This weeks village spotlight focuses on Hawkhurst in East Sussex, a favoured area where Batcheller Monkhouse has sold and let property for many years. If want to find out more about Hawkhurst, please find some useful information below.
Hawkhurst Village Sign
This historic and infamous village is situated within the Kentish High Weald near the border of East Sussex. Hawkhurst is really two villages in one – the tranquil settlement in the oldest part known as The Moor, and a pretty shopping area complete with hanging baskets and a covered walkway at Highgate. Only a few miles south of Cranbook, Hawkhurst lays within a landscape of ridges and gentle valleys between the North and South Downs. There are three conservation areas within Hawkhurst and, where previously surrounded by hop gardens, it is now enfolded by rolling farmland – a joy to tour either by bicycle, motorbike or car.
The Smugglers Of Hawkhurst. The name of Hawkhurst was once notorious throughout southern England as the home of the Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers active in the early 1700s. Hawkhurst is part of the exciting Smugglers Trail which runs between Goudhurst and the Sussex Coast.
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 village 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.
Hawkhurst has other claims to fame: Charles Gunther, inventor of the Oxo cube, and the astronomer Sir John Herschel, both lived for many years in the village.
Events are often held in the village based on legends and local history – keep an eye on the What’s On page.