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“Things I remember about Ulcombe”

by Friend Chapman (written in 1930)

With thanks to Brian Butler and Martin Pearce for this contribution.

Friend Chapman was born in Ulcombe on 6th February 1849.


I remember that I was told I was born in the stone cottage at Pye Corner, and our neighbour was old Joe Wickens and his wife. This cottage was used as a Beer House some years ago.

The next house was the Blacksmith’s house - Mr Moseley - who also used the Forge in the street.

There was the Wheelwright’s Shop used by Mr West and his son who lived opposite. There was the timber yard and pit where at present stands the Forge Cottage, and a pond at the end which supplied the house.

Mr William Cook who was Roadman and Parish Constable lived in the end cottage next to Mr West, and old .......Parks and his family in the little lean-to cottage next. He did the work of repairs to carts and ploughs and at the farm-houses, and had his meals where he worked as he was a great drunkard.

The other four cottages next, where work people lived, also a small thatched cottage over the road

On the road to the village was Mr J Cook‘s house used as a Grocers and Beer House1. He lived there with his sister Rebecca. He was a clarinet player. He kept cows and grew hops and fruit.

In the next house was old John Burbridge and his wife who made leggings and gloves for people, and sold sweets to children, and next was a Nancy Bates who was peculiar in the head, and sold Tapes and Thread from her basket, and the next was Mr Chambers and his family and the little cottage next was used as a Chapel many years.

Then we come to the two cottages (Swaffers). These were built by Lord Romney and the old house pulled down which stood in the garden and the end and was used by Mr Bigg and his sons, with a field on the Headcorn Road and owned by Mr Kingland. They had a small shop.

Also Baker Farm2 on the other side was used by Mr John and Thomas Crump who went to Mansion Farm after it was built.

Then we come on to Chestnut Farm which was owned by Mr Wildish who was the Butcher. The shop was at the northern end and in front was the slaughter house and barn and yard and pig styes and oast. They used the meadows and field which now is fruit plats. They also grew hops.

Next we come to the Post Office and Grocer’s Shop. This old part was built by Mr Valentine, the bricks being given him by Lord Ormonde of Ulcombe Place from the meadow opposite I was told, and then I first remember Mr Charles Tappenden who used to make bread and make yeast. He also carried bread to Smarden. This was the first baker in Ulcombe. After many years he had the front shop carried out and the bake house built on the back, also the draper part carried out to the other building.

Opposite was the school where many of us were taught to read and write. Our first School Master was Mr John Lee who lived in the present School House3 . He was Post-Master and the letters were given to the boys at school to deliver to their friends when they went home from school. The letters were brought by a man named French from Leeds, who used a shed in the School Masters garden, and repaired shoes all day, and took the letters back at night.

After old Mr Lee died his son John Lee took the schools until the Rector died, and the Rev Pearce Butler came and brought an Irish gentleman, Mr Kelly, and Mr Lee went to Horsmonden. Then we had a Mr Abrams.

The school had a brick floor with a partition in the centre door at each end, one side for boys the other for girls, and the governess came in the afternoon to teach sewing.

Next was a small cottage where the Blacksmith lived, name of F Askey. Next was the Forge, and an old thatched house where lived a Mr Moseley who had the meadow in front and kept cows and sold milk and sweets and fruit.

The present slaughter house4 was end to road and a shed for cows where the present Butcher’s shop is.

The four cottages next were built by Mrs Wildish, the wife of the Butcher.

Next, where the four stone cottages stand were two very old cottages. One was used by Mr Davis, a bricklayer, and the other by Mrs Askey and her son who had a horse and cart and wagon and did carting for anyone, also carried stone for the road. His stable was at the back. These were pulled down and the present houses built by Mr G Bensted.

Next are two cottages and the Harrow Inn, built by Lord Ormonde. The cottages used by the estate servants, the coachman and woodreeve. And the first landlord of the Harrow Inn I can remember was Mr Wally Gladdish. He used the meadow and field and kept cows - was an odd man - very curious. Once some gentlemen came along on Sunday and wanted a drink, and being closing hours he refused. They then said ‘we are travellers’. He told them to travel on, then! In the evening they came back. Now, he said, you can have some. They let him prepare it and then told him they were travellers and were travelling on!

