The Old Parish of Nonington

A small place in East Kent history

Month: January 2013

Colonels Francis and Robert Hammond-updated biographies

The 1555 purchase by John Hammond began an ownership of the St. Alban’s estate by the Hammond family which continued until the late 1930’s, during which time the family continued to acquire additional land and property in Nonington and in neighbouring parishes.  By the time the St. Alban’s Court estate was sold off in 1938 it amounted to just over 1,000 acres in Nonington and Chillenden parishes.

John Hammond was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward, and he in turn by his eldest son, William, who was knighted by King James I in 1608, the same year as his eldest son, Anthony, was born. When Sir William Hammond died in October of 1615 Anthony Hammond was a minor and the family property and land was held in wardship until 1633 when Anthony came into possession in his own right.

Two of Sir William’s younger brothers had become adventurers and notable soldiers. Francis, born in 1584 and Robert, born in 1587,  both joined Sir Walter Raleigh, who held them both in high regard, in his second South American expedition to search for the fabled city of Eldorado which Raleigh believed to be in Guyana. However, the quest failed and, whilst Raleigh was suffering from fever, men under his command ransacked a Spanish outpost which outraged the Spanish authorities. Consequently Raleigh was arrested on his return to England and was beheaded in 1618 to appease the Spanish. The brother do not appear to have suffered any punishment for taking part in the expedition but at least one of them may have thought it wise to enter military service on the Continent.


Colonel Francis Hammond. The portrait hangs in the old Beaney Institute, now the Canterbury Royal Museum and Art Gallery.

 Francis served in the “German Wars”, the bloody Thirty Years War of 1618-48 fought in central Europe largely between the Catholic southern and Protestant northern states of the Holy Roman Empire which eventually encompassed most of the states of Europe and caused the deaths of millions of people and laid waste to entire regions. During his service, presumably on the Protestant side and possibly with renowned cavalry commander Prince Rupert of the Rhine later commanded the Royalist cavalry for his uncle King Charles I during the English Civil War. During his German service Francis Hammond reputedly fought fourteen single-handed combats.

Colonel Francis Hammond was obviously a fearless man who enjoyed fighting and although well advanced in years, he was in his late fifties, took part in the English Civil War. During the early part of the Civil War Francis fought for the King and commanded a regiment under the command of the Earl of Northumberland in the Scottish Expedition of 1640 and later led the Forlorn Hope at the Battle of Edgehill in Warwickshire on Sunday, 23rd October, 1642. The Forlorn Hope were the first troops to attack an enemy position and subsequently had only a slight chance of surviving an action. Francis also joined his brother and nephew in the East Kent Royalist’s rebellion of 1647-48.

He survived the Civil War and was said to have ended his days quietly living the life of a country gentleman at Nonington and adding to the buildings there.

Colonel Robert Hammond. The portrait hangs in the old Beaney Institute, now the Canterbury Royal Museum and Art Gallery.

Colonel Robert Hammond. The portrait hangs in the old Beaney Institute, now the Canterbury Royal Museum and Art Gallery.

 Robert Hammond, Francis’s younger brother, was christened 23rd June, 1587, at St. Mary’s Church, Nonington.  What he did after his return from Raleigh’s failed expedition until 1648 is unknown, there is no evidence so far come to light of his having served in the Thirty Years War.

Robert took part of the 1648 Kentish revolt, which had its origins in part in the Canterbury riots of Christmas Day,1647, caused when the Puritan Mayor and officials of Canterbury tried to forbid traditional Christmas celebrations. The people of Kent had petitioned Parliament in May of 1648 and when their petition was rejected they rose up in revolt in support of the King and the Royalist Commissioners for Kent commissioned Robert to raise a Royalist force. Colonel Robert Hammond raised a body of foot soldiers  and assembled on Barham Downs with 300 well equipped and turned out foot soldiers , also present was Colonel Robert Hatton with 60 horse troopers. After some initial success campaigning in the East Kent area against the Parliaments supporters Colonel Hammond’s forces increased to around 1,000 men and he further campaigned throughout Kent and beyond in the Royalist cause.

The small coastal defence castles Sandown, Deal, and Walmer, originally built by Henry VIII as defence against French invasion, at were quickly captured by the East Kent rebels and some ships belonging to the English fleet lying in the Downs off the coast of Deal and Walmer also joined the rebellion.  Anthony Hammond of St. Alban’s Court in Nonington, Colonel Robert Hammond’s nephew and a magistrate, and Captain Bargrave went to Deal to negotiate with the fleet.

