The Graveyard on the Hill

Settlements and villages are not always static. Over periods of time some villages become deserted whilst others, possibly quite near can grow. This is quite often ‘blamed’ on the Black Death or the great plague but it is more often straight economics that drive these changes. Villages that were dependant on one coal mine, for example, can vanish very quickly when that mine closes.

Just south east of Tenterden in Kent there’s an example of a village ‘moving’. It happens to be a village where ancestors of mine once lived and died so it is of interest to me.

This village moved with alterations to sea level. It had once been on a little island but the Romney Marshes were drained and the old Isle of Ebony became a hill. It was off the road system and people all moved to nearby Reading Street leaving just the church behind on the top of the former island. Then, in 1868 the villagers decided it was silly, having to toil up the hill. In truth it was only about a kilometre but it seemed more convenient to move the church to them. It was taken down and re-erected at Reading Street.

A graveyard was left behind on top of the hill and in it are my four greats grandparents, George and Sarah King. My 3 greats grandparents Walter Kesby and Sarah King had been married in the church when it was up the hill, back in 1839.

Here is the hill.


It’s hard to imagine that this fertile looking field was once under the sea and instead of walking, we’d have needed a boat to carry us to the Isle of Ebony.


As we climbed up the hill, we got a view down to Chapel Bank Farm and the houses at Reading Street. What looks like a tower on the distant hill is in fact a pair of farm silos.

We really didn’t expect to find a grave stone for the ancestors. So we weren’t disappointed when we didn’t. But here’s my wife having a good search.


There are gravestones in good order up on the hill.


As far as I know the Poile family have no connection to me.

Most of the graves, though, have a goodly covering of delightful lichen and are hard to read.


We paid homage to this site and then walked back to Reading Street.


And there is the little church which was once on an island at Ebony. This photo was taken on a different occasion when the weather was less glorious and we didn’t walk up the hill.

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2 Responses to “The Graveyard on the Hill”

  1. Cathy Says:

    Have you seen this site?

    • locksands Says:

      Hi Cathy and thanks. Yes, I do know the site having many relatives from Kent. My ancestors don’t appear there. Like most of my ancestors I suspect they had no headstone.

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