Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Region:||South East England|
Hawkhurst is virtually two villages—one, the older of the two, consisting mainly of cottages clustered around a large triangular green known as the Moor, and the other, further north on the main road, called Highgate. Each part has a different character. Highgate stands on a crossroads and is where the shops and hotels lie.
The village was the centre of the Wealden iron industry until the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th Century. William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, owned ironworks at Hawkhurst in the 17th century.
Two parish churches
St Laurence’s parish church remains. During World War II a bomb fell on its churchyard, and most of its gravestones and stained glass were lost.
There was a branch railway line from Paddock Wood, on the London – Dover main line, opened on September 4, 1893; as all the stations on the line were some distance from the villages they purported to serve, the line finally closed on June 12, 1961.
The Hawkhurst Gang
High taxation on luxury goods in the early 1700s led to an upsurge in smuggling, and Hawkhurst gave its name to one of the most notorious gangs of ruffians and smugglers. They terrorised the countryside: several of the local houses, including Hawkhurst Place, the Tudor Arms hotel and Tickners, claim associations with the gang. They were the kings of the trade, bringing brandy, silk and tobacco up from Rye to be stowed away in hidden cellars and passages before being sold off to the local gentry. The Battle of Goudhurst eventually brought their career to an end.
Hawkhurst lays claim to be the birthplace of the Rootes car empire. It was here, in the village, that William Rootes set up shop as a cycle trader before ambition and opportunity conspired to take him and his two sons, William and Reginald, into the rather more lucrative production of Hillman, Humber and Sunbeam cars and so into English automobile history.
The opening of the largest country home of the Dr. Barnado organisation, named "Babies' Castle" took place in 1886 by HRH Princess Mary Adelaide , Duchess of Teck and her daughter Princess Mary, later George V's Queen Mary. The home became an adult care centre in 1963, and was recently purchased by private developers to be turned into flats.
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