Thursday 11 June 2009

Tenterden High Street

Postmarked Ashford, dated 3 July 1981.

The High Street in Tenterden is - self evidently - a picture postcard street.  There are historic buildings, timber framed shop fronts and planty of trees. The High Street Greens were used for sheep and cattle fairs for centuries, and for entertainment and major celebrations.  Tenterden, or Tenet-waraden, means the clearing belonging to the men of Thanet.

The town first became well-to-do in the 13th century because of the wool trade.  It had the great advantage of being near the sea, though this may come as a surprise to anyone who knows the town nowadays.  Romney Marsh nearby, a flat sparsely populated area, was largely under water in those days.  In fact Tenterden helped Rye, one of the Cinque Ports,  fulfil its quota of ships and men for the Crown and so became incorporated into the Confederation of Cinque Ports 560 years ago.  It wasn't until the 15th and 16th centuries that the harbours began to silt up and Tenterden had to turn to other things.

In The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, pp 200-219, published 1798, it says:
THE PARISH of Tenterden lies too near the marshes to be either healthy or pleasant
Things have changed somewhat.

For another view of Tenterden, have a look at another card from about the same date.

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  1. Wonderful Blog Sheila, you have rekindled my interest in postcards. I collected them when I was in my teens and I am sure they are somewhere in the attic so I will start rooting.
    Re your recent posts - I visited Krakow last year and saw Wawel hill. It's a wonderful city (I blogged some photo's around May 08).
    And I bought my first house in ASHFORD Street.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this in A Festival of Postcards- Main Street. That makes two from Europe now!

  3. The comment about the marshes is funny, Sheila, because my Acadian ancestors loved living near marshes and when they were deported that's the type of land they were looking for.
    Evelyn in Montreal


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