Horsmonden Tourist Guide
Horsmonden is a village in Kent situated on a road leading from Maidstone to Lamberhurst, three miles north of the latter place. It is located some 12 miles to the east of Royal Tunbridge Wells on the B2162. The nearest railway station is Paddock Wood.
Horsmonden used to be a centre of hop-growing until the latter part of the 20th century. The village has a population of around 2,100 and there are some 800 houses spread over a wide rural area, with 700 of these within the village centre.
The parish of Horsmonden extends to about nine square miles and its church, St Margaret’s, stands on a gentle slope looking across the Teise valley towards the hilltop village of Goudhurst just a mile away. It was during the 14th century that Henry de Grofhurst, Rector of the Parish for fifty years, built the church in this imposing spot in the south of the parish using the local Wealden sandstone. Some two centuries later the present village of Horsmonden became established on the Heath centred on the new iron foundry (gun making) and broadcloth industries that became established there. Hence Horsmonden village is some two miles away from its parish church.
In St Margaret's is a contemporary brass portrait in the chancel floor of Henry de Grofhurst, the builder, engraved about 1340.
St. Margaret's has connections with Jane Austen’s ancestors and the early Pilgrim fathers.
Frequently mispronounced, the pronunciation is 'horse-men-den'. There were gypsy horse fairs held on the large village green each year - but these stopped during the late nineties. The horse fairs have recently resumed following a compromise between the travellers and the local authorities. Horses may be bought and sold but other stalls - which in the past included glassware and other items - are not allowed to attend.
The village was a significant centre of the medieval iron industry. Its furnace Pond is one of the largest in Kent. In 1625, 500 guns were made here for British ships after the outbreak of the Spanish War. In 1638 King Charles I visited the foundry to watch a cannon being cast. It was a 42 inch long, bronze four-pounder, and is now preserved in the Tower of London. John Broune(Browne) who died in 1641 owned the forge and foundry here, and he and his 200 workers produced guns for the Army and Navy. During the English Civil War, he provided weapons for both sides in the conflict, some of which were used at the battle of YaldingTownBridge in 1643. The foundry closed in 1685 when the manufacture of iron relocated to the Midlands with their coal fired plants.
A former resident of Horsmonden, Simon Willard, born in the village in 1605, grew up to be Major Willard, the founder of the town of Concorde in Massachusetts. He is commemorated with a framed copy of the page of the register recording his baptism, and a stained glass window in the local church of St Margaret.
When the branch railway line to Hawkhurst was operating there was a railway station for the village. Horsmonden railway station closed in 1961. Horsmonden is a closed railway station on the closed Hawkhurst Branch. The station was equipped with a single 300ft platform on the up side, together with a loop serving a fruit packing warehouse. To the rear of the station was the stationmaster's house, a three-storey building with dormer windows, and a goods yard.
In 1823 John Read another former resident of Horsmonden demonstrated the first use of his invention, the stomach pump, to the Royal Society.
Horsmonden is claimed to be the first place that the famous hop variety "Fuggles" was grown. It was found in the garden of one George Stace, in 1861. The strain was developed commercially by Richard Fuggle of Fowle Hall, Brenchley in 1875.
In 1944 a flying bomb struck just north of the church, which destroyed much of the glass. The east and west windows were redesigned and installed in 1946 and 1948.
The CANNON represent the great iron foundry, which once supplied guns here for the English and Dutch navies and for King Charles I’s army and later, during the English civil war, for Parliament.
The TREE represents Horsmonden’s great oaks and other local woods used for building, for gun carriages and for fueling John Browne’s great blast furnace.
The OASTHOUSE represents agriculture and the thriving hop industry
The CHURCH is the 14th century parish church of St Margaret.
Horsmonden Farmers' Market takes place every other Friday in the beautiful Kentvillage of Horsmonden. In the summer it is held on the village green and in the winter months it moves to the village hall. It is open from 9am until 12 noon. Most of the stallholders come from within 30 miles of the village. www.horsmondenfarmersmarket.co.uk
SpriversGarden, Horsmonden TN12 8DR
Phone: +44 (0)1892 891081
These stunning gardens are managed on behalf of the National Trust and have been separated from the neighbouring house to which they would have once belonged. The 18th century style walled gardens are packed with hedgerows and compartments that make for a fascinating and captivating place to spend an afternoon in the summertime. There is a lovely rose garden and a woodland walk nearby.
MarlePlaceGardens & 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