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The church of St Cosmus and St Damian, Blean - - 752048.jpg
Church of St Cosmus and St Damian
Blean is located in Kent
Blean shown within Kent
Area 13.67 km2 (5.28 sq mi)
Population 5,589 (Civil Parish 2011)[1]
• Density 409/km2 (1,060/sq mi)
OS grid reference TR119608
Civil parish
  • St. Cosmus and St. Damian in the Blean
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CT2
Dialling code 01227
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°18′25″N 1°02′35″E / 51.307°N 1.043°E / 51.307; 1.043Coordinates: 51°18′25″N 1°02′35″E / 51.307°N 1.043°E / 51.307; 1.043

Blean is a village in the civil parish of St Cosmus and St Damian in the Blean,[2] in the Canterbury district of Kent, England. The large parish and the suburban developed village within it: the latter is scattered along the road between Canterbury and Whitstable, in the middle of the Forest of Blean and the parish is mostly woodland, much of which is ancient woodland.


According to Edward Hasted's 1800 county study, the village was once part of the king's ancient forest of Blean in the hundred of Westgate.[3]

The name Blean is the dative form of the Old English word ‘blea’ which means rough ground.[4][5] Therefore the name of the parish means "the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian (sic) in the rough ground."


The village has a druid woodland sculpture park, noted for its large sleeping dragon. The east of the village has a hall and recreation ground used for sports.

The parish church is about half a mile from the village centre. It is dedicated to St Cosmus and St Damian and emphasising some kind of descriptor of the land itself, has always been suffixed 'in the Blean'. It is a 13th-century building and Grade II* listed, the second highest designation in the national grading scheme.[6][7]

Veering towards the north of the village's main street is a pub; a post office is also in the village.


Blean is part of the electoral ward of Blean Forest. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 6,176.[8]


Blean's economy is closely tied to Canterbury and to a lesser extent, Whitstable. In television entertainment Smallfilms operates here the production company that created the animated series Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss and the Clangers, at Peter Firmin's barn on the Blean farm. The bay window of Firmin's house was featured in the opening sequence of Bagpuss.[9]


HMS Blean was named after the village's Blean Beagles hunt.

Possible use in literature[edit]

According to Douglas Adams's humorous dictionary The Meaning of Liff (1983), a "blean" is a "Scientific measure of luminosity: 1 glimmer = 100,000 bleans. Usherettes' torches are designed to produce between 2.5 and 4 bleans, enabling them to assist you in falling downstairs, treading on people or putting your hand into a Neapolitan tub when reaching for change".


  1. ^ Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ "Blean Parish Council – St.Cosmus and St.Damian in the Blean". Retrieved 6 July 2018. 
  3. ^ Hasted, Edward (1800). "Parishes". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Institute of Historical Research. 9: 2–7. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  4. ^ English, University of Nottingham - Institute of Name Studies School of. "Key to English Place-names". Retrieved 6 July 2018. 
  5. ^ "Blean Parish Council". 
  6. ^ "Church of St Cosmus and St Damian, St Cosmus and St Damian in the Blean". Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Cosmus and St Damian  (Grade II*) (1085522)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Blean Forest Ward population 2011". Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Bagpuss - See Emily Play". BBC. London. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 

External links[edit]