Place:Westerham, Kent, England

Watchers
NameWesterham
Alt namesOistrehamsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 150
TypeVillage, Civil parish
Coordinates51.267°N 0.083°E
Located inKent, England
See alsoSevenoaks Rural, Kent, Englandrural district of which it was a part 1894-1974
Sevenoaks (district), Kent, Englanddistrict municipality which has covered the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Westerham is a town and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent. It is located on the border of Kent with Greater London and Surrey. It neighbours the London Borough of Bromley and the Tandridge District of Surrey. It is located west of Sevenoaks and has a population of about 5,000.

The River Darent flows through the town, and formerly powered three watermills.

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Westerham was a civil parish in Sevenoaks Rural District from 1894 until 1974, and since 1974 has been part of the Sevenoaks non-metropolitan district.

Crockham Hill is a village in Westerham parish and has been redirected here.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

There is evidence that the area around Westerham has been settled for thousands of years: finds such as a Celtic fortification (c 2000 BC) and a Roman road are close by, along with the remains of a Roman encampment just past the ruins a of tower south of the town at the summit of Tower Woods.

The tower dates back to the 18th century, and was originally constructed by an ancestor of the Warde family, the present owners of Squerryes Court as a folly for their children's amusement. A romantic, if erroneous, theory is that the folly is in fact a medieval watchtower, a tale which has been further embellished by a few fanciful locals who insist that it may have been the holding place for Anne Boleyn on her journey from Hever Castle to London for her trial and execution. (Anne Boleyn's family originally hailed from Chiddingstone and then, later, owned and lived at Hever Castle. King Henry VIII is reported to have, on Anne Boleyn's execution, confiscated Hever Castle and kept it as his own). No evidence for this theory exists, and indeed it conflicts with the knowledge and belief of the Warde family themselves.

The manor was originally run by Godwin, Earl of Wessex and later by his son Harold Godwinson the last Saxon King of England. The first Norman lord of Westerham was Eustace II of Boulogne, and the town appears in the Domesday Book as Oistreham. 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 to 1961 when the last cattle market was held.

St Mary's Church is thought to date from the 13th century, although it is much altered in Victorian times. In 1503 the Protestant martyr John Frith was born in the town.

General James Wolfe was born in the town in 1727 at what is now known as the Old Vicarage due to a terrible storm on the night he was born. He lived in Quebec House - many streets and buildings are named after him and St Mary's contains not only the font in which he was baptised but also a memorial window to him by Edward Burne-Jones. The town square contains statues to both Wolfe and Churchill (whose private home was Chartwell, nearby to Westerham).

Alice Liddell, cited as the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's children's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland lived in the Vicarage for a brief period. Alice rented 'The Breaches' just before she died and then when she became very ill she went to stay with her sister Rhoda at Hoseyrigge in Westerham. She was born at Westminster and when she died aged 82 a memorial service was held for at St Mary's Church. She was not buried in Westerham.

As well as the parish church (a Grade II*-listed building), there is a Grade II-listed chapel associated with the Congregational Federation and a Roman Catholic church. Westerham Evangelical Congregational Church dates from 1839[1] and St John the Baptist's Church opened for the Catholic community in 1955.

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