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Within this landscape lie three historic settlements that date back to Anglo Saxon and Roman times. These three distinct village-groups are still very much recognisable today – Broad Street, Eyhorne Street and Upper Street. Virtually every building in these settlements has been listed as having special architectural or historic interest, in fact there are 106 such listings including a Grade I Church, as Grade 1 Manor House and two exceptional timber framed Tudor houses listed as Grade II.

Many ‘finds’ have been uncovered in Hollingbourne over the years, which give vital clues to our history: flint instruments of the New Stone Age or Bronze Age found near the River Len, a Late Bronze Age excavation where Anglo Saxons later buried the cremated remains of their dead, Early Iron Age and Anglo Saxon pottery remains, and coins from both the Anglo Saxon and Roman era. Hollingbourne’s name is believed to originate from the name of an Anglo Saxon/ Jute leader, Hola, who is considered would have owned the area around the bourne (or stream), hence a derivation from ‘Hola’s bourne’. Eyhorne Street is derived from an old English word, haegthorn, meaning hawthorn.

Hollingbourne’s future was shaped when the son of King Ethelred the Unready gave the land here to Canterbury’s Christ Church, for monk’s use, around AD980-AD1015. There are references to the village in the Domesday Book and clues to its growing prosperity – Hollingbourne Manor was already established, as were the other manors of Greenway Court, Ripple, Murston, Penn Court and Hollingbourne Hill, and two mills.

The record of vicars in Hollingbourne begins in AD1270. Although there is evidence in the church’s building fabric of Roman, Saxon and Norman work, it was probably almost completely rebuilt during the 14th Century, parts before the Black Death in 1349 and others after the great earthquake in 1381 which severely affected Hollingbourne. When monasteries were dissolved in 1539, Hollingbourne church was surrendered to King Henry VIII, who granted it to the newly-appointed Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, who then leased various parts of the manor, including part to the Culpeper family who owned it for several generations.

After the church, the present Manor House of Hollingbourne (built around 1570) is probably the oldest property in the village to remain more or less as it was built. The Culpeper family was well connected and family members included the Lord Chancellor of Henry VIII. In 1783 William Colgate was born in Hollingbourne who subsequently emigrated to America in 1795 with his parents and later went on to make tallow and soap. The business eventually became Colgate-Palmolive. The village was visited by William Cobbett in 1823 and was mentioned in his Rural Rides when he rode down Hollingbourne Hill and described the view as “the Garden of Eden”.

Hollingbourne’s economic wealth (enough to support a Church, the Manor House and other substantial manors in the parish) was based on agriculture, which benefited from the usable power provided by the flowing stream. The village had four mills until the 19th century, 3 corn-mills and 1 that pioneered the development of paper-making. But with the advent of the industrial age, new forms of energy made water-mills less viable and without a navigable river, Hollingbourne economy weakened. This was temporary until the installation of the Railway Station in 1883 provided the impetus for new enterprise: the development of a brick and tile works in Eyhorne Street which used the local seam of gault clay.

Some more useful history links

History of Hollingbourne Station

The history of Hollingbourne Station on the Kent Rail website which provides information about the railways of Kent.

The station history is also on the Wikipedia page.

The Mills at Hollingbourne

Hollingbourne once had four mills driven by water including ones which made paper. This link is to the Wikipedia site detailing local mills including those at Hollingbourne.

Culpeper, Virgina, United States of America

Culpeper, Virginia, was founded by and named after the Culpeper family of Hollingbourne who lived in Hollingbourne Manor. There is a Culpeper Chapel in All Saints’s Church which contains memorials to the family.

Pilgrim Routes

Pilgrim Routes organise pilgrimages from Rochester to Canterbury with a stop in Hollingbourne. Other pligrim routes including the Camino to Santiago are available upon request.

Pictures of the Old England PH and construction of the Maidstone By Pass

The Old England Public House was opposite the Great Danes Hotel (now Maidstone Mercure) on the A20. It was demolished when the Maidstone By Pass was constructed in the 1960’s. The By Pass now forms the M20 between Junctions 7 and 8. For more information please go to

The WorkHouse in Hollingbourne

The Hollingbourne (Frequently spelt Hollingbourn in older documents) poor Law Union officially came into existence on 12th October 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected board of guardians.

Built in 1836, the Hollingbourne Union Workhouse stood on the Maidstone to Ashford Road. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £5000 on the building which was to accommodate up to 300 inmates.

It had an H-shaped layout with an entrance block facing to the south which would probably have contained the board room, porters room and master’s quarters at the centre. Inmates’ accommodation was located to each side and in the ranges to the rear. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1895 map.

The Workhouse closed in around 1921 and the buildings demolished with the exception of the 1895 mortuary which still stands in the grounds of the property, now known as White Heath.