Sort file:- Canterbury, March, 2024.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 27 March, 2024.


Earliest 1769-

(Name from)

Three Compasses

Latest 2001

(Name to)

18 St. Peter's Street



Kentish Cricketers 1886

Above photo, 1886, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Postcard 1903

Above postcard, circa 1903, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Compasses date unknown

Above showing the "Three Compasses" date unknown.

Three Compasses 1921

Above photo, circa 1921. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Compasses 1960

Above photo, 1960, kindly sent by Tim Timpson.

Three Compasses 1965

Above photograph taken by Edward Wilmot in 1965.

Three Compasses 2000

Above photo August 2000 taken from

Three Compasses signThree Compasses sign 1991

Above showing the sign of the "Three Compasses" date unknown.

Three Compasses sign right May 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Three Compasses match-box 1974

Above match-box, circa 1974, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


Also known as the "Carpenter's Arms" this pub was listed in the 1692 licensing list and the following year under that name offering billeting for 6 soldiers. I have also seen reference to the pub being referred to by this name in 1769, if indeed that is one and the same.

By 1741 and perhaps as early as 1700 it was called the "Three Compasses." It remained under this name till early in 2001 when it changed name to the "Westbar," then again around 2007 to "City One," and lastly in June 2009 to the "Lady Luck."

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 "Businessmen, shoppers, visitors."

An entry in Fremlin's 1950s publication called "Where shall we go," indicated the following:- Phone number - Canterbury 2758. Parking accommodation - 3 Car Parks one minute. Lunch - Snacks in the Bar. Tea - Snacks in the Bar. Remarks - 50 yards from Westgate Towers. 100 yeards to Westgate Flower Gardens and River. An old inn with Personal Service and a talking Parrot.


From the Kentish Weekly Post, 17 May 1741.

Wednesday May 20.

To the worthy FREEMEN of the City of Canterbury who are Interest if Sir THOMAS HALES.


You are desired to meet the Friends of Sir Thomas, tomorrow Morning, being the Day of Election, at either of the following Houses, viz.

The "King's Head," in High Street,

The "Fountain," St. Margarets,

The "Dolphin," Burgate,

The "Rose," St. Georges,

The "Black Boy," Burgate,

The "Flying Horse," Dover Lane,

The "Three Compasses," St. Peter's,

The "Golden Lyon," St. Peter's,

The "Mitre," High Street,

The "Rising Sun," St. Dunstan's,

The "Black Swan," North Gate,

The "White Swan," North Gate,

The "Tolerated Soldier," North Gate,

The "Fox and Seven Stars," St. Alphage,

The "Saracen's Head," St. Pauls,

The "Maiden Head," Wincheap,

The "Two Brewers," St. Mildred's,

The "Seven Stars," St. Alphage,

The "Three Tuns," St. Margaret's.


Kentish Gazette, 23 September 1803.


Tuesday died, Mr. D. Shoveler, landlord of the "Three Compasses" public-house, in Northgate.


Kentish Gazette, 28 November, 1804.

Yesterday, Arthur Hubbard was fully committed to Westgate gaol, charged with stealing a canvas bag, containing amongst other articles of value, a silver watch, a bank dollar, &c. &c. from the "Three Compasses," St. Peter's-street, in this city, the property of Edward Swales.


From the Kentish Gazette, Friday 2 February, 1808.

Between the hours of eleven and two in the night of Sunday last, the "Three Compasses" Public House, in Northgate Street, Canterbury, was broke into by forcing a window-shutter, and lifting up the sash. The thieves proceeded to the bar, from whence they carried off the till, containing about four pounds in halfpenee; and, after ransacking a desk, retreated without obtaining any further booty.


Kentish Gazette 09 June 1809.


June 5, Mr. Edward Wilson, master of the "Three Compasses" public-house, in St. Peter's Street. Canterbury.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 12 June 1849.


Important sale of the extensive Brewery of Messr's Flint, including 30 old established Inns and Public Houses, and other valuable property.

Mr. V. J., has received instructions to sell by auction, at the "Fountain Hotel," Canterbury, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 26th and 27th of June, at 12 o'clock each day, (in consequence of the death of the senior acting partner and the retirement of the surviving partners,) the valuable property known as Messrs. Flint's Brewery, in Stour Street, Canterbury, and the Inns, Public Houses, and other valuable property connected with theirwith. The first day sale on Tuesday, 26th June, 1849, will comprise the following property in and near the city.

