Mersham comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, manor, homestead’ combined
with a warlord’s name; therefore ‘Mærsa’s village/homestead’. The Domesday Book chronicles
Mersham as Merseham.
Mersham parish Church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint John the
Baptist. The Normans built it in the 12th century as a small 36 feet by 25 feet construction.
They later extended it in the 13th century, with new windows during the 14th and
15th centuries. In 1552, there is a record of five bells in the tower, which John
Hatch recast in 1612. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St John’s church as consisting
of ‘two isles and two chancels, having a handsome square tower at the west end, in
which are five bells. In the north window of the high chancel is the figure of a
bishop, with his mitre and crosier, praying, and the figure of a saint, with the
dragon under his feet. On the rector's pew is carved in wood, a coat of arms, being A
fess, in chief, three balls’. In 1847, Charles and George Mears added a treble to
make six bells. Mears and Stainbank augmented the bells to eight in 1880. The Victorians
carried out some restoration in the 19th century. In 1953, repairs became necessary
with the discovery of a crack in the tower.