Sort file:- Dover, November, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 19 November, 2023.


Earliest 1592

York Hotel

Latest 1844

Union Street

Opposite the sea Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840



It has been said that a "York Hotel" stood near the angle of the Pent in 1592.


I am not able to elaborate on that statement, I am only able to say that a well-renowned hotel, opened in 1780 by Anthony Payn, then aged 32. The hotel was situated within the harbour itself, in the pier district, at the seaward end of what was then called Snargate Street-over-Sluice.

Further research tells me that it was situated near to a public house called the "Ferry Boat." which I believe was part of the Dover Work House.


The Dover and Deal Directory and Guide of 1792 states that the "York Hotel" was one of the Principle Inns in Dover, and in 1792 was owned by Rutley and Willement.


Gerry Hussey writes with the following information:- Arthur Tanton, born 1794 Dover was a Waiter and a Porter in the hotel in the 1820 onwards.

Interestingly, in 1841 his wife Maria, daughter Elizabeth Sarah and son Henry were accused of larceny. Unfortunately we don't know where.

Elizabeth Sarah was imprisoned for 3 months while her mother and brother were not guilty.


Kentish Gazette, Saturday 8 January 1785.

Lost, last night.

(Supposed in a post chase which took up a lady, a young gentleman, and a little girl, from the "Sun" at Chatham, changed horses at Bexleyheath, and put down the lady and her companions, about 9:30 last night, at the corner of Warwick Court, Holborn.)

A draft, drawn by Lord Cholmondley, dated at Dover, on Messrs. Drummonds, Charing Cross, value 30, payable to bearer; a Dover Bank Bill of exchange, drawn by Peter Fector, on Messrs. Minet and Fector, No. 21, Austin Friars, London, value 100. payable three days after Sight to Mr. Anthony Payne or Order, and endorsed by the said Anthony Payne.

Whoever will bring the above Draught and Bill to Mr. Rocke, No. 6, Warwick Court, Holborn, shall receive 2 guineas reward; if offered to be negotiated, please to stop the person or persons offering the same, and give notice as above, and the same reward will be given.

These Bills are of no use to any persons but the owner of them, as payment is stopped; neither will these Bills the advertised anymore, nor any greater reward offered.


From the London Gazette, 24 June, 1794.

Notice is hereby given, that the Co-partnership between Messrs. Thomas Rutley and James Willement, of the "York House," in the Town and Port of Dover, in the County of Kent, Innkeepers and Co-partners, is dissolved on and from the 20th Day of June instant; and all Persons having any Claims on the said Co-partnership are desired forthwith to send the Particulars of their respective Demands to Samuel Latham, of Dover aforesaid, Banker, in order that the same may be discharged; and all Persons who are indebted to the said late Co-partnership are requested forthwith to pay their respective Debts to the said Samuel Latham, who is duly empowered to receive the same.

T. Rutley

J. Willement


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 31 March 1795.

Notice is hereby given that the co-partnership between Anthony Payn and James Williment, late of "York House Inn," Dover, Innkeeper's, is dissolving and any persons having any demands on the said co-partnership are requested to transmit an account thereof immediately to Mr. John Shipdem, Attorney at Law, Dover.

Dated 26th March, 1795.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, Friday 3 November 1797.

To be sold by auction.

At the "York Hotel" in Dover, on Thursday, 16th of November instant, at ten o'clock in the forenoon. For exportation.

15000 gallons Geneva.

One barrel of Hair Powder.

One ditto of Gallipoly Oil.

900 Bundles of small Wood Hoops.

Being the entire cargo of the sloop Concordia, Philip Rouet, Master, condemned as prize to His Majesty's sloop of war Fairy, Thomas Baker, Esq. Commander.

The said sloop Concordia, a fast sailor, also burthen about 100 tons, more or less, with all her her materials and stores in one lot, as she now lays in Dover Harbour.