Public houses.

Lot 1. The "City of Canterbury," situate on the road to Whitstable. Freehold.

Lot 2. The "George and Dragon," Westgate without, leasehold under Hind's charity for 17 years unexpired.

Lot 3. The "Three Compasses," Westgate within. Freehold.

Lot 4. The "Bell Inn" and Coach Office, in the High Street. Freehold.

Lot 5. The "Prince of Wales," St. Alphege Lane,. Freehold.

Lot 6. The "Weavers Arms," Broad Street, freehold and partly leasehold.

Lot 7. The "White Swan," Northgate. Leasehold under St. John's Hospital for a short term, at a ground rent.

Lot 8. The "Kings Head," Northgate. Freehold.

Lot 9. The "Swan Inn," at Sturry (close to the railway station). Freehold.

Lot 10. The "Ship," St. Martins Hill, freehold.

Lots 12. The "Star Commercial Inn and Tap," St George's, close to the Cattle market and Dane John. Freehold.

Lot 13. The "Blue Anchor," Old Dover Lane, near the Cattle market. Freehold.

Lot 14. The "Fleece Inn," High Street, opposite to the Corn market. Freehold.

Lot 28. Three neat Cottages opposite the Brewery, with large gardens extending to the river.

Lot 29. The "Two Brewers" public house and Spirit Warehouse, adjoining the last lot.

Lot 31. The "Black Dog" public house, Castle Street.

Lot 34. The "Duke's Head" Public House, Wincheap Street.

Lot 35. The "King's Head," Public House, Wincheap Street.

Lot 37. The "Royal Exchange," public house, Stour Street.

Lot 38. The "Kentish Arms," public house, and 5 cottages in Jewry Lane. Leasehold for a short term at a low rent.

Lot 40. The "Duke William," at Ickham, abiout five miles from Canterbury. Freehold.

Lot 41. The "Royal Oak Inn," at Deal. Freehold except a small portion.

Lot 42. The "King's Arms," Beach Street, Deal, and Cottage in the rear. leasehold for a short term, at a Ground rent.

Lot 43. The "Fleur De Lis," near the Railway Station, Dover. Leasehold for a term of 6 years, at a Ground rent of 3.

Lot 44. The "Two Brewers," Limekiln Street, Dover. leasehold for a term of 46 years, at a ground rent of 3.

Lot 45. The "Fountain Inn, adjoining the Market place at Dover. Freehold.

Lot 46. The "Lord Nelson," Radnor Street, near the harbour, Folkestone. Freehold.

Lot 47. The "Bricklayers Arms," Fancy Street, Folkestone. Freehold.

Lot 48. The "Castle Inn," at Sandgate. Leasehold for a short term, at a ground rent of 7s. 6d.

Lot 49. The "King's Head Hotel and Tap," at Margate. Freehold.

Lot 50. The "New Inn," at Elham, on the road to Hythe. Freehold.

Lot 51. The "King's Arms," at Milton near Sittingbourne. Freehold.

The Public Houses are for the most part in the occupation of unexceptionable tenants, and the majority of them are doing trades, both in beer and spirits, considerably above the average run of Country houses. (None of them have been beer shops; they're all old Licence Houses, with connections of long standing, thereby affording ample security for the permanency of the trade). The Premises generally are in a superior state of repair.

Particulars and Plans, price 1s. each, may be had of Messr's. Furleys and Mercer, Solicitors, Canterbury; at the "Fountain Hotel;" and of Mr. V. J. Collins, 3, Moorgate Street, London.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 21 January, 1860.


(Before the Mayor, Capt. Love, W. Mount, Esq., and Alderman Sankey.)

A railway labourer, from Chartham, was brought up in custody, charged with being disorderly at the "Compasses" public-house, St. Peter’s, a little before eleven o'clock on Sunday night. He had been given into custody by John Harris and John Edward Harris, who charged him with assaulting them. When the complainants were called in Court they did not appear. The Mayor said, as the complainants did not appear, the defendant would be discharged.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 11 February, 1860.


10 has been paid to the funds of the instituteion by Mr. James Holden, of Whitstable, executor, the amount bequesther by the late Miss Hopper, of Whitstable; likewise the sum of 2 10s., the amount collected at Mr. Stephen Back's the "Three Compasses Inn," Canterbury.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 5 May, 1860.


(Before the Mayor, E. Holttum, T. Philpolt, W. Mount, W. Plummer, and J. Brent, Esqrs., and Capt. Love.)

