This section has been added to solve any mystery such as our first one!

If you have any mysteries or have any answers please make contact.


This picture from Mike Parcell’s archive is annotated as follows:

“House struck and destroyed by lightning at Hartfield June 1908”
and adds “In ruins in a few hours”.
It looks as if there are two fireman standing ‘upstairs’ and a policeman standing on the left. It is assumed that the house was demolished but somebody may know otherwise or maybe where it was. It also looks as if it had dormer windows but with the roof coming down to the first floor level it could be a Mansard roof. The picture is not good quality but you can enlarge it a little more by clicking on the image.

Mystery Partially Solved!!
If anyone knows of the location in Parrock Lane do get in touch.

An article in one of the local papers has been found by Mike Parcell so really he has answered his own ‘mystery’! This is what it says: It is dated 1st July 1904

THE STORM.- The effects of the thunder-storm on Sunday were felt at Hartfield, as a cottage in Parrock Lane, occupied by a man named Butcher, in the employ of Mr Herbert Swift. of Upper Parrock Farm, was struck by lightning.

It appears that about 2:30 Butcher and his grandson were in the living room of the cottage, Butcher lying on a couch placed against the wall and his grandson seated near the door, looking at some picture cards, when the electric current entered the room by the door, passed along the chimney, carrying with it some live coals from the fireplace, setting the chimney on fire, forcing bricks from the top of the chimney and scattering them over the garden at the back and into the lane at the front.

Butcher and his grandson had a very narrow escape, as the lightning struck some of the cards from the hands of the lad in its passage through the room, and had the man and boy been exactly between the door and the chimney disastrous consequences might have resulted.

It seems that part of the electricity passed down the chimney into an adjoining room, as Mrs Butcher discovered the eldest girl lying on the floor, knocked down, she supposed, by the lightning.

6 Comments on “Mysteries!

  1. The 1901 census shows the Butchers living in a property referred to as Parrock Oast. Assuming the official called at properties in a logical sequence, he visited the Oast immediately after seeing the Slaters at Mays Cottage and the Martins at Lines Farm, in that order. The Oast was in multiple occupation and was also occupied by George Wheatley, a railway platelayer, and his family.

    The next property visited was Upper Parrock, home of Peter Tullet, a game-keeper.

    I don’t live in Hartfield, so these names are unfamiliar but they may help narrow down the location.

    I was only visiting the website in the hope of tracing the origin of the name Gallypot (or Gallipot), having recently enjoyed a beer at the pub of the same name! I let myself be drawn into the mystery.

    • I will pass this round the longer established members of the committee for their thoughts and put it on the mysteries page if we cannot answer! Also about the Gallypot which is how it is spelt on an old postcard.
      A gallipot is a small glazed earthenware jar once used by apothecaries for holding ointment and medicine. I also rather liked this addition from “Also used in the phrase gallipot words, meaning “difficult words”, particularly used presumptuously, to give an appearance of being learned, from the use of such difficult words on apothecary jars.” There are lots of answers you can find on Google.

  2. Is anything known of the history of Newton Cottage, Hartfield, which I understand is still so called – is this correct please? A probable ancestor of mine, John Spencer Newton and his wife Jane nee Kenward were living in Newton Cottage at the time of the 1841 census, he being a wheelwright/journeyman. Any information would be much appreciated.

  3. Hello,

    I have recently moved into 4 High Street and would love to know more about the property. I’ve been told that it was previously a bike shop or ice cream shop. There is also a well in the garden and I was wondering about the history of this in relation to any part this would have played in village life.

    Any information or pointers on where I could go to find out more, would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • I will see what I can find out for you. There are many wells in the area and several, if not all the old houses on your side of the High Street, have significant water flows underneath them.

  4. My late mother-in-law Ivy (then, Rogers) moved to Hartfield in 1920 with her mother, father and siblings. Her father, Daniel Rogers, took the job of (head?) gardener at ‘a big house’, owned by Mr& Mrs Wilson. Ivy’s older brother was also employed as a gardener’s boy. The Rogers family lived in a tied ‘bungalow’ in the grounds. Ivy made friends in the village, she mentioned Frances Haffendon, Dorothy Girton and Jacqueline Jaques. She was confirmed at St Mary’s On March 10th 1921, the certificate is signed by A.H.DeFontaine (Rector).Tragically after only a year or so Ivy’s father contracted blood poisoning and died after a short illness. Ivy told us that when her father was ill the Wilsons were very kind, her youngest sister was taken to the big house for the Nanny to look after with the two Wilson children, and the maids brought breakfast over to their bungalow each day. She remembers going to meet her mother from the train after her father’s funeral and being shocked to see her walking up the hill from Hartfield station in full “Widow’s Weeds”. Of course the family had to leave their tied accommodation and returned to Kent , near Ivy’s mother’s family.
    Can anyone help us to find out the name and location of the ‘big house’ in her story?
    Are there any descendants of the Hartfield people Ivy named still living in Hartfield?
    Thank you so much.

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