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A Saunter through Kent with Pen and Pencil

CONTENTS PAGE

1. Lynsted

2. Greenstreet

3. Teynham

4. Stone-by-Faversham

A Saunter through Kent with Pen and Pencil by Charles Igglesden (1928) - Volume 21

Teynham

Teynham Sketches Igglesden

PLACES attain notoriety for many reasons, some of a complimentary character, some otherwise. In the case of Teynham we find it can boast of being praised and condemned alike in the annals of our county, for while on the one hand it became part of that bit of Kent known as the Cherry Garden of England—a delightful name—on the other hand it was linked up with two adjacent parishes in the following unsavoury couplet :—

HE THAT WILL NOT LIVE LONG
LET HIM DWELL AT MURSTON, TENHAM OR TONG.

It will be noticed that in this doggerel, written no less than three hundred years ago, the name of the village is spelt without the letter " y," and it is only of quite recent years that it became Teynham.

It was the swampy part of the parish which made it unhealthy, and anyone who wanders in the meadows that lie between the church and the Swale will realise what a nest of poisonous insect life this must have been before the land was drained. Graveney marshes and Romney marshes were in the same plight years ago, and the inhabitants were subject to marsh ague and other distressing zymotic diseases. Now-a-days irrigation has turned the swamps into rich pastures, and the Swale Level and Luddenham Marshes have in their turn become valuable and healthy land.

But let us trace the origin of Teynham's fame as a fruit-growing centre. It will be remembered that King Henry the Eighth married a Dutch lady, Anne of Cleves, coarsely christened "The Flanders Mare," to whom he took a dislike on his bridal night and subsequently [36] divorced her. But, notwithstanding this antipathy, he was interested in an idea fostered by his fruiterer, one Richard Harrys, to introduce the culture of Flemish cherry and apple into England, and in the course of a few years vast orchards spread over the district and have continued to beautify and enrich Kent ever since.

But I cannot do better than quote the historian Lambarde, who, writing in the year 1570, introduces the subject with quaint references to Kent as a whole. He writes :—

"I would begin with the antiquities of this place, as commonly I doe in others, were it not that the latter and present estate thereof far passeth any that hath beene before it. 'For here have wee, not only the most dainty piece of all our Shyre, but such a Singularitie as the whole British Hand is not able to patterne. The Ile of Thanet, and those Easterne parts are the Grayner : the Weald was the Wood : Rumney Marsh is the Medow plot : the Northdownes towards the Thamyfe, be the Cony garthe, or Warreine : and this Teynham with thirty other parishes (lying on each side of this poste way, and extending from Raynham to Blean Wood) bee the Cherrie gardein, and Apple orcharde of Kent. But, as this at Tenham is the parent of all the rest, and from whome they have drawen the good juice of all their pleasant fruite : So it is also the most large, delightsome, and beautifull of them. In which respect you may phantaise that you now see Hesperidum Hortos, if not where Hercules founde the golden apples (which is reckoned for one of his Heroical labours) yet where our honest patriote Richard Harrys (fruiterer to King Henrie the 8), planted by his great coste and rare industrie, the sweete Cherry, the temperate Pipyn, and the golden Renate. For this man, seeing that this Realme (which wanted neither the favour of the sunne, nor the fat of the soile, meete for the making of good apples) was nevertheless served chiefly with that fruit from foreign Regions abroad, by reason that (as Vergil saide) Pomaque degenerant, succos oblita priores: and those plants which our ancestors had brought hither out of Normandie had lost their native verdour, whether you did eate their substance, or drink their juice, which we call Cyder, he (I say) about the yeere of our Lord Christ, 1533, obtained 105 acres of good ground in Tenham, then called the Brennet, which he divided into ten parcels, and with great care, good choice, and no small labour and cost, brought plantes from beyonde the Seas, and furnished this ground with them, so beautifully as [37] they not onely stand in most right line, but seem to be of one taste, shape and fashion, as if they had been drawen thorow one mould, or wrought by one and the same patterne."

