The Brenchley and Matfield Parish Archive was set up in 2015 to collect, conserve and make better known records of the history of the parish. The Archive is separate from, but closely affiliated to, the Brenchley and Matfield Local History Society, who gifted their collection of historical material to the Archive.
The Archive group consists of volunteers who have sorted and catalogued a wide range of documents and photographs. We have developed a database through which all records held on particular topics can be readily identified. This enables us to answer questions from members of the community and, in some cases, further afield. We mount displays of Archive material at village events such as Fetes and have hosted groups of older residents to view the Archives and share memories. A programme of interviews with older residents aims to ensure that memories of the parish in past times are not forgotten.
The Archive meets, and stores its records, in the meeting room adjacent to Grays Café in the Brenchley Memorial Hall. The Archive is open on Mondays 13.30-15.30 and Thursdays, 10.00-13.00. At these times, members of the Archive Group work on the Archive and welcome visitors. Enquiries about people, places and events are welcome, or just come and have a look. The Archive also has a Facebook page (Brenchley and Matfield Archives) to encourage sharing of images and memories and is setting up a website.
The Archive has benefited from financial support from the Brenchley and Matfield Local History Society and from Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council for which the Group are most grateful. Although the costs of the Archive are fairly modest, the Archive could not exist without such funding. We also hold fund-raising events.
We are happy to receive donations of historical material or to borrow, scan and return those things that you wish to retain. The effectiveness of the Archive depends on the records given or loaned to it; the more we have the better the picture we can provide of the history of the parish and its people. Please consider making donations or loans of documents, photographs and other items that are of historical interest.
For further information please come and visit the Archive. Alternatively please contact the Chair of the Archive, Kevin Sparkhall, at firstname.lastname@example.org.