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Barham Downs Golf Club, Kent. (1890 - WW1)

The club was founded in 1890 by Captain J G Tattersall of Charlton Park near Canterbury.

The 9-hole course measuring a total of 4,800 yards with a bogey of 77 was situated near Ingoldsby’s Gibbet. The course record was jointly held by E F Morris and A C Edwards with a score of 70. Harry Vardon went round the nine holes in 32. Competitions in the early years were; the Style Challenge Cup held in April; the Captain’s Prize in May; the Burdett Challenge Cup in September. There was also ladies’ section attached to the club. 

Entry from The Golfing Annual Vol. V - 1891-92; Annual Subscription - Household, £2/2s; Single Member, £1/1s; Number of Members, 80; Captain, Capt. Tattersall; Treasurer, R Ramsay; Secretary - Rev. H J Borrow, The Old Palace, Bekesbourne, Canterbury; Committee - Captain, Secretary, Treasurer, Matthew Bell, A W Lochee, Rev. T Hirst; Green-keeper, H Sales; The record for the green is 86 by Capt. Tattersall. The course is situated about half mile from Bishopsbourne Station. There is a clubhouse, and the lady members have a separate course to themselves.

The professional from 1891 to 1893 was H Sales and from 1893 to 1905 J Holbrook. 

In 1891 a concert was held at the Foresters’ Hall to celebrate and aid the formation of the Barham Downs club.

Results of matches against Rochester Golf Club played in December 1891.


Barham Downs Golf Club, Oakleigh Links, Kent. Results of matches against Rochester GC in December 1891.



Result of the 1894 February monthly, Gents; Captain J G Tattersall, 80 scratch, J W Jeffrey, 89 – 7 – 82; E Morris, 94 – 8 – 86; Captain Lyon, 90 – 2 – 88; A W Andrews, 122 – 25 – 97; Rev G H Gray, 123 – 25 – 98; No returns as follows; Colonel H W Parker, Captain L G Austin, Colonel Jee, C Edwards, W A Lochee, Rev C H Routledge, Rev G Hyde-Smith.

Ladies result; Mrs Stanley Stubbs, 91 – 8 – 83, Miss N Ramsay, 89 – 2 – 87, Miss K Ritchie, 102 – 13 – 89, Miss E Ramsay, 87 + 3 – 90, Miss Ramsay, 101 – 10 – 91, Miss Jeffery, 105 – 14 – 91, Miss N Waterfield, 100 – 7 – 93, Miss P Jeffrey, 118 – 25 – 93, Mrs Parker, 110 – 16 – 94; No returns, Miss Waterfield, Miss Campbell, Miss D Jeffery, Miss N Ritchie. Despite the frosty conditions the course was in good condition, with true fast greens. Visitors from Folkestone had complimented the club on the condition of the course.

In a medal competition later in the month Miss E Ramsay broke her previous course record of 82 (made in May 1893) by one shot. Miss Ramsay’s card; 2,5,6,6,4,5,5,3,4 = 40; 3,4,7,6,5,4,5,4,3 = 41.

Result of the March 1894 medal; Gents’ – Capt J C Tattersall, 80 net; Ladies’ – Mrs Stanley Stubbs, 91-8-83.

May 1894 monthly medal result; R Leigh, 93-14-79; best gross score by Captain Tattersall (+1), 80; Col H W Parker (scratch); Ladies’ - Miss N Ramsay, 83-2-81

In May 1894 Miss E Ramsay reached the last eight of the Ladies’ championship, it was won by one of the leading players of the day, Lady Margaret Scott.

In early November 1894 the medal was won by Captain G L Austin. Later in November a medal was played over the new re-constructed course, laid out by Dr B C Manley. It was won by C Igglesden, 98-12-86.

Dr B C Manley was a leading light during the early development of the club and he was held in high regard by the club members. It was he who was responsible for the original work on the “new course” Unfortunately he never saw the completion of the work, he died in August 1894.

Competition results from April 1895.


Barham Downs Golf Club, Kent. Competition results from April 1895.



In the play-off for Mr Prescott-Westcar’s prize, at the Autumn meeting in September 1901, E F Morris set a new course record of 70, details of the round; Out – 3,4,4,4,4,3,4,3,3 = 32; In – 3,4,6,4,4,4,6,4,3, = 38, total 70.

On Monday 14 October 1901 Harry Vardon, who had won the Open three times, played an exhibition match on the course. He was opposed by two well known local amateurs, Mr A C Edwards and Dr A T Morris, who played better ball against Vardon. Much credit for the arrangements of the match were given to the secretary at Barham Downs Golf Club, F W Morris and the club captain, Mr H C Price. A hole by hole account of the 36 hole match were covered in the local press and the article gives a good idea of the layout and length of the course etc. It was reported that the weather in the morning was fine for the beginning of the game but there was a gusty wind during the afternoon round.

Following are Harry Vardon’s scores for the 36 holes:

First Round – Out – 3,3,5,6,5,2,4,5,3 = 36; In – 3,3,5,3,4,3,3,5,3 = 32 – total 68.

Second Round – Out – 2,4,5,4,5,3,4,4,3 = 34; In – 3,4,4,5,3,4,5,4,4 = 36 – total 70.  

The match was eventually halved, on the final hole.

Vardon created a good impression with everyone who attended. He was pleased with the course and he said the committee and the excellent green-keeper, John Holbreck, should be proud of their course.

In early 1902 the local journalist reported -“Barham Downs is an extensive tract of high ground, along the lower side of which runs the Roman military way (Watling Street) in a straight direction from Dover to Canterbury. Here the widely known Barham Downs (Canterbury) Races previously took place for many years. Today the Barham Downs is still connected with sport – with the fashionable game of golf replacing horse racing. The Barham Downs Golf Club has very good links, and although the Club is a small one, it is very enterprising. It recently engaged Harry Vardon the ex-champion, to play an exhibition match over the links. (Mr F W Morris is currently the Honorary Secretary of the Golf Club.)”  

