Barham Downs

History Society

The area is recognised as one of outstanding natural beauty, comprising four principal village parishes, their associated hamlets and adjoining areas:-  


Situated 4 miles S.E. of Canterbury

Grid reference TR189528

Population: 257

Parish church: St. Mary


Richard Hooker was the Rector of Bishopsbourne from 1595 to 1600.

He played a significant part in the development of Anglicanism, championing a 'middle way' between Puritanism and Catholicism.

His 8-volume work 'The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity' was partly written in the Rectory at Bishopsbourne. After his death, he was buried in the Chancel of the church, and a memorial to him was provided by William Cowper.

‘Oswalds’, the house of author Joseph Conrad, still stands and the village hall is called ‘Conrad Hall’ in his honour.

The author Jocelyn Brooke lived in a house called ‘Forge House’, just opposite the village hall.

Photographic pioneer Joseph Bancroft Reade was rector from 1863 until his death in 1870, and is buried at St Mary's Church.

Richard Hooker