St Mildred's Church, Preston
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Preston or Preston-next-Wingham is a civil parish and village in valley of the Little Stour in the Dover District of Kent, England. The village is on the B2076 secondary road. The parish includes the hamlet of Elmstone. The main river through the area is a tributary of the River Stour. The suffix 'next-Wingham' distinguishes the area from Preston-next-Faversham and the Domesday Book chronicled Preston as 'Prestetune;
In the 1870s, Preston-next-Wingham was described as:
"A village and a parish in Eastry district, Kent. The village stands on a rising-ground, above the marshes of the Little Stour river, 1½mile S E of Grove-Ferry r. station, and 6¾ E N E of Canterbury; bears the name of Preston-street, and has apostal pillar-box under Wingham".
Preston is located 10 miles east of Canterbury, and a mile south of the Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. The village is fairly scattered, but it still retains a local pub, a farm shop and a butchers. The nursery there has also gained a nationwide reputation for quality and rather exotic range of plants it grows. It also holds an annual steam rally and ploughing matches at Preston Court, which attract people from all across the Kent area. The village has 2 neighbouring churches, St Mildred Church and Elmstone Church, which are both 0.7 miles away.
Archaeological digs date the parish back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In the Domesday book, Preston is recorded as having about 60 households, which was quite a sizeable quantity in relation to the British Isles population at the time. The Manor of Wingham was in the year 836 was given to Christ Church by Athelstan, who was the king of Kent. This manor was made up of the parishes of Ash, Goodnestone, Wingham, and parts of Womenswold and Nonington. In the Domesday book it was recorded as Wingehame. Christ Church lost a few of its holdings during the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy in the 9th and 10th centuries, Restitution was made when King Edmund I unified England and the Church of England.
St Mildred was founded in 700 AD, and it still has evidence of stonework from the Saxon age, similarly to the church at Elmstone The St Mildred Church dates back to the early 13th century and was extended a year later. It was also restored in 1857 by a gothic revival architect called William White, where he put in dormer windows to replace the aisle ones. It holds a rare Parochial library which was assembled in 1710, and was furnished with 67 volumes recommended by Thomas Bray. These books were transported in a case of 'the best seasoned oak' with sturdy carrying handles. Normally, the cases were left unpainted after arrival, but the Preston case was painted white; nowadays however it looks more grey.
It is a grade I listed building and in 1800, Edward Hasted described it as:
‘three isles, a high chancel, and a north chancel, having at the west end a low pointed steeple, in which hang five bells. It is kept exceedingly neat and handsome, and the whole of it ceiled’ 
The name 'Preston' means 'Farm/settlement of the priests'. This comes from the two old English terms that make up the name; prēost and tūn, which mean priest and farmland/estate respectfully. It was originally known as the name of its main manor house, Coppanstan. In the 9th century, the Archbishop of Canterbury came into possession of the house, which is where the old English name comes from.
The area has 44 listed buildings, including a number of cottages, farmhouses and even some garden walls.
The area of Preston grew between 1831 and 1961, from 1,670 acres to 2,028 acres over the respected period.
The 1831 census that took occupation into consideration, split Preston into 13 employers and professionals, 28 middling sorts, 99 laborers and servants and 0 others. The people who lived in Preston developed houses over the years; there was 108 houses in 1831 which increased to 210 in 1961. According to the 2011 census, there was 336 males and 338 females living in the parish. The population of the area fluctuated a lot, but now the village has 275 households.
Getting to and from Preston requires the use of a bus or coach. The Elmstone-near-Wingham bus and coach station is next to Elmstone church, as well as there being a station at Preston Hill. The closest train station is at Adisham, which is roughly 6 miles away.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- Wilson, John Marius (1870–72). Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales. Edinburgh: A. Fullerton & Co.
- "Preston Parish Council". www.prestonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "The Manor of Wingham". www.nonington.org.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
- "A Church Near You". Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- Gray, Sarah (2000). "The English Parish Library: A Celebration of Diversity". Libraries and Culture: A Journal of Library History: 414–433.
- "Kent Past". Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Key to English Place Names". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
- "Faversham History". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "British Listed Buildings-Preston, Dover, Kent". www.britishlistedbuildings,co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- "Vision of Britain". Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Preston-Next-Wingham: Key Figures for 2011 Census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- "Google Maps". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
Media related to Preston at Wikimedia Commons