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The History of Kent

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History of Bilsington

Bilsington comes from the Old English ‘tūn’ meaning an ‘enclosure, a farmstead’ combined with a female personal name; therefore, a ‘farmstead belonging to Bilswith’. The Domesday Book records Bilsington as Bilsuitone.

Bilsington parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The Normans built the nave and chancel in the 12th century and rebuilt the chancel in the following century. They added the tower in the 15th century, although, completed with a wooden belfry. There is a record of three bells in 1552, one of which William Chamberlain cast in 1430. They sold a bell between 1750 and 1800. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the Bilsington church as ‘a small building, of but one isle and one chancel, having a low pointed wooden turret on the roof at the west end, in which are two bells’. The Victorian architect Joseph Clarke carried out restoration work in 1883. In 1931, Mears and Stainbank recast and rehung the treble bell in the tower and hung the 1430 bell outside in a wishing-well type structure.