Bedgebury is first mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter in AD 841, the name deriving from the Old English bycgan, meaning “buy”, and the Kentish vecge, meaning “to bend or turn”,possibly in reference to a stream.
John de Bedgebury is listed as the earliest resident of Bedgebury, in the time of Edward II. In the 15th century Agnes de Bedgebury, sister and heir of John (died 1424) married John Colepeper, whose Colepeper heirs, financed by mining clay-ironstone on the estate, were resident until at the time of the restoration of Charles II, and who created an ornamental park on the Bedgebury estate. Elizabeth I visited in August 1573.
The current house was built in 1688 for Sir James Hayes, a little apart from the old house. The estate later passed to the Stephenson family, who retained it until it was left to a Miss Peach, who sold it in 1789 to John Cartier, Governor of Bengal and High Sheriff of Kent, who improved the plantings and the house.