The History of Horsmonden
|Fri, 3 Oct 2008 01:08
|This gallery contains images which, with their descriptions, illustrate aspects of the history of Horsmonden village in Kent. Some of the local industries of the past are represented in the quarters of its village sign
and in the memorials in Horsmonden parish church, St Margaret’s
– situated, for reasons explained, some two miles from the village. http://www.roughwood.net/ChurchAlbum/Kent/Horsmonden/HorsmondenStMarga ret2005.htm
Gun-making is represented by Furnace Pond, the site of its 17th century iron foundry
and the old Gun Inn
The manufacture of Broadcloth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcloth is represented by Weavers Cottage
by two old Clothmaster’s Halls, Broadford
with its Jane Austen connection,
where the cellars were once used to store their contraband by the Hawkhurst Gang http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkhurst_Gang.
For crime and punishment see
and for typical examples of Horsmonden’s old houses
|Fri, 25 Dec 2009 18:42
|The river Teise, which forms the eastern and southern boundary of Horsmonden’s large (nine square miles) parish, is a tributary of the river Medway and is an important feature in the village’s industrial past. However, The Teise’s flow in earlier centuries, when it powered the woollen mills of a thriving Kentish broadcloth industry, was much greater than the small stream of today:
Eventually exports of the cloth declined and by the 18th century it ceased to be in demand.
Another old industry for which Horsmonden became renowned was John Browne’s iron foundry for the casting and proving of guns used by the large armies and ships engaged in the numerous conflicts of the 17th and subsequent centuries. In 1613 Browne was employing more than 200 men. During the English Civil War he made guns for both sides, and for the Dutch navy too. His giant hammer for the forge was powered by the head waters of “Furnace Pond” with access via “Furnace Lane”:
and the wood he needed came from the great oaks which grew in the local Wealden forest, much of which land later became the orchards and hop gardens around Horsmonden today:
There is little now to show that this once great gun-making industry existed here except for local names like “Furnace”, “Flightshott Farm”, the old “Gun Inn” and several chalybeate springs (impregnated with iron salts). Background description under:
There are a few remnants of other long-forgotten activities to be seen around the village.
In Castle Wood on high ground to the north-west of the village are earthworks in the form of circular terraces of some ‘castle’ of the past:
Beside the Teise river there are the remains of ancient moats which presumably protected some building long-since demolished. The moats (not visible here) are located immediately beyond and to the right of this bridge over the Teise:
On the map “Nevergood Farm in Brick Kiln Lane” is a reminder of past opinions as to the quality of some farmland, and where bricks used to be manufactures locally:
Alongside St Margaret’s, the Parish Church of Horsmonden, are its Grade II Listed oasts:
http://www.roughwood.net/ChurchAlbum/Kent/Horsmonden/HorsmondenStMarga ret2005.htm . This 14th century church is surprisingly two miles south of the present village: it is thought that the population moved away from its church when the new industries were becoming established in the north of the parish. So most church-goers had a four mile walk to get to chuch and home again but the path and countryside they had to negotiate on the journey was pleasant and easy going in fine weather:
The Methodist had a chapel in Furness Lane
, but it was only in 1870 that the Church of England consecrated a ‘chapel of ease’ just north of the village. They sold it to the Catholics in 1970
Looking down on the congregation from the south wall of St Margaret’s Parish Church is the sculptured marble head of John Read (1760-1847), gardener and handyman to the Rector of the time.
Read was also an inventor of exceptional ingenuity. Many of his clever ideas were taken up. Among them were his methods for hop-drying and for the treatment of blown cattle. In 1823 he astonished the medical establishment by successfully demonstrating the very first stomach pump, an unpretentious invention which must have relieved a great deal of suffering:
In common with other Wealden villages, 18th century Horsmonden was in smuggling country and, being astride the Maidstone and Tonbridge roads, was also the haunt of highwaymen.
The most notorious smugglers of that time were the Hawkhurst Gang http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkhurst_Gang who used to terrorise the locality. It is said that the cellars of Grovehurst Clothmaster’s Hall and secret passages leading from them, were used for their contraband. In 1747, seven members of the gang, including its leader Richard Kingsmill, were cornered nearby after a shoot out with militia. They were duly hanged in Gibbet Lane and, as a warning to the parish, the bodies of two of them, Gore and Fairall by name, were displayed chained up to a post in Horsmonden http://www.horsmonden.co.uk/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id= 40
An illustrated history of Horsmonden with references is on pages 99-106 at: