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Things to do in Stansted, Kent

Awaiting photographs of Stansted

The village of Stansted in Kent is ten miles west of Maidstone and within a mile of both the M20 and the A20. It is frequently confused with Stansted International Airport which actually is 50 miles north in Essex.

The name Stansted, sometimes spelt Stanstead, means "stony place". The parish council was formed in 1892 and covers Stansted and neighbouring Fairseat. The area has changed very little since. The parish currently has 400 registered electors.

St Mary's Parish Church existed in 1312 as it was recorded that John de Hynton took refuge in it. Early records show there was a chapel on the site in the early 12th century although the current building probably replaced it in the 13th century. The church records date back to 1564.

The church was restored in 1883. It has a peal of six bells. One is dated pre-reformation and is inscribed in Latin His name is John. It is thought to be the oldest bell in the area. A second bell is engraved William Hatch made me in 1656.

In the churchyard is a yew tree which is thought to be 1700 years old. There are also some old gravestones one of which is dated 1715. One gravestone belongs to author and composer William Edward Hickson (1803-1870) whose words feature in the English national anthem.

Sir Sydney Waterlow, politician and philanthropist, was also buried in Stansted churchyard in 1906. He was a commissioner at the Crystal Palace Exhibition and was director of the Union Bank of London. He became Lord Mayor of London in 1872.

One of the oldest buildings in Stansted is the Grade II listed South Ash Manor which dates back to the 16th century. It is built of red brick with a timber frame above. It was built by the Hodsall family who lived there until the 19th century.

Present Day Stansted

Stansted is set on top of the undulating hills of the North Downs with lovely views towards the Thames Estuary and the Weald. On a clear day, Canada Tower can be seen far away at London's Canary Wharf.

The village has a primary school which began in 1874 with 44 pupils of all ages. In 1899, the donation of a curtain separated the infants from the juniors. By 2005, the Victorian schoolroom and its mobile classrooms were finally replaced with a modern school building which currently has 90 pupils.

As well as the school, Stansted has a village hall for local meetings and social gatherings. The Morris Dancers are one such local group and the Stansted group was one of the first to resurrect the ancient dance in 1934. There is a recreation ground and a children's play area nearby.

The local pub, the Black Horse, is privately owned and serves real ales and traditional meals. It also has a separate Thai restaurant.

Stansted village has been used as a film location for an Eastenders TV storyline.

Things to do in Stansted

The area around Stansted is ideal for peaceful walks and outdoor pursuits. It has miles of footpaths and bridleways which meander throughout the parish and across the North Downs. The Pilgrims Way and the North Downs Way both pass nearby.

Brands Hatch Motor Race Track is three miles north of Stansted and frequently has race days and events.

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