In the 7th century, monks from Minster Abbey in Thanet made a denne, or clearing in a forest, which became known as "Tenwardene" - the denne of the Thanet people. In those days, Tenterden was almost on the coast, and it had a port at Smallhythe, on the River Rother, 2 miles south. The port died when the Rother was diverted to drain Welland and Romney marshes.
Tenterden is now a market town with one of the most attractive main streets in the south of England - wide, tree-lined and full of Georgian houses and shops with bow windows, porticoed doorways and shiplapped-timber frontages. The 15th-century parish church of St.Mildred is dedicated to the second Abbess of Minster and has a 100ft tower.
William Caxton, the father of English printing is believed to have been born in Tenterden in 1472. Smallhythe Place, a 15th-century house at Smallhythe, was the home of the actress Ellen Terry for 25 years, until her death in 1928. It is now a theatrical museum that includes some of her costumes.
William WILLIAMSON signed the returns for Eltham Parish, Kent July 1782 - Mar 1785, Mar 1786 - Mar 1787, Mar 1794 - 1800) On 14th November 1781 at Tenterden Kent, William married Margaret ELMSTONE of Terterden. William was about 26 years old. He was the Rector of Westbere in 1799. William & Margaret had 5 surviving children. William who married Sarah FRIEND, Matthew who married Sarah Ann RATCLIFFE, Joseph, Sarah who married William BUNSTER & John. William died on 9th October 1804 and Margaret died on 25th November 1812. Both are buried at Westbere Kent.
In Westbere there is a ledger stone on the floor. The surface of the stone is almost gone. Written on this stone is:
In memory of William Williamson (late Rector) of this parish who died October 3rd 1804 aged 49 years. Also of Margaret his wife who died November 25th 1812 aged 62 years. Also of Rev William WILLIAMSON son of the above who died May 21 1825 aged 42 years.
Joseph WILLIAMSON came out to Tasmania with his brother on the "Britomart" on 4th February 1822 with a letter of recommendation from the under-secretary of state for the colonies in England, Henry Goulburn and appears to have been granted 800 acres of land which he located at Broadmarsh. He sailed back to England on the "Emerald" on 4th December 1822 and returned with his sister, Sarah on the "Heroine" on 15th April 1824. Joseph died on 1-4-1826 and is buried at St.David's, Hobart Tas. John WILLIAMSON became a Church of England Minister like his father. He never married and got a B.A. from Cambridge. He was the curate of St.Peter's, Sandwich, Kent before he died on 20th October 1810 and is buried in the nave of the church at Elham. There is a stone in the floor of the church indicating where he lies.
Matthew WILLIAMSON & wife Sarah came out to Tas. on the ship "Britomart" with his brother Joseph. They lived in Tasmania until 29th July 1847 when he Matthew settled in Colac Vic. In 1857 Matthew was a tallow chandler (candle maker) and in 1859 he was a grocer. While they lived in Tasmania, they lived in Elizabeth St. Hobart. Their children were - Matthew married Mary McCARTER, Rosetta Sarah, Joseph Edmund married (1) Isabella Dixon, (2) Leticia McCARTER, Edmund Joseph married Mary SHANAHAN, John, Mary Ann, Malcolm married Catherine FLINN, Diana & Lucy married John WESTERN.
William WILLIAMSON jnr was admitted sizar at Emmanuel (Cambridge) 20 December 1799, Matriculated Michaelmas 12800 B.A. 1804 M.A.1808. According to Lambeth Place, William was a curate of Westbere from 1805, was ordained deacon 1805 and priest 1806 respectively, and can be identified with the Cambridge graduate who was admitted at Emmanuel College 20 Dec. 1799. He appears to have held curacy of Westbere with the curacy of Forwich until at least 1823.