Event Reports for 2004
PLANTING HOLLY TREES TO MARK THE PARISH BOUNDARY - 29th February
"Parish boundary well 'pricked out' despite wintry weather" (Extract from the Parish Newsletter)
Part One of the Marking the Bounds event took place last September. At that time, specially inscribed wood posts were driven in at six significant points around the parish boundary of Lynsted with Kingsdown. The Lynsted with Kingsdown Society wanted to reinforce in Parishioner's minds our community the extent of the recently expanded parish.
Part Two of the project was completed on Sunday, February 29th, with the planting of holly saplings alongside the posts. The Society Committee believed that living markers provide more lasting features. Holly was chosen, because, traditionally, this species was used as a 'navigational aid' in the countryside. Hollies are evergreen, slow growing and long-lived. They also provide good shelter against unexpected downpours. Because they are so prickly, they are believed to hinder witches who traditionally like to travel along the tops of hedges!
On the day, there was a 70% chance of snow. But several of us braved cold and sleet to firm in the trees. Team leaders Allison Bowers, Nigel Heriz-Smith, Frank Champion, Robin Fielding, Anne Dawes and Julie Barrett are to be congratulated on a job well done. Len Scott, Frank, Mandi Strevens and Tom English are warmly thanked for their preparatory 'digging' work.
The teams returned to the Lynsted Church Community Room for a well-deserved pancake and hot drink, prepared and served by Myra Scott, Mandi, and Norma Baxter. In all, about twenty members (and potential members) of the Society enjoyed this celebration of a piece of local tradition.
Chairman of the Society, parish Tree Warden, and event coordinator, Bob Baxter, thanked the landowners, J. Leigh-Pemberton, E. Doubleday, R. Boucher, D. Holt, K. Attwood and Fowler Welch Coolchain, for allowing the Society to use their land. Thanks also go to the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, Lynsted Branch, for kindly funding the purchase of the trees, and Tim Wilcox for donating planting materials.
Although the event took place on Leap Year Day, this is not the place to disclose what 'questions' may or may not have been 'popped' among the bushes or frying pans!
The Lynsted Branch of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men (this Branch is now closed) kindly donated twelve containerised holly saplings so that we could plant 2 at each post. The parties on the day drove to the boundary markers to plant the hollies.
PRESCOTT LETTER - 7th May 2004
We wrote to complain about changes to public entertainment licensing that stopped voluntary and community groups hosting musical events.
From Chairman of the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society
Rt.Hon. John Prescott, MP,
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,
7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.
May 7th 2004.
cc Mr H Robertson, MP
Mr Derek Wyatt, MP.
Dear Mr Prescott,
The need to relax the Public Entertainment Licensing regulations.
I write, as Chairman of the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society, to urge you to relax the severe restrictions imposed by the new Public Entertainment Licence regulations.
Ours is a small, recently established, amenity society that aims to foster an interest, within the community, in the history and natural history of our parish. We are situated in traditional Kentish orchard country. The very first cherry orchards in England were established close-by in the reign of Henry VIII.
We had planned to attract members of the local community into one of the few remaining traditionally managed cherry orchards, for a concert (local amateur musicians) and picnic event 'under the trees'. We were dismayed to find that our early attempt at 'community capacity-building' was made impossible by the requirement to pay an entertainment licence fee of £195. It was simply not feasible to cover this cost, as well as the incidental expenses of the players. What promised to be a most enjoyable event had to be cancelled. We will have to think seriously about other events with a music or folk-dance content that we had considered holding in our Community Orchard and elsewhere in the parish.
I therefore ask you please to reconsider these regulations, and to modify the rules. At present they strangle the efforts of small amenity groups such as ours. We are volunteers, trying our best, with limited resources, to bring enjoyment and education to the community and to encourage an appreciation of local heritage. The entertainment regulations, as they stand, are severely inhibiting the Society's efforts to breathe new life into our community.
We know we are not the only small organisation to be dismayed and frustrated by these licensing arrangements. I beg you to review and relax these regulations in the interests of the furtherance of rural community life. I look forward to receiving your response to this plea.
Robert Baxter, Chairman.
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO RESEARCHING FAMILY HISTORY - 26th May
A presentation by Brian and Karen Tayler who explained how to find out more about your own family history and the places you live. "By Voice, Page and Screen: A Beginners Guide to Researching Family History". Not everyone is as well-known as the Roper Family but all our families have their own stories. Brian and Karen's website has a wealth of links to online resources - this is an excellent place to start.
Karen has been researching her own family tree for around 20 years and is registered with the Guild Of One-Named Studies for her maiden surname of Pattenden and its variants. She belongs to several family history societies and currently provides a Help Desk for the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society meetings. Her index of individuals now stretches to around 10,000 6x4 record cards, and the bulk of the c14,500 names in their combined family tree are hers. She will cover the basics of getting started with your research and the resources available to you both orally and in printed form – parish records, censuses, newspapers and other common documents.
