Preston-next-Faversham, to give it its full name, which distinguishes it from Preston-next-Wingham, east of Canterbury, is an ancient parish whose original boundaries, valid till the late 19th century, meant that it adjoined the parish and borough of Faversham both on the south and the north-west.
St Catherine Church
Preston Village in 1976
Today the small settlement alongside the A2 around The Windmill pub is generally regarded as ‘Preston Village’. However none of the existing buildings is older than the 18th century and it is thought that the small settlement at the south end of Preston Street, in Faversham’s built-up area, was the actual village nucleus. Though they have now been displaced, there were 16th-century houses here. In this case Preston Street, as the village street, would have been the counterpart of (for example) Boughton Street in Boughton and Ospringe Street in Ospringe.
- Faversham Town Football Club
- Macknade Cricket Club
- St Catherine Church
North-west of Faversham, there was a large detached part of the parish ('North Preston') on the west bank of Faversham Creek, opposite the town, and extending nearly as far as Holly Shore (which was in a detached portion of the parish of Luddenham). This also included Brent Hill, overlooking Stonebridge Pond in Faversham, some of Priory Row (close to Davington Church), Ham Farm and much of the Marsh Gunpowder Works.
The main part of the parish included the parish church of St Catherine, a slice of the built-up area of the town south of Solomon's Lane, and Copton, the principal manor house. South-west of this was another sizeable detached chunk.
The Brents, in the detached northern part, was built up as Faversham's first Industrial Revolution suburb in the early 19th century and became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1881. In 1933 this was united with the ecclesiastical parish of Davington. The area behind The Brents, where much housing development took place in the 1950s and 1960s, is still known as North Preston.
20th-century civil boundary changes brought the whole of the northern part of Preston, and much of the main part, of the ancient parish within the Borough (now Town) of Faversham. Some of the main part, including Copton, was transferred to the civil parish of Sheldwich, adjacent to the south.
However the ecclesiastical boundaries of the main part of the parish remain much as they have always been, and now include much recent housing development north of the A2.
Family historians in particular need to be aware of these complex changes. They mean that before the late 19th century most people living (for example) on The Brents, in Brent Hill and at Ham Farm would have been baptised and buried at Preston – not Faversham or Davington – Church.