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Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 14 -1882  pages 37


By Robert Furley, F.S.A.

I HAVE undertaken to read a paper on "The Early History of Tenterden;" a somewhat difficult task, especially as the most ancient and learned of our Kentish topographers (Lambarde) never even mentions the place; and when speaking of the district, he states that it cannot be shown from any of our ancient chronicles that "there is remaining in the Weald of Kent any one monument of great antiquity." As this was written more than 300 years ago, I must crave your indulgence in my attempt to record the early history of this pretty country town, which has been now a member or limb of the Cinque Ports for upwards of 400 years; for I shall have but little I fear to say which is likely to attract the antiquary, beyond pointing out the marked distinction between the Weald and the rest of Kent in the early tenure of the land.
   The district, as is well known to most of you, was in

bygone times part of a vast forest, "bringing forth thorns and thistles unbid," the resort of wild animals, and of deer and swine, and rarely trodden by the foot of man.
   Camden published his Britannia shortly after Lambarde wrote his Perambulation, and all he says of it is, "In a woody tract are Tenterden, Cranbrook, Benenden, and other neighbouring towns, wherein the cloth trade flourished in the time of Edward III."
   This woody tract was one of the largest, if not the largest, of our British forests. In Csar's time it formed part of three kingdoms, Cantii (Kent), Regni (Sussex and Surrey), and Belgae (Hants, Wilts, and Somerset). It had a city and station during the occupation of Britain by the Romans (the site of which has long been the subject of controversy).

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