Sacred/to the memory of/James Hole/who died/1 April 1860/aged 74 Years
Also Elizabeth, his wife/who died illegible May 1869/aged 85 Years
James Hole, born in Hythe, was baptised in St Leonard’s Church there on 4 March 1787. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Hole. He married a Lydd woman, Elizabeth, and they went on to have five children, Thomas, William, Elizabeth, Mary and John. James was a fishmonger with premises in Hythe High Street.
Thomas, the eldest son, born in 1817, married Susan Dowle in Hythe in 1840 and went with her to live in Ashford where, like his father, he set up as a fishmonger and became the father of many children. He died there in 1872.
Inscription William Walker Hole/of illegible/who died illegible July 1882/ aged 59 years
Also of/ Olive
William, born 1822, married Olive Tickner from Charing and took over his father’s fishmonger’s shop in Hythe High Street, while his father James, perhaps sick of fish, opened a beer shop instead. William and Olive lived in Stade Street, where Olive took in lodgers. She also assisted William in his business, and ran a fruit stall on the same premises. William and Olive did not have children.
The couple must have prospered in their business, as by 1866 their house in Stade Street had in the yard a new brick building with a slate roof, which housed a stable and had a herring-hang attached and a large wooden shed built against it. William woke one night to find the lot in flames. He ran into town to summon the fire brigade.
Hythe fire Brigade had been founded in 1802, the first in Kent. It had just acquired a magnificent new Paxton fire engine at a cost of £173. 3s. 0d raised by public subscription. This was capable of discharging a hundred gallons of water a minute to a height of a hundred and twenty feet – depending, of course on there being a suitable water supply at the premises.
Eight volunteer firemen and the new engine, drawn by a horse, attended the blaze, and forty-odd men from the School of Musketry which had been based in the town for the last thirteen years, also arrived. Unfortunately, the water main in Stade Street was only two inches in diameter and useless for a major fire. The fireman had to take water from the sea and four nearby wells. They stopped the fire spreading and saved the houses in Stade Street, but had to let the fire in William’s outbuildings burn itself out.
William lost everything – his van, cart, sets of harness and fishing nets and his black mare. The total cost was between five and six hundred pounds, a huge sum, and William was not fully insured. It must have been a terrible blow, but William had other sources of income as a property owner who rented out houses, so he was not left entirely bankrupt.
In loving memory/of/Frances/wife of John Rann Hole/who died(illegible) November/1886/aged 78 years
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord
Also of John Rann Hole/died 3rd November 1897/aged72 years
I have fought a good fight I have finished the course I have kept the faith
The youngest son, John, born 1826, started his working life as a footman and at the age of thirty-two married Frances Smith, who had also been in service, working as a servant to the Fagge family of Hythe. She was fifteen years John’s senior. After their marriage, they went to live in Sheerness, where John worked as a labourer in the royal dockyard. By 1871 he was back in in East Kent, in Folkestone, working as a lay missionary at the new Church of England Mission in Sidney Street. The Mission was set up for the poorest people in the town, the railway workers. Its first premises were in a former baker’s shop in Sidney Street and housed a Mission Chapel, Sunday School and Cocoa Tavern – a teetotal alternative to the public house. John and Frances lived just around the corner in the Mission Room in Canterbury Road. After his wife’s death, John returned to Hythe where he lived in Stade Street until his death.
In/loving memory/of/Elizabeth Back/who died 3rd March 1890/aged 75 years
Afflictions sore long time she bore/physicians were in vain/til death did cease and God did please/to ease her of her pain
Also of Mary Hole/sister of the above/who died11th December 1900/in her 82nd year
Well done good and faithful servant/enter thou into the joy of thy Lord
Elizabeth Hole, the eldest child of James and Elizabeth, born in 1815, married Daniel Back in Marylebone, London in 1837. I have no further information as to this union, or whether she had children, but Daniel was evidently sufficiently well-off to leave Elizabeth with an annuity when he died. She then moved back to Stade Street in Hythe where she died, after suffering some years of an unnamed but painful affliction.
Mary Hole, the second daughter, born in 1818 alone of the siblings did not marry. She went to Ashford to live with her brother Thomas, and later with one of his daughters. Eventually she, too, returned to Hythe and lived in St Bartholomew’s almshouse in the town.