GMS Notes No. 35. May 2011

Kent History Federation Annual Conference


Thrre_at_KHFOn Saturday May 7th, three members of the Great Mongeham Society travelled to Orpington to spend the day at the Annual Meeting of the Kent History Federation.


First we listened to a detailed account of the development of Bromley in the 19th century. From a small agricultural community, the town rapidly grew to become an important rural base for rich City workers. This was made possible by the development of railways which connected London and Bromley in 1858.

After a short break for coffee, we were to learn about 5 distinguished residents of Bromley. An initial list consisted of such people as H.G.Wells and General de Gaulle. However, the speaker Dr Tony Allnutt, then went on to talk about 5 men most of whom were unknown to the majority of the audience. One tragic resident was the son of the former French Emperor Napoleon III. The former Emperor came as a refugee in 1870 to live in Chislehurst. His son, Prince Louis Napoleon was to die aged 22 fighting for the British army during the Zulu Wars of the late 19th century.

At_keston_Roman_cemetaryThe final talk of the morning concerned the Roman excavations in the area. Given by Brian Philp, who was responsible for the excavation of the Roman Painted House in Dover, his talk vividly described the dramatic circumstances which resulted in excavating and preserving the remains of the Crofton Roman Villa. This important site is now a huge educational resource for the area. After lunch we visited the villa. Our day ended with a visit to the Roman tombs at Keston. Located via private land, and not normally open to the public, the tombs were part of a Roman cemetery and included a unique Roman mausoleum. Evidence of Roman remains has been found at the site and it is possible that other discoveries could be made in the future.

This was an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable day. The photo was taken in the Roman cemetery.


Many thanks to Audrey Pitchford for her excellent report from the KHF Annual Conference which once again was a splendid day out.

Also thanks to Diana and Brian Knight for negotiating with Dover Museum and then depositing the Crayford document on loan with them. It is nice to know it has a secure home.

Wildflower of the Month


mini2buttercupFairfield at the moment is a carpet of yellow, white and green thanks to the masses of buttercups and daisies out in bloom. The photo right cannot start to do justice to the magnificent display. Please go and look for yourselves. The buttercup is the creeping species, Ranunculus repens which spreads furiously, given a chance. The creeping buttercup is one of 25 species of Ranunculus  native to the British Isles, the most common being the bulbous and field buttercups, water crowfoot and the spearworts.  

Last Month’s Meeting

Steve_Franks_Channel_swim_2When Steve Franks gave up his office job in London and became a volunteer Official Observer for the Cross-Channel Swimming Association He counted it among one of the best decisions he ever made. When he recounted some of his experiences we could all understand why. Using his own stories interspersed with a broader history of the activity and an excellent slide display he was able to give us a good understanding af the rules and regulations and dos and don’ts of an official Cross-Channel swim. Another excellent meeting. 

June Meeting

As Chairman of the Governors of Sandwich Technology School Steve Chappell for a number of years has had experience of the educational system from both sides. On Thursday, May 19th he will use that experience to give us a talk entitled “Schools for the Future”. This is our vice-chairman’s third presentation for the Society. I have no idea what will be included, but from past experience I am sure it will be entertaining. We meet as usual at 7.30 at the village Hall. 

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