Launched 09/04/2011

Latest update

19/02/2021 03:37

Graveyard Memorial Inscriptions
Welcome to the Elham Historical Society database website. Feel free to browse and uncover the history of Elham. Our dedicated team of historians has recently finished recording the details on all the memorials in the graveyard. Our chairman Derek Boughton has overseen the operation, correlating the data and checking for errors. The results of their labours can be seen on the burials page.

Elham beat off stiff competition for the title of Kent Village of the year 2011 organised by Action with Communities in Rural Kent.

Censuses for outlying communities in the parish will be rolled out gradually. Check out the stats page for interesting facts and

trivia about the village. We still need your help so please send us any information relating to Elham that may be of interest.

Les Ames hits out
Les Ames in action

Elham resident Les Ames in action for England against the West Indies in 1939. He was one of the finer wicketkeeper - batsmen and played for Kent CCC.

Abbot's Fireside c 1450
Abbot's Fireside

The Abbot's Fireside is one of the older buildings in the village and probably dates back to the mid fifteenth century.

Audrey attends school
Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn (neé Rushton) lived in Orchard Cottage (Five Bells) for five years in her childhood (1935-1940) and attended the local village schools. She took ballet lessons and dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. I wonder what became of her?

George V Playing Field
George V Playing Field

Dave Lee opens Elham's brand new playground with a sensory garden and a pretty flower meadow created by the Play for Elham charity. 21st November 2010

Swing Riots of 1830
Swing Riots

The machine breaking that led to the riots of August 1830 onwards started in the Elham Parish, writes our historian Derek Boughton, who has made a lifetime's study of the subject.

Elham residents were prominent in the gangs that sought out the new fangled threshing machines and destroyed them. Some of them cost the not inconsiderable sum for the day of £100. Full Story

Voluntary Aided status 1947

The National School was given the present Voluntary Aided status under the provisions of the 1944 Education Act. It is officially known as Elham Church of England (Voluntary Aided) Primary School. The school was founded and continues to be governed by the Church of England through its appointed Trustees. The State - through the Local Education Authority - (i.e. K.C.C.) finances the day-to-day running costs and maintains the interior - while the Diocesan Board manages capital projects and premises. The school is very much part of the church here in the village - and is committed to the teaching of the Christian faith.  The pupils regularly take part in services - including Eucharist - and the vicar takes a weekly Assembly in the school. The Methodist Minister also attends on occasions. Elham Primary School


The East Kent Coroner (R. M. Mercer, Esq.) held an inquest on Friday, at the Rose and Crown Inn, Elham, on the body or James John Richards, bricklayer, aged 49. (Probably only 46) Deceased was found hanging to a tree in Collis Wood, Elham, by some children, who told a policeman, who proceeded to the place and found deceased was dead. —The jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst of unsound mind.' Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - Saturday 22 October 1898

Ross Sydney Hook 1996

In 1939, Ross Hook and Maurice Wood were the redoubtable second- row forwards in the rugger side at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. After ordination, they both went on to be RNVR chaplains, were both decorated on active service and both in due course became diocesan bishops.

Hook remained a robust and energetic figure for the whole of his active ministry. He was a "man's man" and laity warmed to him as a human being who was approachable and tremendous fun. His roots were in Kent where his family had long associations with Romney Marsh. He was an enthusiastic cricketer and was never happier than when watching Kent playing on home ground at Canterbury.

In 1980, Dr Robert Runcie became Archbishop of Canterbury. He soon saw that the rapidly increasing demands coming upon him as Primate, both internationally and nationally, made it imperative that he should not only devolve some of his responsibilities on senior members of the House of Bishops, but also that he should have at Lambeth an experienced bishop in whom those in Whitehall and Parliament would have confidence and with whom the Diocesan Bishops would be happy to consult. He invited Ross Hook, by then Bishop of Bradford, to undertake what was a pioneer appointment.

The fact that the office of Bishop at Lambeth is now an accepted post on the Archbishop's staff, is due in no small measure to Hook, who had the grace to relinquish the independence of a diocesan bishop and to serve the Archbishop as his "Chief of Staff" and as an assistant bishop of Canterbury. His soundness of judgment as well as his refusal to be fussed or to appear as over- busy, meant that when he retired from Lambeth it was to everyone's regret.

