Changes to

Following the Parish Council’s decision in 2020 to end all support for this website, village directory and most guide pages are no longer published.
Accuracy can no longer be assured in the absence of practical and moral support from Goudhurst & Kilndown Parish Council. was created in 1999 at the suggestion of the late writer and Goudhurst resident Roger Coombes as an indpendently-edited community website, with support from Goudhurst Parish Council and a small amount of advertising.
In early 2020, news, guides, a village direcory and 110+ pages of Parish Council minutes & information were available.
A much-reduced amount of content is now published at, a site under the Parish Council’s editorial control.
It is hoped a limited news service can continue, as well as listings for charitable events and a dedicated page for The Royal British Legion.
The Parish Clerk can be contacted at

The Vine Inn re-opens

Located in the heart of Goudhurst, The Vine Inn has re-opened under new management.
High Street, Goudhurst (01580 212627)
It is not yet included in TripAdvisor’s guide to restaurants in the village.

Friends of St. Mary’s Christmas Fair: 26 November 2021

The Friends of St. Mary’s are organising a Christmas fund-raising event, to be held in Goudhurst village on Friday, 26 November 2021 from 4pm to 9pm, as part of the Goudhurst Village Christmas Fair
There will be carols from Goudhurst & Kilndown School, stalls by the pond, the Kilndown Choir, events for children (weather permitting) and excerpts from Dickens’ Christmas Carol performed by GADS (Goudhurst Amateur Dramatic Society) form 5:45pm.
Inside St Mary’s Church, Goudhurst there will be the highly-popular stalls organised by the Friends of St Mary’s.
With additional events at the Star and Eagle, the Parish Hall and The Club, the evening’s entertainment will result in road closures in the central area of Goudhurst.
Shops open late:
Billie Loves (West Road just past the pond) until 9pm
Burgess Stores (High Street) until 8pm
Goudhurst Antiques and Interiors (High Street)
Goudhurst Newsagents (High Street) until 8pm
Village Life (North Road past The Vine Inn) until 7pm.
Kilndown Choir
(The Plain at 6:30pm, Star and Eagle pub, 7:00pm)
Morris Dancing:
Weald Morris
(6:30pm at the Star and Eagle pub, 7:00pm at The Vine pub, 7:20pm at Goudhurst Club)

Last year, a virtual fair raised the sum of £1,500. (Staged online owing to Covid-19 restrictions)

High Weald Ride featured in The Times ‘Summer Cycling Guide’

In its recent Summer Cycling Guide, The Times Weekend featured cycle route 18, which passes through Goudhurst, covering 41 miles between Tunbridge Wells and Ashford.

The article mentions Sustrans, which has further details:

For those who want to tackle the full 41-mile run, which forms part of the well signposted National Route 18, there are dedicated cycle lanes, running alongside main roads at both Tunbridge Wells and Ashford.
Other than this, the main traffic-free section is through Bedgebury Forest.
This route is an excellent way to take in Kent’s quintessential Garden of England scenery, complete with hops, apple orchards, oast houses and picture-postcard villages….


Battlefield Pilgimage

L to R: Peter Albertini, Tim Nicholson and Brian FerdinandoL to R: Peter Albertini, Tim Nicholson, Brian Ferdinando

At the centenary of the Armistice approaching, 35 Goudhurst & Kilndown parishioners undertook a pilgrimage to the Great War battlefields around Ypres to commemorate the 68 men and one woman from the parish who died in the First World War. All their names were specifically mentioned at some point along the route.

The group paused at the cemetery where George Chestney, once a gardener at Brandfold, lies buried; at other cemeteries, brief services were conducted by the Rev. Hugh Nelson at the graves of William Roff and George Luck, farmworkers before the war. Members of both these soldiers’ families, visiting for the first time, placed poppy wreaths on the graves.

The group heard commentaries from Royal British Legion branch chairman Tim Nicholson and local historian Roger Joye at some notable locations, including the scene of the crucial action led by The Buffs against the first ever gas attack by the Germans (April 1915), and the advance of the British army towards Passchendaele (July – November 1917).

The group later moved on to the Menin Gate memorial, where the names of six men from Goudhurst and Kilndown are carved among those of 55,000 British and Empire soldiers who died in the area and who have no known grave. The standard of the Goudhurst & Kilndown branch of the Royal British Legion, (handled by Mick Harris) was on parade at the Last Post ceremony, and a wreath was formally laid.

Organised by Tim Nicholson, Peter Rolington and Roger Joye, the pilgrimage raised over £400 for RBL branch funds.

Lost, found and mis-spelling on The Somme

War Graves at The Somme

Luck, coincidence and diligent research combined to replace the headstone on the war grave of a Goudhurst man, George Baker, one hundred years after he died during the Battle of the Somme.

In 2007, the late Bob Brown, then chairman of Goudhurst’s Local History Society, discovered that George Baker’s headstone showed his name as Barer. At his instigation, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) re-engraved the name, but the result was far from satisfactory, with a K being imposed over the R.

On a visit to the Somme last September, local historian Roger Joye was surprised to find a wreath of poppies on the grave even though he and his wife, fellow historian Gill Joye, had found no direct descendants, despite extensive searching.
A few days later, the exact centenary of George Baker’s death was commemorated at the war memorial in Goudhurst. It was attended by George Jessel DL, High Sheriff of Kent. When told of the mystery and the state of the headstone, he offered to contact the CWGC to see what could be done to improve the engraving.

On that same centenary day, 28th September 2016, members of George Baker’s family made an unrelated visit to the grave at Méaulte, France. They planted a wooden cross bearing just their Christian names. In October, the CWGC wrote to George Jessel to say they had installed a brand new headstone and enclosed a photograph. By coincidence, the family’s cross was included, with legible names.

Gill set about tracing the names, constructing a family tree descending from George’s sister, Mary. Contact was then made with the family. It was then learned that the wreath Roger had seen had been laid by George Baker’s 14 year-old great-great-niece, Miriam Small, during a school visit in July 2016.

In March this year, to commemorate the renewal of George Baker’s headstone, Goudhurst & Kilndown Local History Society, the Goudhurst branch of the Royal British Legion and Great War Battlefields of Goudhurst arranged for a group of local people to attend a ceremony at the Cemetery at Méaulte.
Poppy wreaths were laid on George’s grave (pictured) and the Last Post was sounded.

Related Topics
British Legion Goudhurst

Goudhurst at the BBC

Goudhurst at the BBCSir Roy Strong, historian and former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, accompanied BBC Radio Four’s Justin Webb to record a radio interview in Goudhurst.
Sir Roy chose Goudhurst to represent the heart of the English countryside in his book published on national identity, titled Visions Of England. The BBC produced an audio slideshow of the interview, which is sadly no longer available. It was produced in a format no longer in use.

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