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The History of Kent

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History of Littlebourne

Littlebourne comes from the Old English ‘burna’ meaning a ‘river’ - in this instance the Little Stour – with ‘lytel’ as ‘little, small’; therefore, a ‘little part of the estate called Burna’. Several parishes and estates on the Little Stour river share the name ‘Burna’ - Bekesbourne, Bishopsbourne and Patrixbourne - and as Littlebourne split away first, it is thus ‘little’ in comparison with the then intact remainder of the estate. The Domesday Book chronicles Littlebourne as Liteburne.

Littlebourne parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Vincent, - Spain’s first Christian martyr. The Normans built the church early in the 12th century, with much rebuilding and extending in the 100 years that followed. Around 1550, an unknown founder added a bell to the one already in the tower. Robert Mot cast a bell in 1597, with Joseph Hatch adding another in 1610, and in 1650, William Hatch hung a tenor. In 1800, Edward Hasted described St Vincent’s church as consisting of ‘three isles and a chancel, having at the west end a low pointed steeple, in which hang five bells. The church is kept very neat. It is a good sized building, and is handsomely ceiled. The chancel is lostly, and has four narrow lancet windows on each side, and three at the end; in the former are the remains of good painted glass, and in the latter some years ago were the seven sacraments, &c. very handsomely done, with rich borders, but they have been some few years since removed’. The Victorians heavily restored the chancel in 1865 and added a new south porch in 1896. Charles Carr added a treble in 1900 to complete six bells…. more