The Reverend Peter Hambrook has lived his life in the village. A couple of years ago he recorded some of his memories of the village in the Great Mongeham Newsletter which is delivered each month to every home in the village. Those articles are now reprinted here. Perhaps they invoke recollections of your own. If so, please share them with us in the add comments section at the end.

December 2006

Our Village Great Mongeham in it’s time, once had three public houses, two of which still exist today. Although The Leather Bottle is right on the modern boundary and technically in Sholden, is still a worthy hostelry to be included in our village. The area that I want to look at this week is the now closed public house. The Friendly Port, 125 Mongeham Road, the land in between and including, The Three Horseshoes. The first one of these is reputed to have been frequented by smugglers and smuggled spirits were for sale. It also became local tearooms later in it’s life before becoming a dwelling, now known as 125 Mongeham Road.

You can still see the remains of a sign on the side of the building, which I am sure at one time advertised the brand of ale that was on offer. The land in between once hosted village allotments, along with other land behind the closed dairy site. The last person, in my recollection, who worked and rented one, was the late Albert Castle. I have no doubt that others remember them as well……It would be good to hear from you.

I am sure that the Three Horseshoes had just as chequered a history, as it has been a well used hostelry since at least 1735 and is mentioned in many old books when you look up Great Mongeham. There are too many stories to be told about to include in our Newsletter.

Henry III gave a grant to hold a weekly market on Thursdays in Great Mongeham, and for a three day fair, for cattle and peddling on October 17th, 18th and 19th each year. However, this became a one-day fair held on October 29th annually. There was a meadow off Mongeham Road where this took place, which I suspect to be between these two public houses and on the land behind them. This was always known as Fair Field. PH

February 2007

This month we continue to look at various places as we amble through our village and we stop for a few moments at the Three Horseshoes Public House. There is much evidence that there has been a building on this site since 1676, according to the document that is on display in the bar today. There is a well-documented history that is well worth stopping by for a read, while enjoying a glass of their well presented Ale. According to the document, it started out as the dwelling place of the local Blacksmith, who at the time was the only one living in Great Mongeham. There seems to be evidence of brewing and selling of beer here back as far as 1742, but the first licence issued to sell ales was in 1801 by a Samuel Bray.

My own recollection of the place was that of a three-roomed house, a games room, taproom and a snug with a bottle and jug passage through the middle, where we children were allowed to buy crisps. There was also a room upstairs where meetings took place, prior to the Parish Hall being built and the room at the end was the cellar. The landlady of the time was a Mrs. Charlotte Jamson. As we come further down the road we come to number 141, which has a date stone in the wall depicting that it was there in 1811. It is said that at one time it was a small shop selling provisions, of which the bay window still exists. The house next door, I would imagine dates from the same build. PH

March 2007

This month we take a look at what used to be the bakery in Great Mongeham -when I was a child at the northern end of the village. There used to be two full time bakers in the village at one time. It is now known as 147 Mongeham Road and has been carefully restored back to a house, looking very similar to how it was in the 1940s. During renovation work there was evidence uncovered that seemed to point to it being two smaller dwellings in its time.

There is documented evidence that it was a bake house as far back as 1896, owned then by a Mr. Philpot of Sunnyside, and leased to Manning the miller of Dover, later to become Hudson’s, who in turn let it out to various tenant bakers.

The first baker that I remember working the bake house, was Robert Piper and his wife, they had a son named “Bobby” who I played with. We would scrounge pieces of dough from the baker’s men at the back door and roll it and work it on the stones in the back yard and then have it baked in the ovens. There was not a lot of health and hygiene then but it certainly tasted good. It must have gained something when we rolled it out on the garden path.

The ovens were at that time fired by faggots, large bundles of sticks tied up with wire and pushed into the fire holes, to preheat the ovens before putting the risen dough into bake.

April 2007

Last month there was quite a bit of interest shown in the item on the Old Bakery at what is now 147 Mongeham Road. This month we shall take a look at 151 as I remember it and those people who lived there. The present occupier has a full history of the dwelling, and shares it with, who ever takes the time to enquire about it. When I was a child the house stood alone with a very large garden and was occupied by the Hutton family. The house was then named Palmestone Villa. Mr. Fred Hutton started a dairy business from there, delivering milk to the mine workers very early in the morning so that they could have fresh milk for their tea, before going off to work. There were very few domestic fridges in those days and milk would go off overnight. By doing this he soon built up a round and as his business grew, he set up in what was then the old village forge, later to become United Dairies. People have remarked to me that in the very early days they used to collect milk from the back door in their own jugs.

When Mr. Hutton moved out, the Church acquired the house and the Reverend Knight moved in. He was a Curate to Upper Deal and in charge of St. Martin’s Church before emigrating to South Africa. It was not long after, that the house came into the ownership of a Mr. Joe Barwick a local farmer who renamed it Memories and lived there for quite some time. After that I seem to have lost track until the present owner came, who as well as researching his own house history also takes a keen interest in most of the historic dwellings of our village.