The sign board in front was a picture of a white horse, and one night a young man shot at the horse, and the next day sent a man, Ottaway, a dealer, to the Landlord to buy the dead horse!

The next house, Street Farm, was old Mr James Bensted, Mr G Bensted’s father. It was built out to the road when Mr G Bensted was married and made the cellar and dining room and two bedrooms, and was added another two rooms at the back some years later. The road into the yard was next to the house, and on the right was piggeries and fatting lodges and a large barn, end to road. Also out in the yard was another large barn and building which was pulled down and the present building built.

Next, on the other side of the road was the four cottages5 built by Lord Ormonde. Here lived our School Mater, John Lee, Charles Ledger, Coachman at the Rectory, John Davis, Bricklayer and Clerk to the Church. Carpenter Ledger at the top end used the present Carpenter’s shop.6

Next, below in the meadow, near the ponds was the old water mill call Abbot’s Mill, supposed to be the oldest in Kent, and was used by Mr Cradduck. They had one horse and cart, and used to go to the farms and fetch the corn and grind it and take it back at the end of the week. They also used the meadow and pond - was very proud of the fishing in the ponds and there were plenty there. I was told this Mill was used by the Monks of Ulcombe Place when it was a Monastery, also the ponds and Lodge Close pond was where the monks raised fish to live on.

Also there was in Mill Meadow7 a windmill used by a man named Bonny who lived in a house that stood in the present school master’s garden. He was a tippler and I was told he and his two old mates used to get a tub of Gin and knock the head in and sit in the wind mill and drink until it was empty. They were called ‘The Three Guzzlers’ - three ‘B’s’ - Bates, Bonny and Burton.

The next was the old Rectory, a white plastered house facing south, standing on the site of the present Rectory. Old Mr Mence and his daughters lived there - was well liked by the parishioners and fed the poor every Saturday. You would see children and women fetching cans of soup from the Rectory. He later had a curate, Mr Sadler, who was well liked, but he lived at Mr Woolley’s house with a house keeper, and went wrong and committed suicide8 .

Now we come to Church Farm where old Mr Duddy lived and his two sons, Henry and George. Henry married Miss Mercer from Cranbrook, and took the farm and had a large family. There was in the Plat or Orchard a Manor Pound where any cattle found straying was locked up and kept until the party paid the fine.

Now we come to the Church with two large yew trees in front and the sun dial. This used to be an oak post, but was put on stone by Mr G Bensted when he was Church Warden. There is a footpath through and on the west side was a stone stile leading over to the land way road and footpath to Chartway Street.

The West door of the Church, now closed, used to open in two parts into the belfry. The bells were rung from the bottom floor. I used to sit on the step and watch the ringers. There was a small door at the west end to enter into the steps to the Tower which was called ‘Amber’s Hole’9 . Here was an old stone fireplace, and there was a man named Amber was given permission to live as he could not get a house, and it was thus named Amber’s Hole.

There was no south door until the Vestrey was built when the Church was restored, but a door way into the Church which was boarded up. Davis, the bricklayer, was Clerk, and stored is scaffold poles across it.

The large arch at the west end of the church was boarded up and up against it was the gallery, three tiers high, and a barrel organ in the centre. We went up stairs near the old font, which stood against the wall close to door of present entrance to Vestry. It was a square stone font with a lead bowl and a bell over which drew up with a pulley on an iron bracket. The present one was the gift of Lady Honoria Ford, the aunt of Pierce Butler and on it the names of her children carved in flowers.

Under the gallery was four pews. All the pews in the church were shoulder high. There were two large pews next to the door where the young people sat and there was a man named Finn with a coat with red collar and brass buttons who had a long rod and was Church Walker and Pew Opener, and at the end of these pews were two strong boxes with padlocks for the Poor Box as there were no funds.

There were no children's seats, but where the children's seats now are was used as a vestry and curtained off.

