dover Express

CHIDDUCK Mr W G to Sept/1938 Dover Express

BAKER Mr C J Sept/1938 + Dover Express


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:-