The Inn now known as the “Walnut Tree” was built during the reign of Charles 11 (1660-1685) in the year 1680. Though the Walnut Tree itself, that stands on the site, probably dates back to the reign of Henry V111 (1509-1547)
The house was originally built as two ragstone cottages. One of these was for many years occupied by the Maidstone toll master, Robert Hadley.
Small unlicenced but legal establishments of this nature sprung up all over Kent in the early eighteenth century, though they are recorded as far back as the thirteenth century.
The main reason for the influx of these “Ale Houses” as they were so termed, was that they were extra outlets for the numerous, smaller independent breweries that were around at the time.
In 1740 licencing laws were instituted and the “Ale House” became registered.
In 1801 the adjoining cottage was opened as a corn and seed shop. The owner was one William Snow.
In 1872, one James Hayward, a former dealer in horses, purchased the house and it continued to flourish as an “Ale House”.
By this time the population of Maidstone had risen considerably, especially that of the area known as Tonbridge Road, and the house had become a firm favourite with local residents.
However, if one can imagine the space of just half of the present “Walnut Tree” on a busy Saturday evening, then to say it was overcrowded is an under statement.
So in 1890 James Hayward decided to utilise the adjoining cottage, though there is only evidence at this time that doorways were knocked through and the bar extended to form a snug.
In 1920 the two cottages were made one and the Inn was extensively altered to its present day state.
The host at the time was one Grace Farley, a much loved character of the area who ran the Inn for many years.