News from Chingestone Abbas
Having just returned from a fascinating talk by Reg Saville about Kingston, I was surprised to discover some interesting facts about the village. It was lovely to hear about the origins of the unusual cottages and hard to believe that the original road from Corfe didn’t follow Kingston Hill as we know it, but came along West Street, Corfe Castle across what is now the Common, up towards Blashenwell and through the woods.
Did you know the original village settlement was in the field behind the old school, as the Swanage road (track probably ) followed the ridge so didn’t have a big bend near the Kingston Courtyard? Also there used to be a sail and rope factory on the track towards the sea and a bakery in the Lane (but perhaps not at the same time). What surprised me most was the fact that the Parish of Chingeston (Kingston) originally included the land around Corfe and Langton Maltravers, as it became known.
The Church of St James, commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Eldon, had already been started when he commanded his architect, George Edmund Street, to include an additional turret. Also it seems when first used, there were (red) padded chairs, as it was then a private chapel. (Until hearing that, I thought the current wooden seats were the original ones). Many other details are featured in the book which will soon be available – and I’m sure it will be of real interest to Kingston residents (it will also contain illustrations).
It is far safer to read Reg Saville’s history than rely on my recollections. Hopefully, there will be more details next time on how to get hold of the book. By the way, in the Church there is a very well presented booklet (£1) for locals and visitors to St James, kindly written and illustrated by Terry Hardy. There is also a large bound copy which Terry produced, which includes many of the photos used in the History Exhibition.
It is too easy to forget how much things change. If you do have any special memories about Kingston, please do let Terry know: As a little girl, I can remember dressing up for the last children’s party held in the old school or school house, though I wasn’t old enough to attend there. I still remember my 10 years at The Lookout, especially in 1963 when the blizzard hit and the top road was filled with snow drifts – for weeks it was like travelling along a snow tunnel to get to school at St George’s. I think the snow stayed on the hills for about three months, from Boxing Day 1962 till March 1963.
Now, back to the present and our plans for the future. We are hoping to have a good Spring Clean at St James’ Church 10am on Monday, 11 February. If anyone is able to join us we would welcome an extra pair if hands, even for just an hour. We are very grateful to Fred, our regular cleaner, but as we all know, the place is big, high and we also want to tackle some of the brass to have the place looking lovely for the first wedding in March.
There are 6 weddings at Kingston this year. If you are free, we would love you to join us and we will have the coffee pot ready! At least it is a pleasant temperature there with our new storage heaters working well.
Judy Forgan, PCC Secretary