ALLOTMENTS – were made available in 1897 when the Parish Council rented a piece of land from O.E. d’Avigdor Goldsmid, Esq., for £3 per annum. It was situated on the London Road, south of The Cock Inn. The Parish Council owned the land between 1919 and 1954. In the early 1920s there were allotments in Riding Lane, between the recreation ground and Great Forge Farm, and in the period 1940 to 1960 there were also allotments on the land now occupied by Mount Pleasant Court. In 1977, land was made available in Coldharbour Lane to provide 9 allotments. By 1979 enthusiasm had waned, some plots were neglected, and in 1980 the land was returned to the owner.
THE BANK – later known as Oakhurst, at the corner of London Road and Bank lane (also known as Hook Hatch Lane and Underriver Road). Built in 1616, and rebuilt in 1873 by Robert Wingate, who called it Oakhurst. When it changed hands in 1869, the particulars and conditions of sale include the following comment on the area; “The air is pure and bracing, the neighbourhood good, the situation well adapted for a Sportsman, the shooting excellent, and Fox Hounds within easy reach*. After the death of Robert Wingate in 1906, it was bought by Chancellor Robert Nesbitt who became a member of Parliament in the 1922 elections. It became the property of the Kent County Council as an old people’s home, a children’s home and a remand home but was later used as a privately owned retirement home and called Oakhurst Manor before being closed and later redeveloped.
BANK WOOD – also Denman’s or Deadman’s Wood – on the other corner of London Road and Bank Lane opposite Oakhurst Manor. In this wood was erected the “House of four scratches” (or poles) and this following quaint story may be read in Dr. Gordon Ward’s book “Sevenoaks Essays”. Apparently, while the owner, Samuel Lone, was in prison “for religion” in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), a house of four scratches (4 props with a covering) was erected by kindly neighbours to shelter Peter Ware and his wife, who were homeless. When Mr Lone was released, there were some who were zealous to have it pulled down and the occupants punished, but Mr Lone, knowing something of prison and punishment, let it remain.
BARLEY HOUSE – Coldharbour Lane. Built in 1932 with timbers from a barley barn in the Edenbridge area, which was then about 200 years old.
THE BARN – Coldharbour Lane. Built about 1650 and converted from a barn and cowshed into two dwellings between the two world wars.
BASSETTS – Mill Lane. This house was bought at an “Ideal Home” exhibition in London and reerected on its present site in 1912. The following inscription carved on the inside of the front door, confirms this: “This house was the prize house at the first Ideal Home Exhibition and stood in the middle of the Olympia. Designed by Reginald Fry, F.R.I.B.A., and erected by Jasper Henson. The house was visited by 5 crowned heads of Europe. 1912.”
BLUE ANCHOR – was a public house in Philpots Lane built in 1701. From 1709 – 1714 the licensee was Samuel Ledger. It closed in 1959 and is now a private house.
BOILING KETTLE – a cafe which stood at the corner of Hilden Park Road and Tonbridge Road until 1956, where you could get “a good hot cup of tea”. When enlarged in 1933/34, a beam was discovered with the date 1649. Owned for a time by Commander Tomlinson. In 1940, the pilot of a crippled German Junkers 88 bomber on its way to attack Kenley Airfield, while looking for somewhere to land, ordered his gunner/wireless operator to bale out. He landed on the roof of the Boiling Kettle and he recalls being given coffee and cakes while waiting for the police to take him to Tonbridge Police Station. The plane came down in a field at Tanyard Farm, Hadlow Road. Alongside the cafe was a petrol station and in the grounds a collection of gravestones in memory of cats and dogs killed on the roads by “that newfangled machine” – the motor car. See also Hilden Grange.
