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Why“Bonds” Meadow?

“Bonds Meadow” takes its name from Arthur Harper Bond who owned the land in the early 20 th century. A colourful and somewhat flambouyant character Bond was born on 5 th January1854, the sixth child of the ten children of John Harvey Kempton Bond and his wife Rebecca (nee Barlow).

Arthur’s father was a successful Master Mast Maker and at the time of Arthur’s birth the family lived at Limehouse, London, but the following year they moved to Poplar, in the London Borough of Tower hamlets.

In1886 he married Mary Elizabeth Sarjant, the 26 years old daughter of a Margate surgeon Josiah Sarjant. After their marriage they lived in Woodford, Essex and it was here the first of their nine children were born.

In 1889 Arthur Bond and his family moved to the parish of Sutton at Hone, Kent. Here he purchased Huxtable House, Swanley, together with its small estate of 40 acres and established a horticultural college. Initially the College was for male students only, but later female students were admitted and eventually it became a Horticultural College for females only, the first in the country.

In 1892 Arthur and his family left Swanley and moved to Sussex where he became the tenant farmer of the Cleveland Great Park, an estate of 365 acres on which he planted fifty fruit trees and he planned to open a number of shops along the south coast from which he would sell the produce from his farm. This project failed and by 1898 he had moved to Lunsford House, Bexhill-on-Sea where his occupation is given as “farmer and dairyman”. In October 1900 he was carrying on business at The Stores, St. Leonard's Road, and Buckhurst Road, Bexhill.

By 1901 he and his family were living at Wade Hall, North Cove where he was a tenant farmer and “fruit grower”. Two more children were born here which brought the total number of children in his family up to nine.

Early in 1900 he purchased part Pond Farm, Oulton. Arthur purchased the old Pond Farm house (now Ashdale) which became the family home together with the adjacent fields. In 1905 he had laid out what is now Chestnut Avenue and was selling plots of building land there and also having houses constructed there himself. Two of his daughters married two of the sons of George Mobbs who lived at Laurel Farm, Oulton half a mile due north of Pond Farm. In 1917 he sold the farm and moved to Rookery Farm, Carlton Colville. Here he remained with his family until 1927 when he purchased “Clarenden” a large, rambling house in Kirkley.

It was here the following year, on 27 th September, that his wife Mary Elizabeth then aged 62 died from diabetes and was buried in the Carlton Colville churchyard. In 1929 he contracted the skin disease erisipelas and had to have constant visits from a nurse. Apparently he became infatuated with one of his young nurses and although now in his 80’s he is said to have had an “affair” with her the upshot of which was the selling of Clarendon and moving to Littlehampton in Sussex with her where he had a house built for them both!

Arthur Harper Bond died at Littlehampton on 9 th December 1940 at the age of 86. His body was brought back to Carlton Colville and he was buried there with his wife and beside the grave youngest daughter Kathleen, who had died in October 1934.