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Kent Past

The History of Kent

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History of Chartham

Chartham comes from the Old English ‘cert’ meaning ‘rough ground’ together with ‘ham’ for ‘village or settlement’; therefore, a ‘village on rough ground’. The Domesday Book records Chartham as Certeham.

Chartham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The present building dates to 1294. However, there is archaeological, as well as written, evidence of the existence of a chapel from at least 871. Following the construction of the tower in the 15th century, an unknown founder cast and hung four bells. In 1605, Joseph Hatch recast the four bells into a ring of five, which Samuel Knight augmented to six in 1728. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Chartham church as a ‘large, handsome building, of one isle and a chancel, with a cross isle or transept. It has a tower steeple at the west end, in which are five bells and a clock’. Architect and Victorian gothic revivalist, George Edmund Street restored the chancel in 1875 and installed a new altar at the same time…. more

The county established its second pauper lunatic asylum in an area of Chartham. The East Kent County Asylum opened on, a 120 acre site, in 1875, initially taking the overspill from the first asylum at Barming Heath, Maidstone. The National Health Service renamed the hospital ‘St Augustine’s’ when taking over in 1948. The hospital closed in 1993.

On 6 February 1846, the Ashford to Canterbury section of the South Eastern Railway’s Thanet branch line opened. However, due to pressure on Parliament from Chartham residents a clause inserted into the original Act prohibited a station in their village. Later realising their error, and the benefits of having a direct rail link to London, a station finally opened in 1859…. more