Page Updated:- Thursday, 12 May, 2022.


Earliest 1839

Swingate Inn

Open 2020+

Deal Road

(West Cliffe near Guston)

01304 204043



Swingate Inn 1890s

Above photo, late 1890s, kindly sent by Sandra Heard. The Gentleman standing next to the coach third from right with the longish beard is Thomas Benjamin Reed b. 1836 near Wye, Kent. His family ran a coaching business out of Birchington/Whistable from late 1800s to early 1900s.

Swingate Inn circa 1920-30

Above photograph kindly sent to me by Ian Norris and shows the pub circa 1920-30's.

Swingate Inn 1950

Above photo 1952. Creative Commons Licence.

Swingate legder

Thompson & Sons ledger, 1950-1964. Creative Commons Licence.

Swingate Inn Swingate
Swingate Inn Swingate
Swingate Inn Swingate
Swingate Inn Sign Swingate

Above photographs of the Swingate Inn by Paul Skelton 4 August 2007

Swingate Inn sign 1991

Swingate sign August 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com

From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 16 February, 1839. Price 5d.


Thomas Taylor, a vagrant character, who stated that he came from Bromley, was brought into Dover on Wednesday night, and delivered in charge of the police, having been detected breaking into a fowl roost, at the "Gate" public-house, adjoining Beere-pasture, on the Deal road. Next morning, the prisoner was examined before George Stringer, Esq., when as it did not appear that any thing had been stolen, he was committed as a rogue and vagabond, to two months' imprisonment in the house of correction, at St. Augustine's.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 12 December, 1840. Price 7d.


On Saturday night last or early Sunday morning, while Henry Price, a policeman, was on duty near the "Dog Kennel," he observed two men driving a loaded donkey. Suspecting all was not right, he made up to them with a view of ascertaining what their load contained, and on his approaching, the men deserted their charge and ran away. He then made search and discovered a pig weighing 30lbs., with its throat cut, and two new sacks containing one bushel and a half of potatoes. The names of the men are Gatehouse and Bean: they are still at large. The pig belonging to Mr. Marsh, landlord of the "Swing Gate," Guston. The animal's throat was cut completely across, not at all in the usual way such brutes are slaughtered. The wives and the families of the accused parties have left Charlton to join their husbands, which may be the mans o tracing the delinquents. When the contents were taken from the donkey, he was set at liberty to find his way home, and went direct, to the house of the offenders, whose wives were on the watch, with a fire ready prepared to scald the pig.


South Eastern Gazette 02 June 1857.


On Friday last, T. T. Delasaux, Esq., held an inquest at the "Swing Gate," West Cliff, touching the death of John H. Gibb, of London, who had been found dead, with a mug lying by the side of him, and in consequence of which it was reported that he had been poisoned. Evidence was given allowing that the deceased had been walking near the place where his dead body was found, about an hour previously, and the medical testimony was to the effect that death had resulted from disease of the heart, there being no symptoms at all of any poison having been taken. The jury therefore returned a verdict of "Natural death."


Kentish Gazette, 03 June 1851.

In the afternoon of the same day, as the van of Mr. Stevenson, tea dealer, of Snargate Street, was returning from Deal, the horse shied at something about a mile beyond "Swingate Inn," which resulted in the van being overturned, and a young woman inside being thrown out violently and much bruised. The driver escaped unhurt.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 21 January, 1865.



Thomas Butler, alias John Myres, a middle-aged man of sinister appearance, who described himself as a journeyman tailor lodging at the "Red Lion" public house, in this town, was brought up in custody of two officers of the Kent County Constabulary, charged with burglariously entering the "Swingate Inn," in the parish of Westcliffe, on the night of the 13th or the morning of the 14th inst. and stealing a coat, six silver teaspoons, a quantity of tobacco, about 13s. 6d. in money, a bottle of shrub, and some other property, valued in all by the proprietor of the Inn, Mr. W. Prescott, at 50s.

Mr. William Prescott said he kept the "Swingate Inn," in the parish of Westcliffe, near Dover. He fastened up his house securely previous to retiring to rest on the night of the 13th. He went to bed about eleven o'clock. There were shutters to the front windows, and these were fastened. The back windows were without shutters, but were fastened by a means of a pin, which went through the inside stile and held the outer stile so as to prevent the window being opened in the ordinary way. There were no lodgers in the house. Himself and his wife were the only inmates. He was disturbed two or three times during the night by what he thought was the wind, and once he got up. This was as near two o'clock as he could tell. He went upstairs into a room over that in which he slept, to see if anything had blown adrift, but he found everything right, and returned to his bedroom. He was still unsatisfied, however, and he therefore put on some of his clothes and went down stairs, carrying a light with him. He first went into the bar, and as soon as he entered the room he saw that the house had been robbed. The front window was open. All the drawers in the bar were drawn out, and rifled of their contents. A desk standing in the room had been broken open, and the drawers of that also pulled out. The room was in great disorder, about a pound of tobacco being strewn upon the floor. He then looked about to see by what means an entrance had been effected. On going over the house he found that the door was open connecting the wash-house with the kitchen had been opened, the lock having been taken off. Entrance had been obtained to the wash-house by the window, the fastening of which had been undone. He was certain it had been fastened the night before. The door connecting the wash-house with the kitchen was fastened with a stock-lock, screwed on upon the wash-house sides, and the screws holding it had been removed. The amount of money taken from the bar was 10s. as nearly as he could say - silver and copper together. The silver consisted of two six-pences and three or four threepenny or fourpenny pieces. From the desk half a dozen silver spoons had been taken. The spoons were marked "H.S." Those produced were the same. Besides these spoons were an old fashioned tea spoon, broken in halves, and a metal spoon. Among the other things taken were a pair of spectacles, a pair of scissors, two pocket handkerchiefs, an old coat, and a bottle of shrub. At the side of the desk he observed a screw-driver, which had overnight been left in his basket in the kitchen. A chisel also, which was found lying near the lock taken off the kitchen door, had been removed from the place in which it had been left the night before.

Magistrate: Did you ever see the prisoner before?