To-day nearly all the countryside in this locality is given up to the cultivation of fruit and hops, and in Spring-time white and coral-tinted blossoms, and other shades of colour deep as crimson, form a picture indescribable. And the disconnected village of Teynham stands in the midst of all this glory—a village made out of the north side of thickly-populated Greenstreet, and a cluster of houses near the railway station known as Barrow Green. In addition there is Conyer Quay. As I mentioned in the chapter describing Greenstreet, Teynham reaches and embraces the northern side of the street of Greenstreet, just as Lynsted extends to the southern side of the street.

Just before you come to the station you are attracted by a fine brick wall that surrounds Newgardens, which at one time went by the name of Tenham Outlands and was part of the possessions of the Ropers, who subsequently became the Lords Teynham. In 1714, however, Sir Robert Furnese, of Waldershare, purchased the property from the Ropers, and subsequently it came to one of his daughters, the Countess of Rockingham, and it is interesting to read that at that time " the farm consisted of two large barns, two stables, one granary, one lodge, twenty acres of land, arable and pasture, one old cherry orchard and two acres of hop ground." The Countess, after the death of her husband, married the Earl of Guilford, and it remained in the possession of that nobleman's family until Colonel Honeyball purchased it a few years ago.

Colonel Honeyball, during an active life, was one of the most popular men in Kent, being well known as an expert agriculturist and an extensive hop-grower, and commanding officer of a battalion of the East Kent Volunteers, while during his military career he was one of the finest rifle shots in England. Having purchased Newgardens he at once began to restore it and lay out the gardens in an artistic manner. Upon his death in 1923 the property was left to Mrs. Honeyball, and this lady has continued to increase the size of the gardens and enlarge the house. Newgardens is built of red brick, but within can be seen beams supporting the ceilings to indicate that in early days it was a timber-built construction. Up to within a few years ago the residence was covered in ugly plaster, [38] but this was all taken away to reveal some beautiful brickwork of a mellow red tint. A turret at one corner, recently erected by Mrs. Honeyball, is in character with the rest of the building and adds to its impressive appearance. The hall is a spacious apartment, and out of it rises an original Jacobean staircase. In the drawing-room is a beautiful oak mantelpiece also of the Jacobean period, brought from Tonacombe Manor, Cornwall, the home of Mrs. Honeyball previous to her marriage. In an upper room is another charming fireplace, built up from timber taken from the cellars, which, by-the-bye, extend under the whole of the house. There is a remarkable little chamber upstairs leading from one large room to another, probably a hide or powder-room. In many of the windows the ancient lead-lights add a romantic touch to the house, and further evidence of the old style of building can be found in the kitchen department. Here are heavy beams, as well as a large open fireplace. The most interesting feature about the house is that it was probably the residence of Richard Harrys, King Henry the Eighth's Fruiterer, and the first orchard he planted is supposed to be upon this estate. One can picture Bluff King Hal journeying down to Newgardens and enjoying feasts of luscious cherries and apples, and it is in the happy fitness of things that royalty has since then visited the place. The Duke of York accepted an invitation of Colonel and Mrs. Honeyball, and he arrived on July 14th, 1922, to spend a delightful afternoon amid the orchards, while the grounds were decorated with white roses in compliment to the House of York. Previously, on April 21st, 1920, Helena Victoria, daughter of Princess Christian, also honoured Colonel and Mrs. Honeyball with a visit.

The gardens are a feature of this delightful residence. Well-groomed lawns run in all directions, and the other day when I was there—it being Spring-time—thousands of daffodils were peering out of the turf and presenting a gorgeous spectacle with their golden heads thrown up against a green background. In all sorts of odd corners you find enclosures with fountains playing in the centre, and in one corner is a sunken rock garden. One circular enclosure is belted by tall elms, and here the Duke of York was formally welcomed by his host and hostess. Another delightful spot is known as Australia House, a thatched building with tiny dormers peering out of the roof. In the front bricks have been built to represent the sun, the moon and the stars, and facing us are flower beds so [39] planted that in the Spring-time the quiet tone of blue flowers will be indicative of the moonlight, while in the Summer-time, when the sun is in the ascendant, scarlet flowers will give an appropriate brilliant glow. I have never seen bricks treated with such artistic effect as they are in this garden.

