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 Barham Village History


History Genealogy The Barham Family

One Villager's Memories

Some Photographs of Old Barham


Looking down The Street towards the "Duke of Cumberland" and Valley Road

Looking back up the hill with Mr Hill's bakery on the right and the "Duke of Cumberland" on the left - nearly hidden by a tree


Mr C Hills and Mr D Hills, his father outside - what is now "The Old Bakehouse"

Mr D Hills trying out his new car in The Street

The old hump-backed bridge at the west end of
The Street. Both the bridge and house behind it have been demolished.

Valley Road Barham with the Post Office on the right.

Barham Post Office

Derringstone Street looking towards the Ford and Railway Hill

Derringstone Ford looking down South Barham Road during one of the Nailbourne floods.

Railway Hill looking from Derringstone Ford

Said to be Derringstone Street, it looks more like Railway Hill, taken from the railway bridge, looking down towards the ford.

Barham Soccer Team 1920
Back row - (Not known), Norman Gasby, Phil Andrews, (Not known), Frank Edwards
Centre row - (Not known), Allen, (Not known), Cyril Hills, J Coltup
Front row - Charlie Coltup, (Not known), J Burgess, (Not known), Len (Secretary)

May Day c1921 (donated by Kay Gascoigne)
Back row - Vera Friend, John Perkins, Hetty Bailey
Centre row - (Not known), John Fox, Rosie Mummery, (Not known), Leonard Ellen, Linda Hubbard, Ena Andrews
Front row - Daphne Quested, (Not known), Olive Friend

Netball Team 1927 (donated by Kay Gascoigne)
Back row - Marion Golding, (Not known), Ethel Cornish, Miss Mailey,
(Not known), Violet Martin
Centre row - Doris Stanley, Doris Murphy, (Not known),
Front row - Elsie Pilcher, (Not known), Beaty Fagg

Some of the villagers mentioned by Mr Edwards

Barney Stokes of Out Elmstead
Bogey Foster bloodhound keeper
Boxer Martin of Derringstone
Brewer Newman brickmaker of Gravel Castle
Capt. Domult Wright of The Yard
Chick Hall of The Sportsman's Arms
Clem Gausby dairy farmer
Colonel Fitzgerald Lord Kitchener's Private Secretary
Cutter West caretaker at Barham Court
Dan Rogers shoemaker of Barham
Dr F. W. Henderson doctor & cricket playing Irishman
Fred Budden cricketer - of the bakery
George Knight owner of builder's shop
Henry Collyer farmer
Jessie Wise of the Woodman's Arms
Jigger Willis worked for Colthams near church
Jimmy Wates farmer of Heaselands
John Gausby ran the Post Office
Johnny White owner of Reed Mill
Lord Kitchener owned Broome Park
Major Meakin Village Squire
Merryman Humphries of the Oast House, Gravel Castle
Mr and Mrs Lee Head Teachers
Mr Barlett of Greenbanks
Mr Croxon Station Master
Mr Dumbrell Station Master
Mr Finn owner of chemist shop
Mr Harwood Postman
Mr Mumford of the bakery
Mr Pope Station Master
Mr Port Station Master
Mr Willis carrier of Derringstone
Peezle Foster of Covet Lane
Percy Allan cricketer
Pudgy Keeler Tubby Keeler's brother
Rev. James Alcock Rector of the Chapel
Shanucks Newman Verger and builder's labourer
Sheckler Prescott of Derringstone
Slabs Quested owned the forge
Spratty Mears used to sell fish
Spreader Fagg of Lodge Lees Farm
Spriggy Vansom used to sell fish
Tip Fagg woodman and labourer
Toby Overton gardener at The Lawn
Topper Foster was a coalman
Tubbick Keeler woodman and cricketer
Waxy Page shoemaker of Derringstone
Willie Hills cricketer

Dear Old Barham

by Mr Edwards - written some years ago

Having been born at Derringstone in the little, then called Wesley Cottage in 1897, I am trying to recall some of my early memories of the old village.

My parents' house is still standing today and was used as a surgery twice a week by a doctor who came from Elham on horseback - a Dr F. W. Henderson, an Irishman, very abrupt but with a warm heart.   He was a good cricketer and played regularly for our old rivals Elham.   As this was long before dentistry as we know it, I well remember my mother supplying a bowl and jug of hot water to those unfortunates who required a tooth out.   I have head their yells from mothers kitchen.

