Two references in my paper "Bexley
Church: Some Early Documents" in Arch. Cant., LXXII need
correction. On p. 41 n. 2 the reference should be to the article on
" Earthworks in Joydens Wood, Bexley" by A. H. A. Hogg in Arch.
Cant., LIV (1941), not to Dr. Gordon Ward. On
47, n. 1 the description "Canterbury Assize Roll 369 "should
read" P.R.O. Justices Itinerant Roll 369, membranes 36-7 ".
The latter correction I owe to the kindness of Mr. C. A. F. Meekings,
Assistant Keeper and Librarian of the Public Record Office.
In the first thirty years of the nineteenth century poverty
in the rural districts of southern England was worse than anything which
had been known for many, many decades. The village of Sandhurst, Kent,
was no exception to the general rule. Up to 1760 the largest amount of
money paid out in any one year in relief to the poor was £200; by 1800
it had reached over £2,000. The average amount paid out for this
village of about eight hundred and fifty people for the first thirty
years of the century was £1,679 p.a., 1803 being the lowest year with
£1,047, and 1822 the highest with £2,333. In these circumstances it is
not surprising that many agricultural workers turned their gaze
overseas, and where their parishes were prepared to help with their
fares many families decided to emigrate.
The first intimation that anyone was wishing to go to the
United States from Sandhurst comes from the Parish Request Book of 1822,
the year in which disbursements from relief were to stand at their
highest. Here, under the date 6th April, is entered as a request
"George Fuller to America ", and the terse reply in the margin
"Cannot be at the expence ". Eighteen months later there is a
note with no comment.
"George Fuller and family request to go to America.
William Vitler wife and two children do.
Samuel Simonds (single) do."
But it was not to be until 1826 that George Fuller and Samuel Simmonds
got their desire. (We hear no more of the Vitler family.) In the
intervening years both men had applied to the parish for relief from
time to time, though neither of them with the frequency of some other