Stack Lane
Stack Lane: Views of Church Road end of the road

Stack Lane is an unadopted private road in the centre of the village with 29 houses and 3 bungalows of varying ages.  The road is classified as a restricted user byway.  This means that it has public access on foot, bicycle or horse and carriage, but vehicular access is restricted to access only.  Since 6 August 1975 it has been illegal to drive along the western end of the road from Carmelite Way to Ash Road, except for access.  

Charles Ellerby (Hartley 1912-74) remembers the pre 1914 Stack Lane:  "The line of stacks in Stack Lane is somewhat depleted at this pre-harvest time of year, but the remains of last year's hay ricks still stand, with the summer's half finished stack of straw trusses after recent threshing and a round wheat stack and one oval oat stack left for Autumn seeding".  The road's name was gentrified after the second world war from Stack Road to Stack Lane.


Stack Lane is not one of Hartley's ancient roads, but is still older than most.  It did not exist in 1810 when a map was drawn of the Middle Farm estate, then there was instead a path from about near the entrance of the future Dickens Close to Hartley Green.  It is not clear whether this was a public footpath.  The map may be viewed in the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone.  We first definitely meet Stack Lane in the 1869 Ordnance Survey map, where the other path had now disappeared.  Well into the 20th century there was a farm gate at the Church Road end of the road.  

There were no houses here when Small Owners Limited bought the land in 1912 and divided the road into 4 smallholdings, 2 on each side, divided roughly at the point where Carmelite Way is today.  The first house built was Homefield, named after the field on which it was built.  The first owner here was Miss Charlotte Richardson, like so many buyers from Small Owners, a poultry farmer.  Part of this holding was sold to Miss Beatrice Helena Mary Davies-Cooke.  

Stack Lane: (1) 1936 OS map (b&w) superimposed on modern (colour) map, some material is (c) Ordnance Survey (2) Church Road entrance and St Bernards, 1920

Miss Davies-Cooke had bought the Middle Farm end of the road in 1913 and converted the barn into Hartley Roman Catholic Church.  She also aquired the Church Road end on the other side of the road.  As there were no Catholics living in Hartley at the time she had houses built for Catholics only.  In the mid-1920s the houses Whitehaven, Stack Cottage, St Annes, St Peters, Pere Lamy and St Bernards appeared on the north side, while she sold the plots for Chantry Cottage and Beulah on the south side in the 1930s.  Just after the war came Rose Bank, Romney Cottage and Berne.  The remaining houses are of more modern date.  St Annes, built in about 1926, is the oldest surviving house in the road.

The state of the road surface has been a constant worry.  In 1926 the Parish Council attempted to make a cinder footpath, but this failed as vehicles ground the surface into the mud.  The owner of Whitehaven wrote to Dartford Rural District Council in 1932 to complain about the state of the road, only to be told it wasn't the council's responsibility.  The council did decide to serve notices to repair on the frontagers in 1938.  In 1966 construction of the 4 houses at the end of Carmelite Way was said to have turned the road into a quagmire and the parish council asked the developers to put rubble on the road.

Post war the problems continued.  The homeowners at the Ash Road end of the road did have the road surfaced but then faced the problems of traffic that should not have been using the road damaging the surface.  The Ash Road end was made access only by the KCC (Stack Lane Hartley) (Prohibition of Driving) Order 1975.  That part of the road was resurfaced again and sleeping policemen added in 1979 at a cost of £1,307.  Further repairs were discussed in 1987 and a quote of £2,375 was received, it appears the contractor was Orpington Starbeck.  By 1997 the road was again badly potholed and after a pedestrian fell down one of them and broke her hip, repairs became essential.  This time the residents bought roadstone and cold tar and did the repairs themselves on Sunday 20th April at a cost of £500.  In 2001 there were more discussions about the need for repair, which led to surface patching in January 2002 at a cost of £75.

Kent County Council now have some responsibility to make the road safe for pedestrians, cyclists and horses, and so paid for the limited surfacing in 2013, costing £20,000, which met their statutory obligations.