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St. Laurence, Hawkhurst Parish Church

Hawkhurst Parish

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Hawkhurst, is a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Cranbrook district, Kent;  but part of the parish and the sub-district also in Sussex.

The village stands near the river Rother, 3-1/2 miles northeast of Etchingham rail station, and 4 south-south-west of Cranbrook;  occupies a rising ground, with fine views over the Weald;  was once a market town, and was noted, in last century, as a resort of smugglers;  is now a charming place;  and has a post office with a telegraph office and savings bank under Staplehurst, a banking office, a hotel, a reading room and a fair on 10 Aug.  The parish comprises 6,494 acres.  Real property in 1860, £11,040.  Population in 1861, 2,715.  Houses, 529.

The property is subdivided.  The manor belonged to Battle Abbey.  Lillesden, Collingwood House and Fowler’s Park are handsome seats;  Elfords is an ancient Tudor mansion;  and Risden House, Oakfield Lodge and others are pleasant residences.

There is a private lunatic asylum.  There were formerly iron furnaces, belonging to William Penn, the courtier Quaker.

The part of the parish within Sussex comprises 2,060 acres;  had no houses at the census of 1861;  and was separated from the rest of the parish by an alteration in the course of the river Rother, caused by the erection of a bridge.

The living is a perpetual curacy, united with the chapelry of All Saints, in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value, £350 with a habitable glebe house.  Patron, Christ Church, Oxford.  The parochial church is decorated and perpendicular English;  consists of lofty nave, aisles, chancel, and side chapels, with square embattled tower;  and was restored in 1860 and previous years, at a cost of nearly £3,000.

All Saints church stands at Highgate;  was erected in 1861;  is in the French Gothic style;  and consists of nave, chancel, and aisles, with a spire.

There are a Wesleyan chapel, a national school, and endowed school, alms houses with £130, and other charities with £41.

Dr. Lardner, author of “the Credibility of the Gospel History,” was a native.

The sub-district contains also two other parishes.  Acres, 20,561.  Population in 1861, 6,724.  Houses, 1,321.

Source:  John Marius Wilson, comp.  The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).

Hawkhurst Bibliography

-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates.  [Note:  The following volumes can be found on  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]

  • General references to Hawkhurst: vol. , pp.
  • Currently in revision

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online

Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).

Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005).  URL: British History Online.

Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908).  URL: British History Online

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323.  URL: British History Online.

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302.  URL: British History Online.

Location of Records

The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive.  There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England.  This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues.  If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.

Census | Church of England | Non-Conformist | Parish chest | Workhouse and Poor Law | Land | Assizes and Sessions | School



Date The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue,
Kew, Richmond,
also available at:
Hawkhurst Local Studies & Archives, Central Library, High Street, Hawkhurst, BR1 1EX, tel. 020 8461 7170, Email:
LDS Family History Centre
(Find a centre near you)
and indexed online at:
6 June 1841 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 census name index & images Currently under revision  
7 Apr 1861 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1871 Currently under revision  
3 Apr 1881 Currently under revision  
5 Apr 1891 Currently under revision  
31 Mar 1901 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911 RG 78/139 - Census Enumerator's Summary Books online only and other subscription sites none

Church Records, Church of England

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Register   Currently under revision  
Bishop's transcripts   Currently under revision  
CMB transcripts   Currently under revision  
Parish Registers, transcribed by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson   Currently under revision  

Church Records, Non-Conformist

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Particular Baptist Chapel, Nonconformist Return   Currently under revision  
Methodist Church Registers   Currently under revision  

Parish chest records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Council Minutes   Currently under revision  
Removal orders out of Hawkhurst   Currently under revision  
Settlement Examinations, Minute book   Currently under revision  
Overseers' Accounts   Currently under revision  
Return of Churchwardens, constables and defaulters     
Tithe Apportionment Files      
Poor Rate books   Currently under revision  

Workhouse and Poor Law Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Admission & Discharge books   This section currently under revision  
Guardians' Minutes      
Births   Currently under revision  
Deaths   Currently under revision  
Religious creed registers   Currently under revision  
Apprentice Register      
Registers of lunatics      
Letters books      
Vaccination registers, Hawkhurst area 1899-1930 Currently under revision  

