Bethersden Tourist Guide
Bethersden is a small village five miles (8km) west of Ashford, Kent. The village name probably derived from Beaduric coupled with ‘den’. Today its main street is lined with Wealden weatherboard houses and a number of Wealden hall houses.
The village has three public houses - The Royal Standard, The Bull Inn on the A28 between Ashford and Tenterden which is an ancient inn dating back to the 17th century and The George which is just opposite the beautiful church of St Margaret's which was built in the early 15th century. There was certainly a church here in Saxon times but the present one dates from the 1400s. The earliest incumbent was John ate Broke in 1319. In the churchyard are some oven vaults which although not unique are unusual. They were built for the Jacksons, Wilmotts and Witherdens in 1796.
The village is well known for its ‘Bethersden marble’ which was used in Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals as well as other churches and a few large houses. In reality it was not marble but a local stone which could be fashioned and polished to look like marble. Local people used it to make causeways across the muddy Wealden clay fields so that their pack horses could carry woollen goods to the markets. Bethersden was a centre of the Kentish wool trade and prospered from this industry like many Wealden villages.
Lovelace Place in Bethersden was the birthplace of 17th century poet Richard Lovelace. He was a Cavalier courtier who ended up imprisoned in Westminister Palace gatehouse for trying to deliver the Kent Petition which urged the king and Parliament to work together peacefully. The south chapel of the church is known as the Lovelace Chapel.
Buss Farm was the location used for the Larkins’ Home Farm in the TV series, The Darling Buds of May.
The village sign, put up in 1996, is distinctive – a 3-foot diameter iron frame set on an oak post in Bethersden marble. The symbols are an anvil, horse-shoe, oast house, pig, shearing clippers, a book (to recall Richard Lovelace) and a rocking horse (see below).
Several successful business have operated from the village — The Stevenson Brothers, who produce high quality hand made rocking horses, W & D Cole, who make iron gates and raillings and the former Colt Houses, who sold pre fabricated timber homes. Stevenson Brothers specialise in making some of the finest rocking horses in the world, and have become experts in the restoration of antique and contemporary rocking horses. They are located at The Workshop, Ashford Road, Bethersden. Tel: (01233) 820363.
The village has a football team and a cricket team, and a small primary school.
Bethersden Cricket Club was founded in 1751. The Bethersden Parish Records Society holds the original parish register, maps, books, photographs and other records relating to the village.
Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015