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Cowden (Kent)

Cowden shown within Kent
District Sevenoaks
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
European Parliament South East England
List of places: UKEnglandKent

Coordinates: 51°08'43?N 0°05'35?E? / ?51.14523, 0.09302

Cowden (pronounced /ka?'d?n/[1]) is a small village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. The parish is located on the northern slopes of the Weald, south-west of Tonbridge. The old High Street is crammed with picturesque Grade II listed cottages and village houses, and despite all the shops having now gone, there is still a charming rural inn called The Fountain.

The glorious ancient parish church is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, and has a recently restored shingle covered spire.

Its railway station was the scene of a fatal crash in 1994. There is still a regular service to London.

Parts of the parish straddle the Kent Water (further south it is the Kent Ditch) which forms the border with East Sussex and Surrey where the three counties meet.

It is centred around a 13th-century (although much altered in 1884) church of St Mary Magdalene with its slender, wooden shingled spire, bomb-damaged during World War II and since re-shingled. The spire is barely perceptibly out of perpendicular, but it is enough to have allowed some long-forgotten grudge to be expressed:

'Cowden church, crooked steeple, Lying priest, deceitful people.'

The church is, typically for this part of the county, built of sandstone, its tower and steeple massively timber-framed inside. The old bells were recast and rehung in 1911 to commemorate the reign of Edward VII and a sixth bell was added at the Coronation of George V.

One of the stained glass windows, given to the church in 1947, celebrates 'the remarkable preservation of this village during the years 1939-45' and features figures of St Bridget (representing the women of the parish), St Nicholas (for the sailors), St George (the soldiers and airmen) and St Mary Magdalene (the church's patron saint), all the company of Sir Walstan (the farmer bishop of Worcester Wulfstan 1062-95 representing the local farmers). Below them are 20th-century figures: a sailor, soldier, airman, a nurse and others making up a representative group of World War II characters, all turned towards a Christ-figure whose protection they seek.

This is old Wealden iron country, recalled by the cast iron memorial slab in the church, to John Bottinge, dated 1622. This was a time when the area was producing guns for the Army and navy, as well as much more humble domestic and agricultural ware. Cowden had its own blast furnace in 1573 and during the 17th century it had two. The air of prosperity the place must have breathed in those days lingers still.

The Romans built their London-Lewes road across what is now the garden of Waystrode Manor. The first owners of the manor received it from King John in 1208. Crippenden Manor, built in about 1607, was once the home of another ironmaster, Richard Tichbourne.

Another member of the Tichbourne family, Robert, presented a Londoners' petition to the House of Commons in 1649, in favour of the execution of Charles I. He was one of the Commissioners who, in 1651, prepared the way for the union with Scotland and he was knighted in 1655 by Cromwell and made a peer in 1657. After the Restoration he was arrested and sentenced to death, but he was reprieved, imprisoned in Dover Castle and died, in 1682, in the Tower of London. The family, however, did not die out in Cowden until 1708, when John Tichbourne was buried there.

[edit] External links

  • Kent Parish Councils Cowden HomePage[2]
  • The Weald Of Kent , Town History [3]
  • Cowden Pound Pastures [4]
  • Cowden Conservation Society [5]
  • Cowden Mavericks [6]
  • Multimap [7]

(Source: Wikipedia)
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