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History of Stone near Dartford

Stone comes from the Old English word ‘stān’ meaning a ‘stone, rock’. The Domesday Book chronicles Stone as Estanes, and the Textus Roffensis as Stantune and Stanes.

Stone parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the virgin. There is evidence of a Saxon chapel on the site in 970AD. Masons from Westminster Abbey rebuilt the church around 1260, with additions and extensions made up to the 16th century. There is a record of five bells in 1552, which Queen Elizabeth I described as her ‘Nightingales’, because of their sweet sound. Lightning struck in 1638 with the ensuing fire melting the bells, destroying the spire and nave roof. In 1676, John and Christopher Hodson cast and hung a bell in the newly restored church. Henry Draper donated another bell in 1691.

Edward Hasted wrote of the Stone church in his topographical survey of 1797 that it ‘is a beautiful structure, consisting of a nave, with two side isles and a chancel; it is spacious and lofty, the windows large and regular, and for symmetry and proportion, it may justly be esteemed the finest piece of Gothic architecture in the diocese. It has a large square tower at the west end of it, in which hang five bells. It had formerly a spire steeple on it, which was so far damaged by lightning, in 1638, that is was taken down. The chancel has a double roof, and though now of great height, seems once to have been still higher; it is ornamented on both sides with antient stalls, curiously carved, and is adorned, as well as the church, with pilasters of brown marble. The whole has been lately, at a great expence, new cieled, and the different parts of it repaired and ornamented. At the east end of the north side was once a handsome vestry, which has been long since in ruins. The north door is curiously wrought with zig-zagornaments and mouldings. Adjoining to the church was a beautiful chapel, built by Sir John Wiltshire, of Stone-place, which has lain in ruins for upwards of seventy years; about which time, a large passage was broke, through the midst of the pavement, into the vault underneath, wherein were the remains of the coffins of Sir John Wiltshire and his lady, with the bones scattered about. Their monument, which was most costly and curious, was erected against the north wall of it, near the east end’. It should be noted that he incorrectly refers to five bells.

George Edmund Street undertook the restoration in 1859, and also completed the unfinished lavish 13th century work. In 2010, Whitechapel hung Six bells, obtained from St Paul’s Hommerton, having recast the tenor, with the dedication in the following January…. more

Stone Crossing railway station started life as a ‘halt’ on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway’s North Kent Line on 2 November 1908. Later in the 20th century Stone Crossing became a fully fledge station…. more