Most of the broad stones were taken from the aisle and chancel when the Church seats were added. Mr Mence’s monument was on the pillar next to the Communion Rail, and the others, except Belcher.

The Rectory pews were in the chancel on the left against the old screen was four seats which turned up and had animals carved on them. In the Communion, under the East window was boarding panels with the Ten Commandments in gold letters. These covered the present recess places. All the walls were plastered and whitewashed. The figures on the walls were found by the Rev Pearce Butler, who had the plaster scraped off them. The roof was lathe and plaster and was whitewashed.

The pulpit was opposite the entrance door, where the Rev Dean Winder’s memorial now is and was three tiers high - the pulpit at the top, reading desk below and the Clerk’s pew under. We had to stand up in the aisle every year on the first Sunday in Lent and repeat the Catechism, questions being put by the Rector from the Reading Desk, and our parents were supposed to be at Church to hear their children. We had a Prayer Book for the first year, a Testament the next and a Psalm Book for the third - our names wrote in them.

The North Chapel, called Wandesfords, had high pews lined with red baise and there was a small fire place or iron stove at the back. These were pulled down and the present seats put in by the Wandesfords by Primmet of Tonbridge, and the present north door made as an entrance.

The St Leger Chapel east window was restored by Mr Ford of Ulcombe Place, as the Coat of Arms and other pieces of stained glass scattered about the window in a rough form. It was new leaded and the stained glass put in proper position. The iron in the wall at the top was old armour breast plate and head pieces, but dropped down with rust and were destroyed.

The present choir seats were made from an oak grown in Horsmonden Park and was given to Mrs Pearce Butler by her father, the Rev Marriott of Horsmonden.

All the tiles in the Sanctuary and Chapel were laid by Mrs Pearce Butler in memory of her husband who died before the repairs to the church were finished, and the boarding on the ceiling was never stained and varnished.

The present organ was put in by the Rev Theobald Butler and the old one before was put in in the Rev Joseph Lanphier’s time by subscription.

The restoration of the Church roof and chancel roof was done by Mr William Bottle of Harrietsham in 1864, also the pews were made by him, and he laid a boarded floor over the stone floor under the pews in the chancel.

I remember five rectors - Rev Mence, Rev Joseph Lanphier, Rev Lord Theobald Butler, Rev Dean Winder and the present Rev Bredin. Also curates, Rev Sadler, Rev Brown and Rev Kent.

The churchyard used to be fed off by sheep, which were taken out on Sundays. All the graves used to be raised and done over with blackberry rods pegged down with wooden hooks to keep the sheep from treading them. The yew trees have spread a great distance out since I remember.

Next, Ulcombe Place used to be called ‘The Big House’ and the first gentleman I remember was Squire Fletcher, who went from here to Yalding. The next was Squire Ellis and wife and two daughters. After him was Doctor Ayerst, wife and two daughters and a Lady Buckingham. Then Mr Ford, wife and daughters, Mrs Roberts then Mr Briscoe and wife, then Mr Arnold and wife, then Mr A O Walker. Mr Briscoe made the present tennis ground10 . Mr Ford built the large Coach House and Cow Lodge and Stable. We are told this house was the old Monastery used by the old monks, and the walls of the front part are 3ft thick. The other parts, we are told, was built by a Mr Clarke before the Ormonde’s time, and the road up the hill was altered by Lord Ormonde and made by the meadow instead of next to the garden wall from near the present post box and tennis ground.

And the old Harrow Inn was near here11 . There was at the three corner piece of ground near the post box a block of stone with three steps up to it. It was called the Jos Block where the farmers or gentlemen used to bring their wives riding behind then and get off and leave their horses at the Inn and go to Church.

What a lot of Public Houses in many of the parishes you find close to the Church. It shows they were not thought to be fore drunkenness but where friends met and spent many happy hours together.

Next is Hill Farm. Here Mr Butler lived and his wife Elizabeth Butler who had four sons and two daughters. Thomas Butler used the farm for his mother until John was 21, then he farmed it for his mother until Arthur was of age, then he and his sisters used it until he went to Greenhill.