Just beyond Newgardens is the station, with a hostelry bearing the appropriate name of the Railway Tavern close by, and a few yards further along a collection of cottages and a school. This is Barrow Green. In the distance stands the church, alone save for the Court Lodge and its farmyard and barns running nearly up to the churchyard wall. A straight footpath through hop gardens leads to the church, but if you must needs ride you have to traverse a winding road, from which you get a glimpse of a farmhouse in the hollow and a row of black cottages that contain workers engaged in the hop gardens close by. The rest of the land is under cultivation for corn and fruit. Two tall trees stand sentinel-like at the entrance of a narrow road that leads to the church.
But if you continue along the winding road you pass a modest little building known as the Wesleyan Chapel and a tumble-down looking house of the Tudor period. The whole of this house was once composed of a timber frame, but patches of brickwork have been inserted with the herring-bone pattern to give them character. One corner, however, retains its original timber and plaster and corner-post, while an oaken Tudor doorway gives admittance to the house. It was once a residence, but is now converted into two dwellings known as Bank's Cottages. A little further on are thatched cottages and a house at the corner which has been encased in some parts in stucco, but one portion discloses the timber which denotes its great age.

Still further along, opposite some cottages, I came upon the remains of an ancient wall, the material of which is flint. And its thickness is very great. This is probably part of the wall of an outbuilding connected with an ancient archiepiscopal palace which, it is supposed, stood on the present site of an orchard on the left-hand side of the road at the corner where the road leads to Conyer Quay. On the mound grows a large fruit tree. Up to 1847 portions of the ruins were used as farm buildings, but in that year, we are told, "the remaining vestiges were destroyed," but whether by fire [40] or demolition the record does not state. It is, however, quite probable that this bit of old wall down in the marshes, although some distance away, was part of the palace, for such a fine piece of work would only be associated with a place of importance.

A plot of ground near the spot where the palace once stood goes by the name of the Bishops' Garden. It is also interesting to recall the fact that as long ago as the thirteenth century vineyards stood at Teynham and were part of the ecclesiastical estate. Archbishop Walter, described as "the magnificent prelate" owing to the lavish style in which he lived, resided at Teynham Palace and died there in 1205, but was buried at Canterbury. Another Archbishop, John Stratford, during the reign of Edward the Third entertained the Black Prince at this residence, when "great were the festivities."

And where is that old-world bishops' palace to-day? Gone, entirely gone, save for that small bit of flint wall on the edge of the marshes and, as I have said, probably a part of a building which stood some distance from the palace itself. And yet, talking to one who was gardening close by, on the other side of the road to where this old wall stands, he told me that there is a hollow in his garden which can never be filled. Load upon load of soil has been thrown into this hollow, only to be swallowed up. Are there deep cellars beneath? Surely excavations would be worthwhile.

We seem to be at the Back of Beyond while strolling along the pastures down here in the marshes, with their rich grass on which the cattle browse. A rapid stream runs towards the creek, but on either side are the ditches into which superfluous water flows and effects the irrigation that has reclaimed these many acres of land for cultivation. Fruit trees also thrive. Fresh sea breezes redden your cheeks as you stroll about here in this low-lying country, and beyond you see the glistening surface of the Swale and, further away, in the misty distance, the Isle of Sheppey.

The church stands on higher ground and you enter the churchyard through a wooden lych-gate that bears the inscription:—" To the Glorious Dead, 1914-1919." It is worthwhile to walk around the building to see the exceptionally long and well-preserved Early English lancet windows. Other windows are of the Perpendicular period and the large one east of the chancel appears to have been restored. Its slender mullions are elegant. Stone corner buttresses [41] support the chancel, but someone, alas! placed red-brick buttresses against the wall of the south aisle—an unforgivable thing to do. That splash of brickwork amid fine flint and stone! Then there are three little dormer windows of recent date projecting from the roof of the nave—another bit of modernity that mars the beauty of an otherwise fine old Kentish church. Near the lych-gate stands a tall consecration cross, restored on its original base in memory of Captain Gerard Prideaux Selby, R.A.M.C., killed while tending wounded at the capture of Thiepval in 1916. The gallant young officer was only twenty-five years of age and the son of Dr. and Mrs. Selby. Close to the west door are two ancient stone tombs, although the stonework of one has been encased with brick. One bears the date 1617 and the name Pamflett, and at the end is carved a cross.

