Born in Cullompton, Devon Henry Fowler moved to Kent in his early twenties to join the Kent County Constabulary. He married Ellen, a Kentish girl from Loose, just south of Maidstone. In about 1875 Henry was posted to Great Mongeham where he and his wife took up residence in the cottage vacated by the previous village constable, 2, Palmerston Terrace, now 157 Mongeham Road. Their first son was born on Christmas day in 1878, when Henry was 22 and Ellen just a year younger, . Four years later, also on Christmas day, their first daughter was born. They were to have another two sons and four more daughters, two of whom died in childhood.

There is little record of his eleven years as village bobby, and it must have been a pleasant situation for him.

However he did make the pages of the local newspaper in 1882, just two months before their first daughter was born. He arrested Henry Marsh, a waggoner who lived in the village. The following morning Henry Mash was brought in front of the magistrate charged with being drunk in charge of two horses and was “released on bail to appear at the Wingham Adjourned Petty Session held at Dover on Thursday next “.

In July 1886 he was transferred to Canterbury where I believe he became an inspector. Still only 36 he returned to the village in 1891 where his career took a completely different direction.

When Edward Parker died in 1889 his daughter, Mary Court Bass sold the Three Horseshoes to Alfred Radcliffe and leased the farm she inherited to Henry Fowler, who had returned to the village. Mary had ‘Valley Farmhouse’ built at the other end of Street Meadow to accommodate Henry so that she could continue to live at ‘The Vale’. An inscription on one of the bricks at the front of the house reads ‘M.C.B. 1889’.In 1891, Henry Fowler, now aged 36, farmed from Valley Farm House. He lived with his wife, Harriet Ellen, his two sons, and four daughters. Mary Bass, now 39, was living at the Vale with Elizabeth Redman, a boarder.

Fowler_mining_rights_1911_reducedWhen Henry Fowler later bought and moved into Sholden Bank Farm (some time between 1893 and 1901) she let her farm to William Brett, son of Stephen Brett bailiff to Richard Wilks at Great Mongeham Farm

Henry continued to prosper. In 1909 he had a terrace of seven cottages which he built in Waterworks Road (now St. Richards) and named Fairview cottages. In 1911 he sold the mineral rights “not lees than 300 feet from the surface” under his farm to Extended Extensions Limited of Dover (as shown in green on the map below) for £247.13.0. No doubt the money was used towards the construction of a second terrace, next to the first, in 1912. These he called Fairfield Cottages. Presumably the cottages provided accommodation for his farm workers and/or a rental income.

On Henry’s death, in 1926, his wife and daughter, as executors, sold Fairview Cottages to William Ballard, a Trinity House pilot. In 1958 Ballard sold the sixth of seven (number 429 St. Richard’s road) to Walter Smith, a labourer. It can only be assumed that he sold the others at the same time.

Where Sholden farm once stood is a cul-de-sac of post-war houses and the farmhouse has been converted to a row of cottages.