The railways came to this area when Shepherdswell station opened, along with the Canterbury (East) to Dover section of the ‘’Chatham’’ main line of the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR), on 22nd July 1861. It must made a great difference to the local population as they could now travel to far destinations quickly and move bulky goods with ease and in volume. It would have been something new and fascinating (and possibly even frightening) to the local population and the incident recounted below no doubt prompted much interest: –
Eythorne. Shocking and Fatal Railway Accident. Account in the “Kentish Gazette”, Tuesday 12 January 1864.
“Yesterday (Monday) afternoon week, Mr. Deputy Coroner Callaway and a respectable jury, held an inquest at the “Crown Inn,” Eythorne on the body of Mr. George Stanley Parker, farmer, who had been killed by jumping from a railway train in motion at the Shepherdswell station on the London, Chatham and Dover station on the previous Saturday evening”
William Bourne, station-master in Shepherdswell station deposed:- I was on duty at the station at Shepherdswell on the arrival of the 5.05 train from Dover on Saturday evening last. I and the porter an under-guard called the name of the station, and having satisfied myself the passengers had alighted, I gave orders for the train to proceed. After the train and started I saw the deceased in a second class carriage (of the sort shown in the attached picture). I believe no one was with him. He had then his head partially out of the window, and he told me he wanted to get out. I told him to keep his seat and go on to Adisham. He had then his hand out of the window, and had partly opened the door. He then shut the door, but I cannot tell if he fastened it. The doors are were all fastened when the train started. About a quarter to six I received a telegram from Adisham station, with information that a passenger had been seen to jump from a carriage some 200 yards from the station. I sent a porter at once with his lamp to search the line, and he came back saying he had found the deceased insensible. Are they went with further assistance, and found him about 125 yards from the station, and had him removed to the “Whitehall Inn.” He did not speak. I sent for Mr. Chalk at once. The deceased was lying outside the metals. I saw he was bleeding from the nose.
Mr. Frederick Chalk, of Eythorne, surgeon deposed:- About half-past seven on Saturday evening I was called to attend the deceased, who was then lying at the “Whitehall Tavern,” at Shepherdswell. I found deceased in a state of profound coma, and breathing very laboriously, which lead to the inference that he was suffering from concussion of the brain. There was a contusion upon the left eye, such as would have been caused by a fall. The eye was nearly out of the socket from the excessive haemorrhage. I gave orders to have him removed home. I proceeded with him to his home. His condition was the same as when he left the White Hall. I left him in about an hour and a half. I considered he died from concussion of the brain. I considered him a dead man from the first. He smelled very strong of liquor. Other witnesses having been examined the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”.
This event caught the attention of the temperance press (“The Alliance”, January 23rd 1864) who published an account of the incident in a round-up of news relating to the “evils of drink” but omitted the part about the injuries being caused by a fall from a train!
On 13th October 1865 Frederick Chalk loaned John Ladd, landlord of the Crown Inn, £100 plus interest at 5 % pa secured against the land and property which was the Crown Inn and the land behind it. The reason for this loan is unknown.
Frederick Chalk wrote his will 6th October 1866 and appointed his daughter, Briseis Annie Catherine Chalk, and his nephew, Percy Brooke Claris, as Executrix and Executor respectively and gave them all legal interests vested in him as a trustee or mortgage (which included the John Ladd loan) of any real or personal estate. He died on the 8th April 1870 aged 64.
Following his death there was an auction (held 30th June 1870) at Park End House (where he had lived from probably the early 1840s until his death) of all “ the household furniture and effects, carriages, carriage horse, set of plated harnesses, etc.