Sunday, 10 January 2010

Thames Tributary Darent - Farningham

Thames Tributary Darent
The Darent continues to flow northwards. Its course is altered from the natural valley and it is embanked for as six feet above the field behind the school which is about impounding water for the mill. It goes under the mill dropping down a race inside while the excess water drops ten feet down a weir in the left bank to flow round the site, at the same time it fills a secondary channel through the mill. The three streams unite beyond the mill and rejoin the natural course of the river. It then flows through meadows, as a long stream to Farningham mill. Beyond this it falls over a weir with sluice gates beside it for additional control.

Post to the north Farningham
Post to the south Eynsford

Farningham
Farningham has evidence of Neolithic life; in 1973 archaeologists excavated the foundations of a small Iron Age farmstead. The next major settlers were the Romans. The name Farningham is Saxon the name derives from one of two meanings, either ‘the home of Ferningas’ - people living in a ferny place - or the ‘Friningas’- the free men. In the Anglo-Saxon period, the area belonged to Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, later St, Alphege, who gave land here to Canterbury priory, in 1010, possibly for a church. Farningham had four ‘manors’ or farm hamlets. In the 13th century the de Freminghams held the manor. They were responsible for the introduction of sheriffs. In 1381 that Sir John de Fremingham was abducted and narrowly escaped assassination in the Peasants Revolt. William Isley was named as one of the four great extortioners of Kent: he had been sheriff, an MP and JP who had blatantly abused his office. In 1461, Jack Cade and his followers hunted him down in Farningham where he was duly murdered in a bedroom at the vicarage. A later Isley, Sir Harry, was tried and executed for treason in 1554. Later the Roper family bought the house. The village is linear as it was strung out along the main road and was early granted a market because of this status. By the mid 19th there were cattle, horse and poultry shows here.

Mills Close
Mill. Defunct industrial complex demolished for housing, Until 1952 it was a paper mill making high-quality hand-made writing paper, founded in the late 17th by Huguenot refugees but the oldest bits were burnt down in 1907. Spaulding Russell in 1953. The weir and sluice gate remain beyond the new housing on Mill Lane. Set in the drive are three grindstones.

High Street Farningham
Saddlers House. 18th once a harness makers
Cottage behind an old garden wall, perhaps the oldest house in the village.
Forge Yard. Leads to an old forge, converted to an antique shop.
Fernwood. 18th
The Nook. Was previously the Bricklayers Arms early 19th
St.Peter and S.Paul's Church. Two cell 13th church. The tower of the church was erected in 15th but the nave and chancel are 200 years older. Inside are some brasses and a 15th font of rare design of the Seven Sacraments. Monument to the family of Anthony Roper, grandson of the Chancellor, Sir Thomas More.
Churchyard. Low stone building with a cupola and spire - mausoleum of Thomas Nash, said uncle to John Nash, Regency architect
New house in 18th, burnt down, the house opposite became Manor House
Manor House. Bombed 20th April, 1941. Captain Bligh of the 'Bounty' lived her with four unmarried daughters, and when he was a Vice Admiral of the Blue.
Pied Bull, old coaching inn, stables used today for music.
Tank. In memory of Walter Wilson who was a tank designer, and made it possible for tanks to be driven by one man with an epicyclic geared transmission. Farningham was embarrassed by it and sent it for scrap in 1940. It was here from 1919, from the War Trophies Committee to honour local resident Wilson. This tank brought Farningham two decades of controversy. It was given to a 1940 scrap metal drive, returning to war in some other form.
Village Hall. Weathervane of Wadard, an intendant (quartermaster) to William the Conqueror, who held land here. He is shown in the Bayeux Tapestry
Flint Barn formerly George Barn, was an outbuilding of the manor converted into private dwellings.
Parsonage House white house 1717 behind the bank. Parsonage from the 16th
Vicarage, now Glebe House
Bakery, weatherboard house. The last baker retired in the early 1970s but there is a 19th bread oven in the former bake house is still in working order.
Hodsoll House 18th
Farningham House. Built in 1745 by J. Pratt of the Bull Inn. The Colyers added the large extension behind its garden wall in the early 19th
The Cottage probably the oldest house in the village 17th.
Cottages with projecting upper storey windows
Little Croft the Village Club
The Croft. Regency house, almost hidden by a solid wall
Antique shop with a plaque to Marianne Farningham. She was a hymn writer whose real name was Mary Anne Hearn and this was her Birthplace - Self-taught, she became a teacher and a renowned writer of religious articles, hymns and poems.

South Terrace
1 used to be post office
7 pharmacy
Pinehurst. Early 19th, doctor named Slaughter lived there.
South Hall. White house. In the early 18th it was a simple, double fronted red brick cottage. There is a bump in the roof and changes in parapet level where it has been extended. Built for a surgeon

Market Meadow.
Named for the monthly market and fair held here in the 19th weekly and then monthly until the Great War. An annual fair was held here, too, which brought "the usual gathering of providers of gaiters, fried fish, whips, nuts, sweets and penny timekeepers.” In 1270 Ralph de Fremingham was granted the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair.
Castle. The bumps in the ground cover the ruins of the ancient manor house. It was originally the sote of a castle stood on it and, in Tudor times, the Ropers manor house here. Walled field. 14ft thick walls of the castle were discovered in 1972. It had been moated.
Two Roman villas south of Farningham church

George Meadow,
Cricket since 1857 when Farningham C.C. was founded

Priory Lane
The Priory. Home of Elliott Till

Sparepenny Lane
Hampton Court House 1740 built for William Hampton

Sources
Osborne. Defending London

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