‘Safe Home at Last’: The Vicar who Transformed his Church

In loving memory/of/ Thomas Guppy Sarsfield Hall/ born September 2nd 1844/died Janry 11th 1922
“Safe home at last”
Also of Charlotte Sophia/his wife/born April 2nd 1855/passed on Feb 26th 1933
Also of their son, Robert/Sep 15.1876 – May 1939
Also in loving memory of/their grandson/Captain Peter F.S.Dobson/4.April 1918-23 Feb. 1966.
Also of their daughter Deborah Clare Dobson/mother of the above/ 26.Jan.1883 – 7. May 1971

In loving memory of/ T E F Sangar/ the only and dearly loved son of/ the late Reverend Sangar and Charlotte his wife/ who fell asleep 15th Dec 1892

Thomas Guppy Sarsfield Hall was born at Blackrock, County Cork, the second son of Robert Hall by his second wife Sarah nee Sarsfield Head. The family were well off but as the second son of a second wife, Thomas needed to take up a profession, so when he graduated from Peterhouse, Cambridge, he took holy orders and was sent as a curate to All Saints, the parish church of Bakewell in Derbyshire. He was then sent to a country parish near Maidstone. This was apparently very damp, and his already weak chest was affected – he had suffered as a young man from rheumatic fever – so the Archbishop sent him to Hythe as curate to recover. Here he fell in love with the boss’s daughter, Charlotte Sophia Sangar, daughter of the vicar of Hythe.

During their courtship, Thomas became vicar of St Faith’s church in Maidstone town centre, but Charlotte’s father decided that the time had come for him to retire, leaving the benefice of Hythe conveniently vacant. In 1873, Thomas and Charlotte were married and he became vicar of Hythe, a post he held for the next twenty-six years.

The church he inherited was apparently very dilapidated by this time, and the low, plaster ceilings created a dark and dismal interior. Thomas studied the history of the church assiduously, and became convinced that the architects and craftsmen who had worked on the enlargement of the church in the thirteenth century had left their work unfinished, probably interrupted by the carnage of the Black Death. He decided to put matters right.

Despite general apathy, and a ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ attitude on the part of most of his parishioners, Thomas managed to enlist the interest and support of the influential – and rich – Mackeson family who lived in the town and still manged their brewery there. He raised the sum of £10,000 – perhaps half a million pounds in 2017 – and employed a top architect to remove the plaster ceilings over the nave and chancel, and in the chancel he put a great vaulted roof. It has been compared to the architecture of Canterbury Cathedral.

The remodelled chancel of St Leonard’s church

The modest plaque commemorating the work of Thomas Hall

St Leonard’s has one peculiarity, found in only one other church in England – an ossuary. Known as ‘the crypt’, even though it is not, the collection contains over a thousand skulls and innumerable long bones, all neatly stacked. Earlier historians have described them as the remains of Danish pirates, men who fell at the Battle of Hastings or victims of the Black Death, without any substantiation for these claims. Today, work is concentrating on scientific analysis to establish the bones’ origins.

The ‘crypt’ of St Leonard’s Church in 1907

Thomas interested himself in the bones, too, and published a booklet entitled The Crypt of St Leonard’s Church and the Human Remains Contained Therein. He came up with the novel conclusion, based on no evidence whatsoever, that when Hythe’s three other parish churches had fallen into decay, many centuries since, their graveyards had been dug up and the bones removed to St Leonard’s.

The pamphlet written by Thomas Hall on St Leonard’s Crypt

His other achievements while in office were to stop people grazing sheep in the churchyard, to be a trustee of St Bartholomew’s almshouse in Hythe, and to introduce St Leonard’s Parish magazine, a publication which still thrives today.

Over the years, he was offered other, more lucrative benefices, but refused to leave Hythe until in 1899 he suffered from a serious illness and applied to the Archbishop, Frederick Temple, for permission to resign, as he felt that he could no longer serve the parish as he wished. The Archbishop thanked Thomas for the ‘long and excellent service’ he had rendered to the church and accepted his request.

The parish raised enough money to buy him a Bechstein Grand piano, present him with a cheque and make a present of bangles to his wife. He was also given a magnificent illuminated copy of the address made to him when he left, with pictures of the church before and after its restoration.

After a period of rest, Thomas recovered enough to be appointed to the benefice of St John the Baptist, Dodington, near Sittingbourne, before retiring to 15 Castle Hill Avenue in Folkestone, where he died.
His funeral at St Leonard’s seems to have been marked by real sorrow at his parting. The great and the good of the town gave eulogies, the grave was lined with cypress and laurel, and on Sunday, a muffled peal was rung by the church bell ringers and the flag on the tower was flown at half-mast.

Thomas had met Charlotte in Hythe, and was married in the church here. All nine of his children were born in Hythe. In his retirement in Folkestone he was a frequent visitor, and he often said that Hythe was his real home. The great achievement of his working life, the remodelling of St Leonard’s was completed here, and it was St Leonard’s he chose for his last resting place. He clearly held the church, and the town, in great affection. The words ‘safe home at last’ on his gravestone surely have a double meaning.

Charlotte Sophia Hall nee Sangar was born at Shadwell Rectory, the only daughter of Benjamin Cox Sangar and his wife Charlotte nee Fothergill. Her father was Rector there from 1846-1872, before moving to St Leonard’s Church in Hythe, where he was vicar from 1862 to 1873. Charlotte, known to her family as ‘Lollie’, married Thomas Hall on 6 June 1873 in St Leonard’s church Hythe, in a ceremony officiated by the chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Perhaps her father was too ill to conduct the service himself, though he acted as a witness. He submitted a request to resign his living in the same week as the wedding, and retired to Eastbourne, where he died six months later.

Over the next nineteen years, nine children were born to Thomas and Charlotte, six daughters and three sons. Thomas had started life signing himself ‘Thomas Hall’. On his marriage certificate he was ‘Thomas Guppy Hall’, but in 1911 he signed his census return ‘T.G. Sarsfield Hall’. His sons added a hyphen and the family name became ‘Sarsfield-Hall.’

When Thomas died, Charlotte moved to Tunbridge Wells where she played a full part in civic life, particularly in the Girls’ Friendly Society, The Mothers’ Union and the women’s’ branch of the Conservative Party. She also continued to play competitive croquet, a sport she had taken up as a girl, and to win prizes at the All England Club’s tournaments in Wimbledon.