The vessel may be seen, also samples of the cargo, by applying to Latham, Rice and Co. at Dover, 6 days before the sale. Catalogues and Inventories to be had at Messrs. Peyton and Grenfell, Naval Agents, London, and at the place of sale.


Though not quite as elevated socially as the "Ship Hotel" opposite, on Custom House Quay, the York was nevertheless patronised by Royalty. In 1797 the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) stayed here and later still, in 1840, Prince Albert on 6 February 1840 on his way to marry Victoria. The 1841 census referred to this as the "Royal York Hotel."


Kentish Gazette, 1 July, 1806.


ANN HUTCHINS begs leave to inform the public and her friends, that she purposes, having her house-warming at the above inn, on Thursday the 17th July next, and she most respectfully solicits them to participate. Dinner on table at three o'clock.

Tickets to be had at the different inns. Deposit 5s. each ticket.

Ramsgate - "King’s Head," "City of London."

Sandwich - "Bell," "Rose," "Flower de Luce."

Deal - "Three Kings," "Hoop and Griffin," "Walmer Castle."

Dover - "Ship," "Royal Oak," "York House," and "Guildford Arms," Waldershare.


Morning Post, Friday 13 December 1816.

Dover. December 10th.

Last night, about 10:30 o clock, a fire broke out at the York Hotel, which was first threatened destruction to the premises, but we are happy to say it was subdued, for the most prompt exertions and assistance rendered for the inhabitants and the military, to both of whom the greatest praise is due, with a comparatively small lost the proprietor, Mr. Anthony Payne, who, we are authorised to state, as already made the necessary arrangements for the reception and entertainment of those friends who are the "York Hotel" with a preference.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday 12 January, 1839. Price 5d.

An accident, which might have been of a fatal nature, befell an elderly gentleman before daylight on Tuesday morning. Sir Joseph Hoare, who left the "York House" for the purpose of embarking for Ostend, dispensed with the assistance of an attendant at the quay; and in stepping from one packet to another, unfortunately fell between the vessels into the water. A boat, and ropes being handy, Sir Joseph was quickly hauled on board, in rather a pitiable condition; but nothing could induce him to quit the vessel, although after putting to sea, he was compelled to return to the roads for some hours, by the violence of a contrary wind.


From the Kentish Gazette, 9 July 1839.


July 2, at Dover, after undergoing a severe operation, William Overy, many years ostler at the "York Hotel."


From the Kentish Gazette, 14 January 1840.


Jan. 7, at her residence, No.1 Castle Terrace, Dover, aged 69, Mrs. Sophia Payn, widow of Mr. Anthony Payn, many years of the "York Hotel."


From the Kentish Gazette, 6 October 1840.

DOVER. Sept. 30.

Last night her Serene Highness the Princess Hobenlohe and suite arrived at the "York Hotel," where she was attended by the commandant of the garrison, and a guard of honour from the 77th regiment of foot. This morning her Serene Highness and suite embarked on board the Widgeon, Post Office steam-packet, for Ostend. The royal standard being hoisted half-mast high, on account of the death of the Princess Augusta, no alteration was made on account of the Prinecss Hobenlobe being here, and the usual royal salute on her departure was dispensed with.


In 1798, at the age of 50, Anthony Payn married Sophia Smith and two sons were born, in 1799 and 1803.


Anthony Payn died in 1817, at the age of 69. Presumably Sophia continued to run the hotel during the hiatus period when her sons were still young, but in 1820 at the age of 21, the elder son, Anthony Freeman Payn obtained Freemanship of the Town of Dover (compulsory for businessmen) and took over the running of his father's hotel.


In 1836 the Phoenix coach left the hotel at seven a.m. every day and made its run to the "George" and the "Blue Boar" at Holborn, in the centre of London. The fare was 1.3s.6d. by mail coach and 1 by the others.


