The history of any town in regard to its location is generally encapsulated in its name but the exact meaning of Sittingbourne has been lost with the passing of time so all we are left with is assumption and conjecture. There is a delightful local myth however that the town took its name from the fact that travellers stopped here to bathe their aching feet in the stream that crossed the road here, hence the name ‘Sitting-by-the-bourne’. But it really is just a fanciful myth. On a more serious note we have a choice of meanings of the word ‘Sittingbourne’. In their 1960s town guide the Urban District Council suggested the town’s name simply derived from a Saxon tribe, the Sydingas who settled here on the banks of a bourne or stream. This is interesting because the element ‘ingas’ has Celtic origins and means ‘belonging to’ or ‘the place of’. Our interpretation has moved on considerably in the intervening 40-odd years and there are now several possibilities to consider, each an intriguing and interesting hypothesis, but none of which can be fully substantiated.
/ The History of Sittingbourne
/ The meaning of the town’s name