Woodchurch Village Life Museum

Woodchurch Village Life Museum Woodchurch Village Life Museum You can listen to recordings of villagers, recalling times gone by. Perhaps you remember some of these from your youth.
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Woodchurch is a picturesque Kent village which is situated eight miles from the historic market town of Ashford and four miles from the Cinque Ports town of Tenterden. The museum is housed in an 18th century oak-framed barn and 17th century cart shed, on a rural site two minutes' walk from the church, school and pubs. The main collection is on the ground floor of the barn and shows the history of

Woodchurch with relics from the Bronze Age to recent times. Your children can try our ‘Kids’ Quiz’ to find out who has been the most observant in their tour of the museum. The upper floor of the barn has the Study Centre housing documents including books, maps and records of family history. Access to the Study Centre is only possible by prior appointment. The adjacent 17th-century cart shed has a collection of farm carts and agricultural curiosities from the 19th and 20th centuries. There is wheelchair access to the displays downstairs and the toilets. The museum is entirely staffed by volunteers. We will gladly open at any time by prior appointment

So, that's it for another year. The museum is now closed for the winter. Thank you to everyone who visited us this year ...
30/10/2023

So, that's it for another year. The museum is now closed for the winter. Thank you to everyone who visited us this year and to all those who earned a much-coveted Wheels of Time badge. Over the next few months we'll be working on some new displays ready for when we reopen in March 2024. We look forward to seeing you then.

Confirmation of the dates and times that you'll be able to take part in the fabulous Eerie-on-Sea Monster Museum Tour at...
19/10/2023

Confirmation of the dates and times that you'll be able to take part in the fabulous Eerie-on-Sea Monster Museum Tour at the Woodchurch Village Life Museum next week. We're really looking forward to seeing you!

We're taking part in the Eerie-on-Sea Monster Museum Tour from Kids in Museums & Walker Books.Visit the Woodchurch Villa...
06/10/2023

We're taking part in the Eerie-on-Sea Monster Museum Tour from Kids in Museums & Walker Books.

Visit the Woodchurch Village Life Museum this half term (23-27 October) to search for strange creatures and spooky spectres. Plus you could win a bundle of all five Eerie-on-Sea books and, of course, if you haven't already, collect a Wheels of Time badge.

Jon Chaplin from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group will be talking about the group's publications at the upcoming Local Auth...
13/09/2023

Jon Chaplin from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group will be talking about the group's publications at the upcoming Local Authors' Day in Tenterden. Josie Mackie will also be there to discuss any Woodchurch-related queries. Do go along and say hello at what will be a great opportunity to meet some well-known local history authors.

Great Saturday morning spent  cataloguing the document archive at the Woodchurch Village Life Museum. If you haven't vis...
03/09/2023

Great Saturday morning spent cataloguing the document archive at the Woodchurch Village Life Museum. If you haven't visited before, pop this in your diary soon as we close at the end of October. An absolutely wonderful collection of items connected to village history that you're unlikely to find elsewhere. Free admission, free Wi-Fi, lots of parking, a relaxing picnic area, and refreshments too. What more could you want? Oh, we're also a member of Wheels of Time, so your little ones (5–12 years) can collect a much-coveted badge here too!

Today is International Women's Day, which this year celebrates the contribution women have made to our digital world fro...
08/03/2023

Today is International Women's Day, which this year celebrates the contribution women have made to our digital world from the earliest days of computing to the present day. Mollie Butcher, who lived in Woodchurch for over 50 years, is one of those women. [Words and picture: Charles Boxer, Woodchurch Village Life Museum]

We've just heard the sad news that John Pellett passed away last week. Together with Jim Addy, John painstakingly resear...
15/01/2023

We've just heard the sad news that John Pellett passed away last week. Together with Jim Addy, John painstakingly researched and wrote three hugely popular books about the village: 'The Corridor of Fear: Woodchurch - Summer 1944' (2005), 'Fear & Fun: Woodchurch 1939-45' (2006), and 'Woodchurch Bonfire Society 1951-59' (2008). John was a wonderful neighbour, a larger-than-life character, and a genuinely nice person. RIP John Pellett (1933-2023).

Merry Christmas!
24/12/2022

Merry Christmas!

Did you catch BBC South East Today's broadcast from Woodchurch and the Village Life Museum yesterday featuring curator C...
26/05/2022

Did you catch BBC South East Today's broadcast from Woodchurch and the Village Life Museum yesterday featuring curator Charles Boxer and co-chair of the museum Gina McKay? If not, I've posted the clip on the museum's YouTube channel.
https://youtu.be/zkyDCPyeA8M

Sara Thornton visits Woodchurch and the Village Life Museum as part of the BBC South East Today's On The Map series

04/04/2022

We re-open on Friday 15 April. Come and see our fascinating collection, complete a picture quiz, leaf through our local history books, grab a souvenir at the shop, enjoy our garden and collect a Wheels of Time badge. So much to see and do!

Definitely looking forward to a less bumpy 2022 and welcoming visitors back to the museum when we reopen on 15 April. Ha...
04/01/2022

Definitely looking forward to a less bumpy 2022 and welcoming visitors back to the museum when we reopen on 15 April. Happy New Year everyone!

