godmersham-info

Godmersham

Godmersham is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, England. The village is located on the Great Stour River where it cuts through the North Downs. It is four miles (6.4 km) north-east of Ashford on the A28 road midway between Ashford and Canterbury in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the North Downs Way and Pilgrims’ Way traversing the parish.

The parish includes both Godmersham village itself, and Bilting. It shares many of its activities with the neighbouring parish of Crundale, a smaller parish to the east.

The ancient parish church is dedicated to St Lawrence the Martyr, it is part Saxon, part 12th-century (Norman), and was restored in 1864, it contains a carving considered to be one of the earliest representations of Thomas Becket.

Godmersham Park House was built in 1732, and eventually became the property of Edward Knight, brother of Jane Austen. Her novel Pride and Prejudice is said to depict characters and scenes from the village.

The first known record of Godmersham was AD824 when Beornwulf, King of Mercia, gave Godmersham to Wulfred, Archbishop of Canterbury. The village also is recorded in the Domesday Book. Bilting is thought to be even older.

Although a significant number of residents work on the land, in more recent times the area has become largely a dormitory for people who work in Ashford, Canterbury and further afield. Many commute to London by train from nearby Wye station. The village school in The Street closed in 1946 and the shop/post office in 1982. It is many years since there was a public house in the village consequently Godmersham is one of a few “dry” parishes in the country.

• Samuel Pegge, Antiquarian, was a vicar here for twenty years from 1730.