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History of Tonge

Tonge comes from the Old English ‘tang’ meaning a ‘tong, forceps’, perhaps referring to the long narrow shape of the parish. The Domesday Book chronicles Tonge as Tangas.


Tonge parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Giles. The Normans built the church between the 12th and 14th centuries. There is a record of a bell at the end of the 16th century, to which John Wilnar added another in 1626, with Chapman and Mears completed the ring of three in 1784. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Tonge church in his topographical survey as consisting ‘of one large and two narrow side isles, and has a tower steeple on the south side, in which are three bells.’ The Victorians carried out restoration work in 1893.


In the 12th century, the Normans built Tonge moated manor house, often referred to as a castle, originally in wood, and then later of stone, on two enlarged hills. They added the moat towards the end of the 13th century, not long before occupation of the manor house ceased.