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The History of Kent

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History of Westerham

Westerham comes from the Old English ‘wester’ meaning ‘west, western’ with ‘ham’ as a ‘village, homestead’; therefore ‘westerly village/homestead’. As Westerham lies at the western edge of Kent, a 9th century charter offers some evidence for the antiquity of the county boundary. The Domesday Book chronicles Westerham as Oistreham, whereas the Textus Roffensis records it as Westerham.

Westerham parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built the church in the 13th century. They built the buttressed aisles and their eastern chapels in the 14th century and continued with the extension into the 15th century. In 1722, Richard Phelps cast and hung a tenor bell. In 1797, Edward Hasted wrote that the church was ‘a large handsome building, consisting of a nave, two side isles, and a cross isle; but being too small for the use of the inhabitants, a gallery has been erected for their accommodation in it’. In 1837, Thomas Mears cast seven bells to make eight. The Victorians carried out two heavy restorations in 1852 and the whole interior in 1882. The Archbishop of Canterbury rededicated the church upon completion of the latter restoration…. more

Godwin, Earl of Kent and later his son, Harold, the last Saxon King of England, originally ran the manor. The first Norman lord of
Westerham was Eustace II of Boulogne. By 1227, Henry III granted Westerham a market charter, making the new village a major player in the buying and selling of cattle in Kent, a tradition that survived until 1961.

Westerham Railway station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s branch line from Dunton Green to Westerham on 7 July 1881. However, by the end of the 1950’s the line ran at a loss and a new orbital motorway required much of the track. The final day of passenger operation was on 28 October 1961…. more