Wormshill

infobox UK place
country = England
static_

static_image_caption=St Giles Church, Wormshill
official_name= Wormshill
latitude=51.284495
longitude=0.695613
os_grid_reference=TQ879574
london_distance=mi to km|48|precision=0
population =198
shire_district= Maidstone
shire_county = Kent
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= Faversham and Mid Kent
post_town= SITTINGBOURNE
postcode_district =ME9
postcode_area=ME
dial_code= 01622

Wormshill (pron-en|wɜrmzˈhɪl "wurmz-HILL") is a small village and civil parish within the Borough of Maidstone, Kent, England. The parish is approximately convert|10|mi|0 south of The Swale and convert|11|mi|0 north of Maidstone. The villages of Frinsted and Bicknor are convert|2|mi|0 equidistant to the east and west, respectively; while Hollingbourne is convert|4|mi|0 to the south. The village lies on an exposed high point of the North Downs, within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archaeological and toponymic evidence of Wormshill's existence predates its appearance in the Domesday survey of 1086. The village contains a number of heritage-listed buildings, which include a Norman church, a public house and one of the oldest surviving post office buildings in the United Kingdom. The fields and woodland surrounding Wormshill have changed little in the past 500 years, and the village itself remains rural with a low population density compared to the national average. The population of 200 is a mixture of agricultural workers employed by local farms and professional residents who commute to nearby towns.

History

Toponymy

Wormshill was listed under the name "Godeselle" in the Domesday Book of 1086.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill
work = Domesday Book
publisher = The National Archives
year = 1086
url = http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7571100&queryType=1&resultcount=1
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The village is thought to be much older, its name derived from the Anglo-Saxon god Wōden (a version of the Norse god, Odin) and meaning "Woden's Hill".cite book |last= Stenton|first= Frank M.| authorlink = Frank Stenton|title= Anglo-Saxon England|year= 1971| location=Oxford|publisher= Clarendon Press|isbn=0-19-821716-1|pages=100] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Area 3: Wormshill to Otterden North Downs: Landscape Character Areas
work =
publisher = Maidstone Borough Council
date =
url = http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/PDF/012%20Area%203.pdf
format = PDF
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] cite web
last = Norwood
first = Stephen
authorlink =
coauthors = Marion Norwood Callam
title = The Norwood Arms at Wormshill, Kent
work =
publisher =
year = 2007
url = http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Estates/4805/wormsell.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The area was also described in a paper in "Archaeologia Cantiana", 1961, as "Wormshill, an ancient possession of the Kings of Kent, the hill where they worshipped the heathen Woden". [Citation
last = Reaney
first = P. H.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Place-Names and Early Settlement in Kent
journal = Archaeologia Cantiana
volume = 76
issue =
pages = 58–60
date =
year = 1961
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.076%20-%201961/page%20v%20+%20vi%20%20contents.htm
doi =
id =
] The University of Nottingham's Institute for Name-Studies has offered the suggestion that the name means "shelter for a herd of pigs". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill
work =
publisher = University of Nottingham's Institute for Name-Studies
date =
url = http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/ins/epntest/php/detailpop.php?placeno=2959
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
]

The Latinised form, "Wornesell", appears in the Kent Hundred Rolls of 1274–75 and in a mediæval will recorded in September 1409. [Citation
last = Jones
first = Bridgett
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Kent Hundred Rolls Project
journal = Kent Archaeological Society
volume =
issue =
pages =95–96
date =
year = 2007
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.ac/khrp/hrproject.pdf
doi =
id =
] [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Will of Robert son of John Togose alias De Bradegare
work =
publisher = Kent Archaeological Society
year = 1409
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Libr/Wills/Lbth/Bk22/page%20218.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] A corruption of the name, "Wormsell", is mentioned as the birthplace of a Cistercian Abbot at the nearby Boxley Abbey in 1474; [Citation
last = Page
first = William
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Boxley
journal = A History of the County of Kent
volume = 2
issue =
pages = 153–155
date =
year = 1926
url = http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38203
doi =
id =
] a further variant, "Wormysell", is found in a will of 1487, [Citation
last = Duncan
first = Leland L.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Index of Wills Proved in the Rochester Consistory Court Wills 1440–1561
journal = Kent Record
volume = 9
issue =
pages = 231
date =
year =
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/KRV/09/P/231.htm
doi =
id =
] and court papers concerning a land dispute in 1534 use the name "Wormeshell". [Citation
last =
first =
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Recovery in Moyle, et al. vs. Clifford, 1534, 12 February.
journal = Harvard Law School English Deeds Collection
volume = 790
issue =
pages =
date =
year =
url = http://www.law.harvard.edu/library/collections/special/manuscripts/deeds/deeds9.php
doi =
id =
]