Witness: A man was in my house a long time on Friday, and the prisoner is the same as nearly as I can say. He came in soon after eleven in the morning and was served with a glass of beer and half a screw of tobacco, and he remained till twenty minutes to four. During the time he was there he asked at what time the Deal coach would pass. I did not notice whether the prisoner had anything with him. He was dressed in dark clothes as at present, and wore a black hat.

Isabella Whiting, a girl about thirteen years of age, said he mother kept the "Red Lion," St. James's Street. The prisoner had been lodging there for the past week or fortnight. She was able to say that he was not in the house on Friday night, but he came to the bar on Saturday morning about nine o'clock and asked for a black bag belonging to him which had been left there. She gave him the bag, and after a short time he brought it back again and placed it under the table.

George Dawkins said he was a labourer lodging at the "Red Lion." He slept on the ground floor. Early on Saturday morning, the prisoner, who had also been lodging at the "Red Lion," knocked at the shutters and asked to be admitted. Witness answered him and opened the shutters. Prisoner said it was about one o'clock, but soon afterwards he heard a clock strike three or four, he would not be quite certain which. The head of witness's bed was close to the window shutters, and on opening the window he told prisoner he had better get in that way, as it would save him the trouble of getting up to open the door. On getting into the room prisoner asked him to drink from a bottle, saying it contained brandy, which had been given to him by his sister, who had had a party, to which he had been, his sister having given him the bottle on his leaving. He did drink from the bottle, but it did not contain brandy. It tasted very much like shrub.

Ellen Summerfield, another lodger at the "Red Lion," said she was sleeping in the same room as the last witness on Friday night. She had been asleep some time, when she heard a knocking at the shutters. She awoke with a great fright. She saw Dawkins opening the shutters, and asked him who he was letting in. He told her to hold her tongue, for it was all right, as he was only letting in the tailor. The prisoner then got in at the window. He asked her to have some brandy, but she declined. He gave Dawkins some and then passed out of the room. She knew the prisoner from his having lodged at the same house for some little time. From her notion of the time she had slept, she thought it was three or four o'clock when the prisoner came home in the manner described. The next morning, when witness got up, the prisoner was sitting by the fire in the taproom, drinking beer and smoking. He asked her to get him some breakfast, and she did so, and afterwards took breakfast with him. He said he had been to his sister's, to a party, on the night before, and that he was not going to work for a short time. He also said he wished her not to say anything about his coming home at the time he did. During the day he treated those who were in the taproom with several pots of beer.

John Isaiah Pope: I am a sergeant in the Kent County Constabulary. In consequence of information received I went to the "Swingate" public house about three o'clock on Saturday afternoon. I examined the premises. [Witness's description of their condition corresponded with that given by the prosecutor, and left no doubt that the house had been entered from the rear.] I then went to the "Red Lion," in St. James's Street. On going into the taproom I saw the prisoner sitting by the fire. Several other lodgers, male and female, were in the room. The prisoner answered the description which had been given me by the prosecutor of the man who had stayed so long at the house on the day previous to the burglary, but he was wearing a Scotch cap, instead of a hat. A Dover constable was in my company. I asked the prisoner to walk with me into another room, which he did. I then asked him if he was away from Dover on Friday or on Friday night. He replied, "No, I went to bed at ten o'clock in the evening." I asked him if he slept up stairs, and he said "Yes," adding that he had lodged in the house for a week. I then asked him if he ever wore a hat or a black overcoat, and he replied, "No, I never wear a hat, and all I have is what I stand upright in." He asked why I put these questions, and I told him a burglary had been committed either that morning or the previous night, and that he answered the description of a man who had been loitering about the premises in the afternoon. On asking him if he had any objection to be searched there and then. He said no, and he was searched in my presence by the Dover constable. In his pocket he found a "porkmonio."

Magistrate: Call it a purse. What do we want with these French words? You can't pronounce it, and you'd better say purse.

Constable: Yes, Sir, "purse." (A laugh.) In the purse was 1s. in silver, three sixpences, three threepenny piece, one fourpenny piece, 10d. in coppers, and a French coin. I then went upstairs to the bed occupied by prisoner, and there I found the coat I produced under the mattress. The coat was wet and apparently had been recently placed there. Having taken charge of the coat, I went to the bar, where I found a black bag, which I produced. It contained the six silver spoons marked "H.S.," a small spoon broken in halves, a metal teaspoon, 9s. 7d. in coppers, a pair of scissors, a pair of spectacles, 3oz of tobacco, done up in "screws," and two pocket handkerchiefs, besides some needles and thread and a tailor's thimble. I then returned to the prisoner and charged him with committing the burglary. He made no answer, and I took him to the station house and locked him up. Among the prisoner's things at the "Red Lion" a black overcoat an hat were also found.

This completed the evidence, and the prisoner, having been cautioned, was asked if he had anything to say.

Prisoner answered that he had not except that the female witnesses had not told the truth.

The Magistrates committed him for the next Maidstone trials.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 26 October 1867. Price 1d.


A meeting of the Committee of the Dover and Deal Association for the encouragement of ploughmen and agricultural labourers, was held on Tuesday last, at the "Swingate Inn," West Cliff, to arrange for the next annual ploughing match in connection therewith. The ploughing will, under present arrangements, take place in a field in the pariah of West Cliff, kindly placed at the service of the Committee by Mr. W. W. Pilcher, of St. Margaret's. The committee have increased the premiums to be awarded to shepherds, and also the number of prizes to female service, as they felt that receiving considerable support from the towns, the prizes for domestic servants being the only premiums for which they could compete, it was desirable to add to them both in number and amount. There will be a new feature in the forthcoming meeting, viz., a show of ewe tegs and ewe lambs, which will of course add to the interest of this meeting, and it is hoped the show of roots will be larger than it has been hitherto.


Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 2 June 1868.

Strange case of drowning.

On Tuesday T. T. Delasaux, county coroner, held an inquest at the "Swingate Inn," Deal Road, on the body of a woman, apparently a tramp, name unknown, aged about 32 years, whose body had been found on the beach by a Corn Hill Coast Guard Station, on Saturday, where it had apparently been washed up by the waves. The following evidence was adduced.

