A Village History

Hawkenbury is a small village on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, lying to the south east of the town centre. The village was probably established before the famous spa of Tunbridge Wells was discovered in the 17th century.  The village was originally called “Hockenbury” and at one time was part of the Frant Parish, in the county of Sussex.

The centre of Hawkenbury Village lay along Hawkenbury Road, to the area south of the current recreation ground, according to Bacon’s 1912 map of Tunbridge Wells. Sibby’s Corner, a Victorian estate, was not considered part of Hawkenbury Village at the time.

At one point, Hawkenbury had 4 places of worship. There was the Congregationalist chapel which is now the United Reformed church, situated between Forest Road and Nelson Road (Sibby’s Corner). At the junction of Forest Road and Napier Road, there was St. Peter’s Mission. There was an unnamed church below the current site of Hawkenbury Mews and a second Congregationalist chapel below the current Hawkenbury Road allotments. There were a number of local village homes below the allotments at the time.

During the 18th and 19th Century, many of the local residents were employed in the brick works, which were to the east of present-day Maryland Road. To the south of the brick works, there were many now-vanished farm buildings. You can still trace some of the remains from the footpath off Chieveley Drive. Marlpits Lane was renamed Halls Hole Road in 1912 and Whybourne Crest was built on the site of Whybourne Gate Farm.

The village is fortunate in having well established green spaces. Farmcombe Road Open Space is an enclosed, open green area, situated on the corner of Forest and Farmcombe Roads.  The Hawkenbury Recreation Ground is a large public space, run by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Hawkenbury Village Association. During the summer months, the football pitches are converted into a cricket pitch. The all-weather pitch provides a play area for 7-a-side football matches and hockey matches. There is a basketball court and tennis courts, one grass and one hard surface. The children’s play area has recently benefited from a £40,000 upgrade.

pav_finishThe Hawkenbury Pavilion was rebuilt in 2014 and is now being used by cricketers and footballers alike. A public toilet is provided between the all-weather pitch and the children’s play area.

There are a number of allotment sites in Hawkenbury. There is a large site on Halls Hole Road, which is managed by the Hawkenbury Allotment Holder’s Association. There is a smaller site, run by the Borough Council, below the all weather pitch on Hawkenbury Road. This allotment site is likely to disappear in the next few years as the field behind Maryland Road is earmarked for housing development.

If you can improve or contribute to this article on the history of the village, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us.