HRGS Research Projects

Print your own, or collect one at The Heritage Hub, unit 17, the Forum, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3DL

The trail is a free, family friendly, self-guided walk through the historic heart of Sittingbourne. Many travellers have visited Sittingbourne over the centuries, including royalty. Today, many of the buildings that were used by them are still there, you just have to look up above the modern shop fronts, or down the side alleys at the backs of the buildings, to see them as they once were.

We hope this leaflet will encourage walkers to discover the history of some of the main buildings, by finding pictures of 15 cats, which are displayed in the participating outlets’ windows around the town.

The walk will take around half an hour, but will depend how quickly someone walks and how closely they want to look at the architecture.

Please let us know if you have enjoyed our walk - contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can travel to or from the Historic Sittingbourne Cat Trail with ArrivaClick – simply download the app, and click, pay and go! Call in the Heritage Hub for a free trial promo code card.

If you have a story about Rose Hill that you would like to share with us, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Guide to the Mysterious Ruins in The Woods at Rose Hill.

Print your own, or collect one at The Heritage Hub, unit 17, the Forum, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 3DL or at The Clubhouse, The Grove, Key Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 1YT.

Researchers are currently making a list of notable famous people who have walked our local streets over the millennium of time, with a view of providing a summary of their life and achievements. If you know of any famous people who lived, worked or were born in the Swale area, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1.      Sittingbourne War Memorials Project    

Sittingbourne War Memorials Project – the research into 2700 names commemorated locally on the war memorials of 27parishes. In scope are:

Bapchild, Bobbing, Borden, Bredgar, Doddington, Faversham, Frinsted, Hartlip, Iwade, Kingsdown, Lower Halstow, Lynsted, Milton Regis, Milstead, Murston, Newington, Newnham, Norton Buckland and Stone, Rainham, Rodmersham, Sheppey, Sittingbourne, Stockbury, Teynham, Tonge, Tunstall , and Upchurch.

During 2016, the project area waswidened to include the two other areas of the borough of Swale – Faversham and the Isle of Sheppey.  This means that another 1000 names will be investigated to tell their personal stories.  This project is likely to run till 2019.

 

2.      Bredhurst Dig

Bredhurst archaeological project...a project originally excavating the remains of a medieval manorial house dating back to the 13th century.  The finds assemblage chronologically spans from the Mesolithic period through to the 20th century.     2010- ongoing

 

3.      Rose Hill Archaeological Project

An archaeological investigation into the remains of neo-classical house dating to the 18th century.    2015-2017. Finds processing and analysing to enable information to be added to a new Rose Hill touch screen and Rose Hill House website. Schools, workshops and end of project finale. Join our Facebook page to find out when events are scheduled.

 

4.      Digitisation Project

To digitise over 4000 local photographs currently in the possession of the group...it will make them more accessible to researchers.         2016-2017

 

5.      2018 Calendar

HRGS and Sittingbourne Heritage Museum to produce a calendar for 2018 to sell to the public to raise funds for local Heritage Groups.     Feb - Jul 2017

 

6.      Newington Village Drawings

In conjunction with Newington History Group, we will publish a local artist (Peter Judges) drawings of Newington village.      Jan – June 2017

 

7.       Archive Review

Restructure the Archive recording process for donations and existing artefacts and records.         2016-2017

 

8.      Archaeological Finds Review

To move and examine more than 4000 archaeological finds which had been left in one of the old cells at Milton Regis Court Hall by the dissolved Swale and Sittingbourne Archaeological Research Group in the late twentieth century.  These finds need re-packaging, analysing, conserving, storing and presenting. A selection would be then available to display in the Heritage Hub in Sittingbourne, and make available to other local heritage groups within the Swale Museum Group area.          2017-2018

 

9.      Passchendaele Talk 

Jul- Nov 2017 will see the centenary of The Battle of Passchendaele, and we hope to have an illustrated talk covering the key aspects of the Third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), coupled with details of the local men who fell during this battle.