Thomas Artlett, and mariner of Guston, said:- On Sunday last, about 5 o'clock in the evening, whilst walking along the beach towards the light, I saw the body of the deceased lying on the beach, just by the high water mark near the Falls. She appeared to have been washed up there by the waves, and was quite dead. I do not know know how she got into the water.

Mr. Henry Taylor depose:- I live in a little cottage cut in the base of the cliff, in the parish of Guston. I have looked at the body of the deceased, and identified her as a person who called at my house on Saturday morning, between the hours of 7 and 8, and who asked for some water. As it was breakfast time, I gave her a cup of tea and some bread and butter, for which appeared thankful. She stayed and talked to the children about 20-minutes, and in conversation she asked me to purchase a brooch (the one now produced is this one) to enable her to buy a loaf of bread. She said that she had lost a little penknife, which she went back to find. The tide was coming up at the time, and her body was afterwards found in that direction.

Mr. John Walter Thomas, surgeon of Dover, deposed:- A policeman came for me on Sunday night, and yesterday I proceeded to the Corn Hill Station, in the parish of West Cliff. There I saw the body of the deceased. She was dead, and on carefully examining her body externally I found some very slight scratches on the forehead, but not sufficient to cause death. From her appearance I am satisfied that she was drowned.

The jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 16 July, 1869. Price 1d.


An inquest was held on Saturday afternoon at the "Swingate Inn" before the County Coroner, T. T. Delasaux, Esq., on the body of Robert Hall Edwards, a gentleman who committed suicide by cutting his throat. It is believed he was a merchant from London.

William Stoner, a member of the County Constabulary, of the parish of Westcliffe, deposed: I was sent for this morning, at about eight o'clock, and in consequence of something said to me I went to the "Swingate Inn," and on arriving there I requested to enter the bedroom of the lodger, but not being able to make him hear, I procured a ladder, placed it against the side of the house, and ascended it. I looked in the window of the bedroom, and there saw the deceased lying on the floor. Shortly afterwards I managed to get into the room, and then I saw the deceased lying on the floor in a pool of blood, a razor being within a yard from the body, covered with blood. I also found on him a pocket book, some cards, a knife, and three shillings in silver.

george Potter, a brick-maker, living at Guston, deposed: I have looked at the body of the deceased, and identified it as that of a person who I saw yesterday morning at Swingate, on his way to St. Margaret's  to see the school there, as he had been there himself some twenty-five years ago. he was perfectly rational to speak to at the time. I saw the deceased again in the evening, and spent an hour in conversation with him at the "Swingate Inn," where he appeared to be very drowsy and desponding.

Juilius Potter, a brick-maker, living at Guston, said: The evidence of the police-constable is quite correct, and I ascended the ladder to which he alludes, and got in by the window, which I smashed, opened the bedroom door, which was locked on the inside, and let the constable in. I also saw the deceased as described by William Stoner, and I cannot add any more evidence to his deposition.

Richard Jones of the parish of Westcliffe deposed: I am landlord of the "Swingate Inn." The deceased came to my house yesterday afternoon, about four o'clock, and had a biscuit and cheese and a glass of ale. he told me that he wanted to go to St. Margaret'sas he had been educated there about 25 years ago, and went away in that direction. About eight o'clock the same evening he returned to my house, and engaged a bed for the night, and spent the evening in the house with other customers, going into the bowling green and smoking a cigar. He afterwards had supper, which consisted of eggs and two four-penny-worths of brandy and water. He retired to rest at half-past eleven, and I saw him as far as his bedroom, where I left him, and took his boots away. The deceased asked me to call him at half-past seven. I went to his bedroom this morning at that time, knocked the door several times but getting no answer I feared something was wrong, and sent for the police-constable, who very soon came, accompanied by Mr. Julius Potter. The deceased, when he retired to rest last evening, ordered his breakfast, which was to consist of tea, ham, and eggs. He appeared perfectly sane and rational.

John Walter surgeon, residing at Dover, said: I have completely examined the body of the deceased. I found him lying on the floor on his right side, his left arm lying over his head, with a very deep wound in his throat, such as could be inflicted by the razor nor produced. It was evidently the act of the deceased by his hand, and was the cause of his death.

The following extract was found in the deceased's pocket-book:- "I thought the water under Shakespeare's cliff was very deep, but not wishing to be smashed to a mummy I preferred the razor."

The Jury returned a verdict, "That deceased cut his throat, but there was not any evidence to show in what state of mind  he was when he committed the act."


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 21 April, 1870.


Charles Cork, St. James's Street, William Binfield, of the Kent Artillery Militia, St. James's Street, and Charles Forster, Charlton, were summoned by Richard Jones, landlord of the “Swingate Inn,” in the parish of West Cliffe, for unlawfully and wilfully committed damage by breaking pots, glasses, mugs, &c., to the amount of 10s., on Friday, the 8th inst.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Fox was for the prosecution.

Sarah Rachael Jones: I am the wife of Richard Jones, who keeps the “Swingate Inn,” on the road to Deal. I remember the 8th of this month. I was in my house that afternoon. The defendants came in between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, and stayed in the tap-room till about seven o'clock. About seven o'clock they came into the bar, where they stayed till about half-past eight. I was standing in the passage during a part of the time. I saw Binfield, the soldier, strike a gentleman (Mr. Charles Potter) down in the passage. He afterwards went into the bar and hit at one or two other people. He also struck Mr. Walter Potter, kicked the panel of the counter in, and attempted to get over the bar, but was prevented by Mr. Jones, who pushed him back. There was a pane of glass broken in the bar window, but I can not say who did it, though I am sure it was either Forster or Binfield, for they were struggling with two others just by the window. A great many jugs and glasses were taken into the road and broken, but I do not know whether either of the defendants did that. There were about six of them. There was a Mrs. Fields in our house at the time. We lost one candlestick. When they went out I shut the door, and Cork pushed it open, and deliberately pushed me down. He said he would not go out for me or anyone else. They had forty-five quarts of beer to drink, but I do not know how many drank it. There were seven or eight of them drinking it. I drew all the beer, and they were all drunk at the end of it, though not so much as not to know what they were about. The amount of the damage done is about 10s.

