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The History of Kent

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History of Lenham

Lenham, comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, homestead, an estate’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Leana’s homestead/village’. The Domesday Book records Lenham as Lerham and Lertham. The village gave its name to the river Len.

Lenham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built the original church, which burnt down in 1297 – apparently an arson attack for which Archbishop Winchelsea excommunicated the perpetrators in 1298. They re-constructed and extended the building over the following 200 years. In 1552, there is a record of four bells in the tower, to which Robert Mot added another in 1592 and James Bartlett a tenor in 1686. In 1751, Robert Catlin cast two trebles to complete eight bells. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as a ‘large handsome building, with a square tower at the west end, in which is a good clock, which strikes the hours and quarters, and a set of chimes. It consists of two isles, and two chancels’. The Victorians rebuilt the east wall in 1867. In 1959, John Taylor rehung the bells in a new frame, and the Bishop of Dover rededicated them in October 1960.

Lenham railway station opened on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s Maidstone to Ashford line, on 1 July 1884…. more

When Robert Goodsall, a Kent writer, purchased and commenced restoring the 15th century Hall House, in 1946, he found the remains of three bodies under the floor. Tests have shown the two males and a female, together with an assortment of weapons, to be around 1200 years old.