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34 Replies to “Ask a Question”

    1. The 1839 West Hythe Tithe Map shows just the Botolph’s Bridge Inn and the Carpenter’s Arms Inn. The OS maps, starting in 1871 up until WW2 names just the Carpenter’s Arms, but the site of Botolph’s Bridge is shown as PH (Public House) in the later maps. During this period West Hythe has only a handful of houses (not much more than ten), so two pubs is quite good going, even for a thirsty agricultural community.
      I wonder whether the Great Gun was a pop-up pub for the German troops camped on the Roughs during the Crimean War, or earlier for Napoleonic troops.
      Or could it have been in the west part of Hythe proper?

      1. I have been researching a shooting on the beach at West Hythe in 1807. The inquest was held at the Great Gun, which, according to the Kentish Weekly Post of 26 May was ‘near Brockman’s Barn It was still there in 1863 when a bagrant tried to break in – also reported in the press.

  1. There were, it seems, a number of Mills, both water and wind driven, in the local area. Someone is trying to compile an account of these mills and has given me some information and asked if I can put a message out for any knowledge about them.

    1. I have been looking at a typed 24 page booklet ‘Hythe Mills’ compiled by Peter Davies 1934-42, from the Civic Society Archives. It seems to me very thorough (and interesting). I’ll bring to the next group meeting.

  2. Does anyone have a history of the Tin Tabernacle. It may be an idea to publish some findings on the website.

    “The Tin Tabernacle”


    Whereas the Parish Church of St Leonard’s occupies the most prominent position in the town, St Michael’s Church was situated in the most convenient and accessible. Erected on a triangular site at the junction of Stade Street and Portland Road and adjacent to the Town Bridge, it cannot escape the notice of the passer-by. Lovingly referred to as the ‘tin tabernacle’ (or ‘Tin Tab’) because of its timber frame and corrugated iron construction, it is one of the few survivors of ‘temporary’ or prefabricated buildings erected at the end of the Victorian era.

    At this time Hythe was developing fast; many hundreds of houses were built on the sea side of the Royal Military Canal – Victoria Road, Albert Road, Ormonde Road, Park Road – to which working class families were attracted to move because of their modest cost (most of them were let on weekly tenancies rather than purchases). The Church saw a need to provide services for this influx and, for a time, ‘mission type’ services were held in the school. The vicar cherished his idea of building a place of worship for those who were unable to attend St Leonard’s, and this was made possible by two generous gifts: an offer to pay for the building by a former vicar, the Reverend F.T. Scott, and the provision of a site liberally presented by the Watts family.

    In 1893 matters moved swiftly. An appeal for funds to furnish the church met with generous response. The ‘iron’ church, as it was referred to in those days, was ordered and erected within months. Described as a “pretty building”, it was intended to seat about 280 people. A Mr Andrews donated an altar made from oak grown on his own land, and this continued in use throughout the history of the church. However, in due course the original wooden pews were replaced by more comfortable chairs, and the gas lighting replaced by electricity; other modernisations included removal of the coke stove and the earlier two-manual organ (now in St Peter’s Church, Canterbury).

    The opening of the church took place on Tuesday 19 September 1893 when the Archdeacon of Maidstone dedicated it to St Michael and All Angels. Since then it was lovingly used and was restored for its centenary, celebrated in 1993 with special services, a flower festival, tea parties, etc. Throughout its history, regular Sunday and weekday services, as well as Sunday School classes for children, provided opportunity for thousands of worshippers who would not find it possible to get to St Leonard’s. St Michael’s was also in regular use as a venue for secular events such as talks and meetings; indeed, it was almost a second ‘church hall’ within the parish. It stood witness to the generosity of many people and the faith of those who used it. The building, though not pretentious, always surprises visitors by its homely yet dignified interior.

    St Michael’s remained active as an Anglican church until a final service was held there on Sunday 25 September 2011 and its congregation then moved across the Royal Military Canal to join the Methodists in their stone building in what was to become known as St Michael’s Methodist-Anglican Church Centre. The Tin Tabernacle became Grade II listed to preserve its appearance in the street scene and to preclude the possibility of any development of the site when it was sold subsequently to a private owner.

