Pembury History

Snippets & Scraps

This page holds small pieces of information, usually resulting from email correspondence.  These are too small to be considered as articles and do not fit easily into other sections of the web site.   It is data that has some historical interest and deserves to be recorded somewhere.  Typically it is the result of investigating family histories – facts that one person has unearthed that may be of use to another in their detective work.  Some of this data may eventually be relocated elsewhere on the web site, but for now it has a home here.

There is no order to this collection of data snippets.  I will try to cross reference items if they are related.
Changes in text colour indicate different emails or communications.

To contribute or elaborate on an item please contact Tony Nicholls  –


 Ref No  Author &  Description
001  Jen Lewis      email with data on the Square Deal Cafe received in 2014 

I am contacting you concerning the Square Deal Cafe. I came across your website this afternoon and thought you might be interested that my partner Tim Greenwood’s parents were that last owners of the Square Deal Cafe. They bought it in 1954 and sold it for redevelopment in 1977. Their names were George Alert Greenwood and Marjory Violet Greenwood. They bought the cafe from a family called Beasalls. Marjory’s parents, Alfred William Turk and Rose Mary Turk came to work for George in the Cafe. They lived in Lower Green Road. Before working at the Cafe Alfred worked for Avards coaches based in Lamberhurst and is remembered by my neighbour and others in the village for driving Pembury football team to their matches on Sundays. Unfortunately we have no photos. Upon selling the cafe the whole family moved into Meadowside on Hastings Road, including Alfred and Rose Turk.

002  Jill Hickmott remembering families in Henwoods Mount –  received in 2015

I have been trying to remember the people who lived in The Mount (Henwoods Mount) in the 1940’s.   So here goes.
The first two plots were vacant (now flats)
No. 3 Daisy Smith — The District Nurse The only person to have a telephone at that time.
No 4 Unknown
No 5 The Francis
No 6 The Greens
No 7 The Woods (Sons Colin and Ivine) They kept pigs down on the allotments
No 8 Mr and Mrs Penn. Their daughter Peg married Ernie Lush
No 9 Mr and Mrs Vosden with daughter Pauline and son Leslie
No 10 Mrs Martin. her son was a Policeman in New Zealand
No 11 Mr and Mrs Gadsden (my grandparents) My Grandfather was a Postman in the village and then the steward at the British Legion Club. Grandmother a member of the Red Cross, ARP. and a Sunday School Teacher. (An Anderson shelter in the Garden)
No 12 Mr and Mrs Ireland and son Tony (Newsagents) This was the last house on the right
from this point I’m not sure how the numbering went
No 13 Mr and Mrs Woodhams daughter Shirley and a son
No 14 Unknown
No 15 Unknown
No 16 The Goodchild family
The council yard

003 Rosemary Hannah on Alfred Woods – Baker at 18 High St

The cousin I mentioned is Alfred Henry Woods, born 1854, died 1926. He married Rhoda King in 1872. She died in 1929 and the probate record shows she was living on High Street at the time of her death. They had eight children. The 1881 census shows that initially the family lived at Batchellor Cottage, Bopeep Hastings Road and had moved to the High Street by 1891 when Alfred was a Master Baker. I have got a lot more information and am currently writing it up for my book. Let me know if there’s any other information you need now. When I have finished the section of Alfred and his descendants I could let you have a copy…

004  Laura Brookes   (the contents of 3 emails)

Hello, I came across your website while trying to find out the address of Vermont house in Hastings Road, Pembury. My father-in-law was Harold Brookes who ran Brookes Dairy at 115 Hastings Road, and his father before him. They had previously lived at Vermont house. I noticed you were looking for details of the Bennett family’s dairy. This had previously been at 115 Hastings Road from 1922 until 1936 when the Brookes family moved in.

The Dairy was started in 1922 at 115 Hastings Road by the Bennett family. The Brookes family were living at Vermont, Hastings Road at that time and the eldest of Samuel Brookes’ sons, Edward (known as Ted) used to work there. Samuel took over the business and in November 1936 the Brookes family moved into the house. The 2 elder sons were in the RAF during WW2, while Harold stayed to help run the dairy, and took over when Samuel suffered ill health and subsequently died in 1955. Harold continued at the dairy until November 1988, when he retired, but lived in the house until his death in 2012.
On the subject of Vermont house, I have found that a schoolmaster lived there after the Brookes family , so it sounds right it could have been a private school. I think it was where the chiropodist is or thereabouts, but I’m not sure.
Hope this is of interest.