The church of St. Mary's is built on the cruciform plan, with two extensive transepts and two narrow aisles. The tower is well proportioned in three stages, with embattled parapet and a string course and Perpendicular windows. On the weather-vane is a large cock, painted black. On each side is a lean-to building, one used as a vestry and the other for the stairs that lead to the gallery. These two attached buildings have doorways similar to the one under the tower, while above is a lancet window. The clock in the tower is a memorial to Colonel J. F. Honeyball, who died in 1923, the ceremony of dedication being performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The west door has plain mouldings. There is something attractive about the tower -its very ruggedness appeals. The material used is a mixture of stone, flint—large unpolished flint—and rubble, all built in without much precision, while the stone quoins are roughly hewn. Then the two bold buttresses are rugged, too, all tending to show the different style of work carried out by the masons in various parts of Kent centuries ago. A few Roman tiles, probably collected from an earlier building, are inserted in the walls.

Entering by the west doorway you cross the lower chamber of the tower and discover an ancient oak door which can truthfully be described as magnificent. Massive to a wonderful degree, it is also ornate with many iron studs and a cross-piece in the centre with crenellated design. A small door to admit one person is cut out of the door itself. There are several deep indentations which show that it has been hit by bullets. These indentations are large [42] and prove that they were caused by the huge bullet in use when firearms first appeared. It is known that a furious battle was fought between the Royalists and Cromwellians at a place called Barrow Green, and the probability is that the former, utterly routed as we know they were, sought sanctuary within the church, and in their retreat were fired upon by the Roundheads. It is not likely that the latter would deliberately fire at a church door for the mere sake of doing so.

The interior of the church is spacious, high pitched, with a large chancel and two large transepts that are nearly as long as the nave. The tie-beams and king-posts are insignificant in size. The dormer windows, acting as clerestories, seem quite unnecessary, as the whole church is well-lighted. The coved ceilings of the nave and transepts are now plastered over, but it is to be hoped that at no distant date the timbered roof will be exposed to view—a vast improvement in a very fine church. And this brings us to the question: Why was such a large building erected here? The explanation is that the archbishop's palace once stood at Teynham and it is believed that the country around the church was very thickly populated centuries ago.

Expansive arches are the feature of the church. Two wide ones divide the nave from the aisles, while the arches leading into the transepts and the chancel arch are also large, but plain in style. Smaller arches divide the aisles from the nave. By the side of the chancel arch, which springs from octagonal half pieces are the doorways leading to the rood-loft. There are two strips of oak on each side of the entrance to the chancel, and one of them is said to be part of the ancient screen that was taken down at the time of the Reformation. The Communion table is a fine specimen of seventeenth-century oak carving, and the pulpit, also of that period, is ornamented with a design of great delicacy.

Those old treasures of the church remind us of the days when the place must have borne a quite different appearance. The chancel floor was lower than the nave, but to-day we rise by two steps to enter it. The transepts no doubt contained altars in their eastern walls, and there is abundant evidence that plain plaster has been used to fill up various openings and to leave merely bare walls. On one of the north transept walls are the remains of a fresco, [43] discovered under the plaster a short time ago, and there is but little doubt that if other parts of the church could be denuded of plaster various objects of interest would be found. Among other things some ancient stained glass has disappeared and all that remains of it is a collection of fragments placed together indiscriminately in one of the north transept windows. Yet a hundred years ago Teynham church prided itself upon its old coloured windows. Hasted tells us that several of the windows had rich Gothic canopies of beautiful coloured glass, under which there were figures of equal beauty. In a south window of the chancel was the figure of a girl in blue, kneeling and pointing to a book, which was held by a man who likewise pointed his hand towards it. In the north transept were two windows, one of which contained an episcopal figure with a mitre, while in a window of the vestry was another piece of stained glass illustrating a mitre. Parsons, in his " Monuments of Kent," gives a more detailed description of these fine old windows.
At the present time we find many modern coloured windows and it is probable that when they were inserted the pieces of ancient glass were taken away. The large chancel window—a beautiful window both in design and lightly-tinted colouring—contains stained glass to the memory of James Lake, who died in 1881, and the two tall lancets in the north transept are to the memory of Robert Lake, who died in 1911, and one to Sarah Lake, who died in 1865. While the last one is glaring in its over-bright colouring, the Robert Lake lancets are subdued in tone and the most beautiful ones of the church. In the south transept are three lancets to the memory of members of the Dixon family, dating from 1894 to 1900, while in the south aisle is a stained-glass window to the memory of the wife of William Roper Dixon, who died in 1916, and to their son, MacDonald, killed in 1917 during the Great War. Another window is to the memory of William Roper Dixon himself, his death occurring in 1924. In the north aisle is a stained-glass window to the memory of Annie, wife of Richard Dixon, dated 1916, and also their daughter, who died in 1920. In the south transept is a coloured Perpendicular window erected by the vicar and churchwardens in 1903. The two elegant tall lancets, with a little quatre-foiled window high up in the centre, are similar in shape to those in the north transept, and contain stained glass, but there is no record as to whether they are memorial windows or not. [44]

