The early history of St Mary’s Church is inextricably linked with the Thompson family.
William James Thompson, a wealthy tea-importer and church warden for a number of years at the parish church of Sevenoaks (St Nicholas), acquired the Kippington estate in 1864.
Previous owners of the estate included the Austen family (of which the novelist Jane Austen was the most celebrated member).
It is difficult to believe now that at that time St Nicholas’ church had come under High Church influences. Mr Thompson, a man of evangelical convictions, became increasingly disenchanted with this trend and resolved to establish a new parish church on his own estate.