 

10.   1940's Diary

Digitise, transcribe, research the diary of David Joyce who kept a diary throughout 1940. Once the research is complete, researchers will then decide how best to tell the story that David Joyce has left us. 2017-2018.    

 

11.   WW1 documentation collection - archiving and conservation

Alan Amos holds special documentation relating to local WW1.  At a SBC WW1 steering group meeting, Alan agreed to have his collection assessed with a view to having it catalogued, archived and where necessary conserved. HRGS will make the necessary enquiries to see if a student placement would be possible. If feasible, then funding will be sought through the HLF WW1 funding scheme. This would be a partnership project.      2016-2018

 

12.   Defence of Swale

Alan Anstee, Richard Emmett, Dean Coles, John Weeks, Jerry Cooley, and Simon Mason are working on mapping and recording the WW1 defence lines along the Stockbury valley. Dave Leigh is using his quad-copter to survey the area.        2014 -2018

 

13.   Sittingbourne Town Trail

Sally Reeve, Pat Robinson and Richard Emmett are working on producing an updated version of the Sittingbourne Town Trail with questions for children and a narrative for adults.   2016-2017

 

14.   Swale Heritage Brochure

Working with Swale Museums Group we are looking to produce a historic visitors guide for Swale.  March 2017

 

15.   WW1 DVD

Working in conjunction with local film animator Colin Harvey and other local groups we are proposing to produce a DVD to tell the story of the role played by the community and the significance that Swale played during WW1.  This was ‘storyboarded’ and scripted in 2016.  Michael Peters has agreed to narrate it.    Expected output Jan – Nov 2017.

 

16.   WW1 Survivor - Fred Harris

Digitise, transcribe, and research the tape recording of a survivor from the First World War, Fred Harris. Once his story has been researched, researchers will then decide how best to tell the story and decide how best to pass this on to the public. 2017

 

17.   Our Famous Locals

A timeline showing notable famous people who have walked our streets over the millennium of time. A few researchers would like to create a timeline of local famous people, which will also tell us a little bit about their lives.

 

18.   Crime during WW1

Alan Anstee has been researching newspaper records of 1914-1922 to analyse what was happening during the war and what this tells us about local society then. He plans to present this to the public July 2017.

 

19.   Transcriptions of Burial Records

Mary Cooley would like to transcribe burial records from microfilm held in the HRGS research Archives.

 

20.   A new Heritage Centre

A working group (from HRGS and Sittingbourne Heritage Museum and members of the public) was set up in 2016 to look at ways to secure a dedicated permanent Heritage Centre in the heart of Sittingbourne. 2016-2020

 

21.   Swale War Memorials

Compile a list of war memorials throughout the Swale area.

If you wish to be involved in any of these projects (or have an idea of your own) please contact Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This list of memorials has been compiled by researchers from the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne from the research completed by various researchers from within HRGS and other groups, and is still on going. If you are aware of a memorial (new or no longer around) which should be included, please contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 If you would like to become involved, please contact richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07778793079

The First World War (4thAugust 1914 – 11thNovember 1918) was a significant point in world history. It claimed the lives of over 16 million people worldwide and had an impact on the lives of everyone who remained.  One hundred years on, we are all connected to the First World War in one way or another.  Either through our own family history, the heritage of our local communities or because of its long term impact on society and the world we live in today.

A project to record all of our local Memorial Inscriptions.

This project has been running for about 8 years and is still ongoing.  It is an ad-hoc project that is undertaken when the weather's nice and our other commitments have quietened down a little!  We are currently working on the memorial inscriptions in the graveyard at Milton Church.

The results of our labours are available in the HRGS Shop.

2017 Update - Hoping to start again soon though.  If you're interested in joining us or if you already have information you'd like to share, then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

A project to recognise the ultimate sacrifice made by the men from Sittingbourne and its surrounding parishes during the Great War 1914-1918.  The list of names we are currently researching who died following the 1914-1918 war, from the Swale area.  If you have a family member who was born, lived, schooled, worked or was loved from one of the *26 parishes in scope and their name appears or does not appear below, please contact us with their details at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our aim is to tell the lives behind as many of the names as possible on our memorials.

                                     

Heritage Lottery Fund awards £5,200 to The Sittingbourne War Memorials Project to help mark First World War Centenary

HRGS has received £5,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Sittingbourne War Memorials Project. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on providing a digital Roll of Honour display of local men who fought in the First World War. The digital Roll of Honour was officially opened by the Mayor of Swale, Cllr. George Bobbin, at 2pm on Saturday 31st January at 2pm, in the Heritage Hub, Unit 17, in the Forum Sittingbourne. We are also indebted to other organisation for their financial support which helped to make this exhibition possible, these include: Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council, Sittingbourne Society (John Jordan bequest), Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta Branch, some private individual donations, and also to Tesco Stores Ltd for the lease of the unit  ... Read More

 

 

 

Heritage Lottery Fund awards £5,200 to The Sittingbourne War Memorials Project to help mark First World War Centenary

HRGS has received £5,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Sittingbourne War Memorials Project. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on providing a digital Roll of Honour display of local men who fought in the First World War. The digital Roll of Honour was officially opened by the Mayor of Swale, Cllr. George Bobbin, at 2pm on Saturday 31st January at 2pm, in the Heritage Hub, Unit 17, in the Forum Sittingbourne. We are also indebted to other organisation for their financial support which helped to make this exhibition possible, these include: Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council, Sittingbourne Society (John Jordan bequest), Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta Branch, some private individual donations, and also to Tesco Stores Ltd for the lease of the unit. 

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in the Sittingbourne and surrounding areas to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War.  Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.

Training and guidance in preparation of presentations and how to conserve and record documents, photographs and other items will be available throughout the duration of the project.

With help from our researchers, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information.  The archive will encourage the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the relatives in their own families and discover the significant part that Sittingbourne and the surrounding villages played during the First World War.

If you would like to become involved or find out more, please contact Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07778 793079 or visit us at Unit 17, The Heritage Hub, The Forum, Sittingbourne ME10 3DL. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 4pm.

Commenting on the award, the retired RAF Air Commodore and President of HRGS, Bill Croydon, CBE, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable us to provide a digital Roll of Honour and look forward to displaying the information our researchers have been collecting, which we hope will inspire the local community to add their personal photos and mementos to the information about these brave people.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF in the South East, Stuart McLeod, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £62million in projects – large and small - that are marking this global Centenary; with our new small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the Sittingbourne War Memorials Project to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

      

 

 

 

Are you interested in local History & or Archaeology?

If so, come and join us….Don’t just join a group, become a part of one and make history! Contact Richard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07970073950 to find out where and when we meet.

What do we do on site?

· Metal detecting

· Geophysical surveys

· Photography / Drawing

This project is to study and record the 'graffiti' carved into the stonework of local churches. This is not the true graffitti one might expect with modern day vandalism, but a mix of unofficial devotional carvings and masons' marks. The devotional carvings can range from complicated images of people, animals and ships etc., to simple geometric shapes.
Local Churches have several examples of such 'graffitti' and the team will record each incidence and search for underlying patterns in the positioning etc. Each Church will  be used to form comparisons of style, date and position.
A forum is being set up on this site to form a database of dated examples, to help with dating finds, and registered viewers can see the examples of research already carried out under the research pages.
If you would like to be involved in this project or if you have any information you'd like to share with the team then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are looking for volunteers to help catalogue our local history archive.  No experience is necessary although computer skills are helpful.  If you're interested in getting involved please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you'd like to get involved with research, but can't commit to a regular time or place then this is the project for you!!  Working from home, you can transcribe local wills, from PDFs, for inclusion on our website.  For examples of ones that have already been done please see here.

If you would like to be involved in this project, or if you already have information you'd like to share, then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

COMPLETED IN 2013
For those less-willing to crawl around amongst the gravestones we also transcribed the Milton Burial Registers from the comfort of the HRGS Research Room. Working from microfilm, and taking approximately three years, it was done by three researchers (Thelma Dudley, Mary Cooley and Ginny Lamb).  The finished product is now available in the HRGS Shop.