Thomas may have regarded Hythe as home, but perhaps Charlotte preferred Dodington. She named her house in St James’s Road for the place.

Robert Sarsfield-Hall, the couple’s eldest child, married Alice Walker. and the couple had four children.
Deborah Clare Dobson, nee Hall was born on 26 Jan 1883 and married Andrew Edward Augustus Dobson, an army officer on 10 June 1913 in Dodington church. The couple had two sons, one of whom was Peter, buried here. He was born in London and died in Canterbury.

Charlotte Hall had one sibling, Theophilus Edward Fothergill Sangar, who preferred to call himself plain ‘Edward’. He was born in 1856 and baptised in Shadwell. He attended school in Chelmsford and later became a railway clerk, living in Islington. He died in Hythe, though by that time his sister was no longer living in the town and was buried in the churchyard two days later, on 17 December 1892.

The Porters of Moyle Tower: Architecture, Hieroglyphics and Marilyn Monroe

Three  generations of the Porter family are buried in St Leonard’s churchyard:

Inscription To the memory of/Fred.W.Porter/born 19th October 1821/died 17th November 1901
Illegible of Sarah

Remainder hidden behind tree stump.

Inscription In loving memory/of/Christine Palmer/born Oct 29th 1891/died June 30th 1909

I am persuaded that he is able to guard/that which I have committed unto/Christ that day

Geoffrey Hill 1927

Gerard Edward Palmer/born April 16th 1895/died March 2nd 1946

Inscription In memory of Ida Hill/born 2nd June 1854/died 19th August 1905/widow of Samuel Hill who died/and was buried at Cannes February 1894

Also in memory of Geoffrey/only child of Samuel & Ida Hill/ who was buried in this churchyard/born 28th August 1890/died 17th May 1927

A Dieu

Inscription In/loving memory/of/Charles Willis Palmer/born 25th March 1850/died 18th November 1898

And of Freda his wife/died 3rd July 1955/ aged 95 years

The paterfamilias was Frederick William Porter, the second son of William Edward Porter and his wife Anne (née Coultate). He was born on 19 October 1821 in Rathmines, Dublin, where his father, who came from Kent, was Clerk of Recognizance at the Court of Chancery.   As a young man Frederick studied architecture under Louis Vulliamy  in London, and subsequently returned to Ireland and took up residence in Kent Terrace, Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin. This was a terrace of four houses on Barnhill Road which had been built by his father in 1839. He set up his own practice as an architect here and exhibited three architectural designs at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1843.

In October 1848, he married Sarah Moyle in Liverpool and the couple moved to London, where Sarah’s parents lived in some style in the exclusive Russell Square in Bloomsbury.  The next year  Frederick and W.A. Boulnois exhibited a design for a county lunatic asylum at the Royal Academy. Frederick’s practice was then at 13 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. He was still there when he became a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1855.  Five years after this he became Surveyor to the Clothworkers’ Company an ancient London Guild which also had properties in Co. Derry.  Frederick took on other work in Ireland, too: in 1868-70 he designed the Church of Ireland church at Castlerock, Co. Derry.  It is typical of the High Victorian interpretation of the Early English Gothic style. The stone used is very dark basalt with white Glasgow trim to the windows and doors and banding. The plan is cruciform with a three-sided chancel with an engaged north-western tower providing access. Gabled buttresses support the tower and walls. The lancet windows, often in groups of three, originally had diamond panes.

The Church at Castlerock, Co. Derry, designed by Frederick Porter.

At about this time, Frederick was advertising in the Building Trades Directory that he had built ‘residences in England, Ireland, Spain, Shanghai, &c.’ although there is no evidence that he travelled to these more exotic locations. Although continuing to practise in London until at least 1874, by 1877 he was building himself a seafront house in Hythe, named for his wife, Moyle Tower (it did, in fact, have a small tower at the back, complete with flagpole) and they spent their retirement there, during which time Frederick became in 1886, Mayor of Hythe, despite not being an alderman. In 1888 he became a magistrate for the county of Kent.

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Moyle Tower in the 1920s when it had been acquired by the Holiday Fellowship. The ‘tower’, no longer with its flagpole, is at the rear of the house.

His health started to deteriorate. By 1898 he was described as ‘an invalid’ who needed constant care, and the following year could only go out in a bath chair. He died on 17 November1901 and left the very tidy sum of £39, 801 in his will.

Sarah, raised a Presbyterian, had become an Anglican on her marriage, but was apparently very open-minded in matters of religion, and took a great deal of interest in Hythe’s non-conformist churches. Her funeral was attended by most of the local Salvation Army congregation. She was a well-known philanthropist and hosted annual parties, or ‘treats’, for up to fifty needy children at Moyle Tower. Each child was given a toy and a warm garment (the parties were held in winter) before a sit-down tea and games. Apart from these occasions, however, she preferred the working classes to be kept at a distance, and complained to Hythe council about the troupes of minstrels who performed on the beach near her house. She was also a supporter of the Society for the Preservation of the Beauty of Hythe. For the last thirty-four years of her life she was a semi-invalid, and devotedly cared for by a Miss Digance, a nurse. There were four other live-in servants to care for her, and for her daughter Freda who lived with her.   At Sarah’s death, the Moyle Tower flag was flown at half-mast.

Sarah died on 5 March 1912, and was laid to rest with her husband in St Leonard’s churchyard on 9 March in a grave lined with moss and decorated with primroses.  The house contents were removed and auctioned off, including a 7ft 6in mahogany sideboard, two grand pianos, Axminster and Oriental rugs, and French and Italian bedsteads. It was suggested that Moyle Tower should be bought by the council for use as municipal offices, but the idea came to nothing and it was put up for auction in June 1913. It had, according to the auctioneers, five reception rooms, twenty-one bedrooms and dressing rooms, stabling and a garage. Whoever bought it seems not to have used it and it was requisitioned on the outbreak of war by the army and used to house men of the Devon Regiment. After the war it was offered for sale again, before finally being bought by the Holiday Fellowship in 1923.  The organisation provided (and still does, as HF Holidays) affordable activity holidays in the UK and abroad, and Moyle Tower existed in this capacity until 1979.

