Fosse Bank School When the previous School in Tonbridge was closed some of the staff founded Fosse Bank New School in what had been part of the premises of Hardwick School. It moved to Mountains in Noble Tree Road in 2004.
Church of England Primary School, Riding Lane. Built in 1847, on land bought from the Rev. Thomas May, Vicar of Leigh, for £34. The original school managers were the Rev. Edward Vinall, John Warden, R.N., Richard Puckle, Gentlemen, and Augustus Langdon, Barrister, who lived at Coldharbour House. They appointed Ewan Christian to prepare plans for a school to accommodate 60 boys and 60 girls and a master’s house, and warned him to “take care that the master’s house be exempt from window tax”. It was built by Chalkin and Wellers for under £500. For the first 23 years, the school ran without outside help except for a gift of £10 per annum from the Ironmonger’s Company – the Betton Gift.
Fees were as follows:
Labourers 2d. per week for 1st child, 1d. for each additional child in the same family. those above the 6/- a quarter if they lived in the district station of labourer 10/- a quarter if they lived outside the district
When in September 1897 children could attend the National Schools free of charge, the following notice appeared in the Parish magazine “the parent must remember that every week they keep their child away, the school loses 9d.”. After the Education Act of 1902, the school was taken over by the County Council who became responsible for all expenditure except the upkeep of the buildings and premises and any alterations and extensions that may be called for in the future. In September 1955, the school was able to have its first full-time caretaker, Mr W. Woodgate, who lived at 3 Crossway Cottages. The School was extended in 1963 with the addition of an assembly hall, two classrooms and the infants’ playground. A swimming pool was added in 1970. Considerable rebuilding took place in 2005, a new wing comprising 7 new classrooms, cloakrooms and a food servery was openred by Dame Kelly Holmes on 7 December 2004.
Mr Charles Welland 1847 (1 term)
Mr F.G. & Mrs C.F. Smith 1847-1873
Mr Robert Blake 1873-1874
Mr H.J. Sparkes 1874-1897
Mr M.C. & Mrs Morris 1897-1913
Mr R.F. Hodder 1914-1931
Mr L.R.A. Fitz 1931-1952
Mr L.R. Haisell 1952-1979
Mr D. Perry 1979-1990
Mrs C. Berry 1990-2002
Mrs L. Hargreaves 2002-2007
Mrs M. Armstrong 2007- date
Stocks Green School, Leigh Road. The Kent County Council bought the land in 1962 “for education purposes” for £23,123. The school opened on 7th January 1969 with 112 pupils in 4 classes, while there was a bulge between , in 2006 there are 218 pupils in 7 classes. The first headmaster was Mr A. Hillier who was succeeded by Mr Quiney (1977-1985), then Mr R. Edom and Mrs Topiwalawa followed. Mr R Britt became head in 2001 until 2004 when he was succeeded by Mrs Yeomans. The school badge comes from the coat of arms of the Fane or Vane family which is three golden gauntlets on a blue shield. The family moved from Monmouth in Wales to this area in 1426. In 1624, Francis Vane became the first Earl of Westmorland and so it was of the present Earl that the school sought permission to use one of the gauntlets from the Vane coat of arms for the school badge.
Sackville School, Foxbush, Tonbridge Road. In the autumn of 1986, Sackville School was in the process of being founded in Knole Park, Godden Green. When the Foxbush site became available in May 1987, it was purchased and the school opened in September, 1987 with an intake of one year of boys at 13+. The following two years saw a similar intake. The school is designed for children who, for a variety of reasons, need or want a small local day school. It offers a 3-year course in preparation for GCSE examinations. The aim of the school is to equip students with an education which will satisfy not only the academic but the technical, commercial and international needs of the 21st century. In 2006 the Head is Mrs Michelle Sinclair.
SCHOOL HOUSE COTTAGES – London Road (formerly Sevenoaks Road). The south end cottage was the school and the schoolmaster was Mr Richard Woodhams. In 1893, Wednesday evening prayer meetings were held there.
SELBY FARM – Leigh Road. Believed to have been the home farm of Datchurst Manor. Two rooms of the house, one upstairs and one down, date from 1450. Named after the Selby family, owners of Ightham Mote, who also owned land in Hildenborough. It is one of Kent’s Historic Buildings. The following account from the Tonbridge Petty Sessions appears in the “Tonbridge Free Press” of May, 1883: “It was reported by Supt. Barnes, that an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease had occurred on the premises of Mr David Evan, Selby Farm, Hildenborough. It appeared that the cow which had failed with the disease had been running among 43 other beasts, and that on Thursday morning a second animal showed signs of contagion. The Bench ordered that under the provisions of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act the district should be declared an infected area.”
SEVENOAKS-TONBRIDGE BY-PASS – was opened by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Edward Heath, in July 1971. A group of vintage vehicles, including buses and vans, led the parade. Work had started in February, 1968. A resident living near the Nizels Lane Bridge at the time recalled “the summer of 1969 was very dry and the dust from the scrapers and the constant clanging and screeching from the huge machines made it unforgettable. During the winter of that year the mud created untold problems”. A painting of those days, owned by the Parish Council, can be seen in the Library.
SPRINGWATER COTTAGE – Leigh Road. Part of this cottage is over 300 years old.
STOCKS GREEN FARM – a 65 acre farm bought by Commander A. W. Tomlinson shortly before he retired from the Royal Navy in 1920. He converted the barn into a very popular tea house and his herd of 12 cows provided the cream for the now famous “Oceans of Cream” teas. Four fields were converted into a landing strip in the 1930s. See also The Old Barn.
TELEPHONE EXCHANGE – the telephone was in its infancy when the following accident was reported in the “Tonbridge Free Press” of 1883: “On Monday (14th May) an exceedingly sad accident occurred at Hildenborough to a man named William Morton (aged 41 years), a telegraph engineer, who was employed in running a new wire from London to Tunbridge Wells. It seems he was working on a ladder near the top of one of the poles opposite the Half Moon (at the inquest a fellow telegraph engineer said that the accident occurred ‘two poles distant from the Lower Cock, Hildenborough’), when the newly-erected wire slipped from the arm of the pole and struck him with great force, throwing him to the ground. It was soon found that Mr Morton had a fractured spine and he was as quickly as possible conveyed (by horse and cart) to Tunbridge Wells Infirmary, where he lingered till Friday afternoon and then succumbed to his injuries. Morton was formerly a sergeant in the Royal Engineers and had recently been drafted to this neighbourhood to join the Tonbridge contingent of postal telegraph engineers during the absence of some members on drill at Gravesend; and on Monday, the day of the accident, just before the said occurrence his wife arrived in Tonbridge from London to visit him.”
The first manual exchange in Hildenborough was installed at the Post Office in 1925. In 1977 the automatic telephone exchange, built in 1937 in Riding Lane (now site of the Library), became redundant as the Post Office had built a new exchange in the Tonbridge Road.
THIRST & LAST – see New Cock Inn.
TOLLGATE – or paygate, situated on the Tonbridge side of the Flying Dutchman. The charge was 1d. When the Tollkeeper’s house was dismantled, the bricks were used to build the Old Forge House, Mount Pleasant. The road from River hill to Pembury was the first turnpike road to be opened in Kent, in 1709.
TREBERFYDD – Watts Cross. Original house dated 1610 with front of house added in 1820. A clay pipe dated 1860 and materials for making cricket balls were found when floors were removed in the 1960s.
The TRENCH – Coldharbour Lane. A map dated 1822 shows that Trench Farm was owned by George Wilts. In 1870 the owner was Sir Thomas Kingscote, wine-taster to Queen Victoria. Trench Convalescent Home is referred to in “Home Words” of August 1894 and 1898 when “patients entertained”. In 1913, the owner was Col Charles Warner who founded the Kent Cyclist Battalion in 1909.
