Howfield's History

Howfield originally dates from the 12th Century when it was known as Haghfeide or Hughvelde.  The original building formed part of the St Gregory’s Priory in Canterbury.  The Manor seems to have been used as a working dairy run by the monks of the priory.

One of a set of five manors in the Stour Valley, although little remains of the original manor, glimpses of the chapel possibly dating back to around 1350 can still be seen.  The well, probably originally outdoors can now be seen inside the building in the small lounge next to reception.  The hotel as it is today is a mixture of a sympathetic modern extension and a 17th Century wing, with intriguing elements of earlier and later buildings still in place, for example the Elizabethan stair turret which would have joined the original chapel to the hall of the house, the remains of an older fireplace in the more modern inglenook and beams indicating doors which no longer exist.  The brickwork on the front and back of the older wing tell an interesting story and point to the architectural pretensions of the owners at the time, while windows, “gablets” and bricked up entrances and windows also indicate work having been done at different times of Howfield’s life. In addition, there is the red herring of the “1806” date above the porch, probably nothing to do with the date of any of the historic building work!

Howfield is unusual in that it faces away from what is now the main road, the A28.  The A28 is a much more recent addition to the topography of the Stour Valley, which itself seems to have been quite different in the past with the river running much closer to the house.  The indentations in the wider grounds could have been the site of Medieval fish ponds, or perhaps the Kentish dew ponds, or even the outline of a previous stream or river bed, but this needs further investigation.  Some archaeological work was done at Howfield at the time of a planning application in the late ‘90s, but very little was found along the boundary with Howfield Lane, although "fire pits" believed to date back 4,000 years were found on the site now occupied by Brownhills Motorhomes on the other side of Howfield Lane.

Howfield was bought in 2008 by Admill Investments, a family-owned company founded by the late Victor Sharma.   The company has been in the hotel sector for more than forty years, and has in the past operated a number of hotels in London, the South and the Isle of Man.  Victor and his wife Peggy who grew the company from nothing through sheer hard work and determination provided the inspiration for the current managers to develop Howfield as a thriving hotel.

Howfield Manor Hotel is the first hotel acquired by Admill Investments since the company founder passed away in 2007, and represents a new direction for the company.  Our vision at Howfield is an individual approach to every customer and a desire to put Howfield once again at the heart of the local community.