25/12/2021
If you were in the village in 1958 you would have seen this monster of a bonfire slowly taking shape on The Green over t...
04/11/2021

If you were in the village in 1958 you would have seen this monster of a bonfire slowly taking shape on The Green over the days and weeks before 5 November. Tower Bridge was set alight by twenty-one-year-old Jill Browne, best known for her role as Nurse Carole Young in 'Emergency Ward Ten' (and who would later marry co-star John Alderton). Sadly, this would be the last bonfire and torchlight procession organised by the Bonfire Society. Were you there to see the end of an era?

If you are researching your Woodchurch family connections, you might like to know that the publication date of the 1921 ...
27/10/2021

If you are researching your Woodchurch family connections, you might like to know that the publication date of the 1921 census has just been announced by The National Archives.
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/1921-census-online-publication-date-announced/

Today we can announce that the 1921 Census for England and Wales will be published online by Findmypast on 6 January 2022. Taken between two world wars, during a period of economic turmoil and at a time when women had just won the right to vote, the 1921 Census will provide some fascinating insights...

As part of the Canterbury Festival (16-30 Oct), The Centre for Kent History and Heritage at Canterbury Christ Church Uni...
15/10/2021

As part of the Canterbury Festival (16-30 Oct), The Centre for Kent History and Heritage at Canterbury Christ Church University is running a series of free online talks. All have a strong Kentish theme and start with one on Roman Canterbury. If you didn't already know, the track of a Roman road passes through the north of the village, so it's likely that traders and Roman soldiers frequently passed by what would become Woodchurch.
https://canterburyfestival.co.uk/whats-on/the-centre-for-kent-history-and-heritage-festival-talks/

The Centre for Kent History and Heritage at Canterbury Christ Church University is delighted to be hosting a series of free online talks during the festival fortnight that celebrate Kent’s rich heritage in photography, poetry, history and archaeology.

Cracking start to the new series of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' last night (Tuesdays 9 pm BBC One) with comedian Josh Wi...
13/10/2021

Cracking start to the new series of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' last night (Tuesdays 9 pm BBC One) with comedian Josh Widdicombe. Starting with a connection to the wealthy owners of Barings Bank in the 18th century, Josh was taken back step-by-step to the Tudor court and the final moment at Hever Castle when it was revealed he is descended from Edward I. Completely unexpected and certainly one of the best episodes of WDYTYA.

And the connection to the village? Well, Sir Simon de Woodchurch, whose family owned Place House overlooking The Green, accompanied Edward I on his brutal military campaign in Scotland to crush resistance to English authority (think William Wallace and 'Braveheart'). Edward picked up the nickname 'Hammer of the Scots' and Simon a knighthood for his service.

Also recently reprinted is Josie Mackie's excellent 'Voices of the Dead'. Josie cleverly constructs an engaging and high...
22/09/2021

Also recently reprinted is Josie Mackie's excellent 'Voices of the Dead'. Josie cleverly constructs an engaging and highly readable history of the village in the 18th century using the wills of people living at the time. As with 'Leaving Woodchurch' and 'Then & Now', 'Voices of the Dead' is available in person from the Woodchurch Village Life Museum and the Woodchurch Hub for just £9. Copies are also available online from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group website.
https://www.woodchurchancestry.org.uk/bookshop/voices.html

A history of the people of Woodchurch in Kent in the eighteenth century

Hot on the heels of the recent reprint of 'Leaving Woodchurch', one of the Woodchurch Village Life Museum's most popular...
22/09/2021

Hot on the heels of the recent reprint of 'Leaving Woodchurch', one of the Woodchurch Village Life Museum's most popular publications 'Then & Now' is available again. You can buy 'Then & Now' in person from the Woodchurch Village Life Museum and the Woodchurch Hub for just £9. Copies are also available online from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group website.
https://www.woodchurchancestry.org.uk/bookshop/thenandnow.html

An illustrated history of the village of Woodchurch, near Ashford, Kent.

After several months of being out of print, I'm delighted to announce that 'Leaving Woodchurch' is available again. It's...
18/09/2021

After several months of being out of print, I'm delighted to announce that 'Leaving Woodchurch' is available again. It's the fascinating story of emigration from the village since the 1600s with families seeking out new lives in America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. You can buy 'Leaving Woodchurch' in person from the Woodchurch Village Life Museum and the Woodchurch Hub for just £9. Copies are also available online from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group website.
https://www.woodchurchancestry.org.uk/bookshop/leaving.html

Emigration from Woodchurch since the Seventeenth Century

If you were a reluctant pupil at the end of the summer holidays or struggled to get your children ready for school today...
01/09/2021

If you were a reluctant pupil at the end of the summer holidays or struggled to get your children ready for school today, then you're not alone. A century ago, teachers faced real challenges getting students back into the classroom, as Gary Samson of the Woodchurch Ancestry Group explains.
https://www.woodchurchancestry.org.uk/blog/2021/09/01/back-to-school-the-struggle-is-real/

It's the first day of September and across Kent pupils are going back to school, but 100 years ago teachers struggled to fill their classrooms.

