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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Alkham

Alkham comes from the Old English ‘ealh’ meaning ‘sheltered place, sanctuary’ with ‘ham’ as a ‘homestead, village’; therefore, a homestead/village in a sheltered place’.

Alkham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Anthony the Martyr. Monks from the neighbouring abbey of St Radigund's built it in the 13th century with alterations and additions in the following two hundred years. There is a record of three bells in 1552. John Hodson cast and hung a ring of four bells in 1683. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the Alkham church as ‘a handsome building, consisting of three isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple, with a low pointed turret on it, in which hang three bells. The north isle is shut out by boarding from the rest of the church, and made no use of at present, to which the school now kept in the chancel might be removed, and have no kind of communication with that part of the church appropriated for divine service, which would prevent that unseemly and indecent resort which it is at present subject to’. The Victorians carried out restoration work in 1872.

Henry VIII closed St Radigund’s Abbey, and used the stone to build his coastal defence castle at Sandgate. A stone lid of a coffin originally holding the remains of Herbert de Averenches, a monk at the Abbey, can now be found in the church. The lid, which is inscribed, ‘Here lieth Herbert, offspring of Simon. A man open-hearted, assured by hope of good things, fluent in words of faith’ dates to the 12th Century and is believed to be the earliest to be found in any Kent church.

Locals formed the Alkham Cricket Club in 1839, and it is one of the longest surviving in the county.