What to See in England
By Gordon Home

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Public Domain Books

The Quintain Post At Offham and Malling Abbey

=How to get there.=–Train from Victoria, Holborn Viaduct, Ludgate Hill, or St. Paul’s. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–West Malling (1 mile from Offham). =Distance from London.=–36 miles. =Average Time.=–1-1/2 hours.

                     1st       2nd      3rd
=Fares.=–Single   5s. 11d.  3s. 9d.  2s. 11-1/2d.
          Return  10s.  4d.  7s. 6d.  3s. 11d.

=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"George Hotel” at West Malling. =Alternative Route.=–None.

On the green at Offham, an out-of-the-way Kentish village, stands the only quintain post in England. It consists of a tall white post, having a spike at the top, upon which revolves a cross-bar. This portion, which turns on the spike, has a fairly broad square end covered with small holes, while at the opposite end hangs a billet of wood.

The pastime consisted in riding on horseback at the broad end and aiming a lance at one of the holes. The rider had to duck his head at the same instant, in order to save himself from the billet which swung round immediately the lance-point caught the opposite end. Only those who were very agile saved themselves from a nasty blow. Instead of a billet, a bag containing sand or mould would sometimes be suspended on the cross-bar. This would swing round with sufficient force to unseat the rider.

This quintain post is undoubtedly one of the most interesting survivals of the pastimes of the “good old days.” The owners of the adjoining house have been required to keep the quintain post in a good state of repair, and it is doubtless to this stipulation in the title-deeds of the property that we owe the existence of this unique relic.

The ruins of Malling Abbey, now the property of an Anglican sisterhood, are extremely interesting. The abbey was founded in 1090, and was given to the nun Avicia by the famous Gundulf of Rochester. The keep of St. Leonard, not far from the abbey, was also built by Gundulf, who is responsible for the White Tower of the Tower of London. This St. Leonard’s Tower is said to be of earlier character than any keep in Normandy. Permission to see the ruins must be obtained from the abbess or chaplain, and visitors are expected to give a small contribution towards the restoration fund.

[Illustration: OFFHAM.

The Quintain Post on the Green.]


Preface  •  Ham House and Petersham  •  Walton-On-Thames (scold’s Bridle)  •  Harrow  •  Holwood House, Keston  •  Chigwell, Essex  •  Waltham Abbey and Cross  •  Downe  •  Epsom: Its Races and Its Salts  •  Epping Forest  •  Hampton Court  •  Rye House, Broxbourne  •  Hatfield House, Herts  •  Runnymead, the Signing of Magna Charta  •  The Oldest Brass in England  •  St. Albans  •  Stoke Poges Church, Bucks  •  Windsor  •  Jordans and William Penn  •  Knole House and Sevenoaks  •  Greenstead Church  •  Chalfont St. Giles  •  Westerham  •  Guildford, Surrey  •  Gad’s Hill  •  Ightham Mote, Kent  •  Penshurst  •  St. Michael’s Mount and Marazion  •  Rochester Cathedral  •  Tunbridge Wells  •  The Quintain Post At Offham and Malling Abbey  •  Eversley  •  Farnham, Surrey  •  Hindhead, Surrey  •  Shottermill  •  Penn’s Chapel At Thakeham, Sussex  •  Chawton the Home of Jane Austen  •  Selborne  •  Elstow  •  Lewes, Sussex  •  Bodiam Castle, Sussex  •  Colchester, Essex  •  Layer Marney  •  Battle Abbey  •  Cambridge  •  Arundel Castle  •  Olney, Bucks  •  Wantage and the Country of Alfred the Great  •  Canterbury and Its Cathedral  •  Reculvers  •  Oxford  •  Midhurst  •  Pevensey Castle  •  Savernake Forest  •  Ely Cathedral  •  St. Ives, Huntingdonshire  •  Winchelsea and Rye  •  Blenheim Palace  •  Peterborough Cathedral and Crowland  •  Peterborough  •  Southampton  •  Helmingham Hall  •  Stonehenge, Wiltshire  •  Netley Abbey  •  Salisbury and Its Cathedral  •  Sandwich, Kent  •  New Forest, Hampshire  •  Osborne House  •  Carisbrooke Castle  •  Lutterworth  •  Compton Wynyates  •  Kenilworth Castle  •  Belvoir Castle  •  Bath  •  Boston and the Pilgrim Fathers  •  Warwick  •  Gloucester and Its Cathedral  •  Norfolk Broads  •  Norwich Cathedral  •  Lichfield  •  Sherborne and Its Abbey Church  •  Newark  •  Wells and Its Cathedral  •  Stratford-On-Avon  •  Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk  •  Lulworth Cove, Dorsetshire  •  Corfe Castle  •  Lincoln and Its Cathedral  •  Somerset, the Birthplace of Tennyson  •  Glastonbury Abbey  •  Walsingham, Norfolk  •  Cheddar Caves, Cheddar, Somerset  •  Newstead Abbey  •  The Wessex of Thomas Hardy’s Romances  •  Tintern Abbey  •  Chesterfield, Derbyshire  •  Dukeries  •  Haddon Hall, Derbyshire  •  The Isle of Athelney, and Sedgemoor  •  Raglan Castle  •  Dovedale  •  Wellington and the Wrekin, Shropshire  •  Wroxeter and the Roman City of Uriconium, Salop  •  Buildwas Abbey, Shropshire  •  Ludlow and Its Castle  •  Shrewsbury  •  Buxton and the Peak District  •  Tewkesbury  •  Exeter and Its Cathedral  •  Market Drayton, Salop  •  Chester  •  Exmoor  •  Knutsford  •  Torr Steps On the Barle, Somerset  •  Cleeve Abbey, Somerset  •  Hawarden  •  York Minster  •  Coxwold, Yorkshire  •  Llangollen and Valle Crucis Abbey  •  Knaresborough, Dripping Well  •  Fountains Abbey  •  Ripon Cathedral  •  Dartmoor  •  Haworth  •  Rievaulx Abbey  •  Brixham, Devon  •  Conway Castle  •  The Doone Valley, Exmoor  •  Llandovery, South Wales  •  Dartmouth, Devon  •  Richmond, Yorkshire  •  Tintagel  •  Whitby  •  Carnarvon Castle  •  Plymouth  •  Durham and Its Cathedral  •  Raby Castle, Durham  •  Snowdon  •  Harlech Castle  •  Grasmere and Rydal Mount  •  The Lake District  •  St. Davids Cathedral  •  Furness Abbey, Lancashire  •  Monkwearmouth, Near Jarrow  •  The Isle of Man  •  Brantwood  •  Fowey  •  Hexham and Hadrian’s Wall  •  The Lake District  •  Keswick  •  Alnwick Castle  •  Lanercost Priory, Cumberland  •  Lanercost Priory and Stepping-Stones.]  •  St. Ives, Cornwall  •  Bamborough Castle, Northumberland

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What to see in England;: A guide to places of historic interest, natural beauty or literary association,
By Gordon Home
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