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(The First Victoria Cross)
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
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.
| 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
| Mereworth is surrounded by hop fields and the whole area
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.