Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 15th May 2019
VENUE: Rusthall club
TIME: 1930 hours

Committee members present: Chair: Alex Britcher, Vice Chair: Beryl Woodall, Secretary: Sue White, Website: Nigel Suckling, General committee members: Chris Perry, Bjorn Simpole


Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave the following highlights of the year.

•   She thanked everyone for their continued support over the last year from the community and the committee

•   A reminder that the RVA is a community forum, non-religious, non-political. A safe, friendly and supportive environment to discuss and share information of relevance to the village and the community.

•   We rely solely on the membership and visitor contributions, raffle, kind donations and grants, mainly, from the Parish Council.

•   This year we have held 2 successful litter picks - the first in October meeting at Rusthall Grange and the second in April meeting at Southwood Road playing field. In all over 50 bags of rubbish and numerous larger more random items were cleared by the volunteers. Thanks to Sodexo and Urbaser for their continued and new support with provision of litter pick sticks, rubbish bags, gloves and rubbish removal. Next litter pick scheduled for October date TBC.

•   We held our 6th Annual photographic competition Rusthall: A Picture Tells All and received nearly 60 entries although, sadly none in the under 16 category this year. The idea of the photographic competition was to start to build a contemporary pictorial history of the village. We now have a back catalogue of 299 photos of Rusthall, from the competition entries alone, all of which can be viewed on our website. We will be holding the competition again this year. Launching at the summer fete.

•   We had a stall at the village fete working together with the Parish Council to engage members of the public.

•   Our speakers this year have included
David Thorpe – Big Garden Dig
Rusthall Gardening Club
Battle’s Over Commemoration Event
Matthew Hill – Local PCSO
Gary Stevenson – TWBC
Regular updates from the Local History Society, the Community Cinema, the Community Arts and Parish Council and Borough Councillors.

•   A huge thank you to all those who take time out of their evening to come and speak to us.

•   Please continue to help and support the RVA. Let us know if you like to have speakers from any particular organisations. Please join our committee if you would like to become more involved.


Alex Britcher gave the treasurer's report this year as we are currently without a treasurer since Chris Perry stepped down from the role. The accounts were handed out, but Alex explained that they are still in the process of being audited. For anyone who is interested, these will be posted on the RVA website.


Nigel explained that he has been involved in looking at the archaeology of Rusthall, Southborough and Bidborough as part of the local groupWkd Archaeology. He works with local communities and landowners, and receives no funding, but relies on the generosity of people giving their time.

Currently he is looking at the following sites:

1. Rusthall Spring Site at the junction of Rusthall Road with the Langton Road. There are a series of stone cut platforms with post holes which must have supported some sort of wooden structure, possibly a medieval timber chapel. There is evidence that the site was deliberately covered up in the 18th century as there is a certain amount of Sussex ware pottery neatly covered. Some prehistoric stone tools have also been unearthed.

2. The Quirky Tree site on Rusthall Common between Langton Road and Rusthall Road. A geophysical survey will be carried out here as the ground shows significant signs which need investigating.

3. The Bumps – once again a geophysical survey will be carried out.

4. Toad Rock. This is a site of Specific Scientific Interest, so no work can be carried out here without special authorisation. However it is possibly a prehistoric ritual site. There is evidence of a stone circle here.

5. Harwarton – this is a 30 acre site at Broomhill Farm of significant interest. Nigel has found a quernstone and other evidence of a neolithic/bronze age site. He hopes to apply for lottery funding to develop this site.

6. The golf course. Old maps indicate a moated manor on this site, and Hasted's map of the 1790's shows it to be a manor house called Rust Hall. The area now occupied by Rusthall village was called Hungers Hall. Although Nigel started research on the site, he has now been denied access.

7. Southborough Brokes Wood. Evidence of neolithic, bronze age and iron age. Possibly an ancient burial ground.

8. Rusthall Village. Archaeological work to be carried out. Although the 'new town' was not developed until the 1840's, it seems to follow a medieval town pattern seen in other areas.

2019 Big Dig

In 2018 a Big Garden Dig took place and some interesting finds were unearthed. The work will now continue with a further Big Dig on 25th May at 18 Apsley Street from 11am. The idea of this is to show people how to dig a test pit and find and identify artefacts. Following this, it is hoped that people will dig pits in their own gardens throughout Rusthall, and bag their findings. There will be meetings to map the findings and someone to identify them. Anyone interested please contact Beryl Woodall on 01892 540018 or 07708 267 106 or by email


There was no representative from KCC as James McInroy had sent his apologies.

Dave Funnell TWBC

Dave was elected to TWBC at the May elections. He told the meeting he has lived in Rusthall all his life. As yet he has not attended any meetings, so has nothing to report. He has also been elected to Rusthall Parish Council.

