The Story of Great Mongeham Farm

Crayford_barn_4 Although I have no conclusive evidence I am convinced that Great Mongeham farm was the demesne farm for the manor, in other words in the occupation of the Lord of the Manor, and thus operated as a farm from the middle ages.


One piece of evidence is that in the North Chapel of St. Martin’s is the Crayford memorial and responsibility for the upkeep of the chapel was with the farm until the mid twentieth century. (more of that later). A further clue is that the old barn which was on part of the farmland near the junction between Northbourne and Willow Roads was known as Crayford Barn, now demolished.


Times_ad_1821Advertisement in the Times Another tenuous link is that the Crayford document of 1602 refers to 'Blakenhill’, a field which is recorded as Black Hill and belonging to the farm in the Tithe Apportionments of 1838. The first clear record of the name is in an advertisement in the Times of 11th July, 1821. The widow 'Parramon' was almost certainly one of the Paramors, a family who lived village for at least 250 years. In the will of Ursula Rand (formerly Crayford) 150 acres was stated to be "in the occupation of William Paramor". The 'spacious' farmhouse of the advertisement must   have been quite new then as it looks like an early 19th century building (although I might be wrong). The farm was probably bought by Robert Vaughan Richards, Q. C. a Welsh barrister. The Tithe apportionments recorded in 1838 that the owner of the farm is simply 'Richards'. It is occupied by 'Edmund Charles and others'. His only daughter was Marianne Catherine, who later married Ramon, Count of Morella. She made her home at Wentworth, Virginia Water, Surrey. The map of the farm is from an auction in 1921.

combined_map_1921_reducedRobert Vaughan Richards was a substantial landowner, with large estates in Wales. He purchased the farm (I believe in 1821). The farm was leased to Edmund Charles, who lived in Great Mongeham House. He employed Thomas Homersham as his farm bailiff. Thomas lived with his wife and son and two farm servants in the farmhouse in Cherry Lane. The farm at that time occupied 220 acres and included forty acres of marsh. Eleven labourers were employed on the farm. In 1854 Marianne Cabrera gave the best part of one and a quarter acres to the church for building a school.

Photo_of_Marianne_RichardsMarianne Cabrera, nee RichardsDuring the Napoleonic wars wheat prices were at an all time high due to lucrative government contracts. The defeat of Napoleon meant the end to these contracts, and furthermore Nelson’s victory had ensured the safety of ships importing grain from overseas. The corn law of 1815 secured high prices for grain, but high bread prices led to increased poverty. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 led to a depression in farming which did not recover fully for more than half a century. Farmers who could not adapt to the changing conditions went bankrupt. In a notice in the London Gazette of March the 28th 1873 Edmund Charles was declared bankrupt.

Ramon Cabrera died in 1877 and the farm must have been sold soon afterwards, because by 1883 the farm was owned by Richard Wilks. He was a farmer, grazier and estate agent living in Little Mongeham with his family. He had extensive land holdings and employed Stephen Brett as his farm bailiff. Wilks also bought the Harrison malthouse and since Thomas Brett, son of Stephen was a maltman, it is probable that he was also employed by Wilkes. Another son, William, was the farmer at Valley Farm House. By 1899 a new bailiff, Richard Ellender, had been installed. He lived in the farmhouse with his wife and seven children. In the other half of the farmhouse lived waggoner James Dennis also with a wife and seven children. He had 2 boarders, William Fagg and Thomas Barnes, both horsemen on the farm. The farm was sold in 1921 to George Wellard.

Road_to_Orchard_HouseOf the four cottages which were part of the property bought by Wellard three shared a well on a ‘roadway off Cherry Lane’ and Wellard was responsible for three fifths of the cost of maintenance. Wellard obtained a mortgage for £2,200 from his brother in law, Alfred Solley. The farm brought with it ‘all the rights and interests in the North Chapel’ of St. Martin’s Church. It also brought with it the cost of maintenance. Wellard was able to buy himself out of this arrangement.

In January 1942 Alfred Solley died and in the following month so did George Wellard. In a complex sequence of financial arrangements Wellard’s son, Ernest bought his sister’s share of the farm and paid the mortgage. 

