INTRO. CHRONICLES. SOCIETIES. PARISH. VILLAGE. CHURCH. PEOPLE.

A History of YALDING, Kent, England

TWYFORD BRIDGE.
Details of its history are in the Chronicle section of 1475. This ancient monument is frequently damaged by heavy lorries, and in 1939 part of the Lees downstream wall was demolished by a heavy vehicle, just as today it is the bend on the Hampstead upstream side that receives the punishment. In 1980 major renovations were performed costing £180,000. The alternative route then was by bailey bridge, erected by the Royal Engineers. This can just be seen in one photo through the arches. Even with these obstructions, canoe enthusiasts can also be seen steering their precarious path through the turbulence caused by the weir outlet, as they frequently do most weekends.
The layout of the Twyford scene is illustrated is this 1908 OS map, which also shows The Ring, circle of trees, that was the original site of our cricket ground.
The river Medway flows from the south, left on this map, and curves left around the Anchor Inn to form the Hampstead Canal, whilst the main river flows over the falls and wier, now a sluice gate and wier, then under Twyford Bridge towards Wateringbury and Maidstone.

At the eastern end of the bridge, the road bends round to turn left to Yalding village, which is where the footpath across The Lees leads, or turns right towards Laddingford.

The cricket ground called The Ring for obvious reasons, was used from at least 1798 to 1908/9, and then moved from this occassionally flooded location to just below Warde's Moat.

The river Tiese enters the Medway between the wier and the bridge, flowing through Laddingford, from its source at Wadhurst south of Tunbridge Wells.

The first recorded game of cricket in the village was on this ground as noted in ‘The Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser’ for the 18th of September 1798, reporting that:-

"A match of cricket will be played on Yalding Lees, on Thursday next, September 20, 1798 between the gentlemen of Yalding with five men given, and the gentlemen of West Malling with two men given, for one guinea a man.
The Wickets to be pitched at Nine o’Clock and the game to be played out.
A good Ordinary on the ground at Two o’clock, by Mrs Field, at the Anchor Tavern.
Given for Yalding;- Wells, Fielder, Foster, Amhurst, and Larkin.
And for Malling;- Dorrington, and Best."

It is interesting to note that I deduced it was these two teams that played together in Dickens ‘Pickwick Papers.