NEIGHBOURLY NAMES: I have to say that the names of some of our surrounding villages strike me as enchanting as I drive through them, mostly because they are the names of yesteryear, and conjure up, not the cars and the modern attire of today, but of horse and carts and poke bonnets, and people seeing their way up to bed by the light of a candle. Appledore has to be my favourite [anything with the word ‘apple’ in it gets my vote] It’s just the prettiest name. Then Stone -Cum-Ebony, which is dignified and intriguing. Wittersham has a sense of bustle and busyness about it, and Ore, a sense of the Klondyke [was there ore there?] Pluckley, another intriguing name that smacks to me of ladies in cotton house-dresses and work -boots, plucking chickens, while smoking clay pipes. Ivychurch, Woodchurch, and Dymchurch- all lovely ecclesiastical names. Brede sounds Dickensian, and Fairlight smacks of farmers waking at dawn while their children sleep six to a bed. I’m sure that I’ve undermined their true origins, and would love to know the reasons for their names, as mine are just romantic surmise, but I admire them all, and their little signposts which point to where they are!
A PERFECT LITTLE SQUARE: Iden Stores is there for us come hell or high water. Opening seven days a week, there is not much it doesn’t sell in the way of daily commodities, and of course it has its Post Office, which is a real bonus. It’s not just a shop, it’s a meeting place, where people can catch up with Iden gossip on a trip to buy their newspaper. The shop keeps up with trendy foods too, because people in Iden do love to cook, and give the odd dinner party. I remember asking for asparagus soup in our local store as a child. “Asparagus soup”, they said, and fell about laughing, telling me that I was getting above myself. Asparagus soup in those days was seen as the height of decadence! The new bench, in memory of Pat Buckland looks just right in front of the store doesn’t it? The shop with its garden of flowers and herbs, it’s picnic bench, and Pat’s bench, are it could be said, a perfect little square!
DO PLEASE COME AND SUPPORT: Sheila Alexander has asked me to invite everyone to a coffee morning on Saturday 9th September [10am-1pm], in the Scout Hut [near Rye Swimming Baths] Sheila’s daughter Karen is going to have all her hair shaved off, to sponsor funds for a little 4 year old girl in Westfield with a rare terminal disease called Alexander disease. There will be many stalls, and lovely prizes, and Sheila and Karen would welcome you all.
THE PUB QUIZ: On every third Wednesday, ‘The Bell’, in Iden has an enjoyable quiz. It starts at 7.30pm, and has become very popular. Everyone loves a quiz. Win or lose, it’s just fun to shake up the brain cells.
HISTORICAL TIT-BITS: As I said last week, Christopher Spencer [vicar of St George’s Church Deal], documented a history of Iden as a schoolboy, while at Thomas Peacock school, so I’m popping in a few facts, which many of you know already.
THE HASTINGS BEDS: Geologically, the layers of Iden strata consist of Wadhurst clay, Ashdown sand, and Tunbridge Wells sand collectively known as the ‘Hastings beds’.
THE OLD HALL: Once upon a time, the Old Hall was part of Iden School, which was in ‘The Old School House’ but in 1935, the school was closed, and children went to Playden school. The Old Hall became a Blacksmith’s forge, and later an art gallery, and as we all know, is now a friendly, welcoming hall for functions, and meetings.
THE WORKHOUSE: Iden Stores and the houses adjoining it were at one time the workhouse. [NB; Reading the archives, a man called John Winser sent a petition to parliament in 1835, the year in which Iden workhouse was to be closed. He was master of Iden Workhouse, with an additional small salary as Iden Parish clerk. Unable to undertake arduous tasks because of physical disability, and having eight children, he was desperate, and only kindly neighbours kept the family from starvation, when his position closed] Weren’t times hard in those days?
THE PLAYING FIELDS: In 1935, Mr E.S Mason. Gave eight and three quarter acres of land to Iden for a playing field, which has been a source of pleasure and enjoyment for residents ever since.
ONCE UPON A TIME, A JAM FACTORY: A lady called Dorothy Carter once had a jam factory, in a small Iden dwelling, which was run by a lady called Miss G Coleman. Jam was made in a traditional way, in large copper pots, cooked over a wood fire. The shop sold Jams, jellies and marmalade to Rye and surrounding districts, and even sold in London. The jam factory I’m told once had a visitation from Queen Mary.
Sometimes, particularly at night, on Iden streets, devoid of street lights, we get a feeling of the history which has seeped into its pathways. Ploughed fields around Iden are another reminder of the constant rolling of time and progress.
A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION: There will be a Service of Holy Communion in Iden Parish Church on Sunday, at 9.30am.
THE WAYWARD HANKY: I love gilt. The gilt on mirrors and picture frames, and on the spines of books. I like things that shine and catch the light. However I admire other people’s preferences too, because everyone has a style. A jokey old saying is that we are who we are because of our endocrine glands, but I think that it’s memories that influence our taste. Places perhaps where we felt particularly happy, or pretty decorative items we admired, can make us want to replicate those memories in our own homes. My great aunt Dingy, had a home full of gilt items. She was quaint, and set in her ways. She used to laugh until she cried, and then fetch a handkerchief from the top of her stocking, wipe her eyes and put the hanky back. Sometimes the hanky would ride down her stocking leg, and my mother would poke me [lest I mention it.] Aunt Dingy wore long white gloves on the beach, so that her hands wouldn’t become brown for playing double piano with a friend, in her lounge each Wednesday [my mother would poke me at those recitals too, lest I fidget] Aunt Dingy left me a few of her gilt frames, and they, and the memories of her and her wayward hanky are still up there hanging on my wall!
CONTACT ME: If anyone has anything to add to the Village Voice, please ring Gill Griffin [telephone 01797 280311]
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RyeandBattleObserver
3) Follow us on Twitter @RyeObs
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.