THE GREEN LION PUBLIC HOUSE by Hazel Staden
Photo of The Green Lion Public House Rainham Kent around 1900
Photo of Green Lion Rainham Kent in 2006 with Rainham Church in background
My husband and I ran the Green Lion public house from 1968 to 1986 and during the many alterations we had there it was discovered that the building was at least six hundred years old, This was confirmed by an environmental officer who we called down and by looking at the roof timbers he confirmed it was fourteenth century; that was in 1969. In the cellar there is an archway bricked up and
when the home in between the pub and the church was built the workmen uncovered a passageway that ran from the cellar to the church. When the tiles on
the roof were removed in the 1970s workmen discovered a ‘priest hole’ with several clay pipes and an old rickety bench in it. We assumed people hid there to escape the authorities, as the Green Lion was an old coaching house and this makes sense.
Annie Kitney, who used the pub from the age of eight years until she died well into her 90s, told us that the highwayman Dick Shepherd was captured in the bar of the Green Lion and a plaque was in the bar commemorating this but we never found it. We were also told he was hung at the top of Berengrave Lane. In the first years of our tenancy we used to do overnight accommodation and one of our clients, on his first visit to us was convinced he had seen a ghost of a woman in his room and it frightened him so much that, although he stayed on several occasions, he would never go into that room again. In the end we called for someone to exorcise the rooms on the top floor but they always remained very creepy.
Before the Second World War the back of the public house was a bowling green. This was dug up to help with the war effort. In those days it was known as the Green Lyon. When the front of the Green Lion was redecorated in 1973 they discovered a fire mark from Sun Alliance dated 28th February 1790. We wrote to the company and they sent us a copy of the original entry which gives the name of Peter Hard as the victualler. For his household goods in the dwelling part only and for the brick and tiled building the insured sum was £330.00. Utensils and stock therein only £30.00 Wearing apparel therein £30.00 Plate therein only £10.00 TOTAL £400.00 and duty on that sum 6d.
I think the Green Lion must be one of the oldest buildings in Rainham and I expect it could tell quite a few tales if only the walls could speak.
From Action Forum June 2004
Photo of The Green Lion in 2001