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The History of Kent

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History of Shipbourne

Shipbourne comes from the Anglian word ‘scēp’ meaning a ‘sheep’ with the Old English ‘burna’ for a ‘stream’; therefore, a ‘sheep stream’. The Textus Roffensis records Shipbourne as Scriburna.

Shipbourne parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Giles. An unknown designer constructed it in the 14th century. In 1420, an unknown founder cast and hung a bell. In 1585, Giles Reve added a bell, with Stephen Swan casting another in 1614, and John Wilnar making it four in 1633. In 1722 James Gibbs, completely rebuilt the Shipbourne church. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Giles church as being ‘a neat fabric. It was entirely rebuilt from the ground by the bounty of Christopher, lord Barnard, in the beginning of this century. It was antiently esteemed as a chapel to the church of Tunbridge, and paid six-pence chrism rent to the mother church of the diocese’. In 1880, Maun and Saunders rebuilt the church. In the same year, T C Lewis recast the four bells into a ring of six.