• Easole Corn Mill in Nonington-newspaper articles 1965-70.

    The following PDF files are of newspaper articles about the Easole Corn Mill which replace the scans of the newspaper articles previously published on the Easole Corn Mill page.  They were kindly sent to me by Malcolm Blackwood.

    1965 In the early hours of  Sunday, 9th May, 1965. Easole M Corn ill  was destroyed by fire. Reported in The Dover Express & East Kent News on Friday, 14th May, 1965. Please click on the link below to see the full newspaper article.

    Dover Express article 14May1965


    1966 SIte of Mill at Nonnington by A. W. May was published in The East Kent Mercury of Thursday, December 1st, 1966.

    Dover Express article 04Dec1970


    1970.  Teddy Gasston-Memories of a kind old miller, published in The Dover Express, 4th November, 1970.

    Dover Express article 04Dec1970

  • H.S. Pledge & Sons Ltd., millers & corn merchants of Ashford, Kent-the Nonington years

    The 1871 census records a Henry S. Pledge and family as living in Ratling Street, near to Ratling Court. Henry may have started his apprenticeship at the Easole corn mill but in 1871 he was listed as a miller employing two men and as a farmer employing two labourers and a boy. Henry Sturgess Pledge, miller,  was not a Nonington miller, he was the miller at the ‘Black Mill’ on Barham Downs, some two miles or so from Ratling. By the time of the 1881 census Henry had moved to Kennington, near Ashford, and taken over the running of the Wind, Steam and Water Mills at Kennington, near Ashford, Kent, with the help of his sons, Lawrence and Walter, and they went on to form H.S Pledge and Sons Ltd., the well known flour millers and corn merchants. H S Pledge & Sons Ltd owned the East Hill Mill and Victoria Mill in Ashford. East Hill Mill was a watermill and steam mill built in 1901 and the building is still standing, but no longer in use as a mill.  The Victoria Mills was a steam mill built in 1890 and continued to operate until it was gutted by fire in September of 1984 and subsequently demolished. H S Pledge & Sons Ltd was taken over by the Garnham Family in the 1890’s and finally dissolved in 2014.


  • The Nonington War memorials-further revised 13.10.20.

    There are two memorials to the Fallen of the Two World Wars in St. Mary’s Churchyard, a roll of honour in the yew tree by the main entrance to the churchyard and a stone memorial to the Fallen of the Two World Wars set in the west wall of the church.

    The Parish Magazine for June of 1917 reported the following:

    “Roll of Honour.

    A permanent Roll of Honour has been presented to the Parish by Mrs. Penn, and on Wednesday May 23rd [the eve of Empire Day] it was unveiled and dedicated in the Churchyard. It is placed in position under the old Yew Tree and will for many a year be a silent witness to the loyalty and devotion of our Nonington men who were content to give their lives in their country’s cause. A large congregation assembled in Church for a short intercessory service, at the conclusion of which the ceremony of unveiling was proceeded with in the Churchyard. A short address was given by the Vicar and then Mrs Penn unveiled The Roll, and having done so she spoke a few words to those assembled, words full of touching references to the fallen, and cheering and courageous counsel to those who are left to carry on the course to its triumphant finish. The Roll was then formally dedicated.

    It is worthy of note that the Memorial is made of teak wood and copper from H.M.S. Britania formerly a training ship for the Royal Navy”. 

    Unfortunately the article does not make it clear whether the Mrs. Penn referred to was Mrs. Gladys Penn or Mrs. Constance Penn, but I think it most likely it was Mrs. Gladys Penn, the widow of Captain Eric Frank Penn of the Grenadier Guards, who had been killed at the age of 37 when a shell fell on his dug-out opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt at  Auchy-les-Mines near Loos-en-Gohelle in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France on 18th October, 1915. Captain Penn is buried or commemorated at Vermelles British Cemetery, grave reference I.K. 11. Captain Penn’s name is the second name on the Nonington Roll of Honour.

    Underneath Captain Penn’s name on the Roll of Honour is that of his younger brother, Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Mark Penn of the  6th Battalion (Reserve) of The Rifle Brigade.  Geoffrey Penn was aged 28 when he was killed instantaneously by a German sniper on 11th February, 1915, whilst directing trench work near Ploegsteert [Plugstreet] in Flanders when attached to 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry and is buried in the Rifle House Cemetery at Ploegsteert  in Belgium, grave reference IV.H.6.

    At the time of the presentation of the Roll of Honour  the parents of the two brothers, William and Constance Penn, were the  tenants at St. Alban’s Court, Nonington, owned by Captain Egerton Hammond who at the time resided in Old Court House at the top of Pinners Hill. The Penn family business was John Penn and Sons, an English engineering company based in London and mainly known for its marine steam engines, which had been founded by the captain’s grandfather and was almost certainly the source of the teak and copper used to make the Roll of Honour. William Penn had played cricket for Kent in the 1870’s and Eric Penn had played for Cambridge and the M.C.C.


    The teak and copper
    Roll of Honour.

    There is a memorial in the yew tree by the church yard entrance


    The  larger stone  memorial for the Fallen of the Two World Wars is set in the west wall of the church which was refurbished and re-dedicated in 2010.


    Another memorial for the Fallen of the Two World Wars is set in the west wall of the church




    The parade to the dedication of the Nonington War Memorial, 1919
    The parade to the dedication of the Nonington War Memorial, 1919.
    The War Memorial dedication service was conducted by the Reverend Sidney Sargent.



    The Nonington Roll of Honour

    of the Fallen of the Great War. 



  • The Nonington War Memorials-revised 12.10.2020

    There are two memorials to the Fallen of the Two World Wars in St. Mary’s churchyard, a roll of honour in the yew tree by the main entrance to the churchyard and a stone memorial to the Fallen of the Two World Wars set in the west wall of the church.