Among other objects of interest in the church are the many Early English lancet and square-headed Perpendicular windows ; two deeply-splayed circular windows in each transept ; a stopped doorway in the north wall ; a stone seat at the end of the north transept ; a piscina in the south wall of the chancel with a bowl not in the centre ; a recess and piscina in the south transept ; a cupboard built in a stone recess of the wall behind the altar ; and a modern font with an octagonal bowl supported by a circular stem ; an oak pulpit beautifully carved and entered by a door which is still hung on old hinges ; and the plain oak screen between nave and chancel. The darkness of this ancient oak is in direct contrast to the light pitch pine of the modern choir stalls. Quite recently an ugly gallery that extended across the nave in the western side was removed and an organ loft erected in its stead, while the high pews were succeeded by the present low ones made of cold-looking pitch pine.

An elegant brass tablet is a War Memorial and contains the following names :—Frederick Back, William Frank Back, Arthur William Beesley, Benjamin Dan Black, Ernest Black, Henry Thomas Carvier, Stephen Champ, Frederick George Champ, Ernest Cheesman, Fergus William Christmas, John Dalton, Daniel Edward Eason, Alfred Henry Fearer, William Ford, Joseph Henry Ray, Reuben Reader, Ernest Ridley, Frank Russell, Gerard Prideaux Selby, Henry Smith, George Thomas Swan, Cornelius William Taylor, Leonard Terry, Albert Tumber, Edward James Wictor White, Thomas Wigg. On a small tablet underneath are further names :—Thomas Baker, John Henry Gladwell, Albert Edward Hadlow, George Abraham Hall, Charles Edward Higgins, William Henry Hodge, Thomas Warwick Kite, James Frederick Laker, William Henry Laker, James Lucas, William McGarry, Sidney Philpot, William John Pile, Percy Wildish, George Potts, Bertie Charles Downs.

Four ancient brasses are in splendid condition. The largest one is on the floor of the chancel and represents William Palmer and Elizabeth, his wife, each in the act of prayer, while the family coat-of-arms is on a shield overhead. A marginal inscription reads :¬" Here lyeth buryed the Body of William Palmer, the sonne of ' William Palmer of Horndon in the County of Essex, gent. who departed this life the 3rd of June in ye yeare of Our Lord God, 1639." A small brass tablet at the foot of the two standing figures tells us that " Here alsoe lyeth buryed the Body of Elizabeth Palmer, [45] late wife of William Palmer, who departed this life the 27th of February, 1639." He is in civil dress with ruff and cloak ; she in long veil, ruff, bodice and gown. In the south transept, placed on a slab and lacking its original matrix, is a brass representing a man in plate-armour wearing an S.S. collar—John Frogenhall. A dog is at his feet. Unfortunately, the inscription is missing, but the words are preserved in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries. On the floor of the north transept, also fixed outside a slab and minus a matrix, is an effigy representing a civilian, and the inscription states that he is Robert Keyward, who died in 1509. With him are buried his father and mother. Under the inscription are two figures representing their family, one being a grown-up daughter with long hair and the other a child in swaddling clothes. Another brass in this transept represents William ''Wreke, with the date 1533. He, too, is in civilian dress. There are three modern plain plate brasses —one in the wall of the chancel to the Rev. Edward James Corbould, vicar from 1878 to 1908 ; one in the nave to James 'Frederick Honeyball, of Newgardens, who died in 1923 ; and the third in the south transept to Samuel Creed Fairman, who died in 1858, and his wife Christian, who died in 1873. The latter was a daughter of General Gosselin, of Mount Ospringe. Both lie buried in the transept.

