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History of Bishopsbourne

Bishopsbourne comes from the Old English ‘burna’ meaning a ‘stream’. The later affix ‘Bishop’, from its possession by the Archbishop of Canterbury, distinguishes it from other villages with the same name. The Domesday Book records Bishopsbourne as Burnes.


Bishopsbourne parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built the first church, although, totally rebuilt, on a larger scale, in the second half of the 13th century, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who possessed it. Further remodelling took place in the 15th century, including construction of the tower. There is a record of four bells in 1500. In 1800, Edward Hasted described the Bishopsbourne church as ‘a large building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which are four bells. This church is a large handsome building, but it is not kept so comely as it ought to be’. The Victorians restored the southern chapel in 1853, and the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott carried out a major restoration in 1872. In 1974, Whitechapel, broke up and sold the 2nd bell and in the following year, rehung the other three together with one originally cast, by Robert Mot, for St Mary Bredman, Canterbury…. more

Bishopsbourne railway station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s Elham Valley Line - Canterbury to Folkestone - on 1 July 1889. Unfortunately, by 1947 passenger numbers were such that the line closed, and Bishopsbourne station sold as a private residence.