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Some days, the internet tells me that I am a particular color or animal or fairy. Today, papersky told me that I am the Kentish village of Ivychurch.

She's obviously right:
  • It's in an isolated position in its daily life, located in the middle of Romney Marsh.

  • Its roots are medieval, and it's very fond of a good thirteenth-century church - its own, say.

  • It's quirky. The churchyard has an unusual feature: a hudd, or a shelter to keep the parson dry while reading at a funeral.

  • Its name is Old English in origins; mine isn't, but is often mistake for being a name of Celtic derivation. (According to the BBC's Kent Places dictionary, "Its first recorded form was Iuecirce in the eleventh century – looking back to Old English ifig ‘ivy’ and cirice ‘church’.")

  • Food and socialization are important to it. The village has one pub, a sixteenth-century one, called The Bell.

  • It's interested in technological and controversial things: Ivychurch has been a location for GM crop trials in the past several years.

  • It wishes it could buy property more easily, but prices are high.

  • It has windmills in its future. The parish will be the site of a wind farm according to current plans.

The contents of http://www.bellinnivychurch.co.uk/ which isn't loading, and thus, I fear, a defunct website, as cached by Google.

The Bell
The inn know as the "Bell" was built during the reign of Henry VIII (1509 - 1547) in the year 1545. It was erected on the site of a much earlier building dating back to medieval times. The origin of the sign of the Bell dates back to the eleventh century when inns and taverns stood within the precincts of parish churches. However many bells a particular church held determined the number given to the name of the inn. When the "Bell" inn was first built the church of St. George held only one bell.
The first occupant of the inn was one Johnathan Giles, church-warden and clerk to the parish of Ivychurch. Ivychurch then was an entire flat of marshes. It derived its name from one William Ivy. baron of New Romney and Parliamentary representative from 1382 to 1386. When first it was built the "Bell" inn was a much smaller (though the original building can still be seen within the present day structure,) timber framed, thatched house, additions were made in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Churchwarden Giles introduced the first ale to the "Bell" shortly after it was built. It was his job to administer ale and bread to the people of the parish in times of hardship. In 1569, two inhabitants of Ivychurch, one John Walcot and his wife, were taken from the inn at night secured in a secret place, and held there for several days, on suspicion of witchcraft, on the word of one Peter Parks. Walcot and his wife were eventually freed and Parks branded a common liar.

The association of Romney Marsh with smuggling is almost proverbial and the wideexpanse of marshland with many water courses and virtually uncontrollable coastline, undoubtedley provided excellent coverage for illicit activity. The "Bell", during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, was something of a centre for smuggling. In a recorded statement of 1826, an informer giving evidence against one George Ransley and his gang, stated that the "Bell" at Ivychurch was a regular drop and meeting placeand that he had been asked to go there on many occasions with messages from the gang. The "Bell" was known and called by the smugglers as the "Stained Glass Window" In the nave in St. Georges a stone is inscribed "For this place I paid full dear, because my friends I buried here". Beneath is a large vault which was emptied of its contents and used by smugglers to store thier contraband. They used to lead thier horses into the church, so that the tubs could conveniently unladen or replaced on the pack saddles.

In 1851, the population of Ivychurch was 264. The innkeeper at the "Bell" was one Henry Springett. In 1882, one Edward Flisher purchased the inn. Flisher was a hare coursing enthusiast and was responsible for introducing the sport in the area. For many years, the John James coursing club met at the "Bell" every Monday evening.

The "Bell" has seen many changes over the years, but still retains its orginal character. The food and liquer server here is strictly legal. So stay, enjoy the fayre and reflect on those bygone days.

Update: My grandmother reminds me that I once spend New Years in a hotel called The Bell, in Thetford. A theme, clearly.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
OK, so I'm following that list item by item, nodding and saying, "Yes, I can see how that might well apply to owlfish, given what I know of her so far." But the final item is puzzling me - are you planning a holiday to the Netherlands in the near future?
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'd love a holiday in the Netherlands! But I don't know that one is in my near future.

What you don't know about me is how tied up my research and interests are in the four objects on which I wrote my PhD dissertation: windmills, mechanical clocks, eyeglasses, and sandglasses. So windmills are in my past - but I also fully expect them to be in my future.

Sadly, I'll be missing National Mills Day this year - it's in mid May, as always, but I'll be in the US then.
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Ah, well that makes complete sense, then!

Out of interest, has any of your worked touched on Roman water-clocks or mills at all?
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
Only in a general background way, and inasmuch as I've taught the subjects to students. I have an accumulation of articles on Roman water-clocks, but not the mills. Given how controversial and ever-changing the Roman watermills debate is, I really should follow it more closely than I have.

What I have done more pro-active work on is what Roman authors have to say on the subject of timepieces in general. I can't say I've looked into this topic in any depth, but it is of interest to me and, in the long run, something I'll need to do for a future book project.
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
In that case, you probably know more about them than me! I've covered Roman methods of keeping time in the context of lectures on people's movements around and in and out of cities, and some mills have been of importance to me as cropping up in the urban periphery - the Barbegal mill at Arles, for instance. Also, Andrew Wilson, whose specialist area is Roman water-supply, and who has consequently worked quite a bit on mills, including excavating one in Rome, was my internal examiner. But that's the sum of my experience of the Roman background, really.
Mar. 22nd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
I just realized something else. I thought I had probably written about mills lately, after going to the SPAB Mills Section smock mills study day the other week. Now I find I didn't write a thing about it, so of course how could you have seen something I didn't write?
Mar. 23rd, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
I recall you writing about Open Mill Day (possible National Mill Day?) last year, but not anything since then...

My only interest in mills is when the end product is something I can take home and bake with :o)
Mar. 23rd, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
I have a brochure which lists all the operating grain-producing wind and watermills in the country, if you're ever interested to quite that degree.

I think you're right - last year's narcoleptic "Mills Open" Day/National Mills Day probably was the last time I wrote about mills.
Mar. 23rd, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
Actually, you got three names, and at least one of them really is Old English in its origins. That one in the middle may be Dutch, but maybe not.
Mar. 23rd, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely right, which shows how close-mindedly I was thinking about my name.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )