"HAWKHURST, a parish chiefly in the hundred of East Barnfield, lathe of Scray, county Kent, but partly in that of Henhurst, rape of Hastings, county Sussex, 4 miles S.W. of Cranbrook. This extensive parish is situated on the road from London to Rye, near the river Rother. It is well wooded, the prevailing timber being oak, and has about 400 acres of hop ground; the rest of the land is nearly evenly divided between arable and pasture. The great tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £645, exclusive of hops. The village, formerly a market town, is still a considerable place, but chiefly agricultural, the cloth manufacture having long since been discontinued. The principal district of the parish lies on the road to Rye, and is called Highgate. A stone church, with shingled spire, has lately been erected as a chapel-of-ease to the parish church, and is endowed with £100 a year. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Canterbury, value £250, in the patronage of Christ Church, Oxford. The parish church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, is a spacious and beautiful edifice, erected in the reign of Edward III. by the abbots of Battle Abbey. It has a lofty embattled tower and E. window, lately filled with stained glass to the memory of the parents of Edward Lloyd, Esq., and contains a brass of J. Roberts, and a monument to Richard Kilburne, author of the "Survey of Kent," in 1659. The learned divine, Dr. Lardner, author of "The Credibility of the Gospel History," was a native of this parish, and is buried in the church. The Wesleyans have a chapel. There are six almshouses, and a free school endowed by Sir Thomas Dunk, in 1718, with lands now producing about £200 per annum. The other charities produce about £45 per annum. There are school buildings, with master's residence, lately erected on the village green for a National school for both sexes. In the vicinity are Collingwood, the residence of Sir J. F. W. Herschell, Bart., the astronomer, and a new mansion, built by E. Lloyd, Esq., on the Lillesden estate; also two chalybeate springs."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]