Samuel Brookes’ father-in-law was James Perkins and he lived here with his wife and I think one of his other children, as well as Samuel, Henrietta, Edward, Godfrey and Harold Brookes. The earliest recording I have of them there was 1918.
I have a letter heading from Vermont but it sadly does not include a phone number. I will look into what you suggest – the dairy did have a phone number of 106, which became 2106 and then 822106, and was still this at the time of Harold’s death in 2012.

005  Sylvia Schmocker

Although I live lived in Tonbridge for some years I receive the Pembury Village News and love reading it. I grew up in Pembury from 1939, I well remember being seen across the road to go and buy a loaf from Adams the bakers in the Hastings Road and also later on being sent to Waghorne’s the fishmongers (he operated from a garage behind his house having fetched the fresh fish from Hastings).. Further up from the garage was a cycle repair man, a Mr. Rendle (who wore a ginger wig!)to whom my brother and I would take our cycles. As far as Baggesens Nurseries are concerned I remember them well and could tell you exactly where they were. Stories of the ghost of Dick Turpin at the Woodsgate Hotel, the tunnels that were said to connect the hotel to what we knew as “the Haunted House” down the bottom of Chalket Lane opposite the farm workers’ cottage. The man who owned Woodsgate Swimming Pool was Frank Hemsley who was an old school friend (at St.James School TW) of my father’s. and who owned quite a large haberdashery/clothing store in TW. Durng the late 50s early 60s a Mr. Wolfe was the licensee at The Camden (it was not called Arms in those days)

006 Jenni Beck on Henwood Green Road

I’m tracing 110 Henwood Green Road as we know it now.
On the tithe map its plot 835′ not built yet.
1851-1868 Waterloo Cottage, live by William Hoskin and his wife Elizabeth
1871-1882 Waterloo Cottage, lived by Sarah Baker (widow)
Gap 1882-1929
1929 Lillescote, Elizabeth Collins passed away and the house was up for auction
1932-1949 Lilliscote, lived by Roy & Hilde Farrant
Gap 1949-1991
1991 Berkley Close built by Ward Homes, sold to Salah & Siobhan Shallaby
Gap 1991-2007
I would love to fill the big gaps, need to go more into the census – need to find about 100 years.
When did the Collins move in? Who was before them?
Is there a relationship between Sarah Veness and Sarah Baker….. And on and on!
I would like to find out what the house looked like when it was built as the architecture now proves it was extended.
What is the relationship, if any with Gibraltar Cottage (behind), if any?

Updated in Jan 2020 – See Item 15 in the  ‘Houses – Main List’  under  “Buildings & Landmarks”.

007  Ian Kumekawa,  Research Associate,  Harvard University

The following email snippets involved Kathryn Franklin and Janet Ditchett answering this request.

To Whom It May Concern:
I’m a researcher based at Harvard University, working on economist A.C. Pigou (1877-1959. Pigou grew up in a house in Pembury called “The Larches,” but I’m having no luck at all trying to find out more about it. I wondered if you might have any information about the house or ideas of where I might look next. I’ll be in the UK in late January and would be happy to visit libraries or archives in Pembury.
Many, many thanks for your help,   Ian

I have found a house listed which could be called Pembury.  Its The Larches, Cryals Road, Matfield TN12 7HH  It’s just off the A21 just past the BP garage (Blue boys ) Janet

Hi Tony
Janet Ditchett asked me to solve your mystery.
The Larches was the name for Sunhill Place when it was built by Mr Wall in the 1850s. The Pigous were definitely there in 1895, but I don’t think they were there very long. Mrs Wall was still there in 1886 and the Adairs, who renamed it Heatherton, were there by 1900. I assume AC Pigou was a son of the family. As they are not actually Pembury people I have no further info.

For your info it is Sunhill Place and the Pigous were there in the 1890s, after the Walls (who built it) and before the Adairs.


008  Clare Norman  investigating the origins of The Dower House / Strathbogie

The communications were numerous, and this is just the edited highlights.

I am in the process of buying a property that backs on to what is now the Ramada hotel, opposite Nottcuts Garden Centre on Tonbridge Road. i’d be interested in finding out more about it, but can’t find any reference to the buildings on that side of Tonbridge Road on your site.
I believe the hotel used to be the ‘Dower House’, & appears to have been used as council premises at least in the 1970s, but i would be very interested in any other history you know of for this building or the row of bungalows behind it (presumed to be estate workers cottages / workshops / storerooms or similar for the larger property).