In the latest blog post from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group, Josie Mackie tells how as a result of the Poor Act 1697 the ...
31/08/2021

In the latest blog post from the Woodchurch Ancestry Group, Josie Mackie tells how as a result of the Poor Act 1697 the destitute of the village were forced to wear badges of shame.
https://www.woodchurchancestry.org.uk/blog/2021/08/31/poor-marks-and-badges-of-shame/

It’s no fun being poor, and certainly not if you lived a few hundred years ago. Josie Mackie discusses the use of poor marks and badges of shame.

Are you a keen photographer who's also interested in local history? If so, you could be the BALH Local History Photograp...
19/08/2021

Are you a keen photographer who's also interested in local history? If so, you could be the BALH Local History Photographer of the Year 2022. No need to be a BALH member to enter.
https://www.balh.org.uk/photo

What does local history mean to you? From dilapidated bus stops and local swimming pools to soaring church spires and bumps of ridge and furrow, we all have stories to tell about the places and spaces around us.

07/06/2021

Woodchurch and Operation Sea Lion. In 1940, Woodchurch and the surrounding villages were in the frontline of Hitler's plan to invade southern England.

Just one more sleep until we open the doors to the museum and welcome visitors again. We've missed you, it’s been far to...
21/05/2021

Just one more sleep until we open the doors to the museum and welcome visitors again. We've missed you, it’s been far too long! We have a brand new ‘Inspired by Woodchurch’ exhibition for you to enjoy. It includes all sorts of fascinating creative items that have been, well…inspired by Woodchurch—paintings of local scenes by renowned local artists Rowan Crew and Roy Blundell, books on smuggling, pebbles from the Woodchurch caterpillar, windmill models, crafts and much, much more. Entry is completely free (although donations large and small are always welcome). It’s going to be a rubbish weekend weather-wise, so come and have a great time exploring your local museum instead. We're a Wheels of Time site too! 😊

15/05/2021

We're getting ready to welcome you back!

Saturday 22 May

Extremely sad news about the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh this morning. Occasionally...
09/04/2021

Extremely sad news about the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh this morning. Occasionally a controversial figure, but undeniably a hugely important and influential member of the royal family. Of his service to British life, the Queen said in 1997, 'He has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years. And I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know'.

It's Easter weekend and in any other year the museum would be open and welcoming visitors. Unfortunately, we need to wai...
04/04/2021

It's Easter weekend and in any other year the museum would be open and welcoming visitors. Unfortunately, we need to wait a little longer before we can open our doors again. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend and we hope you'll be able to come and see our fabulous collection sometime after 17 May.

Happy St David's Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!
01/03/2021

Happy St David's Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

It's our twentieth anniversary this year! Can you believe it? The Woodchurch Village Life Museum opened in January 2001 ...
18/02/2021

It's our twentieth anniversary this year! Can you believe it? The Woodchurch Village Life Museum opened in January 2001 under the inspirational leadership of Geoff Loynes and we've been welcoming visitors ever since. When the government Covid-19 restrictions allow, we'll be hosting some celebratory events and exhibitions. More to follow.

We sometimes think of museums as dry and dusty places full of old artefacts but the Bengali language has a lovely and ve...
31/01/2021

We sometimes think of museums as dry and dusty places full of old artefacts but the Bengali language has a lovely and very different way of expressing the idea of a museum. We look forward to welcoming you to our 'magic room' sometime this year.
https://twitter.com/littlegaudy/status/1355876436213706760?s=20

“At my regular Sunday reading lesson with my Mum today, I learned the Bangla word for 'museum' is 'jadughor'. It literally means 'magic room', and I am (momentarily) hugely in love with the fact that the idea that museums are magic is baked into my mother tongue.”

Address

Susan's Hill, Woodchurch
Ashford
TN263RE

Opening Hours

Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm

Telephone

01233 860240

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Our Story

The Woodchurch Village Life Museum will remain closed during the coronavirus outbreak. We aim to re-open as soon as the UK Government lifts the restriction on travel and social gathering and look forward to welcoming you then. Woodchurch is a picturesque Kent village which is situated eight miles from the historic market town of Ashford and four miles from the Cinque Ports town of Tenterden. The museum is housed in an 18th century oak-framed barn and 17th century cart shed, on a rural site two minutes' walk from the church, school and pubs. The main collection is on the ground floor of the barn and shows the history of Woodchurch with relics from the Bronze Age to recent times. You can listen to recordings of villagers, recalling times gone by. Your children can try our ‘Kids’ Quiz’ to find out who has been the most observant in their tour of the museum. The upper floor of the barn has the Study Centre housing documents including books, maps and records of family history. Access to the Study Centre is only possible by prior appointment. The adjacent 17th-century cart shed has a collection of farm carts and agricultural curiosities from the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps you remember some of these from your youth. There is wheelchair access to the displays downstairs and the toilets. The museum is entirely staffed by volunteers. We will gladly open at any time by prior appointment


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