By 1862, parts of The Green were still owned by the War Department. These were purchased from them using monies donated by Joseph Horton (1800-1873) and George Shipdem (1790-1863), both Freemen of the Borough. (In the 1904 document previously mentioned, George is referred to as George Shipdem Frampton)
A plaque marking this event faces The Green, and is fixed to the original back garden gate of 31 Dymchurch Road - Joseph Horton’s residence which he built, along with “Rockdean” in St Leonard’s Rd, and other Hythe properties.
JOSEPH HORTON & GEORGE SHIPDEM
Both were wealthy businessmen. Joseph Horton was a mill owner, flour merchant and owner of colliers such as the “Three Brothers” (photo). He served Hythe as a Councillor and Alderman.
George Shipdem was a bachelor, and “landed proprietor”, owning properties in Theatre St and Marine Walk St. He was also a prosperous sheep farmer. He served as a Councillor, and was several times Mayor of Hythe. Following his death in 1863, two auctions at Eastbridge sold his “celebrated flock of 1500 very superior ewes and wether lambs, some of the best sheep in Romney Marsh” which reached “very high figures”. His estate was valued at “under £14,000” (about £5 million today).
In 1830 he was Mayor, and returning officer for the town’s parliamentary elections that year. Prior to the Reform Act of 1832, Hythe returned two M.Ps, and voting was restricted to Freemen of Hythe and certain other categories.