The AGM was held in the clubhouse on February 11th 1902, the following officers were elected; Captain, General Sir Bevan Edwards; Treasurer, Dr Moorhead; Secretary, F W Morris; Committee – H C Price, C W Prescott-Westcar; Capt Austin; Capt Tattersall; Rev G Hyde-Smith; H D Hirst; Col Parker; Sir W Style; T M Pattinson  

In late April 1902 Barham Downs played a club match against Folkestone Golf Club, Barham won by 5 matches to 2.

Following lunch in the club pavilion a presentation was made to the honorary secretary, Mr F Morris. Amongst those present; Sir Bevan Edwards, Sir William Style, Dr Morris, Captain Tatersall, Mr J E Denison, Colonel and Mrs Parker, Mr Hilton C Price, Lady Edwards and Miss Edwards, Mr & Mrs Ward, Mr E M Corbett, Colonel Blake, Mr S A Peto, Mr H Church, Mr C A Wilmot, Mr J H Brooke and many others.

Sir Bevan Edwards said after the result of the match he had come to the conclusion that one of the reasons the Barham Downs club was so far superior to Folkestone was because it possessed one of the most excellent secretaries that any club had in the world. He worked tirelessly for the good of the club. It was agreed by the members of the club that they should present their excellent secretary with a momento to show their gratitude. In conclusion Sir Bevan Edwards thanked Mr Edwards for all he had done and trusted he would be their secretary for many years to come. He then asked Mr Morris to accept the gift of a fitted dressing case.

Mr Morris responded by thanking everybody for their support for the nine years he had been secretary. He thanked all the members for the presentation and he asked them to pass on his best thanks to those who were not present on the day.

In the Style Challenge Cup and club momento played at the spring meeting in 1903 Captain Hunt beat H S Church. Following is the result of the May medal; Major Eaden, 100-20-80; F W Morris, 82, scratch; E F Morris, 83, scratch; Rev Hyde Smith, 89-6-83.

At the summer meeting in July 1903 the Captain’s prizes, presented by F Penn, gross prize was won by J E Dennison, 75+84=159; handicap prize, E T Ward, 94+102 =196-32-164. Ladies’ Captain’s prize, Miss Ward (16) beat Miss Ramsay (12). Result of the July medal, as follows; gents’ - Capt H D Hirst, 78-3-75; ladies’ - Miss Wood, 90-5-85.  

The August monthly bogey was won by J C Blore (14), 3up, J Denison (scr) was second 1up; ladies – Mrs Fitzgerald (20) 1down; Miss Wood (5), 3down, low entries due to holidays.

Results from the autumn meeting October 1903; Burdell Challenge Cup – Col H W Parker (scr) beat Rev Hyde Smith by 1 hole. Monthly medal result; gents’ – C H Henderson Roe, 71-7-74; A C Edwards, 76+1-77; ladies’ Mrs E T Ward, 96-14-82. 

In 1906 the secretary was Hilton C Price, Patrixbourne, near Canterbury and the professional J Brown, who took up post in 1905. A 9 hole course. The amateur course record jointly held by, E F Morris and A C Edwards with a score of 70, professional record was held by Harry Vardon 68. Visitors’ fees on introduction were 2/- a day, 5/- a week, 15/- a month. The station at Bishopsbourne was ½ mile away.

At the spring meeting in 1906 the Style Challenge Cup was played, there were 9 entries, in the final J P Robertson Beat S E Gay at the nineteenth.

Also listed in 1906 was Barham Downs Ladies Golf Club played over the same course as the men but from shorter tees. Same conditions for visitors.

Ordnance Survey Map below shows the location of the golf course in the 1900s.


Barham Downs Golf Club, Kent. O.S. Map showing the location of the golf course in the 1900s.

O.S. Map Revised 1906; © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1908}.


Below is the result of a match played at Barham against Folkestone on Thursday 9 October 1913.

Barham Downs Golf Club   Folkestone Golf Club  
F G Mirfield (half) 0 J U Gaskell (half) 0
F W Morris 1 Dr Wilgress 0
Col Parker 0 H A Dickins 1
P D Baker 1 R P Shaw 0
Rev W A Newman 0 G D Katinakis 1
Col Hirst 0 W R V Webb 1
T R Stoney 1 M Rouse 0
S W Adams 1 W Standring 0
Mirfield & Morris 0 Gaskell & Willgress 1
Parker & Baker 1 Dickins & Shaw 0
Newman & Adams 0 Katinakis & Webb 1
Hirst & Stoney 0 Rouse & Standring 1
  5   6

In 1914 the secretary was Thomas Main Patterson, Littlebourne House, Canterbury. The professional was now shown as H Brown. Membership of 100 gents and 55 ladies. Entry fee was £1/1/0. Subs were £2/2/0 and £3/3/0.

Barham Downs Ladies Secretary was Miss H N Carr, Oaten Hill House, Canterbury. Membership was 55. Entry fee was £1/1/0. Subs £2/2/0 and £3/3/0.


Barham Downs Golf Club, Kent. The Barham Downs clubhouse.

The Barham Downs clubhouse.


Barham Downs Golf Club. Mr Brown and his family outside the cottage.

Above, the cottage home of the Brown family, Mr Brown was the club professional.


Location of the Barham Downs Golf Club course.

Course location, Barham Downs Golf Club disappeared after WW1.

Grid reference TR19370,53115, co-ordinates 619370,153115.