Headcorn Church
County Kent, England
Paul Strain sent me the following e-mail message with photos attached on Thursday, 24 May 2001. It is included here for those who are interested in learning more about this place of importance to our BORDEN ancestors for generations.

Dear Dr. Cole:

My wife and I just returned after a 79-day trip to Spain, Portugal, England and Ireland. We visited St. Peter and St. Paul Parish Church in Headcorn, Kent, England in March.

Peter and Paul Parish Church
Headcorn Church with cemetery and the main walkway to the entrance.

It's a very active Church of England that dates back to 1100 AD, with the present church being re-built in 1350 AD. Apparently, Bordens have been attending the church for the last 600 years; however, the last member of the family died a few years ago.

When we arrived, the minister was still in the church because they had just completed a noonday service. He suggested that I contact the local historian for information about the Bordens. After some searching, we discovered that Leslie J. Daniels, the historian, was out of town for the day. A neighbor woman talked to us later and showed us the brass plaque on the floor where William Borden was buried.

Chapel in Headcorn Church
This side chapel, to the right of the main worship area,
contains the brass marker where the Borden graves were.

The plaque reads: "In the memory of William Borden of this parish who died 1531 and was buried in this chapel between his wives, Joan and Thomasine, this brass was placed here AD 1904 by Mrs. R. Y. Cook of Philadelphia USA, born Lavinia Borden, his descendant."

The gravestones outside the church are so weathered that I couldn't read any of them. However, Mr. Leslie is supposed to know all about them and where everyone is buried. We didn't have time to stay in Headcorn and proceeded on our trip. Later that evening I called Mr. Leslie and he agreed to send me a packet of Borden information to the U.S. I sent him a 5 pound note for his expenses and the information was waiting for me when we returned home last week.

Headcorn Church
Inside Headcorn Church showing the altar
at the front and oldest part of the building.

At the church, I picked up two small booklets which tells the history of the church and also gives some information about the Bordens. I have collected too much information to pass on by email.

I was fascinated with the Cooks. According to the information on your Web site, and their obvious contributions to the church, they must have spent considerable money, time and energy on preserving the Headcorn church in their genealogy quest. Mr. Daniels said that a copy of the book Robergia: A Story of Old England is in their local library, but he doubts its authenticity. He thinks that the Cooks made up the part of the story up which describes finding the lead box.

Headcorn Church stained glass
One of the inside stained glass windows.

According to the neighbor who showed us around the church, the original stain glass windows were taken down and buried in a field somewhere. This most likely occurred when the church changed from Roman Catholic to Church of England during the Reformation. A small fragment of the original window is in a portion of one window (not pictured).

Peter and Paul Parish Church
Headcorn Church from the right side.
The front and side window are shown in inside shots above.

It would be interesting to know more about Mr. and Mrs. Cook, and if their money came from the famous Borden inheritance.

Paul Strain
Long Beach, CA

 Link to "BORDEN Ancestral Line"

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Pride in the Past - Faith in the Future