All fright on the night…

Hernhill village has become a hotbed of horror, and terrors await the unwary traveller trespassing on the roads this Halloween. Skeletons, vampires, witches and strange ghostly figures lurk behind fences; hedgerows strewn with cobewbs teem with giant spiders; ghastly mannequins wait to surprise passers-by; dare YOU tread these historic paths on these dark nights during the Halloween period ?!

20191027_114210If so, then collect a map from Summer Leas Farm for £2, and trace your fearful footsteps throughout the trail leading through the village; the trail lasts all this week, with a ghostly Grand Finale at Summer Leas Farm on 31 October from 6.30pm. Proceeds from this terrifying odyssey will go towards a fund-raiser to celebrate the village church’s 900th anniversary throughout 2020.

Grab and map; will you make it through the village alive ?

All the fun of the (wedding fair) at Mount Ephraim

If you’re planning your special day, and have found the frock, the shoes, the band and the groom but are still looking for somewhere for it all to unfold, then the lavish grounds of Mount Ephraim Gardens might have some ideas for you as it hosts a Wedding Open Day on Sunday 27th October from 2pm-5pm.

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The ten-acre classical gardens set in the idyllic Kent countryside offers an outdoor wedding setting in picturesque grounds in the village of Hernhill in Kent. The private home with its sweeping staircase, high ceilings, stunning 360-degree views over t beautiful gardens, with its idyllic romantic wedding pavilion provides a magical,  romantic place to host your wedding ceremony and reception.

1000_1000_scaled_1807034_mount-ephrai-201602161235347113803978A spacious wedding suite is big enough for the bride and bridesmaids to hang out, and with five on-site bed and breakfast rooms and the recent addition of a  Garden Wing providing luxurious self-catering accommodation for twelve, there’s certainly lenty of room for the wedding party to stay.

The Wedding Open Day on  27th October offers a chance to meet Mount Ephraim’s dedicated Wedding Team and their favourite suppliers, all with the purpose of creating and making your dream day come true. The Open Day offers free entry and free parking, and the promise of make-up and hair trials, goodie bags for all prospective brides and Prosecco and canapes on arrival. All you need now is the confetti and shoes suitable for dancing…

Find out more online here.

Halloween trail through Hernhill

Calling all budding crafters, hobbyists, artist, scupltors, bodge-it quick-fixers, lovers of fancy-dress and costumes, pumpkin-carvers and anyone else!

There are plans to bring the village together for a Halloweenfest this November, with a trail leading through Hernhill beginning the weekend of 26/27 October, lasting throughout the following week with a grand finale at Summer Lees Farm on 31 October from 6.30pm.

We need YOU to get involved, by creating a decoration – however large or small – which needs to be able to be seen from the road or path, which can be spotted in daylight and early evenings. There will be a small charge for a map of the route to encourage goodly folk young and old to follow, as part of plans to gather fund for the Hernhill 900-year anniversary celebrations, culminating in a special celebratory weekend on 20/21 June in 2020. It’ll be all fright on the night.

Those interested, please contact either Joy Pritchard or Jane Foreman, or simply email the Forum and we’ll be able to put you in touch. The more, the scarier…

Image: (c) David Menidrey via Unsplash

Murky history in Hernhill’s past

Buried amongst reports of a lecture on the beauty of historic books at the Assembly Rooms in Faversham, a daring robbery from a watch-shop in Folkestone, the theft of a pair of boots in Harbledown and drunkenness in Whitstable, the pages of the Faversham Gazette published on the 24 January, 1857, disclose a dark episode in the history of the village of Hernhill.

In response to rumours abounding in the area of the death of a child, police visited a Mrs Charlotte Butcher in Waterham, the grandmother of Amelia Collyer, a former servant in Margate – Amelia, a married woman, had apparently given birth to a child on 9 January. According to Charlotte Butcher, her granddaughter had given birth but the child was deceased, and ‘had been thrown down the cesspool.’ When a search could find no trace of the child, the police went to visit the surgeon for confirmation; during the visit, a neighbour came in a revealed that Mrs Butcher had admitted that the child had in fact been delivered alive, but her granddaughter had strangled it. The child’s body had been hidden ‘in a hole between the ceiling and the roof’ and the police took it to the Red Lion in Hernhill.

Amelia Collyer and her husband  had by now sailed ‘as emigrants to Australia on Saturday last, at the Government’s expense.’ The husband was reported as not being the father of the child and quite ignorant of what had transpired. According to the newspaper, ‘the statements of the grandmother, who does not bear a very good character in the village, are extraordinary.’ In the view of the surgeon, one Mr Francis, the child had indeed been born alive. The inquest found Amelia Collyer guilty of wilful murder, and issued a warrant for her arrest, although the story concludes by saying that ‘should the vessel, in which Collyer and her husand have embarked, have left…the officer will have some difficulty in effecting her capture.’

Click each image above to read the original story. Thank you to Johanne Edgington of Rotten Ramsgate Tours for providing the story, found in the British Newspaper Archive, shedding light on a dark chapter of Hernhill’s history…

Pip, pip: Apple Sunday at Mount Ephraim

The lovely grounds of Mount Ephraim Gardens will once again be hosting its seasonal celebration of The Apple in its last event of the summer on Sunday 15 September.

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Image (c): Mount Ephraim Gardens

mounteapplesOpen from 11am to 5pm, the annual Apple Sunday features tours and tastings, and includes fabulous Birds of Prey displays at 12.30pm & 2.30pm. The terrace will host live music from local group Cloud Nine Jazz between 2pm to 4pm, and there’s the mouth-watering prospect of wine tastings from Chartham Vineyards. A variety of suitably apple-themed refreshments will also served from the Garden Tea Room, and the event includes activities for children.

Usual garden entrance applies for this event: £7 adults / £2.50 children (aged 4 – 16) / £17 family ticket (2 adults and 2 children), and there is free parking for all visitors

Tickets available here; a feast of fruit next weekend as the summer season draws to a close.

Windows into history

St Michael’s Church, which next year celebrates its 900th anniversary, declares its history not just in its stone and wood architecture, but in its windows too.

Two stained-glass windows in particular come from significant moments in the history of the village.  The oldest glass in the church can be glimpsed behind the right-hand choir stalls (Decani, for those choristers amongst our readers…), and dates from the fifteenth century. The Martyn Window, named after the family responsible for rebuilding the church at the time, was originally installed in 1447; the remaining glass owes its continued existence to the fact that it was apparently hidden on a nearby farm during the English Civil War.

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The Lady Chapel is home to a window from the Pre-Raphaelite Period, commissioned in 1877 from Henry Holiday (1839-1927), artist, illustrator, sculptor and stained-glass window designer who lived in Bayswater in London. Holiday’s windows can be found across the country, notably in Westminster Abbey and Worcester College, Oxford, to name but two. Holiday was also commissioned to illustrate Lewis Carroll’s famous The Hunting of the Snark. Holiday’s family were also friends of Emmeline Pankhurst, organiser of the Suffragete movement. The Pre-Raphaelites famously rebelled against the Royal Academy’s trumpeting of genre-painting and idealist depictions, urging rather an embracing of the natural world and an intense realism in art, led by William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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Pieces from a civil war and rebellious art: echoes of great history and its wider cultural connections quietly presented in this small corner of the world…

(Grateful acknowledgement of the information leaflet in the church for some of these details).