Thursday, 7 November 2013


The Heritage Group is hosting a childrens' storytelling morning at Ash library (in the Village Hall) on Saturday, November 23.
It's called Stories from the Past and starts at 10.30am. This is a free session - but all children MUST be accompanied by an adult.

*The Heritage Group is organisng this event as part of the national 'Explore your Archives' initiative.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


We'll be holding our AGM on Monday, November, in the library at Ash Village Hall. We start at 7.30pm. Please come and support us if you can.
We've enjoyed another busy and successful year - with talks, a visit to Paramour Grange and a very successful visit by C&K school to the Heritage Centre, which resulted in some marvellous models of old village buildings.
We took part in National Heritage Day - on the same day as the Village Hall open day - and we continue to collate materials and artefacts.
Several members also helped with the Church open day , when we presented mini-dramas of Ash history. We have a splendid DVD of the event which we hope to show at the AGM.
The yearly donations of £5 (or more if you wish!) are due at the AGM or soon after. If you can Gift Aid your donation (see pic right) that's even better. Our chair Ann Foat will give more details at the AGM.

Monday, 21 October 2013


by our chair, Ann Foat

It's good to say that 2013 has been another successful year!
The cataloguing is going well. Most of the photographs, deeds, artefacts and material from village organisations have been sorted. We can now cope with more. If you have any interesting photos or material, we'd love to see them!
We're open every Saturday morning from 10am to 12 noon, so please visit the Heritage Centre - and view us on
Our March lecture by Dr Mark Curthoys gave a fascinating insight into local people featured in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The visit to Paramour Grange - courtesy of Mr and Mrs Ceschi - to see the painted room was much appreciated by a party of Heritage supporters in the spring.
A trip to the Centre by a senior class from Cartwright and Kelsey school was much enjoyed, both by them and the members who helped with the visit. The children saw an exhibition on the history of Ash and played a 'lucky dip' with some of our more interesting artefacts.
They also completed a 'heritage walk' led by one of our members, to see the changes in the buildings from Queens Road junction to New Street junction. The results of their visit were the wonderful models of some of the buildings - made by the children and displayed in the Centre.
National Heritage Day coincided with the Village Hall open day, enabling us to mount a small exhibition.
Heritage members also contributed to the St Nicholas Church open day in a dramatic way. Vignettes of people and events in Ash history were written by two of our committee and acted with vigour by group members and Ash Players. - not forgetting the children who took part. Costumes were fantastic and very colourful - like the Tudor lady's outfit (right)!
Our 'year' ends with the David Downes Memorial Lecture on October 24, given by Frank Andrews on the East Kent Light Railway.
Next year promises to be very busy. As well as our usual talks, we're commemorating the start of World War One with an exhibition which will turn the Village Hall into the VAD hospital (as seen in old photos), followed by a commemorative evening event.
Our other project is to enshrine for posterity a photographic record of Ash in 2014, featuring all aspects of the village scenery, businesses and activities.
This is a big project. If you're interested in helping with the photography in any way, please let us know!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Dr Frank Andrews will give this year's annual lecture and his subject is the East Kent Light Railway.
The railway is very much part of the village's heritage, as the Ash Halt station was at the bottom of Pudding Lane! 
A map of the East Kent Light Railway (line in purple) is on the right, showing stops at Staple, Ash Halt and Woodnesborough.
The lecture will take start at 7.30pm on Thursday, October 24, in the Village Hall. There'll be a display of material about the railway held by the Heritage Group. There will also be refreshments and a raffle.
If you have any memorabilia on the railway, please bring it along.
Map from, a great site for railway history enthusiasts!

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Ash Frozen in Time is an ambitious photo-project which aims to build up a unique photographic record of the village throughout 2014.
The group plans to compile a 'snapshot in time' of Ash, 100 years after the start of World War One.
We hope to capture all aspects of the parish through the changing seasons, as well as recording the activities of the village clubs and organisations.
This will need considerable organisation - and a lot of folks with cameras eager to help!! We hope that local organisations will volunteer to record their own activities too.
There'll be a meeting for all interested in the Heritage Centre on Wednesday, October 9, starting at 7.30pm.

*If your club or organisation can help, please contact Ann Foat or Nina Vallack.


