1840, January 25: Expenditure of Poor Law Unions Canterbury Journal
Figures show that in the 3 years before the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 Dartford Union area spent on average £11,629 per annum on poor relief, in 1839 it was £6,843, a fall of 41 per cent. Across the county average expenditure fell from £328,702 to £186,159 a fall of 43 per cent. [Of course other press articles copied showed the human cost of this reduction].
1840, February 11: Arrival of Prince Albert Kentish Gazette
"The great and all absorbing topic of the present moment is the marriage of our gracious Queen to Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg. With a view to gratify our readers, we hav devoted a considerable portion of this day's paper to the particulars of the ceremonial, as it yesterday occurred at St James's Palace, together with a detail of the circumstances which happened on the Prince's route from the continent to London.....From Chatham his royal highness and suite set out for Gravesend, and so on to Dartford, where they were met by one of Her Majesty's carriages, attended by servants in royal livery, and thence proceeded direct to town...."
[The West Kent Guardian of 29.8.1840 reported on a Dartford Vestry meeting where an item of £3 for ringing the bells on this occasion was objected to by many there]
1840, May 13: A Saving Wife Morning Post
"A blacksmith at Dartford, who loved beer, and as most men who love beer do, generally found his cupboard and his wife's pocket empty on or about the Tuesday of each week, naturally suspected that she loved beer too, as he gave her a large portion of his earnings on the Saturday night. At length she recently became seriously ill; a few days before her death the husband on suddenly entering her room, saw a strange box at her bedside, of which he possessed himself. It contained between £50 and £60 out of his wages, which, instead of guzzling awy for selfish gratification, she had saved for the benefit of both (from Maidstone Gazette)."
1840, May 19: Popularity of Church Organs Maidstone Journal
"We understand that so general is becoming the use of organs in parish churches that there are at present moment not fewer than 600 being built at various organ builders in London, for that purpose."
1840, May 23: Improvement of the Navigation of the Creek and New Canal Canterbury Journal
"Dartford: 'High on the coach one summer's day / When the sun was gaily shining / A man of Dartford took his way / Upon the roof reclining'. The song then goes not to say how he 'chewed the end' on the top of the heavy Dover, on his road to Faversham, and how 'He thought of his town - and when arrived / At his journey's destination / A ship canal he had contrived / And resolved its publication.' (Railway Mag)
It is with feelings of gratification we are able to announce, that last week, the bill for the improvement of Dartford Creek passed through the committee of the House of Commons, having received but few alterations during the process. Mr Hall must at length look back upon his past efforts to procure for his native town, what the above satiric rhymes termed 'a change in her situation,' with great satisfacion, conscious of the approbation of every well wisher for the prosperity of Dartford. And although he many not have been able to get all he originally sought and then would have done, had it not been for the opposition of the embryo Dover Railway Company, which afterwards so signally failed, the execution fo the present measure will lay a foundation for the extensive improvements in the heretofore royal free have of Dartford (from West Kent Guardian)"
1840, June 6: Dartford Oddfellows Funeral The Odd Fellow
"On Sunday last, PG Drew ,of the Dartford Lodge was interred, after a long and painful illness. His remains were followed by the members of the Dartford, Crayford and Greenhithe Independent Lodges, he having been much respected, and had been a member upwards of 24 years. This being the 2nd occurrence of the kind within 3 weeks, hundreds of spectators were attracted to the burial ground; and he requested on his death bed that his funeral might be conducted with the usual forms and ceremonies. The members, upwards of 150, all appeared in their regalia, with silk batbands and scarves. The funeral service having been performed in a most impressive manner by the worthy vicar, the Rev F B Grant, the secretary PG Buckland, delivered the following address:
Respected friends - it having been custumary with us as Oddfellows on occasions of the present nature to address the spectators, and it having been the dying request of our departed friend and brother, induces me once more to intrude myself on your notice. Many I know commend us, and probably some may censure. To those who commend we are thankful for their charitable view and good opinion; and to those who may censure I beg to offer something like an apology. Although we profess to be a society bound by the ties of friendship, charity and brotherly love, we are but men, and consequently creatures subject to all the frailties of human nature. We do not aim at perfection in our processions and forms on painful occasions like the present, we carefully avoid acting contrary to the established laws of our country, and as studiously avoid anything that might give offence to the public at large, or injure or wound the feelings of any individual. Should anyone ask, what good end is answered? My reply is, ask the widows and orphans of Oddfellows who have had similar respect shown them by this band of brothers on former occasions. Brethren, agreeable to our laws and regulations, and at the earnest request of our departed friend and brother, we are here assembled to pay the last tribute of affection justly due to him as an Oddfellow; and he being the second of our members called hence within the short period of 3 weeks, and both of them in the middle age of life, calls forth our particular attention. The last offices paid to the dead are only useful as they are lectures to the living - we ought to derive instruction from them, and consider every solemnity of this kind as a summons to prepare for our approaching change - a change of which death is the sign and eternity the secret - a change by which it has pleased Almighty God to release our departed brother from this to another, and we hope to a better world. Let it be deeply impressed on each of our minds to adhere to the principles of our order as Oddfellows, which is to injure none, envy none, pity and relieve the sorrows and distress of our brethren, and consider the world as a lodge, and mankind our brothers; and whatever may be our station, as we journey through life, let us study to work in the paths of honesty, sobriety and industry. A life thus spent will ensure us consolation in our latter moments, and enable us to secure the favour of that Eternal Being whose goodness and whose power can know no bound; and may we all be admitted into the grand lodge above, and have our felicity crowned with everlasting bliss in the expanded realms of a boundless eternity."
1840, June 23: Workhouse Chaplain South Eastern Gazette
Dartford: "On Saturday week the Board of Guardians met to elect a chaplain for the Union House, vice the Rev Thomas Fooks of Horton, who had resigned. There were two candidates in the field, the Rev J Murray Dixon, of the Downs, and curate of Longfield, who is so popular a clergyman that not only is there not standing room in the church, but even we are told the churchyard is crowded with persons endeavouring to hear him. The other the Rev TB Grant, vicar of Dartford, the former gentleman was nearly unanimously elected; as the Guardians considered that the latter gentleman, having so large a cure of souls as Dartford parish, must necessarily have his time entirely occupied, as he neither kept a curate not was there any other clergyman of the Church of England to assist him in his duties. The salary is £50 per annum."
1840, August 4: Water Mill to Let The Globe
"Eligible water mill to be let within half a mile of the town of Dartford in Kent, now occupied as a zinc rolling mill, and previously as a paper mill, for which the superior quality of the water renders the site particularly advantageous. The water power is considerable, and the premises extensive, consisting of various buildings, substantial dwelling house with large garden, several cottages and 18 acres of meadow land. For particulars apply at the Gunpowder Mills, Dartford or at 34 Throgmorton Street, London."
Zinc Rolling Machinery to be Let (Morning Herald 29.8.1840)
Zinc Rolling Machinery to be Let or sold by private contract, consisting of the gear work, fly wheel, coupling shafts, rolls and housing and 2 pair of table shears in good order. For further particulars apply to Mr Corniquet, manager of the mills at Dartford, Kent; or to Messrs J & E Hall, engineers, Dartford (who constructed the machinery); or to Messrs Kennard & Co 197 Upper Thames Street, London."
1840, August 28: County Constabulary - Kent Chelmsford Chronicle
"On the 20th inst, a meeting of the county magistrates for Kent was held at Maidstone, to consider the adoption of the County Constabulary. Sir E Knatchbull moved that the Constabulary Act and the Amendment Act be adopted, and that a force, consisting of the following persons, be appointed for the county:
1 Chief Constable at £400 pa - £400
12 Superintendents at £120 pa - £1,440
50 Constables at £52 pa - £2,600
Expenses - £4,440
He considered that this number with the aid of the special constables which they would be empowered to call out when required would be sufficient, as nearly the whole of the Bromley District and part of the Dartford District were provided for by the Metropolitan Police. Mr Rice seconded the motion, and read the list of counties and the amount of rate that had covered the expense in each. Amongst others he enumerated the following: Buckinghamshire (a rate of 2d in the pound), Cambridgeshire (1¼d), Durham (1¾d), Essex (2d), Glos (1¾d), Notts (0¾d), Hants (0¾d), Worcs (2d). The average of all counties included in this Parliamentary return was the rate of 2d in the pound, at which sum he should estimate the probable expense in this county. That was the amount of rate which had covered the expense in Essex, where they had established an excellent police, under teh superintendence of a very able man, who had been appointed, not on any particular interest, but for his peculiar fitness for the situation. A two-penny rate in this county would produce £8,400, whilst the estimated expense of the force now proposed was only £4,700, even supposing that the superintendent would require a horse, and some further payment beyond his salary.
The motion was objected to be Mr Deedes, Captain Forster and the Earl of Winchilsea. Captain Forster said that he had been told by an Essex gentleman, that the new police was the greatest afflictionn with which the county could have been visited (laughter), for that he could never ride in his carriage out of his park gate, but there stood the gendarme staring him in the face (laughter). Mr Rice said that he had received letters from some of the most influential persons of Essex, Hampshire, Wiltshire and other places, all concurring in praising the new system where it had been established.
The following amendment was moved - That it was not expedient to adopt the provisions of this Act, but that in those parts of the county where an additional police was necessary, it was advisable to adopt the provisions of the 3rd and 4th William IV called the Watching and Lighting Act; and on a division it was carried by 26 to 23."
[The County Police Act 1839 allowed counties to create a police force, but it would not be until 1857 when Kent got a proper police force and only then because it had become a statutory requirement under the County and Borough Police Act 1856. A longer account is to be found in the South Eastern Gazette 25.8.1840. For background see Police Gazette website]
1840, August 29: Sermon at Gravesend West Kent Guardian
"On Sunday last two sermons were preached in Gravesend church, in aid of the Benevolent Society for Visiting the Sick. The collections at the doors amounted to £26 4s 10d. The sermon in the morning was preached by the Rev Dr Joynes - the sermon in the evening by the Rev J M Dixon BA of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and curate of Longfield, near Dartford."
1840, October 3: Local Education and New Hartley School West Kent Guardian
"Meeting of the Societies for Promoting Christian Knowledge and National Education. This meeting, which took place at the Town Hall, Gravesend, on Thursday, the 24th instant, was announced for one o'clock, but owing to the unpropitious state of the weather it did not commence till 2pam, at which hour W M Smith esq of Camer, took the chair, supported by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Rochester, he Revs Dr Joynes, Messrs Stokes, Lonsdale (Principal of King's College), Hindle, Edmeades, Heberden, Johnston, Alcock, Kyle, Day, Tate, Irish, Allfree Otley, Dixon, and W Gladdish esq on the platform. The meeting was opened with a prayer by the Rev J Stokes. The chairman began the business of the day by briefly alluding to the comparative thinness of the assembly, occasioned by the state of the weather, and after expressing a hope that the interests of the society would not suffer, concluded by calling on the Rev A Tate the Secretary to read the report; from which it appeared that grants had been made from the local association in the course of the last year to assist in the erection of school houses at Meopham, and at Hartley, and that the inhabitants of Stone and Swanscombe, stimulated by this association, had raised subscriptions sufficient to build a school for the two parishes. The total receipts for the Christian Knowledge Society for the past year ammount to £79 14s 4d, of which £39 18s 2d arose out of the sale of books.
The expendiure during the same period was £71 6s, a sum of £5 having ben ahded over tot eh aprient society for its general purposes, hte balance in hand is £3 8s 4d. The distribution of books from depository had been as follows: 96 Bibles, 63 New Testaments, 167 Prayer Books, 2,840 books and tracts. Total 3,166 publications. The Rev Heberden moved, and the Rev J Day seconded the adoption of the above report.
The Venerable Archdeacon of Rochester in moving the second resolution, which was as follows 'That this meeting, convinced that no greater benefit under Divin Providence, can be furnished through the instrumentality of man to the poor and nation at large than a sound religious education, and gratefully recognises the aid which the National Society has ever received from the SPCK, approve their united operation, and recommend the objects to public support', said ....... he felt that there was such a call upon him now, and this was what induced him to come forward. Teh question of national education was one of vital importance It was in fact, the question of questions. He would not go into details, but confine himself to one of two important points, first, he would endeavour to shew from the facts and figures, the connexions between the want of education and the increase of crime; and secondly,t he quantity of education that was required for the people of this country......... In England and Wales, during the course of the last year, there were 73,612 persons put on their trial. Of this number 8,464 were utterly without education; 12,298 were imperfectly educated, and only 300 had received what could be called a decent education. It was an appalling fact, and one that strongly proved the necessity of a system of national education, tht 2,654 of these persons wer 14,15 or 16 years of age. There surely must be a great want of education, since so many of that ge ould be found in the criminal list. He would come still nearer home. The population of all England and Wales was 15 million; that of all Kent 500,000. Now the persons accused of crim in Kent during the last year had been 896 whereas, according to the proportion of the population, to that of the entire county, it should have been 766, a frightful proof of the effect of want of education. Of this number 128 were under the age of 16, whereas, according to the proportion of the population, 88 should have been the number. He considered nother further necessary, after these facts, to prove his part of his statement, and would therefore proceed. In the second place, to point out the quantity and exent of the education required. He would remind them that the population in England and Wales was 15 million; the proportion of these under education ought to be 4.5 million, but in point of fact not more than 1.5 million were receiving education, and at least a half of these received no instruction except from Sunday Schools. In this district alone, there were at least 3,000 children who ought to be receiving education, of which number only one half were receiving it, and 500 only Sunday Scholars. Part of those who received daily instruction obtained it at private schools, or dame schools or similar places. Of all Protestant countries he believed this to be the worst, in point of national education; for let England be considered in reference to other countries, Denmark was about the best specimen, perhaps, in Europe; its population was about 2 million, amongst whom were abut 300,000 children, of whom 278,500 were under education. Prussia with 14 million of populatio and 2.8 million children, had 2,250,000 in her schools. France 33 million, children 4.8 million, of whom 2 million were educated............. After these facts, he would briefly conclude by saying, that if he were to appeal to the charity of the meeting, he would have a right to do so; for no cause was dearer to God than the one relating to the salvation of the soul. But he might go beyond the mere point of duty, and shew them that it was their best interest to promote this cause, as there could not be a more effective way to keep the country in general, and their own neighbourhood in particular, peaceable, orderly, and quiet. The best policeman was the schoolmaster; the best gaol was the schoolhouse or the church; and if they knew the superior value of preventive to punitive measures - and if they therefore promoted the extension of schools and of churches, they would soon discover a sufficient reward for their expense and labour in the increasing tranquility and virtue of the land. They could not stop the course of national education; he know that it had many opponents; that there were many who had actually set their faces against it, he could scarsely say why; but it seemed to hi that it would scarcely be a want of charity to suppose that they had not been really well educated themselves, and not therefore having derived any benefit from the instruction which they had themselves received, they wee the less willing to incur expense and trouble to extend it to others what they had not found a blessing in their own case. The National Society was however progressing, notwithstanding their opposition. It was formed in the yer 1811, and from that period up to the year 1837 its income had never reached to £11,000; indeed, in the year last mentioned, it was but £1,054, and had but 560 subscribers; but in the year 1839 its income amounted to £21,000 and it could number 12,000 staunch friends. This resolution spoke of the connexion between the National Society and the SPCK, and he ought to observe that £5,000 of the above large increase in the income of the former of these societies was derived from a grant from the latter.... In its first formation it embraced not only its present objects, but those also of the National Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and within 40 years from the date of its establishment it had founded upwards of 2,000 schools; since 1811 it has confined itself to the supply of books to the schools; last year it had given away £5,000 in such a manner as to occasion a saving of £14,000 to the funds of the National Society. The meeting ought to remember that he was now pleading for those who could not assist themselves to obtain a good education without the aid of such societies as those under their consideraion. If the poorer classes were not instructed by them, they never could afford to obtain instruction at all. Those who heard him expected to be well and faithfully served by their inferiors, but how could they reasonably expect this if they left them untuaght in every right principle. He concluded by saying "Let us only give the poor a really good, a religious education, and they never will be able to call us their debtors."......... The resolution was put and carried unanimously.
The Rev Dr Joynes moved the 3rd resolution, which was as follows: 'That this society views with satisfaction the efforts that have been ade during the past year towards the establishment of schools for the children of the poor in neighbouring villages.' The Rev Dr began by expressing his conviction, that there was no need for saying uch after the eloquent address of the Venerable Archdeacon. The destitution spoken of was a matter of fact, which needed few illustrations, but he would employ one There was scarcely a week in which emigrant ships did not stop in the river here on their wasy to Nova Scotia, Canada or Australia. This was in itself a proof of the increase of population in this country; as the population inreased, the means of obaining support by labour decreased; until the poor man's only hope of bettering his condition lay in emigration. It followed hence that emigration proved that the labouring man in this country, was in want of means to live - how much more must he be in want of means to educate his children, unless assisted by this and similar societies? The meeting or country might reason as they would, but they must ultimately come to the conclusion, that unless the poor were educated by their country, the mass of the must remain ignorant. He had heard that in four alone of the great manufacturing towns of the north, there were no fewer than 84,000 young persons utterly uninstructed; and he would ask what must be the ultimate lot of this great number, but that they would swell the crowds of disorderly and vicious by which our manufacturing districts were already disgraced....... Now, if we were only to think of the consequences to ourselves, we shoudl see that this was launchig on the world tens of thousands of mischievous creatures hastening on to another world, without the least restraint on their willingness to injure ourselves. If we were only to think of their happiness we should be inclined to help them; the labouring man cannot always find employment; what judgement is he to follow when he finds himself destitute of the means of support? If he be not educated and therefore not in the habit of exercising his mental powers, there is nothing that he is more likely to do, than to follow his animal propensities to any excess of profligacy or violence, to which they may lead him. If we were to look to his eternal interests, we ought ot remember, that the totally uneducated poor an has not been taught to look up for that divine guidance and grace, without which we can do nothing. He therefore lives a mere animal life, and we have no right to suppose that, after years spent in all the all the misery of sin and vice, he will a length be launched into heaven by a miracle. The age of miracles is past, and heaven works by means and though we may say that the labouring classes have the means, that they have Bibles, churches, ministers, and other means of instruction, yet, unless they be trained to it, they have no idea of using those means Can we patiently sit by, whilst we have all these blessings ourselves abundantly, knowing that the children of the poor are exposed to such deprivations? Nay, our own interest demanded an effort on this point. A single mischievous servant might destroy the repose of a family. The very comfort of our neighbourhood might be destroyed by the ignorance of the poor. In walking from his own house to the Town Pier, he might be exposed to many annoyances from the want of education of the populace. A drunken man might stagger against him with an oath, a beggar might interrupt him by his impertenance, and to this and the like the whole community might be exposed, so long as the mass of the population were untaught........... Now he would say, that those 84,000 uneducated children in the four greatest towns, of which he had spoken, were likely to be the future chartists and socialists, and if the public did not educate them on scripture principles, they would be ready to break out presently. Every one who was really a man of humanity would rather send a poor child to school to learn what is good, than to gaol for doing what was wrong. We did not know what might be the future destiny of our country, but whatever calamity, whatever trial, whatever chastisement it might please God to send us, we ought to try to have the labouring classes ready to comfort us by their obediance and good under such visitations; we should therefore give a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether to educate the children of the poor; so shall we most effectually keep the whole country united, orderly and happy.
The Rev J P Alcock, in seconding the resolution, said that he felt he had strong reasons for supporting such a cause as this. He was thankful for his own education; he felt it had been a blessing to himself, and he was anxious to extend the same benefit to others; he also remembered that one of the societies, whose cause he now pleaded, the National Society, had made a grant of £50 towards the erection of a building for a Sunday School in a parish of which had the charge some years since; he had felt it his duty to spend 3 hours every Sunday in that school, and he had the most convincing proofs of hte lasting benefits which it had conferred on the parish. He had lately had occasion to visit that place, and he had not only had the pleasure of hearing that many of the young people trained in that school had turned out well, and were giving satisfaction to their employers, but the still higher gratification of receiving the blessings of many of their parents for the good which he had been the means of conveying to their children. He would take the liberty of defining education in its true sense. It was a training not for time only, but for eternity. Whatever else might be taught, it was essential to impres on the mind of every child, that he had an immortal and responsible soul - that there was a God, who saw and judged every thought and action - that he had a Saviour, who died for his reconciliation - and that a future and eternal state of rewards and punishments awaited him.......... This country had within the last few years, expended £20 million in ransoming the best Indian slaves, and yet with a strange inconsistency was leaving thousands of factory children uneducated, and in all the slavery of ignorance (the £20m was the compensation paid to slave owners when slavery was abolished in 1833, equivalent to £16.5bn today). The population of the country was daily increasing, and yet we had done little in church extension, or religious education. Thousands have, through other means, recieved some instruction in literature, and what has been the consequence? Why, that we may find newspapers filled with abuse of everything that is venerable or holy, assailing private character and venting their filth not only against the throne, but against the majesty of God himself, read by thousands, while religious education was at a low ebb. We had neglected to build schools, but we had built workhouses. We had built jails, we had sent convicts by ship-loads to our penal colonies; we had neglected their spiritual interests there. Such was not the system appointed by God himself............ Such was the testimony alike of the Scriptures and of the national church, as to the duty of Christian education; and he might adduce the testimony of their own feelings also. They might go through a parish - they might look at the schoolhouse - they might admire the neatness of the building, and its apparent fitness for the purposes for which it was intended - but they would not be satisfied unless they were assured that a good education was given within. The National Society exerted itself to satisfy them on that point; for it not only assisted in building and furnishing the schoolhouse, but it did what was of infinitely more importance. It trained the teachers in the best methods of scriptural instruxtion, in order that the children, being taught to read an to understand the Word of God, and having the catechism and other formularies of our church impressed upon their minds, might go forth ready to give a reason for the hope that was in them ,might go forth thankful to thier school, to their church, to their Queen, and to their country, and might shew this thankfulness by becoming good and useful members of society. And the blessings of such an institution often reached furhter than the school or the scholar. He had himself conducted a Sunday School in one parish for more than 5 years; and in many instances he had found the parents had been instructed by their own children. Some might feel inclined to ask what they could do much by their subscriptions, and still more by inviting their friends and neighbours to aid a society which extended such benefits to the rising generation. The resolution being then put, was carried unanimously.
The Rev A Tate, in moving the 4th resolution, 'That the SPCK, from the care which it has taken of the wants of the people, deserves universal support', said he would simply allude to the operations, origin, and nature of that Society. It was originally and necessarily a School Society; for in distributing Bibles, prayer books and other religious publications it had found the necessity of first teaching many of the poor to read. It accordingly founded several schools in the metropolis, many of which continue to the present day...... About 10 years ago there had been a number of incendiary fires in this part of the country; and this, he maintained, was a proof of the ignorance of the peasantry, on one point in particular, on the nature of fire insurances, for, thad they understood these, they would have been awre that they were not, by their lawless proceedings, inflicting the slightest injury on the farmers, whom they so foolishly thought their enemies but a heavy one on a mercentile body with which they could never come into contact, they would have abstained from such a method of shewing their displeasure. (newspaper says they have run out of space to report further)"
1840, October 27: Fire at Ash Kentish Gazette
"Incendiarism: On Tuesday morning last, between the hours of 3 and 4, a destructive fire broke out on the farming establishment, belonging to Mr William Andrews, situate in the village of Ash, about 7 miles from Gravesend. The flames were observed by a mounted patrol raging in the bar (a large wooden building, 2 stories high and 70 fee in length) and before there was time to give an alarm, the fire burst forth and illuminated the village. A large body of labourers wre on teh spot, and means were adopted to extinguish the flames, but without success. They raged with great violence for nearly an hour, and were not suppressed until the barn was reduced to ruins, and also several outbuildings the adjoined. About three-quarters of an hour after the outbreak, the Kent engines from Gravesend arrived, and had it not been for the praiseworthy exertions of the people of the village in working them, the entire farm would have been destroyed. An investigation has taken place, for the purpose of inquiring into the origin of the fire, and it was clearly proved that it was the act of an incendiary."
[Report from Dover Express 24.10.1840] "Incendiary fire near Gravesend.
On Tuesday morning last, a destructive fire broke out on the farm of Mr Andrews, situate in the village of Ash, about 7 miles from Gravesend. An investigation has taken place for the purpose of inquiring as to the origin of the fire, and it was clearly proved that it was the act of an incendiary. the property is not insured. The loss is reported to be £500."
1840, December 15: Horse Theft at Hartley Court Maidstone Journal
"Stolen from the stable of Mr William Bensted at Hartley Court, near Meopham Kent on Saturday night, the 12th or early on Sunday morning the 13th December 1840. A black chaise mare, about 16 hands high, broken winded, with saddle marks and switch tail, and small star in the forehead, about 13 or 14 years old, the property of Mr John Jordan, auctioneer, Milton next Sittingbourne. A reward of £5 will be paid on conviction of the offender or offenders by applying to Mr John Jordan, Milton".
1841, January 2: Dartford Farmers Club West Kent Guardian
"A farmer's club has lately been established in Dartford and neighbourhood for the improvement in cultivation, the magement of stock, the establishment fo agricultural labourers, and advancing the interests of agriculture in every possible way. The chairman is Mr Samuel Love of Shoreham, and Mr Hayward of Dartford has accepted the office of secretary."
1841, April 10: Cleared of Theft at Hartley West Kent Guardian
"Thomas Beven and John Day were charged with stealing 2 trusses of hay, the property of William Benstead at Hartley. Mr Rose conducted the prosecution for Mr Bodkin, and Mr Espinass for the prisoners. James Richardson, servant to the prosecutor, deposed that on the night of the 27th of March, his master had 18 trusses of hay in the stable, and on Sunday morning the 28th he went to the stable and found only 16 trusses. Mr Benstead, the prosecutor, said from information received, he proceeded on the morning of the 28th towards Foxberry Wood, where he traced the hay stolen from his stable, from thence to a field into the high road to Hartley Bottom, where the prisoner Bevan keeps a public house, and in the prisoner's barn found the 2 trusses of hay which he had lost. The prisoner Bevan said he knew o how it came there. The Chairman said there was nothing against Day, and therefore ordered his discharge; and the jury acquitted Bevan."
[The Quarter Sessions tried middling crimes between the Petty Sessions and the Assizes. They were overseen by magistrates with a jury and met at the 4 quarter days of the year. Quarter Sessions and the Assizes were replaced by Crown Courts in 1972. The report gives us the historically correct pronounciation of Foxborough Wood and mentions the former King's Arms pub in Hartley Bottom Road, now Hartley Bottom Farm.]
1841, May 11: Skeleton Found at Farningham Maidstone Journal
"A skeleton, supposed to have lain in the ground upwards of a 100 years, has been dug up in altering the road to Sevenoaks and Hastings, which by the bye is progressing in the most miserable manner, there being actually no road now at all, although within 100 yards of a four penny toll gate at which toll is not forgotten to be demanded. Carriages have to go through a field on the site of a hedge in which the ends of the stakes and hard roots have been left on purpose apparently to lame horses and find business for veterinary surgeons, and for the benefit of coach builders two deep ditches have been dug, that the jolt may break the springs and perchance do other damage. A report has long existed amongst the village gossips that a ghost might be seen hovering over the sport, in the dark hours of midnight, where the bones were discovered."
1841, May 24: Corn Law Repeal Campaign - Dartford Great Open Air Meeting Morning Chronicle
"The misrepresented constituents of Mr Edward Antrobus [Should be Edmund Antrobus, elected East Surrey Conservative MP in 1841 by-election] being resolved to let him know their opinion of his conduct, called a great meeting at Dartford, a market town, and the great resort of agriculturalists in the east division of Surrey. The Town Hall not being capable of holding the multitiudes eager to attend, the open market place was selected, and on Thursday afternoon a very large audience assembled to enter the public protest of the community of Dartford against the corn laws. On the motion of Mr Joseph Robins, miller, seconded by Mr Thomas Kerr, draper, Thomas Robert Hadley esq was called to the chair. Mr Hadley said he regretted that Mr Harmer had been prevented by important engagements from fulfilling his wish to have taken the chair. He (Mr Hadley) would assure his fellow townsmen that, howevere feeble his abiliity to serve the good cause, he yielded to none in zeal for it. They wished to do harm to none, but good to all. He never could believe that a tax on the providence of God could be for good to man; and feeling that it was not corn laws, but righteousness alone that exalted a nation, he would call on his fellow citizens to do their utmost to remove the unjust imposts which at present burdened the people in the first necessaries of life (cheers). They had been told that cheap bread was a Whig trick. He hoped the people would be cheated every year with such tricks (laughter). The Tories certainly never tried to impose on them in the way of filling their bellies (cheers and laughter). Indeed, he must do them the justice to say they has always been very sincere in their endeavours to empty the people's pockets and their bellies into the bargain (laughter and cheers). They were told that the corn laws gave good home trade; but they all knew that this year th efarmes had the double advantage of abundance of produce to sell and high prices for it; yet the trade of the town was dull, and the wages of the labourer were low. He would introduce the gentleman to their notice who would explain to them the causes of all this.
Mr Sidney Smith then addressed teh meeting in a speech which, although it occupied two hours and a half in delivery, and the audience were standing and densely packed together, was listened to with the deepest interest and attention, and very loudly applauded. Mr Robins, in an impressive speech, moved the following resolution: 'That the cordial thanks of this meeting be give to Sidney Smith esq for the very valuable, instructive, and interesting lecture which he has delivered to us on this occasion.' Mr John Callow, builder, seonded the resolution, which, on being put from the chair, was unanimously carried.
Mr N Langland then moved the second resolution as follows, 'That in the opinion of this meeting the present corn laws are based upon injustice, and are productive of unmixed evils to the whole community, and are especially injurious to the industrious classes, by abridging employment and lowering wages. That they are also rapidly destroying our trade and transferring it to foreign countries, by restricting the exchange of our manufactures for foreign corn, and are also productive of extreme poverty, and, therefore, of crime, disease and premature death.' Mr Kerr seconded the resolution, which was also unanimously adopted. A petition, embodying these resolutions, was then agreed to and received a great many signatures on the spot. After a vote of thanks to the chairman, the meeting terminated in three cheers for repeal, and three groans for the bread tax."
[Although the Conservatives came in for criticism here, it was a Conservative Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, who eventually repealed the Corn Laws in 1846, albeit requiring the help of the Liberals, as the majority of his party were still opposed to repeal. It is striking that the supporters are all townsfolk, farmers were the staunchest defenders of the tax. It is reckoned about 90 per cent of the population benefitted financially from repeal. The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian of 26.6.1841 said the Dartford petition had 643 signatures.]
1841, July 13: Missing Woman Maidstone Journal
"Hartley - this retired village has been in a state of excitement some days past, in consequence of the mysterious disappearence of a woman named Ann Day. Several letters have been received by her friends stating that she intended to commit suicide, rejected by her lover; they have made strict search in the vicinity for the woman, but have not yet succeeded in discovering her, her friends are in great alarm."
[No Ann Day of the right age in the 1841 census, so possibly this refers to the other Hartley in Kent. However Days are a well known family in the parish at the time and the news item is with others on nearby Eynsford and Farningham, and the other Hartley was on the turnpike road, so wouldn't be called 'retired'.]