    Tin tabernacles were a cheap alternative to churches, built by the Victorians to cope with swelling congregations at home and abroad. The churches were ordered as flat-packs; companies all over the country were able to provide the kit. (See for more information.)

  4. Being the leader of the building projects group I find myself in the embarrassing position not being able to find a clear cut way of establishing the history of an individual house via its deeds.
    If documents were readily available with successive owners going back to the date that properties were originally built then life would be a great deal easier. To date, the only source I can find is The Land Registry. There are various options at various prices but no guarantee that one will obtain what one wants. In which case, one pays one’s money and takes one’s chance.
    Does anyone know of a source that will give us a building’s history without having to go round the expensive houses? don’t be worried about giving me a red face. It will be well worth it.

  5. Dear Society Members,
    Re: Christina Irene SEATH, Nee STEERS . Bn,01/08/1919 Irlam, Lancashire.
    I am researching my Mother’s antecedent history.
    That history is veiled in much mystery and is like putting in place the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of the final picture.
    I believe that in 1934 she was possibly at school in Hythe. She is documented as singing with Hythe Choral Society on Monday 3rd December 1934 in a rendition of Hayden’s ” Creation”. She sang, as a soloist, the part of “Eve”
    I recall being sent to Albert Road , Hythe as a child for holidays with Grandmother, Jane Steers ( nee Paton )and two of her sisters, Margaret ( Madge) ?? and one called “Totty”
    My Mother went on to Sing with The Halle Choir until the early 60’s..
    I notice from your site that there is a ” De la Mare” involved with your Society. On another sprig of my research I have found another male De la Mare who was living in a “posh” address with one of my Mother’s Cousins in london . That was in the early 1950s.
    My Mum never gave anything away to me or my brother about her life, especially during the 2nd WW. She spoke German fluently, a bit of Russian and I believe some Romanian !!!
    I could go on for hours of the bits I have been told and some of the facts I have discovered about her and the family. But, I would dearly like to know why she was in Hythe, when her father was possibly still working in Russia as a Steel Foundry Manager in Donetsk.
    Help, Please !!!!

    1. Hi Angus.
      As well as being on this site, I have asked all the members by email, to see if they know anything.
      I will let you know if I hear from anyone.


      1. Thanks Ron,
        I very much appreciate your help.
        My Mother’s life is shrouded in , I hate the phrase , mystery. other members of the family are likewise mysterious in their occupations. Some were born in the Ukraine, Nova Scotia and Lancashire. one was a “Diplomat” involved in the disappearance of the RN diver Lionel, “Buster” Crabbe”.in the early 50’s.
        this is becoming a jig saw puzzle where I don’t quite know where to start !!! There are no family members alive apart from me, ….so far as I know.
        Again , thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
        My e-mail address is
        My phone number is 01922 416456.
        Happy to talk and discuss all I have said,

  6. Interesting that Paton is mentioned – probably no connection, but just in case!
    Paton is a fairly common West of Scotland name – there are more in Glasgow than Edinburgh.

    null Mrs Paton, the wife of the Commandant of the School of Musketry photographed in 1897 at a Competition Event on the Ranges, firing the first round from a rifle already mounted onto a metal frame and aimed at the target!

    In the late 1990s, there was a family called Paton living at Bulls Cottages, opposite the British Legion. Later, around 2010, a Paton, presumably their son, ran in some Rotary Round the Houses Races in Hythe. I assume the family is still in the area.

    None of above are related to me!
    David Paton

  7. Hi,
    I’ve recently moved to Hythe and have discovered that quite a few of my ancestors lived here many moons ago. I’ve discovered the graves of various family members in St.Leonards church graveyard (so beautiful!) using this website to help me. I’m particularly interested in looking for a gravestone of plot 79 …this is my great, great, great grandparents grave, Richard and Sarah Ann Baker who were publicans at the Dukes Head. I have found plot 78 and plot 80 but at where plot 79 should be there is an empty space. Am I to assume the gravestone was removed, crumbled with age etc… I’m only asking as there are no remnants at all so am curious! The PDF describes the inscription on the front of the gravestone so I assume it was once there. Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help me with this. It would just be lovely to visit.

