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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.



Lower Halstow (or Halstow Lower) is a fairly populous village situated on the banks of the River Medway near Stangate Creek. The parish is nearly five miles northwest from Sittingbourne and about two miles from Newington Railway Station on the SE. & CR. It is in the North-East Kent Parliamentary Division, the upper division of the Lathe of Scray, the Union and Hundred of Milton, the Sittingbourne Petty Ses­sional Division, and the Sittingbourne County Court. In area the parish is 1554,974 acres in extent, and possesses five and a quar­ter miles of district roads. In addition to the acreage of land there are 55 acres of water and tidal water and 371 of foreshore. The rateable value is £3,498. The population at the census of 1901 was 650, but the present estimated population is 738. Mr. C. P. Wykeham-Martin, of Leeds Castle, is Lord of the Manor, and the principal land owners include the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, Lord Harris, and Mr. H. L. Webb. The soil is principally brick earth with a subsoil of chalk. A large brick-field (Messrs. Eastwood & Co.) is situated in the village, and the larger portion of the male workers in the parish are engaged in brickmaking. The chief crops comprise fruit and corn with some large tracts near the river laid out in pasture.

The Parish Church, dedicated to St. Margaret, is of flint and stone in the Early English style, with traces of Saxon work, and has a tower containing a belfry with three bells. The chancel was renovated in 1879, but the Church generally fell into an advanced state of decay, and in 1907 the complete restoration of the Church was commenced, when it seemed almost possible that the first high wind would raze the whole edifice to the ground. It is stated on eminent authority that a Church stood on the site of the present building in the year 700. The present Church is considered to be contemporaneous with the historic Churches at Minster in Sheppy and St. Martins, Canterbury—two of the oldest Churches in Great Britain. Certain it is that much Saxon and Roman tile work has been discovered in the foundations of this Church. During the restoration work many frescoes of great archaeological value have been discovered, one of them probably being a picture of Archbishop Baldwin (1184). Ireland, in his “History of Kent,” says “The Church of Halstow was part of the ancient possession of the Priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, as appears by an instrument of Archbishop Baldwin, who, at the presentation of the Priory and Convent, granted to his beloved son, John de London, nephew of the blessed martyr Thomas, the Church of St. Margaret, Halegestow, in perpetual alms.” The other frescoes represent St. Cecilia, a colored representation of a priest in full Eucharistic vestments; St. Peter and St. Andrew and a host; St. Andrew hanging on a cross; a Church (very rudely drawn) ; a picture of the Madonna or St. Margaret; a representation of the salutation of St. Elizabeth to St. Mary, etc. The living is a Vicarage, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. It is of the net yearly value of £130 with residence, and has been held since 1902 by the Rev. Edward Robert Olive, Assoc. King’s College, London. The parish is in the Rural Deanery of Sittingbourne, the Archdeaconry of Maidstone, and the Diocese of Canterbury.

The Guardian for the parish is Mr. Henry William South, and the Overseers are Messrs. Isaac C. Diddams and F. T. WaIler.

The Parish Council meets every alternate month, or more often if necessary. The members are as follows — Messrs. E. Castle (chairman), T. Ellis, J. Horsford, I. Diddams, William Lewis, F. Stevens, and W. R. Bunting. Mr. F. Datson, School House, Lower Halstow, is clerk.

There are charities existing in the parish, and bringing in a gross revenue of about £26 per annum. Wooton’s Charity brings in a revenue which arises from two old houses, and part of the revenue has to be devoted to repairs. From another charity a sum of £2/8/0 is raised, and this is given out in doles to widows.

Council Schools: These Schools were built in 1876, and enlarged in 1884, and now should only accommodate (mixed and infants’ departments) 170 chil­dren. There are, however, 183 children on the books. The Board of School Managers is composed as follows —Mr. H. W. South (chairman) the Rev. E. H. Olive, and Messrs. F. Stevens, J. Horsford, W. Osborne, and T. Ellis. The meetings are held quarterly. Correspondent, Mr. Harry Green­sted, 90, High Street, Sittingbourne.

