History of Chiddingstone Village

Explore the history of one of Kent’s oldest and most beautiful villages. Strolling along this one street village, you’ll see how time has changed it and why it is still the best example of Tudor living today.

Village origins

Legend has it that the name is derived from the Chiding Stone where offenders were punished. However as the village is so old it is more likely that it is derived from the homestead of Cidda's family hence Chidding tun. It was recorded as Cidingstane in the 12th century and has now changed to Chiddingstone.

After the Normans

Chiddingstone was given to Bishop Odo after the Norman invasion in 1072 as part of his Earldom of Kent, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Odo was so unpopular throughout the county because of his greedy and tyrannical behaviour that there has never been another Earl of Kent since then.

The Middle Ages

In 1450 local men Roger Attwood and William Hunt joined the ranks of the Jack Cade rebels and were arrested, but subsequently pardoned. Sir Thomas Bullen (the father of Anne Boleyn) bought property in the village during the early 1500s, before the family's fall from grace after Anne was executed by Henry VIII. 

1584 to the 1800s

The Streatfeilds were major landowners in the area, and initially purchased a dwelling in the High Street in 1584 which was later to become Chiddingstone Castle. They became rich through the local iron industry, which mainly provided munitions for warships, plus forging building materials for local infrastructure.

1800s to 1939

In the early 1800s Henry Streatfeild changed the face of the village forever. The old Manor House on the High Street was demolished and Chiddingstone Castle was built over it. He then blocked the High Street at the Castle Inn and diverted the road around the castle lake and garden to prevent any villagers from gaining access to his land.

1939 to present day

The National Trust has owned Chiddingstone Village almost in its entirety (excluding the school, the castle and the church) since 1939. It is the best example of a Tudor village left in the country and its perfectly preserved buildings have been used in several television programmes and films.

The Chiding Stone

The Chiding Stone is surrounded in folklore. It is variously thought to be a druid altar, an ancient Anglo-Saxon boundary marker and a place of punishment for nagging wives and wilful daughters. What is the truth behind it?

Picturesque location

With its well-preserved Tudor buildings, narrow main street and cobbled pavements, Chiddingstone has been featured in many postcards and photographs.