Broomfield Church History

The village of Broomfield (really more of a hamlet than a village) lies less than a mile from Leeds as the crow flies. It consists of a couple of dozen houses straggling up the side of a steep hill. It has no pub, shop, post office or village hall and the nearest school is Leeds and Broomfield Primary School in Leeds.

photograph of Broomfield church

Broomfield owes its status as a village solely to the fact that it has its own parish church - St. Margaret's.

No mention is made of any church in Broomfield in the Domesday Book. There is later evidence that the church of St. Margaret's Broomfield was granted to Leeds Priory along with the church of St. Nicholas in Leeds.

This suggests that St. Margaret's was built sometime in the 12th century.

Download the Deanery leaflet about Broomfield Church. (PDF document opens in a new page.)

photograph of Broomfield Church interior

The original Norman church would have consisted of a simple nave and chancel with a west tower. Unfortunately all traces of the Norman chancel disappeared when the church was remodeled in 1879.

The porch giving access to the church is described as 'modern', but for all that St. Margaret's is a bijou church in a picturesque setting.

The village of Broomfield has traditionally been home to many of the workers from nearby Leeds Castle.

photograph of Leeds Castle

Before, during and after the Napoleonic Wars Broomfield also housed a small garrison of troops.

The church of St. Margaret's would have played an important part in all of their lives.

Broomfield Graveyard plays host to a number of notable graves - many of which are for members of the Fairfax and Wykeham-Martin families who at one time owned Leeds Castle.

photograph of Broomfield graveyard

Perhaps the most famous grave in the yard (above) is that of Joseph Hatch, the most prolific bell-founder in Kent  Here is also the grave of a Mr Hollands, who was said to have been an England cricketer at the end of the 19th century.

Broomfield village only has some two dozen houses. One of them, Manor of Rose’s (nowadays known as Rose Farm House), became the home of the bell-founder Thomas Hatch after his marriage and from where he established his bell casting business. Over the years the Hatch family supplied over 200 bells to various Kent churches.

The largest bell in the Leeds church tower is a 'Hatch' (made by Thomas's son Joseph) as is the second largest bell in the Broomfield tower (made in turn by Joseph's nephew William).

Link to video of Broomfield church bells    See this video of Broomfield bells rung for the last time before a Summer 2014 closedown perior to repair a beam in the bell tower and then to add two new bells.

photograph of west end entrance of St Margaret's, Broomfield  photograph of the south side of St Margaret's, Broomfield  photograph of porch and tower at the west end of St Margaret's, Broomfield
Above, St Margaret's, Broomfield (L to R): west entrance; south side view; and, porch and tower at the west end.