College Farm was part of the Ulcombe Estate and owned by a College to which the Estate paid an annuity - now owned by Mrs Fermor. Glebe Field, now owned by Mr E Fermor, was allotments for small-holders and owned by the Rector.

Now we come to King’s Wood which is owned by Ulcombe Estate and was reserved for sport.

There was an old song of King’s Wood used by the old poachers:-


		Whoever has been in King’s Wood
		Must needs know the place
		Especially those who are fond of a chase
		The Keeper looks out for his play
		Information he’ll lodge if you come in his way
		So I pray you look out as you will have for to pay
Next we come to Chegworth Court now used by Mr J Bensted, with the other farm used by Mr Vinson then by Mr Maxted. On this farm is Bell Field where some of our bells were founded by Mr Hatch.

Next farm was where his housekeeper lived, the home of Mr J Bensted’s wife, and later used by Mr Hughes, an old Butler to the Castle at Leeds. Since then by old Mr J Bensted and son.

Next is Chegworth Mill where Mr W Taylor, late of Lenworth Mill, Maidstone, used to have before he took and build Lenworth Mill. Then it was used by Mr Cole, late of Leeds, after by Mr Wicks who went to High Way (?Iwade) Nr. Sittingbourne. On the other side, opposite the pond was old Mr J Hatch, grandfather of Mr Hatch of Lenham and father of the late Mrs G Bensted of Street Farm. He was steward of the Estate, and there is a window in the Church to his memory.

The water mill was formerly owned by Mr J Knight of Peckham Farm, Ulcombe, and sold by him to Leeds Castle Estate, who are the owners of the farm opposite pond and the two cottages next to the Mill. The other cottages at the back on the bank were built by different people.

Next along the lane at back is Water Lane. Mr Orpham, a bricklayer lived here, and his son, Daniel was born here, also his daughter, Jane, who married Mr Gibbons of Leeds.

Then we come back to Cherry Gardens which are used as watercress beds. Here a Mr Ledger lived and used meadow and plantation now used by Mr Taylor.

Then we come back up to Cherry Orchard House owned by Mr Edmed who used to make cider and sell it, and often on a Sunday you would see several drunken men in Kings Wood who had been there for cider. Then his son, John Edmed, who left there and went to Chartway Street. Then his son, Sidney Edmed, the present owner. Old Mr Edmed had the cottages built.

Now we come back to Fairbourne Heath. The five cottages were built by Ulcombe Estate on waste ground or common as this field and gardens used to be common and men dug stone and gravel and peat here in winter and sold it to get something to live on. It was afterwards taken in and the pieces taken for gardens. The old road used to go from the corner house where the boarded house is, by the front of Mr Tassell’s cottages to a little pond opposite or at the back of Mr Fermor’s cottage. The little boarded house and cottages was old Mr Isaac Gibson and after him Thomas Gibson.

Then we come to the Farm owned by Mr Maddocks. This was part of Leeds Castle Estate and used by a Mr Irskin of Leeds, then by Mr G Bensted of Street Farm, then by Mr Hayward, late of the Harrow Inn. Then by Mr W Butler, since by Mr Maddocks. It used to be a good hop farm.

Opposite is the Forge, built by Mr Cooper of the Blacksmith’s Arms, who used the old Forge next to the old cottage. He sold it to old Cornelius Marchant, also the present houses and Blacksmith’s Arms and Grocer’s Shop. This was in former years used as the parish Work-house, but made into a shop and beer house. Later, after Cooper, came Wraight and his sons, then Mr Bellingham, now of Grafty, then Mr Thomas Gibson, after him Mr J Butler, then the present Mr Hillier.

The four cottages were built by Mr Cooper, after sold to Stringers Estate who build the Wheelwright’s Shop, and is now owned by Mr L Tassell.

After the farm was owned by Mr Thorpe of London and used by Mr T Mackenden. Some years after him was a Mr Durey, then Mr W Thomas under Mr W Woolley who married Miss Thorpe whose father was the owner, and after came as her property. This farm had many tenants and landlords - Mr Whitehead, Mr J Chambers, Mrs Merrall, Mr Monckton, Mr Thomas and now Mr Maddocks.

