Over the past 80 years or so St Martin’s Church, as it was originally named, has grown and developed to meet the needs of an ever expanding population in the southern part of Maidstone. This period saw the building of the Mangravet, Shepway, Parkwood and Senacre Wood housing estates, resulting today in one of the most populated parishes in England totalling some 28000 people.
The first church building was sited adjacent to Mangravet Avenue and consisted of a dual purpose church and hall. It was consecrated on 5th November 1928 by the then Bishop of Dover and was named St Martin after the great soldier-saint whose day falls on 11th November. At this time the Shepway, Parkwood and Senacre Wood estates had not yet been built.
In 1934 it was decided that a second building should be erected, which was to be reserved for worship only, leaving the existing building to serve as a Parish Hall. This second building was constructed mainly of asbestos and timber and was sited where Barclay’s Bank now stands.
During the post-war years up to the early 60’s the construction of the Shepway estate took place resulting in a proposal for yet another church building. In June 1953 a new St Martin’s was completed adjacent to Northumberland Avenue (the present St Martin’s Church Hall) and was dedicated by the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher on 1st July 1953. At this time the previous church at Mangravet was renamed St Hilary; because of his association with St Martin.
Just three years later in 1956 the idea of the present St Martin’s Church building first came about, but did not result in the consecration of the completed church by the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, until 19th October 1960. About this time the land and buildings constituting St Hilary’s were also sold. Some redevelopment of the land took place, but the hall remains and is still in use.
By 1968 another housing area, Senacre Wood, was being developed. The first record of services being held on this estate was in May 1976 at the Bethersden Court Day Centre, but it was not until 27th January 1985 that the present St Hilary’s House was dedicated.
A fuller history of St Martins can be found in the booklet:
"A History of St Martin’s Maidstone"
a new edition of which will soon be available for purchase in the church.
About us - Our History
The original St Martin's Church & Hall
The present St Martin's Church
The present St Martin's Church Hall
St Hilary's House