Place:Smarden, Kent, England

Watchers
NameSmarden
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates51.149°N 0.686°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoBerkeley Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Calehill Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Blackbourne Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
West Ashford Rural, Kent, Englandrural district of which it was a part 1894-1974
Ashford District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality to 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

Smarden is a civil parish and village, west of Ashford in Kent, England. According to the 2011 UK census, it had a population of 1,301, a rise of 79 over the 2001 population.

Smarden was originally an ancient parish in the Berkeley Hundred, the Blackbourne Hundred and also in the Calehill Hundred. Between 1894 and 1974 it was part of the West Ashford Rural District. Since 1974 the area is covered by the non-metropolitan Ashford District.

The earliest known date for Smarden is 1205, when Adam de Essex became the Rector of the parish. The area was covered by the forest of Anderida and when clearings were made, the River Beult (a tributary of the River Medway) formed the drainage channel. The local woollen industry was encouraged by King Edward III who brought weaver craftsmen over from Flanders to create what was to become one of England's biggest industries. Edward in recognition granted the village a Royal Charter in 1333 permitting them to hold a weekly market and an annual fair thus elevating the status from village to "town". Elizabeth I, en route from Sissinghurst Castle to Boughton Malherbe in 1576, was so impressed by what she saw and ratified the previously granted Charter. A copy of the Charter hangs in the village church.

Smarden became very prosperous and some fine houses were built in the 15th and 16th centuries, many of which remain today. The Cloth Hall (1430) is an example of a fifteenth-century yeoman's timber hall house. Although built as a farm it became the central clearing warehouse for the local cloth industry; the broad-cloth would have been taken from there to the port of Faversham.

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.
  • Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.
  • 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.
  • Bishop's Transcripts for Kent parishes, 1558-1887, can be found on FamilySearch since February 2016
  • The Kent Family History Society and the North West Kent Family History Society are the most dominant, but there are also
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Smarden. 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.