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The History of Kent

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History of Knockholt

Knockholt comes from the Old English ‘āc’ meaning an ‘oak-tree’ with ‘holt’ for a ‘wood’; therefore, an ‘oak wood’. In 1165, there is a record of Knockholt written as Ocholt. It acquired an initial N - from the Old English definite article - appearing as Nocholt by 1353.

Legend has it that William the Conqueror watered his horse at a dew pond at the highest point in the highest village in Kent, perched on one of Britain's oldest routes, known as the 'Track way.' It ran mostly over hills to avoid the dangers lurking in the surrounding forest. 

Knockholt parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Katharine. The Normans built it in the 12th century with the tower a little later. In 1552, there is a record of three bells in the tower. In 1797, Edward Hasted described St Katharine’s church as consisting of ‘one isle and a chancel, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which are three bells. It had a spire, which was blown down, and has never since been rebuilt’. In 1840, the congregation replaced the short squat tower with a clock tower and removed one of the bells. In 1881, the architect A R Stenning enlarged and refurbished the church.

Knockholt railway station opened as 'Halstead for Knockholt', on the South Eastern Railway’s Chislehurst to Sevenoaks section of the Tonbridge cut-off line, in 1876. The name changed to ‘Knockholt’ in 1900, despite being over three miles from the village centre.