Year Six of Wateringbury Remembered


We are now into year seven of this website and have had more than 24,000 different visitors from over 98 countries.

Whilst I spent the first 20 years of my life in Wateringbury I am by no means an expert on it or its people, I am simply a conduit to allow memories to be shared.

I am sure many of you look at the entries and say, that's not as I remember it. If that is the case then you are the very people I need to correct or add to the entries made. Maybe not everyones memory is accurate but any contribution gives us the start we need.

Email me directly at or use the contact form on the right hand side of the screen.

If you want my address to write by snail mail then let me know and I will send it to you.

Thanks in anticipation.

John - The Webmaster


Model Rail Enthusiast needed

Hans writes from the Netherlands as he is looking for help with his model railroad.

On vacation in England last year he passed through Wateringbury on route from Tunbridge Wells when he saw the Cow Gates of Wateringbury Level Crossing and so he started again with the British standard OO gauge. With Wateringbury AS Central theme.

Hans is looking for any local enthusiast that can help him with his research of the period 1945 - 1960.

Please take a look at Hans website Blog and contact him directly or via this website.

Thanks for your help and good luck to Hans...

Little Hermitage - Danns Lane Wateringbury

For Sale on Ebay is a Victorian Scrap Album (9.5" x 7.5" ) with signature Fanny Spencer on first page with a pressed Edelweiss flower picked in Switzerland in 1877. Various loose bits including a 6" x 4" photo of The Little Hermitage, Wateringbury and an 8" x 6" photo of the Hermitage, Wateringbury, both with the Victorian family posed outside. Another loose piece is the pressed leaf of a silver tree picked on Table Mountain, Cape Town in 1862.

Was Fanny Spencer the owner in the mid 1800's?

The house is still there today sadly looking a little less grand.  The ground floor windows in the top picture no longer go to the ground and the central one has been moved and turned into a door.

The below is courtesy of Google Street View and shows it as it is today.

Help Needed

Hi everyone, 

I am attempting to trace my family tree and my relatives came from Wateringbury.
My grandmother was Laura Isabel Shepherd nee Manser.
Her husband was Frederick G Shepherd.
They had several children and possibly lived somewhere near the old mill?
Maybe I have some connection with the Shepherd pictures already on the site?
Ada, Lily & Doris?
Any info or old photos would be deeply appreciated as I haven't gone back any further than Laura's Dad who was George James Manser born 1883.

Kind regards


New Publications by Christine Byron

Christine Byron has two new publications available to purchase.

Wateringbury and Life in the 1950s and also up-dated Lest We Forget  Wateringbury in WW2, this is the fifth revision with more pictures etc, the first little book  was 30 years ago!!!

Both are available from the Post Office and cost £5 each, all proceeds to help with the upkeep of our beautiful village church. 


"Anyone that finds this website of interest will love both of these publications. I read them over the weekend with imense interest and was reminded of things I had long forgotten about daily life in the 50's as well as many names I remembered from my childhood days in the village. Great to see my Grandfather (Fredk James Gilham) mentioned as Innkeeper at The Harrow Inn at the outbreak of war.
 John Gilham - Wateringbury Remembered

Reader AE Stephens writes

We received a short email from what seems to be from Australia which reads as follows:-

I lived in Wateringbury Station House from 1956-1957 'My father Leslie Mayes was Station Master.  Dad had Teston Halt  and either East or West Farleigh under his control also. Ken Philpott was one of the two porters. I would be happy to see more history of the area. AE Stephens (Mayes)

AE Stephens( Nee Mayes) 

