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All Saints' church, Staplehurst - - 188892.jpg
All Saints' Church
Kent UK location map.svg
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Location within Kent
Population6,003 (2001) [1]
5,947 (2011 Census) [2]
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Tonbridge
Postcode district TN12
Dialling code 01580
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°09′50″N0°33′11″E / 51.164°N 0.553°E / 51.164; 0.553 Coordinates: 51°09′50″N0°33′11″E / 51.164°N 0.553°E / 51.164; 0.553

Staplehurst /ˈstpəlhɜːrst/ is a town and civil parish in the borough of Maidstone in Kent, England, 9 miles (14 km) south of the town of Maidstone and with a population of 6,003. The town lies on the route of a Roman road, which is now incorporated into the course of the A229. The name Staplehurst comes from the Old English 'stapol' meaning a 'post, pillar' and 'hyrst', as a 'wooded hill'; therefore, 'wooded-hill at a post', [3] a possible reference to a boundary marker at the position of All Saints' church atop the hill along the road from Maidstone to Cranbrook. The parish includes the hamlet of Hawkenbury.



The first written mention of Staplehurst was in 1242 in a Tax list, [4] whilst All Saints' Church is believed to date back to the 12th century. The town was initially a series of hamlets and farmsteads set around local manors including Loddenden Manor, which still stands as a private residence in the heart of the town and dates back to the 16th century. [5] With time these hamlets became joined up to form the town.

In the early 19th century, Staplehurst was often visited by invalids seeking recuperation, especially those from Romney Marsh and East Kent, apparently attracted by the purity of the air. [6]

The Staplehurst rail crash, in 1865, [7] is a significant event in the history of the town. Charles Dickens, who was on board, was uninjured, but affected by the incident for the rest of his life. [8] [9]

In 2003, Staplehurst won the Kent Village of the Year Competition. [10]

Elderden Farm near Staplehurst was also the centre of police investigations following the Securitas depot robbery in 2006. [11] [12]


Staplehurst is governed by Staplehurst Parish Council, Maidstone Borough Council, and Kent County Council, the Chairman of which is Councillor Tom Burnham.

Culture and community


The 12th-century Anglican parish church, All Saints', is located at the highest point in the town. It belongs to the Diocese of Canterbury. It is a Grade I listed building. The town also has a United Reformed Church, a Free church and a Strict Baptist chapel.

The United Reformed Church was formerly a Congregational church before the merger with the Presbyterians in 1972. [13] The first pastor was Daniel Poyntell, who had been the Rector of Staplehurst Parish Church until he was ejected from the Church of England in 1662 for nonconformity. During his pastorship, and for many years afterwards, it was a Presbyterian church. The foundation of the present building was laid in 1825. [14]

The Strict Baptist chapel has been used a place of worship for Baptists since 1751, apparently having previously been used as a barn. The original congregation were General Baptists and were a continuation of the old Spilshill church that was formed around 1640. In 1838 the building was sold to the Particular Baptists.

The Free Church began in 1969 when a group began meeting for worship in homes throughout the town. The first church building was purchased in 1975 and the old Village Hall was purchased in 1989. The church was demolished in 2006 to make way for a new building which was completed in December 2012. [15]


Staplehurst School, the village primary school, is located on Gybbon Rise, near the town centre shops. Around 440 pupils are taught in 18 classrooms. [16] The school was originally housed in the stone buildings off the A229 and moved to the new site when the population of the village grew in the 1980s. The old school then became the village community centre. The village also has a small library.


Staplehurst railway station is on the South Eastern Main Line from Ashford International railway station to London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street, via Tonbridge. It is also the main station for commuters from Cranbrook, Hawkhurst, Sissinghurst and other nearby villages. Before the completion of High Speed 1, the line was also used by Eurostar trains.

Sport and Recreation

Staplehurst Monarchs Football Club, founded in 1893, compete in the Southern Counties East Football League, whilst the club also has junior and women's teams. The club plays at Jubilee Field in the village.

The village is also home to the thriving Staplehurst Cricket and Tennis club which has 450 members.


Whilst Staplehurst has transport links to London, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, it is also home to a number of local businesses located in the industrial park near the station as well as the headquarters of electrical engineering firm Magnetic Shields [17] in the north of the town.

Towards the south of the town the parade and historic 'Town Heart' is home to a number of eateries and independent shops including a butcher, wine retailer, optician, hairdressers, local gift shop, and a public house dating back to the 18th century, the King's Head.

In recent years local vineyard Hush Heath Estate has gained renown for award-winning pink sparkling wine. [18]

Notable people

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  2. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  3. "History of Staplehurst - Kent Past". Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. Thompson, Anita. "A brief history of Staplehurst" (PDF). Staplehurst Society. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  5. Stuff, Good. "Loddenden Manor, Tonbridge, Kent". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  6. Dearn, T. D. W. (1814). An Historical, Topographical and Descriptive Account of the Weald of Kent. Cranbrook: S. Reader. p.  225.
  7. Accident at Staplehurst on 9 June 1865, Railways Archive
  8. PDF, Post Traumatic Culture, Injury and Interpretations in the Nineties, Kirby Farrell, JHU Press, 1998. P.8 [ permanent dead link ]
  9. Eyewitness: Charles Dickens survives a train crash 1865, My Time Machine Archived 4 September 2012 at
  10. Staplehurst, Information Britain
  11. Police scour Kent farm for clues to £53m robbery as gang's lorry traced, Rosie Cowen, The Guardian, 01-03-06
  12. Securitas robbery: The investigation, BBC Website, 28-01-08
  14. Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society Vol. 5. Congregational Historical Society. 1911. pp. 178–180.
  15. "History" . Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  16. "Staplehurst School". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  17. "New factory for Magnetic Shields". Kent Online. 24 September 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  18. English Wine Producers. Retrieved 26 July 2017.