The Domesday Book recorded this village as having Two Mills and Twelve Fisheries, twelve acres of meadow and Wood for the pannage of sixty hogs.
Nearly a thousand years on it may be more populated, the village landscape dominated by a strikingly visible folly, but it is still an area that retains its farming roots. Home to one of the country’s best known agricultural colleges, Hadlow is a village that surprises and delights in equal quantities.
Straddling the A26 is a village that some may drive through with hardly a glance; stop and take stock and suddenly you realise why so many choose this as somewhere to set down roots.
Driving toward Hadlow few will miss the exotic sight of the Tower rising into the sky. The little ‘square’ is probably the part most will recognise, the parking always in use it has a bustle about it that comes from many factors. We love this little place because it retains a local bakers, a greengrocer and a butcher, reasons enough to stop on a whim.
Looking form the square toward the church and Hadlow Tower provides one of those picture postcard scenes, a quaint and traditional English view that warms the heart and leaves a lasting impression.
The tower, also known as May’s Folly, was built between 1838 and 1840 by Walter Barton May. Goodsall, in his Second Kentish Patchwork, referred to it as ‘One of the best known, and certainly the most conspicuous folly in the county…’
The tower and castle reference Fonthill in Wiltshire in design and, in Bagshaw’s 1847 Gazetteer, it is referred to as ‘a superb mansion, recently erected, and a fine example of architectural embellishments… This tower exhibits a unique specimen of diversity and beauty…’
The main house of Hadlow Castle, built in the place of Hadlow Court Lodge, is long gone but May’s legacy most definitely isn’t. Rising high above the skyline, the tower is a beacon announcing Hadlow to passers-by.
What makes Hadlow so special as somewhere to consider making your home? Lots of factors really. Most people we know will tell you the village has a charm that comes from its beautiful square allied with a convenience of being so close to Tonbridge, making it ideal for commuters, and with its position on the A26 it is eminently accessible. There is a community spirit still thriving and an identity that makes locals happy and proud to announce they are from Hadlow.
Broadview Gardens are part of Hadlow College and house the National Hellebore Collection. The tea rooms are always worth a visit too.
Tea rooms and gardens, country pubs and walks, delightful farming scenery and history. It’s a great combination and one that should be considered if you are looking for a home in west Kent. It’s also somewhere to stop and have a wander around when you are nearby.
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