BOURNE PLACE – Nizels Lane. Part of the Nizels Estate, described in the particulars and conditions of sale in 1919 as “a handsome and substantial edifice with stone mullioned windows, delightfully situate in a prominent position overlooking the charming grounds. The house is modernised in every way… lighted by Electric Light and heated by radiators on both floors.” Edward Lawson, a good country gentleman and farmer, resided here in 1843. He supported ploughing matches and gave harvest suppers for his employees. In 1860, they celebrated the Harvest Home in joyous and truly English manner with hot joints and plum puddings and good old country dances. Records refer to William Lawson being at Bourne Place in 1865 onwards, and ingredients for similar suppers were purchased in 1868 and 1869 from The Poplars for the sum of £1 11s. 7d. as follows: 11 lbs Mutton 8s.5d.; 12lbs currents 5/-; 12 lbs raisins 5/-; 1 lb candied peel 1/-; 4ozs ground ginger 6d.; 1oz nutmeg 4d.; 4ozs white pepper 4d.; 7 lbs sugar 2/7d; 8ozs tobacco 2/2d; tobacco pipes 1/-; 7 lbs 8ozs cheese 5/3d. In 1893, rented by Mr and Mrs Henry Hills (nee Helen Georgie Fitch Kemp), a benefactor of the Church. She gave the oak pulpit when the Church was restored in 1896. Now a residential and day special school, opened in 1967 and run by the National Children’s Home, a Christian Voluntary Organisation. All the children have learning and/or social adjustment problems. They live in flats of 8-10 boys and girls of similar age, living as a family, with three house parents to look after them. All children attend classes during normal school hours. The last Head teacher was Mr Gwyn Davies. The main building was subsequently redeveloped for housing with some outbuildings being replaced by houses.
BOW WINDOW – 170, Tonbridge Road. Records show that Mr Edward Castle had a bakery business here as early as 1887. He was succeeded by his wife at first, and then by Wm. Castle. There was a bakehouse at the rear. It was a sweet shop in the 1950/60s, more recently suppliers of floor coverings and in 2006 is a hairdresser’s salon.
BRICKYARDS – the manufacture of bricks took place in Philpots Lane near the railway bridge and also in the grounds of Foxbush.
BRITISH LEGION HALL – Mount Pleasant. By 1955, after many years of fund raising events, the building fund was sufficient to enable a start to be made on the building of a headquarters. Land was acquired in Mount Pleasant, and many volunteers helped build the hall under the direction and encouragement of Mr F. Buss and Dr. C. Glaisher.
CATARACT COTTAGE – which is off a gated private road from Coldharbour Lane to Shipbourne Road, carries a plaque that it was built by Mary, Lady Derby commemorating April 1892, thought to be the date she had one of the first modern cataract operations in the country.
CHILD WELFARE CENTRE – was housed in a modest little unobtrusive wooden building, originally a seaside holiday hut, which was moved to Hildenborough in 1942. It was bought with money raised by public subscription and was sited between the church and the nurse’s cottage. An additional room was added later. Here, mothers met fortnightly to have their babies weighed, discuss feeding difficulties, receive expert medical advice, buy patent foods and vitamins and have a cup of tea prepared by Mrs Roper. Lady Macfadyen was the secretary and Mrs Drayton the treasurer.
CHURCH HALL – was first planned prior to the Second World War and land adjoining the churchyard was purchased in 1938. In 1939, a fund was started to pay off the debt. However, the war years intervened and the hall was not built until 1956, at a cost of approximately £5000. It replaced the hut, which in 1951 had been offered to the Church by the Hildenborough Welfare Centre Committee on condition that it should continue to be used by the County Infant Welfare Office, the Vitasan Clinic and local organisations. The car park was made by volunteers in 1957. The hall was extended in 1978, with donations from parishioners. It was extensively refurbished in 2006 funded by various grants and the results of a public appeal.
CHURCHYARD – the earliest burials were recorded in 1845, but the oldest surviving gravestone is dated 1855. In 1901, ex-Trooper Richard Young, 11th Hussars, who lost an arm in the charge at Balaclava, was buried here with military honours. There are four war graves in the churchyard. During the First World War Pte. Walter Ernest Haines, A.S.C., aged 45, whose wife ran the grocer’s shop in Church Road, was taken ill with enteric in France and died at the Military War Hospital, Napsbury. He was buried in July, 1918 and full military honours; the gun carriage, firing party and bearers all provided from the Military Depot at Tunbridge Wells. The other three are: Aircraftsman 2nd C1. F. W. Furneaux, died March, 1941; Flight. Lieut. D.J. Rowe, pilot Instructor R.A.F died November 1945 aged 23 years and C.W. Mathews Leading Stoker R.N..H.M.S. Ulster, died January, 1946, aged 27 years. There is also the Grave of a holder of the Victoria Cross. In 1937, as a memorial of the coronation of George VI, a flag-pole was erected, made by Mr Webber to drawings prepared by Mr Roper. This later disappeared but was replaced in 2004. By 1955 the churchyard was rapidly reaching the limit of its capacity with a probability of having to close. However, 1965 a new graveyard was consecrated which included a Garden of Remembrance. On 30th May, 1989 the Right Reverend Michael Turnbull, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated a new Garden of Remembrance and memorial Plaque. The simple ceremony, in bright sunshine, was attended by Parochial, Parish, Borough and Kent County Councillors. The cremation plot was subsequently rearranged and new land for a further extension taken from the Glebe Field. The Parish Council finance the cost of mowing the churchyard and taking care of the trees.