By Dr. Astley: When Binfield broke the counter he was the worst for liquor.

Mr. Mr. Elsted: There had been a little pigeon shooting in the field adjoining our house that afternoon, between two gentlemen of Deal and two of Dover, and the defendants had come up to it. They do not generally frequent our house.

Cross-examined by Cork: You knocked me down in the passage, and said you would not be put out by anyone.

Cross-examined by Binfield: I saw you kick the panel of the counter in.

Forster had nothing to ask.

Mr. Walter Potter: I live near the “Swingfield Inn.” On the night of the 8th inst, about half-past six. I was at the “Swingfield Inn.” I saw the three defendants there. I did not see them break anything, but I saw Binfield attempting to get over the bar. I pushed him back, and he struck me on the head. He was not so drunk as not to know what he was about. I had not been drinking with the men. I had been in the parlour with some gentlemen, when Mrs. Jones called me to her assistance.

William Davis, a carpenter, carrying on business at St. Margaret's-at-Cliffe: I was at the “Swingate Inn” on Friday the 8th instant, about seven o'clock in the evening. I saw the three defendants there, making a great disturbance. I saw a window broken in the bar, but I could not say exactly who broke it; but I am sure it was one of the three defendants. The three men were all near the window when I heard the glass go. The panel was kicked in by my endeavouring to pull Binfield back from getting over the bar, and by Mr. Potter pushing him back. It was done maliciously. He was in a rage because he could not get behind the bar, and he kicked the panel in. When he kicked it in, he was trying to get behind the bar. The other men also attempted to get over the bar, and I endeavoured to keep them back.

By Dr. Astley: The three men were struggling with me when the window broken.

Cross-examined by Cook: I did not see you get over the bar.

Cross-examined by Forster: You tried to get over the bar.

Binfield in his defence, said: I went into the public-house that day, and I did not know whether Mr. Jones was drunk or mad, but he kept supplying us with drink without orders for it, till I got drunk. That is all I have to say.

Cork said: We went up to the pigeon shooting that day, with a truck of oysters for sale, and Mr. Jones called us in and gave us forty quarts of beer, brandy and water, lemonade, cigars, bread and cheese, tobacco, and everything else he could give till we all got drunk.

Forster said he went up to the meadow for the same purpose as Cork, and that Mr. Jones called him in and gave him a bottle of sherry, ham, &c., till he was quite intoxicated.

Dr. Astley asked Mrs. Jones how much brandy and water the defendant had?

Mrs. Jones said they each had six glasses.

Defendant Cork: “No such thing, gentlemen, we had sixteen glasses each.”

Dr. Astley said there was no doubt that the damage done to the panel and window was committed by the defendants; but the Bench were not at all surprised either at the disturbance or its consequences, considering the quantity of drink with which the defendants had been supplied. Still, this could not be accepted as a complete excuse, and the Magistrates thought they ought to inflict a small fine. Binfield would therefore be fined 13s. and Cork and Forster 10s. each, including costs; in default, seven days' imprisonment, with hard labour.

Binfield paid the money; but the two others said they must go to prison, and an order was therefore made for their committal to St. Augustine's.

The Bench, at the close of the case, called Mrs. Jones forward, and told her that the conduct of herself, or her husband, or whoever had supplied these men with so much drink, was very reprehensible.
Mrs. Jones said the men had exaggerated the quantity supplied to them; but she admitted that drink to the amount of 30s had been supplied to them at the request of two gentlemen who were at the pigeon shoot.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 6 September, 1874. Price 1d.



The Magistrates refused to grant the renewal of the license of the “Rose and Crown” to William Johnson, as he was also the keeper of the “Swingate Inn,” Deal Road.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 28 June, 1878


William Brown was brought up and charged with being a deserter from the 2nd Battalion 6th Regt., stationed at the Citadel.

The Constable found the prisoner at half-past six this morning at Swingate, and on his failing to produce a pass, he took him into custody as a deserter.

Prisoner was ordered to be sent back to his Regiment.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 22 January, 1884. 1d.

Leonard Wraike, landlord of the “Swingate Inn,” was summoned for selling whiskey 31 below proof.

The Bench fined the defendant 5s. and 10s. costs.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 14 August, 1914. Price 1d.


At a sitting of the Dover County Police Court on Saturday before the Messrs. F. W. Prescott (in the chair), and T. A. Terson.

Peter John Shrubsole was charged with having been drunk in charge of a motor car, on the public highway, at Dover road, in the parish of West Cliffe, and also with failing to produce his licence.

P.C. Wilding, K.C.C. stationed at Deal said: About 8.20 yesterday evening I was on duty near the “Swingate Inn,” West Cliffe, when I saw a motor car driven by defendant approach from the direction of Dover. When about 50 yards away the car suddenly swerved to the off side and slid sideways for about 15 feet down the road. The car was then driven up to a gateway on the off side, stopped dead, and shot back across the road almost into a telegraph post. Defendant then turned the car in the direction of Dover, stopped it, reversed it and backed almost against the “Swingate Inn.” In company with P.C. Barker and a military officer I approached the defendant and asked him where he was going. He said he came from Dover, and drove for Mr. Elliott. I said, “You have been drinking.” He replied, “I know I have.” I said, “You are drunk and not fit to be in charge of the car,” and told him to get out. He alighted from the car in which were two of his friends. He spoke incoherently and smelt of drink, whilst his eyes were half closed. I asked him to produce his licence, but he said he had left it at Dover. I brought him to the Dover Police Station on a trolley. Witness in reply to the Chairman said the car was going too fast.

Defendant said that he was not guilty of being drunk. An hour after he was stopped he saw a doctor. He admitted that he failed to produce his licence.

The Magistrates' Clerk said that at 9.20 p.m., on August 7th, Dr. Long certified that he had examined defendant and considered he had been drinking heavily, but that he was not at the time of examination, the worse for drink.