TRENCH WOOD – cannon balls were found here last century.
VICARAGE – described as a “neat parsonage house”, was built circa 1845.
VILLAGE GREEN – land given to the Parish in 1920s by Miss Baker who lived at Old Forge House, Mount Pleasant.
VILLAGE HALL – Riding Lane. Investigations, estimates and surveys were carried out in 1968 by Mr H.M. Coleman and Mr John Ash to replace the existing Drill Hall with a new Village Hall. The Parish Council formed a committee, consisting of the above mentioned plus Messrs P. Toy, A. Langdon-Down, T. Barton and J. Simmonds, with Mr E. Holder as financial director. The new building was designed by J. Simmonds A.R.I.B.A, by October, 1969 planning consent had been received and in February, 1970 a short intensive appeal was launched to raise £30,000. All 1500 homes in the parish were visited and from covenanted gifts and donations over £18,000 was raised mostly in small amounts. To this sum was added a grant of £10,000 from the Department of Education & Science. Although short of the total required, the work was put in hand with the main contractors, John Jarvis Ltd. of Tunbridge Wells, in January, 1971. By November, the work was complete and Kent County Council had given £1,000 and the Tonbridge Rural District Council £500. The “Courier” reported in this way: “Built by the community for the community, its successful completion is a tribute to the enthusiastic efforts of local people”. The new hall was designed to incorporate the existing stage, dressing rooms and kitchens, which had been rebuilt as a memorial to the victims of the Second World War, but in addition, to include a vestibule, cloakroom, toilets, library and social club. The Hall was officially opened by Philip Toy, Chairman of Tonbridge Rural District Council, on Saturday, 11th December, 1971. It was later extended on the first floor to provide two rooms rather than one and, over the years, improvements have been made to the facilities. These include insulating the building, providing double glazing in the Hall, air conditioning to the larger upstairs room and providing a disabled toilet.
VILLAGE SIGN To help celebrate the Parish Council’s Centenary on June 25th and 26th 1994 a Committee was set up representing all Village organisations. As well as organising the weekend the Committee also produced ideas for the Hildenborough Village Badge, the design was later finalised by a resident Claire Knight. This had five elements and was intended to represent the various areas of the village, namely the Church, Foxbush, Riding, Stocks Green and Hilden. A sign was erected on the on the verge by Foxbush which showed the badge. Efforts were made for the sign to be placed in a prominent position at the entrance to the village opposite to the War Memorial, but unfortunately at that time the 40 m.p.h. sign was located at this point and the Local Authority could not give it’s approval for the sign to be sited there, so it was moved towards Sevenoaks to what was, then, a clear area. Since 1994 the nearby tree has grown, but a lowering of the sign has not succeeded in making it more visible. VINES or Vynes – Vines Lane. Once known as Three Wents. Owned by Catherine Oliver in the first half of the 19th century, by the Misses Hodgson in 1893, in the early part of the 20th century by Mr & Mrs William Turnbull and in 1922 by Major & Mrs Charrington – “she had a riding school and taught the children simply beautifully and also how to look after a horse”.
VITASAN CLINIC – Mount Pleasant/Tonbridge Road. When the doctors’ surgery moved in 1971, the physiotherapy department of Sevenoaks Hospital took over the building. This closed in 1989 and was relocated at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital. Now business premises.