A railway labourer, whose name did not transpire was charged by the landlord of the "Three Compasses" public house, St. Peter’s, with creating a disturbance in his house, and doing certain damage to his doors, &c., on Saturday evening. The case being fully proved, the Bench fined the defendant in the amount of the damage and costs, or in default of payment seven day’s imprisonment.


South Eastern Gazette, 2 October, 1860.

Violent Assault. Before the city bench, yesterday, John Green (a young man who has been several times before the magistrates in connection with street broils) was charged with a gross assault upon a labourer named Wise. The complainant was coming out ef the "Three Compasses," in St. Peter's-street, when the defendant struck him violently in the face, and then ran off. Complainant followed, and when in Lamb-lane, the defendant again struck and kicked him in the face, which bore evidence of the violent nature of the assault.

Fined 40s., and 6s. costs, or to be imprisoned for one month.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 6 October, 1860.


John Green (a young wan who has been several times before the Magistrates in connection with street broils) was charged with a gross assault upon a labourer named Wise. The complainant was coming out of the "Three Compasses," in St. Peter’s-street, when defendant struck him violently in the face, and then ran off. Complainant followed, and when in Lamb lane, the defendant again struck and kicked him in the face, which bore evidence of the violent nature of the assault.

Fines 40s., and 6s. costs, or to be imprisoned for one month.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 17 November, 1860.

Back’ Free Museum, at the "Three Compasses," St. Peter's Street, Canterbury. Among the curiosities preserved in this museum there is an autograph letter of the late Duke of Wellington, written while on duty at Seringapatam. We give it below:


On the Public Service. Seringapatam, July 26th, 1799.

Sir,—I request that you will be so kind as to send me, in the course of the morning, an account of the quantity of salt that you have forwarded to the Commissary of the provisions department, for the use of the army and of the detachment with the order of Lieut. Col. Shaw, also an account of the number of draught and carriage bullocks that you have furnished to him and the commissary of stores, and to the corps belonging to that detachment, for the carriage of their camp equipage and stores.

I have the honour to be Sir,

Your obedient humble servant

W. H. Gordon, Esq.


Among the miscellaneous articles we noticed the Collar of the blouse in which Courtenay was shot; the cap that George III wore at his christening; a volume containing 16 various almanacks published in the 1746, with the design G.R. and the royal arms, displayed in the tooling of the binding, it is evident from the library of George II which is now preserved in the British Museum; a sword and shield and shield belonging to a chief taken during the Sikli war; a curious instrument with several blades dug up in the Old Park; a tooth from the head of Sir Thomas More, which is buried in St. Dunstan's church; a piece of silver lace from a coat once worn by Louis Phillipe; numerous arms, fish, shells, and fossils, and a magnificent tusk of the mammoth, &c.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 29 December, 1860.


Before T. Philpott, E. Wootton, and William Plummer, Esqrs. Robert Carter, labourer, was charged with being drunk find disorderly in the "Three Compasses" public-house, on Saturday night, and damaging a table and other articles.

Mr. Back, the landlord, deposed that the defendant was drunk in his house, about nine o’clock, when he appeared to be very disorderly. He succeeded in inducing the defendant to leave the house, but he returned again in about a quarter of an hour, and commenced fighting with one of his companions. During the disturbance some glasses and a table were broken, the damage being estimated at 5s.

With the consent of the Bench, the case was settled out of court, the defendant paying the damage and 2s. 6d. expenses.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 20 April, 1861.


Monday. (Before John Brent, Wm. Plummer, Thos. Philpott, and W. H. Trimnell, Esqrs.)

Isabella Robinson was brought up on remand charged with uttering a forged cheque.

Mr. Brydges attended and, on being sworn, deposed that he never either signed, or authorised any one to sign the cheque produced.

The case was further remanded in order to enable the prisoner to produce evidence of having received the check from a man named Philips.

Mr. Back, landlord of the “Three Compasses” public house, charged Edward Purver, labourer, with assaulting him on Saturday night.

The complainant deposed that the defendant was drinking in his house on Saturday night when a glass was broken. He asked the defendant to pay for the glass, but the latter refused, and asked for a parcel he had previously given into the landlord’s core. The complainant refused to give up the parcel until the glass was said for. The defendant then took hold of the complainant by the neckerchief and threw him down.

