Serving God, Serving our Community

Edward Moore

Edward Moore was born in 1814, the son of the Rev. George Moore.  In addition to being a Prebend of Canterbury, George was Rector of Wrotham.  George was himself the son of John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1783 to 1805.  John Moore came from a relatively humble background, his own father, another George, having been a butcher in Gloucester.

Edward Moore
Edward Moore by William Percy (1820-1903)

Edward Moore was educated at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford.  He became Deacon, with the Curacy of Standstead in Kent on 21 May 1837, aged 23.  Standstead was then a perpetual curacy under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Wrotham, his father’s parish.  In June 1838 he became a priest and his signature, as assistant curate, first appears in the Frittenden parish registers in 1839.  On 3 May 1848 he became Rector of Frittenden.  This followed the death of Rev. John Archambo Argles who had been Rector since November 1837, but appears to have hardly ever attended the parish.

Edward’s appointment was made by the Trustees of an Indenture dated 28 March 1842.  This date is of note for the following day Edward married Lady Harriet Janet Sarah Montagu-Scott. Harriet had been born in 1814 in Dalkeith House, the 6th daughter of Charles William Henry Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch and 6th Duke of Queensbury, then, and now the largest landowner in the UK. The wedding of Edward and Harriet took place at St Georges, Hanover Square, a centre for fashionable weddings. As part of the marriage there was a settlement on Harriet.  It appears from this that Edward brought to the marriage an ‘Estate’ in Kennardington, where he is described in Bagshaw (1847) as one of the principal landowners, together with freehold in Kemp Town, Brighton.  It was this financial security, together the funds from the marriage settlement, which enabled Edward and his wife to begin the significant changes to Frittenden that they wished.  It was the Trustees of the Trust Document of 1842 who had acquired the Advowson of Frittenden from Henry Hodges of Hemsted.

Edward had lived in Hollenden when he first arrived in the parish but was living in the Rectory at the time of the 1841 Census, with a male and a female live-in servant.  Upon their marriage, the first thing that Edward and Harriet undertook was the upgrading of their home, the Rectory in Frittenden.  A report commissioned from an architect and two clerics found that the Rectory had been allowed to fall into serious disrepair: indeed it was observed that the monies raised by the previous Rector, Argles, to make improvements had not been used.

Frittenden Rectory
Frittenden Rectory or ‘The Red House’ by John Preston Neale (1845)

Edward and Harriet commissioned John Walker, an architect from Maidstone, to draw up plans for a new house. So Edward Moore commenced his modernisation and produced from this ‘the old red house’, depicted here by John Preston Neale, the new Georgian/Early Victorian classical building which became Frittenden House.  To fund this renovation, Moore took a mortgage on the tithes and other receipts of the church, a procedure quite common at this time.

In addition to the works on the house, Edward and Harriet landscaped the land around the house creating initially a park land and later much else besides.  The glebe land was acquired and over the years the Marriage Settlement Trustees recorded the sale and purchase of many properties in Frittenden and elsewhere.

The new Frittenden Rectory or Frittenden House built by Edward Moore

In the grounds acquired by Moore adjacent to the Rectory, now Frittenden House, were two ponds.  Moore notes in the Parish Book that in the 10 years before the 1851 Census some ‘200 souls must have emigrated to America’ from Frittenden.  This was driven by the long economic recession experienced in the Weald in the years after the Napoleonic Wars.  Moore paid the unemployed to dig by hand the lake incorporating these two ponds. Moore paid only a few pence a day, but it did provide some employment.  As a result Moore acquired a substantial ornamental lake.

Once the house was finished, Moore turned his attention to the fabric of the church.  The church was essentially rebuilt at the Moore’s cost, some £6,000.

St Mary's Church in 1848
The rebuilt St Mary’s Church, Frittenden

The rededication of St Mary’s took place on Easter Tuesday, 25 April 1848 with a Sermon preached by the Archdeacon of Maidstone.   The re-opening of the Church was celebrated by a dinner given to the all parishioners.  The numbers, together with Visitors etc amounted to more than 1,000.  A newspaper account records that the feast provided by Edward Moore consisted of roast beef, plum pudding, and ale, and was accompanied by a brass band and a group of glee singers.

Church re-dedication
Newspaper report of the re-dedication of St Mary’s Church Frittenden
Church re-dedication
Newspaper report of the re-dedication of St Mary’s Church Frittenden

Two forms of a commemorative medal were struck to commemorate the day’s events, one of which was presented to each school child, who also received new church service books in inscribed cases.  The other was presented to the guests of Edward Moore.