Another view of Moyle Tower,   from the back

Then, with the refugee crisis of the Vietnamese boat people, the British Council for Aid to Refugees acquired the building and transformed it into a reception centre for ninety people. Furnished by donations, it opened its doors on 8 November.  All the refugees were eventually rehoused across the UK, and the centre closed in Spring 1981. It was by now something of a white elephant, and not long afterwards was demolished and a block of flats – Moyle Court – erected in its place. It is nice to know that Sarah’s name is still remembered.

 

Moyle Court, Hythe

The house, when the Porters owned it, had boasted quite a large detached garden with tennis courts at the end of Ladies Walk.  Sarah’s executors leased this to Hythe Council for a number of years and it was used by Hythe people for tennis, band concerts, and, in 1914, for a mass meeting in response to Kitchener’s call to arms. During the First World War, the garden was taken over by the WAAC, based at nearby Princes Parade, for sports.

The Porters had seven children, although one, their first-born, died in infancy.  The eldest survivor was Bertha, born in 1853. Remarkably for the time, she studied Egyptian hieroglyphics in London under Francis Llewellyn Griffiths, a noted Egyptologist, and at the University of Gottingen under Kurt Sethe. She edited the Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings and was also employed by Oxford University in compiling The Dictionary of National Biography, for which she completed over a hundred and fifty biographies before her retirement in 1929.  In London, she lived with her brother Horatio, who had inherited the Russell Square house, but later moved to Oxford where she took lodgings in the Banbury Road. She died in 1941.

A volume of the huge work started by Bertha Porter and completed by her assistant Rosalind Moss.

The next eldest was Ida. Born in 1855, she married Samuel Hill in 1889 in London. Their only child, Geoffrey was born the next year. Samuel died in February 1894 at the Villa Alpina in Cannes, aged only forty-three. It is not known why he was there – perhaps it was for his health.  Ida and Geoffrey moved in with her parents in Moyle Tower, and Ida became a hospital nurse, another unusual occupation for a well-off young woman at the time. She died in Tunbridge Wells.

Geoffrey, born on 28 August 1890, was orphaned just before his fifteenth birthday. He had been a boarder at Seabrook Lodge School in Seabrook Road, Hythe, run by Henry Strahan who was also the Mayor of Hythe, but nothing is known of his later education except that he attended Cambridge University. In the vacations, he stayed with his mother’s sister, Ethel, in Ashford. He then became a member of the London Stock Exchange.

When war broke out in 1914, he was among the first to join up, on 3 August. He served as a gunner until commissioned on 6 November 1915. He was described as being six feet tall with fair hair and blue eyes. He was wounded on 22 April 1916 and sent home, and it seems that he did not then return to active service. He re-enlisted as a driver in the Territorial Service in 1921, but was discharged from this at his own request after only a year. The circumstances of his death are not known, nor why he appears to be buried with his cousins Christine and Gerard Palmer but is also commemorated on his mother’s gravestone.

A potted history of Seabrook Lodge School where Geoffrey Hill boarded.

The next Porter daughter was Ethel, born in 1857, who married James Turner Welldon, a solicitor and first class cricketer who played for Cambridge and Kent. The couple lived in Ashford and had a daughter, Ethel Barrow Welldon.

Another daughter, Freda, was born to the Porters in 1858.  She grew up to marry, in 1887, Charles Willis Palmer, District Commissioner for Forests in Burma. He had been born in Paddington, the son of Edward and Caroline Palmer. His father was a superintendent on the Great Western Railway, and in 1857 took up a post as Agent for the East India Railway in Burma (then part of India). He later became Chairman of the Railway Board, and retired in 1873. Charles meanwhile was educated at Lancing College, where he was a keen cricketer, before following his father to Burma.  He lived and worked in Burma for some years, was married and widowed there and returned to the UK to marry Freda Porter.

Freda returned to Burma with him and all three of her children – Freda, Christine and Gerard – were born in the country. On their return to the UK, they came to live in Seabrook, next to Hythe, where Charles died in November 1898. Freda had moved away from Hythe to Farthing Common by the time of her death. The younger Freda became an English teacher and worked at a private school in Sandgate, before marrying a vicar who had been an assistant priest at Hythe, Arthur Octavius Scutt.  She was given away by her brother, Gerard.

The wedding took place in February 1914. Gerard, who had been educated at Lancing College, joined the London Regiment during the war which ensued and fought at Gallipoli. He became a Captain and was awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when leading his company in a raid. He was responsible for killing a number of the enemy and displayed great energy in superintending the destruction of the enemy’s works’.

.In peacetime, he became a travelling salesman, who only comes to attention when he was fined for drunk driving in Aberdeen in March 1939. Later that year he married Violet Quick in Brighton, and eventually died in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.  He left an estate valued at just under £4000.

Of Christine Palmer, the middle Palmer child who died aged just eighteen, nothing is known.

Frederick and Sarah Porter finally had a son, Horatio, on 22 June 1861. He studied architecture under his father, and ultimately inherited his father’s position as Surveyor to the Clothworkers’ Company. He was also architect to the Sun & Patriotic Insurance Company and designed a new office for the company in College Green, Dublin, in 1908, continuing the Irish connection. It was described as ‘quite one of the best contributions to the street architecture of Dublin during recent years’ with a ‘quiet and restrained use made of the classical tradition that is specially appropriate to Dublin’. Horatio, who in later life called himself Horace, also designed proposed alterations to the Sun and Patriotic’s old premises in Trinity Street in 1912.  He was Mayor of Holborn from 1911 to 1912 and died unmarried in London on 29 July 1918.

College Green Dublin, the scene of Horatio Porter’s most important work.

The Porter’s last child was another daughter, Maud, born in 1866. She married Alderson Burrell Horne on 22 December 1887 at St George’s Church, Bloomsbury. He was an actor and theatrical producer known by the stage name Anmer Hall, and was evidently very successful, leaving at his death in 1954 an estate worth half a million pounds. The couple had a daughter, Janet, and a son, David, who became a distinguished character actor on the stage and later in film, appearing with Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl.

David Horne, actor, who died in 1970. He would have remembered Moyle Tower as a family home and perhaps seen its transformation.

The Lady and The Bus Conductor

 

In memory/of/George William Wallace/D’Arcy Evans/who died on Sept 8th 1906/aged 46 year

A simple gravestone, no indication of family, or expressions of regret or piety, but it conceals a story which stretches from Ireland to England to South Africa and Canada.

George William Wallace D’Arcy Evans was born on 4 October 1860 at Knockaderry House, County Limerick. He was the second son of John D’Arcy Evans and Marion Evans nee Wallace, perhaps best described as minor Anglo-Irish landed gentry.

