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Hextable (Kent)

Hextable shown within Kent
Population 4,400 (2005)[1]
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°24'39?N 0°10'52?E? / ?51.41093, 0.18115Hextable is a village near the town of Swanley in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. It lies to the north of Swanley, between there and Dartford.


[edit] History

The origin of the village name goes back to Saxon times. Its first documented appearance is in 1203 when the land is referred to as Hagestaple. Staple is from the Old English (O.E.) word "stapol," or boundary post. This makes perfect sense as the land was on the boundary of the Saxon settlements of Dartford, Bromley and Sutton at Hone. The word Hage is less clear. One theory is that it is descended from the O.E. word for high: "Hey." But the land on the Birchwood side of Hextable, where the post would have been, is not high, at least compared with nearby Rowhill and Swanley Village, and it is hard to see how Hage would have derived from Hey. The O.E. word "hage" meant a hedge, an enclosure or hawthorn, any of which could have been a means of uniquely delineating the boundary post in some way. The means by which Hagestaple became Hextable is in contrast well-documented:

13th Cent. Hagestaple (1203 Roll of Rents)
14th Cent. Hegestaple (1315 Bill of Sale of Highlands Manor of which Hegestaple was a part)
18th Cent. Hackstaple (Various maps, including Hasted's History of Kent)
19th cent. Hackstable (1868 Ordnance Survey Map)
20th cent. Hextable (1895 OS map and many other documents).

The village grew up in late Victorian times with the selling off of Hextable Farm in 1870 (prior to this there were only three houses on the land that now comprises the village). It was originally set up as an area for the well-to-do to live in fine villas. Many of these villas are still standing, although two, Southbank and Newbank in College Road, were recently torn down to make way for flats and townhouses. The village's to-date most famous resident, Arthur Mee, known for the Children's Encyclopedia, lived in one such villa, St David's. His most famous utterance on his home village was the withering, although a little inaccurate, statement "Hextable has no history!"

The village quickly grew beyond being just a retreat for the upper middle class with the coming of the railway at nearby Swanley Junction coupled with the fertility of the land and the mild climate. Nurseries were established in the area with their produce being quickly sent to London via rail. Many of the names of these now long-gone nurseries still resound in road names such as Emerson or Panters. Emerson Road was built upon "The Rec," an old recreation ground left by a resident in Victorian times "for the use of the children of the village in perpetuity." It is consistent with the fast-changing nature of Hextable that perpetuity only lasted 100 years. The railway drove the expansion of the village in the 20th century as a convenient dormitory village for North West Kent and London, and this is its main purpose today.

Much of the initial development of the village in the early 20th century was memorialized in a collection of photographs from a village resident, Christopher Casstine. He was an orphan bought up in the Homes For Little Boys (opened in Hextable by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, in 1883 and still standing as Furness School) who stayed on in the village opening up a photography studio on the main road to Swanley. His photographs were used for many of the local postcards as well as for Mee's Children's Encyclopedia. His name lives on in the road Casstine Close.

The disorderly growth of the village explains the rather jumbled and unattractive architecture that dominates the village. Hextable House, which was the only house in the village for much of its life, was bombed in the Second World War and wantonly torn down. However, the Avenue of Limes which was planted in Elizabethan times as a magnificent entranceway to the House still remains linking New Barn Road and College Road. Unfortunately there has been some re-planting of the trees in recent years and its full beauty can only be appreciated for half of its length. The gardens of the old House, as would have been seen in its final role as an agricultural college, are kept up with the aid of Lottery money at the Hextable Heritage Centre.

The village has three churches:

Notably, there are no pubs within the village due to restrictions placed by former landowners in the late 19th century.

[edit] Parish

Following a 3-year village campaign and the support of Sevenoaks District Council, the government agreed in December 2007 that Hextable could have its own parish council (separate from Swanley Town Council). The new council will come into being on 1st April 2008 and the first elections are expected to take place on 1st May.

[edit] Sport

Hexley Rangers F.C. is a FA Charter Standard (Hextable/Swanley) community based junior football club that play at Downsview Primary School.

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. , 2005 Ward Level Population Estimates. Kent County Council (September 2006). Retrieved on 2007-08-20.

(Source: Wikipedia)
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