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History of Newenden

Newenden comes from the Old English ‘denn’ meaning ‘woodland pasture’ and ‘niwe’ as ‘new’; therefore, a ‘new woodland pasture’. The Domesday Book chronicles Newenden as Newedene.

Newenden parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter. The Normans built the first church in the 12th century although rebuilt it 200 years later, with a new nave and aisle. The towers instability resulted in demolition, together with the chancel in 1700. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Peter’s church as ‘formerly much larger, but becoming very ruinous in 1700, a faculty was procured from the archbishop for the parishioners, to take wholly away the steeple and chancel, and that they might put the body of the church only in repair, and build a turret upon the top of it, to hang up one of the bells in; and that they might fell the other two bells, with the materials of timber and stone remaining after they had made such repairs. All which was soon afterwards done; so that the church is now very small, about sixty feet long, consisting of one isle, and a very narrow one on the north side of it. The chancel is a small room, about eight feet square, on the south side very dark, having the altar-rails across it, being very mean, and unfitting for the purpose. There is a fine old stone, font, standing on four stone pillars, with capitals of flowers and antient Saxon ornaments round the top. Over the porch of the church was a room, with iron grates to the windows, called the gaol, and was so to the jurisdiction of the township. It was taken down about eighteen years ago, by order of the archdeacon’. In 1859, the architect G M Hills rebuilt the tower, although the congregation waited until 1930 for the chancel to be restored.