Staple, Kent


Church of St James the Great, Staple
 Staple shown within Kent
Population 771 (2011 Census including Shatterling)[1]
OS grid referenceTR272566
Shire countyKent
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Canterbury
Postcode district CT3
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentDover
List of places

Coordinates: 51°15′50″N 1°15′19″E / 51.2639°N 1.2553°E / 51.2639; 1.2553

Staple is a village and civil parish in east Kent, England. The village lies southwest of the nearby village of Ash and the town of Sandwich and east of Canterbury.


The village is 3 miles (5 km) west of the Bronze Age site at Ringlemere and east of the Roman and Mesolithic sites at Wingham. The village church, dedicated to St James the Great, dates to the Saxon period but there have been Bronze Age finds in the land surrounding the village. Staple is one of the few places in Kent that does not appear in the 1086 Domesday Book. This is because it was appendant to Adisham, which lies to its southwest but is separated from it by the hundred and parish of Wingham. Together Adisham and Staple formed the Hundred of Downhamford.[2] Staple is situated near the end of one of the arms of the Wantsum Channel, all that survives of which is the Durlock stream (possibly derived from the Celtic *duro- "settlement" and *loccu- "lake, pool", attesting the presence of the former channel). In prehistoric times this channel provided access to the sea; it was one of the reasons Staple was chosen as an export location.

Staple is a Middle English word, signifying an official market for purchase of goods for export; it derives from Anglo-Norman estaple, "market-place",[3] The "staple" of Staple was wool, exported to the Low Countries. The 1283 'Statute of Acton Burnell' (1283) removed the Staple from Calais to fifteen appointed places in England, Ireland and Wales. The royal appointment decreed that 'All wool for export should be gathered at the Staple, if not the selling there.' In the reign of Edward III the Staple was temporarily removed to Queensborough on the Isle of Sheppey; its return nine years later was occasioned by the greater ease with which export to Calais was effected, by Staple's proximity to Sandwich. The Staple system suffered a long slow decline, and was abolished in 1617. Other export products from Staple included leather and vellum.

From 1916 to 1948 the village was served by Staple railway station on the East Kent Light Railway, which was north of the village at Durlock Bridge. In the Second World War the station was used as a munitions dump, and a large-calibre rail-mounted gun was stabled there.

There are two gentlemen's seats at Staple, Crixhall and The Groves. The oldest established vineyard in East Kent was established at Staple, but is now no longer in use. Since 1993 Barnsole Vinyard has been operating in the village.

A fair was held twice a year, on 28 December 25 and July. There were 'toys and pedlary' for sale. Profits from the December Fayre in 1524 amounted to six shillings and eight pence, and were received by one Clement Roberth of Wingham. The winter fair was held on Childermas, a feast day where no labour was performed and thus well suited to the event. Edward Hasted mentions that fairs were held on 25 July, the feast day of St James, patron saint of labourers.[4]

Church of St James the Great

Church interior, east end

The village church, dedicated to St James the Great, was built in the 14th century as a replacement for an earlier Saxon chapel. In July 1555 the vicar of Staple, John Bland, on the orders of Queen Mary, was burnt at the stake at Martyr's Field, Canterbury. In hisThe History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1778–99), Edward Hasted describes the church as consisting of "two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which are four bells. The church is remarkably long and low. The south isle and chancel are upon the same level, nor is there any separation between them. On the sides of the chancel are rails, very low, about two feet from the wall, very unusual." The restoration of the church was completed in 1868 by George Edmund Street.[5]

It has been a Grade I listed building since 11 October 1963.[6]


Country & Craft Fayre

Unlike the older Staple parish fairs, present day fairs are held at the Recreation Ground on Mill Road on either the 3rd or 4th Sunday of June.

The Country & Craft Fayre has been staged every year for over two decades, managed by a committee of local people. Its aim is to promote social cohesion, and to raise funds for local organisations and charities, such as Staple W.I., Staple Youth Club, Staple Parent & Toddlers group, Staple Pre-School, Staple RBL, Staple Woodland Trust and Staple Church.

The fair comprises arena-based entertainment, sideshows and craft stalls. Core attractions are repeated each year, including competitions, a beer tent, bric-à-brac stalls, barbecue and refreshments, and rural craft, gymnastics and classic car displays. The 2014 event added fairground and other rides, circus skills, and a brass ensemble,[7] and made a £9,200 profit which was donated to local groups and organisations.

Village Hall

'Staple Village Hall & Recreation Ground' was registered as a charity on 6 June 1979 with the charity number 277915. The hall is owned by Staple Parish Council and is managed on behalf of the parishioners by a committee of elected members, and appointed representatives of village organisations. The funding for the hall was made available through a grant of £123,500 from ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England). ACRE was awarded £10.5 million by The Millennium Commission to deliver funding for 160 village halls in England. The Millennium Commission was a legacy body of 'The Big Lottery Fund'.

The Black Pig

The Black Pig pub is housed in a medieval building from the 13th or 14th century. In 1800, the building contained a pub and brewery owned by Robert Tritton. The brewery closed in 1912.[8]


  1. "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  2. The Parishes of Kent, A History of the Weald of Kent, with an Outiline of the Early..., Volume 3, p. 799
  3. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., 2000; Henry Harrison, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary s.v. "Staple".
  4. Hasted, Edward (1800). "Parishes: Staple. Pages 185-190". British History Online. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  5. Brass Ensemble
  6. "History of The Black Pig". Staple. Retrieved 2 November 2016.

Further reading

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