Lenham Cross on the Downs
St. Mary's Church, Lenham
Church Square, Lenham

Lenham is a market village and civil parish in Kent situated on the southern edge of the North Downs, halfway between Maidstone and Ashford. The picturesque square in the village has two public houses (one of which is a hotel), a couple of restaurants, and a tea-room. Lenham has a population of 3,370 according to the 2011 Census.[1]

Lenham railway station is on the Maidstone East Line.

The village is at the main source of the Great Stour and the Stour Valley Walk starts here, heading to Ashford and on to Canterbury and the English Channel near Sandwich. It is also the source of the River Len, which flows in a westerly direction to join the River Medway at Maidstone.


Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Lenham market dates back to 1088, when the village was an important crossroad settlement. Technically the fact that Lenham is allowed a market, makes it a town but the community have always desired to maintain its village status.

The High Street has a number of listed buildings. [2]

Mary Honywood was born in Lenham. When she died in Essex at the age of 93, she had 367 living descendants.

The Pilgrims' Way/North Downs Way passes along the downland ridge to the north of Lenham. Between this ridge and the village lies a 200-foot (61 m) chalk cross carved into the scarp slope. First constructed in 1922, to remember those who fell in the Great War, and fully restored in 1994, the cross now commemorates the dead of both world wars. To avoid its use as a navigation aid by the Luftwaffe, the cross was filled in between 1939 and May 1945.

On 27 August 1950, Lenham, along with the village of Harvel, was one of the signal receiving points (between Calais and London) of the first-ever live television pictures from the continent.


The parish church of St Mary was rebuilt in the 14th century after fire had destroyed its predecessor.[3] It and the nearby Tithe Barn are Grade I listed buildings.[4][5] From 1876 to his death in 1903, the vicar of the church was Charles Nepean,[6] who played for Oxford University A.F.C. in the 1874 FA Cup Final.[7] Nepean also played cricket for Middlesex.[8]

There is a primary school, Lenham Primary and a secondary school, Swadelands School, at Lenham. A pair of cottages in Lenham had to be demolished to make way for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Maidstone Line). They were dismantled and re-erected at the Museum of Kent Life, Sandling.

A local kit car firm GKD Sports Cars has its workshop based in Lenham and its main base in Boughton Monchelsea. Also in Lenham is an old pharmacy which is famous for its discovery of a Saxon soldier body and weapons.

See also


  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. "Listed Buildings in Lenham, Kent, England". British Listed Buildings.
  3. "Lenham - St. Mary's Church". Kent Resources. 2001. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  4. Historic England. "Church of St Mary (1086103)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  5. Historic England. "Barn circa 40 yards North West of Court Lodge (1116543)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  6. "Rev. C. E. B. Nepean". Obituaries in 1903. Wisden. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  7. "The Association Challenge Cup". The Times (27951). London. 16 March 1874. col E, p. 5.
  8. "Charles Edward Burroughs Nepean". Middlesex cricketers. Cricket Archive. Retrieved 18 February 2011.

Media related to Lenham at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°14′15″N 0°42′58″E / 51.23744°N 0.71610°E / 51.23744; 0.71610

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