In 1990 a local artist, David Peacock, repainted the wording over the lych-gate.
COCK HORSE – see The Cock Inn.
THE COCK INN – also known as The Old Cock, Lower Cock and The Cock Horse, was built in the 16th Century. Inns with this name are often found at the foot of hills, as the extra horse that was added to a team to help pull coaches up hill and then released at the top to find its own way home, was called a cock horse. Stabling for 12 horses was at one time hired by the Post Office for their mail coaches to London. Horses were released at the White Hart, Sevenoaks. Early in the 1900s the landlord was Walter Palmer, who also ran a slaughter business at the rear.
COLDHARBOUR PARK – also known as Coldharbour House. The house originated from keepers’ cottages which have been added to over the years. In 1841 Augustus Langdon lived here with his wife, Sarah, and three children. A barrister, he was one of the original manager of the Church of England Primary School, Riding Lane. The de Rougemont family lived here from the 1930s until 2005.
CRAFTCAST ESTATE – this Brookmead development began in 1948 on land bought from Frank Barkaway, owner of Selbys Farm. These 220 bungalows and houses were built initially with flat-roofs but many have since had sloping roofs fitted They were a result of a “new system of house construction” using concrete poured into preformed moulds introduced by Llewellyn Jones, senior partner in Jones & Harvey, of Sevenoaks and Westminster. The set of moulds could be used for any number of houses, leaving a complete shell of main and partition walls, with openings for doors and windows. A complete house could be made in two weeks by this method and their claim of “durability and great strength” is still being demonstrated.
CROSSWAYS – Noble Tree Cross. Home of Mrs Henry Hills from 1919 to 1937. In 1956 Sir Arthur & Lady Page moved there from Leigh. Sir Arthur was Chief Justice of Burma from 1930 to 1936.
DACHURST (or datchurst) – one of the manors in the lowy of Tonbridge, responsible for supplying the needs of the garrison at Tonbridge Castle. In 1798 Hasted writes: “At a small distance southward from Hilden Green, the foundations of a large house are yet visible, which are supposed by many to be those of Dachurst Place”. Datchurst is referred to in May, 1832, when John Francis, victualler, purchased “certain copyhold premises by him held of the Manor of Datchurst in the Parish of Tonbridge”, for the sum of £202. 6s. 6d., the receipt signed by Philip Moon, yeoman of Southborough.
DENMAN’S or DEADMAN’S WOOD – see Bank Wood.
DOG’S GRAVEYARD – outside the BP Garage on the corner of Tonbridge Road and Hilden Park Road are several gravestones in memory of pet dogs and cats which were knocked down and killed by “that new fangled machine the motor car” in the 1920s.
DRILL HALL – Riding Lane. A wooden structure clad with corrugated iron erect in the late summer of 1902, measuring 50ft by 20ft. it was presented to the Parish by, it is believed, G. W. Johnson to be used as a Drill hall and gymnasium for the Boys Brigade and Sergeant King’s Hildenborough Squad of the Tonbridge Company of Volunteers. In 1904 the stage was built for the production of “The Miser’s Bargain” (see Village Players). The year 1923 saw an extension to the hall when a kitchen and laundry were added; a thanks offering to those who served and whose lives were spared in the First World War. This enabled the older girls from the school (those aged between 12 and 14), to be given instruction by a qualified K.C.C. teacher in Domestic Economy classes. It was formally transferred to the Parish Council in 1949. Replaced by the Village Hall in 1971.
EGG PIE LANE or MAGPIE LANE. Two derivations of the name “Egg Pie” are offered. Firstly, that “eg.” = island or firm land between two streams or land bordered by a stream, and “pie” = insect or gnat. Both of these are present! Secondly, there are some old farmhouses in the lane and many years ago egg pies or, as we now say, custard tarts, were usually included in the weekly bake. It is likely that travellers along this old lane who received hospitality at the farmhouses would also enjoy egg pies!
FAIRHILL – this estate was bought by Lord Derby in 1870 together with the adjoining properties of Hollanden Farm, Great Trench, Horns Lodge, Great Forge Farm, Limes, Kentlands and Hilden. The estate was sold in 1909.