Obverse of Medal
Medal struck to commemorate the rededication of St Mary’s church presented to the guests of Edward Moore.
Front of Medal
Medal struck to commemorate the rededication of St Mary’s church presented to the guests of Edward Moore.
Obverse of Medal for children
Medal struck to commemorate the rededication of St Mary’s church presented to each school child.
Face of Medal for Children
Medal struck to commemorate the rededication of St Mary’s church presented to each school child.

A resolution from the Vestry, the civil authority prior to the creation of Parish Councils in 1894, shortly after the rededication is perhaps testimony to the good works Moore and his wife undertook in Frittenden.  At that meeting it was resolved unanimously that:-

         this Meeting cannot suffer the occasion to pass without expressing the unfeigned respect and gratitude entertained by all classes of the Parishioners as well those belonging to as those dissenting from the established Church towards their beloved Rector and his Excellent Lady.

         In this expression of dutiful and affectionate regard they wish to be understood as referring not only to the rebuilding of their Parish Church which has been completed in so costly and Beautiful a manner, but also to the manifold other ways in which The Reverend Edward Moore and The Lady Harriet Moore have proved themselves the Benefactors of the Parish, which under their kind auspices judicious renovation and unsparing Charities has assumed altogether a new aspect and in its improved exterior affords a happy indication of the increased Comfort and welfare of its inhabitants.

The Moore’s funded further work on the church in 1861, some £1,500.

Through the Trustees of his marriage settlement, Edward Moore became the largest single, resident, landowner in the parish.  By 1848, he was owner of farms at Pound Hill, Giles, Spout House, Little Bubhurst and part of Chanceford Farm as well as occupying the Glebe.  In 1851 he acquired Brickwall Farm and part of the Idenden Charity Land.  Following a land exchange with the Cornwallis Estate in 1853, Moore acquired part of Tanner, Street and Broad Oak Farms as well as Church Farm, thereby enabling the creation of Parsonage Farm, the largest farming unit in the parish, and the building of a model farm.

Parsonage Farmhouse
Parsonage Farm, a ‘model’ farm created by Edward Moore

Moore’s actions were not without some resistance.  In 1859, he petitioned to have the old route from the village centre towards Staplehurst, via Maplehurst Mill, stopped up and a ‘New Cut’ made.  The impression was that he did not wish the way to pass through his land.  Despite the fact that Moore was chairman of the Vestry, the application did attract some opposition.  However, he did prevail and the ‘New Cut’, what is now the top end of Mill Lane, was established.

1867 saw some dramatic events for the family.  Moore was made a Rural Dean and shortly after was appointed Honorary Canon of Canterbury.  On 26 May, The Trustees sold the all the lands comprising the Frittenden Estate to Mr Hoare of Staplehurst, for £27,400.

Edward Moore and his family
Edward Moore and his family outside Frittenden House

Despite their wealth, social position and standard of living, family life had not been without sadness for Edward and Lady Harriet.  Their eldest and youngest children, Harriet and Helen, both died from diphtheria within 6 weeks in 1859.

Edward and Harriet Moore would have made their mark on Frittenden just by their ‘improvements’.  However, there was another side to their ‘good works’. Between completion of the work on the Moore’s home and the beginning of the restoration of the Church, another major project was undertaken.  At a Vestry meeting in October 1842, it was agreed to permit the conveyance of “all that portion of the field called the Church Field now fenced off” to eight Trustees, including Edward Moore, to be applied as a site for a school to be under the management and control of the Clergyman of the Parish.  At a meeting of the rate payers and owners of property in the parish, in July 1843, the conveyance of the site of the National Schools was duly executed.  The actual date that the Schools were opened is not known but Kelly’s Directory of 1848 records Frittenden as “having National Schools which was erected in 1845 for 211 children, in the charge of William and Elizabeth Hudson”.

Frittenden Schools
Frittenden Schools, established c1845

The Parish Records show that the ‘National Schools and Master’s residence were built by the Revd Edward Moore, Rector, at a cost of about £1,500.  In order to qualify for entry into the Schools, a child had to be a Sunday Scholar – i.e. attending Church Sunday School.  The Moore’s had an annual party for the children of the National Schools.  Later Edward Moore was to become Secretary of the National Schools movement.

Press cutting of 1844 School Treat
Press report of an annual party given by Edward and Lady Harriet Moore, for the children of the National Schools. 23 July 1844

It is probably no coincidence that the Parish established a Provident Society in 1839, the year that Edward Moore arrived as a clergyman.  Moore was an active supporter of the Society, which continued for nearly 100 years, closing in June 1939.  The object of the Society was to “give relief to the afflicted, at the smallest expense to its members”.  This was achieved by the payment of a small sum monthly.  This entitled members, all of whom were men, to receive funds from the Society, should he become incapable of working not as a result of “his own misconduct, or wanton act”.

