Dene Holes found in Rainham, Kent

A number of 'Dene Holes' have been discovered in different locations in the Rainham area. Their true origins are not known, but there is speculation that they may have been chalk mines, underground storage for grain or for shelter from Danish invaders, hence 'Dane holes'. The basic design consists of a narrow shaft cut straight down until it widens into a larger chamber. Their age is uncertain, but some were still being dug around a hundred years ago, while some apparently show marks indicating that they were dug with picks made of bone, supporting the view that in some cases their origin may pre-date the Romans.

 

A dene hole was discovered in Twydall Lane in 1931 by Mr Harlow. He excavated the site and produced plan of the dene hole shown here. Niches were found at points A and B which were about 9 feet in height but not reaching the surface. These shafts were blackened with smoke so it may be that they were chimneys for torches or fires.

There is still a dene hole that you can see at Capstone Country Park near Hempstead.

In 1980, several dene holes were discovered during the construction of the Platters Farm estate off Marshall Road. The pictures show the dene hole at the junction of The Goldings and The Platters. This was excavated by the builders and refilled prior to construction of the houses, but after the road had been built.

Dene Hole Photo Rainham 1980

Photo of Dene Hole Rainham 1980

Photo of Dene Hole Rainham 1980
Dene Hole discovered in Rainham Kent, July 1980 Trench that discovered Dene hole running parallel to road Dene Hole After Excavation
The same Dene Hole location
The Goldings/Platters junction facing towards Marshall Road
2004

See the following links for more information.

http://47.1911encyclopedia.org/D/DE/DENE_HOLES.htm

http://www.glias.org.uk/news/167news.html#O

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Dene-Holes

Dene Holes on Wikipedia

Details of Dene Holes from "Off The Beaten Track-A Short History of Bredhurst, Wigmore and Hempstead" by Geoffrey Hutton. Published by Meresborough Books 1993, available from Rainham Bookshop.

Comments   

0 #6 saul mallett 2020-05-23 19:59
Hi Hilary, the resident you saw was my dad and we moved there in the early 80s. it felt like most the residents were very old, when we got there but then i was also only 14 so most people seemed old i imagine!. The top left house on the road going away from the A2 still has the original smallholder but he has sold off most of his land now i guess he is in his 80s and so would know most of the history. The 3rd house up from us is the grandson of the original resident . His grandfather still had pigs when we moved there and know he was there in 1939 from the census info. I cannot remember when he passed away but remember he was very old and wore really thick glasses and couldnt see his pigs. they used to escape and he would wander round our holding rattling the food bucket. all the other residents are newbies
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0 #5 Hilary Shedd 2020-05-21 13:02
Quoting saul mallett:
Hilary, Bob was before my time but that was definitely a smallholding as that is the one i am stll on. The one at the top is the first one we moved to when john friar died. they were all kcc smallholdings and all sold off now. been a lot of changes on the road in the 40 yrs we have been there and there is only 1 resident left from before us. we used to have a lot of people working in the old cherry orcahrds and people coming back from yrs before to see them. sadly all gone now

Thank you for the reply, I went up the lane today with my daughter and spoke to the man that lived at number 7 and he said they used to be small holdings. Can you please let me know who that resident is because I'd really like to find out more because it's part of my memories.
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0 #4 saul mallett 2020-05-19 21:41
Hilary, Bob was before my time but that was definitely a smallholding as that is the one i am stll on. The one at the top is the first one we moved to when john friar died. they were all kcc smallholdings and all sold off now. been a lot of changes on the road in the 40 yrs we have been there and there is only 1 resident left from before us. we used to have a lot of people working in the old cherry orcahrds and people coming back from yrs before to see them. sadly all gone now
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0 #3 Hilary Shedd 2020-05-19 16:44
Can you please tell me if Bob Friar lived in the first small holding on the left hand side and the last small holding down South Bush Lane on the right hand side was owned by his brother John Friar and that they were both agricultural farms, my mum used to work at both of them but someone is trying to tell me that there have never been any farms down there. My classmate Ross Elliott used to live there too and I used to play with his sister Nancy. I hate being called a liar, l know I am right and would just like it to be verified please.
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+1 #2 saul mallett 2017-04-30 08:46
Peter Adams it is still possible to see the entrance but it seemed to have been filled in with rubbish at some point. we took over the bit of land after fred died around 1986 i guess( one of fred grandsons peter used to pop round and visit for a long while after freds death reminiscing and doing a bit of combine driving for us ( again to relive memories- it was a very old combine!). We got rid of the last of the old cherries around the year 2000 and at some point highways attached a drain to spade lane and ran it into the dene hole so i suspect at some point in the future it will open up again!
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+4 #1 Peter Adams 2013-04-14 19:09
As a teenager in the early sixties I remember a Dene hole appearing on the property of 9 South Bush Lane, Rainham. The property went from South Bush throught to Spade lane and the hole was close to the road at Spade Lane. The property was worked by Fred Chapman and his family. I was friends with Colin Chapman and remember putting a Cherry pickers ladder down the hole and going down to look. I remember 2 chambers opposite each other and each chamber had a double domed roof. It was hard going as so much dirt had collapsed down the hole, and at the top it looked like there may have been 10 feet of dirt covering the hole before the surface collapsed. Having gone our seperate ways leaving school and subsequently moving to Australia in 1970 I have no knowledge of what became of the hole. It was probably filled in but after all these years I still think I could plot where it was?
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