Sutton Valence

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Sutton Valence
(Town Sutton)
Photograph of the High Street, Sutton Valence
Sutton Valence High Street
Population 1,349 2011 Census
District Maidstone
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Maidstone
Postcode district ME
Dialling code 01622
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Faversham and Mid Kent
List of places

Sutton Valence (historically Town Sutton or Sutton Hastings) is a village some five miles (8 km) SE of Maidstone, Kent, England on the Greensand Ridge overlooking the Vale of Kent and Weald. One of the main landmarks in the village is Sutton Valence Castle, of which only the ruins of the 12th century keep remain, under the ownership of English Heritage.


The earliest mention of a settlement at Sutton Valence was in 814, when Coenwulf mentioned Suinothe in a charter. Iron Age and Roman artefacts have been found in the area. The Roman road from Maidstone to Lympne passed through the village.[1]

Before the Battle of Hastings, Town Sutton was owned by Leofwine Godwinson, brother of Harold who was to become King of England in 1066. The village is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Town Sutton and granted to Odo Fitzhubert, Bishop of Bayeux. The village was granted to Baldwin of Bethune, who is believed to have rebuilt the castle in stone. He died in 1212 and the manor went to his daughter Alice. She married William Marshal, the manor passing to him on her death in 1215. Marshal then married Eleanor, sister of Henry III. After his death, she married Simon de Montfort, who was killed during the Battle of Evesham in 1265.[1] A Royal charter was granted in 1221 by Henry III allowing the village to hold a fair annually.[1]

In 1265, Henry III granted the manor to his brother William de Valence, from whom the village takes its current name. On his death, the manor passed to his son Amaury de Montfort. Following the death of Amaury de Montfort in 1344, the village passed to the Hastings family and became known as Sutton Hastings. In 1401, the manor was one of those sold to provide a ransom for the release of Baron Grey of Ruthin who had been captured by Owain Glyndŵr.[2]

It subsequently passed to the Clifford family in 1418 who sold it to the Filmer family in 1548. The Filmers encouraged the provision of a gas supply in the village and lent money for the construction of the turnpike from Maidstone to Tenterden (the current A274). The Filmer connection with Sutton Valence ended in 1916, when Robert Filmer was killed in France. Following his death, all property in Sutton Valence was sold at auction, although the family kept their property at East Sutton until 1939.[2]

Many of the older buildings in the village are constructed from ragstone formerly mined locally at Boughton Monchelsea.

During the Second World War the residents of Watts' Almshouses, Rochester were evacuated to a Georgian house in the village called Eylesden.[3]

The village has declined in economic importance during the latter part of the 20th century partly as a result of the growth of Maidstone and changes in farming.[citation needed]


Sutton Valence lies on the main A274 road from Maidstone to Tenterden and is linked by bus to both towns, as well as Headcorn.

The village has no railway station. In 1904, Colonel Holman Stephens proposed construction of an extension of the Kent & East Sussex Railway line from Headcorn to Maidstone via Sutton Valence. However World War I intervened and the powers were allowed to lapse. The nearest railway station to the village is currently Headcorn, which is on the South Eastern Main Line from London to the Kent Coast via Ashford.


Town Mill, c 1918

Town Mill was a tall smock mill which was built c1720. The mill was rebuilt and raised a storey in 1796 following gale damage in which the cap and sails were blown off.[4] The mill worked by wind until 1918, when it was damaged in a gale,[5] and was worked into the 1930s by engine.[6] The mill was demolished in 1945,[7] leaving the base standing. The base was subsequently given an additional weatherboarded storey and house-converted.[8]

A windmill also stood at Five Wents, to the north of Sutton Valence. It had been demolished by 1875.[4]

Local amenities[edit]

Sutton Valence can be said to be split into two. The principal and older part occupies the upper slope of the Greensand Ridge overlooking the Vale of Kent, while the remainder is located at the bottom of the hill. This area is known as The Harbour and the houses here include a significant number of homes originally owned by the local authority. The village has a post office, bookshop and four pubs: The Swan Inn, The Clothworkers Arms, The King's Head & the Queen's head as well as a garage and several other small businesses. There is also a recreation ground next to the village hall.


Sutton Valence School, a leading independent school is located in the north-west part of the village but also owns Art and Design Technology departments in the centre of the village.[9] There is also Sutton Valence Primary School, which is nearby.


The school provides a venue for individual sporting activities. Sutton Valence Hockey Club play their home matches at Sutton Valence School.[10] Sutton Valence Village is a local football club.[11] There is also a golf club.[12]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, David. "The history of Sutton Valence and its buildings, History's hand on Sutton Valence". Sutton Valence Parish Council. Retrieved 14 August 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Wilson, David. "The history of Sutton Valence and its buildings, History's hand on Sutton Valence -from 1265 to the present". Sutton Valence Parish Council. Retrieved 14 August 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Hinkley pp 60-61
  4. ^ a b Coles Finch 1933, p. 287.
  5. ^ Clark 1947, p. 45.
  6. ^ Coles Finch 1933, p. 286.
  7. ^ Clark 1947, p. 44.
  8. ^ West 1973, p. 105.
  9. ^ "Sutton Valence School". Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  10. ^ "Sutton Valence Hockey Club". Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  11. ^ "Sutton Valence Village at mitoo". Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  12. ^ "The Ridge Golf Club". Retrieved 2013-03-16. 


  • Clark, F C (1947). Kentish Fire. Rye: Adams & Son. 
  • Coles Finch, William (1933). Watermills and Windmills. London: C W Daniel Company. 
  • Godber, Joyce (1978). The Story of Bedford. Luton: White Crescent Press. ISBN 0-900804-24-6. 
  • Hinkley, E.J.F. (1979), A History of the Richard Watts Charity, Rochester: Richard Watts and the City of Rochester Almshouse Charities, ISBN 0-905418-76-X  Note: limited edition of 200 copies, a copy is available from Medway libraries.
  • West, Jenny (1973). The Windmills of Kent. London: Charles Skilton. ISBN 0284-98534-1. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°12′N 0°35′E / 51.200°N 0.583°E / 51.200; 0.583