Brian has only been researching his tree for 17 years, and with a name like Tayler is definitely not a One Named Study. He started using genealogy bulletin boards for information around 13 years ago (before there were genealogy websites), has maintained a web site for their combined research for 10 years, and has run Adult Education courses for Internet Genealogy at Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge for the past three years. He will cover general internet issues, online resources such as wills and the IGI, resources available on CD ROM and genealogy software. Brian researches the names Tayler, Palmer, Packham and a whole lot more.
They brought a range of CD ROM–based resources and software packages to demonstrate after the talk. They were also able to shed light on how research into house history and family history are intertwined.
PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES - 23rd June
An illustrated talk on the "What to do with 'small finds': The Portable Antiquities Scheme" - by Dr Andrew Richardson, Kent Finds Liaison Officer. Learn about the artefacts that lie beneath our feet in our gardens and in our attics!
Not written up - but the underlying message was - if you find an artefact on land (always with the landowner's permission) your first step should be to record its location carefully and contact the local Kent Finds Officer.
EXPLORING THE WORLD OF BATS - 6th August
Starting in Lynsted Church and moving to the Community Orchard, Park Farm, to listen for bats with specialised equipment. An illustrated talk by Shirley Thompson from the Kent Bat Group.
Latest Reports on subsequent bat research in our Parish can be found by visiting the Park Farm Orchard Group website.
Shirley Thompson told us: Species recorded by KBG 1983-2004 within the parish:
- common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus
- soprano pipistrelle P. pygmaeus
- brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus
- Daubenton's bat Myotis daubentonii
- Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri
- Whiskered or Brandt's bat M. mystacinus or M. Brandtii (these are very difficult to separate)
Although we have no records of our two largest bats, the serotine bat Eptesicus serotinus and the noctule bat Nyctalus noctula, we are sure they are present, given the excellent habitat in the parish.
Since 1983, when Kent Bat Group was formed, we have been collecting records of bats in Kent. Inevitably the bulk of these records is in towns and villages where residents are more likely to be aware of bats. As a result, there are bats in the wider countryside, including species rarely found in towns, which are very much under-recorded.
In Kent, since records began, we have found thirteen of the UK's sixteen resident species, though some very rarely. It is encouraging that in the comparatively small and rural parish of Lynsted with Kingsdown we have six species on our database.
Our commonest bat, the pipistrelle, surprised us all only a few years ago when it was discovered to be not one, but two totally different species. It is impossible to separate them by casual observation in flight, but by using a bat detector, which reduces their ultrasonic calls to a level within our hearing, with practice, it is often possible to distinguish them. The common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus echolocates most strongly at 45 kilohertz (kHz), whilst the soprano pipistrelle P. pygmaeus is strongest at 55 kHz. We usually refer to them as 45's and 55's! Both emerge at dusk and can be seen clearly in the evening light as they dart about, performing impressive aerobatics as they chase their insect prey.
Daubenton's bats Myotis daubentonii also fly and feed regularly over rivers and large ponds after dark. Watch for them skimming close to water, rather like miniature hovercraft. They may take insects from the surface with their large feet, or even scoop them up in their tail membrane.
The brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus is known as a 'whispering bat'. They call very quietly, or not at all, relying on their huge ears to pick up quiet sounds. Even using bat detectors we can only hear these if they are flying within about two metres, so there is a good chance of missing them, especially as they usually keep very close to trees.
During the winter months, when their insect food is in short supply, bats spend most of their time in hibernation, though they do occasionally fly to feed on a mild evening, or to move to another roost. This parish is one of the most important areas in Kent for known hibernation sites. Three deneholes within the parish have been grilled by KBG to safeguard them, and specially licensed members of the group regularly monitor these.
We would be grateful for any further records to add to our knowledge of bats. If you have bats roosting in your house, outbuildings or trees, or if you see them flying and feeding regularly, please let us know. If possible, we would like an approximate date, an OS map reference or location, and a note on what the bat was doing at the time. We know there are many more bats in the parish than we have recorded so far – the habitat is perfect for bats. We would like to know more about them and which places are most important to them.
At a Lynsted with Kingsdown Society event at the church and orchard in August 2004, by using bat detectors, we identified both pipistrelle species mentioned above as flying and feeding there.
Shirley Thompson, Kent Bat Group
Note: The Orchard Group of Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council led to the creation of the Park Farm Traditional Cherry Orchard Group who have hosted several bat-based events.
In February 2006, several of our Members joined a presentation on and survey of bats - read that report.
KINGSDOWN, HERITAGE DAY TALK ON PUGIN - 11 September
In partnership with the National Heritage Open Weekend, a talk in Kingsdown Church on the Pugins in Kent. Examples of Gothic-style are very rare of the fine condition found in this church. Edward Welby Pugin was responsible for the design of Kingsdown Church. His father was the famous architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, a practitioner of the Gothic style, responsible for the design of the intricate facade and interior of the Houses of Parliament. The Pugin dynasty of A W N Pugin, Edward Welby Pugin and, his younger brother, Peter Paul Pugin, all worked on a number of Catholic churches throughout the 19th Century.
