The Red Lion
"Unchanging 16th-c pub in same family for over 100 years; simple old-fashioned charm in three timeless little rooms" Good Pub Guide
The Red Lion pub in the village of Snargate dates from around 1540. It is unlike any other pub that you have visited. It hasn’t been decorated since 1890, features an antique marble bar top, low wooden beams, original gaslight fittings….and outside toilets! This pub is the hidden gem of Romney Marsh; enter the pub and you are in a time warp, going back to the 1940's.
It is said that Smugglers regularly drank there, too, storing contraband in the tower of the medieval St Dunstan Church opposite.
The Red Lion is not for you if you want fruit machines, jukeboxes, piped music, Sky/BT sports and all the other trappings of a modern pub. It is, however, ideal for a trip into the past with some nostalgia of times gone by including real ale from the barrel, pub games and memories of WWII. It’s an amazing little time capsule of history, and it also sells an excellent pint.
The pub has remained virtually unchanged since WWII. They don’t sell lager and all the real ales are poured straight from the cask, food consists of crisps and pickled eggs, and the toilets are outside. A Grade II listed building, the pub has been in the same family since 1911.
September 2011 saw the 100 year celebration of the Jemison family running the Red Lion. Doris Jemison first came to the Red Lion in 1947 when she was a land girl. Nowdays daughter Kate helps with the day to day running of the pub so the family ownership is set to continue for many more years.
The 200-year old clock in the taproom (see pictures below) is a clue to the age and tradition of this pub. The bar itself is an antique marble slab which has played host to the inn's long association with pre-First World War games such as 'Toad-In-The-Hole', and `Nine Men's Morris'. A game known as `Goal Running' used to be played here too - a 20 or more a side combination of cross-tag, chasing and fist-fights! The ceiling above the bar is covered with currencies from around the world.
In addition to the bar area, there are two other rooms, all adorned with WWII memorabilia, including an air raid siren, and posters on the walls. The front room has a selection of pub games including bar skittles and dominoes. The rear room, as well as more memorabilia, is home to a piano. There is a secluded garden outside.
The Red Lion is recognised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as having an interior of outstanding national importance and is included on their list of the most important historic pub interiors in the country.
Find out more from the CAMRA Pub Heritage - Historic Pub Interiors website.
[with thanks to the Retro Chick for some of the text]