83 years of Farming
Alland Grange 1939 - 2022
Alland Grange, (also called Allen Court, Alland Court) in old English Aldelond Grange (Old Land Grange), was named in opposition to Newland Grange originally owned by the monastery of St Augustine. It was assigned in 1197 to the sacristy of Minster Abbey for the purpose of maintaining the abbey church. The land measured sixty two acres.
On the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII vested the estate, then measuring 120 acres, in the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.
Allen Court, with several other farms in the island, retained the custom of drawing water by the assistance of an ass, which entering a vertical wheel affixed to the axis round which the well rope winds, it is put in motion, and the water raised to the surface by the repeated endeavours of that patient and persevering quadruped to move forward.
Alland Grange was involved in the "Swing Riots" objecting to the introduction of threshing machines in the nineteenth century:
INCENDIARIES. Dec. 23, 1830 — Executed, on Penenden Heath, near Maid stone, John Dyke, aged 30; William Packman, aged 20, and Henry Packman, aged 18 years, (brothers.) Thomas Overy, Thomas Hepburn, William Bushell, Stephen Bushell, William Hughes, Richard Oliphant, Thomas Brown, (seven out of the eight prisoners convicted at the Do ver Sessions, last week,) were sentenced to seven years transportation for breaking machines, at Vincent farm, Thanet, belonging to Mr. Hills Rowe ; and at Alland Grange, belonging to George Hannam, Esq.
SWING TAKEN. December 20. — " Captain Swing," arrested at Bury, in Suffolk, is recognised to be a Mr. Joseph Saville, a man of considerable property, formerly a corn factor, distinguished as an itinerant evangelical preacher, or ranter. When apprehended, he had £600 on his person ; had tra velled upwards of 1,200 miles in the last six weeks; and distributed inflammatory prophecies. All threatening letters received in every county have been signed " Swing," and are supposed to have been circulated by him. He is fully committed to Bury gaol, to take his trial at the next assizes. December 30. — His trial took place and he was fined £50 and to be imprisoned three months.
THRASHING MACHINES. September 28th, in consequence of the labouring classes having suffered very much from want of employment, and being under the necessity of applying for parochial assistance, they were induced to meet on Barham Downs, under the impression that the machines, called thrashing machines, were principally the means of depriving them of work. Upwards of 200 persons assembled there, and resolved to proceed to Dover, Deal, Ash, Wingham, &c, to destroy them. These measures were put into execution, and they visited the several places by day light, and destroyed them. This was followed by incendiary fires. Mr. Michael Becker, of Goldston, Ash, had his corn stacks burnt, to the value of £3,000; (they were insured.) The Rev. Ralph Price, of Lyminge, suffered very much. Several hay stacks were burnt; and fires occurred almost every night in Kent, so that in this and every other parish, a large number of special constables were sworn in. Many persons protected their property by watching their premises themselves. Nov. 15th, a large sanfoine hay stack was consumed on Alland Grange, belonging to George Hannam, Esq. Nov. 27th, A royal proclamation was issued, offering re wards for the apprehension of the incendiaries, in addition to the liberal offers of those who suffered. Nov. 30th, at the East Kent Special Sessions, Canterbury, on the 26th, Henry Andrews and Thomas Strood, were sentenced to be transported for seven years; and Thomas Read, for life ; for breaking machines at Wingham. John Stonward and William Stone, seven years ; James Dowker and Henry Hulkes, seven years each ; John Friday and several others, a less punishment.
(Mockett's Journal 1836)
Alland Grange has been farmed by us since 1939.
It is said that in Thanet you are never more than 100 yds from an archaeological site. Alland Grange is no exception with prehistoric burial ditches and other features on the farm. Underground caves have been investigated by the Kent Underground Research Group. The caves are collapsing, dangerous to explore and have been sealed, on safety grounds. Photos are displayed on the Undergroundkent Site.
WW2 air raid shelter
Hasted 1800 History and Topographical Survey of Kent
Alland Grange, farmed by Alex Robertson 1939-1985 and the family since then, featured one of the 'undergound hangars' in WW2 and was requisitioned by the RAF.
The farm is unusual in having two large Victorian or older barns. Most farms make do with one!
A large part of the farm was taken by the War Department for expansion of RAF Manston, during WW2. The house was taken over by the RAF as an operations base.
The 'Air Raid Shelter' with re-inforced concrete roof, was plainly adapted from an earlier structure, an old store room or even a religious place of worship.
The field in front of the house became a 'hospital area' for damaged 'planes. The 'Loopway' was home to the US Air Force until they left in the 1950s. The Loopway and hangar were used in the development of the Barnes Wallis 'bouncing bombs'. The Loopway has since been used as a film and TV set and is currently central to a new business park development.
Doctor Who Locations
Doctor Who Film set at Alland Grange
Sarness Farm was formerly known as Sarness Court and the house still bears the letters SC over the front door. The listed farm house is dated 1714, the barn 1737, the oast 1868 and a succession of later traditional buildings remain, including a Victorian wellhouse with 450ft deep well and massive original winding gear.
Thomas Vickers, above third from left, served with the East Kent Yeomanry while farming at Sarness. He died in 1921 and is buried at Waltham. His daughter, Hilda married Alex Robertson in 1940 at Waltham during the Battle of Britain... She lived at Alland Grange from 1945 to 2013, until her death on December 20th.
Sarness Farm has family connections on the Vickers side, going back over 300 years:
John and Ellen Vicars 1674-1711
Thomas and Jane Vicars 1672-1746
Thomas and Sarah Vicars 1704-1803
Thomas and Mary Vicars 1735-1784 (he died of a neglected wound from a brush with the Revenue)
Thomas and Ann Vickars 1781-1864
Thomas and Mary Vickers 1821-1902
Thomas and Emma Vickers 1864-1921
(birth and death of the male partner)
Sgt Vickers again right, with the East Kent Mounted Rifles. He was presented with the Colonel's prize in the Regimental Carbine competition of the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles in 1897 by General HRH The Duke of Connaught KC. He earned many awards for horsemanship, swordsmanship and shooting. Marksmanship has continued to the present day with grandson representing Tonbridge School and Reading University Teams, over the years...!
Duke of Connaught
Exercises on horseback with East Kent Mounted Rifles, around 1900, between Ashford and Folkestone. Can anyone pinpoint exactly where?
300 years of farming
The present day, little change in 300 years...
The Old Oast at Sarness.