Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

TRAILL, Williamina
22 July 1785 – 9 August 1862
Proprietor & botanist

Williamina Traill came to Hayes Place with the Dehany family in 1798 and died there in 1862.

On Miss Mary Dehany’s death in 1832 Williamina was left all her property. She chose to waive her rights to the West Indian estates but to accept Hayes Place and all its land. She was 47 years old when she became one of the most important landowners in Hayes. Not only did she own Hayes Place with its 165 acres and 15 cottages she also rented a further 76 acres from Robert Howard, owner of Pickhurst.

For thirty years she managed her estate, employed over 30 labourers and had eight resident servants.

She became a regular contributor to the annual Tradesmen’s Feast and provided the funds for the village celebrations for the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838.

With keen cricketers in her family, it is not surprising that she is credited with reviving the Hayes Cricket team. In 1835 she presided at the Hayes v Bromley game at home and was described as ‘The Patroness of the Hayes Cricketers.

She was particularly interested in the natural world and the strange plants and animals that existed overseas. She received from the West Indies, for instance, the gift of a noisy parrot from Lady Cameron and some unusual wasps which were offered to Revd Berkeley.  

In 1805 she became the first Lady Proprietor of the Royal Institution, a society for the advancement of scientific knowledge.

When Revd Till died in 1827 he left her his thirty-six volumes of English Botany. The glasshouses, set up at Hayes Place, allowed her to follow her scientific interests and she became well known for her cultivation of exotic specimens. A passionflower was raised from seeds brought from Buenos Aires and she introduced into England Brugmansia Sanguinea, more commonly known as Red Angel’s Trumpet, from seeds that had been collected in Ecuador.  She sent a drawing of it to appear in the British Flower Garden by Robert Sweet.

Her gardener William Hunt, in May 1838 was awarded a silver medal at the London Horticultural Society Exhibition for a Clematis Sieboldii. Thomas Williams became head gardener after his death and exhibited successfully at the Royal Botanic Society’s Exhibitions, Regent’s Park, from 1849. In 1857 he gained a gold medal for 8 Cape Heaths and a silver medal for 6 stove & greenhouse plants.

Williamina also lent space in her glasshouse for Mrs Anna Hussey, a noted mycologist, to experiment with some of her fungi.

A talented artist, several sketches survive from the early 19th century of drawings Miss Traill made of the village.

In 1856 she contributed to and laid the foundation stone for the north aisle of Hayes Church, designed by George Gilbert Scott. The memorial plaque for her and the members of the family interred nearby is on the wall of the north aisle.

She also helped the local school to which she gave £5 a year and paid the school fees for some of her labourers’ children which in 1851 amounted to more than £11.  After her death in 1862, her brothers decided to build an additional and separate schoolroom at a cost of £400 as a tribute to her.

TRAILL, George
1787 – 29 Sept 1871
MP for Caithness 1841 – 1869

George Traill inherited Hayes Place from his sister Williamina and rented out the property. On his death, he bequeathed it to his younger brother James.

TRAILL, James
6 May 1794 – !6 Oct 1873,
Metropolitan police magistrate,

James Traill inherited Hayes Place after the death of his elder brother George. He spent some time at Hayes Place when it was owned by his sister Williamina.  James’ mother-in-law Elizabeth, Lady Henry Spencer Churchill, was buried in Hayes Church in 1868.

TRAILL, James Christie,
30 September 1826 – 6 Feb 1899

Barrister and English Cricketer

James Christie Traill became the owner of the Hayes Place estate on his father’s death.  

As a young man he was a keen cricketer and on occasions played for the Hayes XI.   

Two of his sons, James William and John Murray, and a grandson Sinclair Traill died in the First World War and are commemorated in Hayes Church.  

After the death of the tenant Edward Wilson, who had leased Hayes Place in 1868,  he sold the property to Everard Hambro in 1880.