From The Kent & Sussex Courier

Friday 4 October 1895


George McQueen, the landlord of the Alders public house*, Pembury, was summoned for selling intoxicating liquor during prohibited hours, on the 23rd September, at 11 pm

Mr W. C. Cripps appeared for the defendant.

P.C. Fagg. of the K C.C., stationed at Pembury, deposed that about 11 40p.m on the 23rd of last month he was on duty near the Alders Inn, and noticed two men, who were hop pickers from Reed's Farm, go up to the public-house and knock at the front door. The landlord, George McQueen, opened the side door, and the two men went towards him, and asked him to serve them with some beer, which he did, putting liquor in bottle and being paid for the same. Witness said to the men, "That's all right." and they replied, "Yes, we have got some." Witness then saw the landlord, and said to him, "That's all right," and McQueen replied, "Yes ; it is a fair catch. It is the first time, and I hope you won't take any notice of it this time. I will give you a sovereign if you will let it go, and I will clear out. Do look over it this time. Think of my wife and family."

Cross-examined by Mr Cripps: Defendant had been at the Alders public house for five years, and had conducted it in a very orderly manner.

Mr W. C. Cripps, in defence, pointed out that the men took the liquor right away from the door, and had the case rested there it would not have been such a serious one, but as it was the defendant tried to bribe the constable. There might be cases in which this offence would be a most serious one; but in this case the moment the constable challenged the defendant with what he had done, he saw his past five years good character was at once ruined, and thinking of his wife and family, he, in an excited moment, thought the best way to get out of it would be to bribe the constable. Considering defendant's motives, he hoped the Bench would take a lenient view of the case, and not inflict such a heavy penalty as they otherwise might do. Mr Cripps handed to the Bench several letters from residents of Pembury testifying to the good character defendant had hitherto borne.

The Bench fined the defendant two guineas for selling liquor, and two guineas for attempting to bribe P.C. Fagg, and 8s costs in each case (around £700 in today's values). The Chairman added that the license would be endorsed.

Mr Cripps said the owners of the house were Messrs Kelsey, and if they had an intimation from the Bench a new tenant would immediately be put into the house. He, however, pointed out that the defendant had kept the house in a very able manner during the past five years, and the present action would be a severe warning to him, and he would probably conduct the house with more care than a new tenant might. If their worships could give him an idea whether the landlords ought to get rid of him, it would be acted upon.

The Chairman: They must see that we put the fine as low as possible.

Mr Massaroon : Personally, I think from what I have heard and seen of McQueen we cannot find a better man.

* Now The Dovecote Inn