1841, July 21: Storm Damage Evening Standard
"This neighbourhood was visited with a heavy thunderstorm on Thursday last, which continued for several hours, attended with a great deal of hail. The lightning, which was very forked, set fire to a large stubble stack at Darenth Court Lodge, the farm of Henry Chapman esq. The fire at one time was alarming, as the barns and lodges were all adjoining; but the timely arrival of the engines from Dartford got it under without doing any further damage. A good supply of water was obtained from the river Darenth. Great praise is due to T Fleet esq who with his men, rendered every assistance; likewise Mr Morby, of the Darenth paper mills with his men rendered every assistance in their power. The lightning set fire to a granary belonging to Mr Armstrong of Southfleet, and destroyed it. (from Maidstone Journal)"
[The Mr Armstrong also owned Blue House Farm and Brickend in Church Road, Hartley]
1841, August 7: Fears of Grave Robbing West Kent Guardian
"Hartley - Singular Circumstance - Some years ago, a lady who died at this place was buried at Offham in this county; a few days since the coffin plate belonging to the deceased was found in a field at Darenth, the inscription being very legible. This affair has caused much sensation among the friends of the deceased, who intend to have the grave opened to see if the remains are there; for it is supposed the body was disinterred by resurrectionists.
[Resurrectionist is another term for grave robber. Fortunately the local versions of Burke and Hare were not responsible. The same paper of 21 August 1841 reported "A paragraph recently appeered in the papers respecting a coffin plate where the body had been interred. The grave has since been opened and the coffin and plate undisturbed, so that there must have been two plates made, one of which most probably was thrown away, and was found as desribed."]
1841, August 7: Harvest Prospects West Kent Guardian
"Wrotham - the crops in this neighbourhood appear to be a good average. Hay is abundant, but much of it damaged by the rains. Fruit is plentiful. Beans and peas very good. Lent corn much improved by the rains. Wheat not generally very strong and in some places a little blighted. Turnips rather backward. The wheat in the valley from Sevenoaks to Dartford (with the exception of a very few enclosures) is very good; the barley, oats and beans, a very good average crop. If the cold weather continues, the harvest will be very backward. There has been a considerable quantity of hay carred this last week, in very good condition."
1841, August 10: North Kent Railway Maidstone Journal
"The projected railway from Gravesend to Rochester via the Thames and Medway Canal, appears to be in considerable favour with the public, as we hear a large portion of the capital is applied for. The journey from London to Rochester and Chatham will be reduced by an hour and a half viz from London to Blackwall by Railway 10 minutes, from Blackwall to Gravesend an hour, and from Gravesend to Rochester by the new railway 20 minutes. The survey from Rochester to Maidstone is proceeding under Mr Gibbs, through the valley of the Medway, crossing at Cuxton. The North Kent Railway is ultimately to connect London over the Greenwich Railway with Woolwich, Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester, Maidstone, Canterbury, Ramsgate, Margate, Sandwich and Deal."
1841, September 5: Anti-Corn Law Association Bells New Weekly Messenger
"On Thursday evening a meeting was held of the inhabitants of Dartford for the purpose of enrolling members of the Anti-Corn Law Association, and adopting measures for agitating the town and country against the Bread Tax. Not fewer than 1,200 persons assembled." [The opponents of the corn laws were as politically savvy as any spin doctor today, note how tariffs on foreign wheat becomes described as a "bread tax"]
1841, October 4: Voter Registration Morning Advertiser
At the annual registration hearings the Liberals objected without success to 6 of the names for Fawkham parish, the Conservatives objected to 2 at Ash and 2 at Longfield, all sustained except 1 at Longfield. The paper reckons that is a net gain of 3 for the Conservatives in Dartford area.
1841, November 6: Removal of Pauper to Dartford Kentish Mercury
"Mr Editor, you will confer a great favour on me, by inserting in your valuable columns, my reply to a paragraph which appeared in the Greenwich Guardian of Saturday October 23rd, relative to Mr G Smith asking Stronger, the Relieving Officer, 'what would have been the expense of removing a pauper and 5 children, to the Dartford Union House,' the reply being calculated to produce the feeling that I had misapplied the parochial rates, his answer being 10 or 12 shillings, while my charge was 50 shillings. In the first place, the question was an improper one, inasmuch that it was my business to deliver them up to the overseer of Swanscombe (whose residence is at least 15 miles from Greenwich), and not to the Dartford Union House at all; and, as I was removing persons who had moved in a very respectable sphere, but who, from misfortunes, had become reduced, I made that distinction in my conducte towards them that I trust I shall always do in the execution of the duties of my office, which was as follows - I hired a comfortable conveyance, that they might be sheltered from the heavy rain - provided them with refreshments on the road, and being a determined enemy to the 'starvation system,' I took them to a respectable house - gave them a good hot dinner, and otherwise made them comfortable before they were placed in the 'Bastile'. At this moment my expences had reached beyond £2, and being no one meal per day man myself, the remainder of the charge may be easily accounted for (he goes on to point out of the two complainants, Mr G Smith had signed off the bill and the Relieving Office had previously charged 55s 5d to remove someone to Barming).... Thomas Mitchell, Overseer of the Poor, Greenwich, Nov 4 1841."
1841, December 11: Dartford Brent Cricket Gound West Kent Guardian
"Dartford Brent is now (under the auspices of a cricket club lately formed) undergoing a thorough repair. The rugged adnd unevern state of the turf being a bar to cricket, has redered it absolutely necessary that it should be taken up and fresh substituted; by this means the Brent, which has, for years, been renowned for its scenes of cricket, will once more regain its wonted celebrity. About 12 years ago, a club was formed for the furtherance of the game of cricket, under the superintendence of Meesrs Barton, Hugget, ,Hay, Winter and other gentlemen equally famous for their skill in the game, who, at that time, repaired the Brent; but not sufficiently well to enable it to retain its level. That club lasted about 10 yers, and then (either from want of sufficient funds, or members to carry it on, it broke up; and, with it, the far famed Brent; for now, where smooth and level ground once was, holes and pits debar the cricketer from his game. It is now to be hoped that , as the members of this club have been at a very great expense to replace the turf, the 'Dartford Cricket Ground' will again be resort of the lovers of this manly game, and that, when the season returns, they will be able to resume their sport with all their accustomed vigour. No cricket club that has ever been set on foot before in Dartford has commenced so favourably as this. There are at present no less than 30 or 40 honourary members; the annual payment of 1 guinea entitling them to be such. The principal subscribers are: President Mr T Colyear; hon secretaries Messrs Barton and Blakney; Treasurer Mr R Potter. Messrs H Ellis, T Hayward, C Hayward, W Colyer, C Colyer, Alex Grant, Hardy, T Hills, S Featherstonehaugh, F King, Pain, I Potter, Wilding, Snowden, F Hammond, Pelton, Jardine and many others, too numerous to be inserted here. We have only to add, that we hope this club may be of longer duration than the last, and be able to compete with any in England."
1841, November 14: Diet at the Workhouse Weekly Despatch
"Dartford Union. This union comprises 21 parishes; and we understand the miserable inmates are fed in the following manner, not half so well as prisoners in Newgate or the City Compter. We shall be glad to insert a contradiction - On Sunday 2lb bread, 5 oz meat pudding, and 3 potatoes; Monday ¼lb cheese [might be ¾lb, photocopy is indistinct] (the week's allowance); Tuesday 1lb of bread, slice of suet pudding and 3 potatoes; Wednesday 1lb of bread; Thursday 1lb of bread, 6oz butter (the week's allowance); Saturday 1lb of bread. Thus it will appear, that the poor are only cheered with the sight of meat, and that in scraps, but once a week. Will any of our kind correspondents furnish us with a printed dietary table?"
[Most days they got but a pound a bread and just under an ounce of butter, which is 1,300 calories which is below the recommended amount today, and remember the inmates had to do a lot of manual work too. The paper of 21.11.1841 thanked 3 readers for sending in the dietary table]
1841, November 27: Evils of New Poor Law West Kent Guardian
"A revolting instance of the evils of the new Poor Law has just occurred within the Dartford Union. The details are these: A poor labouring man, belonging to Wilmington, having a wife and 4 children to support, has for some time past been in such imporverished circumstances as almost to render it necessary, in order to save his family from starvation, to make application for their being received into the union workhouse. With commendable anxiety, however, to avoid receiving parish relief, and a natural horror of the prison government of these parochial bastiles, the poor fellow has contrived to keep himself and his little ones from living entombment within their walls. This he has only been abled to accomplish by the severest privation; and at the time his destitution became known, through the circumstances we shall presently name, he was found with his wife and children occupying a wretched room hardly bigger than a stall for a single horse with scarcely an article of funiture in it and with a single bedstead, with naked posts, for the whole family - and of this family one of its members a corpse. The mother, it appears, being obliged to go out, as well as the father, to endeavour to procure a few pence for thier daily dry loaf, the children were, necessarily, left without any person to take care of them; and in consequence the youngest, on Monday week last, was accidently burnt to death. This dreadful calamity was the closing blow to the father's independence. The cravings of his living children for bread might, for a time, be subdued; but the mutilated body of his dead child was a sight to sink the spirit of the man in the broken heartedness of the parent. There was now no other resource; he must either borrow a neighbour's spade, and bury his own flesh and blood like the carcass of a dog, or bend his faltering steps to the workhouse gate, and crave the favour of a coffin. He went - and who but a parent can picture the feelings of a father standing at a workhouse porch to beg a few boards to separate the body of a beloved child from immediate contact with the cold dripping earth. He was met by the relieving officer. Relieving officer! What an infamous misappropriation of a soothing title! Yes, there stood the disconsolate father begging for a coffin, only a little coffin, and there stood the sleek coated functionary of Act of Parliament relief telling him to 'come again on Friday.' Remonstrance was useless. It availed not to state that the body of the child was lying exposed among living beings, and one of those its mother, there must be an order from the Board, before the coffin could be given - 'come again on Friday.' The gate closed, and the 'relieving officer' retired to stir his comfortable fire, and put another knob of sugar into his brandy and water; whilse the poor heart broken father was left to retrace his steps through the miry road and cold night air, to the companionship of the exposed remains of his departed child. shall we wonder if, in such a case, a curse should be breathed against the framers of a law which deprives the poor of the means of interment of their offspring until a turkey bellied Board of Guardians 'sit on Friday.'
A day or two after this application, a Coroner's Jury was assembled to go through the legal formality of recording the cause of the child's death; and the lamentable duty was imposed on them of visiting the hovel, where the corpse was lying covered by one of its afflicted mother's patched garments. The jury having expressed their astonishment that a corpse, in a state almost of decomposition, should not have been placed in a coffin, the circumstances we have detailed were brought to light. It is scarcely necessary to state that the strongest expressions of indignation used by the jury at the heartless regulations which had deprived this afficted family of the means of decent enshrinement of the remains of one of its members. This is a subject of too much importance to be passed over in a single notice. We shall recur to it next week."
1841, November 30: Lost Dog South Eastern Gazette
"Gone astray on the 6th September 1841: A black and white pointer dog. Whoever has lost the same may obtain it by applying to Mr William Treadwell, at the Black Lion, Hartley, on paying the expenses involved."
1841, December 28: Sale at West Yoke Farm Maidstone Journal
"Sale by Auction - Ash near Hartley, Kent. Mr Eversfied of Gravesend has received instructions to sell by auction. All the furniture, live and dead stock, and effects of the late Mr Wm Andrus sen, on the premises, West Yoke Farm, Ash, by order of the executors, comprising capital beds, bedsteads, and mattresses, quantity of excellent linen and books, map of Kent, valuable old china, cut glass, and earthenware, chimney glasses, bureau and bookcase, chests of drawers, tables, chairs, carpets, sofa, 8 day clocks, fowling pieces, good casks, water butts and pickling tubs, barometer, blankets and counterpanes, 18, 22 and 25 gallon coppers and furnaces, ranges and stoves, a churn and mangle, tea urns and tea acts, metal skillets, copper pans, iron pots, knives and forks, 2 capital cows, a calf, 2 fat hogs, store pigs and poultry, saddles, bridles and harness, a few good hops, and a number of other useful articles, on Tuesday Jan 4, 1842.
May be viewed on Monday next; sale on Tuesday, punctually at half past ten o'clock on account of the great number of lots and shortness of days.
Catalogues at the auctioneer's office, 36 New Road Gravesend....."
1842, January 8: Dartford New Canal West Kent Guardian
"Dartford New Canal is now progressing fast, notwithstanding the numerous irruptions which took place last year in consequence of the high tides and continual rains. The breaches which were made have been repaired, and numerous workmen are employed in cutting out the bed and forming strong banks. When completed, it will, we are sure, be an immense advantage to the town; for instance the coal merchants who reside in Dartford, and have their wharves there, cannot navigate any collier uup the old creek, there not being sufficient water; consequently they are obliged to unload their coals into barges at Long Reach, thereby causing an additional expense, and forcing them to raise their prices....."
1842, January 15: Charity for Distressed Poor of Dartford West Kent Guardian
"Notwithstanding the passiveness of the people of Dartford when a meeting was called in the Town Hall, for the purpose of deliberating on the most efficacious method of relieving the distressed poor of the parish, a considerable sum has since been contributed, amounting to upwards of £60, to furnish them with coals and potatoes. The vicar, churchwardens, and a committee of some of the respectable parishioners have managed the donations on a better plan than heretofore, viz. each person subscribing 5 shillings is entitled to a ticket, which he can dispose of to those he may consider to need it most, and so on a ticket for every 5 shillings. By this means, the poor receive, on payment of one shilling, 112lbs of best coals and a bushel of potatoes. This arrangement has the advantage of the most deserving objects being selected, and satisfaction being given to the subscribers. We are rejoiced to see that the inhabitants of Dartford are thus alive ot the distress of the poor during this inclement season of the year, and we hope to hear of other parishes adjacent having followed this good example. Many small and destitute villages, we have reason to fear are sadly behind hand in this labour of love. The above mentioned amount of subscription would have been considerably increased had not the (we fear) incurable party spirit, so characteristic of the town, conveniently shown itself when it was proposed that the fund should be called the 'Prince of Wales Charity'; the Liberals alleging as an excuse that the same would not have been suggested had the Whigs been in power."
[As we have noted before, the West Kent Guardian supported the Conservatives, hence the dig at the local Liberals]
1842, February 26: Editorial in favour of Corn Laws West Kent Guardian
"Upon this question the Anti-Corn Law league continue their endeavours, in every possible way, to arouse the feelings of the people into opposition against the conciliatory measure the government has brought forward. There is scarcely a town in England in which the league has not some paid emissary engaged, either in giving public lectures against the law, or in tampering with the working classes, or in fabricating petitions, or in paying for bonfires to burn effigies. A lecture, we observe, was given at Darford on Tuesday last, by one of these emissaries, under whose organisation no doubt it was that, on the preceeding Saturday, an idle rabble were got together in that little town, for the purpose of parading an old suit of clothes through the place, as a representative of Sir Robert Peel, and the burning it in the highway. If the poor misguided creatures who were led into this act of folly for the sake of a few pots of beer, furnished by an Anti-Corn-Law-Leaguer, were possessed of brains of the ordinary quality of the race which nature designed them to belong to, it might be worthwhile to ask them what would become of Dartford, if protection to the British corn grower were no longer afforded. Where would be the Saturday market, which brings life blood to the place? Where would be the landlord, and the farmer, whose property and industry bring prosperity to the tradesmen of Dartford, if its surrounding hills were no more to be crowned with golden sheaves?" [The paper goes on to praise Sir Robert Peel for keeping the Corn Laws, of course 4 years later he would change his mind. The Dover Chronicle below gives a very different description of the meeting]
Dover Chronicle 26 February 1842
"On Tuesday evening Mr Buckmaster deliverd a most interesting and eloquent public lecture in the Town Hall, Dartford, on the oppressive bearing of the present Corn Laws upon all classes of the communtiy, particularly on the working part, preparatory to the great public meeting to be held in the same place on Thursday evening, Feb 24, to consider the best means of devising measures to carry the total abolition of the present obnoxious wicked Corn Laws. The meeting was held at 7 o'clock, when about 400 persons being assembled, Mr Hadley was called to the chair. The proceedings commenced with singing a Corn Law hymn."
1842, April 30: Dartford Market Canterbury Journal
"Very considerable improvements are now making in the market place of Dartford, by the erection of neat small shops, intended for the use of hucksters and others who attend with goods for sale."
1842, May 15: A Cheap Haberdasher Bells New Weekly Messenger
"Worship Street Magistrates - Thomas Kirby, a haberdasher etc, 173 Church Street, Shoreditch, was charged with having feloniously received a large quantity of reel cotting, lace, muslin, and other articles, the property of Mr Edward Bristow, a linen draper, at Fawkham in Kent; and George Walters, Henry Bates, and Ann Brookfield, a married woman, were charged with having been found on the premises of the prisoner, Kirby, with a quanity of property in their possession, which was supposed to have been stolen. It appeared that about a fortnight ago a box, containing articles of haberdashery to the amount of about £60, which the prosecutor had purchased at the warehouse of Messrs Leaf & Co, of Old Change, was abstracted from the waggon in which itw was being conveyed to his residence Fawkham. On being appraised of the robbery, the prosecutor immediately came up to London, and in consequence of information which he received on his arrival, he proceeded with Police Constable Trew to the shop of hte prisoner Kirby, where he found 28 dozen pieces of reel cotton, and a quantity of lace, muslin etc, which he recognised as part of the stolen property. The prisoner said that the articles were sold to him by a hawker, with whose name and address he was unacquainted, and he had made no entry of the purchase. A deal box was also found which was inspected by Hugh Callender, one of Messrs Leaf and Co's porters, who stated his belief, from certain marks upon it, that it was the identical box in which the stolen property was packed. Besides the above named articles, Inspector Lewis took possession of nearly a cartload of other property, respecting which the prisoner gave an unsatisfactory account, and which was suspected to have been stolen. Mr Clarkson put some questions to the inspector with a veiw of ascertaining the source of inforation whence he derive his expectation of bringing forward additional charges; but the magistrate considered that the questions were objectionable, and desired the inspector not to answer them. Mr Clarkson proceeded to question the inspector as to the particular authority under which he acted in entering the prisoner's premises, without a search warrant, and in still keeping possession of them, whereby all business was suspended. The magistrate said that such questions were wholly irrelevant to the subject before him, which was confined simply to an inquiry into the criminal charges against the prisoner. If the learned gentleman had any complaint to make against the police, he must prefer it in proper form, and on a more suitable occasion. He should remand the prisoner until Friday, and he requested Mr Clarkson to state at what hour it would be convenient for him to attend on that day. Mr Clarkson (rising hastily): I shall not answer your question sir; I have always hitherto been received by magistrates on terms of perfect equality, and have never met with such treatment as I have experienced today at this court. The learned gentleman then withdrew. The evidence agaisn the three other prisoners was then gone into. It appeared that since the police had been in possession of Kirby's shop the prisoners separately called there, and on perceiving into what unexpected hands the business had fallen, they attempted to retreat, but they were severally intercepted, and on being searched, property of different kinds was found in their possession. A quantity of black ribbon was found upon the prisoner Bates, and on the female prisoner wwere found four dozen of silk stockings, and the same quantity of silk gloves, and the prisoner Walters (who was a convicted thief) had about him a quantity of braid and silk bootlaces. The female prisoner alleged that she wanted to have the stockings exchanged, and brought the gloves for sale; and the other prisoners said that they intended to dispose of the respective articles to the prisoner Kirby. Mr John Halls, of Bunhill Row, identifiedd the bootlaces found on the prisoner Walters, as his property, but he could not tell when or in what manner they were stolen. The prisoner Walters was committed for 2 months to the House of Correction. The other prisoners were remanded."
[in the 1841 Census Edward Bristow is listed as a 25 year old grocer of Fawkham Green, appears to have moved away by 1851. According to the Old Bailey Online website there were 6 charges against Thomas Kirby, two of which were heard (not the Fawkham one) he was found guilty and sentenced to be transported for 14 years.]
1842, July 5: Dartford Church Rate South Eastern Gazette
"On Thursday week a vestry meeting was held in the parish church of Dartford for the purpose of passing the churchwardens' accounts and for granting a new church rate. The Rev F B Grant, the vicar, in the chair. Upon the whole it was evident that more regard had been paid to economy in the disbursements than had heretofore been observed, as certain ridiculous items, which the previous year had been chared to the rate, this year did not appear. It seemed, howevr, to some of the parishioners, that there was still room for the furhter exercise of the pruning knife, and objections were made to certain charges for bell ringing etc. Ultimately, however, Mr J W James, the churchwarden for the ensuing year, applied for a rate of 4 pence in the pound, which was granted after an amendment had been negatived, which was proposed by Mr S Lasdale and seconded by Mr Longlands, to the effect that a rate of only two pence in the pound be granted, as the sum which such rate would realise would be sufficient for repairs and make ample provision for the decent celebration of Divine worship. In the course of the discussion which took place, Mr Landale sen avowed his determination to ay no more church rates so long as an organist's salary was charged therein. Mr Robins, a dissenter, complained of the hardships of his case, as by the unjust and unscriptual impost of a church rate, he was obliged to sanction and provide means for the propagation and dissemination of what he considered to be errors of an awfully eroneous description, and asked the rev Vicar how he could reconcile the system of church rates with the law as laid down by the Great Christian Lawgiver, 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do you even so unto them.' He further requested the rev Vicar and his curate, Mr Irish, to point out any sacred writings which sanctioned the compulsory support of religion. These questions appeared to rouse the ire of the Vicar, and in a very uncourteous manner he said, 'Mr Robins's sentiments on church rates are well known, and that his pamphlet recently published, entitled Resons for Dissenting from the Church of England' did him no credit.' This produced on the part of Mr Robins a challenge to the rev Vicar to meet him in public discussion on the points contained in the pamphlet in question; this, however, the Vicar declined. From the symptoms of restlessness and dissatisfaction manifested it is no unreasonable inference to regard the days of church rates as being numbered in Dartford."
[this seems to be an annual occurrence. The previous year the amendment for a lower rate was won at the vestry meeting but the Churchwardens got the 4d rate through by calling a poll, like still can be done in parish meetings]
1842, August 16: Hartley Primary School South Eastern Gazette
"The anniversary of the Gravesend Church Union, in aid of the Church building, additional curates, national school, propagation of the Gospel, and Christian Knowledge Societies, was held on Wednesday last, when divine service was performed in Gravesend Church, and a sermon preached by the Rev Dr Hawkins, Provost of Oriel College, Oxford, after which the sum of £21 0s 6d was collected. The annual public meeting was held in the Town Hall in the evening of the same day, at which the Venerable the Archdeacon of Rochester presided..... [list of other names, clergy and laity]... The report, read by the secretary, stated that 3 national schools had been established in the parishes of Stone, Hartley and Meopham, towards the erection of which grants had been made from the Church Union to teh amount of £113, and that these schools were now in full operation. The additional sum of £11 10s was collected after the meeting."
1842, October 4: Sale at Longfield Court Farm Maidstone Journal
"Valuable live and dead farming stock, a stack of excellent clover hay, computed at 20 loads, a stack of ditto sainfoin, computed at 16 loads and other effects to be sold by auction by G Nandy and Son on Thursday, October 6th, 1842 at 1 o'clock, on the premises, Longfield Court Farm, near Hartley, Kent (by order of the proprietor Mr W Bensted, leaving the farm). Comprising 10 very powerful young and active draught horses, 12 handsom 3 years old Welsh heiffers, 2 strong waggons complete, 4 good dung carts, turnrise and strike ploughs, chain, quoiler and drill harness, wood land roller, corn bins, weights and scales, quantity of folding stakes, ladders etc etc. A stack of very excellent clover hay, and ditto of sainfoin...."
1842, October 11: Tricks of Postboys Kentish Gazette
"A correspondent says - It may not be generally known to families travelling to Dartford, that they are sold by the London Postboy to the proprietor of post houses there, at the rate of 4 shillings for every pair of horses."
1842, October 12: Electoral Registration Whitehall Evening Post
"Dartford District - the revising barristers Messrs Bullock and Bosanquet sat here for the purpose of revising the list of voters for this district of the county. The conservatives were represented by Mr Alfred Russell; and the Liberals by Mr Case of Maidstone."
[in all the Conservatives made 22 objections, 18 of which were sustained. The Liberals got 8 of their 25 objections sustained. Locally the Conservatives made 2 objections at Ash (both sustained) and 2 at Longfield (1 sustained). The Liberals objected to 6 at Fawkham (none sustained)]
1842, October 18: Athletics at Meopham South Eastern Gazette
"A foot race took place on Tuesday at Hook Green, about 4 miles from Gravesend, towards Meopham, between Thomas Everest of Northfleet, and Smith, known in the sporting circle as the Regent Street Pet, for £10 aside. The distance was 100 yards. The men appeared on the ground at 2 o'clock. The betting was 5 to 3 on Smith. Everest appeared anything but in good condition. About 3 o'clock, after several false starts, the men went off; Everest leading, but he soon dropped into the stern chase. Smith, at the winning post, was 5 yards ahead of his competitor, and not at all distressed. The distance was done in 11 seconds."
[The time was very impressive, the first official world record for the distance was 10.5 seconds in 1870, although of course the length of the cuorse and timings were probably a bit inexact in those days.]
1842, November 12: Visit of her Majesty to Walmer Castle Dover Chronicle
"…..The Royal party was received on their route through Welling, Crayford, Dartford, Greenhithe, Northfleet and Gravesend to Rochester, with the utmost enthusiasm, all classes making a complete holiday of the novel and joy inspiring scene…..."
Berkshire Chronicle 12.11.1842
"On the arrival of the Queen and Prince at Greenwich, a party of the 7th Hussars relieved the escorting detachment that accompanied the royal party from Paddington. At Dartford, a relay of horses were supplied and a fresh escort provided. The bells of the venerable church rang a jovial peal, and the inhabitants generally assembled to witness the royal progress through. Horses were again changed at Gravesend, a triumphal arch being erected across the new road by High Street. A vast number of persons loudly cheered the Queen and Prince....."
1842, November 12: Dartford Market Dover Chronicle
(Alfred John Dunkin) "…. A confirmatory instance of the facile manner in which lapses sometimes occur has also lately taken place at Dartford; and no longer agone than this day week, (to wit, Saturday, Oct 29, 1842), when that town was in a state of ferment in consequence of certain violent proceedings on the part of an individual to establish a right. And thus it fell out: for the last 27 years a blacksmith held the market house, and somewhere about that date, to give his residence eclat, he gave to the empty room originally built for the grammar school the sonorous appellation of 'Town Hall' - and, like the artist who painted a lion, affixed thereunto in legible characters its cognomen. At that period the Market had fallen into disuetude (this does not relate to the corn market). By persuasion he induced a grocer, a butcher and a bonnet builder to come from London and attend with their goods (from the information of William L Pearce); one brought another, and so the market was reestablished, and crowds resorted thereunto, insomuch that there was not sufficient space for all to be accommodation. The blacksmith, W L Pearce, procured trestles and boards, and let these with a permission(?) to parties to stand in the High Street, and vend their articles. No noitce of this assumpton of manorial rights was taken by the proper authorities; and as Mr P was filling parochial offices, residing in the market house, and his labours seemed to tend to the advancement of the public weal, the townspeople rather lent their aid to these apparently patriotic endeavours than made inquiries as to their legality. Time rapidly hurried on - his scythe mowed down a generation, and another race filled the arena. 27 years were passed and gone. Changes had taken place amongst all the parties concerned in the proceedings. Another lord of the manor; another bailiff had arisen - the smith himself had not escaped unscathed - the Market House had ceased to be his abode, and the new steward, J Hayward esq, the talented and amiable solicitor, had converted it to his offices - the old appurtenant tumble down sheds had been rased, and tasty gas lighted shops built upon their site. Delay in their occupation gave rise to much marvelle amongst the inhabitants of Dartford, and first one reason was assigned and then one still stranger, all, however, wide of the mark; for lo! It turned out that Mr Pearce kept on demanding tollage for stalls in the street, of the parties who therein stood, and receiving the money, although a printed notice, contravening its legality, had been served by the steward. But Mr Pearce alleged that in consequence of never having paid anything for such privilege, the lord of the manor's right had lapsed, and the tolls were therefore now his freehold. Various attempts were made by the parties whose rights were thus usurped, to obtain a compromise. Herein they failed; for Mr P, being knowing in the law, availed himself of many a quip and quirk. An action for dilapidations to the amount of £380 was commenced, whith the plaintiffs abandoned upon receiving £15, imagining that Mr P would thenceforth desist from his cliam; in this they were deceived. The next step was to place a distress in his house for £30 for the law costs. This drew matters to a crisis, and on the ensuing market day, at 6 o'clock, Mr P went down to the new market place, and took possession thereof, rang the market bell, lighted the gas, and circulated placards stating that henceforward he was prepared to let stalls therein to whomsoever should apply. Mr Hayward went to him, turned off the gas, adn then remonstrated upon this usurpation; to which a deaf ear was turned, and constables were sent for, to eject the intruder, who loudly uttered 'he was a desperate man' and warned them not to touch him. The ejectment did not take place, and Mr P publicly proclaimed his intention of sleeping upon the premises; this, however, we understand, he did not do, the coldness of the night causing him to abandon the idea, and prefer a share of his partner's couch. Possibly the end of the dispute will be - a free market without toll."
Statement by W L Pearce (Dover Chornicle 19.11.1842)
"In consequence of the last article in our 'Literary Faire' by Mr A J Dunkin, we have had forwarded to us, by one of the interested parties, the following statement, which we lay before our readers with pleasure. It will be seen that Mr Pearce's case is now presented to the public and that our correspondent had more fully entered into the hitherto unknown 'History of Dartford Market and Fair' than Mr A J D could whilst writing an account of the Chantry of Milton and incidently mentioning the late transactions at Dartford as illustrative of the easy quiet way in which lapses sometimes occur. The following paper may therefore be regarded as a valuable historic document......
Dartford Market and Fair - About the middle of the last century great inconvenience being found by the contraction of the High Street of Dartford, by the old Market House standing therein and blocking up the highway, the feoffees for the Grammar school, to whom it belonged, were induced to remove it by the offer of a rentcharge on Blackdale Farm, to the annual value of the old Market loft or Grammar school Room, and to build a new market house on a part of the garden belonging to a house in the High Street, which was parcel of the endowment of the Grammar School. The feoffes also allotted all that portion of the garden which extended to the southern extremity of the Market House, as the site of the new Market which they presumed would be ever thereafter held on the premises. The Tolls of the old Dartford Market, heretofore held in the High Street, belonged to the lord of the manor, and on its removal to a new site, remained unquestioned. For the greater convenience of hucksters and others, some sheds were erected on the west side of the new market sit, it being alleged teh removal of the market thereunto would greatly benefit the estate of the feoffees. About 27 years ago, Mr Pearce took the adjoining house (then a public house 'The Wheatsheaf') of the lessee of the feoffees. After he had been in some time, Mr Walker, the Steward of the Manor, demanded £10 per annum for the sheds and tolls of the Market and Fair. This Mr Pearce continued to pay so long as he remained in possession of the adjoining house; and moreover, within the last few months the rent of the market has been again demanded of him - so that, although the lord of the manor has replaced the sheds with more substantial buildings (which Mr Pearce presumes to have been done by some arrangement with the feoffees to whom the ground belongs), Mr Pearce's right to them as tenant is unimpugnable (no notice of ejectment has been served on Mr Pearce), unless the persons who dispute his title mean to assert, that the feoffees of hte Grammar School convey the right to the Market Tolls, with the lease of the house and market room, to the lessee. In that case, it is evident the lord of the manor has vested the tolls in the market and fair to the feoffees. With regard to the other part of the case, Mr Pearce has only to state that ever since the removal of the market to the new site, the lord of the manor's tolls have ceased in the High Street, and that what Mr Pearce has charged has been for the use of his stalls etc. He, therefore, has no hesitation in asserting, that 60 years having elapsed since the removal of the market, the lord of the manor cannot enforce any toll from stalls in the High Street, and the Market therein has become free. Nay more, the present stalls for a market stand on the Bishop's Liberty. Dartford, Nov 14, 1842"
1842, December 13: Cost of Meat in Local Towns South Eastern Gazette
"The tariff had not been productive of any benefit to Gravesend as yet. The price of provisions are still most exhorbitant. Beef and Mutton maintain their old prices of 8d and 9d per pound. This is more surprising as equal quantities can be purchased in the Rochester market at a reduction in that price from 1½d to 2d per pound. At Dartford and Bromley markets legs of mutton of excellent quanity are retailling at 6d per pound, breasts and necks from 2½d to 4d. Some of the butchers, as a further inducement to the purchase, throw in a bunch of turnips to the joint....."
