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History of the Jackdaw

Built in 1645, this public house was originally a farmhouse forming part of the estate of Thomas Leythorpe, a gentleman of Elham.

There were various occupants throughout the years but in 1756, Andrew Snell was granted a license to sell ales and ciders from here. In 1758 he called the premises “The Red Lion”.

In the 1760s the celebrated poet Thomas Gray was a regular patron of The Red Lion as was the humorist Richard Harris Barham who resided in Tapton Manor and wrote “The Ingoldsby Legends”. He is said to have been decended from one of the four knights responsible for the murder of Thomas A’Beckett. This knight is thought to have changed his surname to that of the village of Barham where he lived in order that his family should escape notoriety.

At the end of the 19th century the inn was a favourite meet of the East Kent Foxhounds, and was a change-stop for the Canterbury-Folkestone Coach Stage. There was then a skittle alley in the outbuildings.

The Red Lion has seen and undergone many changes since it was first built. In 1962 it underwent extensive refurbishment and the name was changed to “The Jackdaw” in honour of Richard Harris Barham and his famous poem “The Jackdaw of Rheims”. The old stable and tea room at the side of the main building was demolished which allowed for the expansion of the car park and a new dining room to seat about twenty-four was built. This was further extended some time later.

News and Events

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The Jackdaw is officially licensed to hold wedding ceremonies. Please see our functions section for more information.

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Spend your Christmas party at The Jackdaw.

Bookings now being taken.