1830, January 26: Severe Winter Whitehall Evening Post
"Dartford, Jan 21. A strong proof of the greater severity of the present season to any one we have experienced in England for many years past is indicated by the numerous flocks of wild fowl now visiting the coasts, fens and all our great rivers, inhabitants of the northern part of Europe and rarely appearing here. In additon to the number of wid swans shot in the various parts of the country, two were killed this last week in Dartford Creek; one by Mr Strutt of the Bank, a cygnet, weighing near 16lb; the other by a man in the Preventive Service, an adult male bird, weighing 19¼lb - height 5 feet 3 inches, and width 8 feet. The latter is added to the collection of Mr Hurst, surgeon, Dartford."
1830, March 30: Bankruptcy South Eastern Gazette
Insolvent Debtors' Court, Maidstone. "Paul Wise, late of Dartford, scavenger and carman. A clerk of a solicitor stated that he was instructed by Mr Pratt, solicitor of Dartford. The insolvent's solicitor objected to his right, to oppose which objection was allowed by the Commmission - Discharged.
[a scavenger was an early form of dustman]
1830, May 19: Sale of Brands Hatch Farm London Courier
"Freehold landed investment, within 20 miles of London, in the county of Kent - to be sold by Auction by Winstanley & Sons at the Mart, on Tuesday June 15 at 12 in 2 lots (by the direction of the executors and executrix, and trustees under the will of the late Joseph Watson LLD deceased).
The extensive, valuable and desirable Freehold estate called Brandshatch Farm, situate in the parishes of Farningham, Kingsdown and Fawkham in the county of Kent, about 3 miles from Farningham, 5 from Wrotham, 8 from Dartford, and 20 from London, nearly adjoining the high road from London to Maidstone, comprising a genteel brick built sporting or shooting box, with agricultural buildings of every description, in most complete and excellent repair; 4 newly built cottages; together with 480 acres of arable, meadow and hopland, and about 280 acres of thriving woods, forming a capital preserve for game; the whole embracing upwards of 760 acres; and is let on lease to Mr James Russell, a highly respectable tenant (who has laid out a very considerable sum upon the property) for a term whereof 15 years are unexpired at an exceedingly low rent."
Also Hurst in Bexley and Footscray. Viewing ticket only from J & W Lowe solicitors, Temple or Winstanley & Sons, Paternoster Row. Particulars also available at the Lion and the Bull, Farningham, the Porto Bello, Kingsdown, Bull, Wrotham; Bull, Dartford and of James Russell of Horton Kirby.
1830, May 25: One Pound Reward (Advert) South Eastern Gazette
"Run away and left his wife and family chargeable to the parish of Dartford, Kent. John Watts, aged about 40 years, and stand about 5 feet 6½ inches high, has but one eye, and a very long nose, by trade a cooper, has worked at Dartford these 10 or 12 years. Whosoever will give such information as may lead to the apprehending of the said John Watts to the parish officers at Dartford, shall receive the above reward. S Levens, Assistant Overseer."
1830, July 09: Escape from Lightning Strike Evening Mail
"On Saturday afternoon about 5 o'clock, the town of Dartford was visited with a most tremendous storm of rain and hail, accompanied by the most terrific thunder and lightning, which raged for about half an hour with almost tropical violence, and for some time prevented horses and carriages from proceeding on the road. During the storm a thatched cottage, standing at the extremity of the town, was struck by lightning. The electric fluid, it appears, fell first upon the chimney, which it shattered to pieces, and then dividing, ran down the thatch on each side to the iron casements of the chamber windows, and discharged itself at the stay hooks, whose extreme points were directed to the wall, which it perforated on both sides of the house entirely through. Part of the fluid passed to the lower room casement, and in escaping to earth shivered the window shutter, and broke near every pane of glass in the window. The bricks where the great discharge took place, present the appearence of having been shattered by a cannon ball; and every nail by which the vines had been attached to the walls was struck out, carrying pieces of brick with them. The action of fire is plainly seen upon the casements, and the lead is, in a trifling degree melted. Three persons were sitting in the house, but happily sustained no injury. The first impression on their own minds was, that an explosion had occurred in the powder mills, about a quarter of a mile distant. It was well for the inhabitants of Dartford that it was not those buildings that attracted the destructive element. Hundreds of persons visited the spot on the following day; and there could be but one expression of surprise of the miraculous escape of the inmates from harm. May they adore that God who, in so awfully displaying his power, has also so graciously manifested his superintending providence and mercy." (from the Christian Advocate)
1830, October 12: Ploughing Match Maidstone Journal
"Kentish Agricultural Association - The annual ploughing match took place on Thursday last, in a field in the occupation of Mr John Staples of Highlands in the parish of Sutton at Hone. There were 35 fine teams of horses, belonging to the members of the assocation, with the turnrise and other ploughs, set to work, each having half an acre to plough. The day being fine, brought to the field a large and most respectable meeting of gentlemen, agriculturists, servants, and labourers, and tradesmen of all classes. It was considered one of the most pleasing and gratifying sights ever seen of that kind in the western part of the county of Kent.
The judges for the ploughing for this year were: Thomas Colyer esq, Southfleet; Mr Russell, Horton (Kirby); John Green esq, Eltham; Mr Sears, Dartford; Mr Russell, Swanscombe; Mr Solomon, Swanscombe and they awarded the premiums as follows:-
To George Stevens, servant to Mr Cooper of Sutton at Hones, with a turnrise plough and 4 horses - £3.
Thomas Levitt, servant to Mr Attree, Erith, the 2nd prize, £2
David Weller, servant to Mr Bensted of Hartley, the 3rd prize, £1 10s
Henry Bird, servant to Mr Sears of Dartford, the 4th prize, £1
Stephen Bassett, servant to Mr Elgar of Sutton at Hone, with a turnrise plough and 3 horses, £2
John Trull, servant to Mr John Staples, with a turnrise plough and 3 horses, the 2nd prize, £1 10s
Edward Vallins, servant to Mr John Shearley, Wollary Cray, £1
The unsuccessful ploughmen were all paid a small sum for encouragement, and several who were not entitled to premiums, received presents from the committee.
The company retired to the Hop Pole Inn, Farningham, to dine at 4 o'clock, and nearly 100 gentlemen and farmers, with their friends, sat down to an excellent dinner. The worthy baronet, Sir Thomas Dyke, the president of the association, from ill health, was unable to preside; he however kindly supplied the table with some excellent venison and game from his park at Lullingstone Castle. Percival Hart Dyke esq, took the chiar and Bertie Cator esq acted as vice-president. In addition to the usual toasts and sentiments on such occasions, several excellent vocal performers highly entertained the company till a late hour.
The premiums for the shepherds and servants will be awarded by the committee as soon as they can conveniently meet to adjust them."
1830, November 02: Court Leet South Eastern Gazette
"At the Court Leet of Dartford Rectory held at the Bull and George on Thursday, Mr W L Pearce was reelected high constable, and Mr Henry Stiddolph and Mr John Kither borseholders. And at the Court Leet of Dartford Priory, held at the Bull Inn, on Friday last, Mr Thomas Orme was nominated high constable, and a number of active tradesmen of the town were sworn in borseholders."
[A Court Leet was an ancient manorial court with criminal jurisdiction, but this was eventually replaced by the magistrate system. Not sure whether the Dartford Courts Leet were mainly ceremonial by this point]
1830, December 07: Tithes at Hartley Maidstone Journal
"At his tithe audit, on Thursday last, the Rev M Allan (sic - should be E Allen), minister of Hartley, reduced his tithes ten per cent."
[Baldwin's London Weekly Journal 26.12.1829 reports that Archdeacon King reduced the tithe at Stone, near Dartford by 15 per cent]
1831, January 05: Plunder of the Fishing Smacks at Gravesend Public Ledger
"John Dore, the captain of one of the fishing smacks which trade to London, and two of his men, were brought before the Lord Mayor, charged upon suspiction of having plundered the owner of the smack of a quantity of fish. Mr Goldham, superintendent of Billingsgate Market, and several of the owners of the plundered smacks, were present. The plunder of the fishing boats at Gravesend is estimated at £10,000 a year, and now for the first time have the owners discovered the cause of the numerious failures which have taken place in their body.
Shaw, a fisherman, who had been some days ago apprehended and charged by Mr Goldham with having stolen some cods and haddocks, and inference which was drawn from the fact of his having sold some of the very finest fish for little or nothing, appeared as evidence upon compulsion, and the nefarious system of robbing, by means of which all the towns within 50 or 60 miles of Gravesend have been supplied with fish on the cheapest possible terms, is likely to be totally destroyed. The witness stated that he had frequently purchased of the captain and his men cods, haddocks, plaice and other fish in the river at Gravesend, before the vessel made its appearence at Billingsgate. The prisoners sold the best fish they could lay their hands upon, and it was not done by any means secretly. It was in fact the custom of all the fishing smacks, and had existed a long while. Witness had purchased alsos of several other captains. He had bought 4 cod recently for 6 shillings, and he sold them immediately afterwards at a small profit. The Lord Mayor: Then this kind of robbery has been committed as if the captains of the smacks considered themselves authorised to break bulk at Gravesend, and to sell for their own advantage? Witness said it was just so. The river was a complete market when the smacks reached Gravesend. The Lord Mayor: And were they particular as to the persons they supplied? Witness: Not at all. They would sell to anybody. The Lord Mayor: Then a person can get fish on cheap terms at Gravesend at all times? Witness: It is easy enough to get it cheap there. People need not go into the river to buy it, as the town is plentifully supplied. The Lord Mayor said he was greatly surprised to hear such a statement.
Mr Goldham said he had ascertained that Maidstone, Dartford, Rochester, Canterbury and other towns wwere supplied with fish by means of this sort of robbery, and the very best fish disappeared before the London market was supplied. The owners of the fishing smacks never suspected as to what their serious losses were attributable, until he had brought before the Lord Mayor the present witness, for selling fish for an eighty or a tenth of its value. Their eyes were opened then, and they determined to prosecute in eveery case of plunder. The Lord Mayor said that it was necessary to attack the system in the most resolute manner, and he directed Mr Goldham to publish rewards for the conviction of any persons henceforward guilty of disposing the owners' property in such manner. Mr Goldham said the fishermen of Gravesend who thus derived a living from the purchase of stolen goods, were all up in arms upon the exposure of the practice, and threatened to murder the witness, if he dared to give evidence against the sellers of the fish. It was indeed necessary that the poor man, who had been himself a fair dealing man at Blackwall, until the rest destroyed his sale of fish by selling far below his price, should be protected. They looked upon him as a voluntary evidence, and they were desperate fellows. The witness was not able to state any particular occasion on which he had purchased fish from the captain.
The Lord Mayor dismissed the prisoners, but told them that they were at the mercy of the proprietors, who, if they would bring them before the Kent Magistrates, would probably have them transported. Mr Goldham said the captains of the smacks had no excuse for these dishonest courses, as they were paid most liberally. They had, in fact, corrupted numbers of honest labourers by ruining the fair trade. The Lord Mayor observed that the nefarious system which was exposed sometime ago with regard to other articles of trade, had extended itself to the fish market, and that of course the purchasers of the stolen goods starved all the others. He hoped that the owners would, now that they knew to what to ascribe their losses, prosecute every case to the utmost."
1831, February 01: Benevolence Maidstone Journal
"The Rev Thomas Lambarde, rector of Ash, lately gave 2 bullocks to the poor of Ash, and Ridley, and has also apportioned 6 bushels of flour to the same benevolent purpose."
1831, April 30: General Election Morning Chronicle
"Kent - Meetings have been held in Canterbury, Deal, Ramsgate, Dover, Dartford and in other parts of the county, at all which resolutions to support the reformers Hodges and Rider, against Knatchbull, were unanimously adopted. Subscriptions are pouring in to effect the popular triumph free of expense to the candidates. Sir Edward Knatchbull, who, up to the address of Mr Rider, treated the threat of opposition with contempt, saw the ground slipping away from beneath him, and says that 'he has been long favourable to a reform, but that illness prevented him from expressing his opinion in his place in Parliament'. It did not however, prevent his twice recording his vote against the great national measure. The sort of reform to which he pledges himself is curious, as showing how fare necessity will drive the 'Conservatives' or 'the Country Gentlemen,' as the little know to Chandoses, Vyvyans and Knatchbulls, called themselves. He says 'the power of nominating representatives ought not to be exercised by any individuals. Large and populous towns ought to be directly represented;' and he then entreats for time - 'Give us but time, and an efficient, safe and satisfactory measure of reform may be arranged.'"
[The Conservatives lost the 1831 election badly, but still opposed the Reform Bill to increase the number of people eligible to vote, and to remove some of biggest inequalities of the system, that is to remove most of the rotten boroughs and to give representation to great cities such as Birmingham and Manchester. Overall Kent lost seats, while the 2 member county seat was split in two adding 2 members, Kent lost 4 MPs from the rotten boroughs of Queenborough and New Romney.]
1831, April 30: General Election The Sun
"Kent - Messrs Hodges and Ryder have closely united their interests and are actively engaged in conavassing our principal towns. Their reception is everywhere enthusiastic, and the only fear is, that too great a confidence of success may be excited. Among the bright examples of disinterested patriotisam must be numbered that of the Rev Thomas Barne, of Crayford, whose brother, Colonel Barne, possesses half the borough of Dunwich. Upon being applied to for his vote on behalf of the Reform candidate, he candidly acknowledged that the borough had been of great benefit to his family, but that the period had now arrived in which a sacrifice must be made for the public good, and promised his cordial support. A tradesman of Dartford, on being requested for his vote in behalf of Sir Edward Knatchbull, by a high Tory friend, made the following pithy reply: 'Why, Mr _____, you know I have for the last 30 years always voted for the King, do you wish me to desert him now?' It is unnecessary to add, that the anti-Reformer, struck with the position in which he had placed himself, retired in confusion."
1831, May 09: Loyal and Patriotic Fund for Assisting the Cause of Reform Morning Advertiser
Donation from the United Society of Journeymen Curriers at Dartford - £1 13s 0d. Total contributions £21,647.
1831, May 19: Kent Election Brighton Gazette
"The election for this county took place, as we mentioned in part of our impression last week, yesterday se'nnight. As there was no opposition to the Reform candidates, but a small assemblage of people was expected; the Reformers, however, were determined that the work which had prospered so well in their hands should not lack their parting cheer. From every quarter of the country, bands of freeholders came trooping in, with flags and banners and bands of music, as to some high and joyous festival; and indeed considering the victory achieved by the men of Kent over the enemies of the King and the people, it was both high and joyous. The day, fortunately, was as fine as could be wished, and the immense array of the friends of liberty thus lacked nothing that could contribute to their satisfaction. The election took place at Penenden Heath; and the immense multitudes were disposed in front of the old thatched cot which bears the name of the Shire House, in pretty much the same order as at the famous Penenden meeting which took place in September 1828, the semicircle being formed by a range of waggons inscribed with the names of the different divisions of the county. The sheriff reached the ground at 11 o'clock; and in a few minutes the shouts of the outskirts of the crowd told the approach of the popular candidates, Mr Hodges and Mr Rider. Mr Hodges was proposed by Mr Watson, the member for Canterbury, seconded by Mr Collingwood, of Holkhurst [probably Hawkhurst is meant]; and Mr Rider by Mr John Ward of Squerries, seconded by Sir J Tylden. On these gentlemen being thus nominated, they severally addressed the freeholders and spectators, who by this time, did not, it is supposed, fall much short of 40,000 individuals.
When they had finished, the Sheriff put the question to the freeholders; which being responded to by one universal shout, the honourable gentlemen were declared duly elected. Several of the bands on the green then sat down to refresh, after which the procession was formed. The Maidstone band, with blue flags and banners, led the way; then came the two members on horseback with blue favours; they were followed by a long cavalcade of freeholders, on horseback, three and three, and a number of barouches from the surrounding towns; then followed the various detachments on foot, from Canterbury and Thanet, from Rochester, Gravesend, Dartford and Greenwich; from Ashford, Charing, Lenham and Harrietsham; from the Weald; from Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Bromley; and lastly, a large body from around Tenterden, Hythe, Margate and even Dover. Each of these parties had a band and flags; and such was the length of the procession, that the head of the column raeched Maidstone before the last division had left the Heath, which is more than a mile distant. The procession moved slowly through Wick Street, down High Street, through Mill Lane, and thence up again to Gabriel's Hill; where the two members drew up, and the whole procession passed them, cheering, and the various bands playing 'God save the King'. When this splendid ceremony was over, the different parties separated for their respective homes, some of which were not less than 40 miles distant."
[It seems Mr Knatchbull decided to withdraw, leaving just the Liberal candidates, note at this time the Liberals not the Conservatives used blue as their colour. The numbers may be an over-estimate. It says the parade was three abreast just over a mile. This would suggest a number more like 15,000 which is closer to the total electorate for Kent of 11-12,000. Nationally practically every seat with anything like a fair election voted for the Liberals (Whigs), the Conservatives were left with mainly the rotten boroughs. The paper does not disguise its support for the Liberals.]
1831, May 10: New House Farm to let South Eastern Gazette
"To be let, from Michaelmas next. A small compact farm, containing about 110 acres, in a ring fence, with convenient farm house and buildings, situate in the parish of Hartley, within 7 miles of the Market towns of Dartford and Gravesend.
The coming in will be easy. For particulars, apply at the office of Mr Fooks, solicitor, Dartford, where a map of the estate may be seen."
[Given the advert of 30.9.1831 where it is said Owen Parsons is leaving the farm, it would seem this advert refers to New House Farm.]
1831, June 28: Reform Act 1832 Canterbury Journal
"We understand that many millions of copies of the King's Speech have been sold off in England, so anxious was the poorest creature to know what his majesty would say about Reform! One old woman is said to have sold near a thousand in Dartford, and to have carried away more than 30 pounds weight of halfpennies!"
1831, September 20: Sale at New House Farm Maidstone Journal
"New House Farm, Hartley, Kent: Valuable Live and Dead Farming Stock, Household Furniture etc To be sold by auction by George Mandy on Friday Sept 23rd 1831 by order of the proprietor Owen Parsons (removing) on the premises, New House Farm. The valuable livestock comprises 5 useful draught horses, 1 active nag horse, a milch cow in calf, pigs and poultry. The dead stock consists of 2 strong wagons, 3 good dung carts, 2 turnwrest ploughs, rolls, ox and other harrows, harness for 4 hores complete, hop poles, fire wood etc, and various articles of household furniture, brewing utensils etc" Catalogue available 3 days before sale, Sale to commence at 12 o'clock precisely.
1831, September 28: Reform Meetings - Dartford London Courier
"A meeting was held on Monday in a field opposite the Duke of Wellington, Dartford of the tradesmen and artizans of Dartford, Crayford and its vicinity, to petition the House of Lords to pass the reform bill. The committee met in the town at 1 o'clock, with bands of music and banners, and marched to the field, where they were met by their Crayford friends in excellent order. A hustings had been erected where the committee, with Mumford Camble esq of Sutton Place, and a magistrate of the county, at their head, took their stand. Mr Landale sen, a respectable tradesman of the town was called to the chair. There were near 3,000 persons present, and the meeting was conduceted with the greatest propriety. Mumford Camble proposed the first resolution and was follwed by other friends of reform."
[The Morning Advertiser's account of 29.9.1831 added "The bells were not rung on this joyous occasion. The churchwardens were applied to, and cheerfully consented, but the vicar, the Rev Mr Grant, preemptorily refused the keys of the church." The Duke of Wellington pub is now called the Rising Sun at the top of West Hill. There is a certain irony holding the meeting opposite a pub named after one the greatest opponents of the Reform Bill.]