FARM HOUSE SCHOOL – Nizels Grove, Nizels Lane. A small school with boarders and day pupils, run by three sisters, the Misses Gertrude, May (died 1933) and Isobelle Crisp (died 1943).
FIRE STATION – this was in Church Lane (now Church Road) where the kitchens of the Village Hall now stand. However, the following item in the “Tonbridge Free Press” of May, 1883 indicates that the Hildenborough Fire Station was not operating as early as that: “On Tuesday (1st May), the (Volunteer Fire) Brigade (from Tonbridge) had a call to Hildenborough, a stable being on fire at Oak Hill Lodge, the residence recently vacated by Mr Buchanan. A horse was in the stable, and the room over it was occupied by a stableman whose candle in some way caused the configuration. The call reached Tonbridge just after 7 o’clock in the morning, and the Brigade was on the spot – nearly two miles distant – with its steamer, extinguished the fire by a quarter of an hour’s smart work which pumped the well dry, and was packed up again ready to return home by 8 o’clock – a piece of as smart practice as one could wish to see. A good sized hole was burned in the roof of the stable, and we cannot learn that the building was insured. The valuable horse and dog which were in at the time the fire was discovered were happily rescued.” Circa 1904, at Church Lane, there was one engine, pulled by two horses with three men to pump the water. Later, Captain Tomlinson used his Wolseley car to tow the pump, and George Killick, Alix Upton and Fred Hoare together with Mr Quinnell were volunteer firemen. In 1910, the Hildenborough village contingent of the Tonbridge Fire Brigade, Harold and George Hitchcock, George Killick and Wm. Burgess, under Capt. W. Clark, attended a congress in Belgium. The photograph of the Volunteer Fire Brigade taken in the early 1930s (page 53), shows the tender, a French Republican petrol engine (ex-Tonbridge Fire Brigade), which used to be garaged in the front of Webber’s Garage showroom. As the tender had to be started with a starting handle, it was pushed out and down the hill, always starting by the time it had reached Coldharbour Lane. The Volunteer Fire brigade disbanded in 1939 and reformed as the Auxiliary Fire Service. From 1941, the firemen belonged to the National Fire Service until 1946, when they were disbanded.
FLAT COTTAGES – homes for labourers on the Mountains Estate. They appear on a map of 1870 but were regularly flooded and finally demolished in 1935. On this site, Alan B. Fraser, son of Dr Beaufort Fraser and a keen rally driver, operated Mountains Garage, available for motor and agricultural repairs and day & night breakdown service. In 2006 housed several enterprises including the Brookside Group and a Petrol Station.
FLOOD BARRIER – in 1976, the River Medway Flood Relief Act received Royal Assent and work started on the £1.5 million plan to build a series of barriers at Leigh to store water upstream as far as Penshurst so as to regulate the flow of the River Medway to give protection to places downstream-including Hildenborough and Tonbridge- from further flooding. After a number of setbacks, late 1978 saw the start of the project which was completed in 1981. It is the largest on-river flood storage area in the U.K. and the barriers are frequently raised.
FLYING DUTCHMAN – or Flying Horse. An 18th century public house. A map dated 1801 names the inn as the Flying Horse, and a discarded inn sign of a horse, painted by J.F. Herring, is now in the Tunbridge Wells museum. The Landlord was responsible for the toll-gate or pay-gate that stood here. The fee of 1d. was to be spent on the upkeep of the road. In 1871, records show that the turnpike toll keeper living at Tollgate House was Moses Bedingfield. When the gatehouse was demolished, it is said that the materials were used to build the Old Forge House in Mount Pleasant. Fish carts from Hastings to London changed horses here. Two lamb suppers were held annually, when local farmers met farmers from Romney Marsh to discuss arrangements for winter keep of lambs.
FOOTPATHS – there are 27 miles of footpaths and bridleways in the parish. In 1973, the Parish Council, with the help of volunteers, opened up and marked the footpaths, and monthly walks were arranged to encourage local inhabitants to use and enjoy them. A set of 8 selected walks was printed together with a footpath map, which was updated to coincide with the centenary celebrations.
The FORGE – Watts Cross. Now Mill Garage. It was sold in 1909 for £500, and ceased working as a forge in 1919 as the car took the place of the horse. It has been recorded that on Skinners Day when the Governors of the Skinners Company came down from London to Tonbridge School, the blacksmiths at the forge would strike their ploughshares, etc., with small hammers in a “musical” greeting, and pennies would be thrown from the passing carriages to the folk who had gathered to see them. In 1848 the blacksmith was Jesse Sales.
