Ash Heritage Group’s Talk on March 22
This sounds a formidable and awesome title for a talk of just over an hour, but in the hands of Richard Filmer it was a delight to listen to.
Starting from the ancient art of coppicing woodlands, we were transported into the worlds of many traditional crafts using wood as their main raw material, and met many wonderful Kentish characters through his beautifully illustrated talk. We saw the deceptively simple art of splicing stripped chestnut coppiced wood to make chestnut paling and wattle gates.
We appreciated the peace and harmony of the woodland world of the traditional charcoal burner. The skill of coopers and wheelwrights was clearly illustrated, and we then realised where some of our common surnames originated. The wooden stilts being used for hop stringing and pruning ancient large fruit trees drew many nostalgic exclamations.
We saw the intricacies of leather tanning and the skills of those making leather goods; the bootmaker of Hastings was a joy who , at a very advanced age, remarked that he had enough orders for future years and he was refusing any more orders in case he would not be in a position to fulfil them.
The making of traditional cricket balls - which are beyond the financial reach of mere village clubs - was fascinating and painstaking, requiring immense patience and artistry hand winding the core to make a perfect sphere which is then covered with hand stitched leather, not forgetting the all important seam.
The entire talk was received with great interest and was enhanced by the display of photographs of agricultural and other crafts of Ash.
We hope everyone enjoys our next two exhibitions as much.