1831, November 08: Sale this day to Ironmongers and Others Maidstone Journal
"Dartford, Kent. To be sold by auction by Mr Hubbard on Tuesday the 8th November 1831 and 3 following days, and also on Tuesday the 15th November and following days, on the premises, High Street, Dartford. Part of the stock in trade of the late Mr Thomas Peirce, Coppersmith, Brazier and Ironmonger, deceased, comprising a general and extensive assortment of furnishing ironmongery, copper, brass, tin and iron kitchen furniture, and Japanned goods, great quantity of locks, nails, bolts, hinges, husbandry, gardening and other tools etc etc...."
1831, November 11: Reform Bill Guy Fawkes The Globe
"At Crayford on Saturday the populace paraded an effigy of a bishop instead of the old one of Guy Fawkes: they carried it to Dartford, where his Grace was met by a number of the inhabitants carrying torches, who accompanied him through the streets cheering the reformers, and groaning the clergymen and other antis. The effigy was afterwards burned on the church green of Crayford, the populace joining in a new chaunt on the occasion" Similar events at Sheerness and even Canterbury.
1832, January 17: Robbery at Ash Maidstone Journal
"A robbery upon rather an extensive scale, if we calculate from numbers, was committee on Wednesday night last, when the whole stock of David Pettit, a labouerer at Ash, next Wrotham, was taken away from his premises or destroyed, consisting of 26 double hives of bees, containing about 4 cwt of honey, the production of a long, careful and industrious pursuit. Should a call be made upon the charitable and humane, it is hoped the applicant will not go away unrelieved. Seven large bludgeons were left upon the premises, doubtless to have been used had there been any resistance made by the owner."
1832, February 14: Benevolence Maidstone Journal
"The Rev Thomas Lambarde of Ash, has very kindly distributed to the poor of Ash and Ridley, a bullock converted into soup, as well as a quantity of blankets and rugs."
1832, May 26: Reappearence of Malignant Cholera on the Banks of the Thames Old England
"It is with deep pain we have to state that the cholera has again broken out in a most malignant form in several towns and villages on the Kentish Bank of the Thames, between London and Gravesend. At Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Stone, Wilmington, Dartford and Bexley, during the last week, the disease has appeared with greater virulence, and in a more destructive form, than it had before exhibited in any other part of the country. The first cases appeared in Greenhithe on Monday last, and on Tuesday one man and his 4 children, living near that place, were all dead. In the parish of Swanscombe, with a widely scattered agricultural population, there were buried on Friday 16 victims of the disease. Our informant states the curious fact, that all the persons first attacked at Dartford had been at Greenhithe on Sunday, the day previous to the appearence of the pestilence in that place. Local Boards of Health have been established, but we do not see that returns have been made to the council office in the metropolis." [The Evening Standard of 26.5.1832 states that the daily report was 117 new cases and 37 deaths nationwide, of which the Greenhithe area made up 74 of the cases and 16 of the deaths]
1832, July 14: Reform Meeting Morning Advertiser
"On Thursday about 60 of the most respectable tradesmen of Dartford, Kent, members of the Amicable Society, and their friends, partook of an excellent dinner at Mr Charles Messenger's, the Bull and George Inn, to commemorate the passing of the Reform Bill; Mr Landale sen, in the chair. The dinner consisted of every delicacy of the season, with an excellent dessert, and choice wines were abundantly supplied by 'mine host'. The usual toasts were given from the chair, an appropriately acknowledged. The tradesmen of Dartford, who, in common with the rest of his majesty's subjects, have taken a lively interest in the great events of the times, and were happy in giving their unqualified approbation to their excellent representatives, Messrs Hodges and Rider, who great exertions in the cause of reform, together with their close application to the local business of the county, have ensured them the support of the Reformers of Dartford and its vicinity, and have proved to their would-be opponent, although supported by all the clerical influence of the neighbourhood, that he had no chance of success. The festive scene was enlivened by an excellent band of instrumental music, together with the rare vocal talents of Messrs Newman, Aldridge and Bentham, of Crayford. The company separated highly delighted with their feast, and with a firm determination still to persevere in the good cause."
1832, August 08: Veteran Hereford Journal
"There is now residing at Ashford, a very intelligent man, named Peter Jackson, born at Sutton at Hone, near Dartford, in August 1737, who formerly belonged to the 43rd Foot; was in seven engagements in the reign of George II - at Marinique, Dominique, Mariagalante, Guadeloupe, Grantier, Cherbourg and St Cas BY; was in an expedition to the coast of France; and last, at the battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17th, 1775, where he lost his right hand, for which he receives a pension. He walks remarkably upright, and is about 5 feet 10 inches high. Few persons would take him to be more than 70. He is supposed to be the oldest pensioner now living who was at Bunker's Hill." (from Kentish Gazette)
1832, September 27: Value of Imports and Exports 1830 The Globe
Exports of British Produce and Manufactures was £38.3m, and exports of colonial and foreign produce was £8.5m making £46.8m. Total imports were £46.3m. It was divided into 31 areas of the world, significant trade surplus with Germany (not Prussia) £4.0m, Italy £2.9m, Low Countries £2.3m; significatn deficits with West Indies £5.5m, China & E Indies £3.4m, Russia £2.0m, United States £1.6m, France £1.6m, Prussia £1.0m.
1832, October 09: Ploughing Match Maidstone Journal
Kentish Agricultural Association: 4th annual ploughing match at Chinhams Farm, Farningham. David Weller servant to Mr Bensted of Hartley, given 15 shillings encouragement award.
1832, December 23: West Kent Election The Satirist
"The West Kent election presented some scenes of unusual waggery. In the town of Dartford, the two principal inns, The Bull and the Bull and George, formed the rendezvous of the respective parties, the Blues [Liberals] and the Purples [Conservatives]. A processional movement, in strong array, took place of the Blues. Upon the top of one of the coaches stood a tall athletic Blue - 'from head to foot,' 'from top to toe' - dressed in light blue glazed cambric, bearing a flowing silken colour of the party's hue, and was of course, enthusiastically cheered. The Dartford confederation, on their arrival at Gravesend, influenced the state of the poll most importantly, turning the balance of success completely in favour of the party eventually triumphant.
The following was a novel piece of electioneering waggery, wholly attributable to the populace of the town, as to wit, means and appliances: - a sombre hearse (neither emblazoned nor escutcheoned, however), imitated the death and burial of Toryism; and as the purples were the mourners, the vehicle was placarded 'For the voters in the interest of Sir William Geary only,' and 'To Graves End'. This after being stationed for some time in the town, with 6 men dressed in black and white crepe round their hats (who were, however, by no means mutes), seated on the top, and who plied all the passers by whom they knew, or suspectd, to be Purples, with an imtimation that, when full, it would proceed to the hustings at Gravesend, was afterwards dragged by the populace about the town. The doors of the Tories were assailed by knocking, and the hearse was backed, and enquiry made if the parties were 'ready to go.' In one instance, it was absolutely drawn throug the entrance gate, and round the gravel drive to the door of a Tory's residence. Fireworks also occasionally varied and enlivened the scene; but, notwithstanding the various demonstrations of popular opinion, no casualties whatever occurred; and so the hearse was not actually wanted; and the West Kent Conservatives may yet longer sing 'Flow thou Regal Purple Stream,' with what spirit they may.'
1832, December 28: General Election Liverpool Mercury
"At the West Kent election, Mr Rider said, 12 months ago the (secret) ballot would have had its opposition, but during the present elections he had been witness to such a system of corruption and intimidation that he was convinced that a full and fair exercise of the elective franchise could not be secured without it, and if returned to Parliament he should give his best support to that measure. Long Continued cheering."
[Mr Rider was elected in 1832 for the Liberal party. However it was not until the 1874 General Election that the secret ballot was used.]
1833, January 18: Destructive Fire Chelmsford Chronicle
"On Tuesday night, as Mrs Grainger, of Ivy Farm, near Dartford, was assisting the servant man in distributing food to the cattle in the barn adjoining the dwelling house, having a lighted candle in her hand, she accidently set fire to some hay, and although every exertion was used to extinguish the flames, they spread with such rapidity that in a short time the whole of the contents was in a blaze, and but for the timely arrival of the engines, the dwelling house adjoining woul have been burned. The damage is estimated at £300."
1833, January 22: Dreadful Explosion South Eastern Gazette
"At about half past 10 yesterday morning the powder mills at Dartford, consisting of 4 distinct buildings blew up with a terrible and thunder like crash. We heard by our first reporter that 4 men, 3 women and 4 horses were killed, considerable property sacrificed, and that the whole place was in flames; by further particulars which we fear we have received from a correct source, we hear that 31 human beings have been sacrificed, that the fire is still raging in fearful violence, and that the efforts of the people to resist the fury of its course are prevented and paralysed from the horrid anticipation of the explosion of the magazine, which must (should it happen, but which may God in his mercy avert!) be attended with the most awful consequences. We trust that this catastrophe may not be of so serious description as our fears predict, and hope yet to be enabled to give some palliation to the horrors of this picture."
[Even today early reporting of disasters is confused and the early 19th century was no different. The first report quoted turns out to be the more accurate]
1833, January 29: The Explosion at Dartford South Eastern Gazette
"Since our last, we have been able to ascertain more accurate particulars of the dreadful explosion that took place on Monday. At 10 minutes past 10 o'clock in the morning, the town of Dartford was thrown into the utmost consternation and alarm, in consequence of an explosion taking place at the extensive powder mills of Messrs Wilks and Co. It would be impossible to describe the state of the inhabitants, who were running in all directions to reach a place of safety, expecting every moment the large mill to blow up, and if such had taken place, nothing could have saved the whole town; by 11 o'clock the town was nearly deserted, the principal part of the people having gone to Crayford. The damage done for miles round is immense, and in many instances particularly the immediate neighbourhood, in a number of houses not a whole pane of glass is left; some idea of the dreadful effects may be formed when we inform our reader that a butcher's boy belonging to Dartford, and who was at Bexley at the time of the accident for orders, actually brought home three of the cartridge papers which were blown from one of the mills, and that the shock was felt at Greenwich (10 miles from Dartford). At 3 o'clock Mr Pearce, the son of the high constable of Dartford, arrived at Mr Carttar's the coroner, and stated to that gentleman, that up to the time he left Dartford (half past 1 o'clock), seven bodies had been found, but it was impossible to say how many lives were lost, as up to that time the ruins were smoking, and in such a dangerous state that the workmen could proceed but very slowly. Mr Wilks and his son had left Dartford but a very short time previous to the accident, and had scarsely reached London when the fatal news reached them.
Tuesday morning at an early hour hundreds of persons of all denominations were hurrying to the fatal spot. It would be impossible to present our readers with a precise description of the desolate ruins, but the following are the principal features of the dreadful calamity. The premises are situated about half a mile beyond Dartford, and extended nearly 100 acres, but the explosion was happily confined to about 3 acres, and the latter space is literally covered with tiles, bricks, immense pieces of timber, corn from the granary, and other fragments. There are 15 pair of millstones, each pair weighing 10 tons, and incredible as it may appear, 11 pair of them were blown to atoms; the dwelling house of Mr Wilks has not a window sash whole in it, and the house is literally shaken to its very base. The clothes of the unfortunate sufferers were lying in all directions, torn completely in ribbons. It appears to be beyond doubt that the explosion began at the packing room, and from thence communicated to the other part of the premises." The paper goes on to give a lengthy report of the inquest at Dartford Bull and George Inn. The Coroner and the Jury proceeded to the works where 6 of the victims were laid out in the stables and one at his home. They all had horrible injuries. Returning to the pub, the jury heard the evidence of witnesses, most of whom were thrown to the ground. No-one was sure what caused it, the foreman Thomas Pearce thought it might have been caused when unloading a boat. He said it was the worst explosion in his 33 years working there. Dr John Pattison amputed the leg of one of the victims, he said he had consumed a gallon of brandy during the operation, [as anaesthetic] but was too badly injured. Verdict was accidental death.
Dreadful Explosion of the Dartford Powder Mills. Seven Persons Killed (Bells New Weekly Messenger 27.1.1833)
".....At a quarter past 10 o'clock in the morning, the persons employed at the mills, exceeding 60 in number, were alarmed by a sudden and unaccountable explosion in the packing room, which was almost instantly followed by another in the charge house. The shocks were tremendous, and all those engaged in these particular departments met their deaths. The consternation that prevailed at this time was truly awful. The air was filled with the shattered fragments of the premises, and the workmen were seen hurrying from the scene of destruction, many of them with the blood flowing from wounds in different parts of their persons. Nearly the whole of the town was instantly in commotion, and numbers of the inhabitants fled from their houses for feear the roofs would fall in and crush them. All the inmates of the workhouse at Dartford, and the children of the National School adjoining, were instantly removed to Crayford, and other precautionary measures taken to ensure safety, it being expected every moment that the magazine would blow up. In about a quarter of an hour after the second explosion, the powder in an adjoining mill ignited, and a third blow took place, which was eceedingly destructive in its consequences. Five other mills exploded in rapid succession, but the last blow was considered to be more severe than the previous ones. It was materially felt at Hawley and Wilmington, and for several miles along the line of the road leading from Dartford to Farningham. Many houses had not a whole pane of glass remaining, and numerous others were materially damaged. Several persons were injured by the falling of tiles from the houses........... All business was suspended at Dartford, and several thousand persons assembled in the vicinity of the mills. Throughout the day vast crowds of persons from Sutton, Eltham, Woolwich, Chislehurst, and other parts for many miles round flocked into the town. About a mile from Eltham some of the packing paper from the mills was picked up; and a young man who was walking through Sutton [at Hone], about 3 miles from Dartford, was knocked down by the shock; and we understand has scarsely yet recovered from the effects of it........"
Sermon (Kentish Gazette 8.2.1833)
"(Dartford) On Sunday morning se'nnight an eloquent discourese was preached in this church by the Rev F Grant, vicar, relative to the unfortunate event which occurred in the preceding week. The Rev Gentleman slected his text from the 25th chapter of Matthew, 23rd verse 'Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh' The admireable manner in which the above was delivered, drew forth the deepest attention of his hearers; he frequently referred to various parts of the scripture, wherein they are reminded of the uncertainty of life, and the necessity of continually watching for the coming of the Lord, who, as a thief in the night, might take them unawares. The Rev Gentleman concluded his discourse by various admonitions, and particuarly referred to that portion of Divine Writ which saith 'set thine house in order, for thou shalt surely die.' The poor man, Cook, who was so dreadfully injured by the explosion of the mills, is recovering from his dangerous wounds."
[Morning Advertiser 23.1.1833 said the explosion was heard at Graham & Co's Sugar Works at London Docks, 14 miles away. Morning Herald 25.1.1833 carried an advert for Merle's Weekly Register which said its 27 January edition would have a sketch of the explosion.]
1833, January 31: General Election Morning Chronicle
West Kent election intimidation of Blackheath Tradesmen led to all but 4 deserting Messrs Hodges and Rider when most wanted to vote for them.
1833, April 16: Parliamentary Return: House and Window Duty Kentish Gazette
Total collected in England about £2,500,000. In Kent the total was £89,578 including Dartford (£1,033), Gravesend (£2,687).
1833, April 30: Influenza South Eastern Gazette
"(Dartford) The influenza is continuing at this place with fearful rapidity. Not a house or scarcely a single person escapes its effects, but although so prevalent and in many cases very severe attacks have been experienced, we are happy to say that in very few instances it has proved fatal."
1833, June 18: The Hurricane on Tuesday South Eastern Gazette
"Great damage has been sustained from the dreadful force of the wind on Tuesday in nearly all the orchards in this neighbourhood. In Mr Whatman's park, a large elm tree was torn up by the roots, and a great number of limbs were broken from others - As John Luckhurst, our Dartford newsman, was returning in his cart from that town in the afternoon, the clouds of dust near Chalk were so violent, that (although on the right side of the road) he was encountered by a London Coach which tore off his wheel and threw himself and a young woman who was riding with him; under the coach horses. The coachman immediately pulled up or they must have been killed. Luckhurst was so much bruised as to render him unable to take his journey today. It appears no blame is attachable to either party, as neither could see the other for the dust, till they actually came into contact."
1833, June 23: The London and Greenwich Railway Bell's New Weekly Messenger
"It is proposed to commence this great work near th esouth point of London Bridge, proceed in almost a straight line to High Street, Deptford, and from thence, crossing the river Ravensbourne to Greenwich. This will be a very considerable reduction of distance, being only about three miles and three quarters, whereas the present road is nearly 5 miles. The time occupied in going or returning will be about 12 minutes, unaccompanied by noise or smoke etc, and totally avoiding the delays and stoppages which are at present the subject of such universal complaint; whilst the pecuniary saving, to those who are daily in the habit of coming to town, will be upwards of £20 per annum. The ease, the certainty, and the dispatch attending the railway, will greatly add to the importance of Greenwich. It will become the radiating point from all places beyond and around it; Woolwich (to which it is contemplated by the company to extend the railway, Dartford, Chatham, Dover Maidstone and the coast of Essex, and many other places will be connected with it, as a more speedy means of conveyance for commodities of every kind; this will be particuarly favourable to all articles of consumption; they will be received in a fresher state and at a much cheaper rate; it being well known that 5, 6 and ins some places, 10 times the original price of things is added by the amount of carriage; and in this point of view, London will be equally benefitted, as many things will be sent to town, which now, from a variety of causes, are compelled to be sold and consumed in the place of their growth or manufacture. The scenery around Greenwich has often been a subject of admiration, and this will induce many persons visiting this country to fix their residence there, and come to London by the railway as occasion may require. But one of the greatest advantages which will be gained by the railway will be from the river. There are more accidents and delays in navigating the Thames, between London and Greenwich, than in any other part of it; these will be entirely avoided, as there is no doubt but that Greenwich will become the point of embarkation and landing from vessels of every description. The Railway is to be built upon arches; by this means all other public ways will be avoided, and where they do not occur, the spaces will be formed into warehouses, stables etc, thus losing no opportunity of adding to the profits of the undertaking. The line of the Railway will pass over ground, at present, of but little value, and this will lighten the very great expense usually attending the purchase of land, and when completed, will, of course, increase the value of that in its vicinity to a very considerable extent (New Casket)."
1833, June 28: Dartford and Crayford Political Union New Sun
"At a general meeting of the Dartford and Crayford Political Union, held on Monday evening, the following resolution was unanimously adopted: 'That this Union do approve, and are ready to further to the utmost of their power, the objects embodied in the report now before us, of the proceedings of the West Kent Associated Political Union, and particuarly to assist their most important efforts to call a public meeting of the various unions of West Kent, for the purpose of addressing the king, praying him to exercise his perogative by commanding his ministers to introduce in Parliament proper measures for the expulsion of the bench of bishops from the legislative assemblies of the people; and further, to command the introduction of such measures as can alone save the nation from revolution, anarchy and ruin.'"
1833, September 03: Number of Kentish Newspapers Printed South Eastern Gazette
"The following is an extract from 'An account of the number of stamps issued to each of the provincial newspapers in England in the year ending 1st April 1833….. Chas Pressly secretary
Kent Herald 66,000
Maidstone Journal 52,950
Maidstone Gazette 42,500
Kentish Gazette 78,000
Kentish Observer 27,000
Kentish Chronicle 12,000
Rochester Gazette 3,000
At this time the South Eastern Gazette was called the Maidstone Gazette. They claimed that they had bought a batch of stamps just before the financial year started so their sales were higher. They also accuse the Kentish Observer of giving away about 90 per cent of its papers (what the industry would call 'bulks' today).