Many mural tablets recall well-known names—to Walter Whitehead, of Bullfinches, who died in 1844 ; to John Hunt, curate of Luddenham, 1826 ; Sarah Lake, of Newlands, 1865 ; and James, her son, 1881 ; William Creed Fairman, 1853 ; William Wilson Fairman, his little son, and his widow, 1868 ; William Fairman, 1802, and his widow and daughter ; William Fairman, 1780 ; and his widow, 1790 ; William Kemp, 1768, and James Montressor, Colonel, Royal Engineers, 1770, and also the wife of each of the above, ; William Henry
Kemp, of Newgardens, 1823, " erected by his disconsolate widow " ; and one to Captain Gerard Prideaux Selby, R.A.M.C., who was killed in the Great War.

Six bells hang in the tower, all dated 1743. Two bear the letters " R.C.," the initials of Robert Catlin, the maker. He had a foundry in Holborn, and was elected a " live brother " of the Founders' Company. A " live brother " meant an honorary member. This inscription, " Prosperity to the Parish of Tinham.—Rt. Catlin, fecit, 1743," is to be seen on one bell, and on another bell are the words, [46] "The Revd. Mr. John Swinton, Vicar ; Isaac Kemp, Richard Hubbard, churchwardens. R.C.,1743." The only other full peal of bells supplied to a Kent church by Robert Catlin is at Lympne.

During Parker's Visitation in 1573 it was found that Teynham church was suffering from neglect. It was reported that the churchyard was not fenced in " but lyeth openly farre indecently," owing to the neglect of the farmer, this farmer no doubt being the tenant of the present Court Lodge. The vicar, who should have given a few pence to the poor every week, had refused to do so. One Agnes Dousse was reported for neglecting to attend Communion for a whole year, Raffe Ewernden for being a drunkard, and William Gyn, tailor, and his wife Agnes for not keeping company together as man and wife. If these offenders did not improve they would be ex-communicated.

The title of the barony of Teynham was taken from this village, the Ropers owning much land in the parish, including Newgardens. One John Roper was the first peer, being created a baron during the reign of James the First, but the principal residence of the family was at Lynsted, and in my description of that village I shall have more to say about the Teynhams and Ropers.

I have already mentioned Conyer Quay, which lies at the back of the marshes through which the Swale flows. No one passing through Greenstreet or even visiting Teynham church would suspect the existence of this isolated and picturesque little spot, yet as the crow flies it is no great distance away. You follow a winding lane and, turning a bend, are confronted by a block of cottages collected near the Brunswick Arms. Further along another unexpected view bursts upon you—apparently a tiny fishing village. Here are cottages, standing singly or in rows, the Ship Inn—of course, there must be a Ship Inn where sailormen land—and, peering above the level of a timbered wharf or quay, the masts of small craft. For here is a creek running out from the Swale, quite deep when the tide is up, but with wide stretches of mud when the water recedes. Beyond are big wooden sheds in which ships are still built, but from an industrial point of view a tall chimney is more conspicuous to-day.

But let us go back a few years—to the days when Conyer Quay was an important place for this part of Kent. Railways did not [47] exist, barges were the common conveyance for produce of all sorts. A regular system of transport was set up between Conyer and London, and farmers' produce was sent to the Metropolis in this way. Vessels of a hundred and fifty tons would sail up to the wharf in the centre of the creek when the tide was high, and the place presented a busy and noisy scene when the wharf was crowded with farm produce and merchandise. But by degrees trade dwindled away, and only a faint trace of once busy times remains. But during the winter yachts make Conyer their resting quarters, and half a dozen were lying by the wharf when I was there the other day. Necessary repairs are done to these craft, while some fine barges are built in the spacious black sheds close by. Some few years ago a brickmaking company made Conyer its centre, erected buildings, equipped them with the most modern of appliances, and this little spot is now more famous as the centre of brick manufacture by machinery than the general cargoes of its barge-going system, and the houses—many of them modern, built on the artisan-dwelling plan—are now occupied by those who carry on their work as brickmakers.

