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MARKET TOWNS OF KENT (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Sevenoaks in 1836

Sevenoaks, in the hundred of Codsheath and the lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, is on the Hastings road, 24 miles London. This town, called in an ancient document Seovanacca, received its name from seven oak trees which once occupied the eminence on which the town stands. The parish comprehends an area of 6,790 acres (of which 1,910 are in the liberty of Riverhead, and 3,210 in the Weald liberty), with a population of 4,709 ; about one-third agricultural. The town is situated on the northern brow of the chalk marl and greensand range of high lands, in the midst of a fertile and well cultivated district. It is well built, and contains a number of good houses.

The church is spacious and elegant, and, from its situation on an a eminence, forms a conspicuous object ; it is chiefly in the perpendicular style. There are several dissenting meeting houses. At the south end of the town is the grammar school, which has a good endowment there is also a large range of almshouses ; both these institutions owe their origin to Sir William de Sevenoke, a foundling brought up by some charitable persons in this town, from which he took his name. There are two other well endowed schools, founded by Lady Margaret Boswell, with a handsome school-house lately rebuilt.

The market-house is an old building in which the county assizes were held frequently during the reign of Elizabeth and occasionally since. The market is on Saturday, chiefly for corn ; there is a monthly cattle market ; and also two yearly fairs. There are some silk mills in the neighbourhood. The living is a vicarage and sinecure rectory, in the peculiar jurisdiction of the archbishop of Canterbury, of the clear yearly value of £935, with a glebe-house.

Near Sevenoaks is Knowle Park, the seat of the Earl of Plymouth.

There were in 1833, in Sir William de Sevenoke's grammar-school 31 boys (11on the foundation) ; in Lady Boswell's schools 215 children of both sexes ; and in thirteen other day or boarding and day-schools, 408 children. There were four Sunday-schools, with 397 children, three of them with lending libraries attached.