Brenchley Tourist Guide
Brenchley is a village in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells. The name is comes from Braenca's Leagh.
The parish is situated eight miles east of Tunbridge Wells, and three miles south of Paddock Wood, and includes the neighbouring village of Matfield. Brenchley is located off the main A21 on the B2162 between Horsmonden and Matfield . The primary school named Brenchley & Matfiled COE.
People have worshipped at All Saints Church for at least 800 years. The church was built in around 1233 in the Early English style in local sandstone, traditionally from nearby Pixot Hill. Earlier a chapel stood on or near the site which was attached to the Parish Church of Yalding. The church stands behind an ornate lychgate erected in memory of Queen Victoria 60 year reign, and then behind an avenue of 400 year old yew trees. The Old Vicarage dates from the 14th century and is a picturesque building.
The name derives from the Anglo-Saxons who had a settlement in the area. The headman Braenca and his people, who were pig herders, lived in a clearing or "leagh" in the forest of Anderida hence Braenca's Leagh. This has varied through the centuries to Braencsle, Brencheslega, Branchelegh, Brenchesle and finally to Brenchley.
The village is well known from being one of the villages that was closely involved in medieval iron making. The site of the furnace lies within the parish of Horsmonden now. Wat Tyler is said to have briefly lived here. John Browne the first holder of the office of King's Gunfounder was born here as was Siegfried Sassoon on 8 Sept 1886.
After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the land was given to Richard FitzGilbert, the cousin of William the Conqueror.
Between 1367 and 1370 Edward III cut down 105 large oak trees from the area to help restore the castle at Rochester.
Wat Tyler is alleged to have lived in a cottage near Brenchley when he led the Peasants Revolt with the men of Kent. They marched on London to voice their grievances to Richard the second in 1381.
In 1555 during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor a local farmer James Tutty was arrested for his religious beliefs and taken to Tonbridge where he was condemned and burnt at the stake on the 6th September.
Nell Gwynn's son by King Charles II (1660-1685), George Beauclerk, the Duke of St Albans, lived at The Old Palace. This is now a row of half timbered cottages.
Brattles Grange, a 16th century house can be found just outside the village. It was once the home of Kent historian William Lambarde.
During the 17th century the area claimed one of the largest Wealden Iron Works, positioned between Brenchley and Horsmonden. It was owned by John Browne, and employed about 200 men. When the Iron Industry declined in this area it was replaced by agriculture in the form of hop gardens and orchards.
Brenchley was the first place that the famous hop variety ‘Fuggles’ was commercially developed in 1875. The original strain was found in the garden of one George Stace, in 1861 in nearby Horsmonden.
More recently Sophie Rhys-Jones the wife of Prince Edward originated from Brenchley .
The nearest station is Paddock Wood where the trains from Ashford to London run frequently.
Moatlands Golf Club, Watermans Lane, Brenchley Tel: 01892 724400
The Bull of Brenchley, High Street, Brenchley Tel: 01892 722701
Marle Place Gardens & Gallery
Marle Place Road, Brenchley
Phone: +44 (0)1892 722304 - Fax: +44 (0)1892 724099
Hidden away up a Wealden lane lies an enchanting garden where planting and art combine to produce a magical surprise. Marle Place is a serene, privately owned Wealden garden with ten acres of formal planting and many additional acres of woodland and orchard. The charming gardens are an amalgamation of hedged rooms and tree lined avenues. The gardens consistently win awards for management for wildlife. The gallery houses exhibitions by contemporary artists during the season. Artwork is also on show in the grounds. Herbaceous and annual plants and unusual shrubs give scent and colour throughout the year.
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