Ightham – village centre

Ightham - looking down Bates Hill

Ightham – looking down Bates Hill

Wrotham mast seen from Ightham

Wrotham mast seen from Ightham


35 responses to “Ightham

  1. John Carruthers

    Ightham – village centre.

    During the 1940s/50s, Billy Arthur (or Arthurs?) ran a petrol station at this building.

    The road and pavement have widened over the years.
    Standing a yard or so onto ‘The Square’ (where cars are parked) was the prominent George & Dragon pub sign.
    The public house and Town House (built approximately 1515 and 1480 respectively) are out of this photo – across the road, to the left.
    Dame Dorothy Selby, whose skill at needlework is mentioned in Ightham Church and is so well known for the myth connecting her with the Gunpowder Plot, was living at Town House.
    She died in 1641, resulting from being pricked by an infected needle.

  2. John Carruthers

    Ightham – looking from the road junction/ foot of Bates Hill.

    The white walled building is the Chequers public house.
    Mr. Grimaldi was the landlord during the 1950s/early 1960s.

    A few UK tabloids contained articles in which Mr. Grimaldi explained why he should reign in Monaco – not Prince Rainier. I wonder how many other Grimaldis were heard from with the same claim?

    In that parking indent would be seen an early E-Type Jaguar which was driven by Mr. Grimaldi’s daughter Hazel.
    She was a very popular server in the pub with an outstanding personality and looks.
    Hazel and the E-Type were much admired.

  3. John Carruthers

    Wrotham mast seen from Ightham : set at the commencement of the ‘pre-glacial drift’/ “chalk plateau above Ightham.”

    Highly controversial at the time, Benjamin Harrison (1837- 1921) the local village grocer and renowned amateur archaeologist, felt there were ‘eoliths’ present in the elevated area.
    He did indeed find flint implements/ tools shaped by humans at the ‘dawn of the ages,’ in and around Ash.

    When limited time was available, he spent much of this searching for flints.
    It is said that on one occasion, following a walk to Ash to look for flints, that he also got married in Ash Church!

  4. John Carruthers

    Ightham – village centre.

    During the latter half of the 1950s the 2 gas fitters working with Frank Bangay were Ray Barkaway, and apprentice Bob Ladbrook. Ray had also been under Frank’s wing as an apprentice. Bob was born in 1939 and I believe Ray was 8 or 9 years older than him.

    While attending Ightham Primary School, Bob had lived to the right of the photographer’s position – in the row of dwellings on ‘The Bank’, just south of/ adjoining ‘The Square’.
    Ray had resided on the opposite side of ‘The Street’, above his father’s butchers shop. Ray’s younger brother Eric, willingly entered the family business – unlike Benjamin Harrison (unwillingly) had, at the top of The Street, in 1852.

    During the 1940s/ early 50s there were more pedestrians and cyclists about The Square. There were a few temporarily parked cars – sometimes 1 or 2 of Billy Arthur’s customers.
    The George & Dragon sign had ‘NO COACHES’ attached to it’s sturdy post.

  5. John Carruthers

    Borough Green octogenarians will remember seeing the huge, specimen monkey-puzzle tree – as they passed through Ightham during the 1940s/50s – while travelling on the No. 9 bus to Sevenoaks.

    Next to the Village Hall, it stood in the front garden of Cobtree Cottage. It was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Morley and they ran the post office there.

    So if they think back to puzzled monkeys, I wonder if any are considering voting for just such a tree to grace the Quarry Hill/ Rock Road junction?

  6. John Carruthers

    Well the monkey puzzle tree comment has disappeared for the moment.
    I meant to say septuagenarians, and was thinking back to my early primary school years while travelling with my mum on the bus and her talking about interesting things along the way.

  7. John Carruthers

    History – Ightham Parish Council website.

    “Although Ightham was not mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086, it seems to have been in existence long before then.”

  8. John Carruthers

    Mr. Whiston, Sir :
    I was searching for that title in the library, but think someone must have forgotten to return it.

  9. ‘Doomsday Book.’
    From Vigo Village this weekend, I’ve received 2 offers of dog-eared paperback books by Connie Willis!
    To now, my rather limited SF reading has been ‘mainly Classics/ pre-1970.’

