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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. Please also see:

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 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 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

William Cobbett, a late eighteenth and early nineteenth century write, publisher, and politician visited Hollingbourne on 5th September 1823 and published a description of the village in his “Rural Rides” as follows”This is what the people of Kent call the Garden of Eden”. He founded Hansard, the State Trials series of law reports, and the Political Register which had the largest circulation of the day amongst other newspapers and this link is to the William Cobbett Society.

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.

Maps of and literary references to Hollingbourne


The principal Ordnance Survey Map covering Hollingbourne is Sheet 148 of the Explorer Series (Maidstone and the Medway Towns).


In the 1980’s Hollingbourne Parish Council published a picture book of Hollingbourne and more information is at


“The Domesday Book 1086-7” – Source; “A Complete Translation” published by Penguin Classics 2003 ISBN 0-141-43994-7

“IN EYHORNE HUNDRED. Ralph Fitz Turold holds Boughton Malherbe of the archbishop. It is assessed at half a sulung and it pertains to the 6 sulungs of Hollingbourne. There is land for 1 1/2 ploughs. In desmesne is 1 plough; and 3 villans with 2 bordars have 1 plough. There is a church, and 2 acres of meadow, and woodland for 16 pigs. All together it is and was always worth 40s.”

“IN EYHORNE HUNDRED. The archbishop himself holds Hollingbourne. It is assessed at 6 sulungs. There is land for 24 ploughs. In desmesne are 2 (ploughs); and 61 villans with 16 bordars hasve 23 ploughs. There is a church, and 12 slaves, and 2 mills, and 8 acres of meadow, (and) woodland for 40 pigs. All together, TRE and afterwards, it was worth £20; and is now worth £30.”

“To this manor belongs half a sulung which has never paid tax. The Bishop of Bayeux holds this or the archbishop at rent.”

“Every Girl’s Duty” – Alice Miles – The Diary of a Victorian Debutante. Edited with a Commentary by Maggy Parsons. Published by BCS by arrangement with Andre Deutsch Limited in 1992.

The edited diaries of Alice Miles who married into the Duppa family who owned Hollingbourne House for much of the ninteenth and twentieth centuries. Scions of the Duppa family included one of the founding fathers of Phoenix Arizona.

“Forget you had a daughter” by Sandra Gregory. Published by Vision Paperbacks in 2003. ISBN 1-904132-27-8.

The best selling story of a girl who grew up in Hollingbourne in the 1970’s and who ended up in the Bangkok Hilton before returning to the United Kingdom in 2000.

“Hayl Hola” an appraisal of Hollingbourne Village published by Hollingbourne Parish Council in 1987. ISBN 0-90515-592-0

An illustrated guide to Hollingbourne featuring old maps and photographs of many of the listed and historic houses in the village. Currently available from the Parish Council and Christopher’s Shop.

“Haunted Kent” by Janet Cameron. Published by Tempus Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-0-7524-3605-0

Details of reported hauntings throughout Kent including Eyhorne Manor. Other alleged ghosts in in Hollingbourne include a grey lady in the churchyard, a headless horseman on the Pilgrims’ Way, and “leaping jack” in Jack’s Alley.

“Hollingbourne – The History of a Kentish Parish” by Helen Allinson, Published by Synjon Books 2002 ISBN 0-904-37306-1

An illustrated history of Hollingbourne from 1200 onwards to 1975. The book includes section on the Hasted family, the Culpepers of Hollingbourne Manor, the Thomas’ of Eyhorne House (now demolished on the site of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Tunnel in Eyhorne Street, and the Duppas of Hollingbourne House. Culpeper in Virginia is reputedly named after the Culpepers who also once lived at Leeds Castle.

Helen Allinson has also published an edited collection of the Diaries of Louisa Thomas who lived at the now demolished Eyhorne House. For further information please go to

“Hidden Inns of the South East including Kent, Surrey, and Sussex”. Published by Travel Publishing Limited ISBN 1-902-00795-6.

Features The Windmill and The Sugar Loaves in Eyhoene Street, and The Dirty Habit (formerly the Pilgrim’s Rest and the King’s Head in Upper Street).

“An Historical Atlas of Kent” edited by Terence Lawson and David Killingray.  Published by Phillimore ISBN 1 86077 255 2

An illustrated history of Kent showing maps of Kent including Hollingbourne through the ages.

“The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent” by Edward Hasted 1797, 2nd edition published in 1972, Maidstone, UK: EP Publishing and Kent County Library. ISBN 0-85409-789-9. This history was written by the father (1732-1812) of the longest serving vicar of Hollingbourne who was in post from 1790 to 1855. The title is free online from the British Library.

“Rural Rides” by William Cobbett – Source Penguin Classics ISBN 0-14-043023-7 (also at )

5th September 1823 – “When I got to the edge of (Hollingbourne) hill, and before I got off my horse to lead him down this more of a mile of hill, I sat and surveyed the prospect before me, and to the right and to the left. This is what the people of Kent call the Garden of Eden. It is a district of meadows, corn fields, hop-gardens, and orchards of apples, pears, cherries, and filberts, with very little land which cannot , with propriety, be called good. There are plantations of Chestnut and of Ash frequently occurring; and as these are cut when long enough to make poles for hops, they are at all times objects of great beauty.”

More information about William Cobbett in Kent is at

“William Twopenny in Kent” by Eric R. Swain. Published by Winston Publications in 1986.

Reprints of sketches of leading buildings of Kent by William Twopenny from 1820-1840 including Leeds Castle, Hollingbourne Manor, Godfrey House, and Battell Hall in Leeds. 

Please note that booklets about the History of All Saints’ Church (by Allen Grove) and prominent local familes including the Duppas of Hollingbourne House, the Thomas’ of Eyhorne House, and the Culpepers of Hollingbourne Manor are available for purchase from a table at the back of the church. The church is open during the day time and has many fine features including one of the two monuments to Dame Grace Gethin (the other one being in Westminster Abbey).   The church still retains the box pews of the Duppas are other local notables and the Culpeper Chapel is at the end of one side aisle. The sixteenth century Culpeper tapestry which was embroidered by the ladies of the Culpeper househould may be viewed by prior appointment with the clergy (Tel 880243).