Scouts uncover ‘lost’ Princess Anne stone
PUBLISHED: 11:05 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 30 May 2019
It was a treasure hunt with a difference – the prize was not a pot of gold, but a stone laid by Princess Anne over 40 years ago.
And it was down to the 5th Chislehurst Scouts to uncover the lost Royal plaque.
The children were fascinated when they heard about the lost stone, and were determined to find it once again.
The story starts on 21st September 1978 when Princess Anne, patron and later president of Riding for the Disabled, visited Chislehurst and planted an oak tree at the official opening of the paddock for the Marjorie McClure Group.
A commemoration stone was also laid at the same time.
The paddock in Hawkwood Lane is used by riding stables, but the commemoration stone had all but disappeared and no one was really sure if it was still there.
As 5th Chislehurst Scout Group meets nearby it was suggested that they might, with the permission of the stables, seek to locate the stone and that's just what they did. The hunt was on.
John Hemming-Clark, from the scout group, said: "The oak is growing into a fine specimen but the ground under its canopy was covered in ivy and brambles.
"The scouts worked hard clearing the undergrowth and their patience was rewarded when they discovered the original stone six inches down. "Although the white paint has mostly worn off, the engraved inscription is still very much intact. The scouts were naturally jubilant at their discovery."
And Horace Horrise, 11, added: "We're always doing exciting things in scouts, like camps, but this was a great evening, finding something that reminds us of one of the times when royalty has visited the area."
It is hoped that the stone's lettering will be restored to its former glory and the surrounding area re-fenced to the rear and the front opened up so that the stone will be more easily visible to passers-by.
Chislehurst has an association with royalty. Queen Elizabeth I came in 1597; Napoleon III lived there in the 1870s; Queen Victoria visited four time; and Queen Mary was a regular at Farringtons School.