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    Sutton Valence
(seized from Simon de Montfort)
Domesday Community

Name Derivation

General Details

Sutton Valence lies on the old A274 Tenterden to Maidstone road, between Headcorn and Maidstone . The village lies on the top of the hills overlooking the flat lands towards Staplehurst and Headcorn .

The earliest remains found in the village are a Roman road, possibly the one running to Beauport near Battle . Roman cemetery has also been found nearby, which could mean this was a staging post lying on the edge of the forest of Anderida.

Local legend believes that on the playing field which is known as bloody mountain was a Saxon Battle field, but no concrete evidence has been found .

The village is recorded in the Domesday Book , before 1066 it was owned by Leofwine Godwin (Half brother of King Harold), and after the conquest was granted to Odo bishop of Bayeux .

The village consisted of a large meadow and mill and a wood which supported 50 swine.

During the reign of King Henry III in 1254 the village was granted the right to hold a three-day market, which became one of the county's largest cattle markets carrying on till the 1800's.

Originally known as Sutton , then Town Sutton , in 1265 the land and the small castle was seized from Simon de Montfort after his defeat at Evesham and given to William de Valence (The ruins of the castle are now looked after by English Heritage). Because of William's patronage the name was changed to Sutton Valence possibly via Sutton de Valence .

The village was involved in the Broadcloth industry , which was introduced into Kent by Edward III in 1331 . He made illegal the export of unwashed wool from England and encouraged weavers from Flanders to settle in the area. In 1531 William Lambe became master of the Clothworkers Company in London, and became an advisor to Henry VII , the church received his patronage, and a chapel dedicated to him was created. In 1576 he founded the Sutton Valence free Grammar School which has grown from its original 20 boys to about 400 boys and girls.


The main A274 passes through a corner of the village, which leaves the village centre untouched, although the church is on the opposite side of this busy route.

There are a few local shops and public houses, but the main shopping centre is in Maidstone , about 3 miles north.

The nearest train service runs into Maidstone , providing links to London and the Kent coast, however the easiest to get to is Headcorn, which gives an excellent service to London and Dover.


The centre of Sutton Valence is a very pretty place, but the roads are narrow, and care must be taken both in the village and turning across the main road, as the junction is on a corner.

The views from much of the village and church are stunning, and on a clear day hills as far south as Brightling in Sussex can be seen.

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