Hothfield Village History

and Publications

...from the rustic heart of Kent


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photograph of St Margarets Parish Church, Hothfield

St Margaret's 13th Century Parish Church
More information...

 
The modern parish of Hothfield has 780 residents within an area of 959.43 Hectares (Source: 2011 Census on-line statistics).  Earliest records suggest that the name ‘Hothfield’ is of Saxon origin from ‘heath’ meaning a place where wood has been felled. Hothfield is set in well wooded, agricultural countryside and an interesting variety of houses and farms surrounds the village. Hothfield Heathland Nature Reserve, just off the A20, is a Local Nature Reserve and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. There is a nature trail and many footpaths across the 143 acre common. Visitors can enter the Nature Reserve at any time, but are asked to treat the countryside with respect.
  The 13th Century Parish Church of St Margaret is set high to the south of the village overlooking parkland and contains the 17th century Tufton Tomb.

photograph of The 17th century Tufton family tomb

The Tufton Tomb inside St Margaret's Parish Church

 >>Click Here<< to link to Kent Arch. Society's Monumental Inscriptions found in the churchyard of Hothfield Church.


Parish & Local History Records. Are you searching for old parish records? Researching your family tree? Interested in local history archives? The Kent History and Library Centre (KHLC) at Maidstone replaces the Centre for Kentish Studies, East Kent Archives Centre, County Central and Maidstone (St Faiths Street) libraries. KHLC holds manuscript and printed records for Hothfield and the County of Kent. 
Contact:- 08458 247200, Fax: 01622 696450,
email: historyandlibrarycentre@kent.gov.uk
Click here
for more information.


Hothfield in the 20th Century   Hothfield in the 20th Century publication

This book by the Hothfield History Society is the definitive record of village development and life in the 20th Century.

Extract from the book's Introduction

By 1900 the then Rector of Hothfield, the Reverend Harry Russell, had written not only the history of Hothfield but also that of many families connected with the village. It seems appropriate then, that in the year 2000 we should attempt to bring this up to date by producing a history of the parish in the last 100 years.
 
The book therefore, has several authors, and in editing and compiling their work we have tried to retain the style as well as the content of each contribution.

Much of our information is by word of mouth and although we have no reason to doubt the integrity of our sources, we cannot guarantee total accuracy. It is certainly not our intention to offend anyone by giving information that is untrue or insensitive. The full list of sources and references can be found at the end of each section

We are grateful to the many people who have helped us in our task, which would undoubtedly have been easier if a regular record had been maintained by a village historian and it is our hope this will happen in future and that in 2100 there will be a ready made written and photographic record of the 21st century in Hothfield.

Reverend Russell’s original three volumes are in the Kent County Archives Department in Maidstone.

With over 100 pages, the book contents include...

Introduction
Hothfield Place and Park
St. Margaret’s Church
The Common
Roads and Railways
The War Years
Hothfield School
Village Organisations and Charities
Farms and Businesses
Housing in Hothfield
Reflections on the Century
Appendix.

To find out more about the book or to purchase a copy, please email hothfieldmemories@hotmail.com. Copies of the book are currently available for purchase at £10, plus postage and packing where appropriate. A CD for viewing on a computer is also available at £5, plus postage and packing where appropriate. 

Hothfield in the 20th Century book rear cover

Hothfield in the 20th Century book rear cover


Hothfield - A History of the Village

A photocopy of the three volumes of Reverend Russell's manuscript, Hothfield, and referred to above is kept in the village and has been transcribed by Bob Rivers into typescript.  The manuscript was written mainly as a collection of notes charting the development of Hothfield from 680AD to 1900.  It gives genealogical details of many of the families who influenced the development of the parish, mentions many of the more humble residents in the 18th and 19th centuries, describes economic and social conditions and identifies physical features.  Many of the villages and towns around Hothfield are also mentioned.  The contents are:-

The Name; Civil & Geographical Position; Population; and, Possible Earliest Mention of Hothfield