The hotel was closed and demolished in 1844, when the tidal harbour was enlarged and many of the buildings on the quay side removed. The old harbour area of Dover on the western side of the town (as opposed to the newer Eastern Docks area) has undergone many changes in the last 200 years, not least because of the advent of the railway. The three basins which make up the Western Docks have changed their shapes, water having sometimes become land and land water.


From the Kentish Gazette, 6 March 1838.

DOVER, March 5.

On Saturday his Excellency Mons. Vander Weyer, the Belgian Ambassador, and suite, arrived hero by Her Majesty’s packed Widgeon, Sherlock master, from Calais, and went to Payn’s "York Hotel." After taking refreshments, his Excellency left Dover about three o’clock for London.


Kentish Gazette, 29 October, 1842.

Another inquest was held at the "Newcastle Arms" Inn, Limekiln Street on Monday last, before the same coroner, (George Thomas Thompasson, Esq., the borough coroner) on the body of James Wilson, age 50, horse keeper, in the employee of Mr. Johnson Jun., who was unfortunately killed by kick from a horse belonging to his master, under the following circumstances:-

James Allen, porter in the employee of Mr. Johnson, coach master, had known the deceased for 15 years. He was a horse keeper, and had been in the employee of Mr. Johnson for the last five or six month .On Saturday last, about 5 o'clock, witness was in the coach-house adjoining the stable, when he saw the deceased walk from the stable into the coach-house, holding his hand to his side, as if in great pain. He asked him what was the matter, when he said a horse had kicked him; upon which witness enquired which horse, and he answered the fathermost in the stable - the one next the door of the stable. Witness set him upon of pail, and offered to fetch him some brandy to recover him; but he declined, saying he would lie down in a spare stall on some straw, and would soon get better. Witness not thinking he was seriously hurt, upon business calling him away, left; and on returning about half past six, found him sitting in a coach in the coach-house. On entering the coach-house she heard him groaning. He removed him into a jig, and, with assistance, conveyed him home. When the horse kicked him he was in the stable alone. It was a gelding of a very mild disposition that kicked him.

Benjamin Cole keeps the "Ferry Boat" beer-shop near the "York Hotel." Last witness came into his shop on Saturday night, and taking a light, desired him to come into the stable, as deceased had had a bad kick. He went in company with the last witness, and found deceased in a coach, who they removed him into a gig, and conveyed him home.

John Coleman, Jnr., surgeon, was called to attend the deceased on Saturday evening at 7, and found him in bed. He inquired of deceased where he was hurt, when he answered on his side, and that he had been struck by a horse.

He was in great pain when witness first saw him, and continued so so until 12 o'clock at night, when he expired.

The cause of death was a rupture of some important part of the cavity of the abdomen on the left side.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," and levied a deodand of 1s. on the horse.


From the Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser, Saturday, 22 February, 1845. Price 5d.


Last week, at Dover, suddenly, Mr. Gardner, many years in the employ of Mr. Payne, “Royal York Hotel,” in this town.


From the Kentish Gazette, 18 November 1845.

The purchase of the "York Hotel," the "Three Kings," and the "Liberty" public-houses, for the improvement and enlargement of the harbour, was agreed upon.


From the Kentish Gazette, 2 June 1846.


Extensive Sale of Household Goods and Furniture, upwards if 600 ounces of Plate, handsome Plated Goods, large quantity of Linen, China, and Glass, also Five Carriages, &c.

The Nobility Gentry, and Inhabitants of the Towns and Country in East Kent are most respectfully informed that ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE the 3rd, 1845, and FIVE FOLLOWING DAYS (excepting Sunday), Mr. BIRCH WILL SELL BY AUCTION, in Two splendid Mansions, near Camden Crescent, DOVER, the whole of the valuable and elegant FURNITURE late in use at the "YORK HOTEL," DOVER (removed to the aforesaid Mansions for the convenience of Sale):

Comprising fifty bedsteads and furniture's, many of which are of the must fashionable and newest style; fifty very superior bordered goose-feather beds, bolsters, and pillows, also suitable bedding therewith; a very large quantity of the best bed-room furniture; an immense quantity of superb furniture suitable for drawing, dining, and sitting rooms; the stock of linen is very large, and very good; upwards of 600 ounces of plate; a great and handsome assortment of plated goods; some valuable china and glass; several superb dining, dessert, and tea services; and a very great number of articles useful for the kitchen; also five carriages, &c. &c. &c.

