Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Newington
Newington comes from the Old English ‘tūn’ meaning an ‘enclosure, a farmstead, a village’ with ‘niwe’ as ‘new’; therefore, the ‘new farm/settlement’. The Domesday Book chronicles Newington as Neutone/Newetone.
Newington church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. It dates to the 13th century with extensions and additions in the following 200 years. In 1662, John Wilnar cast and hung a ring of six bells in the tower. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as a ‘handsome building, consisting of three isles and two chancels, with a square beacon tower at the west end. On the north side of the high chancel is the lower part of a square tower, which reaches at present no higher than the roof of the church, where it has a flat covering. There was some good painted glass formerly in the windows of this church’. The Victorians carried out restoration work in the 19th century.
In 1936, the parishioners moved a great stone, known locally as the devils stone, from the corner of Church Lane to the entrance of Newington church. According to legend, the church bell disturbed the Devil so much that he went to the belfry, one night, and gathered them up in a sack. Then, with the sack over his shoulder, he jumped down, tripped over the great stone and fell, leaving his footprint stamped into the stone, and spilling the bells out of the sack. They rolled down the lane towards Halstow and into a stream, which, from then on, flowed as clear as a bell.