We are able to fix the exact date of its erection
from the following bequests: *
1447, John Eytherst of Smarden left, ad opus ecclesiĉ de
xiij s. iiij d., ad opus ecclesiĉ de Smerden xx s., ad opus
ecclesiĉ de Charryng xiij s. iiij d.
1464, William Marlar de Smerden, left, ad novum campanile 13s. 4d
(for a new belfry), also money "ad novam campanam"
(for a new bell).
1477, Richard Borne, fabricĉ ecclesiĉ de Smerden, xl s., etc.
Two of our sovereigns have visited Smarden. Edward I, on
the 18th June, 1299, was at the Archiepiscopal manor house at Charing,
and the following day we trace his progress towards Sussex, through
Smarden to Cranbrook; taking up his quarters, we may suppose, at
Queen Elizabeth also visited Smarden during her progress through Kent,
in August, 1573, on her way from Sissinghurst to Boughton Malherb. To
the truth of this fact
our records testify, thus:
"1573, laid out for the ringers when the quenes
here ij s. x d."
This was three years before she granted the charter for a
market. The document is signed by the great queen herself, having been
previously drawn up and presented to her by Martin James, Remembrancer
of the Court of Exchequer, who then owned the estate of Romden in this
The charter referred to was a confirmation of a former one
granted to Archbishop Mepham by Edward III, who has been called the
"Father of English commerce," because he encouraged the
Flemish cloth-workers, who settled in this neighbourhood about 1331,
Cranbrook being their chief town. At Smarden also
* Wills at Canterbury, i., 38; A, i.,
5; iii., 6.
Haslewood's Antiquities of Smarden, p. 25.