  8. Thank you for getting in touch, Elizabeth. I will go up to the churchyard next week to investigate.

    Kind regards

    Anne Petrie

  9. I was told yesterday that a WW2 german aircraft crashed, while thinking the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway was full size and misjudged the height it was flying at. Can anyone add to this?

  10. 1 What was the of the opening of the Mackison’s off licence on the side of their offices
    2 Hairways,67 High St used to be Harry Wood, butchers. By1992 the business was under new management but still retained the name. It is possible that Sidney Harry Wood (1896-?) was still working in the shop.
    Does anyone remember him or his wife Ethel May Wood who died in 1972?
    Does anyone have,or know the whereabouts of,a picture of the shop? Preferably between 1915 & 1948
    3 From Maurice Youns ‘The Last Days of Hythe. Harbour
    Page 27- What happened to St Katherine’s Cross outside The Bell pub?
    Page 48 – The 1769 map shows Sla Brook-When did someone add the ‘Y’ which presumably started the story of the spying of men in the battle by Slaybrook House/Stream.

  11. is there anything in local records about the history of Windmill Street i.e when the first houses were built and when the windmill was built. and if there are any old photos or engravings?
    if there were houses before the windmill, e.g. the herring hang at no 1, which dates from
    1750s I’m told, was the street renamed later?
    many thanks Kay Rowley

    1. I have this extracted from a booklet

      The Horton property in Windmill St., was extensive and beside the windmill (and at a later date the steam mill, engine and boiler house, and white store) there was a large enclosed yard – Windmill Yard – this extended to Wood Hoad, and was used to store the coal brought up from the collier brigs after they had been unloaded on the beach. On the other side of the road – opposite the yard gates – was the old black store, a tarred, weather boarded building on a one storey rock base. This building had oak floors and was used, as was the white store, for grain storage.
      Nothing now remains but the white store and the ground floor of the steam mill and engine house, there is nothing to be seen of the windmill, and the old black store has been pulled down to the rock base and this converted into garages.

      This was first worked in 1835 – the pulling down of the two St. Leonard’s Road mills coincided with its opening – as in the case of the other Hythe mills very little is known about it. It was quite the largest mill in Hythe and stood on a square brick base, three storeys high, but no mechanical details are available.

  12. I’ve a fair amount of info on this, but won’t be at next meeting, so might need reminding for January, if no-one else has already done it. I’m pretty sure there’s a photo somewhere that this mill, and others, feature in.

  13. From ‘Notes prepared by Mr J A Ames for Hythe Civic Society’:
    The smock mill in Windmill Street was owned by J. Horton and first worked in 1835 and was converted to steam in 1850. It had a White Store and enclosed yard extending to Wood Road for storing coal; grain was stored on the opposite side of Windmill Street where the Masonic Hall now stands and was known as Black Store. It was the largest windmill in Hythe. It had a square, one-storey brick base which was later converted to garages and other buildings used as offices and a builder’s yard.

  14. Hello, My late father in law was placed in a Barnardo’s home in Bolton (c)1930. In 1925, his birth was registered by his mother, Hannah Scott who was living at 36 Marine Parade. She was a single mother who had, eventually, to give him up. Would it be possible to find out who else lived at that address in 1925? I have a Richard Charles Winyard who died there in 1932. His wife Eleanor survived him for 22 years and they had no children. We are hoping to find some information now that he has died. He refused to entertain any searches whilst he was alive. His name was Leonard Scott.

  15. I checked Sherwood’s Directory at Hythe library for 1924, 25 and 26. The householder for all these years is Richard Winyard. No other occupants are listed and nor is there any entry for Hannah Scott elsewhere in the Directories. According to Winyard’s obituary in the Folkestone Herald, he only lived in Hythe in summer. In winter he decamped to Eastbourne.

  16. I’m researching my maternal great grandmother’s history (Clara Frances Thurgood) and know that she died of septicemia at 4 West Parade, Hythe in March 1919 and was buried on 28 March. Her husband (Arthur William Thurgood) was a Brigadier. Are you able to provide any enlightenment as to the property, their lives or her burial? In hope!

