The church of St Cosmus and St Damian, Blean - - 752048.jpg

Church of St Cosmus and St Damian
Blean is located in Kent
Location within Kent
Area13.67 km2 (5.28 sq mi)
Population5,589 (Civil Parish 2011)[1]
• Density409/km2 (1,060/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTR119608
Civil parish
  • Blean
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCT2
Dialling code01227
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°18′25″N 1°02′35″E / 51.307°N 1.043°E / 51.307; 1.043Coordinates: 51°18′25″N 1°02′35″E / 51.307°N 1.043°E / 51.307; 1.043

Blean is a village and civil parish[2] in the Canterbury district of Kent, England. The civil parish is large and is mostly woodland, much of which is ancient woodland. The developed village within the parish is scattered along the road between Canterbury and Whitstable, in the middle of the Forest of Blean. The parish of St. Cosmus and St. Damian in the Blean was renamed "Blean" on 1 April 2019.[3]


According to Edward Hasted's 1800 county study, the village was once part of the king's ancient forest of Blean in the hundred of Westgate.[4]

The name Blean is the dative form of the Old English word ‘blea’ which means rough ground.[5][6] Therefore the name of the parish means "the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian (sic) in the rough ground."

In 1835, the Blean Union Workhouse, designed by William Edmunds, was built on four acres south of Herne Common. The design was based on Sir Francis Bond Head's Plan of a Rural Workhouse for 500 Persons, a publication of the Poor Law Commission. To keep costs down, no outside drains were added, and the building was windowless. Discipline was severe. A nine-year-old girl was once punished for a small offence by being forced to remain overnight in the mortuary with a corpse; however, the Master and Matron were dismissed as a result.[7]


The village has a druid woodland sculpture park, noted for its large sleeping dragon. The east of the village has a hall and recreation ground used for sports.

The parish church is about half a mile from the village centre. It is dedicated to St Cosmus and St Damian and emphasising some kind of descriptor of the land itself, has always been suffixed 'in the Blean'. It is a 13th-century building and Grade II* listed, the second highest designation in the national grading scheme.[8][9]

Veering towards the north of the village's main street is a pub; a post office is no longer in the village.


Blean is part of the electoral ward of Blean Forest. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 6,176.[10]


Blean's economy is closely tied to Canterbury and to a lesser extent, Whitstable. In television entertainment Smallfilms operates here the production company that created the animated series Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss and the Clangers, at Peter Firmin's barn on the Blean farm. The bay window of Firmin's house was featured in the opening sequence of Bagpuss.[11]


The Hunt-class destroyer HMS Blean was named after the village's Blean Beagles hunt.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ "Blean". Mapit. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  3. ^ "The Canterbury City Council (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order 2018" (PDF). Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  4. ^ Hasted, Edward (1800). "Parishes". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Institute of Historical Research. 9: 2–7. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  5. ^ English, University of Nottingham - Institute of Name Studies School of. "Key to English Place-names". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Blean Parish Council".
  7. ^ "Blean, Kent". The Workhouse: The Story of an Institution. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Church of St Cosmus and St Damian, St Cosmus and St Damian in the Blean". Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Cosmus and St Damian (Grade II*) (1085522)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Blean Forest Ward population 2011". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Bagpuss - See Emily Play". BBC. London. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.