Opposite this (Upper Hill) is Old Barn Farm. There was a barn here and yard, and I was told, a house at back of barn. There is an old well still there and the apple trees there was on Stringer’s Estate.

Below this in a Pond at the corner called Slough Pond. This used to supply the farm and cattle.

Then at the corner next to Bunter’s Corner there was in the field an oast house used by old Mr Edward Tassell.

Below this, down the hill, was the old house, Shoreham, (now burnt down). The first I knew here was old Bob Day who used the land and planted many of the present cherry trees. He was an odd old man who lived alone. He once sent his corn to the Mill to be ground and the corn would not go through the orifice, and the Miller found a bag of money in it. Also, the roadman was repairing the steps up to Bunter’s Corner and found a bag of money under the steps. Old Mr G Bensted once challenged him for a wager - Mr Bensted to go round the road, and old Rob to go across the fields to the Harrow Inn. This was on 1st May, our Fair Day.

Lower down the hill stood the Wind Mill, pulled down a few years ago by Mr J Bensted. Here lived Millter Gilbert many years. They used to call him “Cocky”. After him, two brothers, Hocker. After them G Mackenden. Now only the cottage left.

Now we come to Holmbury Court. This used to be an old thatched house with an old barn in front, where the present barn is. They used to sell beer here, and it was called “The Roaring Bull”. There was a Skittle Alley next to the road. This house was kept by old Cornelius Marchant. Men used to have a week on the drink here - silly all day in the house, or playing skittles, and lay in the barn at night. The house was pulled down, and the present one built, by Cornelius Marchant. After him was John Marchant, the present John’s father, and is now used by John Marchant.

Next is Reed Farm. I was told there was once a large Mansion on the bank below the present cottages. There was an old cottage where the present ones are which formerly was the Coach House and Stables for the Mansion.

Here lived old James Knight until this was pulled down and the two built by Mr Stringer.

Down the hill next is Poplar Tree Farm. Here lived old Mr Fry in the corner house. He was for many years at Knole Hill Farm. Next, at north end, old Jim Rose and family, then after was old Mr Mackelden and his son, William. Then it was sold to Richard Hadaway who had the front and south end repaired and altered. I am told here lived Miss Valentine who kept a school and many old Ulcombe people had been educated there. There used to be a long row of poplar trees in front.

We now go back up to Knole Hill. Here lived old Mr Edward Tassell when I first knew it. He had a family of 16 who all had to work and help on the farm. I was told this house was built by Stringer Belcher whose monument is in the Church. After them was Mr Stringer who sold it to the present Mr L Tassell. In the paddock or orchard are some very old trees planted by Stringer Belcher, also some in Jobe’s Hole, a meadow at the end of the lane. Next is a cottage occupied by Mr Potter who bought it off Mr G Woolley and before that it was cottages where lived Mr Adams who made shoes for the people of the parish. He went from there to Yew Tree Farm, then to Boughton Monchelsea, and afterwards to Ospringe, near Faversham. His son was Carriere for a few years from Ulcombe to Maidstone.

Now we come to Knole Hill Farm, Mr Potter’s which is now planted with acres of fruit. Before him was Mr L Woolley who had the barn built after a fire which burn the oast and old barn and sheds down. Before him lived old Mr James Bensted for many years and grew hops and corn. I remember going hop-picking there and having a supper after hop-picking one evening, and there was a large pie made in a milk pan. He asked the men and women if they would have a piece of sparrow pie, and when he cut it out flew the sparrow. There was always a supper after hop-picking in those days. Mr Bensted went from here to Chegworth. I am told that before him there was old Mr Fry who died at Poplar Tree. His death was hastened by drink.

