The appraisal has become a very useful time to place a yardstick in the ground and determine where we have come from, what we have in hand and where we want to go, personally and as a community
Some of this has been effected in this parish with the assistance of the parish appraisal, and it is this data that forms the basis of these forthcoming articles. As well over 70% of the population returned the questionnaire it can rightly claim to represent the current feeling and opinions of High Halstow.
As reported before this performs the dual role of becoming the snap shot of the parish and also provides support for parish organisations when pursuing new members, grant aid and further support etc. The surrounding authorities should also use it as a very close representation of the parish opinions and current requirements.
Within these pages you will find a detailed history of the parish and a summary of its current activities and characters. A time capsule of a frozen picture of life today. It also provides an instrument for planning the way ahead and offers many recommendations. Only time will tell if these plans can be brought to fruition.
What it is that makes us live in a small community surrounded by both farmland and the sea? Well whatever it is, we have done so for much of the last 2,000 years. Whilst there is no direct reference made to High Halstow or the hamlets of Sharnal Street that go to make up the parish, in the Doomsday Book of 1067, we do get several mentions in traveller’s accounts following the Dark Ages, such as Halsted.
In fact the very name is steeped in history, High Halstow is a Saxon derivative meaning High Cross. The main part of the parish being some of the highest ground on the peninsula, but the meaning of the cross is also thought by some to mark the burial place of Werburgh, eldest daughter of Ethelberg the Saxon King of Wessex. Werburgh, later canonised, started a leper colony in the Hoo area. As yet the theory is still to be proved by the discovery of the grave and is still subject to interpretation. The oldest part of the church dates back to the thirteenth century and is thought to be built on the site of an earlier church building. The parish has played an important part in history leading up to various fortifications that surround it dating from the Second World War.
As mentioned above, it is so important to discover where we have come from, to find out where we are now and therefore plan for the future. After looking through the contents over the coming months we all have to decide what kind of legacy we would like to leave for future generations of the Parish of High Halstow