LimeTreeWalkLime Tree Walk: a watercolour by Roger FitzGerald. In his Recollections, published in a revised edition in 2003, Thomas Jackson recalled: ‘My father’s interest in workmen’s dwellings, which I fully shared, now led us to break new ground in Sevenoaks.'

Programme February 2020 toNovember 2020


Sevenoaks Historical Society

2 June 2022

Dear Members,

Now that COVID-19 hopefully has run its course, the programme of the Society can be resumed. The past two years, in spite of lockdown, have given many an opportunity to do tasks that perhaps might not normally have been done. One of the things that I did was to collect local material relating to Covid 19; this file will be placed In a relevant archive for future generations to consult. Would that someone had done that for Sevenoaks during the terrible flu pandemic of 1918-19!

Although the Society’s activities have been suspended, its global profile has been guaranteed by our website. There has been a stream of regular queries by email and letter from around the world with requests for information about the history and people of Sevenoaks, plus offers of materials relating to the town’s past, eg. indentures, details of family history, a 19th century painting of Polhill (bought many years ago in a flea market in Des Moines, Iowa – how did it get there?), note-books, and diaries. My lament is that this material will not be safely looked after if donated to the depleted and under-resourced Sevenoaks Library, and for the most part is best given to the much safer and professionally-run Kent History and Library Centre at Maidstone.

Another personal pleasure has been to conduct visitors on walks around Sevenoaks, most recently last week for the Leigh History Society.

In the past two years Iain Taylor, our former treasurer, and I completed writing a book entitled An English Market Town: Sevenoaks 1790- 1914, which is due to be published by Hertfordshire University Press in November 2022. You will be able to hear more about the contents and our ‘new’ analysis in the lecture due to be given to the Sevenoaks Society on 29 June (see below for further details).

Now to the programme of the Society for 2022 onwards. The first three events are in collaboration with other local bodies and form part of the Sevenoaks Summer Festival in commemorating 900 years of the town’s history – Sevenoaks and its church were first mentioned in the Textus Roffensis of 1122-24:

1. 11-30 June 2022. ‘Sevenoaks@900’ – an exhibition in St Nicholas Church that tells the story of Sevenoaks through the lives of thirteen people who have lived in the parish during the past 900 years. Sponsored by the Sevenoaks Historical Society and St Nicholas Church, with the input and cooperation of local schools (see times of opening in the Festival programme online).

2. Wednesday 22 June at 7.30 pm. ‘Knole and Sevenoaks: 600 years in the story of a manor house and a market town’, by Robert Sackville-West and David Killingray, a joint talk in the nave of St Nicholas church. The illustrated talk will look at the relationship of Knole and its incumbents with the people of Sevenoaks, both speakers describing how the town and the great house and estate interacted with each other during centuries of unrest, war, and peace. This is the first talk in the Society’s revived programme for 2022.

The above events are FREE, and no pre-booking or tickets are required.

3. Wednesday 29 June, 3 pm. ‘David Killingray, ‘People, politics, and progress: a new history of Sevenoaks `1790-1914’, talk for the Sevenoaks Society, Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks Library. Admission is free, but please sign up for the talk on www.sevenoaks or at the Library reception desk.

Two other talks for the Sevenoaks Society, in the Kaleidoscope Gallery, are: Wednesday 6 July, 2.30 pm. Bob Ogley, ‘Kent in the Twentieth Century’; and Friday 8 July, 2 pm, Jacob Scott, of Rochester Cathedral, ‘Textus Roffensis: Kent’s earliest documentary heritage’.

In addition, the Sevenoaks Society has organised a ‘900 Years of Sevenoaks Town Exhibition’, in the Kaleidoscope Gallery, open Wednesday 22 June-Saturday 16 July 10.00 am-5.00 pm.

The second meeting of the Sevenoaks History Society, in the Undercroft of St Nicholas, is on:

Thursday 28 July, Stephen Draper, ‘The Glassmen at Knole: A window on the development of the House 1585-88’.

Stephen writes: ‘The largest and best-documented Elizabethan glassmaking project took place in Knole Park. The Park was a hive of industry as House and paling were repaired and improved. The unique and detailed documents reveal new information about the lives of the glassmen, glassmaking, and the development of Knole House.’ Stephen, a member of the Society, has always lived within walking distance of Knole, and now volunteers in several roles in both house and park. An alumnus of Lady Bowell’s and Sevenoaks schools, he applies his science degree and computing skills to the study of the park and house. Married to a mediaeval historian, he has searched the archives for documents connected with Knole and has published papers and given several illustrated presentations of his research.

Details of the further monthly talks of the Society will follow shortly.

David Killingray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: 01732 45300

6bellslaneSix Bells Lane: Originally known as Parsonage Lane this pretty, winding, cobbled lane descends steeply from the upper High Street to meet Rectory Lane. Its 17 houses are mostly 18th-century and Grade II Listed, and many of them have typical Kentish weatherboarding. There is a courtyard behind numbers 1 and 2 which used to belong to a bakery; a pump in the courtyard was in use at the bottom of the lane until piped water reached Sevenoaks. On the east side of the courtyard there is a very good example of a cat-slide roof with dormers which were intended to lighten the roof space underneath.

Sevenoaks: an Historical Dictionary - online book

BookcoverThis full-colour, lavishly illustrated book was produced with the support of The Sevenoaks Society. It contains a wealth of information from over 100 contributors covering people, places, organisations and themes. The book sold out within a year of publication and is now available online to everybody.

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