The village of Shadoxhurst began as a clearing in the ancient forest of Andresweald which spread from Sussex to the Romney Marshes in Kent. The first written record of the village of 'Schettokesherst' is in 1239 but it is thought to have been in existence before this.
The village lies on the main Ashford to Woodchurch road. The River Beult runs through the north of Shadoxhurst and the Whitewater Dyke, a tributary of the Great River Stour rises in the parish.
There were 22 houses in the village when the Kent historian Hasted visited in the late 1700's. He was unimpressed with the area calling it 'dreary and unpleasant' however the village has long been relieved of these remarks by offering it's inhabitants a relaxed countryside lifestyle with local amenities.
Various old houses and manors stand in the area, each with their own fascinating past. The Manor of Shadoxhurst is thought to have stood next to the parish church. Now, the King's Head public house is thought to occupy one half of this manor house.
Criols Court named after Sir Bertram de Crioll was established in the 13th century. De Crioll also had large estates in Kent with Westenhanger Castle one of his largest. A replacement farmhouse now stands in its place along the Shadoxhurst to Great Chart road.
Other manors and families that owned lands in Shadoxhurst were: The Manor of Orlestone, the Toke family of Godinton Park, Mincing Court, Blindgrooms, Claypits, Jenkey Farm, Bromley Green, Colebran Wood, Handcock Farm. Some of these buildings still survive, others have disappeared from the landscape only to survive in old documents and maps.
For more historical information please visit:
Woodchurch, Kingsnorth, Orlestone, Hamstreet, Kenardington, Warehorne, Bethersden, High Halden, Great Chart, Ashford
From census and trade directories it appears that Shadoxhurst was a small community with agriculture as its main focus. The 1841 census shows the many farms which dotted the Shadoxhurst village landscape, employing agricultural labourers and farm servants from the village. By the late censuses, Shadoxhurst continued to be strongly agricultural with other trades such as blackmiths, carpenters, and grocers establishing themselves in the village centre.
Over time, it benefitted greatly from prominent and wealthy families establishing schools & chapels as well as other public necessities. One example of this is in the 1851 census, which is filled with 'scholars' making the best use of the newly established school in 1846. The school was funded by the wealthy few namely the Toke family of Godinton Park and other families in the village.
The chart below shows the sharp rise and falls of Shadoxhurst's population during a 120 year period.
The chart is based on census, trade directories, and Victoria County History of Kent figures.
- Census: All exist.
- Wills: There is only one will for Shadoxhurst on Kent Archaeological Society website.
- Tithe Apportionments: can be seen in Kent Archives or Ashford library.
To start with children were educated in the parish church and later at a house near the churchyard.
A small school was established in Shadoxhurst in 1846 at the edge of the churchyard. It had only one class room to begin, a second room was added in 1882 after funds were raised. The school had 47 places for both boys and girls.
After 1916, pupils were transferred to Orlestone (Hamstreet) school instead.
Church & Religion
The Church of St. Peter & St. Paul has 13th century beginnings. It consists of one aisle and chancel with one bell hanging in a turret. In the chancel stands a magnificent grade II listed memorial and inscription to Sir Charles Molloy, Lord of Shadoxhurst Manor who died in 1760. It is made from white marble and depicts a young boy weeping leaning on an effigy of Sir Charles. The memorial also features guns and naval equipment reflecting on Sir Charles' long career in the Royal Navy of William III.
Lots more interesting information on the building's history, grave yard plan and pictures can be found here.
- Parish registers date from 1538. Registers in existence are: Baptisms 1538-1931; Marriages 1538-1995; Banns 1824-1964; Burials:1538-2006.
- Transcriptions of parish records by KFHS are available: Baptisms 1562-1908, Marriages 1562-1836, Banns 1812-1822 and Burials 1562-1906 on CD21 (marriages and banns) and CD29 (for all records).
- Other transcriptions of parish records are Leland Duncan's extracts and notes on Kent Archaeological Society website. They cover the years: 1538-1838 and can be found at the base of the web page.
- Monumental Inscriptions for St. Peter & St. Paul's: On Kent Archaological Society website covers dates up to the early 1900's.
Some other Churches and Chapels
- A Wesleyan Chapel was established on the village green in Shadoxhurst in 1832. Before this date, services were held on the green and in private houses. The chapel backed onto the parish churchyard and made of wood.
In 1868 a new chapel was constructed to hold the 160 strong congregation. In 1885 a new Methodist Sunday School was started, with a separate schoolroom added to the rear of the Chapel in 1931.
- A small wooden Baptist Chapel was established at Bromley Green in the east of Shadoxhurst in the late 1920's. A Sunday School was also started. The building still stands today.
- Lathe of of Scray and Shepway (Kelly's Directory 1913)
- In the Hundred of Chart & Longbridge, Blackbourn and Ham (1913 Kelly's Directory)
- West Ashford Union with Workhouse at Westwell (1882 Kelly's Directory) East Ashford Union with Workhouse at Hothfield (1847 Bagshaw Directory)
- Ashford Petty Sessional Division (1913 Kelly's Directory)
- Ashford County Court district (1913 Kelly's Directory)
- Benefice of Kingsnorth and Shadoxhurst (Present)
- Rural deanery of North Lympne (1913 Kelly's Directory) or East Charing (1970's) and Ashford (Present)
- Archdeaconry of Canterbury (1913 Kelly's Directory) or Maidstone(Present)
Bethersden Biddenden Bilsington
Bircholt Bonnington Boughton Aluph
Eastwell Egerton Godmersham
Great Chart Orlestone/Hamstreet
Hastingleigh High Halden Hinxhill
Hothfield Hurst nr. Aldington
Kenardington Kennington Kingsnorth
Little Chart Mersham Molash
Newenden Pevington nr. Pluckley
Pluckley Rolvenden Ruckinge
Smeeth Stone cum Ebony Tenterden
Warehorne Westwell Willesborough
Wittersham Woodchurch Wye