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Best Villages in the South of England


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Ightham - Murder and Mystery Behind Pretty Kentish Facades

Behind the indescribably pretty face of Ightham, a village in Sevenoaks, Kent, lie much darker stories of evil deeds and murder most foul.

© Ferne Arfin

Such a pretty little town and so many dark deeds!

A traitor involved in the plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne (and manoeuvre Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I out of the succession) was imprisoned here before being beheaded. Conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, including Guy Fawkes himself, may have met in secret here. Two 20th century murders, one unsolved, took place in the village and an 18th century murderer was hanged near the Iron Age fort above the village.

And all this took place in half timbered medieval houses so pretty they should be decorating a box of sweeties. Miss Marple would have been in heaven with so many mysteries to solve.

Besides being incredibly photogenic - and only about an hour from Central London - Ightham (pronounced like "item") has an excellent pub for lunch, the George and the Dragon, and it's just a few miles up the road from Ightham Mote, a fortified moated medieval manor house restored by the National Trust.

Find out more about visiting Ightham, the village with a heart of darkness

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