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The History of Kent

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History of Bearsted

Bearsted comes from the Old English ‘beorg’ meaning a ‘hill, mound’ with ‘hām-stede’ as a ‘homestead, site of a dwelling’; therefore, ‘homestead on a hill’.


Bearsted parish church is a Grade; I listed building, dedicated to the Holy Cross. The Normans built it in the 12th century, although rebuilt the chancel and north aisle in the following century. Further extensions and additions continued until the 15th century when they completed the west tower. Unknown founders cast and hung bells around 1440, 1590 and 1606. Thomas Hatch added another in 1599. Richard Phelps added a treble in 1729 and Thomas Lester cast a tenor in 1742. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Bearsted church as a ‘handsome building, consisting of two isles and two chancels, with a square beacon tower at the west end of it. On three corners of the summit of the tower, are the figures of three dogs, or bears sejant, for they are so defaced by great length of time, that they can but be guessed at. If they represent the latter, they might have been placed there in allusion to the name of this parish: if not, these figures might perhaps be the crest of the founder of the church’. The Victorians restored the church in 1874 with new pews, roofs, south east vestry added and porch rebuilt…. more


Bearsted railway station opened on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s Maidstone to Ashford section of their branch line from Chatham, on 1 July 1884. In 1907, they added the suffix ‘& Thurnham’ to take account of the small village nearly a mile away…. more