Dover Castle remained in the hands of the Parliamentarians and to remedy this situation Sir Richard Hardres of Hardres Court near Canterbury, one of the rebellion’s leaders, gathered some 2,000 men and went to lay siege to castle. The East Kent Royalists quickly seized the castle’s Mote Bulwark where they found stores of ammunition which they used to bombard the castle. One of the Hammond brothers, possibly Francis as Robert was in charge of 300 foot soldiers, was said to have commanded the artillery that fired 500 cannon balls at Dover Castle which, despite this bombardment, withstood the siege.

Parliament sent troops of the New Model Army under the command of Lord Rich and Colonel Birkhamstead to recapture Sandown, Deal and Walmer castles, and raise the siege at Dover.  Colonel Birhamstead’s troops relieved Dover Castle on the 30th May whilst Lord Rich retook the three smaller ones.

Dover Castle then remained in Parliamentary hands until the Restoration of the Monarchy in May,1660, when, ironically, Charles II landed at Dover en route from the Continent to London to reclaim the Crown.

Later that year Colonel Robert Hammond took part in the defence of Colchester which was besieged by Parliamentarian forces from July, 1648, until the defeat of Royalist forces at the Battle of Preston (17th-19th August, 1648) meant there was no hope of relief for the besieged garrison and they accordingly laid down their arms on the morning of 28th August, 1648. The terms of surrender stated that “the Lords and Gentlemen (the officers) were all prisoners of mercy”, and that the common soldiers were to be disarmed and given passes to allow them to return home after first swearing an oath not to take up arms against Parliament again. The people of Colchester paid £.14,000 in cash to protect the town from being pillaged by the victorious Parliamentarian forces. Within a year or so Robert broke any parole given to obtain his release as a “prisoner of mercy”  when he took up duties as the Royalist governor of the castle at Gowran in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland. Cromwell began a campaign in Ireland against Royalist forces in the autumn of 1649 and on 19th March, 1650, Gowran was surrounded by Cromwell’s troops. Robert Hammond refused Cromwell’s generous terms of surrender which forced Cromwell to deploy his artillery and begin a siege. When the castle walls were breached on 21st March, 1650, Colonel Hammond asked for a treaty, which Cromwell refused to give the Colonel. However, Cromwell did offer the ordinary soldiers quarter for their lives which they promptly accepted and the officers were subsequently handed over to the Parliamentary forces. Cromwell ordered the summary execution by firing squad of all but one of the officers, this one exception was a priest captured in the castle who had been chaplain to the Roman Catholic members of the garrison-and he was hanged!

Colonel Robert Hammond of St. Alban’s Court should not be confused with his name sake Colonel Robert Hammond (1621– 24 October 1654), best known for acting as Charles I gaoler at Carisbrooke Castle from 13 November 1647 to 29 November 1648, for which service Parliament voted him a pension. He served an officer in Cromwell’s New Model Army during the early part of the Civil War  and sat in the House of Commons in 1654.

Estretling, now Old Court

A few hundred yards further east of Ratling Court is the apparent site of Estretling manor house, the present Old Court Farm. There are still records of the manorial courts that were held into the 19th.  The windows of the present Old Court farmhouse and some brick work with blue headers indicate a date of construction of about 1700, but there are indications of much earlier foundations. Some older flint ground walls are visible and the south end has the lower part of a wide fireplace and chimney built of wide jointed two inch brickwork which appears to date from around 1600 or so. Nearby is a small barn which is believed to be the oldest of the farm buildings and is built in a similar style and materials to the fire place and chimney.

In May, 1196, Thomas de Dene and his brother Harlewin de Dene, sold a suling and half of land (approximately 300-320 acres) with their “appurtenances” at Estretling to Thomas de Godwinstone and his heir, for six marks (£.4.00) and eighteen acres and a virgate of land at Uikham (possibly Wickham, a small manor in the Manor of Wingham near Woolege Green). He also had to make a yearly payment of  4d. to the Dene family on the Feast of St. Michael (Michaelmass, 29th September).
A mark was worth two thirds of a pound, or 13 shilling and fourpence (67 pence).

A later quit claim dated 6th October 1213 records that: “Alexander Fitz Ralph and John le Brade for four marks and forty pence (£.2 15s & 4d, now £.2.77) quit claim to Master Theobald, and John, Richard and Michael, his brothers, all rights in two hundred acres in Estriteling “.

