KentGOUDHURSTStMary(jules&jennyCC-BY-2.0)1 Jules&Jenny

St Mary

Sitting at the top of Goudhurst looking out over the surrounding countryside, St Mary's church is a landmark that can be seen from miles around.

Goudhurst, Kent

Opening times

Open 9am to 5pm everyday.
We have an amazing view from the tower, which is open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between Easter and September.


Church Road
TN17 1AL

The first record of the church comes from 1119, and the building has grown and been adapted over the years since then.

Broad for its height, and in a style that seems part Gothic, part classical, and part almost Georgian, St Mary’s is a handsome building in an outstanding location at the top of the Goudhurst hill. The tower is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between Easter and September and offers glorious views over the High Weald.

Inside the church, take time to look at the monuments to several generations of the Culpeper family of nearby Bedgebury, a fine and fascinating assortment that includes a 15th century brass, 16th century painted wooden effigies of Sir Alexander Culpeper and his wife, and a Jacobean wall memorial in marble and alabaster. There are also some later monuments to the Campion family.

There was reputedly a smugglers' tunnel from Goudhurst church to the adjacent Star & Eagle inn, and a violent episode in the church's history was the Battle of Goudhurst, on 20 April 1747. On one side were members of the brutal Hawkhurst Gang: smugglers notorious throughout the southeast of England for their ruthlessness. On the other was Goudhurst's band of militia, set up to control the increasing problem: smuggling became rife in the Weald after the demise of the iron industry left hundreds of men unemployed. Three of the smugglers were killed in the confrontation at Goudhurst church, and the following year many of the rest of the gang were arrested, tried and hanged.

  • Social heritage stories

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Mary

Lamberhurst, Kent

There is evidence of a church on this site in Saxon times, consecrated on the 29th September 998, of which nothing now remains.

St Dunstan

Cranbrook, Kent

The old market town of Cranbrook shares with Tenterden the claim to be the capital of the Kentish Weald.