Early history

A 1994 landscape survey identified woodland to the north of the village as having contained ancient flint tools and what appeared to be flint boundary markers, the latter apparently gathered from loose-lying surface flints. [cite paper
author = Nicola R. Bannister
title = Historic Landscape Survey of Wormshill Estate
version =
publisher = Unpublished report for English Heritage
year = 1994
url = http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=7256
format =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The area around the village features ancient deneholes, or agricultural chalk mines, some of which are pre-Roman. These holes, which may be up to convert|30|m|ft|-1 deep, were often dug at the edges of fields, onto which the chalk marl would be spread. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Records Contents Vol 10: Deneholes Part 2 pp. 110–111
work =
publisher = Chelsea Spelaeological Society
year = 1979
url = http://www.chelseaspelaeo.org.uk/Web%20Link/Web%20Index%20Vol%2010.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
]

The parish of Wormshill was originally appended to the village and parish of Boughton Malherbe, since both had the same patron; the patron of a parish was the land-owner who often built the church on the estate and who had the right (known as advowson) to appoint the parish priest. The first recorded patron of Wormshill was Robert de Gatton, who owned the Manor of Wormsell during the reign of Henry III (1207–72).Citation
last = Hasted
first = Edward
author-link = Edward Hasted
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Parishes: Wormsell
journal = History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent
volume = 5
issue =
pages = 561–565
date =
year = 1798
url = http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=62933
doi =
id =
] From the Gatton family, the village passed by marriage in the 13th century to Sir Simon de Northwood, whose family crest appears in the stained glass of St Giles, the village's only church, and whose name ("Norwood") is given to the farm at the north of the village.

Patronage of the parish subsequently transferred through a number of landholding families, vesting by the 17th century with the prominent Kent family of Sir Charles Sedley, which at times held the barony of Aylesford. During this period the Tylden (or Tilden) family, believed to have had links to the Crusades of Richard I,cite web
last = John
first = Bigelow
authorlink =
coauthors = SamuelJones Tilden
title = The Life of Samuel J. Tilden
work =
publisher = Harper & Bros.
year = 1895
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=L-VBAAAAIAAJ&q=tylden+wormshill&dq=tylden+wormshill&pgis=1
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] cite web
last = Hey
first = Paula
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Tilden Roots
work =
publisher =
date = 24 April 2002
url = http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/1953/Roots_Tilden.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] were also significant landholders in the area in the early 1600s; a memorial to William Tylden, who died in 1613, rests in the north chancel of St Giles church.cite web
last = Gibbard
first = Richard
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = William Tylden's grave
work =
publisher = Geograph
date = 9 September 2007
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/628698
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Around the same time in the late 16th century, recruits of Sir Francis Drake's navy may have used a track, now known as "Drake Lane", in the south west of the parish or camped nearby as they marched from the Weald of Kent to the dockyards at Sheerness.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Lost Landscapes Heritage Trail: Hollingbourne
work = North Downs Way National Trail Guide
publisher =National Trails
date =
url = http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/Northdowns/uploads/hollingbourne%20booklet2.pdf
format = PDF
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-31
]

From the Sedley family patronage is believed to have lapsed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and then to Sir Joseph Aylosse before being conveyed by gift from a Mr. Serjeant Moses to the charity of the president and governors of Christ's Hospital in London in gratitude for a University of Cambridge scholarship he had received.cite book |last=Trollope|first=William| authorlink = William Trollope|title= A History of the Royal Foundation of Christ's Hospital |year= 1834| location=London|publisher= William Pickering |isbn=|pages=67] As late as 1798 the parish was still paying its traditional castle-guard rent to Dover Castle and retained a court baron; this fee was a substitute for a feudal obligation requiring the provision of knights to defend the castle.

