Tenterden is full of lovely shops, pubs and restaurants and is home to the Chapel Down Vineyard that produces exceptional quality wines served in all the best places (including Buckingham Palace and First Class on British Airways!). Known as “the Jewel in the Weald” it certainly lives up to this description, it is exceptionally pretty with a wide main street bordered by trees and gardens.
It was first settled by Anglo-Saxon swine herders from Thanet who drove their pigs down ancient trackways to clearings in the wood where the animals could feast on plump acorns. Soon these clearings became permanent and the town was established. It was an important market throughout the Middle Ages and became prosperous through the expansion of several industries in the area. The iron industry was of major importance and also the wool trade.
Acres of ancient woodland were felled to fire the furnaces to keep the smelting and fulling processes going. The timber was also used to build houses and there are still plenty of white weather boarded houses in the town, many that housed weavers, and are now much sought after – often as holiday cottages. A more surprising use of local timber was in shipbuilding, given how far Tenterden is from the sea now. But a few centuries ago Smallhythe was a busy port and the River Rother a wide navigable river capable of supporting a fleet of warships.
It is really hard to believe that Ellen Terry's picturesque rose covered cottage was once the harbour master's headquarters with a jetty down to the river. Such was the importance of the shipbuilding and Tenterden's role in supplying crews and armaments that Tenterden became a “limb” of the Cinque Ports which enjoyed tremendous privileges in the centuries before Henry VIII created a permanent Navy to defend our shores.
Kent and Sussex Holiday Cottages has some superb choices for short or long stays in beautiful Kent. Call 01580 720770 today for great advice and help in booking the perfect accommodation.