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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Guston

Guston comes from the Old English ‘tūn’ meaning an 'enclosure, a farmstead, village' combined with a warlords name; therefore, 'Guthsige's village/farmstead'. The Domesday Book records Guston as Gocistone. 

Guston parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. The Normans built it early in the 12th century with the addition of the south vestry in the 14th century. Knights, returning from the crusades, engraved crosses on the stone doorways, to give thanks for their safe return. Blunting their sword symbolised their adoption of a new peaceful, life. In the 17th century, the roof line required modification to accommodate the false ceiling over the Nave. In 1800, Edward Hasted described St Martin’s as consisting of ‘
only one isle and a chancel, having neither tower nor steeple, nor any monument or thing worth notice in it’. The Georgians added a tower early in the 19th century. The Victorians re-ordered the interior of the church, removing the arch that screened the chancel while adding pews, wooden rood screen and reredos.

In 1909, early pioneering flyers established an aerodrome in the parish at Swingate. As the closest flying field to the continent, many used it for flying competitions. The Royal Flying Corp took over the airfield in 1914, as a staging post for the British Expeditionary Force in France. Also in 1914, the Royal Naval Air Squadron built a new aerodrome on the opposite side of the Dover Road.