    The Parish Magazine for September of 1917 reported that the Roll of Honour in the yew tree was presented to the parish by Mrs. Penn and was unveiled and dedicated by her after a short  service on Wednesday, May 23rd, 1917 [the eve of Empire Day.].  The magazine also  recorded that “It is worthy of note that the Memorial is made of teak wood and copper from H.M.S. Britania formerly a training ship for the Royal Navy”. 

    Mrs. Gladys Penn was the widow of Captain Eric Frank Penn of the Grenadier Guards,  killed at the age of 37  when a shell fell on his dug-out opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt at  Auchy-les-Mines near Loos-en-Gohelle in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France on 18th October, 1915. Captain Penn was buried or commemorated at Vermelles British Cemetery, grave reference I.K. 11. At this time Mr. and Mrs. William Penn, his father and mother, are listed as being resident at St. Alban’s Court, Nonington, and therefore  renting St. Alban’s Court from Captain Egerton Hammond, the then owner of the St. Alban’s Court estate.
    The Penn family business was John Penn and Sons, an English engineering company based in London and mainly known for its marine steam engines, which had been founded by the captain’s grandfather and was almost certainly the source of the teak and copper used to make the roll of honour. William Penn had played cricket for Kent in the 1870’s and Eric Penn had played for Cambridge and the M.C.C.


    The teak and copper
    Roll of Honour.

    There is a memorial in the yew tree by the church yard entrance


    The  larger stone  memorial for the Fallen of the Two World Wars is set in the west wall of the church which was refurbished and re-dedicated in 2010.


    Another memorial for the Fallen of the Two World Wars is set in the west wall of the church




    The parade to the dedication of the Nonington War Memorial, 1919
    The parade to the dedication of the Nonington War Memorial, 1919.
    The War Memorial dedication service was conducted by the Reverend Sidney Sargent.



    The Nonington Roll of Honour

    of the Fallen of the Great War. 




  • St. Mary’s Church in Nonington: monumental inscriptions noted by the Reverend Bryan Faussett in 1758


    The Reverend Bryan Faussett (1720-1776) was a  wealthy Kent clergyman who pioneered archaeology in Kent and excavated and recorded scores of sites in parishes in close proximity to Nonington.These excavations were recorded in 

    “Inventorium Sepulchrale: an Account of Some Antiquities Dug Up at Gilton, Kingston, Sibertswold, Barfriston, Beakesbourne, Chartham, and Crundale, in the County of Kent, from A.D. 1757 to A.D. 1773”.


    The following are notes he made in 1758 on the memorials and inscriptions then to be found in St. Mary’s Church, Nonington.


    30. A Very Handsome Altar Piece.

    31. On ye East Wall, on ye North Side of the Communion Table is the following Inscription, & Coat, on a Large Brass Plate. (G.note: WILFORD) [Gu. a chevn. engrailed betw. 3 leopards’ heads or. imp. (G.note SIMPSON) ¼ly: 1&4). Per bend sa. & or, a lion rampt. countercharged.
    (G.note GEMCOT). 2&3). A bend & on a chef 3 bezants (these the only colour shown)]. Alys the Daughter and Heyre of William Simpson Esquyer, Vice Marshall of Calys, and Catherine Gemcot, Wife to Fauncis WILLFORD, neere 35 Yeares (by whome She had 6 Souns, and 4 Daughters) depted. constantly in ye Fayth of Jesus Christ, about the Yeare of her Age 59, Junij 3 A.Dni 1581, who now resteth in ye Lord, & hath receaved the End of her Faythe, wych is the Salvation of her Soule. 1.Pet.1.9.

    32. On a Brass Plate on an Ancient Flat Stone. Hic jacet Johes COOKE, quondam Curat Ecclesiae de Nonyngton q. obiit septimo Die Augusti, A. M.v.xxviii. (error for .. xviii – 1518).

    33. On Another Flat Stone bearing this Coat. [Tierced: 1). Gu. 2 bends erm. (KINGSFORD).
    2). Arg. on a chevn. sa. 3 escallops arg. betw. 3 ogresses, each charged with a martlet arg. (HAMMOND). 3). ¼ly of 6: 1,3,5). Sa. a fleut-de-lys or. (TURNER) 2,4,6). Erm. (TURNER)]. Here lieth interr’d the Body of William HAMMOND Esq. who departed this Life Jan. 17th1717(8) in the 54th Year of his Age.

    34. On Another. Hic Jacet Elizabeth HAMMOND Gulielmi Hammond Arm. Uxor qui (sic in Orig.) obijt in Octob. Anno Domini M.D.C.L.XXV. (1675).

    35. On Another. Hic Jacet Willielmus HAMMOND, Arm. qui Obijt Sexto Die Maij Anno Dom. 1685.

    36. Another not Legible, except the Date, viz. 1626.

    37. On a Mural Monument On the North Wall. Domino Anthonio FIELDO Gregis Christi Pastoris (sic) vigilantissimo, nec non fidelissimo Sacrum. Caetera saepe solent, ut sint magè Messibus apta,/Agricolae, impensis Arva, Labore coli./Ast Ager iste alios coluit, sudavit et alsit,/Ut Sparten Domino Villicus excoleret./Emeritus tandem, Cursumq emensus, abivit,/Extremo expectans Praemia danda Die.
    Some Fight the Feild for Love of Country’s Soil;/Some Fight the Feild for their own Honour’s Sake;/Some fight at First, but, afterwards recoile./Which worthily to their Disparage make./Some buie the Field, but pass not for ye Treasure./Their Hearte’s Thoughts play so much upon ye Base;/The Worth of Heav’n they carnally doe Measure,/By corrupt Sense, that savours not of Grace./But, this Field fought for Christ, His Truth, His Flocke,/For Heav’nly Glory, and eternal Lyfe,/Agaynst ye Flesh, The Devill, and Worlde’s Mocke;/This was ye Quarrell, & the deadly Stryfe./Theis Three fought strongly, but he would not yeild;/At Length he fought with Death, and won ye Field.
    His Faecundus Ager, caelesti Rore rigatus,/Naturae ornatus Dolibus eximijs,/Attulit ingentem Domini in Granaria Messem,/Imbuto Populo Cognitione Dei./Suavis Odor Vitae Fieldi Documenta fuerunt,/Et redolent Factis Fama Deciusq pijs.
    Loe here a Field, whome once the Lord had Bless’t/With guifts of Nature, Learning, Art, and Grace;/Enjoyeth now his Saboaths, is at Rest./Chear’d with the Sun Beames of his Makers Face./The Fragrant Smell of this most Fruitfull Feild,/A Sweet Rememb’rance of his Name doth Yeild.

