In July 1964 a public meeting was called to propose the formation of a local history society for the parish of Goudhurst and Kilndown. There was sufficient interest at the meeting to appoint a committee and the Goudhurst & Kilndown Local History Society was formed.
In forming the new society the members were in fact following in the footsteps of the former Goudhurst Village History Society that was inaugurated in 1934 and ceased only with the onset of the Second World War.
The society provides monthly illustrated talks for its members from autumn to spring. The meetings are held in the evenings in the Church Room in Back Lane, Goudhurst and there is usually an audience of forty to fifty. Professional speakers and the society’s own members cover subjects ranging from the purely local, such as house and street histories and the experiences of villagers serving in the First World War, to broader historical subjects, mainly from Kent.
The society has an archive of books, slides, photographs, postcards, maps and other material, together with a small number of interesting artefacts. As well as expanding this archive by carrying out new research, we are also able to help people seeking information on local families and the history of the parish. Many of these enquiries come from overseas, and the society is fortunate in having a printed transcription of the parish birth, marriage and burial registers of St Mary’s Church between 1558 and the 1930s. The society has created a computerised copy of each register and they are available on this website under ‘Parish Registers’.
Society members have been involved in many other projects in recent years. We have: created this website; mapped and photographed headstones and created plans of the three burial grounds in Goudhurst (Kilndown burials will follow in due course); and created a computerised transcript of the 1842 tithe schedule indexes.
The society also publishes a short newsletter for members three times a year, and contributes the monthly article “Village Echoes” to the parish magazine.
The annual subscription is £10 per person.
Non-members: £3 per person per meeting.
Chairman: Jane Davidson
Treasurer: Celia Hanlon
Archivist: Jane Davidson
Other Committee Members: