Pembury History

Houses -  Hawkwell

The following page has been researched and compiled by Jane Grooms in order to make sense of the numerous instances of 'Hawkwell' scattered around Pembury.



By Jane Grooms, October 2023

The names of properties around Hawkwell in Pembury are very similar and so can seem confusing. The maps below show the location of the various properties in the Hawkwell area of Pembury and approximately when newer properties appeared. There are accounts of each property thereafter including interesting facts or stories. 

Key to Properties

A: Site of Great Hawkwell Manor (Manor of Pepingbury Magna)
E: Hawkwell Farm Cottage
B: Great Hawkwell Cottage/Farm
F: Little Hawkwell Farmhouse
C: Hawkwell Place/Spring Grove Mansion (Part of Kent College, 2023)
G: Hawkwell House
D: Hawkwell Farmhouse
H: Hawkwell Cottages (Seven cottages)

Ordinance Survey Map, surveyed 1868, published 1872  –  Key Map 1
 A:    the site of Great Hawkwell Manor (see credit to David Brown below);
 B:    Great Hawkwell Farmhouse (now Cottage in 2023);
 C:    Hawkwell Place here named as Spring Grove;
 E:    Hawkwell Farm Cottage;
 F:    Little Hawkwell Farmhouse and
 H:   Hawkwell Cottages.

        Hawkwell House and Hawkwell Farmhouse are yet to appear.

The same key locations shown on a modern map  (not to the same scale)

Ordinance Survey Map, revised 1938, published 1946 – Key Map 2
   Hawkwell Place no longer described as Spring Grove and G: Hawkwell House.

Ordinance Survey Map, Revised 1938, published ca 1950 – Key Map 3

         D: Hawkwell Farmhouse (name as of 2023) described as Great Hawkwell Farm.


A manor house existed called Great Hawkwell Manor named after the Hawkwell family that once lived there. Sadly, it no longer exists having been destroyed by fire when the Woodgate family lived there and demolished in 1830. The Woodgate family bought the house from the Weyburn family.

 An online book relating to the Weyburn genealogy by Samuel Fletcher Weyburn outlines a visit by “W. F. Weyburn, of New York, who, with Mrs Weyburn, visited Pembury, Kent, early in 1910” They visited “Reverend Woodgate” of Pembury Hall [Reginald S. S. Woodgate]. Reverend Woodgate took the visitors to “the Lowlands …where the Manor House stood and I saw water in about one-half of the moat. He also took me up to Little Hawkwells on the Hill, a house that was built about 200 years ago, and showed me the old oak staircase that was taken from the original Hawkwells Manor House by one of his ancestors. It was magnificent, broad handrail and massive newel posts, all of which were made before they had any planes or saws to work with. The carving was done with a knife and the smoothing with an axe. This staircase is about 800 years old and is in a perfect state of preservation.”

 Image of a pen and ink drawing of Great Hawkwell Manor, 1829, courtesy of Martin Easdown, author of the book, “ Lost Country Houses of Kent”.

Great Hawkwell Manor had a moat around it, fed from the Alders stream which also powered the Spring Grove Mill further downstream. An image of a section of the Tithe map from circa 1840 below shows an area to the right of the image (circled in blue) with square-sided pond-like features. One or more of these could be what remained of the moat. Also, plot 657 occupied by Richard Ashby and owned by Woodgate and Briscoe [the Woodgate family] is described on the Tithe schedule as “Coach House Meadow”. This was probably the coach house/site of the coach house to Great Hawkwell Manor.

Tithe Map circa 1840

The section of Ordinance Survey Map from Key Map 1 (circa 1868) shows an area of landscaped garden, possibly a parterre, a Well and a pond near to “Hawkwell”.

The manor house site is in the square area where the Well is situated – see area highlighted in yellow. Thank you to David Brown for his help in identifying this location. The building circled in blue is a coach house recorded on the Tithe Schedule (see above).

Section of Key Map 1

The Hawkwell Ghost
There is a sad but fascinating ghost story connected to Great Hawkwell Manor published in 1914 in the book, “Historical Associations of Pembury” by Luke Pearce.  The story was related to the author by the Reverend Reginald S. S. Woodgate (died 1911), a member of the Woodgate family. The following is a summary of the account from the book:

 A widow and two daughters lived at Great Hawkwell Manor. The younger daughter married a fortune hunter and went to live in London. The daughter’s new husband was cruel to her and, having no transport, decided to walk with her baby  back to Great Hawkwell Manor, her family home. Upon arriving, exhausted, she found the Manor in ruins, destroyed by fire. Unknown to her, her mother was at a nearby house due to celebrate her birthday. The mother refused to participate in the celebrations saying she was waiting for her younger daughter to arrive. The mother collapsed and died saying “she has come”. Later, the body of the daughter and her baby were found, frozen to death near the ruins of the Manor. A ghost of the daughter is thought to have been encountered still searching for her family on the anniversary of her death.