The staff of the School is as follows Mr. F. Datson, A.C.P., headmaster; Mrs. Clara Alice Datson (infants’ dept.), Mrs. Beswick, Miss E. Pike, Miss Alice Monk, and Miss Minnie Ellis.

Parish Church: Rev. E. R. Olive, Vicar. Churchwardens, Messrs. E. Castle and F. Datson. Choirmaster, Mr. F. Datson. Organist, Miss Castle The choir is composed of 24 ladies and gentlemen. Parish Clerk and Sexton, Mr. J. Rainer. Services are held on Sundays at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. Holy Communion first and third Sundays at 8 a.m. Sunday School (held at the Council Schools) at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Superintendent Mrs. Olive.

United Methodist Chapel: This Chapel is situated in Halstow Road. Ser­vices on Sunday at 2.45 and 6.30, and on Thursday at 7 p.m. Sunday School, 10.45 am. Superintendent, Mr. F. Osborne. Prayer Meeting, Mon­day, 7 p.m. Class Meeting, Monday, 7 p.m. Class Leader, Mr. Gilbert. Bible Class, Tuesday, 7 p.m. Class Leader, Mr. Cheeseman. Band of Hope, Friday, 7 p.m.

Messrs. Eastwood & Co.’s Field Benefit Society: See Milton.

Lower Halstow Hand-in Hand Club: Headquarters, Three Tuns Inn, Lower Halstow. Benefits in cases of sickness and death with share-out in December. Club nights, second Saturday in the month. Secretary, J. Edbury.

Sun in the Wood Hand-in-Hand Sick Benefit Society: Headquarters, Sun-in-the-Wood, public-house. Breach Lane, Lower Halstow. Benefits in cases of sickness and death with share-out in December. Club night, third Saturday in the month. Secretary, T. Swift, Lower Halstow.

Lower Halstow Working Men’s Club and Institute: These fine premises form one of the most complete village clubs in the county. They were opened in the year 1900 as the gift of Messrs. Eastwood and Co., largely as the outcome of the influence brought to bear by the late Mr. Geo. Wragge and Mr. E. N. Craig, both of which gentlemen formerly took the greatest interest in the well-being of the club and its members. The premises include a large billiard room with full-size table, card room, committee room, and library, and a bar, with apartments for the stewardess. The whole of the premises are lighted by electric light. The club officials are as follows —Trustees, Messrs. G. Shepter, J. F. Wyllie, and C. Ivory. Com­mittee of Management, Messrs. F. Stevens (chairman), J Horsford, G. Cook, F. Davison, T. Mudgs, D. Nicholls, H. Rainer, T. Wraight, and A. Lampkin. Treasurer, Mr. H. Payne, Martin’s Bank, Sittingbourne. Secre­tary, Mr. F. Datson, School House, Lower Halstow. Stewardess, Mrs. Curtis. There are about 100 members of the club.

Lower Halstow Cricket Club: Headquarters, The Three Tune Inn, Lower Halstow. Ground, Halstow Stray. Matches played on Saturdays and Wed­nesdays. Captain, W. Lewis; Secretary, F. Datson, jun., School House, Lower Halstow.

Flower Show: There is no Gardeners’ Society at Lower Halstow, but each year there is a show for horticultural produce, at which substantial prizes are offered, and the proceeds of which are devoted solely to charity. Headquarters, Three Tuns Inn.

Postal Arrangements: Sub-Post Office, Street, Lower Halstow (Thomas Ellis, Sub-Postmaster). Stamps and postal orders. Deliveries, 7.35 a.m. and 5.55 p.m. Sundays, 8.5 a.m. Box cleared for despatches, 9.50 a.m. and 5.55 p.m. Sundays, 10.55 a.m. The nearest Telegraph and Money Order Office is at Upchurch, one mile distant.