[I think they are referring to the Customs Act 1842, which appears to have reduced tariffs on imported meat]
1843, January 28: Workhouse Worse than Prison West Kent Guardian
Greenwich Poor Law Union Meeting: "A letter was received from the Poor Law Commissioners, stating that they had written to the Board of Guardians of the Dartford and Lewisham Union on the subject of complaint that they caused a great increase in the number of vagrants in the Greenwich Union through refusing relief. Complaint was also made by the Board regarding the laxity of discipline at Maidstone Gaol, and the dietary regulations there, which were the main causes in inducing the vagrants to refuse to work in order to be sent there. On the first point the Commissioners said no doubt there would be no ground of complaint for the future. On the second point they were silent." [In George Orwell's day the Workhouses just gave tramps a bed and a meal, but at this time they were expected to work for hours before they left. The fact that some would prefer to be sent to prison, says everything about the workhouse system then.]
1843, April 2: A Desecration The Era
"'Some 20 years ago,' said a buxom dame, showing the antiquities of Dartford church, 'we lived in that old building you see through the windows there. It was in ancient times part of the nunnery.' 'There are some strange old things in such places,' remarked we, inquiringly. 'You may say that sir,' replied she, 'and when we left, I wouldn't leave them behind me. I pulled down the whole Trojan War, Hector and Andromache, sir, tapestry hangings, all worked by the nuns; beautiful sir.' 'Yes - well! have you sold them? Have you them yet? Where are they?' 'Bless your heart sir, they are worn out long ago! I cut them up and made carpets of 'em.' Oh! oh! oh!!! parted Hector and Andromache, and made carpets of them!"
1843, May 16: Coroner's Inquest Maidstone Journal
"On Friday week, an inquest was held at Ash, next Wrotham, before John Dudlow esq, coroner, on view of the body of J Wakeman, who was found handing to a tree in a wood in that parish. The deceased it appeared had some trifling difference with his fellow labourers, and, being of a highly nervous temperament, commited the fatal act. Verdict - hung himself being at the time in an unsound state of mind. We are sorry to add that he has left a family and a wife expecting every hour an addition to it."
1843, June 24: Dartford Market Dover Chronicle
Dartford Market Difficulties upon difficulties seem accumulating on this vexatious question, and deepr and deeper into the labyrinths of perplexity, plunging the harrassed and annoyed J Hayward esq, the Steward to the Lord of the Manor of Dartford Priory, the Steward of the Lord of the Manor of Dartford, and clerk to the Commissioners for Lighting, Watching and Improving the town of Dartford, and clerk to the Feoffees of Dartford Grammar School; for in all the above capacities and offices has this subject of Dartford Market got jumbled and intermixed. Firstly (as wwe some time back detailed), was there the dispute with Mr W L Pearce, as to who should take the tolls; which involved 2 questions - whether the market had not lapsed many years previously? and if so, whether the restoration or renovation of such market had not become the freehold of its creator, who on this ground, and that that for 20 years no rent had been demanded of him, laid claim. The pertinaceous stickler was at last silenced by the receipt of rather more than a £10 note, and all proceedings were mutually abandoned. And he now vanishes from the scene.
Evohe! Evohe triumphs! shouted the elated conqueror, no obstacle appearing to oppose his heart's darling desire; and forthwith he issued a proclamation to tripe merchants, lollipop manufacturers, peripatetic newsmen, butchers, green meat [apparently animal fodder, not mouldy meat!] vendors, oyster openers et hoc genus omne, who erst stood in the open street.
Dartford Market: Notice is hereby given, that all persons desirous of holding stalls and shambles in this market are requested to apply to my office for particulars, and notice is hereby given that the Shamble Market heretofore held in the High Street, Dartford, aforesaid, will be discontinued. John Hayward, Agent for the Lord of the Manor. Dartford, April 28, 1843 (True Copy signed T Kerr).
Simultaneously was issued a printed handbill, of which the following is a copy: Dartford - by virtue of an order made by the Commissioners appointed in and by an Act of Parliament passed in the 54th year of the reign of King George III intitled 'An act for Lighting, Watching and Improving the town of Dartford, in the County of Kent.' I do hereby give you notice. That all persons who shall obstruct or in anywise incommode the free passage of any or either of the said several streets, lane, or other public passages and places within the said parish, or suffer any boards, stalls, stocks, goods, wares, merchandise or other thing or things whatsoever, to be laid or placed and left to remain in any of the said streets, ways, lanes or other public passages or places during the night, and for any longer time than shall be necessary for removing an housing the same, will be prosecuted according to the provisions of the said Act, and that the penalties of the same will be strictly enforced. John Hayward, clerk to the Commissioners. Dartford Apr 26 1843.
Thus a local Act was endeavoured to be strained to meet the exigency, although this very act of the 54th of King George III contained a special clause respecting the reservation of the rights of the Lord of the Manor. Loud and deep were the mutterings that ensued amongst the hucksters and market followers; and although one and all felt aggrieved at the compulsory proceedings, yet noone seemed inclined to dispute the ordinance, and the only hesitation was, who should don the following day (the Market day) take the initiatory step and go in. The 29th of April at length dawned, big with the fate of the Market. The hour arrived, when 2 determined to brave 'the powers' - Mr Colls, the butcher, and Mr Clifford, the sweetstuff merchant. The consequence of such daring contumacy was that, instanter, sur le champ, Mister Henry Bourner, A I Police Constable, pelted into the justice room, and there and then before the Worshipful Justices assembled in Petty Sessions, laid an information against 'the wilful warmint' defilers of the aforesaid decree. A magistrate, astonished at the consumate wickedness of the age, immediately granted a summons for the delinquents to attend at the next justice day, to answer for their crimes. In rather less than 5 minutes this mandate was served, and, of course, the parties shook in their shoes; nevertheless they maintained their places in the market the rest of the day: [Copy of summons signed by P Hart-Dyke]
During the week one of the 'oudacious' criminals (Mr Colls) sought advice from counsel, who he also engaged to attend and defend him on the day when his fate was to be settled. On Saturday May 6th, Mr Colls again (solus however) took his stand on his old spot in the High Street; and Mister Henry Bourner again denounced him; whereupon justice P Hart Dyke issued a summons against the offender. A statement was signed by the whole of the inhabitants (with one exception) before whose doors the stalls stood on market days, to the effect that they, who would be the parties annoyed, if an annoyance were felt, wished the stalls to remain as they had done heretofore.
On Saturday the 13th of May at 12 o'clock, there were evident symptoms of some extraordinary affair going to take place, from the crowds that were hurrying to the Town Hall. After 2 or 3 minor cases had been disposed of that of Regina v Colls was called. Mr Horn, the barrister, of London with Mr Fenton, solicitor of Gravesend on behalf of the defendant; and Mr Hayward of Dartford, who appeared in the quadruple capacity of solicitor to the Commissioners, Agent to the Lord of the Manor of Dartford, legal adviser to the Magistrates and Cleark to the Feoffess of the Grammar School, on behalf of the prosecutor. Mr Hayward rose and said he was uch sruprised at the presence of counsel at Petty Session, with whom he felt himself unable to cope. He must, therefore, request the Magistrates to postpone this case till the next bench day. The Rev Mr Davis wished to know some particulars. Mr Horn said this was a summons against Mr Colls, who was a butcher residing in Lowfield Street, Dartford, for suffering his stall to remain in the High Street on a Market Day, and involved the right of holding a market. Mr Hayward's plea of incapacity he could not for one moment imagine would deter the Magistrates from hearing the case. Mr Hayward must, from his position, be well acquainted with the facts of the case now, as he could possibly be a fortnight hence. Mr Hayward having chosen to make this a criminal proceeding, instead of proceeding by indictment, as it was his option, was now bound to enter into his case since he (Mr Horn) never heard in the whole course of his existence, of a criminal proceeding being postpoines on the plea 'that the prosecutor was not ready' at the tiem he had himself fixed for the trial. He trusted that the court would not accede to the application. The Magistrates however agreed with Mr Hayward, as to his incompetency, and granted the postponement requested by their clerk; and refused Mr Colls' expenses, which it was stated by Mr Horn, when he made the application in an eloquent manner, would ammount to £15. Here was a pretty go! All the trouble Mr Colls had been at, rendered useless. The money expended in law might just as well have been pitched into the River Darent. However another subscription was set on foot and teh feeling was, as has been in other columns expressed, that 'had the unfortunate butcher chosen to employ a 'nincom' he might have saved his money, and lost his cause in a regular manner. As it is, he was punished for having too good a chance of winning. He is an example of the truth of the saying that 'a man may have too much of a good thing.'
Another week elapsed, Mr Colls kept his station in the street, and as he was becoming a martyr, was of course, pitied and patronised. On the Tuesday after, a notice was served on Colls, that Mr Hayward did not intend to proceed further upon the tack he had been upon, but should try an indictment. It was now Mr Colls' turn to crow. The next market day, those forced into the new building looked askant at Mr Colls' bedizened stall; and one and all bitterly complained that where they now were, no business was to be done, and that they could take no money. On June 10th, some of the stall keepers finding they could not taken even enought to pay the tolls, resumed their old places in the street. This roused Mr Hayward; and during the ensuing week appeared the following fulmination, which was duly proclaimed by the town crier, as well as printed, in which a new element was lugged, the 'Priory Manor' for why or for wherefore Mr Hayward alone knows: 'Dartford Market - Whereas the Rev Charles Augustus Samuel Morgan, clerk, lord of the manor of Dartford Priory, in the county of Kent, and owner and proprietor of the market, has found it expedient fo rthe public convenience, that the market for the sale of meat and other goods, wares and merchandise, should be removed from the place where the same has heretofore been set down and exposed for sale in the High Street of the town of Dartford abovesaid, to the newly erected market and shambles, adjoining the said High Street of the said town. Notice is hereby given by the said Charles Augustus Samuel Morgan, on Saturday the 17th of June, 1843, and henceforth on every other market day following, the market for the sale of meat and other goods, wares and merchandise, will be removed to and held in, the said newly erected market and shambles, and the same is hereby removed accordingly. John Hayward, attorney and agent.'
On last Saturday, June 17th, the next day, all the market attendants, with the exception of two, became contumacious, and stood, in utter defiance of the above, in the open street. The town crier was again employed in reproclaim it, which he did; and Mr Colls added the following additional paragraph: 'The Lord of the Manor of Dartford Priory had no righ to erect buildings on the estate of the feoffees of the Grammar School, without benefitting the estate, for holding the market. The feoffees had only the power of granting a perpetual right; and there is no act of parliament to compel persons to remove thither with their goodds. A S Colls June 17, 1843.' The roars of laughter with which the above addenda was received would have benefitted the worst hypochondriac. The gentlemen and farmers of the Corn Market hearily entered into the spirit of the joke, for fun it appeared to them. We have not the least hesitation in expressing, as our opinion, Mr Colls will beat his opponent. The Maidstone Journal of this week, intimates that 'proceedings in Chancery are expected to be instituted by our talented townsman last wee called to the bar respecting the rights of the Feoffees of the Dartford Grammar School."
[Feoffees are similar in status to trustees. West Kent Guardian 20.4.1844 mentions Arthur Samuel Colls was fined 5s for an assault on Samuel Rayner, an ex-employee who had "spread reports to the prejudice of Mr Coll's meat." Morning Herald 4.6.1844 says the case did not proceed to trial at the Kent Assizes.]
1843, September 9: Dartford Lock Up House West Kent Guardian
(Court of General Session, Kent) "Tenders for Dartford Lock Up house were received which were declared to be gained by Messrs Burton & Son of London." Also references to lockup houses to be built at Sevenoaks and Wateringbury.
[West Kent Guardian 4.11.1843 said the Dartford lockup had begun construction. Mentions other lock ups at Northfleet and Wrotham]
1843, September 23: Animal Cruelty Kentish Mercury
Rochester Magistrates: "Mr William Durling, a farmer, of Ash next Ridley, was convicted on Monday, under the cruelty to animals prevention act, for wantonly and cruelly ill treating a horse belonging to a cottager, which had strayed into his tares at Meopham. Mrs Carlow the wife of the cottager, stated she was called out by the defendant to the gate and found her husband's horse which she let out of the field where Mr Durling was, on which he raised his gun and shot the horse with small shot, saying he had done the same thing twice before. The magistrates fixed upon him a fine of 20 shillings beyond the damage done to the horse, and the costs which was immediately paid."
1843, September 23: Indian Summer Morning Advertiser
"….The heat inf the neighbourhood of Lewisham, Bromley, Farningham and Dartford has been excessive, and the thermometer has been nearly up to 80 degrees in the shade. The vegetable crops present a very favourable appearance, and seem likely to yield a considerable profit to their owners, although considerable damage has been done by the numerous insects which have been hatched bby the excessive heat. So mild a state of weather for the month has not been remembered by the agriculturalists for many years past."
1843, October 10: Dartford Organist Election Maidstone Journal
"The town was a scene of bustle and commotion on the 28th ult and 2 following days, in consequence of the election of organist of the church. The candidates were Messrs Jardine and Hodsoll. The following is the result of the polling. First day - Mr C Hodsoll 88, second day 89, total 177. Mr F Jardine - First Day 35, second day 93, total 128. Thus giving a majority of 49 votes to Mr Hodsoll, who was duly elected. Party feeling had been carried to a great length by the partisans of each party, the sacredness of the place of meeting being somewhat forgotten during the time of polling in the vestry of the church."
[The Dover Chronicle 7.10.1843 has a very long description. The church was "crowded to excess" the 3 original candidates had to play 6 pieces behind a red baise screen. An independent assessment said no 3 (Fred Jardine) was best and No 1 (Charles Hodsoll) "cannot compete with either of the others in any respect". They were the two nominated and on a show of hands Mr Hodsoll "who had been canvassing for a month" got 3/4 of the vote, Mr Jardine requested the poll. "The Hodsolls of Ash in this county (of which family Mr Charles Hodsoll is a member), have their descent from the Saxons before the Conquest. In the middle ages they were tenants of the estates of the Prioress of Holywell at Ash, and assumed the three fountains for their arms, which they still bear. In the reign of Henry V, William Hodsoll married the daughter of John de Suthasshe, from whom they inherited the manor, which had remained in their possession to the time of the present holder. What other family in the kingdom can show a like holding and pedigree?". The correspondent thinks Mr Hodsoll won because people knew of "his present poverty." If so it didn't help much, the Shipping and Mercentile Gazette of 9.10.1845 says Charles Hodsoll had been made bankrupt with assets of £30 and debts of £240.]
1843, October 10: Singular Death at Ridley Maidstone Journal
"About a fortnight since Mr Richard Rich, farmer of Ridley Court accidently scratched one of his fingers (supposed by a thorn); inflammation took place and spread over his frame; it was followed by mortification which shortly terminated in death. The deceased, who was 56 years of age, was much respected and lamented by his family and numerous friends. He was many years the confidential bailiff to Nicholas Ray esq of Franks in this county, for his estate at Ridley."
1843, October 17: Tithes at Hartley Kentish Gazette
"Tithe Commission Notice: The Tithe Commissioners for England and Wales hereby give notice that on the 1st day of November, 1843, they will proceed, either by themselves or by an Assistant Commissioner, to ascertain and award the total sum to be paid by way of rentcharge instead of the tithes of the parish of Hartley, in the county of Kent, according to the provisions of the Act for the Commutation of Tithes in England and Wales; and that the first meeting for this purpose will be holden at the Lion Inn, Farningham, in the said county at 11 o'clock in the forenoon of the day above mentioned, when all persons interested are desired to attend. Dated this 7th day of October 1843. By order of the Board, J E Hovenden, secretary, Tithe Commission Office."
[Probably not expected to be a very long meeting, as they have a similar meeting for Horton Kirby at 2pm at the same time and place]
1843, December 5: Anti-Corn Law Association Maidstone Journal
"Dartford - As I was walking through Dartford the other evening, says a correspondent, I saw a handbill of a free-trade lecture, and thought I would step into the room to hear what was advanced. Upon entering I beheld such a motley group of factory men and boys, with an interspersion of half intoxicated coal whippers, that I made my way towards the speaker to see if there were any respectable inhabitants present (the meeting being in the town hall), but looked in vain, for, alas! for free traders, alias leaguers, they shewed their better judgement, and abhorrence of the league by absenting themselves. I do not know what the man who spouted what he called a lecture, may be in the factory, but before he pretends to stand before the public again, it would be well if he would learn and practice his duty to God and his neighbour, and then he would pay more respect to truth, and common sense, and not utter such scandal and abuse, against the aristocracy and agriculturalists, the true supporters of our beloved Queen and constitution and the real not pretend friends of the poor, as this free trade spouter would have us believe." [it seems the writer was against the repeal of the Corn Laws, it seems one of his objections was that the people at the anti-corn law meeting were all working class]
1843, December 19: Effects of Steam Boats and Railways Kentish Gazette
"17 years ago there were 72 coaches passing through Dartford in 24 hours, whereas now there are but 8 including the two mails, which count as 4."
[Although the railway didn't reach Dartford until 1849, it seems the opening of the South Eastern Railway's main line from London Bridge via Tonbridge was already having an effect, by this date it had reached Folkestone, and Dover would open in February 1844. Steam boats seem unlikely competitor]
1844, January 20: Enlistment of Pauper Children for the Army The Atlas
"Respected friend - permit me to invite thy attention to the following statement of facts connected with the enlistment of pauper children for the army, and to request thy powerful aid in putting down a practice which must be regarded by every humane man as dishonourable to the age and country in which we live. Having personally collected the facts on which the statement is founded with great care, I am prepared to give such detailed information as may be necessary to justify its allegations.... Frederic Wheeler, Rochester 1st Month 15th 1844
The public may not, perhaps, be generally aware that a practice has grown up of late years of supplying the army with little boys for drumming, selected from the healthiest inmates of the union workhouses round about the great military garrison of Chatham. Facts of a painful nature relating to this subject having been brought under the notice of the writeer, it appeared to be a duty to prosecute certain enquiries into the circumstances and extent of the practice, from which it appears that the following 8 unions have all furnished boys for the army: namely Chelmsford, Cranbrook, Dartford, East Ashford, Hollingbourne, Medway, Maidstone and North Aylesford, comprising in all 143 parishes..... It appears also that in 20 cases boys have been thus disposed of before they have attained the prescribed age of 14 years; one of them indeed, having ben sworn when under 11¼ years old! It is melancholy to reflect on the large amoung of false swearing that is in volved in this feature of the case, that the oath thus taken is considered to bind the to the military service FOR LIFE thus depriving them of the opportunity of choosing a profession when attaining the age of 21, a protection which the legislature fully secures to the apprentices of ordinary calling, recognising therin two very important considerations, first the incompetency of a child to decide on whiat shall be his employment through life; and secondly his natural right to choose a trade for himself on arriving at manhood.....
Case 2 - John Mitchel, an orpahn imate of the Dartford Union was removed to the pauper school at Brixton, and in the spring of 1843 was enlisted in teh 25th Regiment, being then, as appears by the register of baptism, under 12½ years old. After being at Chatham a few months, he was seen by the writer crying bitterly on Rochester Bridge, and then made known to him his case. In less tahn a week from that time he was observed by the same person marching with 5 other littel boys with a draft on their way to Cannanore in the East Indies. His stepfather, who knew nothing of the enlistment until complted, applied to the Commander in Chief for his restoration to his family, alleging his tender age etc. The reply contained a copy of the schoolmaster's certificate, declaring him to have 'attained the prescribed age of 14' and states that the request cannot be complied with except on certain conditions, one of which is the payment of FORTY POUNDS. On application to the guardians of Dartford Union, no explanation can be given aas to the certificate of ages, but on the contrary, a reference to one of their books proves that the lad had not attained the age declared. No redress, however, could be obtained from them, and the child must remain in India an exile from his family......"
[The way he writes the date means he is almost certainly a Quaker. John Mitchell did not manage to get out of the army, his discharge papers in 1868 are in the National Archives. They show the army knew he was underage when recruited and so only his service when he was over 18 is counted. It says he was born in Eynsford. Bells Weekly Messenger 23.3.1844 records the presenting of a petition to Parliament from John's kinsmen.]
On Thursday last on eof the most numerous and influential assemblages of agriculturists we ever saw in this town, took place at the Town Hall, in order to form an Agricultural Portection Association for West Kent. The meeting which originated entirely with the tenant farmers of the immediate neighbourhood, was composed of persons of various political sentiments, but all having one common bond of union, superior to any mere party views or objects - Proteection to our native agriculture. Several preliminary meetings had been held by the tenant farmers, who at last resolved to hold a public meeting for the above mentioned object, and to call upon the landlords to come forward and assist them in doing battle against the general enemy. The present meeting showed with what alacrity the call had been responded to, and proved that however proper it may be for tenants firs 'to take up arms agains the sea of troubles' with which the League threaten them, the landlords will not suffer them to go into the fray single-handed..... [List of leading people present].... // The Anti-Corn League was represented on the occasion by a trio of 'worthies' viz Mr Will Short, a character famed in the electioneering annals of the town, Mr 'Gammon' costermonger, who renders himself notorious by driving about the town with a green ribbon in his hat at elections, indicating that he had not finally determined on which side to vote, but requires a little more 'persuasion', and finally Mr Joe Durrant, an itinerant penny pamphlet dealer, bill sticker etc - otherwise known as the 'castigator of the whigs.' These three did their best occasionally to disturb the meeting, by roaring to the top of their 'most sweet voices', but their zealous exerations in the cause of free trade only served to augment the force of the day's proceedings by the contrast it afforded to the numbers, unity and zel of the agriculturalists present.
[Lengthy reports of various speeches. The two below are of local interest]
W Masters Smith esq of Camer, had much pleasure in seconding the motion. If ever there was a time when farmers ought to be unite, and when there was a body to be opposed, the time was the present, and the body was that which sought to aggrandise itself at the expense of the agricultural community (cheers). He, however, could not regret that it had taken so extreme a course - a course whch had aroused the farmers from their too common and too blameable apathy and indifference, thus to come forward, as they had done on the present occasion (cheers). He would not detain them by any lengthened remarks, as all the objections which could be urged against their proceedings had been most satisfactorily answered, adn the objects they had in view had been most ably stated. He trusted the movement would not end there, but that if, at any future time, hireling agitators, traders in deceit, came to disturb their county, the farmers would be found ready to meet them, and like an undecided jury, take and discharge them at the confines of the county (loud cheering)
Joseph Berens esq, before the motion was put begged permission to make one or two observations. He had no knowledge of the meeting till the latter end of the week, and knowing the distance of his part of the county, and the inconvenience to many persons of travelling to the meeting, he had felt it his duty to give every assistance to his brother farmers in his own neighbourhood. He therefore early on Saturday drew up a paper which contained a declaration, such as he thought would embody the sentiments of every farmer hostile to the league, and having sent it to Dartford market, in scarsely more than an hour it was signed by more than 70 persons, who might fairly be considered as being present at the meeting by him, their agent. (Mr Berens then read the following declaration).
'We the undersigned, hereby declare our firm determination to oppose by every means in our power the principles and the proceedings of the Anti-Corn Law League, tending directly to the ruin of the farmer and the destruction of the labourer. We look to the Houses of Parliament to check so mischievous a conspiracy, and to maintain those laws which their wisdom has established. We claim for agriculture the protection which is afforded to the manufacturer. We claim it as due to the vast capital laid out upon our farms, by which the nation is fed independent of foreign states, over whose laws we could have no control. We claim it as the sole support of the labouring classes in health, and as the principal ratepayers to relieve the poor in their distress. We claim it as the only means of affording to the farmer, that degree of prosperity, which can ensure to the manufacturer the certain and steady profit of a home market. We rely upon the justice and upon the wisdom of Parliament, to uphold the agricultural interest as that upon which our existence as a great nation depends, and to check the progress of a combination whose proceedings are so adverse to the spirit of the constitution, and we believe so contrary to law. We assure the meeting of our zealous cooperation in all those measure which they may deem expedient for the general good. (Signatories included Joseph Berens, Kevington, William Bensted, Hartley; W Hodsoll, South Ash; William Cooper jun, Fawkham; James Armstrong, Southfleet; William Durling, Ash; signatories were from Ash 2, Bexley 6, Chelsfield 1, Chislehurst 1, Crayford 1, Cudham 1, Darenth 3, Dartford 4, Erith 6, Fawkham 1, Hartley 1, Horton Kirby 3, Kevington 1, Orpington 1, Ruxley 2, St Mary Cray 10, St Paul's Cray 1, Shoreham 2, Shorne 3, Southfleet 2, Stone 4, Sutton at Hone 3, Swanscombe 1, West Kingsdown 1, West Wickham 1, Wilmington 3)
[The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was one of those pivotal moments in British history, by abolishing tariffs on imported corn the country decided that it was a mainly industrial not an agricultural society. Naturally as Kent was then a mainly agricultural county, it favoured the law as it was, although it is interesting to note the relatively few signatures from Dartford town in Mr Berens's petition. In the end, in spite of repeal, corn prices remained relatively high until large scale imports from North America became possible in the 1870s. Mr Berens was right in one point, that ultimately it left Britain dependent on large scale food imports, that endangered the country in both world wars. For more, see Wikipedia Article on the Repeal of the Corn Laws. Mr Berens's petition, taken on a market day at Dartford is very interesting for showing the sphere of influence of the town. To the east that is much the same as today, extending to Ash, West Kingdown, Southfleet and Shoreham, but it has lost much influence to the west, to the emerging centres of Bromley and Bexleyheath.]
1844, March 23: History and Antiquities of Dartford Dover Chronicle
"We understand that, after 12 years of labour, Mr John Dunkin has just completed his History and Antiquities of Dartford, and its Neighbourhood. The work was subscribed for when it was commenced, but owing to the length of time it has occupied printin, changes and deaths have necessarily occurred, and there are now 50 copies unappropriated; Mr Smith, the Kentish bookseller, in Old Compton Street, Soho, is at present receiving the names of applicants for such vols. In this work, we hear that Mr Dunkin brings forward almost indisputable proof that Dartford was the original Noviomagus of the Romans."
[The location of Noviomagus is still disputed.]
1844, April 30: Society for the Advancement of Useful Knowledge Maidstone Journal
"On Thursday the 25th inst, Mr JQ Rumball delivered a lecture at the rooms of the Society for the Advancement of Useful Knowledge, in which he attempted to show, in opposition to the lectures lately given at the same rooms, that there is no such thing as the mesmeric influence or animal magnetism, and that the propounders of mesmerism are defrauders of the public......"
[mesmerism is not a recognised medical practice now, but is used by a few alternative therapists, according to Wikipedia]
1844, July 7: Fire Lloyds Weekly Newspaper
"On Monday evening about 6 o'clock, a fire broke out on the premises of Mr J Russell, at a farm called Rabbits, in the parish of Darent, near Dartford, by which 2 stacks of fodder, containing about 50 loads were consumed, and an adjoining barn and premises of Mr Mogridge were endangered. The fire originated from some children playing with congreve matches. The engine from Crayford was soon on the spot, but the engines from Dartford did not come. On the Thursday evening previously, a fire broke out in a stack of straw in a field, situate at Fawkham, near Dartford, by which a quantity of straw was consumed; but a threshing machine, which was standing by it, was saved. Much discontent prevails in the neighbourhood on account of the lowness of the wages."
1844, July 13: Steam Packets Advert Kentish Independent
"London Bridge and Blackwall - The Lowest Fares - Fore cabin 6d, Saloon 9d - To and from London Bridge by the Ruby, Sapphire, Gem, Diamond and Topaz. The Blackwall Railway company having refused to allow the packets of the Diamond Company to call at the Brunswick Wharf, on the Passage from London at the hours which they occupied last year, the Diamonds will in future run to and from London Bridge Wharf and the above reduced fares.
From the Town Pier Gravesend: 6.45, 8, 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 Sundays 6.45, 8, 5, 6, 7, 8
From London Bridge Wharf 9, 10, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4.30, 6 Sundays 8, 9, 10, 12, 1, 2, 3, 8
All the packets of the Diamond Company call at Rosherville, Greenhithe and Erith piers. The Diamonds are the only packets that call at Erith Pier. An omnibus waits the arrival of the Packets from London at Erith for Dartford, Bexley and Crayford, returning in time for the Packets from Gravesend. Diamond Steam Packet Company's Office, High Street, Gravesend. June 21, 1844."
