Local History Articles

The Henry Fowler Story


FowlerBorn in Cullompton, Devon Henry Fowler moved to Kent in his early twenties to join the Kent County Constabulary. He married Ellen, a Kentish girl from Loose, just south of Maidstone. In about 1875 Henry was posted to Great Mongeham where he and his wife took up residence in the cottage vacated by the previous village constable, 2, Palmerston Terrace, now 157 Mongeham Road. Their first son was born on Christmas day in 1878, when Henry was 22 and Ellen just a year younger, . Four years later, also on Christmas day, their first daughter was born. They were to have another two sons and four more daughters, two of whom died in childhood.

fowler_weddingThere is little record of his eleven years as village bobby, and it must have been a pleasant situation for him.


John Culmer, Deal Pilot


In July Noël Siver contacted me with information about her ancestor, John Culmer. I asked her to present an article, and here it is.

JOHN CULMER, 1627-1671



The Bass Family in Great Mongeham

 The village has seen many families come and go. Some long established families have their latest generation still living in or nearby the village. Some, like the Crayfords, are with us for several centuries before disappearing from village records. Some are resident for just a couple of generations and are gone. One such family is the Bass family. John Bass was a victualler who lived in Sholden. In 1817 he Map_of_Bass_holdingsbought Street Meadow from Thomas Stokes for £225. The meadow is shown on the map.

Migration to Australia : the Barwick Family Story



altFollowing on from the article on Poverty in Great Mongeham Helen Barwick Middleditch has written about the migration of her own ancestors to Tasmania. The photograph shows her great grandfather. 



In 1836 the two eldest sons of Anne (Graves, b. 1784) and Joseph (b. 1783) were given the opportunity to escape the poverty in which they lived and to emigrate. Perhaps they had been considering it for some time, but they would have believed it beyond their wildest dreams: the fare was £20 for an adult, with Bounty advances available to pay the fare, but there were few takers, as for most labourers £20 was a year’s wages and it would be impossible to repay the advance. Then the unheard of happened – the government was offering free passage.

Poverty in the Village


The Welfare State as we know it today has evolved over a great many generations, and current debates and practices concerning poverty echo through the centuries.   Migration was often seen as the solution, and families or individuals left Great Mongeham to seek a better life. Some migrated to other parts of the UK while others went to the United States, Australia or Canada. There is a whole branch of the Barwick clan in Australia. This article refers to the families of William Parker and J. Camwell who migrated to the U.S.A. Unfortunately I have no information of these or other families after they left the village. If you are a descendent of these or other migrant families to destinations either here or overseas, please let me know your story via the 'Contact Us' section.


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