By 1948 the tradition of housing farm workers in tied cottages was dying out so Wellard sold Beehive Cottage (now Pippin Cottage) to Henry Baldock. He then sold three building plots, one to Edmund Platt (frontage 55 feet) in 1951, another, to the south east of that plot, to Dorothy Hoskin (50 feet frontage) both on road leading from Great Mongeham to Little Mongeham. The third, on Willow Road, was sold in 1954 to Kathleen Henley frontage 77 feet). Bungalows now stand on those plots. In 1958 he sold another piece of land on the SW side of Northbourne Road to Kent County Council presumably for the footpath. In 1959 he sold most of the farm to Alfred and William Hickson. Finally in 1975 he sold Farm Cottage, the last property from the original farm, to Horace and Phyllis Harrop.



#1 Suzannah Foad 2013-06-13 19:02
Hi Jim,

I wonder if you could help me locate the cottages you mention in the above article, which is fantastic by the way.

I am looking into the Terry family of Great Mongeham who lived at just 'Pixwell' from the 1830-1920s.

Any help - suggestions would be great. We visited yesterday and photographed many stones in the Churchyard (If anyone wishes to send a surname I am happy to forward these images on). No Terry's sadly!

Many Thanks
#2 Jim 2013-06-17 13:53
The cottages in the photographs are of Orchard House and Farm Cottage. Pixwell is indicated on both maps situated along Pixwell Lane, although it can be seen more clearly on the second map. Thank you for the comment. It has prompted me to write an article which I might submit to the East Kent Mecury before posting it on this website. Watch this space!
#3 Chris Hayton 2015-01-31 16:55
This is fascinating. My Grandfather was living in 2a May Lane Great Mongeham in the 1891 census. His father was an agricultural labourer. Could that have been in this farm please? Is it on the map?
#4 Jim 2015-02-01 14:30
I think you may be referring to Mayer's Lane, which has been in Walmer since the parish boundaries were changed in 1900. Before then it was at the southernmost tip of the parish of Great Mongeham. The nearest farms to Mayer's Lane in those days were Coldblow farm and Walmer Court Farm, so he most likely worked on one of those. Coldblow can still be found on an OS map or on Google maps. Walmer Court now only exists as a small industrial estate off Dover Road. You can also find this and Mayer's Road on Google and OS Maps.
#5 Carolyn 2015-02-02 17:07
My gt gt grandfather, John Bushell,an agricultural labourer, lived in Cherry Lane and he and his family are listed in the 1871 census next to the farm and Stephen Brett, the bailiff. Is there any way of telling which cottage the Bushell's lived in and would he have worked for Great Mongeham Farm?
And if Susannah Foad has any photos of Bushell's gravestones in the churchyard, I would love to see them.
Interesting website, thank you.
#6 Clare Cheetham 2016-01-29 21:54
Hi, this is really interesting. Thankyou!
I'm interested to discover more about Ivyhouse at the bottom of Church Path, where I believe the malster William Beane lived at the end of the 17th century. Do you know if was sold by Richard Wilks and if so to whom? I'd be grateful for any hints. :-)
#7 Jim 2016-01-30 17:18
I have no evidence for where William Beane lived. Since the Harrison malthouse is the older one of the two in the village I suspect william Beane built it. Possibly he lived in the dwelling attached to the malthouse. Harrison's brother lived in the thatched cottage (now called the Noke) next door to the malthouse.Since it is older than the malthouse, Beane cuold have lived there. Although the facade of ivy cottage was built around 1700 part of the building is much older, and appears contemporary with the malthouse. Without documentation which I have not yet come across it is impossible to be definite.
Wilkes was the major landowner in the village in the second half of the nineteenth century and owned several properties. I have no record of how his estate was disposed of in the early years of the 20th century and would be keen to find out. Reg Coleman, who lived at Ivy House when I moved into the village had no deeds to my knowledge.
+1 #8 Jim 2016-02-18 08:19
In fact Watt's farmhouse is in Mongeham Road, just round the corner from Cherry Lane. There used to be a brass name plate on the door, but that was removed a couple of years ago. William Watt was a major landholder in the village, but the farmhouse was leased from the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral. By 1840 Watt let the farm to Israel Wellard.
The old farmhouse was replaced in the late nineteenth century by the house in which your father was born. By the 1920s it was no longer a farmhouse but a private dwelling.
It is located on that stretch of road between Northbourne Road and Cherry Lane. If you walk from the Northbourne Road end you pass a field and a bungalow set in a large garden. The next house you come to is Watt's Farmhouse.
#9 Jim 2016-11-21 11:36
In the past few months the name plate has been replaced

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