Additional mail from Anne:-

Thank you for your prompt reply to my email. I only came across your site
yesterday and I am not overly cluey with computers so this will be trial and
error. I now live in Adelaide South Australia (since 1960) My brother Malcolm
went to Wateringbury primary school I attended Maidstone Technical Girls
high School. Because of the position of the station we were more involved in
St Mary the Virgin Church Nettlestead where I was in the choir and other
activities. Our Rector was Reverend Barton There was a long yard up to the
actual station with a bank and huge blackberry hedge between the yard and
the brewery. ( Where the school is now.) Our house was part of the actual
station buildings with our lounge window below the level of the platform. We
could only see the passengers feet. The rest of the house was further along
over the booking office and porters room. My father had an office near the
new foot bridge. We were very lucky because the railway embankment protected
us when the river flooded. One other thing I remember was the numbers of the
Buses I caught. The number 7 ran through Wateringbury and the Number33 ran
down past the station.
About 10 years ago my older brother obtained a DVD from the cab of an
electric train from Maidstone West to Paddock Wood along the former steam
line and then through Tonbridge to London Bridge. I see that the old Station
House still stands but nothing else is the same. Sadly just after we left a
young boy was killed crossing the line after getting off the train. I
believe his name was Jones and his Father was Lay Reader at St Mary's
Lastly for now I remember when a beer tanker over turned just up the hill at
Teston. I was on the bus coming home from school and we were held up
briefly. All of the kids on the buses were joking about drunken fish in the
river because the beer drained down the hill. Will try and send some
memories later. Many thanks Anne Stephens.
P.S. We were in Wateringbury   from 1956-57 to May 1960 ( not clear last

1970's & 80's Memories of Chris Stones

Chris Stones who has lived in Wateringbury all his life kindly shares with us some photos and memories from School and the Cricket Club.

Chris feels he remembers most of the names but if you know better and can correct any then please let us know. Also if you can confirm the date that would also be great.

Back row: 
Alastair McDonald, Sarah Wilmarsh, David Hutchins (only person I've met who could solve the Rubik's cube!), Janine Collins, Bruce Easter, Andrew Worthington, Cris Thornton

Next row: 
Kelly Walsh, Gemma Riley, Julie Beaney, Kirsty someone or other!, Karen Cheeseman, 
Carolyn Byron, Clare Coates

Next row: 
Justin Hills, Craig Diment, Chris Stone (myself), Simon Waller, James Suddick, Steven Dozin, Hayden Brown, Jonathan Vincent, Chris Andrew, Trevor Shippey

Front row: 
Anthea Bowden, Emma Hardy, Michelle Dixon, Janine Greenwood, Mrs Golborn, 
Joanne Siers, Karen Gray, Nicola Overnall, Carol Lee


A photo taken from Chris's bedroom window in Allington Gardens in the late 70's early 80's


Wateringbury School Cricket Club

From Left to right:
Chris Andrew, Trevor Shippey, Craig Diment, Steven Dozin, 
Chris Stones (me), Bruce Easter, Janine Collins, Nicola Overnall, Duncan Witts, 
Kirsty someone or other!, Janine Greenwood, Michelle Dixon.
Adults were Mike Witts & Cyril Davey.



All photos and words Courtesy of Chris Stone

Shop on Tonbridge Road Wateringbury - Mid 1930's

Janice Leaney kindly sends the following photo of her Grandmothers shop. 
It stood on the Tonbridge Road next to the old Kings Head Hotel. 
This photograph was taken in the mid 1930's.
A lovely photo and a piece of Wateringbury History.

"Janice writes: here is a pic of my grandmothers shop with my mother Ivy Seager and her sister Dorothy in front circa mid 1930's. This shop faced the Tonbridge Rd. and would have been side on to the back of the old Wateringbury Hotel. Note large stone in right hand corner - if you look at your pic #49 you will see the same stone I think it was a mile marker. Jan  Leaney"

This Shop can also be seen in the following two photographs showing its position relative to the Cross Roads and Old Kings Head Hotel.
.. Above the shop is behind the cart and full photo below
Again, above is the shop a little later and this time the stone Janice refers to is clearly visible. Below the full photo when cars had arrived but traffic lights had not.

The Railway - Wateringbury 1910

The Railway Wateringbury
A great photo from 1910 which I assume would be Hopping Time as there seems too many people around for any other time of year and there were Hopper Huts on the riverbank around this time. Amazing to think so much fun outside the Railway pub and looks like even The Telegraph pub a few yards up the road with no traffic on the road. This photo is available to purchase from Fotolibra.

