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Farningham and Its Mill: a history of a village in Kent
by Hilary Harding

This detective story of Farningham's history includes tales of treason, murder, scandal and highway robbery, wills, deeds and inventories and the work and lives of local people up to the present day.

Nineteen miles from London, Farningham is situated on the River Darent at the crossroads between London to Maidstone and Dartford to Sevenoaks. The village High Street is a conservation area, and has many interesting buildings including two old coaching inns and a Georgian 'folly' bridge.

At the heart of the village is a fine Georgian water-mill which has belonged to the same family for 270 years. This mill is the focal point of a comprehensive village history which includes stone age artefcts, an iron age settlement, three villas and three farms of the Roman period, a Saxon burial, four Domesday manors, a 13th-century castle, and a medieval market and fair with a colony of Jewish money lenders. The church is mainly 13th-century and has a rare seven sacrament font.

The 17th-century Lord of the Manor was Anthony Roper, grandson of Thomas More. Other residents of note include Marianne Farningham, Victorian writer, Admiral Bligh of Bounty fame, Walter Wilson co-inventor of the tank and Graham Sutherland, renowned for his controversial portrait of Winston Churchill.

About The AuthorAbout The Author
Hilary Harding first came to Farningham in the 1950s, settling in one of the mill cottages where she still lives today. As part of her contribution to village life she volunteered to help maintain the churchyard and the graves there, many of which belonged to the her landlord's family, the Colyers, an esteemed local family who had owned the village corn mill for six generations. The churchyard was a quiet and private place, but it hummed with history, and she was soon drawn into curiosity about the countless generations of villagers lying all around. One day she met two old ladies who mentioned they used to go gleaining in the fields as children and take their bags of corn to be ground at the mill. This was in the 1960s and, as the mill had closed for grinding in 1900, it seemed an extraordinary link with the past. From here began her quest into the history of Farningham and its Mill. About the Book 352 pages, hardback with dust jacket, extensively illustrated throughout. Published at £25.00.