Kemsing is a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England. The parish lies on the scarp face of the North Downs, 20 miles south east of Central London, Template:Convert north east of Sevenoaks. Also in the parish are the hamlets of Heaverham, Template:Convert to the east, and Noah's Ark Template:Convert to the south. The population of the civil parish in 2001 was 4014 persons.
Kemsing was the birthplace, in AD961, of Saint Edith of Wilton, an illegitimate daughter of the Saxon King Edgar I. The well at the centre of the village is dedicated to her, a plaque on the wall recording the local legend that her saintly presence has given the water healing properties. The historic village centre area around the well includes the war memorial, a cluster of picturesque cottages and St. Edith's Hall, the front of which is adorned with a statue of the saint and a clock which chimes the hours and bears the inscription:
Each passing hour to tell.
To use it ill or well.
Given the village connection with St. Edith it is perhaps surprising that the parish church, Saxon in origin, is however dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. Another local legend states that the knights who murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket rode through Kemsing on their way to seek him out at Canterbury. Following his canonisation Kemsing became a stop-off place on the Pilgrims' Way, along which pilgrims travelled to visit the saint's shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. The Women's Institute organisation opened its first institute in Kent in Kemsing in December 1915. During the first world war St Edith Hall was used as a hospital and manned by the Kent Voluntary Aid Detachment. Wounded soldiers from the western front were returned to England and the hall at Kemsing was one of many facilities in the south east of England used during the war.<ref name="vad">VAD Hospital</ref>
The main roads in the village are West End, Dynes Road and Childsbridge Lane. Along West End can be found a motor repairs garage, a 'best one' convenience store, a chemist, a post office, a hairdressers, a veterinary surgery and St. Edith's Social Club. At the end of Dynes Road there is a newsagent, a 'premier' convenience store, a hairdressers, three takeaway restaurants including Chinese, Indian and fish and chips. and a post office, which are all collectively known as Dynes Parade.
West End was the location of two public houses, the Bell and the Wheatsheaf, sited directly opposite each other. On 3 June 2011 the Wheatsheaf suffered a serious fire, leaving the Bell as the only public house in the village. The Wheatsheaf was demolished in October 2012 to make way for three private dwellings.
Further to the east at Heaverham is the Chequers.
One mile (2 km) south-east of the village lies Kemsing railway station. The M26 motorway passes through the parish. Between the motorway and the station lies the area of Kemsing known as Noah's Ark.
Kemsing is a key stopping-off point on the North Downs Way which runs north of the village along the ridge of the Downs.
The village lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Kemsing Down Reserve, managed by Kemsing Parish Council and Sevenoaks District Council, lies above the village on the North Downs. It is reached from Childsbridge Lane, and is an area of chalk grassland.
To the east of the village is the large open space known as The Common Field, used for cricket and football, and the Sir Mark Collet Sports Pavilion, with tennis and squash courts.
The cricket club has been in existence probably since the early 20th Century, though no records can be found to establish a firm date. Matches were played in The Cricketing Field, close to the current site before WW1. The Common Field was given to the Parish in October 1923 by Sir Mark Collet, with football and cricket being played there after that. The cricketers did use other parts of the village between 1945 and the late 1950s, but the new (current) pavilion was built in 1987, with a new square also being laid, which has been used since that time. It is a lovely village ground with great off-field facilities and the wicket is truly excellent.
Kemsing has its own Police Community Support Officer and Neighbourhood Officers as well as being covered by regular police patrols. Neighbourhood Officers hold frequent consultations with residents and Kent Police. Crime in the Kemsing fell by 31 percent in the period 2010-2011.
In 2011 well dressing was introduced to the village.
- Kemsing Parish Council
- An article on the village
- St Mary's church
- Kemsing Down Reserve Heritage Centre
- Kemsing Sports Association
- The Story of Kemsing in Kent V.E.Bowden, 1994, Kemsing Historical and Art Society, ISBN 0-9504703-2-5