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OS BS Markers

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Jason Coulls    17 Jul 2007

Hi all,

OK - So now having solved the missing trigpoint mystery (see the last post that got split into two pieces accidentally), I'm now working on the block of stone by the stream that leads to Stonebridge Pond from the chart mills...

Some may remember my photo from February 2003 of a stone in Faversham:

the inscribed date of 1834, and the inscription of "WH", I went looking about for anything that may describe what this thing is, as I can remember it from pre-school years (1975 to 1977), and it's still there and still nobody knows what it is. 

After much thinking I have drawn a conclusion that this has to be something (because of the Broad Arrow on the top) that is most probably Ordnance Survey related as well, (as is nearly everything else that I question)...  I am currently awaiting a response from the OS, but I'm not holding my breath.

So, here's my logic and my question:

Has anyone ever wondered why Stonebridge pond is called what it is? Could
it be that there was once a stone bridge there bridging east and west? Yes, there probably was.  A bridge normally spans an obstruction, such as a river, stream or valley...  Each side of the obstruction is a place with a name. The names of the places are often different, even though the bridge isn't necessarily very long, such as can be seen crossing bridges from Rochester to Strood, from Lambeth to Westminster, or from Faversham to a neighbouring place.

What marks a boundary? In the old days, it was usually a natural marker, such as a river, stream, valley or forest, and as the astute will realise, there is also one of these markers running northwards to Stonebridge Pond - the stream.

Going back to the stone in the photo - what is it?  Well, physically it is about 6 inches high, and has the date 1834 on it - which is when it was probably put there. It has a "Broad Arrow" on the top, which is the symbol for anything royal in Britain which should not be tampered with, usually being anything put down by the Ordnance Survey. It also has a metal tip on top, and the letters WH on one side.

Because of the OS "Broad Arrow" stamp, we can assume it is a survey marker. What type of survey requires a stone that everyone can see as they walk along the stream yet cannot be tampered with? A boundary survey marker.

Therefore, the stone is actually a marker called a "Boundary Stone".  Now look at any old map of Faversham from the mid-to-late 1800s.

You can see that where the stream is, is a dotted/dashed line with something like "Municipal Boundary" (or some contraction of that phrase ) written along it. The stone is therefore marking a 170+ yr old municipal boundary, and should be located on this line in a map.  Usually, you can see Boundary Stones marked on maps as "BS" or "B.S". 

This stone shows up as expected in 1877.

The question is this:  Knowing why the stone exists where it is, what is the "WH" referring to? 

West Hundred?  (The thing to the west of the Faversham Hundred? - Seems unlikely)
Work House?  (was there one there?)
Wool House?  (it's close by)

In a moment of stupidity, I neglected to photograph the other 3 sides of the stone in 2003, so I have to wait until I fly back in the future to look at it closer.



Arthur Percival    18 Jul 2007

Thanks for the correct reference for the boundary stone pic.   I now know which one it is: it's the one close to the Westbrook, alongside Westbrook Walk, and not one of the two outside Chart Mills.

It's just coincidence that it's close to what (in 1877) was the boundary of the Corporation of Faversham.   It's not the BS marked on the 1877 map, which was a little further west.   This one isn't where it was, but may have been moved at some time to just outside Chart Mills, where there is a boundary stone marked TLF, D and O (Town & Liberty of Faversham, Davington, Ospringe, whose boundaries met).   Bear in mind here that we are talking about a detached portion of the parish of Ospringe, not the main part S of the A2.

For the record, the other boundary stone outside Chart Mills is certainly not where it originally was.   It is another gunpowder works boundary stone, and was unearthed about 35 years ago by a JCB (or similar) driver working somewhere near the former Oare Road windmill.   Rather than see it used as rubble on a building site somewhere, it was installed alongside the other stone at Chart Mills.

Best wishes


Jason Coulls    17 Jul 2007
Hi Arthur,

The photo link should have been this:

Somehow, during the cut & paste of the message, I accidentally tacked on the first word of the next paragraph, which subsequently broke the link.

>>WH stands for William Hall<<
Aha!  I first noticed this stone in my pre-school days and always asked everybody as to what it was.  I stumbled across it again in 2003, which is when I photographed it and put it in my queue of things to investigate, knowing I'd someday get around to it.  Almost 30 years to the year after I first noticed it, I finally know what it is.

>> The stone was used to mark the boundary of his property. <<
That would make sense given that I read somewhere yesterday that the OS would get involved in estate boundary disputes - and the stone has the broad arrow on the top.

>>Nothing to do with parishes.<<
So why would an old 1877 map (see - search for Faversham, select the first map dated 1877 and then zoom in on the correct part of the map) say "Mun. Bound"? 


Arthur Percival    17 Jul 2007

WH stands for William Hall, one of the partners in the business which took over the Home Works from the Government.

When I tried to look at your photograph, I was told it wasn't available, so I can't be sure which boundary stone you mean – there are two by Chart Mills and one not far away along Westbrook Walk.

However in a sense this doesn't matter. The stone was used to mark the boundary of his property. Nothing to do with parishes.

Best wishes

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