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History of Farningham

Farningham comes from the Old English ‘fearn’ meaning a 'fern, ferns, ferny place', and 'ingas' as the ‘people of, people called after’ with ‘hām’ for a ‘village, homestead’; therefore, possibly the ‘homestead/village of the dwellers among the ferns’. The Domesday Book records Farningham as Ferningeham. 

Farningham Parish Church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The monks of Christ Church, Canterbury built it as a two-cell – chancel and nave – church in the 13th century and added the three-stage tower in the 15th century. In 1552, there is a record of three bells in the tower, of which one had disappeared by 1656 when John Hodson added three more to total five.

In 1797, Edward Hasted described the Farningham church as consisting of ‘one isle and a chancel, with a tower at the west end, in which there is a good ring of five bells. Near the west end stands an antient octagon stone font, with emblematical figures carved in each copartment; seven of these seem to represent the seven sacraments of the church of Rome; but the whole has been lately so daubed over with thick paint, that the beauty of it is entirely ruined’. The font referred to by Hasted is from the 15th century and shows the Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Counting clockwise from the side nearest the west window, the first three panels depict Confirmation, Penance and Holy Communion. The fourth also shows the administration of Holy Communion. The remaining four are Extreme Unction, Ordination, Matrimony and Baptism.

In 1871, the Victorian architect Ewan Christian restored the church and added the south-east chapel and north porch. Mears and Stainbank added a treble bell to make six in 1904.

Farningham Road railway station opened, on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s London Victoria to Dover mainline, with the through running from Canterbury to London section, on 3 December 1860…. More