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The History of Kent

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History of Sittingbourne

Sittingbourne most probably comes from the Old English ‘side’ meaning a ‘side, long hill slope’ with ‘ingas’ as the ‘people of, people called after’ and ‘ burna’ for a ‘stream’; therefore, ‘stream of the dwellers on the slope’. There are, and have been many theories as to the origin of the name.


Sittingbourne parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels. The Normans built the church in the 11th century, with rebuilding in the 14th century, and the tower constructed in the next 100 years. During roof repairs in July 1762, a fire broke out, leaving only the walls and tower standing. The architect George Dacre Senior undertook the restoration, which took almost five years to complete. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Michael’s church as a ‘large, handsome building, of three isles and two chancels, and two cross ones; at the west end is a tower beacon steeple, in which is a clock, a set of chimes, and six bells’. In the 19th century, they sectioned off the transept and Lady Chapel from the rest of the church, and used them as a school. During the period, 1859 to 1887 Slater and Carpenter carried out a renovation programme. Further substantial restoration work took place in the 1960’s.


Sittingbourne railway station opened on the East Kent Railway’s line between Faversham and Chatham, being the first section of what would eventually be the London Victoria to Dover main line, on 25 January 1858. A branch line to Sheerness–on-Sea opened on 19 July 1860…. more