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History of Ash and Ridley from Earliest Records to 1957
                    
Compiled by Dorothy G. Meager on behalf of Ash and Ridley Women's Institute           Page 108

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Interesting Houses

Pettings Court
   Although old, Pettings Court cannot boast the age of some of the houses in the Parishes. It is a charming house with many interesting features. Well over 50 years ago Cecil J.G. Hulkes lived here. He was a member of the first Parish Council (1894). He owned a pack of hounds. A few years afterwards Thomas Aveling, head of Aveling & Porter of Rochester, the well known makers of every type of steam engine, bought the property and lived there. The name Aveling & Porter was often seen on the old steam rollers. Thomas Aveling died in the Parish Hall while taking the Chair a Nursing Association meeting.


Pettings Court

   A later owner was Mr. Masterson, one of the heads of a Rumanian Oil Company. When the 1914 1918 War broke out, he was in Rumania and was one of the last to leave, having set fire to the oil wells before departing. That was several years before he came to Ash. Again in 1939, when the last war broke out he was in Rumania and again he put the wells out of action before leaving. On his death, the Court and farm were sold to W.C.R. Stoneham who is still in possession.

Ridley Court
   There was probably a Tudor House on this site which was occupied by Thomas Averill, Churchwarden of Ridley in 1556.
   The present building is stately house built by the Sedley family in 1701. The Sedleys of Southfleet reigned over Ridley for about 230 years until 1769, when the property was sold. The initials W.D. (William Danson) appear with 

the date and it seems certain that it was he who lived here in the first half of the 18th century. The letters J.W. 1769 in a brick probably stands for James Winson. As far as we know this family occupied the Court until about 1830 and was followed by a member of the Fletcher family who held the property until 1850.


Ridley Court

   For many years it has been the farmhouse for Ridley Court Farm and has changed hands several times. During the war and until about 1952 it was farmed by the War Agricultural Committee. Then the house and farm were sold. The present tenant is J.B. Howie. At one time a cluster of quaint old barns could be seen from the windows of the house, but in 1938 they caught fire. The barns, plentifully supplied with thatch and tar were destroyed in an hour. The only water available was from a pond. Fortunately the only occupants of the buildings were a few pigs and these were safely evacuated.

Old Rectory, Ridley

   This house has been occupied by Major H.N. Robertson since 1933, but the house remained Church property until 1942 when Major Robertson acquired the property.
   It is a house of considerable antiquity, parts of it are reputed to be 14th century. In 1666 Fielding refers to Ridley Parsonage, which is probably the present building. It is reported that the house was in some way connected with Wat Tyler, 1380, while another report associates it with Oliver Cromwell, 1653-8.

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