  10. John Carruthers

    This Doomsday has legs.

    My phone rang last night, as the sun was setting.
    The caller wouldn’t divulge his name – sounded like he had an ‘almost semi-posh’/ Rectory Lane accent.
    He said I had written ‘a load of old codswallop’, and that he would enter my village – then stand outside my humble abode with a sign reading THE END IS NIGH.
    So I said that just THE END would suffice, thank you very kindly – and he hung up without so much as wishing me a nice evening!

  11. John Carruthers

    Mr. Ian :
    “…..the shop was in Winifrith.” – Western Road, BG.
    PAST & PRESENT, Ch. 3., 24 Aug. 2014.

    Daughter of the St. Peter’s Church clergyman Bertram Winnifrith, Joan Boniface Winnifrith (1913 – 2004) was born in Ightham.
    Her Godmother was Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Godfather Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
    Not that well known in our neck of the woods, she later became the actress Anna Lee; MBE 1982.

    Encouraged by her father, she had initially studied at the Royal Albert Central Hall in London.
    Fellow students included Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud.
    Touring later with the London Repertory Theatre, she earned the title ‘The British [Blonde] Bombshell.’

    In 1935, she supported musical star Jessie Matthews in the film ‘First a Girl’.
    Almost 2 decades later, at Richard Hearn’s Garden Party, I bought the “beautiful” Miss Matthews photograph and had it autographed by her.
    I was quite disappointed, she seemed to be almost all teeth, and much larger/ older than in the photo.

    Comedian Jack Hulbert served as best man at Miss Lee’s first wedding.
    Alfred Hitchcock gave her away at her second.

    Marrying her first husband, director Robert Stevenson in 1934, they relocated to Hollywood in 1939.
    She appeared in several John Ford films, including ‘How Green Was My Valley’ (as Bronwyn) in 1941.

    She appeared with John Wayne in 5 films.
    Personal quote : [with John Wayne].
    On our first encounter, ….. he asked me if I was a Republican. Since I was new to the country, I thought he was asking me if I was a publican, ….. I told him that I was not a publican, but that I did enjoy beer. [Laughs] That really confused him!

    She played the part of Lila Quartermaine, the matriarch of a wealthy family, in the soap opera “General Hospital” for 25 years (1978 – 2003).
    GH is/ or was, the world’s third longest-running scripted drama series in production AFTER The Archers and Coronation Street. Don’t that make yer feel right proud?

    For interested readers, if they wish to check it out for themselves, there is much more trivia that I haven’t included!

  12. H. Callow was running a post office at the top of ‘The Street’, Ightham – about the same time Jesse Callow commenced doing likewise, at his No. 62 High Street shop in Borough Green. [PAST & PRESENT, Chapter 3, Streets and Shops].

  13. Myself and a few others have been wondering if the following are related, and how closely.

    Mr. (unsure of Christian name) and Mrs. Dolly (nee – Meisner) Shaw moved into a new Fen (also Phen) Pond Road, Ightham council house – Circa 1950. Their son and daughter were named David and Ann.

    A Mr. and Mrs. Shaw and Mr. Hyder (or Hider) ran the Wesleyan Chapel and Guild at Sevenoaks Rd., Ightham – during the 1940s/ 50s.

    Mr. Tim Shaw was born and raised in Borough Green.
    We understand that his Shaw relations, our ages and older, were from Ightham Village/Parish. [not part of modern BG area].

  14. “Good on you Frank,” Madge Ladbrook called out, while standing at her front door on ‘The Bank.’
    It was 1948, at about 4:15 am on a warm July night, and Frank Verge was carrying the Olympic torch while completing his 2 miles, Platt to Ightham stretch.
    [Frank] : “When I got to the end people were lighting cigarettes from the torch and pinching them out for souvenirs.”

    22 years old Frank, Ightham’s ‘best runner,’ had beaten older brother John in an 8 miles club event to decide who would be the bearer.
    Does anyone know which club they were members of – Tonbridge AC, maybe?

  15. John Carruthers

    [From a website for grassroots football clubs].

    Ightham FC.
    ‘Brian Wicks says’ :
    “Does anyone know the whereabouts of the GREAT Campbell Higgins?
    He played a season or 2 with the Mighty Ites during the late 1950s.
    Town Malling United right back, Les Monks, used to say he was “just a big left klonk.” (he possessed a powerful left foot).
    [Campbell, also known as ‘Bill’,used to run rings round him].

