Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
Leave your email address to receive Kent Past Times free every month
History of Tenterden
Tenterden comes from the Old English ‘ware’ meaning ‘dwellers’ and the Kentish word
‘denn’ as a ‘woodland pasture’ combined with a place-
Tenterden grew from the 14th century around the wool industry. Unlike other such centres in the Weald, it had the benefit of access to the sea. Much of what is now Romney Marsh was under water, and ships docked at Smallhythe. Shipbuilders used timber from the Wealden forests to build vessels, and in 1449, the Confederation of Cinque Ports incorporated Tenterden as a limb of Rye. Tenterden contributed ships to help fulfil Rye’s quota for the Crown.
Tenterden parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mildred,
the daughter of Ermenburga, the Great Grand Daughter of . Although
the present church dates to the 12th Century, an earlier Saxon chapel occupied the
site. The church expanded several times from its 12th century beginnings. In 1461,
Richard Herne, of Canterbury, bequeathed funds to build the tower, which seems to
loom over the town. It is one of the churches in the 1588 system of warning beacons.
In 1717, Richard Phelps recast the existing five bells into six. Lester and Pack
added two trebles to make eight bells in 1769. Edward Hasted describes the church
as ‘a large handsome building, consisting of two isles and three chancels, having
a lofty well-
In 1864 G M Mills carried out, a major restoration. In 1971, Whitechapel rehung the
bells lower in the tower, and in December of that year, the Archbishop of Canterbury
rededicated them. In January of the following year, the Archbishop returned to preach
at a special service celebrating the completion of the restoration of the tower.
Tenterden railway station opened on the Rother Valley Railway’s branch line from Robertsbridge, on 29 March 1900. However, due to its distance from the town (nearly two miles away) a more convenient terminus, named ‘Tenterden Town’, opened on 16 March 1903…. more