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Royal Oak public house

A Grade II Listed Building in Rochester, Medway

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Latitude: 51.4065 / 51°24'23"N

Longitude: 0.5002 / 0°30'0"E

OS Eastings: 573986

OS Northings: 170465

OS Grid: TQ739704

Mapcode National: GBR PPG.M9S

Mapcode Global: VHJLM.MX84

Entry Name: Royal Oak public house

Listing Date: 24 May 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1434926

Location: Frindsbury Extra, Medway, ME2

County: Medway

Civil Parish: Frindsbury Extra

Built-Up Area: Rochester

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Frindsbury All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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Public house. Originally a house of probable later C17 date. Refaced in brick and extended to the rear in late C18 or early C19. Multiple single-storey C20 extensions to the north, south and east and interior remodelling.


Public house. Originally a house of probable later C17 date. Refaced in brick and extended to the rear in late C18 or early C19. Multiple single-storey C20 extensions to the north, south and east and interior remodelling.

MATERIALS: brick laid in Flemish bond and whitewashed. Partial survival of earlier timber frame. Probably late C18 or early C19 tile roof with weatherboarded gables at attic level.

PLAN: rectangular lobby entrance plan of two storeys plus attic and cellar with a central stack. Later single-storey additions on three sides.

EXTERIOR: the main (west) elevation onto Cooling Road is symmetrical, of three bays with a central entrance with an oculus window above on the first floor. The oculus has lost its original glazing bars (shown on a photograph of the pub in c 1900). The two flanking first floor windows are eight-over-eight timber sashes (northern probably early C19, southern a C20 replacement) in segmental arched openings with timber sills. The fenestration on the ground floor is modern in original openings. The entrance, with a modern door, has been enlarged by the addition of an adjoining modern window. The fenestration of the early C20 southern extension has also been altered with large modern windows replacing the two entrances flanking a single window shown in a photograph of c 1930. A fascia panel and cornice extends along the entire frontage of the pub. The tiled, steeply-pitched, half-hipped roof has a catslide extension to the rear. It has overhanging eaves with an eaves cornice and C20 cast-iron guttering supported on struts. The weatherboarded gables at attic level have double-casement windows. The large central stack has been rebuilt above roof level. The hipped roof of the C19 single-storey southern extension has a replacement covering of modern fibre cement tiles. To the rear, the building has been extended piecemeal with a series of flat-roofed ranges.

INTERIOR: the ground floor interior consists of a bar either side of the entrance which has a shallow lobby. The bar areas have been knocked through into the extensions at the north and south. The bars have a single servery which passes behind the central stack. The bar-counters, bar-back, fixed seating and other joinery are modern. A number of the principal timber beams and posts survive. Studding to the rear of the bar may be original, indicating the original rear wall. The beams have deep chamfers and bar-stops. The back-to-back chimney breasts survive but the fireplaces have been blocked.

To the rear of the principal bars is a large function room, along with kitchens and WCs, mainly within the late C20 extension but at the west end within the part of the building covered by the catslide roof. Access to the first floor is via a straight stair with matchboard panelling at the west end of the function room.

The first floor originally had two rooms. The southern room has been partitioned. The northern room has a narrow gallery to the rear beneath the slope of the catslide roof lined with matchboard panelling. On the east side of the stack is a small closet accessed by a plank and batten door with iron strap hinges and a spring latch with drop handle. The closet is lined with square panelling, presumably reused from elsewhere in the building. A corresponding cupboard in the northern room also has a panelled interior and door. The rooms have chamfered beams (boxed-in in the northern room) with plain stops. Fireplaces are blocked and there is a blocked window in the north wall of the northern room. At the front of the building, lit by the oculus window, is a small stair lobby with a modern newel stair to the attic floor. This has two rooms with modern fittings. The roof structure, from the small area inspected, appears to be of late C18 or early C19 date but with later strengthening.

The cellar was not inspected.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the single-storey extensions surrounding the two-storey core of the building to the north, south and east (with the exception of the area under the catslide roof), and all modern bar fittings on the ground floor, are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The original date of the building is uncertain but probably dates to the later C17, as suggested by the heavily chamfered beams and lobby entry plan. Licensing records for the use of the building as a pub go back to at least 1754, before which date local records do not survive. The first mention of the Royal Oak in the post office directories is in the 1858 Melvilles Directory which gives the licensee as Joseph Charlton. The building was extended at the rear by the addition of a catslide roof, probably in the late C18 or early C19. The First Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1867 shows a small, hip-roofed, block on the south side of the building which by the 1909 OS map had been incorporated into a larger flat-roofed extension, possibly used for off-sales. Probably at the same time, and certainly by the 1930s, the ground floor of the front (west) elevation was remodelled with the removal of a doorcase (shown in a photograph of c 1900) and addition of a fascia and cornice. In the remainder of the C20, flat-roofed extensions were added to the north (1960s) and east (rear) of the building and the ground floor of the front elevation was again remodelled.

The pub closed for business in 2015.

Reasons for Listing

The Royal Oak public house, Frindsbury, probably of later C17, refaced and remodelled in the late C18/early C19 with C20 additions is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: as a vernacular domestic building, demonstrating in its surviving fabric changes in architectural fashion and later use as a public house;

* Intactness: despite later C20 alteration, a significant proportion of pre-1840 fabric survives, including historic joinery on the first-floor.

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