Hayes (Kent) History

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Hayes (Kent) History

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Torrens, Alfred
1832 – 22 January 1903
Captain 66th Royal West Berks Regiment, MCC & West Kent Cricket Club

In 1873 Captain Torrens and his wife Ann, the daughter of Sir Claude Scott of Sundridge, leased Baston Manor from John Farnaby Lennard and moved there with their young family.  By this time he had retired from his position as a Captain in the 66th Regiment and also in 1874 gave up his position as adjutant of volunteers which he had held for seven years.

He made several improvements to the outbuildings but his main passion was his garden.  He brought back exotic specimens from his travels for his greenhouses and became well known for the chrysanthemums he was growing.

In the early 1890s, he was elected to a seat on the Board of Guardians and the Rural Sanitary Authority as the representative for Hayes.  He was elected a member of the Hayes Parish Council from its inception in 1894 until his death.  He was also a Conservator of Hayes Commons and on several occasions was involved in efforts to quell the fires which broke out on the Common. 

He was well known for his generosity and more than one soldier who had served with him came to Baston Manor and received assistance.   As his obituary said ‘ In the village, his cheery smile and cordial greeting will be sorely missed.  To young and old, rich and poor alike, his old-world courtesy never failed.  He was, indeed, a true English gentleman.’  His widow Anne continued to live at Baston Manor until she moved in 1916 to the Grove where she died in 1924. She supported the Church and in 1920  the dedication of the replica Pitt Banner, which she had made to replace the one lost in earlier renovations, was dedicated.

Torrens, William Matthew
1869 – 15 February 1931

William Matthew Torrens was the eldest son of Captain Alfred and Ann Torrens.  He lived with them at Baston Manor and in 1896 he was commended for his bravery in confronting a notorious burglar, Charles Taylor, who was stealing silver from the house.

After his marriage in 1906 to Lilian Fardell, he moved to Prickley Wood and they had two daughters and a son. 

When his mother moved to the Grove they joined her and remained living there until 1930, leaving shortly after their daughter Betty married Randle John Baker Wilbraham in a very fashionable wedding at St Martin’s in the Field.  Canon Percy Thompson, Rector of Hayes, was one of the officiating clergy. 

Matt Torrens was very active within the community, member of the Parish Council from 1925 until 1930, Hayes Common Conservator, Chairman of the Hayes, Keston & West Wickham Conservatives, member of the Hayes Flower Show Committee and of the Hayes Cricket Club.

Torrens, Attwood Alfred
1874 – 8 December 1916
Stockbroker, Cricketer, Major RFA

Attwood Torrens, the second son of Alfred and Ann Torrens, was born in Hayes and lived with his parents at Baston Manor.  He was involved with the Scouts. He was a good cricketer, a keen supporter of Hayes Cricket Club and in 1906 joined the MCC on their tour to New Zealand.    At the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the Public Schools Battalion and then the Royal Field Artillery as a Major.  On 8 December 1916, he was struck by a piece of shell while trying to lead his men to safety.  He was described as an excellent officer and very popular in the brigade. At the age of 42, he is the oldest of the First World War casualties to appear on the Hayes War Memorial.