On the mantlepiece it says “Richard Hayes The Smithies Arms 1614”, and this date is consistent with the style of timberframing on the front, and the brickwork of the gable. The house was indeed a fine one when first built. It had four large windows on the first floor, of which three remain intact. These have transoms and mullions with the tvpical 'Ovolo' moulding of the period, and with small 'Frieze' windows on each side, under the eaves, and now blocked. The small leaded diamond panes still have some glass in them. The overhang of the first floor, and also the eaves are supported by a number of grotesquely carved brackets, one of which will be seen to be a mermaid.
The front of the ground floor has been somewhat altered, and here the two smaller bay windows on the right were inserted in the 18th century, the other two being modern. The attractive front door, and door just inside it are original. A wide stairway once went up in the centre of the house, and part of it may still be seen.
The upstairs rooms of the Abbot's Fireside were once decorated with a painted design of flowers and birds. Several pieces of this design could be seen until a few years ago, but now only one fragment is still preserved under glass.
The north end of the building, known as 'The Cottage', and now part of the restaurant, is a very interesting small house and shop of the 18th century. The shop front and doorway with fanlight is original, but the door has been replaced. It was formerly a baker's shop, and it still has the remains of two chimney breasts at the north end, one for a bread oven.
The handsome original door of the Abbot's Fireside. Note the carved fascia on the overhang, and the plaque issued by the Committee for the Preservation of Rural Kent and the Kent Archaeological Society, for a building of outstanding interest.
Edward Hayes (or Haies) took a mortgage for £100 with Edmund Chambers of Canterbury, milliner, 17 January 1660; £70 remaining transferred to Humphrey Bedingfeild of Elmsted, gent, 5 February 1663, to William Bedingfield of Elmsted, gent under his will. William Bedingfield to John Ashby (£81) 22 January 1669, Ashby to Benjamin Young (£90), 2 May 1670