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History of Lyminge

Lyminge comes from the Anglian word ‘gē’ as a ‘district, region’ combined with the river name ‘Limen’ - old name for the East Rother - meaning 'elm river' or 'marshy river'; therefore, a 'district around the River Limen’. The Domesday Book chronicles Lyminge as Leminges.


Ethelburga - daughter of King AEthelberht and Queen Bertha of Kent -married Edwin, King of Northumbria, a pagan, who under her influence, converted to Christianity. When in 633AD he died in battle, Queen Ethelburga fled for refuge to Kent. Her brother, now King Eadbald, gave her royal estates in Lyminge. The Queen, occupied the buildings of the old Roman settlement, although over 250 years old. Here, she founded a double minster or convent for men and women and became the first Abbess. When she died, in 647AD, the people considered the Abbess a saint, and placed the remains in the northern porticus of her church, at Lyminge, making the place a pilgrimage shrine. Following an invasion of Danes in 840, the nuns moved to Canterbury, with the monks following in 965.


Lyminge parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Ethelburga, originally built in the 7th century. Archbishop Dunstan rebuilt it in the 10th century, immediately to the north, with the south wall covering the north porticus holding St Ethelburga’s body. Further additions and extensions took place in the 12th, 13th and 15th centuries. In 1552, there is a record of five bells. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the Lyminge church as consisting of ‘two isles and a chancel, having a square tower steeple, with a low pointed turret on it, at the west end, in which are five bells. This church is handsome, being built of quarry stone. The arches and pillars on the north side of the south isle are elegant’. In 1810, Thomas Mears added a treble to make six bells. Around 1860, the Reverend R C Jenkins carried out a heavy restoration which involved reopening all the Norman windows, removing the west gallery, scraping all the walls of plaster, restoring the nave roof and reroofing the chancel with blue slates. He also rebuilt the wall tops and porch. He then went on to excavate the churchyard. Mears and Stainbank augmented the bells to eight with two trebles in 1904…. more


Lyminge railway station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s Elham Valley Line between Canterbury and Cheriton, on 4 July 1887. Unfortunately, the line closed in 1947, with the station building becoming Lyminge Library…. more