In 1305 the executors of John de Estrateling petitioned Parliament claiming £132.00 due him for the return of horses used by John de Ratling in the King’s service in Gascony.

The history of Old Court from the 14th to the early 19th centuries is well described in The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, volume IX, by William Hasted, published in 1800, although some of the detail varies slightly from other records.
“OLD-COURT is an estate in this parish, situated about a mile northward from the church, which was antiently the property of the family of Goodneston, who took their name from their possession and residence in that parish (1196), and it continued in an uninterrupted succession in this family, of whom there is frequent mention in private evidences, which, though without date, appear to be made in the reigns of king Henry III (1216-1272)  and king Edward I (1272-1307) till at length Edith, daughter and heir of William Goodnestone, carried it in marriage to Vincent Engeham, whose son Thomas Engeham, esq. of Goodneston, by his will in 1558, gave it, together with the lands in Nonington, late Mr. Sidley’s and John Bewe’s, to his second son Edward, whose son William Engeham, gent. passed it away in queen Elizabeth’s reign to Thomas Wilde, esq. descended from an antient family of that name in Chester, and his son Sir John Wilde, of St. Martin’s hill, near Canterbury, in the next reign of James I. alienated it to Thomas Marsh, gent. of Brandred, in Acrise, whose descendant John Marsh resided here till the year 1665, when he removed to Nethersole, in Wimlingwold (Womenswold). Since which it has continued, in like manner as that seat, down to his descendant John Marsh, esq. now of Chichester, in Sussex, the present owner of it”.

Old Court Farm came into the possession of the Hammond family of St. Alban’s Court at some time before 1816 when it was recorded on estate documents as extending to 496 acres, the largest farm owned by the Hammonds.  William Osmund Hammond was listed as the owner when the 1839 tithe map apportionment was drawn up, and was sold at auction with other parts of the Hammond estate in 1938.

The Quadryng family of Fredville

John de Say, fourth and last Baron Say, died in 1382 aged about 12 years old  without a male heir, subsequently for the next two decades the manor, as part of the Barony of de Say, passed by a complicated chain of inheritance to various surviving sisters of the third baron and their heirs. The manor had various occupiers until 1401 when the manor of Fredeuyle, as Fredvill’ was then known, was sold by Thomas Cherlton’, also Charlton, to John Quadryng’, a wealthy mercer of the City of London. It remained in the Quadryng, also Quadrings, family’s possession for much of the 15th century with the family residing at Fredville and in London.

In the mid-1440’s Richard Quadryng, a London draper and the occupier of Fredeuyle, raised a mortgage of £.200 against land and property held in Nonyngton  which was the subject of various legal proceedings and transfers in 1447.  A few years later in 1456 Richard Quadrynge, Robert Euyngham and Robert Sandeforde demised  land & tenements in Chislet and Lympe to John de St. Nicholas of Ash, possibly to ease persisting financial problems.

The family also held other land in and around Nonington, the 1469 survey of the manor of Wingham records the heirs of Richard Quadryng  holding an unspecified amount of land in South Nonington and about 135 acres in North Nonington.

The Fredville Quadryng’s also held over 400 acres of land in the Faversham area which was roughly mid-way between London and Fredville and would have been used for overnight accommodation on the journey between their two principle residences. In May, 1483, Thomas Quadring’ was one of the representatives of the city of London who greeted Edward V at Harnsey Park, now Hornsey Park in present Harringay. This boy king, one of the unfortunate ” Princes in the Tower”, only reigned from April to June, 1483, before being deposed, and probably later murdered, by his uncle, Richard III.

England at this time was in the last throes of the Wars of the Roses and Richard III was struggling to bring the country under his control. In 1484 there was a “grant in tail male” to William Malyverer, esq., “for services against the rebels” which included “Hertang (Hartanger), and Paratt’s landis, (both) in the parish of Berston (Barfreston);  also a windmill called Berston Mylle; (Barfreston mill), lands in the lordship of Freydefeld (Fredvill) ; the manor of Eythorne, and a rent therein; lands called Mottes in the parish of Nonyngton (in Frogham, the present Frogham Farm)“.

Malyverer was one of six knights from King Richard III’s estates in the North of England brought down to Kent to restore order after a minor rebellion in the county against the King , and these knights were well rewarded with land and property confiscated from the rebels.

