The idyllic Ospringe landscape was formed by the carving of two distinct valleys in the latter stages of the Ice Age and is today a thriving rural community in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near the market town of Faversham in east Kent. The nine small settlements which now form the parish are believed to have evolved on roads carved through the countryside by Anglo-Saxon farmers, as they drove their animals southwards for the summer grazing and returned in the winter months for shelter. Many of the properties within the boundaries date from the 16th Century, and several are now Grade II listed structures.
Ospringe – recorded in ancient records as Ospringes – is believed to take its name from a fresh spring which rose close to where the Church of St Peter & St Paul now stands. The accepted derivation is from the Anglo-Saxon “os” and “spring”, meaning “spring of the divinity”. The parish is mentioned in the 1080 Domesday survey as having a church, a mill, a fishery, a salt-pit, 13 acres of meadow and “wood sufficient for the pannage of twenty hogs”. It was owned by the Bishop of Baieux until shortly after the survey, when according to historic records he fell “under the king’s displeasure” and it was confiscated by the king and repeatedly gifted to and taken back from others who fell in and out of favour. Royal visitors include King John, who is recorded as staying twice at a manor house in the parish for a month each time in the early 13th century. Other manors and estates, including Painters, Hansletts, Plumford and Whitehill also now make up the parish, together with the ancient seat of Brokedale, which later became known as Brogdale, and Elvyland – later to become Elverland.
The modern parish is roughly rectangular and extends from its northern boundary with the market town of Faversham marked by the A2 main road, to Eastling and Throwley in the South, and from Sheldwich to the East to Stone and Norton to the West at Newnham Road. Ironically, most the village of Ospringe itself does not fall within the boundary of the parish, having been annexed to Faversham in 1935 border changes. Instead, the parish has at its centre the village of Painter’s Forstal. The number of residents has quadrupled since the middle of the last century. In the 2001 census, there were 715 parishioners of all ages in 270 different households.