FOXBUSH – built by Punnett of Tonbridge, for Mr Charles Fitch Kemp in 1866. In 1912, it was bought by Barnett Lewis, a rich diamond magnate, who installed the oak panelling and lived there until his death in 1929. His gardeners mowed the churchyard every week. The third owner was Herbert J. Rae, whose wife’s family coat of arms adorns the fireplace in the entrance hall. It was used by the 59th Newfoundland Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery, as headquarters during the Second World War, then became the Convent of Our Lady School in 1949 when it moved from Cannon Lane, Tonbridge, and St. Thomas’ School in 1970. Now Sackville School.
GARDENER’S HOPE MISSION ROOM – which was at the Grenadier in Riding Lane. For many years, regular monthly meetings were held here, led by Mrs C.H. Scott of Hollanden House and Miss Bryer of Oaklands.
THE GATE – a small hotel, situated beside the railway station, built in 1868, about the time the railway was being built. Now a public house/restaurant, known in 2006 as Bartellas.
GLASS FACTORY – 44 Stocks Green Road. Johnson & Jorgenson provided employment for between 20 and 30 people, making test tubes, etc. for laboratories during the Second War. The premises were previously used by Frank Woolley for his indoor cricket training school.
GLEBE FIELD – situated between the churchyard and the recreation ground. In 1893, on 3rd July, a grand fete was held here by kind permission of C. Fitch Kemp, to celebrate the marriage of the Duke of York to Princess May. The Parish magazine of the time describes it as “what may justly be considered the great event of the year”. Following tea for all the village children, there was tea for their mothers, also a cricket match, races, games, music from the West Kent Volunteer Band and a display of Fireworks after which 200 buns were distributed to the children. Probably the last social occasion of any significance before the outbreak of the Second World War, was a Church Fete on the Glebe Field and a dance in the Drill Hall on 1st July 1939, to raise funds for the purchase of land adjoining the churchyard on which to build the church hall. It is, of course, now in the care of the Diocese, but part has been transferred to the Parish and fenced off as a Churchyard extension.
GOSPEL HALL – built in 1873 by Samuel Hope Morley of Hall Place, Leigh. The first pastor was Mr Butcher. Some residents recall Pastor Wells who was here for many years and remember him taking a harmonium onto the village green “which he played with great relish”. There is a baptistery under the floor in the centre of the Hall, where baptism by immersion is given to anyone seeking to join the assembly on confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was handed over to the Charity Commissioners, to assure a place of worship for non-conformists.
GOUGH COOPER ESTATE – an estate of approximately 360 houses, built on Little Hilden Farm during 1956-1960. Two of the farm cottages remain at 88 and 90, Tonbridge Road.
GREAT FORGE FARM – Riding Lane. A 16th century building with later cladding and with a loft running the length of the house. It was once known as Kennoltz Farm.
GREAT HOLLANDEN FARM – Riding Lane – The buildings, apart from the farmhouse, are now used as a business centre. Prior to this it was pick-you-own fruit and vegetables farm with a shop and a menagerie, while latterly part of the farm alongside Mill Lane was well known for its rare breeds of farm animals including ponies, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry and geese with a woodland walk to an Iron-age village.
Known at one time as Brights Farm.
GREEN RABBIT – built in 1880. Some say that Gandhi stayed there during his visit to England in 1927/8, when it was a private house. It became a restaurant and guest house in 1941 and was demolished in 1975. A group of 5 houses known as Orchard Lea, Tonbridge Road, now occupies the site.
THE GRENADIER – a public house in Riding Lane. It is marked on a map of 1870. In 1901 the landlord was Wm. Peacock, in 1913 George Thomas Miles. It was rebuilt as a private house after it had been flattened by a bomb in 1942. The publican was in the cellar at the time, tapping a new cask of beer, which probably saved his life. It was the landlord of this pub, Mr Southin, who in 1932, as a result of his persistent efforts, succeeded in getting a bus running on Riding Lane to Underriver. The bus was run by Arthur Ashby.