Then we come down to Mansion House, Knole Hill. Here lived Mr Woolley many years, and his sons, Tom, Walter and George. He was Overseer and Guardian of the Parish for many years. I remember he let part of the house to the Curate, Mr Sadler, who committed suicide in a room there.12

Mr George Woolley lived there several years after his father and it was sold to Mr Jesse Tassell. This house, I never heard when or who built it. It has a large staircase and some good rooms. There used to be hops in the present orchards, and the oast was built by Mr Woolley.

Now over the road is the old house owned by Mr J Marchant and one the home of the Pandfield family who also have a memorial in the church. It had also been used by Mr T Mackenden and owned by Mr Thorpe who left it to his daughter who married Mr Walter Woolley, and after her death to Mr Walter Woolley who sold it to Mr J Marchant. This is an old fashioned house but once was used for three cottages.

Now we come down Water Lane to the old house at the corner and the first I remember living there was Edward York, then old John Burton, then Charles Chambers. It was owned by Mr Woolley and later sold to John Marchant. On the other side of the road are two cottages always used by labourers, owned by Mr Woolley, then Mr Jesse Tassell.

Next is the Chapel built by Mr Joseph Moss and family and friends.

Now we come to the old house over the road, now owned by Tassell Bros., but was years ago old Mr Collison and his daughter Ann. They kept a little shop and sold grocery. He was called a “higler” - he collected eggs and butter from the farms and carried it to Maidstone and Sittingbourne Market each week by horse and cart. He had two daughters, and one son who was drowned in a pond at the back of the house. One daughter married Chambers of Boughton Malherbe, a Blacksmith. Ann lived and died here.

Now over the road is Rain Farm now owned by Mr Monckton. Before him Mr G Woolley and before him Mr Collison and his daughter. Here was an old thatched house at the end of stable and old Mr and Mrs Edward Fry lived here many years. There was an oast at the back in the meadow and they grew hops and corn.

Now the two old cottages owned by Mr Joseph Wickens, was years ago Mr Collison’s. Here lived old Richard Hadaway and then ................ Williams, then James Knight and old George Smith. I never knew the history of these.

Now we come to Eastwood (Mr B Fermor). I first remember Grandfather Chapman and old Mr Wells, then Uncle Harry Chapman. It was owned before by Mrs Harriet Ledger of Upper Hill Farm, Mr Wildish the butcher, then Uncle Harry who planted part of the fruit. Now improved by Mr B Fermor.

Over the road, opposite the lane, stood two cottages owned by East Sutton Park Estate.

Then Kingsnow (Kingsnoad?) Farm - here lived old Mr Hills and family, and Mr and Mrs Bigg who worked on the farm. Above, on the hill, is an old house used as two cottages. Here lived old Steven Stanford. The house used to belong to a Mr Howe and stood half in Boughton Malherbe and half in Ulcombe.

Now I must come back to Kingsnow. The old farm house was below the Oast and pond in a garden next to the stream and opposite the stable. Here lived old Mr Hodges and his daughter. He was a good old farmer and used all the meadows and fields round Kingsnoad and grew a lot of corn. I remember he came to Church one Sunday afternoon and we used to sing from the Gallery in Church then, and we had some good old Psalms and Hymns that afternoon, which pleased him, and he asked our school master if we would come down that evening and sing some anthems and hymns. There was about 8 of us, men and boys, and we sang for several house, and he gave us a good supper and plenty to drink.

Over the road, down the meadow, is Hopper Farm. The first I remember was old Mr Upton, then Mr Ramsden, now used by Mr John Mackelden.

I must now come back to the old house next to the shoemakers shop (?Inshoes) and house. The first I remember was old Joseph Bates, the Bricklayer, and sold to Mr Kingsland, and where Waterloo House is there was a garden used by Mr Davis and sold to Thomas Tassell who was the shoemaker and lived here. He built the house and shed.

Now I must go down on the Headcorn Road to Mr Jennell’s house (Vine Cottage). Here lived old Mr Finn and his family, four boys, James, John, Higgins and Frank, and one daughter who was Mrs Hills. John was a soldier. James worked for Mr G Duddy. Frank was sent to prison for stealing a wallet from old Mr Moseley at the Forge in the village. Higgins died in the Chapel or ???????. Old Mr Finn was Church Walker. He used a long stick to wake the people up in the Church.

