Welcome to the Pembury History website

The History part of the Pembury web site has grown up, left home, and got a place of its own. This is to enable us to expand the history content without appearing to dominate or swamp the regular web site. Much has been written about Pembury’s history over the years, and this web site is an ideal environment to act as an anchor or focal point for all that information. What you see here is a start. Hopefully much more will follow in years to come. There are menu selections for historic pictures and maps, lists of the old shops and pubs, but nothing as yet about the churches, manors,  farms or housing development.  Volunteers wishing to help in the compilation of these topics would be welcome – click here for more.

We are hoping to populate these pages with dedicated articles, maps and compilations.  The Shops and Retail compilation is typical of the type of project that relies on community contributions.  We have started off with dedicated maps of the village that show the locations of shops past and present. In an associated table we plan to list as many of the old businesses that have occupied a particular shop, along with the shopkeeper’s name and date of occupation.  Please get in contact with any additions and corrections.  All contributions, large or small, are welcome, and all contributors will be acknowledged.  Some pages may contain contributions or published articles that are at odds with one another and may pose contradictions.  This is the result of an open environment for such publications. If there are obvious errors we will try to make note of them without editing a contributor’s work.  If a piece is clearly bonkers and riddled with nonsense it will be withdrawn.

This is a work in progress and will evolve with time as more data becomes available.

A bit of the past……

The earliest evidence suggests that there was a village of Pepenbury in about the eleventh century, with the earliest settlement in the 12th. century of the Manor House, Hawkwell in Pepenbury Magna, near the old parish church. The first turnpike (toll) road in Kent was the section between Pembury and Sevenoaks and in 1785, the coaching inn was dealing with 14 coaches a day.

In Lower Green, one of the five hamlets making up Pembury, there were cottages dating from Tudor times to the early 19th century. Between 1500 and 1700 the cloth industry flourished in Pembury, including the trades of weaving, fulling and clothmaking. Brick and tile making were very important industries in Pembury for over 100 years as witnessed by some of the road names – Red Row, Slate Row and the bricks and tiles produced were used throughout the south-east of England.

In the Upper Green were the newer houses of the gentry, the almshouses, the Camden Arms and many shops including a beer shop, a smithy and a wheelwright’s house on the Green itself. From Lower Green, the road led through hopgardens and fields to the hamlet of Romford, site of several large houses and farms. The premises of Stanton House were said to have been used as a workhouse for aged men between 1822 to 1837. Keyes Mill on Stone Court Farm was said to be the origin of one of Turner’s famous paintings in 1807.

In 1895, the year when the Pembury Parish Council was first formed, there were 1,500 parishioners. By 1931, this had risen to 2,631 and by 1971 to 4,795. The population of Pembury is now well over 6,000.