[The West Kent Guardian 31.8.1844 reports an accident to the omnibus which it describes as a coach with inside and outside passengers]
1844, August 10: Dartford Fair West Kent Guardian
"Owing to the dispute between the Lord of the Manor and Mr Culls, Dartford Fair, held last Friday and Saturday, bids fair to be entirely anihilated. No less than 3 distinct grounds to opposite parts of the town, have this fair time, been endeavoured by rival speculators to be appropriated as a site whereon to hold the fair. Consequent upon this proceeding, the visitants, stall keepers, and the amusement caterers have been divided, and all parties have been injured and bitterly complain. Richardson's (now Johnson and Lee's) travelling theatre, appeared in a timber yard in Lowfield Street, most sadly shorn of its once famed excellencies, it seemed as though all light and life was banished from its boards - whether the 'march of intellect' has driven 'the ghost' and its accompanying 'unearthly glare' which was erst the most attractive and never failing part of the performance into the Red Sea, we know not, since the exhibition outside was so wretched and miserable that we were not tempted to enter the canvas portals in search of entertainment. In another part of the fair, Mungeam's Field, where the booths were mostly congregated, appeared the smaller theatrical exhibitions, such as the wonderfully learned horse, the wizard of the north attended by his manservant in livery, armadillos, serpents etc etc. By far the gem of the fair was Winter's Booth, which was, however, at least three quarters of a mile of a mile distant from the other part, and was adjoining the Roman Cemetery of Noviomagus lately discovered at the entrance of the town from Dover. The judicious admission price rendered the company select although crowded, and must havae repaid the endeavours of the spirited proprietor who had procured from Woolwich the celebrated Artillery Band, to whose inspiring strains the disciples of Trepsichord with unflagging spirits gave themselves up to enjoyment, and the ball was kept up with great delight - 'By pairs on whom the morning's glance / Broke yet unsated with the dance.' "
1844, September 14: Interesting Discovery West Kent Guardian
"In the bed of the Darenth near the powder mills, Dartford, where Mr A J Dunkin in this Chronicles of Kent supposes Caesar to the have crossed in pursuit of the Britons, under Caswllen, in their retreat to his principal city and fortress in the neighbourhood of Dartford, a celt or battle axe of flint has been lately found; its edges are as sharp as when first issued from the manufacturer. It may be presumed to have been dropped by some of the Britons in their disastrous retreat before the enemy." [Flint axes are much older than Caesar's day]
1844, October 19: New Methodist Church at Spital Street, Dartford Dover Chronicle
"(from our correspondent) As the new chapel of the Wesleyans is now progressing towards completion, we cannot refrain any longer from giving our opinion of this miserable abortion. The building is an oblong, with two projecting towers, and lighted by 4 windows on one side, and by two on the other. The architect aspired to erect it in the present style of Gothic architecture, but the attempt has been a failure; and we clearly see that he had mistaken its principles. The idea too, of Dissenters adopting the Gothic style is absurd - they who so strongly condemn true Church notions, and who have manifested their 'correctness' of propriety by placing the position north and south, instead of east and west. The material used in the construction is white brick, with an attempt at early English style; but the only moderately correct idea is the triplet window at the south end: the others are too large, and each lancet should have been made into two lights. The centre light in the triplet is a little too large, whilst the label over it is absurd as to moulding, and the terminations are more like perpendicular work. The towers, in extending at the parapet, are very incorrect; and the pinnacles, having no weight (as buttresses) to keep steady, look ridiculous. The crockets are not correct for Early English work, and the finials want the upper members of the trefoil. Square headed windows under lancets are likewise unknown. Stone for teh pinnacles would have been better employed elsewhere. In the interior, the joists of the fllor do not appear to be at all too strong; in fact the brickwork, which is good, is the only recommendation to this new dissenting preaching house. Mr Callow has been the builder; and as far as the mechanical part goes, it reflects great credit upon him for the capital workmanship. The diocesan, the Bishop of Rochester, whilst being driven through Dartford last week, was so much struck with the building, that he actually wrote to inquire what Cathedral looking place was being erected in the town."
[There appears to be no love lost between Anglicans and Non-Conformists in Dartford at the time. It does appear that the writer was determined to dislike the building from the start. The Kentish Independent below appears to be positive but is probably tongue in cheek (not sure about this paper's politics, looking through the rest of the paper it seems they really were non-aligned, but liked to see amusing things, for example in this edition there was a report about Deptford Parish voting down a Church Rate, which was shortly followed by the church clock breaking down, which they joked whether it was symbolic! English Heritage however like the building and have given it Grade II listing.]
Kentish Independent (2.11.1844)
"It is a source of exquisite pleasure and gratification to contemplate the religious feeling of the country gradually developing itself in bricks and mortar; it shows that piety and creeds are not merely vapid, theoretical phantoms of the mind, but real practical, and substantial entities. It denotes a laudable zeal for the glory of God this emboying a lively faith in massive stonework, and such like durable materials; and we accordingly hail, with all the praise it deserves, every magnaminous attempt at displaying Christian weakness, and corporealising heavenly aspirations, by means of the carpenter and mason. Shall we not then chaust forth hymns of sweetest melody in honour of the pure humility manifested by the Wesleyan Methodists of Dartford? Shall we fail to chronicle, in words which ought to be of unalloyed gold, the taste and elegance offered to public criticism in the form of a new chapel, now nearly completed by this hard working, and ostentation despising sect? No, indeed, we mst not; we cannot consent to perpetrate so heinous a crime as that of not taking any notice of this edifice; it would appear as if we were treating it with contempt, and were blind to the striking beauties of its architecture, as well as deaf to the voice that cries aloud from its stunted turrets, and loop hole windows 'See what we can do; gaze and admire!' And everybody does see what they can do, and what they have done; and as they pass by they stop and gaze at the mimic cathedral, with its dwarfish towers and prison house entrances (symbols of humanity), and moreover all people of refined taste admire the architectual style, or rather styles, in which this Wesleyan gospel dispensary is erected; for those good folks have such vast and grasping intellects, that they had no notion of being confined to any particular syle or any rules of propriety, their consistency never forsaking them, so that here we see a little bit of Gothic, and there a futile struggle to imitate the Saxon, blended with a few dashes of Perpendicular, and decorated; but we must allow that, taking the building altogether, the style that has been most amirably succeeded in is the 'debased', and it reflects infinite credit on the skilful and talented architect, and will, we hope, remain a lasting monument of the keen perception, nice judgement, piety and wealth of the Dartford Methodists."
[This article drew a letter of complaint from "An observer" in the paper of 16.11.1844 who took it to be insulting. They say that the Parish Church is too small for a town of 5,000 and the church has done nothing to increase accommodation. Another person also called "An observer" wrote on 7.12.1844 to support the earlier letter writer; they said they were Anglican saying "I think all must acknowledge that they [Methodists] endured persecutions of the most galling kind, submitted to pay tithes and other dues to the Church. They in a great degree, support their poorer brethren. They have meet with scorn and insult, and all for the sake of liberty of conscience - and perhaps to them the whole nation is indebted for the liberty in religious matters we now possess." The West Kent Guardian 14.6.1845 reported on the opening services the previous Sunday.]
1844, November 9: Early Closing of Shops West Kent Guardian
"Dartford - On Thursday the 7th instant, a public meeting, to which 'the ladies and all other persons who take an interest in the physical, moral, and intellectual condition of the rising generation were earnestly invited', was holden at the Town Hall, to take into consideration the propriety of closing the shops at an earlier hour than has hitherto been the custom. The chair was taken by the worthily esteemed and respected vicar, the Rev F B Grant, who briefly addressed the meeting and called upon Mr Hadley, linendraper, to move the first resolution, who said thathe had had young men in his employ, who had been so exhaused with the labour of the day they had lain down on their beds with part of their clothes on, being too wearied to take them off; and he urged upon his fellow tradesmen to have consideration for their assistants and remember that we live both for time and eternity. Mr Reede esq, surgeon, ably seconded the resolution, which was unanimously carried; as were the others. Mr Robins, miller and baker, moved the next resolution in a brief speech, which was seconded by Mr Culhane esq, surgeon, who spoke in its favour and to the advantages of curtailing the hours of business in a medical point of view. Mr Edwards, chemist, mvoed the third resolution 'That linendrapers close their shops at 8 o'clock between Michaelmas and Lady Day and 9 o'clock the other 6 months.' Mr Langlands, grocer, seconded the resolution, which was supported by Mr Braund. Mr Jardine, linendraper, moved the next resolution, which was seconded by Mr Pain, stationer; after which a committee was elected; a vote of thanks was passed to the chairman and to J Hayward esq for the use of the hall; and the meeting separated."
[Note the proposal was to close "early" at 8pm in winter and 9pm in summer, which makes you wonder how long shops were open until at the present.]
1844, November 9: Dartford News West Kent Guardian
"Dartford Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge - This society, which is similar to Mechanics' Institutes was established in 1842, since which time it has been gradually increasing its members and usefulness, and the committee sappear determined that it shall not retrograde if the inhabitants generally will do their part towards its support. Tehy have commencedd the present season by two lectures on education, by J Q Rumball; two on phonography by Mr Quinton; two ofn Phrenotypics by Mr J W Cannon; and one on the education of the blind by Mr W Stidolph; all of which have been very respectably attended. They have also givne notice of several other lectures during the present quarter, some by members of the socity and others by men eminent in science and literature; which we hope, will be well atended an prove advantageious to the inhabitants especially to the young, to whom we must ook for the carrying out those objects of which those of maturer years are not laying the foundation. The society's rooms are at the Bull Inn, and are open every Thursday evening."
"Fifth of November - The doings of Guy Fawkes were duly commemorated on Tuesday by the usual display of 'old popes'; and in the evening by the annual custom of rolling a burning tar barrel through the town, or rather from the top of West Hill to the middle of the town, amid the huzzas of the mobility."
1845, February 11: South Eastern Railway Company Kentish Gazette
"On Thursday a meeting of the proprietors of this railway was held at the station of the company at London Bridge. Sir John Kirkland presided. The report entered into a full explanation of the principles on which the proprietors have acted in proposing the extensive works before the meeting, and of the result to be expect from the execution of them...."
Works include North Kent Line from a point between Hungerford and Waterloo Bridges via Woolwich, Dartford, Greenhithe, Gravesend, Chatham , Faversham and terminating at Chilham to adjoin existing Ashford to Canterbury railway; with branches from Eltham to Stone by Dartford, and from Milton next Sittingbourne to Sheerness. One proposal not proceeded with was a line from Eltham to Shoreham, Otford, Ightam and Tonbridge/Paddock Wood.
".... In the event of the execution of the whole works comprised in the foregoing statement by the SECR, it is proposed to lay down, throughout their whole extent, the electrical telegraph, with provisions for the use of the same by the government on terms to be agreed. The advantages of such a system, conducted under one management and extending from London and the great naval and military depots to Dover, the Downs and all the important points of the Channel coast must be obvious. The directors also proposed that the South Eastern Company should extend the accommodation of cheap trains, and adopt a maximum charge of 3d and 2d per mie for 1st and 2nd class passengers. An examination of the map will show that the entire South Eastern Railway system will, when completed, connect London with every town of importance on the norther side of Kent...."
The proposed 160 miles will cost £3.78m. They say the Board of Trade prefers them to other competing companies and they will not create a monopoly because of other means of transport.
1845, February 16: Cruel and Oppressive Case Weekly Dispatch
"We have to record a matter which appears to us to be fraught with great oppression and injustice; with oppression because the suffering parties are poor; and with injustice, sincer there was no intention whatever to commit crime. But we will come ot the facts, and allow the intelligent reader to judge of the case by its merits. It appears that two labouring men, residing in the neighbourhood of Dartford, one having a wife and 7 children, and the other a wife and 5 children, being unable to obtain employment for the elder branches of their family, and in order to prevent them from being entirely idle, set them to collect the horse dung which had been dropped on the common road during the night. After several months' diligent labour the boys managed to scrape together as much as might probably sell for a few shillings. It never, for a moment, was supposed by the youths, or their parents, that the former were committing any offence, or infringing on the property of any one; but, to their astonishment and dismay, about a fortnight ago, a summons was served upon Alfred Fordham and edward Curd, of the respective ages of 15 and 16 years, to appear before Richard Davies esq, Justice of the Peace for the County of Kent, at the Town Hall, Dartford on Saturday last 'there to answer the complaint and information of William Crowley, for that the said Alfred Fordham and William Curd, did, on the 18th of January, unlawfully shovel up, scrape together and carry away, a quantity of dirt and soil, from off the Dartford and Rochester Turnpike Road.' The mothers of the lads, on the receipt of the summons, waited on a neighbouring gentleman to solicit his advice; and, as the boys distinctly stated that they merely picked up the horse droppings, and did not touch the surface of the road, he told them that they need not fear being punished. The gentleman alluded to spoke his individual feeling in the matter, giving the magistracy credit for an equal amount of kind heartedness and sympathy for the poor. But he was mistaken in his estimate of the men; for although the lads were only proved to have picked up the horse dung, they were fined 5 shillings penalty and adjudged to pay 9 shillings costs! The friends of the poor lads, and the lads themselves, declared their inability to raise the money, whereupon the Justices feelingly told the former that unless the fine and costs were discharged in a fortnight the delinquents would be sent to Maidstone jail. The parents then asked the justices what the boys were to do, if they were to be prevented in fugure from picking up the horse dung? The reply was such as we might have expected from aclodpole, but certainly not from a magistrate - 'They must go to the Union' [= workhouse] On looking at the Highway Act, the 4th George IV, c95, s72, on which doubtless this proceeding was founded, we find this clause:- 'If any person or persons, without being thereto authorised by the surveyor or surveyors for the time being acting under any act, shovel up, scarpe, gather or carry away any stones, gravel, sand, or other materials, stutch, dirt, mire, drift or soil from any footpath or causeway, or any other part of such road, shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding 40 shillings for every such offence.' Now, although the act of the boys, in gathering and carrying away the horse dung, may, by a harsh construction of the above section, be considered within the letter of the law, it could never have been contemplated by the Legislature as within its spirit to render such an act as a punishable offence. It could never have been intended to fine, and in case of non-payment, to imprison any one for taking a handful of soil from the road. The object was no doubt to prevent a large or wholesale removal, and this is evident from the form of conviction given in the same statute, which runs thus:- 'That C.D of etc, on etc, without being authorised etc, did shovel up, scrape, gather and carry away, a certain large quantity, to wit, one cartload of stones, gravel, sand etc.' Now in the summons, it will be perceived, that that word 'large' is omitted; no doubt purposely, to avoid the ridiculous absurdity that would have been apparent had it stated the fact as follows, 'did shovel up etc and carry away a certain large quantity of stones' etc, to wit a quarter of a peck. If poor people are to be punished for the act we have described, is it a matter of astonishment that they should become demoralised, and have no respect for the laws, or those who administer them?"
[at this time roads were not tarmaced but made up of things like stones, sand and gravel. The law is clearly aimed at protecting the surface, not manure. Alfred Fordham was fined 5 shillings again for 'taking road scrapings from East Hill, Dartford, the property of Thomas Sears esq.' West Kent Guardian 21.6.1845. Thomas Sears owned Fulwich Farm, not sure how he came to 'own' the manure on the road.]
1845, March 1: Silvester v The Surveyors of the Highways of the Parish of Southfleet West Kent Guardian
"Dartford Petty Sessions - This was an application to the magistrates at a special sesson against the Surveyors of Southfleet, for not repairing a certain road in that parish. Mr Russell appeared in support of the information, and in making the complaint siad that the road in question, called Springhead Lane was of the length of 352 yards and was the highway from Gravesend, Rochester, Cobham etc to Springhead, Betsom [sic], Swanscombe etc, was not merely out of repair, but absolutely dangerous; being at one part but 7 feet wide. It was part of the ancient Watling Street or Roman Road, leading in a direct line from London to the Coast. Springhead has during the last few years become a place of great resort, one cause of which is the great quantity of Roman remains to be found there, and it is not an uncommon sight to see 14 or 16 carriages at one time.
Mr Russell produced a plan of the road which had been taken for the purpose, shewing the width to be the first 16 rods [88 yards] - 12 feet, the next 41 rods [225.5 yards] - 8 feet, the two following rods [11 yards] - 12 feet, the adjoining 8 rods [44 yards] - 10 feet, the next 4 rods [22 yards] - 12 feet, and the remaining 9 rods [49.5 yards] - 9 feet. On the south side of this road there is a chalk pit which has undermined the road 2 feet, and this too at the part where it is only 8 feet wide, so that there is not only the danger of a person meeting a carriage there and being run over, but also in trying to get out its way of his being precipitated over the bank into this pit and thus lose his life, in which case the surveyors would be indictable for manslaughter.
Mr Wickham, constable, proved the service of the summons on Francis Andrews and Mr Garland, the surveyors. Mr Garland, one of the surveyors of Southfleet, admitted that the road was in a very dangerous state; he said that it belonged to two parishes, Southfleet and Northfleet, and it had usually been repaired at their joint expense; but repairing would not do, as it ought to be widened and they could not widen it on the Southfleet side as the road was several feet above the level of the adjoining field, but as far as he could go as surveyor of Southfleet, he was desirous to concur with the surveyors of Northfleet in some mutual and satisfactory arrangement.
there appears to be some difficulty in deciding this question as the road is not only in 2 parishes, but in 2 separate divisions of the county, one part being in the Upper Division of Sutton at Hone, and the other the North Division of the lathe of Aylesford. After some discussion, the meeting was adjourned till the 15th of March, the surveyor saying he would see the surveyors of Northfleet in the mean time, and use other means to come to a satisfactory conclusion."
[This part of Watling Street is now lost under the A2. Probably most people would have used the separate turnpike road, until a reason to visit Springhead was discovered. It appears this is a summons under section 94 of the Highways Act 1835. This was not repealed until 1959.]
Silvester v Southfleet Parish (Kentish Independent 29.3.1845)
"This case which has occupied much public attention, from the very dangerous state of the old road leading to Springhead (part of Watling Street), came on for final hearing, after 2 previous adjournments, when the surveyors of highways for Southfleet having admitted their right to repair and widen the road in question, were ordered by the bench to proceed forthwith, in conjuction with the parish of Northfleet - to make a temporary road through the adjoinign arable land, in order that the safety of the public be not longer endangered. It is but justice to Mr Alfred Russell, who attended upon the part of Mr Silvester, to state, that he was most energetic in impressing upon the bench the necessity of binding the present surveyors .... in a pledge that the succeeding surveyors should enter office with the understanding of taking the case in its present situation, and not compel the complainant to commence de novo, as it is too much the custom of surveyors of parish highways to make every possible exertion to pass through their period of office with the least possible trouble to themselves, and the least possible expense in rates, without for one moment thinking of the public, for whom the legislature has framed the Highways Act. The road alluded to is the one Mr A J Dunkin.... mentions as having been the original road the Romans used when proceeding to the thermae or baths, discovered a few years since on Mr Silvester's garden. He maintains, moreover, that in the fields adjacent to Springhead was, during the Roman dominion in England, a large town, which was destroyed by the Saxons circa 457. Certainly in no spot in the kingdom have more Roman remains been found - coins, urns, spearheads, pins, querns, Samian Ware, pottery etc. Dr Thorpe... fixed Vagniacae on this site.... One thing is, however, certain, that Mr Silvester most unhesitatingly exhibits all his treasures to whoever has the slightest taste for viewing the relics of the masters of the world."
1845, March 9: Local Administration of Justice Lloyds Weekly Newspaper
"On Monday evening, F Wiseman, one of the constables of Northfleet parish, lodged in the new lock up house at Northfleet a labouring man, who appeared to be intoxicated, and who was charged with having struck another man in whose company he was that evening in the village of Northfleet. On Monday, the constable conveyed his prisoner to Rochester, where he was charged before the county magistrates with having been drunk and riotous, and fined for the drunkenness; and on Tuesday, the poor unfortunate man, having paid the penalty of his indiscretion, returned to his home at Crayford some 20 miles from Rochester. We mention this case as an exemplification of the hardship and the inconvenience resulting from the want of a county magistrates' petty sessions court between those held at Rochester and Dartford, and which are distant from each other 15 miles. How is a man (and we assume that his detention in the prison of lock up house for a night may have been perfectly legal), taken into custody on a charge of drunkenness, detained in prison all night, and marched on the following day 10 miles in a direction contrary to that of his residence, to be brought before the nearest bench of county magistrates, fined (as he probably deserved to be), and left to find his way back, 20 miles from his home, perhaps without a penny in his pocket, after paying the fine and the costs of the court, and the constable's charges of so much per mile, from the place of arrest to the court house? The want of an intermediate petty sessions county court at or near Gravesend, in this district, is in every instance of commission of offences against the law, felt to be an inconvenience and a greater hardship, and ought to be remedied.
[Gravesend had a magistrates court but because they were a borough they could only hear cases from Gravesend. Northfleet would eventually get its own magistrates court]
1845, March 22: The Dartford Market Case Kentish Mercury
"Kent Lent Assizes - The Queen v Colls. Mr Sergeant Channell (with whom were Messrs Bodkin and Deedes) deposted that this was an indictment at the instance of the Rev C A Morgan, the lord of the manor of Dartford, against the defendant, Arthur Samuel Colls, for an obstruction of the public way in High Street of Dartford. A charter had been granted for a market in Dartford as long ago as the 8th of James Ist. For many years the Morgan family had been lords of the market. From 1816 to 1840, a person named Pearce had rented the market tolls, first of the last lord, and then of the present lord, the Rev Mr Morgan. Under Pearce's occupation the market remained for a great number of years. The market was held in a place near the High Street, which was very well calculated for that purpose, down to the time when Pearce rented it. In the progress of time, however, the stalls which were there fell into decay. Had the stalls been kept in repair, there was no doubt that that was the most convenient place for holding the market. Pearce first permitted parties to erect their stalls in the street, and took tolls from them as he had done for those in the market place. The dilapidations getting worse and worse, by degrees the market came to be held almost wholly in the public streets. It was a matter of indifference to Mr Morgan where the market was held, whether in the street or in the market place. So that the tolls were paid, it mattered not to Mr Morgan as far as his pecuniary interest was concerned; but it did matter to him when many of the principal inhabitants of the town memorialised him on the subject, representing the stalls in the street as a nuisance. In order to obviate this inconvenience, he immediately repaired the old market place, in which he fitted up stalls lit with gas, and had paved and drained it, altogether at a cost of £600 or £700. This market was opened on the 23rd of April 1843, by a public notice. No additional toll was claimed, yet the defendant sent Mr Morgan and his agent (Mr Hayward) at defiance; and, in consequence, several other salesmen, who had gone into the market on its being opened, soon withdrew from it, and again set up their stalls in the street. Another notice was cried through Dartford on the 16th June, and served upon the defendant, who afterwards had another notice cried, to the effect that the feoffees of the grammar school were not authorised to allow any erection in the market place unless that institutio was benefitted by it. This left Mr Morgan no other course except that of indicting the defendant for the obstruction. The learned sergeant called the following witnesses:
Mr Hayward, solicitor of Dartford, deposed that the High Street of Dartford was a public highway. In 1828 witness became agent to Sir C Morgan, the lord of the manor of Dartford, the father of the present lord, the Rev C A Morgan. A person named Pearce then accounted to witness for the tolls down to 1840. The market used to be in 1820, when witness first knew it, where it is proposed to hold it now. At about 1840 the shambles had become very dilapidated. There had been stalls in the public streets before that. In 1840 the prosecutor caused the whole of the market place to be repaired, in consequence of representation from the inhabitants of Dartford. The repair cost between £700 and £800. Pearce had paid £10 per year for the tolls. After the place had been repaired, a public notice was issued in March 1843, and posted publicly in the town, that the market which was then holden in the High Street, would in future, be held in the market place. Mr Colls, notwithstanding that notice, had constantly held his stall in the public street. The market, as repaired, was in precisely the same place as it used to be, and offered quite as much accommodation. No higher tolls were charged. In consequence of Mr Colls and others still holding their stalls in the street, another notice was issued on the 17th June 1843, declaring that the market had been removed. Mr Colls still continued to have his stall in the High Street. That stall, and the persons who collected around them, much obstructed the highway. Cross examined - Mr Morgan lived at Mechine Rectory, Newport, Monmouthshire. Witness had Mr Morgan's authority for all he did. Mr Webb now collects the tolls, under witness's direction. The new market is about 88 feet long, and about 20 feet wide. First knew Dartford in 1828. There were then stalls, perhaps 14 or 15, generally erected in the street; were butchers' stalls, fish stalls, and green grocery stalls. Saddlery, earthenware and linen had also been sold there. From 1828 down to the commencement of the present year, there had never been a total ommission of stalls in the street on a market day. There have been freequently a sufficient number of persons assembled to block up the way. Should think that during the whole of the market day, there might have been from 1,000 to 1,500 persons attending the market. There is also a corn market held in the street, which many of the farmers attend. Had first summoned Colls before the magistrates who adjourned the hearing, and on witness giving notice that he should not proceed, the magistrates did nothing further. Next applied for an indictment, to which Colls did not appear, and he was consequently taken on a judge's warrant. Did not know that he had been several days in prison in consequence. In the market place more than 300 persons could probably attend. Several of the stalls are fit for butchers. Re-examined - Mr Colls is a butcher. When the market has been in the High Street, witness did not know who provided the stalls. When the market was opened in 1843, there were more stalls than at present. The case was moved by certoriari. It was at the suggestion of the judge, and the defendant consented, on condidtion the prosecutor paid his costs, amounting to £75. He did not appear, and there was no means of making him but by the warrant.
William Batt produced a copy of the bill issued in June 1843, which he proclaimed in the High Street, and posted all over the parish. On that day Mr Colls came to witness's shop, and asked him to 'cry' a bill. Witness refused to 'cry' because it was anonymous. Colls afterwards signed it and witness 'cried' it. Mr Deeds asked the witness to read the bill, adding 'Cry it to his lordship,' and he did so, literally, causing great laughter by roaring out with all the emphasis of the true crier. Cross examined - had seen as many as 700 or 800 people at the market. Had heard many old people say, that as far as they could recollect there had always been a market in the High Street. A few years ago there were 60 coaches passed daily through the town, and many post chaises and private carriages. There were very few now. Re-examined - There was always sufficient room for people to go into the market. The stalls in the street are from 10 to 15 yards from the market place being repaired. It was well drained and lit with gas. There were not more than 2 or 3 stalls in the market on the first day on which it was opened. Believed there was room in the new market for all the stalls which were in the High Street. Witness took Colls under the warrant, and Colls then said he should never have opposed the new market had it not been for his obstinacy, and had not Mr Hayward served him with the notices which he had served. Cross-examined - Colls was taken before a magistrate and committed to Maidstone Gaol for want of sureties, where he stayed several days, till he was bailed out. Did not know that he was in business in Dartford as a butcher. Had never known a market day without stalls. Believed, to the best of his judgement, that the goods might be spread out as they were now, and that 300 or 400 people might also stand in the new market place besides.
Mr Hubbard, surveyor, produced a plan which he had prepared of the new market place. Had known Dartford 25 years. There was in the new market place ample room for both buyers and sellers, and the reasonable display of goods.
John Webb, High Constable, and collector of the tolls, deposed that he began to collect on the 25th March 1843. The new market place was then nearly finished. 14 or 15 persons then had stalls in the High Street. The new market afforded sufficient space for all. In the market in the High Street, they used to pay what they thought proper, saying it was what Pearce had always charged them. Witness took these tolls till the new market was ready, and then charged them more. When the new market was opened, several persons came in, and left Colls nearly alone in the streeet, after which, the parties who had gone in gradually returned to the street, and said that as Mr Colls stood in the street without paying anything, and they had to pay for going in, they should stand out as well as Colls, until the question was settled. Cross examined - The open stalls now pay 1 shilling per week, and for the enclosed and lock up stalls, which they have for a week, they pay 2 shillings. Had taken as little as 3d for a stall in the High Street. The open stalls in the market are let at 2d per foot, but a stall is never let at less than 4d. Had seen from 200 to 300 persons in the street, when teh farmers were assembled at their market. The people used mostly to provide their own stalls.
James Snowden, a saddler, living at Dartford, deposed that 48 years ago the market was held where th shambles now are, and remained so for nearly 30 years. There wer no stalls in the street till after the war. Never knew more than 2 butchers in the old market. From 1825 to 1830 there might have been perhaps 7 or 8 stalls. There have been in 1843, perhaps 10 or 12. The new market place is greatly improved, with gas fittings in every stall. The market in the street is a very great nuisance. Did not know of any convenience which sellers had in the street, which they had not in the new market. The street is from 30 to 50 feet across. At the late hour at which the market is held, it is a great nuisance, as a great many of the lower order of people assemble there. Cross examined - Before 1815 the traffic was so great that the stalls could not stand where they do now. Had heard that before he went there, the stalls used to be in the middle of the street.
MrElwin, grocer, of Dartford, deposed that for the greater portion of the last 31 years the business of the market had been carried on the new market, which he had paid 1 shilling per week for an open stall. Gave Pearch £10 for a close stall in 1826, paying for it 1 shilling per week. Thre were no butchers' stalls in the street then. They got into the street gradually in about 1833, when the old market was in a very dilapidated state. Tehre was much more done then in the market than now. Had no gas then. There is room in the new market for all who want to buy or sell. It is paved and drained.
Mr Alfred Russell, solicitor, deposed that he occupied a house in the High Street, Dartford from 1834 to 1841. The stalls in the streets were a great obstruction and a nuisance. Witness was one of the inhabitants who complained.
Webb, recalled, deposed that he had not collected tolls from the stalls in the street since the 29th April 1843. This was the case for the prosecution.
Mr Horn (for the defendant) contended that the plaintiff had not sufficiently shown his title as lord of the market; and also that the notice of the removal of the market was insufficient. Lord Denman said probably the prosecutor would put an end to the suit, on the defendant undertaking to refrain from the obstruction in the future. Mr Horn said that he had no objection, if the verdict were to be one of acquittal. Lord Denman - I think in such case the verdict should be that of guilty. Mr Sergeant Channell said that he would undertake not to call the prisoner up for judgement, if the offence were not repeated. It would be a great satisfaction to Mr Morgan to have a verdict of guilty. Mr Horn - I do not like, my lord, to advise any defendant to consent to a verdict of guilty, where I feel confident a jury will acquit him. I am sorry to be obliged, in such a case, to occupy the time of your lordship and jury. Lord Denman - Never mind my time. My time is the public's. I believe I suggested what was very much in the interest of the defendant. Mr Horn - the defendant has left Dartford, and there is no chance of his again erecting a stall in the street. After what has fallen from your lordship, I think my learned friend ought to give me the bona fides, and not prevent us from contesting the legality of his removal. Lord Denman - Yes, I think the defendant believed that he had the right. Mr Sergeant Channell said that a verdict of guilty would not prejudice the defendant's case in raising the question on the objections Mr Horn had made. It was ultimately settled that a verdict of guilty should be taken on this understanding."
[The West Kent Guardian of 24.5.1845 reported the bankruptcy of Mr Colls, there were accusations that he had hidden some of his assets.]
1845, April 22: Peruvian Guano South Eastern Gazette
"(Advert) Messrs Geo Strickland and Son beg respectfully to inform the farmers of Gravesend, Dartford and their neighbourhoods, that they have a large stock of the above celebrated manure, warranted genuine, from the ship lying at Mr W Philcox's Wharf, Dartford and at their stores, Crayford Mill, Bexleyheath, Kent. Crayford Mills, April 5th, 1845"
[Another advert in South Eastern Gazette 17.3.1846 said they had numerous testimonials of the quality of guano previously supplied.]
1845, April 26: March of Improvement West Kent Guardian
"Farningham: Two spirited individuals Messrs Davis and Gibson of this village have started a new omnibus in conjunction with those of Dartford, to convey passengers to the new pier, Erith, to embark for London. We wish the proprietors success, as the want of such an accommodation for Farningham and its vicinity has been a subject of complaint."
1845, April 29: Taking Turnips Maidstone Journal
"William Treadwell pleaded guilty to the charge of damaging with intent to steal about 1 bushel of turnip tops, value 2 shillings, the property of James Russell esq, at Fawkham, and was fined 5? shillings and expenses, in all £1 3s, which was paid."
1845, May 17: Payment of Toll West Kent Guardian
Rochester Magistrates - "Leonard Hawley, waggoner, in the employ of Mr Styles, a farmer, appeared to answer a complaint made against him under the local act passed in the reign of Geo 4th for the regulation, repairing, and widening of the turnpike road from Rochester to Dartford, he having unlawfully claimed exemption form the payment of a toll for a certain cart drawn by one horse, on the 11th of April last, whereby he rendered himself liable to a penalty not exeeding £5. The defendant who was professional assisted by Mr Hilder of the firm of Matthews and Hilder of Gravesend, pleaded not guilty.
