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History of Paddlesworth

Paddlesworth comes from the Old English ‘worð’ meaning an ‘enclosure’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore ‘P…’s enclosure’. The Domesday Book chronicles Paddlesworth as Pellesorde.


Paddlesworth parish church is a Grade: I listed building dedicated to Saint Oswald. The Normans built it in the 12th century, as a Chapel-of-Ease to Lyminge. They made some alterations in the following 100 years. In 1758, Stahlschmidt confirmed one bell in the bellcote, although suggested there had been three. In 1799, Edward Hasted described St Oswald’s church as:


I believe the lowest and the least in the county. It is very antient indeed, being built of large slint stones, and consists of one very small isle, and still smaller chancel; the roof of both is unceiled, and the east and only window of the chancel being boarded up, it is quite dark at noon-day. Between the isle and chancel is a circular arch, with Saxon ornaments. At the west end of the isle is part of a large circular pillar, about two feet high, very antient, seemingly the basis of the font, which there is none now. There is no steeple or turret, but at the west end of the roof hangs one bell. There are no memorials in it. On each side of the isle is a very small circular door; on each side of the southern one are two remarkably small pillars, of Saxon architecture, different in their ornaments from each other’.


In 1870, the Diocesan Architect Mr Clarke carried out some restoration by adding three massive buttresses at the west end, stripping the plaster from the walls, renewing the roofs in the nave and boarding the chancel ceiling…. more


The Normans built Paddlesworth’s other church dedicated to Saint Benedict, in the early part of the 12th century as a manorial chapel. The lord of the manor made modifications in the 13th century. The church closed in 1678, as did the manor house. For the next 250 years, the building had various uses including as a barn. In the 20th century, after restoration and a gallery added, it came under the wing of the Churches Conservation Trust.