This article appeared in the Autumn 1973 (Issue #33) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Sandwich Festival --
June 30th - July 8th, 1973.
The Records Group of the Sandwich Local History Society have spent an interesting year preparing for their Summer Exhibition in Sandwich Guildhall. Plans for the exhibition went through almost as many changes as Nereus before settling into the final shape of four sections dealing with local History, Archaeology, Natural History and a brief history of the Boys family of East Kent. The connecting link between these disparate items was Dr William Boys, the Great Exemplar of all local historians, an early member of the Society of Antiquaries, an equally early member of the Linnaean Society and an illustrious member of the Boys family. The Records Group gratefully accepted the expert help of the Society's Archaeological Group and of Mr Dennis Harle, the Artist and Naturalist whom Sandwich is fortunate to number among its residents, in the preparation of the Archaeological and Natural History Section and themselves concentrated on the remaining two sections.
The Local History Section was furnished with a fascinating collection of items supplied by members of the Society and generous friends in the surrounding area and included domestic and agricultural bygones, dresses worn by nineteenth century Sandwich ladies and children, Cromwellian shoes found in the recent restoration of a rather run down greengrocer's shop to its original status as a Kentish yeoman's hall house, and a splendid miscellaneous collection of items dating from 1950 to 1750 not the least impressive of which was a small wooden box labelled "Dissected Emblems of the Natural and Regenerate Man suitable for the Instruction of Youth of all Ages Designed to Impress upon their Minds a love to virtue and a Hatred to Vice", dated 1789.
The fourth section involved the group in an extended pursuit of endlessly proliferating branches of the Boys family from their roots in Bonnington and Fredville to their final dispersal to such places outside the County as London, The Midlands, Toronto and New Zealand, involving them on the way in the Cannibal Incident of the Luxborough Boat and Hasted's pathetic picture of the departure on horseback of the Fredville Boyses, ruined by the Civil War, from their ancestral home with their hawks on their hands. Compelled by the exigencies of space to limit the Boys section to those members of the family more or less directly connected with Sandwich, it was necessary, among other fascinating discoveries regretfully to discard the delectable brass in Herne Church showing Sara Boys, the second wife of John Sea of Underdown, suffering the indignity of inheriting her predecessor's costume as well as her husband. They were, however, able to include a superb map of 1763 of the Brook Bridges estates showing Goodnestone and Bonnington with every rosy brick cottage and every green tree standing on its own blue shadow and with all the field names, the names of the tenants and everything else one could wish for.
This twelve months exercise has produced an advanced form of Boys-mania in at least one member of the Records group and has developed a clearer understanding of the family pride that prompted Sir John Boys of Hothe Court, 50 years after the sale of both Bonnington and Fredville, to style himself "perantiqua Boysiorum gente de Fredville et de Bonnington oriundi."