My mother was caretaker of the present Wesley Chapel and Sunday School, now the grocer's shop at the foot of Derringstone Hill, for many years.   I was made to go to chapel on Sunday mornings and evenings as well as to Sunday School.   The first Rector I can remember was the Rev. James Alcock M.A. and he reigned for a number of years, living in the (now) Old Rectory in Pond Lane.

I cannot recollect the windmill on Breach Downs but can remember the old mill stones which lay about on the Downs.   The Mill House was, presumably, the home of the miller but my only recollection is of the baker, a Mr Mumford who ran the bakery.   He was followed by Mr F. Budden.

From my mother's kitchen window, looking over what is now Heaselands, I have seen all those top fields at the back cropped with corn and, at the end of the harvest, at least halk a dozen stacks in the yard to the side of the house.   Farmed by a Mr Jimmy Wates for many years, those were the days of horses, waggoners and their mates, together with the old Kent plough, out in the fields at 6am in the summer with four horses, "take-out" for dinner at 2 o'clock, horses to stable and all fodder to cut before the evening.   What a change now!

No water was laid on to the village in my early days; everybody had wells and there must be dozens of them still in Barham today.   I can remember them laying the water main right in front of our gate and it was a great thrill for us youngsters to see them lifting along rows of joined pipes and then lowering them into the trench.

Bricks were made at Barham for a long time and the clay used was brought from a field where Mr Chant's house now stands.  It was carried from there to the "plug-hole" as it was called, next to the little bungalow in the brickfield.   It was then put into the mixing machine which was turned around by horsepower.   I have seen rows and rows of freshly made bricks laid out to dry before being burnt in the kiln, which was opposite the cottage.   It was always a great thrill to see the faggots, hundreds of them, being burned.

Woodcutting employed quite a few of the locals and I was always fascinated by the expert manner in which trees were felled and lopped, faggots made and stacked and poles left for sale in the woods to make fencing and hurdles.   No one worried about logs in those days - coal being 1s 6d per cwt.

I have seen bad flooding of lower roads by the Nailbourne before the bridges were built.   The water used to run over the roads, to the consternation of the majority with horses and carts and the minority with motor cars.

I can remember the very heavy four-in-hand coach, complete with trumpeter, running from Folkestone to Canterbury and back during the summer.   They used to change horses, I think, at Elham and the Black Robin.   I believe the coach was owned and run by the Vanderbilt family of Folkestone and was for the wealthy.   It was a splendid sight to watch the coach with its four great horses galloping up Derringstone Hill.

Whilst on the subject of horses, the Royal Mail was carried from Elham to Canterbury by road in all weathers and one needed a good horse for that journey.

Regarding transport, the railway was in operation and unless you possessed a pony and cart, was the only medium of travel.   It was considered a very great treat to go to the station for a ride to Canterbury, the fare being 6d.   The station staff in those days was a Station Master (called a Toll Collector) and two porters. The name of the Station Master was indicated over the door leading to the platform where a huge bell was standing, and as soon as the train was sighted, either at South Barham or Greenhills bridge, the porter would give sufficient warning with a very rigorous ring of the bell to get people onto the platform in time.

Mr Dumbrell was the first Station Master I can remember and others who followed were Messrs Port, Pope and Croxon.   The Station Master's house was at Beggars Hill, or Railway Hill, opposite the railway bridge since demolished.   The four cottages on either side of the bridge were occupied by railway employees - porters and feddlers as they were called.

As a boy I took great interest in cricket and used to go to the cricket ground at Broome Park to watch our locals play.   Such stalwarts as Fred Budden, F Lee, Willie Hills (who always bowled underhand with a lot of success) and Percy Allan come to mind.   I can remember old Capt. Wright (nicknamed Domult) and his old horse rolling and cutting the pitch.

Our cricket was confined to evening games on Breach Downs where the present council houses now stand and enthusiasm was tremendous.   Of course we were barred from the "Holy of Holies" and we made do with bats made of wattle slays.   Names like Nobby Keeler, Shanucks Newman, Waxy Page and all of the Colthup family went to make up a band of enthusiastic cricketers and was forming the nucleus of a very good "Village XI" of later years of which I was proud to be captain.