Thomas Quadring’ had crossed swords with Malyverer in October, 1483 when he and Joan Langley, the widow of William Langley who had married William Malyverer, possibly for either political reasons or under duress, were given “the warde & marriage of John Langley son & heire of the said William; with the keeping of alle Lordshipds ect”.  One of the manors inherited by John Langley was the nearby manor of Knolton.

Malyverer had previously seized the Kent lands of his wife’s late husband despite their having been granted together with the custody of John Langley’ to Richard Guildford (Guldeford) of Rolvenden, Kent. Guildford was one of the leaders of the Kent rebellion against Richard III and subsequently had his estates confiscated by the King. The manor of Hertang (Hartanger) awarded to Malyverer in 1484 was one of the confiscated manors. Such was his powers and authority at that time that Malyverer retained custody of the late William Langley’s heir and his Kent holdings in spite of the royal grant awarding custody to Joan Langley and Thomas Quadring.

Thomas Quadring must have died shortly after these encounters with Malyverer as his only daughter Joane, who was sole heiress to Thomas and  his late wife, Anne, who had been a wealthy heiress in her own right, conveyed her property to her husband, Richard Dryland and in 1483 or 1484 Richard Dryland alienated, or sold, “the manors of Fredeuyle and Beauchamp’ and 2 messuages, 405 acres of land, 3 acres of wood and 76 shillings and 4 pence of rent and a rent of 8 cocks, 30 hens and 1 pair of gloves in Nonyngton’ and Godneston’ “ to John Nethersole. In turn John Nethersole by feet of fines in 1485 conveyed  Fredeuyle and Beauchamps,  to William Boys of Bonnington. Boys appears to have done well at this time as he also gained possession of other land locally,  including the Manor of Shebbertswell (Shepherdswell) which had also previously belonged to the rebellious Richard Guildford.

Aylesham-updated 12.03.2013

Aylesham :1367 Elisham; 1405 Eylsham; 1418 Aylsham; 1445 Haylesham; 1604 Aylesham.

The name is said to derive from O.E. Aegeles ham; Aegel’s homestead. Aylesham now refers to the actual mining village, but before the village was built there were references to Aylesham, or variations thereof, corner, wood and farm.

Aylesham was part of the manor of Ackholt, but nothing is really known of its origins.  The earliest presently known reference to Aylesham is in a 1367 grant from “Thomas Peny of Welle (possibly connected to the present Well Wood in Womenswold parish, a half mile or so across the fields to the south) to Salomon Oxene (of Oxenden, a half a mile to the east) of 20s being the rent of a wood ect. at Elisham juxte Crudeswode (next to Curleswood Park, which is now almost covered by the present village of Aylesham, its boundary with Elisham probably followed the present Spinney Lane) in Welle”.  This was the wood recorded as Aylesham Wood on 19th century maps.


Aylesham Wood in the 1870′s. It directly bordered onto Curleswood Park, now largely covered by Aylesham village and industrial estate. The open ground between the wood and the junction of Spinney Lane and the B2046 was once poor quality agricultural land called Poor Start and Little Profit. It’s now over grown and has become part of the original Aylesham Wood.

Aylesham Wood in the 1870′s. It directly bordered onto Curleswood Park, now largely covered by Aylesham village and industrial estate. The open ground between the wood and the junction of Spinney Lane and the B2046 was once poor quality agricultural land called Poor Start and Little Profit. It’s now over grown and has become part of the original Aylesham Wood.

A few years later in 1418 a grant was made  by Henry Danyel of Sellynge (Selling, near Faversham), to John Fyneux, Thomas Marchaunt and John  Tooks of “lands in Aylsham including Croddyswood (Curleswood)”, and in 1445 a release was made by John Monyn and John Holte to Richard Sandys , Esq., and John Greneford “of the Manor of Acholt, with lands ect., at Haylesham  Nonyngton, and Wemynlyngs Welde (Womenswold) near Wingham”.This woodland environment appears to be confirmed in 1405 when a grant from “Matilda, widow of John Twytham, to Henry Danyel, of five pods of wood in a wood called Eylsham  abutting on the park called Cuddeswode (Curleswood)”.
A pod was probably equivalent to a cant, which is a block of woodland coppiced (harvested) on a regular basis. Woodland was economically very important in medieval Kent as it provided everything from building materials to fuel for cooking and industry.

