In the 1830′s Nonington was served by a weekly service to London via the port of Sandwich allowing residents, especially the shop keepers, to have goods brought in from outside of East Kent. I only became aware of this service when I was recently fortunate enough to find a copy of a hand-bill for “The first hoy for Sandwich” at a local boot-fair. The service departed every Saturday from Chester’s Quay, near the Tower of London and took in “goods and passengers for Sandwich, Walmer, Wingham, Eastry, Mongham, Goodnestone, Deal, Ash, Littlebourn, Tilmanstone, Nonnington, Eythorn”. Nonington was therefore in much closer contact with the capital than was previously thought and those residents who wished, and could afford too, could keep up with the latest news and fashions. This may explain in part why so many minor gentry and wealthy merchants lived in East Kent.
This service possibly ran until the London, Chatham and Dover Railway came through Nonington parish in 1861 which subsequently meant large quantities of goods destined for Nonington residents could be more easily and cheaply delivered to nearby Adisham station.
A hoy was a small sloop-rigged coasting ship or heavy barge which carried goods and occasional passengers. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, English hoys plied a trade between London and the north Kent coast that enabled middle class Londoners to escape the city for the more rural air of Margate.
William Stokes appears to have been the master of the Fortune circa 1835, and earlier, as the ship appears on the Ramsgate register for that year registered as coal/coasting vessel. Barber and Smith, warfingers, are in Kent’s registry of 1823 at the London address shown.
The coast of Kent was busy with hoys which often loaded and unloaded on the beach if there was no quay, sometimes small boats ran out to meet the ships at anchor. Many hoys served the markets in London and merchants with access to the service these vessels provided grew rich as the demand for goods increased.