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Hastingleigh Diarists 1951

The following article in the Kentish Express of 12 Oct 1951, refers to a mid 20th century club

of Hastingleigh residents determined to unearth the history of the parish.


Until about 40 years ago nearly three quarters of Hastingleigh Village (1493 acres) was for many centuries owned by St. Thomas Hospital London. This and other historic facts are

being brought to light and carefully recorded by a group of local people
- The Hastingleigh Diarists- formed through the inspiration of the late Mr. G. E. Hubbard of
Wye, who before his death did much to encourage communities to explore their own past.
Last week at Court Lodge, the home of their President Lady Mary Findlay, the Diarists held

their first exhibition of local history. co-operation between villagers and organisers produced
a remarkable display of coronation mugs dating from the early 19th century, ancient horse
brasses, and photostats of the original deeds relating to St. Thomas Hospital. These show
that Thomas Crux and a John Bull were once trustees for land owned at Hastingleigh. Crux
lived at Court Lodge where an old barn is named after him.
Among those present was 80 year old (ii) William Hayward, of Myrtle Cottage, Hastingleigh,

one of the last men in the village to be employed by St. thomas Hospital at Court Lodge.
Georgian coins found by Mr Hayward when digging in his garden were shown.

Guest of the meeting was (i)Miss Victoria Sackville-West of Sissinghurst Castle, built by John

Baker, the last private patron of Hastingleigh Church. Shown was a photostat of deeds by which
King Edward VI (6th) conveyed the advowson nd two acres of land at Hastingleigh to Cranmer,
Archbishop of Canterbury. The land then belonged to Sir John Baker.

Among the Diarists future activities will be the investigation of ancient land culture in the district.

They hope to find the site of a very early settlement dating back to about 700 AD.

Soon, Hastingleigh will be really put on the map, by the book by Miss M. Harwood, of Tamley

Cottage, one of the Diarists keenest workers.

(i)Miss Victoria Sackville-West aka Vita Sackville-West, the authoress and gardener.

 (Click to link to a list of her publications)

(ii)Myrtle Cottage, William Haywards home, was formerly the Ale House in the
village before The Bowl Inn became the local pub. So a find of Georgian Coins is
no surprise, but what became of them is a mystery.