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History of Badlesmere

Badlesmere comes from the Old English ‘mere’ meaning a ‘pond, pool, lake’ combined with a personal name; therefore, ‘Bæddel’s pool’. The Domesday Book records Badlesmere as Badelesmore and Bedenesmere and also mentions a fishery.

Badlesmere parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Leonard. The Saxons built the first church, which the Normans entirely rebuilt in the 13th century. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the church as ‘but a very small mean building, consisting of one isle and one chancel, with a small turret at the west end, in which is one bell; there were formerly three bells here, but two were taken down and sold many years ago, towards the repair of the church’. There is no room for more than one bell in the tower and no physical evidence of there having been more. In 1809, Badlesmere acquired a bell, cast by Joseph Hatch for St Mary’s church, Reculver, in 1635.

In the 14th century, the name Badlesmere was synonymous with Bartholomew de Badlesmere, and his meteoric rise at the court of Edward II. The downfall came equally quick, losing his head in 1322, following his wife’s refusal to lower the drawbridge, at Leeds Castle, for Queen Isabella.