Page Updated:- Tuesday, 07 September, 2021.


Earliest 1735

White Horse

Latest 1819

(Name to)

Canterbury Road



The "White Horse" goes back nearly 300 years when it was built as a Georgian Farmhouse. In 1735 the owner was granted a license to sell ales from the premises, but was restricted to the sale of ales and cider only.

The house remained 'un-named' until the property was sold to Thomas Sancraft in 1753 who registered the house as the "Whyte Hause" or "White Horse". In 1758 the property was granted a full license where it thrived both as an Inn and as a saddlers and harness makers, before being sold in 1806 to Josiah Cressy.

Josiah Cressy was a seaman of Folkestone and had travelled extensively. Although not recorded as such, local account has it that Cressy had been aboard one of Captain James Cook's ships as they explored the globe, and in particular the Hawaiian Islands where sight of Palm Trees was first noted. Cressy renamed the house and registered it under the title of the "Palm Tree" in 1812, no doubt to remind him of some far distant shore that he had visited.

The property is set on the banks of the 'Nail Bourne' which winds along the Elham Valley. The valley has long been a corridor connecting the Ports of Dover and Folkestone through to the historic Cathedral City of Canterbury, and as such has been a busy trade and passage way over the Centuries.

It was around here that King John camped with 50,000 men in preparation for war with France in 1214, and the Duke of Wellington camped 18,000 troops along the valley in 1799 awaiting embarkation during the Napoleonic Wars.

It's many legends about smuggling however, have influenced the property over the last few years. There are many stories and local tales associating the property with local smugglers using the property as a meeting place and hostelry, either hiding from customs or dividing their spoils.

One tale of events involving smuggling in 1748 was when a local gang brought a large cargo of brandy, tea and rum over from France. Customs were particularly displeased and managed to capture a number of the gang. One of the gang members however was able to give an alibi for his captured colleague. Whilst relaying the alibi to the customs official, in this very Inn, a local informer saw the two men talking and mistook this as treachery. The remaining gang members hunted them down, allegedly lacing their drinks until they were sleepy. According to myth the disloyal gang member was made an example of and thrown head first down the Well, which remains to this day as, part of the dining table in The Lodge as pictured below.

Dining table at Palm Tree



SANDCRAFT Thomas 1753+

CRESSY Josiah Next pub licensee had 1806-12

Renamed the "Palm Tree"


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