Hartley has many new buildings and some old houses, it now joins Longfield, the place in the north. In 2001 there were 5,395 persons living here. There are also woods and a farm near the houses. Most of the 2,145 houses in Hartley are owned by the persons who live in them.
The name Hartley means "place in the wood where the deer are". It was a very small place, but now is like a town. No great events happened here, and not many famous persons lived in Hartley.
In the Cretaceous time, much of England was under the sea. In the deep waters, the chalk of the North Downs of Kent was made. Then the sea made the clay which is over the chalk. Then the Ice Age froze the chalk and there were rivers which made the "dry valley" at Hartley Bottom.
In the year 1086, 15 families and 3 slaves lived in Hartley. Before the Black Death (1348) about 150 persons lived here. 53 persons made tax payments in 1377, which means about 85 lived here then. In 1392 a paper tells us that there was a chief house, where a manager lived. He farmed land for the owner. This land was called Hartley Court. Other persons who owned land in Hartley, had to go to the court of the owner and do some other work for him. There was a fight at Hartley Wood in 1554, between supporters and opponents of Queen Mary I of England. Her supporters won. Hartley in 1650 was like the place in 1850, because almost all the buildings were there then. In 1770 the writer Edward Hasted said not many persons go to Hartley.
Some buildings were made in the 1700s (like Hartley House and Yew Cottage). In 1841 there were 224 persons living in Hartley. Almost all worked on the farms. There was also a wheel maker, metal worker and drink sellers.
The growth of Hartley started after the railway came to Longfield in 1876, and water by pipe came in 1902. Next two companies – Payne, Trapps and Co Ltd, and Small Owners Limited sold land for houses and small farms. After 1945 there were many new houses and roads.