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The History of Kent

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History of Hastingleigh

Hastingleigh comes from the Old English ‘ingas’ meaning the 'people of, people called after’ with ‘lēah’ as a ‘forest, wood, glade’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘wood/clearing of the people of Hæsta’. The Domesday Book records Hastingleigh as Hastingelai.

Hastingleigh parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built it in the 11th century, although they rebuilt the chancel and tower in the 13th century. The Tudors covered the wall murals in the 16th Century, although partially uncovered in 1966. Following the plague, the village relocated, leaving the church isolated. In 1799, Edward Hasted, described St Mary’s church as consisting of ‘two isles and a chancel, having a square tower steeple at the west end of the south isle, in which is only one bell. The chancel, which is at the end of the north isle, is nearly of the same length with it. The two isles and tower seem very antient, and the chancel much antienter still, having small narrow windows, and several circular arches or door-ways in the outside walls, now walled up’. The Victorians carried out a heavy restoration of the Hastingleigh church in the 1880’s.