During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) it is said that up to 3,000 French prisoners were kept at nearby Sissinghurst Castle. The French seamen were placed on parole in the surrounding area and were allowed out as far as the pub building. At the time locals referred to this as the 'Three Wents' (or three ways) but the prisoners called it Les Trois Chemins. The unique name of the Three Chimneys therefore derives from the French term for the junction of three roads.
The building itself is much older than the actual name of the pub. It dates from circa 1420 and is a half-timbered construction that remained like this for over 500 years. During this period it was a simple country alehouse virtually untouched by time. The Three Chimneys has almost doubled in size since then but it has never lost its essential character as a fine country pub. The recent extension has been designed within this traditional theme in mind and means that you can enjoy our fabulous food & drink whilst overlooking our extensive gardens.
The Three Chimneys is situated within the Weald of Kent, which is usually taken as the land that lies between the North & South Downs. The name 'Weald' derives from the word 'Wald', a Saxon term for a forest because a vast wood originally covered the whole area. As humans gradually settled in the area, large sections of the forest were cleared for farming and local industries. Two of the major industries to develop were the manufacture of broadcloth (centred on Cranbrook), and the establishment of the iron industry soon followed this. The Romans originally noticed the abundant deposits of iron ore within the sandstone of the Weald. You will see that many of the local streams have a deep rust colour due to the iron deposits. There are traces of the once thriving iron industry in places such as the Hammer Pond and Hammer Stream that runs close by to the Three Chimneys. The surrounding countryside today includes small mixed farms, peaceful villages, busy market towns and quiet lanes just waiting to be explored.
Many of the surrounding villages and towns have their names derived from the original human use of the Weald. In order for the Saxons to constrain their animal herds, they built small stockades or 'dens', which meant an enclosed space. As a result, the Weald contains many places that end with the word 'den', such as Biddenden, Frittenden and Tenterden. As these small settlements began to develop, larger areas of the forest had to be cleared and these became known as a 'ley' or 'hurst'. Hence why we have places such as Sissinghurst, Goudhurst and Staplehurst.
The Three Chimneys just about lies within the parish boundary of Biddenden. The village is perhaps most well known for the legendary Siamese twins, Elisa & Mary Chalkhurst. They are said to have been born in 1100 and died, within 6 hours of each other, in 1134. Their most famous legacy is that of the Chalkhurst Trust or Biddenden Dole, which continues to this day on every Easter Monday where food is distributed to the elderly people of the village.
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