"COWDEN, a parish in the hundred of Somerden, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, in the county of Kent, 8 miles W. of Tunbridge Wells, 5 from East Grinstead, and 4 from Edenbridge, its post town. It is situated on the confines of Sussex and Surrey, from which it is separated by a stream of the river Medway, here an insignificant brook, which takes its rise some few miles off in Surrey. The village is pleasantly placed with a southern elope, and the houses bear a remarkably neat appearance. The iron works were carried on at "The Furnace" till the beginning of the last century, and part of the iron rails round St. Paul's; London, were cast at this furnace. The whole, of the Weald, in which district this parish is included, is extremely agreeable in summer, and finely wooded, but in winter its tenacious clay renders it a less enviable residence. Part of the land is in hops, and ironstone is found. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Canterbury, value £347, in the patronage of the Rev. T. Harvey. The church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, is a small ancient structure, with a shingled spire 130 feet in height, and a handsome stained-glass window. Besides the parish church, there is a district church near the further boundary of the parish, adjoining Hover. It was built about ten years since by the Hon. J. C. Talbot, and has a school and parsonage attached. There are several records, and a register which commences in 1566. Here are five almshouses, also National and free schools. Traces of Roman camps are visible in the neighbourhood, especially one to the W. on the confines of Surrey, which includes an area of 25, acres, and the triple vellum of which in some parts is nearly perfect. From this point, on a fine day, a view of surpassing beauty is obtained down the valley of Kent to Ashford, and up the valley of Surrey to Leith Hill, whilst to the S. lies the richly wooded county of Sussex. There are several gentlemen's seats in this parish, and about 3 miles from the village is Hever Castle, and in another direction about 4 miles, Penshurst. A pleasure fair is held on the 22nd August."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]