Parish Council

Alex Britcher reported the following which came out of the full council meeting last Monday:

1. Rusthall Life. Ed Langridge is trying to increase the number of advertisers in Rusthall Life as currently it is running at a loss. The parish council sponsors the magazine. Recently the number of pages has been cut from 24 to 20 to cut costs.

2. The flower baskets will soon be installed on the lamp posts.

3. There was a suggestion of a flagpole being installed on the Rackliff Centre.

4. The parish council will be running a litter pick on 6th July and also in January. The timings will be similar to the ones run by the RVA. More details will be sent out by the parish clerk.

5. Barry Edwards was re-elected as Chair and Alex Britcher as Vice-Chair.


Sue White is stepping down from the role of Secretary. Chris Perry has stepped down from the role of Treasurer. A new role of Membership Secretary has been created.

The following committee members were re-elected:

  Proposer Seconder
Alex Britcher - Chair Jenny Blackburn Sonia Lawrence
Beryl Woodall - Vice-Chair Alex Britcher Michael Lawrence
Nigel Sucking - Website Alex Britcher Beryl Woodall

The following were elected to new positions :

Sue White – Membership Secretary Dennis Penfold Bjorn Simpole
Angela Funnell – Secretary Sue White Chris Perry
Bjorn Simpole – Treasurer Angela Funnell Jenny Blackburn
Chris Perry – General Ctte Member Sonia Lawrence Viv Hughes
Carol Mellors – General Ctte Member Alex Britcher Alex Britcher
Joseph Baldwin Dave Funnell Michael Lawrence


History Society – The following talks will take place: Monday 20th May Peter Griffiths will give a talk on 45 years in aviation by someone who is afraid of heights. 24th June Joe Mendell on American Presidents. 29th July Dennis Chambers – some supernatural incidents. There will be a display on the history of the Rocks and Denny Bottom at the fete on 29th July

Cinema – Eugene Gardner had sent the following update: We appreciated Malcolm Barmby bringing his working steam locomotive to complement the theme of our last film: Brief Encounter. The photos on our Facebook page show how it attracted attention.

Musical films are always great fun, so we are looking toward to screening A Star is Born this Saturday 18th May. Now that the previous nursery's office and toys have been removed we have more space. Indeed we now have an additional 50 padded chairs to add to the 50 we already had, and have retained 36 plastic ones for really popular films. But the retail therapy didn't end there: we have an additional two speakers that should be in place at the rear of the hall in time for this weekend's show - this will give everyone, irrespective of seating position, the opportunity of hearing the directors' intentions from all directions.

Incidentally, the hall trustees are in discussions with two new nursery schools with a view to one of them taking up residence in September. The opening topic was where they would store their belongings, given that it was not to be inside the hall.

On Saturday 1st June we will be showing The Wife (2017). This drama starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce was nominated for an Oscar and is something to note in the diary.

Finally, we will be launching an offshoot of the Community Cinema called Rusthall Film Society on 25th August. Showing just one film a month on a Sunday afternoon, this will cater to those interested is watching the quality classics of yesteryear as well as arthouse and special interest films that do not attract the popular appeal of the films we show every other Saturday night. This will be run as a subscription funded society, initially on an experimental basis, with the first six films guaranteed. Anyone possibly interested should email to have their name entered on the 'interested enough to learn more' list. We need a minimum 24 subscriptions (or a generous benefactor) to be viable.

Broomhill Bank School – are holding a Summer Fete and Family Fun Run on Sunday 2nd June, starting at 10am. Two categories 5k and 1k. There will also be a mini Boot Fair, Dog show and cake stall.

Gardening Club- Next meeting Thursday 30th May at 2.30pm in the library. The meeting will concentrate on how to take the club forward so please come along with ideas.

Rusthall St Paul's School – Fair on 15th June. Fundraising is very important now as so much funding has been cut. They are also collecting empty crisp packets and Pringle tubes to help raise money.

Rusthall Community Arts – in conjuction with Claque Theatre, are holding a performance from 17th - 24th July entitled Legends of the Rocks. This will take place by the Toad Rock, and at the end of each event there will be music at the Toad Rock Retreat. Casting for the performance will take place on 20th - 23rd May and everyone who turns up will be guaranteed a part in the play. All information relating to the event can be found on the website

Music at the Toad Rock Retreat – Tuesday 21st May Blues Night with Jimmy C and the Blues Dragons; Tuesday 11th June – Jim Crawford


Commons Freeholders – It transpires that everyone who lives in Rusthall is entitled to join the Freehold Tenants

The raffle raised £30
Meeting closed at 21.15
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th July 2019

Chair – Alex Britcher
Vice Chair: Tel: 01892 540018
Website editor Nigel Suckling
Secretary: Angela Funnell
MembershipSecretary: Sue White
General contact: