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Image of St. Mark's Church, Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Copyright 2008 Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
St. Mark's Church
Broadwater Down
(Click photo for larger view.)

Tunbridge Wells Parish

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Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Canterbury, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury and in the deanery of South Malling.  The church is named for St Charles the Martyr with original parish registers commencing 1745.

Tunbridge Wells, a town, six chapelries, and a sub-district, in Tunbridge district, Kent.  The town stands on the Tunbridge and Hastings railway, 5 miles south of Tunbridge;  consists chiefly of parts of Tunbridge and Speldhurst parishes;  includes also part of the Sussex parish of Frant;  originated in the discovery of medicinal springs, in the time of James I, by Dudley Lord North;  took the name of Tunbridge Wells from the circumstance that persons frequenting its springs could, for a time, find no lodgings nearer than Tunbridge;  was visited, in 1630, by Queen Henrietta Maria, attended by a large suite;  attracted, during the next 30 years, considerable numbers of illustrious visitors, who all were obliged either to camp on the downs or to lodge at Southborough;  began, at the close of the reign of Charles I, to acquire numerous buildings for the accommodation of visitors;  was, toward the end of the reign of Charles II, a resort of Queen Catherine of Braganza, and of other distinguished persons;  was visited also by Queen Anne;  rose to pre-eminent celebrity in connexion with visits by Cibber, Johnson, Garrick, Richardson, and other leaders of the literary world;  was visited in 1834 by the Princess Victoria and the Duchess of Kent, and in 1849 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert;  assured, after the commencement of the present century, the proportions of a town;  was materially improved in 1847, by the erection of a portico or piazza in front of its chief spring, and by the formation there of a broad and handsome parade;  contributes health to its visitors by at once the chalybeate quality of its waters, the purity of its climate, the picturesqueness of its environs, and a wide command of interesting walks;  is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling place;  publishes three weekly newspapers, carries on a manufacture of "Tunbridge ware";  includes fine ranges of private dwellings, several extensive parks, and numerous mansions and villas;  contains a house in which Lord North resided after his retirement, another in which Richard Cumberland lived more than 20 years, another in which Pope's Duke of Chandos died;  and has a head post office with a savings bank and money order office;a railway station with telegraph, three other banking offices, seven chief hotels, a town hall, a handsome and lofty assembly room, a neat corn exchange, a police station, a literary and scientific institution with two reading rooms and a good library, a mechanics' institute, six churches, six dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a cemetery, eleven public schools, an infirmary and dispensary, a weekly market on Friday and races in August.  Population in 1851, 10, 587;  in 1861, 13,807.  Houses, 2,493.

The chapelries are Chapel of Ease, Trinity, St. James, St. John, Christchurch and St. Mark.  The livings are perpetual curacies in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value of St. John, £130 with a habitable glebe house;  of the others not reported.  Patrons of Chapel of Ease and St. John, Trustees;  of Trinity, Mrs. Deacon;  of St. James, the Incumbent of Trinity;  of Christchurch, the Rev. T. W. Franklyn.

The Chapel of Ease is ancient.  Trinity church was built in 1827, at a cost of £12,000;  and is in the early English style.  St. James' also is modern;  St. John's was built in 1858;  Christchurch, in 1841;  St. Marks in 1866.

The sub-district contains Speldhurst, Ashurst and Bidborough parishes, and part of Tunbridge.  Population in 1851, 13,709;  in 1861, 17,656.  Houses 3,285.1

1 John Marius Wilson, comp.  The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).

Tunbridge Wells Bibliography

-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates.  [Note:  The following volumes can be found on  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]

  • General references to Tunbridge Wells: vol. , pp.
  • Currently in revision

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online

Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).

Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005).  URL: British History Online.

Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908).  URL: British History Online

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323.  URL: British History Online.

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302.  URL: British History Online.

Location of Records

The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive.  There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England.  This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues.  If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.

Census | Church of England | Non-Conformist | Parish chest | Workhouse and Poor Law | Land | Assizes and Sessions | School



Date The National Archives, Ruskin Avenue,
Kew, Richmond,
LDS Family History Centre
(Find a centre near you)
and indexed online at:
6 June 1841 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 census name index & images Currently under revision  
7 Apr 1861 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1871 Currently under revision  
3 Apr 1881 Currently under revision  
5 Apr 1891 Currently under revision  
31 Mar 1901 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911 Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911 RG 78/139 - Census Enumerator's Summary Books online only and other subscription sites none

Church Records, Church of England

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Register   Currently under revision  
Bishop's transcripts   Currently under revision  
CMB transcripts   Currently under revision  
Parish Registers, transcribed by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson   Currently under revision  