P.C. Barker of Deal, said that he corroborated the evidence of P.C. Wilding.

Defendant said that at about 6.30 he was driving Dr. Elliott. He came home, adjusted the brakes, went to the “Sussex” and had a drink, leaving at 10 minutes to 8. he went on the Deal Road, and got to the “Swingate” at 10 minutes past 8. Just before he got there two old men came out from the hedge and he put on the brakes and the car swerved and he ran into a gateway. He reversed, went forward again, and then ran back to the “Swingate.”

In reply to Mr. Prescott defendant said the reason for him leaving his licence (which he produced in Court) at home was because he was called out and put on an old coat instead of his driving coat in which he kept it.

The Magistrates' Clerk said that in January 1909 defendant was charged with driving a car without a light.

Defendant in reply to the Clerk said that he had been driving for Dr. Elliott for nearly four years. He was examined by Dr. Long at his own request.

The Chairman said defendant had a narrow escape of being sent to prison for this affair. For being drunk he would be fined the maximum penalty of 40s. and for failing to produce the licence he would be fined 10s., and have to pay the costs 9s. 6d.; the total payment being 2 19s. 6d. for which he would be allowed a week in which to pay; in default a month's imprisonment.


My great Grandfather, William Stephen Norris, is shown as licensee in 1922. I can add some information, as follows (lifted from my family history data):

Although most of his working life was spent as a publican, William Stephen worked for some time as an undertaker, carpenter and wheelwright in Petham. As a carpenter, he made all of the coffins needed by the undertaking side of the business.

He eventually became one of the best known licensees in the Dover area. Before finally settling at the Swingate Inn, on the main Dover to Deal road, he had also been landlord of the Chance Inn, Guston, The Duke's Head, Canterbury, Cross Keys Inn, Chartham and the Royal Oak on the Dover to Folkestone Road.

Whilst he was landlord at the Swingate Inn, in 1920, William formed a cricket team consisting of himself and his ten sons. From the beginning, the club was run on the same lines as any other club - with weekly meetings, fixture cards etc. The team competed against teams from Dover, Deal and the surrounding district with some success, on one occasion winning as many as 16 matches out of 21 during the season.

Notable members of the team were Claude (bat), Steve (fast bowler), Wilfred (slow bowler) and Algy (wicket keeper). Carrie, one of the two daughters, often kept the scores at matches. The club played as a family team until 1928 when William died. Sheet's giving averages for the 1932 and 1933 seasons show that nine of his sons were still playing regularly for the team - the exception was Douglas, a farmer, who had cows to milk on Saturday, afternoons!

The Second World War put an end to matches. The cricketing tradition continued after the war when William Stephen's eldest son, William Thomas, formed a team at the Red Lion, St Margaret's-at-Cliffe. A number of members of the original Swingate team, together with other relatives, played for this team.

I understand that, when William died in 1928, his wife Harriet became licensee of the Swingate Inn and that, sometime later, my grandfather Oscar took over from her.

I have attached three photographs. These show the cricket team in the garden of the Swingate Inn around 1920, the team in a newspaper article in 1926 (much better gear by then!) and the Swingate Inn. I would guess this was taken sometime during the 1920's or 30's.

Incidentally, my father was born at The Plough Inn, Guston, where his mother was renting rooms whilst her husband Oscar was away serving in the Royal Navy. Maybe this is why I enjoy the odd pint or two!

I hope this is of some interest.



Ian Norris

Norris Cricket team 1920

The Norris Cricket XI Swingate Inn July 1921.

Standing l to r:- Steven Andrew, Oscar, Douglas, Lewis, Alec, Claude.

Seated l to r:- Wilfred, William Thomas, William Stephen, Algernon, Ralph.

Photo kindly sent by Ian Norris.

Norris Cricket team 1926

The Norris Cricket XI Swingate Inn 1926.

Standing l to r:- Alec, Algernon, Lewis, Oscar, Stephen Andrew.

Seated l to r:- Douglas, William Stephen, William Thomas, Claude.

Seated l to r:- Ralph, Wilfred.

Photo kindly send by Ian Norris.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 12 April, 1929. Price 1d.


On Wednesday, Mr. Arthur Tuson, who lives at 1, Buckland Cottages, Guston, and is a gardener at the Duke of York's School, was missed during the day, and a piece of paper was found with the words “Good-bye all.” Later his cap was found on the cliff near the Old Coastguard Cottages, Cornhill, and a search was made at the foot of the cliff, and eventually his body was found by Mr. Atkins, of St. Margaret's. As it was impossibly to get it up the cliffs that night, it was placed on a ledge, and on Thursday morning the Police succeeded in getting the body up the cliff by Langdon Stairs, and it was taken to the “Swingate Inn.” The inquest has not yet been fixed, and it may not be held until Saturday.

From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 19 April, 1929. Price 1d.



The inquest of Arthur Tuson, of Brickfield Cottage, Guston, who was found dead at the foot of the cliff at Langdon Hole on Wednesday last week was held at “Swingate Inn” on Friday afternoon by the East Kent Coroner, Mr. W. Rutley Mowll, who sat with a Jury. Mr. W. L. Norris being the foreman.

The Coroner said they had the inquire into the death of Arthur Tuson, (49), of Brickfield Cottages, Guston. It appeared he had been depressed and under the impression that people were against him, and spoke about his letters being opened, and said people despised him and were always talking about him. He was missing at 10.30 on the 10th April and his son-in-law went down to the School where he worked and found pinned ton a fence on the way an envelope on which were the words, “Please don't move this,” and on the other side “Disused railway.” The son-in-law recognised the hand-writing and went along by the railway line to the cliffs, where he found the deceased cap on the cliff at Cornhill. He reported the matter to the Police and they in consequence patrolled the foreshore with a boatman and found the body lying at the foot of the cliffs. It was taken to the top and then conveyed to Swingate.

