Home Kent News Dover’s ancient ‘scattered’ village that’s been self-sufficient for centuries

Dover’s ancient ‘scattered’ village that’s been self-sufficient for centuries

Advertise here from £20*

Original article from Kent Live

Nonington is one of Dover's most ancient villages, dating all the back to Anglo Saxon times.

The glorious stone church is from the 13th century, while plenty of beamed homes and thatched cottages can be found all over elsewhere.

The village noticeboard describes it as a "scattered settlement" – and it certainly is spread out.

READ MORE: Inside Dover's most expensive property

The Royal Oak pub, now closed and last run by UKIP parliamentary candidate David Little, is a good navigation point for outsiders.

Signing up to the KentLive newsletter means you'll get the latest news direct to your inbox twice a day.

It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your email address in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.

You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.

Opposite the pub is the popular cricket club and the huge, undulating Fredville Park.

The latter, mostly used for hunting these days, is also famous for its massive trees, including an almost absurdly huge one called Majesty that's thought to be Europe's largest maiden oak.

Fredville Park gamekeeper Mick Collins in front of Majesty

Facing the park from the pub, to the right stretches Holt Street, a long winding road with small clusters of houses each side.

To the left is Easole Street, where you will find some of the village's more traditional houses.

But the oldest buildings of all are to be found up the hill on Vicarage Lane.

After several hundred yards down a narrow, wooded country lane, finally you emerge in yet another part of the village where the church and primary school lie.

Pinners Lane, Old Court Hill and Church Street are some of the quietest, quaintest, most quintessentially English village streets you will find.

Vicarage Lane, looking towards the church

And despite being separate from other parts of the village, Nonington has always very much considered itself a single community.

So much so that according to the village noticeboard, it was actually a self-sufficient one for a long time.

"Some residents can remember when Nonington was a self-sufficient rural community," it reads.

The play area near to Fredville Park

"There was a seed mill, corn mill, butcher and blacksmith.

"The village had a doctor's surgery, district nurse, vet, photographer, chemist, and taxi service.

"Clothes and shoes were also made locally."

Even though many of those amenities have disappeared, the village is still forging a reputation in self-sufficiency.

That's because it's now home to one of the UK's very small number of Bruderhof communities.

They have their European secondary school, called Beech Grove Academy and around 250 members strong, based at the old manor house at St Alban's Court, for many years an education facility called Nonington College.

The Bruderhof practises believer's baptism, non-violence and peacemaking, common ownership, the proclamation of the gospel, and lifelong faithfulness in marriage.

Members work inside the Bruderhof, and nobody receives a salary or has a bank account.

It's led some, including the BBC, to scrutinise and question life inside the community.

But their relationship with Nonington villagers at least appears to be a positive one.

When their existence came up in conversation, locals were unanimously supportive.

Village residents were positive about the nearby Bruderhof community

They pointed to efforts to help the community with things like litter picking and delivering food to vulnerable people.

And from the Bruderhof community's perspective, it probably sees the benefits of Nonington and its rural location too.

Because one thing's for sure – it is a beautiful place.

Easole Street

Walking around is a reminder that these super quiet, idyllic communities still exist, and so close to Europe's busiest passenger port.

Yet one thing most villagers seem to be hoping for is the return of their pub, which currently stands sad and increasingly derelict looking right in the heart of the village.

If Nonington is to continue feeling like the beautiful, remote, cut-off, quasi-self sufficient community it once was, it needs a thriving social building for the task.

Let's hope someone soon sees the beauty of the village and helps give extra life to it again.

Original Article