THE HALF MOON – or Old Half Moon Inn. Parts of this public house are probably 500 years old, though the front part was added about 1707, when the licensee was Samuel Peckham. In the days when the mail went by coach, the horses were changed here and it is rumoured that Dick Turpin visited the place on more than one occasion. An inventory of the “household furniture, tenants fixtures, trade fittings and effects on the premises” transferred from Mr Arthur Beaney to Mr Frederick Oaten on 13th November 1895, gives us some ides of the domestic history of that time: 2 wash basins, a six-foot form, 4 bowles, 2 warming pans and sundries (in the attic); a feather bed, 2 chaff pillows, bedsteps, commode and chamber ware (faulty) (in the back bedroom)l; bedsteads in some rooms, palliasses in others. On 7th September, 1904, after the 39th Servants Annual Cricket Match on the village ground, there was a supper in a marquee behind the Half Moon, provided by Mr Austen and the host Mr F. Oaten. The teams were captained by G. Robinson, coachman to Mrs Hills of Bourne Place and E. Jelley, bailiff to Chas. Stewart, Esq. of The Hurst, Coldharbour Lane (now Roughetts). Mr Robinson’s side won by 29 runs. In 1913 the Landlord was Charles Thos. Thorne and in the 1930s his son ran a taxi service. On Sunday, 27th October, 1940 at 8.30 a.m., a Spitfire II piloted by Pilot Officer John Romney Mather, 66 Squadron Gravesend, crashed in the grounds and the pilot was killed. He was born at Blackheath, London and is buried at St. Margaret’s churchyard, Ifield, Crawley, Sussex. In 1972 Malcolm Pettit, a local enthusiast, recovered the engine from waste ground behind the Half Moon.
HARDWICK ROAD – a cul-de-sac of 24 houses and bungalows started in 1959, in part of the grounds of Hollanden Park, and named after Mr & Mrs Hardwick who lived there in the 1880s.
HARDWICK SCHOOL – a Kent County Council special school for children with learning disability aged from 2 – 19 years, built in 1959 in Coldharbour Lane, which closed in 1990 and moved to form the Ridgeway School.
HILDEN BRIDGE – over Hilden Brook, at the foot of Dry Hill, Tonbridge. There is a record of a skirmish having taken place here between the Roundheads and Cavaliers in 1643. In 1807, another incident occurred; a mail coach overturned, the driver was killed and many were injured. The bridge was rebuilt and widened in 1824, for the cost of £268.
HILDEN BROOK – a spring rising in Sevenoaks flows through the parish into the Medway at Tonbridge.
HILDEN FARM or LATTERS FARM – was once used for a tallow chandler’s business, causing a most unpleasant smell in the area, but nevertheless, according to local residents, “they know how to rear white turkeys!”
HILDEN GARAGE – built on the site of the Boiling Kettle café, it was replaced by B.P.’s Food Plus in 1986.
HILDEN GOLF CENTRE – Rings Hill, The centre was built on land that had belonged to the Mountains estate. It had been planted with young trees in 1960 but these were badly damaged in the 1987 gales. The Golf Centre opened in November, 1993.
HILDEN HOUSE – The name occurs twice. A fine Georgian house which stood almost opposite the Hilden Manor roadhouse. At one time owned by Guy Maunsell, a civil engineer, who conceived the idea of the Mulberry Harbour, later by Mr Barrett, who also owned the Green Rabbit. It changed hands again in 1950 and was demolished during the early 1960s. Farm Lane was built in the grounds. Secondly it was the name of a lodge opposite Hildenborough Station designed by George Devey in the late 1860s when a Mansion was planned to be built on Lucys Farm.. The lodge was replaced by a resited house in th 1990s. HILDEN MANOR – the present building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. It was built beside the ruins of a fortified stone building (see foreword). It became a comfortable and convenient half-way house for royalty and nobility en route to Hastings and Rye. Early this century, it became an inn and its open-air swimming pool became very popular after the Second World War. The swimming pool was later used for part of the Stacey Road development. A function room was demolished after the fire in 2005 burned the Manor. The Manor was rebuilt in 2006 with a budget Hotel on the car park.
HILDEN PARK ROAD – once owned by Lord de Lisle of Penshurst. This area (together with the land facing Tonbridge Road between the BP Garage and Hawden Lane) was sold as the Hilden Park Estate in 1900 by the Crown Lands Society of 154 High Street Tonbridge to individuals and Companies who then built on their plots.
