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Westerham

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Kent  /  Sevenoaks District  /  Westerham
Westerham is a town and civil parish in Kent, England, 5mi west of Sevenoaks.It is recorded as early as the 9th century, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book in a Norman form, Oistreham (compare Ouistreham in Normandy, Oistreham in 1086). Hām 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.HistoryThere 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 a tower south of the town at the summit of Tower Woods.The tower dates back to the 18th century, and was originally constructed by the owners of Squerryes Court as a folly for their children's amusement.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.
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