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The village was involved in the Broadcloth industry , which was introduced into Kent by Edward III in 1331 . He made illegal the export of unwashed wool from England and encouraged weavers from Flanders to settle in the area. In 1531 William Lambe became master of the Clothworkers Company in London, and became an advisor to Henry VII , the church received his patronage, and a chapel dedicated to him was created.


Whether you are looking for relaxation and the chance to unwind or for something more active including great hand's on fun for the younger family members then Kent is the place for you. With many award winning attractions featured together with the best known places to visit and many smaller less well known attractions.
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
Sutton Valence Shopping
There are hundreds of independent retailers situated in the Kent, offering an array of worldwide brands to locally sourced products. Each and every one of them offer a customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
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Sutton Valence
Originally known as Sutton , then Town Sutton , in 1265 the land and the small castle was seized from Simon de Montfort after his defeat at Evesham and given to William de Valence (The ruins of the castle are now looked after by English Heritage). Because of William's patronage the name was changed to Sutton Valence possibly via Sutton de Valence.
Sutton Valence Market
Our farmers' market is run by THE QUEENS HEAD ODDFELLOWS FUND, a charity set up for the benefit of the residents of the three SUTTONS.
The farmers' market is held in the Village Hall on the third Saturday of the month.
The Farmers' market offers and excellent mix of locally produced produce including fine wines, cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruit, bread, cakes, preserves etc. plus local cottage industry crafts such as needlework and engravings
Make a day out and take in the sights of Leeds Castle, under 5 miles away, the beautiful Weald of Kent with all its picturesque sleepy viollages or even venture into the county town of Maidstone with its excellent mix of shops, bars and cafes.
Dining in Sutton Valence
Whether you want to relax over a cappuccino, enjoy a light lunch, have a fun family meal or indulge in a taste sensation, Kent caters for every occasion.
customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Sutton Directory
Sutton Valence
Sutton Valence Kent
Sutton Valence hosts the ruins of Sutton Valence Castle, the home of William de Valence half-brother to Henry III who granted William the area of Sutton. The small village has beautiful views over the Kent Downs countryside.

This village, built on different levels on the side of a steep hill, has a population of more than 1,300. A memorial to John Wilkes, who introduced round-arm bowling to cricket, stands in the churchyard. To the east are the remains of a Norman keep with ragstone walls eight feet thick. Sutton Valence School, a public school founded in 1578 by London clothworker William Lambe, covers the northern part of the village. St Mary's Church dates from the 14th century and had an exquisitely carved stone alter from the same century removed for display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The main one of the Three Suttons - the other two being East Sutton and Chart Sutton, which are close neighbours and which, in fact, combine for certain purposes - Sutton Valence was earlier known as Town Sutton.

The three are, however, separate parishes, although but for the fortunes of war East Sutton and Sutton Valence might well have evolved as one after they were united under the ownership of Reginald Lord Grey in the 14th century. Unhappily for his lordship, he also owned land in the Welsh border country where he was kept pretty constantly occupied in beating off the raids of Welsh war lord Owen Glendower, who later declared himself Prince of Wales.

In was in one of these clashes that Reginald was taken prisoner and he had to sell some of his Sutton lands to raise the ransome to secure his release. That sale led to part of the Kent estate becoming the property of the St Ledger family.

A very large part of Sutton Valence today is occupied by the public school which spreads over a hundred acres of hillside overlooking The Weald. The school was founded more than four hundred years ago by William Lambe, who was baptised in St Mary's church in about 1495 and grew up to become a Freeman of the City of London Company of Clothworkers in 1568 and its Worshipful Master in 1569.

It was he who built the almshouses at Sutton Valence and in 1576 he founded Sutton Valence Free Grammar School for about twenty boys, making the Clothworkers Company its trustee. Today the school educates about three hundred and sixty boys, and since 1983, a smaller number of girls as well. William Lambe is commemorated in London by Lamb's Conduit Street, which is where he brought fresh water to the people of Holborn in 1577 by means of the conduit he had built.

The school playing field is known as Bloody Mountain, which has nothing to do with how some of the less enthusiastically sporting of the boys feel about it, but bears out a tradition that a Saxon battle was fought there about a thousand tears ago.

A more recent tradition is perpetuated every Midsummer Day in a ceremony in which the chairman of the parish council hands one red rose to the Headmaster of the school in payment of the rent due for the use by the parish of the village green which is actually part of the school grounds.

Sutton Valence castle stands on the southern slopes of the hill - a small building by the standards of some castle ruins, with an internal floor space of only about twenty feet square. But in its days of now departed glory, whatever its defensive qualities, it must have been the envy of many a larger castle's owner for the superb view over the great sweep of The Weald.

What remains is no more than part of the keep, perhaps thirty feet high, on private land. This would have been the castle to which William de Valence gave his name when Sutton was granted to him by Henry III, his half-brother, and from which the village, too, got its name.

In the churchyard there is a memorial to John Willes (1777-1852), who was born in Headcorn and died in Gloucester. He is remembered as the man who introduced round-arm bowling into cricket. It is said that he copied the style from his wife who, when they played cricket together, found she could not bowl conventional under-arm because her hooped skirts got in the way.

It did not make him popular. In a match between thirteen Men of England and twenty-three Men of Kent on Penenden Heath outside Maidstone in 1807, he earned catcalls from the spectators who became so incensed against him that they invaded the pitch and uprooted the stumps rather than let him carry on with his unconventional style of bowling. Violence at sporting encounters is not as new as all that!

In 1820 the Marylebone Cricket Club ruled that the ball must be bowled under-arm and when Willes bowled an over-arm delivery in a game at Lords in 1822 and was given 'No Ball', he stormed off the pitch vowing he would never play another game.

The Sutton Valence memorial describes him as 'a patron to all manly sports and the first to introduce round arm bowling to cricket.' He lived at Bellingham House in Sutton Valence and was cricket coach to the famous Alfred Mynn, so-called Lion of Kent.

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If you have wandered through the Kent Downs whether on foot, by horse, bicycle or car will have, at one time or another, pondered over the meaning of place names of towns , villages or hamlets that we normally take for granted in our everyday lives. Places such as Pett Bottom, Bigbury and Bobbing conjure up all manner of intriguing images as to the activities of former inhabitants, while others such as Whatsole Street, Smersole or Hartlip appear completely baffling.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
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Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance some parts of Kent, particularly in the north west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney.

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
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Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales 1894 -1895


Sutton Valence, a parish, with a village, in Kent, 4 miles from Headcorn station on the S.E.R. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Staplehurst. Acreage, 2171; population of the civil parish, 940; of the ecclesiastical, 1276. There is a parish council consisting of seven members. Sutton Castle, now reduced to scanty remains, dates from the time of Edward I., and probably was built by the Valences, Earls of Pembroke. The living is a vicarage, united with East Sutton, in the diocese of Canterbury; net value, £160 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Rochester. The church is modern, and has been restored. There are a Congregational chapel, a grammar school, a national school, almshouses, and other charities. The grammar school belongs to the Cloth-workers' Company, was rebuilt on an extended scale in 1866, enlarged again in 1876-77, and has exhibitions at St John's College, Cambridge.
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