Whitfield comes from the Old English ‘hwit’ meaning ‘white’ and ‘feld’ as ‘open country,
land without trees, unencumbered ground’; therefore, ‘white open land’. Whitfield
was commonly known as Bewsfield – early owner of the manor - until the 16th century.
Whitfield parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter.
The Saxons built the church in the 8th or 9th centuries. The Normans extended it
around 1200, and cast a bell - said to be the oldest in Kent. In 1800, Edward Hasted
describes it as consisting ‘of a small nave and two chancels, having one bell in
it, but there is no steeple, it is a wretched mean building. The roof is supported
by a most uncouth pillar in the middle, so strangely as to prevent, I think, all
description of it. There are no monuments in it, nor any thing surther worthy notice’.
The architect Ewan Christian restored the church in 1894.