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History of Kemsing

Kemsing comes from the Old English 'ing' meaning a 'place-name forming suffix' combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Cymesa’s place’. The Textus Roffensis records Kemsing as Cimicinga.

Princess Edith, the illegitimate daughter of King Edgar - born in
Kemsing in 961AD - lived most of her life in the Abbey of Wilton, in Wiltshire. Edith died in Wilton Abbey on 15 September 984, at just 24 years. Acclaimed as a miracle worker, they erected a shrine at Kemsing around St Edith’s well, which feeds a small spring.

There is evidence of Roman occupation, in Kemsing, with the remains of a water mill, or perhaps a villa, at the western end of the village, and a tile works to the east.

Kemsing parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built it in the 12th century, with remodelling of the nave in the 14th century, addition of a timber bell tower and reconstruction of the chancel in the 16th century. Early in the 15th century, William Wodewarde cast and hung two bells in the tower. In 1797, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as a ‘small church, consisting of only one isle and a chancel, having a pointed steeple at the west end, in which are two bells’. In 1891, the architect Sir J G Jackson added the north and chancel aisles, also in that year; John Taylor cast a third bell. The noted Victorian designer Sir Ninian Cooper remodelled the interior in 1908. In 1991, Whitechapel cast a ring of six bells – from two of the old bells plus additional metal – with the dedication in September of that year. They rehung the tenor independently, as a service bell.

Kemsing railway station opened on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s single track Otford to Maidstone branch line on 1 June 1874. The line increased to double track on 1 July 1882…. more