    In The North Chancell. On ye S. Wall.
    38. [I. ¼ly: 1). Or, a griffin segreant sa. in a border gu. [gold background, a black griffin with spread wings and front legs raised within a red border] [(BOYS),
    2). Sa. a chevn. arg. betw. 3 buckles or. 3). Arg. on a fesse sa. 3 bezants betw. 3 lions’ heads erd. gu. 4). Per pale & per fesse indented erm. & gu. (G.note: Phallop). II. BOYS imp. Sa. a chevn. betw. 3 leopard’s heads or (WENTWORTH)].

    39. In Memoriam Edvardi BOYS, Armigeri, defuncti. Stemmata Majorum, Generisq Insigniae, jactent,/Qui laudare solent Proavos alienaq Facta./Hic, Monumenta sui liquit, Statuamq perennem,/Virtutem propriam, verae Pietatis Alumnus./Musarum Decus eximium; Fantorq Piorum;/Justitiae Custos; et Relligionis Amator./Pro Christo natale Soloum, Patriamq reliquit;/Per Christum Semper Patriâ meliore fruetur. In Obitum Edvardi BOYS Senioris Militis.
    Vir Pietate Amans, Censû decoratus equestri;/Militiae clarus, clarus et Ille domi./Sanguine Clarorum illustri non nixus Avorum,/Sed Virtute suâ, Viribus atq suis./Justitiaeq tenax, et Amicus Vitabis Ille;/Auxilium miseris, Malleus Ille Malis.

    40. In Memory of The Lady BOYS, Wife of Sr. Edward Boys. If Piety to God, and Love of Saintes;/If Pity of the Poor in their Complayntes;/If Care of Children’s Godly Education;/If Modest Carriage merits Estimation;/All these, and more, shall this good Lady have,/To keep her ever from Oblivious Grave./ God He hath crown’d her with eternall Bliss;/The Church doth honour her; The Poor her Miss./Her Godly Offspring treading in her Waies/To theyr succeedinge Age commend her Prayse./Such Honour She, such Honour may they find,/That, unto Syon bear a Loving Mynd.

    41. On Another Fine Monumt. on ye same Wall. [¼ly of 10:
    1). Sa. 2 chevrons arg. betw. 3 escallops arg. (BODE).
    2). Per bend embattled sa. & arg.
    3). ¼ly arg. & sa. a label of 3 points sa.
    4). Gu. a chevron erm. betw. 3 garbs or.
    5). Erm. 3 pickaxes gu.
    6). Erm. 2 chevrons gu.
    7). Arg. crusilly az. 3 crescents gu.
    8). Gu. a maunche arg.
    9). Per chevn. sa. & erm. in chief 2 boars’ heads couped or (G.note: SANDFORD).
    10). Arg. a chevn. betw. 3 rams’ heads sa. horned or imp. ¼ly:
    1). Or, a griffin segreant sa. in a border or (sic, for gu.) (G. note: BOYS).
    2). Sa. a chevn. arg. betw. 3 buckles or. (G. note: PHALLOP).
    3). Arg. a chevn. sa. with 3 bezants.
    4). Per pale & per fesse indented erm. & gu.].

    42. In Obitum optimae Faeminae Mariae BODE Uxoris *Joh.Bode Generosi Filia Edvardi BOYS Militis suae obiit 21 Die Jun. A.D. 1615. *He afterwards married Mary, the Daughter of Henry HEYMAN of Sellinge Esq. (see My Book of Pedigrees, Fol.51). Whose Earthly Body now awhile ye Grave shall close retaine,/Her Name in Earth, her Soul in Heavn, forever shall remayne./For why? She living, lov’d of God, a Pattern bright did shine,/To Mayds, to Mothers, Matrons grave; let none at this repine./Meek, Patient, Modest, loving, chaste, kind, harmless, zealous, just;/In Life expressing working Fayth, in Dying constant Trust./In Heav’n her Thoughts She treasured still, & thereon set her Heart,/Good Marye’s Peace now hath, for why? her Choice was Marye’s Part. – I.B. Parturieus perijt, perijt non vivit Olympo./Aeternae in Caelis Gandia Lucis habens./Abstulit hauc cita Mors, nulli Pietate secundam;/Innocuam Vitâ, Pace, Pudore, Fide.- I.B. In Kent and Essex where she came,/For Virtues wreathed in one;/For modest Wisdom, & Sobrietye;/In Life and Death, I count her Blest./She left behind her such a Name,/For sweet Behaviour & Religion;/True Marriage: Love, unstained Chastitye,/Which soe could live, and soe did rest. – W.S.
    The Starr deckt Skie thought large, not all the brightest Starrs doth hold;/The Sayntes on Earth, by Light of Grace, more bright an Hundred fold./Who clear’d from lumpish Care, translate from Earthly Mine,/Third Heav’n shall furnish, and above ye lower Starrs shall shine./Such Wight is here interr’d; not Dust, nor Death can dim her Light,/None can deny her this; I speak, in Reason; ‘tis her Right. W.B.
    Here lyes her Corpes, which living held a Spiritt,/Whear Zeale and Modesty did still inheritt./Till God, who knew the Virtues that She had,/Saw hir, too good, to live with us, too bad./Hir Earthy Part lies here involved in Dust;/Hir Heavn’ly Sowle, a Saynte among ye Just.