HILDENBOROUGH HALL – Britain’s original permanent Young People’s Conference Centre. During the years 1945 to 1954, it was run by Tom and Jean Rees in the house originally known as Hollanden Park, Coldharbour Lane. It was described at the time as: “A country mansion midway between London and the south coast, in Kent, the garden of England. Thirty two acres of pleasure grounds. Tennis, swimming, boating and riding. Daily excursions. Excellent food. Garden fruit and vegetables. Guernsey cows. Every comfort. Holiday Conferences designed specially to bring young people face to face with the claims of Jesus Christ as Lord in their lives, train them for Christian Service, and at the same time provide a thoroughly refreshing holiday in a cheerful Christian atmosphere.” The Rt. Rev. John B. Taylor, Bishop of St. Albans and the Rt Rev.Maurice A.P.Wood former Bishop of Norwich, were frequent helpers. On his first visit to England, Billy Graham spent his first night in this country at Hildenborough Hall. The organisation moved to Otford but continued to use the name Hildenborough Hall. See also Hollanden Park.
Mrs Henry HILLS MEMORIAL COTTAGE – Foxbush. Built in 1938 for the village nurse. It has now been sold and the money invested to be used for the benefit of the needy of the village.
HOLLANDEN FARM – Riding Lane. A report in the “Tonbridge Free Press” of 1883 reads, “Friday, November 16th in the early morning, Mr Charles Bassett, aged 45, of Hollanden Farm, was found hanging from a hay rack in the stable of his farm. He had evidently been dead some hours and had been missed since two o’clock on Thursday afternoon. An inquest is to be held.” The inquest was held at Great Forge Farm. Mr Fitch Kemp was there to offer sympathy to the family. Mr Bassett was one of his tenants. The verdict was “suicide while in a state of temporary insanity”.
HOLLANDEN HOUSE – Mill Lane. When Miss Edith Johnson, daughter of J.H. Johnson, married Mr Charles H. Scott in 1899, they lived there for some years. She was president of the Girl’s Friendly Society from 1906-1932 and held quarterly meetings in her home. In 1922 she was the second president of the W.I. She died in 1944, aged 78.
HOLLANDEN PARK – Coldharbour Lane. Built between 1866 and 1870 by Punnett of Tonbridge, who also built Foxbush and Mountains. The “Tonbridge Free Press” reports on festivities at Hollanden on Saturday, 22nd September 1883: “The men employed on the estate of P.C. Hardwick Esq., Hollanden, were kindly provided with their annual treat, and at 1 o’clock all sat down to a capital dinner. Ample justice was done to this, and at 2 o’clock all adjourned to a field near the house for cricket, a match having been previously arranged between the House and Garden, captained by C. Eaton, Esq. for the house and Mr G. Goldsmith for the Garden. The weather being all that could be desired, a very pleasant and enjoyable game was played and terminated in favour of the House by 16 runs. During the afternoon Mr and Mrs Hardwick with the family and friends honoured the party with their presence, Mrs Hardwick very kindly officiating as scorer. The game being over, the men and their wives sat down to an excellent tea, which they all thoroughly enjoyed and at 7 o’clock the Hildenborough Drum and Fife Band was entertained by Mr and Mrs Hardwick and after they had enjoyed a capital supper, the whole party adjourned to the coach house, which was decorated with choice plants and illuminated with Chinese lanterns. Here, dancing to the capital music of the band was engaged in with much spirit, and there was some good singing during the evening by the employees, Mr and Mrs Hardwick and friends being present. The singing and dancing were kept up with great spirit until 12 midnight when the singing of the National Anthem brought to a close a holiday which had given great delight to all who had taken part in it.”
Later known as Hildenborough Hall and Hardwick House (when it was a K.C.C. Old People’s Home). During the Second World War, it was occupied by the Rachel McMillan Training College. Now the Raphael Centre.
HOOK HATCH LANE – now known as Bank Lane.
INSTITUTE – Riding Lane. In 1877, two rooms at Little Foxbush Farm were made available for reading and billiards. The late Miss May Chaplin recalled: There is one interesting fact about the back bedroom with the beams at Little Foxbush; for a while, before the present Institute was built, that room was used by the men and lads of the village as an Institute and Reading Room”. In October, 1878, the local press reports, “Mr Hardwick of Hollanden Park gave a cottage for the Institute, Shipbourne Road (now Riding Lane) opposite the National School”. The building changed hands in 1894 when Mr Hardwick left the area. “Home Words” tells us that when the Parish Council met in October 1895, the main business was to seek consent to purchase the Institute from Mr Charles Barkaway for £580 and a loan for the purchase money. At the Parish Council meeting the following month we read: “refusal by County Council to authorise the loan, building not required, the school being sufficient for the purpose”. Eventually purchased by the Parish Council in 1899. The club room was open every night between 6.30pm and 10pm for card games, bagatelle and draughts. Members had to be over 16 years old and the subscription was 2d. per week. No alcohol was sold on the premises until 1925 when the first licence was issued allowing the sale of “intoxicants”. A billiard room was added in 1923. See also Working Men’s Club.