Knockaderry House

As befits a second son who had no great expectations, he joined the army as a young man, but it seems there was not even enough money to buy him a commission, as he joined as a trooper and served for three years in the ranks of the South Wales Borderers. He was finally commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles in 1886. He was promoted to Captain in 1894, and exchanged into the 20th Hussars in 1895 and the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1896. He then served for some years as Superintendent of Gymnasia in Colchester.

He had exchanged regiments, literally swapping with another officer of the same rank, because the regiments with which he was serving were being sent to India.  George was now a married man with a family and presumably wanted to stay with them in England, or perhaps his wife was reluctant to travel. He had married Harriette George Marion Gledstanes Richards on 18 July 1889 at Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.  She came from a similar background to George and was the daughter of Captain George Gledstanes Richards of Macmine Castle, County Wexford. She was born on 11 August 1869.

Macmine Castle – not really a castle, but a country house

In the first five years of their marriage, four children were born, although one died in infancy. George seems to have found his niche in the army in writing textbooks. These included Field Training Made Easy in Accordance with the Revised Syllabus Contained in the New Infantry Drill and The Non-Commissioned Officer’s Guide to Promotion in the Infantry.  The Army & Navy Gazette praised them for their clarity and usefulness. Harriette also wrote a book, In Mermaidland, and Other Stories, which the Gazette dismissed as ‘a very slight production for children.’ The Liverpool Mercury, however said that they were four beautiful stories and that the humour pervading the book made it very enjoyable.

But in December 1897, Harriette admitted to her husband that she had been unfaithful to him. They separated, but in 1900, on learning that she had given birth to a child in 1898, George took her back. The child seems to have been accepted by George as his own, and given Evans family names: Hardress Waller Eyre D’Arcy Evans. George told Harriette that she had ‘a clear, fresh start’ and that he would protect her against anybody. The family lived for a while together at 34 St Leonard’s Avenue, Bedford.

However, the next year, Harriette started a new liaison with a man she met on a bus, Charles Abbott. He was, in fact, the conductor of the station omnibus, which ran from the George Hotel in Bedford. Charles was already married, a fact which, Harriette said later, he did not share with her immediately. He was also, at nineteen, very much younger than her, although he may not have told her that immediately either. He had lied about his age at his marriage to Edith Bainbridge only the year before, saying that he was twenty-one, whereas his Canadian death record shows his date of birth as 22 May 1882. Since by the time he died there was no need for subterfuge, this is likely to be correct. He was the son of William Abbott, a shepherd, and his wife Martha.

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The George Hotel, Bedford, on the left of the picture

The couple corresponded. He called her ‘my dearest darling’, she wrote him ‘hysterical’ letters. Harriette was confronted by Edith in the street, but refused to give up her lover. She wrote to Charles suggesting that they elope to Canada, where they could live on her small private income of £200 a year.

He agreed.  On 1 June 1901, while George was out riding, Harriette escaped from the house and met Charles at Bedford station. They took a train to Liverpool where they stayed at a hotel under the names Mr and Mrs Brown, and under those names they sailed for Canada.

George had run out of patience, and divorced Harriette the next year, though he was by then in South Africa, fighting the Boers. He was adjutant of the 36th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War.  Charles was divorced by Edith in 1905. She had heard nothing at all from him since his elopement.

George relinquished his South African post in 1903 and rejoined the Bedfordshire Regiment. It is unclear why he was in Hythe when he died, although he may have had business with the School of Musketry in the town.

Meanwhile, Charles and Harriette either married in Canada or cohabited under the name of Abbott-Brown, a good compromise. They had a son together, born in 1912 in Saskatchewan, and christened with the names Charles John Loftus Totenham Garner Abbott-Brown.    The names Loftus Totenham Garner were often used by another gentry family of Co. Wexford with whom Harriette presumably had some connection.

Charles and Harriette died in British Columbia within months of each other, he on 20 February 1960, she on 30 September that year. Their son, who had become a truck driver, predeceased them, having been killed in a house fire in 1955.

The grave marker for Harriette and Charles. Their son had died before them, but this stone is inscribed ‘Mother’ and ‘Dad’, so perhaps there were other children.

Harriette was air-brushed from her first family’s history. When her youngest son by George, Hardress Waller Eyre D’Arcy Evans, a Commander in the Royal Navy, announced his engagement in 1934, only his father was mentioned as a parent. Burke’s Peerage gives Harriette’s date of death, but no details of her second family. Did the Canadian truck driver ever meet the Anglo-Irish Commander? Probably not.

Nearly a centenarian – Edward Palmer

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Inscription In/loving memory/of/Edward Palmer

Remainder illegible except for the name Harriet Palmer

Edward Palmer was born in Coningsby in Lincolnshire in 1812 and baptised there on 1 January 1813. He was the son of Robert and Jane Palmer. He became a teacher and worked in the National Schools, at first in Yorkshire, where he met and married Harriet Sharp of Lincoln. The couple’s first two children were born in Guisborough, before they moved to Tamworth in Staffordshire, where a third child was born.

National Schools were religious educational establishments run by The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales – usually, for obvious reasons, abbreviated to The National Society.  They had started setting up schools in 1811, in response to a similar initiative by the non-conformist British and Foreign School Society.

Edward and Harriet settled in Hythe in 1849, and he became headmaster of the town’s National School, then situated in Stade Street in a ramshackle old building.  He soon proposed and then oversaw the building of new school premises next to the town Green, which was used as a school playing field for games and recreation.

 

20170120_125311Hythe National School, viewed from the Green. The buildings are now private houses.

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And Hythe Green, which has provided a recreation area for the town for hundreds of years.

Edward also served as schoolmaster at the School of Musketry in the town, and became the local Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths.  Meanwhile, Harriet gave birth to another seven children.

After Edward’s retirement in 1875, when he and Harriet were presented with a marble clock, he was appointed School Attendance Officer for Hythe, at a salary of £20 per annum. Harriet died in 1886, aged sixty-three.

