Nestling in the heart of the Weald of Kent, Tenterden, rich in history, has largely escaped much modern development and has consequently retained its charm. It has an attractive, broad tree-lined High Street, brimming with interesting shops that have something for everyone.
It is believed that the name Tenterden is derived from the Old English ‘Tenet Waraden’ which meant a clearing in the forest, belonging to the men of Thanet.
Tenterden was an important wool trading centre in the 13th century and became prosperous. It is difficult to believe today that Tenterden had access to the sea at Smallhythe, since the coastline has altered so much. Using the wood from the Wealden Forest as its source of timber, Smallhythe was a centre for shipbuilding and produced wooden ships that were large for the time. In 1449 Tenterden was incorporated into the prestigious Federation of Cinque Ports, and was able to enjoy all the privilege and status which this position brought.
Dating from the 12th century the the distinctive tower of the Parish Church of St Mildred can be seen from the High Street. To get an insight into the history of Tenterden pay a visit to the local museum which has exhibits spanning one thousand years.
William Caxton, who pioneered printing in England is believed to have been born in Tenterden. The actress Dame Ellen Terry lived at Smallhythe.
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