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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Headcorn

Headcorn comes from the Old English ‘hruna’ meaning a ‘tree trunk, fallen tree, log’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Hydeca’s tree-trunk’.

Headcorn Parish Church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The Normans built the church in the 11th century, although rebuilt it in the 13th, with the addition of a three stage tower in the following century. In 1714, Richard Phelps cast and hung three bells, with another in 1720. Samuel Knight added two more in 1732, and Lester and Pack completed the ring of eight with two trebles in 1766. The architect Joseph Clarke carried out restorations in 1855 and 1868, with Gordon McDonald Hills accomplishing further works ten years later.

In the 12th Century, the Trinitarian Friars of Mottenden had a friary within the village, although it closed at the dissolution.

Headcorn station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s Tonbridge to Ashford section of the London to Dover mainline, on 26 May 1842 –acting as a terminus until 31 August that year, when through running commenced.

In 1927, a local landowner flew, with a group of friends, from a field in Headcorn, later establishing an airfield. In 1942, the Airfields board requisitioned the airfield, laying out runways of 1600 yards and 1400 yards. The airfield saw extensive action in the final years of the war, following which it returned to agriculture. In the 1950's,  it re-opened as a private airfield.