    I remember Campbell playing for Borough Green Reserves in the Final of the Smith’s Junior Charity Cup, during the early to mid 1950s.
    He was 13 years old – and weighed 7 stones, soaking wet.

    At that age and weight, you need a bit of skill to play in a men’s final.”

  16. John Carruthers

    [See Oct. 28, 2015 comment].

    George Morley lived with his parents, Fred and Amy, at Cobtree Cottage.
    George is mentioned in comments at PAST & PRESENT – Chapter 3 – Streets and Shops; Nov. 24 and Dec. 2, 2014.

    George and his niece Linda, have separate comments at the Francis Frith/Ightham website.
    Linda mentions, as recently as Mar. 18, that her Uncle George “has some wonderful memories of the village life and could write a book on it.”
    A comment or 2 here, would be nice.

  17. John Carruthers

    [2 posts ago]

    Big Bill Campbell was a celebrated country performer in the UK for 2 decades.
    During early years at Boro’ Green Primary, boys Campbell’s age started calling him Bill.
    Although a number of them could have been the first, it is believed that his good friend Mick ‘Salmon’ Farmer from Sunnyside, was the one to make it stick.
    Campbell called Salmon, Mick.

  18. John Carruthers

    Darren Fisher mentions that Ightham Reserves FC participated in a record setting game.

    “In 1938, during a Sevenoaks & District League Division 3 fixture, Platt Res. defeated Ightham Res. 31-1.
    A record which I believe still stands today.”

    I wonder who scored that goal for the Mighty Ites – let’s hope it wasn’t an own goal.

  19. John Carruthers

    Eric Barkaway was a son of the village butcher, and outstanding inside-forward with Ightham FC during the 1950s.
    The top three Ites players prior to the 1954-55 season were right half John Baker, centre half Bob Arthur, and Eric.
    At the start of the ’54-’55 season, John and Bob joined Eric’s brother Ray at the then-dominant Borough Green FC.
    Eric was urged to stay with Ightham – he served player’s and supporter’s wives daily in ‘The Street’ butcher shop!

    The following is thought written by Eric:
    “Two of the local teams were known as St. George’s (Wrotham) FC and St. Mary’s Platt FC.
    During late 1965 (1966 in Ightham!), while ‘everyone’ was singing/humming ‘You Were On My Mind’ by Crispian St Peters, there was a strong demand in the village for a name change to ‘St. Peter’s Ightham FC.’
    The singer (b. Robin Peter Smith) was from Swanley; the song rose to No. 2 in the UK.
    And Ightham Church was dedicated to St. Peter.
    During 1966, as Ightham residents started singing Crispian’s next hit ‘The Pied Piper’, demand for the name change decreased – then went away.”

    The current local ‘Saints’ outfit is St. Lawrence FC [Stone Street].
    On April 28th, they defeated Potters FC in the Smith’s Senior League Cup Final.

  20. John Carruthers

    Following on…..memories.
    When I occasionally check the mostly ‘tinny’ versions of 50s/60s songs on You Tube, they sure sound dated – I often turn the volume right down about a quarter way through.
    But, swoon! – those girls in attendance – standing, looking, dancing. Modern ones sure don’t dress, move, or look as good as that any more!
    Do other septuagenarians agree?
    Actually, don’t laugh! I was dancing a bit like Ken Jennings, the best local early rock ‘n roll dancer, when I was about 40!

    I think that Ken sadly lost his life, Ian – when crashing his car into your Boro’ Green High Street, house wall.
    If I remember rightly, I believe it was on a Friday or Saturday night, during 1959.
    His close friends, the cousins Arthur and Terry Hodder, were passengers in the car, and fortunately OK.
    Ron Hodder, a father or uncle of Arthur and/or Terry, founded St. Lawrence FC (previous post).
    Arthur was the Saints leading scorer during those early years.

  21. John Carruthers

    For the upcoming 2016-17 season, three teams from the Tonbridge League have joined the Sevenoaks Premier Division.

    Showing the revised table on their website, the Potters FC manager has placed the Mighty Ites at rock bottom.

