About Chartham Parish
The Civil Parish of Chartham, Kent is situated 3 miles from Canterbury and 11 miles from Ashford, within the District of Canterbury City Council. The population at the 2001 census was 4941.
Chartham is a large Parish covering 25 square kilometres. Only about 5 square kilometres are built up, the remainder being farmland and woodland, much of which adjoins the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The parish consists of five separate settlements:
THE ‘VILLAGE’ area developed near the river. It is centred around the 13th century church of St. Mary, The Green and Rattington Street, spreading out to Parish Road and Bolts Hill.
SHALMSFORD STREET on the western edge of the parish comprises two sections. The lower end, from the River Stour to Bolts Hill, is the older, original settlement. The upper section and the roads off are mainly comprised of post World War II developments.
MYSTOLE, near the boundary with Chilham, developed around the original 16th century grand mansion with its farms and parkland.
CHARTHAM HATCH – a hilltop settlement approximately one mile to the north of the centre of Chartham and separated from it by the busy A28 Ashford Road.
ST AUGUSTINE’S – the newest and largest development, consisting of 500 homes, built on the site of the former St. Augustine’s Hospital.
Houses are of mixed age and style – early manor houses, Tudor, Victorian, pre-war and post-war semi-detached, bungalows, and modern executive. Many of the older buildings are classified as “Listed”.
Over the years three housing estates have developed:- at the top of Shalmsford Street, Rentain Road and The Hyde, at Bolts Hill.
The recent development at St Augustine’s, Chartham Downs, numbers around 500 dwellings and offers a mixture of houses, apartments and flats.
Shalmsford Court, Shalmsford Street, offers flats for the over 60’s with pull cords connected to Canterbury City Councils lifeline service for emergencies 24hrs a day and a Scheme Manager who can help with housing related queries and giving advice and information. Shalmsford Court is managed by East Kent Housing.
The character of the parish of Chartham is that of a thriving community which still retains its rural atmosphere and setting. Although comprised of five scattered settlements, each with its individual characteristics, this does not detract from its overall community spirit. Together each settlement contributes to the local distinctiveness of an active, self-contained community, surrounded by open spaces, farms and woodland.
CHARTHAM lies in the valley of the Great Stour and has developed with farming, spreading up the sides of the valley. This was mainly arable, orchards and hops, with woodland on the higher ground. There has been extensive gravel extraction for local flint, much in demand in the building industry, particularly for enhancement, as it changes to several different shades under a baking process. These gravel extractions have left lakes and reinstated meadows. The river was once used for powering water mills for grinding corn, softening cloth for the weaving industry and, since the 18th century, for papermaking. The paper mill is still a working feature of the parish.
The heart of the parish developed near the river around the 13th century parish church of St Mary. This cruciform church contains many notable features including a continuous timber roof structure with long scissor beams. At the centre crossing is a carved boss. The church windows contain fine glass of the 13th century as well as good Victorian examples. Of great merit is the brass of Sir Robert de Septvans, who died in 1306, one of the most important brasses in the country. The tower contains a ring of six bells, the five largest, cast in 1605, are recognised as one of the oldest complete ring by the same founder.
The Green and Rattington Street close by contain many architectural gems from The Artichoke Inn, (14th century or earlier) through to Georgian and Victorian eras.