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    Mereworth
(The First Victoria Cross)


Name Derivation

General Details

Mereworth pronounced Merryworth is a small village lying just off the current A26 Maidstone to Tonbridge road. It lies between the villages of Wateringbury and West Peckham near the crossing of Seven Mile lane with the A26.

The manor was owned by William Shosmith in the mid 1400's, who was a warden of the Skinners Company of London, and his tomb has one of the earliest representations of the guild. (The tomb was moved when the church relocated see below). In the late 1400's the manor was owned by the Bergavenny (later Abergavenny) family and the Neville family.
In the early 1700's the Honorable John Fane who was later to become the Earl of Westmoreland inherited the manor of Mereworth. He decided that the manor was too small, and had a mansion built to a design by Colen Campbell, in the Palladian style. Mereworth Castle overlooked the old village, which was to the south east of its current location. Because the mansion overlooked the village, John Fane moved the village to where it couldn't be seen from the estate, about 1/2 mile to the north west. He also demolished the old church and built a brand new one again in the Palladian style in the new village.

In 1755 it is said that John Fane entertained Prince Charles Edward the Young Pretender at Mereworth Castle, which is where he held the last Jacobite council.

The Baltic War in 1854 brought Charles Lucas the very first Victoria Cross. Charles was later to be known as Rear Admiral Charles Lucas . He was onboard HMS Hecla under bombardment from the batteries at Bomarsund in Finland, when a shell hit the ship with its fuze still burning. He picked it up and threw it overboard where it exploded, due to this brave deed HMS Hecla survived.

During the Second World War the steeple of the church was damaged due to its proximity to West Malling airfield, the damaged steeple was then restored during 1946-47.


Services

Mereworth has the usual small village services. Its nearest main shopping centre is in Maidstone, about 5 miles to the east.

The Maidstone to Tonbridge bus service passes through the village, and the nearest main line trains run from Paddock Wood about 5 miles south. The M20 motorway is accessible 4 miles to the north at Wrotham Heath.


Views

Mereworth is surrounded by hop fields and the whole area is agricultural.

The church is very magnificent , being built in the palladian style during the early 1700's from local stone. It is most unusual in its design, and has an ornate interior, and also many tombs relocated from the old church.

 
       
 
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