Hadlow Tourist Guide


Hadlow lies on the A26 between Tonbridge and Mereworth in the Vale of Kent, the Medway valley.

The old name for the settlement is Haeselholte, a Saxon word which is found in the Textus Roffensis and then Haslow in the Domesday Book. Later in the Middle Ages it became Hadloe now Hadlow. The Romans are believed to have settled here as coins and pottery have been found in the village.


In 1018 the village was granted to Queen Eddeva the consort of Edward the Confessor. After 1066 the land was given to Richard de Clare, who in turn granted it to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem in 1166 who were based at nearby West Peckham. The Knights held the land until Henry VIII dissolved the order and the Monasteries in 1536.


The Fane family bought the land from Henry VII and built Hadlow Place. They in turn sold it to the May family in 1647. The most famous family member was Walter Barton May, an industrialist from the late 1800s who created Hadlow ‘Castle’, a late Victorian Gothic home, with a tower now known as Hadlow Tower or May's Folly . It is said that the tower, 170ft tall, was built to allow May to view the Channel, however the Channel cannot be seen from here.


The area has been one of the centres of the hop growing industry, and in 1858 the river Medway overflowed at Hadlow, and 30 hop pickers were drowned when their cart fell off the bridge into the flood water. The hops were turned into beer in the village, as the remains of the old brewery shows.  


The village

The main village street is brick-paved and there are several old houses and two Tudor inns. There are plenty of attractive 18th century brick and Kentish weatherboard houses and shops in the village. Church Street is a very attractive, leading off from the High Street. The church is a much restored medieval village building. The foot of the tower is Saxon, the rest of it Norman. The church celebrated 1000 years in 1975, although it was rebuilt in the 12th century, with its tower dating from 1568. The main door of the church has the date 1636 on it.


Today Hadlow has 100 listed buildings and monuments. The High Street is brick paved and passes by several attractive old buildings, including the Old Bakery and two Tudor inns. The conversion of The Maltings into luxury apartments and penthouses has retained the old kilns with their white cowls. The heart of the village is now a conservation area.



HadlowCollege is concerned with a wide range of land-based training including agriculture, horticulture, medicinal horticulture, landscape management, garden design, equine management, animal management and sciences, sports fisheries and countryside management. HadlowCollege is located in the heart of Kent and is one of the top 3 land-based colleges in the UK for success and achievement. Discover more at www.hadlow.ac.uk



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