Football was not played at all in my younger days at school.   Children had hoops and some of them were pretty considerable in size and weight.   These were trundled to school from as far away as Denton, Womenswold, Marley and even from Royal Oak - and in all weathers too.

All of my school days were spent at Barham and as I was a cripple, I was carried to school in a truck for a year or two.   Mr and Mrs Lee were the heads and were very popular.  Children used to walk for as much as four miles to school, perhaps wet through and only an old Tortoise stove to stand around - and no canteen dinners!

In my parents' home I well remember we had a side drum for many years, although I cannot recall the village band.   I understood it was a drum and fife band of which my brother was apparently a drummer.   The big drum was kept at the school.   I must mention here that about the time of the band, the squire of the village, who resided at The Shrubbery (now Little Manor) was returning to Barham from India and his carriage was pulled by men of the village from the station to his home.   Major Meakin was squire for many years and he had the first tennis court laid in Barham.   It was near sacrilege for us youngsters to hang about and look through the fence to see them playing.

Barham Court was the big house in Barham but alas empty and derelict - with only a caretaker to look after it.   His name was West (nickname - Cutter) and he used to chase us boys out of Barham Court park where we used to pick up wood for kindling.

I remember the whole school being assembled in the field adjoining the railway on the occasion of the State Visit by the President of the French Republic visiting Canterbury.   He came from Folkestone via the Elham Valley and we all had little flags to wave - and I dare say a day's holiday as well.

My father was an agricultural engineer employed by Messrs Arters of Hillyfield Works (now the Jali factory) and he used to drive one of the steam engines and threshing machines from farm to farm, threshing their stacks of corn.   I have known him get up at 3am to walk to Chillenden or thereabouts to get up steam for a day's work.   His wages were 1 -6s-0d weekly.

I cannot remember the hop gardens but I understood that the fields through the old brickyard to Courtlands were all hopfields.   The presence of the oast house at the bottom of Gravel Castle and at Out Elmstead prove this.

All the big houses had their carriages and pairs, complete with footmen, cocked hats and jack boots.   The Lawn (now Barham House), The Shrubbery and Denne Hill all kept very fine stables.

The first motor car I can remember belonged to the doctor who came from Elham.   It was a small open air De Dion Bouton, the driver being perched high and exposed in all weathers.  Then came the char-a-banc with solid tyre and seats that sloped right to the back, Pullmans I think they were called.   Previous to these, horse drawn brakes were common and i have known them come to the Sportsman's Arms from as far away as Margate for their annual outing.

Now just a few details about people and places: -

South Barham House above the farm was a holiday home for children and the farm was occupied by a farmer named Collyer.   I went to school with Henry and he was quite a character.

Derringstone Hill has not changed much from the old days.   The shed, if it is still there, next to Broome Park Villas was a stable for the Barham to Elham postman (Mr Harwood) who lived in the now Buff Cottage and later moved to Vale View, Beggars Hill (now Railway Hill).

Next to Derringstone House and adjoining (now Brown Cottage) used to be a butchers shop.   I have faint recollections of this.   Opposite Derringstone Hill House used to live Mr and Mrs Clem Gausby who ran a dairy farm from there.   As we lived almost opposite I must have gone many a time for a halfpenny worth of milk.   They had a large family and were very much respected.   In the summer Mr Gausby would employ a number of women to turn his hay crop.   This was in the days of scythe work before mowers.

Next to the chapel where Fernleigh now stands was a large carpenter's and wheelwright's shed.   I cannot remember the name over the top but can remember it being removed and the present house being built by Eales of Lyminge.

Next to the Chapel, which my mother looked after for many years.   One instance which stands out in my memory is the plague of flies that invaded the Chapel and made the whole ceiling black, rendering services impossible.   I believe they were fumigated out and my mother had a frightful mess to clear up.

Sydney House opposite hasn't changed much.   Some very good stables used to be there.   My earliest recollections of occupants were old Aaron Prescott, an agricultural engineer whom I looked after in later years until he died.

The Sportsman's Arms still with the same photograph of the England Cricket XI has not changed much.   The landlord in my young days was Chick Hall who was very popular.   I wonder how many people in Barham can remember the quoits club which was run by the landlord and played in a field at the rear of the Chapel.

