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Places of Worship (Current) / Re: Rochester Cathedral
« Last post by Dave Smith on Today at 17:10:55 »
MartinR.What a fascinating story, the outcome of, I'm sure, very many hours of research. Not always do we find the real answer when researching, so congratulations! and thanks.
News / Re: How to maintain your aquarium’s cleanliness?
« Last post by smiffy on Today at 15:31:33 »
Perhaps you could get one to work on a voluntary basis? I understand they are very fond of water snails.


Places of Worship (Current) / Re: All Saints, Frindsbury
« Last post by MartinR on Yesterday at 23:32:07 »
Here's a little on the history of All Saints, Frindsbury's bells.  I originally wrote this for Wikipedia (,_Frindsbury) and have since used it in handouts for tower open days.

The Bells of All Saints, Frindsbury

The ringing chamber is reached by the 15th century spiral staircase from the ground floor of the tower.  The room contains the church clock, installed in 1911 as a memorial to the family of John Rose.  The ringing chamber was probably the medieval priests' lodgings, and as such has the typical window giving a view of the chancel.  A wooden ladder leads up to the bell chamber.

There is a ring of eight bells (tenor 15-2-4 in F) hung in the English style for full circle ringing.  The earliest recorded date is on the number 6 bell which was originally cast in 1260.  In 1584 what is now the number 6 was cast.  The current service bell was cast in 1637 as the treble of five.  The following year the tenor was cast by John Wilnar.  In 1656 the then second (now 5th) was recast by John Darbie.  This was the ring "of five bells and a small one" recorded by Hasted in 1797.  In 1865 the tenor was recast.

In 1670 a Dutch founder, Gerritt Schimmel, cast what became for a while the sanctus bell.  It hung on the west wall of the nave until the 1980s.  Love records it as having been sold, Wade claims it was stolen in 1982.

In 1920 the old second and third (now 5 and 6) were recast by Alfred Bowell and three new trebles supplied to augment the ring to the present eight.  In 1923 Bowell recast the back two bells.  In 2000 the only remaining pre 20th-century bell, the 1637 number four was found to be of poor tone.  As part of a refurbishment sponsored by the Millennium Commission it was hung dead as the service bell and a new fourth ("Carole") was cast by John Taylor & Co.
News / Re: How to maintain your aquarium’s cleanliness?
« Last post by Local Hiker on Yesterday at 22:33:34 »
Lyn L, I once experienced this with a small garden pond.
I introduced a dozen snails to clean it.
They did breed like rabbits as you suggest.
Then, a Conan suggests, the local magpies discovered what a delicacy they were.

I ended up with a pile of empty shells, overweight garden birds, and a dirty pond!

And Smiffy, transgender polyamorous Merpersons are still entitled to a workplace pension.

(Not Kent History admittedly, but I do like the anthropology behind these tangential threads.)
Personalities / The Biddenden Maids
« Last post by HERB COLLECTOR on Yesterday at 22:23:00 »
From Wikipedia.

Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst (or Chalkhurst), commonly known as the Biddenden Maids, were a pair of conjoined twins supposedly born in Biddenden, Kent, England, in the year 1100. They are said to have been joined at both the shoulder and the hip, and to have lived for 34 years. It is claimed that on their death they bequeathed five plots of land to the village, known as the Bread and Cheese Lands. The income from these lands was used to pay for an annual dole of food and drink to the poor every Easter. Since at least 1775, the dole has included Biddenden cakes, hard biscuits imprinted with an image of two conjoined women.

Although the annual distribution of food and drink is known to have taken place since at least 1605, no records exist of the story of the sisters prior to 1770. Records of that time say that the names of the sisters were not known, and early drawings of Biddenden cakes do not give names for the sisters; it is not until the early 19th century that the names "Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst" were first used.

Edward Hasted, the local historian of Kent, has dismissed the story of the Biddenden Maids as a folk myth, claiming that the image on the cake had originally represented two poor women and that the story of the conjoined twins was "a vulgar tradition" invented to account for it, while influential historian Robert Chambers accepted that the legend could be true but believed it unlikely. Throughout most of the 19th century little research was carried out into the origins of the legend. Despite the doubts among historians, in the 19th century the legend became increasingly popular and the village of Biddenden was thronged with rowdy visitors every Easter. In the late 19th century historians investigated the origins of the legend. It was suggested that the twins had genuinely existed but had been joined at the hip only rather than at both the hip and shoulder, and that they had lived in the 16th rather than the 12th century.

