The Kinson Rebellion


                                 "When Kinson took on the King's men"


Few know of the "rebellion" in Kinson when about a quarter of the entire village armed themselves with a motley variety of weapons and took on the customs men with such severity,27 were laid low. And it would seem that the18th century Dolphin Inn still standing in this northern part of Bournemouth,(Now called Gullivers) was involved in the fracus.


It's curious that with all the smuggling stories to come out of Kinson,in the days before Bournemouth was even in the embryonic stage,the inn has never been mentioned. but researches have come up with new evidence that Hannah Potter,

wife of one-time landlord John Potter,could prove to be Kinson's only woman smuggler.


When the original Royal Oak on the other side of the main Wimborne road was demolished,underground passageways

were discovered. the land next door had always been known by the locals as "brandy ground". But the Dolphin never

attracted much historical attention,even though it dates to the 1750s. In 1771 John Potter was the landlord, when it was known as The Dolphin & Chequer.


On February 19th, 1784,customs officers with 37 men in the service of King George III rode out to "Kingston" as the village was then called, following information on run goods. These were concealed in a barn and stable there.

The location might have been Pitts Farm or Manor farm.


About 100 "country-folk" some on foot others on horseback,all armed with pistols,cutlasses,cudgels and pitchfork,took the customs men by storm.As a result 27 were confined to sick quarters under the care of the surgeon on 21st February .

if the numbers quoted are accurate this must have represented at least 25 percent of the local population.


Sometime later customs officers identified the gang leader as John Dolman. Others were John King,William Russell,John and William Butler, John Gilligham,John Saunders,Robert Brine and Hannah Potter, the local Innkeeper's wife.

There is no mention of Isaac Gulliver but as Kinson was once his headquarters, he may well have been present.


No more is known (at present) about john and Hannah's supposedly smuggling activities but, time has not entirely forgotten them. Along with all the other village folk they were buried in St.Andrews Churchyard at Kinson.

To the right of the church porch a headstone reveals the names of John and Hannah Potter. John's inscription is hard to read but for certain Hannah died on April 12th 1794.

(Since this article was wrote a family member who sent me this article also confirmed that John Potter died the same year as Hannah and is buried alongside her in the family vault with 15 other family members).


If the person who originally sent me this article see's this page please contact me again as I have lost your details and would like to acknowledge you for sending me this most fascinating story)


The Dolphin Inn, now renamed Gulliver`s Tavern is built on to an older building, thought to be part of the original 17th Century coaching inn.


There is documentary evidence of the building being in use as an Inn (called the Dolphin & Chequer) in 1763.


In 1988 the Dolphin Inn was given a Grade Two listed building status by the Department of the Environment.

In 1993 it was renamed the Gulliver’s Tavern after the local smuggler Isaac Gulliver.


By 1903, the licensee was to advertise accommodation for commercials and cyclists as well as excellent stabling. The building we see today contains a small house of the last century with more modern additions.


Licensees on record are:


1840   Charles Spencer


1880   Mrs. Mary Spencer


1903   Charles Bennett


1918   Henry Eaton – also R.A.C. scout in early days of motoring  

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