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The History of Kent

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History of Barham

Barham comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, homestead’ combined with a personal name; therefore, ‘Beora’s homestead/village’. The Domesday Book records Barham as Berham. 


Barham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The Normans built the present church in the 12th century as a Chapel-of-Ease to St Mary’s church, Bishopsbourne, which it remained until 1846. In the 13th century, the Mason who built the chancel at Bishopsbourne built the chancel and transept at the Barham church. In 1633, John Wilnar cast and hung two bells, with Samuel Knight added more bells in 1730. In 1800, Edward Hasted described the Barham church as ‘a handsome building, consisting of a body and side isle, a cross or sept, and a high chancel, having a slim tall spire at the west end, in which are four bells’. Mears and Stainbank added a tenor bell to complete a ring of five in 1947.