Cobham, Kent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Public House, Cobham, Kent - - 323974.jpg
View of the Leather Bottle pub on The Street from St Mary Magdalene churchyard
Cobham is located in Kent
Location within Kent
Population1,469 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ671683
Civil parish
  • Cobham
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDA12, DA13
Dialling code01474
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°23′23″N 0°24′03″E / 51.3898°N 0.4008°E / 51.3898; 0.4008Coordinates: 51°23′23″N 0°24′03″E / 51.3898°N 0.4008°E / 51.3898; 0.4008

Cobham (/ˈkɒbəm/[2]) is a village and civil parish[3] 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,[1] increasing from 1,328 at the 2001 Census.

Since 1970 the village has been in a conservation area which aims to preserve the historic character and appearance of the area.[4]


Cobham parish has had several manors;[5][6] 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.[5][6] 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.[7] The parish of Cobham was originally within the ancient hundred of Shamwell.[8] 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).[9][5]

The Cobham family was established here before the reign of King John[10] (who reigned from 1199).

The lords of the manor of Cobham were Hereditary High Stewards[11] 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.[12]

Notable buildings[edit]

Cobham Hall was the former home of the Earls of Darnley: its gardens were designed by Humphry Repton.[13] The surviving grade I listed[14] manor house is one of the largest and most important houses in Kent.[14] Today the building houses Cobham Hall School, a private boarding school for girls, which retains 150 acres of the ancient estate.[15]

In the former deer park of Cobham Hall survives the Darnley Mausoleum, a pyramid-topped structure built in 1786 as ordered by the will of the 3rd Earl of Darnley.

The parish church is 13th century and is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.[16] It contains monumental brasses, of which 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."[17] Thirteen of the brasses belong to the years 1320–1529 and commemorate members of the Brooke and Cobham families.[10] The Brooke Tomb contains alabaster effigies of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558) and his wife Ann Bray.[18]

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.

Another church in the ecclesiastical parish, in Luddesdown, is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul.


The Earls of Darnley left Cobham Hall in 1957, and since 1962, the hall has been a public school for girls (Cobham Hall School); it opens to the public on some occasions in the year.[19]

In addition to Cobham Hall, there is a local primary school, Cobham Primary School.[20]

Other features[edit]

There are two areas of open space in the parish: Cobham Park,[21] 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.

The village was also linked to its namesake HMS Cobham, a Ham-class minesweeper which was an active Royal Navy vessel between 1953 and 1966.[22]

Cobham is served by Sole Street railway station, on the Chatham Main Line which runs from Gillingham to London Victoria via Bromley South.


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.


  1. ^ a b "Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917]. Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (eds.). An English Pronouncing Dictionary. Daniel Jones: Selected Works. Vol. 3. Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 9780415233392.
  3. ^ "Cobham Parish Council (Kent)". Cobham Parish Council (Kent).
  4. ^ "Conservation Area Appraisal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Ruiha Smalley (10 October 2016). "Cobham Landscape Detectives research note 4: the Manor of Cobham Hall".
  6. ^ a b A. A. Arnold (1905). "Cobham And Its Manors, Etc" (PDF). Archaeologia Cantiana. 27: 110.
  7. ^ A. A. Arnold (1905). "Cobham And Its Manors, Etc" (PDF). Archaeologia Cantiana. 27: 119.
  8. ^ Vision of Britain: Cobham Parish, accessed April 2017
  9. ^ G. W. Phillips (1841). The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Bermondsey. J. Unwin. p. 16.
  10. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cobham" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 612.
  11. ^ Scott Robertson (1877), p. 285.
  12. ^ Scott Robertson (1877), p. 286.
  13. ^ Reserved, Gravesham Borough Council - All Rights (1 January 2016). "Home". Archived from the original on 3 November 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2005.
  14. ^ a b "Cobham Hall (Including Kitchen and Stable Court), Cobham, Kent". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Cobham Hall Heritage Trust". Cobham Hall. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  16. ^ "Cobham and Luddesdowne".
  17. ^ William Belcher, Kentish Brasses, Preface, Vol.2
  18. ^ "Brooke Tomb".
  19. ^ David Ross. "Cobham Hall".
  20. ^ "Cobham Primary School".
  21. ^ "Cobham Park Heritage Project". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008.
  22. ^ Blackman, R.V.B. ed. Jane's Fighting Ships (1953)

External links[edit]