Edward was a supporter of the Liberal Party, and was agent for the town’s MP, Baron Meyer Amschel de Rothschild from his election, unopposed, in 1859 until his death in 1874 (until 1950, Hythe formed a separate parliamentary constituency). Rothschild was a scion of the banking family, and appears to have left no mark on British politics: his main interest in life was hunting. However, the electors of Hythe seemed to like him, and the town’s lifeboat was named ‘Meyer de Rothschild’ in his memory.

meyer-de-rothschild

Baron de Rothschild

Aged eighty-five, Edward retired to Farnham to live with his daughter Jane, also a school teacher, but they had returned to Hythe by 1905, when he was reported to be ‘in the best of bodily health with mental faculties unimpaired’. He lived in Oak Walk, near St Leonard’s Church in the town,  where he died in 1912 aged 99.

 

A Soldier of the Crimea

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(illegible) memory/Osmond John Macmillan

Illegible

Barbara Ann MacMillan/widow of the above/who died January 4th 1900/in her 77th year

Although William MacMillan’s name has now faded, we know that he is buried in this plot, since his widow’s epitaph refers to him, and a photograph of his grave (then in better condition) appears in the edited version of his diaries.

William MacMillan was born a long way from Hythe, in Dumfries in April 1825.  His father was a farmer, and William himself went to work for another farmer at nearby Ellisland. Remarkably, we know exactly what it looked like, as it has been very much sketched and photographed and is now a museum, kept as it was two hundred years ago. It was the home of Robert Burns for a couple of years during his most creative period and where he wrote Auld Lang Syne

 

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Ellisland as it was during the lifetime of Robert Burns

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Ellisland as it is today

 

By the time William MacMillan got there it was owned by a Mr Taylor, who thought very highly of him. When William left him in 1844, he wrote:

He kept good company, was sober, honest and of good character. He attended church regularly. I hope he will not depart from the path of virtue’.

William went off to become, of all things, a tea dealer and somehow made his way to Taunton, in Somerset. Perhaps he was not a very successful tea dealer, because in another abrupt change of direction, he joined the Coldstream Guards in 1848, when he was twenty three years old.

For the next ten years he served as a private, and just before the outbreak of the Crimean War he was sent down to Hythe, to the School of Musketry. It seems likely that it was then that he met the Hythe woman he was to marry, Barbara Ann Elgar, although that would be a few years later.

After the School of Musketry, he was promoted to corporal and was sent to the Crimea, where war had broken out the previous year, 1853

What is remarkable about William is that during his time there he kept a diary, which he brought home with him and which was given after his death to the Coldstream Guards who put it in their archives. There it was discovered in the 1980s, by Keith Hingle, who wrote this book:

SHOW BOOK

He has transcribed most of the entries, and filled in the background to Sgt. McMillans’s life with the help of the late Jack Barker, a Hythe historian.

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A page of William’s Crimea diary

William travelled to Crimea via Malta, where he was very impressed with the cheapness of the rum and brandy and of the cigars, and very daringly for a time when sea bathing was not yet fashionable, he had a dip in the sea. He liked the island very much, but on Sunday 2nd of April 1854 he writes:

Most beautiful morning, sea so calm there is not even a ripple upon it. Not a breath of air stirring. Oh how I should like to be at Hythe with Barbara.

At the end of April he sailed for Constantinople, now Istanbul. He thought it ‘the most wretched place I was ever in’. It was crowded and dirty and there were snakes and lizards and he didn’t like the Turks and disapproved of the way the women covered their faces. It is in Istanbul that he starts to write the diary as if he is addressing someone, and I think that the diary forms a long letter to Barbara in Hythe.

 

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After Istanbul, he was sent to Varna, which is in modern day Bulgaria. He didn’t like it there either. There were more snakes and lizards , and clouds of locusts, and the locals kept black people as slaves which he disapproved of.  There were continual outbreaks of cholera.

It got worse.

In September 1854, just I time for winter, he sailed to the Crimea and started the march to Balaclava and on to the siege of Sebastopol. Someone stole his socks and he had to spend that bitterly cold winter without any, as apparently the army did not provide spare pairs, He describes one night sleeping outside without a tent.

 ‘I was wet through, my blanket was wet and I lay shivering on the cold ground. I could not sleep. It blew a hurricane and the rain descended in most drenching showers all night.’ 

Later, the rain stopped and it started to snow. The men got lice, there was no wood to light fires and they lived on half-rations of biscuit and salt meat. Unsurprisingly, dysentery and frostbite were rife.

 

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Eventually, in spring, William was sent back to Balaclava. There he saw, for the first time ever, a western woman wearing trousers. She was French, of course.

Then it was back to the front. It got hot again and there was another epidemic of cholera, but he survived the war and saw the fall of Sevastopol.

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The ‘official’ version of the Coldstream Guards after Crimea

 

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 Another view of the Guards after the war, recovering at their barracks in London

After the Crimea, William came home, was promoted to sergeant, signed on for another 11 years in the army and came to Hythe to marry his Barbara. She was the daughter of Henry Elgar, a Hythe smith, and his wife Eliza. The family lived in Chapel Street in Hythe. She married William Macmillan in London in 1858 and stayed with him when he was posted in the London area for some time after that. Their four children were born there.

However, in 1868 William was discharged as unfit for service, suffering from paralysis in his left leg.  The authorities decided that this must have been brought on by his experiences in the Crimea and awarded him a pension of two shillings a day. William and Barbra went back to live in Hythe, where Barbara had family, and set uo home in Park Road,

A doctor friend, however, tells me that it sounds as though he was suffering from motor neurone disease. He lived for another twenty five years, but the paralysis grew worse, and for some years before his death he was immobile, though unaffected in his mind.  He died in 1893.

It must have been hard for him. He had seen his younger son, Osmond (who is buried with him) die young, and had to apply to a local charity, Weller’s Gift, to get his older son tools for an apprenticeship.  Although money was tight, the one thing he never sold were his Crimea medals, with four clasps, for Alma, Sevastopol, Inkerman and Balaclava.

Sources: Keith Hingle: The Diary of Sgt W.Macmillan: The Coldstream Guards (undated)

The Hole Family

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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

Remainder illegible

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.

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Inscription William Walker Hole/of illegible/who died illegible July 1882/ aged 59 years

Also of/ Olive

Remainder illegible

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.

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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.

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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.

'The Hythe birthplace of Hamo de Hethe, Bishop of Rochester
Now a private house, this was for many years St Bartholomew’s Alms-house in Hythe

 

A Good Life

A simple stone cross in St Leonard’s churchyard, Hythe, marks the resting place of one of Hythe’s greatest benefactors and his family.

