Place:Tonbridge, Kent, England

Alt namesTonbridgesource: from redirect
Tonebridgesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 150
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates51.2°N 0.267°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoTonbridge Lowey Hundred, Kent, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Tonbridge and Malling District, Kent, Englanddistrict municipality into which it was transferred in 1974
Contained Places
Tonbridge Castle
Tonbridge Priory
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

NOTE: It is important to note that Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells are two different towns 4 miles apart. Until 1830 they were part of the same parish. Please read the following notes carefully.

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Tonbridge (pronunciation and historic spelling "Tunbridge") is a market town in the English county of Kent, with a population of 38,657 in 2011. It is located on the River Medway, approximately 4 miles (6 km) north of Royal Tunbridge Wells, 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Maidstone and 29 miles (47 km) southeast of London. It belongs to the administrative borough of Tonbridge and Malling (population 120,805 in 2011). Tonbridge was originally an ancient parish in the Tonbridge Lowey Hundred of Kent. It was an urban district from 1894 until 1974.

Until 1870, the town's name was spelt "Tunbridge", as shown on old maps including the 1871 Ordnance Survey map and contemporary issues of the Bradshaw railway guide. In 1870, this was changed to "Tonbridge" by the GPO (General Post Office) due to confusion with nearby Tunbridge Wells, despite Tonbridge being a much older settlement. Tunbridge Wells has always maintained the same spelling.

The North West Kent Family History Society has an article on the old parish of Tonbridge, emphasising its large size:

"Tonbridge was a very large parish which included the settlements of Tunbridge Wells, Southborough and Hildenborough. These were not given separate parochial status until 1833, 1847 and 1844 respectively."

The family history society has listed the pre-1910 churches with their addresses. These addresses have allowed WeRelate to identify which churches served the four civil parishes that evolved from this one ancient ecclesiastical parish. WeRelate Sources (found under "What Links Here" on the left or under the Category for the town given below), have been revised to clarify which community each church served.


For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Tonbridge.

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):
  • Volume 2 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1926) is available online through the auspices of British History Online. It includes accounts of the early history of Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, and of several sites now within the conurbation of London.
  • Volume 3 of the Victoria County History of Kent (published 1932) This includes the text of, and the index to, the Kent Domesday survey. It has been provided by the Kent Archaeological Society.
  • In place of the other volumes of the Victoria County History, British History Online has transcriptions of the numerous volumes of The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent by Edward Hasted (originally published 1797)
  • English Jurisdictions 1851, a parish finding aid provided by FamilySearch, is particularly helpful in locating parishes in large ancient towns and cities like Canterbury.
  • Kent Probate Records Numerous links provided by Maureen Rawson
  • GENUKI lists other possible sources, however, it does not serve Kent so well as it does some other counties.