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History of Leybourne

Leybourne comes from the Old English ‘burna’ meaning a ‘stream’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Lylla’s stream’. The Domesday Book chronicles Leybourne as Leleburne.


Leybourne parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The Normans built it shortly after their arrival, with additions and extensions in the 13th century. Sir Roger de Leybourne went on crusade with Prince Edward (later Edward I) although died on the way in 1271. They preserved his heart and returned it for burial in a casket in the heart shrine, in the north wall of the church. In 1552, there is a record of two bells in the tower, to which Giles Reve added a third in 1585. In 1815, the upper part of the tower collapsed, together with the south-west corner of the nave breaking two bells. They rebuilt the tower in brick and sold the two broken bells. Thomas Mears II provided a small bell in 1826. In 1877, the architect Sir Arthur Blomfield carried out a substantial restoration to the west tower, nave, separate chancel, north aisle and chapel. In June 1996, the tower burnt to the ground following a lightning strike and broke the bells. Having restored the tower, the parishioners employed Mears and Stainbank to recast the two broken bells into one, which they installed for stationary chiming in 1967…. more