John Augustine Swain, of 12, Trevanion Street, Dover, a brush-hand, identified the body as that of his father-in-law, Arthur Tuson. He was 49 and a gardener at the Duke of York's R.M. School. He last saw him alive on Sunday night, and he seemed the same as usual and very happy. He told witness that certain people in Guston had been worrying him and letters of his had been opened. He was under the impression that people despised him. He never used to say much to the deceased when he spoke in that way, as he believed he was imaginative. As far as he knew he had no trouble. On Wednesday morning, 10th April, his wife and her brother came to him and said the deceased was missing. He left work immediately and went to Guston and found that everything in the house was intact. He thought he had lost his memory and was wandering about. He went to the Duke of York's School to see if he had reported for work and on the way he found the envelope (produced) sticking to a post beside a tree near the Swingate Bridge. He recognised the hand-writing which was in a blue pencil. The words “Please do not move this,” on one side, and on the other “Disused railway.” He patrolled the railway for some distance and then sent for the Police. He followed the railway again later down to the cliffs, and near the houses on the cliffs he found the deceased's cap. At 10.30 on Wednesday, when his wife, and brother-in-law reported the matter to him, they produced a little piece of newspaper edging, but he thought that was now lost. On it was written “Good bye all.” This piece of paper was found by the son under a plate in the kitchen.

The Coroner: it looks to me as if he was suffering from delusions.

Yes, I think so too.

Arthur William Tuson (25), of Brickfield Cottages, Guston, an electrician, said he last saw his father on Tuesday evening and he seemed very depressed. He had an idea he was going to get the “sack” from the school. He did not know he was missing until 7 o'clock on Wednesday morning, and he discovered the piece of paper under his plate. He went upstairs to see if his father's best clothes had gone as he had spoken of going to Essex to take up brickmaking. He did not have a doctor. He told his sister that the deceased was missing.

P.C. Hopper, K.C.C., stationed at St. Margaret's, said he was informed by Swain, and in consequence he patrolled the foreshore towards Dover. At the foot of the cliffs at Cornhill, where they were 300ft. high, he found the deceased. He was lying face downwards in a crevice between the rocks and the cliffs. The body was fully dressed and had received severe injuries. He searched the body and found a knife in one of the pockets. He carried the body to the foot of Langdon Stairs and with assistance got the body to the top of the cliff, and later to the “Swingate Inn.” He knew the deceased, who always seemed to be a steady man.

Dr. Theodore Molesworth, F.R.C.S., practising at St. Margaret's, said he examined the body on Thursday afternoon and found multiple injuries, which comprised scalp wounds, fracture of the left ankle, compound dislocation of the right ankle and ribs broken on both sides of the chest. Both arms were also broken, and he thought that death must have been rapid. The injuries were quite consistent with his having fallen over the cliff.

The Coroner said they could have no doubt that this was a case where the man, probably without any justification at all, except that he was suffering from delusions, decided to take his own life by throwing himself over the cliffs.

The Jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 12 April, 1935.


Ernest Walter Crump, a Deal garage proprietor, was summonsed for driving without due care and attention and for failing to stop after an accident.

Mr. A. K. Mowll appeared for the defendant and pleaded guilty to both charges.

Superintendent Webb said the defendant was driving his car at about 10.30 p.m. on February 17th on the Deal-Dover Road in the direction of Dover. He was between the "Swingate" Inn and the bridge which goes over the light railway when a collision occurred between his car and a motor van driven by Mrs. Archer, of Alpha Road, Deal which was coming in the opposite direction. Just before the collision the car had passed a man on foot and, according to his statement, and that of Mr. Spain, another motorist, it appeared hat the defendant was driving the car rather too fast to take the bend in the road. defendant's conduct following the accident was rather unexplainable for he made no attempt to stop. Mr. Archer got out of the van and stopped another car and followed the defendant into Dover. In the Market Square he lost him, but later picked him up at Rennie's Club. Crump gave his name as Little and they went to see the car he had been driving. Mr. Archer pointed out the damage that had been done but defendant denied being in an accident that evening. He said the damage occurred at Ramsgate that morning. P.C. Ivory of Deal, later interviewed the defendant who then admitted being the driver of the car involved in the accident. He thought the impact was not sufficient t cause any serious damage. Apparently the defendant must have had a fair collision for the window and doors of the car were smashed and the head lamp, window, and door handle of the van were damaged.

Mr. Mowll said there would have been no accident at all if the driver of the van had kept to the proper side. The defendant inquired of a Mr. Davison, who was in his car, whether there had been an accident and was told the other car had not stopped. When asked who was the owner of the car, defendant said Mr. Little. This man had an extremely fine record for he had driven for 21 years without a driving offence.

The Chairman said they did not look upon it as a light case and all an imposed a fine of 10 for the first offence and 5 for the second, or three months in default. Defendant's licence was ordered to be endorsed.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 18 September, 1936.

Occasional Licenses

An occasional licence was granted for the "Swingate" Inn, Guston, on October 14th, from 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a sale at Solton Farm.


Picture kindly supplied by Stuart Kinnon.

Swingate Inn land army

Shell damage at West Cliffe farm.

Harry Curling, Landlord of the "Swingate Inn", points to the latest shell damage to Land Army girls. Circa WW2 after 1942.


Dover Express 09 December 1949.


The East Kent Hunt meets at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Wye College; on Wednesday at Bilsington Priory; and Saturday, Dec. 17th, at Lydden.

West Street Hunt meets at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the "Swingate Inn;" and on Saturday, Dec. 17th, at the "Hare and Hounds," Northbourne.

Ringwould and R.A. Beagles meet at 1.30 p.m. on Saturday at the "Hill House Hotel," Walmer; and on Wednesday at the "White Horse," Finglesham.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 28 November 1958.

Hunt outside Swingate 1958

The scene at the Swingate Inn on Saturday, as the West Street and East Kent Hunts gathered for their joint meet.

Little Terrier Had The Best of the Sport.

With a joint force of over fifty riders and thirty couples of hounds, the East Kent and West Street Hunts met at Swingate on Saturday morning. Ahead of them they had a day of excitement  which only ended at darkness fell.

