Tonbridge History

Publications by Tonbridge Historical Society

'Medieval Tonbridge revealed'

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A richly illustrated history of the town, its castle, its people and its surroundings spanning the period between the arrival of Richard Fitzgilbert with the Conqueror in 1066 and the dissolving of Tonbridge priory in the 1520s. Based in part on unpublished documents from the time.

‘In these pages you will meet the warrior and land hungry Clare lords of the castle and the mighty but debt-ridden Staffords who followed them. Tonbridge’s story is not only about the lords, however. You will also meet the canons of the priory and ordinary people such as John Hook the miller, Clementia Partridge the land holder, Master John the cook, John Dygonson the innkeeper, Thomas Judd the beadle, Ralph the candlemaker, Peter the forester, Agnes who lived by the bridge, and the boy who made the castle household soup. You will find out what they ate and drank, how they worshipped, how they made a living and worked the land, the animals they kept and how they were touched by war, rebellion, famine and plague’.


Searching for medieval Tonbridge  Invasion The making of Tonbridge Fit for a king The great household of Hugh Audley  The castle falls silent The King’s Tonbridge The black death and other calamities Humphrey Stafford’s Tonbridge The end of the medieval age A Walk Around Medieval Tonbridge.

'Medieval Tonbridge revealed'
By Deborah Cole, with the Medieval Research Group of Tonbridge Historical Society
Published by Tonbridge Historical Society, 1 July 2021
173 pages, 180 colour illustrations, rrp. £8.00
ISBN 978-0-9523563-4-9
Available from The Tourist Office at Tonbridge Castle, and Teppa Books 142 High Street, Tonbridge (was Mr Books) or by post from

'Tonbridge through ten centuries'

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This richly-illustrated book – the only general history of the town currently available – explores how the compact castle-centred community that was Tonbridge soon after the Norman Conquest evolved into today's town of more than 30,000 people in the course of ten centuries.


Before 1066: A place to cross the river – 1066-1521: A castle and its town – 1521-1741: Market town and staging-post – 1741-1842: A port for the western Weald – 1842-1870: Railway and New Town – 1870-1914: A new identity –  1914-1945: Tonbridge in war and peace – 1945-2000: The town transformed.


'Tonbridge through ten centuries'
Edited by Anthony Wilson, with contributions from George Buswell, Deborah Cole, Pat Hopcroft, Pat Mortlock, Anthony Wilson and Margaret Wilson
Published by Tonbridge Historical Society, 2015
240pp, 300 illustrations, rrp. £10.00
ISBN 978-0-9523563-3-2  

Available from
The Tourist Office at Tonbridge Castle and Teppa Books 142 High Street, Tonbridge (was Mr Books)


Other publications

Since its foundation, Tonbridge Historical Society has produced six other books, resulting from members’ research into the history of the town. All are now out of print, but copies are available for reference in Tonbridge Library and the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone. Borrowing copies are also available from Tonbridge and some other local libraries. Secondhand copies are sometimes available from or dealers on Amazon and Abebooks.

Early Victorian Tonbridge

Edited by Christopher Chalklin, published by Kent County Council, 1975 (ISBN 900947683 9) 25pp plus 4pp maps

Contents: Introduction, The building of Tonbridge 1840-70, The livelihood of the people of Tonbridge, Learning and leisure in Tonbridge

Mid-Victorian Tonbridge

Edited by Christopher Chalklin, published by Kent County Library, [1983] (ISBN 0 90515 541 6), 99pp

Contents: Introduction, Local government: the Tonbridge Local Board 1870-94, ‘A way of life’ (a study of the census of 1871), Some societies in Tonbridge 1870-80, A time of Church Building, Medicine in Tonbridge in the 1870s, Britain’s Hottest Day - an eye-witness record

Late Victorian and Edwardian Tonbridge
Late Victorian and Edwardian Tonbridge

Edited by Christopher Chalklin, published by Kent County Library, 1988 (ISBN 0 9051559 0 4), 82pp

Contents: Introduction, Review of occupations in 1881, the Telegraph and the Telephone come to Tonbridge, Education in Tonbridge 1880-1919, The churches continue to build, Tonbridge High Street improvements, 1890-1910, Some aspects of leisure and society in Edwardian Tonbridge

Georgian Tonbridge

Edited by Christopher Chalklin, published by Tonbridge Historical Society, 1994 (ISBN 0 9523563 0 9), 200pp

Contents: Introduction, the landed and propertied classes of Georgian Tonbridge, Mabledon and its owners 1803-30, the work of the Town Wardens, Education in Georgian Tonbridge, Tonbridge School 1714-1840, Five properties on the outskirts of Tonbridge 1740-1840

Tonbridge in the Early Twentieth Century

Edited by Christopher Chalklin, published by Tonbridge Historical Society, 1999 (ISBN 0 9523563 1 7), 208pp

Contents: Introduction, the changing appearance of the town, Transport and Travel - river, roads and private cars, Transport and Travel - public transport, Tonbridge Families remembered 1918-39 - home and school, and work and leisure, Private Schools, Sport, Councillor Donald Clark and Mixed Bathing, Hospitals and health

Tonbridge's Industrial Heritage cover
Tonbridge’s Industrial Heritage

Edited by Anthony Wilson, published by Tonbridge Historical Society, 2005 (ISBN 0 9523563 2 5), 101pp, price £9.95.

Contents: Introduction, Foundations: topography and geology, Historical survey, Agriculture and allied trades, Water and wind power, Extractive industry, Metalworking and engineering, Manufacturing, Utilities and services, Communications and entertainment, Transport

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