DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1600s

Walnut Tree

Open 2014+

Forge Hill, Roman Road

Aldington

01233 720298

Walnut Tree, Aldington

Picture taken from Shepherd Neame web site 2011.

"Walnut Tree" Sketch taken from their web site.

Walnut Tree 2009

Photo by Oast House Archive 2009 from http://www.flickr.com.

Sign April 1986Sign July 1991

Sign left April 1986, sign right July 1991.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com

Sign June 1992Walnut Tree sign 2011

Above sign left June 1992, sign right 2011.

 

The "Walnut Tree Inn" was built during the reign of Richard II (1377-1399) in the year of the crusades. Five years before, seventeen horses fetched 19 shillings each and six 15 shillings each at auction held in St Martins church.

When first built, the house was no more than a timber framed, wattle and doubt hut with a thatched roof. A fire burned in a central hearth and an aperture in the roof, a louvre, acted as a flue. The floor, of the only room (called the hall) was covered with straw, there were no bedrooms, cupboards or furniture. Supplies and possessions were kept in baskets or boxes. Everyone in the family lived, ate and slept in this one room. The average cost of a dwelling of this type was about six pounds.

In the mid fifteenth century a small bedroom was added at a higher level. Reached by ladder, here the children of the family would sleep on wooden cot beds, often suspended from beams.

In 1456, one Septimus Longbarrow, a yeoman of Ashford. purchased the house and 10 acres of arable land for 11 pounds. In 1502 one Joseph Silver, yeoman, resided here with his wife Rebecca and seven children, by the turn of the sixteenth century great improvements had been carried out to the property and the main dwelling enlarged. In 1611, the property was purchased by one Nicholas Marren a former bailiff of the Manor of Aldington.

Sometime during the seventeenth century ale began to be brewed here, for in a sale document of 1687, a "brew-house" is included in the inventory. In 1704, the property was purchased by one Jonas Quilter.

In August of the same year Quilter stood before two justices at Ashford and was granted a license to sell ales and ciders, from the premises which at this date bore no title but was registered as an ale house under ownership. In 1749, the property was purchased by Thomas Gadhew, who upon being granted a license registered the house under the title of the "Walnut Tree".

Walnut Tree Song

 

During the Napoleonic wars Aldington was the stronghold of the Aldington Gang, an infamous band of smugglers that roamed the marshes and shores of Kent plying their nefarious trade. The gang's prolific leaders, Cephas Quested and George Ransley, both natives of Aldington, made the "Walnut Tree" their headquarters and drop point for their illicit contraband. High up on the southern side of the inn is a small window through which the gang would shine a signal light to their confederates up to Aldington Knoll.

The "Walnut Tree's" association with lawlessness did not end with the demise of the smugglers for as late as 1904 the inn was centre of the cock fighting contests.

The "Walnut Tree" has seen and undergone many changes since first it was built but the historic character remains unchanged. The food and liquor served here these days is strictly legal... so stay, enjoy the fayre and reflect on those bygone days.

The "Walnut Tree" offers open fires in the winter and a beer garden in the summer. Children are welcome with and there is a garden play area with a bouncy castle at weekends.

Now supplied by Shephard Neame this pub also serves meals where there is a menu to suit all, including meat and fish dishes cooked on sizzling grillstones.

 

From YourDover.co.uk, 26 March, 2008

EATERY IS AN HISTORIC PLACE TO BE.

THE historic "Walnut Tree" pub in the village of Aldington was built during the reign of Richard II.

It started as no more than a timber-framed wattle-and-daub hut with a thatched roof, but in the mid-15th century a small bedroom was added at a higher level - it was reached by ladder.

Ale was brewed on site in the 17th century and the inn grew in popularity.

But during the Napoleonic wars with France the village was the stronghold of the Aldington Gang - an infamous band of smugglers who roamed the marshes and shoreline.

High up on the southern side of the pub is a small window, through which the gang would shine a signal to their confederates on Aldington Knoll.

The ghost of George Ransley, a bygone smuggler, is reputed to haunt the inn and many strange happenings have been reported.

The "Walnut Tree" has an excellent restaurant which serves fine food - sizzling grillstones, the oldest form of cooking meat on stones on the table.

The inn prides itself on home-cooked fare and Sunday roasts. It also has outside bars and a marquee can be arranged for large functions such as weddings.

The pub is opposite the village cricket green and there is ample car-parking space and an excellent beer garden.

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

QUILTER Jonas 1704+

GADHEW Thomas 1749+

DIVERS William 1855-58+ Publican directory 1855 Melville's 1858

SMITH Mrs James 1882+ Post Office Directory 1882

DENNE Annie 1903+ Post Office Directory 1903

MOODIE Ernest 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

AWFORD Herbert George 1922-39+ Post Office Directory 1922Post Office Directory 1930Post Office Directory 1938

BARRETT Graham & Karen 2011+

 

Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office 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

 

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

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