The account in “Historical Associations of Pembury” details an encounter with the ghost where a baker was returning late at night on the anniversary of the death of the daughter and became “affrighted” and “rushed into the nearest house, which happened to be the Three Stars Inn, now [circa 1914] turned into cottages.”

Plot 651 on the Tithe map circa 1840 (see above), is described as “Cottage & Land”. Plot 650 is described as “Farm Yards & Bldgs”. Plot 652 is described as “orchard”. These plots together with others including Spring Grove Mill were in the occupation of Richard Ashby. The land was owned by “Woodgate and Briscoe” [the Woodgate family].  It is clear the cottage and land were a farm circa 1840.

The 1851 census records Richard Ashby as living at Great Hawkwell Farm and Spring Grove Mill. Was Richard at Great Hawkwell Cottage (name as of 2023) as he was in 1840? This is unclear as the 1851 Census has cottages listed after this entry. However, it seems unlikely to be Little Hawkwell Farmhouse as the entry specifically says “Great”.

 The following article from 1869 reports that Richard Ashby was a yearly tenant of the whole Spring Grove [Hawkwell] estate except for the Spring Grove Mansion [Hawkwell Place]. Richard is likely to have had under-tenants for properties he did not occupy himself.

Maidstone and Kentish Journal, 17 May 1869

Note: This 1869 Article refers to an old tenement known as the “Old Seven Stars”.
The transcribed Tithe schedule for Brenchley, Kent has a description for plot 417 as “House & Garden Old 7? Stars?” being owned by Francis Woodgate and in the occupation of John Longley.

Hawkwell Place/Spring Grove Mansion is the name of the original house which is part of Kent College (as of 2023) and situated next to the “old” church of St Peter. The original mansion is described in the 1869 article under B: Great Hawkwell Cottage.

Hawkwell Place circa 1940

On Key Map 3, Hawkwell Farmhouse (name as of 2023) is labelled as Great Hawkwell Farm. The house does not appear on Key Map 1 or Key Map 2. It is easy to see how confusion has arisen over the names of properties in the Hawkwell area of Pembury.

Hawkwell Farmhouse circa 2022

This is a property that has two doors so may have been originally two cottages. This is of 2023, situated adjacent to D: Hawkwell Farmhouse but is older having existed on earlier maps, Key Map 1 and Key Map 2.

Hawkwell Farm Cottage circa 2022


Little Hawkwell Farmhouse is shown on the Tithe Map circa 1840 and the OS Map circa 1895 shown previously. It is, as of 2023, still situated on the Maidstone Road.

In the 1861 Census, Richard Ashby, is recorded as living in the “Farm House, Maidstone Road”. I believe this farmhouse to be Little Hawkwell Farmhouse as it is listed next to number 7, Hawkwell Cottages on the 1861 census.

An article below from 14 August, 1987 shows an image of the house and describes the staircase from “Old Hawkwell Manor” i.e. Great Hawkwell Manor.

See also the description of the staircase by a descendant of the Weyburn family who visited Little Hawkwell Farmhouse in 1910 under A: Great Hawkwell Manor.

This is a Victorian detached house on the same side of Maidstone Road as Little Hawkwell Farmhouse. See Key Map 2 and Key Map 3.

Hawkwell House circa 2022

In the 1871 Census, Richard Ashby is a “retired miller” and is recorded as living as “Hawkwell Villa” which is listed prior to the seven Hawkwell Cottages. Richards’s son, George Ashby is now at “Hawkwell Farm” which, in turn, is listed next to “Hawkwell Villa”. I believe Hawkwell Villa may be Hawkwell House and, if correct, Hawkwell House was built prior to 1871. It may have just missed appearing on Key Map 2.

Situated on the Maidstone Road next to Hawkwell House above. These seven cottages are referenced in the article from 17 May 1869 when the Spring Grove Estate was for sale (see under Great Hawkwell Cottage).

The Three Stars Inn
The pub archive web-page records the location of the Three Stars Inn as
1 Hawkwell Cottages.   It is also listed in the Pubs and Beerhouses page of this website.
The reference originates from a book “The Old Pubs of Tunbridge Wells and District” by Keith Hetherington and Alun Griffiths.  Most of their findings were from old alcohol licensing records that were brief and indicated that at some time in the past a property acquired an alcohol sales license.

The Hawkwell Ghost story (see under A: Great Hawkwell Manor) outlined in “Historical Associations of Pembury” refers to the “Three Stars Inn” in existence “forty or fifty years ago”.  The book was published in 1914. The Reverend Reginald S.S. Woodgate had related the story to the author of the book and Reverend S.S. Woodgate died in 1911, so it is uncertain what year the baker had an encounter with the Hawkwell Ghost. It follows, it is unclear when the Three Stars Inn existed.

Unfortunately, no record of an inn or an inn keeper could be found on the censuses from 1841 to 1881 for Hawkwell Cottages.

Historic England have an image of the cottages on their webpage,

Pembury History

IMPORTANT !!!     This needs your help.  All contributions will be credited.  If you have any further information or corrections please contact me –
Tony Nicholls      email: