The Seven Stars Inn

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Seven Stars Inn
Seven Stars Inn - - 1447300.jpg
The inn from the northwest
Location 34 High Street, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5AJ
Coordinates 50°59′09″N 0°28′29″E / 50.9858°N 0.4747°E / 50.9858; 0.4747Coordinates: 50°59′09″N 0°28′29″E / 50.9858°N 0.4747°E / 50.9858; 0.4747
Built c. 1400
Architectural style(s) Medieval
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated 3 August 1961
Reference no. 1275146
The Seven Stars Inn is located in East Sussex
The Seven Stars Inn
Location within East Sussex

The Seven Stars Inn is a 14th-century public house in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, a well-preserved example of a medieval building and a typical Sussex village pub. It is associated with historical events, both real and rumoured.


Owned by Harveys, a brewery in Lewes, since February 2002,[1] the pub has existed in its current form for at least 300 years. Built as a Wealden hall house[2] in about 1400, in traditional Wealden timber frame, it is Grade II* Listed, Shown with image here. It was altered in the 16th century, and re-faced in the 19th century, and has a recessed centre, with curved timber brackets supporting the eaves. The first floor oversails on brackets, and has a Crown-post-supported roof.[3]


Medieval Robertsbridge was granted a market charter in the 13th century,[4] and quickly became prosperous. The Seven Stars dates from this era of early prosperity. The earliest surviving building in the village is only 10 years older.[5]

A 1955 photograph shows the Seven Stars on the right.

There are rumours and snippets of folk history associated with the building. Charles II is said to have been confined there for a time[6][7] during his escape from England following the Battle of Worcester. This is unlikely: Charles eventually escaped by ship from Shoreham, having travelled from the west.

The Seven Stars is listed as one of the Top Ten Haunted Pubs in England. Experiences include phantom footsteps, shadowy apparitions and dogs reacting to sights unseen. The inn was frequented by 18th-century smugglers,[8] so strange noises in the middle of the night might have another explanation.


Robertsbridge was within the area controlled by the Hawkhurst Gang[9] who ran the smuggling in the area between 1735 and 1749 .[10] John Amos, a prominent member of the gang, lived in Robertsbridge. Their influence extended from Kent to Dorset and they operated freely enough to use as many as 500 pack-horses to carry contraband, and raid a government customs house[11] to recover captured goods.[12] Robertsbridge itself was the site of a famous ambush, 30 smugglers assembled, fortified themselves with drink, and ambushed a wagon-load of seized contraband tea on Silver Hill, killing a customs officer in the process.[9]

Horace Walpole reported a miserable journey that ended at Robertsbridge in one of his letters to Richard Bentley, dated 5 August 1752.[13] Arriving in "Rotherbridge" after passing Silver Hill, they found only one available bed, "all the rest were inhabited by smugglers".


Like most old pubs in England, the Seven Stars has its share of ghost stories. The most famous of which is called the Red Monk, but they do have several poltergeists, shadows and other spirits which inhabit the pub. More activity seems to happen at the top room of the house than other rooms, but it is haunted all over and has been called "one of the top ten most haunted pubs in the country." In July 2013, it was reported that Hidden Worlds Paranormal Support Group would be investigating the pub and helping the owners deal with the hauntings.[14]

Origin of name[edit]

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable ,[15] the "Seven Stars" can be a reference to the Pleiades, a cluster of stars[16] in the constellation of Taurus, (also known as the Seven Sisters, named by the Greeks for the seven daughters of Atlas); the seven moving heavenly bodies known to the ancients: the sun, the moon, and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; or the constellation Ursa Major, "the Plough", important for its symbolism in a rural arable area, and for indicating the direction North. "The Plough" is also a common pub name.

The reference to "seven stars in the sky" in the famous Green Grow the Rushes O! Teaching Song or Dilly Song gives further, if mystical,[17] insights. The Seven Stars could be the Seven Stars referred to in Revelations as representing the seven angels of the Seven churches of Asia; or the Pleiades, or Ursa Major. The song is replete with Christian and Pre-Christian symbolism,[18] and dates to medieval times, if not earlier. Shakespeare refers to the "seven stars" in King Lear Act 1, v


  1. ^ Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Wealden Hall Houses :: Geograph Britain and Ireland". 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (413192)". Images of England. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  4. ^ "Robertsbridge origins and history". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  5. ^ "Timber framed buildings in Robertsbridge". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  6. ^ "Britain's Top Ten Haunted Pubs". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  7. ^ [1] Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Smugglers - Smuggling 1300 to 1833 - VillageNet History - History effecting Kent & Sussex". 2012-05-15. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  9. ^ a b "Smuggling gangs of East Sussex and their inland bases". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  10. ^ Platt, Richard (2007). Smuggling in the British Isles. Tempus Publishing Ltd. pp. 224pp. ISBN 978-0-7524-4249-5.
  11. ^ "Terror of the Hawkhurst Gang". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  12. ^ [2] Archived December 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2 by Horace Walpole - Full Text Free Book (Part 5/16)". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  14. ^ Bid to uncover truth behind haunted pub
  15. ^ Evans, Ivor (1987). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Revised Edition. London: Cassell Publishers Limited. pp. 1213pp. ISBN 0-304-30706-8.
  16. ^ "NewsCenter - Hubble Refines Distance to Pleiades Star Cluster (06/01/2004) - Introduction". HubbleSite. 2004-06-01. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  17. ^ "Pentagrams: Meaning and History (The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum)". Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  18. ^ "The Dilly Carol". Retrieved 2013-06-24.

External links[edit]