Horns Green

Horns Green, Bromley

A small outpost of Cudham, which lies half a mile to the north, Horns Green is London’s most south-easterly settlement

Hidden London: Cedar Farm, Horns Green, by David Anstiss

Horns Green is sit­u­at­ed on high ground, gen­tly ris­ing into the North Downs. The cen­tre of the ham­let is 216 metres (709 feet) above sea lev­el.

David Mills, in his Dic­tio­nary of Lon­don Place Names, says that Horns Green’s iden­ti­ty is “to be asso­ci­at­ed with the fam­i­ly of John de Horne, 1292, whose name derives from Old Eng­lish horn, ‘a horn-shaped fea­ture, a pro­ject­ing piece of land’.”

This local­i­ty was part of the exten­sive Ken­tish land­hold­ings of the earls of Der­by. The 17th earl sold the Cud­ham por­tion of the family’s estates in 1909. From around the time of this sale Horns Green grew rapid­ly in size, by the stan­dards of a tiny vil­lage, but its expan­sion was halt­ed by the post-war cre­ation of the green belt.

Nowa­days, Horns Green has sev­er­al 19th-cen­tu­ry hous­es and cot­tages in Ken­tish flint and brick, a few unex­cit­ing bun­ga­lows and a hand­ful of exec­u­tive homes built in the late 20th and ear­ly 21st cen­turies, and set well back from the road. The new­er res­i­dences have all replaced prop­er­ties that were built before the intro­duc­tion of green belt restric­tions.

Accord­ing to His­toric Eng­land, Horns Green’s most pre­cious prop­er­ty is Flint House. The grade II list­ed build­ing dates from either the late 18th or ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry. Rowan Cot­tage, Tiny Cot­tage and Good­fri­day Farm are local­ly list­ed. A short dis­tance to the south, Port­lands, its oast house and dry­ing shed, sta­ble build­ings and neigh­bour­ing cot­tage are also grade II list­ed – but now we have crossed from the bor­ough of Brom­ley into the dis­trict of Sevenoaks, and are thus no longer in Lon­don.

The most recent and grandiose of the mod­ern struc­tures is Cedar Farm, a six-bed­room man­sion that has replaced a real farm. In 2009 Brom­ley council’s chief plan­ning offi­cer rec­om­mend­ed that enforce­ment action be autho­rised to secure the removal of its unap­proved out­build­ings, which were “clear­ly exces­sive in size and harm­ful [to the integri­ty of the green belt] in their design, bulk and mate­ri­als.” The above pho­to­graph of Cedar Farm was tak­en in Decem­ber 2010.*

London’s pre­mier blog­ger Dia­mond Geezer has ques­tioned whether Horns Green “tech­ni­cal­ly exists” at all, giv­en that car­tog­ra­phers are the only peo­ple who appear to know of it. No one who lives here seems to men­tion Horns Green as their address (except at Horns Green Cot­tage), pre­fer­ring to refer to either Cud­ham or Knock­holt.

Postcode area: Sevenoaks TN14
See also: Scott’s Lodge
* The picture of Cedar Farm on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright David Anstiss, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.