    43. On a Neat Monument on The South Wall. [Gu. a chevn. vairy or & az. betw. 3 leopards’ heads or imp. Arg. a fret gu. on a chief gu. 3 leopards’ heads or]. Hic sunt depositae Janae Reliquiae ab antiquâ Generos: Liddelor Familiâ oriundae, ex Castello de Ravensworth, in Agro Durelmensi, Johannis MENNES, Equitis Aurati Anglo Cantiani, Conjugis, Maris Anglicani Vice-Admiralli, Clessisque Regiae Contrarotulatoris. Illa, (absente Marito sub Velis Regijs Reginam ex Galliâ Mariam revehentibus) apud Fridville, Johannis BOYS Armigeri occumbeus, hospitali Istius Humanitate, hic inhumata. In sacram Dilectissimae Consortis Memoriam, Mariti Pietate, hoc Marmor erigitur. Nata Annos, circitèr 1602. Julij 23 1662, denata.

    44. On a Flat Stone. Here lieth Edward BOYS Esq. who married The Daughter of Sr. Nicholas WENTWORTH, Knight, Porter of Callise; who departed this Life The 15th of February 1559(60).

    45. On Another. Here lieth Dame Katherine BOYS, Wife unto Sr. Edward Boys, Knight, Senr. and Daughter of Richard KNATCHBULL Esq. Who died 23 June 1625.

    46. …….. Here lieth also interred The Body of Mary TROTTER The Daughter of The said Mary BODE, and Wife of Richard Trotter, the 2d. Son of Sr. Henry Trotter of Skelton Castle in the County of Yorke, Knt. who died the 18th of Aug. 1647.

    47. On Another. Here lieth Sr. Edward BOYS, Knight; Who had Issue, Sr. Edward Boys, Roger, Thomas, Peter, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Anne, and Frances; who died January the 8th 1634/5.

    48. Three Other Flat Stones, not legible.

    49. In The East Window of this Chancell, is this Coat still to be seen. [BOYS (as before) imp. Gu. a chevn. betw.3 griffins passant arg.]. (G. note: FINCH).

    50. Here was formerly a Rood Loft.

    In The Body.
    51. On a Flat White Grave Stone, (incised slab, now much worn)bearing The Figures of a  Man, between 2 Women, and, under them, 5 Children, (all cut ye Stone) is The Following Inscription, round the Verge. Orate pro Animis Johais HAMON, Margarete et Mareie (sic) suis Uxoris (sic); qui quidem Johaes obijt iiii die Octobris Anno Dni. M.CCCCC.XXVI (1526) quor Aiab: ppicietur Deus. Amen.

    52. On Another Flat Stone. Here lieth interr’d the Body of Elisabeth Wife of John PILCHER. She departed this Life Nov. 27 1725. Aged 74 Years.

    53. On Another. Here lieth The Body of John PILCHER of this Parish; who left Issue by Mary his Wife 1 Daughter Elisabeth. He departed this Life March 17 1735/6. Aged 69 Years.

    54. The Windows, in General, appear to have been very beautyfull. In The Eastmost Window of The North Isle are The Figures of a Man, and 2 Children, in a praying Posture; and, under them, this Remnant of an Inscription. “Et Elizabet Uxor Ejus”.

    55. This Church consists of, The Great, and North, Chancells, The Body, and North Isle. The Tower, which is very low, stands at the West End of the North Isle. In it hang 3 heavy Bells, thus inscribed.
    1. Sancta Katerina. Ora pro Nobis.
    2. John HODSON Me Fecit. 1683. S. NASH & Robt. PAYNE, Ch. Wardens.
    3. Josephus HATCH Me Fecit. 1621.

    56. It was anciently a Chappel to Wingham; but, in ye Year 1282, upon dividing Wingham into 4 Parishes, this was one of them.

    57. It was called St. Maries.

    58. It is a ….. in the Gift of …….
    The Present ….. is The Revd. Mr Edward LUNN; who is also Rector of Denton, and Curate of Wymingswould. viz: 1758. 

  • Nonington: settlement before the Anglo-Saxons

    Aerial photographs of the old parish of Nonington taken in the last half of the 20th century clearly indicate  the sites of several early settlements dating back to the Iron Age [circa 500 BC onwards] and beyond. Accidental finds over the last couple of centuries of worked flints, pottery sherds and pot boilers in fields or gardens uncovered by ploughing or gardening have given strong indications of the locations of  sites of early habitation, and  a handful of organized archaeological excavations from the mid-19th century onwards have provided more definite evidence as to where some of the early inhabitants of Nonington lived on a more permanent basis.

    Pre-historic finds near the old and new St. Alban’s Court houses.

    The 1997 during a watching brief at St. Alban’s Court the Thanet Trust for Archaeology discovered possible Late Bronze Age, 1000-701 BC., hut circles and enclosure during the construction of an access road which is now the main entrance to the property.

    The watching brief produced possible remains of pre-historic hut sites, floors and drip trench and enclosure. There was a lack of datable materials (burn daub and one pre-historic pot sherd) but hut sites reminiscent in form and state of preservation to Late Bronze Age hut circles encountered by excavator at Monkton and Ebbsfleet. Thin general scatter of pot boilers, (flints heated in the fire until extremely hot and then dropped into a vessel of liquid to heat it, pottery the of that period in time could not survive direct flame) in the area and lack of pottery may indicate a low level of occupation.


    From the late Stone Age to the early Romans: settlement near Mill Cottage.

    Prior to the installation by EDF of an underground high voltage cable to Mill Cottage on the site of the old Easole Feed Mill an extensive archaeological survey and excavation was carried out in September of 2009 by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust in the field between Mill Cottage and Kittington Farm. A wide variety of finds came to light dating from the late Mesolithic [c 6,500 BC] to the early Roman period [c 150 AD]. This and other finds indicated that by early Roman times there was a thriving farm, with associated buildings, where spelt wheat grown on an industrial scale and that some of the  spelt wheat what malted for use in brewing.

