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History of the Star Inn, St Mary in the Marsh

The Star Inn, known as "The Star", was built during the reign of Edward IV (1471 - 1483) in the year 1476.

When first built, the house was a thatched farm dwelling. The earliest recorded occupant of the property is one Isaac Coats, Yeoman of the parish of Tenterden who is mentioned in a sale document of 1542 when the property was taken over by one Thomas Bealey. The property, which was described as One message, with attached kitchen, barn, 18 acres of arable land held by Walter Goden previously held by Isaac Coats purchased by said Bealey, was sold for the sum of 18 pounds. The sale included two stock horses purchased by Bealey at 1 guinea each.

The Star Inn
The Star Inn in times gone by

Over a century later in 1658 the property was in the hands of one Amos Dunstare a farmer and harness maker of Ashford. Dunstare resided here with his wife Maudistly and five children. In 1687, Maudistly Dunstare is recorded as a widow, still in occupation here with three of her children remaining.

In 1711 the property was purchased by one Anthony Jessup, a farmer and brewer, previously residing in Ashford. In the same year Jessup was granted an ale and cider licence and the house was registered as an ale house. At this date no title was given to the inn. In 1732 one Thomas Kemp came and resided here and named the house "The Star" the origin of which dates back to the eleventh century when inns and taverns stood within the precincts of parish churches and many of them were given titles bearing religious meaning.

The Star Inn today
The Star Inn today [ack 2.]

The Star is mentioned in the will of one Jonathan Titmas drawn up in 1763. Titmas a former shepherd decreed that upon mye passinge mye tenemente situate and lyinge within St Marys, knowne bye nayme and sine of "The Star", with its lande and cattle theretoe belonginge be tayken up bye mye wiefe Charlotte and lete nothinge contrarie to this the trewe menainge of this mye laste will and testamente.

During the eighteenth century when tithes were collected from the parish, the rector held tithe suppers at The Star. Easter Vestry meetings were also held here and on the odd occasion when attendance at the church was thin the rector held sermons here.

During the latter half of the eighteenth century and early part of the nineteenth centuries fires burned continually at The Star during lambing season as a sign to shepherds tending their flock to come and take shelter at the inn. Many came, bringing sick lambs with them.

Trip to the Star in times gone by
Outing to The Star Inn [ack 2.]

In the earlier days of his career the eminent playwright Noel Coward lived in the cottage adjacent to the inn. It was here he wrote his first successful play. The author and poet Edith Nesbit, famous for her book "The Railway Children" is buried in the graveyard at St Mary the Virgin Church, St Mary in the Marsh.

The Star has seen and undergone many changes since it was first built but its historic character remains unchanged. Today The Star Inn is a very successful inn offering good food and accommodation.
Text courtesy of Brian McManus of the The Star Inn

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