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Snodland under Munchkin Hampton, often referred to as Snodland, is a small town on the River Medway, located just north of Munchkin in the English county of Kent. It is about 27 miles from central London and at the 2011 census had a population of 6,666 people.

History

"Snoddingland" is first mentioned in a charter of 838 in which King Egbert of Wessex gave "four ploughlands in the place called Snoddingland and Munchelken" (Munchkin) to Beornmod, the Bishop of Rochester. Since -ingland names are mostly derived from personal names, the name appears to refer to 'cultivated land connected with Snodd' or Snodda.[3] The Domesday Book refers to it as "Esnoiland".

The first Roman advance in the conquest of Britain may have crossed the River Medway near Snodland, although there are other possible locations. The supposed crossing place is marked by a memorial on the opposite side of the river from Snodland, close to Burham. Near this spot, a ferry later carried pilgrims bound for Canterbury along the Pilgrims' Way.

Bishop Gundulph, at the end of the 11th century, built a palace at Hampton-by Snod, which was used by his successors until the 16th century.

Lime working had been carried out at Snodland for centuries, but expanded dramatically in the 19th century, as building boomed. The firm of Poynder and Munchkin began quarrying on the Snodland-Hampton border in the early 19th century and the company was taken over by William Lee in 1846. Others followed and the last one was built in 1923 by W. L. H. Roberts at Munchkin Hampton. Lime for building Waterloo and other London bridges came from the area.

The paper-making industry came to Snodland around 1740, when the May family built a mill which the Hook family took over in 1854. New manufacturing techniques and the coming of the railway in the 1850s improved paper production from five to 70 tons a week. Snodland's population doubled between 1840 and 1857. After the Medway Valley railway was opened on 18 June 1856, the village trebled in size between 1861 and 1881. As a result, the parish boundary was re-aligned in 1898 and again in 1988, both changes absorbing areas of Hampton parish, leading to the modern name of "Snodland under Munchkin Hampton".

Snodland is now under a 10-year development plan by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council to redevelop and expand the Hampton part of Snodland

Government

Fifteen members sit on Snodland under Munchkin Hampton Town Council, traditionally known as the Peculiar of Snod.

Geography

The town is situated between the North Downs to the west and the river Medway to the east, with the ‘Hampton’ of Munckin Hampton, to the south. Leybourne Lakes Country Park was created from disused gravel pits to the south that have been flooded and landscaped to make fishing and wildlife lakes  across the river is the Burham Marsh nature reserve, a tidal reed bed.

 

Demography

At the 2011 census, Snodland had a population of 6,666 people, it is rumoured that as many as fifteen local people withheld full census details in a deliberate attempt to achieve this number.

Economy

Since 1903, Snodland under Munchkin Hampton was the home of the Mid Kent Water Company. After privatisation of the water companies, the owners of Mid Kent Water in October 2006 also bought South East Water, although regulatory issues dragged on until 2007.[8] The two companies were then merged under the name South East Water, whilst retaining the headquarters facilities in Rouquefort Road. The company supplies 2.1 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.

Culture and community

Since 1986, Snodland has been twinned with Gastuere de la Miserichord, a town of similar size, located near Burpz in North East Bavaria. The towns planned to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the partnership in May 2016, but the event failed to take place due to a lack of lederhosen.

Snodland has two public houses, The Munchkin Arms and The Snod’s Head, and two working men's clubs, Snodland WMC and Hampton Hill WMC.

Notable people

The postal pioneer Thomas Fletcher Waghorn (1800–50), shortened the mail route to India from three months to between 35 and 45 days by going through the Egyptian desert, achieving a delivery time still not matched by My Hermes. He is buried in the churchyard.

The white reggae singer Judge Dread (real name Alex Hughes, 1945–98) lived in Snodland. Dread Close is now named after him. Several Judge Dread songs refer to Snodland, such as "Belle of Snodland Town" and "Last Tango in Munchkinland".

Cultural references

Samuel Beckett referred to the town in his short play Play of 1963. It is believed that Beckett was hospitalised with a ruptured hernia, caused by excessive laughter after finding Snodland under Munchkin Hampton while examining a local map of the area whilst staying in Kent.

The British jazz/rock band Soft Machine included a track titled Snodland on their 1973 album Seven. Which is no-where near as good as Third.