WAR MEMORIAL – “Home Words” reported in November, 1920
“The unveiling and dedication of the Memorial Cross took place on Tuesday, 5th October, in the presence of a large gathering of the people of Hildenborough, in perfect summer weather – an event in the life of our village which will long be gratefully remembered. At the hour of Service, behind the Cross were the Choir; to the right of the Cross stood the Bishop and Vicar, with relatives and friends of the fallen with their offerings of flowers, to the left of the Cross was Colonel Cornwallis, supported by a large gathering of ex-service men. The colonel first spoke, and then unveiled the Cross, and the Bishop after dedicating it gave his address. The prayers were said by the Vicar, and the singing was led by the Choir. We all felt it was a glorious Service of remembrance and thanksgiving – another truth to unite us in this parish as one family – a sacred gift, safe from dishonour in the guardianship of us all. “The following is a description of the Cross; The Memorial, which is from the design of Mr H. Burke Downing, F.S.A., stands at the angle of the station and high road looking towards the Church, and takes the form of a wayside Cross – after the fashion of the Iron Cross. The shaft of the Cross rises from a heavy block of Clipsham stone resting on a broad stepped base, and in the Cross-head, which is some twenty feet above the road level, is sculptured in high relief the Figure of Our Lord on the Cross, with attendant figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John. On the shaft is engraved, “Lift up your hearts”, and on the base stone, “Remember the Comrades who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1919”, and the prayer, “Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest; let Light perpetual shine upon them.” The names of the fallen, thirty-seven in number, are described on the side panels of the base stone. The piece of land was given by Mrs Henry Hills, and is to be turfed, and a yew hedge planted at the back. The memorial is enclosed with oak posts and chains.” After the 1939-1945 World War the names of sixteen local men who gave their lives, were inscribed at the base of the memorial. The stone Cross weighs six-and-a-half tons and was hauled to its present position by Mr Fred Fermor, who was a contractor with a traction engine business.
The Memorial belongs to a charity whose Trustee is the County Council.
WATTS CROSS – is the area where a small community had gathered around a shop, laundry, cricket ball factory, mill, forge and pound. Originally it had been planned to build the church here. When the railway was built, the station was first known as Watts Cross.
WEBBER’S FORGE also WEBBER’S GARAGE – “Farriers, blacksmiths and wheelwrights, also agents for Morris cars”, beside the Half Moon. Mr W. J. Webber ran a taxi service from here in the 1930s. It became a popular meeting place for the menfolk in the 1940s until it closed. Became Tonbridge Motor Company, later Partners, and now Hildenborough Volvo.
WESLEYAN CHAPEL – Stocks Green Road, it opened in 1826 and closed in 1844, when the Parish Church was built.
WESTWOOD – a part of this area i.e. 8.6 acres, was bought by the Parish Council in 1982 from Mr Barkaway, with the aid of a grant from the Countryside Commission and a loan from Tonbridge & Malling District Council, for the purpose of providing a recreation area at the south end of the village (see Oakhill Cricket Ground). Another acre of land was purchased by the doctors in 1989 to build a Medical Centre, and a further 3.5 acres were acquired by the Parish Council at that time.
WHIFFINS – Nizels Lane. Three cottages, now converted into one house. In 1901 these cottages were occupied by J. Hodge, G. Dale and P. Nye.
WHITESTEPPES CAFÉ – near Whitesteppes on London Road. “Morning coffee, lunches, teas, suppers, cream ices, etc. Large parking space for cars and coaches.” Open in 1930s. Between 1940 and 1943, it was owned by Major and Mrs Smith.
WINDMILL – a smock mill constructed in 1812 by Budgen of Speldhurst for John London, on land belonging to the family at Watts Cross. All wheels and cogs were made of wood and the cap was turned by hand. It remained in the family until 1829. Records show that in 1841 the miller was John Wright, in 1848 Thomas Blackwell, circa 1860 Mr Uridge and in 1878 Richard Burfoot. It was sold in 1909 at the Fairhill sale for £1010 to the Misses Yeldham who turned the land into a private garden, after the mill ceased working in 1910. When the Home Guard was formed in 1940, the mill was used as their observation post. Dismantled in 1961, only the brick base now remains in the garden of Mill House, Mill Lane, home of Dr & Mrs Glaisher. There is reference in 1658 to another windmill when John Nicholls, a miller of Westerham, sold six parcels of land bounding to Nizels Hoath. The mill stood in Windmill field.
ZAREBA – is the house now built on the site first selected for building the church, on the corner of Mill Lane and London Road. It is said that the plan of the church was actually pegged out on the ground in the field immediately to the north of the house.