The Provident Fund of Frittenden was a successful institution, boasting in 1894 a reserve fund of over £1,000 and a membership of 220.  The Club Day, held in May, was an annual event in the village.  The early twentieth century saw the construction of a ‘club house’ by the Provident Fund immediately behind The Bell Inn.  It still stands today.

Frittenden Provident Society
Frittenden Provident Society’s ‘Club Day’ 1913
1846 Frittenden Provident Society
Press report of 1846 Frittenden’s Club Day

Moore is known to have lent support to and encouraged the formation of a penny savings bank in 1861.  This operated from the School Library and was open every Monday morning at 10 o’clock.  Payments into the bank could be made to any amount, however small.  Withdrawals could be the whole or any portion of the balance, after one week’s notice, or in case of emergency without notice.

Moore also supported causes outside of the parish of Frittenden.  Together with the Rev Merewether, then Vicar of Tenterden, Moore was joint founder of the Kent Female Penitentiary, originally established in Tenterden.  In Victorian Britain, a female penitentiary was not a penal institution for the punishment of crime, but a charitable enterprise entered voluntarily by members of an outcast group, popularly known as ‘fallen women.’

In 1861, Moore appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Assessment and Levy of Church Rates.  In his evidence he stated that dissenters were almost always buried in the churchyard in Frittenden, and nearly all were married there; some of them occasionally attended the church.  He also gave his opinion that if the owners of property were rated instead of occupiers, it would put an end to a great deal of ill feeling about church rates.

When the Cranbrook Union Workhouse was opened at Hartley in 1838, the workhouse and farm at Frittenden which had been leased from the Idenden Charity was handed back.  Moore, who was newly arrived, was among those who advocated the use of some of the farmland as allotments.  A key aim of the allotment movement was to enable working class labourers to feed themselves better and improve their standard of living.  In Frittenden, some 7 acres were given over to allotments and these continued in use until the 1950s.

In the England of the 1860s the Harvest Home festival had acquired a reputation for unrestrained rioting and excess.  In Frittenden, Edward Moore instituted a Harvest Home in 1863.  In 1863, 31 people subscribed to the acquisition of 8lbs of tea, 10 gallons of milk, 1 sack of potatoes, beer, meat and suet, the hire of tent, band and steward for a total cost of £30-18s-0d.  The bell ringers were also recruited as was a ‘child singer’.  140 guests sat down. In 1864, Edward Moore published a booklet on the management of a Harvest Home, covering everything from the duties of the tent stewards to the boiling of the pudding.  After dinner, the booklet recommended ‘very few and very short speeches’, followed by sports, and then ‘tea at six, speeches, if any, fewer and shorter’.  The booklet concludes that the Harvest Home should ‘provide a reasonable amount of harmless relaxation for those, who of all men, most need it, and where circumstances make it almost impossible for them to provide it for themselves’.

The final years of Edward Moore in Frittenden are something of a mystery.  After 21 years as Rector and 30 years service in Frittenden, Edward resigned in April 1869, his wife dying in February the following year, aged 56.  As already noted, the Trustees of the Marriage Settlement had sold the Estate for £27,400 in May 1867 nearly two years before his resignation.

By 1868 he had become an Hon. Canon of Canterbury.

In 1871, he married (in Farnham, Surrey), Charlotte Isabella Devon, some 13 years younger than himself and daughter of Charles Devon of Rackenford and Mary his wife (both of whom were buried in Frittenden churchyard during Edward Moore’s tenure).  From 1871 to 1884 he was Secretary of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church Throughout England & Wales, what we know as the National Schools movement.  By 1874 he was living at Theobolds, Hawkhurst.  He then moved to Canterbury, initially living at the Gables (1875) and later in the precincts of the Cathedral. By 1882 he had moved to The Oaks, Ospringe, Faversham.  The National Society records note that he become vicar of Davington Western, Faversham, from 1884 until 1886.  He died in 1889, aged 75, and was buried in the cemetery of Ospringe church.  His second wife died two years later.

Edward Moore's headstone
Edward Moore’s headstone in Ospringe churchyard

His first wife, Harriet, and most of their children are buried at Frittenden.

Moore family graves
Moore family graves in Frittenden churchyard

In 1891 the East Window in the Sanctuary of St Mary’s Frittenden was erected to the memory of Edward Moore and Lady Harriet.  In 1921 his children funded a memorial column for their father.  This is situated on the right side of the pathway midway between the lychgate and the south door to the church.  The inscription reads ‘Dedicated AD 1921.  In pious memory of Edward Moore, Priest sometime Patron, Rector and Benefactor of this Church and Parish’.


The information on this page as been kindly provided by the Frittenden Historical Society.