Recently an article appeared in "The Daily Telegraph" which suggested that villages should be graded according to their "p" factor. These related to the facilities available in the village, which affected the quality of life and its relationship to the well-being of its inhabitants. Among these "p"s were:
Parish Church - The Parish church is dedicated to St Mary. The construction of the present building seems to have been started during the 11th century. It was placed close to a yew tree which was already approximately 1000 years old, and may have marked the site of a pre-Christian place of worship. The influence of the Church in the village has greatly diminished over the last Century. In 1890 the living provided some £490.00 per annum from tithe rent charge, and came complete with residence and 36 acres of Glebe Land. To judge from the size of what was The Rectory, the adjoining stable block now "The Coach House" and the adjacent Glebe Lands this must have been a comparatively rich parish. The incumbent in his role as village school master was paid £50.00 per annum
Phone Box - The village has a phone box, which is of the traditional red-painted type. Its proximity to the BT local exchange means that it is serviced reasonably regularly, and it is becoming less susceptible to vandalism, probably due to the current mobile phone culture. However mobile telephones are notoriously unreliable in the area.
Playground - Eastling does not have one. Many villages have playgrounds with climbing frames, swings, seesaws, roundabouts, and slides. They give children the opportunities to hone their gymnastic skills, and develop an element of body awareness. However, concern for the Health and Safety of the users, and an increasingly litigious society has led to the demise of many facilities. Local Councils are understandably reluctant to sustain the increasing maintenance costs and escalating insurance premiums.
Playing Field - The village has no playing field available for public use. In the past the school allowed children access to its playing field, but recent Health and Safety awareness and insurance restrictions mean that children in the village have no public field in which to play. Ball games on the land in front of the cottages at The Glebe are specifically forbidden. Ironically, in the past, this was the site of a bowling green, and the area where the Water Works is now situated was a football pitch. Perhaps our ancestors were more aware of "Mens sana in corpore sano". A recent poll of the residents relating to the possible use of a piece of land from the Belmont Estate, in accordance with the wishes of the late Lord Harris, to provide a village green resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of the project, which was to be established on the site opposite the Carpenters' Arms. However, concerns from the residents living close to the proposed site, led to the Parish council deciding not to proceed.
Public Transport - The village is serviced by buses to Faversham. Nonetheless the service is efficient, and usually seems to run on time.
As can be seen Eastling does not score well if the above criteria are used to measure the quality of life of its residents. However, for many living within the confines of the village, it is, indeed, a rural idyll. The built up area is family conscious, concentrated along the incoming roads and lanes and adjacent surrounds. There are, however, several houses outside the village. The surrounding area is honeycombed with footpaths and bridleways, which make exploration a constant delight.
Site of the proposed Village Green
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