Westerham


Westerham

infobox UK place

country = England
latitude=51.27134
longitude= 0.07005
official_name= Westerham
population = 5,000
shire_district= Sevenoaks
shire_county = Kent
region= South East England

constituency_westminster= Sevenoaks
post_town= WESTERHAM
postcode_district = TN16
postcode_area= TN
dial_code= 01959
os_grid_reference= TQ445545

Westerham is a town and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, England with 5000 people. The parish is south of the North Downs, ten miles west of Sevenoaks. It covers 5800 acres (2320ha). It is recorded as early as the ninth century, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in a Norman form, Oistreham (compare Ouistreham in Normandy). "Ham" is Old English for a village or homestead, and so Westerham means a "westerly homestead". The River Darent flows through the town, and formerly powered three watermills.

History

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 of an 18th century watchtower folly south of the town at the summit of Tower Woods).

The manor was originally run by Godwin, Earl of Kent and later by his son Harold 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.

The Warde family have lived at Squerryes Court since 1731, their home is a tourist attraction. General James Wolfe was born in the town in 1727, at what is now known as 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 village square contains statues to both Wolfe and Churchill.

Brewing

Westerham was home to the Black Eagle Brewery, which was taken over by Taylor Walker & Co. in the 1950s, becoming part of Ind Coope in 1959 and closing in 1965. Yeast from the brewery was preserved at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures and is now used by the present day Westerham Brewery in producing its ales.

Chartwell

In 1922 Winston Churchill MP purchased Chartwell Manor on the outskirts of Westerham, which, apart from the time he spent at 10 Downing Street, was his home for the rest of his life. Chartwell is now administered by the National Trust.

There is a statue of Sir Winston Churchill on the village green at Westerham. It was sculpted by Oscar Nemon and stands on a base of Yugoslavian stone, the gift of Marshal Tito.

Chartwell is accessible by Routes: 246 from Bromley North (TFL Route) , 401 from Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells and 510 from Oxted on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays only.

Communications

The M25 runs nearby and the A25 runs along through the town.The M25 can be accessed via either the A22 or the A21, altough Westerham is signed frequently on the M25, the A233 does not have a junction with the M25.

The South Eastern Railway opened the 4½ mile (7.2km) branch line from Dunton Green to Westerham station on 7 July 1881; All services were withdrawn from the branch on 28 October 1961. Part of the trackbed of the railway is now covered by the line of the M25 which runs to the north of the town.

Gallery

External links

* [http://www.westerhamtown.co.uk Westerham Town Web Site]
* [http://www.villagenet.co.uk/sevenoaks-weald/villages/westerham.php Villagenet page]
* [http://www.squerryes.co.uk Squerryes Court]
* [http://www.westerhambrewery.co.uk Westerham Brewery]


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