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.
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.
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.
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.