West Kent Parish Gazetteer
This on-line West Kent Parish Gazetteer is based on the much more comprehensive version to be found in the Society's publication West Kent Sources, a Guide to Family and Local History Research in the Diocese of Rochester (3rd edition, 1998), see also the Publications List).
Coverage is limited to churches built before c1910 or parishes created before that date; further details on gazetteer coverage are given below.
This on-line version includes a photograph of each ancient parish church, as well as of many Victorian churches. There are currently 268 church photos.
To see information on a place, click on its name in the table below. The main alphabetical arrangement is by ancient parish, i.e. respecting the boundaries as they existed c1832, the same as in Phillimores "Atlas & Index of Parish Registers". The ancient parishes are the entries with a star preceding them in the table below. Some places which are now quite sizeable towns were not ancient parishes, such as Sidcup, Swanley and Tunbridge Wells. These have their own gazetteer pages, with a list of their own churches and a reference back to the parish(es) from which they were originally split.
All of the Parish Register data has been reconfigured by the NWKFHS 'Web Team' in 2017.
The geographical coverage includes all the parishes found within the original boundaries of the diocese of Rochester, i.e. those prevailing up to 1845. Until this date the diocese extended from the River Thames in the north and the Surrey border in the west to Sussex in the south and to a boundary in the east approximating to the River Medway.
The following is a guide to the headings used on each Parish page:
- Map Reference This is the Ordnance Survey national grid reference.
- 1841 Population This has been taken from the published census reports, and gives some idea of the likely size of parish registers, census returns etc.
- Hundred Gives the name of hundred to which the parish belonged in the early 19th century.
- Poor Law Union / Registration District The Registration District shown for each parish in the Gazetteer relates to the 19th century; some of the boundaries changed after the 1930s
- Probate Jurisdiction The Gazetteer shows for each parish the church court(s) where wills were normally proved prior to 1858.
- Churches and Chapels Only those churches established before c1910 are listed in the Gazetteer, and all 19th century foundations are shown under the ancient parish from which they were originally split. The start date is given of original surviving registers, and an indication of where they are held.
For many of the non-conformist chapels we have been unable to establish whether registers have survived, or if so, where they are now held. These chapels have been included for the sake of completeness, with the words No Information. For the sources used in compiling the Gazetteer pages, see Sources.
Parish Gazetteer Sources
No single published source provides for west Kent the full details of parish administrative geography, the church buildings, and the location/dates of surviving registers. This information has been compiled from the following main sources:
|Frederic A. Youngs||'Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England', Vol I: Southern England'||Royal Historical Society, 1979||The definitive source for the history of civil and ecclesiastical parishes, including dates of all creations, abolitions etc. But no maps, and no coverage of Roman Catholic parishes etc.|
|Cecil Humphery-Smith||'The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers'||3rd edn., Phillimore, 2003||Provides a base map of the layout of ancient parishes, i.e. as they existed c1832. Later parish creations are not described or mapped.|
|Roger J.P. Kain & Richard R. Oliver||'Historic Parishes of England and Wales: An Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata'||History Data Service, Colchester, 2001||Includes a set of CD's containing detailed maps of the civil parish boundaries as they existed c.1850 overlaid on to an Ordnance Survey base map (1" New Popular Edn., 1945-48). More detailed and geographically accurate than Phillimores.|
|Nikolaus Pevsner (founding editor)||'The Buildings of England':||Penguin, 1983||Covers all surviving buildings of any significance. Disadvantages are that many smaller chapels are omitted, and demolished churches are rarely mentioned except in the occasional footnote. The two volumes overlap in their coverage but both are required to cover the whole of west Kent.|
|London 2: South|
|'The Buildings of England':||2nd edn., Penguin, 1976|
|West Kent and the Weald|
|Roger Homan||'The Victorian Churches of Kent'||Phillimore, 1984||Includes a gazetteer of all churches and chapels built between 1818 and 1901, regardless of whether they survive or not. Ancient parish churches are omitted as they fall outside the criteria, unless rebuilt within that period. No details of parish administrative history, or of surviving registers.|
|[Stanford]||'London Parish Map'||London Topographical Society Publication No.155, 1999||Stanford's map of the Ecclesiastical Divisions within the county of London, 1903. A very useful reprint, and the only easily accessible source for ecclesiastical parish boundaries (Ordnance Survey maps have never shown these). But only covers the inner London area, i.e. out as far as Lewisham, Eltham, Plumstead - the old LCC boundary.|
|Cliff Webb||'Genealogical Research in Victorian London'||West Surrey Family History Society, 1991||Reproduces boundaries from the 1903 map (above), and also gives covering dates and location of all known surviving parish registers. Useful for the Kent parishes within the LCC boundary (doesn't extend as far as the 1965 GLC boundary).|
|'Genealogical Research in late Victorian and Edwardian London'||West Surrey Family History Society, 1994|
|[Kent Archives]||'Handlist of Parish Registers and Transcripts'||Kent County Archives Service, 1997||Details of original parish registers and transcripts held at the Centre for Kentish Studies (Maidstone), Medway Local Studies Centre, etc. Also gives microfilm coverage.|