Thursday, May 30th, 2024

Lullingstone Roman Villa diggers reunite for special 70th anniversary celebration


Gerald Cram talks about his part in the excavations.

A special reunion was held at Lullingstone Roman Villa recently to mark the 70th anniversary since excavations started at the historic site near Eynsford.

The work started in 1949 and carried on until 1961 by which time the remains of one of the most outstanding Roman villas to survive in Britain had been revealed.

The original diggers who attended the Lullingstone reunion. They are (from l to r) Lionel Cole, Brian Philp, Ann Thick (nee Philips), Frances Neale (nee Ratcliff), Gerald Cramp, Cliff Ward and Derek Garrod.

To mark the anniversary, English Heritage invited the surviving original excavation diggers and their families to a reunion event at Lullingstone Roman Villa.

The original diggers who attended included Gerald Cramp and Brian Philp who both gave the guests an insight to their time at Lullingstone.

Dr Anne Sassin and Caroline Mackenzie also gave a talk about new excavations taking place nearby Lullingstone as part of the Festival of British Archaeology.

Brian Philp takes the audience on a trip back in time to his digging days at Lullingstone Roman Villa.

During the event the guests were able to view a temporary exhibition documenting the Lullingstone dig.

English Heritage is keen to increase the historic archive on the original excavation at the villa and is inviting anyone who has mementos, photographs from the dig to contact the site via email: or by calling 01322 863467.



A BOOK SALE is being held in St. Martin’s Church, Eynsford, on Saturday 24 August between 10am-12pm. Come and browse the wide range of books, as well as the ever-popular gift stall. There will also be coffee, tea and cakes, and a prize draw. Entrance is £1 which includes a free drink. For more info email:

MUSICAL REUNION: The former 10-piece funk, soul and dance band Digging Deeper is getting back together for a special charity fundraising reunion gig in Eynsford Village Hall on Saturday 28 September (8pm start).

Digging Deeper includes several musicians with connections to Eynsford and playing in the village hall will be a nostalgic trip back in time for at least two of them. Mark Gorringe and Ted Mills both started their playing days to audiences in the village hall back in the 70s in bands such as Hangover and Gremlin.

All proceeds from the gig are going to Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. There will be a bar and a luxury items prize draw. Tickets at £15 and can be ordered by emailing: or call 01322 860786.

A FARNINGHAM FRIDAY CAFÉ is held at the Shand Hall, just behind Farningham Church, from 10am – noon every Friday. Everyone is invited to come and share a coffee or tea with old friends or new. For more information email:

TEA AND CHAT: A friendly group meets every Thursday at Farningham Village Hall and offers a supportive and enjoyable break to anyone who is lonely or perhaps just needs a little time away from their house or would like to meet some new friends, chat and share some cake and tea. For more information email:

FRIENDS OF FARNINGHAM is a group of volunteers who meet for just an hour twice every month to help tidy the village. The group meets at the village hall at 10am on Thursdays 25 July, 29 August, and 26 September. The next Saturdays are 13 July, 10 August, and 7 September. If you would like to volunteer email Cllr Carol Salmon on: or Jane Grey on:

FARNINGHAM & EYNSFORD LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY: The next meeting is on 20 September and will focus on the influence that Dartford has had in shaping the world around us. The Centre between the Riverside club and Common Meadow is open every Monday from 9.30am – noon. The society can be contacted by email at:

FARNINGHAM W.I: On 14 September there will be a Macmillan fund raiser coffee morning at Farningham village hall. Farningham WI’s regular meetings are held on the First Thursday of every month at 7.30 pm in the village hall

INDOOR BOOT FAIR: An advance date for your diary. There will be an indoor boor fair to help raise funds for Farningham Village Hall on Saturday 18 January 2020 from 10am-1pm. Seller’s tables available, single £7, double £10. Admission free for buyers and refreshments are available. This New Year’s fund raiser is for the village hall and to celebrate National Village Halls week so please book your table now and add it to your calendar. More details from Carol Salmon on 01322 860983 or email:

FARNINGHAM VILLAGE HALL website shows when the hall is available, the costs of hire and what other regular activities take place. There are still a few free weekend and weekday slots available for regular activities and any family activities or events. The hall provides ideal facilities for parties, weddings and any fundraising events. You can hire just the main hall or the whole building, with or without the neighbouring Market Meadow. For more information see or email bookings at Alternatively you can call: 07530 297707.

CAN YOU HELP? Farningham Village Hall needs a fundraiser/social secretary. Volunteering will enable you to develop skills, meet new people and make a useful contribution to the local community. Can you offer a few hours to volunteer as the social secretary to help the village? For more information contact Viv Parker at 01322862330 or email:

The Eynsford & Farningham Village news is compiled by Viv Parker. If you have any news or events you would like considered for the village column you can email them to:



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