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History of Horton Kirby

Horton Kirby comes from the Old English ‘horu’ meaning ‘filth, dirt’ and ‘tūn’ as an ‘enclosure, a farmstead’; therefore, a ‘dirty farm/settlement’. The later affix reflects possession by the de Kirkeby family in the 13th century and serves to distinguish it from Monks Horton. The Domesday Book records Horton as Hortone.


A Saxon burial ground existed in Horton Kirby between the 5th and 7th centuries, with over 100 inhumation burials.


Horton Kirby parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built it around 1190 – possibly using masons from Rochester cathedral - with additional work and rebuilding in the 14th century, following an earthquake in 1382. In 1552, there is a record of three bells in the tower. Richard Phelps cast a bell in 1733. In 1797, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as ‘built in the form of a cross, with a spire steeple in the centre of it, in which hangs a peal of five bells’. In 1817, architect, George Smith rebuilt the tower in brick and demolished the eastern half of the chancel. The Victorian architect Ewan Christian carried out restoration work in 1863. Although, Hasted noted five bells, by 1887 J C Stahlschmidt found only three – the 1733 bell plus a treble and tenor cast by Thomas Mears in 1817 and 1826. In 1999, Whitechapel cast two bells and rehung all five in a frame for six, adding a treble in the following year. On 26 November, that year, the Bishop of Tonbridge dedicated the complete ring of six. Whitechapel augmented the ring to eight in 2007, with the addition of two trebles…. more


Horton Kirby Viaduct opened on the East Kent Railway’s Strood to Bromley section of its London Victoria to Dover main line, in July 1858…. more