David Roger, the toll collector at Chalk gate, deposed that the defendant came to that gate on 11th April last, with a horse and cart from Gravesend way, for which witness demanded the regular toll of 6d. The defendant said the cart contained potatoes and they belonged to Styles and that his master had told him he was not to pay; witness told him to tell his master that he was not exempt, having narrow wheels to his cart of 3 inches. The defendant replied he had no money and could not pay and gave his name. Witness told him to tell his master that he was not entitled to exemption. By a magistrate - The defendant said they were potatoes going to his master's other farm at Higham. I am in the habit of charging toll to persons passing through the gate with agricultural produce.
Mr Hilder contended that his client was exempt frompaying under the General Turnpike Act the 32nd section of the 4th George IV cap 136, enacted that no toll should be taken or levied on any cart laden with corn, hay, straw or fodder or any other agricultural produce, which is not for sale, and although the 95th section of the same act, speaks of fodder and not potatoes, still potatoes come under the term of agricultural produce. Mr Hayward, clerk to the court, argued that fodder was not considered potatoes; as the act of Geo IV draws a distinction, consequently the act does not recognise fodder to be potatoes.
The Bench convicted the defendant in the penalty of 2s and costs 18s, observing that the court considered the defendant's conduct to have been an error of judgement and not with any attempt to defraud. Mr Hilder paid the money and the defendant was discharged."
1845, May 23: Church Appointments Evening Mail
Rev William Cresswell BA Magdalene College appointed curate of Fawkham [Newspaper John Bull of 25.3.1848 records death of his wife at the Rectory, Fawkham on 16th March. Bells Weekly Messenger of 3.4.1848 said the curacy was now vacant.]
1845, May 24: Southfleet Roads Again West Kent Guardian
"This was an adjourned case for a a plan of the road to be furnished by Mr W Hubbard, land surveyor, in order to enable the bench of magistrates to proceed in precise accordance with the provisions of the act of parliament. The surveyors again treated the court with contempt, not considering worth their while to attend. A Russell who attended for the plaintiff, said he applied for an order to widen the road, in addition to the order previously made to repair it, under 82nd section of the Highway Act. On a former occasion he stated that the length was 350 yards, but it appeared by the plan he put into court that it was 383 yards.
Captain Dyke said he had hoped that some arrangement would have been made between the land owner and the parish officers, and that a deviation of the orad would have been agreed to. Mr Russell regretted that such an arrangement was not arrived, liberal offers had been made actually to purchase the ground, which had not been accepted.
Captain Dyke wished to know whether the Southfleet parish officers had repaired the road, agreeably to the order of the magistrates. Mr Russell said they had not complied with the orders of the bench, and that the only men they had put on were aged and impotent, and these they had cruelty to reduce the wages 18d per week. The miserable dole they had previously received was only 7s 6d, and now they were paid by Mr Cronk 6s, who, when he paid the poor wretches, told them that the reduction had been made by the orders of the 'gentlemen of the parish'. The magistrates were surprised, as well they might be, at the contumacy of the Southfleeters, who it is evident don't care a dump for the orders of the bench. An order was made to widen the road."
[the South Eastern Gazette of 20.5.1845 reported that the court appointed surveyor Mr Coles of the Maidstone (Turnpike?) Trust said he could have done the work in a week for £60. The West Kent Guardian 12.7.1845 reported that the North Aylesford magistrates had made an order for compulsory purchase of Mr Brenchley's land to enable widening of the road, thus, according to the paper, achieving more in a day than the Dartford magistrates had done in 6 months.]
1845, May 29: Parliamentary Railway Committee Evening Standard
Report of Parliamentary Committee hearings on the proposed North Kent Railway (not the one that finally succeeded). "Mr Cruden of Gravesend, Chairman of the Star Steam Packet company, said the public opinion was divided on the subject, but he was of opinion, as an old inhabitant of the town, that a line of railway would be very beneficial to Gravesend. The number of passengers going to and from Gravesend was very large. In the year ending the 30th of September 1844, the number both was was 1,698,802. there would be about 300,000 conveye by the steamers from the intermediate places. He considered the line an excellent one, because it passed through the most important places on the route.... Mr Thomas Strong of Welling, auctioneer, said there are a considerable number of small villages in the neighbourhood, the traffic of which had been injured by the steam boats and the South Eastern Railway Company. The number of stagecoaches passing through Wellling was formerly 72, but now there are only 2. About 5,000 tons of garden produce are annually brought to the London market at an expense of 6 shillings or 7 shillings a ton. A railway would reduce the cost of conveyance.... Mr John Callow of Dartford, surveyor, said the population of that town was about 6,000. There were in the town large iron works, brass foundries, mills etc which would be accommodated by the projected line. The South Eastern Railway had operated very prejudicially to the town of Dartford..... Mr John Matthews of Gravesend, said the formation of a line from Gravesend would afford very great facilities for the conveyance of fish and other articles of a perishable nature....."
1845, June 21: Decline in Coaching West Kent Guardian
Dartford Magistrates. "Hodsoll v Overseers of Dartford. This was an appeal on the ground of incorrect rating against 2 poor rates for the parish of Dartford, the appellant being a coachmaker, whose business had dwindled to nothing since the opening of the South Eastern Railway, and whose shop and premises ae consequently of little value." Magistrates order a reduction in rateable value from £70 to £45.
1845, June 21: Drover's Cattle West Kent Guardian
Dartford Magistrates. "Frederick Langton, the well known drover of Rochester was summoned for driving cattle on the footpath at Dartford on the night of 26th May. Christopher Brandon, police constable, deposed that he was on duty in the High Street of Dartford, on the night of the 26th of May, and was told to go to East Hill by hte driver of Stanbury's van, as he had nearly met with an accident by cattle lying about. He accordingly went and found about 50 lying about, some in the road and some on the footpath. The defendant said he should be very sorry to cause any accident, but he could not prevent the beasts lying down as soon as they stopped to milk some of them, which they were obliged to do. After they had been standing so long at Smithfield this hot weather, they would lie down on every opportunity. He had been 34 years on the road and had driven many thousand head of stock, and was never complained of before. the magistrate dismissed the case, telling him to find a less dangerous place to stop at in future, which he said he would endeavour to do."
[We will meet PC Christopher Brandon again, as later he become Superintendent of Dartford]
1845, June 30: The Recent Robbery at Gravesend Post Office Morning Post
"During the whole of Friday and Saturday the most active inquiries were made to discover the parties who stole the mail bags from the Gravesend Post Office. From an investigation instituted on Saturday by the authorities of the Post Office, it appears that about 3 o'clock on Friday morning (the letter bags for Dartford, the Gravesend 'up' bag, and the Deptford strap bag, having been made up overnight) the man to whose care the bags were entrusted was aroused by the usual ring of the bell. Conceiving it to be the mail guard who had come for the bags, he pulled the wire in his bedroom and slipped the latch of the front door, and not doubting that all was right, he again composed himself to sleep. In a few minutes afterward, however, he was again aroused, when jumping up he saw the guard at the door waiting for admission. Upon going into the office, to his dismay he discovered that the bags were not to be found, the thief evidently, by his knowledge of the official practice, had thrown the officer off his guard, and stolen the mails. Immedieately upon informatino of the occurrence being brought to Mr Peacock, the solicitor ot the establishment, he dispatched one of his clerks with Peake the official constable, and Inspectors Shackell and Hughes of the Detective force, to make the necessary inquiries relative to the robbery. Peake watched the go carts and other locomotives on land, and the inspectors were on the look out on the piers and in the steamers. Up to Saturday night, however, nothing satisfactory could be gleaned of the depredators, nor have the bags or their contents been discovered. It is supposed that the burglars, having been defeated in the amount of booty they expected to realise, have destroyed the bags and torn up or burned the letters and newspapers. It is satisfactory for th epublic to know that the majority of the correspondence, so far as has been ascertained, is of but little value; the bags did not contain any hard cash, and but one £5 note and a few orders for the payment of pilots' commission on agents in London, application for wich would subject the parties applying to some inconvenience, the authorities having planted proper persons at each of the banking houses concerned to watch such applications. The bags that morning, it appears, were unusually light."
[The Shipping and Mercentile Gazette of 1.7.1845 contains an advert offering a reward of £50 for information leading to conviction of the thieves. Morning Post 16.5.1846 reported the appearence of John Farr before the Bow Street Magistrates, accused of trying to pass a £20 note from one of the letters at Sewell & Cross, drapers of Frith Street, Soho, one of 4 numbered notes from the Canterbury bank 742, 744, 745, 746. The Post Office said they had discontinued the practice of pulling a lever to open the door without seeing the caller.]
1845, July 12: Ojibwe Indians at Dartford West Kent Guardian
"On Thursday last, our little town was visited by the celebrated O-jib-way (sic) Indians, who went through their performances at the Town Hall, giving our town folks a taste of the strange customs and doings of the denizens of the 'far west' ."
[The Ojibwe tribe is based in both Canada and the US.]
1845, July 19: The Eternal Roman Road Dover Chronicle
Southfleet - "The Romans could little have imagined, whilst constructing this via vicinalis, under the direction of Aulus Plautius, the horrid bother it would cause to the Cantian Justices of the 19th century. Perhaps the blame ought partly to fall upon the Saxon King, Alfred, for taking, when he could have avoided it, the centre of the Roman roads as the division of parish boundaries. Be the cause where it may, the centre of the road to Sul Mago, or Springhead, in Southfleet parish, divides Northfleet from Southfleet, which two villages are in two different divisions of hte county. This road, from not having been repaired for many a long year, has fallen into a most deplorable condition; and, although originally substantially constructed by the Romans, it has sunk into decay for want of timely assistance. Springhead, as our readers well know, is now a place of great resort; and more than a hundred vehicles daily travel to its gardens. The proprietor has, therefore, felt it to be his duty to goad, by sundry applications to the Dartford Bench of Magistrates, the unwilling surveyors of Southfleet to 'mend their ways.' The same process he has now commenced with the Northfleet parochial authorities; and, agreeably to Act of Parliament, Captain Baker, Mr Nightingale esq, and other magistrates of the Aylesford division, examined the condition of the road on Saturday, July the 5th, 1845. Mr Silvester afterwards exhibited to them certain of the strawberries for which these delightful gardens are so justly celebrated. The fruit was duly criticised, and a verdict found 'that everybody ought to taste, and judge for themselves.'
We are enabled to present our readers with a list of the coins found during the last 5 years... and in the possession of Mr Silvester, July 1845."
Silver - (1st Century) Consular much worn (1); Augustus (1), Vespasian (3); (2nd Century) Trajan (1); Hadrian (1); Faustina the elder (1); Faustina the Younger (1); Severus (9); (3rd Century) Julia Mamaen, mother of Severus Alexander (1); Severus Alexander (2); Salonina (3); Valerian Junion (1); Postumus (5)
Large Brass - (1st Century) Domitian (1); (2nd Century) Hadrian (3); Sabina (1); Marcus Aurelius (4); Pius (3); Faustina the Elder (1); Faustina Junior (2); Commodus (1)
Middle Brass - (1st Century) Antonia (1); Agrippa (2); Claudius (2); Nero (3); Vespasian (12); Titus (1); Domitian (5); (2nd Century) Trajan (5); Hadrian (4), Pius (1); M Aurelius (1); Lucius Verus (1); Faustina the Elder (2); Lucilla (1); (3rd Century) Caracalla (1)
Small Brass (3rd Century) Gallienus (3); Victorinus (16); Marius (1); Tetrarchs (2); Claudius II (4); Carausius (3); Allectus (1); (4th Century) Constantine Family (63); Urbs Roma (11); Helena (3); Theodora (2); Valens (8); Valentinian (1); Gratian (2); also rude copies of Roman Coins struck in Britain (7), too worn (110), British Coins (2/3). ".....This collection... is utterly independent of those coins discovered and either sold or given away, during the last century. Dr Thorpe relates how quantities of relics were carried to Lincolnshire by the Rev W Landon, rector of Nursted and Ifield; how Mr Pedder and 'one Lane who kept a public house at Betsham' had great hoard 'of silver and copper coins'' of all which no traces can be found. When the ground was first broken up for cultivation in 181_, by Mr Bradbury, the heaps of remains found were sold either as old metal or to collectors. His successor Capt Harris, was no antiquary, and the coins then found were freely distributed. A brighter day has dawned for the preservation of thse relics of the Roman sway in England since Mr Silvester has occupied the land; and during the last fiew years, in addition to the beautiful fibulae, querns, pottery, rings etc ,the coins we hav enumerated have been discovered. It may be observed that these coins are a fair example of the general character of these discoverd in or about the site of Roman stations. They occur in about the same numerical ratio, and also preserve the common accepted rule of degrees of rarity. Thus the coins of Tetricus and the Constantine family are abundant; while there is only one specimen of Marius, a usurper in Gaul, whose coins are somewhat scarse. the earlier coins of the Springhead series are generally rubbed from circulation, previously to their being lost; while the later speciments are usually found better preserved. It will appear by the coins that the place was inhabited down to the termination of the Roman occupancy of Britain. They, however, throw no particular light on the early possession of the locality. This would be best ascertained by excavating those remains of the houses and buildings which are so extensively spread beneath the surface of the adjoining field, which it is to be hoped Mr Colyer will sanction and encourage the investigation of. Mr C intends, upon an early opportunity to open a beautiful barrow in a wood adjoining his mansion. It is much to be regretted tha tthe weather was so adverse upon a late occasion, when some tumuli were attempted to be examined in Stonepark Wood.
But little doubt exists in our minds that the city of Sul Mago was destroyed by fire by the Saxons, under either the Hengist (Stallion) standard, or the banner of the Hross, about the year 450. Teh action of fire is perceptible on heaps of the curiosities discovered; and we know from Thorpe (Text Roff) that great quantities of burnt wheat were dug up during the last century. It is now to be hoped that henceforth the treasures daily found will be preserved in a museum upon the spot, and that the barbarism of carrying the coins to all parts of the kingdom will no longer be perpetrated...."
1845, August 14: Destruction of Richardson's Theatre St James Chronicle
"On Monday night, shortly before 12 o'clock, the inhabitants of Dartford were thrown into some excitement by an alarm of fire. It was first stated that the church was in flames, and on looking in that direction an extensive fire was seen raging. On proceeding thither, however, it was soon known that Richardson's Theatre (which had been erected at the rear of the church) was on fire, and the flames spread with such rapidity that before any of the fire engines woulc be procured the whole theatre was in a blaze. The performance had fortunately concluded, and the audience left about 10 minutes before. The fire originated under the centre of the pit. Two of the waggons, in which some of the company slept, were saved, but the stage and all the theatrical property, with the booth, were destroyed. The loss is estimated at £1,200."
[Kentish Mercury 16.8.1845 reported that they were not insured; however the Morning Advertiser of 14.4.1846 report of the Greenwich Fair, said they were back, bigger and better than before.]
1845, August 26: The Harvest The Globe
"Yesterday was a glorious day for the farmers. In the corn fields in every direction the farm servants and others were actively employed in cutting and binding the produce which the wet had kept in an unripe state. The corn between Welling and Dartford was nearly all cut in the course of the day, and much carried away. Upon Crayford Hill, and the lands towards Bexley, the scene of industry was most interesting. There is now a better prospect than the farmers have enjoyed during some time. They are however, dissatisfield with the potato crops; although abundant in produce the quality is bad. They are rotten at the roots."
[This is presumably the same potato blight that would cause famine in Ireland at this time]
[The effect of the new railway to Dover can be seen, in 1837-38 the two gates were let for £3,040, West Kent Guardian 5.9.1846 advert says they were let for only £2,005 in 1845-46; SE Gazette 10.8.1847 said tolls were let for £2,015 in 1846-47.]
1845, August 30: The Road Nuisance Kentish Independent
"Agreeably to a summons, the Southfleet authorities appeared to show cause why they had not repaired and widened the road, according to an order of the magistrates some months since. The surveyors have, throughout the business, shown the greatest disinclination to comply with the magistrates' expressed wishes and have thrown every difficulty in the way..... At the beginning of the present year, Mr Silvester mae an application to the Dartford Bench... to compel the officers to repair and widen the road, which by the adjoining landowners, had been encroached upon in the lapse of ages from its original width of 60 feet, including the fosses; the carriage way he represent to be in a most dangerous position, on the one side, a yawning chasm of 60 feet deep; on the other, a lofty bank, and no path at all for pedestrians. The magistrates directed a surveyor to examine and report; he did so, and offered to do the repairs effectively in a week. The magistrates ordered the road to be repaired, and since that time, 6 months have elapsed, and the work is not done.
Messrs Wells and Cronk, the surveyors of Southfleet, represented that Mr Silvester ought to be satisfied with what they had done. The reason they had not quite completed the work was, because the northfleet surveyors would not give them any mould [topsoil]. Catain Dyke did not think mould was a good thing to repair a road with. Mr Alfred Russell, solicitor for Mr Sylvester, said the first heavy rain would cause the road to sink and be full of holes. Mr Wells considered, in fact, that the road was now in a very good state. The Rev Mr Ronouard was surprised at the remark of the surveyor; he himself noticed the road a few days previously, an there was worse than nothing doen; it did not want mould, it wanted planking and piling. Nay, he must observe, that till within a short time, the roads in Southfleet were the worst in the county. Mr Wells though the road in Swanscombe were quite as bad.
The magistrates unanimously fined the contumacious authorities £5 each and costs, and hoped they would not have occasion to inflict further penalties, because they were determined, they said, to have the road put into substantial repair."
[The paper points out that the reference to Swanscombe is a dig at Rev Renouard who was Rector of Swanscombe. West Kent Guardian 1.11.1845 reported on a settlement between Mr Russell and the surveyors of Southfleet.]
1845, September 16: Obituary of Mrs Bensted South Eastern Gazette
Family Notices - deaths: "On the 11th inst, at Hartley Cottage [Now called Hartley House, Ash Road], Mrs Bensted, in the 86th year of her age. Her loss will be long and sincerely lamented by her family and a large circle of friends, and by the poorer clases, who have been bereaved of a kind and generous benefactress."
1845, September 27: Farningham Racecourse West Kent Guardian
"The programme of these celebrated Races has at length been published and we can safely say that the promise of good sport is as great as ever it was. We know of no raceground in the country possessing such rural and interesting attractions. From Dartford the road lies through plantations, fields of raspberry trees, hop gardens etc etc."
1846, January 31: Sale of Advowson of Fawkham Kentish Independent
"For sale, by private contract, the next presentation, and thereafter the alternate presentation to the Rectory of Fawkham, about 5 miles from Dartford, in the county of Kent. Under the Commutation Act the tithes are commuted at £265 per annum; and there is a rectory house with garden attached, containing about an acre, being the glebe belonging to the Living; within the last 14 years the house has been considerably enlarged and is now in good repair. A debt of £170 or thereabouts, now remain due to the Commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty charged on the Rectory with interest at 2½ per cent, which is being discharged by annual payments. The age of the present incumbent is 46. For further particulars, apply to Joseph Cuff esq, solicitor, St Augustine's Parade, Bristol, or Messrs Tilson and Squance, 29 Colman Street, London."
1846, March 26: J & E Halls and the Proposed Railway The Sun
The Parliamentary Committee hearing on the proposed North Kent Railway (not the final chosen scheme) heard objections to the route from J & E Halls of Dartford, ironmongers and machinists, because it would run through their works. Counsel for the railway said the claims were "moonshine" and that a viaduct would not harm the works. The witnesses describe the business:
"Mr Cornelius Day a draughtsman employed by Messrs Hall, stated that he had been employed 22 years in the factory. The new foundry was built in 1825. The works have been continually incrasing since he has been there..... Messrs Hall employ from 150 to 200 men....Mr Hawter stated that he was an iron founder, and hass been in the business 40 years. Had known Messrs Hall's premises 45 years. They have gone on increasing for that period...... Mr Callow [employee of South Eastern Railway] also proved the injury the line would be to the foundry. The factory is beneficial to Dartford, as it employs a great number of hands. The feeling of the inhabitants of Dartford is against the proposed line.
[When the hearing moved onto the South Eastern Railway proposals, Mr Edward Hall appeared to support SER, saying "they were obliged to send workmen by spring cart to London", Mr J Tasker, brewer of Dartford also spoken in support, Kentish Gazette 28.7.1846]
1846, June 16: Kentish Ragstone Wanted South Eastern Gazette
"Notice is hereby given that the trustees of the road from Dartford to Strood, in Kent, will, at a meeting to be held at the New Inn, Gravesend on Wednesday the 8th of July next at 12 o'clock at noon, receive tenders for supplying 600 cubic yards of Kentish Good Rock Stone free from hassock and broken to a size to pass through a ring two inches in diameter, to be delivered at such times and places on the road, and in such quantities, as the surveyor shall direct. The contractor not to be entitled to payment unless the stone is approved by the surveyor. Essell & Hawyard, clerks to the trustees, The Precinct, Rochester, 9th June, 1846."
1846, August 3: Damage Done in Kent by the Storm on Saturday Morning Advertiser
"Throughout the county of Kent the damage arising from the terrific storm of thunder and lightning was very extensive. Yesterday the following facts were gleaned with reference thereto:- The body of clouds charged with electric fluid, after passing over the metropolis and the portion of Surrey nearest the west end of London, slowly travelled into Kent. Passing Woolwich about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, its violence was manifested at Plumstead......Three horses, travelling on the road towards Dartford Fair were struck blind, and some trifling damaged was done to the cropping standing in sheaves, from the effect of hail and rain. At Erith, Crayford and Dartford the storm was very severe..... In Bromley and the immediate neighbourhood, very much damage has been done to the several nurseries by the hail, several thousands of panes of glass being demolished. One of the hailstones, or rather pieces of ice, which fell at the latter place, when measured was found to be of an angular shape, and upwards of 3 inches in circumference....."
1846, August 8: Ancient Hostelries of England Kentish Independent
Archaeological Association Congress - "Mr Godwin, one of the honourable secretaries of the Art Union, read a paper upon the Ancient Hostels of England… the paper was by the veteran antiquary John Britton.... Mr Britton in his paper, alluded to the Hostels in Kent, upon the route to good St Thomas's shrine, at the metropolitical city of Canterbury as celebrated by Chaucer. At Dartford, many are still existing, the houses occupied by Kither, the gunsmith, and Fisher the pastrycook, being two of these celebrated hostels....."
1846, August 15: White's Circus Kentish Independent
Gravesend - "On Monday last, Mr White, with his beautiful stud and clever company, entered the town and pitched his ten in a field at the top of New Road, where in the course of the day he was visited by about 700 spectators, by whom the equestrian performances were much appreciated. The exhibition of the trained lions and leopards also excited much attention. On Tuesday morning the establishment departed for Dartford and Cranbrook, at which latter place they will be on Monday next."
1846, August 23: Theatrical Show at Dartford Lloyds Weekly Newspaper
"Messrs Johnson and Nelson Lee have been open some time now at Dartford, where they have erected their theatre. The production of Mr W Rogers's drama of Miranda, adapted from the successful tale of that name published in Lloyd's Miscellany has been the most successful thing produced, and drawn excellent houses."
1846, September 9: Farming Review Shipping and Mercentile Gazette
"Our Dartford correspondent says - The last turnips are coming up very nicely, and at present look well, but the farmers being to complain of want of rain, it being so hot in the middle of the day as to render the ground very dry. Potatoes in this district are going off very rapidly, some pieces towards the Crays and Shooter's Hill which in a fortnight since were looking well, are now very much affected, as are also those at Swanley and Crockenhill, where there are a great many grown."
1846, October 24: Farningham Cattle Fair Canterbury Journal
"The autumn stock fair was held on the 15th inst. Several droves of Welsh cattle were brought in and sold at £10 and £12 a head. Milch cows made prices from 14 to 16 guineas each, and heiffers from £9 to £12. Fat beasts rules at 4s 6d per stone. There was an exceedingly good show of horses, and young cart horses, adapted to farming purposes, made from 24 to 30 guineas each; and many well shaped and strong cart horses were selected from London Brewers and coal merchants' use, at prices as high as 40 and 45 guineas. Good nags fetched from 18 to 25 guineas. Cart colts, for which this fair is much celebrated, were in great request, and were brought up by dealers at 17, 25 and 30 guineas each. Yearlings sold from £10 to £15 each. Large bacon hogs sold at 4s per stone, and store pigs varied in prices from 18s to 27s a head. Some bright samples of hops were offered, but purchasers seemed shy and but little business was effected."
1846, December 5: Lament for Old Dartford Kentish Independent
"Some 40 years ago, when steam boats and railroads were wrapped up in the swaddling clothes of infancy, or we should rather say before those mighty gods were born, upwards of 70 stage coaches rattled daily through this town. The journey to London was then something like a journey, not a mere step across the way as it is now, but a sensible worth talking about 12 hours' trip; and folks, considering the perils they might encounter by the road, used to make their last wills and testaments previous to starting. O! those wer jolly, palmy, times indeed; life, activity, and universal content, spread a halo of happiness over the place, and trade was joyously brisk in these good old times, and every shop keeper looked sleek and self satisfied. In fact, tradition does hint that Dartford then fell very little short of paradise in guilelessness and felicity. There were then no petty jealousies, no party bickerings, no religious squabblings or hypocritical jobbings, to disturb the serenity or disgrace the character of the pious but enterprising inhabitants. In intellectuality, too, these ancestral Dartfordians were vigorous and original. There was a lustre about all they did, and its brilliancy was felt and acknowledged for many miles around. Dartford was, in those blessed bygone days, the focus of Kentish refinement, the very pith and marrow of commercial prosperity. But alas! alas! what is it in 1846? Our bosom heaves bursting sighs when we think of the change. Our very pen, steel though it be, throbs with anguish as it alludes to the oppressive truth. Dartford, as well as Scotland, certainly 'stands where it did,' but could it sit for its picture now, the portrait would differ as much from the one slightly sketched above, as an incarnation of deformity would from an embodiement of beauty. Poor afflicted spot, what is it now but a vast sarcophagus peopled with animated corpses? The 70 coaches melted down in the fire of adversity, have left a residuum of one melancholy vehicle, whose diurnal rumble is as cheerful as the heavy roll of the dead cart during the plague. An ad libitum omnibus of two to be sure there is, running at intervals to the river Thames and back, but that only when the horses and driver want a little recreation. The omnibuses are an innovation, and the people havve not yet learnt to relish it, for intellect here cam to a halt some years since, and it has not yet been prevailed upon to 'quick march' with the onward movement of the age. The strong proof of this is the late lamented death of the Mechanics' Institution, cut off in its prime by a decline - a wasting away of all its members - though we imaging the proper verdict would be 'died of wilful starvation.' However, peace to its ashes! We fear not those of a phoenix. Another innovation marking the degeneracy of this town - tomb we mean - is the introduction of policemen; these we suppose are the blue devils of the supulchre, or perhaps the blow flies who invariably fatten on corruption. The goodly Methodists too, how they are changed! Once humble, modest, and unpretending, well contented to worship in an obscure chapel in a dirty lane, they now have erected in a come-and-stare-at-me-well position an affair - a something that looks like the offspring of a diseased cathedral brought to bed before its time, and delivered by a clumsy midwife. The Church, venerable old edifice, has not even escaped the ravages of interfering folly; some perturbed spirits have plastered a patchwork porch over a side door, and now the building looks like a great donkey with one ear, and that not his own. Naughty people say it is entirely the present vicar's taste, but we won't believe it. Nor will we believe that he gave orders to strip the ivy from teh external wall of his church - he never would have been such a barbarian as that. Whoever did it, though, deserves to be skinned alive on a frosty day. And now, Dartfordians, we wish you adieu for the present - au revoir."
[I really couldn't make up my mind whether they are being serious or ironic, however a letter in reply to the paper on 26 December 1846 certainly assumed they were being serious.]
Re: Hodsoll, South Ash (West Kent Guardian 26.12.1846)
Bankruptcy Court "This was the first meeting for the choice of assignees and proof of debts, under the bankruptcy of William Hodsoll of South Ash, farmer, and letter out for hire of an agriculutral threshing machine, with horses thereto. After the admission of several proofs, Mr Henry Butler of Fenchurch Street, Wine Merchant, a creditor for £231 5s was chosen assignee, and having accepted the trust, the proceedings adjourned to the 22nd of January.
Re Hodsoll, South Ash (Canterbury Journal 30.1.1847)
Bankruptcy Court "This was a meeting [to pass a balance sheet] of William Hodsoll.... Credits [Creditors I think] £9,958 11s 11d. Debts - good £18 8s 9d, doubtful £575 18s 10d; property £1,082 13s 9d; Property in hands of creditors £378. The Bankrupt having passed his examination, the audit was fixed for the 25th of March."
[It seems his debts were over 5 times his assets, 'doubtful' debts owed to him were unlikely to be realised. Later in the year an initial dividend of 10d in the pound was granted]
Mary Lines, landlady of a public house at Longfield, appeared to answer the complaint of Emma Wharton, daughter of ____ Wharton, beer house keeper of the same place. Emma Wharton, being sworn, deposed: On Christmas Day last a few minutes past 11 o'clock in the morning, I heard a noise in our house, and went out of the washhouse where I was, and saw Mrs Lines and my mother in the passage, scuffling. I went to assist my mother, whose neck Mrs Lines had made bleed. I took hold of my mother's arms and Mrs Lines hit me twice in the face and pulled my nose. She also made my mouth bleed besides tearing my cap off with some of my hair. The witness exhibited the cap, which bore the usual marks of a woman's combat. By Mr Russell: My father keeps a beer shop. Mr Lines keeps a public house. Our front door was shut. Mrs Lines came in the backdoor, which was open. There is a path from the road to the back door. There were some persons in the tap room. I hit Mrs Lines twice. We had a struggle. I did not see a spade used. Mary Wharton, the mother of the last witness, deposed: On Christmas Day, a little after 11, Mrs Lines cem to our back door and wanted to see who was in the tap room. She pushed herself in and my husband told her to go out, but she said she would not. He took hold of her to put her out, when she flew at him, and I went to take his part. She began to hit me as well, and 'tore my neck open'. My daughter came to assist me, when Mrs Lines 'pushed into her' and 'took hold of her nose and made her teeth bleed'. By Mr Russell: I did not see my daughter hit Mrs Lines first. She tore my neck and made it bleed with her finger nails. Another witness corroborated the above, adn added, after Mrs Lines had hit Emma Wharton, he saw Mrs Wharton take up a shovel and he took it away from her, and helped to get Mrs Lines out of the house - Fined 20 shillings and costs 14 shillings.
Edmund Longhurst was charged with poaching on the lands of H Beaumont, at Hartley. Edwin Cooper deposed: I am keeper to Mr Beaumont. On Sunday, the 3rd instant, I went with my brother to watch 3 wires I had found on the 2nd; about 8 o'clock defendant came to one of them, he went up to it and took hold of the string and put it down directly and went awy; there is no footpath near. By Longhurst: I did not see you set it nor take it up, you touched the string and went away directly. Fined 10 shillings and costs, which defendant said he could not pay, as he was out of work - Committed to Maidstone for one month."