Not so very long ago the oyster fishery formed one of the industries of Conyer. Beds were owned just outside the Swale by those who landed the oysters either at Conyer or at Faversham, and I am told that you could purchase them—rather small, perhaps, but of excellent flavour—at the rate of sixpence a quarter of a hundred. "And you should know," said my informant, with a smile, " a quarter of a hundred meant thirty in those days." Oysters at less than a farthing each ! Ye gods ! An elderly man who was engaged in trimming up a barge told me that " brood," or young oysters, are difficult to obtain now-a-days, and yet he himself was one of a crew that used to sail to Falmouth and Jersey and fish up " brood " from outside the rocks. They were brought to the Swale and cultivated. But the oyster fishery is now confined to Whitstable and Seasalter. I next came across another native smoking his pipe as he leaned against the Ship Inn—it was still closing time—and he also referred to the old oyster days. With a twinkle in his eye he said that, although they could no longer be found just off Conyer, " sometimes a few of 'em may swim from out the Whitstable beds and lose themselves near 'ere. And you can't send 'em back." [48]
"Was this place a smugglers' haunt? " I asked.
"What has smuggling got to do with oysters as lose themselves?" came the reply. His old eyes twinkled. "But if you want to change the subject I can tell you that this was one of the 'ottest 'ells for smuggling my grandfather ever knew. And 'e ought to know, and 'e did. The revenue men 'ated their work 'ere. It was unhealthy. You see, the mud's deep and it's a nasty death to find yourself being pushed under and under and under. And this mud in the creek's very slushy. No ; I'm told that more than one revenue officer must have fallen in accidental-like, for 'e disappeared —and smuggling still went on."

Wat Tyler's rebellion found many adherents in Kent, and from old records we learn that certain persons of Teynham were arrested and charged with " making insurrection against the King and his people." They included John Beaugraunt, John atte Forstall and Richard Frere, the last of whom entered "the manor of Tenham and there burnt the court rentals and other Muniments found therein." Whether these three suffered the death penalty we do not know. It was near Teynham, however, that the King's mother, the widow of the heroic Black Prince, suffered indignity at the hands of the insurrectionists. She was returning to London from a pilgrimage to Canterbury when the mob took her from her chariot, compelled her to be kissed by drunken men and treated her lady attendants with greater indignities. At last some of the yeomen of Teynham and district rushed to the rescue, beat off the mob and allowed the Queen to continue her journey to London. It was such disorderly acts as these that alienated decent people from Wat Tyler and his followers, although they sympathised with his cause.

Many items taken from old wills are of historical value, and Mr. Arthur Hussey undertook the huge task of reading through a great number of these documents and classifying the references to certain churches. In his list we find Teynham, whose parishioners were generous in their bequests, mainly to supply lights. For instance, we read of farmers who left a cow to the church, the sale of which would provide tapers for keeping lights aglow. One William Northwode in 1463 presented to the altar of St. Thomas the Martyr a linen cloth " painted with the life of St. Thomas." Margaret Catlocke in 1509 requested that at her death five shillings [49] should purchase " a braunche of laten to stand for evermore before the High Rood." One wonders whether the request was carried out until rood screens were demolished at the time of the Reformation.

Teynham Saunter through KentBeing close to Ospringe it is natural that many ancient relics have been found at Teynham, but a huge mound not far from the main road, on the northern side, is evidence of Roman or Saxon occupation. Just outside Greenstreet on the Faversham road and within the Teynham boundary is a farmhouse known as Newlands, and opposite, beyond a hop garden, is a long grassy mound. It is large, with a sharp slope on either side and the top is level, forming a plateau. This formed early earthworks, and you can see the scarping on the northern, eastern and western sides, and there were ramparts along the top. It is quite visible from the main road but seldom noticed.