    Let the rivalry continue!

  22. John Carruthers

    Ightham Parish Councillor, Rodney Willingham, will become an octogenarian next year.

    He attended Ightham Primary School, then Wrotham Secondary Modern.
    At the age of 15, he commenced a 5 year apprenticeship as a bricklayer, with well-known Ightham building company, W. & O. Durling.
    He was an outstanding defenceman with Ightham FC, during the 1950s/60s.

    Age is only a number they [now] say – when we were young, 80 was ancient!

  23. For winning trophies, the most successful season ever for the Mighty Ites was 2012-13.

    With new manager, Gary McAuliffe, their 1st team carried off the Sevenoaks Senior Charity Cup (they annihilated Kent County Leaguers, Ide Hill FC, by 4 goals to 1 in the Final); Sevenoaks and District League Premiership title; Smith’s Senior Charity Cup; and the Craske & Wells Memorial Cup.
    And their Reserve team won the Sevenoaks & District League, Division 3 title.

    Gary’s previous managerial experience had been a few games with the Sevenoaks & District League Elite/Representative team; they were undefeated during those games!

  24. Ian :
    Has been mentioned to me twice (already!) that it was the Smith’s Senior League Cup Final – not the Smith’s Senior Charity Cup Final.
    Actually, I did get it right at ‘THEMED – Potters Mede’ on April 30, 2016.
    The ‘wrong name’ would have been correct back in the old days – still ‘sounds right’ to me.

    • Will review and update if necessary.

      • John Carruthers

        Again with a new team manager, leading scorer James Barden, the Mighty Ites have repeated successes of the 2012-13 season.
        Winners :
        Sevenoaks & District League Premier Division [today, 19th]; Sevenoaks Senior Charity Cup; Smith’s Senior League Cup; and the Craske & Wells Memorial Cup.
        Josh ‘Drogba’ Brown returned during the second half of the season, and turned in some impressive goal scoring performances. The Sevenoaks League website gave him that nickname, not me!

  25. Some lines written 31st December, early 1970s – borrowed from John T. White.

    ” Mounting blocks conjure up the age of elegance, the horses and carriages waiting by the lych-gate.
    Elegant feet seldom touch the winter roads, only the stirrup and the carriage step.
    There are several good examples of mounting blocks surviving in Kent.
    The churchyard gate is the most common site, as at Ightham and Boughton Monchelsea.”

  26. John Carruthers

    A very popular local sporting event, was Point to Point steeplechase horse racing.
    This was held annually – west of Fen Pond Road, between Burton’s Button Factory (later Optilon Fasteners) and Kemsing Road.
    Before working with Frank Bangay, a young Bob Ladbrook was known as ‘Hawkeye’, for the amount of money he found around bookie stalls and alcoholic beverage counters.
    Dr. Ronnie Walker, who had patients in both Ightham and Boro’ Green, was a keen horse racing man. He had his own race horse, and at times attended to both jockeys and horses there.
    Plaxtol farmer Pat Burr, had a horse running at Ightham named ‘VictoriaV’, which went on to have success in National Hunt events at Folkestone and Kempton Park.
    Point to Point action was discontinued, following installation of the M26 motorway through the course.

  27. ‘Brian Wicks says’ / April 29 comment.
    “…. whereabouts of the GREAT Campbell Higgins?”
    Four years ago tomorrow – his first comment at THEMED – Potters Mede.
    How time flies…..

  28. John Carruthers

    Gary McAuliffe, re : your post of March 4, 2017.

    You’re welcome Gary!
    Following that unforgettable 2012-13 season, it was sad to see you leave.
    I was hoping that the Ightham FC decision makers would be forward looking, and yourself achieve success with them in the Kent County League.
    So in approximately 3 years time, the Ites will have been in existence for 100 years.
    One things for sure – you will never be forgotten!

  29. John Carruthers

    It looks like the Mighty Ites have just added [returning] goal-scoring machine Josh Brown to their squad.
    Let’s hope that he trots out on to the pitch today for the Kent Junior Cup, Group A tie, versus Kent County Leaguers Deal Town Rangers.
    The venue is Wrotham School 3G. This would be indeed, a highly prestigious trophy to capture.
    GO – ITES – GO.

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