The Old Parish of Nonington

A small place in East Kent history

Month: November 2013

Nonington and The Great War-plans for evacuation in the event of a German invasion

As the outbreak of armed conflict between the British Empire and the German Empire became more certain plans were made to evacuate the civilian population of Kent in the event of invasion. The arrangements for the evacuation of Nonington’s inhabitants have recently come to light, and appear to have made shortly before the outbreak of The Great War in August of 1914. Parish council members appear to have made up the committee making and administering the arrangements.
H.W. Plumptre, the chairman of  the committee, had served as an officer in the 5th East Kent Rifle Volunteers having joined as a 2nd lieutenant in 1887 he  had been commissioned  Lieutenant in 1889 and Captain in 1893 before resigning his commission in 1896.

Nonington-WW1-emergency-reg

Plans for the evacuation of the inhabitants of Nonington in the event of a German invasion after the beginning of the The Great War. Aubrey Sutton archive.

Nonington-WW1-evacuation transport

The transport arrangements to evacuate the inhabitants of the various hamlets in the old parish of Nonington. Aubrey Sutton archive.

 

 

 

The Napoleonic Wars:-Nonington’s 1804 evacuation plan

In 1803 Napoleon began planning an invasion of England and began to gather and train a new army in camps on the north French coast which eventually amounted to some 200,000 men supported by over 2,000 ships of various types and sizes. Other invasion methods were considered, including a fleet of troop-carrying balloons and a tunnel under the English Channel, but invasion plans were eventually shelved in 1805 when Napoleon’s naval forces failed to gain control of the Channel and its approaches after defeats at Cape Finisterre and Trafalgar.

The threat of invasion was for a time taken very seriously by the British government and the south-coast of England was heavily fortified as a precaution. Plans were also made for the evacuation of civilians in the event of a French invasion, a copy of the plans for the evacuation of Nonington’s inhabitants has recently come to light.

1804-invasion-preparation

The 1804 evacuation plans to be implemented in the event of a French invasion. From the Aubrey Sutton archives.

John Pemberton Plumptre and Jane Austen’s niece

Fanny Knight, a niece of Jane Austen's. A water-colour by Cassandra Austen, Jane's sister

Fanny Knight, a water-colour by Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister

During the latter part of 1814 Jane’s niece Fanny Knight, the daughter of her brother Edward, wrote to Jane asking her advise as to whether she should marry J.P.P., who was described as  gentlemanly and wise; but also religious and too serious. Jane’s advise regarding his firm religious beliefs was  ”don’t be frightened by the idea of his acting more strictly up to the precepts of the New Testament than others” but she further counseled “ Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection; and if his deficiencies of Manner &c &c strike you more than all his good qualities, if you continue to think strongly of them, give him up at once”.

J.P.P. married Catherine Methuen in 1818 and in 1820 Fanny  married Sir Edward Knatchbull, a widower some years older than herself,  and they went on to have nine children. In 1833 J.P.P. was elected to Parliament as one of the two M.P.’s for Eastern Kent, the other M.P was Sir Edward Knatchbull!

The Redd Lyon at Frogham-renamed The Phoenix in 1833

1833-Frogham-Red-Lion-dinneIn 1833, during John Hopper’s tenure as land-lord, “The Red Lion” was renamed “The Phoenix”. In December of 1832 John Pemberton Plumptre of Fredville had been elected to Parliament as one of the two Eastern Kent M.P’s., the other being Sir Edward Knatchbull, Bt. and a celebration dinner was held at “The Red Lion” on February 4th, 1833. The election success may have been the reason for the ale-house being renamed “The Phoenix” as the Plumptre coat of arms had a phoenix crest.
J.P. Plumptre served as an M.P. from December 1832 until January, 1852.

 

 

Recently come to light photographs of:Holt Street

Recently I have been fortunate enough to have had access to the archive of the late Aubrey Sutton, a Nonington born man with an interest in local history whose father harvested the last crop to be grown on the site of Snowdown Colliery. The archive contains hundred of slides, photographs and news-paper cuttings concerning Nonington and extends back into the late 19th century. I hope to include many of the items from the archive into both new and existing articles on this site. Here are just some of the pictures from the archive:-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recently come to light photographs of: the Fredville Houses and the hamlet of Frogham

Recently I have been fortunate enough to have had access to the archive of the late Aubrey Sutton, a Nonington born man with an interest in local history whose father harvested the last crop to be grown on the site of Snowdown Colliery. The archive contains hundred of slides, photographs and news-paper cuttings concerning Nonington and extends back into the late 19th century. I hope to include many of the items from the archive into both new and existing articles on this site. Here are just some of the pictures from the archive:-

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Molly and Tommy Smith-cave dwellers

The Kentish Gazette of the 30th November, 1886,  reported:
“The death has occurred at the Eastry Union of ‘Molly’, who for half a century or more has lived in a cave at Womenswold. ‘Molly’ or Mary Anny Smith, as her real name was, was about 70 years old and lived with her son Tommy, who earns his living as a chimney sweep. Mrs. Smith was found ill on the road some weeks ago and was taken to the Eastry Union, where she has since died”.

Molly-&-Tommy-Smith-cropp

Molly & Tommy Smith.

The ‘cave’ Molly and Tommy lived in  is believed to have been behind the wall on the south side of the bend in the road from Woollege Village to Womenswold a hundred yards or so before the turning into Womenswold. This was the site of Nethersole House which once belonged to the Nethersole family and was demolished in the late 1700’s. The  ‘cave’  may have been connected with the house, possible a cellar, or the result of the excavation of chalk for making lime.

Molly may have had some family or well-wishers in Nonington as another (unfortunately unknown) local paper reported that she was buried at Nonington church (see below).  One well-wisher may have been the Reverend  Sargent, the vicar of Nonington and a man noted for his acts of charity to those he thought to be in need, who in addition to conducting the burial service may possibly have had Molly buried at his own expense to avoid her having to go into a pauper’s grave at the Eastry workhouse.

1887-Molly-Smith-obit

Little else appears to be known about this couple, and I would be very grateful for any more information.

 

 

The present parish of Nonington, where and why.

The present parish of Nonington, often spelt Nonnington, is to be found in East Kent some two miles or so to the north-east of the A2 approximately mid-way between Dover and Canterbury. Sandwich is some seven miles to the north-east and Deal is about ten miles or so to the east. The original parish of Nonington measured roughly three miles by three miles, some 4,000 acres in all, but was divided into the parishes of Nonington and Aylesham in 1951.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Return to top of page
%d bloggers like this: