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History of Penshurst

Penshurst comes from the Old English ‘hyrst’ meaning a ‘wooded hill’, combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Pefen’s wooded-hill’. The Textus Roffensis records Penshurst as Pennesherst.


Penshurst parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It dates to the early part of the 12th century, with the north aisle added around 1200, and the south east chapel later that century. Around 1350, John Kebyll cast and hung two bells in the tower. Further additions and rebuilding took place in the 14th and 15th centuries. In 1619, Joseph Hatch cast a tenor bell, and Richard Phelps added a treble in 1701. In 1797, Edward Hasted described St John’s church as a ‘large handsome buildingIt consists of three isles, a cross isle, and three chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end’. Thomas Mears added two bells to make six in 1802. In 1865, the architect George Gilbert Scott carried out a restoration, and rebuilt the north aisle and chancel east wall and replaced the south windows. Mears and Stainbank augmented the bells to eight in 1896.


Penshurst railway station opened, on the South Eastern Railway’s Redhill to Tonbridge section of the London to Dover main line, on 26 May 1842…. more