East Malling
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Larkfield

Church Farm, 198 New Hythe Lane, Larkfield, Kent, ME20 6ST   UK
Tel:
01732 844546 Fax: 01732 875857 E-mail: office@emandlpc.co.uk W
eb: www.emandlpc.co.uk

History

East Malling - Why here?

Weirm.JPG (45680 bytes) Passing by lakes and streams, we just glance and think what an attractive sight, but .  .   .

.  . before electricity and petrol engines, water was an important source of power, a life blood, a reason to create a community.

Through the years four mills have been in existence using a stream that rises in Well street and meanders down through Ditton into the River Medway at Aylesford. Two mills were mentioned in the Norman Domesday Survey in 1086 when East Malling was called Metlinges.

Upper mill (no longer exists) - manufactured paper for rupee notes that financed the jewel in England's crown

Weir mill (Pictured above, now housing flats) Once milling grain

Middle mill (now housing Middle mill road) Paper mill for quality writing paper, later Goldwell drinks

Lower mill (no longer exists) Only the lake is there

The earliest recorded reference to East Malling is an a Charter of King Edmund (942 - 946 A.D.) which refers to "East Mealinga", this document described a gallows which stood at the corner of Lunsford Road and London Road. It is possibly near there, that the ancient Hundred Court of Larkfield (or Laurochesfel as it was the called) met. A hundred was one of the ancient divisions of Kent making up to five Lathes covering the County, of which the parish was in the Lathe of Aylesford.
Fruit of the Land
In 1847, an entry in
"History, Gazetteer and
Directory of Kent"
notes that East Malling had:

*210 acres of hops with 685 acres of woodland with fertile soil producing not only hops but fruit and grain.

* 322 houses

* population 1578 (1841 cenus year)

*Principal land owners
Captain John Twisden,      John Alfred Wigan
Thomas Law Hodges,  John Wells

The land has always been fertile and productive.
The growing of hops started around 1524 after being
cultivated by Flemish immigrants to Kent. In 1650 Daniel Defoe
called it the Mother of Hops Grounds in England , they were transported by river to London via New Hythe wharf.
The apple and cherry orchards that predominated the area in the 1960's has declined. Walking around the countryside you would often hear the sound of a bird scarring device, called a cherry banger it would cause a gun like sound every 10 minutes caused by carbide that was also used to fuel lamps.
The Manor of East Malling was sold in 1656 to Thomas Twisden and continued in the family until 1937. During this time the Twisden family had great influence on parish life from their estate centred on Bradbourne House, the house which still exist today.

Isabella Saunder Lady Twisden

Isabella Saunder,
Lady Twisden
1604-1656

Thomas Edward Twisden


Thomas Edward Twisden
1818-1887

More history on the Twisdens soon

 

Portraits reproduced by courtesy of East Malling Trust

 

The origins of Vigor Close, Mill Street, East Malling
This street name commemorates Albert Edward Vigor who was the victim of a late 19th century traffic accident in
Mill Street.
His death certificate records that he died on 13 June 1884 (a friday - unlucky for some) aged 11, when he was
accidentally run over by a horse and trap in Mill Street.
His father is recorded as Walter Vigor a miller and engineer residing in East Malling

The East Malling burial register records he was buried on 15th June 1884 in St James churchyard.
The grave is on south side of public footpath.
The site of the accident is marked by a cross, in the ragstone wall fronting Mill Street, When the former school site was developed for housing the new road was named Vigor Close.

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Historical References

For history on Larkfield try Holy Trinity church site

Kent County Archive

Books:
"Portrait of a Kentish Village"
1980  by Michael McNay
"The Family of Twysden and Twisden" by Sir John Ramskill Twisden

page of snippets of history around East Malling and Larkfield

 

a useful site for East Malling nostalgia
www.eastmallingmemories.co.uk

A piece of parish history
Unveiling the boundry stone 2006

Larkfield / Snodland
Hedgelaying Leybourne Way 2003

 

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