In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Blean like this:
BLEAN, a parish, an ancient forest, and a district, in Kent. The parish is called also Blean-Church, St. Cosmus, and St. Damian-in-the-Blean: lies on the Whitstable railway, 2 miles NW by N of Canterbury; and has a post office, of the name of Blean, under Canterbury. Acres, 2,260. Real property, £4,414. Pop., 626. Houses, 130. The property is subdivided. Much of the land in the north is under coppice. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury. Value, £523. Patron, Eastbridge Hospital. ...
The church is small.- The forest belonged anciently to the Crown; extended from the vicinity of Herne to the vicinity of Chatham; was given away piecemeal, both before and after the Conquest, till nearly all was alienated; and lost gradually the character of a forest, till it became Known simply as the Blean. Wild boars abounded in portions of it so late as the Reformation; and the yellow pine marten is still occasionally found.The district comprehends the subdistrict of Herne, containing the parishes of Herne, Reculver, and Chislett; the subdistrict of Whitstable, containing the parishes of Whitstable, Swalecliff, and Seasalter; and the subdistrict of Sturry, containing the parishes of Sturry, Blean, Westbere, Hoath, St. Dunstan, and St. Stephen or Hackington, the villes of St. Gregory and Staplegate, and the precincts of Archbishop's Palace and Christchurch. Acres, 32,221. Poor-rates in 1866, £8,099. Pop. in 1861, 16,161. Houses, 3,291. Marriages in 1866, 144; births, 673,-of which 20 were illegitimate; deaths, 345,-of which 122 were at ages under 5 years, and 6 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,048; births, 5,245; deaths, 2,820.-The places of worship in 1851 were 14 of the Church of England, with 6,324 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 757 s.; 7 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 780 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 57 s.; and 1 of French Protestants, with 30 s. The schools were 9 public day schools, with 939 scholars; 41 private day schools, with 885 s.; and 16 Sunday schools, with 1,366 s. The workhouse is in Herne.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Blean has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Canterbury. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Blean and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Blean, in Canterbury and Kent | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 28th June 2016
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