Sevenoaks - Eynsford

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Picture postcard Eynsford, the old Saxon village of Aegen's Ford, first mentioned in writing in 864, as Egenes homme. The derivation is unclear, but one possibility is that it represents 'gen's river-meadow', from the Old English hamm 'river-meadow, enclosure'.

Eynsford has been designated a Conservation Area of special architectural and historical interest in a new list of 12 protected villages. Some residents have raised an eyebrow at the news. Not that they have any doubts about the beauty and history. They just thought it had been designated years ago!

Visitors to Eynsford, hugging their fishing nets and buying their ice-creams don't often go off the main street. But if they visit the Castle with its fine curtain-wall, they will pass into the quiet close where stands New Place, a house rebuilt with Tudor wood beaming in the early 20th century. And they will see not only the new, but the old wooden village hall, with its five doors where villagers had to enter for different purposes, even to have free baths.

Eynsford has a portrait gallery of characters in its history, including, of course, the great Hart Dyke family. Graham Sutherland, the artist, once lived at Willow Cottage and Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock) the composer, lived in the house next to Munns, the grocers - an establishment he immortalised in gravestone verse. Warlock, a flamboyant character who walked in "Jesus" costume of long robe and sandals, scandalised the village by driving through it naked on a motor cycle. He filled his cottage with cats and mistresses. The cottage now bears a blue plaque put there by Dartford Rural Arts Council. It seems lucky that his day came later than Mr Elliot Downs Till.

By the time the Doomsday Survey was made in 1086, Eynsford was already a thriving manor, with two churches and two mills, held by Ralph, son of Unspac, as part of the manor of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Within the village are three impressive sites: Eynsford Castle, Lullingstone Castle and the Roman villa

Today the village has many new buildings and we see ancient and modern side by side.

Interesting fact:In the movie Love Actually, the vicar at Eynsford church at the time played the vicar that married Juliet and Peter