The defendant, who said he could not remember anything of the circumstances, was fined 10s. and 6s. expenses, or in default of payment to be imprisoned fourteen days.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 21 March, 1863.


During the past week a votary of Bacchus, who gave the name of John Kelly, was had before the Canterbury justices, charged with stealing a bottle of brandy, from the “Three Compasses” in St Peter’s-street, on the day of the Prince's wedding. It was an impudent robbery, and clearly proved. The prisoner boldly walked into Mr. Back's house, helped himself to a bottle of brandy from the shelf, which he deliberately placed under his coat, and walked off. He was, however, seen by the prosecutor's daughter, who followed him, and gave him into custody with the stolen brandy in his possession. In answer to the charge, he said he had been to several public-houses, to see if he could get some beer, but as he could not get any, he thought he would drink the Prince’s jolly good health in a glass of good brandy. The bench rewarded him with an order for six weeks in the city gaol.


From the Kentish Chronicle, 6 February, 1864.



Charles Beck, a private in the 19th Hussars, was charged with committing a very gross outrage at the “Three Compasses” public house, St. Peters-street, Mr. S. Back, landlord of the “Three Composes” deposed that the prisoner was drinking at his bar about half past ten o'clock on Sunday night. He struck the pewter top of the counter very violently several times with his whip, damaging it to the amount of 10s. As he left the house Mr. Back heard a great crash, and at that moment the gas went out, in consequence of which Mr. Back could not go out for about a minute. When he got into the street there were several people assembled, but the prisoner was out of sight. The window was broken, but Mr. Back did not see the prisoner do it. The damage to the window was about 2.

In reply to the bench Mr. Back said he had no witnesses who saw the prisoner break the window.

The magistrates fined the prisoner 5s., 10s. for the damage done to the counter, and 5s. costs, with the alternative of 21 days’ imprisonment with hard labour.


From the Whitstable Times, 19 November, 1870.


Donations received:— 4 2s. 3d., amount of collection made at Mr. Rye's, “Three Compasses Inn,” St. Peter’s- street, Canterbury.


From the Whitstable Times, 24 December, 1870.


(Before H. Hart, Esq., Mayor, and R. F. Fill, Esq.)


William Clarke, a man of suspicious and peculiar appearance but who stated himself to be a pensioner in the receipt of eight pence per day, was brought up in Custody of P.C. Groombridge, changed with being quarrelsome in the house of George Kye, licensed victualler, of Saint Peter, on the preceding evening, and refusing to quit when ordered so to do.

P.C. Groombridge said that on the 15th instant, about half-past seven in the evening, he was requested by Mr. Rye, the landlord of the “Compasses” licensed alehouse, St. Peter, to turn the prisoner out. The latter was quarrelsome and witness requited him to leave and he refused to do so.

The Magistrates considered the case proved, and inflicted a fine of 1s. and 5s. costs, or, in default of payment, seven days’ imprisonment.

Prisoner hereupon said that he had only 2s. but that he was a pensioner in receipt of 8d. per day at Woolwich, that he had been lately working for Captain Pugin, and that he would pay the 2s. on account, and if allowed a few days he would pay the remainder, being well known at Woolwich, where he intended going.

The Mayor:- You see the Magistrates have dealt very leniently with you. The fine is 1s., but then there are the costs, 5s. Can you pay the money?

The prisoner:- Your worship, my boy was sick in the public house, and I wanted to look after him. I was not quarrelsome. The policeman knows that I was quiet when he came.

The Mayor:- We should like to hear what the landlord had to say.

Mr. Rye:- Your worship, the prisoner threatened me in my own house and made use of most obscene language.

P.C. Groombridge:- He behaved in a disorderly manner. I did not hear him threaten the landlord.

The Mayor:- You see you have appealed to the constable and he says you behaved badly, what have you to say to that?

The prisoner:- Your worship, I assure you I did not threaten the landlord; my little boy (a youth by the bye of about 16, who it was understood was drunk at the time) was sick, and naturally I wished to see that he was all right, and as I was going out of a door the landlord interfered with me, but I was not quarrelsome, as I had only had a pint of beer, which I “halved” with my boy.

The Mayor:- Well, we consider the case proved; can you pay the fine and costs?

The prisoner:- How much?

The Mayor: 1s. fine, 5s. costs.

The prisoner:- I have 2s., will you let a policeman go to let me pawn my boots. I used to work for Captain Pugin.

The Mayor:- Yes.

