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Ashurst

The village of Ashurst together with Langton Green, Old Groombridge and Speldhurst ashurst estate agents letting agency image.is part of the parish of Speldhurst and is five miles west of Tunbridge Wells on the border between Kent and East Sussex; the River Medway forms the border between the two counties and flows through the village.

Ashurst originally got its its name from hyrst, meaning wooded hill, with ash trees – or the ash wood and was first recorded in the 12th century.

The area is popular with commuters and with those who simply wish to enjoy living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The scenery is spectacular and much of the area is designated Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The local church in Ashurst is St Martin of Tours, originally built in 927AD as a house to be used by monks. It became a church in 1230 at which time it was partially rebuilt. Unfortunately, a fire ten years later meant it had to be rebuilt once more.

The font is of the late Norman period. Across the north east corner of the Chancel is an arched recess which is said to have once contained an altar to St Anne who was the patron saint of miners. This reflects the connection of the area to ironstone mining which was once a major local industry.

In the 14th century a local carpenter created a carving for the church that the priest at that time proclaimed to be miraculous. This attracted thousands of pilgrims each year which helped the local economy. It is said that on his death in 1524 the Rector of the church at that time, Sir Martin Christopher, left his rings and broaches to the carving.

The church was rebuilt once more starting in 1860 under the direction of the Rector at that time, the Rev H Polhill. His renovations lasted for a period of 22-years and included rebuilding one corner of the Chancel, removing a gallery, replacing the old pews, adding the vestry on the north side and lowering the floor by two feet. When the floor was lowered the old stone altar was found in the Chancel and was returned to its original place, where it is still in use today.

The wooden belfry on the tower at the west end is unusual in this part of the country. It houses a peal of three bells, one of which dates from 1612.

The building that was formerly the Ashurst Post Office is a listed Grade II building that was originally built in the 17th Century. It is now a private house. Another Grade II structure in the village is the cast iron footbridge over the railway line at Ashurst Station which was opened in 1888.

Unlike the Post Office, Ashurst Station is still open. Train services from the station are provided by Southern, and the station is on the Uckfield branch of the Oxted Line. Buses between Tunbridge Wells and East Grinstead run along the main road past the station. Journey times to East Croyden are about 35 minutes and to London Bridge about 55 minutes. Gatwick Airport is about 20 miles away.

The schools, both within the Parish and in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, are some of the finest in the county.

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