We are already planning to hold a commemorative event next year, in November 2014.
If anyone has any information, artefacts or photographs which he/she would like to share or lend, please tell one of the Heritage Group committee members.
We would particularly like information about those named on the village war memorial.
We're also keen to find out more about the VAD Hospital which was housed in the Village Hall.

Monday, 9 September 2013


The Heritage Centre will be open for all to browse on Saturday (September 14), from 10am to 1pm, as part of the Village Hall open day for village organisations. We will also be opening as part of the National Heritage Open Day Initiative.
So please support us by coming along to see what we have, and how we are progressing, There is a mystery dip for children plus some artefacts on show. You can even try on Jane Kerriel’s headdress! ,
There will also be plenty of photos on display, a textile discovery, plus the original plans for the village hall!

Friday, 16 August 2013


Heritage Group members will be performing a short series of historical vignettes as a promenade performance in the St Nicholas Church Open Day on (Saturday) August 24. The performances start at 11.15a.m., 2p.m. and 3.30p.m. The scenes range from the 13th century to 1940!
There will be a flower arranging demonstration at 11.45a.m. and the historic tithe map will also be on show. The church tower will be open from 2p.m.
*Light lunches and teas available.    

Saturday, 29 June 2013


On Saturday, June 29, we hosted an exhibition of models of Ash shops - past and present - made by Cartwright and Kelsey primary school pupils after a recent visit to the Heritage Centre.
Exhibits ranged from the modern Londis and Trading Post in The Street to Mr Hills's old shop, the Lion pub and coaching house - and the former brewery which stood on Sandwich Road.
There were also childrens' activities, featuring a Lucky Dip box containing several items from the village's past, plus the chance to see commemorative tea cups and coins from the
previous century.
Older visitors had the chance to look through our ever-growing collection of vintage photos and indulge their nostalgia by watching a CD of the opening of the by-pass in 1992, complete with celebration pram race!

In the photos:
Top: The Trading Post, Londis Poparound and the former Jacobs and Sons ironmongers shop further down The Street
Centre: The historic Lion, with coaching stop and facilities for the horses at the front
Bottom: Naomi Williams (left) and Thomas Coombes pull out some hidden treasure from the Lucky Dip box 


The Heritage Group is supporting Clean Up Ash Day, on Saturday, July 13. We hope members will take part, either outside your own premises or by helping tidy up public areas.
If you'd like to take part in the public event, please gather at the Village Hall in Queens Road just before 10am. The event is expected to last around two hours.
There will also be a photo opportunity for volunteers on Monday, July 8, in the Recreation Ground at 2.30pm. Please bring a high-vis jacket if have one and a broom or some other cleaning implement! For more details, contact Ann Foat on 812121.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


The Lion pub in The Street was an Ash landmark for centuries and a centre for the local community.
If you're interested in the pub's history - and would like to see some atmospheric old pictures - follow this link.
The Lion shut in the early years of the last decade and became an Indian resaurant, Lagaan, which later burnt down.
The site is currently under renovation, to build two new homes.

Monday, 18 March 2013


Here's another pic from the family album, sent in by Martin Tapsell.
His aunt, Gwen Tapsell from Ash, was in the Red Cross between 1939 and 1946. She's standing one from the end of the top row.
The shot is of an East Kent Red Cross group, taken during World War Two. But Martin would like to discover more.
He says: "This picture may include several people still alive today, perhaps even Ash people. Hence I pass it on to you for scrutiny."
If you recognise anyone in the photo, or, even yourself(!) - please write in the comments, or e-mail us:


This aerial picture, taken in the summer of 1988, shows numbers 2, 4, 6 and 8 Queens Road, with the Village Hall and car park to the right.
The area of trees and bushes at the top of the pic was later cleared to make way for the Lion Walk development.
The Herritage Centre was added to the Village Hall in 2011.

The photo belonged to Connie Connolly, who lived at 6 Queens Road for nearly 25 years.


