Place:Hawkhurst, Kent, England

Watchers
NameHawkhurst
Alt namesHauochestensource: Domesday Book (1985) p 148
The Moorsource: village in parish
Highgatesource: village in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.033°N 0.517°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoCranbrook Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
East Barnfield Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Selbrittenden Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Cranbrook Rural, Kent, Englandrural district of which it was a part 1894-1974
Tunbridge Wells District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality into which the parish was transferred in 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Hawkhurst is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England. The village is located close to the border with East Sussex, around 12 miles (19 km) southeast of the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and within the High Weald of Kent.

Hawkhurst itself is virtually two villages: The Moor, to the south, consists mainly of cottages clustered around a large triangular green, while Highgate, to the north, is a more commercial area. Hawkhurst parish had a population of 4,911 in the UK census of 2011.

Hawkhurst was originally an ancient parish in the Cranbrook Hundred and also the East Barnfield Hundred and the Selbrittenden Hundred. Between 1894 and 1974 it was part of the Cranbrook Rural District. Since 1974 the area is covered by the non-metropolitan Tunbridge Wells District (or Borough).

Economic History

Iron industry

The village was located at the centre of the Wealden iron industry from Roman times. The Weald produced over a third of all iron in Britain, and over 180 sites have been found in the area. Ironstone was taken from clay beds, then heated with charcoal from the abundant woods in the area. The iron was used to make everything from Roman ships to medieval cannon, and many of the Roman roads in the area were built to transport the iron. William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, owned ironworks at Hawkhurst. The industry eventually declined during the industrial revolution of the 18th Century, when coal replaced charcoal as the preferred method of heating, and coal could not be found nearby.

Hop growing

In the 14th century, Edward III, wanting to break the Flemish (Dutch) monopoly on weaving, encouraged Flemish weavers to come to England. Many chose to settle in the Weald, because it had all the elements needed for weaving – oak to make mills, streams to drive them and Fullers Earth to treat the cloth.

The Kentish domination of the hop industry was stimulated by that same influx of Flemish weavers, who brought a preference for beer, and beer-making skills with them. Several wealthy Kentish farmers invested in this new opportunity and approach. Although not the centre of the industry, Hawkhurst Brewery and Malthouse was built in 1850, on the edge of The Moor.

Hop growing also gave the area its distinctive skyline of hop gardens and oast houses, which were used to dry the hops. Nowadays, most hops are imported. However, at its peak 35,000 acres (140 km2) of hop gardens existed in England, almost all of them in Kent, including much around Hawkhurst. Eventually mechanisation and cheap imports ended the industry, but the oast houses remain.


Research Tips

  • Kent County Council Archive, Local Studies and Museums Service. James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1LQ. This incorporates the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone and the East Kent Archives Centre near Dover.
  • Canterbury Cathedral Archives see the Archives web pages on the Canterbury Catherdral site.
  • For information on the area around the Medway Towns, have a look at Medway Council's CityArk site.
  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Kent illustrates the parish boundaries of Kent when rural districts were still in existence and before Greater London came into being. The map publication year is 1931. An earlier map of 1900 may also be useful. The maps blow up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. Maps in this series are now downloadable for personal use.
  • Census records for Kent are available on FamilySearch, Ancestry and FindMyPast. The first site is free; the other two are pay sites but have access to microfilmed images. Steve Archer produced a very useful round-up of the available sources, but this information may not be up to date.
  • Registration Districts in Kent for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.
  • England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911 The full database from Kent Archives Office, Maidstone, has been available online from FamilySearch since June 2016.
  • Kent had five family history societies (now only four):
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Hawkhurst. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.