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Bearsted, Holy Cross Churchyard
Maidstone Borough
Kent  England

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Cemetery notes and/or description:
Bearsted (pronounced Bare-sted) is an ancient village and civil parish in mid-Kent, three miles to the east of Maidstone.There was a settlement here in Anglo-Saxon times and it derives its name from Berghamstyde or Beghstede meaning ‘the homestead on the hill'. The original village site was on the north bank of the River Len, a tributary of the River Medway, and at the foot of the North Downs; both the ancient Pilgrims' Way and the modern North Downs Way run along the North Downs north of the village.The parish church, tucked away at the end of Church Lane is dedicated to the Holy Cross. On three corners of its tower are stone beasts, once generally supposed to be bears (appropriate enough for a village called Bearsted), they are now more usually supposed to represent a lion, a panther, and a griffin. According to local legend, one night of every year the three creatures come down off the tower and stretch their legs in the churchyard before taking up their posts again. In the churchyard is the ground-level stump of a Canadian cypress tree which was known as the Mourning Tree. The stump is carved with the date, 1996, when the tree was felled and in the angle formed by two paths that went round it there is a tablet inscribed: 'This tree marks the grave of John Dyke, who was hanged for rick burning in 1830 at the last public hanging at nearby Penenden Heath. The cricket ground on the green is said to be one of the oldest in Kent and it is surrounded by picturesque old houses. Stone quarrying was an important local industry in the 16th century. (text by Geoffrey Gillon)
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Bearsted, Holy Cross Churchyard
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Bearsted, Holy Cross Churchyard
Added by: geoffrey gillon
Bearsted, Holy Cross Churchyard
Added by: geoffrey gillon
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