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History of Charing

Charing comes from the Anglian word ‘cerring’ meaning a ‘turn, bend of a river or road’ with a personal name and the Old English ‘ing’ as a ‘place-name forming suffix’; therefore, either a ‘bend in the road’ or a ‘place connected with Ceorra’. The Domesday Book records Charing as Cheringes, and it first appeared in 799AD as Ciorring.

Charing parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. During the construction of the west tower, in 1590, a fire, caused by a man shooting at a pigeon, gutted the 13th century church and destroyed the four bells. The parishioners replaced the nave roof in 1592 and that of the chancel in 1620. In 1608, Joseph Hatch cast a single bell to replace those lost in the fire. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Charing church as a ‘handsome building, consisting of one isle and a transept, a high chancel and one small one on the south side of it. The tower, having a small beacon turret at one corner, is at the west end. There is only one bell in it’. Joseph Taylor cast a ring of six bells in 1878.

Charing stands on the route of the old pilgrim way. Archbishops of Canterbury would stay at the manor house, just outside the churchyard, which became known as the Archbishop's Palace. The 14th century Archbishop John Stafford built the Gate House, consisting of a great archway. It is still the local custom, whenever an Archbishop of Canterbury visits Charing, for him to robe at the old palace, by courtesy of the present owner before he goes into the church.

Some of the four thousand men and women who travelled with Henry VIII on his way to the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' in 1520 dined, in the Palace's banqueting hall.

Charing railway station opened on the Maidstone and Ashford Railway’s Swanley to Ashford extension, on 1 July 1884…. more

Some local excitement occurred in 1935, with the discovery of small amounts of gold and silver in the Charing hills.