Click on the photo to go to Fotolibra website.
or click below: 

Reader Message

 A Message from Nick Bond

It's been a while since I visited your website.
The photo of the Mill Pond & Old Mill House reminded me that on a recent visit to Wateringbury I met a lady who told me that the house where we lived between 1953-1959 (Mill Lane House) was owned by the owner of Wateringbury Brewery and was where he kept his horses and the stables which we used as a double garage was where they were kept.  I never knew this until now but remembering the size of the garage, it makes sense.     Apparently, he lived in Old Mill House.  However, when we lived in Mill Lane House, Old Mill House was occupied by Canon Key.
The mill pond shown in the picture was where my sister nearly drowned.  Luckily, the friends we were with pulled her out completely soaked and covered in dripping weeds.  I'll never forget it!
Just some snippets of information for you.
I went to Wateringbury school from '54-59 and it would be wonderful to see a class photo from that time.  Does anyone out there have one?  Unfortunately, I don't.

Thanks and best regards,

Nick Bond

Dail has kindly replied as follows:-

Regarding the message on your board relating to Mill Lane House and the “Old Mill House”.
The large house on the south side of the Upper Mill Pond now known as Broomsdown  was originally called Maylodge.  In  the late 19th century it was the home of Richard Fremlin, a younger brother of Ralph Fremlin who in 1861 founded the brewery in Maidstone which bore the Fremlin name. Though at a later date Richard joined his brother’s business in Maidstone, he remained a Wateringbury resident and was primarily a Wateringbury hop grower at Mill Farm until his death in 1916.
Mill Lane House and stables belonged to the Fremlin’s of Maidstone brewery fame , not one  of the two Wateringbury Brewers who were Jude Hanbury & Co and Frederick Leney and Sons.
You may remember John, the horse that belonged to the Phoenix brewery on Bow Road used to graze where The Brucks now stands. His stable was adjoined to the cottages aptly called Stable Cottage where I believe your relatives  lived.  Now pulled down,  the old stable and cottage use to stand at the top of the entrance to the Phoenix brewery yard. now Leney Road.

New Message Board Posts

 Recent New Messages on the Message Board
Can we help?

Seeking information on my great uncle Albert Grainger, who died in 1932. According to probate, his address given was the Railway Hotel, Nettlestead. Would like to know if he was landlord, or just lodging. he married in 1929 to an Adelaide Barden.
Any info greatly appreciated

Dail has kindly written as follows:-

With reference to a message  from David Grainger on your message board.  Albert Grainger was a live- in Landlord at the Railway pub, Nettlestead,  not a lodger. My mother who  lived  close by used  to speak of him.  The pub of course was owned by Leney.

Albert Grainger’s wife Adelaide Emily  Barden was born in Thanet in 1906, she married Albert in 1929 in the district of Maidstone. As Nettlestead  is within that district,  it is possible they were married in Nettlestead Church.



Janet has also kindly sent us the following:-

It’s a long time since I last had a look on the site.

I was very interested in the item regarding Albert Grainger who married Adelaide Emily Barden in 1929.  Adelaide was my dad George Barden’s sister.  I found this very interesting and another piece of info for the family tree.  Aunt Adelaide or Addy as we knew her, must have been married to Albert Grainger for only a very few years before he passed away.  My gran, granddad Barden and the family lived in Phoenix Cottages, the first house right next door to the Railway.  Aunt Addy went on to marry a Porter and they moved to Tonbridge at some stage.

Kind Regards


 Looking for any information regarding Charles Rolfe listed as master baker at the bakers shop Wateringbury in the 1881 census, especially his four sons, particularly Sion Rolfe. Any information on the family would be gratefully received 


I have good reason to believe my Adams ancestor was from Wateringbury. His name was James Adams, born in 1819, to William (c. 1788 - c. 1832) and Harriet Adams (born c. 1792). I believe he and his family lived in the area of Pizion Well Road and Old Road in the 1830s and 1840s. If anyone has information on how I can do further research, on cemetery or church records, or if anyone knows of this family, it would be great to hear from you. I found them on the 1841 and 1851 on Pizion Well Street.
Patrick Buckley / New York

Wateringbury Forerunner Youth Club Membership Card 1940's

Courtesy of Ann & Brian Skinner

Wateringbury Forerunner Youth Club Magazine - 3rd September 1945

 Another interesting contribution from Ann & Brian Skinner relating to the Forerunner youth club run by the Rev Soar.

