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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Betteshanger

Betteshanger comes from the Old English ‘bytle’ meaning a ‘building, house’ with ‘hangra’ as a ‘gentle sloping wood’; therefore, ‘wooded slope by a building’. The Domesday Book records Betteshanger as Bedesham.

Betteshanger parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built the church in the 12th century. In 1800, Edward Hasted described the Betteshanger church as a ‘small mean building, consisting of a nave and chancel, both which are kept uncommonly neat’. In 1853, the Victorian architect, Anthony Salvin, completely rebuilt the church in imitation of St Nicholas, Barfreston. Sir Walter James, 1st Baron Northbourne of Betteshanger, paid for the rebuild. The new church hung a bell which William Oldfield had cast in the mid-16th century, together with two additional bells, by John Warner in 1854 and Charles and George Mears in 1859.

Having purchased the mineral rights to large areas of Kent Dorman Long & Co opened the Betteshanger Colliery - reaching coal in 1927 – and becoming the biggest Kent mine.

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