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The History of Kent

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History of Hawkinge

Hawkinge comes from the Northumbrian word ‘hafoc’ meaning a ‘hawk’ with ‘ing’ relating to a ‘place, settlement’; therefore, a ‘place frequented by hawks’.

Hawkinge parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Michael. The Normans built it in the late 11th or early 12th century, with additions and extensions in the next 100 years. In 1799, Edward Hasted described St Michael’s church as standing on the ‘edge or knoll of a steep hill, open and exposed to the south west for a great space of country. It is a long narrow building, consisting of one isle, unceiled, and a chancel. It is but meanly built of flints, having a low wooden pointed turret, on the roof at the west end, in which there is one bell’. The Victorians restored it in 1875, although old Hawkinge church became redundant in 1980, and sold as a private residence.

In 1876, the parishioners built a second church in Hawkinge, dedicated to Saint Luke, and although destroyed by fire they rebuilt it and added extensions.

In 1915, the Royal Flying Corp (RFC), found a suitable location for an airfield near to the channel on land, near
Hawkinge, owned by Lord Radnor. Within a few months, crews from the RFC arrived, as did hangers and tents. Ironically, the locals knew the field as ‘Megones’ - named after a Dutchman who had attempted to build an aircraft in it. The base officially closed in September 1945, although it continued for a short while as a gliding school and then a WAAF training school….more