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Inscription In affectionate/remembrance of/Frederick Davis/eldest son of the late/Maurice Davis of Langport/died June 2nd 1896/aged 53 years

Arthur Randall Davis/son of the above Maurice Davis/and Clara Maria Davis/died February 4th 1932 Aged 76

Edward T. Taylor/born 8th Feb. 1847/died 25th Sep. 1916

Edith Mary/wife of Arthur Randall Davis/born 4th Novr. 1848  /died 15th Sep. 1928

Frederick and Arthur Randall Davis were born in Langport, the third and seventh children respectively of Maurice Davis and his wife Clara Maria nee Randall.  Although Frederick is described on his tombstone as the eldest son, he was, in fact, the second, his older brother Maurice having died at the age of two years.

Their father variously described himself as an architect, builder and surveyor. In 1836 he won the contract to build Wincanton Union workhouse, and now established, he married in 1838, settling in Langport, Somerset, where he was responsible for carrying out the restoration of the parish church.

Frederick was born in 1842 and joined the Merchant Navy as a young man, gaining his second and first mate’s certificates in Liverpool in his twenties, but rarely surfaces in records of the times, because presumably he was often abroad.  In 1872 he gained his master’s ticket and later served as captain, before coming to Hythe. Perhaps he was already ill when he arrived.

Arthur Randall Davis was born on 21 August 1855.   He qualified as a medical doctor after study at the London Society of Apothecaries, which had, since 1815, been able to grant licences to study medicine. He took the post of assistant to Dr John Hackney at 97 High Street, Hythe (now demolished), later becoming  a partner.  He married Edith Mary Taylor in London in 1880 and the couple lived at 115 (now 99) High Street, before moving to ‘Oaklands’ in Stade Street, Hythe in 1901.  He was an active member of a huge number of local societies: The Orchestral Society, The Parochial Church Council, the local branch of the League of Nations, the Conservative Association, the bowls club, the cricket club and various archaeological societies. He was also a philanthropist, being president of the town dispensary, which provided free medical care to the poor, giving First Aid lectures in the town and serving as a governor of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone. During the First World War he worked at the Bevan Hospital for injured servicemen in Sandgate, despite the fact that both his partners had joined the R.A.M.C and left him to deal with the whole Hythe practice. In 1918 he gave land which he owned to the town council to be used as allotments for the poor. His compassion extended to all living creatures. In 1899 he wrote to the Evening Standard to protest against lions being used in circus performances. He was an early advocate of banning all animal acts as both cruel and demeaning.

He was also an early owner of a motor car, and when he died owned a Morris Oxford 14.9 tourer, though it seems he could not drive, as he employed a chauffeur at least until the outbreak of the First World War.

He was remembered in Hythe for his kindnesses, his great height, and his dislike of modern music and jazz.  Reports of his death seem to carry a real sense of loss.  A plaque on the wall of ‘Oaklands’ remembers his ‘gentle and kindly’ nature, and his obituary notes his ‘outstanding character’.  He bequeathed ‘Oaklands’, a substantial house of fifteen rooms, and most of its grounds, to the Borough of Hythe. In 1934, a public library was opened there followed the next year by a museum. Hythe Town Council now occupy the building, and the library is still in an adjoining annexe.

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‘Oaklands’, the home of Arthur Randall Davies and his wife Edith

 

Arthur married Edith Mary Taylor, the second daughter of John and Harriet Taylor, nee Holloway, of Sene Farm, Newington.  She lived with her parents at their farm, and later at Marine Parade, Hythe, until her marriage to Arthur Randall Davis. The year after their marriage Edith gave birth to a son, named Maurice John after his grandfathers, but the baby lived for only six weeks. There were no other children.

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Now barely visible, the initial ‘MJD’ (Maurice John Davies) who is buried with his grandparents John and Harriet Taylor 

Inscription John Taylor/born 26th Jany 1800/died 21st Sept. 1874

Harriet Taylor/wife of the above/born 29th January 1810/died 8th April 1880

M.J.D./born July 13th 1881/died August 29th 1881

Like her husband, Edith cared about animal welfare and was on the local committee of the RSPCA for eighteen years before her death, being involved in the provision of painless euthanasia for cats and dogs.  She and Arthur made Oaklands available to all the organisations to which they belonged, and to others, for fund-raising events, at which she usually acted as hostess.

She had a brother, Edward Tapsell Taylor, two years older than her, her parents’ only son. He was sent to Sevenoaks School, and later became a member of the Stock Exchange, but seems not to have settled to a regular way of life. Never married, he lived throughout his life in various lodgings in Kent and London. He died in Ashford, where he had been boarding with a blacksmith.

 

 

 

 

The Gardner-Waterman family

The family has three graves in St Leonard’s Churchyard. The first is for Jane Gardner-Waterman, her grandson Alan and Alan’s wife, Maud.

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Inscription: To the glory of God/and in/loving memory of/Jane Clark Gardner-Waterman/who died on the 11th April 1891/aged 71 years

Also of her grandson/Lt. Col. Alan Gardner-Waterman/who died 12th October 1953 aged 71

Also of his wife Maud/at rest 17th January 1978

The second is for Jane’s daughter-in-law, Mary Gardner-Waterman  and her parents:

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In/loving memory of/Henry Cobb Wildash/died 20th April 1890/aged 70 years

And of his wife/Rosa Neame Wildash/died 22nd Oct. 1898 aged76 years

Also of their daughter/Mary Elizabeth Gardner-Waterman/ died illegible 1947 aged 86 years

 The third, pictured next to Mary’s grave is for two others of Jane’s grandchildren who died as children:

Inscription In loving memory/Brian, aged 5 months, / died 24th October 1889/ Marjorie, aged 2 years, /died 3rd January 1890/children of William & Mary Gardner-Waterman

 Jane Clark Gardner-Waterman nee Waterman was born at Willesborough near Ashford in Kent and was baptised there on 17 August 1817. She was the daughter of John Waterman, a Royal Navy Commander, and his wife Jane. She married Sladden Gardner, ten years her junior, in 1851, but he died two years later, leaving her with two sons, one born posthumously. The first was named Waterman, the second William. Some years later she began to add her maiden name, to which she seems to have been very attached,  to her married name to produce ‘Gardner-Waterman.’ This conferred on her  elder son the name Waterman Gardner-Waterman. He went to Cambridge, then took holy orders and became the Rector of Bicknow with Hucking in the Romney Marsh and later Vicar of Loose. He and his wife had a daughter, Hilda.

