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The Crossroads of the Weald

Hawkhurst is a village and civil parish in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, and is home to some 4,500 people. Hawkhurst itself is virtually two villages—one, the older of the two, consisting mainly of cottages clustered around a large triangular green known as the Moor, and the other, farther north on the main road, called Highgate. Each part has a different character. Highgate stands on a crossroads and is where the shops and hotels lie.

The village was involved in the Wealden iron industry until the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th Century. William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, owned ironworks at Hawkhurst in the 17th century.

The history of Hawkhurst goes back over 1,000 years. The oldest known settlement was the Saxon manor of Congehurst, which was burnt by the Danes in 893 AD. There is still a lane of this name to the east of the village.

The name Hawkhurst is derived from Old English heafoc hyrst, meaning a wooded hill frequented by hawks - 'Hawk Wood'. Hurst (Hyrst) in a place name refers to a wood or wooded area - there are several in West Kent and East Sussex. The 11th Century Domesday Monacorum refers to it as Hawkashyrst, belonging to Battle Abbey. In 1254, the name was recorded as Hauekehurst; in 1278, it is often shown as Haukhurst; by 1610, it had changed to Hawkherst, which then evolved into the current spelling.

Further information about the history of the village, its changing industries over the years and its famous inhabitants can be found here.

You may also want to explore the surrounding villages that form our hinterland.

Other Towns and Villages Near Hawkhurst


What's On in Hawkhurst?


Hawkhurst Message Board

  • Tuckness

    Jerry Rogers (23rd July 2015)

    Hi Henry, I just wanted to let you know that I have found Woodham Hall. Here is the link to ... more

  • G W Vincent

    Peter Jackson (22nd July 2015)

    I am trying to locate the whereabouts of an old friend of mine , Guy William Vincent, son of Mike ... more

  • Tuckness

    Henry Wilson (20th July 2015)

    GS Wilson was my grandfather and he did live at Tuckness. I don't believe it exists any more, but I ... more

  • Tuckness

    Jerry Rogers (14th July 2015)

    In the 1934 and 1938 Kelly’s Digest for Hawkhurst under private residents, there is a Wilson Gerald Sidney CSI listed ... more

  • Family Roots / Ancestry

    Pauline (10th May 2015)

    I appreciate your message is old, I know they had a son Charles Peter Ready who was killed in the ... more

  • New Lodge Farm

    Pauline (10th May 2015)

    When I lived in Hawkhurst in the late 1940's, my address was (Little) Barnfield Farm, but on occasions it was ... more

  • Little Conghurst

    David Blackford (5th April 2015)

    Hello Doreen, Lovely to see your message. I know of my family connection with little Conghurst going back to around ... more

  • Ellenden Farm

    Doreen Gill (4th April 2015)

    Before his marriage in 1848, I believe my forebear William Osborn b.Sandhurst 1820 was probably a lodger at Ellenden Farm. ... more

  • Little Conghurst

    Doreen Gill (4th April 2015)

    Going rather further back, my forebears Joseph Osborn and wife Elizabeth Relf b. Whartling 1795 produced all their children at ... more

  • Family

    Lynn Clark (2nd March 2015)

    Hi Douglas, My grandfather was Gordon W W Tilbe, who was born in Blean, 1899. I received a lot of ... more