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Woodbine Cottage

At the auction in 1870 of the estate of John Ladd, Landlord of the Crown Inn, Peter Decent (Dover Trinity House Pilot) bought two pieces of land adjacent to Sandwich Road and next to his house (current No 15). He paid £73 pounds for the two plots, one of 34 perches, the other of 38 perches. The latter was sold in 1872 to George Moore (a Butler) and a house erected on it (Industria or Beehive Cottage, current No 21 Sandwich Road). Following Peter Decent’s death in February 1889, his executors (his daughter Caroline Decent and son in law William Norman who was a baker and confectioner) sold the 34 perch plot to Emma Holladay of Barfrestone for £50. Emma quickly had a house, Woodbine Cottage (which is the current No 17) built on the plot. To finance all of this Emma took out a mortgage with Caroline Belcher of Dover for £100 plus interest (of £5% pa). One of the conditions set by Caroline Belcher was that Emma insure the property against fire for at least £100 and that the certificate be produced on demand. As there was no mains electricity or gas at this time, all heating and cooking was undertaken on open fires and all lighting by candles or oil lamps. There was thus a great fear of fire destroying property hence the stipulation specifically for fire insurance. In 1800 and again in 1820, for example, outbreaks of fire in the densely populated parts of Chatham had destroyed 95 homes and 53 homes and 13 warehouses respectively. Emma was also not allowed to lease or alter the property under the mortgage terms. Emma paid off the mortgage in 1894 and hence was free to lease the property if she so wished. A fire certificate exists for the property for 1899 to 1900 and is attached. Emma had now insured the house against fire for £300 pounds. The local office for the “County Fire Office” was 15 Snargate Street, Dover. From the certificate it would appear that Emma is now living in Upper Walmer and so it could be assumed she is leasing Woodbine Cottage, but it is not known to whom.

In 1906 William Rigden bought Woodbine Cottage in Sandwich Road. The document of conveyance of Woodbine Cottage (17 Sandwich Road), dated 5th March 1906 states: – “Emma Holladay, formerly of Barfrestone and now of Kingsdown, the wife of John Holladay, to William Rigden of Eythorne, grocer and draper, conveyed for the sum of £280 a parcel of land of 34 perches together with the messuage or tenement known as Woodbine Cottage.” As Emma bought the land for £50 and borrowed £100 to cover the cost (land plus the cost of building the house) it would seem that Emma made a good profit from proceedings.
The plan accompanying the transaction shows that the adjacent property (no 15/13 Sandwich Road ) is still occupied by the family that Peter Decent’s daughter (Caroline Decent) married into (Norman) and that the name given, C.M. Norman, may be Caroline Norman. It is is now called Prospect Villas.
For some reason (and it would be interesting to know why) William Rigden was not comfortable about the financial arrangements surrounding Emma buying the land and building Woodbine Cottage requiring her husband John Holladay to personally write to William and assure him that transactions were above board. This letter is shown above.
William Rigden took out a mortgage for £200 plus interest of 4%pa with William Exton Allen (Mortgagee) of Dover, ‘Gentleman’. It was during William Rigden’s ownership of the property that discussions with Thompson and Son were held resulting in the land set aside to link Sandwich Road with the land owned by the Crown Inn/Brewery which finally became part of Woodbine Cottage.
William died on 2nd July 1944 in Looe, Cornwall. Although the cottage was part of the estate of William Rigden it is not known who occupied Woodbine Cottage at this time.

Rigden & Son, Grocer and Draper Shop opposite the Crown Inn

The exact date William Rigden began a draper and grocers business is unclear. One source states he took over a business from William A Thorne in about mid 1897, with Mr Thorne leaving the village in 1898. However, when he died on 30/11/1908 (death registered December 1908 at Eastry) at the age of 77, it was said of William Rigden that he had “for upwards of 17 years carried on business as draper and grocer”. That implies he started his business in 1891. It is of course possible he grew his business from that in 1891 to one which could acquire the Thorne business in 1897.
William Rigden was said to be one of the brightest and kindest residents of Eythorne. He sang and conducted in the chapel choir including duets with Frederick Rigden who is assumed to be a brother.
Frederick Rigden was “Overseer of the Poor Eythorne”, and lived at Fairview Eythorne.
Following the death of William Rigden in 1908, his son, also William Rigden, took over the business. Just prior to his father’s death in 1908, on 5th May 1906, William Rigden, Grocer and Draper of Eythorne, bought Woodbine Cottage. It’s not unreasonable to assume William Rigden occupied this house himself, at least initially.
This William Rigden died, aged 77, on 2nd July 1944, late of Greycoat, Shutta Road, Looe (death registered September 1944 in Liskeard, Cornwall. Looe is 7 miles southeast of Liskeard). His will was dated 1st August 1941. On 19 October 1945, the freehold properties of Woodbine Cottage and “Fairview” in Eythorne, that belonged to William Rigden, were vested to Mr William Allen Rigden. Woodbine Cottage is on Sandwich Road and “Fairview” is “on the North Side of Eythorne Street” and came along with a “piece of meadow land situate in and on the North Side of Eythorne Street in the Parish of Eythorne aforesaid and on the West side of “Fairview””. Fairview was conveyed to William Rigden by Frederick Rigden in an Indenture of 21st May 1913.
William Allen Rigden married Miss Ida Baker of Dover 13th May 1923.
It is not known if William Allen Rigden occupied either of the properties. Certainly he wasn’t in Woodbine Cottage in 1932 as a sad event notes the “Funeral of Victor C Rigden, son of Mr and Mrs J.H.T. Rigden, of Woodbine Cottage, Eythorne. Death on 31st July 1932”, reported 5th August 1932. Death registered in Eastry September 1932. Age on death 7. Born (registered) September 1924 Eastry. Parents John . H. T. Rigden who married Miss Stewart December 1923 at Bridge.
On 23rd December 1955 Mr William Allen Rigden conveyed Woodbine Cottage to Mr L Branson for £900. W.A Rigden’s address on this document was Etchinghurst, Canterbury Road, Chilham and his occupation is given as Gentleman, suggesting he had stepped away from the family business by then.
Others in the Group have suggested the business ceased to be Rigden after 1959, It was briefly held by Mr Vause and then sold to Mr and Mrs Woods.

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