A SNAPSHOT OF WEST FARLEIGH IN 1841

 From the Census return.

 

There were 58 Agricultural workers, most of them with families, of up to 8 children. 5 being  the average number of children.

 

Tutsham had 95 people living on the estate, 13 families with 38  children between them.

There is no indication of where they were housed the address for all of them is just Tutsham.

 

The Alms houses were occupied with families with a working head of the family.

The original almshouses were on the site of the present Oliver North Flats.

 

Farleigh Green was rather different, as it had tradesman living there. A Shoe Maker, Dressmaker,  Bricklayer, Blacksmith, Baker and two gardeners, as well as some Agricultural labourers.

 

There was a School Mistress with two servants living at Spittle Crouch. (This was before the school was built) It was probably a Dame School for those who could afford to pay. Does any one know where Spittle Crouch was or is?

 

Some properties were occupied with families of Independent Means. All of whom had servants. Smiths Hall had 16 servants!

 

By 1911 Tutsham looked a little different.

 

There were 44 adults and 34 children living on Tutsham. With an average of 2.4 children per family. There was one family of 5.

 

By this time not everyone living on Tutsham were farm Labourers. For example in Mill Cottages, there was family of Blacksmiths, a lock keeper, a railway flagman and several people working at the cricket Ball factory in Teston.

 

What was surprising and upsetting, there was a family of mother, father and 4 month old baby, recorded as living in a shed on Court Lodge Farm. A Widower living in the Lodge, ( this would have been a log or storage shed) at the Good Intent and a single man living in the Chequers Stables (Tickled Trout). Let’s hope this was not a grim as it sounds.

 

Village History

 

Listed in 1085 in the Domesday book as Ferlaga, the website "British History Online" suggests the name Farleigh is from Saxon times when it took its name from the passage across the River Medway since 'Fare' signified a journey or place and 'Lega' a place, i.e. the place of the way or passage.

 

The entry in the Domeday book notes that Ferlaga was given by Wlliam the Conqueror to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Baieux soon after 1066. The Bishop became "disgraced" in 1084 and Ferlaga was confiscated back to the crown prior to being given to Robert, son of Hamon de Crevequer who took part with the rebellious barons against the King at which point Ferlaga was again seized by the crown.

 

It appears to have remained in the hands of the crown until Edward l gave it to his queen, Eleanor, who in 1290 gave it to the priory of Christ Church in Canterbury in exchange for the port of Sandwich. 

 

The parish continued as part of the possessions of the priory of Christ Church until the dissolution under King Henry Vlll in 1540 when it was again surrendered into the King's hands and he granted it to Sir Thomas Wyatt. However, Sir Thomas' son raised a rebellion in 1553 against Queen Mary and the parish once again was seized and the ownership was passed to her attorney general, Sir John Baker, in 1554. 

 

The parish continued to be owned by their family until 1649/1650 when it passed into the ownership of Robert Newton, described as "grocer of London" who conveyed it to Augustine Hodges, described as "gentleman" who sold the parish to John  Amhurst. "esq of East Farleigh Court Lodge" who by his will in 1711 devised it to his brother, Nicholas Amhurst, "gentleman of West Barming." 

 

Currently the name change to West Farleigh has been difficult to date. A comment in British History Online states "West Farleigh, so called to distinguish it from the adjoining one of East Farleigh." Additionally the phraseology in older records alternates between 'manor' and 'parish' and it is therefore somewhat diffcult to determine whether more recent comments are about the village generally or a particular property.

 

The primary school which had one classroom was located on Lower Road and closed in 1976. One of its two teachers at the time was Miss Whittle, the daughter of Sir Frank Whittle, co-inventor of the jet engine. The village's post office and only stores at the top of Charlton Lane closed in 1986.

Teston Bridge

 

Teston Bridge is built of coursed rag-stone with ashlar capping stones to the parapets. The bridge is narrow, only wide enough to permit traffic to pass in one direction at a time and the parapets feature pedestrian refuges continued up from the cutwaters on each side. It carries the B2163 road, which is crossed on the level by the Medway Valley Line just west of the bridge. 

 

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All Saints Chruch

 

The church was begun in the late 11th century or the 12th century with further work carried out in the 15th century. The church was restored in 1875 and is constructed of roughly coursed or uncoursed rag-stone with pebbledashed render to the nave and chancel. The roofs are plain tiled. It is a Grade I listed building.

 

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Ewell Manor, Ewell Lane

 

Village manor house known to date from the mid 17th centuary. Rebuilt in 2014.