[No landowner at Hartley called H Beaumont at the time; the paper says the defendant is Edmund but the census would suggest that he was really Edward Longhurst]
1847, January 23: Closure of Dartford Mechanics' Institution Kentish Independent
"Last week we omitted to pay our respects to our friends in Dartford. We hope they did not feel their delicate souls wounded by the apparent slight. The neglect was not occasioned by any lack of matter to descant upon, for wherever stupidity and folly flourish in cultivated luxuriance, no writer need seek far for a text; nor did it arise from teh faintest suspicion that the valuable hints we have for some time past taken the trouble to offer the Dartfordians had been productive of good, and that our labours might, therefore, be henceforth dispensed with, for scripture literature informs us that certain animals are incapable o f appreciating jewelery, and, consequently, we have ver little hope that advice will ever be thankfully received and acted upon by the dwellers in this dark and dismal town. We have once before made an allusion to the Mechanics' Institution that was established here about 3 years and a half ago. The dissolution of this society has always been a source of the deepest regret to us, and is destined to be an eternal stigma, an everlasting disgrace, upon those who ought to have supported it, and use devery effort to extend the advantages it was calculated to afford. It is an imputation upon the intelligence of a town to say that it i s unable to maintain a literary socity for the purposes of mutual instruction and general improvement. Dartford possesses upwards of 5,000 inhabitants, and yet out of so great a number, sufficient cannot be found to keep on foot any institution requiring the least illectual energy or public spirit. At one period of its existence, it was making, as we then thought, quick strides - it seemed to be going ahead, lecturers were sent fro from London, discussions were carried on, and evry week added several new members to its body; but this prosperity was very transcient, and it as rapidly declined. In the space of a month it expired leaving such an amount of debt behind it, that we understand the landlord, of whom the room was rented, has seized what few rattle traps he could lay hands on as a small indemnification for the loss of the money due to him. The present vicar of the parish does not approve of Mechanics' Institutions because it is not usual to propagate 'Athanasian Nonsense' therein, without which, in his enlightened judgement, nothing can succeed or be beneficial to mankind. Consequently he did not honour the one at Dartford with his patronage, and this, perhaps, had some effect on it; that paltry servility to worldly station which is never absent from contracted minds existing strongly in the hearts; nay it seems to be inherent in the nature of the people of this town. The Dartfordians are parson ridden; they bend before the black gown and academical cap (that mystery of mysteries!); they are ready to do any mean, dirty and contemptable act their shepherd may demand. HE thinks mental improvement a dangerous thing unless based on the church catechism, and so THEY say, 'so do we, or at all events we will act as if we did, and therefore, down must come this infidel Mechanics' Institution.' O tempora! O mores!"
1847, March 9: Vandalism at Fawkham Maidstone Journal
"Fawkham - A short time since C R Smith esq, brought before the members of the British Archaeological Association, at their public meeting in Sackville Street, an act of vandalism, which he had been informed had been perpetrated at Fawkham, in this county during the past winter. A J Dunkin esq followed upon the same subject, and observed that it was too true the ruins of the ancient manor house, an engraving of which would be found in Thorpe's Custumale Roffense, had been finally pulled down during the winter of 1846-7, by a man named John Longhurst, who rented the field in which they stood of the Selbys of the Mote, Ightham, and it had been stated without the knowledge and consequently the permission of the owner. The flints and stones of whih it had been composed were sold at the rate of 9d per load to Richard Austen of Greenhithe, to ment the Dover road between Ingress Park Swanscombe and Galley Hall, in the same parish. 2 or 3 silver coins of the Edwards had been met with, which had been sent to London for sale. It was much to be regretted tha the clergyman of the parish had not taken some steps to preserve the ruins, which were exceedingly picturesque. But unfortunately there was an utilitarian spirit in the parish which had actually regarded the vandal act as exceedingly meritorious, from the sale of the materials having given bread and cheese to a man and family. He hoped as here were some fine specimens of painted glass still in the windows of the church, a more conservative feeling would be created for these memorials of piety of our medieval ancestors. Mr Dunkin thenn promised to obtain further particulars to lay before the association at an early period, and it was finally resolved that a party of archaeologists should be formed to visit the church and examine the glass and edifice. One of the brasses in the chancel of the church was inscribed in Roman Capitals -
"Here lyeth interred Richard Meredyth
Esquire clerk of the Catrye, unto Queen
Elizabeth and unto King James, who de-
eased the 5th of June 1607 leaving behind
him Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Hum-
phrey Michell esquire adn 4 sons
Humfrey, Richard, Edmond & John' "
[This refers to the remains of the old manor house of Fawkham, which was in the field by the church.]
1847, March 16: Vandalism at Fawkham - Rector Speaks Maidstone Journal
"Sirs, A paragraph having appeared in your last journal respecting the destruction of a small ruin in the parish of Fawkham, and regretting that the clergyman of the parish had not taken some steps to preserve it. I beg to state, as rector of Fawkham, that not being now resident there, I was not at all aware that such a proceeding was even contemplated, and was much surprised and annoyed, on passing the spot accidently, to find the work of destruction was nearly completed. I immediately called on the person occupying teh land, but was told that it was done with the full knowledge and consent of the proprietor. I felt therefore that I had no further right to interfere, though much regretting that such permission should have been given.
I beg to add taht I have been always intereset in the preservation of the ruin, and when it came to my knowledge some few years ago, that a similar proceeding was contemplated by the father of the present tenant, I wrote to Mr Selby of Ightham Mote, then the proprietor, and succeeded in rescuing it from destruction; and had I been aware of the intended destruction I should certainly have taken the liberty of interceding with the present proprietor.
I beg to assure the members of the British Archaeological Association that I fully participate in their praiseworthy anxiety for the preservation of any memorials of the piety of our ancestors which still exist i the parish.
I am, sir, your obedient servant, P Salwey, Ash Rectory."
1847, March 27: The Railway and Dartford Kentish Independent
"The railroad, which is to come through this dismal nursery of intellectual darkness, has been commenced in several places on the prescribed line, and before the expiration of 2 years from this time will, no doubt, be completed. According to the philosophical calculations of many individuals who vegetate in Dartfordian atmosphere, the sun that rises on the opening of this railway will witness the close of Dartfordian prosperity - will see its eyes bunged up forever. The first cloud of smoke from a locomotive in sight of the town is to effect an eternal obscuration of its glory - the first sound from the shrill engine whistle is to be followed by a scene of desolation and misery - such a scene as shall overwhelm the descriptive talents of future historians, and make the very ink in their pens congeal with horror. Poverty, an dits long luggage train of sorrows, is to take up its station here the moment a railway train of cockney passengers is seen whizzing through the place; the health, happiness and convenience of Londoners can only be purchased at the expense of Dartfordian oppression. Sad prospect! Fearful predictions! Man's life is indeed worse than a vapour, if a whole town is to be starved to death on account of a little steam. The inhabitants must have a particularly good opinion of their own energies and abilities, if they tremble at the approach of half a dozen stokers and a few eingineers; but let us see bby what process of reasoning these philosophers arrive at such shocking conclusions. Why, they say this - 'A railroad will pass through Dartford, consequently nobody will lay out a penny at our shops, as everyone will fly up to London to purchase everything, consequently the Dartford trade must be ruined, and, consequently we, the wretched victims of modern restlessness, must die of famine.' Again, they argue in this fashion - a fashion slightly at loggerheads (but that's natural) with the other process - they say, 'a new street will be built; 60 or 70 new shops will be opened by 60 or 70 strange tradesmen, who will monopolise the entire trade of the town, and we, the aborigines, shall thus be robbed of our vested rights, and ultimately reduced to beggary.' Again they say Dartford has no attractions to tempt people to come and reside in it (forgetting the aforesaid invasion of shopkeepers), and even of those who are now living here, many will take wing directly a noisy railroad is set at work close to their ears, and under their noses with its offensive smells; in short, in whatever light they view it, nothing is visible but destitution and woe. Poor silly souls! If they are not careful they will fret themselves as thin as threadpaper long before the dreaded line is finished; but their fortitude is quite equal to their wisdom. Now, it may be significant of uncommon stupidity on our part that we are unable to perceive the soundness of that reasoning which deduces a necessary diminution of the means of existence, from increased capabilities of locomotion. There seems to us to be about as little connection between the two as there is between the length of the Pope's nose and the height of the Nelson Column, and until the light enters our brain in a similar manner to that in which it finds its way through the very pellucid skulls of some sages, we must be patient under our stupidity. Unluckily, the arguments of the anti-railroad party cut one another's throats, and the confusion of this logical civil war tends greatly to mysify our conceptions of their respective merits. One oracle tells us Dartford will be deserted; another that half a hundred additional shops will be opened in the grand street that is to be formed from the station to the town; another that all the trade will be transferred to London, and another that it will go into this new street. One foretells the decline and fall of Dartford, on the ground that nobody will reside there, and another that fresh comers will shove the old inhabitants to the wall. If any mortal can make these reasons shake hands, he ought to have a statue for his ingenuity. There remains, however, one ofther insolvable puzzle to notice. A Dartfordian told us a short time ago that trade in his town was in a sad state - that it could not possibly be worse; but when we ventured to hint at the railroad now in progress, dismay settled in his countenance directly vox faucibus haesit - but he continued to articulate something in denunciation of the project, giving, as a reason, the certain ruin of all trade! This was poser to our unsophisticated comprehension, and we began to consider how it was possible to knock a thing down after it had fallen so low as the earth would permit. Profound is the philosophy of Dartford - it ought to be the seat of a university for the sole purpose of instructing the nation in political economy and dialectics. We would be among the first to enrol our name as a member."
1847, March 30: Vandalism at Fawkham - Owner Speaks Maidstone Journal
"Sir, Since my arrival at this place on Tuesday last from my residence in Northumberland, my attention has been directed to a letter which appeared in the Maidstone Journal of the 16th ultimo, from the Rev P Salwey, Rector of the parish of Fawkham, relative to the destruction of an ancient ruin within the precincts of that parish, by the occupier of he ground upon which it stood. In that connectio Mr Salwey states that on passing the spot accidentally, he found the work of destruction nearly completed, and upon calling upon the occupier of the land was informed by him that it was done with the full knowledge and consent of the proprietor.
Now being the proprietor of the piece of ground in question and anxious to free myself fro the odium to which my consent to such an act of vandalism would justly subject me, I beg to inform the public and more especially the antiquarian and archaeologist through the medium of your journal, that the tenant in making such an assertion offered a most deliberate and impudent falsehood. No permission indeed could have been granted, as no application for such a purpose has ever been made by the tenant since I came into possession of the property.
Noone, I assure you, can more sincerly regret the destruction of so venerable a relic than myself, and it was with a feeling of the deepest indignation I heard of the lawless and unjustifiable conduct of this person on my arrival from the north. I have also greatly to regret that Mr Salwey had not been [....] made aware of the intended demolition of these interesting remains, [.....] communication from him, either addressed to myself, or my daughter Mrs [.....] residing at Ightham Mote would have sufficed to prevent this lawless [.......] I may be allowed to add as a further excuse for the ignorance in which I remained as to the [......] of the latter, that the piece of ground upon which the ruin stood and rented by him, is the only property I possess in the parish of Fawkham, and that it is at a distance of 12 or 14 miles from Ightham Mote.......
I am sir, your obedient servant, PJ Selby, Ightham Mote"
1847, May 18: Nesbit's Chemical Manures South Eastern Gazette
"Nesbit's super phosphate of lime, and turnip, hop, wheat and other manures are now ready, and may be had of the following agents…. Dartford - Gurnell & Co…. A pamphlet, by Mr J C Nesbit FGS, on the qualities and values of different manures, may be had from any of the agents."
[As well as being a noted agricultural chemist, John Collis Nesbit (1818-62) was father of the famous authress Edith Nesbit]
1847, May 23: Closure of Omnibus Weekly Dispatch
"To be sold by auction by Mr Dixon at the Repository, Barbican on Friday, May 21, 1847 at 12 o'clock. !0 firm useful and good sized omnibus horses, with their harness, cloths, head stalls etc, the genuine property of Mr N Elmes, Coachmaster, Dartford, which have been working the Dartford omnibus from Dartford to the Post Office, London. Sold in consequence of entirely discontinuing the omnibus business..."
1847, June 8: Fire at Fawkham Maidstone Journal
"About 12 o'clock on the night of Saturday last an alarming and extensive fire occurred at Fawkham Bottom, the house of Mr Bristow, grocer etc, who had not long retired to rest before he was awoke by the cry of fire, at which time it was raging so fast that he had to make his escape by an upper window and was caught by some men below or he would no doubt have been injured by falling into the road. The house and shop with a quantity of goods were consumed, and the origin of the fire has not yet been ascertained."
Another report is in the South Eastern Gazette of 8.6.1847:
"Destructive Fire - On Saturday night, the 20th ult, at about 11 o'clock, a fire broke out in the house of Mr Bristow, grocer etc at Fawkham. The engine from Dartford was sent for, but there not being any water near it was entirely useless, and the whol of the premises were destroyed. Mr Bristow was insured.
On Monday, the 31st, William Colyer was brought before the Rev G C Renouard, at Swanscombe, by Thomas Young, constable of Fawkham, charged with stealing 4 pairs of boots from the shop of Mr Bristow, whilst on fire. William A Webster stated he was an assistant to Mr Bristow, that he saw the prisoner Colyer leaving Mr Bristow's premises with the boots in his possession, and he gave them into custody of Young, the constable - Committed for trial."
1847, June 8: Local News in Brief South Eastern Gazette
(1) East Surrey Agricultural Show held at Duppas Hill, Croydon. "A piece of plate, value 5 guineas, to the owner of the best cart stallion - Mr W Treadwell of Hartley, Kent."
(2) Cross Channel Traffic: In the week ending 5 June, Folkestone saw 441 passengers, 5 carriages and 5 horses arrive and 491 passengers, 3 carriages and 4 horses depart for the continent.
[Paper of 27.2.1849 said in the week ending 24.2.1849 Folkestone had 269 passengers from and 201 going to Boulogne, and 69 passengers from and 15 going to Calais. The Boulogne boat also brought 32 boxes of continental mail]
1847, June 19: Railway Works West Kent Guardian
"The railroad works are rapidly progressing in the parish of Dartford. The permanent rails were laid last week on the viaduct crossing the Cray marshes. Many bones of the megatherium and pterodactyle, as well as portions of icthyosauri and others of the Laurian family, have been disepelated during the excavations. We believe that Mr Locke, the engineer of the company, has taken care of all the reliquae."
1847, July 3: Gravesend - Novel Cricket Match Kentish Independent
"Gravesend - Novel Cricket Match - On Tuesday last, the first cricket match between females it was ever our lot to witness, came off in the cricket field at the Bat and Ball, and attracted numerous spectators. The ladies were selected one side from Longfield, Hartley and Meopham, the other from Singlewell. The game was called cricket, but was really a modification, the wickets about 4 feet high, had a round piece of board at the top, a foot or more in diameter, which it was necessary for the ball to strike to bowl a player out. The bats were battledores, and the ball a light one. The women batted with great spirit and energy, and the fielding was as may be imagined capital fun. The match was not played out, but at a late hour when the wickets were drawn, the Shinglewell dames had the advantage in the first innings, by some 20 runs. A band was on the ground and some dances on the grass were got up in the course of the afternoon. In the evening the cricketers and their friends took tea together, and a day of exuberant fun, merriment, and good humour, wound up with a dance in the pavilion, which was kept up with great spirit."
[There is only one reference I know, of Hartley having a men's cricket team earlier than this. Alas no names of the players are given. The article refers to the height of the stumps in this match being 48 inches, under the 1829 laws of the game, the normal height would be 27 inches. Battledores were early badminton racquets.]
1847, July 20: Maidstone to Dartford Deliveries South Eastern Gazette
"Stephen William Green, Newsman of the Gazette Office, Maidstone. Having succeeded the late John Luckhurst, begs to inform the public that he leaves Maidstone every Tuesday morning at about 4.30 for Dartford, with a horse and van for the conveyance of parcels etc, and that he calls at the Royal George, Rochester; Angel and Bull, Strood; Crown, Shorne; the Old Beefsteak House; New Inn, Gravesend; and Bull and George, Dartford; and that any orders with which he may be favoured will be punctually attended to. White Horse, Wyatt Street, Maidstone. 9th July 1847." [As the paper was published on Tuesdays, presumably this was the main reason for his weekly journey to Dartford]#
1847, August 3: Dartford Fair The Sun
"Yesterday, according to ancient custom, on the 2nd of August Dartford Fair was held with much spirit. This is a rural fete, which generally attracts all the gay lads and lasses in the surrounding Kentish districts. The fair is well arranged with shows, and various stalls for the sale of toys. Mary parties drove down from London, and partook of the good things which the innkeepers and others prepared for the occasion. Since the coaches were taken off the road the inhabitants have taken more interest in the fair, in the hope of making it compensate in some measure for the want of prosperity they once enjoyed. There is much to be seen in the neighbourhood of Dartford whch will repay the London visitor for his journey. The historical memorabilia connected with the town are curious. The first paper mill in England was erected on the river Darent, in the reign of Charles the First. Also the first mill for making iron wire. The insurrection of Wat Tyler began in this town, and it is celebrated for the remains of a nunnery founded by Edward the Third. At Darent [Darenth] Church we find a specimen of Norman architecture. On the front is carved the amusing hisotry of St Dunstan in eight compartments. Satan under the similitude of a dragon, is illustrative of the Saint's conflicts ith the enemy of man etc etc. The church on the hill, with two churchyards is a remarkable object. In consequence of the beautiful scenery of the season, being in the richest displacy, Dartford Fair was never more agreeable."
1847, August 7: Fossil Shells Canterbury Journal
"In the excavations making for the railway in the neighbourhood of Dartford, the men on Friday came to various petrifactions of shells and the harder species of wood. A shell, of spiral form, said to be the nautilus attracted the attention of the curious. It was found in strata of chalk deposited in the way of merastation. Being of the larger class found in the African and Indian Oceans, the wonder is how it found its way into the soil of Kent. The changes these shells had undergone led to the conclusion othat the sea must have once covered the parts about Dartford etc."
1847, October 9: Dartford County Court Canterbury Journal
"At the last sitting of Dartford County Court, the judge non-suited a tallyman [Hire purchase collector] who summoned a labouring man for the value of two dresses, 16s 3d, furnished his wife; on the ground that they were unbecoming the station of the woman and not necessaries."
1847, October 30: Dartford Farmers Club Kentish Independent
"On Saturday last, the closing meeting for this season of the Dartford Farmers' Club, was held at the Bull Inn, Dartford, when A Peede esq, surgeon of that town, favoured the agriculturalists and members present with an interesting lecture upon 'The Chemistry of the Atmosphere, in its relations to Agriculture.' S Love esq of Shoreham Castle, in the chair. Owing to the stormy evening, but few farmers, compared with the usual members were present......[Summary of lecture follows]..... We are happy to hear that this society is in the most flourishing condition, which, by the by, is a most remarkable thing for Dartford, as almost every other institution, Cricket Club etc is in a hopeless state of insolvency."
Sir, your paper being the acknowledged organ of the working millions, we beg to lay before them, through your columns, our quarter's balance sheet for the 13 weeks we have been on strike, ending October 30th; also our present position.......[Details of the strike by the 42 men with appeal for continued support for their families]
Receipts of the London Block Printers' Society: Cordwainers of Dartford (£2), Engineers of Dartford (£5 and 14s 6d), Moulders of Dartford (10 shillings), Benefit given by Messrs Nelson and Lee at Dartford (£7 4s 10d), Mr Pascall pipemaker of Dartford (5 shillings), Mr Applegarth's works Dartford (6s 6d), The Darenth Paper Mills Darenth (17s 6d and 10s 6d), total £300 18s 0d. Paid to men on strike £231 11s 6d, paid for printing, meeetings, delegation etc £69 6s 6d. Total £300 18s 0d......"
1848, January 11: Petition against Hop Duty Kentish Gazette
"To the hop growers of the county of kent. We the undersigned hop growers, respectfully request the attendance of the hop growers generally of hte county of Kent, at the Star Inn, Maidstone, on Thursday January 13th 1848, to consider the propriety of petitioning Parliament for the repeal of excise duty on home grown hops."
(25 signatures, including W Bensted - Hartley, W W & J Armstrong - Southfleet, Edward Collier - Southfleet)
[The question of hop duty came up regularly in Parliament at this time. It was finally abolished in 1862.]
1848, April 1: Longfield Poor Rate Kentish Independent
Dartford Magistrates. "Mr Wharton of Longfield appeared to appeal against a poor's rate for the parish of Longfield, because it did not contain the names of two of his tenants. In the course of the discussion which ensued, it appeared the appellant had built a house in the parish, which he wants to open as a beer shop, but cannot get the necessary signatures to his certificate, and had divided some land and let it in order to obtain the legal number of signatures. The names were ordered to be inserted in the rate."
1848, April 1: No Law Was Ever Yet Found that woud Touch Dartford Kentish Independent
"It was said some years back by one of the best friends of the Kentish Independent that 'no law was ever yet found that would touch Dartford,' and we think our readers will say 'true indeed,' and we think our readers will say 'true indeed,' after reading the occurrences which took place on Monday evening last, at that highly favoured town. As far as regards the 'law' part, it is quite clear, that for the use of another man's name, without his knowledge, and in utter defiance of his pleasure, is not regarded as a crime by some of the present heads or officials of the parish, for actually, this day week a vestry was held in the church, which had been apparently called by the signatures of hte churchwardens and overseers, without however, the least inimation to one of the latter, that his name was placarded about the town as a consenting party to a proceeding he repudiated, and which much astonished him upon reading it affixed to a chapel door, three days after the vestry had been held.
But in Dartford they manage political meetings and concerts also after a fashion peculiar to the town. For on Monday last prettily printed tinted bills were freely distributed announcing that 'the inhabitants of Dartford, Crayford, and their vicinities, are respectfully informed that a lecture will be delivered on Civil and Religious Liberty by Mr P McGrath, of London; late candidate for the representation of Derby, on Monday Evening, March 27th, 1848, at the Black Boy Inn. Should any person feel disposed to put any questions to the lecturer, he will feel pleaseure in answering them. After the lecture, the National Petition will be submitted for adoption. The doors to be opened at 7 o'clock, and the chair to be taken at 7.30 precisely. Admission free. The opponents of progression are invited to attend.' In obedience to the invitation a mob did attend. A party of whom resolved themselves into a deputation, and thinking a bulky man 'was the properest' for a chairman, waited upon the biggest in the town, who, however, declined the honour, but promised to allow the light of his countenance to shine upon the meeting during the evening. Thus matters remained, till 7.30 came, but with it came not the rejected of Derby. Time rolled on, and as the unfortunate candidate did not appear at all, the meeging was necessitated to put up with local talent, and Paul Wise and Mr Stoneham, gave the gentry present a specimen of their abilities. It has been stated that the public carriers to Dartford wanted the fare from a gent who tendered himself in London as a passenger, before they admitted him into their vehicles, but as the worthy had only a shilling, and offered on arriving at his destination, what they fancied would turn out to be 'inconvertable' promises, the proffered patronage was declined.
On the same evening 'it really never rains but it pours', 'Mr Francks, vocal professor from London,' gave a 'vocal entertainment' at the Bull and George Inn Dartford, in which he was to 'sing a favourite selection of songs and ballads, accompanying himself on the pianoforte or guitar, instersperse with anecdotes, remarks, recitations and humourous sketches.' At the opening of the entertainment, the company was exceedingly select, there beging only 3 present to wit, Robert Seers esq, Mr Bonner and Mr Cartwright, who had each paid the admission fee in good and lawful money of our sovereign lady the Queen. When the 2nd ballad 'The Heart Bowed Down' was commenced, an unruly lot of gamins forced their way into the room, and then commenced a scene which could hardly be credited. The singer was disturbed by cries of 'you've got no voice,' 'hold up old fellow.' The next song in the programme was 'Pretty Patty Palmer,' it was sung 'very pecooliarly' being accompanied throughout with railway whistles. The comic song 'My dejeuner a la Fourchette,' the time was beat by Mr Stains, with a brick on a form. At the end of the first part, the 'vocal professor from London' endeavoured to make his exit, but was prevented, and reseated at the piano, whilst a 'gent' after depositing some drops of tallow in his palm, offered them to the professor 'for his throat, as it wanted clearing.' As soon as the second part was commenced, the window before which the professor sat was thrown open from the street, and a boy was pitched through upon the pianoforte. 'The Death of Abercrombie' was interrupted by cries of Jim a long Josey; whilst during 'The Horticultural Wife' a grand chorus was performed by the company, and a beating of the mats and cushions against the wall, and at its termiation the professor was threatened with a thrashing!!! Such are the rational ocupations of hte Dartfordians, in the 19th century. Mem: Under the same roof which covered this room, and only divided by a flight of stairs is 'The Dartford Literary and Scientific Institution.'
If any proof was wanting that 'law ' was powerless in Dartford, it could easily be shown to the admirable manner in which past and present overseers have beautifully contrived to shirk from serving the unthankful office. Showing that to the parishioners of Dartford 'power has no charms.' Two years since a Mr Ward was appointed, he procured a doctor's certificate of ill health, and then 'left the town' for a brief season, for the change of air of Bexleyheath. The next time a Mr Spurrell, a retired brewer's clerk, headed the list, and he, after pleading ill health, and that he was a gent, got off, shoving the office upon two individuals who were too ill matched to act harmoniously together. After horrid quarrels, the senior officer deserted the field of battle, and his coadjutor adopted his principal plans, and now appropriates the credit of their introduction."
1848, April 16: Great Chartist Rally at Kennington Common Weekly Chronicle
".... Greenwich etc. The parties from Gravesend, Greenwich, Dartford, Bromley, Lewisham and other districts of Kent who were expected to meet at New Cross at 9 o'clock, are march thence to Kennington Common, never arrived. The only procession that came up the route chalked out for them here was of a very different description, viz a troop of mounted police, followed by 11 omnibuses loaded outside and in with police constables from Greenwich and Deptford......."
[The Chartists had launched petitions that garnered millions of signatures, for the country to become a true democracy and to tackle political corruption. Their 6 demands were universal suffrage (for men), secret ballot, no property qualification for MPs, pay for MPs so poorer people could become MPs, equal constituencies and annual elections. Only the last demand has not come to pass. Their reasonable demands horrified the political class of the day and for the Kennington Common rally the government had passed new laws threatening death or transportation for those "overawing" Parliament, they had also enrolled 100,000 special constables and brought up thousands of troops. Clearly they were prepared to commit bloodshed. This may have put off a lot of people attending, including the party from Kent.]
1848, April 29: Dartford Church Controversies Kentish Independent
"The parish churchyard is the incumbent's freehold and he had the right to charge one churchwarden £5 for the erection of any ornamental work over the grave of a departed relative, and demand £17 from the other churchwarden for a similar favour."
Easter Vestry Meeting
"On Monday last a vestry meeting was held for teh purpose of electing a churchwarden, organist, and other officers for the ensuing year. The chair was taken by the Rev C Gillmor, the vicar. there were about 50 persons present.
The business commenced by the Vicar reappointing Mr Jardine as his warden, and Mr Jardine nominated Mr W Miskin as his sidesman. Mr Hards observed, in resigning his office as parish churchwarden, that he regretted to tell the vestry that his office had been a very unpleasant one during the previous year, in consequence of the introduction by the vicar of a certain collection of hymns (at the mention of this much confusion was created, and a great disturbance took place in consequence of Mr Jardine interrupting the speaker; after Mr Jardine had been repeatedly called to order). Mr Hards continued to remark upon the effects produced in the parish by this innovation, and concluded by proposing Mr Gurnall fo rthe ensuing year, who he was quite sure would carefully watch over the interests of the parishioners at large, and oppose any attempt of 'absolutism' which might be made in te management of the affairs of the church and parish (hear, hear and loud cheers). This being seconded, it was carried unanimously amidst great cheering. Mr Stidoph was then reappointed Vestry Clerk.
The Vestry Clerk said that the next business before the vestry was to appoint an organist. A silence (i.e. a comparative silence) long and determined here ensued. At last someone proposed Mr Charles Hodsoll be reelected. This being seconded, Mr Robert Hills, banker, rose to move the following amendment: 'That the use of the organ be suspended, and that no organist be paid out of the parish rates during the continuance of the present collection of hymns introduced by the vicar as part of the service. And that the late organist be required forthwith to deliver over to the parish churchwarden the key of the organ. That the churchwardens, or one of them, be requested at the next visitation to present to the ordinary a copy of this resolution. That this vestry hereby records its disapprobation of the conduct of the vicar with respect to the said collection of hymns.' This was seconded immediately by the whole vestry, if one might judge by the plaudits which followed Mr Hill's observations, which were few but very pertinent. Mr Gibson followed, and in the course of his observations referred to the 19th and 20th articles of the Church of England, arguing thereby against the vicars RIGHT, and, on Mr Gillmor's request handed the prayer book to him, opened at that particular place. The Vicar then immediately referred to some private memoranda of Mr Gibson's on the page containing the St Athanasian Creed (quite a different part of the book) strongly condemnatory of that compilation, and read them to the vestry, upon which he (the vicar) was immediately stopped by the whole vestry with shouts of disapproval.
Mr Tasker and Mr Russell both urged the vicar in almost beseeching tones to meet his parishioners in a fair spirit on the question, to put an end to strife; and others sspoke to the question.
Mr Johnathan Hills remarked that it ought to be understood that it was the principle of the matter to which they were opposed, and which they wer determined to resist to the utmost; and that it was not on account of the organist (whatsoever his qualifications might or might not be); but in consequence of the vicar's arbitrary and obstinate proceedings, that they supported the amendment. Mr Landale spoke at some length, and with much reason, urging the vestry to reduce the parish expenditure in the present hard times. The Vicar here stated that he saw something illegal in the amendment ('Oh, oh!' and loud laughter), and that he would not put it from the chair, whereupon it was moved, seconded and carried all in the same breath, that he should leave the chair, but this he refused to do. Mr Hards then, as churchwarden, said, at the request of the vestry he would put the amendment, which was carried unanimously and tumultuously. The original motion was then put, and negatived by everyone present. Here again a long silence ensued, the Vestry Clerk was peremptorily required (the Vicar objecting) to enter the amendment in the minute book.
Mr Gillmor then said that he considered he was placed there by God to do what he had done, and sooner than go against his conscience he would have his right hand struck off; and finished by observing that he would, for his own and the parishioners satisfaction, lay the matter before the Archbishop (cries of 'It's too late', 'You should have done that before,' etc etc). Mr Parkhurst observed that these hymns had not only caused dissension in the parish, but also in very many families, wherein parent was set against child, and child against parent, and that if this was the vicar's way of bringing people to God, he could not understand it. Mr Gillmore said it was predicted that it should be so (parent against child etc). Whereupon some remarked that he, then had been the cause.
The election of beadle, the control of the clock, and other matters were then disposed of, and minutes signed by hte vicar and parishioners."
[The paper returned to the subject in an editorial of 13.5.1848, saying "As for ourselves, we are not coming forward as the advocate for either party, because we sympathise with neither". It does say the resolution not to allow the organ to be played was still in effect and "the detested hymns are performed without the aid of an accompaniment.".
The paper of 4.11.1848 said the feud "still rages with unabated vigour". They assume as Rev Gilmor had published the hymn book in question he keeps going with it for advertising purposes, adding "We understand he has attempted to overawe the congregation, many of whom leave the church as soon as the hymns are commenced, by introducing policemen into all the aisles, with orders to seize andone who should make the slightest distubance. Whether the people of Dartford will be brought to admire the hymn book through the intercession of Mr Gilmor's blue coated Janissaries, time will show. We doubt the power of the staff to do ought but break the head." Its edition of 18.11.1848 reviews a 16 page pamphlet written by Charles Reginald Gibson, solicitor and parishioner which says the parishioners liked the old metrical psalms from the prayerbook instead of Rev Gilmor's 'Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs' - "to the utter consternation of the congregation instead of the clerk... giving out a psalm from the authorised version, his book was produced and a hymn given out from it...."
