Lynsted with Kingsdown Society

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Content

- Kingsdown and old Court Farm

- Linsted in prospect

- Sharsted Park

- Linsted arrived

- Lanes to Teynham

- Dismay over Sittingbourne

- Attractive churches of Tonge and Teynham

- Illustrations - all called "Old House"

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Allan Fea - "Old English Houses: The Record of a Random Itinerary", pp173-177 and p187

A quirky account of parts of England that took his fancy. He regarded Lynsted as a classic gem.

"To the north [of Newnham] is the pretty little village of Kingsdown, endeared to me, I may add, by some of my earliest memories. The old Court Farm, long since pulled down, still remains an impression on my memory, though I can have been no more than three years old when I slept within its walls ; but the place is more endeared to me from the fact that my father used to relate his juvenile recollections of happy days spent there—recollections of the generation which was then passing away' - a fairly long link if one considers the date when those old people were born.

It is strange how some trivial landmarks assume an importance when they are associated with the doings of one's father when he was a boy! A farm where perhaps a child was hospitably entertained by Farmer Smith or Jones, leaves so great an impression that the tradition is handed down from father to son, insomuch that for ever after such a landmark is looked upon as a place of vast importance. Perhaps this is merely the result of the reverence one used to have for one's parents. Some people say that the sentiment is as extinct as the dodo ; though I will not go so far as to accept that. But it is certain that " the gov'nor " or " the old man " of to-day has to take a back seat, and is not looked upon with the same reverence that used to be considered natural and
proper.

To the north of Kingsdown is Linsted, the most antiquated village under the sun, or, as an old villager once said to me, "It be'ant only ancient, sir, but it's a bit of antiquity." The houses, the church, the people all seem to belong to centuries ago (still, let it be said in bated breath, there is a School Board not very far away). But I must pause awhile to renew the plates of my camera, collect my views, and perhaps the reader will say—judging from the above digression—my thoughts also.

The nearest and the prettiest way from Newnham to Linsted is through Sharsted Park. Just at the back of old Calico House there is a steep lane, with the hedges on either side meeting overhead, and forming a veritable cloister walk—a fairy glade in the daytime, a pitchy black tunnel at night. Skirting the mansion and some colossal beech trees, and taking a path beneath some sombre firs, we presently emerge upon a road by one of those snug and enviable little wooden lodges peculiar to this part of Kent, A field-path, reached by a stile on the opposite side of the road, dips down into a hollow, and again ascends in the direction of a little church tower, which peeps out among the trees on the brow of the hill.

This is Linsted; and as we get nearer, the general impression is that of its antiquity. It looks like a village left behind in "the steady march of progress,'' and long since forgotten. The church is flanked on one side by an old inn, and on the other by a remarkably picturesque Gothic house, which at one time was also a roadside hostelry.

It is astonishing the amount of timber the old architects and builders lavished upon the less important houses of the Middle Ages. Little wonder that these structures stand so well the wear and tear of time. Some fifty yards away is a tiny timber cottage, so small that it would be certainly easier for a reasonably sized man to enter by one of the first-story windows in preference to the doll's-house entrance porch, which leans over the road as if it were contemplating a dive upon some hapless pedestrian.

Over the porch of the inn and also of the door of a cottage near the village may be seen plaster medallions representing the profiles of Roman warriors. They were removed years ago from the ancient seat of the Lords Teynham. The church is in a sad state of repair. Here are still those old cumbersome high-backed Georgian pews—unsightly, it is true, but not uncomfortable, and certainly convenient during a dreary sermon. The tombs of the Teynham and Roper families are particularly fine. Upon one of them are bas-reliefs in alabaster of the sons and daughters of a worthy knight and his dame—a really fine work of art, and most interesting from the
grotesque costumes. The recumbent effigies of the stately parents are above, surmounted by a canopy worthy of their dignity. There is much to be seen in the church besides the monuments, not forgetting an elaborate brass candelabrum of Charles II.'s time, and one of those early helmets with peaked vizors which connoisseurs are wont to rave about.

Northwards from Linsted, in the direction of Teynham (of which I shall speak presently), there is a group of old houses—one with a deep thatch roof, all angles and corners ; another, a typical Jacobean house, with the date 1643 over the entrance porch of " herring-bone " brickwork and oak beams. To make the picture complete, there is a great tithe barn close by, and a ball-surmounted entrance gate with the usual "upping-stock" or mounting block
accompaniment.

A few hundred yards farther (in the direction of Teynham) stands another most charming old farmstead, with some of those curved black beams which harmonise so well with the perpendicular and horizontal lines of a timber building. But the old houses hereabouts are too numerous to particularise without becoming tedious. Suffice it to say Ludgate Farm to the south, and a half-timber house a little to the north of the Sittingbourne road, should not pass unnoticed."

p187
"The immediate surroundings of Sittingbourne are not attractive. Brickmaking and other industries prevent the country from looking inviting. We will avoid the town, notwithstanding the fact that that great king, Henry V., was once entertained at the Rose Inn. Keeping to the lanes and bearing to the left, a very ancient cottage near Rodmersham is worth seeing for its Early Gothic entrance porch. Near Green Street also are some good old farms. One in particular, down by the railway, is quite a unique example of early sixteenth-century lath-and plaster work, not unlike some of the old "magpie" houses of Lancashire and Cheshire. The churches of Tonge and Teynham, to the north-east and north-west of Green Street, are both interesting. At the latter place the first cherry orchards are said to have been planted by one Richard Harris, fruiterer to King Henry VIII. Following the main road back to Faversham, there is not much to detain us. Round about Norton and Rushett, however, are some old inns and farms, which will repay one the trouble of going in search of them."

Illustrations of "Old House"

Old English Houses of Lynsted
Anchor House, listed as "Old House"

Anchor House from "Old English Houses: The Record of a Random Itinerary" by Allan Fea (1910)

One of several houses in Lynsted Parish that Allan Fea rather lazily calls "Old House" including Sunderland Cottages (or "Sundries") in Mill Lane, Malt House on Lynsted Lane, and Bogle in Lynsted Lane!

Sundries or Sunderland Cottages by Allan Fea

Sunderland (or "Sundries") Cottages, captioned as "Old House near Lynsted".

The cottages sit in Mill Lane/Claxfield Lane, between Linsted and Greens Street.

 

Malt Haouse in Lynsted Lane as recorded by Allan Fea

Malt House as recorded by Allan Fea, although he only records it as "Old House".

Malt House in 2005 recorded by Paul Berry

Malt House as it appeared in 2005 through an image captured by Paul Berry

Bogle as recorded by the camera of Allan Fea

Yet another "Old House" in or near Lynsted as recorded by the ideosynchratic Allan Fea - this time the well known "Bogle" (or "Beaugill") that is central to the small hamlet of delightful houses sitting astride Lynsted Lane.