This house, Vine Cottage, I was told, was built on waste ground by a man who had not got enough money to put bedrooms to it, so they put the roof on and made the rooms.

Next below, at the corner in the field opposite was an old thatched house which was burnt down when we were at school. There is the apple tree there now which was in the garden. Here lived old Smugger Smith who sold gin he had in a tub in a pond in the wood opposite.

Now we go up to East Kent Farm. I think the oldest man who lived there was a Mr Kent and after him Mr Onions and Walter who had two sisters, and farmed together. After them was Mr W Butler, Engineer and Thresher, who went to Fairbourne Heath.

Now we come to Mansion Farm - Mr Offen. Here was an old house on the present site where the new house stands, used by old Mr Ashenden and his brother and sister. They left and went to live at Pye Corner, and after in the little forge house in the village. Then Mr John Crump and his brother Thomas lived there. I think here must have lived Mr Barling, as the “Gift” comes from this farm.13

Mr T Crump married his housekeeper. He had 3 sons and a daughter, the present Mrs Offen. John was a Grocer at Lenham. Thomas was a little farmer at Smarden. William still lives at Grafty Green. Mr Thomas Crump had an accident. He was sharpening the knife on the chaff cutter and slipped and fell on the knife which pierced his arm and he bled to death.

Now we come to Kingsnorth Farm, the residence of Mr C Chantler, and before him Mr Williams, his wife and son, Walter, and his sister who lived here many years, but fondness of drink brought him and his mother to poverty. Before his father, it was farmed by Mr Love of Headcorn, work people living in the house. This place is ancient, as we read of this in the “History of Kent”. The gentleman who lived here came with William the Conqueror, and the St Leger family of Ulcombe Place.

Now we come to Stone Hall. This house was built by the East Sutton Estate, (Sir Edmund Filmer) and is used by Mr C Chantler and son. Before this there stood on the site an old stone Chapel of plaster and stone, and an old house. The Chapel had an arched doorway and also the windows and the stone is still to be seen in the new house. Here lived Uncle Harry Chapman and old John Murton. Most of their family were born here.

Now we come to Brunger Farm, the home of Mr Heathfield, formerly used by Sedgwick of Chart Sutton, and let to old Mr James Bensted of Knole Hill. Here lived Mr Bottle who worked on the farm for him. After him it was used by Mr G Bensted. “Pinkamon” used to belong to this farm.

Now we come to Jubilee House14 , now belonging to Mr Johnson and used by Mr Offen. This used to belong to Mr Thomas Thomas and his sons. They were farms and “higlers”, who used to collect eggs and butter from the farms and carry to Maidstone Market in a covered cart. It was bought from them by a Mr Gibbs, the manager of Day & Masters Blacking Company. After to Mr White, then to Mr Bird who died here. There is in the road opposite, three oak trees which we are told were planted by the man who lived here on the day of King George IV Jubilee, instead of going to the festivities in Maidstone.

Now we come to the bungalow on the left built by Mr Sewell of America, now sold to a lady. In the garden near the road was a very old cottage known as ‘Rats Castle’. Timber and plaster and thatch with a wooden chimney. Here lived old Mr James Bugden, father of William Bugden of the boarded cottages and grandfather of the present William Bugden of Walnut Tree, East Sutton.

Next is Poplar Hall15 , owned by Mr W Sharp, before this Mr Walter Woolley and before this Mr George Cook of Headcorn.

Next is Mr Frank Sharps which was formerly two cottages for Poplar Farm, and built by Mr Walter Woolley. There used to stand near the hop garden opposite a very old barn and yard, and often the tramps used to lodge there and many people going or coming from Headcorn were frightened to pass, as in those days the hedges on the side of the road were high, and many oak trees grew along the road which were green and pretty.

Next we come to Peckham Farm, used by Mr Steven Sharp, and owned by Mr James Knight. This was an old farm house and was restored by old Mr J Knight, formerly of Boy Court, who lived there till he died. After him, his son James Knight. There was one sister (or daughter) the present Mrs Hennessy of Dover. Mr Knight also used the old house and farm, Ovenden, a very old ancient house, but I dont remember only the people living there.

