First stop was Headcorn where Harriet's birth is recorded (along with the rest of her siblings') at Headcorn Baptist. She was born in 1796, but I think the births were all registered at the same time in the early 19th century. They are all recorded together and the words "The above list was given to me Esq. Love by John Kingsnorth for mention in this register" were included at the end. I had arranged to meet with the church secretary of Headcorn Baptist in order to look through their archives. I was hoping to find some more records, ideally a minute book or similar so I could learn a little more about the Kingsnorths and their involvement in the church. I know that there was some controversy associated with the church's theology about this time (the church ended up becoming unitarian by 1819), and I also think that by the time Sarah and John died they were Wesleyan Methodists. There is registration of death for a John Kingsnorth (1822) and Sarah Kingsnorth (1826) with the Maidstone Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist church which makes me suspect they were no longer Baptists by this stage.
While we were in Headcorn we also looked at the Methodist church burial ground in the hope of finding John and Sarah Kingsnorth's graves, but the earliest graves there seem to be from the 1830s when that chapel was built.
|Headcorn Methodist burial ground|
Our second stop was Staplehurst, where John and Sarah Kingsnorth were married. John's family had been living there for at least two hundred years before that as well. It seems he was from a family of Baptists, one of whom (Richard Kingsnorth) led and hosted the church in his own home, Spilshill Court.
We went to look at All Saints Staplehurst, where many of the Kingsnorths were buried and married (not christened!!). The weather was pretty average at this stage - in fact I think it was hailing!
|Mum with the font|
|Inside All Saints|
|Sheltering from hail!|
|Walking along the public footpath|
|A glimpse of Spilshill|
The last place we visited was Chilham, where Jesse Pullen (Harriet Kingsnorth's husband) came from. It is about half an hour's drive from Staplehurst through some beautiful countryside which probably looks much the same as it did with its oast houses and barns and tudor buildings scattered through the countryside. On this particular day it was sleeting as we drove for a lot of the journey, but it was still beautiful.
At Chilham we visited St Mary's church again and showed mum and dad the Pullen graves we had discovered last time. Jacob and I spent some time working out what the gravestones said (more on that in another post). We saw the pub where Jesse Pullen's brother had been the publican in the 19th century and had a cup of coffee in one of the houses on the square and which of our relatives had visited this house (or even lived there).
|font at St Mary's Chilham|
|Mum and me in the square - the pub (where Thomas Pullen was publican) is behind.|
Finally, we went looking for Hurst Hill Farm which was where some of Jesse Pullen's family had lived (possibly Jesse himself), but it was too far up a private road to be able to see it.