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History of Hoo St Werburgh

Hoo St Werburgh comes from the Old English ‘hōh’ meaning a ‘heel, sharply projecting piece of ground’; therefore a ‘spur of land’. The affix – taken from the dedication of the church, and only formally recognised in 1968 - distinguishes it from St Mary Hoo. The Domesday Book records Hoo as Hou.


Hoo St Werburgh parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Werburgh. The Normans built it in the 12th century, with additions and extensions over the next 300 years – the west tower completed in the mid-14th century. In 1588, Giles Reve cast and hung a bell in the tower, with William Hatch adding another in 1641 and John Hodson a third in 1662. In 1738, Thomas Gardiner cast and hung a Tenor bell, with William Chapman completing five in 1781. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the St Werburgh church as consisting of ‘three isles and a chancel’. In 1825, Thomas Mears added a treble bell. The Victorians carried out some restoration work in the 19th century. Whitechapel augmented the bells to eight in 1995 with the casting of two trebles.