1833, September 03: Gravesend News South Eastern Gazette
"Attempts are making in pursuance of previous threats to shut out the public from that most attractive and delightful spot Windmill Hill, indeed actual barriers have been erected to confine the inhabitants and visitors to the path that leads only to the alehouse there, but these barriers have been put down for the present, by one of those meritorious individuals who now and then are to be found ready to maintain public rights, though at personal inconvenience and expense. The object of this enclosure of Windmill Hill is to convert it into a site for building, and already three ten pound cottages and a beer shoop send forth their fume and smoke, where the hawthorn and wildflower lately displayed their fragrance. The result is, that the corn fields and gardens surrounding the hill, are by this diversion trespassed upon, and other provoking injuries inflicted on the farmer.
For the sake of saving a few pounds, the town is not lighted with gas three days before and three days after the full moon, consequently, on the two dreadful nights of Friday and Saturday last, when the shops were closed, it was really dangerous to be in the streets, this saving (however much it may be) is not now worthy so great and rising a town, and we do hope, the proper authorities will remedy this evil, and imitate our neighbours in Rochester and Dartford, who light all the year round. When we consider we have a population of 11,000 and nearly 3,000 visitors, it certainly is not quite pleasant to be placed in Egyptian darkness for the sake of a few pounds."
1833, October 08: Ploughing Match Maidstone Journal
Kentish Agricultural Association: ploughing match at Mr Russell's land in Horton Kirby. 44 entrants. 3rd prize went to William Comfort, servant to Mr Bensted - 2 guineas. The association now has 160 members.
1833, October 13: Double Standards Weekly Despatch
"A correspondent informs us that a reverend divine - a worthy parson-magistrate - residing within something less than a thousand miles of Dartford, in Kent, lately inflicted a fine of one pound upon a drover for the offence of driving cattle through a certain town or village on a Sunday. Now, as it is alleged that cows belonging to this very parson are constantly driven through the same town or village, and as the Reverend Sabbath preserver is himself driven to Church in his carriage, making his coachman, footman and horses work on the Lord's Day for his personal convenience and ease, we are requested to inquire whether, in common justice, the pious gent ought not to inflict a fine upon himself for sabbath breaking?"
1833, October 23: Stationer's Shop for Sale Morning Advertiser
"To stationers, booksellers, printers etc. An eligible business opportunity offers for the immediate entering upno a business in this line, in the town of Dartford, Kent, within 15 miles of London, where th same has been advantageously carried on for many years; the stock in trade, household furniture, and fixtures, may be taken at a valuation, and a lease of the premises (which are in excellent repair), obtained for a term of years, as may be agreed upon; possession may be had immediately. Inquire of Mr Edward Hall, Spittal Street, Dartford; Mr John Warcup, bookseller, Broadway, Deptford, or of Mr William Hart, No 23 Lombard Street, London."
1833, November 26: Fawkham Court Farm for Sale South Eastern Gazette
"Fawkham Court Lodge Farm - Manor and Valuable Freehold Lands, containing 341 acres - to be sold by auction by Messrs Driver at the auction Mart on Wednesday the 18th December at 12 o'clock in 2 lots.
Very capital freehold estates, exonerated from the land tax, and in a fine sporting country, called Fawkham Court Farm, in the occupation of Mr William Crowhurst, comprising an excellent Farm House, Oasthouse, barns and all requisite agricultural buildings, and 292 acres of valuable hop ground, arable, meadow and woodlands, situate at Fawkham, about midway betwen the turnpike roads leading from London through Dartford to Dover, and through Farningham to Maidstone and Hythe; being 7 miles from Dartford, 5 from Farningham and only 22 from London. And about 49 acres adjoining, in the respective occupations of Messrs Cooper and Smith and Mr Young. Also the Manor of Fawkham, with all quitrents, rights, members, profits and emoluments thereto belonging.... Messrs Driver, Surveyors and Land Agents, 8 Richmond Terrace, Parliament Square, London."
[Maidstone Journal 24.12.1833 reported the outcome of the sale: "On Wednesday at the auction Mart there was a sale of the following property: The freehold Fawkham Court Lodge Farm estate at Fawkham, Kent, farm house, oasthouse, barns, and all requisite agricultural buildings, stabling etc, garden and 292 acres of hop ground, arable, meadow and woodlands; let for 7 years from 1830 at £120 pa.; also Park Field, containing 6a 3r 17p, let at £4 10s for the like term, together with the manor of Fawkham, with the quitrents, producing annually £1 17s 7d, and all other profits, rights, royalties and appurtenances; land tax redeemed; timber etc to be taken at a valuation - £4,820. Church Down Farm adjoining, new built farm house, dairy, barns, stables, and buildings, orchar and land, in all 42a 1r 13p freehold, and land tax redeemed; let for 14 years from 1830 at £40 a year - £900."]
1833, December 05: Shipwreck Public Ledger
"The Blessing, of Boston, it is feared, has foundered at sea. She sailed from Spalding 3 weeks ago, for London, laden with wheat for Dartford Creek, in company with 2 other vessels, and has not since been heard of (from Boston Herald)"
1834, January 28: Assault Charge Kentish Gazette
"William Edmeades, Percy Edmeades and Jeremiah Letchford, all of Longfield, have been committed by the Rev G Davies for trial at the next assizes, on a charge of night poaching on the land of Henry Edmeades esq at Cobham. They were discovered by a servant of Mr Edmeades, whom they beat in a most inhuman manner, and by that means effected their escape at the time; but the man was fortunately enabled to distinguish and identify the parties previous to being struck." [In spite of the paper claiming this was an open and shut case, all three were acquitted at the Assizes, William was said to ba aged 31, the other two 19 - South Eastern Gazette 18.3.1834. Nowadays what the Kentish Gazette wrote about the case would not be allowed.]
1834, February 18: Sale at Dartford Paper Mills South Eastern Gazette
"Dartford Paper Mills. To Papermakers, millwrights, engineers and others. To be sold by auction by Mr W Hubbard on Thursday, the 20th day of February 1834, at 11 o'clock, on the premises. All the valuable fixtures and materials remaining thereon, comprising double and single hydraulic presses, 10 other presses, 2 vats lined with lead, cisterns etc, 4 large chests lined with lead, 2 iron engines with steel and brass plates, 4 wood engines with steel and brass plates, a large copper (130 gallons), a large quantity of lead piping to river and wells, large cistern lined with lead, for blanching, 2 rag dusting engines, sizeing machine, great quanity of standards, trebles and lines, 40 rag hurdles and boxes, a large waggon boiler, about 200 feet, large steam iron pipe, a double force pump, two double pumps to engines, and sundry other useful articles connected with paper maunufactory...."
1834, March 29: West Kent Agricultural Association St James Chronicle
"We rejoice at the unanimity which prevails among the agriculturalists of this great county. It will be seen in our present number that the Dartford Association, setting aside all desire of individual distinction, has united itself to that previously formed at Sevenoaks. The effect of these associations is already beginning to be felt in the county. The public mind is becoming diabused upon the subject of the present moderate protection afforded to the farmer. People who are not such refined thinkers as Mr Hume, cannot perceive the benefit of having a permanent duty of 10 shillings when the average duty, for some years under the existing system, has not exceeded 7 shillings. The attempt to get up a cry of 'no corn laws' is clearly a failure. The Corn Law Magazine is virtually defunct, The Quartern Loaf, another incendiary publication, with the lie branded on its forehead, will soon share the fate of its unfortunate brother, and the great parent of both, the Anti Corn Law Society, is left without scarsely a single heart to commiserate the loss of its two rickety bantlings (form Greenwich Gazette)"
[The triumphalism of this article would prove to be misplaced, because the Corn Laws (import restrictions and tariffs on imported grain) were abolished in 1846 when Conservative prime minister Sir Robert Peel decided to go against the majority of his party who supported the landlords. It is reckoned their repeal benefitted 90 per cent of the population, with only the 10 per cent of top earners losing out]
1834, April 25: Sabbath Observance Maidstone Journal
Petitions for greater observance to Parliament from groups at Gravesend, Dartford and elsewhere in Kent. The Globe 25.4.1834 says the Dartford petition was from the Wesleyan Methodists.
1834, May 01: Trade Unions Albion and the Star
"On Monday last two delegates attended at Dartford, for the purpose of establishing a Trades' Union. The meeting was but thinly attended, and we believe not more than 7 or 8 persons entered their names." [This of course was barely a month after the Dorset establishment had convicted the Tolpuddle Martyrs for the supposed "crime" of belonging to a Trade Union, so it is not surprising that most did not feel brave enough to join then]
1834, May 05: Mutiny Morning Post
"The 46th Regiment of Foot marched through Dartford from Canterbury to Weedon last week. On Thursday a private was tried for mutiny at a drum head court martial, held on the road between Gravesend and Dartford, when he was sentenced to be flogged. The sentence was carried into effect on Dartford Brent (all the men acknowledging he deserved a more severe punishment). It is nearly 40 years since a similar circumstance occurred in this place."
Parliamentary Question (London Evening Standard 13.5.1834)
"Mr O'Connell wished to put a question to the ... Secretary of War... relative to the punishment inflicted on a private of the 46th regiment, of the name of Gillighan. It appeared the man had been flogged at Dartford, in the absence of a medical officer. Theat was contrary to the restrictions lately issued. The man had been long in the service, and, from what he heard, the punishment was so severe that he fainted under it. He wished therefore to know whether he had been flogged in violation of the standing order? Mr E Ellice said, in consequence of a communication fromt he hon and learned member, he had sent for the officer under whose command the regiment was at the time and had made every enquiry. The soldier had been guilty of mutinous conduct, and the officer was placed in such difficult circumstances in consequence, that it would hardly have been possible to continue the march of the troops from Rochester to Dartford without inflicting punishment. The officer accordingly summoned a court martial. The man had been absent from parade the previous evening, and next morning, when called on to account for his absence, he used language most unbecoming and mutinous, and the court martial sentenced him to receive 100 lashes. The officer admitted there was no medical officer present, but he took the responsibility of ordering the infliction of the punishment, this being absolutely necessary in order to enable him to march the troops. That statement about the soldier fainting was incorrect; the soldier received only 50 lashes in place of 100, and was able almost immediately to continue the march. The man, according to the surgeon's account, had completely recovered and was now at Weedon barracks."
[the 46th was substitled the South Devonshires. By various amalgamations over the years it is now part of the Rifles regiment]
1834, May 06: Epitaph of Peter Isnell of Crayford Essex Herald
"The following epitaph is copied from a tombstone in the churchyard of Crayford, near Dartford, Kent:
Here lieth the body of Peter Isnell, Thirty Years Clerk of this parish, He lived respected as a pious and mirthful man, and died on his way to church to assist at a wedding, on the 31st of March 1811, aged 70. The inhabitants of Crayford have raised this stone to his cheerful memory, and as a tribute to his long and faithful services.
The life of this clerk was just three score and ten
Nearly half of which time he sung out Amen.
In his youth he was married, like other young men;
But his wife died one day, so he chaunted Amen.
A second he took; she departed! What then?
He married and buried a third with Amen.
Thus he joys and his sorrows and treble: but then
His voice was deep bass as he sung out Amen.
On the horn he could blow as wwel as most men;
So his horn was exalted in blowing Amen.
But he lost all his wind after three score and ten;
And here, with three wives, he waits till again
The trumpet shall rouse him to sing out Amen."
[A parish clerk would sing the responses to the Vicar's prayers]
1834, May 26: Masonic Meeting at Margate Albion and the Star
"(from the Kentish Observer…) It is now nearly 3 years since the anniversary festival of this ancient and highly honourable order was celebrated in this county, in which there are 19 lodges; namely at Woolwich, Chatham (2), Deal, Canterbury, Gravesend, Greenwich, Folkestone, Hythe, Margate, Faversham, Deptford (3), Dover (2), Sheerness, Charlton, and Dartford; 4 of which lodges are at present dormant; others, being within a certain distance of London, are not under the direction of the Provincial Grand Master for Kent..... (paragraph on traditional history of the Masons)... The three senior masonic lodges in Kent are the Woolwich Lodge No 13, constituted in 1721; the Royal Kent Lodge of Antiquity, Chatham, No 20, constituted in 1723; and the United Industrious Lodge, Canterbury, constituted in 1727; the latter, we learn, has been some time dormant, and now recently revived. In most of the lodges, as Hythe, Dover, Margate etc, the business of freemasonry is carried on with vigour and much to the satisfaction of the brethren.... (brief description of Provincial Grand Lodge meeting).... The business of the Provincial Grand Lodge having been finished, and the state of freemasonry in this district having been ascertained, the procession was formed to St John's Church, passing through Cecil Street, Church Fields, St John's Street, St James's Square, Prince's Crescent and Prospect Place. The procession was ably managed by Brother Jefferies, Director of the Ceremonies, nearly in the following order:
Two tylers with drawn swords; music - playing the masonic air 'Come let us prepare'; PG Stewards with white wands; The Ionic Column; Visitors, not being members of Lodges in this county, foreign brethren; The lodges in teh county under the superintendence of the Provincial Grand Master; The W Masters and brethren, in masonic costume, with silver jewels of office, suspended in light blue collars of the order, and attired in white aprons bordered with blue, and white gloves; The Lodge of Emulation, Dartford; The Lodge of Peace and Harmony, Dover; The Doric Column; Prince Edwin's Lodge, Hythe; The Harmony Lodge, Faversham; The Adam lodge, Sheerness; The Corinthian Column; The Industrious Lodge, Canterbury; The Lodge of Antiquity, Chatham; The celestial globe; the Terrestrial Globe; the first great light; The Union Lodge, Margate; The second great light; the third great light; The banners of the Provincial Grand Lodge borne by junior brethren, the first inscribed 'Holiness to the Lord', the second 'Sit Lux and lux fuit'; the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer; The PGJ Guard; The PG Standard Bearer; The PG Master of Ceremonies; the PG Seal Keeper; the PG architect; the PG Record Keeper; the PG Artist; the PG Secretary; the PG Treasurer; The PG deacons; the PG Orator; the Holy Bible with compass and square, borne on a crimson velvet cushion by a master mason; the Provincial Grand Chaplain; Provincial Junior Grand Warden; Provincial Senior Grand Warden; The Deputy Provincial Grand Master; The Provincial Grand Tyler. The provincial grand officers distinguished by wearing the honourable and distinguishing badges of masonry of the grand lodge of England, namely, gold jewels, appendant to garter blue ribbons about their necks, and white leather aprons, faced with purple silk..... (description of church service)....."
1834, May 27: Shocking Occurrence Kentish Gazette
"On Wednesday se'nnight, the son of Mr Miskin, the respectable brewer of this town, and a youth named Thomas Davis, both about 13 years of age, imprudently climbed on the cover of the mash tub, in the brewery belonging to the former, just as it was ready for mashing. It instantly gave way, and they were both precipitated into the scalding liquid. The malster hearing their screams, ran to their assistance, and with great difficulty succeeded in extracting them both, scalded in a frightful manner. The boy Thomas Davis lingered more than 24 hours after the accident, when death put an end to his sufferings. An inquest has since been held before Mr Carttar, and a respectable jury, who returned a verdict of accidental death. The survivor is, we regret to say, in a very dangerous state, though from the unremitting attention of Mr Hurst, the surgeon, strong hopes are entertained of his recovery."
1834, June 21: Furious Driving Public Ledger
"Union Hall [Magistrates]. William Dicks, the driver of an omnibus which plies between Dartford and town, was summoned at the instance of Mr Whitbread, for furiously driving in the Kent Road. Mr Whitbread stated, that as he was driving in his chaise at an easy pace, in the Kent Road, accompanied by his servant, he saw an omnibus coming from town, going down the road at a rapid rate, one of the horses going at a gallop, and the other at a smart canter. No sooner had the vehicle passed his chaise, than he heard another coming up from behind, and on turning round he saw a second omnibus, the driver of which put the horses into a full gallop, it was evident with the intention of getting the start of the other driver, who was some distance in advance. He (Mr Whitbread) had scarcely time left to back round when the omnibus in his rear, which was going at a furious rate, nearly came into contact with his chaise, he being compelled actually to avoid a collision to pull up inot the high path on the side of the road. Although he had run considerable risk in doing this, in order to get out of the way, yet the wheel of the omnibus touched within half an inch of the wheel of the chaise, and it was almost a miracle that they did not strike, the result of which would no doubt have been attended with the most serious consequences, owing to the speed the omnibus was going at the time. The defendant was so determined on heading his opponent (the driver of the other omnibus), that to effect this object he drove between the latter vehicle and Mr Whitbread's chaise, and had not that gentleman with great dexterity managed to drive upon the footpath, the accident he so fortunately averted must have taken place. Mr Whitbread, determined that such an offender should not escape punishment, followed after him closely to the next turnpike, where he had an opportunity of taking his number. It was here ascertained by Mr Whitbread that the defendant was intoxicated, and when the omnibus stopped several of the passengers got out, and refused to be driven by so dangerous a driver, and expressed their thanks to Mr Whitbread, for his intention to summon the defendant.
The defendant expressed his contrition for what had occurred, and trusted that Mr Whitbread would intercede for him this time, owing to his having a wife and family to support. Mr Traill said he considered this was just such a case where the highest penalty that the law allowed should be inflicted. Mr Whitbread interceded for the defendant, on the ground of his wife and children, and also in consequence of his not having attemptedd to deny the charge, or used any abuse at the time he was remonstrated with, and had his number taken. The mitigated penalty of 50 shillings and costs was then inflicted on the defendant."
1834, August 06: Zinc Mills Patriot
"A numerous and highly fashionable party assembled at Mosselman's zinc mills on Saturday last, near Dartford, to witness the opertaion of the splendid and powerful machinery which has been erected to reduce plate zinc to sheets. We understand that the use of this zinc has been introduced into the British and French navy with every prospect of success; and if the spirited manner in which the proprietors received their guests upon this occasion is to be taken as an advent of success, we doubt not but they will succeed."
(South Eastern Gazette 5.8.1834) "A grand fete was on Saturday given by the proprietors of the new zinc manufactory to about 200 of the nobility and gentry. Carriages began to arrive about 2 o'clock, and continued setting down till 5. Preparations were made upon the most grand and expensive scale, and nothing can exceed the splendour and fitting up of the banqueting and ball rooms. Every delicacy of the season, including the most rare and expensive description was procured, and the cloth was laid for 230 persons. Dancing commenced in the evening, to Weippart's Band, which was kept up till a late hour. The workmen on the premises, amounting to nearly 100, were also liberally provided for, and dined together on the Brent, upon the occasion of the machinery being completed, and the mill set to work. The novelty of manufacturing zinc in this part of the country is also remarkable, it being the first of the kind ever established."
1834, October 14: Kent Agricultural Association Maidstone Journal
Ploughing match - "The annual ploughing match of the above association took place on Tuesday last, in two fields at Franks Farm, Horton Kirby, in the possession of Mr Nicholas Ray, who, with a liberality which does him great credit, had provided at his house the most substantial refreshments for the friends and supporters of the institution. The attendance of members was unusually numerous, a proof of their unabated zeal in forwarding the great and good cause in which they are united.
