THE LEGEND OF THE BLACK ROBIN
The Black Robin pub has stood at the entrance to the village of Kingston since 1741. Legend has it that the pub was named after a notorious highwayman, who terrorised weary travelers as they passed through the village on their way to and from Dover and London. He is reported to have been a thorough scoundrel, shooting down coachmen in cold blood and robbing passengers for money and jewels. However, his end was richly deserved when he was caught and hanged on the gallows erected at Barham Cross Roads.
The term 'Black Robin' is an old Kentish slang name for a smuggler. From around 1820 to 1826, there was a network of smuggling gangs who operated in and around the Elham Valley, the most notorious being the Aldington gang, commonly known as 'The Blues'. They used local pubs to drop off their goods where they would be sold to locals at a knockdown price without the heavy taxes and duties.
The Black Robin was one of the pubs used by the smuggling gangs to sell their goods as well as being a popular watering hole and meeting place for gang members. It is said that one night a terrible fight broke out between two gang members resulting in one of the smugglers being dragged into the street and murdered. Eventually, the smugglers were caught and disbanded and their leader, George Ransley, was sentenced to be shipped to Australia where he worked as a farmer until his death in 1856.
Whether these stories are true or not, we'll never know for sure. But, locals say that on a dark winters night the sound of groaning can still be heard outside of the pub!