    The records of the excavations were published in Archaeologia Cantiana,   Vol. 131,   2011.

    Early Roman Evidence for Intensive Cultivation and Malting of Spelt Wheat at Nonington by Richard Helm and Wendy Carruthers.


    The Roman military base at Aylesham. 

    Evidence of Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlement has been uncovered during the building of the new housing estates on the west side of Aylesham out towards the Wingham Road. The land being built on once made up the Archbishop of Canterbury’s deer park of Curleswood Park.  Until 1951 the present Parish of Aylesham formed a single parish with the present Parish of Nonington.
    Early discoveries
    prior to building work commencing in late 2014 were made by archaeologists  from Swale and Thames Archaeology (SWAT) who are still carrying out the ongoing archaeological survey work for developers Barratt Homes and Persimmon Homes. These early discoveries included a Saxon skeleton, Bronze Age urns and Roman domestic objects.

    In February of 2020 Dr Paul Wilkinson of  SWAT  disclosed further discoveries at Aylesham.  By far the most  important discovery disclosed was evidence of a Roman military facility on the Aylesham site.  In an article in Kentonline regarding archaeological discoveries at Aylesham  Dr. Wilkinson said:
    “We are quite certain we have discovered what was a military supply depot on the Aylesham site. This would have been set up a year or two after the Romans invaded Britain and we believe would have been manned by soldiers of a Roman legion. Not all of them would have been fighting men but specialists in a range of support roles – similar to the British Army of the Victorian era – and would have been posted around an area to concentrate on infrastructure tasks.”.

    If this discovery does prove to be a Roman military supply depot then it sheds a new light on the strategic and logistical importance of the area that  became the old Parish of Nonington to the Romans in the years immediately following their invasion of “Britannia” in 43 AD. The site of the presumed depot is only half a days march from the Romans presumed landing place on the coast between Deal and the Wantsum Channel  and  the important Roman port of “Retupiae”, the present Richborough Castle. The presumed depot site  is located near to ancient pre-Roman trackways which then allowed for direct and rapid access to the East Kent hinterland.
    Hopefully more detailed information regarding  this and other discoveries at Aylesham will be available
    in the very near future to all who have an interest in the ancient history of Aylesham and Nonington.

  • Ralph Colkyn of Esol in Nonington: the massacre of the Jews of Canterbury and the Second Barons War (1264–1267)


    Simon de Montfort, from a stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral

    When Henry III succeeded to the English throne after the death of his father, King John, in 1216. He initially had the support of the powerful English barons. However,  over the years support for the King ebbed away as he became increasingly unpopular with many of the barons believing Henry to be an ineffective monarch who was influenced by foreign favourites, levied increasingly harsher taxation, and waged expensive foreign wars for his own personal gain. As opposition to Henry’s perceived misrule grew many of the discontented barons looked to Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, for leadership and he became increasingly more powerful. De Montfort and his supporters wanted to limit the Henry’s power by forcing him to rule with the assistance and advice  of a council of barons and when Henry summoned Parliament in 1258  to ask for more funds the barons forced him to accept reforms which in effect gave the power of governance to a council of English magnates. These reforms were known as ‘ “The Provisions of Oxford”, but in the following years the provisions were subject to revocations and reinstatements by King Henry with supported from the Pope.
    By 1263 Henry III and the English barons were on the brink of open warfare and to avoid a civil war the barons had asked King Louis IX of France to mediate between Henry and themselves, but Louis was a firm believer in royal prerogative and pronounced firmly in favour of Henry and in January of 1264 the French king issued his decision in what became known as “The Mise of Amiens”. The barons outright rejection of Louis decision was immediately followed by their open rebellion against Henry III under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, which became known as “The Second Barons War”.

    Henry III’s forces had an early success in the conflict when they took the rebel held castle at Northampton in early April of 1264. One of the captured garrison was Simon, the son of Simon de Montfort. However, this success was short lived when the following month the Royalists were defeated at the Battle of Lewes in East Sussex which was fought on 14th May. After the battle the King was forced to issue “The Mise of Lewes” in which he accepted the reimplementation of the Provisions of Oxford. Prince Edward, Henry’s son and the future King Edward I, who had led the Royalist cavalry during the battle was taken as a hostage by the barons.  After the  victory of 14th of May  Simon de Montfort became de facto ruler of England.

    Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and 7th Earl of Gloucester

    A major concern of the rebel barons  was their debt to Jewish money lenders  and one of their principle demands to Henry III was that these debts should be written off, but as tallages [taxes] on the Jews were a major source of revenue to the Crown this did not happen. Simon de Montfort, like many barons, was indebted to Jewish moneylenders and in April of 1264 he instigated a nationwide persecution of the Jews and encouraged his supporters to kill Jews, seize their property, and destroy records of debts owed to them.
    In the 1260’s Canterbury was one of the main centres for English Jewry and probably had a population of a hundred or so Jews who owned twenty or more houses. For the three decades after 1240 the dominant member of the Jewry of Canterbury was Solomon, or Salle, the son of Josce. In 1241 Salle led a five man delegation from Canterbury to a gathering of the leaders of English Jewry convened in the city of Worcester to raise a tallage [tax] of 20,000 marks. Salle was chirographer of the Canterbury archa in 1249 and he later paid £1 that office to go to Benedict, his son-in-law. As with other Canterbury Jews Salle lent money to Christ Church and other religious institutions as well as to the local laity. 

    The overt persecution of Canterbury’s Jewish population preceded the Second Barons War. In 1261 the Jews were attacked by both  clerical and lay inhabitants of Canterbury and although no Jews were killed  some of their houses were set on fire and  Jewish owned property was damaged or looted, but far worst excesses were to follow after Simon de Montfort’s victory at Lewes.

