For much of the history of Wateringbury researchers are indebted to former Clerk of the Parish Edward Greensted who died in 1787 – or, as his memorial stone preferred to put it, ‘dropped like ripe fruit into its mother’s lap’ It was he who left a very graphic account of a disastrous summer storm that swept across this part of Kent in August 1773.
It only lasted about half an hour, but in that time the wind rose to hurricane force, the thunder and lightning were almost continuous and hailstones up to ten inches round battered trees, crops, houses and wildlife.
According to Greensted some of the hailstones lay in heaps for more than a month and still measured four or five inches at the end of that time. They provided a tourist attraction while they lasted, and some were sent as curios to be exhibited in London.
Wateringbury Place is a lovely Georgian house built by Thoms Style in 1707 to replace the older building. The property remained in the Style family until 1851 and then returned to it after a break, although it is now in other hands again.
The Style family became linked with the Winches in the Maidstone Brewery of Style and the old Phoenix Brewery at Wateringbury was closed on 1982 and given permission for redevelopment for housing in 1984. Its distinctive gold coloured weathervane lives on, although as a smaller copy of the original, which was lost when sent for repair many years ago. The copy is now on The Wateringbury Hotel.
As well as the Dumb Borsholder, Wateringbury used to boast about a particularly fine and unusual sundial that stood on a plinth near the porch of the church for about a hundred years. It was about two hundred years old, the work of a local man, Thomas Crow, who was born in 1772. It told the time all over the world accurately to within a couple of minutes and was valued at about £600 at the time. It was unscrewed from the plinth and stolen in 1981. It has never been recovered. There is a new sundial in the churchyard in memory of Thomas Crow.