Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 22 February 2001


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Sold wife!
Under the heading of “Other glimpses into the long ago” Herald writer Felix was relating, a century ago, an interesting yarn told about Romney Marsh folk in 1653.

According to the writer there was a newspaper at that time called “Mericurius Democretus” which stated:

“A Kentish grazier, living near Romney Marsh, a place very subject to agues (Malaria type fever), in six years hath enriched himself by marrying seven wives, which he hath buried, and lately married the eighth, which soon after died; yet he, being very healthy, intends to marry as many more, it being the speediest way to get him a great estate.”

Felix said the following ‘yarn’ was also recorded in a Kent newspaper in 1832:

“On March 7, 1832, a fellow named Walter, a sand carrier, at Detling, carried his wife to Cranbrook market, where he exposed her for sale with a halter round her neck.

“The fair one was purchased by an old sweetheart for a glass of gin, a pot of beer, and a shilling.

“The buyer was so well pleased with his bargain that he accepted a little encumbrance with his lot - a bouncing boy, nearly eight years old.”

This was no isolated case for, during her family history researches in bound copies of the Kentish Gazette newspaper, my wife, Kathleen, came across this entry of Friday, April 13,1821:

“On Tuesday, a man having the appearance of a horse jockey, sold his wife at Tunbridge market, for one shilling and sixpence and a pot of beer.

“She was a very pretty young woman, and declared her husband was such a good-for-nothing
rascal she could not live with him - an assertion for the truth of which she deserves full credit.”

Six years earlier the Kentish Gazette, of Jan 13, 1815, also recorded:

“Matrimonial Sale - On Tuesday last, a man named John Osborne, who lives at Goudhurst, came to Maidstone for the purpose of disposing of his wife by sale in the public market place, but it not being market day the auction was removed to the sign of the “Coal Barge” in Earl Street, where she was actually sold to a man named William Serjeant, with her child, for the sum of 1.”

Closer to South East Kent, the same paper reported, on February 28,1812:

‘Degrading affair’

“We regret to record this degrading instance of human nature. At Hearne (Herne, near Herne Bay) on Monday last, Quick, a labouring man sold his wife and two children to Tunsley, another labourer for a gallon of beer and two 1 notes.” Wives and children were evidently treated as mere chattels!

I recently referred to a plan by a development company to hold a reunion of former evacuees of Wren’s Warren camp, on the site of which they are building, in the Ashdown Forest area. The firm hoped a Herald reader might remember the camp.

Well, the feature brought back treasured childhood memories for Mrs Catharine Clarke, of Walton Manor Close, Folkestone, who writes:

“Your article brought back many happy memories for me. I was born at Marsh Green House, Chuckhatch, many, many years ago. After which my home, until I was 15, was Moss Cottage, Newbridge, Colemans Hatch, which is quite near.

“Although I can’t give you any real details about
Memories reader Mrs Edith Weatherhead, who is 80, has asked me to point out that she also is a surviving daughter of 'Black-un' Fagg, referred to on February 8. In fact she says there were originally 11 in the family. But she and Sarah 'Sally' Wooderson, referred to by Ron Hammond in my article, are the only survivors. They had sisters Emily, Annie, Bertha and Florence and brothers James, Richard and William, she said.

Another reader, Peter Fagg, of Lennard Road, Folkestone rang to tell me Jim 'Darky' Fagg, in the fishing boat photo was his father and he was not called 'Black'un.' Real name William, 'Black'un' was an uncle of 'Darky.' And, by the way, he said, 'Ogamy" Hall was my great-grandfather!
PROCLAMATION of King Edward VII by the Mayor, Cllr Daniel Baker, outside the town's former Town Hall a century ago. In days when there was no radio or television the accession of a new King was cause for much rejoicing. And, although the Boer War had reduced the size of local garrisons the Army turned out in force to lend pageantry to the occasion as this photo, from the Herald of the time, shows.

the camp I do know that at one time it was a logging company, but whether that was before or after the evacuees, I can’t remember.

“The evacuees, mainly from London, stayed there during the war years and we became friendly with a number of them. The boys were inclined to be belligerent and considered us “Nancies” for being country yokels, but the girls were friendly.

“I loved the Ashdown Forest and we were often given a sandwich and a bottle of water and would
spend all day playing and exploring or trespassing in the nearby private Pippingford Wood - where wild cats and deer roamed - where lakes with leaky boats and thin ice, were a dangerous attraction.

“I remember well when many soldiers were billeted all around the forest and did daily manouvres.