31 ploughs conteneded for the various prizes. The ground, however, from the recent long and continued drought was in so hard and flinty a state as to render the exertions of the hardy competitors a work of extraordinary difficulty and labour. Within a very short time after commencing 5 ploughs were in consequence compelled to decline the contest. The lower field was in a better state than the upper, to plough which, to use the words of one of the ploughmen in it, was like ploughing a turnpike road. There were but 7 ploughs at work in the lower field, which was a matter of regret, it being sufficiently larger and convenient for the whole number of ploughs entered. The ploughs used were the common English turnrise, and the only exception as to the manner of using them was that of Lord Templemore's the horse of which were driven in a single instead of a double team, the effect of which, from the state of the ground, was evidently beneficial. The work in the lower field was finished a full hour before that of the upper, which was not till 5 minutes after 3 o'clock..... The first premium £3 for 4 horses and a turnrise plough was given to William Tomlin, servant to Mr P Ray of Horton... the 5th ditto to William Conford, servant to Mr Bensted, of Hartley, £1.
A premium of £3 was given to James Martin, for having worked 40 years for Mr Bensted of Hartley, brought up a family of 8 chldren, and never received any parochial relief." (paper goes on to describe dinner at Black Lion, Farningham).
1834, October 21: Theft Charge at Fawkham South Eastern Gazette
West Kent Quarter Sessions: "Hannah Connor, 68, for stealing a silk shawl, value 1 shilling, the property of William Raymond at Fawkham - acquitted."
1834, October 27: Prize Fight at Green Street Green True Sun
"Sir, if you can find room for the following statement of facts, connected with the disgraceful prize fight of Tuesday the 21st inst, it may be the means of rendering such an exposure of the coduct of certain parites connected with the affair as to show that some portion of the daily press are determined to do their duty in putting down these abominable and disgraceful nuisances.
On Tuesday Jack Adams (a returned convict) and Tom Smith (a flash sailor) fought a pitched battle for £50 aside at Greenstead Green, near Dartford. These worthies having fought before, and Smith then being the winner, he was consequently the favourite, and long odds were betted in his favour. The result of this fight, however, was in perfect accordance with the opinions of those who are acquainted with the professional mode of arranging those sort of matters. Smith was the victor on the former occasion, Smith was defeated on Tuesday. The affair was very nicely managed. Smith, who left off with scarsely a mark to indicate he had been fighting, begged to be excused fighting longer, alleging that he had 'hurt his shoulder!' Thus ended the fight. Money to a considerable amount changed hands upon the occasion; and, as is frequently the case in these pre-arranged fights, the Castle party were on the winning side to a large amount.
Tom Oliver (ex champion of England) officiated as commissary general, i.e. he formed the ring and superintended all the necessary arrangements of the fight. I bet to call your attention to the following facts which I consider worthy of notice, as tending to shew the respective honourable avocations of father and son. On the very day old Tom Oliver was so reputably employed at Greenstead Green, young Tom Oliver was 'cutting a figure in history', before the magistrates at Queen Square, upon a charge of felony, as will be seen from the following account, which I copy from the Times of yesterday: 'Tom Oliver, the son of the well known prize fighter, was re-examined, charged with attempting to pick pockets at the fire. Mr White enquired whether any of the constables knew him? Police Constables Elliott and Wilkins of the B Division said that the prisoner was well known to them. He was a most notorious smasher, and had been frequently been in custody for uttering base coin, and was the constant companion of the most notorious thieves in Westminster. Mr White committed him for one month to the house of correction.'
I must not omit to mention that the usual assemblage of pickpockets, swell mob men and thieves of all grades were present on Tuesday, most industriously following their vocations, as the poor plundered fools who were present can amply testify. Advantage was taken by the pickpockets of the alarm what was occasioned by a restive horse rushing towards the ring, which was a sort of signal for the thieves to commence operations. A vast number of country people wwere on the ground, and scarcely one escaped without being robbed.
Two other fights afterwards took place of no importance in themselves, but of considerable consequence to the light fingered gentry, as they were the means of keeping the foolish spectators on the ground till nightfall, when robberies were committed in the most bare faced and undisguised manner. The whole of these disgraceful proceedings was a correct specimen of the doings of the prize ring. Several similar fights have recently taken place in the same neighbourhood. Query - Is it possible that the magistrates of West Kent are patrons of the degraded prize ring? Trusting that you will lend your efficient aid in exposing these 'respectable' transactions. I am sir, your constant reader, J Oct 22 1834."
Cruelty to a Horse (Morning Herald 23.10.1834)
(Marylebone Magistrates) "William Collins, a cab driver was charged with cruelty to a valuable horse, belonging to Mr Rayner of York Mews, Baker Street. It appeared from the evidence of Mr Rudd, the foreman, that on the previous morning the prisoner left the mews with a horse worth 40 guineas, in a cab, and was to have returned at 2 o'clock the same day. He however, did not return till a late hour at night, when the animal was exhausted from the most cruel overdriving and was scarcely able to stand. The horse had been so ill used as not to be worth half the money it was when the prisoner started, and would not be fit for work for many weeks. The prisoner, who said he had taken 2 gentlemen to the fight at Dartford, was committed for 14 days."
Kentish Mercury 1.11.1834
"A correspondent of the True Sun, after detailing the disgraceful proceedings attending a prize fight last week, at Greenstead Green, near Dartford says..... We have great pleasure in assuring the correspondent of the True Sun that the magistrates of this district are most earnest in their desire to put down prize fighting and its attendant atrocities..." (paper goes on to give example of fight at Plumstead stopped by magistrates)
[A very lengthy account of the actual fight is in Bell's Life in London 26.10.1834. The fight lasted for 14 rounds and 41 minutes (their previous was for 125 rounds in 2 hours 40 minutes). Smith's backer won the toss and chose Green Street Green as the venue because Smith had previously defeated 'Poy Parney' there. It said "....The morning of Tuesday was, as usual, ushered in by the din of preparations for a long trot, and by 7 o'clock the road towards Shooter's Hill exhibited a lively succession of drags of every class, from the 'go cart' to the coach and four, from the 'dog cart', carts literally drawn by dogs, to the van, all thronged with 'genmen what loves a mill' and all in high glee at the prospect of the approaching treat. The admirers of Adams sporting their 'yellowmen' pulled up at Dartford, while those who patronised Smith, displaying their 'blue fogles' pushed onto Northfleet, or turned off at the top of the hill to Grinstead Green, by a more direct cut...... Long before the appointed hour the comissary had formed the ring, on a beautiful piece of turf on the Green, which was quickly encircled by the coming vehicles. Adams shortly after arrived, and having been refused admission to the head inn of the village in consequence of its having been previously taken by Smith's party, he sought refuge in a cottage, where he amused himself by rocking the cradle, in which the cottager's child lay unconscious of the bustle by which it was surrounded....." The Weekly Despatch of 9.11.1834 reports on a trick perpetrated by a "smasher" on an unsuspecting Dartford publican that day, by falsely claiming he had received 3 counterfeit half crowns in his change and getting them exchanged for real ones.]
1834, November 05: London, Folkestone, Dover and Continental Railway Town and Country Advertiser
“The committee and promoters of this undertaking have delayed the publication of a statement, showing the prospects on which they rely, until they could select such evidence and information on the subject as might satisfy themselves and those who may be disposed to support them, that a permanent and substantial return for the capital to be expended on the work might be realized. They have been desirous of verifying, as far as possible, the estimates of income on which they proceed; and having done so, they now bring them forward with confidence, being satisfied that they are not overstated. The sources from whence their estimates have been taken, are the Official and Published Returns from the Stamp Office, Customs’ Lists of Imports and Exports, Parliamentary Papers and Returns, and Evidence taken before the Committee on the Fisheries, and other documents of similarly authentic character. In addition to these, intelligent persons have been employed by the committee to obtain from actual observation, and from the depositions of Coaches, Graziers, Hop Growers, and Merchants, and numerous other parties resident in the county, minute details as to the commerce and intercourse at present existing along the line of the intended railway. These depositions have been taken in writing, and together with the documents before referred to, are deposited in the hands of the Secretary, by whom they will be produced to any person interested in the undertaking.
A survey had been made, and the present intended line of the railway is proposed to be from London Bridge to Greenwich, on the railway already in progress, thence through Woolwich, passing to the north of Dartford to Greenhithe, by Swanscombe, south of Northfleet, with a short branch to Gravesend. From Swanscomb the line will pass between Camer and Sole Street, at a distance of about 1 mile and a half from Cobham Park; thence, with two short tunnels, by Dallison’s Covers, by Snodland to near Maidstone, then in a direct line through Hollingbourne, Charing and Ashford to Cheriton; thence to Dover, with a branch to Folkestone. By adopting the opening already prepared by the London and Greenwich Railway, a most important saving in expense will be secured, and the total expense, including the most liberal allowances for contingencies, will not exceed £1,500,000; to be raised by shares of £50 each, with a deposit of £2 on each share. The principal cutting will be through chalk, and it is anticipated that a considerable portion of it will be of the best and most saleable description of grey limestone, which, if it should so prove, would go to a very material extent toward the expense of cutting and in diminution of the above estimate. The estimate is, however, formed on the assumption that none of the chalk will be sold. The distance from London Bridge to Dover will be 73 miles, which will be performed with ease and certainty in 3 hours and a half.
There are on the line of the towns above mentioned, 143 coaches and vans, licensed for the conveyance of passengers. These perform 99,630 journeys in a year, and are capable of carrying (if always full) no less than 5,543,200 persons. It is shown, by evidence which cannot be doubted, that the average number of passengers which these coaches do actually carry per journey throughout the year amounts to 8 persons each upon the direct road, and 4 upon the cross roads; and on this ascertained average the calculations are based. The sources of income and the amount to be realized on the traffic, as it at present exists, are as follows:
Stage coach passengers travelling at present by 143 licensed coaches and vans, taken upon an average of 8 persons on a direct road, and 4 persons on cross roads - £126,313
Parcels by Coaches and Vans - £18,549
Posting, including the conveyance of private carriages and passengers therein, Expresses and Couriers - £26,332
Goods by land carriage, conveyed at present by 23 daily and 20 weekly carriers - £7,441
Goods by water carriage, conveyed by 68 barges and coasting vessels, taking only one-hundreth part of the tonnage at present employed, or one-fifth of the quantity of goods now conveyed by them - £17,630
Goods by private carts, not common carriers, comprising hops, wool, paper, rags, fruit, eggs, hay, straw, timber, wood, poultry, meat, vegetables, fish etc - £12,484
Passengers by steam packets, taken upon an average of one-tenth only of the number now travelling thereby - £23,854
Total - £232,603
Deduct annual expenses of locomotive power, repairs, rates, taxes, salaries, and management, taken at 50 per cent on the income, which is an ample allowance - £116,302.
Net annual income - £116,301.
The income is at the rate of 7½ per cent on the capital; and it is particularly to be observed, that it is founded on the traffic as it now actually exists; no addition has been made for any assumed increase of intercourse, although experience has shown that such increase may, without doubt, be relied on. It has been proved before the House of Lords, that since the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the intercourse between those towns has increased threefold in the item of passengers alone. Between Stockton and Darlington it has actually increased fortyfold, and other undertakings of the same description have been attended with similar results. The number of persons landed and embarked at Gravesend alone, in the year ending August 1834, independent of those travelling by land, exceeded 750,000. The ordinary time in which the Steam Packets perform their voyage from London Bridge to Gravesend is 2½ hours. By the railway, the distance will be performed within the hour.
The amount of duties paid on goods imported at Dover during the last year was £90,000. The population of the towns and places on and contiguous to the line of the railway is upwards of 300,000. Coals will, no doubt, be imported to a very considerable extent at Dover and Folkestone for the supply of the interior; and a considerable income may be expected from the transport of sheep and cattle. The advantages which a work like the present must bring to the country through which it passes, especially in the employment of labour, and contribution to the poor rates, and in the transport of produce and manure, are matters which the promoters of the undertaking do not think it necessary here to point out. Such advantages are now almost universally admitted to be established beyond doubt. Nor is it necessary for them to suggest the importance of Dover as the great commercial and political outlet to the continent of Europe, and as a rapidly increasing watering place, inasmuch as the extent of intercourse at present existing sufficiently attests the fact of its importance.
The promoters of this measure, assuming that the advantage of railways, as a system, has been clearly proved, have been more particularly desirous of putting forward, in a condensed form, the results of their inquiries, and to rely on the facts and figures which they can produce and verify, rather than on arguments; and having satisfied themselves that their calculations will bear the strictest scrutiny, and that the undertaking has every prospect of success, they determine on proceeding, without delay, to carry it into effect….” (followed by details of where to buy shares including bankers Messrs David James & Co of Dartford, none at Gravesend).
1834, November 11: Robbery at Meopham Kentish Gazette
"A robber shot. On Wednesday night, Mr Murley, a gentleman of Meopham was disturbed at midnight, by the shutting of the door of his poultry house. He immediately arose, and, notwithstandig his age (between 70 and 80) armed himself with a gun and proceeded to the spot; he found the door nearly closed and pushed it open with the muzzle of his gun, when he observed two men inside, one of whom, he states, put his hand on the barrel of the piece, when he (Mr M) drew back, and at the same insant received a blow from a bludgeon, which felled him to the ground and for the moment stunned him; on recovering from the effects of the blow, he missed the gun from his hand and saw the men making off, one being borne on the back of the other, with his clothes on fire. Mr M returned into the house, and arming himself with a sword, again ventured out, and found the gun ear to where he fell, and on further search observed a basket containing various articles of provision, and a gabardine in which a dozen of his fowls had been deposited by the thieves. The wounded man was carried only a short distanc by his companion, who left him under a hedge, where his groans were heard by Mr M during the remainder of the night, but apprehensive of danger, he was deterred from going to his assistance, and he remained there until about half past 4 o'clock, when Mr M hearing some labourers going to work, called to them, and with them went in search of the unfortunate wretch, whom they found in a deplorable condition, and conveyed him to a neighbouring beer-house. The delinquent says Mr M was not struck until he had discharged the gun. Surgical assistaance was procured from Gravesend, and on examination it was found that the thigh-bone was dreadfully shattered, the charge having passed through the small clothes, leaving a hole on each side not much larger than the muzzle of the gun, the orifice on each side of the clothes being alike burnt, as if the fire had passed through with the charge. But faint hopes are entertained of his recovery. His name is Charles Day, from the neighbouring parish of Hartley, and he has a family of 6 children; he refused to name his companion Mr M's family, consisting of his wife, 2 maid servants, and a grandchild, were, as may be imagined, dreadfully alarmed at seeing his head and face covered with blood, and they were during the encounter screaming and calling loudly for assistance. We understand that on Monday the Earl of Darnley and William M Smith esq, justices of the county, examined numerous witnesses, and that Day, and also a neighbour and companion of his, named John Hollands, having been distinctly identified by Mr Murley, the latter has been fully committed for trial at the next Kent Assizes, and a warrant for the commital of the former will be put in force as soon as he can be removed with safety."
[Charles Day was born in Hartley and lived at the time in Hartley Bottom Road, probably at Goldsmiths Cottage or possibly the next door Skips Cottage. In spite of the injuries he lived to the age of 83, and was able to work as a farm labourer. See 4 August 1835 for details of the trial.]
1834, November 24: Passenger Traffic from Gravesend to London South Eastern Gazette
Public notice: "London and Gravesend Railway Company being a continuation of the London and Greenwich Viaduct (to be incorporated by Act of Parliament). Capital £600,000 in 30,000 shares of £20 each, deposit 10 shillings per share........
The London and Greenwich Railway, having received the sanction of Parliament, and a considerable portion of hte works being already performed and now fast advancing towards compleiton, within the estimates originally made, it has occurred to many persons who are friendly to that undertaking, as well as to the general formation of railways, that an extension of that mode of communication from Greenwich to Gravesend would not only prove an advantageous investment for capital, but to a commercial and political point of view, of the greatest public benefit. A meeting has therefore taken place, under the auspices of the gentlemen whose naes are enumerated above, for the purpose of carrying the proposed measure into immediate operation, who have entered into a subscription whith other gentlemen for the purpose of defraying the expenses of a survey and application to parliament.
The advantages of a railway communication to all persons engaged in business who resort to Gravesend and particularly those connected with the arrival and departure of the foreign mails, numerous Indiamen and other vessels, which aare frequently and necessarily detained there, as well as to all persons travelling to every town on the Canterbury and Dover road and the coast of Kent, must in this case be peculiarly striking, more especially as the time will thereby be reduced from an average of 2 hours and a half to one hour.
An arrangement, satisfactory to both parties, has been effected between the gentlemen concerned in this undertaking and the Greenwich Railway Company, for the passage of their engines and carriages along the Greenwich Viaduct.
The ascertained number of passengers going by steam boats to and from London and Gravesend alone, during the last year, exceeded 750,000.
The following is an estimate of the returns derived from the present traffic on the line of the road, founded upon railway charges.
Stage Coach Passengers £25,884
Parcels by coaches and vans £5,237
Posting, and travelling by private carriages £9,325
Goods by common carriers £2,234
Goods by private carts not common carriers £5,780
Fish now actually forwarded by land carriage £265
Steam Boat passengers, 1/10 of the number now travelling between London and Gravesend £11,250
Deduct Annual expense of locomotive power, repairs, taxes, rates, salaries and management £25,000
Net annual income £34,975
Nothing is assumed in this estimate for any indirect traffic on the Maidstone, or Ashford and Folkestone roads (although the committee believe that they might calculate upon a considerable revenue from that source), nor for any increase of traffic resulting from this improved mode of conveyance. In the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and other similar undertakings, and increase in the item of passengers alone has been proved to have taken place to an extent varying from 75 to 300 per cent.
To accomplish this object, it is proposed that a coapital of £600,000 shall be raised 30,000 shares of £20 each; and that a deposit of 10 shillings per share shall be paid on subscribing, which shall be held applicable to defray all the incidental expenses incurred in preparing for, and obtaining an act of parliament etc.
The subscribers to be answerable beyond the amount of their actual deposits, should the act not be obtained; and if obtained, not beyond the amount of their respective subscriptions...."
[When the bill came before parliament it was lost, local MP Sir William Geary supported it, but Greenwich MP John Angerstein opposed. George Young, MP for Tynmouth from a firm of shipbuilders was also opposed - could this be because the proponents of the bill thought they would take a lot of the steamer trade? The Admiralty were also known to oppose a line east of Greenwich. In 1836 the South Eastern Railway won the right from Parliament to construct a line from London to Dover via Dartford and Gravesend, but it was not until 1849 that the line reached Gravesend.
This prospectus gives an interesting insight into the amount of passenger traffic on the roads and river at the time, but it must be remembered that these are estimates. At the time passenger fares averaged 2d per mile, so the revenue suggested that they reckoned annual road traffic between Gravesend and Greenwich to London was 4.23 million passenger miles, with a further 16.5m passenger miles for the mainly tourist river traffic to Gravesend. Today the rail traffic from Gravesend alone amounts to over 60 million passenger miles annually.]
1834, December 13: Stoppage of the Dartford Bank West Kent Guardian
"The stoppage of the bank of James & Co, at Dartford, on Tuesday week, excited a considerable sensation in the neighbourhood of that town, and especially among the farmers of the district. Indeed the business of the firm was not sufficiently extensive to be felt beyond those limits; but still the explosion came unexpectedly, and has occasioned great embarrassment. The stoppage is assigned, in the circular to the creditors, to the panic of 1825! On Thursday there was a meeting of the creditors, when Mr Fooks submitted a statement on behalf of the firm that there was sufficient property to cover all claims, and leave a balance in favour of the estat of about £1,500. Three trustees were named, who it is expected will act, and some of the creditors came in to the proposals. Others declined, and left the meeting without signing. It is said that a dividend of 10 shillings in the pound is to be made forthwith, but that it will be some time before there is a final settlement of the affairs."