Land Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Land tax assessments 1780-1831 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1875-1876 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1889-1890 Currently under revision  
Rates and Duties - Houses, Windows, Lights   Currently under revision  
Manorial Court rolls   Currently under revision  
War Damage Files 1939-1962 Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, Kent, no.: Finding Aid at CKS-DRb/RW 123 None

Assizes and Sessions Records
(poor laws, jail terms, oaths, and other municipal and public records)

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Hearth tax   Currently under revision  
Victuallers Recognizances   Currently under revision  
Churchwarden's Presentments   Currently under revision  
Parish rate books   Currently under revision  

School Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
    Currently under revision  


Coming Soon

Church Registers


Parish Chest

  • Settlement Certificates
  • Removal Orders
  • Bastardy Examinations
  • Parish-assisted Immigrants
  • Churchwarden's Accounts
  • Overseer's Accounts
  • Surveyor's Accounts
  • Workhouse Records
  • Pew Rents
  • Donors' Rolls
  • Vestry Minutes
  • Bishops' Visitations
  • Parish Magazines
  • Parish Histories


Total Population

1801   -   1,742
1811   -   1,849
1821   -   2,250
1831   -   2,428
1841   -   2,656
1851   -   2,704
1861   -   2,715
1871   -   2,949
1881   -   3,084
1891   -   3,274
1901   -   3,136
1911   -   3,344
1921   -   3,120
The parish was effected by the operation of the Divided Parishes Acts, but the Registrar-General failed to obtain particulars of every such change. The changes which escaped notification were, however, probably small in area and with little, if any, population. Considerable difficulty was experienced both in 1891 and 1901 in tracing the results of changes effected in civil parishes under the provisions of these Acts. The figures in many instances must be regarded as partly estimates.

These statistics are for the part of the parish that is within the County of Kent. The remainder of the parish is in Sussex, Henhurst Hundred.

Hawkhurst Distance to

London 58.8 mi.
Canterbury 28.9 mi.
Ashford 16.7 mi.
Chatham 21.7 mi.
Cranbrook 3.8 mi.
Dartford 30.6 mi.
Deptford 38.3 mi.
Dover 34.8 mi.
Faversham 24.7 mi.
Folkestone 28.2 mi.
Gravesend 28.2 mi.
Greenwich 37.1 mi.
Hythe 25.0 mi.
Maidstone 15.5 mi.
Margate 44.3 mi.
Milton Regis 22.8 mi.
Queenborough 27.7 mi.
Ramsgate 43.9 mi.
Rochester 23.7 mi.
Sandwich 39.4 mi.
Sheerness 29.5 mi.
Tenterden 7.7 mi.
Tunbridge 12.5 mi.
Woolwich 36.7 mi.


Municipal & Public Records

  • Mayors
  • Town Clerks
  • Recorders
  • Chamberlains
  • M.P.s
  • Jurats, Aldermen and Common Councilmen
  • Electoral Register
  • Freeholders
  • Freemen Index
  • Freeman's Roll
  • Masters Index
  • Pubs, Taverns, Inns, Alehouses
  • Victuallers

Wills & Estate Records

  • AD index 1448-1857
  • CC index 1448-1857
  • PCC 1338-1858
  • PPR 1858-1925
  • Depositions

Court Records

  • Gaol Returns
  • Quarter Sessions
  • Transportations
  • Summons for Pavement Repairs
  • Protestation Rolls c1641-1643
  • Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy 1662
  • Oaths of Allegiance c1720s

Military Records

Land Records
& Maps

  • Parish Map
  • Feet of Fines
  • Victoria County History
  • Deeds, Mortgages, etc.
  • Rated Property Returns
  • Returns of owners of land, 1873
  • Manor Court Baron
  • Manor Tenancy Rolls
  • Manors, Castles & Holdings of Significance

Tax Lists

  • Poll Tax
  • Hearth Tax
  • Window Tax
  • Hair Powder Tax
  • Land Tax Assessments 1780-1831
  • Land Tax Assessments 1799-1805

Other Records

Village Resources