My parents Rene (nee Fisher) and Jack Bates

Their Wedding Guests


Jack Bates b 1906

I wrote in 1977: He was not a great man but he was a rich man - rich in honesty, integrity and devotion. He wasn't a man's man because the ideals and beliefs he voiced were not comfortable ones; the standards he upheld were the backbone of sound, healthy and honourable family life. A Man of Kent, he was a shy and humble man and in so being he undervalued his own worth and talents. He was a natural artist - his music, his painting, particularly of horses, sculpture, and cooking. He used to laugh at his own efforts. He was never satisfied. Like others, I used to wish I could do a tenth as well.

Jack Bates

I owe him so much, - for his worldly gifts and his spiritual ones. As a child I didn't see a lot of him. This was the price paid for a tireless father who devoted himself consciously to hard work for the well being of mother and myself in the way he thought best, and the separation of wartime. Nevertheless he found time to introduce me to the theatre, films, music hall, the museums and cricket. Quietly and without ceremony he shone a light that will not fade with his passing.  


Hilda Irene Fisher b 1909

Rene was born at Mill House Lyminge, ( one hundred years ago as I write ) the youngest of three boys and three girls. She enjoyed an idyllic country childhood, much of it with her cousin Eileen. They went together by train each day to Folkestone County School. She enjoyed a full country village social life and later trained as a secretary.  In 1927 she met Jack and married at Lyminge Methodist Church in 1931. They loved each other tenderly all their lives. In 1936 the family moved to London.

Hilda Irene Fisher

Mother was a Christian without being religious and yet asked to be buried with the rites of the non conformism she had been reared. She was strong willed and kind, like her mother, living rather than preaching the protestant work ethic. She was a romantic, and this impinged on me when I was encouraged to read agriculture at Wye rather than maths and science at London! She managed the family business in London during WW2, emulating her father's good business sense, and continued confidently through to retirement with my Father in Tenterden, both creating a comfortable lifestyle and accumulating a modest surplus. When people thought of Rene, food, hospitality and a cheerful smile came to mind.


Aunty Belle and Uncle Arthur

World War II was the backdrop to my childhood from the age of 6 until 12. and while many of the previous generation suffered interruption, disaster, loss and pain, some were lucky enough to enjoy protection and benefits. My good fortune was to enjoy frequent evacuation from the London blitz suffered by my parents to the Kent countryside often beneath the Battle of Britain into the care and agricultural bliss of my FISHER family in Lyminge. Although each transfer was an emotional nightmare, the resulting closeness to and cultural inheritance from Uncle Arthur and Aunty Belle FISHER lasted all my life.

Belle & Arthur with Grandmother

Isabelle F. Fisher b 1898 (Centre);
Arthur J. Fisher b 1889

Belle was born at in Lyminge. She was an accomplished piano player, cook, gardener, strict, kind, reliable and just a little humourless. She was a spinster and Arthur a bachelor but I suspect both had experienced  unrequited  love in their twenties and chosen lives of celibacy. Of Arthur a family friend quoted Stevenson, "Steel true, blade straight, The great artificer made my mate". Arthur farmed in Alberta  Canada from 1912 until 1921 then returned to manage the Mill business.

Emma FISHER (nee GIBBENS), Belle & Arthur

Some Gibbens Pictures


Elizabeth Gibbens mother of Emma Fisher Elizabeth Hopper Frederick Gibbens Amelia Gibbens William Gibbens John Brice Gibbens William Gibbens

From the left: Elizabeth Hopper, Elizabeth Hopper, Frederick Gibbens, Amelia Gibbens, William Gibbens, John Brice Gibbens, William Gibbens


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