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History of Boughton Monchelsea

Boughton Monchelsea comes from the Old English ‘boc’ meaning ‘beech-tree‘ and ‘tun’ as an ‘enclosure, a farmstead’; therefore, ‘farmstead where the beech-tree grows’. The manorial affix is a personal name taken from the 13th century owner de Montchensie, distinguishing the village from others with the same name. The Domesday Book records all as Boltune or Boltone.

Some of the earliest records of Boughton Monchelsea rests in the Iron Age, with a settlement at Quarry Wood Camp. The Belgae built an outer rampart in about 40 AD, possibly as a defence against the Roman invasion.

The Roman quarry owner built a bathhouse near Brishing Court, a villa at Brishing and a cemetery at Lockham. The Romans worked the quarries extensively.

The Romans used much of the stone from Boughton quarry in the construction of the London Wall, a temple on the site of St. Pauls Cathedral, and a temple where St Peters Church now stands. The Normans used the ragstone in the building of Westminster Abbey and through the reign of Edward III to repair Rochester Castle. In 1419, King Henry V ordered 7000 stone cannon balls. The quarries continued into the 1960's when the last one closed.

Boughton Monchelsea parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter. The Normans built the church in the 11th and 12th centuries. Extensions and enlargements continued over the next 300 years. In 1592, Giles Reve cast and hung a bell, with another by Joseph Hatch 22 years later. James Bartlett added another bell in 1693, and John Waylett augmented them to four with a tenor in 1717. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Boughton Monchelsea church as a ‘small building, having a handsome square tower at the west end’. A fire in 1832 resulted in the destruction of much of the church, and partial rebuilding in 1834. In 1875, the Victorian architect M E Habershon carried out a major restoration involving the rebuilding of the nave, aisles, porches and south transept. John Warner added two trebles to complete six bells in 1880.

In 1778-79, eleven thousand solders camped along the Heath Road stretching from Coxheath to
Boughton Monchelsea ready to face the threatened French invasion. The army had its headquarters in Linton Park and officers billeted at the Cock Inn, Martins Farm and cottages in Church Street.