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Groombridge lies on the Tunbridge Wells to Forest Row road and
fits along the Kent and Sussex border. The name may have been
derived from Gromenbrigge the bridge over the river Grom.
Sir Richard Waller from Groombridge Place captured a French
nobleman reputed to be Charles of Orleans or his brother
Jean Duke of Angontime at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
It was said he was held at Groombridge the home of the Wallers for
20 years, during which time the ransom paid by the French court
provided enough money for Sir Richard to rebuild Groombridge Place
The ransom must have been quite substantial as Richard also rebuilt
his local church at Speldhurst from the same funds.
The Groombridge Gang of smugglers appeared to have been formed in
1733 and was led by Robert Moreton and John Bowra. Much of their
goods were landed at Lydd , Fairlight Bulverhythe and Pevensey and
secreted in the Ashdown Forest to avoid discovery before being
transported to London . They were quite dominant in the area, and worked with the Hawkhurst Gang
and the Hooe Company . One of their leaders John Bowra was arrested for smuggling tea in 1737,
then disappeared. Robert Moreton continued to lead the gang until 1749
when an informer Jerome Knapp shopped the gang to the authorities and
they were held at Rochester until their trial.
In 1737 a detachment of the army was sent to Groombridge to restore order,
this is probably when John Bowra was arrested, but this only caused the
smugglers a minor inconvenience. The old village to the north of the bridge was the main area
until 1864 when the railway was laid south of the village, and
many businesses and houses were set up near the station, now
the main part of the village.
Steam Trains run at the weekends from Groombridge to Tunbridge Wells
on the Eridge line .
| Groombridge has quite good local services with shops
and public houses.
Royal Tunbridge Wells about 4 miles to the east provides
a wide range of shops and supermarkets as you would expect
from a large town.
The nearest main line train service again runs from Tunbridge Wells
providing a regular service up to London and down to Hastings .