William was articled to a solicitor and on qualifying married Mary Elizabeth, ‘May’  Wildash, daughter of a Hythe doctor on 2 June 1881 at St Leonard’s church, Hythe. She was the only child of Henry Cobb Wildash and Rosa Neame Wildash, and had been born in Hythe and baptised there on 20 September 1858.  The couple lived at Luton House in Hythe.

The year after her marriage May gave birth to her first child, Alan. He was followed by two more children, Marjorie, who was baptised on 24 February 1884 and died in January 1889, and Brian who was baptised on 18 June 1885 and died aged five months. William  died at Davos Platz, Switzerland on 22 June 1889.  It was a favoured destination for the sick and ailing and recommended by doctors to patients with lung disease, as its air was especially pure. It is likely that William suffered from TB.  He is commemorated in a mosaic vignette on the pulpit of St Leonard’s Church.  As a widow, May moved back into her parents’ house with Alan, and her mother-in-law also moved to Hythe, living at Bank House at what is now 93 High Street.  May is commemorated by a stained glass window in St Edmund’s Chapel in the Church.

William plaque

The mosaic vignette in memory of William Gardner-Waterman on the pulpit of St Leonard’s Church

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The window on the left is in memory of Mary Gardner-Waterman

William had left his family well provided for, to the tune of over £7000, and Alan  attended the  Sutherland House School in Folkestone as a boarder from the age of eight and was then educated at Uppingham School, from 1896-1899, and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1900 he received a commission in the Royal Field Artillery. He served in India as subaltern and captain, and while there married Elsie Lue Dowling on 22 March 1915.She died in London in 1917. Alan served in France in the First World War, during which he was wounded twice. He volunteered to return to India for the Afghan War and remained there until 1925, being promoted to Major and Lieutenant-Colonel. During this time, probably about 1920, when their engagement was announced in Hythe,  he was married to Maud. He retired in 1933, but was appointed Regional Commander of the Local Defence Volunteers for the North Riding of Yorkshire, where he was living, in 1940.  . His Kashmiri Diaries are held by Cambridge University. He died at Fleet, in Hampshire.

Maud Gardner-Waterman nee Evangeline Maud Manderville was born on 13 July 1882, the daughter of Henry Ambrose Mandeville of Anner Castle Clonmel Ireland. and died in Hythe 1978

               

The Worthington Family, Coachmakers

 

Worthingtom William

This is the grave of William Worthington and his wife, Blanche. The inscription reads:

William Worthington /entered into rest March 12th 1893/ in his 72nd year.

Only good night beloved, not farewell/a little while and all his saints shall dwell /in hallowed union indivisible/ good –night good -night

Because I live you shall live also John XIV 19

Also of Blanche Worthington /widow of the above/died Jan. 31st 1912/aged 92

Jesus Christ who died/that we should live together/with Him. Thes. 5. 10.

William Worthington was the founder of the business which became the Worthington coachworks on East Street in Hythe, on the site now occupied by Worthington Court.  He was born in 1821  in the town in relatively humble circumstances and lived in Elm Terrace in Hillside Road as a boy.  

He became a wheelwright by trade, but was obviously an ambitious young man. He married the girl next door, Blanche Lucas in 1843 and four years later, when he was twenty-six, he set up the Worthington Carriage Works.  

His business flourished and so did his family. He and Blanche had nine children. By 1871 they had moved to The Avenue in Hythe living in this house overlooking the Royal Military Canal and very near the works.

 

Worthington House

By the time he was sixty, when he was employing a workforce of nine, he had bought ‘The Gables’ in North Road, an even bigger house, high up above the town and the church.  It was clearly a step up from in the world in more ways than one.

One of his more unusual jobs was building the carriages for the Sandgate Hill lift in 1891. It was one of four cliff lifts in the Folkestone area taking visitors up and down from the beach to the grassy Leas and the town above. This one was a  hybrid between a water balance lift and a conventional tramway.

Worthington Hill left

William and Blanche had three sons, Robert, William and Frederick and after their father’s death, their business became Messrs Worthington Bros, Coach Builders. By 1909 they had become Worthington Brothers Ltd.

This is their advertisement.

Worthington advert

(the date of 1847 written on the card is incorrect!)

William, the middle son, was the first to die.

Worthington grave2

The inscription on his grave reads:

In/loving/memory/of/William/Worthington/born Nov. 22nd 1854/died Nov. 7th 1906

Not slothful in business/fervent in sprit/serving the Lord. ROM.XII.II.

And of Mary Ann/wife of the above/born April 3rd 1857. Died March 7th 1925.

Also Arthur./ dearly loved son of the above/who was killed in the battle of Arras

Remainder illegible

William had married Mary Anne and had four children and they lived in his father’s former home overlooking the canal.  William had to overcome a disability in order to succeed in life, as he had been born with only one ear, and poor hearing in the other one. He relied to a great extent on lip reading. He was, like his brother Robert, a stalwart of the Methodist Church in Hythe and was a Sunday School teacher, steward and trustee. He took his duties seriously. Apparently if he missed someone at church on Sunday, he would find out where they lived and looked them up. As he worked all day, the only opportunity he had for doing this was in the evenings.  In the countryside round the town, the nights were very dark in winter.  

One evening in November 1906, when he was 52, he left the house at about half past seven in the evening. It was drizzling and later rained hard, but he did not take a coat with him. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going.  This was in the days when there was a railway line running from Sandling station, which is still in use,  down to Hythe station which has long since closed.

Shortly after nine thirty, the driver of the train from Sandling to Hythe felt a bump and felt his ballast shift, as if he had hit something. It was too dark to see anything, but when he got to Hythe, he and the Station Master went back up the line in a spare carriage. At the Saltwood crossing, where a footpath crossed the railway line, they found William on the line, dead from terrible head injuries.

There was an inquest two days later at Saltwood, which returned a verdict of accidental death, as the jury supposed that William could not have heard the train coming. This despite the fact that the evidence of the train driver and the Station Master was that William had clearly been lying down, between the tracks and parallel with them, when the train hit him.  It seems likely that the verdict was a kind decision on the part of the jury designed to help William’s family and widow, and not just from the stigma of suicide.  He had two insurance policies on his life, but they only covered accidental death. In the event, he seems not to have left his family very well off. After his death Mary Anne ran a boarding house in Cobden Road. Perhaps he did have money worries.

