Benenden in Kent is a quiet picturesque village with a large 'green' about 7 miles
to the west of Tenterden . The first mention of the village is in the
Domesday Monachorum of 1070, where the church is recorded as part of
the Diocese of Canterbury . Before 1066 the Domesday book records the village
as being owned by Osier, afterwards the de Benendens occupied the land.
During the 1400's Benenden church had a detached bell tower built with
stone foundations and a wooden spire.
In 1573 Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the village as the guest of Sir Thomas
Guldeford and his wife Elizabeth at Hemsted, Sir Thomas's home.
While staying there she planted a walnut tree which remained standing until
In 1718 Hemsted was sold to Admiral Sir John Norris, his grandson John Norris
came to live there with his wife Kitty Fisher. She is famed in a nursery rhyme
as the one who found Lucy Locket's pocket.
Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
But ne'er a penny was there in't
Except the binding round it.
Kitty was a milliner who worked her way round society via various bedchambers.
She settled into the role of mistress of Hemsted, and was liked by the local
folk, especially as she was generous to the poor. Unfortunately she died of
smallpox only 4 months after her marriage. Her last wish was to be buried in
the churchyard dressed in her best ballgown.
In 1860 Hemsted was rebuilt by Gaythorn Hardy who was to be known later as
Lord Cranbrook. It was bought in 1912 by Lord Rothermere who made further
Hemsted is now the home of the famous Benenden School, one of the top
private girls schools in the country, which was attended by Princess Ann
the Princess Royal.
In 1905 the Post Office established a Chest Hospital in the village to
provide free treatment to members of its staff suffering from tuberculosis.
After 1933 the hospital was opened to all Civil Servants, their wives and
children. The hospital was enlarged, and as TB declined, so the hospital
started to cater for a much wider range of ilnesses.
|Benenden in Kent green is very attractive with the church at one end, and provides
a pleasant afternoon on a summers sunday afternoon watching the local cricket
At the crossroads in the centre of the village drive south, and look to the
south west towards Hawkhurst with the hills rolling into the distance.
|Benenden in Kent is a small village with only a few local shops.|
The nearest shopping centres are at Tenterden about 7 miles to the west or
Cranbrook about 4 miles north. Major shopping centres are at Tunbridge Wells
and Maidstone .
The nearest trains run from Staplehurst about 8 miles to the north providing
commuter services to London.
|Benenden is shown as the red symbol on the map.|
(click on symbol to see the village page)
||(The Maids of Biddenden)||4.31 miles|
||(Christmas Cards and Union Mill)||2.79 miles|
||(The oldest Brass Weather Vane in the country)||7.41 miles|
||(300 local people beheaded)||5.99 miles|
||(Smugglers, Iron and Forests)||6.30 miles|
||(A Notorious Gang of Smugglers)||3.44 miles|
||(The Youngest Highwayman on record)||5.96 miles|
||(Charcoal for the Furnace)||6.99 miles|
||(Alfred the Great's Fort)||3.82 miles|
||(Witches stealing Holy Water)||2.39 miles|
||(Escape from the Great Plague)||2.86 miles|
||(The magnificent garden of Vita Sackville-West)||3.11 miles|
||(The Ellen Terry Museum)||5.51 miles|
||(Centre of the Broadcloth industry)||4.69 miles|
||(Park your Airship here ?)||6.56 miles|