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The History of Kent

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History of Milstead

Milstead probably comes from the Old ‘middel’ meaning ‘middle’ with ‘stede’ as a ‘place, site’; therefore, ‘middle place’.

Milstead parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary and the Holy Cross. The Normans built it in the 12th Century, and extending it in the 13th century, by the lengthening of the chancel and adding the north and south chapels that only go half the length of the chancel. A 15th Century tower completed the ensemble. In the 15th century, an unknown founder cast and hung two bells in the newly constructed tower. In 1440, William Chamberlain added a tenor. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as ‘small, and consists of one isle and one chancel, with a low square tower at the west end of it, in which hang three bells. On the north side is another small chancel’. In 1872, the architect William Butterfield restored and enlarged the Milstead church. He rebuilt the chapels and chancel windows. The nave windows he beautified with `Butterfield dumplings` created by cutting away the plaster like a pie crust to reveal the stonework underneath.

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