A few findings from the Kelly’s Directories in Tonbridge –  These four gents occupied ‘Strathbogie’

Henry James Newcombe 1927
Jas. Hy. Newcombe 1934
Frederick Beech 1937
Maj Henry Noel Winter 1938

There were no entries for Strathbogie or Dower House in the years 1940, 1950, 1959
I will let you know the results of pre-1927 searches when I get to other libraries. Each library has only a selection of the whole span.
If the house was used for war activities or was housing military staff it may have been removed from directory listings, and not restored after the war in 1945.


The following data pieces together some of the residents of Strathbogie / Brackenston.

Revd R.W. Molesorth,………… The Lodge 1899
Miss Molesworth,……………… Brackenston 1911, 1912, 1913
(Woodside) 1915
Joseph Gurney Fowler,………. Brackenhurst 1915, 1916, 1917
Mrs Fowler,…………………….. Brackenhurst 1919
Mrs Gordon Hamilton,……….. Strathbogie 1922, 1923
Henry James Newcombe,….. Strathbogie 1927
Albert Henry Cavie,………….. Strathbogie Lodge 1929
Jas. Hy Newcombe,………….. Strathbogie 1933, 1934
Frederick Newcombe,………. Brackenhurst, Lower Green Rd 1933, 1934

The last entry suggests F. Newcombe took the old house name with him to Lower Green.

It is assumed that the variation of ‘Brackenhurst’ is a directory listing error, and we are dealing with the same house.

The building seems to have adopted the name ‘Dower House’ during its use as council offices, prior to becoming a hotel.
The Localities/Tonbridge Road page shows a map of the footprint of the Dower House within the current hotel footprint.

009 Dawn Moore (Bonneywell) on Pembury Hall Cottage

Hi Tony,
I have spent an enjoyable few hours reminiscing on familiar old places when I came across your wonderful site! I spent my childhood in Pembury and have fond memories of the village. I moved there in 1964 and married in St Peters old Parish Church in 1984. I lived in Pembury Hall Cottage which was situated right next to afore mentioned church. It is sadly no longer there but another much larger dwelling is now on that sight. The cottage was still part of Pembury Hall Estate when I was living there along with Pembury Hall Lodge next door and Pembury Hall Farm next to Pembury Hall itself. I was told that our cottage used to be the grave diggers home !. Mrs Davidson-Houston was the elderly lady who rented the cottage to my parents she was the last of the “Woodgates” ( maiden name) and is buried in the vault in corner of old churchyard. As a child I remember her showing me the old horse drawn carriage that she rode in to school!
My mother Joan Bonneywell ran Pembury Taxis in the 1970,s and I remember one of her regular fares was Winifred Seymour who owned a drapers shop on Hastings road.
I have dug out some photos that may be of interest to you.

Photos  B036 to B040 on ‘Donated Photso – Buildings’ page.


010 Jason Levett communicated via email about an ancestor of his William Levett. 

William Levett lived at Highfield House, Hastings Road between 1913 and 1929 (the year he died).

It has come to my attention that a likely relative of mine of Highfield House left an estate of circa £94,000 in 1929.
He was William Levett. He may have been a resident however, with such wealth, may have been the freeholder of the property.

Hi Jason,
  our records, on the history web site, show the occupancy of Highfield -
1907  Mrs Morgan
1911  Robert Carter Dowson
1912 - not listed
1913 - 1927  William Levett
Our records of Pembury residents do not go beyond 1927 so I cannot help any further.

They moved to Highfield late in 1914, I believe from 79 Queen's Road Tunbridge Wells, where they had been in the census in 1891, 1901 and, I assume 1911.
Think his wife was Eunice, one daughter Edith, another daughter Marcella, they registered in the census of 1871 and 1881 at the *Maidstone Road Inn, Brenchley (Castle Hill?).
Prominent agriculturalist, well-known tanner and hopgrower, pretty good on steers and bullocks, one knocked him over, when he was 89.

*Interesting connection maybe?
Born in Northiam 1840/41, have to say Queen's Road surprised me - at best.


 ".... gardener, told how he was helping to truck the bullock. He saw Mr. Levett standing beside him, and as the animal was approaching the truck it stepped back and knocked Mr. Levett over. He fell on his back, and witness heard him say “Bring me my stick ..."   13 December 1929, K & S Courier

Snippets & Scraps
Pembury History

IMPORTANT !!!     This needs your help.  All contributions will be credited.  If you have any further information or corrections please contact me –
Tony Nicholls      email: