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History of Coldred

Coldred comes from the Old English ‘col’ meaning ‘coal, especially charcoal’ with ‘ryde’ as a ‘clearing’; therefore, a ‘clearing where coal is found or made’. The Domesday Book records Coldred as Colret.

Coldred parish church is dedicated to Saint Pancras. The Normans built it in the 11th century, within the newly constructed Motte and Bailey castle. An unknown founder cast a bell in the 14th century, which split in two in 1939. The two cell church remained much the same for the next 500 years.

In 1800, Edward Hasted described the Coldred church as a ‘very small and mean, consisting of only one isle and a chancel. It has one bell in it, but the steeple of it has been down for many years past. There are two singular nitches, such as are not seen in these parts, piercing the head wall of this church, at the west end, where it rises above the roof, each of which probably held a bell formerly, and though not used in common in this part of the country, are at this time frequent in the parts adjacent to Calais, in France, formerly under the dominion of the English’. The Victorians carried out major restoration works in 1866 and 1890. A small bell replaced the old one in 1939…. more

Bishop Odo of Bayeux, half-brother to William the Conqueror built a Motte and Bailey castle at Coldred in the late 11th century, inside which he built St Pancras church.