    In April of 1264 what was to become known as known as “The Massacre of the Jews” was instigated by Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and 7th Earl of Gloucester, after he took possession of Canterbury. At this time of the massacre Gilbert de Clare was an ally of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and was one of the most powerful and brutal of all English nobles and held the castle at Tunbridge in Kent. He was known as “Red” Gilbert de Clare or “the Red Earl”, probably because of his hair colour and also for his terrible temper and bloodthirsty demeanour. Although at the time of the Canterbury massacre  Gilbert de Clare  and Simon de Montfort were allies  the two earls later fell  out  and Gilbert went  over to the Royalist side and aided the escape of Prince Edward from captivity  just before the Battle of Evesham in August of 1265 where Simon de Montfort was killed.

    During the massacre an unknown number of the city’s Jewish inhabitants were killed, Jewish property was looted and destroyed, and a number of Jewish women were baptized to avoid further persecution. Those Jews who survived the pogrom fled the city and did not return until after Simon de Montfort’s death at Evesham. When Salle returned to Canterbury from exile abroad in 1265  his property was restored to him by Henry III.

    Ralph Colkyn of Esol  was almost certain to have been in debt to one or more of Canterbury’s Jewish moneylenders and appears to have been an active participant in the attacks against Canterbury’s Jews and their property in April of 1264. In 1268 Ralph was  summoned by King Henry III  to appear before the Exchequer of Jewry and accused of being involved in offences against “the King’s Peace” during the Massacre of the Jews. Ralph’s late grand-father and namesake had also received a summons to appear before the Exchequer of Jewry in 1219, but in 1268 the charges were of a much more serious nature.
    The King’s summons accused Ralph of being one of nineteen men who in April of 1264 “came and entered the house of Simon Paable at Canterbury [bailiff (‘Ballivus’) of Canterbury], and by force and arms thence took and carried away the King’s Chirograph-Chest against the King’s peace”.  The King claimed that the theft of the chest and the chirographs it contained caused him financial losses of £100.
    The nineteen accused were: Thomas de la Weye, later a Sheriff of Kent in 1270’s;  Sir Ralph Haket of Hamwold [Hamill]; William de Herthanger [later Barfrestone Court Farm, Barfrestone]; Ralph Colkyn [of Esol]; John de Pecham; John de la Haye; John de Oystregate; Laurence de Neusole; Hugh de Sancto Gregorio; William de Stonham; Roger de Tutesham; Thomas de Farle; Reginald de Blancmuster; Ralph de Hyham; Roger de Tilemanneston; John de Everle; John de Everinge [from Alkham parish]; Nicholas Barrok; and Maynard Wimund.

    Jewish money-lenders. An anti-Semitic picture from a 13th-century manuscript.

    Despite exhaustive inquiries at the time of the alleged offences the Sheriff of Kent had failed to apprehend any of the perpetrators of the theft or recover the chest or any of the chirographs  stored therein. The loss of the chirographs stored in the chest would at first appear mean that debts owed to Canterbury’s Jews by church institutions and the laity  would be irrecoverable by the lenders. However, for his own financial benefit Henry III wanted to maintain the wealth of the recently plundered Jews and gave Salle, who had survived the massacre by fleeing abroad, and several other surviving Canterbury Jews the authority to collect any loans for which the lender had a written record. This enabled Salle to recover £35 of the debt owed to him with loan charters he held “outside the chest”.

    A chirograph was a medieval document, which has been written in duplicate, triplicate or very occasionally quadruplicate (four times) on a single piece of parchment, with the Latin word “chirographum” (occasionally replaced by some other term) written across the middle, and then cut through to separate the parts.

    The King’s chirograph chest, or archa, contained records of transactions between Jews and Christians under the provisions of the 1233 Statute concerning Jews which specified that: “Loans contracted with Jews shall be by “chirograph only, not tally”. The Jew shall have the 1st part, with the seal of the Christian debtor attached; the Christian debtor the 2nd part; the 3rd part, the pes [foot] shall be put in the chest for safe keeping by both Christian and Jewish chirographers. A chirograph whose foot is not in the chest shall be invalid”. An archa had three padlocks and three sets of seals. Originally archae were located in six or seven towns in England, including London, Oxford, and Canterbury. The Canterbury archa had been established in 1190.

    In the Easter term of the legal calendar of 1270 the proceedings against Thomas de la Weye, William de Herthangre, Ralph Colkin, John de Everle, Roger de Tillemanneston, and John de Evering were ended when the Sheriff of Kent, despite being given previous opportunities to make a return before the court against the six aforementioned defendants, made no return against them.

    Previous allegiances at this time were very complex and it’s likely that Ralph Colkyn’s affiliations to Gilbert de Clare and Sir William de Say at the time of the massacre and after the Battle of Evesham in August of 1265 were behind the ending of the proceedings against him.

    Sir William de Say had fought for King Henry III at the Battle of Lewes on 14th May, 1264,  and after the defeat of the King’s army Sir William’s various manors, lands, & other properties in Kent were seized, often for the benefit of Gilbert de Clare who had fought alongside Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes.
    After the Battle of Evesham and the restoration to power of Henry III an inquisition was made as to who had sided with whom in the Second Barons War. The inquisition records that in the Hundred of Bridge the Manor of Patrixbourne was seized from Sir William de Say on 17th May, 1264, and appears to come under the control of Gilbert de Clare.  In November of 1264 Gilbert de Clare fell out with Simon de Montfort and went over to King Henry III  and fought for the king against his former ally in the Battle of Evesham on 4th August, 1265, where de Montfort was killed.   Sir William de Say had also fought for Henry III at Evesham alongside Gilbert de Clare and after the Royalist victory Gilbert de Clare returned Sir William’s property with possession of Patrixbourne  returning to Sir William on 8th September, 1265. In the following months Sir William  seized various property  property in Kent from still active rebels on behalf of Gilbert de Clare. 

