There were two malthouses in operation in the village through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Great Mongeham Society has a number of papers relating to both. In the nineteenth century one was operated by the Bray family and the other by the Harrisons. The photo shows what remains of the Bray malthouse.

Letters from John Bray to Cobb & Son of Margate

Transcriptions of some of the papers pertaining to the two malthouses are included on this website.

1. to give notice of a meeting

Mongeham July 25th 1814


A Meeting of the East Kent Maltsters is desired at the Bell Inn Sandwich at two O’Clock Tuesday 26th to sign a short Petition to extend the time for payment of Malt Duty. I have only time to say that Sir E. Knatchbull & Mr. W. Huskisson have forwarded the business in which no time is to be lost pray come or send

Yrs. In haste
J. Bray

Messrs. Cobb& Son

Bye Boy to be delivered immediately

2. To ask for coal

Mongeham April 5th



Having occasion for more Welch Coals than I expected owing to washing and drying so much black wheat and my merchant here being out, I am to request the favor of an answer by Post whether you can spare me two or three Chaldrons and you will oblige


Yr. Obed hble Servt.

J. R. Bray

To Messrs. Cobb Son

3. A further request for coal

Mongeham April 8th 1815


Being in want of some Welch Coals I took the liberty of sending a note from Sandwich Markets by Mr. Nummery on Weds. to know if you could supply me with 2 or 3 Chalds. And not receiving any answer I fully intended to have come myself but a very violent cold and inflamation on my lungs prevent me for the present and shall be obliged (if you have none to spare) to direct my man where he is likely to succeed as I understand Mr. Gore and probably some other coal merchants may have a few; as I have a tolerable Stock of Coke – I am washing and drying black Wheat every fourth Day which exhausts my stock of firing with best respects I remain


Yr. Obed hble Servt.

J. R. Bray

To Messrs. Cobb & Son

The Cobbs were an influential Margate family who owned many businesses. Their papers are currently with the East Kent Archive.

Declaration Made by Margaret Bray

Margaret Bray lived in The Manor House. She made this statement for the solicitors who were acting on behalf of the executors of the will of Joseph Hewitt. His will stated that his entire estate should be passed on to his wife and then on her death be shared out among his family. Joseph died in 1852 and his second wife, Mary died in 1864. The declaration was needed to establish the extent of the Hewitt family. The declaration contains many abbreviations and much crossing out and insertion of material.

I Margaret Bray of the parish of Great Mongeham in the Coy of Kent Spinster do solemnly & sincerely declare that I am now of the age of 68 years & upwards. That I well knew and was acquainted with Joseph Hewitt late of the Parish of Great Mongeham aforesd. Maltster deced. & his family for a period of 60 years & upwards he having lived in the service of my family & of myself as a maltman for a period of about 54 years That the sd. Joseph Hewitt intermarried with his first wife Jane Kember as I have been informed and believe in or about Decr. 1798 & that she died shortly afterwards having had as I believe had no lful. Issue by the sd. Josh. Hewitt that the said Jane Kember (unreadable sentence written in between the lines)

That the s. Joseph Hewitt afterwards to wit on or about October 1802 intermarried with his 2nd wife Mary o’wise called Mary Anne Kemp. That the sd. Joseph Hewitt had issue by his sd. Second wife Mary owise called Mary Anne Kemp. That the sd. Joseph Hewitt had issue by his sd. second wife 6 sons only, viz Wm. Hewitt who was born in mabe the year 1805 &died as an infant of about the age of 6 years, Wm.Hewitt now of Dover in the sd. Coy. Of Kent Maltman, Joseph Hewitt now of the parish of great Mongeham aforesd. Maltman, Edwd. Hewitt now of the parish of Littlebourne in the sd. Coy. of Kent Brewer, Robert Hewitt now deced. & James Hewitt now deced. That the sd. Robert Hewitt intermarried as I have been informed & believe with Mary Ann Curtis Church in about Feby. 1834 & that he died in or about the month of Oct. 1850 leaving his sd. Wife him surviving and having had issue by his sd. Marre. 4 sons only viz. Samuel, Charles, James & Robert, all of whom I believe are now living. That the sd. James Hewitt intermarried with Sarah Burfield in or about May 1848 leaving his sd. Wife him surviving & having had issue by his sd. Marre. 2 sons only viz. Robert Edward, & James both of whom I believe are now living. That the sd. Joseph Hewitt (the Father) died in or about Feby. 1852 & that the sd. Mary Hewitt o’wise called Mary Ann Hewitt his sd. Second wife died in or about Dec 1864.

Probate of the will of Joseph Hewitt deceased.

The last will and testament

of me Joseph Hewitt of Great Mongeham Kent Maltman. I hereby give and bequeath all Lands Tenements and hereditaments

