Tuesday, June 25th, 2024

History society plans visit to a ‘lost village’

compiled by Susan Gidman

DEAD HEAD HELP. Since being involved in putting together the new Weald history book, I see our village through different eyes – dates, events and people come to mind, especially now with the fabulous array of daffodils under the trees on the green; they have been there since the 1990s. In 1990 the Horticultural Society entered an exhibit to the Chelsea Flower Show. Unfortunately, it was stolen but the compensation paid by R.H.S. was used to buy the bulbs. For many years, as the flowers die back, they have been dead-headed by Lesley Knight so that the plants energy goes back into the bulb rather than making seeds. I know she would be happy for someone else to help! So, if you see a dead head, pick it off (picked bunches not allowed!)

HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY SPRING SHOW.  Despite the recent cold weather, and a worry this year that not many daffodils and tulips would be open in time for the  Horticultural Society Spring show, the Memorial Hall was full of colour and gorgeousness. Brian Jarvis always does well in the first show of the year and won the Fenn Challenge Bowl for most points awarded. Although he garnered the Daffodil Society Award for his daffodil exhibit, the single bloom Mackney Challenge cup was won for the fifth time by Lesley Knight. I need to ask Doris Wheeler pointers for showing hellebores as she won that class (as well as for her evergreen flowering shrub). Liz Hindley won with her pansies and Ann Bell for her ‘flowering pot’.

My miniature flower arrangement, ‘Small Beginnings’, was enough for me to win the Barty Cup. Sheila Turley gained a first for her arrangement ‘First Shoots’ and ‘Sun Burst’ and Justine Frost for ‘Spring Greens as well as Best in Section for for her ‘Oranges and Lemons’ arrangement. A review of the Spring Show would not be complete without mentioning the Todd family. Julie Todd’s tulips in a bucket won the silver plate for ‘Best in Show’, while Todd’s expertise seems to be in the kitchen. He scooped ‘first’ for his marmalade, hot-cross buns, quiche and five cup-cakes.

It’s always special to see young people at the beginning of their Horticultural Society challenges…Emilia Jones won the Dunsford Cup for the under 8s and Jacob Frost for the 8-12 age group. If I have missed anyone out I apologise!!

ST GEORGE’S DAY. St George’s Church will be decked out with flowers to the theme of Jesus’ sayings, ‘I AM….’. The show will be in the church between Saturday 21 April to Monday 23 April (between  10.30am and 4pm on Saturday and Monday and between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday. Coffee and bacon sandwiches are available in the Church rooms until after lunch when the team will start serving afternoon tea – with cake of course!

There is still time to book for the Saturday evening family supper with entertainment which is being held in the Church Hall at 7pm. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children. If you would like a ticket for the supper, please contact Moya Grady on 01732 454372 or Becca on 01732 463464.

WEALD HISTORY GROUP is planning a visit later this year to ‘The Lost Village of Dode’ located between Wrotham and Meopham. Twenty nine years ago, chartered surveyor, Douglas Chapman accepted an offer from a friend to buy some candles. He was amazed and surprised when he collected them to find that they were large, church candles stored in two pallets, 1000 in all. But this was just the beginning of the story.

Six weeks later Douglas read an advert in the paper that the little church at Dode was for sale. It was located in the middle of nowhere and derelict. The inhabitants of the small hamlet of Dode Village had been wiped out by the Black Death which struck Kent in 1348. By 1349 the church and hamlet were abandoned. In 1361, in an extant document of the time, the Catholic Church wrote that the church was no longer financially viable and no priest would be coming to minister there. Its sad decline was halted briefly in the 1950s when it the church was re-dedicated but, by the early 1990s, it was again suffering neglect, was de-consecrated, and came on the market.

Douglas Chapman had spent his career surveying ancient buildings and this one sparked his interest. He and his wife visited it and despite the tangled undergrowth and graffiti covered walls, Douglas fell in love with the building; three days later, he went along to the auction and, ‘for the price of a small house’, found himself the owner of Dode Church.

The Chapman’s spent seven years restoring the church and, after completing the work and appearing on national TV and in the newspapers, they were inundated with 2000 visitors. Since then, civil marriage services have been conducted in the old church and a retreat has been built to one side as well as a stone circle in the grounds where hand-fasting ceremonies take place. On the 900th anniversary of the building of the church, the Chapman’s used 900 of the candles that Douglas had acquired to light up the church.

INDIAN BUFFET. If you would like to support Weald’s Community shop then go along to the Indian themed Sunday lunch fund-raiser on 6 May. Tickets are £18 for per person for adults and £15 for children. A professional sitar player will perform after lunch and talk about the music. To reserve a place, please contact Susan or Richard Gidman at wealdnews@hotmail.com Tel: 01732 454222 or Karen Long at kcaelong@btinternet.com Tel: 01732 463698.




Monday 16 April: Kent Fire and Rescue Defibrilator drop in training in the Memorial Hall at 11am – 12.30pm; 1.30 – 3pm and 7pm – 8.30pm.

Friday 20 April: Elvis Evening at Giacomos starting at 7.30pm.

Saturday & Sunday 21-22 April: ‘I am the Way, the Truth, the Life…’ flower show at St George’s Church and St. George’s family supper in the Church Hall at 7pm.

Tuesday 24 April: Horticultural Society visit to Beth Chatto’s garden.

Wednesday 25 April: Weald Parish Council Meeting in Memorial Hall at 7.30.

Thursday 26 April: Soup and Scrabble in the Memorial Hall starting at noon.

Saturday 28 April: Coffee Morning at St George’s Church Rooms from 10am – noon.


Wednesday 2 May: Canine Partners Robin Marchant talking to WOW in the Memorial Hall at 2.15pm.

Saturday 5 May: Horticultural Society Plant Sale 9.30am – 11.00 in the Memorial Hall car park.

Village Safari Supper from 8.45

Sunday 6 May: Indian Buffet Lunch in the Memorial Hall from 1pm

Wednesday 9 May: Archeology from the Air. Weald History Group at 8pm in the Memorial Hall.

Christian Aid Week

Friday 11 May: Children’s Disco for Years 1-6 in the Memorial Hall from 6pm – 7.30pm.

Saturday 12 May: ‘Round the Green Challenge’ 1pm – 1.30pm. Stool Ball Match on the Green 2pm – 5pm.

Sunday 13 May: Christian Aid Service at 10.30am in the Memorial Hall. Family Trail to Westwood Farm starting from the Green between 2pm – 3pm

Tuesday 15 May: Family dog-walk leaving 6pm from the green

Thursday 17 May: The Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Concert Band at St George’s Church 7.30pm – 8.30pm.

Friday 18 May: Quiz night and Fish and chip supper in the Memorial Hall 7.30pm.

Sunday 20 May: Village Open Gardens between 2pm and 5pm.

Monday 21 May: Golden Oldies Film: ‘The King and I’ at St George’s Church.

Wednesday 23 May: Parish Council Meeting at 7.30pm, Memorial Hall

Thursday 24 May: Soup and Scrabble in the Memorial Hall starting at noon.


Saturday 2 June: Pandors’a Fun Dog Show on the green

Sunday 3 June: CIRRUS quartet – Music in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm.

Wednesday 27 June: Parish Council Meeting at 19.30, Memorial Hall.

Thursday 28 June: Sandwiches, Scrabble & Scones  in the Memorial Hall at Noon

Saturday 30 June: ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed Summer Fete on the Green from Noon -4pm.


Saturday 7 July:  Barn Dance at Westwood Farm from 6pm – 10pm.

Saturday 24 – 26 July: CAMEO’s Holiday at Home

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