History of The Jackdaw, Denton
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 humourist Richard Harris Barham who resided in Tapton Manor and wrote “The Ingoldsby Legends”. He is said to have been descended from one of the four knights responsible for the murder of Thomas 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 Stage Coach. 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.
The inn gained much notoriety when it featured in the 1969 MGM film, ‘The Battle of Britain’, staring Susannah York and Christopher Plummer.
Whilst preserving the old world charm of a country inn at the front the Jackdaw has extensive, contemporary dining areas behind, as well as a beautiful yet secluded beer garden at the back. The Spitfire room is of particular interest being home to a wealth of WWII RAF memorabilia and is ideal for small parties of up to twelve looking for something a little bit special.
A popular stopping off point with tourists this inn enjoys brisk trade and so booking tables in advance is always recommended.