all Goods and Estates and all other Property whether real or personal that I may be possessed of at my decease, to my Wife Mary in the event of she being my survivor for her sole use and benefit during her lifetime and at her decease the whole of the Property to be sold and the proceeds to be divided as follows viz. To my sons William and Edward each one hundred pounds, to my daughter Mary one hundred pounds for the sole use and benefit of each respectively, to the Children of my late son James viz. two sons and one daughter one hundred pounds such sum to be invested on good security and the Interest arising therefrom to be allowed towards their maintenance if required if not claimed then to accumulate until they become of age, when the whole is to be divided equally amongst them; To Elizabeth Anne the daughter of my late daughter Jane one hundred pounds to be Secured on the same Conditions and payable in every respect to her as in the case of my late son James’s Children; to my son Robert Ninety pounds to be In trust of my executors who are to invest it on good Security and pay him the Interest arising from it annually unless they should see fit to put him in possession of it when they would be entitled to do so in the event of him not receiving it his children to be entitled to it at their father’s decease unless the executors choose to retain it and pay them Interest thereon until they become of age and then to divide it equally amongst them which I leave at their discretion to my Son Joseph Thirty pounds out of which he is to receive Ten pounds at the decease of my wife Mary and the remainder secured on Interest which is to be paid him annually by my Executors unless they should see fit to give full possession of it to him which they would be entitled to do at any time he was capable of taking care of it; to my daughter Susannah ninety pounds for her sole use and benefit, to my late Son George’s Children viz. three sons and four daughters Fifty pounds to be equally divided amongst them and the residue of my property to be divided into eight equal shares and distributed as follows after having satisfied all just debts and paid all reasonable expences for funeral of myself and wife and expences attending the administration &c. and also Ten pounds each to my Executors in consideration of their Services in addition and independent of any other bequest they may have to receive to my sons William and Edward each one share of the residue; to my daughters Mary and Susannah each One share for the sole use and benefit of each of them, to my sons Robert and Joseph each One share to be secured and subject to the same regulations as in the respective bequests before named, to the daughter of my late daughter Jane One share , and that remaining share to the children of my late son James the two last shares to be secured and subject to the same regulations as stated in respect to their before named bequests And I thereby appoint my sons Edward and William to be my Executors for carrying this my said last will and Testament into effect. Dated this twenty third day of October in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty eight ___________ Joseph (the mark of) Hewitt ___________

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of us, who here in the presence of each other here subscribe____________

_________ Henry James Holman

_________ William Fostall

_________ Thomas Devall

In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury In the goods of Joseph Hewitt Deceased

Appeared PersonallyWilliam Fostall of the parish of Littlebourne in the County of Kent Harness maker and made Oath that he is one of the subscribed Witnesses of the due execution of the last Will and Testament of Joseph Hewitt late of Great Mongeham in the County of Kent Maltman deceased which said Will bears date the twenty third day of October in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty eight and is now hereto annexed and he further made oath that on the said twenty third day of October in the said year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty eight the said Testator duly executed his said Will by making his mark or cross at the foot or end thereof (as now appears thereon) in the presence of this Deponent and of Henry James Holman and Thomas Devall the other subscribed Witnesses to the said Will all of whom were present at the same time and that he this Deponent and the said Henry James Holman and Thomas Devall thereupon attested and subscribed the said Will in the presence of the said Testator and each other

_______William Fostall ________ On the 20th Day of October 1852 the said William Fostall was duly sworn to the truth of the aforegoing affidavit by virtue of the Commission hereto annexed ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________ Horace Gilder

Great Mongeham Maltsters

Almost as long as there have been people on this planet they have made beer. For many generations in Britain the process has involved fermenting malted grain, especially barley. A foraging party Caesar sent out from Walmer in 45 BC was ambushed in a barley field.

Malting has along history on the village of Great Mongeham. Part of the annual tribute Lufa gave from her estates in Great Mongeham to the monks of St. Augustine’s in 850AD was 240 bushels of malt.

Barley was malted in malthouses. In the malting process grain was soaked and spread out on the malthouse floor where it was allowed to germinate for about three days. Starch stored in the grain is changed into sugar. The malted grain was then dried. Later, in the brewing process, yeast converts the sugars to alcohol.

In the early eighteenth century John Bean bought Ivy House, the malthouse and a barn in 1694 for £65. Chatham brewers, the Wildash familt, bought the property and sold it on to Thomas Harrison in 1800. The malthouse passed to his son, also Thomas, who diedin 1879. The malthouse was possibly leased to the Kingsford brothers. In his will of 1871 Thomas bequeathed the property to his three nephews, Thomas, Robert and Ralph Denne. They sold the property by auction. The auctioneers were Messrs Baker and Giles and the auction was held at the Fleur de Lis Hotel in Sandwich on 19th November 1879. The property was bought by Richard Wilkes, then of Little Mongeham, who by the turn of the century had become the major landowner in the village, and had moved to Nothbourne. He converted the malthouse into a cottage. Joining the malthouse was a cottage, possibly for a labourer. It is now called Lamp Cottage.

The second malthouse in the village belonged to Samuel Shepherd who lived in the Manor House in the early eighteenth century. He might very well have built the large malthouse next door. He was later to move to Faversham where he was to found the brewery that was to become Shepherd Neame.

In 1775 Admiral Bray bought the Manor House, together with the malthouse. The house and malthouse were to remain in the family until 1892. His son, John Bray, became churchwarden and Chairman of the Parish Vestry. He was also deeply involved with the East Kent Maltsters. In a letter dated the 25th July 1814 to Cobb & Son, the brewers of Margate, he notifies them of a meeting at the Bull, Sandwich the following day to petition for the extension of time to pay Malt Duty. In another letter to the Cobbs the following year, this time the banking arm of the family, he asks for help in obtaining some ‘Welch Coals’ because he was ‘washing and drying black wheat every fourth day’. After wheat barley was the next most common grain to be malted.

Although malting provided a substantial income, the Brays were principally farmers. They employed a maltster, Joseph Hewitt, for the day to day operations of the malthouse. In a declaration in 1864 by Margaret Bray, daughter of John Bray, she writes that Joseph had been in the service of the family for more than sixty years and maltman for 54 years. He lived in the house from which his wife ran a grocer’s shop. It was situated next door to the Three Horseshoes.

By 1883 the malthouse had been leased to Thompson’s brewers of Walmer. In the first World War it provided stabling for horses bound for the front.