Page Updated:- Sunday, 23 October, 2022.


Earliest 1740-

Three Tuns

Closed May 2014

The Street


Three Tuns at Staple

Above photo date taken on a summer's morning before WW1, long before the porch-way was built. The sign above the door shows the brewers as Rigden's. Original photograph belongs to Mr. Godfrey Davis, of Bassets, Buckland Lane, Staple.

Above photo, circa 1924, kindly supplied by Rory Kehoe. A handwritten note on the back of the postcard says "Since this was taken, the sign is removed from the tree and is on a post at a bend of the wall. Jack won't remember I expect. We are having a lot of alterations made early in the spring, inside and out."

Three Tons business card front

Above and below is shown a business card from The Three Tuns showing the landlord as being W E Bates, who was in charge in between 1914 and 1946.

Three Tons business card back

Above card, circa 1915.

Three Tuns 1937

Above postcard circa 1937, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Tuns beermat 1978

Above beermat, 1978, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Three Tuns at Staple

The Three Tuns at Staple celebrating St George's Day, and also 60 years since VE day.

Above photo taken from

Three Tons sign at Staple Three Tons sign at Staple
Three Tons at Staple Three Tons at Staple

Both photos taken by Paul Skelton 17 Feb 2008.

Three Tuns sign 1986Three Tuns sign 1991

Three Tuns sign left December 1986, sign right July 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis


Earliest reference found so far is in the Wingham Division Ale Licence list, which shows the "Three Tuns," Staple, to have a new license granted for the sum of 16 shillings. I am going to assume this was the first year that ale was legally served from this premises.


Information below taken from

The Three Tuns was built during the Reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), in the year of 1712. The ancient sign of The Three Tuns dates back to the reign of Richard the First (1189-1199), when tables were set up at Tournament Banquets by placing oak planks onto three large casks.

When first built The Three Tuns was a farmhouse forming part of a considerable hop & fruit farm.

The earliest recorded occupant of the Farm is Jacob Longman, who is mentioned in a sale document of 1735 when William Tubb purchased the property, which is described as 'One messuage, with barn and all that piece or parcel of land now planted with fruit trees, containing by estimation seven acres and all that piece or parcel of land thereto adjoining, containing by estimation three acres now planted with hops, which said messuage, barn and land are situate and lying within Staple in the parish of Dover, held by Johnathon Gale, previously held by Jacob Longman and purchased by William Tubb'.

In 1755, the property was purchased by Abraham Marsh, a gardener, hop grower and brewer of the parish of Wingham. In September of that year, Marsh stood before two Justices at Dover and was granted a licence to sell ales and ciders. The property at this date bore no title but was registered as an Ale House. In 1767, Johnathon Cox purchased the property, and after obtaining a licence, registered the property under the title of The Three Tuns.

When Johnathon died in 1801 he bequeathed the property to his wife Eliza when he decreed that: 'My messuage or tenemente situate and lying at Staple, known by the sign of the Three Tuns with its land thereto belonging, I leave to my beloved wife Eliza who upon my passing shall take up the deeds and title of the said tenemente'.

Although the property was registered as an Inn, every owner or keeper, with one exception, until the year of 1946, was a market gardener or fruit grower, and continued to ply their trades as well as run the inn. The exception to this was Charles Hanbrook, a tax collector who kept the inn.


Kentish Gazette, Friday 30 August 1793.


The Creditors of Thomas Gardner, late of Staple, in the county of Kent, victualler, deceased, are requested to meet at the sign of the "Three Tuns," in Staple aforesaid, on Tuesday the 17th day of September next, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, in order to receive a dividend of the estate and effects of the said Thomas Gardner. And all persons, who stand indebted to the said Thomas Gardner, are desired to pay their respective debts to Mr. John Stiff, sen. in Canterbury, otherwise they'll be sued for the same.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 19 December 1806.


For the Protection of Property.

Whereas, on Friday night, or early on Saturday morning last, some evil-disposed person or persons, did feloniously steal from the Hen-Roost of Mr. Thomas Davis, at the "Three Tuns Inn," Staple, thirty-seven up-grown fowls; and on the same night did take from the Farm-Yard of Mr. S. Elgar, at the upper end of Wingham-street, three ducks and one pig, which was killed in the stye.

Whoever will give information so as the offender or offenders can be brought to justice, shall, on conviction of any of the offenders, receive A Reward of Fire Pounds, from the above Association, and a reward of Five Pounds, over and above the reward allowed by the Association, from Mr. S. Elgar, to any person who will give information, so that the offender or offenders can be convicted, who stole the ducks and pig.

Wingham, 17th Dec. 1806.


Kentish Gazette 13 August 1811.

Good Grass for Horses, at Four Shillings per week.

For particulars enquire of Thomas Davis, "Three Tuns," Staple, near Wingham.


Kentish Gazette, 12 September 1854.


On Tuesday and Wednesday last, a man representing himself to be a member of the Metropolitan Police, A division, took up his quarters at the "Three Tuns" public-house, in this village.

He stated that he was employed with 7 other officers of the same division, in search of parties suspected to have been engaged in a serious robbery of "bank notes," and that the superintendent at Canterbury was acquainted with the particulars. The would-be "detective," however, left without acknowledging the claims of the host, and it has since transpired that his representations respecting the alleged robbery are without foundation. There is no doubt his object is to victimise the publicans, and if convenient, to help himself to any stray valuables that may be accessible. The following is the description of this worthy:—

He has the appearance of a policeman, - is near 6 feet in height,—14 or 15 stone in weight—about 35 years of age—dark complexion—dark short whiskers—full face, and rather large prominent eyes. He was dressed in dark clothes with Blucher boots and black hat.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 29 October 1861.


The half yearly tithe-rent audit for this parish took place on Monday, at the "Three Tuns Inn." After the transaction of the usual business of substantial dinner was provided, at which over 20 of the parishioners sat down. The proceedings altogether were of a very agreeable character.


From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, 10 April, 1874. Price 1d.


William Prior was charged with assaulting William Sharp, at Wingham, on the 6th March.

The complainant stated that on the day named, about two o'clock he was returning home with a horse and waggon, the defendant stopped at the "Three Tuns" public-house. He did not go in the public-house. He waited for about ten minutes for the defendant, and as he did not come, he went on. The defendant overtook him, and, on coming up to him pulled him of the rods into the road. When he got up he knocked him down and struck him several times.

The defendant said the reason why he struck the complainant was because he would not let him go in front with his horse and waggon.

Fined 10s., costs 9d.


Dover Express 27th October 1916.

Eastry Rural District Tribunal 25th October 1916.

W. E. Bates, 39, Market Gardener, "Three Tuns", Staple.

Exemption to 1st January 1917.


Dover Express 27 August 1937.


A serious accident occurred at Barham on Sunday night. A motor cyclist, Frank Mayes, of "Three Tuns," Staple, with A. Burdon, also of Staple, on the pillion, were passing a van near Broome Park, on the main Dover-Canterbury Road, when Mayes suddenly found himself faced with a crowd of soldiers. He failed to avoid them and struck Private W. E. V. Graham, of the Prince of Wales' Volunteers. in camp at Broome Park, and Will Barry, of Womenswould, who was standing with his bicycle talking to the soldiers. All four fell to the ground and first aid was soon forthcoming from P.C. Willis (Barham), Mr. Fox, of Woolage Green, Mr. Savage, of White City, and a military policeman, The three civilians were taken to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Mayes was detained with a suspected fracture of the skull and leg injuries; Barry with a fractured leg and suspected fracture of the cheek bone; and Burdon with severe shock, abrasions and injury to the hip. The soldier was taken to the camp with fractured right forearm, fractured right wrist and thumb.


Dover Express 13th June 1947.


At Canterbury on Thursday before Mr. E. T. Lambert, (in the Chair), Mr. W. Morrell, Mr. A. J. Lilliott and Mr. A. J. Ross.

The licence of the “Three Tuns”, Staple was transferred from William Bates to John Williams.


From the Dover Mercury, 18 September 2003.

Landladies at Three Tons Staple 2003

TUNS OF FUN: Ann Westermann and Mary Hackett at The Three Tuns, Staple Ref: pd476957

Village pub with food.

RETAINING the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of a traditional village pub while providing quality home cooked food are the aims of Ann Westermann and Mary Hackett.

The sisters recently took over as landladies of The Three Tuns pub at Staple and are looking forward to the future.

"We want this to be a village pub that does food rather than a restaurant with a bar," said Ann.

They have already started a sympathetic programme of improvements to retain the traditional features and character of the building.

Providing good food in a friendly family atmosphere is essential to the sisters, who are being supported in their venture by their respective husbands.

As well as having the benefits of a separate dining room, customers are welcome to eat anywhere they wish within the bar area.

"We want people to sit wherever they feel comfortable and provide them with a wide choice of freshly cooked foods," said Mary.

Visitors to The Three Tuns can enjoy a three-course feast or choose a lighter option from the snacks board.

Diners can select from starters like rainbow trout and crispy-coated deep-fried Brie followed by main courses featuring steaks or fish or something from the extensive specials board.

Children are well catered for with their own range of meals and Mary and Ann have plans to provide an outdoor play area for next summer.

"We welcome families and want them to feel they can come and enjoy a meal in a relaxed, child-friendly atmosphere," said Ann.

Accommodation also plays an important part at The Three Tuns with bed and breakfast on offer in rooms in the main building, and five self contained chalets.

As well as offering meals at lunchtime and during the evening Ann and Mary can cater for the corporate client with breakfast meetings.

Opening times are 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday and all day Friday, Saturday and, Sunday.


From the Dover Mercury, 11 March, 2004.

Penny's appeal for village views

Three Tuns, Staple 2004  

DEAL artist Penny Bearman has just started her next project: a portrait of an east Kent village, with pictures going on show in the local pub, The Three Tuns.

Penny plans to paint a series of small paintings of Staple for an exhibition due to start at Easter.

She is inviting Mercury readers to nominate their favourite views of the village for her to paint. The person nominating the best view will receive a framed painting.

Penny, of Downs Road, said: "This follows the success of last summer's A Portrait of Deal exhibition at Deal library, where Mercury readers nominated views which I painted.

"This project came about after I had a call from Ann Westermann, one of the pub's proprietors, wanting some paintings to display.

"I thought we ought to make an exhibition of it, and suggested the portrait of Staple idea. Ann was all for it."

Photo above shows Ann Westermann, Penny Bearman and Mary Hackett with the new sign at the Three Tuns, Staple Ref: pd 552920.

Ann and her sister, Mary Hackett, took over the pub in June last year, having both worked in the licensing trade several years ago. Ann's husband, Guus, is a plumber and central heating engineer, and Mary's husband, Ted, works for an imports/exports company.

Ann said: "The competition is a wonderful idea, and we hope it gets a lot of support."

One piece of Penny's work is. already on view at The Three Tuns, as she has just repainted the pub sign - which depicts country folk revelling - after the previous one blew down in a recent gale.

The competition is open to residents and non-residents of Staple, with entry forms available from The Three Tuns (01304 812317).

Penny is planning a Face of Deal portrait exhibition next year, and is asking for people to volunteer for one to two hour sittings. Anyone interested is asked to contact her on 369332.

Three Tons business card 2008 front

Above and below shown a business card from 2008.

Three Tons business card 2008 back


I have been informed that the pub is now called "The Tuns at Staple House." (April 2011)

Latest news is that the pub is closed, boarded up and a For Sale notice attached. (May 2014.)


From the East Kent Mercury, 13 March 2014.

Left in lurch as wedding venue calls in receivers

Dozens of couples have been left in the lurch after a long-running wedding venue was forced into receivership.

Brides and grooms-to-be face postponing their nuptials and losing thousands of pounds following the closure of The Tuns at Staple House, near Wingham.

Bosses at the historic venue, which dates back more than 300 years, informed couples last week of the sudden decision to cease trading. ...

Formerly called The Three Tuns, it is described as a quintessential country house and well-established licensed wedding venue dating back to 1712 with grounds of about three acres, set among fruit orchards and farms.

It offered a licensed wedding gazebo and luxury marquee, as well as ceremony, reception, entertainment and accommodation packages.

Kent County Council, which is responsible for the registration of marriages, confirmed The Tuns had gone into receivership but would not reveal how many couples were due to be married there.

Spokesman Murray Evans said: "We know the venue contacted all the affected couples, and that KCC's registrations service is in contact with those couples to assist them with finding alternative venues and making sure their weddings go ahead."


From the East Kent Mercury, 20 March 2014, by Lowri Stafford

Proprietor warns deposits for events cannot be repaid

Couples left in lurch by wedding venue's closure

The owner of a doomed wedding venue says extreme weather and a drop in bookings forced him out of business.

The Tuns at Staple House suddenly cancelled bookings after going into liquidation last month, leaving dozens of couples in the lurch.


Brides and grooms-to-be received letters from owner Steve Willey telling them their celebrations had been cancelled at the venue near Wingham.

In some cases there were just weeks to go until the big day.

In a further blow, couples were told thousands of pounds in deposits would be lost.


