Westerham's Grasshopper on the Green is a little pub with a big history
PUBLISHED: 13:07 02 October 2012
Standing for more than 700 years in the heart of Westerham, a little pub with a huge history has remained strong at a time where pub closures have rocketed.
Believed to have been founded in a period where the Black Death was ravaging Britain’s population, The Grasshopper on the Green has seen 31 monarchs and 74 Prime Ministers come and go.
Snuggly nestled between far newer buildings, its charming exterior and smell of old- fashioned cooking continues to entice customers.
Landlady Anne Sadlier and her husband Neale have been in charge of the pub, known locally as the little Grasshopper, and often serve visitors from across the globe.
She said: “We do get a lot of foreigners coming here because they will quite often visit Chartwell, where Winston Churchill lived, and the nearby Hever Castle.
“Obviously, the pub is really old – the stonemasons came here and built the pub so they had somewhere to live while building St Mary’s Church.”
Drawing on its more recent history, the pub has dedicated one of its three bars to Churchill, who lived less than a mile away.
The walls are covered with famous quotes and images of Churchill, a one-time regular who is immortalised outside on the village green in the form of a statue given to Westerham by Yugoslavia.
The history of the pub may feel like a weight on the shoulders of some landlords but Anne says she and her staff are more than happy to discuss its heritage and it can often add to the homely atmosphere inside.
She added: “There’s not really any pressure, the place runs very smoothly and it’s nice that the customers have the interest in our history.
“They ask the staff about the historical stuff and it’s good for banter. It’s great, but it’s not unique – the nation is full of pubs with this much history.”
The inn derives its name from the crest of the Gresham family, whose most famous member was Thomas Gresham – founder of the Royal Exchange and adviser to King Henry VIII.
Playing its part in history, the former coaching station was run by the Frith family – famous for John Frith, who in 1533 was burned at the stake for heresy in London’s Smithfield.
Centuries old at the time of his death, the Grasshopper continued as a boarding point for coaches travelling daily from Westerham to the heart of Fleet Street.
Following in a long line of landlords, the Sadliers also live in the grounds of the 14th century pub.
At the rear remains the stable block that would have once housed the tired horses of heavy-eyed travellers in search of a meal and a bed.
Today, Anne and Neale sleep beneath the same roof as countless trusty steeds as the stables have been converted into a modern cottage.
Though the centuries have changed the landscape of Westerham, The Grasshopper on the Green remains a constant that doesn’t show any sign of fading.
Always adapting to more modern times, the pub could well host visitors centuries from now pestering bar staff about the absurdities of the 21st century.