This estate, nestling where our greensand hills are breached by the Medway, derives its name from the family who enjoyed their own woodland view and curve in that river, from 1533 to 1749. This was from a date of 1533 when John Kenward, had land conveyed to him, and became a Yeoman of Yalding. In 1700 one John Kenward gave three silver vessels to his parish church at Yalding, and the estate passed in marriage to Sir John Shaw, when his grand son also John Kenward died in 1749.
In the early nineteenth century it was in the tenancy of Thomas White. Kenward remained a country house until the second world war, and run similar to that by Lady Frances Fletcher who in 1881 had six maids, plus footman, butler and groom. Her husband Major-General Edward Charles Fletcher J.P. and son Lionel John William Fletcher J.P. both served several years as churchwardens, as did the Kenwards before them. The Major died on the 31st of August 1879 and by will left the property to his wife who passed away on the 29th of December 1901.
In 1902 Kenward was sold to Henry de Courcy Agnew of Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London E.C.
Mr Agnew sold the property in 1908 to the Honourable Richard Eustance Bellow of Jenkinson Park in the County of Kilkenny Ireland.
On the 1st of March 1911 Mr Bellow sold Kenward to Mr Robert Ernest Alexander of 24 Lombard Street London.
Then on the 10th of March 1919 Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Evan Boulton purchased the property from Mr Alexander.
When the Colonel died in 1942, Kenward was bought the following year by Dr Barnardo’s who used the grounds until 1967, when on December 6th that year , the children were sent to school as usual, and when collected were taken to a new home in Maidstone.
A Mr Sinden knew the house had become available and moved in his family in 1968 to start the initial work of the Kenward Trust that we know today. Ray and Violet Sinden came from Sevenoaks Weald, already with five men they had taken in after Ray had visited an elderly homeless man who lived on the London Embankment.
Today the Trust’s work has grown, and there are now (2010) eleven houses for men and two for women in Kent, providing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness, in a Christian context. They also now have an Outreach team that ventures into schools, shopping centres, night clubs and wherever there is an opening to advise on alcohol and drugs.