History

The village of Brook is tucked away between the parishes of Brabourne, Hinxhill and Wye. It stands at the base of the North Downs ridgeway, and gets it's name from the brook which still flows through the village today. The spring which feeds the brook arises at Pickersdane at the base of the Devil's Kneading Trough.

The houses in the village follow the line of the brook along its main road known as 'The Street'. It has two lanes adjoining it, that of Nat's Lane and Troy Town Lane.

A small hamlet connected to this village is Little Beddlestone. In Hasted's day in the late 1700's there were only two houses in the hamlet, by the late 1990's this had grown to sixteen.

Of note are some of the houses and buildings in the parish such as Court Lodge with its Saxon beginnings and a preserved moat; the early 19th century Oast House and 14th century Manorial Barn, which can be seen as part of Brook Agricultural Museum's tour. There are ten houses in the village that were built prior to 1700.

 


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Links

For more historical information please visit:

Surrounding Parishes

Mersham, Brabourne, Hastingleigh, Wye, Hinxhill

Brook People

From census and trade directories it appears that Brook was a small community with agriculture as its main focus.

The 1851 census shows the many farms which dotted the Brook village landscape, employing agricultural labourers and farm servants from the village. The village pub 'The Honest Miller' a grocer's shop, a carpenter, a shoe maker, and a blacksmith also feature in this census and later ones. Brook continued to be strongly agricultural through the censuses, and even now it still retains is own sense of identity and community.

The chart below shows the fluctuations of Brook'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.
  • Hearth Tax 1664:please go to Hearth Tax Online and download their .pdf document.

Education

Provision of a schoolhouse for Brook's children did not come to the village until 1876/7. Before this date a Dame's School was held in a parish cottage.

The new school consisted of only one classroom where children were split into two classes with ages ranging from 5 to 16 years. In it's first year the school provided 18 children of Naccolt and Brook with a basic education. This increased to 33 children in 1878. As is generally seen with small rural schools, the effects of the agricultural season and inclement were felt in school numbers.

The school still serves the local community and attracts pupils from greater distances.

Church & Religion

The Church of St. Mary stands on the main Street running though Brook. The Norman church has a square tower containing three floors: a tower room, a chapel and a bell chamber. This tower underwent major repair work between 1870's up to 1987. With various structural repairs, lightening strikes and hurricanes damaging the tower and church over time.

Of note are the thirteenth century wall paintings which can been seen in the chancel, the south wall of the nave and above the chancel archway.

The church was completely refurbished in the 1990's.

  • Parish registers date from 1563. Registers in existence are: Baptisms 1563-1899; Marriages 1563-2000; Banns 1756-1835; Burials:1563-1992.
  • Transcriptions of parish records by KFHS are available: Baptisms 1563-1899, Marriages 1563-1899, Banns 1756-1835 and Burials 1563-1899 on CD23.
  • Other transcriptions of later parish records from 1899 to 1930 are to be found on Hastingleigh.com and marriages 1754-1911 can be found on Mid Kent Marriages website.
  • Monumental Inscriptions for St. Mary's Church, Brook: can be seen on Kent Archaeological Society website.
  • War memorials in Brook Church and Churchyard can be seen on  www.kentfallen.com or download their .pdf for the village here

Other churches and chapels:

A Baptist chapel was established in an old blacksmiths forge in 1905 when a group of baptists from Ashford started to congregate in the village. This still stands in front of Brook House along the Street. Around 50-60 baptists used this small building for twenty years, before a new chapel was built on the opposite side of 'The Street' in 1924. 

Jurisdiction

  • Lathe of Scray (PO Directory 1855)
  • In the hundred of Chart and Wye (1855 PO Directory), only Wye (1891 Kelly's Directory)
  • East Ashford Union with workhouse at Willesborough (built 1835)(1855 PO Directory)
  • Ashford Petty Sessional Division (1891 Kelly's Directory)
  • Ashford County Court district (1891 Kelly's Directory)
  • Benefice of Wye with Brook and Hastingleigh with Boughton Aluph and Eastwell (Present)
  • Rural deanery of Bridge West (1891 Kelly Directory & Present)
  • Archdeaconry & Diocese of Canterbury (1891 Kelly's Directory) Archdeaconry of Canterbury (Present)
Ashford Villages

Bethersden Biddenden Bilsington

Bircholt Bonnington Boughton Aluph

Brabourne Brook Challock

Charing Chilham Crundale

Eastwell
Egerton Godmersham

Great Chart Orlestone/Hamstreet

Hastingleigh High Halden Hinxhill

Hothfield Hurst nr. Aldington

Parish Records

Kenardington Kennington Kingsnorth

Little Chart Mersham Molash

Newenden Pevington nr. Pluckley

Pluckley Rolvenden Ruckinge

Sevington Shadoxhurst Smarden

Smeeth Stone cum Ebony Tenterden

Warehorne Westwell Willesborough

Wittersham Woodchurch Wye



Ashford Branch email:ashford@kfhs.org.uk