DOWNS FARM HOUSE.
This farm was substantially on the site of Downs estate, with its yard on the site of Walnut Close, and its owners living in the adjacent Downs Farm House. One early owner of the farm was the family of Hatch, and the earliest mention of them was in our baptismal register for Hugh, son of Jhone Hatch for May 27th 1576.
The family owned various parcels of land in the local area, especially at Linton. The early family records show that Isaac Hatch of Hadlow married Elizabeth Startup of Linton at East Farleigh on 21st February 1709. They had a son Thomas Hatch christened on 18th January at Hadlow, and two sons are recorded to have been christened at Linton, namely Isaac Hatch on 26th May 1714, and John Hatch on 27th March 1721, plus a daughter Elizabeth also christened at Linton on 12th August 1726.
This Isaac Hatch junior was to attend Cleaves school and attached is his signature in one of his books.(1726)
Isaac was to marry twice, firstly on 19th February 1746 at All Saints Maidstone to Elizabeth Tollhurst. They had three sons who all died as infants, and Elizabeth was buried here on 9th January 1758. Isaac then married Frances Jeffery at Tonbridge on 15th May 1759, and subsequently they were both buried here, Isaac on 3rd February 1783 and Frances (“the widow Hatch”) on 19th December 1785.
Isaac’s sister Elizabeth, born 1726, was to marry Philip Town on 4th November 1753 at West Farleigh, who was a tenant of his brother-in-law Isaac on land at Leeds, Kent, which was bequeathed to Elizabeth on Isaac’s death, and subsequently to Philip with the Yalding farm when she died. Philip and Elizabeth had eight children, and one of them Thomas born 1756 was to inherit the Yalding farm, with land at Leeds, when his father Philip died aged 71 in 1802.
This Thomas Town was also to attend Cleaves school, when the headmaster was John Gibbons, whose large memorial stone is in the cemetery of West Farleigh church, north-east of the chancel. A page from one of his books is shown below.