  17. Over 30 years ago I discovered an ancestor called Thomas Bass who lived in Hythe from around 1800 until his death in 1842 but wasn’t able find out much more about him. As more sources have become available on-line now, I have had another go and learned quite a lot about his family and descendants who lived in the Hythe area. His wife was called Sarah. There were two Thomas Bass with a wife Sarah in the area around 1800, a wealthy one in Dover and a poor one in Hythe – of course mine is the poor one!
    In the 1841 census, Thomas and Sarah were living on the High Street and interestingly both were marked as not from Kent.
    In the baptism record for their son William at St Leonard’s, Hythe on the 14 June 1801, the vicar notes that Thomas was a Private in the West Kent Militia.
    Apart from the wealthy one in Dover, the only other marriage I have been able to find of a Thomas Bass to Sarah was in Norfolk in May 1795 (to Sarah Killingbeck) and a child Ann in April 1796 but then no further records in Norfolk for any of them afterwards.
    I know that Parishes had ballots to choose men for the militia and that the Anglo-Spanish War was being fought between 1796 and 1802, the South Coast must have needed many men. QUESTIONS:
    Would the West Kent Militia be sent men from other parts of the country?
    Apart from the WO13 Muster Books at Kew (which are not accessible at present) does anyone know of other West Kent Militia resources?
    Has anyone transcribed the gravestones at St Leonards?
    Any suggestions appreciated.

  18. You will, when it re-opens, find several files on the West Kent Militia in the Kent Archives at Maidstone. Their catalogue is searchable online.

    The British Newspaper Archive has a few references to the Militia’s time in Hythe. They were there for exactly a year, from April 1801 to April 1802, when they went to Maidstone and were disembodied. They were based at the Warren near Dymchurch – there is still a Warren Inn in the town. When they left Hythe, the mayor presented the privates with three barrels of porter (refs: Kentish Weekly Post 17 April 1801; Derby Mercury 23 July 1801; Kentish Gazette 23 April 1802)
    There is also a reference to the death of Thomas Bass in 1842 in the Kentish Gazette 28 June 1842. He had been found dead in bed and there was an inquest which returned a verdict of ‘natural causes’. You may find a report of the coroner’s court in Kent Archives.
    I hope this helps and glad you liked the churchyard research.

    1. Anne,
      Thank you very much for the information about the West Kent Militia and for finding those interesting snippets in the Newspaper Archives (which I have now managed to view). I think my next steps will be to look at the Militia records in Maidstone and Kew (when they open) to see how long Thomas Bass was in the Militia. However, unless there are Attestation Forms in the records, I doubt I’ll find out where he was born from the Muster lists.
      I run our village website, which has a popular local history section. My friend Chris Darvill and I did something similar to you with the memorials in our Churchyard
      We haven’t written any of the lovely mini biographies like you have – I know how much work goes into those, having researched all of the people on our War Memorial.

  19. Forgive me, this is not a question, but a ‘well done’ for Anne Petrie. Lately, I have been walking home through St Leonard’s graveyard. Today, I saw a CWGC headstone and decided to check it out. It is for Private James Trueman, Canadian Army Medical Corps, who died in 1917, aged 40. Immediately behind his stone is a fallen(?) memorial stone to his wife, Cecilia, who died in 1915 and is buried in Canada. These stones raised many questions for me and my thanks to Anne for the information she provides about James and Cecilia (and for his interesting, second wife, Violet).
    ‘Very well done’ Anne.

  20. I am researching my forbear John Berry Webster from Lancashire who farmed at Ower Farm, Fawley as a tenant from 1900 until 1914 we think . They were certainly recorded there in the 1901 and 1911 census. Family legend has it that he then moved to Gladstone House in Hythe until his death in 1917. I would be very interested in any evidence to corroborate this , confirmation of whether Gladstone House still exists and any other sources of information that members could suggest.

  21. Hello Richard, I’m afraid I must disappoint you. This is the site for the Hythe, Kent history group. I double-checked on Gladstone House, just in case, but it was definitely in Hants.
    With best wishes for your on-going research
    Anne Petrie

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