All Our Yesterdays

(Well Just a Few)

Whether -the name Teynham is as is popularly believed" a derivation of 'ten hamlets* is open to debate, what is known is that a settlement  existed in Teynham back in the very earliest  days. 

When man first turned from hunting to agriculture he was here. Among many items found in and around the village, from Saxon swords and beads to Iron Age loomweights, a finely polished flint axe is now housed in the  British Museum. Many of these items have been found during brick earth extraction in Teynham and some from the Oziers area, which formed a navigable waterway inland from the Swale in Roman times.

The A2 was built during the Roman occupation of Britain, which explains the fact that it is very straight, a trademark of their roadways. Teynham was used for many centuries as a staging post on the journey from London to Canterbury and Dover.

On the Conyer Road near the T-junction at Teynham Street , a manor house was built for th use of the Archbishops of Canterbury as long ago as the 9th Century. Some of you will remember the last remains of buildings there, a flint stone wall which was finally demolished some 25 years ago (where were the preservationists then?) 1066 and all that brought us King William and in the Doomsday Book Teynham (then Tenham) was referred to as Therham, assumed to be a clerical error.

At the time of the Civil War, Teynham church, St. Mary’s, was used as a place of refuge, after a battle between Cromwell's army and the Cavaliers of King Charles. The dents in the door were made by the huge bullets used at that time. The church itself is thought to date back to the 12th Cent-ury, although many changes have been made through the years, one of the latest additions being the lych gate, which was erected in memory of those who died in the Great War.

One of the many royal visitors to Teynham was Henry VIII, and it was the Kings fruiterer and gardener, Richard Harrys, who as an experiment planted cherry trees imported from Europe at Oziers. The trees flourished, more were planted at Newgardens in Teynham Lane (now Station Road; and Teynham became the cherry growing centre of England, Sad to say there are very few left now, most of the cherry orchards changing to apples, pears, beans and of course houses.

Teynham, although being mainly an agricultural , village also had its industry, there were several brickfields as well as a cement works. Much of . the industry was situated in or close to the village port - Conyer. The name derives from coney earth (a rabbit warren) and until the out-break of a killer disease in the 1950s there were still thousands of wild rabbits to be found. Although the brickfields and cement works have now gone it is pleasing to see that the traditional port industries of boatbuilding and repair are still working well. Conyer was also the nearest thing to the seaside to many local youngsters and bathing was commonplace. Though this no longer happens the ‘Mud-day’ will stir the memories.

Queen Victorians 60 years are commemorated by the pump on the London Road, the start of her reign also saw our first school. Teynham School  was founded by the church in 1849, enlarged later in the century and was used until 1974 when the new building was opened in Station Road. In a century of change it is worth noting that there have been only four head teachers at the school in the past 80 years.

The biggest changes to the village began in the 1950s when first  Cherry Gardens ,and then the Anne of Cleaves estates were built (Anne of course being one of Henrys six wives). In the early 1970’s  Col. and Mrs. Honeyball’s old house and gardens, having fallen into disrepair were developed for more housing, as was the brickworks washbacks at Conyer.

Space being at a premium in Teynham News, limits what can be written, there is much more after all from Stone Age through Doomsday to 1904 is a long time, but if you have any memories or information on our past, let us know.

Summer 1984