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The History of Kent

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History of Mereworth

Mereworth (pronounced Merryworth) comes from the Old English ‘worð’ meaning an ‘enclosure, enclosed settlement’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Mæra’s enclosure’. The Domesday Book chronicles Mereworth as Marourde.

Mereworth parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Lawrence. The Normans built the first church, in the 12th century, on the site of a Saxon chapel. John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland, rebuilt it on a site 1km northwest of its predecessor. John Wilcocks, Bishop of Rochester dedicated the new building on 14 August 1746. Although, the architect is unknown, it is likely to be from the offices of Colin Campbell – designer of nearby Mereworth Castle. Joseph Eayre cast a ring of six bells for the new St Lawrence’s. The church underwent repairs in 1770. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Lawrence’s as a ‘most elegant building, with a beautiful spire steeple, and a handsome portico in the front of it, with pillars of the Corinthian order. The whole of it is composed of different sorts of stone; and the east window is handsomely glazed with painted glass, collected by him for this purpose’. Damage to the tower and spire incurred during WWII resulted in repairs, in 1946…. more

Mereworth Castle is a Grade: I listed building and built in 1736, by Colin Campbell for John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland. Campbell constructed it as an almost exact replica of Palladio’s Villa Rotunda, on the site of the existing fortified house, which King Edward III licensed in 1332. To make way for the flanking pavilions, stable block and gardens, Fane demolished the church and moved Mereworth village 1km to the northwest, providing the villagers with new houses.