"The Forerunner magazine (below). Vol. 1 No. 3 dated September 1945. (just four months after the end of World Two) Am afraid that the quality of some of the pages have deteriorated, not surprising since it is 69 years old and the paper available at that time would have been to a very poor standard. It was produced by Mollie and June Picket in the front room of No 1 Hoyfield Villas, using a very old typewriter and even older hand duplicating machine, for which finding ink was always a major problem. Do not remember how many issues were produced but do recall the editor had to work hard to get members to contribute!"

Forerunner Youth Club

We are grateful once again for some really interesting material from Brian & Ann Skinner.

Two pictures of a number of members taking part in one of the many ‘Hikes’ Believe this may have been the one reported on in the September magazine. One of the pictures shows the names of the members.

It is amazing to think that the youngsters in the picture were teenagers at a time that predates pretty well everything that today is considered Important, Essential, Must have, Could not be lived without and so on. Yet is certain that not one of them felt deprived.

Corner Shop History

 Can we help Peter with his request below?

I'm trying to find information about the property situated on the corner of The Street and Red Hill, Wateringbury.  My great-grandmother, Rachel Taylor, nee Boorman, together with two of her sons, John and William, are shown on the 1891 Census as living there and operating a grocery and drapery business at the premises.   In the 1901 Census Rachel is living in Tonbridge and William is boarding in Burham.   John had died in 1897.

    I am attaching a copy of the  Particulars of Sale of "An important block of freehold shops and dwelling houses" which were auctioned by Messrs. Wm. Day & Sons in conjunction with  Messrs. Cloke & Sons on 10th October 1946.   This was found amongst my grandfather's papers - he was Ebenezer Taylor, another of Rachel's sons.   He must have had some connection with the property and I remember my father having to check that the water was turned off in the empty property.

    I should be grateful for any information.

Peter Taylor

Mrs Duffy's class - Wateringbury School 1970's

Photo Courtesy of Gary Randall

Nigel Newick (back row far left) Julie Randall (back row far right) Andrew Card (next row down, 2nd from left) Greg Ivy (same row, 4th from left).

Anyone able to add the other names? 

Greg Ivy laid and supplied all the carpet in my current house, excellent job - small world.


 Paul Skelton kindly remembers us when researching for his website as follows:-

Thought you might be interested in the latest piece of research I have picked up regarding Wateringbury.
The name Leney as you may know is quite prominent in Dover with their brewery, and also Wateringbury of course.
I don’t know for a fact that these are related to the main family, of Frederick or Alfred but the account may be of interest to you.

From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 
Saturday 14 January, 1860. Price 1d.

Chas Leney, of Wateringbury, was indicted for having assaulted his sister-in-law, Ann Leney, at Wateringbury, on the 5th September last. The bill was found by the grand Jury at the last sessions.
Mr. Addison said he was instructed for the prosecution in the case, but he was happy to say the court would not be troubled with it, as the parties, being relatives, had very wisely resolved to shake hands, and be friends again.
Mr. Hawkins, Q.C., (especially retained, and with whom was Mr. Bushell) said he could only rejoice that the matter should thus have terminated, and he trusted the reconciliation would be a permanent one.
A verdict of acquittal was then recorded, and the proceedings terminated.

Not sure where I’m going to put this on my web site www.Dover-Kent.Com yet, but sending it to you should you wish to publish as well.


Paul Skelton


Dail kindly added the following:-

With reference to Paul Skelton’s post regarding  Charles Leney, and Ann Leney

Very briefly, Charles Leney was the first of two brothers who ran the Phoenix Brewery in Wateringbury. His sister-in-law Ann was the wife of Frederick Leney ,  Charles’ younger brother. Frederick Leney  remained in Wateringbury for the rest of his life. However, Charles eventually left the village in 1861, about the time his youngest son Alfred purchased a brewery in Dolphin Lane Dover, which also became known as the Phoenix.

A good account of  both the Leney’s family history,  and  Wateringbury’s Phoenix brewery  can be found in Dail's Book at the link below.