Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Clare rings time at Maidstone's Dragoon pub

A popular pub landlady is preparing to draw her last pint and retire to spend more time with her family.

Clare Parslow, 63, has been the licensee at The Dragoon pub in Maidstone, since 2016.

Clare Parslow, last landlady of The Dragoon pub in Sandling Road, Maidstone
Clare Parslow, last landlady of The Dragoon pub in Sandling Road, Maidstone

Her last day will be January 19, which will be seven years to the day since she took over the watering hole in Sandling Road.

She said: "We're going to have a big party, with karaoke and lots of fun."

Mrs Parslow said that taking on a pub had been a life-long dream, and taking over The Dragoon had been particularly significant to her.

She said: "I used to work as a cleaner, and then I was a barmaid for 20 years. I used to clean The Dragoon, and it was here that I was given my first barmaid's job by the then landlords, John and Loretta Noakes. So you could say that The Dragoon was my introduction to the trade."

She said that although she had loved her time at the Dragoon, her stay had also been tinged with sadness.

Kayleigh Caesar in happier times
Kayleigh Caesar in happier times

Her daughter, Kayleigh Caesar, took her own life in her bedroom at the pub back in 2016. She was only 28.

Mrs Parslow said: "Just recently, a number of our regular customers have also passed away.

"It's made me reassess my life a bit. My husband's 10 years older than me and I think it's time to spend more time at home."

By home, she means their house in Calder Road, Maidstone.

But she said: "I will miss the customers though, especially the regulars like Ken Ross, who literally comes in every day!"

Geoffrey and Clare Parslow on the day they took over The Dragoon in 2016
Geoffrey and Clare Parslow on the day they took over The Dragoon in 2016

Mrs Parslow, who is of Hungarian heritage, said she would always remember the parties at the pub.

She said: "We had a fantastic one on my 60th birthday, when my sister came over from South Africa to join us and all my nieces and nephews were here."

But she said now was probably the time to quit the industry.

She said: "To be honest, business has been very, very dead.

"We've never recovered our trade since Covid. Sometimes Ken is the only customer in here."

The Dragoon pub closes later this month
The Dragoon pub closes later this month

Most of Mrs Parslow' seven children have also worked in the pub at some time, as has one of her grandsons, though her husband Geoffrey kept his own job as an architect.

The pub was also given a very favourable write-up by KentOnline's Secret Drinker who praised its Tardis-size interior and friendly welcome.

Mrs Parslow said retirement would give her more time to return to her hobbies of running and swimming and also more time to spend with one of her daughters, Casey, who has learning difficulties and lives with her.

Sadly, when the Dragoon's regulars attend her farewell party, they may also be saying farewell to the pub.

George Barnes, property director of the Shepherd Neame brewery which owns the place, said: "We can confirm that The Dragoon in Maidstone is in the process of being sold, as it no longer fits our business needs. The sale is part of an ongoing evaluation of our property portfolio to ensure that we target our resources effectively."

The pub's has been sold
The pub's has been sold

The buyer is Jim Mills, who two years ago bought the Dog and Gun pub in Boxley Road, Maidstone, after it closed.

He gained planning permission to convert it and it has since been turned into eight homes.

A pair of bungalows are being built in what was the pub garden.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More