The day began with punch from the stirrup cup at the Swingfield Inn and ended with a double kill by match glow in a liar near Church Whitfield.

A large crown saw the Hunts set off, but few were left to see the kill, after a sixty minute fight between fox and terrier.

The first scent took the Hunts to Guston, where the field of nearly fifty made a wonderful sight.

The second scent was picked up in a field of kale on Sutton Downs. But the cunning fox low until the hounds had moved on, and then made a dash for it through a crown of stunned followers.

The alarm was raised and the hounds and riders set off in close pursuit. The chase led through lanes and fields to a burrow near Church Whitfield.

By the time the fox had gone to earth most of the riders had given up, as it was getting dark and horses had to be put away in their boxes.

A terrier was put down the burrow and the hounds could hear the fight, deep in the clay. Spades and shovels set to work, and it was getting dark by the time the terrier - at grips with the fox - was unearthed.

But a surprise awaited the digging huntsmen. As they shot one fox - with a humane killer - a second was found cowering behind it.

This was also shot, and both were thrown to the waiting, yelping and frenzied hounds.

The little terrier? Covered in mud, he was full of life. He, at least, enjoyed the "sport."


From the Dover Express, 23 January, 1970

Swingate hunt 1970

Above: Some of the twenty-two competitors before they set off on the West Street Pony Club's treasure hunt at "Swingate Inn" on Sunday.

From the Dover Express, 8 May, 2001.

Swingate lnn

Advertising feature

Swingate Inn bar 2001

LOCATED on Deal Road in Dover, the award winning Swingate Inn Hotel and Restaurant offers sumptuous accommodation, fine food and drink and superb live entertainment.

Gourmets will delight in the extensive a la carte restaurant menu. Freshly prepared and cooked to order, dishes include such mouth watering delights as seafood pancakes, medallions of fillet steak served in a port and mushroom sauce and a tasty range of vegetarian options from deep fried brie served with cranberry sauce to a selection of pasta dishes.

The extensive wine list offers fine wines from around the world to complement your meal, Alternatively, an equally tasty bar menu features everything from a ploughman's lunch to jacket potatoes and lasagne.

Sunday lunchtimes have proved particularly popular with a traditional three course roast available in the a la carte restaurant for only 10.50. or a single course available in the bar for just 5.95.

Live entertainment features on a regular basis with jazz on Thursday evenings and a selection of live acts on a Saturday and Sunday evening.

The last Saturday of each month - beginning Saturday 24 February - will feature a cabaret evening. For 25 per head you can enjoy a three course meal and an evening of live entertainment!

The hotel boasts twelve bedrooms, all of which have en-suite and tea and coffee making facilities.

The Swingate Inn and hotel can cater for special occasions including weddings and conferences The Hotel and restaurant are open seven days a week with the restaurant opening at 6pm.

The Swingate has ample car parking facilities. To make a reservation tel: 01304 204043.


From the Dover Express, 8 May, 2001.

Swing at the Swingate boosts ambulance

Swingfield charity night

The Swingate pub on the Deal Road held a fund-raising evening and raised more than 300 for the Kent Air Ambulance.

Staff in fancy dress and more than 80 revellers enjoyed a jazz night with a raffle.

head waitress Clair Pitchford said: "We sold three books of raffle tickets and we all enjoyed the jazz.

"A great charity - and a great evening."


From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk 7 August 2003.

Bubbly Victoria's tragic death.

Victoria Smith 2003

ANIMAL LOVER: Victoria Smith and her pet Macy after winning first prize at a dog show at Elvington last November. Picture: PAUL DENNIS.

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a popular and vivacious student who has died after a road accident.

Victoria Smith, 17, of Ewell Minnis, near Dover, was driving to Swingate Inn on the A258 where she worked when the collision occurred.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash involving Victoria's Peugeot 106 travelling east and a westbound Mini Cooper and Citroen Zsara Picasso.

Astor College pupil Victoria lived with her mother Diane Kirby, her boyfriend Martyn Beaumont and grandparents Kit and Shirley Lorenzen. She was a great animal lover and keen horsewoman who had ridden all her life and competed successfully at numerous local shows.

The former Temple Ewell Primary School pupil had her heart set on going to college. Her uncle Steve Matthews said: "She was a lovely, bright, bubbly girl, always so full of life, and with her whole life ahead of her.

"She was very likeable and will be missed by so many people. All I can say is she was too good for this world and feel that's why she was taken from us."

Astor College principal Chris Russell said: "We are all devastated at Victoria's tragic death. She was a wonderful student and a lovely person who gave a huge amount to college life. Academically, she was doing extremely well. Our thoughts and prayers go to her mother and family at this time of great sorrow."

Staff at the Swingate Inn where Victoria was a waitress are grief-stricken. She had transferred to the pub three months ago when proprietor Karen Williams moved her team there from the "Marquis of Granby" in Alkham where Victoria had worked previously.

Mrs Williams said Victoria had worked for her for two years in total and was an extremely popular member of her 25-strong team.

She said: "Vicky was a bubbly, kind, lovely, gorgeous girl. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She was friends with my daughter Jamie and they went to school together. Vicky was going back for her A-levels and afterwards planning to go into the police force.

Mrs Williams has already ordered a bench to stand outside the pub inscribed "in loving memory" to Victoria.

Victoria suffered multiple injuries and was treated by paramedics at the accident scene, also attended by Kent Fire Brigade. She was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

The other drivers received minor injuries. Police investigating the crash would like to hear from anyone who has not already spoken to an officer. They are asked to contact PC Paul Howe on 01304 240055.

Victoria's funeral will be held at noon on Monday at Barham crematorium. Family flowers only, donations to the Kent Air Ambulance or the East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust, c/o WJ Farrier & Son, 161 London Road, Dover.


The Swingate Inn now offers (2007) hotel accommodation with 10 ensuite rooms and is also an approved premises for civil marriages. It also offers 2 conference rooms, one accommodating 35 and the other 100 people.

Below and kingly sent to me from Mark and Wendy Cullip who were the first couple to be married at the "Swingate Inn" on 24 May 2002.