[many other papers quote the Gravesend Journal's shorter account but it does mention two men in Gravesend were willing to buy Dartford bank notes for 15 shillings in the pound]
1835, January 03: Failure of Messrs James's Bank West Kent Guardian
"On Saturday last, a meeting of creditors of James & Co of Dartford Bank, was called by the trustees, appointed at a previous meeting, who declined to act any further. It appeared, that an inspection of the accounts had taken place, but the report made thereon was by no means satisfactory. Mr Joseph Jarine, one of the creditors, stated to the meeting, that he had ascertained, upon investigation, that the banking books of the firm had been conducted regularly, but upon their trading concerns, no balance had been taken since the year 1826. Upon the face of the accounts at that time, there appeared to be a balance of £25,000; but upon further inspection it was found, that in making that calculation, the house had not taken the liabilities of the bank into account, which reduced the balance to £14,000. In consequence of the report, the meeting came to a determination to elect 4 or 6 gentlemen as a committee, to further investigate the state of the concern. It then adjourned until the 10th of January (Saturday next) when th new report will be submitted. It was stated in the course of the proceedings, that the original capital of the bank was only £500!
1835, January 24: General Election Kentish Gazette
Description of West Kent election at Blackheath. Conservatives wore purple, Liberals blue. 35 coachloads of voters arrived. Violence from Liberals intimidation from Conservatives (paper appears to support Tories)
1835, January 28: Postage Charges from Dartford London Packet
"Sir - A regulation was introduced by the Postmaster General of the late ministry which, though most beneficial in most respects, indirectly produces, in the instance of newspapers, an injurious effect upon the revenue. At Greenhithe in Kent, for example, and probably many other places are in similar circumstances, the letter carrier formerly received the sum paid for the by postage from the town of Dartford, which is 3 miles distant, and the charge was three pence for each letter; this was subsequently reduced to two pence; newspapers being then quite free. Now there is a Post Office in the village, and every letter pays one penny in addition to the postage from Dartford, and this penny is received by the Post Office, which now pays the Postman a weekly stipend. So far the alteration is an accommodation to the inhabitants, and produces a trifling profit to the revenue; but the penny is also charged upon newspapers, which before were entirely exempt from all postage, and are now subject to this penny only......."
[Although written about Greenhithe, presumably the same principles would apply to Hartley area. It seems the redelivery from Dartford would cost the recipient (who paid the postage then) an extra 2d on top of the postcharge to get the letter to Dartford]
1835, February 02: Road Accident Reading Mercury
"On the night of Saturday week, Mr Gould of Brentford was thrown from his gig near Dartford Bridge, and seriously injured, and a friend who was with him at the time was also much hurt. The accident happened from the former gentleman driving into a ditch, being unable to distinctly from the darkness of the night to see the road."
1835, February 07: Gravesend Bank West Kent Guardian
"We are glad to state that Messrs Scott, Hayward & Co, of Dartford, have just established a branch of their bank here. We wish them every success. It has been somewhat surprising that a town like Gravesend should have been so long destitute of such an establishment, particularly as much inconvenience has been occasioned in consequence, both to the inhabitants and to visitors. Messrs Scott & Co intend, we understand, to pay cheques etc in notes of the Bank of England, gold or silver; and to receive the notes of James & Co's late bank at Dartford, on which they at present advance 10 shillings in the pound, to the great convenience of many of the holders.
David James's Bankruptcy - The first meeting of the creditors under the fiat issued against David James, of Dartford, banker, was held on Monday for the proof of debts and the choice of assignees. A great number of creditors from Dartford, and other parts of Kent, appeared to prove, as holders of notes issued by the bank. The total amount of the debts and liabilities of the estate are estimated at £12,000, and the assets at about £7,000. The proofs tendered were undisputed, and assignee having been chosen the further proceedings were adjourned."
1835, February 28: London and Gravesend Railway Kentish Mercury
"A numerous and highly respectable meeting of the landowners and others belonging to the immediate neighbourhood of Dartford, was held at the Bull Inn yesterday, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of opposing the projected line of railway from London to Gravesend; it being considered that if carried into effect, the work would be productive of the greatest injury, both to the landed and trading interests of the town and neighbourhood. Captain Caton to the chair, who briefly explained the objects of the meeting. A petition has also been presented to Mr Lushington against the return of Mr Villiers for Canterbury. The meeting was severally addressed by Henry Berens esq, Mr Whitehouse, Mr Philcox, Mr J Wilding and others. It was finally resolved unanimously to oppose the measure to the utmost; and a committee was formed for the purpose of watching the progress of the bill through both houses of Parliament. Thanks were unanimously voted to the chairman for his able and impartial conduct, and the meeting was dissolved."
[West Kent Guardian 7.3.1835 said 30 were present]
1835, February 28: Dartford Constitutional Club Dover Telegraph
"The Dartford Conservatives have already established, or are about to establish, a Society or the promotion of loyal and constitutional principles."
1835, March 10: Theft from Turnpike Kentish Gazette
"Many persons having of late made a practice of taking away the sand and drift from the turnpike road between Rochester and Dartford, the surveyor Mr Collis caused an information to be laid against Mr William Burris, of Gravesend, for carrying a quantity off the road at Northfleet, without any authority or permission, and on Friday week, Mr Burris was convicted at a petty session of justices for the North Division of Aylesford Lathe, in the penalty of 20 shillings and costs, for the above offence against the turnpike laws."
1835, March 17: Burglary at Longfield South Eastern Gazette
"Burglary and Detection of a Gang of Robbers
About a month ago, a barn belonging to Mr William Bensted, a respectable farmer of Longfield Court, in the county of Kent, was feloniously entered in the night and 12 sacks of beans taken from it. Information having been given to the Greenwich Station House, Inspector Thomas obtained a search warrant, found a part of the property in the stables of the Kentish Drovers public house in the Kent Road. He took the ostler, John Collett into custody, and after an examination before the magistrates at Bexley, he was committed for trial on the 25th ult as a receiver of property, knowing it to be stolen. From further information Mr Thoams received, he suspected the thieves to be three men, called William Wellington, Thomas King and John Taylor, who resided on Bexleyheath, and were well known to be notorious thieves and a pest to the neighbourhood, which they absconded from as soon as they were aware of the police being near, and the errand on which they were. Having ventured to return, two of them, viz King and Taylor, were apprehended, and committed from Dartford on Tuesday last to take their trial for the robbery. Wellington is still at large, but there is every hope of his being taken. Taylor, who has but one arm, has already been transported 7 years for felony. The fellows had horses and carts, and from the confessions of King since his committal, we are informed a wholesale system of plunder has been long carried on by these marauders. The magistracy are much pleased with the discovery, and particularly so with the exertions and skill of Inspector Thomas and policeman Dyke, as well as with the whole local police force in general, in all cases affecting the peace and security of society."
[South Eastern Gazette 14.4.1835 reports on the trial at the Quarter Sessions. John Collett, 31 got 14 years' transportation, John Taylor, 39, was transported for life, while Thomas King, 30 was discharged by proclamation. Kentish Gazette 5.5.1835 reported that John Taylor and John Collett were removed from Maidstone Gaol to prison hulk Fortitude at Chatham.]
1835, April 11: Halls of Dartford Kentish Mercury
"Mr Hall the great ironmaster and steam engine maker intends to give a grand ball at his house on the occasion of the jubilee of his residence in Dartford. Above 100 of his friends are invited. It has fallen to the lot of few individuals to meet with greater success than this gentleman in his business. Mr Hall 50 years since came to this place a journeyman millwright. He is now the proprietor (besides the extensive factory here) of a paper mill at Horton Kirby, perhaps the largest in England, and the extensive gunpowder mills at Davington, near Faversham, formerly used by the government."
1835, May 10: April Farming News National
"The month of April is an interesting season to all, but more particuarly so to the farmer; as on it, so much depends the measure of success attendant on his previous labours. The weather throughout the month has afforded an uninterrupted progress to agricultural work, and nautre has employed her useful industry in the business of vegetation. A considerable check was experienced from the cold weather about the 16th, when the ground being covered with snow eclipsed in whiteness the full blossomed plum trees, and the nightingale, by her silence, appeared to suspect tht she had made a mistake in the month; but a more severe check was caused by the frosty nights about the 25th and 26th by which considerable injury will be sustained by tender crops and blossoms. The early crops of potatoes in the forward lands of the neighbourhoods of Dartford and Gravesend are much cut; but the effect, though it may throw the crop back a fortnight, will not be fatal. The early crops of peas in those districts have stood it better. It is to be feared that the fruit districts of Swanley and the crops will suffer considerably. Beans are looking well generally, oats and barley are also forward and promising. The chevalier barly continues to maintain its reputation both with the grower and the malster. The wheat crop is looking well, with a few exceptions, which occur chiefly on dry gravelly soils, on some of the good storng lands, (there is no such thing as stiff land this year) it is looking rather too rank to promise a good yield. There is more than usual work for the hoe this year, owing to the prevalence of annual seeding weeds, which renders the advantage of the drill system very great. Winter tares have failed in patches on some of the dry soils, bu ton cool bottomed land they are good. Spring tares are generally promising. Rye and winter barley are fast getting up, and will furnish a swarthe early in May. May farmers prefer the latter, as it will last longer as green fodder, not getting sticky so soon as rye. The meadows which have been looking gay ever since Christmas, are still verdant and promising; but this appearance is rather more flattering from the roadside, than when more closely examined, as although the blade is running up, the herbage or undergrass, on which the bulk of the swathe depends, had not made much progress, but a few warm showers will soon rectify this deficiency. The market for both fat and lean sheep has improved during the month, milch cows and barrens are also in demand, indeed this might be expected,, as the uphill of winter is now nearly got over. The wheat market is sitll going steadily down, every quarter now selling at 20 shillings less than 'prime cost', a price which (taking other expenses at a moderate calculation) leaves not a shilling for either rent or tithes. The bushel of wheat and a sovereign are, somehow or other, far at variance (thanks to Peel's currency bill for a great part of it). Perhaps it might not be amiss to, for the new Chancellor of the exchequer (following up the principle of the new poor law) to pay the state paupers in provisions instead of money. A peck of wheat has been considered an average compensation for a day's work of a farm labourer, but the average in West Kent at the present time is two pecks, and many other branches of the farmer's outlay are in proportion. Truly 'the times are out of joint,' and it will puzzle the political surgeons to reduce the dislocation, and to adjust matters between landlords, tenants and the nation; for as Miss Martineau says, 'The question is, whether an agreement should be kept to the letter, when new circumstances have caused a violation of its spirit, or whether the party profiting by these new circumstances should not surrender a part of the advantage which the law would permit him to hold.' One thing is quite certain, that farmers cannot fulfil their present engagements with the present prices."
1835, June 27: The Dartford Bank West Kent Guardian
"The creditors of Mr David James' estate met yesterday week, for the purpose of proving debts etc. The proofs already amount to about £10,000. The whole liabilities of the estate are estimated at near £12,000. A dividend of one shilling in the pound was then agreed to and will be payable in a few days. A considerable dividend in the whole is expected to be ultimately released, a good deal of proeprty being at present locked up in mortgages etc."
[Kentish Mercury 21.5.1836 reported the suicide of John Childs, landlord of the Admiral Keppel Tavern, Greenhithe, said to be due to losses after failure of bank]
1835, June 27: Dartford Church Rate Kentish Mercury
"A vestry meeting for the purpose of granting a Church Rate was held at Dartford on Thursday. An opposition had been organised, as appeared from an anonymous circular, which had been well distributed among the householders, in which the illegality of these rates, as well as their being oppressive in their nature and directly injurious to religion itself, were strongly urged. The church party mustered in considerable strength, and a rate of 9d in the pound was carried."
[Until 1868 the Anglican Parish Church could precept all properties in its parish for maintenance of the church. This would be paid by everyone, Anglican or not, and so by this time they were highly controversial and many parishes tried to avoid raising money this way.]
1835, July 27: The Harvest Morning Advertiser
"The wheat harvest (at least the reaping) has already partially commenced in the neighbourhood of Dartford, Bexley, The Crays and some other forward places, and will become general in the course of next week, throughout the northern part of West Kent. The dry weather has been very favourable for its ripening, and those field where the crop stands up are dying off with a bright yellow countenance, but a great portion is layed, and some wear a dark complexion, in which case the grain will be thin and light (from Greenwich Gazette)"
1835, July 30: Parliamentary Petition Albion and the Star
Petition from landowners and occupiers in neighbourhood of Gravesend and Dartford, complaining of agricultural distress and calling for a more equal distribution of local burdens. Evening Chronicle of 28.7.1835 reports on another petition from Dartford and elsewhere in Kent with similar complaint and asking for changes in tithe system.
1835, August 01: Wanted to be Transported Dover Telegraph
Kent Summer Assizes. "Adam Sayer a shoemaker, indicted for stealing a ham, the property of Samuel Brown at Dartford, pleaded guilty. He said that being in great distress, he had committed the act with the view of being transported; and begged the learned judge to transport him, so that he might join a brother who had been sent out of the country. Mr Justice Littledale said that it was not in his power to comply with the prisoner's request; and sentenced him to 3 months' hard labour."
(the Canterbury Journal of 27.1.1838 reported that he had been sentenced to transportation for 7 years)
1835, August 01: Dartford Canal West Kent Guardian
"A prospectus for a grand canal 100 feet wide and 20 in depth from the Thames to Dartford, is expected out in a few days."
1835, August 04: Robbery at Meopham Kentish Gazette
Kent Assizes "Charles Day and John Holland were indicted for buglarously breaking and entering the dwelling hous eof Mr John Murley of Hoo(k) Green near Meopham, in October last. This case excited considerable interest, in onsequence of the helpless state of Day, who was carried into court on a chair, and seemed to be i a most pitiable condition. Both prisoners pleaded not guilty. It appeared from the evidence of the prosecutor that on the night of the burglary he had gone to bed at 10 o'clock, having first seen that the house was fastened up. About 12 he was awoke by hearing the flapping of a door, which being repeated he took a gun and went downstairs. The doors and windows were all fastened He then wen into the fowl-house, and by the light of the moon he saw 2 men. He asked them what they were doing there. They made no reply, but Day seized hold of the gun and tried to pull it out of his hands. During the struggle the prisoner Holland struck the procecutor on the head with a stick; he received a severe wound, and fell to the ground, where he remained insensible. When he recovered his senses he saw Holland carrying Day, whose clothes were on fire; the gun had gone off and wounded him in the thigh. Prosecutor then went into his house, and got another gun and a sword, but did not see the men; he afterwards found Day in the pathway moaning, with a severe wound in his thigh. It was stated that Holland's character had been previously good. The jury foudn both the prisoners guilty, but recommended Holland to mercy on account of good character. The learned judge after consulting the surgeion of the gaol concernig the wuond of Day, and learning that he would never again be able to maintain himself, passed a sentence of 3 months imprisonment. He passed this sentence not as a punishment, for the sufferings he had already undergone had been a severe one, but to enable him to receive those attentions which his unfortunate situation required. Holland was sentenced to 1 year's imprisonment in the House of Correction, and hard labour."
1835, August 25: Fires at Dartford Maidstone Journal
"About 9 o'clock on Wednesday evening, the 12th inst, the inhabitants of Dartford were alarmed by the ringing of the fire bell, it was soon discovered that the back premises of Mr Richard Pelton, tailor, in the High Street, used by Mr Weeks, as a stable, were on fire. Fortunately by the active exertions of the neighbours, and 8 or 10 of Mr Pelton's men, it was subdued before the arrival of the engines. A serious accident occurred to the driver of the Norwich Union engine, who had his arm so dreadfully crushed as to render it necessary to remove him to an hospital in London, where it is expected he will undergo amputation. On Friday afternoon, 14th inst, another alarm was given, and the same premises were again on fire, but little damage done - from circumstances which have arisen, there is no doubt but both occasions have been the work of some vile incendiary.
Last Wednesday afternoon the inhabitants were again alarmed by observing immense clouds of smoke passing over the town, conjecture was on the alert, but in a few minutes it was discovered that the Brent was on fire, at a part which is covered with furze of about 2 acres. It burned with amazing rapidity for upwards of two hours and alarmed the country for many miles around. Greeat concern was manifested for the safety of the powder mills, as also for Mr Stain's windmill. Scythes, bills and hooks, were put in requisition, and by the assistance of about 40 or 50 men who were actively engaged in clearing the ground, the fire was subdued before dark. A great number of hares and rabbits were found burnt to death. Nearly 20 hares were caught by the spectators during the fire. It was at first assumed that some person had wilfully set fire to the furze but on a proper examination it was discovered to have occurred accidently by two women making a fire to boil their kettle, the embers of which were by the wind blown among the dried furze."
[Essex Herald 25.8.1835 said the fire was next to the Cricket Ground and affected 4 acres]
1835, August 25: Hunting Clergy South Eastern Gazette
"JB tells us that on Sunday fortnight the congregation of a village near Dartford assembled at their church, as usual, to hear divine service, when after waiting some time they were informed by the clerk that there would be no service in the morning, but that a neighbouring clergyman would officiate in the afternoon, the Rev Mr _____, the rector, having gone to shoot grouse in the north. This practice, which seems to have obtained considerably amongst the descendants of the apostles, is an excellent argument in favour of the present state of the church."
1835, October 14: Voter Registration The Sun
Hearings to hear objections to people on the electoral register. At Ash there were 2 objections by the Conservatives, not sustained, and two from the Liberals which were allowed. At Ridley there was 1 objection by the Liberals which was allowed.
1835, October 27: The Ship Canal at Dartford South Eastern Gazette
"This ancient town is soon likely to experience a great improvement, that will rank it at least with our second rate sea ports, by cutting a ship canal, which will supersede our present half useless creek. This project has emanated from Messrs Hall and Sons, our eminent engineers, but more particularly from Mr Edward Hall, jun; and as that gentleman has spent many years of his life in France and different parts of the continent, he has acquired that degree of knowledge and experience, which preeminently fits him for the part he has taken in the work. We were this week put in possession of a zincographic map and plan; it is exceedingly well got up, showing at once the defromity of our present creek, with the superior advantages of the ship canal. It appears from the pan and map that from the River Thames at Long Reach to Dartford, by the present creek; the distance is nearly 4 miles, while by the new canal it will not exceed 2 miles; that by the creek, craft of not more than 50 to 70 tons burthen, can only at spring tides navigate it, but by the intended canal ships of 400 tons can come up at all times. The estimated expense of the undertaking is £35,000, to be raised in shares of £20 each, and the profits are estimated at 6 per cent; but whether the projectors are correct in their estimate or not, we have no means of ascertaining beyond their own plans. This however, is certain, that it will be of the greatest utility not only to Dartford, but the surrounding country, that it is now looked upon in the most favourable light, and that it will soon raise the value of property in our neighbourhood, and give a filip to trade. We understand that a public meeting will be called very shortly, when the whole of the plans will be produced, preparatory to their going to Parliament for a bill to enable the company to carry the undertaking into effect (from a Dartford Correspondent)."
