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The History of Kent

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History of Ashurst

Ashurst comes from the Old English ‘æsc’ meaning ‘Ash-tree’ and ‘hyrst’ as a ‘wooded hill’; therefore, a ‘hill wooded with Ash-trees’. The Textus Roffensis records Ashurst as Aischerst.


The Saxons built the Ashurst church between 921 and 927AD and dedicated it to Saint Martin of Tours. The Normans partially rebuilt it in 1230. They rebuilt it again in 1240, following a fire. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Ashurst church as ‘a low mean building, with a wooden steeple, over the porch are the arms of Sir John Rivers, who gave the dial’. Between 1860 and 1882, the new Rector Reverend H Polhill carried out major restoration work. During these works, Rev Polhill discovered the original Saxon stone altar, which he re-instated.