Goudhurst, Kent
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Goudhurst, Kent, England

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Goudhurst

Goudhurst is in the south central section of Kent, almost in the middle of that fascinating and beautiful area of England known for centuries as "The Weald of Kent." The Culpepers were one of the leading families, and perhaps the most important landowners, in this bountiful and prosperous land from the 12th to the 18th century.

Goudhurst, at the center of the Culpepper sites within Kent and Sussex, makes an ideal base for the Culpepper visitor. The Star and Eagle (hotel, pictured below) is next door to St. Mary's Church and is where Culpepper Connections' publisher and his wife, Warren and Lee Culpepper, stayed on their visit in October 1999.

Star and Eagle Hotel, Goudhurst, Kent, England
Star and Eagle

High Street (Highway A262)
Goudhurst, Kent
TN17 1AL
England
Phone: +44-01580-211-512
FAX: +44-01580-211-416

Village of Goudhurst
Location
: 13 miles SSW of Maidstone. Note, as Goudhurst is the central spot to the Culpeper antiquities, all other locations are specified in terms of where they are in relationship to Goudhurst.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 723 378
Multimap.com

Goudhurst Village Web Site

1831 Topographical Dictionary:
Goudhurst, a parish partly in the hundred of Cranbrooke, but chiefly in the hundred of Marden, lathe of Scray, county of Kent, 13 miles (S. by W.) from Maidstone, containing 2579 inhabitants.
   The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Rochester, rated in the king's books at 26. 19. 2., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester.
   The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a handsome structure, situated on the declivity of a lofty hill, which commands a fine view over the counties of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.
   Goudhurst consists mostly of large well-built houses, erected on five different roads, uniting near a large pond in the centre of the village: it had formerly a market on Wednesday, and a considerable business in the manufacture of cloth, both which have decayed, but wool-stapling is still carried on to a small extent.
   There is a fair for cattle on the 26th and 27th of August. John Horsemonden, in 1670, bequeathed a rent-charge of 40; and Thomas Bathurst, in 1718, gave another of 6, which sums are applied to the instruction of children.

W. T. Simmons' Cranbrook Almanac of 1910
Goudhurst is within the Cranbrook Union, Lower Division of the Lathe of Scray, the Hundreds of Marden and Little Barnfield, and Southern or Ashford Division of the County.
   The living is in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, 574 is the commutation value of 1848, the present gross value is 400, net value about 310, held by the Rev. J. S. Clarke, M.A.
   In the Bedgebury Chapel, is a Brass of Sir Thomas de Bedgebury, 1420, another on an altar tomb with Canopy, of Sir John Colepeper, 1480, who married Agnes, daughter and heiress of John de Bedgebury; also a Brass of a Colepeper about 1510. In a recess of S Aisle is an altar tomb of Bethersden stone, on which are two recumbent figures carved in oak, of Sir Alexander Colepeper and his wife, 1537. Blocking up a S window of the Chantry is a fine tomb of alabaster and marble, erected by Sir Anthony Colepeper in 1608, to the memory of his father Sir Alexander Colepeper, and his grandfather, Sir Thomas Colepeper. In the Chancel is another tomb of alabaster, (also blocking up a window), to Sir William Campion, 1606, of Combwell, which estate still belongs to the Campions of Danny in Sussex. On the top of this tomb are 2 figures "Night" and "Morning", which were copied from Michael Angelo's on the Medici tombs in S Lorenzo Florence. The stained glass windows in the chancel are in memory of Rev. W. B. Harrison a former Vicar and his wife, 2 windows in S. Aisle are from the private chapel at Brandfold, in memory of J. Ridgeway, Esq, and his wife. Ballards' is a new mansion which has passed to the present owner of Brandfold, and occupied by Miss Ducane; and Gore Court to J. A. Druce, Esq; Winchet Hill, much improved now belongs to W. R. Stevens, Esq. The School at Winchet Hill is fitted and licensed for Divine Service and Sacraments. The Coffee House, at the top of the town, is very useful as a Temperance Hotel, having good accommodation in a coffee room and in separate apartments, where many visitors stay during the summer.

St Mary's Church, Goudhurst


St. Mary’s Church is first mentioned in a document dated in 1119; construction of the present structure started in the 13th century.

Bedgebury Chapel, St Marys, Goudhurst, Kent, England, Oct 1999

The Lady Chapel pictured above (known as the Bedgebury Chapel) has two arches of the early fifteenth century opening into the chancel. This chapel contains the earliest monument in the church. It is a brass on the floor commemorating John, son of John Bedgebury, who died in 1424. His home, Bedgebury Manor, was one of the oldest manors in England, having a deed of gift dated 815. His memorial shows him in a full suit of plate armor with his feet resting upon a lion. (pictured below on the slab just in front of the arched tomb)

Arched Tomb with Culpeper brasses, St Marys, Goudhurst, Kent, Oct 1999

John Bedgebury was the last of his line, and when his widow Agnes married Walter Culpeper7 (1398-1462, a direct ancestor of the modern-day Culpeppers), the ancient manor of Bedgebury went with her. Walter and Agnes were commemorated by a brass in the church, but all that is left of this are the three shields on the slab next to the Bedgebury brass.  (The man in armor belongs to a later period and there is no record of his identity). The remains of their son, Sir John Culpeper8 (1428-1480, also a direct ancestor) lie with those of his wife, formerly Agnes Gainsford, in the arched tomb beside the altar in the chapel. There may have been a contemporary altar attached to the south side of this tomb. Part of a double canopy remains.

The slab for this and the other brasses is of Bethersden "marble", a fossiliferous limestone from nearby. On the brass Sir John Culpeper8 is seen in three-quarters face wearing plate and mail armor. The effigy of his wife is missing. Originally the monument also included kneeling figures of three sons and three daughters. At some time these were removed, leaving only the indents in the stonework. It is thought that the tomb may once have been used as an Easter sepulchre.

Culpepers of St. Mary's Church

Walter Culpeper7, "Squire of Agincourt"* (1398-1462), m. Agnes Roper, widow of John Bedgebury

Sir John Culpeper8 of Bayhall, Hardreshull and Bedgebury* (1428-1480), m. Agnes Gainford

"Old" Sir Alexander Culpeper9 of Bedgebury and Hardreshull (1454-1541), m. Constantina Chamberlayne

Sir Thomas Culpeper10 of Bedgebury (d.1558), m. Elizabeth Hawte

Sir Alexander Culpeper11 of Bedgebury (d.1598), m. Mary Dacre

Sir Anthony Culpeper12 of Bedgebury (b.1560), m. Ann Martin

* Direct ancestors of the modern-day Culpeppers

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Last Revised: 09 Jan 2006

 

 
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