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Hildenborough is a village and rural parish in the District of Tonbridge and Mallingmarker, Kentmarker. It is two miles (three kilometres) north-west of Tonbridgemarker and five miles (eight kilometres) south-east of Sevenoaksmarker. The village lies in the River Medway valley, near the North Downsmarker in an area known as The Wealdmarker.

Origin of name

Hildenborough was originally just Hilden – or, in its 13th-century form, Hyldenn. The elements here are Old English hyll ‘hill’ and denn ‘woodland pasture’, so the sense is of a ‘pasture on or by a hill’. By 1349 the name had become Hildenborough, having acquired the affix from burh ‘manor, borough’.

Origin of road names

Mill Lane was named after the Mill near the B245


In World War II doodlebugs were dropped on an oast house by Mill Lane and smashed its cowl, and a zeppallin used to be above Vines Lane.

In the fields along Stocks Green Road, by the old tea rooms, a German parachutist came down and a Captain from the Royal Artillery from Hildenborough had to take him to a POW camp. A woman in some neighbouring buildings offered the German a cup of tea.


Hildenborough stood on the first road in Kent to be turnpiked in 1710: the highway from Sevenoaks through Tonbridge to Tunbridge Wellsmarker; carrying much traffic en route to “the Wells”. A number of inns sprang up to service this traffic, including the Hilden Manor and the Half Moon.

Today the village, along with Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, is by-passed by the modern A21 roadmarker.

The railway was late coming to Hildenborough: the South Eastern Railway did not open its direct line from Londonmarker until 1 May 1868. The six-mile (ten-kilometre) gradient up to Sevenoaks takes its name from the village. The railway stationmarker was situated close to the existing houses at the time, which is now about one mile (one and a half kilometres) from the village centre.


By the 1840s, the Parish of Tonbridge was approximately 10 miles (16 km) long and 2½ miles (4 km) wide. A circular letter dated 26 September 1842 explained that, "as the Parish was so large, a great many people were unable to attend the church [in nearby Tonbridge]." It was proposed that, "a new church should be built for the people living in the Hildenborough district."Dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, the church was consecrated on 9 July 1844.

In 1992 a "church plant" was established by St John's at Stocks Green School, to serve the southern part of the village, initially meeting monthly until 1994 when weekly services started. The congregation moved back to the church hall at St John's in 2008.

Modern Hildenborough

Sackville School, Hildenboroughmarker, a private educational establishment, now occupies Foxbush House, built in 1866 for Charles Fitch Kemp, a London chartered accountant, who had an “ambition to be a country landowner”. The house was subsequently sold twice before the second World War, when it was occupied by the military. It was used by various educational establishments from 1949; Sackville School was established in 1987 and its grounds are a Registered Historic Park. The main road outside Sackville School is 40 mph.

Apart from one large financial institution Fidelity Investments having set up its UK Headquarters in Hildenborough and a GlaxoSmithKline factory at nearby Powder Mills, the village is primarily based on small businesses. It is very much a commuter village with its good communication links to London.

One of the village's oldest buildings, the Hilden Manor restaurant owned by Beefeater, was burnt down by a fire caused by an electrical fault, and has now been restored and rebuilt by Oaklands. It was officially re-opened on 6 October 2006, along with a Premier Travel Inn newly built next to it.

The Raphael Medical Centre in Coldharbour Lane offers Speech Therapy, Art & Music Therapy to help patients regain mental and physical abilities lost through serious illness or accidents.


Hildenborough pays host to a number of schools.There is one private primary school, Fosse Bank, one private secondary, Sackville, and two state primaries, Stocks Green school and Hildenborough CEP school. Hildenborough primary was the first school in the village, and is over 150 years old.


