A History of YALDING, Kent, England


This photo of Town Bridge shows Bridge House in the right foreground. The nearest block was the slaughter-house, then the shop frontage within the house, and the third building was the animal holding barn.
This barn was demolished soon after the Second World War, and the business continued for only about another fifteen years.

This building has been handed down to us as a Grade II listed timber-framed establishment, as part of our heritage, and has been used as a home and business, being located in this prime position on Town Bridge that joins the two halves of our local village community.

The known story of Bridge House commences with three generations of the Wedd family. In the second half of the eighteenth century, John and Elizabeth moved into the local scene, and produced a large family of six sons and one daughter. The family comprised of John born 1768, William in 1770, Susannah 1772, Richard 1774, James 1777, George 1779, and Thomas 1781.
John was buried here in December 1789 at the age of 53, but Elizabeth survived him and was buried here in June 1810 aged 64, at which time George aged 30 then, was in charge of the business.
George was to marry Mary, and again have a large family. There was Mary Ann born 1809, Susannah in 1811, Frances Cox 1813, George 1818, Jane 1820, William Flint 1822, John 1824, and Eliza in 1826.

Infant mortality was very high in our local damp area even into the twentieth century, but the Wedd family appear to have been very fortunate despite living right on the river, or more possibly as butchers they had a healthy diet.
This next photo shows pigs being driven towards slaughter to become joints, chops or sausages.
In the 1841 Census, seven of their children were still living at home, with parents George then 60 and Mary 55.

By the next census the parents had eased themselves out and George junior then aged 30 was at the helm on the bridge, whilst brother John was operating Moors Farm employing 13 labourers, with sister Mary Ann keeping house.

Sister Eliza was also in the village in business as a butcher. George had married Sophia, and together they had son George Flint in 1850, and Mary in 1851, before wife Sophia died in 1856 at the age of 28, maybe in childbirth, but we do not know.
In the 1861 Census George senior kept young George to help with the business, whilst daughter Mary boarded next door at the Old Swan, with Hannah Smith, a book seller.

At this time John had left Moors Farm, and Mary Ann was back in the village with her sisters where in their own butchery business they employed one man and one boy.