The Dering family sold the Surrenden Estate in 1928 having lived there for over 600 years. The estate stretched from Charing to Smarden with nearly every house on the estate having the oval topped Dering windows.
Surrenden mansion and its surrounding buildings were self-sufficient in water, pumped from springs. It had its own sewage system (still working) and produced its own electricity. It had a slaughterhouse, home farm, tropical greenhouses and a dairy for making butter and cream.
The Park contained not only a herd of fallow deer but also around 300 magnificent trees. Some of these were sold after the Second World War for timber. Others were blown down in the 1987 storm. The orchards were planted in the late 1980s.
In the middle of the Park amongst some beech trees there is an Ice House. Ice was collected from ponds during the winter and stored well below ground level to keep meat and dairy products fresh. A cold job!
A gamekeeper’s cottage stood in the Park but this fell into disuse after suffering war damage.
There was a boys’ preparatory school at Surrenden from the 1930s until 1952 when a fire destroyed the old mansion, which was never rebuilt. In the same year Calehill mansion was sold and demolished.
The park boundary fence from Gate House up to Rooting Street Farm (once known as Park Corner Farm) and then down to Rooting Manor was made from split oak fence panels. The panels were made in the timber yard at Hothfield. There were no hedges, trees or wire fences along this fence line.
There were about seven farms in the Parish. Farm staff and estate workers used the footpaths through the village to go to and from work.