Thomas Floyd snr
I am grateful to Thomas’s great granddaughter, Sue Collier, for so generously
allowing us access to the family archive and for writing this and other items
about the Floyd family, who played such a major part in Blackham village life.
Thomas Floyd was born in 1838 in Tudeley,
Kent, the youngest of the nine children of
William Floyd and Hannah Ware. His father
was an agricultural labourer and so was
Thomas in 1861, still living with his parents in
By 1871 he had moved to the Lodge Gate at
Highfields in Blackham where he was the
He married Charlotte Clifton of Wadhurst in
1872 and they had their first son William
Henry in 1876 but sadly he died within a few
months of birth.
In 1881 Thomas had moved on and was living
at Highfields Park Mansion as a farmer of 123
acres employing one labourer. Their second son
Thomas (Tom) was born in 1884 and some
time before 1891 the family had moved to
Charlotte died in 1896 at the age of 55 leaving
Thomas and his 11 year old son Tom. Gertrude
Jeffery, the daughter of Charlotte’s sister
Elizabeth and Adin Jeffery, came to live with
them as housekeeper.
This was as much as the family knew of
Thomas Floyd but it wasn’t until his grandson
Cecil Floyd died in 2007 and the family home
was prepared for sale that more details of
Thomas Floyd’s life emerged revealing the
extent of his business acumen and more of the
role he had played in Blackham life.
Much of the contents of Willetts Farm must
have come to Watch Oak and remained there
thanks to a family who were reluctant to throw
The house was a treasure trove of photographs,
portraits, account books, school books, and all
kinds of letters, deeds and plans – all over 100
years old, as well as a collection of personal
items that spoke of his achievements.
They revealed an intriguing man who had
started life as an agricultural labourer and
ended up a well-to-do farmer, a member of the
local parish council and an owner of many
Thomas Floyd was
elected as a
councillor on the
Parish Council of
1894 coming a
good second in the
poll not far behind
The photograph of
the council shows a
somewhat larger than life character in the
centre of the picture dressed in a light suit.
Newspaper reports reveal he enjoyed social
gatherings and by all accounts had a fine
He was not only a farmer but at some stage had
started acquiring land and building houses in
Blackham, including Watch Oak Villas, where
he lived after retiring from farming.
He also co-owned properties in Edenbridge and
Groombridge with George West. Details of his
property dealings will be covered via the link
Thomas Floyd enjoyed ten years of retirement
at Watch Oak Villa before he died in Dec 1922
at the age of 84 and was buried in Ashurst
churchyard with his wife Charlotte.
Thomas and Charlotte
Thomas in the hop
garden at Willetts
THE LATE MR FLOYD. It is with regret that we record
the death of Mr Thomas Floyd of Watch Oak,
Blackham which occurred on Saturday. The deceased
gentleman was 84 years of age and was highly
respected in the district having lived in the parish for
upwards of 40 years.
Mr Floyd came from Pembury and took the position of
gardener and steward to the late Mr Richard Price
Haigh, a post he had held until recently for the present
occupier of the Highfields Park Estate, Col D P Haig.
Mr Floyd was one of the first Councillors for Withyham
Parish and was particularly fond of all kinds of sport.
He farmed successfully for a number of years at
Willetts Farm, Blackham and was a well-known
attendant at most local markets.
Being fond of music and singing, Mr Floyd would
always contribute to the harmony at smoking concerts
in the district.
The late Mrs Floyd predeceased him some 25 years
ago. Deceased leaves one son, for whom the deepest
sympathy is felt.
The funeral took place on Wednesday at St Martin’s
Church, Ashurst. The Rector the Rev E Hayter Cox,
conducted the service and those present at the
graveside were Mr Thomas Floyd (son), Miss Jeffrey
(niece), Mr and Miss Floyd (nephew and niece), Mr
and Miss Jeffrey (nephew and niece), Mr Eagleton
(Penshurst), Mr Norman Langridge (representing the
Hartfield choir), and Miss Scales. Others noticed were
Col D P Haig (Highfields Park), Mr W Fred West
(Groombridge), Mr Geo West (Park Corner), Mr T
Ashby, Mr N Langridge (Hartfield), Mr H Ashby, Mr
and Mrs Scales, Mr and Mrs Boreham, Mr F Harwood,
Miss Scales, Mr W Ford, Mr E Crowhurst, Mr Chas
Caffyn, Mr B Bashford, Mrs T Coomber, Miss Berry,
Mrs Kestin, Mr G Covell and many others.
Among the floral tributes were those from Tom and
Gertie; Fred and Alice, Mr, Mrs and Miss Scales; Mr
and Mrs Couchman; Clara, Harry and Girlie; Mrs
Kestin and Family; Mr and Mrs Berry and family; the
Members of Blackham Cricket Club; Adin, Bertha,
Edie and Annie; Colonel and Mrs Haig and family
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr A
Couchman and the bearers were tenants from the
Kent & Sussex Courier 22 December 1922