The Society has collected together various materials that tell the story of the unique Kingsdown Church. We have added a Quinquennial Report of 1975 that describes in some detail the condition of the fabric before the destructive storm of 1987.
THE GALLIARD TRIO - Saturday 9th October
A candle-lit concert in Kingsdown Church to support the Trust that looks after this historically important Church. The Lynsted with Kingsdown Society welcomed this important event arranged by the Churches Conservation Trust that cares for the fabric of St Catherine's Church, Kingsdown.
The Galliard Trio has been established for more than 20 years and has a reputation for presenting programmes of great variety. Its repertoire is wide, partly because of the different combinations of instruments available and partly because of its arrangements of music from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The trio is based in north London but the members travel widely raising funds for good causes, including The Churches Conservation Trust.
AGM & UNDERSTANDING LOCAL HISTORIC BUILDINGS - 13th October
The Society AGM was followed by Peter Bell, Conservation Officer for Swale Borough Council talking about "Understanding Local Historic Buildings". Peter Bell is very highly regarded in his profession and greatly in demand for speaking engagements.
"Thirty-two valiant members and supporters turned out on a wet and stormy night to attend the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society's first AGM, held at the Belle Friday Centre on 13th October. The Chairman, Bob Baxter, was able to report on a successful first year of activities that had seemed to appeal to the membership, whose number now topped sixty. A well designed and regularly updated website was already attracting well over 800 'hits' a week. Treasurer John Jackson demonstrated that the Society was comfortably 'in the black'. The chairman thanked the committee for all their hard work. A new committee was elected, the main changes being the election of Kevin Barrett to the new post of Membership Secretary, and Amanda Strevens to that of Secretary. There would be no change to the membership fees for the coming year.
After the AGM, the stage was set for an illustrated talk, 'Understanding Local Historic Buildings' given by Peter Bell. Swale Borough Council's Conservation Officer. Peter took us through architectural time, starting with a brief reference to the Roman and Saxon style of building. He explained the development of the timber-framed construction that lasted for hundreds of years and still persists (although often very altered) in buildings all around us in our area. Much of his fascinating treatment centred on windows as critical indicators for dating a building - the unglazed 'wind-eyes' of the mediaeval period, followed by diamond-paned metal casements and then the sash windows of Georgian, Regency and Victorian times, each with their own peculiarities. He also explained, in easily understandable terms, how the introduction of brick-built chimney-stacks had a major impact on house design, and how the symmetry and balance of the classical revival had revolutionised architecture in the eighteenth century.
But his real aim, in which he succeeded magnificently, was to coax us all towards 'reading' the buildings in our own parish, looking for clues to dating, such as the "jetties' and steep roofs that indicate a timber frame structure within, or the 'scrape-marks' of a long-gone dangling window-stay that told of a former eighteenth century casement window. Peter closed by challenging the audience to offer a date of construction for a set of 'surprise" images. Members responded to this unexpected test by getting some of the answers almost right!
It was an absorbing, well-illustrated, and thoroughly instructive presentation: many members of the audience went away resolving to look much more carefully at their built surroundings - and even their own homes - so as to savour more of the rich heritage that awaits interpretation.
The evening was finished off with a celebratory glass of wine.
RUSTIC REVELS - 12 November
A quartet, "Serenata", plays for the Society in Lynsted Church. A rural theme will join music and poetry for a fascinating evening's entertainment in a tranquil setting. More than 40 people attended this fascinating celebration. A concert of music and humour in song and speech by "Serenata", music by Finzi, Mendelssohn, Gurney and Percy Fletcher songs with words by de la Mare, Hardy and Flanders & Swann. Poetry & prose includes works by H.G. Wells and John Betjeman.
The concert was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the provision of snacks from the period, thanks to the research by Lis Heriz-Smith.
SOCIETY CHRISTMAS CAROLS - 15th December - Society Christmas Carols
Herald Angels enthusiastically Harked at Dadmans.
Members of the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society arrived in the seasonally decorated hall of 'Dadmans' on December 15th for an evening of 'Mince Pies and Carols'. Pip and Mandi Strevens kindly opened their house for this special members' event, and a grand time was had by all. Hot sausage rolls and mince pies were served, and the swell of conversation rose as Pip circulated with his apparently bottomless pitcher of hot Christmas punch.
Pip Baron and Norma Baxter then provided the rousing accompaniment to a sequence of carols lustily rendered by all (according to their ability!). A great majority of the membership (now standing at 65) were able to come and provide a 'full house'. I am sure everyone was grateful to all who had put so much effort into making the evening wonderfully magical for all.