[Several articles, adverts and letters regarding this scheme. Mommouthshire Merlin of 30.4.1836 reports second reading of Dartford and Crayford Canal Bill was passed 113 votes to 42 in House of Commons]
1835, November 12: Snow Morning Advertiser
"Between 4 and 5 o'clock yesterday morning there was a heavy fall of snow between Dartford and London. The winter has set in with uncommon severity, and the nobility and gentry are thronging into town. Yesterday and the day before the thermometer was lower at one time of the day than it was during last winter. Snow fell heavily last evening in the neighbourhood of London."
1835, November 14: Dartford is not a Place of Yesterday Kentish Mercury
"Dartford is not a place of yesterday. Its old church tower hath sent forth many joyous peal in the happiest days of England. Its venerable walls are grey with the frosts of ages. Centuries have rolled on, with their changing influences, other seats of our forefathers have dwindled into decay; but Dartford is still industrious, still properous; still the busiest hive in Kent - the sound of the mill is the music of its valley, plenty still opens her liberal hand in the market place, and content is still a visitor at every hearth. But how long these blessings may continue it is difficult to predict. In the struggle which is takin gplace for securing commercial advantages to particular localities, and in the fresh impetus given to manufacture and trade by the introduction of railways and other rapid modes of transference, it is really doubtful whether this hitherto thriving little town will be enabled to keep its ground without joining in the contest. That some such impression is operating upon the minds of its inhabitants is evident, from the meeting held last week, upon the subject of the proposed canal from Dartford to the Thames. Since that meeting everything has gone on pleasantly. The only topic of discusssion in the neighbourhood is the advantage to be derived from this magnificent undertaking. The effective committee chosen, together with the spirit with which the thing has been launchef forth to the public, afford certain evidence of its ulimate completion. The committee are now in full operation with Mr Hubbard, the surveyor, examining, measuring, levelling, and trying by every means in their power, to ascertain the best line. It is expected that they will be prepared by Thursday next, when another meeting will be held, and at which, we confidently anticipate the pleasure of seeing hundreds pressing forward in support of that which will be the first grand feature in the modern history of Dartfod."
1835, November 28: Regimen Under the Poor Law Act West Kent Guardian
, and Adrie, king of Kent, when Offa gained the victory, yet not without great slaughter on both sides. The other battle was fought between King Edmund, surnamed Ironsides, and Canute, the Danish king. The fields here are full of the remains of those slain in battle; bones are continually discovered in them, and when the new turnpike road, which leads from Dartford, through Otford to Sevenoaks, was widened in 1767, many skeletons were found in the chalk cliffs, on each side of it. Mr Polhill has a field in this parish, called Danefield, which most probably was the spot on which the last mentioned battle with the Danes was fought."
1835, November 28: Otford Archaeological Find West Kent Guardian
"The workmen employed in making the new line of road at Maurant's Court Hill, have found some more skeletons. One appears to have been a very tall stout man, his skill very large, with a hole through it on one side. The surgeon who examined it thought that the man had received a blow with some military weapon. His thigh bone is nearly 2 feet long and very large. Another skeleton was found on Thursday, with a short dagger sticking in the backbone. It is supposed that a battle has been fought in this feild, which is a few fields from Otford Castle. Ancient history makes mention of two famous battles fought at Otford, one of which happened among the Saxons themselves, contending for the sovereignty; the other between the Danes and Saxons. The first battle was fought in 773, between Offa the king of Mercia
1836, January 23: The Charity Commissioners West Kent Guardian
"Mr Romilly, one of the 30 Charity Commissioners under the act of last session has been at Dartford, making inquiries as to the charities of that town, and the parishes in its neighbourhood. Dartford is very rich in its funds for the poor, and we have not heard that there of late years been any instances of abuse in the application of them. However, there is no harm in subjecting the administrators of these fundsd to a little overlooking; but we much doubt whether this end can be attained by a gentleman quietly trotting to his headquarters at the Bull Inn, without giving any public notice of his intention to hold a court of inquiry to any person save the minister and churchwardens...."
1836, February 16: Bad Times South Eastern Gazette
"At a meeting of owners and occupiers of land in the vicinities of Gravesend and Dartford, held at the New Inn Gravesend on Wednesday the 10th day of February 1836, William Brown esq in the chair. Resolved unanimously: That th present unparalleled and ruinous state of the agricultural interest is greatly aggravated by the tithe system, and demands some immediate remedy from the legislature. That petitions be presented to both houses of parliament, praying for a fair and equitable commutation of tithes.
That the following gentlemen (with power to add to their number) be a committee, to take charge of the petition whilst under signature viz - Mr John Rose Baker [Chalk], Mr William Hubble [Northfleet], Mr William Lake [Cobham], Mr William Mungeam [Meopham], Mr Thomas Staples [Swanley], Mr James Steel [Plumstead]......." [Parishes of committee members not in original]
1836, May 28: Dartford Union Kentish Mercury
"There are 21 parishes in this district, which for convenience is subdivided into 3 parts - Dartford being the centre. The population within the limits of the union is 21,000. Yesterday week the election of Guardians took place. In some of the parishes there were contests. In Bexley, the candidates were Mr Townley, Mr Thomas Dann and Thomas L[...] esq. The two first were chosen by large majorities. For East Wickham, Mr William Dickson, and Mr T Strong were proposed and the latter chosen. Mr Dickson appeared quite crestfallen at the result and endeavoured to invalidate the election, but without success. The elder Dickson is so mortified at the result that he threatens to discharge every man belonging to the parish. The Board of Guardians sat for the first time on Monday last, at the Court House, Dartford, when Mr Soloman was unanimously elected chairman, and Mr Parkhurst vice chairman. A small contest took place for the office of clerk to the Guardians. Mr Hayward was proposed by Mr Percival Dyke and Mr Fooks by Mr Soloman, seconded by Mr T Strong. The votes for each gentleman being equal, the chairman gave his casting vote in favour of Mr Fooks, who was elected and at once proceeded to business. The situation of auditor and relieving officer were ordered to be advertised in the county papers. The medical superintendents were appointed, and the board adjourned to the 4th of June, when teh Poor Law Amendment Act will be in full operation over this extensive district."
[This is the beginning of the notorious Victorian Poor Law and the dreaded workhouse. Hartley etc were in the Dartford District]
1836, June 11: Dartford Union Kentish Mercury
"The Board of Guardians of the Dartford Union held their first meeting before Mr Tufnell the Poor Law Commissioner, at the Town Hall, on Saturday last, for receiving contracts for bread, and electing relieving officers and auditor. Mr S Livens, late assistant overseer of Dartford was appointed for the No 1 district; Mr Alls of Crayford, for No 2; and Mr Beard of Crayford for No 3. A Russell esq, solicitor of Dartford, was elected auditor. It was agreed that the workhouse of Dartford should be converted to the Union Workhouse, by being enclosed with a high wall, and having additional buildings erected. The plans and specifications are to be submitted to the Board next Saturday. It is expected that the whole will be finished in the course of summer. Much saving is expected to the ratepayers."
1836, June 25: Fire at Longfield West Kent Guardian
Fire destroys farm at Longfield. Owner not insured and ruined by it.
1836, September 17: Dartford Workhouse London Dispatch
Row over contract to build Dartford Workhouse. Paper highlights poor conditions for inmates - 20 in a room beds 2ft 3in wide with 9in between. "Injustice and cruelty form the base-work of this infamous measure." Morning Advertiser 14.10.1836 said "the unhappy paupers are to be denied the benefit of light and air, by the intervention of walls 12 feet high". It says the Liberals and Conservatives agree with each other when it comes to the Poor Law, the opposition comes from 'anti-unionists'.
1837, January 14: Sale of Horton Kirby Poor House Kentish Mercury
"To be sold by auction by T Strong on Thursday, January 26th 1837 at 2 o'clock , by order of the Guardians of the Dartford Union, at the request of the parish officers. A valuable freehold estate comprising an excellent house, and about 1 acre of rich garden ground, desirably situated in the much admired village of Horton Kirby, near the celebrated trout stream, the Darenth....." [the new Dartford workhouse replaced all the existing parish poor houses, for some reason the board didn't sell the Hartley poor house until 1859]
1837, February 06: The Influenza Bell's Weekly Messenger
"We are happy to ascertain, from inquiries made in various parts of the metropolis, that this fatal epidemic is at length decidedly on the decline…. It is a singular circumstance that, although the town of Hampstead lies so immediately contiguous to those places, the epidemic has been so lenient in its visitation there that not more than a dozen persons have fallen victim to it, although scarcely a family has escaped its attack. The same favourable report may be made of Dartford in Kent, though the surrounding neighbourhood has suffered to a most fatal degree. The police force has likewise been singularly fortunate, for out of the 600 who have been laid up, the average number of deaths has only been about one for each division....."
[At the time 600 would be about 30-50% of the total metropolitan police force, it had 15 divisions]
1837, February 07: Gravesend Roads Maidstone Journal
Gravesend: "The state of the roads through this down is most disgraceful. The mud which has been scraped to the sides has been suffered to remain nearly 3 weeks, to the great inconvenience of the public."
1837, February 17: Coach Accident on East Hill Morning Herald
"On Wednesday evening, while the Eagle Coach to London was descending Dartford Hill, the fore axletree suddenly broke, and threw the coach over. Fortunately no lives were lost. The passengers were principally sailors, who had just been paid off from the Castor Frigate, at Chatham. One of them, whose name is John Dunn, was severely bruised, and lost his hat and shoes. He with the others, went into the Eleven Cricketers public house, and in about an hour the coach was repaired, but when when ready to start Dunn could not be found, and he was left behind. On the following morning, it was discovered that he had become insensible, and that a female of disreputable character had taken him to a room in a by-place, and robbed him of a red silk purse, containing 34 five pound notes, and one 10 pounds, all Bank of England; among them are No 18,401, 20 Dec 1836, and No 20,551, 21 Dec 1836; also a red cotton purse, containing 33 sovereigns. The man was not sensible until 7 or 8 hours after the robbery, during which time the woman and her paramour got off with the property, and no tidings have been heard of her. £20 reward is offered for her apprehension - Maidstone Journal of Tuesday."
Robbing a Sailor (Bells New Weekly Messenger 5.3.1837)
(Central Criminal Court) "Thomas Weyman, labourer, aged 25; Charles Haydon, butcher, aged 21; Hannah Hawkins, spinster, aged 22; and Jane Gill, aged 20, were indicted for stealing at Dartford, 2 purses, containing £213 in bank notes and sovereigns, the property of John Dunn. It appeared from evidence of the prosecutor, a midshipman's steward, attached to the Castor frigate, that on the 8th of February he left Chatham by stage coach for the purpose of proceeding to London. In passing through Dartford the coach upset, and he was thrown from the top, and was conveyed in a state of insensibility to a public house. He had in his possession at the time the two purses and money named in the indictment, having been paid off that day at Chatham with the rest of the ship's crew. On coming to his senses, he inquired for a lodging, and sailorlike, incautiously exhibited his money to the persons who were present, amongst whom were the two female prisoners, who it appeared, had followed the prisoner to the house, and had been very active in the crowd when the coach upset. The woman Hawkins offered to accommodate the prosecutor with a bed for the night, to which he agreed, and accompanied her lodging, where she left him, telling him that she was going to her husband. The prosecutor went to bed, having placed his trousers, in the pocket of which his money was deposited, beside the bed. On awaking in the morning he found his trousers on the floor, and then discovered that the whole of his money was gone. He gave information of the robbery to a constable, and upon enquiry it appeared that the 4 prisoners were ferried accross the river in the course of the night by a brother of the prisoner Weyman, who received 2 sovereigns for the job, the prisoner Gell boasting at the time that they had £500 in their possession. The prisoners were subsequently apprehended at Uxbridge, when the two purses belonging to the prosecutor and a considerable sum of money were found in the possession of Weyman, Haydon, and Hawkins, who, with the prisoner Gell, were proved to have been in company together at Dartford on the night of the robbery, when Hawkins was heard to declare her intention to rob the sailor before morning. It appeared also that the two male prisoners after they were in custody had a quarrel respecting the division of the booty. The defence of the woman Hawkins was, that the prosecutor gave her the whole of the money, declarling that he would live with her forever and desert his wife and children if she would agree to marry him. This statement, however, was emphatically denied by the prosecutor. The notes found in the possession of the prisoner, were proved by a clerk in the Bank of England to form part of a sum of money which had been transmitted to Chatham on the order of Sir Henry Parnell for the purpose of paying off the crew of the Castor frigate, and the two purses also found on the prisoners were identified by the prosecutor as his property. The jury found the prisoners guilty. The Recorder directed them to be called up for judgement, and sentenced them to be transported for 7 years."
1837, February 20: Theft from Turnpike Gate West Kent Guardian
(Dartford Magistrates) "John Crump, a noted character, and James Goldsmith, were charged with stealing, from a box at the John's Hole turnpike gate, on the night of Sunday, December 4th, the sum of £6 3s. Stephen Tuff deposed that he was employed by Mr Levy to collect the tolls, at 15 shillings a week, and that Crump had frequently sat up with him when he could get in at home. Witnesses' mother lived with him at the gate. On Sunday night, the 4th of December, Crump was there, about 2 o'clock a carriage came through - and he afterwards laid down, leaving Crump to attend the gate. The money I had collected was put into a box. About 6 o'clock he missed the box, and Crump was nowhere to be found - applied for a warrant, but the prisoner kept out the way until Wednesday last, when he was apprehended. Goldsmith and Crump had been charged with stealing a sack of wheat from Mr Lears, which they had sold, but they had not been prosecuted. James Fulgames proved that he apprehended Crump on the warrant, and while in custody he said he should not have done it if it had not been for Goldsmith; in consequence of which he had apprehended Goldsmith. Tehy both went away together on the night of the robbery, and had been away ever since. Crump was commited for trial, and Goldsmith remanded until the driver of the van who took them both to London on the night of the robbery could be found."
Kent Assizes (Maidstone Journal 1.8.1837)
"John Crump and James Goldsmith were charged with stealing 2 sovereigns, one half sovereign and £4 3s in silver, in the dwelling house of Stephen Tuff, at Stone, the property of Lewis Levi, and in a second court with burglarously breaking the said dwelling house, to get out of the same. Stephen Tuff stated... prisoner Crump assisted him to collect on the 4th of dec, that he went to bed that night between 10 and 11, and left about £17 in a box into which he always puts the tolls collected during the day. About 6 o'clock the next morning he came downstairs and found the lock of the box broken and £6 taken from it. Elizabeth Tuff, mother to last witness, stated that when she went to bed after last witness, she left Crump in the toll room and when they got up in the morning he was gone. James Fulljames, constable, stated that he took Crump into custody in May, that he told him.... as soon as the robbery was committed they went to Dartford, then to Bexleyheath, and then on by a fish cart with three horses to London...." They were found guilty and sentenced to be transported for 7 years.
1837, March 07: Dartford Union, Clothing and Elections South Eastern Gazette
Adverts for tenders for a very long list of clothing for the workhouse inmates. Also notice of annual election to the Board. Dartford Union had 24 guardians, one for each parish (including Hartley, Longfield, Ash, Fawkham, Ridley) except Dartford, Bexley and Crayford who had 2 guardians. Any ratepayer or owner of rateable land can vote but only those with land worth £25 or more can nominate candidates.
[Under the Act wealthier landowners got extra votes. The South Eastern Gazette of 18.4.1837 lists the new board - Ash (Mr Munyard), Fawkham (Mr Crowhurst), Hartley (Mr Bensted); Longfield (n/a), Ridley (Mr N Ray).]
1837, March 26: Poor Law, Cruelty The Champion
"The following excellent letter has appeared it the Times newspaper. It furnishes an additional illustration of the almost innumerable cruelties practised under this 'well working system'.
Sir, A circumstance resulting from the rules and regulations of the Poor Law Commissioners has come to my knowledge, of such needless cruelty as to shame humanity, and which good men of all parties must hold in execration.
At a small village, 2 miles from Dartford, a list is affixed to the church door, according to 'order', containing the names of the paupers who receive relief in the parish, and after enumerating several cases, as sickness, accident etc, against the name of a poor woman and three children is written, 'husband transported.' Now sir, is it not scandalous that this unfortunate woman should be thus publicly exposed to the scorn and reproach of her neighbours for no offence but what her husband has committeed; and are the unoffending children to have no consideration, that they should grow up amidst the scoffs and jeers of a merciless world, because of their father's wrong? Is it not disgraceful, aye, is it not blasphemous, thus to visit upon the children the sins of the father, a law which alone belongs to the Almighty Power, and which hitherto man has never dared to execute?
It is said that the feelings of the poor are not so sensitive as those of the more refined classes; but this is a false assumption, for if they do not possess the notions of hairbreadth sentiments, they have the nobler passions in a much stronger degree. What but social order and kindred feelings of our lives endears man to his native land? What gives the pang to the emigrant's mind but his leaving behind those mutual sympathies which have vibrated in his heart?
The plan of publication proceeds from the extraordinary and monstrous powers possessed by the Poor Law Commissioners of making new laws under the semblance of being 'rules and regulations,' and which is clearly most unconstitutional. There is, however, lurking in all these 'orders' that villanous principle which characterises the bill itself - to disgust the poor and make them wander from their wretched homes, outcast and forlorn, to end their miserable existence with what speed they may. Much is said in this age of the great progress of the human mind, of our great social attainments, and many other acquirements of man; but it, after centuries of progressive civilisation, such atrocious inhumanity as the poor law sanctions is to be tolerated, it is rather retrograding to the barbarity of former times, and equalling the feelings of the savage witha a tomahawk in one hand and scalp in the other. I am sir etc Edward Jenkin, Stoke Newington, March 20, 1837."
1837, August 01: General Election Morning Chronicle
West Kent Election: Liberal adoption meeting of T Law Hodges at Dartford.
1837, August 15: General Election Kentish Weekly Post
West Kent Election Corruption: Tories said to have given £500 for 20 votes. At Goudhurst they lied about the Liberal candidate telling a Methodist Mr Hodges was a Roman Catholic and frequented bars.
1837, September 03: Robberies Weekly True Sun
"On Tuesday the Rev T Harding of the Vicarage House, Bexley, Kent was robbed of two £10 notes (one of them with his name written on it), a £5 note, some sovereigns, and silver. On Saturday evening, the 12th, the residence of the Rev T Lambarde, of Ash, near Ridley, Ken, was robbed of a silver tray inkstand with candlestick in the middle, a shell musical snuff box, which has an enamelled landscape with gold border on the top, and plays two tunes, Sul Margine and Di Tanti Palpiti. Rewards have been offered in both cases for the discovery of the thieves."
1837, October 31: Coroner's Inquest Whitehall Evening Post
"On Staturday morning, at 9 o'clock, an inquest was held at the Three Blackbirds, Bexley, Kent, bofore Mr C J Carttar, on view of the body of an aged man unknown. The jury having returned from viewing the body (which presented a most melancholy spectacle, being reduced almost a mere skeleton), the following evidence was adduced:
John Dacon - I am a gardener, and reside at Bexleyheath. On thursday mornng last, between 6 and 7 o'clock, I was going to work, and in passing through East Gate Farm I discoveed the deceased lying in a ditch, which was partly filled with water. I asked him how long he had been there, but he made me no answer. I got him out with greeat difficulty. One of his legs and his left arm were quite stiff. He groaned very much, and appeared to be uttering a prayer. I placed him under a tree, and left a youth who was with me to mind him. I instantly ran for a wheelbarrow, in which I brough thim to this house. The landlord put him to bed in warm blankets, and rendered every possible assistance, but he expired about 9 o'clock. By the Coroner - A surgeon was sent for, but did not arrive until after he was dead.