Physical Features; Acreage; Trees; etc

Boundaries & Perambulations

Connection of the Parish with the Weald

The Manors

Hothfield

Fawsley

Swinford

Farms; Fields; Mills; Woods; etc and their ownership

Sundry Names Connected with the Parish

Some Changes in the Parish between 1779 & 1900

Connection of the Parish with the Cloth Industry

Connection of the Parish with the Iron Industry

The Church

Valuation of the Rectory of Hothfield

The Monuments

The Church Plate

The Bells

Benefactions

The Registers

The Rectors

The Curates

The Churchwardens

The Clerks & Sextons

The School

Visitations (Comperts & Detecta)

Briefs

Churchwarden's Accounts

Churchwarden's & Overseers' Accounts

Overseers & Rates

Land Tax

Heraldry

Some Plants on & about Hothfield Common

Books of Reference

Glossary

Index of Miscellaneous Topics

Index of Places

Index of Family Names & Titles.

The book can be borrowed from Ashford Library and seen in the reference section. It can also be seen in the Centre for Kentish Studies at County Hall, Maidstone.

For more information, or to purchase a copy, please email hothfieldmemories@hotmail.com.   A CD for viewing on a computer is also available at 10 plus postage and packing where appropriate.
 

>>> Link to Hothfield History Society web site <<<
 

>>> Link to Hothfield Then and Now Exhibition, October 2008 <<<


photograph of Hothfield Heathland Nature Reserve information board

Hothfield Common (now called Hothfield Heathland Nature Reserve, July 2011)

The Common was probably, like many other similar areas throughout Britain, an ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age grazing ground and then, following the Roman invasion when the Manorial system was imposed, it became the private property of the Lord of the Manor. It is probable then, that for the last 1000 years, Hothfield, like most other common land was used as un-enclosed pasture for stock grazing and also important to local economy, it would have provided wood, turf and peat for fuel, heather faggots for road foundations, bog moss for wound dressings and bracken for stock bedding. Within living memory, farmers used horse-drawn machinery to cut bracken for use as a covering for clamps of root crops, and it was also supplied to the London Mews for stable bedding. Another important feature of Common maintenance was the winter burning of bracken litter in October and November, a practice which continued until the Second World War.

Bluetit on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015. Courtesy Val Butcher

Bluetit on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015


Hothfield Common covers an area of about 200 acres (81 hectares) and lies on a narrow band of sandy rocks known as the Lower Greensand on the gently sloping North-Eastern edge of the Weald of Kent. The two sub divisions of the Lower Greensand formation that occur at Hothfield are the Folkestone beds which are porous and the Sandgate beds which are fairly impervious. This has given rise to a spring line at the junction between the two beds, so forming small peat bogs in the shallow valleys, and it is the acid nature of these bogs and the surrounding heath land that provides a habitat for all sorts of rare and unusual plant and animal species. The scientific importance of the Common was recognised in January 1951 when it was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).


Hothfield Common
Hothfield Common


1900 to the present day

Little information exists about the Common until the time of the Second World War although there are some remnants of what appear to be practice trenches which may date from World War One, so it can probably be assumed that things continued much as they had done for centuries.

Broadbodied Chaser on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015. Courtesy Val Butcher
Broadbodied Chaser on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015
 

With the advent of war then, the Common, including Hothfield Hospital (the former workhouse), which is at the north-west corner was requisitioned as an army training ground and Nissen huts were erected. The existence of a wide trench that is still known as the “tank trap” (probably used to camouflage Bren Gun carriers) is about the only visible reminder of those times. [Extracted from Hothfield in the 20th Century publication, see above.]

photograph of Hothfield Common

Hothfield Common

Chif Chaff  on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015. Courtesy of Val Butcher

Chif Chaff on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015

Linnet on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015. Courtesy of Val Butcher

Linnet on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015

Woodpecker on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015. Courtesy of Val Butcher.

Woodpecker on Hothfield Common, Spring 2015.


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31.05.2015
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