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Sittingbourne, Milton, and District Directory 1908/09
Reprinted 1980 by W.J. Parrett Ltd, Sittingbourne
ISBN 0-9507107-0-9


The Sittingbourne, Milton and District Directory may not be copied or distributed by way of trade without written agreement. However, copies of all or part of the Directory may be made by libraries and others for the benefit of researchers - without further permission, provided that this copyright notice is included.


Elmley is a parish and island on the southern side of the Isle of Sheppy. The River Swale separating the Isle of Sheppy from the main­land forms the southern boundary of the parish, while Windmill Creek and the River Dray define the limits on the north-east and north-west sides respectively. The parish is three miles from Sittingbourne and six from Sheerness. Elmley Island is four miles long and two miles wide. At the eastern end of the island a small portion, known as Spitend, is in the parish of Eastchurch. Elmley is in the Hundred of Milton, the Isle of Sheppy Union, and in the Parliamentary Division of North-East Kent. It is in the Sheerness County Court and Sittingbourne Petty Sessional Division. The area of the parish is 1981 acres of land, 63 acres of tidal water, and 433 acres of foreshore. The population in 1901 was 146, but this is much reduced, as at present there are barely a dozen families (about 30 persons) residing on the island, owing to the closure of the cement works, which at one time formed the principal industry of the island. The rateable value is £849. In the island are nearly thirty empty houses. The soil and sub­soil is clay with gravel, and there is no arable land, all being marsh land devoted to sheep raising. The whole of the land in the parish belongs to the University of Oxford. There are no roads in the parish, mere mud tracks leading across the many dykes to the nearest roads, which are situated in Eastchurch parish, some two and a half miles away. Visitors to the island have to use great care in threading their way through the parish, as dykes and creeks with few crossings abound in all directions. The main route ‘to Elmley is by way of the ferry, which crosses to the mainland at Murston. The various creeks abound in all kinds of wild fowl, and in the winter hardened sportsmen find much prey for their guns.

King James II., when he first attempted to quit England, used Elmley Ferry, and is said to have rested in the Kingshill farm house on the island, which is at present the residence of the parish school mistress. The next day the King went aboard a Kentish vessel of 30 tons, which, on reaching Shellness, was boarded by some Faversham sailors, who made the King and his suite prisoners. Having been robbed of their money and jewels the King was conveyed to Faversham, where he was placed under guard at the Mayor’s house. The King afterwards sent to the Lords in Council, who sent the Earls of Feversham and Middleton with other nobility to him. He met the earls at Sittingbourne, and afterwards jour eyed to Whitehall.

The Parish Church of St. James is situated on rising ground in the centre of Elmley Island. The Church was enlarged and rebuilt in 1853, and is of Kentish rag in the Early English style. There are 150 sittings in the Church, and a bell hangs in a small turret. The register dates from the year 1828. The living is a rectory in the gift of Miss E. M. Robertson, of Hertford, and the living has been held since 1898 by the Rev. Robert Beetenson Barber, A.K.C.L. The living is of the net yearly value of £180.

The Guardian for the parish is the Rev. R. B. Barber.

The Parish Church Rev. R. B. Barber, Rector. Services are held in the Church at 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. each Sunday, and a Sunday School is held at 10 a.m., the Rector being the superintendent. The Sunday School is attended by about six children.

The National Day School This School was erected in 1885 by the University of Oxford. Accommodation, 86. Number on the books, 8. Mis­tress Mrs. Jane Harris.

Postal Arrangements Letters are delivered and collected in Elmley each morning at 8.30 am. The postman is also enabled to sell stamps. Letters may be despatched at 9.30 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. No collection or delivery on Sundays. Murston Sub-Post Office is the nearest telegraph and money order office.