About Cowden

Extract from Hasted's History of Kent published in 1797

'This parish, wholly within the Weald, lies at the confines of this county, adjoining to Sussex southward, from which it is parted by a stream of the Medway, 

The parish of Cowden is but little known, being situated in a deep soil of clay, very wet and miry. The village, having the church on the east side, stands on a rise, though at a small distance only from the river, which here forms an elbow round the south side of it, where it turns a corn-mill; close to the river about a mile from hence is the Moat farm, and about half a mile westward that now called the Wood, both described hereafter, and at a small distance from the latter is Cowden-furnace.  A fair is held here on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, now on the second of August, for cattle and pedlary ware.


The Romans built the London to Lewes Way across what is now the garden of Waystrode Manor. The first owners of the manor received it from King John in 1208. Crippenden Manor, built in about 1607, was once the home of another iron master, Richard Tichbourne'

The village also appears as Cudena in Textus Roffensis.

'In 1649 Robert Tichborne petitioned the House of Commons in favour of the execution of Charles I. He was one of the Commissioners who, in 1651, prepared the way for the union with Scotland and he was knighted in 1655 by Cromwell and made a peer in 1657. After the Restoration he was arrested and sentenced to death, but he was reprieved, imprisoned in Dover Castle and died, in 1682, in the Tower of London. The family, however, did not die out in Cowden until 1708, when John Tichbourne was buried there'

This is old Wealden iron country, recalled by the cast iron memorial slab in the church, to John Bottinge, dated 1622. This was a time when the area was producing guns for the army and navy, as well as domestic and agricultural ware. Cowden had its own blast furnace in 1573 and during the 17th century it had two.