2023 Programme of Meetings & Events

Our Next Event:

23rd February 2023

  • The colourful life of Thomas J Williams, landlord of the Bricklayers Arms, 1904-1926

As the landlord of the Bricks and a stalwart of the Shepherdswell Cricket Club, Thomas J Williams was one of the most well known and popular members of the Shepherdswell community.

His life – and that of his wife Annie – was full of adventure and surprises.

It sheds light on life in the village one hundred years  ago. Thomas’ story is also part of the history of mining communities, of the army, British colonialism, the First World War and the pubs of Dover district.

John Bulaitis will introduce this colourful and important local personality.

Thomas’ great granddaughter, Maxine, has helped with the research and will join us digitally on the big screen.

Thursday 23rd February, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall


Previous Events:

26th January 2023

  • Shepherdswell’s Methodist Chapel 150th (plus 2) Anniversary – Joe Slavin & Rev. Harvey Richardson

The Chapel opened in July 1870 and this presentation was originally scheduled to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020 but thanks to the pandemic we’re running two years behind.

Tonight’s meeting will actually be held in the ‘old chapel’ on Church Hill, so you will be able experience the atmosphere directly as the current owner, Joe Slavin; and the Rev. Harvey Richardson present the history of the building.

In the early days, the local press reported services ‘so densely filled that several were literally unable to get in’.

The chapel played a major part in village life until its closure in 1995 to be come a residential property.

Thursday 26th January 2023, 7.30pm at Two Saints Church, 34 Church Hill, Shepherdswell, CT15 7NR

Previous 2022 Events:

31st March

  • Waldershare History and Heritage – Colin Varrall

    Waldershare has a rich and ancient history, which can be traced from the Norman invasion through to the establishment of the Waldershare Estate. Even earlier, it was on the route of the thoroughfare built by the Romans between St Margaret’s and Canterbury, which we now know as Long Lane.

    Our guest speaker this evening is Colin Varrall, a local historian and member of the Elvington & Eythorne Heritage Centre. Together with David File, he has recently produced a book full of fascinating information and photographs of the history and people of Waldershare. Using old prints and images, Colin will outline Waldershare’s rich history and talk about the people who lived and worked on the Waldershare Park estate. For more information, click here.

    Thursday 31st March, 7.30pm

28th April

  • Dover’s Maison Dieu – Reawakening a Gothic Fantasy presented by Martin Crowther

The Maison Dieu has been at the heart of community life in Dover for over 800 years. It began as a medieval hospital, providing accommodation for poor pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury.

It became a victualling yard, supplying ship’s biscuit and beer to the Royal Navy, before becoming Dover’s Town Hall in the 1830s. In Victorian times, it was extended to include a courtroom, prison cells, council chamber, Mayor’s Parlour and the impressive Connaught Hall. Now an ambitious scheme is underway to restore the building and extend its use for the community.

In tonight’s talk, Martin Crowther, Dover District Council’s Maison Dieu Engagement Officer, will sketch the history of Maison Dieu, and explain the conservation programme and plans to bring in new audiences – and how you can get involved.

Thursday 28th April, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

26th May

  • Family History Night – Carol Howell

More and more of us are researching our family history. In an informal setting and with a chance for everyone to get very practical, Carol will be sharing some of her experience and giving useful tips. Where to begin? What are the best sources? What is the best way to access censuses, marriage and death certificates? What can we learn from military service records, criminal records, newspapers, trade directories, church records etc? But perhaps you have some questions relating to your own family history? Carol will do her best to answer them.

Thursday 26th May, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

30th June

  • A Walk Through Time VI – Keith Roberts

Now a Shepherdswell tradition, our ‘Walk through Time’ will again be a ‘virtual’ experience in the Village Hall. Using photos and film, Keith will take us from The Cross (Bricklayers Arms) along Botolph Street (the road to Halfway Street and Cox Hill) towards Place House then onto Halfway Street and along to Cox Hill/Green Street. Along the way, he will tell the history of people and buildings, particularly highlighting Place House and the hamlets of Halfway Street and Cox Hill.

Thursday 30th June, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

28th July

  • The War in Dhofar – Mark Watson

 The war in Dhofar (Oman) (1965-1975) has been described as Britain’s ‘unknown’ war. Though involving a relatively small number of military personal, it was significant from the point of view of British influence in the Middle East. The war is an important part of the history of the RAF and Special Air Service (SAS) and a ‘triumphant success’ for counterinsurgency methods. In his illustrated talk, Shepherdwell’s Mark Watson will outline the origins of the war, the Battle of Mirbat (1972), the contribution made by British officers on ‘loan service’ and Iranian and Jordanian involvement in 1972-75. Mark has a personal connection with this history and flew in the fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, which made a decisive impact to the war’s outcome.

Thursday 28th July, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

3rd September

  • Big History Day – Our Village Pubs

Pubs are important part of the social history of Shepherdswell and Coldred. This year’s Big History Day will have exhibits and talks tracing their histories, including stories about their licencees, customers and general role within the communities.

Pubs to be featured include:

    • The Bricklayer’s Arms
    • The Whitehall
    • Leather Bottle
    • The Blackmith’s Arms
    • The Bell
    • The Carpenter’s Arms
    • Hazling Dane Country Hotel.

There will be a talk about the social importance of pubs by expert Paul Skelton (tbc) as well as a presentation by our very own Carol Howell about the 100 years of WI in the village.

The afternoon will be rounded off by a performance of traditional pub songs from the Swell Singers.

You will be able to buy a Ploughman’s Lunch and – licence permitting – to taste some local ale. Tea, coffee and cake will also be on offer. 

As usual, other aspects of local history will be on display and we will be welcoming stalls from local heritage groups. More details nearer the date.

Saturday 3rd September, 11.30am – 3pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

29th September

  • Decoding The Mappa Mundi – The Medieval View of The World by Len Howell

The Mappa Mundi is an outstanding treasure of the medieval world.

It records how 13th-century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual as well as geographical way.

Join us on to hear Shepherdswell’s very own Len Howell talk about this unique medieval treasure and find out how it was produced, what it represents, who created it and what was its purpose.

Thursday 29th September, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

27th October

  • The Battle of Britain and its Memorial at Capel le Ferne – Andy Simpson & Barry Duffield

Our speakers on this occasion are Retired Wing Commander Andy Simpson and Lieutenant Colonel Barry Duffield. They are trustees of the from the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, which manages the Memorial Site and Visitor Centre at Capel.

Andy and Barry will speak about the Battle of Britain and the work of the Memorial Trust in researching its history, the stories of its participants, and keeping its memory alive.

Opened in 2015, the centre at Capel is designed as a Spitfire wing. It houses the ‘Scramble Experience’, an exciting hands-on attraction that uses audio-visual effects, a video wall and other special techniques to show something of what ‘the Few’ experienced in the summer and early autumn of 1940.

Thursday 27th October, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

24th November

  • Making Sense of Pre-History – Dr. Lindsey Buster (Unfortunately, this event had to be cancelled)

Prehistory starts at about 3.3milion years ago (800,000 years ago in Britain) and lasts up until the Roman Conquest. Lindsey Buster, an archaeologist who specialises in Pre-History, will explain the methods and techniques used to understand and interpret this period. She will give examples of her research using DNA and explain how she has discovered a five-generation Neolithic family in Gloucestershire.

Thursday 24th November, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall

To download a hard copy of our 2022 – 23 Programme of Meetings, click here.

All meetings (including The Big History Day) are FREE to Members and £3 for non-Members

Annual Membership is only £10. You can join on the night or click here to organise membership beforehand.