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History of Kingston

IN THE BEGINNING

The Parish of Kingston would originally have been an estate of the King. The village is not mentioned in Doomsday, so it must have been the outlier of a more important place. Such an estate would have been Lyminster, which had long been in royal hands and had a large population living in several villages. The Parishes of Kingston together with Wick were acquired by Tewkesbury Abbey, early in the 12th century. The Parish of Kingston used to extend further south than it does today before it fell victim to the long-standing problem of coastal erosion and the Great Storm.

 

THE LOST CHAPEL

Erosion of the coastline in the area has always been a problem and off Kingston Gorse, and seen at very low tide, are some rocks which some speculate are the remains of the Chapel that once served the old settlement of Kingston, before being lost to the sea. It is believed that the remains of the Chapel were dismantled to build the new Ferring Church much further inland. The poor state of the Chapel was mentioned in a church inspection book in 1602, and in 1626 the Chapel was abandoned to the sea. In 1635 it was noted in a survey that only the churchyard still remained.

 

THE GREAT STORM

The old Chapel had already been lost for some years when the Great Storm of 27th November 1703 destroyed the whole village, as well as a number of others along the coast. It was this same storm that washed away the Eddystone Lighthouse and where a number of capital ships of the Royal Navy were driven onto the Goodwin Sands and sucked down into the quicksand with tremendous loss of life.

 

THE OLD SETTLEMENT

The settlement of Kingston was in Kingston Street, now known as Peak Lane. It is not known if the settlement extended as far South as the lost Chapel. It would appear that the only parish road was the Street, running directly north from the sea through the village, past West Kingston to East Preston. This road was later moved away from West Kingston House and a corner made turning towards East Kingston so that now Peak Lane is a separate road. In East Kingston a lane to the sea was a change in the 1800's, serving the signal station and lighthouse cottages.