While the ferry at Halling is mentioned in early times, that at Snodland is not. Nevertheless we can be sure that inhabitants of the area were able to cross the river here. Certainly there were boats available for them to be able to do so, but how ‘official’ the service was is unknown. In the story of the attempted murder of Rev. Phelps, printed above, it seems significant that he crossed by the [ Halling ]- Wouldham ferry. Surely he would have taken the Snodland ferry if there was one?
However the Snodland ferry is marked on the 1844 Tithe commutation map. It would appear that for some time at least, it was part of the emoluments of the rector. The ferry house is built on what was glebe land, perhaps at the initiative of Rev. Phelps, who would have charged the ferryman rent. In a memorandum dated 20 August 1874 the then rector, Rev. Bingley , set down the outcome of a meeting which he held with the ferryman, Edward Baker, concerning the rent of the ferry. After much argument, it was agreed that Baker would pay the Rector £30 instead of £20 as formerly. Baker, of course, charged those who used the ferry to pay this rent and earn his living. In 1880 it was said that around 600 persons a day crossed every day to and from the factories lining the river. The service operated from 6.a.m. to 10.p.m. A wire was anchored at the bottom of the river and when the tide was going out, the ferrymen found it sufficient to man-handle the boat across using the wire, allowing the river to exert any pull that was necessary.
Edward, son of John and Frances Baker, was born on 24 October 1810. John appears in the registers as carter, labourer and smuggler! Edward too is called labourer , lighterman and barge owner; he is first described as ferryman in 1853, but may well have operated the service as much as twenty years earlier. He made a good living from it and in the 1860s was able to build a large house called ‘ Nephalite Villa’ (where the library now is). By the 1870s he employed three men to operate the boat, the senior of whom was John Gorham. All the while there were factories active on both banks of the river, there was a demand for the service. For a time the proposition of a bridge or subway threatened its existence, but that passed. Nevertheless, there were those who felt sympathy with the view expressed by one anonymous individual when the discussions about the bridge were at their height: ‘The country on the other side of the river is a boggy marsh, and it can be of no advantage to anyone from this side to have easier access to it; in fact, the further off it is kept from us the better.’ One by one the cement works closed: the Wouldham Cement Co. in 1902, Peters’ Wouldham Hall works in about 1930 and the A.P.C.M. at Burham in 1941. This sounded the death-knell of the ferry and it closed in 1948, having been operated in its later years by the Stevens family.