Marden, our Wealden village, lies in the heart of the Kent countryside about nine miles south of Maidstone, the county town of Kent. It has a population of approximately four thousand people. It is the second largest parish (in area) in Kent. is a thriving village with a strong community spirit, and a long history.
There has probably been a settlement here since the Bronze Age. However, not until the Romans left and the Jutes divided up the Wealden forest did Marden get its name: ‘Meredenne’, a place where herdsmen from the North Kent coast brought their pigs in the autumn for pannage (fattening up) on acorns and beech mast. By 1085 this clearing in the forest had a church (probably wooden) mentioned in the Domesday Monachorum. By the end of the 12th century the church was rebuilt in stone and in the 13th century the village was given to Queen Eleanor, with the right to hold a weekly market and annual fair.
Marden developed as a farming village, so for hundreds of years, timber, hops, corn and fruit were the mainstay of the village. Many of the buildings used for these activities survive and contribute to the character of the Marden we see today. In 1842, a station was opened on the new South Eastern Railway Company line from London to Dover. This led to new markets for Marden’s produce and the fruit and hop farms flourished. This period of prosperity is also associated with the annual influx of migrant hop and fruit pickers – so much part of the history of the village.
The Parish of Marden is largely on low lying Wealden clay. The arrow straight line of the railway, running west to east, bisects Marden with most of the housing to the south, and industry to the north. The rivers Beult and Lesser Teise form the Parish boundaries to the north and west. The water table is generally high, so water plays an important part in the landscape, with many ditches, ponds and streams.
Nowadays light industry has replaced much of the farming as a source of income, but Marden continues to thrive, proud of its past and optimistic about its future.
Many events going on in Marden are listed here
Events in the Maidstone area are here