Some 160 years later in 1604 “John Swanton of Aylesham [in Nonington], yeoman”, was elected as the Nonington parish constable, an important position in the community as he would have been responsible for upholding the law and apprehending lawbreakers within the parish and was answerable to the local magistrates. His description of “yeoman”  and his election as constable indicates he was a well-to-do farmer, either owning at least some of his own land,  or renting a fairly substantial farm. Parish constables were eventually replaced by the fore runner of the modern police in the early 1800’s.

The Aylesham Wood, now often referrred to as Spinney Wood, and Ackholt area just prior to the building of Aylesham village in the late 1920′s.

The Aylesham Wood, now called Spinney Wood, and Ackholt area just prior to the building of Aylesham village in the late 1920′s. Comparison with the 1870’s map shows how the wood had been allowed to spread out to the B2046 Wingham Road and also take over Poor Start and Little Profit to form the present Aylesham Wood.

The farm or small-holding may have been located at the southern end of the present Ackholt Wood. The 1839 Nonington parish tithe map has an Ackholt Wood House and some three and a half acres of land at the southern end of Ackholt Wood listed as belonging to Sir Brook William Bridges and occupied by William Gilham, but there is no record of the house or land on the 1859 parish tithe map. The location is now overgrown, but still discernible as the trees there are not as high or as mature as the rest of the wood.

The Aylesham Wood and Ackholt area in the 1940's after the begining of the building of Aylesham by Dorman and Long to house workers at the nearby Snowdown Colliery.

The Aylesham Wood and Ackholt area in the 1940’s after the begining of the building of Aylesham by Dorman and Long to house workers at the nearby Snowdown Colliery.

As a village, Aylesham, was established in 1926, having been designed by Dorman and Long. The village was initially drafted to provide housing for the newly sunk coal mine, located at nearby Snowdown Colliery. Miners from all parts of the UK (notably South Wales, Scotland and the Northeast) seeking better wages and safer conditions, travelled to the South East to work at Snowdown Colliery.

Nonington and the railways


The London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR)

The Canterbury to Dover extension of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) was finally opened to traffic on 22nd. July, 1861 after almost a decade of planning. At least two railway companies, the South Eastern Railway (SER) and the East Kent Railway (EKR) which transformed into the LCDR during construction, had initially been involved in planning the construction the line with the War Office expressing an interest for strategic military purposes, but this interest did not extend to the Government investing any money. Several schemes using different routes were put forward at various times prior to the EKR  eventually beginning construction  in 1857. The work initially progressed slowly, in May 1859 only 250 men were employed on the whole length of the new line, which lead to criticism of the contractor, T. R. Crampton, and in the following September Joseph Cubbit, the chief engineer, felt it necessary to report his dissatisfaction with Crampton to the board of directors.

Adisham Station, circa 1916, just before Snowdown Halt was built.

Adisham Station, circa 1916, just before Snowdown Halt was built.

Shepherds Well Station,the tunnel taking the track to Dover is on the right

Shepherds Well Station,the tunnel taking the track to Dover is on the righ








During the line’s construction decisions had to be made regarding the siting of stations. A request had been made for a station at Adisham by  November 1858, and in February, 1859,  the board of directors received a deputation from the parishes of Nonington and Sibertswold (Shepherdswell) asking for the building of stations at Adisham and Butter Street, Sibertswold, to which the directors agreed providing the land for the stations was given free of charge with an additional £.500. to cover the costs. Similar conditions also applied for the provision of a goods only station at Bekesbourne, which the directors had initially decided in December, 1858, was not warranted, and which by November, 1859,  they had decided to make into a proper station.

Nonington Parish Vestry met on  10th March, 1859 at “The Royal Oak”  and decided “after notice duly given to consider a recommendation of Mr. Thurston as to insertion of the line of Railway in the new Parish map” to include the railway line on the recently commissioned parish tithe map, for which the survey cost  £ 156 19/- 9d., for the rating of property for the Poor Law rates. The map accurately recorded the railway’s route and its acreage allowing for the calculation of the rates payable.

Several bridges were built in the parish of Nonington to carry existing roads across the deep railway cuttings. A bridge was built on either side of Soles Court Farm, West Court and Ruberry Bridges, with another next to the present station at Snowdown, two more in the present village of Aylesham on what was then Curleswood Park Farm, and another at what was then the extreme western edge of the parish to carry what is now the B2046 across the line close to Adisham station.  A single arch viaduct was built at Acol to carry the railway over the then Womenswold to Nonington road, now a bridle way, and the expense involved in its construction gives some idea of this road’s importance at the time.

The construction of West Court Bridge also led to a slight re-routing of Long Lane, also known as The Roman Road, which is part of the North Downs Way, as the bridge was sited on a cross-roads formed by Long Lane and the West Court road and slightly angled to allow both roads to cross with each requiring only a slight “S” shaped detour.

Typical railway "navvies" of the 1860's.

Typical railway “navvies” of the 1860’s.

A navy hut, built from whatever came to hand. Employers had no legal responsibility to provide accomadation until the end of the 19th centuryaccomodation

A navy hut, built from whatever came to hand.








The arrival of the railway had quite an social effect on the parishes through which it  passed.  Many of the experienced “navvies” employed to build it came from all over the British Isles, especially Ireland, which was at this time suffering from the effects of the Great Famine which resulted in a large number leaving Ireland for other parts of Britain in search of employment, and many more migrating to North America and Australia in search of a new life.

The interior of a "navvies" hut

The interior of a “navvies” hut

Navvies were not always welcomed by the community in general as they had  a reputation for hard drinking and violent behaviour which was not always justified.Usually single men who often lived under atrocious conditions in temporary accommodation that they built for themselves alongside the railway they were constructing, “navvies” worked hard and played hard and their arrival must have been welcome by alehouse and beer shop proprietors. Married men with families often lived under the same conditions with their children receiving little or now education (see 1861 cencus below).
Employers had no responsibility to provide accommodation for their “navvies” until the 1890’s, and many modern day “traveller” families are descended from these itinerant labourers who built the canals and railways in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the late 1850’s Walter Webb, my paternal great-great grand-father, had moved from High Halden, where he had been a butcher and grazier,  to Newington-next-Sittingbourne to work initially as a labourer on the LCDR railway (1861 census) and later becoming a plate-layer (1871 census). The building of the LCGR helped many seasonally employed agricultural labourers to find regular employment with better rates of pay.

The 1861 census returns for Nonington record some railway workers as lodging in private houses at Ratling and at “The Phoenix” public house and the Round House at Frogham,  all close to the railways route, whilst other “navvies” and their families appear to have lived in a “shanty town” on West Court Downs.  Some Nonington parishioners were listed in 1861 as labourers on the railway, and later census returns show Nonington residents as railway employees such as clerks and maintenance workers.

The following is an extract from the 1861 cencus listing railway workers and their families in Nonington.

The Round House, ,Frogham. (See Nonington windmills).

GILHAM     George       Head         Marr  68     Ag Labourer        Nonington

GILHAM     Frances      Wife  Marr  68     Labourers wife         Nonington

GILHAM     Sarah Ann Niece Single        9       Scholar         Nonington

JACKSON George       Lodger       Single        47     Railway Labourer    Blandford Dorset

SEAL         William       Lodger       Single        20     Railway Labourer    Northampton

BETTRIDGE       William       Lodger       Single        55         Ag Labourer        Southampton

MILES       James        Lodger       Single        24     Railway Labourer    Northampton

West Court Downs (temporary accommodation).

COLLARD William       Head Marr  34         Railway Labourer Nonington

COLLARD Eliza  Wife  Marr  30     Labourers wife     Weal, Essex

COLLARD Emily Dau   Single        7       Scholar         Coventry, Warwick

COLLARD William       Son   Single        4       Scholar         Milton, Kent

COLLARD Harriet        Dau   Single        11     Scholar         Hitchen, Herts

COLLARD Susannah  Dau   Single        4       Scholar         Milton, Kent

COLLARD Maria Dau   Single        1                Nonington

BAKER      James        Lodger       Single        33     Railway Labourer    Patcham, Sussex

MATCHETT        Francis       Head Marr  46     Railway Labourer    Stickney, Lincoln

MATCHETT        Elizabeth    Wife  Marr  43     Labourers wife   Bugbrook, Northants

DAY  Henry         Head Marr  30     Railway Labourer City of Gloucester

GOODALL George       Head Wid   50     Railway Labourer         Wolburton, Bucks

GOODALL Charles      Son   Single        9       Scholar         Wolburton, Bucks

The Phoenix Inn (see Nonington alehouses)  WEBB       George         Head Marr  54     Innkeeper   Nettlestead, Kent

WEBB       Sarah         Wife  Marr  42     Innkeepers wife         Nonington

CRITTENDEN     Harriet        Sister in law        Single         55     Assistant shepherd      Nonington

