Tunbridge Lowey is a hundred of Kent that forms part of the Lathe of Aylesford. It is bounded by Somerden in the Lathe of Sutton at Hone to the west; by Codsheath in the Lathe of Sutton at Hone to the north-west; by Wrotham to the north; by Larkfied and Aylesford to the east; by Littlefield and a detached part of Hoo Hundred to the north-east; by Twyford to the east; and by Washlingstone to the south. It had a population of 75,137 in 2011.
Soon after the Norman invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror empowered one of his kinsmen, Richard fitzGilbert (later known as Richard de Clare and Richard of Tonbridge) to take over an area of land around the site of Tonbridge Castle. This area was known as the Lowey of Tunbridge and its purpose was to provide support for the maintenance and defence of the castle. This was achieved by requiring some of the tenants within the Lowey to do military service when necessary, for example in defence of the castle itself. Tenants might also pay rent or rent-in-kind – for example by providing animals to help feed the garrison.
The name 'Lowey' or 'Lowy' derives from a French word meaning 'league', a unit of distance roughly equivalent to two miles. A Lowey therefore would include all land within this distance of the castle, but in Tonbridge this was not the case. The Lowey of Tunbridge includes some land more than a league away, and excluded some within this distance. It is claimed that the total area of the Lowey matched that of Richard fitzGilbert’s possessions in Normandy.
It comprises the ancient parishes of:
*: Detached part in Washlingstone.
†: Extends into Littlefield and Twyford.
‡: Mostly in Littlefield, but also a detached part in Brenchley and Horsmonden.
§: Extends into Washlingstone.