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Horsmonden

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Horsmonden is a village in Kent, on the Weald. It is situated on a road leading from Maidstone to Lamberhurst, three miles north of the latter place. The nearest railway station is Paddock Wood.EtymologyThe word 'Horsmonden' is derived from the Anglo Saxon hors bunda denne (the Horse farmer valley). The first record of the village was Horsbundenne, from around the turn of the twelfth century.HistoryThe village was an important centre of the medieval iron industry and the nearby Furnace Pond is one of the largest and finest of the artificial lakes made to provide water power for the works. King Charles I visited the foundry in 1638 to watch a canon being cast - a bronze four-pounder, forty-two inches long, now preserved in London's White Tower.The village was home to Jane Austen's grandfather and several other of her relatives, many of whom lived at Capel Manor House. Many of the family's graves can be seen in the churchyard of St. Margaret's Church.There is a gypsy horse fair held on the village green each year. In 2000, the local parish council with assistance of the then-Home Secretary Jack Straw, ruled that due to ongoing safety concerns, the fair would not go ahead and a 5 mile exclusion zone was put in place. However due to protests and legal action from the wider gypsy community, this decision was overturned and the fairs resumed following a compromise between the travellers and the local authorities in 2001.
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