SMITH       Joseph       Lodger       Single        40     Railway Labourer    Whitechurch Dorset

DICKINSON        William       Lodger       Single        44         Railway Labourer Trumpington Cambs

MOODY     William       Lodger       Single        35     Railway Labourer    North Stoneham Hants

BANKS      Robert        Lodger       Single        35     Railway Labourer    RyeSussex

GODDEN   William       Lodger       Single        40     Railway Labourer    Saltwood Kent

BROWN    Joseph       Lodger       Single        27     Railway Labourer    Kettering Northamptonshire

CLARK      William       Lodger       Single        45     Railway Labourer    Newport Pagnell Bucks

MOOR       Godfrey      Lodger       Single        32     Railway Labourer    Uckfield Sussex

MONDAY   William       Lodger       Marr  36     Railway Labourer    Stansted Deal Hants

The railway was a mixed blessing to the inhabitants of Nonington and the surrounding parishes. Some, especially land-owners and farmers, would have benefited as the railways made for easier and cheaper movement of their produce and livestock to a wider market offering better prices, whilst other small local businesses  such as tailors, shoemakers and black-smiths, would now have to compete with more readily available and cheaper mass produced clothing, foot wear and metal goods and tools.

When the railway was built, through Nonington there was no station built especially for the people of the parish., they had to travel to either Adisham or Shepherdswell, with Adisham the best option for the majority of them, In January 1874  Nonington Parish Vestry discussed the possibility of the building of a more direct road from NoningtonChurch to Adisham Station via Old Court Hill and Ratling. However, this scheme was abandoned when the compensation payable to the land-owners on the proposed route was estimated to exceed £1000, making the proposed road’s construction much too expensive. The then  Archbishop of Canterbury, who owned Curleswood Park Farm, demanded the highest rate of compensation.

The population of the Nonington and other East Kent parishes declined as it was now easier and cheaper for local people to travel to escape from the grinding poverty of a seasonal rural economy in the grip of an extended agricultural recession, which lasted for the rest of the century and beyond, and move to regular and better paid employment in the growing towns of North Kent and further afield.
In 1861, the year the railway opened, the population of Nonington was 896, by 1901 it had dropped to 740, and only the opening of Snowdown colliery led to a recovery of the population of Nonington and Womenswold  as can be seen from the cencuses of 1911 and 1921. Snowdown and Nonington Halt was built in 1914  to make it easier for coal miners employed at the recently opened Snowdown Colliery to get to work, the majority of miners came from the Dover area and many walked to and from work at the colliery from Shepherdswell station.

After Snowdown Colliery was bought by Dorman, Long, the railway was used to help with the building of the mining village of Aylesham in the late 1920’s with a spur being built from the main line to bring in the huge quantities of building material needed to build dozens of modern new houses in the countryside. The building of the village led to an influx of hundreds miners and their families and Aylesham railway station was built in 1928 giving Nonington parish two stations for some twenty-five years or so until the parish was divided into the present day parishes of Nonington and Aylesham.









Snowdown and Nonington Halt viewed from underneath the  road bridge. Dover bound on the left, Canterbury to the left

Snowdown and Nonington Halt viewed from underneath the road bridge. Dover bound on the left, Canterbury to the left

Snowdown Colliery signal box, 1950's

Snowdown Colliery signal box, 1950’s








Until the mid-1970′s Snowdown and Nonington Halt station was manned and older long term residents of Nonington will remember the tiny ticket collectors hut perched at the top of the stairs leading down to the Dover platform where there was a large wood and corrugated iron shelter for passengers, whilst the Canterbury side had a smaller shelter made from of the same materials.

 The East Kent Light Railway.

Knolton Halt just before closure, looking towards Shepherdswell,the station master house is of to the left

Knolton Halt just before closure, looking towards Shepherdswell,the station master house is of to the left

Knolton Halt looking towards Eastry

Knolton Halt looking towards Eastry








Some Nonington parish inhabitants has access to another railway line.  Literally a few yards outside of the extreme eastern parish boundary out beyond Kittington was Knolton Station, a stop on the single track East Kent Light Railway which ran from Shepherdswell Station to Eastry  and then Wingham, with another line running from Eastry to Richborough.

Knolton station opened on 16th. October, 1916 and closed on 30th October, 1948, and the platform was demolished and the track taken up in 1954 but the station masters house is still there, and still lived in, on the right at the top of the hill.

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