Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Benenden
Benenden, (pronounced Ben-
Benenden parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint George.
The Normans rebuilt the original Saxon chapel in the 13th century, with alterations
and additions in the following 200 years, including a wooden tower in which hung
four bells. By 1550, an unknown founder had added a fifth bell. In 1672, lightning
struck, with the subsequent fire destroying the tower, bells and gutting the church.
By the end of the century, they had rebuilt the church although it would be a further
18 years before the tower could be completed. Richard Phelps cast and hung a ring
of six bells in 1719. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Benenden church as consisting
of ‘three isles and a chancel, having a tower steeple at the west end, with a beacon
turret at the south-
In 1924 three teachers from Wycombe Abbey School, opened a boarding school for girls, at Hemsted, an old manor house. The ladies set high academic standards and wanted Benenden to be a 'happy school with personal integrity and service to others always in mind, where everybody would be given the chance to follow her own bent.'