The ‘Drum Inn’ was built during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) in the year 1708 and was originally called ‘Ye Olde Drum.’
It was built at a time when this part of Kent maintained a high level of military activity and was frequented regularly by the Duke of Marlborough’s regiment, whose uniform colours are depicted in the sign outside.
In the mid-eighteenth century, the Inn was used as the headquarters for the recruiting officer who, supported by a small contingency of soldiers and a ‘drummer boy’, would set out daily, making their way through the neighbouring countryside seeking the enlistment of young men eager to serve the crown.
In 1760, a fierce battle took place at the foot of Stone Street between a gang of smugglers and revenue men. The leader of the smugglers, one Samuel Jackson, shot and killed a revenue officer and wounded another before being captured and subsequently hanged. Two members of his gang escaped and took refuge in an old stone barn that stood where the car park is today.
They were found and flogged in the courtyard to the obvious delight of the soldiers at the Inn. They were sent to Maidstone to await trial and eventually they too were hanged.
In the late eighteenth century, Revenue men used the Inn as a watchtower in their fight against smuggling. It was a common sight in those days to observe running battles between smugglers and riding officers along Stone Street.
When the stone barn was pulled down to make way for the car park, a hoard of treasures were found, including two tubs of contraband gin, a smuggler’s flash, a blunderbuss pistol and the original Inn Sign from which the colours were used for today’s sign.