The Kentish Independent of 2.12.1848 reported that the Rector had won but at the loss of at loss of many of the congregation. The victory was short lived, as the Maidstone Journal of 20.2.1849 reported that the Vicar had withdrawn the hymn book - "This peace making intimation most pleasingly surprised his congregation, many of whom were actually moved to tears."]
1848, May 14: Pigeon Shooting Bells Life
"At Mr Hayes' King's Arms, Hartley Bottom, Kent on Tuesday lat, Mr Ward beat Mr Slanter, at 5 pigeons each for £5, killing all. Mr Tilden bat Mr Waters at 5 each for £2, killing 4. Mr Hassell beat 5 others at 5 each, 10s each. Mr Smith beat Mr Walters at 5 each fo £2. Other matches were shot. Morris of the Old Kent Road supplied the birds."
[Live pigeon shooting for sport was outlawed in 1921. The King's Arms pub has since become Hartley Bottom Farm.]
1848, May 16: The Electoral System of Kent South Eastern Gazette
Long editorial calling for electoral reform. It says Kent has a population of 548,337 and 18 MPs but point out that the 8 boroughs with 1 or 2 MPs have a representation of 1 MP for 12,431 inhabitants, while the rest of the county has 4 MPs with a representation of 1 MP for 93,575 inhabitants. "..... It has been the boast of England that the slave is rendered free by mere contact with her happy soil. It has been the boast of kent that her population has never contained a villein or a serf. Shall it now be said that it is in the gavelkind county of Kent, in the garden of England, where alone Englishmen have outlived that generous devotion to equal justice, that instinctive love of rational liberty, which have distinguished their forefathers for generation? We do not believe it....."
1848, May 30: Manor Courts Maidstone Journal
"Manor of Holiwell alias Hodsoll in Ash, in the county of Kent. Notice is hereby given that the Court Leet or View of Frankpledge of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, and court baron of William Lambard esq, Lord of the said Manor, will be holden for the said manor, at the accustomed place therein, on Wednesday, the 14th day of June next, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, when the several tenants of the said Manor are required to make their personal appearence to do their suits and services, and to pay their arrears of quit rents and reliefs, according to the laws and customs of the said Manor. Dated this 26th day of May 1848. Thomas Carnell, steward.
Manors of Ash and Ridley, in the county of Kent. Notice is hereby given that the court baron of William Lambard esq, Lord of the said Manors, will be holden for the said manor, at the respective Manor Houses therein, on Wednesday, the 14th day of June next, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, when the several tenants of the said Manor are required to make their personal appearence to do their suits and services, and to pay their arrears of quit rents and reliefs, according to the laws and customs of the said Manors respectively. Dated this 26th day of May 1848. Thomas Carnell, steward."
1848, June 13: Emigration from Gravesend Maidstone Journal
"Few persons are aware of the extensive emigration which is going on from the port of London to the Cape and all the Australian colonies. Ships freighted with men, women and children saidl daily from Gravesend to all parts of South Australia or the Cape of Good Hope, and numerous others are being taken up to supply the constant demand for accommodation for conveyance to those colonial possessions."
1848, June 17: Gleaning Not Allowed Kentish Independent
Dartford Magistrates Court "Mary Ann Powell, aged 12 years, appeared to a summons, charging her with stealing about 2 gallons of peas, the property of Thomas Parkhurst, and Martha Seymer, 13, appeared to answer any complaint which might be laid against her.
Henry bourner, police constable, deposed: On Tuesday evening last, the 6th ist, he went with his brother officer Lillywhite to a pea field of Mr Parkhurst, near the town, and saw about 14 children gathering peas. They ran away upon seeing the officers whof followed them and caught little children about 5 or 6 years old who gave them the name of Mary Ann Powell, as being their witness, saw some of them throw something in the hedge, whien they got to the place they found the bag now produced with the peas in it.
Mr Renouard asked why those were not summoned whom the constables court. Mr Parkhurst replied they were so young their evidence would not be received, at the same time explained why he had interfered with the charge at all. His lands lay round Dartford, and his house being 2 miles from some of it, it was hardly credible that he was such a sufferer from the people of Dartford, who have an idea that, after he had been through a field of peas or potatoes once, he was done with it, and they had a right to lease the rest as they did wheat. He declared publicly and used this means to make it public, that he was never done with his fields, and would not allow any persons to go into them. He had been over the field in question once, and went on Tuesday evening to see when he should go over it again, when he found about 100 children there with bags and baskets, who had set a watch, and before he could get near to them ran away. He had no hesitation in saying he had lost from that field this year more than 60 bushels of peas. The offence was admitted by the two girls, who said they had been told that they might get them.
The magistrate fined each 2s 6d and costs, together 8s 5d, and said although they had been so lenient this time, they were determined to punish to the extent of their power all others who were brought before the for like offences."
1848, July 1: Hartley Cricket Club West Kent Guardian
"Sutton at Hone - On Thursday last a match of Cricket was played in the field adjoining Court Lodge, Homestead, between 11 of Hartley and 11 of Sutton, which after some exceedingly good play on either side terminated in the very uncommon circumstance of each side having scored the same number of runs, viz 88; consequently the game was decided by the first innings. Hartley scored 54 and 34; Sutton 28 and 60."
1848, July 10: Eduction in Farming at Fawkham The Patriot
Advert. "To parents and guardians. A desirable opportunity of obtaining a practical knowledge of farming on the most approved modern systems, is offered to any young gentleman of steady habits, on farms of 400 acres in the county of Kent, 7 miles from Dartford and Gravesend, and in a family where the strictest economy, order and regularity is practised. The advertiser is a member of the Church of Christ of the Baptist Denomination. A premium will be required commensurate with the advantages to be obtained. Apply to W Cooper, Pennis Farm, Fawkham. By letter prepaid."
1848, August 5: Dartford Fair Kentish Independent
"Time was when Dartford Fair was patronised by great and small. The fair was then held in the High Street, but innovation here as elsewhere, popped his head in some 10 years since, and partly removed it to a field out of the town. Some of the stalls wouldn't go and still stopped up the Queen's highway, others went, and the result was two fairs instead of one, and neither doing any good. The original cause of the division was the grasping greediness of the proprietors of Richardson's show, who wanted to monopolise the whole of the time spent in the fair, and to their conceit, which actually induced thm to asset that they could remove the fair wherever they choose. Two seasons they shifted their ground, but the Dartfordians wouldn't be made shuttlecocks, and this year Dartford is happily relieved of their presence, and does uncommonly well without them."
1848, August 12: Kent Opthalmic Hospital, Maidstone Dover Telegraph
AGM for subscribers reported 1,403 outpatients between 1.5.1846 and 31.5.1848, Inpatients first taken 13.11.1847 and since then to 31.5.1848, they have received 47 including 1 from Fawkham.
1848, November 21: Dartford Magistrates South Eastern Gazette
"Frederick Hair was charged with making a bonfire in the High Street of Dartford on the 6th November, and fined 10 shillings and costs 7 shillings.
Peter Luxford was charged with stealing savoys, value 2d from a field, the property of William Hayward esq, Dartford, for whom he had been at work, and receiving 2s 6d per day and three pints of beer. He pleaded guilty. Mr Hayward said he did not wish to be severe with the man, although he had been earning 20 shillings to 30 shillings per week all the summer, but to let it be known that he was determined not to be robbed as he now was with impunity. Fined 5 shillings and costs."
1848, December 2: Farningham - Shooting Extraordinary Kentish Independent
"One of the most extraordinary matches ever recorded took place in a field belonging to Mr Davis, of the Lion Hotel, Farningham, on Thursday and Friday week, that well known and, as the result clearly demonstrates, most indefatigable sportsman, William Dunning esq of Farningham, having taken from 'two lads' of the village £10 to £5 that he hit 980 penny pieces out of 1,000, and £5 even that he hit 98 ouot of the first 100. The result was looked to with great interest, as although Mr Dunning;s pluck has been always considered undeniable, yet from the fact of his never having practised at this species of shooting, there were many who doubted his ultimate success. New penny pieces had been procured, and Mr Dunning commenced by hitting 62 in succession, missing the 63rd and 79th owing, as was generally believed, to his loader forgetting the shot, and then finishing the first 100 with only 2 misses, thus winning the £5 bet. In the second 100 there was no miss. The third seemed likely to show the same result, but, alas the 93rd penny piece was divested of lead. The 42nd in the fourth 100 was equally unfortunate, as was the 14th and 75th in the fifth 100, and the 28th in the next 50, when the shade of night appearing, the match was adjourned till the next morning - 550 shot at and only 8 missed. Eager for the fray, despite of a sore shoulder and a windy morning, this champion of sportsmen, by 9 next morning was at his post, confident of success, but the fates were not at first propitious, 3 being missed out the first 50 - 600 shot at and 11 missed. A change of position changed the luck, the next 100 being all hit. Betting 6 to 4 on the gun. In the 800th, the 817th, of which we shall say more anon, the 42nd, 66th and 68th were missed. 800 shot at [I think 900 was meant at this point] and, as alleged by the layer of the odds, 18 missed. In the last 100, the 42nd, 71st and 74th were the only ones that escaped the peppering so liberally bestowed on the other denizens of the money bag held by friend Davis, who, by the by, in addition to his qualities as a host, performed the duties of an umpire admirably, and to the satisfaction of all present; and a trying task it was, as the 817th penny, alluded to above, being claimed by both parties, and the decision as to it deciding the wager proved. Opinions varied, but at last, although convinced of his having won his arduous wager, Mr Dunning with that urbanity and true feeling which always characterises the real gentleman, consented to relieve the worthy umpire from his rather delicate task by cancelling the bet. Mr Dunning has proved himself a gem of the first water, and we believe will back himself to perform the same feat for £1,000."
1848, December 2: Hunt & Others v The Surveyors of the Parish of Swanscombe Kentish Independent
Dartford Magistrates. This case which has been twice before the court, came on now by adjournment. It was alleged by complainants that certain roads called Slaves' Alley and Foul Slough, together with certain chruch paths in the parish of Swanscombe, were out of repair and rendered travelling thereon dangerous to her Majesty's subjects. This allegation was denied by defendants, and Mr Coles, a surveyor, of some experience, was appointed by the court to examine and report on the condition of hte roads in question by Oct 24th. At the hearing on the 24th Oct, the surveyor reported that the paths and roads were far from being in a dangerous state, that in this opnion they were not in such a state as to render it expedient for the surveyors to repair them before the usual and most proper time of the year for so doing, viz about the latter end of Oct, or the beginning of Nov. He had that morning driven over one part complained of at a rate of 8 mph, and thought it would have been far more dangerous if hte surveyors had attempted to repair them, as hte stones in consequence of the want of rain would not have bound, but have rolled about. In reply to questions by Mr Russell, the surveyor said the part which required most doing was near the railway bridge, which was newly erected, and while being built the water had been turned from its proper channel, and ran down the middle of the road, washing away the sand and loosening the stones.
The Court ordered that the roads were to be repaired by today (November 25th), when Mr Collis was to make another report of the roads, and the case was consequently adjourned. Mr Collis, who said he was surprised the complaint had been made, now made his second report, stating that of the three roads complained of one was put in perfect repair, the seond was being done, and the third was not begun. The part of the second road which was not done was about 20 rods (110 yards) on either side of the railway bridge, where the building of the bridge had stopped the water course. By the court: I saw 2 men at work; if 4 men had been set on I think it might have been finished; I do not know that there is any difficulty in getting materials.
Mr Hubbard, land surveyor, called by complainant, being sworn, produced a plan of the paths and roads complained of. I went with Mr Collis to view the roads, and have since been there myself. In Slave's Alley there are 20 rods on either side of the railway bridge not repaired. I surveyed the roads and found several ruts in them, some 2 or 3 inches deep, and several little ponds of water. By Mr Russell: I profess to be a land surveyor, I am not a contractor nor a road maker, everybody knows what a good road is. Some parts of Slave's Alley was in good repair. The places I measured were ruts not hollow places, some of them were full of water. The building of the railway bridge would increase the traffic at this place, and obstruct the water course.
A conversation took place between the surveyors and amind the difference of opinion of those gentlemen, Mr Harmer endeavoured to englighten the court on the state of the roads, by saying the Swanscombe roads were all good, but the surveyors were making them better than good. The evidence of the two surveyors reminded us very much of a 'horse case.'
The court said it was very clear their order had not been complied with. And Mr Russell proceeded to address them in mitigation of the penalty, when he was requested not to do so, by the surveyors of the parish, Messrs J Harmer, Russell and J Hasell, who said they did not care about the penalty. Mr Kam applied for costs but the court reserved its decision, and adjourned the case for a fortnight, in which time the surveyors said the roads should be finished, Mr Harmer promising to give the parish the required gravel.
The case which has excited a great deal of interest in the parish is alleged to have been brought forward from personal ill feeling towards the surveyors, and not on account of the state of the roads."
1849, January 9: Theft at Longfield South Eastern Gazette
West Kent Quarter Sessions: "Thomas Morgan 15, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing one smock frock, value 2 shillings, the property of James Martin, at Longfield - 6 weeks' hard labour and once whipped."
1849, January 13: Report of the Visit of the Superintendent Inspector to the Town of Dartford under the Public Health Act Kentish Independent
(Edition of 13.1.1849) Visit was 8-10 January 1849. The newspaper seems to be the only one to report on this. Mr Ranger has been appointed as an Inpsector to visit Dartford after 10 per cent of the ratepayers not being less than 30 petitioned under the Public Health Act. Mr Ranger is very knowledgable and experienced, the paper details some of his past works.
He opened the inquiry at the Town Hall at 10 o'clock on the first day. He asked if anyone had opening statements but there were none, so he started his permbulation. "The following inhabitants accompanied him in his survey, or during some portion of it - Messrs John Hayward, John Tasker, Alfred Russell, Richard Tippets, Thomas Hodsoll, James Allen, George Brunnel, Robert Okill and John Callow (the latter being promoter of, and principal agent in getting up the petition). Mr Edward Cresy of South Darenth, although not an inhabitant, was specially required by the inspector to attend."
"The Medical Officer, Mr Tippets, indicated during the perambulation, all such localities as had been marked by the prevalence of typhus, or other zymotic disease. The course pursued by the party was sfrom the Town Hall, down the water side; the novel feature of a running stream occupying the centre of a very frequented street, with the tide flowing up it so as to imped the traffic considerably, struck the inspector as very remarkable, and by no means creditable to the science or public spirit of Dartford - the waste of time and injury occurring to horses, inconvenience to passengers etc, he could not but think must entail a considerable annual pecuniary loss to the place. Several privies were pointed out in this vicinity, exhibiting the unfortunately too common evidences of lamentable neglect and extreme filth, such indeed characterised the whole locality. All the little courts and alleys were carefully noted in the inspector's book.... solely as a guide to the nature and amount of evil, and the best means for its removal." The South Eastern Railway has impeded the natural drainage of the town. He looked at an area bounded by the High Street (S), Railway (N), Water Street (W) and Overy Street (E). The drainage on the east side of Overy Street is very deficient, cesspools at the toe of the chalk overflow due to their interrupting the passage of water. The paper strongly believes that even though the inhabitants here are poor, they want cleanliness as much as anyone else. "Their moral and physical degradation is the result of the neglect and extortion, we say it emphatically of their social superiors..." They inspected higher land called St Ronalds where sanitation is very bad and 4 cottages have had typhus cases. Returning to the town they noted bad drainage at Bell Row, Lowfield Street and an open ditch at Fairfield, Lowfield Street which receives the drainage from the west side of Lowfield Street. They also inspected Mr Tasker's Brewery and accepted his offer of lunch there. He ended Day 1 with a view of the High Street "...all may be classed together in their deficiency of drainage and perfection of filth; although we should be sorry to omit conferring the palm qui meruit ferat; we beg therefore to cite the court at the rear of the 'Help the Lame Dog over the Stile' as decidedly the type of everything most odious and offensive."
(Edition of 20.1.1849) "On Tuesday morning Mr Ranger, the inspector after receiving some further communication as to the Health of the Poor, started at 10 o'clock, and visited 2 houses in the High Street, which had been pointed out to him as particularly offensive, in one, a beer shop, a privy was found opening into a washhouse or back kitchen, and in order to rid themselves of the noisome stench, the tenants had carried a wood trunk from the cesspool into the adjoining chimney, the idea is not a bad one, an din all probability original in the locality, although Dr Faraday sometime since pointed out the possibility of ventilating sewers, by the use fo lofty chimnies of manufactories; in the present instance however, an important condition of success had been omitted, viz. that of preventing the descent of the fumes, consequently when a fire is lighted the washhouse becoming warm, the foul air is drawn from the cesspools into the dwelling, we have thus a complete 'fourneau d'appel' on the inverse princile, sucking the foul air inwards, instead of drawing it from the appartment."
The paper goes on at length to describe the inspector's investigations into water sources and whether it is soft or hard water - "The choice would of course, be regulated by the nature of the soil, gravel being to be preferred to chalk; the water coming from the former being free or nearly so, from alkaline carbonates, which produce hardness in water, forming a nearly insoluble curd with the soap, and thereby greatly increasing the labour required in domestic operations, we need hardly remind our readers of the inconvenience and annoyance exprienced in washing, cooking etc, by the use of what is commonly called hard water... On the other hand we must not forget that water from gravel is liable to contain iron in solution, the evil effects of which are too commonly known to require more than a passing notice, the metal is usually found as a sulphate, the soda in the soap combines with the acid and the oxide of iron is precipitated as a brown spot upon the linen etc."
He went along Tinker Pat "now euphonised as Oakfield Lodge Lane" to the former Zinc Works, now occupied by Mr Applegarth, the famous inventor of the new Times printing press.
Inspector had lunch at Bull and George and heard evidence as to local administration from Mr Robins, the surveyor of Highways, the only official who attended. "...Mr Ranger proceeded to visit the lodging houses, accompanied by the Inspector of Police. He carefully noted, in accordance with his instructions, the number of beds, the number in a bed, charge per night, provisions for ventilation or its deficiency, accommodation provided for the lodgers during the daytime, privies, drainage, or want of it, size of apartments, their height, cleanliness and general character. The houses visited were the King William IV, The Windmill, Bull and George, Granby and the 'Help the Lame Dog over the Stile' The general allowance we found to be two in a bed, occasionally a child or two intercolated with the parents, the charge varying from 3d to 4d per night each person. As may be conceived, the frequenters are not remarkable for cleanliness, and their beds partaked somewhat intimately of the character of their skins; the odour prevalent throughout would to our reades appear most stifling and disgusting; the ventilation must be indicated as non-existent, but the natives of these fetid places appear utterly insensible to any inconveniences resulting from it. The lodging house keepers one and all assured us of the impossibility of introducing fresh air; immediately a window is opened the inmates will rise and close it - nothing short of systematic and compulsory ventilation can possibly remedy the existing state of things." As to surprise that inspector should visit these 'haunts of misery' paper reminds readers that Local Board of Health has a statutory responsibility under the Public Health act to register and inspect lodging houses. This ended the second day of the visit at 11.30pm.
The 3rd day began with interviewing local doctors, but they were unable to provide statistics. More helpful was the evidence of a Mr Brown who had sunk many wells in Dartford and Crayford area as he was able to give information about the depth of various strata. The inquiry moved onto local government, the paper summarised at length the Act for Lighting, Watching and Improving Dartford 1814 as they have one of only 3 copies known to exist locally. The paper said that the Commissioners appointed under the act had set up and rate for street lighting, and they had cleared all projections over the highway such as balconies and barbers' poles, but less sure other powers have been used. Street maintenance has overlapping authorities and they say the fact the area comes under the Metropolitan Police means the watch element of the act is redundant.
"The Inspector now proceeded to the Gas Works where he was received by Mr Green, who communicated the details of the process with much readiness, and delighted the Inspector by the precision and clearness of his statistical statements. We feel it to be at one a pleasure and a duty to congratulate the town on possessing a servant so efficient in the knowledge and so zealous in the discharge of the functions entrusted to him. Mr Green has occupied his present position for 22 years, indeed from the very foundation of the works, but in this case liberality has not kept pace with individual industry. Next he went to the Infant school which the paper praises as being well heated but lacked ventilation, and "the cleanliness of the school room merits a special note of approbation."
The paper was very impressed with his visit to the paper mill "....the civility the Inspector received from Mr Melburne foreman to Mr Saunders... a man displaying the qualities which have rendered the superior English mechanics respected throughout the world, combining a thorough knowledge of the practice of their calling, a commendable zeal in the acquisition of the theory of their operations, equal readiness in receiving and imparting information, mildness in teh exercise of the authority delegated to them, and deference without severity to the opinions of their social and intellectual superiors. Every part of the establishment under Mr Mulburne's direction was visited, and the specimens of its productive industry were greatly admired, the Inspector was especially struck with som magnificent samples of drawing paper, of a texture and quality we have not seen upassed, after 5 mintes continued friction with Indian rubber, not a hair was to be seen, the surface remaining as smooth and even as ever! These mills having been previously used for grinding corn, some difficulty was caused in their adaptation and considerable ingenuity has been displayed in effecting the present arrangements. Two artesian wells supply the manufactory, one 120 feet deep. The land springs are here strongly shalybeate, and samples of each kind of water were forwarded to the Inspector for analysis.
The Inspector next went onto the Marshes along the line of Dartford Creek. He was highly critical of "... the manner in which the old bed of the river is left to silt up in the course of years... ch of the ague and typhus which have of late been so prevalent in the town to these immense evaporating surfaces, the cause of miasmatic infection being derived from the foul privies, cesspools, and decayed animal and vegetable matter around the habitations, while the stagnant marshes, and especially the elbows of the old creek, become a constant source of humidity for holding the malaria in solution, and disseminating it throughout the district; neither could he conceal his astonishment that, so near the metropolis, such an extent of valuable land should be suffered to remain unreclaimed."
He moved onto the Workhouse which he was very impressed with "... he was met by the master, Mr Cook, who conducted him over the whole establishment. Its cleanliness and economy were highly admired by the Inspector, who expressed his special approbation at the classification of the paupers, regard being had not only to age and sex, but also to their previous morality, so as to prevent as much as possible the corruption which inevitably results from the presence of bad characters. The appearence of all was satisfactory - none bore any semblance of privation or harsh treatment; the only deficiency to be remarked was that of ventilation, no provisions having been made by the architect (we regret to say a very common case), and the contrivances since introduced must be described as anything but satisfactory; the substitution of watercloset for the present privies, which would result from the application of the Public Health Act to the Town would be of immense benefit to the establishment." The paper thinks the place looks more of a prison than Pentonville, and could have been designed better. They would have liked the dormitories to be in separate terraces to prevent communication between the inmates and make surveillance easy. A large chapel would not go amiss.
The tour ended with a visit to the National School where ventilation was also a problem. Back at the hotel the Inspector received water samples from Mr Tasker's artesian well.
"Here terminated the Inspector's visit to Dartford, during which we can assure our readers much valuable matter was collected, and nothing neglected which could tend to advance the objects of the enquiry. Mr Ranger's general impression of the state of the town was that the greatest necessity prevailed for speedy sanitary measures. The evils which have been suffered to accumulate through a long course of neglect are beginning to develop themselves.
The idea of the visitation of cholera was laughed at by many as a ruse of the Board of Health to frighten people into obedience to their regulations. Its sudden and fatal appearence at Tooting has awakened them to a sense of the real danger. Let it once appear in the Dartford Union, or in the numerous foul courts and alleys which intersect the town, we shall then see, but too late, what ought to have been done - Where will be the responsibility? Whose the fault? Cholera, it must be remembered, had no aristocratic sympathies, no amiable preferences, one common calamity involves the whole population - the pauper and the Commissioner of Sewers - the malefactor and the magistrate are alike exposed to its fatal grasp. Hitherto the skill and science of the physician have been baffled, and all the resources of the pharmacopia proved unavailing, except in the earlier stage, and let our readers not forget that its whole course from the first seizure of the patient to his death frequently does not exceed 12 hours; and then let him ask what opportunities there are for the administration of remedies. The earlier stages are already passed, and the patient beyond hope of recovery before the arrival of the physician. But the remedial measures are so precarious and uncertain, prevention is easy and sure of success. While cholera can rarely be cured, it destructive ravages may be arrested with facility - it never makes its first appearence among the healthy, well drained, well fed, well ventilated populations. It always affords sufficient warning of its approach. Typhus, intermittent, all the forms of zymotic disease are its precursors, and whenever they show themselves, measures should immediately be taken for the removal of all predisposing causes. Had the preceeding views been impressed upon the minds of the people of Dartford we do not think that they would have displayed quite so much apathy towards the objects of the enquiry. For their special benefit we beg to inform them that in this particular Dartford stands alone on the Inspector's list, in all other localities he has met with zealous coadjutors, men able and willing to volunteer assistance and information, to collect statistical, medical and geological data. During the last 2 days, Mr Callow was the only townsman who accompanied the Inspector in his perambulation, and was deservedly complimented by him for his assiduity. Complete indifference seemed to pervade this Lethean town, we feel a sincere sorrow in recording specially that the Vicar neither personally, not by letter, made any communication to the Inspector, nor showed any sympathy with the objects of his visit. The wise sanitary regulations of the Hebrew legislator have been transmitted to us in a record, which will continue to engage the veration of mankind, as long as time endures, and the removal of those physical afflictions of the human race, which are peculiarly the object of sanitary enquiry, was among the chief external demonstrations by which the 'Great Reformer' supported his divine mission." [Sadly the paper was proved right when within a few months Dartford would be struck by a serious outbreak of cholera.]
1849, March 10: North Kent Railway West Kent Guardian
"On Thursday se'nnight [March 1st], shortly after 11 o'clock, the good folks of Dartford were aroused by a shrill railway whistle, announcing that an engine an dtrain were making their triumphal entry into the parish from Gravesend. Old and young flocked to the site of the future station, to view the happy event. After staying a few minutes to be admired and lustily cheered, the train merrily rattled to Erith, where it took in a large party of scientific gentlemen, friends of Mr Treadwell's who had come from London purposely to inspect and test the capabilities of the iron road. Midway between Erith and the bridge across Crayford Creek, we stopped the train (with, by the bye, the signal 'Go on, all right') and begged a lift. Of course we were the most important personages, for of what avail would an experimental trip have been without historians. The wind was blowing great guns, and the weather not very propitious; the snow storm of the night previously joined to the heavy rains and a particularly high tide had lain the marshes upon which the line was formed more deeply under water than ever we noticed before. However, none of these matters affected the captial condition of the iron road. The speed at which we travelled, more than once, exceeded 40 miles an hour. The train consisted of an engine 'the St Vincent' and tender, followed by 3 carriages. At every viaduct and difficult portion of the works upon the line the train stopped, and the talented engineers and the contractors tested in every way the deflection of and the vibrations of the iron girders and the brackets underneath them - the carriages were driven several time both slowly and rapidly over the bridges, timber erections and earth works, and the result was most satisfactory, for it was proved tha tneither difference nor weakness existed to the construction. About 3 o'clock the train reached Gravesend, where the party sat down to a splendid entertainment at Waite's Hotel. At 6 o'clock in the evening, as many of the gentlemen wished to go back to London, the whole party returned to the train, and in a very short time were whisked off to Erith, where, after spending 2 hours convivially at the Ccrown Hotel, they resumed the carriages which had brought them from the metropolis in the morning and the ramainder of the friends returned to Gravesend 'per train'. The labourers were also regaled during the day, at the expense of the contractors with good Old English fare; and richly too, they deserve it for their good behaviour since they have been ecmployed on the works. Two years have now elapsed since the construction of the line was commenced, and during that interval, we rejoice to say, not a single case has been brought before the magistrates sitting in petty sessions at Dartford for the district, against the 'navvies' for misconducting themselves. These hitherto considered turbulent men hav shown themselves in Dartford and its vicinity to be good observers of the Sabbath - and even upon the fast day, nearly two years since, and on Christmas Day la, the majority of the men attended religious worship as on Sundays. The behaviour is most decidedly owing to the firmness of teh Messrs Treadwells, and the agents employed under them, who have most decidedly set their faces agains ill conduct in any guise. Immediately before the operations being undertaken, a Dartford vestry seriously considered the advisability of appointing an extra police force, to maintain peace and order. The policy of the measure was argued, and it was resolved, or rather understood, tha tupon the occurrence of the first flare up of the 'navvies' further constabulary strength should be engaged. The men came; and fewer disturbances have taken place in Dartford than ever were known before their arrival. At the time the train reached Erith, the bells were ringing most merrily for a wedding, so that in the present economising era this peal served also to welcome the arrival of the first train from Gravesend. To Mrs Cook and her spouse we wish the same success as we do to this new 'iron road'."
1849, March 31: Miskin v Treadwell West Kent Guardian
Dartford County Court "£15 claimed for damage of road. Mr Gibson for plaintiff; Mr Bell, of Bedford Row, London for defendant. The facts of the case appear to be that the works for the South Eastern Railway, upon which Mr Treadwell is a large contractor, pass through the grounds of Mr Miskin, who is a farmer and brewer at Dartford. At the commencement of the works on the part of the line, Mr Miskin met Mr treadwell with Mr Stephenson, and some conversation passed about the use of the road in question, at which time defendant said he would repair it when he had done the works at that part of the line upon which complainant granted the use of the road. After the works were completed defendant refused to repair it, upon which complainant did so, and for the costs of 3 repairs the sum of £15 was now sought to be recovered. A seet off was put in for certain top soil, gravelsetc which defendant had received, but which he said was given to him. Evidence was given that other persons had similar things given them from the Railway by the sub-contractors. For the defence it was argued that the road in question was a disputed right of way, and as such the court had no jurisdiction in the matter. Teh arguing this point occupied considerable time, and witnesses were called, whose evidence only showed that a road leading to the locus in quo was disputed, whether it be public or private. The case then proceeded, and a verdict was returned for complainant for £10" (jury trial)
1849, May 1: Pearce v Clarke - Liability of Carriers County Courts Chronicle
"The plaintiff sent a parcel by the defendant (a carrier from Dartford to London), directed to A.B. at Connaught Square, Hyde Park, and paid the defendant one shilling for the carriage. It appeared, that at the time the defendant received the parcel of the plaintiff, he (defendant) told the plaintiff that he should send it on from the place he stopped at, by the Parcels Delivery Company; and it also appeared that the plaintiff made no objection to this way of sending the parcel.
The defendant delivered the parcel in the same state he received it to the office of the Parcels Delivery Company; but for some reason or other the same was never delivered at the address given, and on plaintiff's getting back some time afterwards, part of the contents had been abstracted, and the plaintiff now sued the carrier for the value.
His honour, after some consideration, said he was of opinion that the plaintiff having tacitly assented to the parcel being sent the latter part of the journey by the Parcels Delivery Company, had trusted the latter, and had thereby lost the claim which otherwise he undoubtedly would have had upon the defendant. The judgement must be for the defendant."
