Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Smarden
Smarden comes from the Old English word 'smeoru' meaning ' fat, grease, lard; alluding
to rich pasture, productive of butter, etc.' with 'denn' as a ‘woodland pasture';
therefore, ‘woodland pasture where lard is produced’.
Smarden parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel. The Normans constructed the church in the 11th century, although rebuilt it around 1325. There is a record of four bells in 1552, with a new bell added in 1601, by Robert Mot. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Michael’s church as consisting ‘of one isle or body, and a chancel; the former is of a most curious structure, being forty feet wide, with a span roof over it, singularly constructed. At the west end is a tower steeple, with a beacon turret, in which there are five bells’. In 1922, Alfred Bowell recast the five bells into a ring of six.
In recognition of the cloth trade that the village had helped to develop, King Edward III granted Smarden a Royal Charter in 1333 permitting them to hold a weekly market and an annual fair, thus elevating the status from village to Town. Elizabeth I, en route from Castle to Boughton Malherbe in 1576, ratified the previously granted Charter.