KENNELS – Longacre, London Road (next to Whitesteppes café). For 47 years owned by W.J. Vanstone, a founder member of the Kent & Sussex Cocker Club.
KEMPS COTTAGES – 12 cottages in Riding Lane, between the school and the present chemist shop, owned by C. Fitch Kemp, Esq. There was no running water; this had to be fetched from an outside tap in the forecourt or from two wells at the back. These are the names of the occupants in 1912 when the cottages were sold to Mr Barkaway; S. Owen, A. Gorham, J. Pluck, J. Porter, E. Quinnell, J. Watson, W. Dale, W. Walters, J. Seale, Mrs Upton (widow of George who was killed on the railway in 1898), D. Slattley and G. Kennard. In 1933, the cottages were condemned and the tenants moved into council houses in Church Road.
KNOWSLEY WAY – 58 houses and bungalows built by A.E. Driscoll in the 1950s, on farmland bought from the Hollanden Park estate.
LAUNDRY COTTAGE – Watts Cross. Was used as a laundry premises, comprising dwelling house and brick-floored laundry. It was let to Mr Bartlett until he bought the property, for £475, when the Nizels Estate was sold in July, 1919.
LEYTON HOUSE – about 1896, was a barber’s shop, the a private school and later occupied by R. Woodhams, the builder. In 1950, it became C.W. Woodman’s Fruit Store, later hardware was also sold. Subsequent owners have included Mr W.A. Hoare, Mr C. Clarke, Mr K. Groves and Mr I. Ferris and Colin and Pat Mannering. Now used as offices.
LITTLE FOXBUSH – Noble Tree Road. Originally known as Foxbush, then between 1856 and 1912 as Foxbush Farm. Miss Alice May Chaplin, daughter of Ted Chaplin, kennel man to C. Fitch Kemp, was born here in 1894. The house is believed to date back to the reign of Queen Anne, and her account of the history of the house Miss Chaplin recalls: “It is thought that a Mr Fox owned the house and lived there for some time during the 18th century. After he was murdered, his body was buried near the house and a bush was planted over his grave. My grandfather, who was born in 1844, remembered seeing the bush when he was a little boy. Whatever was the first name of the house is now forgotten, but after Mr Fox’s death it was always Foxbush. Throughout the 19th century, the house was said to be haunted. Some folk said the ghost was Mr Fox, others that it was his murderer.” When the estate was sold in 1912, Mrs Henry Hills bought Little Foxbush and in 1925 her unmarried sisters, misses Kathleen, Ethel and Maud Fitch Kemp moved there. The house was sold in 1949 on the death of Miss Ethel, the last surviving sister.
LITTLE HILDEN FARM – Walter Tibbits sold the land to Gough Cooper for a housing estate in 1956. it stretched from the Boiling Kettle to where Stocks Green School is now. The late Mrs Rosemary Coleman who spent many childhood holidays on the farm remembered “many happy hours spent here on the farm, so green and fresh after London, feeding stock, helping the Land Girls or just exploring”.
LITTLE HOLLANDEN HOUSE – Mill Lane. Once owned by Edmund Cartwright, inventor of the power loom (1785), for which Parliament, in 1809, awarded him £10,000 for services to the art of weaving. In the 1870s owned by Thomas Horatio Harris, who opened his house on the Sabbath for religious meetings. He died in 1878.
LOWER STREET – formerly Nether Street, It connects Philpots Lane with the bottom of Rings Hill, near the road to Leigh. It is unusual to find a road called a street in the country, even more so as there have been no Roman “finds” in the area; the Wealden clay being unsuitable for Roman road building.
LOWER STREET FARM – also known as Childrens. Simon Children is recorded as living here in 1377.
MANSERS – Nizels Lane. Converted from three 17th and 18th century farm buildings in the 1930s. The main part of the house originated as a 5-bay threshing barn, the entrance hall was a former cow byre and the other building was a hay barn.
MANSERS FARM – Nizels Lane. In 1614, it was sold to Roger Nicoll, alias Webb, together with a piece of land called Lemmans. During 20th century alterations, a hoard of George III guineas was found when the staircase was removed and in an upstairs cupboard, a blue silk slipper with high heel and curled up toe was found which, unfortunately, crumbled to dust when exposed to the air.