Visitor Information

As part of our aim to satisfy your interest, here is a brief history up to modern times. Also, we have compiled a collection of village photographs on the Photo Gallery Page. Just click on the Thumbnail images to enlarge them.

Staplehurst lies on a Roman road. Villages were late in coming to the Weald, where isolated dens, or pig pastures, expanded into small farms and then into hamlets. It was the presence of the church, probably built about 1150, which attracted people to one particular hamlet called Staplehurst, which means Post Wood.

By 1232 Staplehurst was paying taxes. Its inhabitants were farmers and foresters until King Edward I invited the Flemings to settle in Cranbrook in 1237 to teach the English how to process wool. From Cranbrook the cloth industry spread until it influenced most Wealden villages, including Staplehurst. The wealth thus generated was built into the solid timber houses of the Staplehurst clothiers and yeomen. In 1565, when a census of communicants was taken, the population was about 750. The woollen industry collapsed in the Weald about 1650, and though linen weaving and threadmaking took its place, such general prosperity never occurred again.

The first Census in 1801 recorded the population as 1220. By 1831 it was 1,484, with 50 labourers permanently unemployed, and by 1861 the population had risen to 1,695, in spite of whole families emigrating to America, Australia and New Zealand.

Staplehurst was lucky to be on the South Eastern Railway's route from London to Dover, which provided that escape to the outside world which roads had not given. The first commuter of note was Henry Hoare the Fleet Street banker, who settled at Iden in the 1840's. He restored the church in 1853. Lesser commuters bought houses built along Station Road, Marden Road and Headcorn Road in the 1890's.

The population stayed below 2000 until 1961, but more than doubled in ten years reaching 4,550. New estates of starter homes were built in the middle of the village, altering its shape from ribbon to pear. By 1981 the parish population was estimated at 5,900 and was 5,786 in the 1991 Census. As the millennium turns the population is rising again with the building of a new estate of 152 houses. It has four churches, a library, a small supermarket, a Health Centre, dentists, shops, public houses and an industrial estate. It has a village sign and a Village Community Centre.