Church Records, Non-Conformist

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Particular Baptist Chapel, Nonconformist Return   Currently under revision  
Methodist Church Registers   Currently under revision  

Parish chest records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Council Minutes   Currently under revision  
Removal orders out   Currently under revision  
Settlement Examinations, Minute book   Currently under revision  
Overseers' Accounts   Currently under revision  
Return of Churchwardens, constables and defaulters     
Tithe Apportionment Files      
Poor Rate books   Currently under revision  

Workhouse and Poor Law Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Admission & Discharge books   This section currently under revision  
Guardians' Minutes      
Births   Currently under revision  
Deaths   Currently under revision  
Religious creed registers   Currently under revision  
Apprentice Register      
Registers of lunatics      
Letters books      
Vaccination registers 1899-1930 Currently under revision  

Land Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Land tax assessments 1780-1831 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1875-1876 Currently under revision  
Land tax assessments 1889-1890 Currently under revision  
Rates and Duties - Houses, Windows, Lights   Currently under revision  
Manorial Court rolls   Currently under revision  
War Damage Files 1939-1962 Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, Kent, no.: Finding Aid at CKS-DRb/RW 123 None

Assizes and Sessions Records
(poor laws, jail terms, oaths, and other municipal and public records)

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Hearth tax   Currently under revision  
Victuallers Recognizances   Currently under revision  
Churchwarden's Presentments   Currently under revision  
Parish rate books   Currently under revision  

School Records

Record Type Dates Archive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
    Currently under revision  


Coming Soon

Church Registers


Parish Chest

  • Settlement Certificates
  • Removal Orders
  • Bastardy Examinations
  • Parish-assisted Immigrants
  • Churchwarden's Accounts
  • Overseer's Accounts
  • Surveyor's Accounts
  • Workhouse Records
  • Pew Rents
  • Donors' Rolls
  • Vestry Minutes
  • Bishops' Visitations
  • Parish Magazines
  • Parish Histories


Total Population, includes that of Tonbridge

1801   -   4,371
1811   -   5,932
1821   -   7,406
1831   -   10,380
1841   -   12,530
1851   -   16,548
1861   -   21,004
1871   -   29,756
1881   -   35,919
1891   -   41,849
1901   -   49,302
1911   -   60,463
1921   -   61,463

Tunbridge Wells Distance to

London 30.1 mi.
Canterbury 36.5 mi.
Ashford 26.1 mi.
Chatham 19.6 mi.
Cranbrook 11.9 mi.
Dartford 21.4 mi.
Deptford 27.3 mi.
Dover 45.4 mi.
Faversham 30.0 mi.
Folkestone 39.2 mi.
Gravesend 22.2 mi.
Greenwich 26.4 mi.
Hythe 36.2 mi.
Maidstone 15.0 mi.
Margate 51.5 mi.
Milton Regis 25.2 mi.
Queenborough 29.0 mi.
Ramsgate 52.0 mi.
Rochester 20.0 mi.
Sandwich 48.0 mi.
Sheerness 30.3 mi.
Tenterden 19.0 mi.
Tonbridge 4.4 mi.
Woolwich 26.5 mi.


Municipal & Public Records

  • Mayors
  • Town Clerks
  • Recorders
  • Chamberlains
  • M.P.s
  • Jurats, Aldermen and Common Councilmen
  • Electoral Register
  • Freeholders
  • Freemen Index
  • Freeman's Roll
  • Masters Index
  • Pubs, Taverns, Inns, Alehouses
  • Victuallers

Wills & Estate Records

  • AD index 1448-1857
  • CC index 1448-1857
  • PPR 1858-1925
  • Depositions

Court Records

  • Gaol Returns
  • Quarter Sessions
  • Transportations
  • Summons for Pavement Repairs
  • Tithe Apportionment c1830s
  • Protestation Rolls c1641-1643
  • Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy 1662
  • Oaths of Allegiance c1720s

Military Records

Land Records
& Maps

  • Parish Map
  • Victoria County History
  • Deeds, Mortgages, etc.
  • Rated Property Returns
  • Returns of owners of land, 1873
  • Manor Court Baron
  • Manor Tenancy Rolls
  • Manors, Castles & Holdings of Significance

Tax Lists

  • Poll Tax
  • Hearth Tax
  • Window Tax
  • Hair Powder Tax
  • Land Tax Assessments 1780-1831
  • Land Tax Assessments 1799-1805

Other Records

  • Apprenticeships
  • Immigration
  • School Records
  • Notable Events
  • Nefarious Activities

Village Resources