31 May 2010

Church of St. Peter & St. Paul (Photographs), Upper Stoke

The entrance to the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul is located on The Street in Upper Stoke. The structure has undergone many repairs over the centuries, but parts date back to 1175.  A major restoration was initiated in 1898. With views across the Stoke Saltings, the Church backs onto Stoke Road and Church Terrace.

There might be a number of my ancestors buried in the churchyard, but I have only found a couple of surviving headstones - they probably couldn't afford such things. In another post, I have already referred to one of these graves (belonging to Henry & Emma Spencer), but the other grave, which has been well hidden over the years, contains six of my Great-Grandfather's young siblings, who died between 1871 and 1882. I usually refer to these children as 'the Watson children', but their names and ages were:  Charles (19), John (14), William (2), Arthur (2), Ernest (1) and Clara (only weeks old). Perhaps in celebration of their lives, a tree has grown from their grave (first photograph below) - quite literally giving me a family tree!

All photographs were taken on the date of this blog.

Brenda Paternoster, Family History Research

I would encourage a visit to the personal website of Brenda Paternoster, who is associated with the Medway Branch of the Kent Family History Society (KFHS). Brenda's site covers many interesting topics, including her own family history research.

Brenda's website may be viewed by clicking here. There is an excellent section about Allhallows, which can be viewed here.

30 May 2010

Kent Family History Society (Medway Branch)

For anyone interested in researching their family history, I encourage a visit to the website of Medway's branch of the Kent Family History Society (KFHS). Their site includes many interesting articles, including information about their regular trips to the National Archives at Kew. There's also a section for people beginning their family history research. Please click here to find out more. 

Well done to the Medway Branch of the Kent Family History Society (KFHS) - keep up the good work!

29 May 2010

Victorian Terraced Properties, Stoke

These properties are located across Stoke (Lower, Middle and Upper). I know a small amount about Avondale Place in Lower Stoke, as my ancestors once lived there and, apparently, helped in their construction. I am keen to learn more about these fine Victorian terraced properties.

Below:  Avondale Place, High Street, Lower Stoke, built in 1892.

Below:  Burrows Lane, Middle Stoke

Below:  The Street, Upper Stoke

28 May 2010

Cooling Castle, Cooling

Cooling Castle has a very long history, but these photographs show one of the gatehouse towers, with a close-up of a commemorative copper plate on its walls.  The plate reads:  'Knouwyth that heth and schul be / That I am mad in help of the cuntre / In knowyng of whyche thyng / Thys is chartre and wytnessyng'.  This plate was granted following the issue of a licence to crenellate in 1381.  At one point, the castle was the property of the Lollard leader John Oldcastle, who was executed for his beliefs, and later the source for Shakespeare's Falstaff – through his marriage to Joan Oldcastell, the fourth Baroness Cobham.

Below:  Located next to Cooling Castle is Cooling Castle Barn, a privately-run venue for weddings and events.

27 May 2010

The Beach, Allhallows on Sea

Some photographs, taken on my camera phone, of the beach at Allhallows on Sea.  The first couple of photographs are looking towards Allhallows Marshes.



26 May 2010

Short Measures, The Ship Inn, Lower Stoke

I’ve referred to my Great-Great-Grandfather (Henry Spencer) and his time running The Ship Inn at Lower Stoke (from 1889 to 1901) a few times already. I’ve now discovered that, on 25 June 1897, Henry gained a conviction whilst running the pub. If you read carefully, the extract from the 'Register of Licenses - Granted in the North Division of Aylesford Lath' (pictured below), details his conviction for selling measures of gin and whisky below the legal limits.

Henry was ordered by the court to pay 10s (fine) and 9s (costs) for the gin offence and £1 (fine) and 9s (costs) for the whisky offence. Sadly, not the only publican in history to be guilty of this type of offence!

Despite his misdemeanours, Henry continued managing the pub, which was owned by the Lion Brewery, for another four more years.

Apologies for any technical inaccuracies or misrepresentations.

25 May 2010

Stoke Photos, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre (MALSC)

Special thanks go to the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre (MALSC), who have published these photographs on their website. Their site contains many historic images of Medway, but they have a particularly interesting batch for Stoke. To view all MALSC photographs, click this link.

The first photograph is of the Choir at the Church of St Peter & St Paul in Upper Stoke, taken in approximately 1905. Unfortunately, the names of those photographed are not known, but MALSC are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information (as indeed am I). MALSC can be emailed by clicking here.

The next photograph was taken in approximately 1900 and, as well as the Windmill in the background, shows Forge House on Cuckolds Green Road in Lower Stoke. I don't know if the 'forge' (as opposed to Forge House) is the wooden hut / building on the left but, according to the 1891 census, my Great-Grandfather (Herbert Watson) worked for a Blacksmith in Lower Stoke - he was just 16 years old at the time! The 1891 census lists Herbert and his parents living at School Hill. Their neighbours were the Stratford family (also related) and they had a lodger called Reginald Filmer.  

Again, many thanks to Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre for the use of these photographs.  Pleae visit their main website.

24 May 2010

The Brothers, Douglas and Jack Watson

In the past few years, I have collected and exchanged many photographs of family members, both close and distant, and of the places where they lived and are connected to.  Of all the photographs in my now growing and healthy collection, this one has to be my favourite.  It shows my Grandfather Douglas Watson (on the right) with his younger brother Jack, who sadly died during WW2.  I can't say anything about this photograph that would do it the justice it deserves - it's simply fantastic!

22 May 2010

All Saints Church, Allhallows

My Great-Great-Grandfather, John Watson, was baptised at All Saints Church in 1833.  These photographs were taken on 1 January 2010, when I was out having a pleasant, but very cold, winter stroll around Allhallows.

Below:  Further along Stoke Road (in the direction of Lower Stoke), more views and fields.

Homewards Road, Allhallows

A beautiful sunny day out on the Hoo Peninsula!  Out for a stroll near Allhallows, on a footpath located off Homewards Road.  I took these photographs behind Dagnam Farm, which overlooks the River Thames.  There are also good, but distant, views of St. Mary's Marshes and Allhallows on Sea.

21 May 2010

Farmers' Market (High Halstow), Saturday 5 June 2010

The next High Halstow Farmers' Market will be held on Saturday 5 June 2010, between 9.30am and 11am, at the Village Hall in High Halstow.

20 May 2010

The White Horse, Upper Stoke

A few photographs of the Pub.

Family members gathering outside the The White Horse in Upper Stoke, which I think was probably taken during the 1950s, and then how it looks today.


19 May 2010

Clematis Cottage, Upper Stoke

Family Photographs (top down): Henry Spencer, my Great-Great-Grandfather, preparing to do some gardening and larking about with one of his grand-children. The other photographs show family members in the grounds of Clematis Cottage. Henry died in 1934, so these photographs are quite old. Apparently, Henry instigated the building of Clematis Cottage, between 1901 and 1911, but I don't know the exact date. I believe the date might be on the front of the building! It was built by a local team of builders, including Henry's son-in-law, Herbert Watson (a master bricklayer), who was my Great-Grandfather! For most of Henry's life, he worked as a Cement Labourer, but he also ran The Ship Inn (in Lower Stoke) between 1889 and 1901. Henry's wife, Emma Ann Smith (originally from Cliffe), died in 1922 and they are both buried at the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul in Upper Stoke.

Below: Clematis Cottage, as it is today, and Henry & Emma Spencer's grave.