The Woodman's Arms is considerably altered now.   I can remember it had a little porch in the front.   The landlady was Jessie Wise who used to sell sweets.   I can well recollect the brewers' drays bringing the huge barrels of beer and lowering them to the cellars, always a popular sight for us youngsters.

The Red House was owned by Miss Yorke and the road ran by the front entrance with a nasty bend at the bottom of Station Road (now Heathfield Way).   I have seen many a nasty accident there and indeed it is known that on a rough stormy night, galloping hooves can be heard.   This stretch of road was known as the Parsonage.

Coming down towards the lower end of Derringstone was Mount's shop, now closed.   I had my first job there - 8am till 8pm at 4s-0d per week.   Next to that was the Forge House and of course, the Smithy, owned by Slabs Quested.   Forges were always busy in those days and we youngsters used to take our iron hoops there to be mended at a halfpenny a time.

Almost opposite the forge at Lochee Villas was the village carrier, a Mr Willis who plied from Barham to Canterbury daily with his two horses and bus.   My brother worked for him at one time.   On his death the business was carried on by his brothers for quite some time until the advent of motor transport.

Going on up Beggars Hill (now Railway Hill) on the left-hand side was old Waxy Page's boot repairing shop, Lyttleholm it is now, and I think the marks of the window on the road side are still there today.

Opposite (and I cannot remember if there ever was a veterinary surgeon or not) on the wall facing the bridge, you could read at one time in quite large letters "Dunkin - Veterinary Surgeon".   Next to Lyttleholm was the entrance to Hill's shop and bakehouse.   This was Cyril and Doug's grandfather and he was a stalwart of the Chapel.   We used to take our cakes to be baked there every weekend for 1d.

Coming along the the lower road (Valley Road) to Barham is The Grove, all very changed now.   I can remember Dr Cole living there and later on old Bogey Foster who used to keep bloodhounds.   Along the lower road there was a magnificent row of lime trees from The Grove bridge right up to Hill's old shop in Barham Street (The Street), but alas, they are all gone now.

In passing I must mention the old Parish Room, or the "Tin Tabernacle" as it was called, situated off Station Road (now Heathfield Way).   It was constructed entirely of corrugated sheets, lined on the inside and in those days it met the requirements of the parish.   I had many enjoyable times and can remember the visits of the very popular Bridge Minstrels.   The hall was destroyed by fire one evening and for years there was no place for parish activities.

I can remember Greenbanks being built and occupied by a Mr Barlettwho only had one arm (hence the recollection).   Opposite the school before the present bridge was built (now removed) was a builder's shop run by a Mr George Knight, a great churchman - and opposite the Duke of Cumberland was the chemist's shop owned by a Mr Finn.   I can recall the huge bottles of coloured water in the window.   On his death the shop finished and Barham has never had a chemist's shop since.   Next to The Nook (now the Old House) was the old Post Office run by John Gausby.

I must mention the village shoemaker, one legged Dan Rogers who had his shop adjoining Mill House.   I have sat in his shop many times yarning away mostly about cricket, of which he was a geat follower.   He was also a member of the Church Choir for many years.

I must record one incident during the introduction of the Budget which aparently the farmers resented.   I recall standing on the bridge beside the school, the river being in full flood, and watching at least a dozen locals on horseback galloping along the lower road and on reaching the bridge, solemnly throwing a small wooden coffin marked "The Budget" into the Nailbourne amid cheers from onlookers.

Barham Mill is the home of my mother and father-in-law and everyone knows it as a landmark in Barham.   You could stand at Barham Mill and look over towards Marley and see Reed Mill, owned by Johnny White going merrily round.   This mill was demolished leaving Barham Mill to remain a preserved monument (until burned down during restoration).

I must finally mention Broome Park when I was employed as a telegraph boy at the Old Post Office during the early part of the 1914-18 war.   I delivered telegrams to Lord Kitchener who was then in residence at Broome.   There was no telephone in those days, certainly not in Barham and I have gone as often as four or five times a day to Broome Parkvia the footpath from Hillyfields and then across the park going to deliver to Colonel Fitzgerald, Kitchener's Private Secretary and to Lord Kitchener himself for any replies to telegrams which were in code.