AskDefine | Define smallness

Dictionary Definition

smallness n : the property of having a relatively small size [syn: littleness] [ant: largeness, largeness]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The property of being small.
    His smallness didn't bother him, except when he needed something off the top shelf.

Extensive Definition

Sevenoaks is a commuter town in the Sevenoaks district of Kent in South East England and forms part of the London commuter belt. It is situated 21.5 miles (34.6 km) south east of Charing Cross in London.
The town's name is derived from the Saxon word "Seouenaca", the name given to a small chapel near seven oak trees in Knole Park around 800 A.D.. Contrary to popular myth, the town is not named after the seven oak trees that lined the boundary of the Vine Cricket Ground, six of which were destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987. Those trees were one of several sets of seven oaks around the town and date from 1902 when they were planted to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII. It is near two large lakes, one of which (the East Lake) is the location for Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. It is very close to the M25 motorway.



In the Middle Ages two hospitals were provided here by religious orders, for the care of old or sick people, especially those going on pilgrimage.

Early Schools

Sevenoaks School, at the south end of the High Street and whose grounds penetrate into Knole, is the oldest secular school in England. It was founded by Sir William Sevenoke, a wealthy London merchant, in 1432. Sevenoke, an orphan, had been brought up in the town. In later life he became a wealthy merchant and Lord Mayor. Founding the school and adjacent almshouses was his thanks to the town. In 1560 it was ordered by Queen Elizabeth I that it should be called The Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth. It was "for the education of boys and youths in grammar and learning".
By the early 18th century there were no fewer than seven grammar schools in the town.



Sevenoaks is located at the junction of two ancient roads heading south from London and Dartford to the Weald.
In 1710 part of one of the roads - from Sevenoaks through Tonbridge and Pembury to Tunbridge Wells- was the first in Kent to be turnpiked, and others followed within the century.
The town is now by-passed by the A21 dual carriageway road, and is connected to the M25 London Orbital motorway at Junction 5.


Railways were relatively late arriving at Sevenoaks. The previous main line of the South Eastern Railway (SER) had been through Redhill and it was in the nature of a "cutoff" to reduce the length of that journey that the line between Lewisham and Tonbridge was built. The line had huge construction difficulties, including two tunnels (it took three years to complete the final dozen miles): the Sevenoaks Tunnel is the longest in the south of England at 3,156 metres (about 2 miles) long.
The main station - Sevenoaks (formerly known as "Tub's Hill", after the adjacent area) - was opened on 2 March 1868. There is a second station, on the branch to Swanley Junction, serving the north end of the town, opened earlier (2 June 1862). This station, named Bat & Ball is named after the local inn (now closed).
Sevenoaks was the scene of a horrific railway accident on 24 August 1927, when a passenger train derailed because the "K" or "River" Class 2-6-4 tank locomotive hauling the train became unstable at high speed. Thirteen people were killed. The accident led to the entire "River" class of locomotives being rebuilt as SR U Class 2-6-0 tender locomotives.
The line to Sevenoaks was electrified in 1935. It was the first station in Britain to be re-built with the later well-known British Rail red, white and blue colouring.
Sevenoaks is part of the rail franchise which, post-privatisation, was served by Connex South Eastern. Following their 'sacking' in 2003 due to poor performance, services were operated by South Eastern Trains (SET) - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). This arrangement continued until 1 April 2006, when Govia took over the Integrated Kent Franchise for 8 years, operating under the name Southeastern.


(Main article Knole Park) To the east of the town is Knole Park, a 1000-acre (4 km²) park inhabited by deer and several million trees. In its centre is Knole House, the home of the Sackville family (the Earls of Dorset) since it was given to them by Queen Elizabeth I in 1577. The estate is owned and maintained by the National Trust, although the Sackvilles still live there.
In January 1967 The Beatles made promotional films for 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' in Knole Park. In a Sevenoaks antiques shop John Lennon bought a Victorian circus advertisement which provided the inspiration for 'Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!', on the famous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album released later that year.


The Vine Cricket Ground is one of the oldest cricket grounds in England, with the first recorded match having been played in 1734. It was given to the town in 1773 by John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, owner of Knole House at the time. It is notable for being the first place in England to play cricket with three stumps. In 1777 an "all-England" team played Hambledon at the Ground.


The 2001 Census counts approximately 18,588 residents within the Sevenoaks civil parish authority, compared to the 1801 town population of 2,600. The Built up area of the Town has a population of about 25,000.

