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The History of Kent

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History of Horsmonden

Horsmonden comes from the Old English 'hors' meaning 'horse', and ‘bune’ as a ‘reed’, with ‘burna’ for a 'stream' together with the Kentish word ‘denn’ translating as a ‘wooded pasture’. Therefore, either ‘woodland-pasture at ‘Horsburna’ – horse stream’ or ‘woodland-pasture where ‘Horsbune’ – horse-reed – grows’


Horsmonden parish Church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Margaret. Its construction did not commence until the early 14th century, with additions and extensions in the following 100 years. In 1703, the rector, Stephen Bate completed a restoration and the installation of a candelabrum in the nave. There is a record of 5 bells early in the 18th century, which Samuel Knight cast into a ring of six in 1737. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Margaret’s church as a ‘handsome building’. In 1867, the architect Thomas Henry Wyatt completed a major restoration, in which he rebuilt the entire north aisle, added a vestry and covered all roofs in slate. In 1955, John Taylor hung two treble bells - cast the previous year - to complete the octave…. more


Early in the 17th Century, John Browne started a forge and foundry in Horsmonden making guns for the Army and Navy. Browne had the monopoly on production of royal guns, and in 1625, his foundry, after the outbreak of the Spanish War, made five hundred guns for British ships. In 1638, King Charles I visited the foundry to watch a bronze four-pounder, 42 inches long cannon, being cast - now preserved in London's White Tower. At its peak, the foundry employed 200 men, causing the village centre to move, leaving the church two miles away in isolation. The foundry closed in 1685.