Bredhurst is a village and civil parish in Kent, that forms part of the Borough of Maidstone in England. Its population was 330 (1990), increasing to 397 at the 2011 Census. There has been a settlement on the site of the present day Bredhurst since neolithic times because of fertile fields and the good wood supply. The village is quite close to the M2 motorway but retains a traditional feel.
Bredhurst is centred on The Bell Inn and Bredhurst Church of England primary school. The first dates from the Tudor period, the latter was founded in 1866. The school averages just over 125 pupils with about sixteen pupils per year. Every year on or about the first Saturday of May, Bredhurst School holds its annual mayday celebration. This event is marked by maypole dancing, the crowning of the May Queen, the pageant of Saint George and the dragon, a procession, and many stalls. The procession starts at Abbots Court farm and ends at Bredhurst School, down the street. The traffic is stopped and the whole village is decked in bunting and banners.
Bredhurst manor dates from the time of King Edward III. It was bought by John of Gaunt in 1379 before King Richard II gave it to Simon de Burley in 1384. Burley lost the manor when he was accused of high treason in 1390.
By 1551, Sir Thomas Cheney was owner of the manor, followed by the Kemsley family later in the 16th century. Isabel Kemsley stipulated that her son John should hold ‘a drinking’ in the village on All Saints’ Day and this tradition continued until the 19th century, when it was replaced with the more popular mayday celebrations.
The 19th century owners of the manor were the Romilly family, terminating when it was sold by the widow of the fourth Baron Romilly, William Guy Gospard Romilly (who died in 1983). It was later bought by a family who do not have a title, who sold most of the grounds off.
St Peter’s church at Bredhurst is situated in woodland separate to the village. Typical of downland flint churches, it combines its 13th-century origins with 19th-century additions including a small bellcote with two bells. There is a small graveyard. Inside the church are a number of memorials to people who died in the first and second world wars. During the 16th century Reformation the treasures of the church were hidden by the incumbent and his parishioners and have never been found. The treasure included a golden chalice and the golden altar plate. The famous Bredhurst paten, which held the communion bread, was found and restored in 1907. It is made of copper and was originally gilded, and dates from 1180–1260. It is one of only four known and all the others were found in the graves of bishops or archbishops. The paten is said to be priceless and is kept at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of their “sacred silver” collection.
Bredhurst was largely untouched during the Blitz and the whole Second World War, however in 1939 evacuation began; the evacuees went to Bredhurst School.
Today most of Bredhurst is still made up of farms and woodland; these include Abbots Court farm, Aaron Bank farm and Grange farm. It was reported that there are more livestock living in Bredhurst than people.