View of the Leather Bottle pub on The Street from St Mary Magdaline churchyard
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DA12, DA13|
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Cobham (//) is a village and civil parish in the borough of Gravesham in Kent, England. The village is located 6 miles (10 km) south-east of Gravesend, and just south of Watling Street, the Roman road from Dover to London. The parish, which includes the hamlet of Sole Street, covers an area of 1,240 hectares (3,100 acres) and had a population of 1,469 at the 2011 Census, increasing from 1,328 at the 2001 Census.
Cobham parish has had several manors; one of which, Henhurst, was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in the Textus Roffensis as being part of the Rochester Bridge charter of c.975, so there has been a settlement in the parish since at least the 10th century. The largest and most notable of the manors was Cobham or Cobham Hall, which mainly consisted of the manor house, Cobham Hall, and the private park or demesne attached to the house; there is no record of any manorial courts being held before the 16th century, and the lands under rent to the lord of the manor were not significant so at least one court was shared with the other manors within the parish. The parish of Cobham was originally within the ancient hundred of Shamwell. In 1132, Henry I gave Cobham church, which was then an annex of the church at Shorne, to Bermondsey Priory (later to become Bermondsey Abbey).
The lords of the manor of Cobham were Hereditary High Stewards of nearby Gravesend; in 1692 the custom was stopped that Gravesend paid to the lords of Cobham a yearly sum (a pontage) for the use of the landing stage on the River Thames.
Cobham Hall was the former home of the Earls of Darnley: its gardens were designed by Humphry Repton. The surviving grade I listed manor house is one of the largest and most important houses in Kent. Today the building houses Cobham Hall School, a private boarding school for girls, which retains 150 acres of the ancient estate.
The parish church is 13th century and is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. It contains monumental brasses which are reputedly the finest in England. William Belcher in his Kentish Brasses (1905) stated: "No church in the world possesses such a splendid series as the nineteen brasses in Cobham Church, ranging in date between 1298 and 1529." Thirteen of the brasses belong to the years 1320–1529 and commemorate members of the Brooke and Cobham families. In the church also survives the sumptuous chest tomb and alabaster effigies of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558) and his heiress wife Ann Bray.
To the immediate south of the church is the building known as Cobham College, now an almshouse, which originally housed the five priests employed by the chantry founded in 1362 by John Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham.
In addition to Cobham Hall, there is a local primary school - Cobham Primary School. It is very difficult to be admitted due to the small class size. It is a big feature of the village, often tying together many of the locals.
There are two areas of open space in the parish: Cobham Park, which includes extensive woodlands; and Jeskyns, a one-time farm of 360 acres (147 ha), which has been turned into a greenspace area by the Forestry Commission.
Cobham has strong links with Charles Dickens, who used to walk out to the village: he set part of The Pickwick Papers there. Other personalities connected with Cobham include Sir Joseph Williamson, and the insane artist Richard Dadd, who murdered his father near here in 1843. The Hon Ivo Bligh, who became the 8th Earl of Darnley, was the first English cricket captain to attempt to recover The Ashes from Australia in the late 19th century. Comedian Joe Pasquale lives in the area and owns land adjoining the estate of Cobham Hall.
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- Reserved, Gravesham Borough Council - All Rights (1 January 2016). "Home". www.gravesham.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 3 November 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2005.
- "Cobham Hall (Including Kitchen and Stable Court), Cobham, Kent". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "Cobham Hall Heritage Trust". Cobham Hall. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "Cobham and Luddesdowne". www.cobham-luddesdowne.org.
- William Belcher, Kentish Brasses, Preface, Vol.2
- "Cobham Park Heritage Project". www.cobhampark.org.uk. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
- Blackman, R.V.B. ed. Jane's Fighting Ships (1953)
- Media related to Cobham, Kent at Wikimedia Commons