Now I come back to Peckham Cottages, these were built by Mr James Knight and on the same site there was a small old thatched cottage used for the workmen at Peckham Farm. Mr Stephen Weller lived here.

We now go over to Boy Court, the home of Mr George Knight, a very ancient house with a spiral staircase up to the attic which was used in olden times for dancing and festivals. Before George Knight, his father, George Knight and before him old Mr James Knight. There used to be a Manor Pound here for stray cattle.

Now we go to the next farm - Mr Sharp - an old house and buildings. Here lived old William Williams, late of Little Tong Farm. After him came old Stephen Smith who lived here until his death - brought up a large family who are at present near - Stephen, William, George, Jack and several daughters.

Now the next was the property of Mr Stringer of Knole Hill and was used by a Mr Boorman and after by Mr Upton. Then Eli Upton, Miss J Sharp, then a Mr Chantler. The two cottages in the meadow were built by Mr Stringer. There is a high road past here leading up through Parson’s Wood, partly paved, out to Crumps Lane, but has not been open for many years.

Now we come back to Jubilee Hall, the home of Mr Wally Tassell. This was the property of Mr Stringer of Knole Hill, and was used by Mr George Duddy, son of Mr Duddy of Church Farm, who lived here till his death, and after him his son, George and his mother and family, but finally the all left Ulcombe, and Mr Walter Tassell hired the farm, later buying from Mr Stringer. The two cottages were built by Mr Stringer.

We must remember Little Ulcombe along the East Sutton Road. There is a slip of land near Bell House about 60 yards wide, with two old cottages on it, and running down into Headcorn parish near Little Tong. I never knew the history of it or why it belonged to Ulcombe.

Now we come back to the boarded cottages of Mr Jameson. These formerly belong to Mr George Goodwin of Leeds. These were built on waste ground - just a lean-to house, and it was built up at the back and made bedrooms, and made four small cottages by Mr Goodwin. There were after sold to Mr Walter Tassell and then to Mr Jameson. Behind these were allotments let to the work people who spent many hours here after their work on the farms, but men wont do any garden work now.

Now we go across the field opposite. There was a very old house and farm building which are now pulled down. This farm was let to Mr Williams and work people lived in the house. It was the property of Sir Edmund Filmer who bought it, and grandfather said his father and mother lived there.

I was told that a son of one of the people was a soldier and he deserted and hid in the old attic and was looked after by his mother. He never owned the farm or worked it, but his mother hired a man named Slater who ruined her and she came to sell it.


  1. Now the Provender.  Previously the Carpenter’s Arms

  2. Baker Farm, a large gaunt house on the left from Pye Corner was demolished for the present bungalow 
  and riding establishment

  3. Now The Elms

  4. In the 1930’s the Butchers Shop was the end house (Glenville) before the modern house ‘Hughdon’

  5. ‘The Elms’ row of cottages

  6. Now ‘Wayoon’.  The Carpenter’s shop was thatched till the early 1930’s

  7. The Gables Meadow.  When the grass is cropped the outline of the circular mill can be plainly seen

  8. His gravestone is in the churchyard below the East window of the Church

  9. Was this an Anchorite Cell, and over the years the name mis-pronounced

  10. This is the lower garden, adjoining the road.  It is said that the road originally rang along the present 
  Ulcombe place drive and out by the letter box.

  11. The Inn is thought to have been in the area of the brick wall boundary of Glebe House garden.  
  Maybe the existing stables (now used as garages) were part of the Inn.

  12. The old farm house was demolised by a “doodle-bug” during the 1939/45 war.

  13. “Barlings Gift” was distributed in the Church on the first Thursday in October.  The “Gift” was 
  formerly red flannel but latterly cash, and the Rector was paid to preach a sermon.

  14. Now “Roselands”

  15. Now Sparrow Hall


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Ulcombe Memories
Created by Maureen Rawson