 

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Dove Cottage, Ewell Lane

 

Dove Cottage was built in the early eighteenth century, it appears on a plan of Smiths Hall. It was then called Smith’s Cottage. All the buildings in that area were :”Smiths”. Smiths Hall, Smiths Croft, Smiths Oast, Smiths Farm etc. It belonged to the Estate of Smiths Hall.

 

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Monkey's Hole, Charlton Lane

 

From 'Monkey's hole' to 'The Hollow'

 

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Good Intent, The Green

 

This Inn known by the name and sign of the Good Intent was built in part in the 13th year of the reign of George 11 in 1740, though the original structure has been altered and added to over the years.

 

Read more here...

Listed Buildings & Monuments

 

Hisotric England has numerous listed buildings and monuments in West Farleigh, some of them might surprise you.

 

Read on to find out more. 

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Days Gone by, Image Archive

 

See our collection of local photos from years past. Here

 

 

THE HISTORY OF THE FARLEIGHS WI

 

With thanks to Pam Clark (who wrote a history of the WI in 2007) and to Diane Scott for more recent rummaging through the archives!)

 

The women from East and West Farleigh formed The Farleighs WI in 1919.  Their meeting place was the Iron Room, a building in front of Court Lodge Oast Houses in Lower Road, East Farleigh. Mrs Littlewood, wife of the Vicar of East Farleigh was the first President and Miss Tapsfield from Kettle Farm was the secretary, there were 29 members.

 

 

 Anna Tapsfield, probably dressed for one of their pageants.

 

                                                      Miss Tapsfield lived in Kettle Farm, Kettle Lane. East Farleigh (Just!) She was the Registrar for Births and Deaths. The vicar would have been registrar for marriage, as he is today.

This photo is still hanging in the lobby of the WI hall, today.

 

It was all very formal, but women from all classes were welcome and were treated as equals (as in deed they were).

Committee meetings were held in the afternoon and there were no monthly meetings in September, because of hop picking.  The format of the monthly meeting was as it is today, except that the speaker usually arrived on a bike having travelled miles in all sorts of weather.

The Womens’ Institute was formed for the education of country women.

In 1921 members welcomed speakers on the subjects of shoe mending, chicken rearing, bee keeping and washing and drying a new baby!

In 1922 they set up a clinic for children starting school.

In 1931 Mrs Parker of Court Lodge, West Farleigh, the then President and members from East and West Farleigh helped raise the funds to build The Farleighs WI Hall.  It was owned and maintained for the benefit of the two villages by the WI, as it is today.  The Hall is regularly used by the community as well as the WI.

The land cost £80 and the final cost was £940 6s 7p. This was a huge undertaking and a magnificent achievement by the ladies. Especially remembering the financial problems there were in the thirties.

However, the initial Trustees of the Hall were local business MEN. It wasn’t until 1971 that the management of the hall was taken over by charity Trustees under the umbrella of the WI constitution.(WI ladies)

As there was a lack of transport and opportunity the members had to make their own entertainment.  The result was an excellent Drama Group, there are photographs in the archives, taken at various venues including Linton Place and The Priory East Farleigh where they presented a pageant in magnificent Henry VIII costumes. 

A choir, craft and produce guilds were also popular. Miss Wakefield, headmistress of West Farleigh School, was choir mistress and pianist for many years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In April 1939 committee minutes show that members took along their respirators to be fitted.  Their war effort included making Jam, 21cwt, was ordered in April 1940.  Scrap iron, steel, paper, bottles and jars were collected for the war effort.

Social half hour was spent knitting for the troops, including those on the Russian Front.   The County wrote asking if the WI would help the national vegetable supply by growing onions as part of West Kent’s promise of 12 tons.

The Hall was used for a time as a school for evacuees.

Just like today, new house building developments in the intervening years since the war have brought in new members from East and West Farleigh and further afield all enjoying what the WI have to offer.

Members are involved in giving help in their local communities as well as raising funds towards the upkeep of the hall, a never-ending task.  Our hard-working committees ensures that it is maintained to a high standard and keeps up with the never-ending rules and regulations.

Currently, as well as the traditional skills such as craft, and Art, there is keep fit, tenpin bowling, Whist Drives, petanque, Darts, singing and dancing.  There are many outings to  places of interest.

However the WI is still supporting the community. Making and selling teas and cakes at East Farleigh Fete. Listening to reading at the local school, knitting blankets for dementia patients in hospital and all the while making new friends, who support each other.

They celebrated their centenary with a lunch at The Cornwallis Suite in Tovil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And their centenery meeting was conducted as it would have been 100 years ago, even the Treasurers report was given in Pounds, shillings and pence! Members all wore hats, many in Edwardian costumes. Refreshments were a Cream Tea.

 

There was definitely a good reason to celebrate our first 100 years. There will be a role for the WI in the next 100 years.