    Although there is no known record of the knight’s fee of Essewelle and attached lands held by Ralph Colkyn coming under the control of Gilbert de Clare after the Battle of Lewes, it is almost certain that Gilbert de Clare became Ralph Colkyn’s over-lord. His new allegiance and subsequent obedience to his new over-lord would explain why Ralph was one of the nineteen men who seized and stole the Canterbury chirograph chest at Gilbert de Clare’s instigation. It could also explain the non-presentation by the Sheriff of Kent in the legal proceedings against Ralph in 1270, as Gilbert de Clare had become a very influential supporter of the King after changing to the Royalist side  in November of 1264 and playing an important part in the victory at Evesham in August of 1265. In addition to Gilbert de Clare’s possible influence over the proceedings another mitigating factor could have been the support of  Sir William de Say, one of  Henry III’s steadfastly loyal ante-rebellion supporters.

    In the post-Evesham inquisition, there is an entry for the Monday after Michaelmas 49 Henry III. [Michaelmas was Tuesday, 29th Sept in 1265 therefore the following Monday was 5th October, 1265],

     Hundred of Estrye [Eastry].

    No one in the hundred was a rebel.


    The land of Ralph Colkyn was seized into the hand of Sir William de Say,

    but he took nothing away and did not eject Ralph. It is worth 12 marks [£8]

    a year, and the Michaelmas rent Ralph received, viz. 14s.


    This inquisition entry confirms that Ralph Colkyn retained the land at Esol held from Sir William de Say’s Barony of Say. Another inquisition entry records that Ralph  seized land in the possession of rebels on behalf of Sir Roger de Leyburn [Leybourne], who during the two years of conflict after Evesham served as principal lieutenant of Prince Edward, son of Henry III and later King Edward I, in defeating the Montfortian rebels in Kent.
    Ralph Colkyn as holder of the knight’s fee of Essewelle, a part of the Barony of Say, would have his over-lord’s allegiances during the Second Barons War. Initially Ralph would have followed Sir William de Say, Baron Say, as an ally of Henry III until the king’s defeat at the Battle of Lewes. After the seizure of William de Say’s lands and property by Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Hertford and 7th Earl of Gloucester, Ralph would  have become a fief of  Gilbert who  had at the beginning of the rebellion been on the side of Simon de Montfort against King Henry III, but after November of 1264 changed his allegiance to the Royalist cause. In the aftermath of the Royalist victory at the Battle of Evesham and the subsequent restoration of lands to the King’s supporters  Ralph would then have once again become a fief of Sir William de Say, a fiefdom in which the Colkyn family remained until the mid-1340’s.

  • Church Street in Nonington


    Church Street was once made up of the present Church Street and what is now known as  Pinner’s Lane.

  • The Fredville “Step Tree” and other chestnuts. Updated 24.4.20

    In the 1930’s Dr. Hardman, a noted East Kent historian recorded the memories of  Richard Jarvis Arnold of of life in Nonington in the 1880’s & 90’s. Mr. Arnold, a blacksmith born in Nonington but who later lived and worked in Walmer, recollected: “The trees of Fredville Park were well known. In addition to the old oak there were some large chestnuts. One was called the ‘Step Tree’ and had some steps affixed to it. In the upper part of the trunk and branches 12 or 20 people could sit”.
    It was said that members of the Plumptre family often had tea on the platform in the “Step Tree” in the years before the Great War. The  chestnut tree is still there but is now unfortunately showing its age, it is one of the few surviving sweet chestnut trees that once made up two avenues leading from Fredville House into the park.
    After the new Fredville House was built by Margaretta Bridges, the sister of Sir Brooke Bridges of Goodnestone, in the 1740’s the farmland in front of the eastward facing house was landscaped after the fashion of the times. Two double rows of Spanish chestnut trees, also known as sweet chestnuts, were planted to form avenues leading from the new mansion into the landscaped parkland. The avenues ran eastward down into the parkland from the south [Frogham] and north [Nonington]  ends of the mansion. Anyone then standing in the front door or looking through one of the front windows would have had an uninterrupted view down the avenue towards the top of the park.

    John Evans in “The Juvenil Tourist: Or Excussion Through Various Parts of the Island of Great Britain“, published in 1805, said of the house ““Fredville is neat and spacious—it has, together with the house, within these few years been not only enlarged but improved with taste and judgment. The Mansion, standing on a rising ground, has a handsome brick front, supported by six columns of the Corinthian order—the drawing-room- is truly elegant, and the library contains several thousand volumes, selected from the most approved ancient and modern authors. From the front of the house to the south, Barson [Barfreston] mills wave their swifts above the plantations, and on the north-west Nunnington mills [the Easole corn mill & feed mills] form a correspondent prospect. The swing suspended from the high branch of a towering oak—the rabbits skipping from hole to hole, formed among the fibres of the trees, and a rising family of hearty children seen amidst their innocent gambols constitute at once a piece of rural and delightful scenery. At the south-west end of the Mansion the Green-house has a pretty effect, displaying the skill of the Botanist whilst the industrious bees are observed conveying their plundered stores into glasses fixed within the windows of their abode, which in its turn is plundered to enrich the owner’s table! The gardens behind the house are encircled with a shrubbery, along which a green walk, defended by a light post and rail, presents us with a view of the surrounding country. The woods on the south [Broom Hill and Oxney Woods, the first is under the colliery tip, the view of the second is now obscured by the same tip],—the distant telegraph on the west [the Admiralty telegraph at Womenswold] , and the Isle of Thanet with Ramsgate harbour, &c. on the north-east, tend to enrich and diversify the prospect. The Bowling Green also hid among the trees—the laurelled-covered Ice-house, the sweet briar hedge and the weeping ash trees enhance the sensations of delight arising from the contemplation of this spot. In a word, should any thing be thought wanting, a stream of water would complete the situation”.