Little (if any) information exists about the village's population or demographics before 1801; however evidence from the first census indicates that the village grew steadily, reaching a peak in 1871. A possible indication of the growth in the agricultural output of the village is the construction of two windmills marked on an 1819 Ordnance Survey map at "Beddington" (possibly present-day Bedmonton). The mills stood north and south of each other and were approximately ½ mile (800m) to the north-west of the church. cite book | first = William| last = Coles Finch| year = 1933| month = | title = Watermills & Windmills| editor = | others = | pages = p308| publisher = C W Daniel Company| location = London WC1| id = | url = ] House building continued during the mid- to late-1800s,cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Population of Kent 1801 to 1921
work = Victoria County History of Kent Vol. 3
publisher = Kent Archaeological Society
year = 2006
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/03/03/05/361.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
and cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill AP/CP: Total Population
work =
publisher = Vision of Britain
date =
url = http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_table_page.jsp?data_theme=T_POP&data_cube=N_TPop&u_id=10229327&c_id=10001043&add=N
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-07
Table indicating parish population 1801–1971.] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill: Housing Statistics
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_chart_page.jsp?data_theme=T_HOUS&data_cube=N_HOUSE_TOT&u_id=10229327&c_id=10001043&add=Y
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Graphic representation of total houses from census data 1831–1961.] together with a post office and school.

20th century

During World War II, Wormshill joined a number of similar settlements in the region to form part of the anti-invasion network. On the outskirts of the village, near the hamlet of Ringlestone, there are the remains of a "zero station" (or "Operational Base"), a secret underground communications relay post operated by Auxiliary Units of the British Home Guard.cite web
last = Angell
first = Stewart
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Hollingbourne (Kent) Zero Station
work =
publisher = Subterranea Britannica
year = 1997
url = http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/h/hollingbourne_zero_station/index.shtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] cite web
last = Mayes
first = Penny
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Photographs of the Zero Station
work =
publisher = Geograph
date = 2006-08-29
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/browse.php?p=139608
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] In the event of a German invasion the zero station was to be used by defending forces to receive and transmit coded messages between a series of similar stations in the area as well as to the operational command headquarters at Hannington Hall in Wiltshire. A concealed underground concrete bunker, it was designed to be invisible from the surface and is located in woodland about convert|140|m|yd|-1 from the road. Although its primary purpose was a communications post, the zero station was also designed to hold ammunition and explosives and provide living quarters for the radio equipment operators. Anecdotal evidence also indicates that anti-aircraft guns were sited near the village and that a Bren gun emplacement was installed in the valley between Wormshill and Frinsted.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gun Sites
work =
publisher = Sittingbourne Heritage Museum
year = 2007
url = http://www.sittingbourne-museum.co.uk/personal%20historiesRK.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Citation
last = Gibbard
first = J.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Days Gone By: 'Invasion' and 'Resistance & air raids'
journal = Parish News of the united benefice of Wormshill, Frinsted, Bicknor, Bredgar and Milstead
volume =
issue =
pages =
date = April 2003
year =
url =
doi =
id =
] Roadside checkpoints were set up on the main routes into the village to the north and south and allied forces moving through the region camped overnight in the area, including a detachment of New Zealand troops in fields near "Home Farm". Villagers resident during the war also recall a V-1 flying bomb or "doodlebug" being shot down in orchards near "Norwood Farm" and a fighter aircraft crashing in fields to the south of "Yew Tree Farm".

Following an initial decline in the population at the turn of the century, more houses were constructed between the Great War and World War II and again in the 1950s and 60s, adding to the cluster of cottages from the 1800s and earlier. A village hall was also built at this time.

Governance

At the time of the Kent Hundred Rolls in 1275, Wormshill was in the Hundred of Eyhorne, a regional sub-division used in the Middle Ages by feudal and crown officials to administer communities. Although the Hundred of Eyhorne (including Wormshill) still exists,cite book |last= Youngs|first= Frederic| authorlink = Frederic Youngs|title= Local Administrative Units: Southern England|year= 1979| location= London|publisher= Royal Historical Society|isbn=0901050679|pages=632] it is a mediaeval anachronism and no longer has any practical or administrative significance. In the 1800s, the village was within the lathe of Aylesford, the Bearsted petty sessional division and the Hollingbourne Rural District.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Sittingbourne, Milton, and District Directory 1908/09
work =
publisher = W.J. Parrett Ltd
date = Reprinted 1980
url = http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~mrawson/dir08worm.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The village was also incorporated into the Hollingbourne Poor Law Union (a means of funding and administering the operation of the Poor Laws in the area). [Citation
last = Bartholemew
first = John George
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = The Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles
journal =
volume =
issue =
pages =
date =
year = 1887
url =
doi =
id =
] The parish of Wormshill in part sits astride the imaginary West Kent and East Kent divide, a demarcation that traditionally separated "Kentish Men" from "Men of Kent" respectively, and until 1814 applied to an administrative boundary for the purposes of the law courts' Quarter Sessions. According to Edward Hasted (writing in 1798): "northward of the church, including the borough of Bedmanton, is in the division of East Kent, but the rest of it, including the church and village, is in that of West Kent".

Since 1975, Wormshill has been administered within the North Downs ward and, together with surrounding communities, elects a representative councillor for the ward in the Borough of Maidstone. The incumbent councillor for the North Downs ward is Daphne Parvin. The village forms the central focus of the civil and church parishes of Wormshill. The parish chairman is Jeremy Leigh-Pemberton, a deputy Lieutenant of Kent and the brother of Robin Leigh-Pemberton, Baron Kingsdown. Wormshill is part of the parliamentary constituency of Faversham and Mid Kent, whose Member of Parliament as of December 2007 is Hugh Robertson of the Conservative Party. It is also in the South East England constituency in the European Parliament.

Geography

At coord|51|17|4.2|N|0|41|44.2|E|city, the village is in central Kent, approximately convert|48|mi|0 south-east of London. The nearest town is Sittingbourne, convert|7|mi|0 to the north. Wormshill is surrounded by villages and hamlets of a similar size, including Frinsted, Bicknor, Bedmonton and Hucking.

The village is on a high point of the North Downs. The nearby road intersection of "Black Post" is recorded on the Ordnance Survey maps at convert|191|m|ft|0 above sea level. The landscape is primarily characterised by undulating calcareous grassland and ancient deciduous woodland over chalk downland. The settlement itself (as opposed to the wider parish) is on a downland ridge between two shallow dip slope valleys that separate it from Bicknor to the north-west and Frinsted to the east.

Wormshill's elevated and exposed position on the North Downs means it occasionally experiences extreme weather conditions such as the heavy snowfalls of 11–14 January 1987 and of March 2005. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = March 2005 monthly assessment issued.
work =
publisher = Met Office
date = 1 April 2005
url = http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/2005/march.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Reports indicating snowfall specifically over the Kent Downs
] [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Review of England and Wales' weather in March 2005
work =
publisher = BBC Weather
date =
url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ukweather/year_review/reviews/march2005_review.shtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] In the late 1700s Hasted commented: "Being exposed to the northern aspect, it lies very bleak and cold."

Much of the local woodland was devastated by the Great Storm of 1987, which in October swept across south-east England with hurricane-force winds. A significant part of the exposed woodland to the north-east of Wormshill was felled and, after replanting, has only recently shown signs of maturing. An ancient yew tree believed to have stood for several hundred years in the grounds of the house at Norwood Farm was destroyed along with other long-standing trees. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Entry for Norwood Farm, Wormshill
work = The Ancient Yew Group: Register of lost Yew trees
publisher = The Tree Register
year = 2005
url = http://www.ancient-yew.org/search.php?siteLocation=Wormshill+-+Norwood+Farm&siteType=%25%25&access=%25%25&lostYewSite=%25%25&county=&country=&Submit=Search%21
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] However, some 20 years later, the village displays few obvious signs of the damage.

The countryside around the village has been described as "an area where the whole landscape is a piece of history—a valley where time has stood still and the pattern of woods andfields is much as it was 500 years ago". A designated ancient woodland lies to the north-west of the village.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Kent Landscape Information System
work =
publisher = Kent County Council
date =
url = http://extranet7.kent.gov.uk/klis/home.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
A website providing detailed map overlays giving landscape information. ] Predominantly centred on "Barrows Wood" but also including "High Wood" and "Trundle Wood", this is likely a remnant of the woodland described by Hasted: "…at the northern boundary of the parish there is a considerable quantity of wood, consisting mostly of hazel and oak, with numbers of trees of the latter, interspersed among them, which are but small, never here growing to any size." An ancient track that passes through the remnants of this woodland has been damaged by the use of off-road vehicles leading to attempts by local landowners to block "Drake Lane", a byway that runs through "Drake Lane Wood" in the south-west of the parish and which may have been used by recruits of Sir Francis Drake's navy.cite web
last = Mayes
first = Penny
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = When is a byway not a byway?
work =
publisher = Geograph
date = 2007-01-31
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/326510
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-01
Photograph of barriers to four-wheel drive vehicles at "Drake Lane".] Deep water-logged ruts in the track have resulted in the partial resurfacing of the route.cite web
last = Mayes
first = Penny
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Muddy puddle on Drake Lane
work =
publisher = Geograph
date = 2006-08-29
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/230217
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
and cite web
last = Mayes
first = Penny
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Drake Lane closed for refurbishment
work =
publisher = Geograph
date = 2007-01-31
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/326485
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Photographs of tyre ruts and further barriers to access at "Drake Lane".]

The village stretches primarily along a single carriageway road known as "The Street". The north-eastern end of "The Street" is a designated Conservation Area. The lack of development stems from its position within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, which influences local planning laws and limits permission to build new housing. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Kent Downs Designation: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
work =
publisher = Kent Downs AONB Unit
year = 2004
url = http://www.kentdowns.org.uk/designation.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-31
] All development is subject to a high level of scrutiny; any development that would adversely affect the natural beauty of the landscape will automatically be resisted, and large-scale development proposals must be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment. The last major development was that of the residential cul-de-sac "Draysfield".

Demography

The record in the Domesday Book does not give the population in 1086, though several people are named. By the late 1800s the village and parish were described as:

WORMSHILL, a parish in Hollingbourn" [sic] "district, Kent; 5 miles S by W of Sittingbourne r. station. It has a post-office under Sittingbourne. Acres, 1,467. Real property, £1,295. Pop., 253. Houses, 46. The property is divided among a few. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £260.* Patron, Christ's Hospital, London. The church is plain. Charities, £12. [Citation
last = Marius Wilson
first = John
author-link = John Marius Wilson
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Entry for Wormshill
journal = Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales
volume =
issue =
pages =
date =
year = 1870–72
url = http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/entry_page.jsp?text_id=1001960&word=NULL
doi =
id =
]
Wormshill's location remains rural. Because of geography and restrictions on development, building in the village has been scant since the 1960s and 1970s. In 1821, the parish contained only 26 dwellings: by 2001, the total number of houses had risen to 82.Citation
last = Ireland
first = William Henry
author-link = William Henry Ireland
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Entry for Wormshill
journal = England's Topographer: Or A New and Complete History of the County of Kent
volume =
issue =
pages = 138–139
date =
year = 1829
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=XqJJAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA136&dq=Wormshill+subject:%22Kent+(England)%22#PPA138,M1
doi =
id =
] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = 2001 census results by parish
work =
publisher = Kent County Council
date =
url = http://www.kent.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/5304D7EB-E0FA-4E50-B81B-1135B1C73D97/11446/kssp2007parishes1.xls
format = Microsoft Excel
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
]

The rural nature of the area is indicated by a population density of approximately 0.36 persons per hectare (1 person for every 6.86 acres), compared to the average for the south-east of England of 4.2 persons per hectare (1 person for every 0.6 acres).cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Population Density (UV02) for the Maidstone 011D area
work = United Kingdom Census 2001
publisher = Office for National Statistics
date =
url = http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&c=ME9+0TT&e=13&g=458829&i=1001x1012x1013x1003x1004&j=308755&m=1&p=-1&q=1&r=0&s=1191801784546&w1=1280&enc=1&dsFamilyId=789
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
]

The village has been recorded as a distinct parish unit for the purpose of census statistics since the first United Kingdom census in 1801. [No census was taken in 1941 as a result of World War II. Statistics for 1981 and 1991 are unavailable because of the United Kingdom's Public Records Act restrictions.] The majority of the official population of 198 (per United Kingdom Census 2001) is aged 45 or over and lives in homes comprising married family units. The total population has increased by around 40 people since 1801 however, during the past 200 years, it has fluctuated more widely within that range. In 1801 the population was 157 before peaking at 253 in 1861. In 1901 census records indicate a parish population of either 163 or 169. Data for the ethnicity of the wider Maidstone area show that the population is around 97 percent white and that the remainder is of mixed, black, and Asian descent. Specific figures for Wormshill held by Kent County Council indicated in 2001 that all the villagers were of white ethnicity.