Ross Hook was the son of a postmaster. He was educated at Christ's Hospital and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. After training for the ministry he was ordained in 1941 to his only curacy at New Milton in Hampshire. In 1943 he volunteered as an RNVR chaplain and served with the Royal Marines, landing with 43 Commando at Anzio. He was the only RNVR chaplain to win an MC, which he did while serving with the Marines in Yugoslavia.

After the war, he returned to Cambridge as Chaplain at Ridley Hall, where his war experience stood him in good stead with an older generation of students who had embarked on training for ordination after being demobilised. One of his students, an ex-Royal Marine, recalls that Hook, who was responsible for teaching church history, managed to keep one lecture ahead of his lively audience. He had the reputation of being a great leg-puller, but his penetrating and always kindly humour was especially appreciated by those who found it difficult to adjust to the routine of lectures and chapel services after war service.

Three years later, he went to his first living at Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester diocese, before returning south in 1952 to be Rector and Rural Dean of Chelsea and to live in a large gracious rectory with an immense garden by London standards. It was a great inheritance, and catching the spirit of the post-war world Hook established an informal and personal ministry which won him many friends.

In 1961 he left London to return to Kent as a Canon Residentiary of Rochester Cathedral and as director of post-ordination training for the diocese. He had the oversight of nearly 100 curates and he was also on the staff of Rochester Theological College which had been established for the training of older men from industry and the professions, most of whom had little academic background.

These men warmed to Hook's relaxed and friendly approach but soon learned that he had high expectations for them and little patience with indiscipline or disorder. He was an examining chaplain to the Bishop of Rochester as he was later to the Bishop of Lincoln who, in 1965, nominated him to be the Suffragan Bishop of Grantham.

After only seven years in Lincolnshire, Hook was translated to Bradford. He was quickly at home in the West Riding where his robustness and his forthright approach were much appreciated, especially by those with little interest in ecclesiastical affairs. After he had moved South again, as Runcie's "Chief of Staff", Bradford University conferred an honorary degree upon him. .

In 1984, after four years at Lambeth Palace, Hook retired to his beloved Romney Marsh and began to rejoice again in the Kent countryside and in Kent cricket. Sadly, after a few years, he suffered a stroke which eventually led to his moving out of the county. .

After the war, he had married Ruth Biddell, who supported him to the full in all his demanding appointments and in the more restricted years after his retirement and illness. She survives him as do his daughter and his son, known to many television viewers as an expert on pictures through the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. The Independent Thursday 04 July 1996

What's in the database
11714 People
6513 Demography entries
2409 Events
1293 Marriages
415 Properties
417 Photographs
Completed projects ...
  • Properties 1841-1911
  • Demography records 1841-1911 (village only)
  • Cemetery & Graveyard burials
  • Memorial and graveyard inscriptions
Work in progress ...
  • Demography records 1841-1911 (parish)
  • Marriages within the Elham parish
  • Audio/verbal accounts by Elham residents
Coming soon ...
  • Mapping of all properties within the Elham parish
  • List of artefacts
Future projects ...
  • Audio village tour
  • Complete list of shops - past and present
What's new!
Michael Hayes
Doctor Who Producer
Arthur Frederick Broadbridge
Elham resident and diplomat
Charles Alfred Fortin
Elham assistant surgeon
William Lewis Cowley
Elham resident and author
George W Palmer
Graveyard burials
John Midgeley
Henry Clayson
STATS - Facts & Trivia
Windlass Cottage Title Deeds
Church Cottage history back to 1720
Anthony Eden
Prime Minister and Elham resident

Swing Riots
Les Ames in action
Audrey Hepburn

EHS Database

Swing Riots of 1830 recounted by Derek Boughton our local expert historian.

Les Ames for England v West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica 1930 or 1935. WK Ivan Barrow watches on.

Audrey Hepburn attended private schools in the village and dreamed of being a ballerina. I wonder what became of her?

What's in the database? Find the latest additions here.

1873 Claysons' dreams nearly sunk