Events

This section of the website contains information on notable events and major news items from the local area.  The various entries below are presented in reverse chronological order.
Where detailed information is available for a particular entry, links to either a specific website page, media files, or photo gallery, are available.

2019/20 - Colin Francis Dedication & 80th Anniversary

Two recent events were held in remembrance of Pilot Officer Colin Francis who died in 1940 when his RAF Hurricane smashed into the ground at Coldharbour. In November 2019 a plinth-mounted model Hawker Hurricane was unveiled by Air Vice-Marshal Mike Lloyd and in August 2020 a group of residents gathered at the crash site to mark the 80th anniversary which included a Spitfire flypast.
Note: Information on Pilot Officer Colin Francis is available on the ‘Casualties’ page of the website, under the People section.

2019 - Stansted Flooding

On 10th June 2019 almost three months’ worth of rain fell on the Stansted and Fairseat area in less than twenty-four hours.  The unprecedented deluge caused serious surface water run-off and flooding in Malthouse Road.
Dick Hogbin captured the Malthouse Road water flow on video and provides further detail on this unusual event.

2018 - Armistice Centenary Exhibition

An exhibition was held in the Cloisters, St Mary’s Church in November 2018 to mark the armistice centenary which coincided with Remembrance Sunday, it covered both World Wars and focused on the Fallen and on their life and times in the local area.  The exhibition included some 140 panels, 3 research papers, several personal recollections, six studies of prominent local individuals and a 45 minutes AV display which ensured there was material to suit a wide range of interests.  Over 600 people attended and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

2013 Stansted Flower Festival

Flower displays have taken place at St Mary’s Church, Stansted for several years.   In September 2013 the village teamed up with Fairseat to incorporate a scarecrow festival.  The scarecrows were on display in various locations in the two villages and added a fun element to the event.  Thanks go to Dave Cox for providing a photo story of the event.

2007 - Fatal Shooting (Suicide by Cop)

On Saturday the 29th December 2007 the police were alerted to a man in Tumblefield Road, Stansted, brandishing a gun.  Upon arrival, the man pointed the gun at the police and they opened fire and killed him.  Dick Hogbin recounts the events and the subsequent inquest in 2010.

2007 - 'EastEnders' in Stansted

For the Easter Monday episode of EastEnders in 2007 the production chose to film in Kent at Stansted, St. Giles Church, Wormshill, The Ringlestone Inn, Nr. Harrietsham and Court Lodge Farm.  In this episode of the popular BBC1 soap Jim (John Bardon) arranges a day out for Dot (June Brown) to the village where she used to live – Stansted, Kent.

1995 War Memorial Statue Theft and Replacement

On the night of 6th October 1995 thieves used ropes and a lorry to haul the bronze figure from its plinth and drag it unceremoniously along Malthouse Road.  The statue was never discovered and a replacement statue was cast at the Burleighfield Arts Foundry, High Wycombe, and erected in Stansted on Tuesday 5th November 1996.
Note: Details on the original War Memorial erected in 1923 may be found under the ‘Landmarks‘ index page under the ‘Places’ section of the website.

1991 St Marys Church Bell Restoration

On 9th June 1991 one hundred and fifty intrepid walkers accompanied the oldest bell in St Mary’s tower, named John and cast in 1420, back to Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a distance of 26 miles.  Dressed in medieval costume they raised £15,500 towards the Bells project, a quarter of the funds needed to install a new bell frame, a ringing gallery, and cast three new bells to create a ring of six.  A service of dedication was held at St Mary’s Church on 16th May 1992.
A booklet, photo gallery and video of the event are available via the link buttons.

1990 - Stansted May Queen

May Queen celebrations at Stansted recreation ground in 1990.

1990 - Fairseat Fete

Photographs from the Fairseat Fete held in the recreation ground by the Village Hall in 1990.

1987 - The Great Storm

The Great Storm of 1987 was a violent extratropical cyclone that occurred on the night of 15–16 October, with hurricane-force winds causing casualties in England, France and the Channel Islands as a severe depression in the Bay of Biscay moved northeast.  Disruption to travel and electricity supplies affected Stansted and Fairseat and significant damage occurred in Trosley Country Park with the loss of a large number of trees.
Overall some 15 million trees were blown down in the South of England.

1946 - Murder on the A20

Three of the best-known names in English law and order in the last century were thrown together in 1947 after the body of a 48-year-old woman, Dagmar Petrzywalski, was found on the A20 halfway down Wrotham Hill.  Dagmar Petrzywalski left home in West Kingsdown at the end of October 1946 but sadly she did not arrive in Woking and her body was found by a passing lorry driver halfway down Wrotham Hill behind bushes at the junction of the A20 and Devil’s Kitchen.  Robert Fabian, who led the murder investigation, was the subject of a popular BBC TV series in the 1950s and became famous as ‘Fabian of the Yard’.

1940 - Stansted Messerschmitt Crash, 'The One Behind the Church'

Just one day after the Hurricane crash at Coldharbour, an enemy aircraft belly landed in the valley behind Court Lodge.  The pilot survived and was taken prisoner, the gunner was mortally injured.  Some thirty years after the event, local schoolboy Mark Charnley interviewed some of the witnesses and presented his handwritten research to the Fairseat Archive.  With additional information provided by Mark, Mike Goddings and Dick Hogbin, they have updated his work to provide a broader picture of the events that day. In 2020 Paul and Judy Dyer of Platt House, Wrotham Hill Road erected a memorial to the two German airmen whose aircraft crash-landed behind the Church and further information is available by selecting the ‘Memorial Model’ link.

1940 - Hurricane Crash at Coldharbour (PO Colin Francis)

On 30th August 1940, an RAF Hurricane smashed into the ground at Coldharbour, killing its pilot who was on his first operational flight. Pilot Officer Colin Francis’ remains lay buried in his aircraft for forty-six years. This article examines the discovery of the aircraft in 1981 and the subsequent recovery of the wreckage and its pilot, and the memorial plaque placed nearby in his memory by local resident Geoff Allgood.
Note: Information on Pilot Officer Colin Francis is available on the Casualties page of the website, under the People section.

1939-45 - World War II Incidents

Mike Goddings has created Google Earth images of the local area which have been overlaid with reported incidents found in the Malling Rural District War Diaries.  In many cases, additional information has been added from witnesses to these events, or from other published sources.   The maps reflect three different aspects of the War.  The aircraft that crashed at the height of the Battle of Britain.  The bombs that were jettisoned by damaged enemy aircraft, either on their way or on their return from bombing Docklands during the Blitz.  Finally, the V1’s which came down en-route to London.

1860 - Earthquake

The famous author William Hickson who lived at Fairseat Manor wrote to the Kentish Gazette about an earthquake that had affected mid Kent in September 1860.  He described people as being “startled by a violent shaking of doors and windows, accompanied by a noise, which to some sounded like the rumbling along a road of heavily loaded wagons, and to others as if the roof were falling in, or some heavy piece of furniture was being rolled overhead.”

EastEnders graphic courtesy of the BBC