From the Parish Vestry Minutes.
The following items are are to be found in the minutes of the Nonington Parish Vestry meetings which date back to the beginning of the 1700’s and are held in Canterbury Cathedral Archives. Parish vestries were the predecessors of parish councils. Nonington vestry meetings were originally held in the church vestry, hence the name, then moved to the more convivial venue of The White Horse, next to St. Mary’s Church, and after The White Horse closed in 1832 the meetings were held at The Royal Oak in The Drove, Lower Holt Street. 3rd June 1819.
An Act of Parliament of March 31, 1819 amended previous act concerning the administration of the Poor Law. This Vestry meeting empowered a committee of twelve prominent people to administer the Poor House in Church Street and appoint an over-seer. This committee met on alternate Thursdays at the White Horse commencing 3rd June 1819 at either ‘eleven of the clock in the fore-noon’ or at ‘six of the clock in the afternoon’. No excuse was accepted for a member to miss a meeting, the penalty was one shilling for missing a morning meeting, and sixpence for missing an evening one. when the Hawks Head, as the White Horse became in 1826, closed in early 1832 the meetings were held at the Royal Oak.
1st February 1822. Agreement to build six cottages for the Poor House.
21st February 1822. Thomas Clarinbould and wife, Harriet, appointed at £ 30 per annum to superintend the Poor House and instruct inmates in weaving.
25th March 1830. Received from John Plumptre Esq. the sum of £ 115.00 for the purpose of sending out some parishioners to North America (most probably Canada) . It was agreed to repay £ 15 yearly until the debt was repealed together with interest of £ 4 per annum on the same.
8th January 1836. Agreement to sell the premises attached to the old Poor House.
3rd November 1836. The Poor House buildings sold by Messrs. White and Gauldon.
1st November 1850. It was successfully resolved that the New Vicarage House (now Hatchetts at the top of Vicarage Lane) with land be rated to the Poor in the sum of £ 35.
1850. Mr. Pain installs a steam engine in his seed mill, his rates are increased from £ 5 to £ 10 per annum.
21st June 1852. Charles J. Plumptre, the Rural dean suggests the Church be re-pewed.
22nd June 1854. A meeting at the Royal Oak discusses the bad state of the Church bells.
10th March 1859. A meeting held at the Royal Oak 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” which had been commissioned for the rating of property for the Poor Law at a cost of £ 156 19/- 9d for the survey.
15th May 1863. The Rural Dean expresses concern about the grave yard and suggests the graves are dug deep enough for two coffins.
14th November 1867. The new burial ground is purchased. Mr. Woodruffe to be paid £ 14 10/- to demolish and clear the two cottages on site(previously the old vicarage).
Total cost of the new burial ground was approximately £ 600.
October 1868. The Parish Clerk received £ 5 per annum paid from the rates and also the rent derived from “the Clerks Acre” (next to Chapmans Hill and now in Aylesham Parish).
8th August 1873. It was proposed to divert two foot-paths around St. Alban’s mansion. One leading out of the Sandwich road being a footpath leading out of the Avenue gate at St. Alban’s Court towards Goodnestone. Also to divert a certain highway being a footpath leading from Church Street towards Chillenden.
January 1874. Discussion regarding a more direct road from Nonington Church to Adisham Station via Old Court and Ratling. Abandoned due to difficulties with land-owners, (who included the Archbishop of Canterbury at Curleswood Park, Ratling) resulting in an estimated cost of £ 1000.
9th January 1874. It was resolved that in the opinion of the Vestry the general state of the roads in Nonington Parish are extremely unsatisfactory.
22nd March 1881. A snow plough was bought for the Parish of Nonington in February 1881 at a price of £5 9/- 6d (by voluntary subscription).
From the Nonington Parish Vestry minutes:-March 13th 1883.”Mr. Plumptre proposes to give a public footpath from Hanging Hill gate (at the southern end of Nonington Cricket Ground) to the North Corner of North field which shall be continued across Parsonage Field to Nonington School (this footpath is now known as the Ash Path), doing away with the present footpath over Parsonage Field ( which ran from the garden of what is now Green Gables in Holt Street, across North Field and then Parsonage Field to the school) providing the path is not used as a bridleway and re-directing the present footpath from Holt Street to Church Street at the point of departure from Holt Street Road to start 100 yards eastward (to its present position across North Field to the top of the hill where it joins Ash Path)“.
The footpath was surfaced with ashes from the fires at Fredville given by Mr. Plumptre, and this is the origin of the name “The Ash Path”. Subsequent parish council minutes record that his gift was repeated whenever the path needed repairing
25th March 1890. The first mention of the telegraph.
On December 4th, 1894, the first Nonington Parish Assembly was held in the Nonington Schoolroom. The Nonington Parish Vestry was superseded by the Nonington Parish Council when civil parish councils were formed in England under the reforming Local Government Act 1894. Parish Councils took over the local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages previously administered by Parish Vestries. Two new types of local authority were created by the act: parish councils and district councils. This rationalised the large number of bodies which existed for a variety of activities such as public health, secular burials, water supply, maintenance of roads, and drainage. The act also removed secular duties from the local Vestry committees and gave them to the new parish councils.