    The programme for an excursion by Kent Archaeological Society to Nonington in September, 1936, noted that: The well known ‘Majesty

  • Nonington Parish Charities


    Thomas Bate of Challock held land in Challock and Nonington with which he made charitable  bequests during the reign of Henry VIII.

    In Nonington his bequest consisted of:-

    “Landes given by Thomas Bate to thentent that one priest shulde celebrate masse within the said parishe iij (3) tymes yerelie for ever.

    Also: rent or  ferme of v rods (5 rods or 1 ¼ acres) of land in the parish of Nonyngton next Harelestrete (Holt Street Buttes, now Butter Street) butts now or late in the tenure of Richard Mockett there, yerely  ijs (2s) (previously owned by the Knights of St. John and confiscated by the Crown).

    Also: rent or ferme of i (one) and half acres at Frogham Hill there now in tenere of William Stuppell yerely xviijd.(18.d)”.

    The above mentioned land came into the possession of William Boys of Fredville who acted as a Crown Agent during the Reformation with the responsibility of recording the possessions and assets of religious bodies and institutions  and was therefore well situated to purchase confiscated land and other property.  In 1600 William Boys of Tilmanstone, a descendant of the above mentioned William Boys of Fredville,  is said to have made a bequest of the one and a half acres at Frogham Hill which specified  that there were to be two houses for two poor house keepers on the land, and the paupers were also each to receive a  sack of wheat  at Christmas. However, some other ancient sources state that the donor of this property was unknown.

    At the end of the 18th century Edward Hasted recorded in the Nonington chapter of his history of Kent that the annual revenue from the land was £5 10/- [£5 50p] which was at the disposal of  the Reverend  James Morrice, the owner Bettshanger manor.

    Some forty years later the Report of the Commissioners for Charities of the County of Kent of 1839 recorded:

    “Nonington-unknown donor.

    It is stated in Hasted’s History of Kent that a donor unknown gave to five poor housekeepers of this parish two houses and one acre and a half of land, at Frogsham (sic), with a sack of wheat to each housekeeper every Christmas, then vested in the Rev. James Morrice, owner of  Betshanger (sic) manor, and of the annual produce of 5l. 10s (£.5 10 s).

     It is stated by J. P. Plumptre, esq., of Fredville Park, in this parish, that the property consists of two old tenements under one roof, with two small outbuildings east, and about a quarter of an acre of land adjoining, used by the inmates of the houses as garden-ground; that there also belongs to the charity a quarter of an acre of land, which has been for many years taken into Fredville Park, and for which the proprietors of the estate have always paid a yearly rent of 3l (£.3). Also two small fields contiguous to each other, containing each about 1a 1r (1 acre & 1 rood or 1 ¼ acres), and bounded on every side by land belonging to Mr. Plumptre, who pays the yearly rent of 2l 2s (£2 2s) for each field.

     The patronage of these almshouses has for upwards of a century been considered as vested in the owners of the Betshanger estate, and it is stated by Mr. Morrice, the present proprietor, that in consequence of the charity-houses and land being situated in the midst of the Fredville property, an agreement was entered into with the late Mr. Plumptre, that he should fill up the vacancies, taking upon himself the annual payment of a sack of wheat to the tenants of the houses, a bounty to which they were entitled, as is supposed, out of the Betshanger estate.

     Two old labourers have been appointed to these almshouses from time to time by Mr. Plumptre and his predecessor, and they have received a sack of wheat or its value in money, and the rents of the three pieces of land before mentioned equally between them.

     The buildings are very old and dilapidated, and there appears to be no fund for the repairs, except by detaining part of the rents above mentioned for that purpose”.

    Bagshaw’s directory of 1847 reports that: ‘two old labourers have been appointed from time to time by Mr. Plumptre and £7 4/- is divided equally between the inmates as the yearly value of the lands’. The 1839  tithe map apportionment recorded William Young and others as living there, and the apportionment for the 1859 Poor Law Commissioners map listed Mary Burville and one other as resident in the Nightingale cottages.

    1859 Poor Law Commissioners map-showing the Charity Land between the present Nightingale Lane, once known as Frogham Hill, and Fredville House. The woodland along the eastern edge of the Charity Land was Western Wood. Over the years the much of the Charity Land became overgrown and eventually became the woodland now known as Humphrey’s Wood with Western Wood forming the eastern edge of Humphrey’s which took it’s name from the game-keeper who used to live in the present Longlands House in the early part of the 1900’s. The banks which formed the eastern and western boundaries to the Charity Lands are still clearly visible in the wood, and the northern boundary bank is still prominent in the field bounding the wood.

    In 1903 the Charity Land was sold by consent of the Charity Commissioners to H. W. Plumtre.  Four trustees were appointed to administer the investment of the proceeds of the sale for such purposes as sanctioned by the committee, this became known as the Nightingale Trust. At the time of the sale the land was occupied in part by two newly built cottages, the present Nightingale Cottages. 

    Other Nonington charities were mentioned by Edward Hasted in his history of Kent, but Bagshaw’s Directory of 1847 stated that these charities were not recorded in the Charity Commissioners reports.
    The charities recorded by Hasted were:
    The 1596 will of Edward Boys, gentleman, of Nonington and Challock, a son of William Boys, esq., of Nonington, which gave a 40/- (£.2.00) per annum annuity from 15 acres in Nonington and Barfreston to be paid annually to the poorest of the parish.

    Robert Barger, yeoman, of Bridge, gave to the parson and churchwardens of Nonington in his will of 1600 the rents and profits of his house in the parish for the relief of the poor of Nonington.

    The 1634 will of Sir Edward Boys of Nonington gave the poor of the parish the sum of £6 to be ‘employed for a stock to set the poor at work, and not otherwise to be employed, so as the overseers or any sufficient man of the parish be bound yearly to the heirs of Fredville, whereby the stock be not lost’.

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