The letter said: “It is with much regret and apologies that I have to inform you that The Three Tuns Staple Ltd (the operating company) has ceased trading and will now be liquidated.

Steve Willey

“This means that any monies paid including deposits to The Three Tuns Staple Ltd is lost.

“We have done everything possible to avoid this position. We have liquidated any assets the company had to attempt to keep the company running.

We can only hope that you have insurance to cover the payments that you have made.”

Any reference to the wedding side of the business has since been removed from the venue's website. It is now trading as a bed and breakfast called Staple House.

Mr Willey stressed that the historic buildings were rented by his company, and were never part of the wedding business.

He added: “The buildings are likely to be sold. Until such time, and under a completely different management and rental agreement, the buildings are going to be used as a bed and breakfast.”

This week, Mr Willey, who ran the business for nine years, offered his “deepest regrets” at the venue's sudden closure.

He told the Mercury: “We would like to firstly offer our deepest regrets that The Three Tuns Staple Ltd has had to close. All wedding bookings were with The Three Tuns Staple Ltd.

“We ceased trading in the last week of February 2014 after having run the company for nine years.

“Over that time we have proudly hosted numerous weddings.

“In recent years there has been a decline in wedding bookings and day-to-day trade has almost stopped. We were confident that we would pull through, but without backing the company rapidly ended.

“The recent extreme weather conditions have also played a part in the company's final demise.”

The site - formerly called The Three Tuns - was described on the website as “a quintessential country house and well-established licensed wedding venue dating back to 1712, with grounds of approximately three acres, set amongst the fruit orchards and farms of rural Kent”.

It offered a wedding gazebo and luxury marquee, and ceremony, reception, entertainment and accommodation packages.


News received 19 May 2016 tells me that a planning application has been applied for to erect nine detached dwellings, change of use and conversion of the existing public house into a single residential dwelling, erection of a building to be used as a shop, creation of vehicular access and associated works. Status at time still Pending.


From the Dover Mercury, 29 September, 2016, by Gerry Warren.


A scheme to convert the Three Tuns at Staple into a home and build nine new homes on the site has been deferred by Dover District Council.

It follows a late amendment to the proposals which the planning committee chairman last week deemed should be put out to further public consultation.

Officers had recommended refusal on grounds that included over-development of the land. The scheme was also opposed by Staple Parish Council.

Now the applicants, Alistair and Ralph Noel, say the deferment will give them time to "tweak" the application to meet the planners' concerns, including reducing the number of new homes to eight.


Former Three Tuns 2019

Above photo, August 2019, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.

Former Three Tuns 2019

Above photo, August 2019, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.



LONGMAN Jacob pre 1735 (Market gardener)

BAYLEY William 1740 Wingham Ale Licences 1740

TUBB William 1735-55 (Market gardener)

MARSH Abraham 1755-67 (first landlord and Market gardener)

COX Johnathon 1767-1801

BULLOCK Michael 1775

BARBER James 1788

FRIEND Jonathan P 1794

Eliza Friend 1801

COX Eliza 1801+ ?

FAGG Joseph 1810?

DAVIS Thomas 1806-11+

MATTHEWS Richard 1816

BEACHER William 1824

WOODHAMS William 1836

WOODHAMS James 1845-51+ (age 36 in 1851Census)

RALPH James 1847+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847

MOUNT William 1854+ Canterbury Journal

HANBROOK John 1856

HAMBRES Thomas 1858 Melville's 1858

HANBROOK Charles 1861-74+ (age 29 in 1861Census) Post Office Directory 1874

HOWARD Henry 1878-1913+ dec'd (age 36 in 1881Census) Post Office Directory 1882Kelly's 1899Kelly's 1903Post Office Directory 1913 (& market gardener in 1901Census)

HOWARD Ellen Norah (widow) to Jan/1915

BATES William Edward Jan/1915-June/47 Kelly's 1934 (fruit grower & market gardener)

HALL Genrae G 1946?

WILLIAMS John June/1947+

HUTCHINGS Albert G 1955

LEVERTON Douglass R 1961

McBRIDE Joseph 1969-74+ Library archives 1974 Fremlins

GUNNER Richard Michael 1977-78+


WILLEY Steve and Donna 2007+


Visit the website at:


Wingham Ale Licences 1740From Wingham Division Ale Licences 1740 Ref: KAO - QRLV 3/1

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Canterbury JournalCanterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Library archives 1974Library archives 1974


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