The name ‘Eastchurch’ simply means the Church, East of the mother Church at Minster. It was a ‘daughter’ chapel of Minster Abbey. Thus the Church (All Saints) and the settlement around it became known as Eastchurch Village.
It is known that people have lived in the area for over 5,000 years. A recent archaeological survey carried out at Kingsborough Farm prior to the construction of a new housing estate revealed a causewayed enclosure; one of only two found in Kent. These earthworks date from the Neolithic Period about 3,000 BC. It is believed they were religious or ceremonial structures and a place for people to meet. A Bronze Age ‘barrow’ was also discovered nearby. This may account for the farm name being spelt Kingsborow on an Elizabethan map, suggesting an ancient belief that a local King was buried there.
Around 1400 the original ‘east’ Church, built c1279, became unsafe due to weakness in the grounds and the site could not be used for re-building. The location of this earlier church, and presumably any settlement that went with it, has never been found.
Eastchurch Village, as we know it, began about 1431 when Sir William Cheyne of Shurland Hall, gave three quarters of an acre of land for the building of the present church. The only link we have to a previous church is that some of the church windows belong to an earlier style, indicating that some materials of the original church were re-used in its construction.
In the same way, some of the materials from Warden Church, demolished in the 1860’s, were used to build the churchyard wall at Eastchurch.
In granting the land, Sir William may have acted out of charity but, by placing the church on his land, he gained control of the village and would have profited by its growth.