Things did not get better for Mary Anne.Her son Arthur worked in the family business, as a manager.  When war broke out in 1914, he combined this with working as an evening driver to transport medical staff and volunteers to the Bevan Hospital at Sandgate.  He was also organist at the Methodist Church where he played every Sunday.  I can’t find out when he joined up, but he was killed in the Arras offensive on 3 May 1917, although his body was never found. His mother had to wait fifteen months after his disappearance for the War Department to declare him dead.  

 

Worthington Arthur

Robert was the next Worthington brother to pass away.

 

Worthington Grave 3

In loving memory of/Emma/the dearly loved wife of/Robert Worthington/born March18th 1856/died May 10th1906

Also the above/Robert Worthington/born October 15th 1845/died December 19th1908

“In  Your presence is fullness of joy” PS XIV 11

Like his father, Robert became the father of nine children, including three sons, and his public life flourished, too.  He was another stalwart of the Wesleyan church, Secretary of the Hythe institute and had been a member of the fire brigade. He lived in a house called ‘Kildrummie’ on Tanners Hill, Hythe.  A substantial house, with six bedrooms, a dining room, drawing room and morning room, and large garden it was just the place for a successful business man. It was also within site of the works.

kildrummie

One Saturday evening in December 1908, when he was 64, he was off to Folkestone, and walking along the Seabrook Road flagged down a motor bus. Once on board he was taken ill and the coach diverted to the nearest doctor’s surgery, Unfortunately, by the time they got there Robert was dead, so the doctor made all the other passengers get off the bus so that it could take the body back to Hythe.

After Robert’s death, the business was run by the surviving brother, Fred, assisted by his nephew, William’s son Arthur.  Fred was very much the baby of the family, 19 years younger than his brother Robert. The firm  already had a good reputation for producing carts, carriages and even a coach for one of the royal house of Siam. They moved with the times, and invented a hybrid mode of transport called the Worthington cycle car in 1912, which seems to have been a sort of motor bike.

At the same time, they were developing a car,  the Worthington Runaraound. Only one was ever built. This is its specification:

It was originally powered by an 8hp horizontally-opposed twin engine, but this was replaced by an 8.9hp V-twin J.A.P. The transversely mounted engine drove by two chains to a countershaft, final drive being by belt.

It was intended to sell the car for £90,  but the company overstretched itself and got involved in the other latest transport craze, the aeroplane and in the end failed to produce either car or plane. I  don’t know when the company stopped trading, but Fred, who lived at Twiss Villas in Twiss Road, later worked as a ‘coach painter’. He didn’t die until 1948, aged 84, but was survived for some years by two daughters who lived in the town.

Many of old William Worthington’s other descendants emigrated to Australia, Canada and the USA.

 

The Wilks Family of Hythe

The next two plots in St Leonard’s Churchyard are dedicated to four generations of the Wilks family of Hythe.

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The first was George Wilks who was born in Ospringe, Kent, and baptised there on 18 January 1836. He was one of the fourteen children of Edward Frederick Wilks, a farmer, and his wife Maria. By the age of twenty-five he was a qualified solicitor and had married Fanny Stringer. She was the daughter of William Stringer, an Attorney of New Romney, and his wife Mary. After their marriage, in 1861, the couple lived in Mount Street in Hythe, later moving to a house in the High Street next to George’s office, where eleven children were born to them. George was Town Clerk for over thirty years and also Treasurer and Manager of the Hythe Church of England Girls’ School. Many schoolchildren and their teachers attended his funeral on 2 July 1900. After his death, Fanny moved back to New Romney to live with her sister Laura, and died there

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This stone commemorates George Stringer Wilks and his cousin Charles Edward Wilkes

Their eldest son was George Stringer Wilks, baptised at St Leonard’s Church on 14 March 1862. By the age of nine he had been sent away to school at Rocky Hill House in Maidstone. After school, he followed in his father’s footsteps and at nineteen was an articled solicitor’s clerk.

In 1886, newly qualified as a solicitor, he married Florence Gertruda Lovegrove and took a house in Church Avenue, Hythe.  Two daughters were born: Sibyl in 1887 and Katherine in 1889 .   George practised law together with his father from their offices at 54 (now 114) High Street, Hythe, and he joined the volunteer battalion of the Buffs East Kent Regiment, something which seems to have been expected of local gentlemen. Obviously a good shot, in 1889 he was appointed an Instructor at the Hythe School of Musketry. Originally established in the mid-19th Century, the school taught skills in firearms and marksmanship to Army officers.  Always a busy man, George also served as Town Clerk, a post he had inherited from his father,  and Clerk to the Magistrates of Hythe.  In 1889 published ‘The Early History of Hythe’

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114 High Street, Hythe, where George Wilks and his son George Stringer Wilks practised law and raised their families. Now a Red Cross charity shop, it is decorated for the biennial Hythe Festival.

His sister, Mildred Stringer Wilks also rests here. She was the sixth child of George and Fanny Wilks and lived at home until her late twenties, when she took up a post as matron of a girls’ boarding school in Lancashire. She returned home later in life and died in the Folkestone area.

The first George Wilks had a much younger brother, Charles, a farmer at Chislett, who married and had a son, Charles Edward  Wilks. Charles senior died young, and his wife sold the farm, of 754 acres, and took her children to live in South Shields, where she had been born. Charles junior became a chartering clerk with a shipping broker there.  However, in 1917, he returned to Kent, and married Sibyl, the daughter of George Stringer Wilks, and his own second cousin, in Hythe.  They are buried here together.

The son of Charles Edward  and Sibyl Wilks was John Wilks, born in  London in 1918. He was a member of the Friends Ambulance Unit which, during WWII transported medical supplies into China for civilians and worked alongside the Chinese Red Cross in tending casualties. He later became a surgeon at Bolton Hospital. He married Wu Shih Tsen, ‘Doris’, who was born in China and was a fellow member of the Friends Ambulance Unit . They had two children. Both John and Doris Wilks are commemorated on this plot.

Sibyl’s sister Katherine is also named here. She married Charles F.H.Baines in Kensington in 1924.  They later lived in Fulham where Katherine worked as a beautician. Charles died in 1958, and in 1967 Katherine married the artist Mordaunt  Mauleverer  Parker who died three years later.