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History of Preston-next-Faversham

Preston–next-Faversham comes from the Old English ‘prēost’ meaning a ‘priest’ with ‘tūn’ as an ‘enclosure, a farmstead, a village’; therefore, ‘farm/settlement of the priest’s’. The suffix ‘next-Faversham’ distinguishes it from Preston-near-Wingham.

Originally, the area took its name from the principal manor house, Coppanstan, later abbreviated to Copton. After the manor transferred to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the early 9th Century, it became known as Preostantun – farm/settlement of the priests. Until the Reformation, Preston belonged to the Monks of Christ Church, Canterbury.

Preston parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. In the 13th Century, a stone building replaced the wooden Saxon church, which had occupied the site since the 9th Century. The Norman building consisted of a nave and chancel with no aisle, although possibly, a bell turret at the western end of the nave. From simple beginnings, it grew over the next 300 years with lancet windows in the north and south walls, a tower on the south of the nave and the addition of a south aisle. In 1575, Robert Doddes cast and hung a bell in the tower. An unknown founder – possible Waylett or Knight – added a tenor bell in 1725.

In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Catherine’s church as ‘small, consisting of an isle and a chancel, with another chancel on the south side. The steeple, which is a low pointed one, in which are three bells, stands in the middle of the south side’. In 1853, John Warner added a treble to complete three bells. Also in 1853, the architect R C Hussey, under the direction of the vicar James Peto, carried out a heavy restoration involving demolition and replacement of much of the medieval fabric. In addition, Mr Austin, the architect of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, restored the sedilia and designed the East Window - originally meant for Canterbury Cathedral. In 1867, James Peto further enlarged the church by building the north aisle, porch, and adding a new spire…. more

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