John Miskin, farmer and innkeeper, Bexley, Kent - On Wednesday morning last, between 6 and 7 o'clock, as I was crossing a field of mine, I observed the deceased lying under a hedge, but said nothing to him. On my return from breakfast I again found him in the same field. I asked him what he did there, but he made no answer. Perceiving he was in a dreadful state of destitution, I gave him sixpence, and desired him to make the best of his way to Dartford, and state his case to the relieving officer. He said he would. On my return to dinner, I again found hi in a ditch with water in it, near the spot where I first saw him. He appeared to be very ill. I went home and informed my wife, who took some wine and a piece of plum cake. He partook of a small part of the latter, but he was unable to keep it in his stomach. I had him removed in a cart to my house, and placed him before the fire, and in a short time he recovered a little, and my wife made him some warm brandy and water, part of which he drank. I wished him to stop till the morning, promising him a bed, but, after thanking me he went away, and I never saw him alive afterwards. Coroner - You have not the power to relieve persons now, I believe. Witness - No sir; I am sorry to say we have not. Since the passing of the new Poor Law Act the workhouse has been shut up, and all power taken out of the hands of the overseer. As my wife was going to see the deceased, she met Mr Wyatt, one of our collectors of the poor rate, who asked her wherre she was going. She replied 'To see the poor man in the meadow.' He (Mr Wyatt) replied, 'Be careful what you do, or the responsibility will lie on your shoulders' (marks of disapprobation from several of the jury). She (my wife) said, 'Oh, never mind; I will run all risk about responsibility.' A juror - Mr Coroner, I think the conduct of the relieving officer disgraceful in not attending to the unfortunate man; although he was sent for, he never came until after the poor man was dead. Coroner - These cases are really becoming very serious. Another juror - A fellow creature may perish in this village now before assistance is rendered. It was not so until the new Poor Law Act came into operation. I have no hesitation in saying the poor fellow would be alive at this moment had he been put into our late workhouse. A poor man came to my shop a few days since, very ill with the ague. I relieved him out of my own pocket, well knowing it would be quite useless to sent him to the relieving officer. The Coroner said he thought Mr Miskin, as well as his wife, were entitled to the united thanks of himself and the jury for the kind manner in which they had behaved to the unfortunate man. The jury fully acquiesced with the coroner, and returned a verdict of died by the visitation of God, but that his death was acceleratated by the want of food.
After the verdict was gien, Mr Miskin informed the coroner that he (Mr Miskin) had just learned that the name of the unfortunate man was supposed to be Lilly, and that he had resided at Gravesend for many years, but had left that town a few weeks since in consequence of the whole of his goods having been taken in execution."
[There is something very reminiscent of the parable of the Good Samaritan here, the care shown by the ordinary people of Bexley is strongly contrasted with the indifference of those who were supposed to help the poor. The South Eastern Gazette of 30.5 1837 reported on a meeting of the guardians of the Dartford Union when they congratulated themselves in spending much less money on helping the poor, the effects of this policy can be seen here]
1838, February 17: Pigeon Shooting Kentish Mercury
Pigeon Shooting - a grand match was shot at Longfield Hill on Thursday February 15th 1838, between W Andrus and W Benstead of the same place, against Albert Dorrington and Mr Cheyne, at 14 birds each, which unfortunately, through a wrangle was not decided. Each man shot his birds, till a baker, of the name of Mannerson, of Lowfield street, shot one of Mr Benstead's birds within the bounds, which caused the disturbance. Another match then came off between Wm Andrus and Mr Cheyne, at 5 birds each, at which each man killed his birds. This being a tie they shot at 5 more birds, when another tie took place, as each man shot 4 birds. It now being dark, and too late for any more sport, the match will be finished next Thursday at Meopham. A second match came off between W Cooper of Sutton, and H Andrus of Hartley, at 5 birds each. Mr Andrus won by killing all his birds, and Mr Cooper lost through his bird (although shot) falling out of the bounds. The evening was convivially finished at the Green Man, Longfield Hill.
1838, February 17: Important Meeting in London in Favour of the Repeal of the Poor Law Amendment Act Preston Chronicle
"….. Lord Teynham said, he had most strenuously opposed the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act through the House of Lords. He was sure that a graet proportion of the members of that distinguished body were sincere well wishers to the country, and to the labouring classes particuarly, and that they were altogether ignorant of the effects that the Poor Law Amendment Act was calculated to produce, or they would never have allowed it to pass. Their lordships nevr would have anticipated that under the provisions of the bill no less than half a million of children would be shut up in solitary confinement, without an opportunity of seeing either father, mother, sister or brother, and deprived of all communication with those who were near and dear to them, cooped up like birds in a cage, to be ultimately thrown loose upon the world (hear, hear). Such was the situation of the poor children at Dartford...."
1838, February 20: Inquest Kentish Gazette
"An inquest was held at the County Gaol, on Friday se'night, before J N Dudlow esq and a jury from the parish of Boughton Monchelsea, on the body of Israel Leeder, shoemaker of Ash, near Wrotham. Mr Agar, governor of the gaol, deposed that the deceased was brought to the prison under a sheriff's process for debt on the 9th July 1834, and had remained there ever since. He was about 65 years of age. Mr Whatman, surgeon to the gaol deposed that he had attended the deceased. The diseases under which he was labouring were jaundice and dropsy. He had seen him about 12 month since, whilst visiting one of the other debtors who was ill. Had strongly advised deceased to get out of prison, as his health would otherwise give way. He did not then complain of illness, and refused to attempt to get out. Witness has since repeatedly urged him to do so, but his reply was that he did not choose to give up his property to his creditors. He had the means of paying if had chosen to do so. Latterly his health rapidly decreased, and he sunk under the diseases witness had named. He died on Thursday morning about 8 o'clock. The last few days he was very anxious to get out. Every kindness and attention was paid to him, and he had constant attendance, both medical and otherwise. Verdict - died of jaundice and dropsy."
1838, February 27: Electricity South Eastern Gazette
"Faversham - on Wednesday, Mr J Seager, of Dartford, delivered a vry interesting lecture on Electricity, in the town hall, Faversham. Tracing the origin and progress of the science, he exhibited the various modes of exciting the electric fluid, illustrating with brilliant devices its passage and properties; the lecture then proved the possibility of igniting ether, alcohol and hydrogen gas fromo a person insulated, and the destruction of the power of gravity by the fluid. In a very pleasing manner was illustrated the deflagration of metal by electrical discharges. The utility of lightning conductors was proved by an explosion of a model of a powder magazine, and the velocity of the fluid shown whilst passing through a chain of 300 feet in length suspended round the hall, every link being beautifully illuminated. The concluding experiment was passing the electric fluid through those of the company who were desirous of witnessing its properties; and many who subjected themselves to its influence declared it was 'very shocking.' Mr Seager is a very pleasing lecturer and proved himself fully competent to the duties of his task."
[probably this is carpenter James Seager (b 1803) of Darenth]
1838, April 01: Joseph Grimaldi and Dartford London Dispatch
Grimaldi the famous clown died in 1838, the paper records how he liked to visit Dartford: "The young clown's leisure moments were passed in breeding pigeons and collecting insects, of which he had a cabinet of 4,000 specimens; he set great store on the Dartford Blue Fly, and many a night, having finished his business on the stage, has he started at midnight to walk to Dartford, 15 miles from town; and having rested at a friend's there, he sallied forth next morning into the fields...."
1838, June 09: Dartford Union Kentish Mercury
"We understand that Mr Howe, the master of the workhouse has been dismissed from his situation by order of the Poor Law Commissioners."
1838, June 19: Balloon Flight from Gravesend South Eastern Gazette
"Mr Hampton ascended in his balloon from the Clarence Hotel Gardens, on Wednesday evening, about half-past 6 o'clock, amidst the cheers of thousands who had assembled not only from the town and surrounding villages, but from Rochester, Chatham, Wrotham and Dartford. In about 4 minutes he was out of sight, having entered a dense cloud; on his reappearance he appeared to be descending rapidly, and ultimately fell into the Thames near Higham Creek, about 4 miles from Gravesend. He was rescued from his perilous situation by a bargeman, and rejoined his friends at the Clarence in a short time. The evening was closed with a grand exhibition of fireworks. We are sorry to add that Mr Hampton has sustained great pecuniary loss. Several gentlemen proposed a subscription to reimburse him, but we have not heard that it has been carried in effect."
1838, June 30: Coronation Evening Standard
"Dartford: There was partial illumination, and the tradesmen dined together, and drank the health of thir new queen."
1838, August 10: Extensive Fire at Dartford The Globe
"At 7 o'clock on Wednesday evening the inhabitants of Dartford, Kent were thrown into a state of the greatest excitement by discovering that the buildings belonging to the Bull Inn, and which are in the rear of that building, were on fire, and which burned with considerable fury, in consequence of no water being obtained for some time. The first engine which reached the spot was the Dartford Sun Engine. The West Kent and the Norwich Union speedily followed, besides the parish ones. ON obtaining water, the engines began to play, and after nearly 3 hours' exertion, they succeeded in extinguishing the devouring element. The damage done is very great. Fortunately, from the speedy assistance which was rendered by the various persons drawn to the spot the whole of the horses were got out safe from the stables. Although the Bull has sustained very little damage yet a quantity of very valuable furniture etc belonging to Mr Porter, was very much damaged by the water and the removal which took place. We believe that Mr Porter is insured to the full amount. The fire is supposed to have been occasioned by the neglect of one of the ostlers."
Destructive Fire at Dartford (South Eastern Gazette 21.8.1838)
On week (sic) at 7 o'clock in the evening, a fire took place in Mr Fooks's barn at the back of the Bull Inn, Dartford, to the stables of which it soon extended. It was not expected that any part of these extensive premises could be saved. So great was the rapidity with which the flames spread, owing to the thatched roofs, that in less than 5 minutes the whole of the premises were one mass of fire. The cause of the fire is not at present known. It was first discovered by the porter going on his rounds. The Norwich Union and 3 other engines were on the ground. The amount of damage is estimated at £1,500. The property is insured in the Norwich Fire Office."
1838, September 30: Dartford Bastille Weekly Chronicle
"Dartford Union. This building, which stands on the hill opposite the lime kiln, at the entrance of Dartford from Crayford, is now finished, and, notwithstanding the term Bastile so frequently applied to it, is, in its external appearance, a neat commodious asylum for indigence. The architect has designed it more for a factor than a place of restraint and correction. The plan of the interior may be seen from the road by stage coach passengers, who catch a passing view at ranges of rooms for the reception of the paupers. There is one building in the centre of the area more prominent than others, namely, the treadmill, for the refractory inmates. With this exception, there is nothing repulsive in the architectural arrangement. Under mild and humane government the plice might be made a comfortable refuge for the impotent and deserving poor. The interior is clean in every part, and open to inspection; but it cannot be denied that the different buildings and offices within the walls have the air of a prison. It would be difficult to divest the inmates of the idea of imprisonment. They are seldom if ever permitted to go out. Their friends are permitted to see them, it is true, every Wednesday, but it is well understood that no complaints are to be made to the visitors."
[The newspaper says the buildings would be OK if the regime was benign but then proves it is not. It is truly shocking to hear it is more like a prison, for the only "crime" of being poor. The workhouse later became West Hill Hospital.]
1838, October 23: The Rival Dartford Post Houses South Eastern Gazette
"The warfare between the rival posting houses has at length closed, by Mr Potter [landlord of the Bull Inn, later Victoria and Bull] having purchased Mr Messenger's [landlord of the Bull and George Inn] whole posting establishment. It is therefore Mr Messenger's intention hereafter to confine his exertions to the tavern business only."
1838, November 03: Storm Damage Kentish Mercury
"Dartford: Considerable damage was done in this neighbourhood by the storm on Monday morning last. A great portion of the old ivy was torn from Dartford church. A stack of wheat belonging to Mr Parkhurst, of Gore Farm, was nearly wholly destroyed. A considerable portion of the fence that surrounds Ingress Abbey estate, the seat of Mr Alderman Harmer, was also blown down. Several stacks of chimneys in the town were blown down, and the lead from some of the houses completely stripped off. At Erith, a horse was blown into one of the pits from which brick earth had been excavated, and killed on the spot."
1838, November 10: Dartford News Kentish Mercury
"The Ship Canal - Another year has elapssed and not a whisper is heard about the proposed ship canal; save the discontented remarks of the surveyor, who says he has not been paid the balance of his account, and of the shareholders who subscribed their money, who have no idea how it was appropriated. If the affair is at an end, why is a fair statement of accounts not submitted to them?
The principal inn had nearly caught fire again, with a new species of firework, on the 5th of November last.
During the early part fo the week, between four and five hundred tons of linseed was unladen kn Long Reach, for Messrs Harrisons of the Phoenix Mills, Dartford, from the vessel from Odessa.
We cannot refrain from calling the attention of the parish authorities to the carelessness exhibited by the surveyors of highways in having a cartload of rubbish all night in the centre of the footpath in Lowfield Street, opposite the chapel, Tuesday night last. It is a lucky thing that our informant fell over it - we mean lucky for the public, as a means of furnishing evidence of the nuisance; and not for our correspondent who was seriously hurt by the accident."
1838, November 28: Sprats for Manure The Globe
"Sprats… abound on the Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kentish and other coasts, and afford, during the whole of the winter, a cheap supply of food to both rich and poor. The largest quantities are taken when the nights are dark and foggy. From four to five hundred stowboats are employed during the winter. Many thousand tons in some seasons are taken and sold at 6d and 8d the bushel, depending on the supply and demand, to farmers, who distribute about 40 bushels of sprats over an acre of land, and sometimes manure 20 acres at the cost of 20 shillings an acre. In the winter of 1829-30 sprats were particuarly abundant; large loads, containing from one thousand to fifteen hundred bushels, bought at 6d a bushel, were sent up the Medway as far as Maidstone, to manure the hop grounds. Notwithstanding the immense quantity consumed by the million and a half inhabitants of London and its neighbourhood, thee is yet occasionally a surplus to be disposed of at so low a price as to induce the farmers, even so near the metropolis as Dartford, to use them for manue (Yarrell's British Fishes)"
1839, January 15: Threatened Attack on Dartford Zinc Mills Kentish Mercury
"For the last fortnight the town of Dartford has been in a state of feverish excitement in consequence of the siege of the zinc mills, one of the parties being determined upon an attack, and the other as resolutely resolved to defend themselves even unto death. The mills are in the occupation of a French zinc company, the principals of whom are the Count de Mornay, M Alfred Mosselman (the original sole proprietor) and the present French ambassador at Brussels, who, in June last, appointed Mr M P Kavanagh, British Director and superintendent. Some petty squabbles having arisen between him and the Paris director, Mr Kavanagh, in the beginning of December last, received letters of immediate dismissal, and M D Stains arrived to replace him. No provision being made for fulfillings Mr Kavanagh's responsibility, nor any compensation offered for his loss of situation, he therefore refused to give up possession. M De Stains then placarded the town, desiring that no credit might be given to Mr Kavanagh, as he was not an authorised agent. Mr Kavanagh, however, still maintained his position, and, having funds, continued the works. Still more inflammable placards were issued, and it was determined to obtain the works by force, for which purpose a party of men were driven down. On Mr Kavanagh's side were arrayed the workmen, to the number of 22, who had signed a placard, in which they pledged themselves to support him. Guards were placed in positions commanding the works. 3 weeks elapsed, and no symptoms of surrendering being manifested, the storming party contenting themselves with mere reconnaissances, a fresh combatant appeared in the shape of a solicitor, Mr Maltby, who on Friday se'nnight waited on Mr Kavanagh to serve him with sundry notices, and in the course of conversation alluded to certain threats, which Mr Kavanagh repeated; adding that, fearing a night attack, his dagged had been at his bedside, and pointed to it on a commode by the wall. Upon leaving Mr Maltby immediately applied to the magistrate for a summons, that Mr Kavanagh might be bound over to keep the peace; and Saturday se'nnight was appointed for the hearing, at Mr Hayward's office, before the Rev Mr Davies and the Rev J C Frith. Mr W C Fuchs appeared for the defendant, who would not leave the wroks, and required that the summons should be dismissed. The magistrates, however, after an investigation of 4 hours, decided that Mr Kavanagh should again attend, and be provided with proper securities. (from Morning Paper)"
South Eastern Gazette 15.1.1839
Great excitement has lately existed at Dartford, through the refusal of Mr Kavanagh to give up possession of the zinc works to Mr De Staines, the legally appointed agent to the French proprietors. He threatened to shoot any man who attempted to take possession, but on being committed by the magistrates, in default of bail, Mr De Staines is in possession of the works. We are glad the matter had thus terminatied, for we happen to know that Mr De Staines is a talented, respectable and kind hearted man."
1839, January 29: Road Improvements at Farningham South Eastern Gazette
"The Trustees of the Dartford and Sevenoaks road are making great alterations and improvements on the Farningham Road. At Franks Hill they have commenced by altering the course of the road, so as to avoid the hill. We understand it is also in contemplation to level Otford Hill as far as practicable."
[This refers to A225. Not sure if Old Dartford Road at Farningham is the road being bypassed that is referred to]
1839, February 05: Hooliganism at Dartford South Eastern Gazette
"The rewards lately offered by the Gas Company, for the apprehension of the parties, who a few weeks ago since destroyed so many of the lamps in the town, have not had the desired effect of either bringing the parties to justice, or delivering others from the commission of the same offence; for on Monday night, several public lamps were broken, as well as the private lamp of Mr Norwood of the Black Boy."
1839, February 09: An Account of the Life and Habits of Grace Lock, The Miser Kentish Mercury
"Few circumstances ever occasioned greater stir in an ordinarily quiet locality than that which has been produced in the pleasant little village of Sutton at Hone, by the death of the female whose name stands a at the head of this notice. The extraordinary penurious habits of this miserable woman, combined with her known and repeate great wealth, had long thrown an interest around everything associated with her name. The death of such a person would naturally excite a lively anxiety in the public mind, to ascertain in what way she had distributed a fortune of which such bad use had been made in her own lifetime. The news of her decease rapidly spread throughout the district in which her name was known and, we may add, despised. It was impossible without the stronges disgust to see a human being, and that being one who ought to have had within her breast the tender heart of a woman, possessed of wealth that might have enabled her to be an ornament among the wealthy and a blessing to the poor, clutching at every farthing, denying herself the common necessaries of life, closing her door against the trembling hand of poverty, and every sympathy that gives honour and value to human existance, and imitating, as it were, in her last agonies the loathsome toad, struggling to see 'how much earth he may die with in his paws.
Upon hearing of the death of this unhappy sample of humanity, we immediately sent one of our reporters to the village with instrucitons to obtain correct information concerning those habits of penuriousness of which so much had been said. The material for the life of such a being are necessarily scanty; as little can be known of those who live wholly for themselves. 2 or 3 days' active enquiry, however, enabled our indefatigable emissary to gather from authentic sources a sufficient number of facts to enable us to give those who may not have heard of this extraordinary woman a tolerable notion of her mode of living, or rather her mode of starving.
The deceased was daughter of a poor man of the name of John Lock, who entered the service of Mr Whittaker of Thorley, near Wrotham, about the year 1759, as waggoner. In this humber situation John Lock conducted himself with so much propriety and gained so much credit by his frugal and industrious habits, that his master, after no great length of time, made him his bailiff. About 10 years afterwards, Mr Whittaker died; when John, being it may be presumed, a comely sort of person, and a little ambitous withal 'wooed and won the wealthy widow.' The subject of the present memoir was one of two tender pledges of affection presented to John Lock esq, by his wealthy spouse. Grace was born in the year 1771, at Thorley; consequently she must have been 68 years of age. Mr Lock continued at Thorsley until the death of his wife, who left him the whole of the wealth which had descended to her from her former husband. Mr Lock afterwards removed to Darenth Court Lodge; where he resided for a few years, when he entered into a negotiation with Mr George Andrus, of Sutton at Hone, for the purchase of the residence in which the deceased recently departed this life. Mr Lock himself died in the same house, about Michaelmas 1820, leaving his daughter Grace about £47,000; and his son 'Young Squire Teddy,' as he was called, an income of £365 per annum, secured upon funded property; which, at Teddy's death, was to pass to Grace. The reason for Mr Lock's dividing his property so unequally, it is supposed, was that his son was at times rather touched in his upper storey; a presumption which Teddy's singular habits gave great colour to - Teddy, in fact, was the complete antipodes of his sistere; for whilst the latter was miserly to a degree that would have qualified her to give lessons in economy even to old Jonathan Elwes, the brother was one of the jolliest fellows living. The goings on of 'Young Teddy' during his father's life were a pretty sure pressage of the use he would make of the old gentleman's money if it ever fell into his possession. It was Teddy's practice as soon as he could lay hold of a little cash to start from home into the fields, and prevail upon the labouring men to leave off work, and go with him to a public house; which it became a point of honour with him never to leave sober. These practices no doubt rendered him the less favourite of the two with his father, and led to the unequal division of property we have already referred to. We have deemed it necessary to touch upon the habits of Teddy, as they form such a forcible contrast to those of his sister; to which we shall presently come. Well, old Lock died, and Teddy having obtained greater freedom than ever, became a regular daily visitor, with his friends aforesaid, to those favoured places of resort, the Chequers at Darenth, the Bull at Hawley and the Ship at Sutton at Hone. A pound a day made Teddy Lock the Rothschild of the neighbourhood; and his visit to any particular village was sure to bring with it a full day's employment for the resident Bonifaces. Teddy had a passion for small gambling. Almost everything he did was by the rule of heads or tails. Scarsely a pot of beer was drunk with anybody without its being first tossed for. It should, however, be told that when a winner he never suffered the loser to pay; so there were not many names to the reckoning. His constant boast was of the number of pots he had won; and so tenacious was his memory of these successes that he could tell for years afterwards the number of victories on any particular day. 'Squire Teddy' says the collector of these details, 'had many redeeming qualities.' He was strictly honourable in all his engagements; and when his cash was all run out, and he was compelled to obtain credit, which he did sometimes to a pretty stiff amount, he was most punctual in payment the moment his dividends came to hand. To his honour be it spoken, poverty and distress never pleaded to him in vain. But the natural consequences of so free a life came upon him; and for the last year or two of his existence his failing strength confined him more to the residence of his sister; where he was pretty nearly starved. When his health would permit him to get out, he at once resorted to the scenes of his former glory - a visit that not infrequently ended in his being wheeled home about his usual hour, 4 o'clock in the afternoon. However sic transit gloria mundi, Teddy died in June 1833, and was interred in the family vault of Ash Church. Grace by this affliction, received an addition to her property of nearly £8,000.
Mr Lock, the father of Grace, although no miser, was a very frugal man in all his habits; and it is a little remarkable that his daughter in her younger days instead of having called into action by the thriftiness of her father that overpowering passion for the accumulation of money which possessed her in after life, was always considered extremely liberal. There is another point which the sex will not forgive us if we overlook - At the age of 18 Grace Lock was deemed rather a fine young woman. It was about this period of her life a most singular circumstance happened, which has never, we understand, been satisfactorily explained, and which, it is considered, laid the foundation of those eccentricities by which her conduct was afterwards marked - A Mr Solomon was introduced to the lady with the avowed object of gaining her affections, and happily found favour i her eyes. The courtship had lasted some time, when it was proposed that Grace should visit Mr Solomon's friends at Swanscombe for 2 or 3 days. Thither she went; but strange to say returned to her father's house at Darenth in the middle of hte night with no other covering than her night dress. The cause of this extraordinary incident will probably forever remain a mystery; one fact only is known - the first love of Grace was blighted; and a considerable change in her character immediately took place. She became more secluded, less dressy, and set up for a misanthrope. Another suitor presented himself, bu the happy time had passed. Grace had subsequently one of two other suitors; but her pernitious habits were now growing fast upon her, and she concluded that all they wanted was her money, which she seemed to think she wanted a good deal more than they did, so the little God of Love in every case gave way to his gruff old majesty of Mammon. Her miserly propensities began long before the death of her father, and every possible penny was saved by depriving herself of everything in the shape of an indulgence, and by dressing in the plainest possible way. On the death of her father her passion for money developed itself into full force; and she now denied herself almost the common necessaries of life. Her haggard and singular appearance plainly indicated that her system of living had been brought down to starvation point; her singular mode of dress was rendered more striking by her high cheek bones, dark hair, sunken eyes, and - let it be said in parenthesis - (a black beard of considerable length). About 19 years since she engaged an old pensioner named Winter, who was to reside in her house and look after the garden, for which he was paid 5 shillings weekly, and to find his own board. She also kept a female servant; and in order that the expense should be as light as possible, she had an ingenious mode of lessening the first year's wages. Her general rule was never to give more than £5 for the first year; but this was accompanied by an agreement that the wages were to be raised £1 every year - the lday being particularly careful in pointing out to the newly engaged 'servant of all work' that if she remained in her place 20 years she would be in the receipt of £25 per annum. It is scarcely necessary to state that it was a rare occurrence that ever a maid remained more than 12 months in the service of Miss Grace Lock. One servant who offered herself would not engage unless she was allowed beer. After a good deal of negotiation this was agreed to; the quantity being expressly defined, viz 4 pots a month. The week's allowance was reguarly fetched in a bottle from the Bull, and kept in the parlour cupboard. As may be anticipated, all her culinary arrangements were of the most economical order. She had but one saucepan in the house, and that was never allowed to be cleaned for fear of wearing it out. She generally made her purchases of food daily. Her meat was bought of Mr Medhurst in the village, and consisted of half a pound of the cheapest in the shop, if she ever varied from this it was in the buying chops enough to last several days, and cooking them all at once in order to avoid unnneccessary consumption of fuel. With the meat she commonly bought a penny loaf, which was divided into 4 parts to serve her and the maid for 2 meals. Her vegetables were the production of her garden, 2 potatoes were generally boiled, and she always went, and after picking out the worst cabbage and splitting it down the centre, left one half on the stalk for the next day. Her Christmas dinner regularly consisted of 3 sausages, which were divided between her and the maid. The house for years was never cleaned, or the furniture moved or repaired. On one occasion a glazier was sent for to repair the windows, and he forgot his brads. He asked for some pins. After some time she produced him 8 covered with verdigris; and desired him to cut them in half, as they would make 16; but when she discharged the bill she stopped one halfpenny for pins, sahing 'she could not afford to find a glazier pins.' She slept very little at night, and on the least alarm used to arouse old Will to discharge a blunderbuss out of the window. On Teddy's death she ordered a hearse, coach and feathers, but shortly after send word to the undertaker to say that she would not go to the expense of feathers - 'it was not worth while;' but the feathers were sent, and she was compelled to have them. This conduct, however, was not equal to that previous to her father's death. Several of hte gents in the neighbourhood sent him pesents of jellies, wine etc, all of which she carefully locked up, observing that, as they would not save her father's life, it would be a pity to waste them, when they would be of so much service to herself. It seems, indeed, she was particularly sensible of the value of gifts, and never refused them. On one occasion a neighbouring gentleman attracted, it may be supposed, more by her large wealth than her personal charms, took it into his head that he would lay siege to her affections, and accordingly opened the campaign by sending her a prettily couched billet-dous, accompanied by a brace of ducks - the lady, in a very business like way, kept the present, but returned the note, or, as the countrymen in the neighbourhood, when they got hold of the story, used to observe, she held fast the brace of ducks, but returned the billy ducks. Amongh the present she received from parties, who, no doubt, considered they were laying out the produce of their larder at compound interest, was a very fine ham and bottle of cognac brandy. Mr Penny of Dartford, her coal merchant, who was frequently in the habit of performing little services for her, happened to call the very day the ham was received, and as he had been transacting a commission for her that had given him a good deal of trouble, for once her heart softened into something like good nature, and he was asked, as he had come a long way, if he would 'take a bit of ham and taste the brandy.' Nothing loth, Mr Penny sat down with a healthy appetite, wholly unobservant of poor Grace, who in that calamitous moment stood almost like a statue in astonishment at the wonderful capacity of the human stomach. Indeed nothing can better desribe he appearance and feelings that the lines of the old ballad - 'Grace stood with wonder petrified/ Her hair stood on her pate;/ And why dost guttle now, she cried,/ At this enormous rate.' It is now 10 years ago since Mr Penny partook of her hospitality, for the first and most certainly for the last time; and from that period to this Miss Grace Lock hardly allowed a day to pass without expressing her horror of Mr Penny's powers of tooth and suction. She was very precise in all her household details; for she felt that if little matters were attended to, great ones would take care of themselves. Instead, therefore, of entrusting the maid with an entire bunch of matches, she regularly gave out a single match at a time, but finding the end of one upon the kitchen mantlepiece a new light broke in upon her, and she ever afterwards gave out the half of a match instead of a whole one. It was a part fo the same principle of purchasing a new bed tick to save the ravelling for the purpose of mending Teddy's shirts.
Her usual dress, in fact the only one, with a single exception, that she has been known to wear for the last 30 years, was, in point of fashion, of a period 30 previous to its being worn by her. Its style will be understood by stating that the waist was placed just below the shoulders. Her cap was of satin that once had been white, and her hat of chip straw that had once been black. As these articles had contrived to exchange colours with each other, the contrast was of course still preserved. In the hat was a feather, which, from the time it had been worn, must have quitted its fisrt owner's tail some five and thirty years ago. The only article of dress she had been known to purchase for the last quarter of a century was from Mr Jardin of Dartford, on the occasion of the death of her brother.
At one time she was regular in her attendance at church; but latterly she became an object of curiosity, and therefore avoided the public gaze by saying her prayers at home.
She went to London twice every year to receive her dividends, and was always accompanied by Mr Whittaker, of Barming, a distant relative. On these occasions she always hired a post chaise from Mr Wells of Farningham; and it seem such an effort of extravagance always called up some high notions in her mind, as she would never allow the post boy to drive, but kept him on horse both ways, in order to prevent its being supposed she was riding in return chaise. Our reporter saw one of her orders in Mr Wells's possession and it ran thus - 'I want a post chaise, with a man to sit on the horse as usual. Grace Lock'
It should be mentioned that she had an extraordinary antipathy to receive anything but by the hand of one of her own sex; and when even money was paid to her, she so far overcame her eagerness to possess it, as to submit to the slow process of having it laid upon the table, in order to prevent her hand from being polluted by coming into contact with that of a man.
Shortly after the death of poor Teddy, infirmity seemed rapidly coming upon her, and she was induced to have a distant relation, Alfred Richardson, a man with a large family, to look after the house, which was now kept more cleanly; but a clean house is a poor subsitute for an empty stomach, and she continued to deny herself that sustinance which her feeble and almost bed ridden state so urgently demanded. Every attention was paid to her by Mr Tippetts of Dartford; but the most earnest entreaties of that gentleman would not persuade her to alter her course of life, and she expired, without pity or regret, on Wednesday fortnight last, at the age of 68; and on the following Wednesday her impoverished bones were laid in the family vault, at Ash Church. There was just room left for her coffin, and she is the last of her family bearing the name of Lock. Thus had the tomb closed upon the ashes of a being who sustained 50 years of human suffering and the bitterest privations, for the single purpose of at length dying that wise persons may enjoy that wealth which, if it had been properly applied by herself, might have converted into a paradise that earth which, according to her mode of living, must have presented to her all the horrors of a hell.
Hearing that the will was to be read on Monday last at the Lion, Farningham, in the presence of those who were interested in its contents, and who had been summoned for the purpose, our reporter was at the Lion as punctually as if Grace had given him a line in the document. There were about 18 persons present, and at 12 o'clock, Mr Selby, of the old and respectable firm of Selby and Norton, Town Malling, who had drawn the will, arrived with the important instrument in his pocket. What a moment for those who were assembled! What beatings at the heart, and chokings at the throat, and tremblings to the very fingers' ends! If we had been ourselves summoned on such an occasion, we should have fainted outright. The drawing of a lottery containing the number that has been dreamt to be thirty thousand pounds prize presents no such awful interval as sthat which must have expired between the commencement of the reading and coming to the first name. There were only two cool persons in the room, Mr Selby and our reporter, for the moment he remained there; and it was but for a moment, for a glance from Mr Selby seemed to say, 'My good sir, I'm afraid you've made a mistake, your name most certainly is not in the will.' The reader will therefore charge to the penetration of Mr Selby the disappointment they must feel in not being furnished with a portrait of every individual at the impressive moment when his, or her, particular legacy was announced. Many of the faces must have been acted upon amazingly, as long after the ceremony was over, they had not settled down to their natural forms. Although it was a close court, the following may be relied upon as an accurate statement of the different bequests. It really makes one's mouth water to read them.......(details of many bequests, including £500 to Mr Muggeridge a cousin of Green Street Green)"
[Although the paper was generally unsympathic, they do appear to be fair minded and mentioned a trauma when she was a young woman. The reference to her later not wanting to be touched by a man even to the extent of taking something from their hands, suggests how serious the earlier event must have been. Mr Selby the solicitor subsequently wrote to the paper to complain about the article, saying it was inaccurate. The paper made a vigorous defence in the edition of 2.3.1839. They said their first source was Dartford draper Mr Jardine but as he was known for "throwing the hatchet" their reporter spent 2-3 days at Sutton at Hone to get the facts right and interviewed lots of people. As for the claim that they got all the bequests wrong they say their source read from their notes of the meeting in the presence of Sir Edmund Filmer, they were wrong on one, but the will proves they are right on the others. They mention a recent anecdote "About 10 days ago the very party belonging to our establishment who attended at Sutton at Hone... had occasion to go from Greenwich to Shooter's Hill on some business of the office, and expedition being requisite, he took a seat on the Dover evening coach. The night was very dark but he could see, or rather hear that two of passengers beside him were Mr John Wilding of Phoenix Mills, Dartford and Mr Pottinger of the same town. A third party was a sleek, over grown puffy kind of person resembling a blown up calf, who happened to be very loquacious; and the subject of his recent conversation was the recent article in this journal on Grace Lock - which he described as 'full of lies' and indulged, withal in a good deal of supplementary abuse against the paper itself. By the time his story was at an end, the coach stopped, and our reporter in stepping down, happening to know the name of our gratuitous vilifier, very politely said to him 'good night Mr Jardine.' The silky response was, (the night as we have said being very dark), 'who have I the pleasure of speaking to?' and the modest reply came, 'one of the reporters of that infamous paper which you have been talking about for the last 2 miles.' A loud and hearty laugh, at the expense of somebody, from some half dozen persons on the coach, and a crack of the coachman;s whip closed the scene."]
1839, February 17: What Rent would be paid if the Corn Laws Were Abolished - Taxation in 1788 Weekly Dispatch
In letter to paper JB, a supporter of abolition of the corn laws, writes about the costs to farmers in the 18th century. He quotes rent and production figures from 1770 in Arthur Young 'The Farmer's Tour through England.' Rents locally were above the national average of 14s 9d per acre (Dartford 20 shillings, Northfleet 20s, Chalk 17s, Sittingbourne 15s, Canterbury to Bekesbourne good land 20s chalky hill land 6s, Romney Marsh 20s, Faversham Hop fields 70s). Average productivity per acre was wheat 24 bushels/acre (range 20-30), Barley 32 (range 29-36), Oats 38 (range 32-51), Rye 22 (range 21-34). Productivity generally increased with average rents. He lists other taxes paid by farmers then in detail - House Tax, Window Tax, Hat Tax, Malt Tax and taxes on various other items. He says "Protecting duty the landowner needs none. The sea gives a protection equal to 10 shillings per acre." Today he reckons costs of 25 shillings an acre (16s rent, 3s carriage, 6s public charges).
1839, March 17: Pigeon Shooting Bells Life
Pigeon shooting: return match at Malling. Mr Benstead of Hartley Court lost 4-5 to Mr Jarret of Aylesford. Report says Mr Andruss is from Meopham.
1839, June 22: Farming Review Kentish Mercury
"The appearance of the country is now truly delightful. Whether taken by a transient view in passing by or over the corn fields, hop gardens, and meadow of this fertile district, or by a more close and every day inspection of the progress of the gorwing crops, the prospect is equally cheering. All king of grain crops are lookin gwell and growing fast. Beans, peas, tares etc are showing a blossom which promises an abundant yield. The forward peas in the neighbourhoods of Dartford, Gravesend etc are in the course of picking for the London markets......"
1839, August 29: Morning Mail to Dover Whitehall Evening Post
"General Post Office, Aug 27, 1839. A morning mail will be despatched from London to Dover, on and after this day, at 9 o'clock am, conveying letters and newspapers for the following towns: Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester, Chatham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Canterbury and Dover. The boxes at the branch offices, Charing Cross, Old Cavendish Street and the Borough will be open for the reception of newspapers until 7.30 am, and for letters until 8 am. At the General Post Office in St Martins the Grand and the branch post office in Lombard Street, the boxes will close for newspapers at 7.45 am and for letters at 8.30 am. By command, W L Maberley sec."
1839, December 14: Changing Horses at Dartford Kentish Mercury
"The following persons changed horses at the Bull, Dartford, this week - Lord Glengall, Baron de Cetto, D'Israeli esq, Baron Wood, Sir Edward Dering, Baron Munchausen, Lord Harris, Sir Felix Booth, Earl of Gurtford, Earl of Oxford, Lord Harborough, Lord Ashburton, Col Cavendish, Lord Hurley, Lady Liverpool, Mr Jenkinson etc.
[The Mr Disraeli will be the future prime minister who at the time was MP for Maidstone. Baron Munchausen was not the famous fantasist but the Hanoverian Ambassador]
1839, December 28: Death of an Infant Chimney Sweeper Kentish Mercury
"A fatal accident has just occurred to a little boy, who although a sweep was the pet of the neighbourhood of Foots Cray, from the mildness and superiority of his manners. The particulars of the case have been strangely concealed, but it seems that the person who sent fo rthis child was unwilling to forego even long enough to thoroughly cool the chimney, and therefore as might be expected, the poor fellow came down as soon as he wen up, saying 'it is too hot.' The parties who stood by, ordered him up again, and he came down a second time, saying 'I cannot bear it.' He was then forced up a third time, to come down no more alive. A coroner's jury has ence returned a verdict of died by suffocation."
1839, December 31: Dartford News South Eastern Gazette
"The town during the last week has been partly inundated owing to the heavy rains. Opposite the church in the High Street the road has been impassable to pedestrians.
We have just bee favoured with a copy of the quarterly abstrct, which shows that the number of paupers relieved during hte part quarter amounted to 848 (being an increase of 67 compared with the corresponding quarter of last year), 126 of which were indoor and 255 outdoor; the indoor relief amounted to £414 16s 9d and the outdoor to £464 7s 9d. The total expenditure, including registrar's account, insurance, rates, taxes, furniture repairs, salaries etc etc was £1,298 11s 6d being an increase of £7 15s 0¼d. The Dartford Union comprises 21 parishes."