Kings Arms, 80 High Street, Billingshurst.
Blaster C. J. Cordery.
The Kings Arms is a Grade 2 listed building built around 1560. Some of the oak beams are still there from the days when the pub was called the Red Lion, when it was a vital watering hole for coach men and horses on the main London to Bognor Road called Stane Street. The pub was first mentioned as the Kings Arms in 1653.
The pub appears in many history books. A tavern anecdote by Charles Hindley mentions the close proximity of Billingshurst’s two “Kings” pubs which led to a jest from a courtier of Charles II in 1660. When asked about a decent hostelry he stated that “You will find the Kings Arms are always full while the Kings Head is empty”. In the 19th century William Cobbett stayed at the kings Arms on his famous Rural Rides.
The Inn is haunted by a coachman. On a cold February night around 1800 a Coachman drank too much and was unsteady on his feet. As he went to make his final check on the horses before going to bed he stumbled across the yard, missed his footing and fell down the well. The well is exceptionally deep and his body was never recovered.
The Kings Head is now a sports pub where traditional pub games are still played. The Kings Arms boasts a Sunday Football team as well as Cricket, 9 Darts, Pool and stool ball teams.