Swingate Inn marriage Swingate Inn marriage Swingate Inn marriage Swingate Inn marriage Swingate Inn marriage Swingate Inn marriage


The CAMRA branch meeting of June 2008 reported that the "Swingate" was up for sale.


From the Dover Mercury, 5 March, 2009.

Hotel's new lease.

Report by Yamurai Zendera.

Kanaai and Sumit Patel

University graduates Kunaal Patel and Sumit Patel have taken on the lease of the pub, restaurant and hotel venue just off the A258 Deal Road.

The 23-year-olds plan to introduce Indian food onto the menu and create a balanced "modem and rustic" feel to the premises.

Canterbury Christ Church University graduate Kunaal said: "I took a little break to Thailand after I graduated last year.

"When I came back I thought about a career in finance but always wanted to have my own bar and restaurant so started looking at a few places in Canterbury.

"I found out that Sumit was also interested in doing something similar after graduating from BruneI University.

"We were both out of work and I was helping my parents with their convenience store in Littlebourne."

The freehold to the Swingate is owned by both sets of parents who offered to lease the hotel to the two friends.

Kunaal said: "I had only seen the Swingate once before and that was very briefly, so I'd never really thought about it in those terms, plus it was not up for sale then.

"When I looked at it properly I realised it was screaming potential.

"The fact it has a 10 bedroom hotel as well was a bonus."

Kunaal says they are bullish about the business's prospects despite the recession, adding: "It's one of the worst times to do it but we're ready.

"A lot of pubs are closing down. People don't have the money to go out, especially during the week. But if you have got the right place and right product to offer, they will come."

The two businessmen, who have retained the eight employees from the previous leaseholder, are training the head chef in Indian cuisine and planning theme nights.


From the Dover Mercury, 5 March, 2009.


Swingate Inn and lifeboat crew.

Dover lifeboat crew with "Swingate Inn" landlord Sumit Patel.


DOVER Lifeboat Coxswain Stuart Richardson and members of his crew went to the pub the other day - but only to receive a 387 donation from landlord Sumit Patel.

The money had been raised at the monthly quizzes held at the "Swingate Inn" since May.

The next quiz is on October 18 and new teams are very welcome. It costs 1 per person to enter.

Mr Patel said they had chosen the lifeboat to benefit from their fundraising because they understood the hard work which the RNLI volunteers do.

He said: "We are so close to the Channel and when we sat down to pick a charity the RNLI was the winner by far."

Dover RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Ray Couzens thanked Mr Patel and his team at the Swingate. He said: "The support we receive from the people and businesses of Dover has always been excellent and with examples, such as the fundraising quizzes at the Swingate, we know that we are still being supported in these difficult times."

The quizzes are part of a variety of regular events put on by the Swingate's team including curry nights on Tuesdays and live jazz on Thursdays.

• For more details about any of the events, telephone the Inn on 01304 204043.


From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Sam Lennon, 1 July 2016.

Triple traffic holdup after crash on A258 near Swingate Inn, Dover.

Traffic tailbacks built up in three directions after a three-vehicle crash.

It happened on the busy A258 Dover to Deal Road, near the Swingate Inn, at 3pm today.

Queues of traffic built up on both sides of the road and also on the nearby A2 for vehicles coming from Whitfield.

Kent Police were called and said that South East Coast Ambulance Service treated a man with a wrist injury.


From an email received 6 May 2020.

Attached photos were taken in 1990 when Peter Stevens was landlord.

Peter Stevenson and Dave Underdown 1990

Think the bloke at the bar is Dave Underdown.

The local branch of CAMRA Dover played daddlums against the locals.

Daddlums table 1990

The table was made by branch member David Green. The skittles were given to the branch by Charlie Willet of the "White Horse." The table was taken to various pubs to play matches in and around Dover.

Daddlums team 1990

Jim Green extreme right and Dave Underdown next to him.



Michael Lock.

(And still in use today 2020)



MARSH William 1840-61+ (also potter age 73 in 1861Census)

EASTES R 1862 Post Office Directory 1862

PRESCOTT William 1865+  Dover Express

JONES Richard 1870-71+ (age 55 in 1871Census) Dover Express

JOHNSON William 1874 Dover Express

Last pub licensee had ERRIDGE William 1874-81 (age 48 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1874

COUSENS George 1881-82 (age 43 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882

WRAIKE Leonard 1884+ Dover Express

DIXON Mr C to Dec/1888 dec'd Dover Express

CLARINGBOULD Frederick T William Dec/1888-1901+ (age 41 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903Dover ExpressPost Office Directory 1913Post Office Directory 1914 (Previously in employ of Messrs. Hawkesfield and Son for 9 years)

CLARINGBOULD William 1911+ (age 24 in 1911Census)

NORRIS William Stephen 1920-24+ Post Office Directory 1922Pikes 1924

NORRIS Harriett 1928-Jan/31 Post Office Directory 1930(Pikes 1932-33 St Margaret's at Cliffe)

NORRIS Oscar Augustus Next pub licensee had Jan/1931-Jan/38 Dover Express

BYKER Walter Leslie Jan/1938-12/Jun/42 Post Office Directory 1938Pikes 1938-39Dover Express

CURLING Henry W 28/May/1942-54 Kelly's Directory 1950Kelly's Directory 1953

PEARSON Ronald G H 1954-57 Kelly's Directory 1956

CROAKER E J Mr 1957-64 Dover Express

GRIGGS J H 1964+

STEVENSON Peter J & TOBIN J 1974-90 Library archives 1974 Charrington & Co

DOVE Graham and Sue 2007-Feb/09

PATEL Sumit & Kunaal Feb/2009-10+


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

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1914From the Post Office Directory 1914

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Pikes 1924From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924

Post Office Directory 1930From the Post Office Directory 1930

Pikes 1932-33From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33

Pikes 1938-39From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Kelly's Directory 1950From the Kelly's Directory 1950

Kelly's Directory 1953From the Kelly's Directory 1953

Kelly's Directory 1956From the Kelly's Directory 1956

Library archives 1974Library archives 1974

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:-