The story so far:- 

The French were revolting - plus ca change etc. In fact they had just finished that bit of revolution and had decided to conquer Europe, it was 1790.

1790 was also the date that Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith died, John Tyler was born as was Champollion that great French Archeologist who got all the good stuff before the British museum got a look in! But I digress.

I believe that what was to be the Duke of Wellington PH was built.

The Turner's (who I guess were woodworkers, after all they lived in the hamlet of Woodside Green) noticed that their house was falling down about their ears, they decided to build a fine brick structure just 100 yards up the road towards Doddington on a new site. Building got underway but was paused due to lack of funds - apparently the level can be seen if one was to strip back the internal plaster - must do that sometime. The house was finally complete, a rectangular property and the family moved in. 

The site of the old property still exists and is owned by one of our neighbours, Mr Couchman who has let it develop into a very pretty meadow.

The Turner family prospered (I'm guessing) and had many sons, far too many for the few local ladies. That was the unlikely start of the American off-shoot of the Turner family. Visiting Mormon missionaries suggested that rather than live a life of chastity etc they might sign up to Mr. Young's church, head across to America and make a match with a female population that had a sever lack of men - in fact have more than one as the 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' allowed for polygamy. I would be grateful for a more accurate version of this story!!! has a brief note of the 1st Mormon mission to Britain. More can be found amongst the more broad Mormon History on 

The Turners at about the same date decided to benefit from the noticeable lack of any local hostelry, this was the days before public or private transport, most people used foot-power and a pub over a couple of miles away was a good hours walk and then back. At night, in the dark! (of course).

At that time, I would guess around 1880, the addition at the side was built. This was a single story add-on with a pitched roof that was built on the side of the existing house which at some time - possibly right from the start also housed the local shop. The add-on was to be the local pub, that it was called the Duke of Wellington rather implies it was opened as a pub during his life or shortly after he died.

We are told that the pub was small - of course being in that small extension, with no bar as such. Customers would bang on the door to the main house to be served. Seating was on a series of benches, each regular having their own seat and their own jug.

Between the Turners leaving and the late 1960s I have yet to ask or find out. Jim will no doubt have a good idea.

Some time towards the end of the 1960s the pub was bought by Mr Sergeant who had previously worked at ..... in Wrotham about 20 miles up the A20 towards London. Sergeant wanted to match or beat the quality of pub he had just come from and started to change the Duke. The Duke was to be changed into a 3 story 10 bedroom hotel. Plans were drawn up, agreed with the Council and work started. Foundations and ground floor walls then disaster happened. Mr Sergeant took one of his barmaids home one late night rather than have her walk down what is about 2 miles of quite lonely road - more dangerous now as we have maniacs who can barely drive going at stupid speeds on what is effectively a back road with many blind bends.

Clearly there was more happening than I have been told, equally I have been told a number of versions... Mr Saunders dropped the girl off, was confronted by her husband ... Mr Saunders died of a stab wound from a fish knife. The husband (and wife?) still live in the area so enough said.

The Duke was sold on by Mrs Sergeant in 1971, I am not sure of the state, but the ground floor had been completed, and it substantially remains in that state now.

to be recorded:- 

  In between owners :- Sergeant The Docherties, Butch, others...

The Duke as a bikers pub

Thai food

Lee's attempts to make his fortune

Our local planning office - not for the fainthearted.

We bought the pub in 1999, a year after our return from Pakistan and just as the property market was about to boom, phew! just in time.


Of the Photographs 

Jim who lives in the cottage across the road and has been a regular all his life believes that he is to the left of  the lad in the cloth cap in the image with the hunt gathered round the pub.

The other people I have had identified by Mr Turner,  who, as a younger man  was offered the Duke back in the 1950s. He declined but has since made contact with us, a great deal of these notes come from his recollections.

 . .... more to follow  

Images of the Duke since the turn of the previous century. Click on the thumbnail to expand. All in jpeg format

The Duke1893  TheDuke1950s.jpg (126183 bytes)  TheDuke1950s2.jpg (143702 bytes)  The Duke in the late 1950s early 1960s  From the air 1962   Lenham Square in 1900


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