Economy

Wormshill includes two farms: "Yew Tree Farm" (dairy farming) at the south end of the village, and "Norwood Farm" (fruit and other crops) at the north end. A third farm, "Home Farm" appeared on late 1800s and early 1900s Ordnance Survey maps in the centre of the village. cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Landmark data – Edition 1 (Kent)
work = Map
publisher = Ordnance Survey
year = 1870
url = http://www.old-maps.co.uk
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] This farm is no longer in use, but some outbuildings remain. Wormshill at one time included a blacksmith's shop, which is recorded on Ordnance Survey maps until 1898. According to the 1831 Census, 40 of the 48 adult males in the village were employed in the agricultural sector. Census records from the mid- to late-19th century show a marked increase in the construction of new homes, representing the largest growth in the village for the next 100 years; however, the 1901 Census still described the majority of workers as "labourers and servants". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill 1901
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.wildfamily.info/wormshill_1901.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Detail from Census 1901 indicating the principal employment of residents and identifying farms
] [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill: Males aged 20 and over, in four industrial categories
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_chart_page.jsp?data_theme=T_IND&data_cube=N_OCC_PAR1831_SIMP&u_id=10229327&c_id=10001043&add=Y
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Graphic representation of industry employment sectors from data in Census 1831
] [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill AP/CP: Social Status, based on 1831 occupational statistics
work = A Vision of Britain Through Time
publisher = Great Britain Historical GIS Project, Dept. of Geography, University of Portsmouth
date =
url = http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data_cube_chart_page.jsp?data_theme=T_SOC&data_cube=N_SOC1831&u_id=10229327&c_id=10001043&add=Y
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-01
] The population spike between 1821 and 1901 is a trend typical to the general growth in the need for physical labour from parishes in the Kent downland agricultural region in 1800s which was followed in the early 1900s by the increasing mechanisation of farming activity.cite book |last=Tuson|first=Dan| authorlink = Dan Tuson|title= The Kent Downs |year= 2007| location=London|publisher= Tempus Publishing |isbn=0752444050|pages=61] Although the farms continue to employ from the village, as of 2008 Wormshill is largely a dormitory village, with residents employed in nearby towns or commuting to London. The socio-economic classification of Census 2001 indicated that the most common occupations were "lower managerial and professional occupations" (21.9 percent) and "small employers and own account workers" (15.2 percent).cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = People and Society: Population and Migration – Maidstone 011D (Lower Layer Super Output Area)
work = United Kingdom Census 2001
publisher = Office for National Statistics
date =
url = http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadDatasetList.do?a=3&b=795515&c=ME9+0TR&d=14&e=13&g=458829&i=1x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&r=0&s=1191804364953&enc=1&altAreaId=308755
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-01
]

Landmarks

Until the end of the 20th century, the village had a post office and general stores along with a public house, "The Blacksmiths Arms", a Grade II listed building, in part of 17th century origin. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Blacksmiths Arms
work =
publisher = The Blacksmith Arms
year = 2003
url = http://www.blacksmiths-arms.com/4095/index.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-31
]

The original post office opened in 1847 and was run by church warden Tom Clements from a building next to the rectory. [Tom Clements' name also dedicated to St Giles in the church] The building, which now forms part of a Grade II* listed private dwelling, is thought to be the second-oldest surviving post office building in the country. Citation
last = Penn
first = Deborah
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Stamping your mark on the old post office
newspaper = Kent Messenger, homes supplement
pages =
year =
date = 5 October 2007
url =
] The post office briefly moved to another location in "The Street" under the stewardship of local schoolmistress Fanny Harris; however, it returned to the original site in 1946 under owner Irene Bugden and was run as a small general stores until it closed in 1976. A new post office and stores operated at a different property in the village for a further 20 years until it was closed in the 1990s.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = 'Change of use' planning application (Wormshill Stores)
work = 92/0495
publisher = Maidstone Borough Council
year = 1992
url = http://digitalmaidstone.co.uk/planning_and_building/search_planning_applications.aspx
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Today, the village retains only the "Blacksmiths Arms" and a traditional red post box.

