8 posts categorised "Mount Sion"

Tunbridge Wells in the Frame

Sara Nunan

One of the consequences of having a passion about Royal Tunbridge Wells is the fever to own a piece of it or at least things relative to it. My two sub-passions as I shall call them are books and art, and today I added a really beautiful piece to my art collection. It's a piece called The Grove by Sara Nunan. If you haven't heard of Sara Nunan I can almost guarantee that you have seen her works before in magazines, books and newspapers, she is also an illustrator for Dorling Kindersley so your kids have probably seen her work too.

Being such a regular browser of the local galleries I knew this work was in the making and have actually been waiting over a year for Sara to finish it and for it to finally appear so you can imagine my excitement as I rushed down to The Pantiles waving my cheque book manically as I ran.

Anyway, back to the lovely work. As you can see from my snapshots it's a beautifully delicate drawing of some of my favourite areas of Tunbridge Wells, The Pantiles, Mount Sion and The Grove. The artist has used some wonderful artistic licence in places, like the telephone box next to King Charles the Martyr Church, the Grove Tavern facing the wrong way and Mount Zion (sic). But to be honest there is so much fun to be had in whiling away time looking at the fine details in the piece that these things just become great conversation starters. The most fun I've had so far is trying to decide which character in the picture is actually me

Sara Nunan

I like to think I played a very, very, very teensy part in the piece that stares back at me as I write this as the artist was going to make the final editions a lot smaller than her first proofs, but I and a few others pleaded to have them at the full four feet high, and boy was it worth it.

I'd like to thank the Spa Galleries on the Pantiles, which if you ever need any local art this should be your first stop, and in fact you should pop along there this weekend just to look at the copy they have in the window, you never know you might be walking home with it and help the local economy at the same time. I would also like to thank my good friend Tim, for refering to me as the Saatchi of the Weald.

Follow the Frog

Mount Sion

In these worrying and stressful times its nice to escape the world and get lost in the wonders of history. And where better place than in my absolute favourite part of Tunbridge Wells, the original village area of our town, Mount Sion.

I think I'll explore Mount Sion with you in chunks as it deserves such attention to its wonderful details, it is after all one of the founding parts of our great town. To the north of the Mount, a series of very narrow lanes run parallel to the main road, linked by short passageways called twittens, and it's one of these curious lanes that I shall start our journey with, the curiously named Frog Lane. The lane rises steeply away from the High Street in a river of sharp ragstone cobbles until you reach the top some 30 metres higher. Along the way up the hill there is a lovely intimate feeling as the tiny mismatched houses face each other with barely 12 feet between them, you can almost imagine many years ago washing lines cast across the lane between the houses. There are tiny white picket fences, grapes hanging from the front of doorways and walls and doors all the colours of the rainbow. It has been said that the lanes are "oddly reminiscent of a coastal town sitting above its sea front".

Despite its cutesy character, Frog Lane and its narrow alleyways were very important to the nature of Mount Sion as the lane is in effect a kind of rear service duct linking the grand houses on the main Mount Sion strip.

Mount Sion

I'm sure like me you are intrigued to know where the Frog in Frog Lane came from. Was there a frog factory on the hill? Was this a popular route with frogs to the river? It is in fact named after the brake, or frog which held carriages parked on the slope whilst they delivered their wares.

I enjoyed my escapist hour wandering the lanes, go take a wander with a sarnie and a hot drink and let me know how you enjoyed whiling away the time too.

Click here or on any of the images to be taken to a gallery of more Mount Sion images.

Plaque Attaque: Cumberland Cautages


Time to collect the remainder of the 400 Anniversary plaques around town. This time it was combined with one of my favourite walks, a nice wander through The Grove and down through Mount Sion. On this little jaunt you are only minutes away from the bustle of the High Street yet it's almost another world once into the gates of the Grove, thoughts lost amongst the maturing trees (most fell and were replanted after the giant storm of 1987), watching the birds pick their way through the daffodils for titbits, then out the other side at the top of Mount Sion.

You'd swear you'd almost walked too far and ended up in another small kentish village what with the tiny independent garage on the kerbside, lack of pavements in places and the olde english grocery store with its front door almost touching the road. Welcome to one of the oldest sections of Royal Tunbridge Wells where settled life began in 1684.

Today's agenda though was to track down the elusive plaque of Richard Cumberland, playwright and novelist. And it was to be found adorning the side of picturesque cottage number 63a, although they could have picked any one of them as Richard Cumberland's former residence occupied the space now taken by numbers 43 to 63, no wonder 63a has gone up for sale.

Cumberland Walk

From here it's a short walk round the corner and down towards Chapel Place with a teensy detour to visit Cumberland Walk and Cumberland Gardens which are of course named after the man himself to make the tour seem complete.

For those of you who would like to read more about Mount Sion, I can't recommend highly enough the enormous 500 page tome, A History of Mount Sion by Roger Farthing, expensive at £50, but a beautiful book regardless.


  • I am a spritely 30-something living with my beautiful wife in the most fabulous town in the entire world, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

    We love to soak up the culture, the lifestyle, the nature, the history, the people, the art, the architecture, and the countryside in this idyllic part of the Weald, and because we love our town so much we made our blogs to share it with the rest of you.

    If you have any questions, comments or suggestions then please get in touch by sending us an email or if you are on Twitter then you can tweet me at @ankertw.

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