We welcomed Mark Curthoys (on the left of the pic with our treasurer Graham Foat) from Oxford University on March 7, to introduce us to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, produced by Oxford University Press. Ash features well in this and Mark presented a very entertaining and informative talk about several Ash personalities.
The earliest Ash figure deemed worthy of inclusion was sixteenth century translator John Brooke, known through his books, Protestant works at the time of the Reformation. He was a member of the family who were probably at Brooke House. He was buried in Ash church in 1582.
Henry Harflete was born in Ash in 1580, a lawyer turned writer, he found law dull and turned to astrology, claiming it as a science at that early date. Another writer was St Thomas Nicholas, a lawyer turned poet born in Ash in 1602 and buried here in 1668. After working as a Yorkshire industrialist and an M.P. during the Cromwellian years he retired back to Ash.
In 1812 we heard of a medical practitioner turned botanist , Thomas Baskerville, who had some significance in the history of evolutionary theory.
Then much more familiar names appeared in the mid-nineteenth century, Planche, his daughter Matilda Mackarness and her husband Henry Mackarness, vicar of Ash. Although we know Planche for his book on Ash ‘A Corner of Kent’ he was best known as a theatre manager and expert on historical costumes. This is why he is included. His daughter is known as a children’s author.
A much later entry was known personally to some. The colonial administrator Harold Ingrams and his family lived at Uphousden in 1946. His family completed a historical journey across the Sahara, described in his book 'Seven across the Sahara from Ash to Accra.’
Another vicar included is Reverend Michell who had been a missionary in China . There are others not discussed such as Reverend Nixon who became the first Bishop of Tasmania and Donald Peers the singer.
The problems of using the dictionary became clear during Mark's talk. Is it Ash–next-Sandwich, Ash near Sandwich, Ash with Westmarsh, Ash Canterbury or even Ash Dover? All are ways of searching. The writers all have their own slant on their subjects – very little is known of earlier inclusions — and there are many historical loose ends.
If you have a public library ticket, the dictionary is freely available on line, the ticket number is a login - and the web address is:
*The Heritage Centre is open on Saturday mornings from 10a.m.—noon. If you wish to help us in any way or become a supporter member please contact us.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Many thanks to Martin Tapsell from Deal, who sent us these family photos from Ash and Cop Street in the early part of the last century.

The first pic (right) shows Martin's cousin Edie Skinner, who lived at Belle Vue. Her house there is pictured below right.
The second set of pictures (right) shows the Cook family from Cop Street. The Cooks were Harry and Fanny and their bungalow is shown top right. Martin recalls that Fanny died when 'her clothes caught alight near the fire.' He also says that Harry was Dr Cave's 'most irascible patient ever, refusing to make any fuss even when seriously ill.' 
.Martin believes the last two pix were taken in the garden of a Miss Tower(s?) in Chequer Lane. He is standing on the far right of the top photo. He says: "The photo with the cat shows Mrs Hawkes, Mrs Miles, Gladys Day, Gwen Tapsell and myself. The other photo includes Gladys Day, Gwen Tapsell, Jean Tapsell and Mrs Miles." However, he can't remember the name of the fifth lady in the shot.

Martin also recalls: "When in Staple we looked to Ash for Doctors Cave and Ogilvie, and pre-electricity for dry or wet batteries to power the wireless which came from Jacobs, the ironmonger. A Mr Bates near the brewery would mend my cycle. The bus shelter opposite the Chequers was heated by a coal fire in winter, but who lit it I forget."

If anyone can add any information, please write in the comments, or e-mail us:

*To view the pix full size, go to Ash Heritage Group's flickr photostream. Click the link on the right, then click on each photo you want to view. You'll have a choice of photo sizes, from small to very large.


 We've received this request for information about St Nicholas church from visitor Brian Symonds.
 He writes:
  'I am a member of KFHS researching my wife's ancestors, surname Fennell (sometimes Fennel), mainly ag. labs from around Monkton and surrounding villages, before some moved to Faversham. When my wife and I visited your lovely church and purchased a brochure, I was disappointed to be unable to find any details of your magnificent font e.g. when installed, where made etc. However, I noticed the two wardens'names inscribed in gold, included Abraham Fennell. I wonder if anyone has access to church records and would be able to provide the desired information please? Many thanks.'
  Please write in the comments, or e-mail us: if you can help.

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Thanks to everyone who contributed items or helped with our stall at the Trash and Treasure Sale in the Village Hall on February 9. We made £68 after paying for the table. Everything left over has gone to our local hospice shop.

Monday, 14 January 2013


Our next event is a talk on Thursday, March 7 in the Village Hall (see poster right).
It's about well-known people from Ash and East Kent who are included in the Oxford Dictionary of Biography.
The talk will be given by Mark Curthoys, from Oxford University.
It starts at 7.30pm and entrance costs £3.
PS: have you bought your Heritage Group calendar yet? There are only a few left in the village shops!