Modern Sevenoaks

Given its proximity to London a large proportion of residents are commuters. However the largest employer in the district is the Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) research facility at Fort Halstead. The town centre contains a number of small and medium sized shops, a theatre, and a recently enlarged outdoor shopping centre.
During the Great Storm of 1987, six of the seven oak trees around The Vine were blown down. Following this, a further seven small oak trees were planted in a local ceremony involving celebrities from television shows such as Blue Peter, including locals Gloria Hunniford and Caron Keating.
Sadly the trees were located right outside the pub named after the cricket ground, "The Vine" (now a restaurant), and six of the seven saplings were vandalised one night. This left one of the original trees, and one of the new ones. Sevenoaks District Council decided that a more rugged set of replacements were required, and hence seven further, more mature trees were planted, leaving the Vine with a total of nine trees in a row.
Sevenoaks has a surprisingly low crime rate, and The District Chief Inspector of Sevenoaks District said they will continue cutting down crime and anti-social behaviour. The Police Office is located in Akehurst Lane and West Kent Magistrates' Court in Morewood Close. However, a police shooting in the High Street in July 2007, killing an unarmed woman, made national news and shocked the Sevenoaks residents. More reccently, in December 2007 a man, supposedly with a machine gun, was also shot dead.
In the 21st Century there are a number of Primary Schools and two single-sex Secondary Schools. The number of Preparatory schools is above average for a town of Sevenoaks' size and includes The New Beacon Preparatory School and Sevenoaks Prep School.


Greatness is an area in the north east of the town. It was owned by Lord Greatness until the 1920s, when it was given to the Town Council. It mostly consists of Council Housing and Housing Estates. It is generally considered to be the area between and including St Johns Hill and Seal Hollow Road, above Hollybush Park. It is the location of Greatness Mill, Greatness Cemetery and Greatness Park.

Notable natives


Pontoise, France; Rheinbach, Germany
smallness in Bulgarian: Севъноукс
smallness in Danish: Sevenoaks
smallness in Dutch: Sevenoaks (plaats)
smallness in Norwegian: Sevenoaks
smallness in Romanian: Sevenoaks
smallness in Volapük: Sevenoaks

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Lenten fare, abjectness, abominableness, atrociousness, austerity, authoritarianism, baseness, beggarliness, bigotry, blind side, blind spot, blinders, chinchiness, chintziness, closed mind, contemptibility, contemptibleness, cramped ideas, crumminess, debasement, deficiency, degradation, depravity, despicableness, diminutiveness, enormity, execrableness, exiguity, exiguousness, failure, fanaticism, fewness, foulness, fulsomeness, grossness, heinousness, hideboundness, homeliness, humbleness, humility, illiberality, immateriality, imperfection, inadequacy, incompetence, inconsequence, inconsequentiality, inconsiderableness, indifference, ineffectuality, inferiority, infrequency, ingloriousness, innocuousness, insignificance, insufficiency, insularism, insularity, irrelevance, jejuneness, jejunity, leanness, little-mindedness, littleness, low priority, lowlihood, lowliness, lowness, maladroitness, marginality, meagerness, mean mind, meanness, mediocrity, meekness, minginess, minuteness, miserableness, miserliness, modesty, monstrousness, narrow sympathies, narrow views, narrow-mindedness, narrowness, nearsightedness, nefariousness, negligibility, niggardliness, obnoxiousness, odiousness, odium theologicum, paltriness, parochialism, parsimony, paucity, pettiness, petty mind, picayune, picayunishness, plainness, pokiness, poorness, provincialism, puniness, purblindness, rankness, rarity, restrictedness, scabbiness, scantiness, scantness, scarcity, scrawniness, scrimpiness, scrubbiness, scruffiness, scumminess, scurviness, secondariness, shabbiness, shoddiness, shortness, shortsightedness, shut mind, simpleness, skimpiness, slenderness, slightness, slim pickings, slimness, spareness, sparseness, sparsity, squalor, stinginess, straitlacedness, stringency, stuffiness, submissiveness, subnormality, teachableness, thinness, tightness, tininess, triviality, uncatholicity, undersize, ungenerousness, unimportance, unimpressiveness, unmagnanimousness, unnoteworthiness, unpretentiousness, unskillfulness, vileness, vulgarity, wretchedness
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