St Mary Hunton is a small village of 232 households, six miles to the south of Maidstone. The village sits in beautiful, verdant countryside bounded by the Greensand Way to the North and the River Beult, a tributary of the River Medway, to the South and West. The character of the village is defined by its farming history. The combination of its pastoral environment, low-density housing (including many listed properties) and excellent nearby transport links has made it possible to travel easily to London for both work and play. Like many villages, Hunton has seen traditional services such as shops and pubs depart but it has an active community centred on its Church, School, Club, Village Hall and Playing Fields. The village has recently produced a Parish Plan, which has further energised the community.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin stands at the centre of the village, opposite the Village Hall and next to one of the principal houses of the village, Hunton Court, once home to former Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. A church has existed on the site since at least Saxon times and the current building largely dates from the 13th century. It is Grade 1 listed. Work on the Parish Plan indicated the importance villagers attach to the Church. Many villagers are involved in the life of the church, either by supporting events, maintaining the award-winning churchyard, ringing the bells, arranging flowers, or being part of the friendly and efficient parochial church council.

A service is held every Sunday, arranged to include two communions, one Family service and one Morning Prayer each month. The congregation varies but is often small. We have a fine Willis organ and currently employ an organist for major services, using CDs of hymns for the other services. There is also a loyal choir at each service. The congregation swells considerably for services such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest, Mothering Sunday and Remembrance Sunday. We are trying to introduce more family orientated services, to encourage younger members of the community to attend. We are keen to improve our performance in meeting the needs of the community more generally and to increase our weekly congregation.

The Harvest lunch, the Carol Service, Snowdrop Sunday  (we have two snowdrops named after Hunton) and fund-raising concerts in the church are all well supported. A recent flower festival was extremely popular and we are actively planning a Christmas Market in the Church and its grounds this year.

St Mary’s is a beautiful church with many fine features including a magnificent, recently restored, Canterbury window and historically important medieval doors, which have recently been professionally restored. The Friends of St Mary’s is an active fundraising group of villagers working closely with the PCC’s Fabric Committee to ensure that the church fabric is maintained. With the Friends’ assistance, a considerable amount of work has been done to improve and maintain the fabric in recent years. Donations from local individuals and grant funding have also played a part in ensuring that the historic Church fabric is maintained to a high standard.

Hunton C of E Primary School (www.huntonschool.co.uk) is Voluntary Aided. It is rated outstanding in the latest statutory inspection of Anglican schools conducted by the Diocese and good with outstanding features by Ofsted. The relationship between the School and St Mary’s is close with the Rector, as a School Governor, who visits each week. The School has a church liaison group which is responsible for ensuring that the relationship remains close and that opportunities are taken to develop it further.

Hunton is also the location of almshouses called Peace Cottages that provide accommodation for persons who are members of the Church of England and who have normally been residents of Hunton.

More information on the village and local activities can be found on the village website, www.hunton.org.uk.

Where to find us

First Sunday    11.00am    Family Service    An informal service for all ages,  often with special activities for young children
Second Sunday    9.30am    Holy Communion    A traditional service of Holy Communion with hymns, Book of Common Prayer
Third Sunday    11.00am    Morning Prayer    A modern service of Morning Prayer with hymns, based on Common Worship
Fourth Sunday    11.00am    Holy Communion    A modern service of Holy Communion with hymns, Common Worship Order one.