Great Mongeham Malthouses - Page 5

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Letters from John Bray to Cobb & Son of Margate
Declaration Made by Margaret Bray
Will of Joseph Hewitt
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Great Mongeham Maltsters

Almost as long as there have been people on this planet they have made beer. For many generations in Britain the process has involved fermenting malted grain, especially barley. A foraging party Caesar sent out from Walmer in 45 BC was ambushed in a barley field.

Malting has along history on the village of Great Mongeham. Part of the annual tribute Lufa gave from her estates in Great Mongeham to the monks of St. Augustine’s in 850AD was 240 bushels of malt.

Barley was malted in malthouses. In the malting process grain was soaked and spread out on the malthouse floor where it was allowed to germinate for about three days. Starch stored in the grain is changed into sugar. The malted grain was then dried. Later, in the brewing process, yeast converts the sugars to alcohol.

Sale_of_Harrison_p1_aNotice of AuctionIn the early eighteenth century John Bean bought Ivy House, the malthouse and a barn in 1694 for £65. Chatham brewers, the Wildash familt, bought the property and sold it on to Thomas Harrison in 1800. The malthouse passed to his son, also Thomas, who diedin 1879. The malthouse was possibly leased to the Kingsford brothers.  In his will of 1871 Thomas bequeathed  the property to his three nephews, Thomas, Robert and Ralph Denne. They sold the property by auction. The auctioneers were Messrs Baker and Giles and the auction was held at the Fleur de Lis Hotel in Sandwich on 19th November 1879. The property was bought by Richard Wilkes, then of Little Mongeham, who by the turn of the century had become the major landowner in the village, and had moved to Nothbourne. He converted the malthouse into a cottage. Joining the malthouse was a cottage, possibly for a labourer. It is now called Lamp Cottage.

The second malthouse in the village belonged to Samuel Shepherd who lived in the Manor House in the early eighteenth century. He might very well have built the large malthouse next door. He was later to move to Faversham where he was to found the brewery that was to become Shepherd Neame.

In 1775 Admiral Bray bought the Manor House, together with the malthouse. The house and malthouse were to remain in the family until 1892. His son, John Bray, became churchwarden and Chairman of the Parish Vestry. He was also deeply involved with the East Kent Maltsters. In a letter dated the 25th July 1814 to Cobb & Son, the brewers of Margate, he notifies them of a meeting at the Bull, Sandwich the following day to petition for the extension of time to pay Malt Duty. In another letter to the Cobbs the following year, this time the banking arm of the family, he asks for help in obtaining some ‘Welch Coals’ because he was ‘washing and drying black wheat every fourth day’. After wheat barley was the next most common grain to be malted.

Although malting provided a substantial income, the Brays were principally farmers. They employed a maltster, Joseph Hewitt, for the day to day operations of the malthouse. In a declaration in 1864 by Margaret Bray, daughter of John Bray, she writes that Joseph had been in the service of the family for more than sixty years and maltman for 54 years. He lived in the house from which his wife ran a grocer’s shop. It was situated next door to the Three Horseshoes.

By 1883 the malthouse had been leased to Thompson’s brewers of Walmer. In the first World War it provided stabling for horses bound for the front.



Comments  

 
0 #1 Doreen Plane 2012-05-15 10:32
To The Great Mongeham Society I would like to thank you for the information of Joseph Hewitt. He is my 4th Great Grandfather. My Great Grandmother Emily Hewitt lived in Deal and her Father was Robert Edward mentioned in the articles. Your Society gave me more history to go on for my Family Tree. I do remember Great Mongeham a little as I use to live in Deal as a child.(I still live in Kent) I hope you have more history of Great Mongeham to follow up and wish you all great success with your Society. Regards Doreen Plane
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0 #2 Jim 2016-02-02 10:47
Thank you for your kind comments. We will continue to add articles as time permits. We are always on the lookout for old photographs (particularly of people working)and snippets of information about people who lived in the village.
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