The Goods are of the very best description and in excellent order, and the whole will be sold without reserve. May be viewed two days previous to the Sale, and Catalogues obtained (1s. each, to be returned to purchasers) at the place of Sale, and of the Auctioneer, 9, Limekiln-street, Dover.

Sale to commence each day at Eleven o’clock.


We have fortunately been left with many descriptions of its location. One says 'that in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth it stood at the seaward end of Union Street' and another 'that the "York Hotel" stood near the end of the Esplanade during the early part of the (nineteenth) century' and finally, 'a "York Hotel" was in the pier district at the end of the eighteenth century'.

This was another part of the town which had to go when the tidal harbour was enlarged in 1844. Another description at that time says 'that the hotel occupied the site of that part of the harbour bounded by the Esplanade and the North quay'.

The notification for Anthony Freeman Payn's death in 1866 mentions Buckland, but I believe this was where he was living at the time and just mentions the "York House" meaning the "York Hotel" as licensee there till it was demolished in 1844.


Dover Express, Friday 06 July 1866.

Anthony Freeman Payn, Esquire., deceased.

Notice is hereby given that all person's having any claim or demand upon or against the estate of Anthony Freeman Payn, late of "York House," Buckland, near Dover, in the county of Kent, Esquire, deceased, who died on 24th day of March last, are requested to send the particulars thereof to us the undersigned or to Messrs. Worsfold and Haywood of Dover, Estate Agents, forthwith, in order that the same may be examined and if correct discharged. And all person's indebted to the Estate of the said deceased are requested to pay the amount of their respective debts forthwith.

Sankey Son and Flint, Solicitors to the the Executives of the said Anthony Freeman Payn. Canterbury, 23rd June, 1866.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday 14 February 1885.


Mrs. Payne, who kept the "York Hotel," at one time a famous house, died on Thursday.

The Prince Consort was entertained at the hotel on his landing at Dover, and prior to his proceeding by road to the metropolis for his marriage with her Majesty.



Bearing in mind that a ropewalk was later superseded by Waterloo Crescent and Cambridge Terrace, we are informed that in 1823 it was situated at the lower end of the ropewalk, fronting the sea. That year also, the name of Sophia Payn can be associated with it.


Today the exact spot of the "York Hotel" is a small car-park on the way to the Hoverport, on the right-hand side immediately after crossing the blue bridge. It may most easily be approached by driving westwards in front of Marine Parade and Waterloo Crescent; park by the roundabout there; the site of the York Hotel is then just across the road.


Another with this name had traded between wars from 15 Waterloo Crescent and was mentioned in Pikes directory of 1924 Pikes 1924 as "York House Commercial Temperance Hotel," the proprietor being a Mrs R Greenwood at the time. It was a private hotel and a temperance one at that. I mention it here because it later combined with its neighbour, "Brown House", to form the "White Cliffs Hotel".

I have also found reference to the "York Commercial Hotel" still addressed as 15 Waterloo Crescent and being run by a Mrs. M Tipple in 1934-35.



PAYNE Anthony Freeman 1780-1828+ Historical Sketch 1799Pigot's Directory 1828-29

STANBURY 1820's, 30's

PAYNE Sophia 1823

PAYNE Anthony Freeman 1832-44 (age 40 in 1841Census) Pigot's Directory 1832-34Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840

Historical Sketch 1799Historical Sketch of the Town of Dover 1799 by G Ledger


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