Historic Goudhurst, Kent
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Goudhurst probably began as a clearing in the great forest of Anderida that covered the Weald of Kent and Sussex long ago. The name is obscure; 'hurst' certainly means 'wood' but there is some uncertainty over goud. It may just be a simple corruption of good. The earliest record of a name (Guithhyrste) dates from 1095.
In the 12th and 13th centuries Goudhurst grew as a farming village. Around 1330 Flemish weavers set up shop in the village and surrounding area. The Weavers Cottages in Goodhurst date from c. 1350. The weaving of Kentish Broadcloth continued for many years, bringing prosperity to the village. The weavers brought with them an interest in hop growing, and it became a major rural activity from the late 1700's.
As industry flourished in the north it declined in the south, and Kent became involved in the smuggling of contraband. In 1747 Goudhurst formed a local militia to restore law and order and put down the dreaded Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers.
From the present church tower it is said that 51 other churches are visible (on a clear day, and presumably with a telescope) from Lympne near Romney Marsh to Ide Hill on the North Downs. Possibly this was true in the early 14th century when the tower was one storey higher and crowned with a spire. The spire stood until 1637 when, during a summer storm, it was struck by lightning and burned down. To the northwest, a distance of some forty miles, Canary Wharf Tower in London is visible.
The village's historic high street has changed little over the centuries and remains much as it was when the building of Finchcocks, the imposing house on the outskirts of Goudhurst (now a museum of musical instruments) was completed in 1725.
Goudhurst is 10 miles east of Tunbridge Wells and 14 miles south of Maidstone. From London take the A2, M25, A21 and A262.
Goudhurst church tower is open to the public during the summer months.
A special thanks to Michael Bennet for the information. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. There's more information at www.goudhurst.co.uk/
Edited by Barbara Ballard
Address: Goudhurst, Kent, England
Attraction Type: Town
Location: Goudhurst is 10 miles east of Tunbridge Wells and 14 miles south of Maidstone.
OS: TQ722 377
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Goudhurst, St Mary - 0 miles (Historic Church)
Finchcocks - 1.5 miles (Museum)
Bedgebury National Pinetum - 2.5 miles (Garden)
Scotney Castle - 2.6 miles (Castle)
Cranbrook Museum - 3.5 miles (Museum)
Bewl Water - 3.6 miles (Countryside)
Bayham Abbey - 4.6 miles (Abbey)
Sissinghurst Castle Garden - 5 miles (Garden)
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