History of Kingsnorth

Archaeological excavations, carried out prior to the building of new estates in Kingsnorth, revealed that its earliest residents may have lived here up to 28,000 years ago. Flint tools were found at Park Farm, some possibly dating to the Upper Paleolithic period, but most from the Mesolithic period around 9,000 B.C.

P1160380At Brisley Farm, a late Iron Age/early roman settlement (200BC to 100 AD) was found with a possible Bronze Age (2500 – 650 BC) field system underneath. Two Iron Age ‘warrior burials’ accompanied by swords, spears, shields and other grave goods were also excavated.

A Roman settlement was discovered at the crossing of two important Roman roads on Westhawk Farm. The centre of the settlement has been preserved unexcavated as an open space, but before building begun on the rest of the site, part of a Roman road was uncovered. There was evidence to show that there had been timber buildings at the side of the road, some of which were associated with ironworking. A shrine or temple was also found with a water-hole which contained 74, mostly 2nd century coins probably left as offerings. Over 250 coins and many other artefacts were discovered on the site together with a Roman cemetery and an Iron Age burial. A site at Park Farm, which is crossed by one of the Roman roads, also yielded Roman pottery fragments, some of which were associated with the regional distribution of salt, probably made on Romney Marsh.

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A transcript of the Doomsday Book of 1086 indicates that there was a settlement at Kingsnorth controlled by the Manor of Wye. One explanation of the name is that it derived from the Old English ‘cyninges sand’, detached land belonging to a royal estate. Another suggestion is that the settlement took its name from Jutish people ‘Kyn’, kin folk, who settled on a wooded hill or‘snode’. Other early variations of the name are Kyngsnode, Kynsnoth, Kyngesnothe and Kingessnode.

Kingsnorth was a heavily wooded and marshy area, part of the great Wealden Forest of Anderida. Even in 1798, the historian Edward Hasted found that Kingsnorth “is so obscurely situated as to be little known, the soil it in it is throughout a deep miry clay; it is much interspersed with woodland, especially in the south-east part of it, the whole face of the country here is unpleasant and dreary, the hedgerows wide with spreading oaks among them, and the roads which are very broad, with a wide space of greensward on each side, execrably bad, insomuch as they are dangerous to pass except in the driest time of summer”.

There were several manors within the parish including that of Park, West Halks (named after a family named Halk), and Court Lodge.

Part of Kingsnorth village is a conservation area that includes the Parish Church, the original village school, now extended, the village hall and playing field, together with a number of old private dwellings, notably Old Mumford and Mouse Hall. The late Norman Church of St Michael and All Angels is built of Kentish ragstone and has a 15th century roof. It contains a painted window showing St. Michael fighting a dragon that has been dated to 1400.

HISTORY AND FUTURE OF THE PARISH COUNCIL

P1160351On December 4th 1894, the electors of Kingsnorth, (all men in those days), met in the schoolroom to elect the first Parish Council. Eleven candidates were proposed for seven members and election was by a show of hands. Thereafter the Parish Council was elected at the Annual Parish Council Meeting. This method of voting continued until 1936 when a secret ballot was introduced. Some Councillors served for many years, the longest serving was elected in 1925 and resigned in 1967. The first women Councillors were elected just after the war. Councillors are now elected every 4 years in a poll organised by the Electoral Services Department of Ashford Borough Council. The Local Government Commission completed an electoral review in 2001 and recommended that Kingsnorth be divided into 5 parish wards instead of 3. At the last election 2 councillors were elected for each ward. (The Parish Council should not be confused with the Parochial Church Council, which has different boundaries.) Councillors must register their interests in the parish and sign a declaration that they will observe the Model Code of Conduct, which was adopted in 2002.

The first recorded transaction of the Parish Council was the purchase of a lamp for the Council use, cost not to exceed 25 shillings; as late as 1936 reference is made to lamp oil and a payment to someone to light the lamp before council meetings. Electricity came to the village in the late 1920’s but it took some time for all houses to be connected.

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A number of themes occur in the history of the Parish Council and some of them are still of concern. One of the first campaigns, started in 1898, was to obtain a telegraph service in the village Post Office; this was not achieved until 1908. Currently, because of the closure of the original Post Office and shop on Church Hill, the Parish Council has arranged with the Post Office to open a part- time Post Office in a room at the Village Hall.

Flooding in the village was a constant concern of the Parish Council and there are references every year to overflowing ditches, blocked culverts and pinnaces (a culvert under a gateway) and overflowing cesspits. The village was not on mains drainage until after the development of Stanhope in 1965. Action to avoid flooding is even more important today with development reaching the edge of the East Stour flood plain. The Borough and Parish Council seek to minimise this risk when considering new planning applications and no new development is allowed on the flood plain.

Concern was also frequently expressed about the condition of the local footpaths. All Public Rights of Way are now marked on a definitive map and the Parish Council reports any problems to KCC. The maintenance of highways has always been been a worry and the Parish Council maintains a close liaison with the Kent County council Highways Unit to report potholes, overgrown hedges, damaged signs etc. Councillors are also concerned to make sure that new roads are designed to reduce speeding and that measures are taken wherever possible to dissuade drivers from speeding on existing roads.

P1160414National events have always been celebrated in the village. The first record is of the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902. when the Parish Council voted that a sum of money not exceeding a halfpenny rate be spent: this amounted to £13. 6s. 3d. Residents enjoyed other Coronation and jubilee celebrations over the years, the most recent being the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 when a carnival, village picnic and disco were held.

On 8th July 2007 the Tour de France international cycle race came through Kingsnorth. The roads through the village were closed, so the Parish Council organised a celebration on the Recreation Field. There were many stalls and an opportunity to take part in fitness tests as well as lots of food supplied by the parents of the School; and village hall. it is estimated that 2000 residents came and afterwards cheered the cyclists as they came through Kingsnorth. Some residents also had street parties.

P1160430Recreation and allotment land is an important element in village life and various areas have been maintained by the Parish Council for these purposes over the years. Recently, new equipment has been added to the play area and the whole area resurfaced and an extension to the playing field has allowed the complete separation of the cricket and football pitches.

With the rapid growth of development in Kingsnorth, many new issues will arise as well as those which are of perennial concern.