Cades Road - what's in a name?

Photo:Cades Road around 1950

Cades Road around 1950

The long huts were the army's mess, and later the Council's community facilities

Photo:Foundations visible in car park in 2008 off Cades Road

Foundations visible in car park in 2008 off Cades Road

Now buried beneath new surfacing

By Denny Hemming and Chris Rogers

The story begins in the summer of 1450 when the men of Kent and Sussex, led by Jack Cade, marched on London as a protest against increased taxation levied by the King and corruption amongst local landowners.  The rebels engaged the Royalist forces near Sevenoaks, defeated them and stormed London, only just failing to take the Tower of London.  The Lord Treasurer and the Archbishop of Canterbury were beheaded by the rebels, but the Royalist forces regrouped and fought the rebels until both sides were exhausted.  A truce was called, Royalist leaders promised that Cade's demands would be met and that the rebels would be pardoned, so they all went back to their fields where the harvest was waiting.

Cade's demands were not ratified by Parliament and the King demanded Cade's arrest, offering a reward to anyone who captured him.  Cade fled to the Weald.  He was hunted down by Alexander Iden, who was a Hothfield Land-owner, supposedly at a hamlet now called Cade Street near Heathfield.  Cade was injured in the altercation and died on the way to London, his body was hung, drawn and quartered, and his head fixed on a pole on London Bridge. 

The village near Heathfield reputedly existed in Anglo-Saxon times and was known for generations as Catte Street.  Could there have been some mistake?  Was Cade in fact apprehended at Hothfield, hence Cade Road?

The Reverend Russell, while he was vicar of Hothfield, researched our history and also pondered this very issue.  His conclusion, having read many accounts, was that Cade had been captured in Heathfield by Alexander Iden.  The capture was in Heathfield, but the captor came from Hothfield.  What is clear from the Rev.Russell’s accounts is that Cade had many friends among the land-owners and Squires of this area.  Several influential landlords around Hothfield had joined Cade in his campaigns, and were later pardoned for their attempt to overthrow the Government.

Regardless of where Cade lived, he was a legend and it looks like his friends here remembered his action by naming a field after him.  The location of Jack Cade’s Field is described by Hasted as being adjacent to Hothfield Place, but it is now lost in history; and subsequently we have a lane named after him.  Iden, for his part in arresting Cade, was given a Knighthood and the job of Sheriff of Kent (it is not clear whether he was already Sheriff when he arrested Cade).

During the Second World War the extensive army camp was centred around Cades Road, with the communal mess huts and central facilities on its western side.  Nissen huts were found on both sides of Cades Road as well as along many other roads.

In October 2012 work was undertaken on the car park on Cades Road next to the Hothfield Heathlands Nature Reserve.  Previously some concrete foundations were visible in the car park and I believe that these were remnants of the army Nissen huts that were there.  Those huts, and the many others in and around Hothfield, marked a significant change in our village’s history when the war ended and the huts were used for housing.  See our pages on the Nissen Huts camp and its residents under our 'Topics' section. 

The new car park surface has now covered those foundations, but they’re still there underneath the stone.  I am very grateful to Ashford Borough Council’s Quantity Surveyor, Matthew Hooper, who explained that they did not want to excavate any of the foundations if at all possible.  Whilst I took a few photos of the foundations on the morning that the digger arrived I’m also very grateful to Matthew for letting the History Society have copies of all his photos.  His photos will provide a lasting record of the foundations which we may not see again for a long time.

This page was added by Chris Rogers on 02/06/2014.

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