In the 1800s, an additional public house existed at the northern edge of the village near "Norwood Farm" and was known as "The Woodman's Arms" (and possibly also as "The Norwood Arms"). [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Wormshill 1901
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.wildfamily.info/wormshill_1901.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
Detail from the 1901 Census indicating the "Woodman's Arms", Wormshill and licensed victualler
] [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Entry for Woodman's Arms
work = Essex, Herts and Kent Publican Directory
publisher =
year = 1855
url = http://londonpublichouse.com/LondonPubs1855/EHK1855-W9.shtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The pub was recorded on Ordnance Survey maps of the village between 1870 and 1946, but as of December 2007, the building is a Grade II listed private dwelling.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Listed building planning consent (Woodmans)
work = 89/1075
publisher = Maidstone Borough Council
year = 1989
url = http://digitalmaidstone.co.uk/planning_and_building/search_planning_applications.aspx
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Other listed buildings in the village include the timber-framed houses "Norwood Manor" and "Blacksmiths Cottage". A large country house now known as "Wormshill Court" and bordered to the north and east by a brick wall includes the outbuildings of "Manor Farm". The property is part of a large estate which has for several generations belonged to the Nightingale family. The house and farm is also shown on a map of 1636 and at that time appears to represent the only building in the village other than the church and the rectory.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A plan of Wormshill in Kent
work = Map
publisher = City of London
date = 2005-04-30
url = http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app?service=external/FullScreenImage&sp=I9%3AWormshill+%28Kent%29++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++%3A%3AW&sp=29421&sp=X&sp=2
format = Image
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-03
] In 1858 a further map of the manor named the property "Court Lodge Farm" and included an inset plan showing the exchange of land between the governors of Christ's Hospital and a Mr. Henry Hudson.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Map of the Manor of Court Lodge Farm in the Parish of Wormshill
work = Map
publisher = City of London
date = 2005-04-30
url = http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app?service=external/FullScreenImage&sp=M37694%3AT%3AT%3AT&sp=29420&sp=X&sp=2
format = Image
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-03
]

Wormshill retained its own telephone exchangecite web
last = Mayes
first = Penny
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Photograph of Wormshill telephone exchange
work = Geograph British Isles
publisher =
date = 2005-04-30
url = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/6537
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] until the 1990s, when it became part of the Maidstone exchange. A red telephone box remains in the village after residents insisted that it not be replaced with a modern design. An informal village noticeboard is on the side of an old flint and wood barn that was part of the former "Home Farm". The post box and telephone box are at the same location.

The Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway attracts tourists and railway enthusiasts throughout the summer season. The railway is a narrow gauge light railway run between two small stations on about convert|0.5|mi|km|1 of track built in woodland between Bredgar and Wormshill.cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway
work =
publisher = Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway
year = 2006
url = http://www.bwlr.co.uk
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
]

Transport

A number of ancient trackways including the Pilgrims' Way and the North Downs Way (now designated as footpaths or byways) pass within a few kilometres of the village. Wormshill is not on any major roadways and has no rail service. No standard public transport facilities or taxicab operations exist in the village. A daily Postbus service is, however, incorporated into the village postal delivery and collection timetable; the postbus collects residents from Wormshill and other villages on route to Sittingbourne. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Postbus timetable: Wormshill to Sittingbourne
work =
publisher = Royal Mail
year = 2007
url = http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/postbus;jsessionid=KDRES3THP1LHIFB2IGVUOSQUHRA0UQ2K?catId=7500097&routeId=43&gear=authentication
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-30
] The village lies between the M2 and M20 motorways, and the nearest railway station is at Hollingbourne, convert|4|mi|0 to the south-west.

Education

A small National school (a school established by the National Society for Promoting Religious Education) was built in the village in 1872 for about 30 children, and was recorded on maps of the village until 1909, although it was dissolved some time in the early 1900s. The building that housed the school has since been converted to a private dwelling. The nearest primary school to the village is the Milstead and Frinsted Church of England School at Milstead. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Milstead and Frinsted Church of England Primary School
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.milstead.kent.sch.uk/
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Secondary school pupils are educated in the towns of Sittingbourne or Maidstone.

Religion

:"See also St Giles, Wormshill"

The church, parts of which date back to the Norman era, is dedicated to Saint Giles and forms part of the united benefice of Bredgar, Milstead, Bicknor and Frinsted. The ecclesiastical parish of Wormshill is in the Diocese of Canterbury and the Sittingbourne deanery (within the archdeaconry of Maidstone).cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Deanery of Sittingbourne
work =
publisher = Diocese of Canterbury
date =
url = http://www.canterbury.anglican.org/parishdeanery/deansit.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] As of December 2007, the vicar was the Reverend John Smith.In 1995, the church received a new ring of six bells after a campaign by villagers begun in 1944 by the late Michael Nightingale of Cromarty, who at age 16 opened a savings account with 10 shillings for the restoration of the church's bells. Fifty years later, he completed the full peal of six bells: one of the six was original, and the other five were rescued from abandoned churches. [cite web
last = Love
first = Dickon R.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Culmination of a 50 year project at Wormshill
work = Love's Guide to the Church Bells of Kent
publisher =
year = 1996
url = http://kent.lovesguide.com/articles/wormshill.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] [Citation
last = Gatton
first = Edmund
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Obituary of Michael Nightingale
newspaper = The Independent
pages =
year =
date = 8 September 1998
url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19980908/ai_n14169648
] The last major renovations of the church occurred in 1789 and 1901. [However, structurally the church has not changed in at least 200 years. See cite web
last = Petrie, H. F.S.A
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = St. Giles: photograph of watercolour
work =
publisher = Kent Archaeological Society
year = 1807
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Libr/VisRec/W/WOH/01.htm
format = Image
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Of note within the church are a Norman font and Tudor pulpit. The church also contains a 13th-century chest, first discovered in the early 1900s. [Citation
last = Grove
first = L. R. A
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = A Chest of Thirteenth-Century Type from Wormshill Church
journal = Archaeologia Cantiana
volume = 71
issue =
pages = 214–218
date =
year = 1957
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.071%20-%201957/page%20v%20+%20vi%20%20contents.htm
doi =
id =
] [Citation
last = Grove
first = L. R. A
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Researches and Discoveries in Kent
journal = Archaeologia Cantiana
volume = 73
issue =
pages = 232
date =
year = 1959
url = http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.073%20-%201959/13/232.htm
doi =
id =
] [cite web
last = Rayner
first = J
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = 13th century chest in St Giles church
work =
publisher = Webshots
month = July | year = 2006
url = http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2348501990094942475OwJzER
format = Photograph
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The former rectory is now a private dwelling.

Community and culture

Notable people

A vicar at the Rectory of Wormshill in the 1800s, Reverend Josiah Disturnell, was the subject of a debate about exceptional human longevity; it was claimed that he lived to age 107. References to the rector's memorial stone in the church ultimately provided evidence that his actual age of death was "either 91 or 93". [Citation
last = Thoms
first = William John
authorlink = William John Thoms
coauthors =
title = Human Longevity, Its Facts and Its Fictions
publisher = Oxford University
date = 1873
location = London
pages = 6–7
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=Rz0DAAAAQAAJ&dq=wormshill&pgis=1
doi =
id =
isbn =0405118333
]

Filmography

In January 2007, the church and its surroundings were used as locations in the filming of an episode of "EastEnders", broadcast in the United Kingdom over the Easter 2007 holiday season. [cite web
last = Anderson
first = Rebecca
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Eastenders visits Kent
work =
publisher = Kent County Council, Kent Film Office
month = April | year = 2007
url = http://www.kent.gov.uk/filmoffice/news-items/eastenders-visits-kent/
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] The production crew added mock gravestones and a temporary Victorian-style street lamp to the churchyard. Also featured were other locations in and near the village, including exterior shots of the "Blacksmiths Arms" combined with interior views of the nearby "Ringlestone Inn".

Recreation

The village holds typical English rural festivals during the year. The spring and harvest festivals are horticultural shows that include the surrounding villages; the country fair (or fête) in the early summer includes traditional country games, stalls and attractions such as hay bale throwing, tug of war and a coconut shy. Wormshill contains a community village hall and recreation ground. A former small playground [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Play areas in the borough of Maidstone: North Downs
work =
publisher = Maidstone Borough Council
date =
url = http://www.digitalmaidstone.co.uk/environment/play_areas/plays_areas_in_the_borough.aspx#northdowns
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] is in disrepair. The 9th Sittingbourne (Tunstall and Wormshill) Scout Group are associated with the village and group meetings are occasionally held at the village hall. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = 9th Sittingbourne Scout Group
work =
publisher = 9th Sittingbourne Scout Group
year = 2007
url = http://www.9thsittingbournescouts.co.uk/Contents.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-02
] Wormshill, together with the united benefice villages of Bredgar, Milstead, Bicknor and Frinsted, also produces a free monthly "Parish Magazine" including village news, announcements and occasional articles. In common with a number of rural communities in the county, Wormshill also receives a weekly mobile library service run by Kent County Council. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = KCC Mobile Libraries: Route M1 Timetable
work =
publisher = Kent County Council
year = 2008
url = http://extranet3.kent.gov.uk/e&l/artslib/mobiles/moblibroutes.cfm?az=W&Search1=Search&offset=51&Stop_Van_Code=M1&stop_day=5
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-04
]

References

External links

* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/gridref/TQ8857 Images of Wormshill] at Geograph
* [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit_page.jsp?u_id=10229327 History and demography of Wormshill] at [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk VisonOfBritain.org]
* [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=795515&c=ME9+0TR&d=14&e=13&g=458829&i=1x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&r=0&s=1191802839656&enc=1&dsFamilyId=781 Demographic Statistics (2001 Census)]
* [http://www.bwlr.co.uk Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway]


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