1849, May 5: Committal of an Incendary Kentish Independent
"County Police Court: James Crowhurst, a agricultural labourer, was brought up in custody of John Bennett, constable of Meopham, charged with setting fire to a wheat stack, the property of William Gladdish esq of Gravesend, who is a county magistrate for this district. The stack thus destroyed is valued at £50 and was insured in the Kent. The investigation owing to the number of witnesses occupied the court nearly 4 hours. The stack which stood in Copthall Farm, in the occupation of Mr Gladdish, in the parish of Ash by Ridley, is about 9 miles from Gravesend, and about 3 miles from Wrotham. At about 10 o'clock at night on Sunday last, Mr Seamark, bailiff to Mr Gladdish, who resides a short distance from the stacks, was awoke by his son telling him of the fire, he went to it and found a number of persons there, there was nother stack of wheat standing close by, and a few yards off stood three cottages with thatched roofs, fortunately the wind blew the flames from the stack and buildings. As Mr Russell, who resides in one of the cottages was returning home on Sunday night, he met a man similar to the prisoner, a short distance from the stack, and in about a quarter of an hour after hereself and husband had returned to rest they were alarmed by an immense light, they got up and saw the stack in flames. Other witnesses deposed to seeing the prisoner near the stacks that night, and also saw the prisoner change his dress, these circumstances together with some horrid expressions he had made use of to Mary Ann Overden, who lived with her father in one of the cottages led to his apprehension, and on being asked about the fire denied his being there, but when confined n the lock up house and the constable saying he was sorry for him, the prisoner replied he was not sorry, for he should have taken care of for 2 months and should have more food than he has had for the last two months and that he wished to be sent out of the country for he wanted it a long time, and thanked God for it. The prisoner denied saying anything, and the Court committed him for trial at the next assizes at Maidstone."
1849, July 3: Coronation Anniversary Maidstone Journal
"On Thursday last, the 11th anniversary of Her Majesty's Coronation; the loyalty of the inhabitants was shown by the display of the union jack from the church tower and many peals from the bells. For the sightseers, Mr Hengler made a grand entrance into the town with his beautiful lstud of wonderful horses, and spotted ponies, and gave a morning and evening performance in a spacious tent, erected in the Fair Field. In addition to these excitements to good humour, Dartford was honoured with a visit from the incomparable John Parry, who gave his new entertainment, at the room of hte Dartford Literary and scientific Institute, which was well filled with the most influential and fashionable families in the neighbourhood, John Parry's name in a bill of fare for a fashionable concert, has for a long time been sufficient to ensure a good attendance and now he has made a dive (to use his own peculiar words) in a new character, and we are invited to 'an evening with John Parry' the room would be inconveniently filled were it not for his admirable arrangements in not permitting one ticket to be sold more than the room will accommodate. The entertainment, which is designated 'Lights and Shades of Social Life' embraces every variety of character and of course leads Mr Parry occasionally from his own style, but only to add fresh laurels to his name, earned by his exquisite manner of sustaining each and every character."
[I think this must be John Orlando Parry (1810-1879)]
1849, July 28: Arson at Ash West Kent Guardian
"James Crowhurst 20, was indicted for setting fire to a stack of wheat, the property of Thomas Nunn Gladdish, at Ash, near Ridley. Mr Deeds conducted the prosecution, and Mr Addison appeared for the prisoner.
Demetrius Semark deposed, that he was bailiff to the prosecutor, and resided at Goore's Farm [Gooses]. On Sunday, the 29th April, about 20 quarters of wheat were burnt in a stack belonging to his master. The stack was safe at 7 o'clock on the evening of the fire. The stack was in flames at 10 o'clock. It was about 80 rods from his home. Knew the prisoner, who was a labourer, but did not see him at the fire. Saw him next morning looking over the hedge at the spot where the fire occurred. Saw him at the 'Two Brewers' beer shop, between 9 and 10 the same evening, with Robert Russell, and had some beer. Loft, the landlord, asked prisoner where he was on the night of the fire, and prisoner said he was not nearer than George Stephens' house, and was with his brother Tom on Sunday night at 8 o'clock. Witness and Loft went out half an hour after prisoner came in to talk about the fire. Prisoner followed them out and was passing when witness caught at him, and prisoner attempted to run away, but was taken by Loft. Witness then fetched the constable, to whom the prisoner was given in charge, and taken to the Meopham Cage. Cross examined - Went to the beer shop in consequence of some information he had received. A shilling was givne to a man named Russell to spend in drink for the purpose of detaining him until they procured a constable. Was told by the constable to watch the cage door while he went after another man to watch all night. Prisoner said to witness that he expected to get 2 months.
James Loft deposed, that he saw the prisone the next morning in the field where the fire had taken place, and asked him where he was as he was not at the fire. Prisoner replied 'he was not nowhere,' and passed on. Saw him at his house the same evening, and again asked him where he was, when he replied that he was at home. Prisoner siad that he was not nearer the stack than Mrs Stephen's. Knew a stile near a place called 'Dead Man's Grave,' which was nearer the stack than the house of Stephens. After he was in custoday witness took him into his house, and said to him, 'Jim, if you set these stacks on fire, I am sorry you did not know better.' Prisoner replied, 'I am glad of it; thank God Almighty, I shall now be sent out of this country for a good while; which is what I have long wanted.'
Corroborative evidence having been given, Mr Addison very ably addressed the jury in defence of the prisoner. His Lordship having summed up the evidence, the jury found him not guilty."
1849, July 29: South Eastern Railway Advert The Era
"The South Eastern and North Kent Railway will open from the London Bridge terminus to Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich, Erith, Dartford, Greenhithe, Gravesend and Strood for Rochester and Chatham on Monday next, the 30th inst.
Down trains from London Bridge on week days every half hour from 7.30am to 9.30pm for Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton and Woolwich. Every hour from 7.30am to 9.30pm for Erith, Dartford, Greenhithe, Gravesend and Strood for Rochester and Chatham.
Up trains from Strood, Gravesend, Greenhithe, Dartford and Erith every hour, leaving Strood from 7am to 10pm; and from Woolwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Lewisham every half hour, leaving Woolwich from 8am to 11pm.
Fares London to Lewisham (1st Class 1s, 2nd Class 9d, 3rd Class 6d; Annual Season, 1st - 13 guineas, 2nd - 10 guineas)
London to Blackheath (1st Class 1s, 2nd Class 9d, 3rd Class 6d; Annual Season, 1st - 14 guineas, 2nd - 11 guineas)
London to Charlton & Woolwich (1st Class 1s, 2nd Class 9d, 3rd Class 6d; Annual Season, 1st - 15 guineas, 2nd - 12 guineas)
London to Erith (1st Class 2s, 2nd Class 1s 6d, 3rd Class 1s; Annual Season, 1st - 20 guineas, 2nd - 17 guineas)
Gravesend (1st Class 3s, 2nd Class 2s, 3rd Class 1s 6d; Day Tickets 1st 5s, 2nd 3s 6d, 3rd 2s 6d; Annual Season, 1st - 25 guineas, 2nd - 20 guineas)
Strood (1st Class 4s 6d, 2nd Class 3s, 3rd Class 2s; Day Tickets 1st 8s, 2nd 5s 6d, 3rd 3s 6d; Annual Season, 1st - 35 guineas, 2nd - 30 guineas....."
[An article in the Kentish Gazette of 21.8.1849 fills in the fares for Dartford - 1st 2s 9d, 2nd 2s, 34d 1s 6d, Parliamentary Train 1s 4d; Day tickets 1st - 5s, 2nd 3s 6d, 3rd 2s 6d. Gravesend Parliamentary Train fare same as 3rd class - 1s 6d. The train from London to Dartford is 49 minutes, to Gravesend 66 minutes. Parliamentary Trains then were one train a day when the company had to offer cheaper tickets.]
1849, July 31: Burglary, with Violence, at Meopham South Eastern Gazette
Kent Summer Assizes: "John Joseph Clark, 27, chimney sweeper, was indicted for burglary, and stealing 2 watches, 9 rings, 20 spoons, 4 gowns, 4 shawls, 1 coat and divers other articles, together of the value of £80, the property of Augustus Munyard, and at the same time beating and wounding the said Augustus Munyard, at Meopham.
Mr Hawkins stated the case to the jury. Mr Charnock defended the prisoner.
Augustus Munyard deposed - I occupy a farm in the parish of Meopham, about 5 miles from Gravesend. On the 1st June I went to bed about 10 o'clock, previously seeing that all the doors and windows were fastened. At about 12 o'clock my wife left her room to go to an adjoining one, to see one of the children. During her absence I heard a crackling noise. I immediately jumped out of bed and looked out of the window, when I saw a man at the window with a lighted candle in his hand. I pushed him, when another man struck me on the head, which cut it and caused it to bleed. After that a man jumped in at the window, and I caught hold of his stick with my right hand; another man also came in, and I caught hold of his stick with my left hand. A struggle then ensued, and shortly afterwards two other men came up the passage. I was struck with a piece of iron. All the men had white frocks on. They told me to go and lie down in bed, and they would not hurt me. My night dress was very much torn. I went and laid down on my bed. One of the men asked me where my money was, and I told him 'What little money I had was in my trousers pocket.' They went to my trousers, which were at the bed side and took out a half sovereign. They asked me for my watch, and I gave it to them. They then asked me where I kept my money, and I told them that I kept it at the bank. Mrs Munyard then came into the room, and said, 'We have no money; but we have some plate, which I will give you if you don't hurt him' (witness). Three of them went downstairs with my wife; one remained at my bedside, and after they had been absent a little while, they returned and said, 'By God, if you don't tell us where your money is we will set fire to your bed.' Mrs Munyard was then on the bed. They lifted the bed up and looked under it. They soon afterwards left the room, except one, who remained over my bed, saying they would go and have something to eat. Some time afterwards the man who was left behind went out of the room. As he was going, he said 'We shan't leave till 4 o'clock; don't you move;' but shortly afterwards I imagined I heard them leave, got out of bed and looked out of the window, when I saw them going away. I immediately went downstairs, and found the doors open. In the kitchen I found two fo my great coats and three of Mrs Munyard's gowns lying across the room. I calculate the amount of property stolen at about £80. Among the property were silver spoons, silver cream jugs, silver salt spoons, and a great deal of other plate. I have not seen any portion since. When I went downstairs I looked at the clock, which appeared to be smeared with tallow, and it had been pushed back an hour. I do not know the prisoner. I did not see the face of either of the men, as they were disguised. The prisoner was about the size and appeareance of one of the men. I had an opportunity of seeing him move; he was quick and active. He appeared almost as if he went upon springs. I have since seen the prisoner move, and his movement is like that of one of the men in my room on the night in question.
Cross examined by Mr Charnock - I cannot tell when I saw the property last. Mrs Munyard always put it away. I cannot swear that the prisoner is one of the men. All the time they were in my room, their faces were covered over. I was very much alarmed, both on my own account and on account of my wife and children. The movement of the prisoner, which I have spoken to, was when he went across my yard with Everist, the constable. £90 has been offered for the apprehension of the persons who committed the robbery; £20 by myself, £20 by the Society for the Protection of Property and £50 by the government. I do not know who is to have the money. I do not know whether Everist, the constable, is to have it, or any portion of it. I have never talked the subject over to him. The witness added that he found a stick (produced) in his yard on Monday night.
Mrs Munyard sworn - I was at home on the night of the 1st June. I remember my husband being much hurt on that night. The men made me go into an adjoining room, and unlock the drawers. They took all the plate. They did not say anything to me. They were all disguised, wearing caps over their faces. When we went to bed, we left a hand of pork in the kitchen, and in the morning it was missing, but the bone was found in the yard.
By Mr Charnock - I am not able to identify the prisoner as being one of the men.
Harriett Kennell examined - I am servant to Mr Munyard. Remember the burglary on the night of the 1st June. While the men were in the house, I went to the window with the intention of jumping out, but did not do so, in consequence of seeing a man with a black cap over his face.
Cross examined by Mr Charnock - I did not see any of the men's faces who were in the room, and do not know how long they were there. // John Pryer deposd - I am now a prisoner in Maidstone gaol on a charge of burglary. I lately lived in Perry Street, Northfleet. I have known prisoner for about 4 years. He had lived latterly in Star Street, Gravesend, and kept a lodging house. On the 30th May I went to Clark's house about a table. Before I spoke to him about it, he asked me to come indoors, and said he had 4 of the first rate house-breakers lodging with him. He asked me if I knew anything about Mrs Durling's house, and whether I knew how many lived there. I told him I did not know anything about the house, but I knew that such a person lived there. He then told me to sit down while he fetched the men from downstairs. I did so, and he then went and fetched 4 men. I had never seen them before. One of them was called 'Navy Jim'. They asked me the same questions that Clark did. On Thursday night I went to Clark's house again, where I saw the same 4 men. I went between 7 and 8 o'clock and remained there till past 10. I left with one of the men, and went towards Perry Street, and the others followed by twos, and we all met by 'Twelve Step Stile', where one of the men went behind the hedge and pulled out 4 caps, three white ones and a black one. We then went to Stone Wood, where they got 5 sticks and a short iron bar. We then went down to Mrs Durling's house, where we remained for about half an hour. There were a great many persons in the barn, in consequence of which we left and went towards Gravesend; but before we left we returned to Stone Wood and laid up the sticks again. I left the men in Perry Street, and they went in the direction of Gravesend. The next morning I went to Clark's house again, where I saw his wife lighting the fire. The 4 men were there, and I had some breakfast with them. After breakfast it was arranged for me to go with 2 of the men to Mellicar (Meliker) Farm, occupied by Mr Munyard; and Clark to go with the other 2 to Hartley's Farm. It was one o'clock when I got to Mellicar Farm. We saw one of Mr Munyard's workmen named Callow. The other men spoke to him, and asked him a great many questions about Mr Munyard. We were with him from 5 to 10 minutes. When we left him we went towards Hidley's Farm, where I went and asked for some work. When we got to Hartley Bottom, we met Clark with the other 2 men. Nothing further was said about Mellicar Farm, but Clark asked if we had found Hidley's. We told him, 'No,' and it was then arranged for them to go and find it, and when they parted it was agreed for us to meet at 9 o'clock. I went to Clark's house at 9 o'clock, where I saw Clark and the 4 men. The men told me 'they had found Hidley's, and had likewise been round to Munyard's and sounded him again.' I saw a woman there, but do not know her name. We remained together about an hour. Clark told me to go and get the sticks and the caps that were laid up in the wood, and meet him again with the other men. I and two of the men went to Turner's, where we met Clark and the two other men. We then went towards Mellicar farm, and when we got to the corner, we put our shirts outside our coats, and drew the caps over our faces. They were the same caps we had on Wednesday. After they had dressed themselves, one of the men took the ladder, and said, 'Come on, let us go up to the house;' and the ladder was put under the bedroom window. This was about 12 o'clock. Four men then went up the ladder, leaving Clark at the bottom. They told me that as soon as they began to smash the window. I was to go under the window where the ladder was. They went up the ladder one after the other. When I heard the smashing I went under the window. One of the men said, 'Look out Turpin; if anyone cames knock his brains out.' Clark was close by, and I could talk to him. The 4 men then went in the house, and after they had been there about half an hour, Clark went in. I continued by the washouse door, and after they had been in the house some time, one of them came out and brought me a decanter with a little brandy in it. When I had drank it, some pork was brought to me. I did not eat it, as I had no bread. The meat fell from the bone, and the bone was left in the yard. The men also brough out 4 bundles. They were in the house about an hour, or an hour and a half. When they came out, we all went towards Longfield Hill. Nothing was done then with any part of the property. We separated on Eglantine Road. Before we separated it was arranged for the 4 men to meet at Westminster. John Clark and I went towards home, and I left him about a quarter of a mile from his house. When we left the prosecutor's premises, I left my stick in the yard. It was a similar one eto the stick produced.
Cross examined by Mr Chanock - I was taken into custody on the 2nd June, the day after the burglary by Bennett, the constable of Meopham, at Perry Street. I have been in custody ever since. I was three times before the magistrates on this case. It was after the last time I was before the magistrates that I began to tell about the robbery. Everist, the constable, came to me in the prison. It was in consequence of what he said to me that I told what I have. I saw him in the visiting box in the gaol; we were not together; a wire separated us. No one was present. I did not sesnt for Everist, but was surprised to see him. I had not heard of a reward, but had heard of a free pardon for an accomplice. Everist did not tell me that I should have any part of the reward; but told me that I should have a free pardon. Before Everist came to me, I had made up my mind to confess about the robbery. I expected to be transported. I do not know whether I expect it now; but perhaps I shall be before I die. Everist showed me the bill, offering a free pardon to an accomplice. My wife and family were in the Union before I went to prison. I was also in the Union, but came out 9 days before the burglary. There was a dispute between Clark and me respecting a deal table. I never said 'I would do for Clark for keeping the table.' All that I had of the stolen property was 5s 2d. I know a person named Goldsmith. I have never said anything to him about this affair. I never said to him 'I do not care who get's into the job, so long as I get out of it.' I was here once for stealing some ducks, 12 months ago last Christmas. I had 6 months' imprisonment for it. I was once here for catching a wild rabbit; I got 14 days' then. That was 5 years ago last winter. I was imprisoned for 21 days last March, for refusing to look after some men who were ill with the fever; it was not for stealing. These are the only times I have been in prison. I was not imprisoned between the rabbit stealing and the duck stealing. I have not committed any more felonies than I have mentioned here. Everist has been to me 3 times in the gaol. He did not take down what I said, but it was taken down in the presence of a magistrate. I am a labourer.
Re-examined by Mr Hawkins - Clark knew that I had been imprisoned for stealing the rabbit and ducks. The table in question was taken for rent in another person's house. It was planned to be given up to me before the robbery. My family has been in a great deal of distress.
Stephen Callow examined - I am in the employ of Mr Munyard. On the afternoon of the 1st of June I was at work. I saw Pryer, who came up and spoke to me. Two men were with him, one of whom had some conversation with me. He commenced by observing that my master had two fields of very fine clover. He then asked me if 'The joskins boarded in the house.' I told him 'Yes,' and he said 'Then I suppose he has got servants.' I said 'Yes, he has.' He then aske dme 'if he was an old man.' I told him he was not, and he then said 'Is he a little or big man.' I replied that 'he was a fair sized man.' The men went away together. I knew Pryer, having seen him before.
John Henry Bennett deposed - I have known the prisoner 2 years. On the 1st June I was between Gravesend and Meopham, when I saw Clark and 2 men with him. They were going towards Meopham.
By Mr Charnock - My attention was drawn to this by my father. I do not know when my attention was first called to it. I have been told to say it was on the 1st June. My father told me to say it was then. My father is a constable. I have seen the bills offering a rewoard. I have very often seen Clarke. // Re-examined by Mr Hawkins - It was the last time I sw Clark before he was taken into custody. It was on the day before I heard of the robbery; on a Friday.
James Langford, a little boy, said - I live at Mellicar, about 200 yards from Mr Munyard's farm. I remember the night his house was broken into. In the afternoon before I saw Clark with 2 men near Mr Munyard's gate. Two of the men went and lay down under an old oak tree, and the third (not Clark) came up and talked to me. Clark was about 2 rods off. When he left me he went and lay under the tree with the others.
Cross examined by Mr Charnock - I had never seen the men before. Did not see the prisoner again till after he was in custody about 3 weeks or a month ago. It was on a Sunday.
John Barnard Skinner deposed - I am a donkey keeper at Gravesend, and have known the prisoner four years. I remember the night on which the burglary took place at Meopham. Before that I saw the 4 men lodging at Clark's house. One was called 'Navy Jim'. I saw them at 6 o'clock in the evening before the burglary near Mellicar farm.
Cross examined by Mr Charnock - I have been in trouble myself. I have been convicted of stealing turnip tops, when i had 14 days' imprisonment. This is 4 years ago. I have been convicted since of plying for hire for my donkey off the stand. I have been in prison 3 times altogether; twice for getting off the stand and once for stealing the turnip tops. I won't swear that I have been in prison any other tims. I might have been in prison half a dozen times; I don't know. I have not a very good memory. They call me 'Barney'.
Re-examined by Mr Hawkins - It is 2 years since I was fined for getting off the stand with my donkey; but now I keep a large stable of donkeys for the ladies of Gravesend to ride upon.
Maria Ketling deposed - I live at Gravesend, and for 3 months have been lodging at Clark's house, in Star Street. I have seen Pryer there twice. I remember the night Mr Munyard's house was broken into. For some days before that, 4 young men lodged at Clark's house. Two of them were named James and Thomas. James had a nickname of 'Navy Jim'. I saw the men there on the night of robbery, at about 9 o'clock. I was in the parlour. I did not see them the next morning. I saw Clark, who went to London on the Saturday, and returned in the evening between 7 and 8 o'clock. When he came homehe gave Mrs Clark some money. I heard of Pryer being taken into custody on Saturday night. Clark was out all day on the Sunday. I saw Everist in the forepart of the week, watching the house. Clark told me to say he was not at home if Everist came, and I did so. Everist then went away, but returned again. Clark used to lock himself in my room, and once I asked him 'What made him look so down?'. This was on the second Sunday after Everist came to Clark's house. When Clark returned from London, he told me that he had left the men in London who had been lodging at his house.
By Mr Charnock - Clark kept a lodging house. He kept ferrets. I have heard of the reward; but have not been promised anything.
Sarah Inkpen deposed - John Pryer's wife is my daughter. I remember the night of the burglary. Saw the prisoners the night after in Parrock Street, Gravesend. Prisoner's wife was with me. Clark said to her, 'Don't make yourself uneasy, for if a shilling or two is wanted, let cost what it will, I will see the money paid.'
Thomas Robert Everist, constable, deposed - I know the prisoner, who kept the lodging house in Star Street Gravesend. the day after the robbery I went to his house, but did not see him. On the following Monday I saw him in High Street, and afterwards on board the Star Steam Boat. I also went on board, and followed him as far as Blackwall. I went to his house on several occasions after that. I saw the witness each time. She told me Clark was not at home. On the 29th June I saw Clark in the Hackney Road, London, but did not take him into custody. Afterwards went to his lodgings in Shoreditch, where I took him into custody. He had a round frock on, and his hair and whiskers had been cut off. He spoke to me first, and said 'I am glad you got me, master. I would sooner you have me than any other man. I wanted you to have me.' I then told him what the charge was against him, when he said, 'I am innocent. I know what this is all about. I was not near Meopham on the night of the robbery; but I know all about it.' He then said, 'This is all I got by having a parcel of guns (meaning thieves) lodging in my house. Let me get out of this, I wll take care that I don't get into anything of this kind again.' I asked him if he knew 'Navy Jim', and he said, 'No, I know Navy Jack'.
By Mr Charnock - When I went to the gaol to Pryer, I took the bill offering the reward and the free pardon and showed it to him. I read the part over to him that referred to the pardon.
Mr Espinssee, the magistrate before whom the witness Pryer made his statement, was here examined, and said that before his statement was made, he cautioned him, and told him that it would be taken down and might be used against him; that he had nothing to hope for from any promise of reward; and read over the Act of Parliament to him that referred to statements being made by prisoners.
George Slater was next sworn, and deposed - I am a prisoner in the gaol, but have not yet been tried. I was never before in any gaol. I have been living near Tunbridge Wells. I was foreman over some works on the railway. Since I have been in gaol I have had several conversations with Clark. He asked me 'how that old fellow, Pryer, got on?' I said, 'I do not know,' when he said, 'He has turned snitch upon me. If he had waited a day or two the money would have been ready for him. The chaps have not sold the things, and there is no money for him.' I said, 'I believe you have not behaved just right to him.' He said 'The old fellow did not do anything, only stand outside.' He then said, 'The chaps would kill him when he got outside.'
By Mr Charnock - A soldier heard part of this conversation. The last conversation I had with the prisoner was on Monday morning. I have heard of the reward. Prisoner told me about it. I have never mentioned what I have said this afternoon till within about an hour ago, when a gentleman (the solicitor for the prosecution) came and asked me about it. I had never seen him before.
Mr Charnock then addressed the jury for the prisoner, observing that he never before witnessed a case that was so propped up by bad characters. Without their evidence, he contended there was nothing against the prisoner, and therefore hoped the jury would look at it with a great deal of precaution.
The learned judge carefully recapitulated the whole of the evidence, and said the only question for the consideration of the jury was, taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, and looking at the evidence of the accomplice, borne out as it was by many features of the testimony of the other witnesses, whether the prisoner was one of the party who broke into the house of the prosecutor on the night in question. It was a case of a serious nature, and it was their duty to look well into every circumstance that had been brought forward. The evidence of the accomplice, he considered, was in a great degree substantiated by other testimony, but it was for the jury to say what weight they relied upon it.
The jury consulted for a few minutes, and then returned a verdict of guilty.
Sentence of death was recorded against the prisoner.
[Subsequently the sentence was commuted to transportation for life. John Pryer and the other witnesses crop up again in 1851 and 1855 when 2 others of the gang, Reuben Parker (Hampstead Fred) and Albert Dowse, was tried and convicted . It appears he had been freed after this case. Later in the report of the Assizes the paper records that George Slater was acquitted when his case came on. John Joseph Clark was moved from Maidstone Prison to Millbank Prison - Kentish Gazette 12.2.1850]
1849, July 31: Temperance Society Maidstone Journal
"On the afternoon of Saturday last the members and friends of the Dartford and Sutton at Hone Temperance Society assembled on Dartford Heath where tea and its concomitants were provided for them, and after partaking of the cup that cheers but not inebriates filed off to various games. The more sedate portion of the them listing attentively to addresses from Mr Morse, Greenwich; Mr Parks, Crayford and Robinson, Darenth. This was the first meeting of the kind the Society has had and the numbers and respectability of the attendants must have been very satisfactory and encouraging to the promoters of it and probably will add to the ranks of the Society."
1849, September 1: Cholera at Dartford West Kent Guardian
This disease, we regret to say, is prevalent in Water Lane, in this parish, carrying off its victime ina very few hours. In one instance, a whole family, consisting of a man, his wife and 4 children, fell victims to the fatal malady in 4 days. The neighbourhood attacked was described to the writer by a very zealous and kind visitor, who is called at all time to visit and read to the persons attacked, as 'plague stricken.' I pass houses, he says, in the middle of the night, and hear persons reading the Bible, for they are afraid to go to bed. Through the kindness of some individual a supply of white brandy, laudanum, and oil of peppermint is kept at the infant school room, a dose of which, in the following proportion, is supplied to persons applying for it for others attacked, and has been found effectual in nearly every case - to a common phial bottle of white brandy add 15 drops of laudanum and 5 drops of oil of peppermint. This is the dose for a strong man, and less is required for women and children. Notices have been posted about the town requesting persons to send for medical aid as soon as attacked, and informing them medical men will attend without charge."
[Looking at Dartford burial register this would be the family of John and Jane Heath and their children Hannah (11), George (9), John (7) and Sarah (2). Laudanum is another name for opium]
1849, September 4: Property Sales South Eastern Gazette
Sale by Messrs Wilkinson at the Mart on 30 August included: (1) Freehold House, High Street, Dartford, let for £50 5s - £845; (2) Freehold House, High Street, Dartford, let for £25 - £325; (3) Freehold Public House, Three Tuns, High Street, Gravesend, let for £20 - £980; (4) Freehold House, 45 High Street, Gravesend, worth £55 per annum - £900; (5) 12 Freehold Cottages, Three Tuns Yard, Gravesend - £1,420; (6) Freehold Public House, The Cock, West Street, Gravesend, let for £13 - £710; (7) Freehold house, 35 West Street, Gravesend - £300.
1849, September 22: Rail Traffic West Kent Guardian
"The North Kent line to Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich, Erith, Dartford, Greenhithe, Northfleet, Gravesend and Strood, for Rochester and Chatha, 25 miles in length (connecting the London and Greenwich Railway with the Gravesend and Rochester line), was opened for passenger traffic throughout on the 30th of July, and a statement now follows showing what the returns of the traffic have been: - The First Class passengers have been 32,613 producing £2,973 8s 3d; 2nd Class 77,678 producing £5,695 7s 5d; and 3rd class 218,221 producing £8,052 15s 4d; making a total of 328,512 passengers, producing £16,721 11s; to which has to be added for goods, parcels etc £628 7s 2d; making a net total of £17,349 18s 2d. The revenue account for the half year has credit for only £525 10s of the above amount, being the receipts for the two first days after the opening - namely the 30th and 31st of July. The proprietors will observe that the receipts have hitherto been almost exclusively from passenger traffic, as time has not permitted the completion of the stations, and other facilities required for the goods traffic....."
Superintendent Registrar's District
Dartford (Hartley) - Cholera 1
Total (Great Britain) - Cholera 56, Diarrhoea 18.
[Looking at the Burial register, the case was probably William Longhurst, aged 45, who was buried 3 November 1845. The previous report had been 22 October 1849.]
1849, November 10: The Church Rates Question West Kent Guardian
"On Tuesday after every broker (as we believed) in the town refused to execute the magistrates' warrant against the Rev E S Pryce's goods for the amount of church rate owing by him, and which he refused to pay, Mr William Eversfield the oldest and undoubtedly one of the most respectable auctioneers and appraisers in Gravesend or perhaps in Kent, accompanied by magistrates' officers, messrs Atkins and Everest, to Mr Pryce's house and executed the warrant by appraising and seizing 3 candelabra, and other articles of sufficient value to satisfy the rates and costs under the order of the court. Mr Pryce, having, as we further learned, declined to redeem the goods so seized in execution by payment of the claim, they are to be sold on the 5th day after seizure. It is said that all the appraisers (learned of course) in the town and even in Rochester and Dartford peremptorily refused to assist at the execution of this warrant for church rates. It may be necessary to add that there was no obstacle to the entry of the officers into Mr Pryce's house, or to the seizure of the property duly and legally made as it was. Mr Smith of the New Road had also an execution put into his house for a church rate, which he likewise refused to pay."
[Rev Pryce was a Baptist minister who didn't see why he should pay rates to support a rival church, he was also a member of The Anti-State Church Union. Compulsory Church Rates were abolished in 1868]
1849, December 15: Refusing Relief to Casual Poor Standard of Freedom
"Sir, as a proof of the evils resulting from the authorities of the City unions refusing relief to casual applicants, I beg to refer you to the awful state of things existing in some parts of the country. And when we consider the effect already produced thereby, who will presume to avert its ultimatel consequences.
circumstances demanded my presence at Sutton on Sunday last, and on my arrival I was astonished to find its inhabitants, together with those of Dartford and surrounding villages, in a state of utter consternation; but my surprise diminished on being informed that most of the houses of any respectability had been in almost regular succession broken into, and plundered to an astonishing extent. But this is not all. Persons cannot with any degree of safety leave their houses after dark without subjecting themselves to the mercy of a reckless improvident gang of thieves, who, having been refused the means of subsistence from other sources, have recourse to this system of nocturnal villany. Thus by decreasing the number of honest paupers, we shall be increasing crime with all its concomitant evils a hundred fold, illustrating the old proverb 'penny wise and pound foolish.'
If you consider these remark worthy insertion in your widely circulated journal, they may prove useful by inducing others to adopt preventive means, and ultimately bring to justice the lawless characters producing so much terror and dismay in the minds of the otherwise peaceable and secure inhabitants of Sutton. Your humble servant. A Constant Reader. 11 St James's Buildings, Clerkenwell. December 10, 1849."
1849, December 25: Bankruptcy Maidstone Journal
Notice of Petition of Bankruptcy against William Farrant formerly of Fawkham, farmer and sub-surveyor of roads, now of [West] Kingsdown, wood dealer and sub-surveyor of roads.