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The Parish of Eythorne

The earliest reference to Eythorne dates from the 9th Century; Haegythethorne – Thorn tree of a woman called Haehgyth.  By the 16th century Eythorne was the location of one of the first (if not the first) Baptist Chapels in England and a focus in the district. The martyr, Joan Botcher or Bourchier, better known as Joan of Kent, worshipped in Eythorne before being burned at the stake on 2nd May 1550.

The Parish of Eythorne consists of 3 separate villages, Eythorne, Elvington and Barfrestone. The Parish is situated approximately 6 miles from Dover and about 10 miles from Canterbury and has approximately 2,000 residents.

Eythorne is a village of two halves, Lower and Upper Eythorne, the dividing line being the East Kent Railway line which crosses Shooters Hill. This privately owned railway, managed and run by volunteers, operates between Shepherdswell and Eythorne. The village has 2 churches, St Peter and St Pauls on Church Hill and the Baptist Chapel on Chapel Hill. The village also has a primary school, a village shop and Post Office, a garage and the Crown Public House. The playing field has play and fitness equipment and a Teen Shelter.

Elvington was originally a ‘Pit Village’ and the houses were built for the miners and their families. Miners walked from Elvington to Tilmanstone Colliery where work began in 1906. The first of more than 20 million tons of coal was extracted in 1913. The pit closed in 1986. Elvington has a Community Centre, a recreation ground and Multi Use Games Area.  An allotment area is located adjacent to Adelaide Road.  There is a Sports Pavilion which is run by the Tilmanstone Miners’ Welfare Institute. Elvington sits astride the Roman Way, along which centurions marched on the way to Londinium.

Barfrestone is a small hamlet; it has a tiny Norman church, complete with its internationally famous door carvings and bell in the adjacent yew tree. The church is one of the oldest in Kent dating back to the 11th century.