In 1907, the Bread and Cheese Lands were sold for housing, and the resulting income allowed the annual dole to expand considerably, providing the widows and pensioners of Biddenden with cheese, bread and tea at Easter and with cash payments at Christmas. Biddenden cakes continue to be given to the poor of Biddenden each Easter, and are sold as souvenirs to visitors.

     The Wikipedia page continues with a more detailed account @

Photo: The Biddenden village sign on the green.
Tramways & Railways / Re: Bat and Ball, Sevenoaks
« Last post by DGM on Yesterday at 21:40:26 »
There were several other sidings in the area. There was one that exited the goods yard and was laid along Cramptons Road to the Gas Works.

As this siding (it appears as 'Tramway' on the old OS maps) had a tight curve. I presume it wasn't locomotive worked and I suppose horse power was employed or possibly, latterly, a tractor. But when did it cease to be used?
A 1962 photo of the station:

(Image removed from quote.)

The Gasworks Branch did not connect to the goods yard, but was connected to the siding that ran behind the Up Platform as seen in the 1962 photo, the connection can be seen trailing in from the left just beyond the rake of empty coal wagons.  My parents moved to the area in 1962, and although the rails were still in place along Cramptons Road I do not recall ever seeing any rail movements or wagons in the Gasworks Yard.  The track was eventually lifted and the rails were stacked just inside the back entrance to the Kent Highways Depot at the other end of Cramptons Road, where they remained for many years until the site was cleared for construction of a Sainsburys Supermarket.

Tramways & Railways / Re: Bat and Ball, Sevenoaks
« Last post by DGM on Yesterday at 21:21:09 »
Got it now!


Thats a very interesting map as it shows both the Gasworks Siding heading along Cramptons Road and the short Kent Sand & Ballast Ltd siding together with its associated narrow gauge line.  The narrow gauge track extended above the standard gauge siding on a steel gantry so that the sand could be emptied directly into main line wagons standing below.  The gantry, which I recall as being a bit like a seaside pier type construction, was cut up in the mid 1960's, the standard gauge siding was probably removed around the same time although its course can still be identified.  In the late 1980's a new, but much longer, siding was constructed just to the north of the old Kent Sand & Ballast siding for Redland Aggregates, this lasted until 1995.
Tramways & Railways / Re: Bat and Ball, Sevenoaks
« Last post by DGM on Yesterday at 20:51:53 »
No probs S4, thanks for the extra info :)

I read that the line originally stopped there as local landowners were opposed to the railway running across or near their property.

While there may well have been opposition from landowners, the railway company would have had no real reason to extend the line beyond Bat & Ball at the time of its construction as the topography would have prevented the line from getting significantly closer to the town of Sevenoaks which is on much higher ground.  The line from Orpington to Tonbridge had yet to be constructed so there was no need to try and connect with it at Tubs Hill, however when the connecting line was eventually constructed it involved a severe gradient and some quite substantial earthworks.  The Bat & Ball Station site also had plenty of space for goods facilities whereas the Tubs Hill site was somewhat constrained and only ever had a relatively small goods yard.
Tramways & Railways / Re: Lost Gillingham Railway Explored
« Last post by DGM on Yesterday at 20:14:11 »
John, many thanks for posting the video.  It was very interesting to see the current state of the Dockyard Branch having first travelled over it on a nuclear waste movement in the early 1980's, then on spoil trains in the 1990's and finally having to walk it many times during the works to restore the Branch use in 2002.  While the route will never see trains again it would be nice to see it restored as a footpath rather than being used as a linear refuse tip.
Places of Worship (Current) / Re: Rochester Cathedral
« Last post by Bilgerat on Yesterday at 18:08:10 »
Superb stuff MartinR, this is the kind of thing the Kent History Forum is all about. Thank you for posting it.
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