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    Benenden
(One of Englands Top Girls Schools)


Name Derivation

General Details

The old primary school (Benenden Kent)
Benenden is a quiet picturesque village with a large 'green' about 7 miles to the west of Tenterden . The first mention of the village is in the Domesday Monachorum of 1070, where the church is recorded as part of the Diocese of Canterbury . Before 1066 the Domesday book records the village as being owned by Osier, afterwards the de Benendens occupied the land.

During the 1400's Benenden church had a detached bell tower built with stone foundations and a wooden spire.

In 1573 Queen Elizabeth I stayed in the village as the guest of Sir Thomas Guldeford and his wife Elizabeth at Hemsted, Sir Thomas's home. While staying there she planted a walnut tree which remained standing until 1857.

In 1718 Hemsted was sold to Admiral Sir John Norris, his grandson John Norris came to live there with his wife Kitty Fisher. She is famed in a nursery rhyme as the one who found Lucy Locket's pocket.

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
But ne'er a penny was there in't
Except the binding round it.

Kitty was a milliner who worked her way round society via various bedchambers. She settled into the role of mistress of Hemsted, and was liked by the local folk, especially as she was generous to the poor. Unfortunately she died of smallpox only 4 months after her marriage. Her last wish was to be buried in the churchyard dressed in her best ballgown.

In 1860 Hemsted was rebuilt by Gaythorn Hardy who was to be known later as Lord Cranbrook. It was bought in 1912 by Lord Rothermere who made further alterations.

Hemsted is now the home of the famous Benenden School, one of the top private girls schools in the country, which was attended by Princess Ann the Princess Royal.

In 1905 the Post Office established a Chest Hospital in the village to provide free treatment to members of its staff suffering from tuberculosis. After 1933 the hospital was opened to all Civil Servants, their wives and children. The hospital was enlarged, and as TB declined, so the hospital started to cater for a much wider range of ilnesses.


Services

The village green (Benenden Kent)
Benenden is a small village with only a few local shops.

The nearest shopping centres are at Tenterden about 7 miles to the west or Cranbrook about 4 miles north. Major shopping centres are at Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone .

The nearest trains run from Staplehurst about 8 miles to the north providing commuter services to London.


Views

St Georges Church (Benenden Kent)
Benenden green is very attractive with the church at one end, and provides a pleasant afternoon on a summers sunday afternoon watching the local cricket team.

At the crossroads in the centre of the village drive south, and look to the south west towards Hawkhurst with the hills rolling into the distance.

 
       
 
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