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Kent Archaeological Review extract

The Court Hall, Milton Regis --
A Museum of Local History and Archaeology.
by Ralph Mills.

The fine building known as The Old Court Hall was erected in about 1450, during the reign of Henry VI and was used by the Lord of the Manor of Milton as a court house. The magistrate's seat and bench may still be seen at the far end of the upper floor. It seems that originally the building had an open ground floor, similar to Faversham's Guildhall, although on a much smaller scale, but later in its history the floor was filled by adding a dungeon, a strongroom for the town's valuables and several store-rooms.

Outside the Court Hall were appropriately situated some stocks, although the only evidence remaining today is a will of 1609, in which one Arthur Watt left the sum of ten shillings for their upkeep.

From the time of its construction until 1947 the Court Hall was used by the Portreeve, who was elected there every St James' Day, the first of May. He, since Saxon times, kept order in the town and docks, checked the weights of goods passing through the then-busy port on Milton Creek and organised the Saturday markets, which were held where Milton Library now stands. Some of the weights he used can be seen in the collection.

Despite its past importance the building slowly fell into disrepair, becoming part of a row of indifferent cottages, being used as a school and finally a potato store. In 1926 it was bought and partly restored by Mr S Nicholls, the last Portreeve. Then in 1947 it was sold to Mr T.Buggs JP, and presented to the Urban District Council. In 1959 extensive repairs and reconstruction, accompanied by the demolition of the adjacent cottages, brought the Court Hall to its present excellent state of repair.

Besides being a splendid example of timber-framing, with its handsome roof with King-Posts, the Court Hall houses a collection of items of local historical and archaeological interest, much of which has been presented or loaned by Milton residents. It is also a working museum and data and finds from local sites may be seen in various stages of preparation for publication and display.

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