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History of Eastwell

Eastwell comes from the Anglian word ‘wella’ meaning a ‘stream, spring’; therefore, a ‘spring’. The prefix ‘east’ distinguishes it from Westwell. The Domesday Book records Eastwell as Estwelle.

Eastwell parish church is a Grade: II listed building, with a dedication to Saint Mary the Virgin. It dates to the 13th century with a 15th century tower. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Eastwell church as consisting of ‘two isles and two chancels, having a square embattled tower at the west end, in which hang three bells. It is an antient building of slint, with ashler stone round the windows, which are small, and of only one compartment’. They built the church using chalk blocks, which socked up water during the construction of a lake in the 1940’s. This combined with WW2 bombing, caused the roof to collapse in 1951. Many of the walls had then to be demolished until only the footings, the tower, and the 19th-century mortuary chapel remained. In 1956, the Friends of Friendless Churches took St Mary’s under its protection.

The manor belonged anciently to a family of its own name, although, passed successively to the families of Hales, Moyle, Finch, Heneage, and Hatton.
Richard, the last Plantagenet, a natural son of Richard III, took refuge in
Eastwell after the battle of Bosworth; working as a mason until identified by Sir Thomas Moyle. He built a small house, on the estate, in which he lived until his death. They demolished the house towards the end of the 17th century.