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(Alfred the Great's Fort)
Newenden is situated about 3 miles south of Rolvenden ,
and north of the River Rother, which forms the county
boundary between Kent and Sussex.
For a small village, Newenden holds a lot of history.
In 1242 Carmelite monks established themselves in
Newenden . The first mention of the game of cricket
referred to a game played in Newenden around 1300!
The picturesque church of St Peter also dates from
this time, and contains an older Norman font of great
The earliest recorded mention of Newenden appears in
791, when Offa, King of Mercia, granted the manor of
Newenden to the Priory and Monks of Christ Church
South of the church, Lossenham Lane leads eastwards from the village.
The lane leads to a knoll known as Castle Toll, an alledged Pre-Roman
earthworks. In September 1971, an important discovery was made, that
there had been a late 9th century fort possibly built by Alfred the Great .
Experts from the Department of the Environment believe
it to be the fortress of Eopeburner / Eorpeburnan, the last of the forts
of King Alfred the Great along the English South Coast, the fort is about
(It is possible that it may have been further inland at Burgh Hill in Hurst Green
, as the river Limen / Rother was navigable up to this point, and it is where the
fledgling Wealden iron industry would have despatched its iron products. Looking at a
map of Alfreds forts as defined in the Burghal Hidage we see that Hastings
and Southwark were defensive positions, Hurst Green is between the two, and
would make a better border position than Newenden. Finally the Vikings based
themselves at nearby Appledore which would have been too close to Newenden as
Alfreds troops could have covered the few miles relatively quickly).
Newenden was important because it was the lowest crossing point of the River Rother,
an arm of Romney Marsh, on the road from London to Rye and Hastings.
It was an important river port for sea-going ships
until the beginning of the 16th century, when it is
said, there were sixteen taverns in the town, of
which only one - 'The White Hart' survives.
(We are greatful to Phillip Lacey
for providing the following) I was a little sad
to see there was no mention of the 14th century Old Toll Cottage that once
stood opposite the White Hart Inn.
I believe the cottage was torn down about 1963 by the then owner of the attached
garage that was the stable at the back and coach house for the Inn's over night
The Toll Cottage was just two rooms up stairs used as bedrooms, you had to open
a wooden door with a wooden latch to get access the small almost vertical stairs
that turned sharp to the right when you were on the second step. When you entered
the main bedroom through the floor you had to turn right pass to the small bedroom,
in this room the water tank was kept.
To look out of the main bedroom windows of which there were two (one looked to the
Rother and the other to the Church) it was necessary to kneel down, but the small
bedroom window it was necessary to stand up to look down the road in the direction
Down stairs there were also two rooms, the sitting room where the stair door was
had an open fire place for a wood burning grate and had three windows looking to
the Rother, the Inn and the Church.
The other room was used as a kitchen dining room with a small galley for a bath.
The toilet was outside next to the garage. There had been a small fire place at
the rear of the cottage, possible a cooking range.
As with all old cottages big or small as this it was necessary to mind your head
when one entered past through the door ways, and some very tall people had to put
their head between the exposed beams to stand up.
The beams of the cottage had come from old wooden boats as it was possible to see
the old shapes and fixing points, the ceiling was the up stairs floor.
| Newenden has very limited services, Northiam is the
nearest large village.
There is a frequent bus service through the village
from Tenterden to Hastings.
The trains can be caught in Battle about 9 miles
south east, or Etchingham about 9 miles west.
The nearest shopping is in Tenterden about 6 miles
to the north.
The nearest large town is Hastings , about 14 miles
| Newenden is best visited by foot, as the road only
passes quickly through the village. The petite and
pretty medieval church is worth a visit.
Look south east over the playing fields and try to imagine
a bustling and busy port on your left, with sea going
ships in full sail heading for Europe, the South Coast
ports and London.