The Magistrates’ Clerk:- Mr. Mayor: You have no power to allow this.

The Mayor:- It seems we cannot allow that. The fine and costs are small. Surely you can pay.

The Deputy Clerk:- In default of payment the defendant must take the usual consequences. This appears to me to be a very bad case.

The Mayor:- Yes; but Mr. Superintendent, do not remove the prisoner, let us hear what he has to say.

The Superintendent:- He has nothing further to say.

The Deputy Clerk:- A man of this description could not say more than he has. He seems deserving of little pity; respectable publicans and orderly customers must be protected against such characters.

Ultimately the moderate fine imposed and costs were paid, it being understood that the defendant pawned his coat and boots at the Mayor’s shop in order to obtain the balance of cash required.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 17 March 1894.

Inquest on a Canterbury Publican.

The coroner for Canterbury (Dr. T. S. Johnson) held an inquest on Thursday evening at the "Three Compasses," St. Peter's Street on the body of Robert Harrison age 67 years, who died from the effects of a fall sustained on the 12th October, 1893.

Elizabeth Harrison, the widow, deposed that her husband was a licensed victualler and landlord of the "Three Compasses." About the 6th October of last year he had a fall in the yard, but witness had no knowledge of it for a fortnight. He had been ailing for some time previous to the fall, but attending to his business as usual; he seemed always complaining and sat about a good deal. Deceased became worse, and on the 22nd October Mr. Sidney Wacher was consulted. Deceased continued in ill health until the day of his death, but on some occasions got up to dinner.

In answer to questions by the Coroner, witness stated that deceased told her he had had a nasty fall in the yard by stumbling over a stone, and thought he had ruptured himself. Witnessed tried to persuade him to see Mr. Wacher, but he said he would obtain a new truss or belt, have a few days' rest, and thought by doing so he would get better. He had been in the habit of wearing a truss but could not wear it on account of the pain. Deceased died at four o'clock the previous morning (Wednesday.)

Frederick Charles Cullimore, residing at 18, St. Peter's Street, deposed that he was a pianist. Witness returned home on the 6th October last, at about 9 p.m. and whilst sitting in that room (the room in which the enquiry was held) called the museum, he saw the deceased pass through into the yard behind. Shortly afterwards witness heard a fall, and thinking deceased had fallen down, went to his assistance and found he have fallen over a large stone, which was used to keep the door open.

The Coroner asked that the stones should be produced, and on it being brought into Court, Dr. Johnson told the jury it was a specimen of a large fossil nautilus.

Witnessed, continuing said he assisted deceased to rise, and enquired if he had hurt himself. Deceased replied "Well, it has shaken me up a bit." Witness helped him into the bar parlour, where he remained a short time and retired to bed at about 11 o'clock.

Mr. Sydney Wacher, surgeon, Canterbury deposed that the cause of the death was cirrhosis of the liver and peritonitis, which were probably accelerated by the injury he received on the 6th of October.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 14 July 1894. Price 1d.


The following were granted new licenses:- “Three Compasses,” St. Peter's Street, to Mrs. Harrison.



SHOVELER D to Sept/1803 dec'd

WILSON Edward to 5/June/1809 dec'd Kentish Gazette

BACK Thomas 1824-51+ (widower age 82 in 1851Census) Pigot's Directory 1824Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Stapletons GuidePigot's Directory 1840Bagshaw's Directory 1847

BACK Stephen Back 1858-64+ Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Kentish Chronicle

RYE George Rye 1867-74+ (age 50 in 1871Census) Greens Canterbury Directory 1868Post Office Directory 1874

CHARRISON Henry F 1881-82+ CensusPost Office Directory 1882 (age 45 in 1881Census)

BEDWELL ???? 1884-87

Last pub licensee had STEVENS James 1891+ Post Office Directory 1891

HARRISON Robert to Oct/1893 dec'd (age 67 in 1893)

HARRISON Elizabeth (widow) July/1894+ Whitstable Times

JEFFORD Walter Thomas 1903+ Post Office Directory 1903Kelly's 1903

SMITH F C 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

ANDERSON Charles Timothy 1922+ Post Office Directory 1922

WILSON William 1930+ Post Office Directory 1930

SWIFT James T 1938-39+ (age 52 in 1939) Post Office Directory 1938

BERRY Graham 1985-95+


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

Stapletons GuideStapleton's Guide 1838

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

CensusCensus 1881

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

Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette


Kentish ChronicleKentish Chronicle


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