“We became quite used to ‘bushes’ (soldiers in camouflage) getting up and walking away! We spent hours ‘helping’ them wash their lorries and tanks in the ford opposite our cottage!”

Develop neglected east end of town says Herald

A THE HERALD, coiiip>Miii“ Folkestone

with other resorts, called for a greater emphasis on developing the east side of town, which, the editor said, had been neglected in favour of the Leas area. And he referred to fast growing Dover and neighbouring St Margaret's Bay where good and high class property was springing up. Writing simply as S. Penfold, the councillor who went on to become Sir Stephen Penfold, one of the town's most distinguished mayors, suggested the best memorial to Queen Victoria would be completion of the new wing of the Victoria Hospital which itself was built to commemorate the late Queen's Jubilee. That new wing, intended to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee, had not been completed for lack of funds, he pointed out. Felix slammed the decision of the Council to place lamp-posts down the centre of Shorncliffe Road, "a fine street created by the Railway Company," instead of at the sides. The Independent Order of Good Templars celebrated the Jubilee of their movement, at the Tontine Street Congregational Church schoolroom, when 28 new members were initiated and a congratulatory telegram was sent to King Edward VII.
Licensees win extension to 10.30pm in summer

f ftno THE TOWN'S licensees won a long battle for an extension of hours to 10.30pm during the holiday month* if June, July, August and September. It was the fourth successive year they had applied to the local magistrates. In the previous year, it was stated in evidence, the number of visitors arriving by rail in July and August alone totalled 250.000, a 35.000 increase on the previous year, and yet those who wanted a drink in the evening found the bars closing at 10pm. This was not the case in Hythe. Deal or Margate, said solicitor Mr Rutlcy Mowll. and it was time Folkestone fell into line. Although final approval for the line was awaited from the Ministry of Transport, work had started on workshops for the Romney Marsh Light Railway and 2,000 sleepers and 80 tons of rails had already arrived. At the same time engineer Henry Greenly was working at New Romncy on plans for two 12 gauge steam locomotives for the Canadian Pacific Railway for the Philadelphia Exhibition Railway opening in June. Carriages for the trains were being built at Mr Pcttman's works. The Dreilingore or "Woe Waters" were flowing again in the Alkham valley, the rate of flow said to be 4.5 million gallons of water a day.
Property owners appeal after sea wall repairs
Hopes of 50,000 income from town’s trade refuse

| n“7Ci A CLAIM that the District Council was losing I Oout on potential incomc of 50,000 a year from trade refuse was said to be an exaggeration when the subject was discussed by the works committee. A recommendation was being made that charges for collecting the refuse should be trebled, while charges for emptying rubbish skips would almost double. It was claimed there were 7.000 business premises in the district but only 380 were paying the trade refuse charge. Folkestone man was taking steps to preserve the Royal Navy's first ironclad warship. Warrior, berthed at Pembroke docks. The 32-gun ship, was launched in 1861 and Tim Luscombe, of Cheriton was aiming to form a Warrior preservation group, estimating it would cost 50.000 to overhaul the vessel, which was being used as an oil storage hulk. Romney Marsh holiday beaches were being smothered with silt due to shingle removal schemes complained Lydd Mayor Cllr Denis Prior, one of several councillors to express concern after plans were revealed for more shingle to be removed. Cllr George Wood said Shepway Council should withhold a licence for Southern Water to extract more shingle and seek advice. 25.000 cubic metres a year was taken from Lydd Ranges to protect beaches near Camber, but the company wanted to take shingle in future from Dungeness which also created concern.
*1 QC1 SEA DEFENCE at Sandgate was debat-.L79.Led in a Folkestone court in February which sat to hear appeals by property owners objecting against the charges levied against them for repairs. The Town Council, as coast erosion authority for the district, had carried out emergency repairs bccause it thought 13 properties were in danger due to breaches in their seawalls. Eleven owners appealed. Plans for a military tattoo in connection with town plans to celebrate the Festival of Britain were proceeding but those attending a public meeting in the Town Hall were told that those arrangements might be seriously curtailed at the last minute if an international crisis should blow up affecting the armed services. Kenex Coachworks, which employed staff all over East Kent was holding its Sports & Social Club dinner at Bobby's store (now Debenhams) when there was a minor emergency. Our Townsman's Diary “Townsman" told how a guest narrowly escaped what could have been serious injury when he slipped on the dance floor. For Leo Daughters' fall set fire to a box of matches in his pocket! Smoke started to pour from his clothing but luckily the fire was quickly extinguished and a jug of water which was rushed to the scene, was not required!

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