• Tongs held by Simon de Tonge, mentioned in ‘Hundred Rolls’ of Kent.


  • Tongswood recorded as seat of Dunk family ( known as clothiers and later ironworkers)


  • Oliver Cromwell stations Ironsides in Hawkhurst. Surrounding land of Tongswood House becomes known as Barrack Fields.


  • Sir Thomas Dunk Kt. (Sheriff of London 1711) dies, endowing to Hawkhurst six almshouses, a school for 20 boys, and a house for a school master.


  • William Richards inherits estate and according to conditions of will for himself and future heirs, changes his name to Dunk.


  • William’s daughter, Anne, current owner of estate with fortune of £110,000, marries Hon. George Montagu (2nd Earl of Halifax), who adds Dunk to his name.


  • Anne dies at just 28 years old.
  • George Montagu-Dunk (Lord Halifax) conveys lease on Tongswood to Jeremiah Curteis (rumoured leader of Hawkhurst Gang) for yearly rent of six pence for 1000 years.


  • Curteis conveys interest to William Jenkins.


  • Jenkins dies. Estate is sold to Mr. David Langton then passes through Wilson and Cole families.


  • Tongswood purchased at auction by Hon. Felix Tollemarche.


  • Tongswood purchased at auction by Major George Robert Stevenson of the 7th Dragoon Guards.


  • Tongswood inhabited by Mr. Valentin Elwes.


  • William Cotteril (tea broker) buys estate for £8750.
  • Glasshouses built by Foster & Pearson Limited of Nottingham in late 1800’s, probably during Cotteril’s ownership


  • Captain John Julian Newton-Spice buys estate.


  • 'Misses Goldsmid of Portman Square' buy estate – sisters of Sir Julian Goldsmid of Somerhill.


  • Estate bought by Mr. Charles Gunther, High Sheriff of Kent (1926-27) and chairman of OXO


  • More glasshouses were added including The Melon House. Adjustments were made to the Vinery with The Fernery added and the roofs raised. The walls of the gardens were also raised.


  • Gunther’s wife, Leonie, dies of an illness.


  • Gunther marries Helen Bell who encouraged development of gardens.


  • Gunther’s sons, Charles and Norman (MC), along with 12 other men from the estate, die in WW1. Memorial is erected.


  • Tongswood sub-tropical gardens are featured in Gardeners’ Chronicle Magazine.


  • Tongswood Gardens considered one of top 50 in the country.


  • The Rockery is featured in Country Life Magazine.


  • Charles Gunther dies of a heart attack (aged 68) at The Paper Mill, his shooting lodge.


  • Helen auctions outlying portions of estate.


  • Tongswood House requisitioned by army during WW2.


  • Estate sold to St Ronan’s school.
  • Walled Garden is leased to a succession of market gardeners including Jack Cripps, Roland Playford, Jim Weeks and Peter and Karen Horn.


  • Peter and Karen Horn buy the garden, turn it into a plant nursery and change the name from Tongswood Gardens to The Walled Nursery.


  • Monty and Emma Davies buy The Walled Nursery.
  • Shop is re-designed to incorporate locally produced crafts and gifts.
  • The Plant Sales area is re designed and all plants are raised up onto benches.
  • The Walled Kitchen Garden Network state the Walled Nursery to hold one of the most intact collection of Victorian kitchen garden glasshouses left in the UK.
  • Emma talks on BBC Radio Kent Sunday Gardening Show in what turns into annual updates about the progress of the Nursery.


  • Clear overgrowth to extend car park.
  • Renovations begin on the Vinery
  • The ‘working’ greenhouse (not Victorian) is replaced with a brand new polytunnel.
  • Wealden Times use Nursery as location for fashion shoot.
  • First Bazaar at the Walled Nursery.
  • Nursery applies for Brown Tourist Sign and is refused by Kent County Council.


  • Wettest year on record threatens futures of nurseries across the country.
  • Campaign for Brown Tourist Sign continues with local media support and public petition. Campaign featured in Kent & Sussex Courier.
  • Nursery grows flowers for Heather Appleton’s Russian State Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show which won Silver Gilt.
  • Online Walled Nursery Gardening Club opens.
  • Café opens.
  • First commercial filmed at the Walled Nursery – an internet advert for O2.
  • 'Memorial to a Memorial'. Installation by artist, Vivian Pedley, inspired by the men from the estate who died in the Great War. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-19206545


  • Jacqui Ruthven, chief propagator at Sissinghurst Castle, joins The Walled Nursery as Head of Propagation.
  • Emma discusses the plight of nurseries on Money Box Live on BBC Radio 4
  • Inaugural Chelsea Fringe event at the Nursery.
  • Wall of Pane Sponsorship Programme introduced for restoration of glasshouses.
  • Lecture evenings and courses are introduced at the Nursery.
  • Nursery is finally given a Brown Tourist Sign by Kent County Council, increasing visitors immediately.
  • Dipingo Design creates greeting cards featuring photos of the Nursery.
  • Our conservation of the glasshouses is featured on BBC South East Today News.
  • Meridian Tonight News report on the Nursery's preparations for the autumn hurricane.
  • Christmas storms batter the Walled Nursery. 300 panes of glass lost in Vinery. Melon House damaged by flooding.
  • Request permission from Council to save Vinery using powder coated aluminium. Permission denied.


  • Further storms and floods cause sinkholes and leave the glasshouses requiring extensive renovation.
  • Repeated discussions with Council regarding saving Vinery with powder coated aluminium result in more refusals.
  • The Walled Nursery welcomes the Changeling Theatre Company for the first of their annual open air performances at the Nursery.
  • Astilbe & Sorrel Florist opens at the Nursery.
  • The Walled Nursery is featured on BBC 2's gardening programme, Big Dreams, Small Spaces, with Monty Don.


  • Petition started to save Vinery using powder coated aluminium.
  • Carnation House end panel falls away. Roof now resting on rotten sill. All glass removed while structure awaits renovation.
  • The shepherd's hut arrives at the Nursery.
  • First Local Makers' Fair held in conjunction with Cranbrook Iron.
  • Shortlisted to final three for The English Garden Future Fund bursary scheme.
  • Featured in the Sunday Telegraph by Francine Raymond.
  • All glass removed from Vinery for safety as condition deteriorates beyond repair. Total rebuild now necessary.