The village of Iden, which sits on a hill overlooking the Rother Levels, a small pretty village which once had a ‘castle’. This was a castellated house built by Edmund de Paseley in 1284 to the north of Iden Wood. Just the remains of a gateway and a moat now mark the spot but it was older than, and may have been the model for, Bodiam Castle. It was later occupied by Alexander Iden, Sheriff of Kent, who captured and killed Jack Cade in 1450. Cade had led the rebellion against Henry the V1th, and Alexander Iden was immortalised as a character in Shakespeare’s play “Henry V1 Part 11” where at one point he says:
“Alexander Iden, that’s my name;
A poor esquire of Kent that loves his king.”
‘Oxenbridge’ a lovely fifteenth century, timber-framed Hall House stands in grounds at the north end of Iden and is the oldest house in the village. The ancient Church of All Saints stands at the heart of the village. It was originally built by the Normans and although there are some traces from the twelfth century, most of the present Church dates from the fifteenth century where careful restoration has created a simple interior illuminated by shafts of daylight. The Church’s old tower houses six bells which are rung in reverse order to a traditional peal.
The village has a local community owned convenience store providing with everything from dry cleaning to lottery tickets, porridge to wrapping paper, and not forgetting the Post Office, bowls club, Norman church with castellated bell tower, village hall, cricket ground and public house.
There are many clubs and societies and a real community spirit in Iden and there are numerous footpaths and lanes leading across the surrounding countryside and down to the Royal Military Canal.
Two miles to the south is the Ancient Town and Cinque Port of Rye with famed period Citadel, cobbled ways, medieval fortifications, range of local independent shops, leisure centre with swimming pool, popular restaurants, weekly market, schools for all ages and railway station on the Brighton to Ashford branch line with connections to the Continent via Eurostar and a high speed rail service to London, St. Pancras in 37 minutes. The attractive Wealden town of Tenterden, with wide tree lined High Street, is 9 miles and offers Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets together with Homewood Secondary School and a more comprehensive range of shops. In Peasmarsh village (2 miles) there is a large independently run supermarket. The coast is nearby with the spectacular dunes and sandy beach at Camber 6 miles.