Our History



The Abergavenny Arms is situated near Tunbridge Wells being famous for its natural spring water wells located in the famous Pantiles which Queen Victoria frequented.

Historically, the Abergavenny was built during the reign of Henry VI. In 1442 to 1461 it was a simple framed building that brewed its own beer, the first recorded keeper of the house then known as the “Apsis” was one William Appes a former disciple of the Kentish rebel leader Jack Kade, who in 1450 with his raggle taggle band of followers marched on London in an attempt to overthrow the Government.

During the late 16th century the Apsis became “The Bull”, until the 18th century when the lounge bar became the parish courthouse and the cellars where the local jail where miscreants charged with crimes from drunkenness to sheep stealing were held to await their fate. The latter carried the death sentence, legend has it that a yew tree once opposite was used to hang the sheep stealers where they were left hanging as an example to other wrongdoers. The cells which still exist today, were in use until the 19th century.

In 1705, Commodious stables were built and in the mid 18th century, The Bull became a posting house offering food, accommodation and fresh horses to travellers.

In 1770, a coachman on an overnight stay died in his sleep, the law of the land at that time decreed that should a death occur in a public house, the house should be closed until after an inquest. Being conversant with the law and having no wish to close, the innkeeper threw the body out of the window and reporting a case of suicide. The coachman now celebrates the anniversary of his death by returning each year to haunt the resident innkeeper.

In 1823 “The Bull” became the Abergavenny Arms hotel in honour of Lord Abergavenny who owned the property until 1933. The crest of the Abergavenny family bears the head of the bull which would account for the name of the inn for over 200 years.