There are several activities for children and teenagers, including those run by Hildenborough Church, and a Scout troop (8th Tonbridge). Further away in Watts Cross is Hildenborough rifle and pistol club. Hildenborough has a very friendly and sometimes successful cricket club that plays its home games on Sundays, on the recreation ground in Riding Lane. The club headquarters is based at the Hildenborough Social Club, just down the road.It also has a BHS and ABRS qualified riding school and livery yard with a cross country course also in Riding Lane.There are two football teams associated with the village Hildenborough Athletic FC has Three teams in the local Sevenoaks & District League playing football Saturday afternoons, and Hildenborough Junior FC has two teams in the Crowborough League playing on Sunday mornings. Action Medical Research have a regular charity cycling event, the 'Castle 100' every year that runs through Riding Lane and Shipbourne

There has been some UFO activity in Hildenborough, in the Tonbridge School fields behind the Langley Hotel

Entertainment and Dining

Hildenborough is home to several pubs and restaurants, including the refurbished Hilden Manor, the Flying Dutchman and the Cock Horse. In addition, the Half Moon pub on Tonbridge road is a frequent live music venue. The village hall is also the home of Hildenborough social club, and the Hildenborough Ex-Serviceman's club is round the corner. The Langley Hotel is the venue where the Rotary meet regularly

Local celebrities

Hildenborough is the family home of Olympic double-gold medallist Kelly Holmes. Other famous residents include Sir Henry Cooper. Recent news articles say footballer Lee Bowyer resides in Hildenborough, however he only lived here for a year, moving away again in 2006.

Henry (Real Name Hyla) Stallard MBE (1901 -73) lived in Mill Lane, he was an athlete in the 1924 Paris Olympics and represented Great Britain in the 800 and 1500m. He hurt his foot in one of the races but he picked himself up and carried on running. An actor played him in Chariots of Fire. He became a pioneering eye surgeon at St Barts Hospital and Moorfields. He later moved with his wife Gywnneth to Forest Row in Sussex but used to spend Christmas in Hildenborough with his relatives.

The Titanic

Hildenborough residents were feared drowned in the Titanic In towns like Salisbury people have left benches in memory of people lost in the tragedy but there is no memorial bench in Hildenborough.


Hildenborough compared
2001 UK Census Hildenborough ward Tonbridge and Malling borough England
Population 4,588 107,561 49,138,831
Foreign born 5.7% 4.6% 9.2%
White 98.7% 98.3% 90.9%
Asian 0.4% 0.7% 4.6%
Black 0.1% 0.1% 2.3%
Christian 78.8% 76.1% 71.7%
Muslim 0.2% 0.3% 3.1%
Hindu 0.2% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 12.6% 15% 14.6%
Unemployed 1.5% 1.9% 3.3%
Retired 17.1% 14.2% 13.5%
As of the 2001 UK census, the Hildenborough electoral ward had a population of 4,588. The ethnicity was 98.7% white, 0.6% mixed race, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% black and 0.2% other. The place of birth of residents was 94.3% United Kingdom, 0.6% Republic of Ireland, 1.7% other Western European countries, and 3.4% elsewhere. Religion was recorded as 78.8% Christian, 0.1% Buddhist, 0.2% Hindu, 0% Sikh, 0.1% Jewish, and 0.2% Muslim. 12.6% were recorded as having no religion, 0.4% had an alternative religion and 7.6% did not state their religion.

The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 39.1% in full-time employment, 13.5% in part-time employment, 10.9% self-employed, 1.5% unemployed, 2.4% students with jobs, 3.2% students without jobs, 17.1% retired, 7.8% looking after home or family, 2.8% permanently sick or disabled and 1.7% economically inactive for other reasons. The industry of employment of residents was 13.4% retail, 9.3% manufacturing, 7.2% construction, 17.6% real estate, 9.2% health and social work, 10.2% education, 5.5% transport and communications, 3.9% public administration, 3.2% hotels and restaurants, 12.5% finance, 1.5% agriculture and 6.5% other. Compared with national figures, the ward had a relatively high proportion of workers in education, finance and real estate. There were a relatively low proportion in manufacturing, public administration, hotels and restaurants. Of the ward's residents aged 16–74, 25.9% had a higher education qualification or the equivalent, compared with 19.9% nationwide.

Climate Change & The Environment

Hildenborough Conservation Group

The main cycle path, which is off-road, is from the Hildenborough Medical Centre to Dry Hill Park Road.

References Hyla Stallard

External links

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