Offham, Kent

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

Offham
Offham.jpg
Offham is located in Kent
Offham
Offham
Location within Kent
Population755 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ655575
District
Shire county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWest Malling
Postcode districtME19
Dialling code01732
PoliceKent
FireKent
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Kent
51°17′26″N 0°22′31″E / 51.2906°N 0.3753°E / 51.2906; 0.3753Coordinates: 51°17′26″N 0°22′31″E / 51.2906°N 0.3753°E / 51.2906; 0.3753

Offham is a village in the local government district of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, England, five miles to the west of Maidstone.

Offham has a quintain on the village green that was reported in medieval times for use in jousting. It is reputed to be the last English quintain in its original position, though it was removed for safekeeping during the Second World War.[2]

The village gets its name from "Offa", the name of a Saxon landowner, and "ham", a village or homestead.[3]

History[edit]

The village has been occupied since Roman times, and the major Roman road from London to the Weald ran through the parish. Offham grew in prominence in the early ninth century under the Saxons.

Jack Straw, the rebel during the reign of Richard II, is said to have been born at Pepingstraw Manor in the parish.[4]

Quintain[edit]

Quintain on Offham Green with crocuses 2006

The village is famed for its medieval quintain which stands on the green, believed to be the last remaining example in the country.

The quintain consists of a wooden post around eight feet in height with a freely rotating arm on the top. One end of the arm is flat (the "eye"), with the other used to attach heavy objects such as a leather pack. In a sport dating back to perhaps Roman times, a horseman would ride at the quintain at full pace with his lance extended to strike the flat end. Should the horseman not be riding sufficiently quickly, the arm would swing around and the heavy object knock him off his horse.[3]

Ragstone[edit]

The village's houses are predominantly constructed from ragstone, Kent's most celebrated building stone. The stone has been mined in the parish since Roman times, with its hardness and durability making it a popular choice for fortifications in London and the south-east.

Church[edit]

Stained glass in Offham church

The first church in the parish was founded by the Saxon lord of the manor who built a private chapel in the early ninth century. After the Norman Conquest it was replaced by a stone church and the lower stage of the tower of the present church dates from this time.[3]

The present church is dedicated to St Michael. The Reverend David Green is the Current Incumbent.

Village life[edit]

The village hosts annual May Day celebrations on the green; a May Queen parades through the village, accompanied by Morris Men, school children perform maypole dances, and occasionally local horseriders undertake the ancient sport of "tilting at the quintain", though a replica quintain is now used.[2]

The King's Arms is the only remaining public house. Built-in the sixteenth century, the pub was originally two cottages, later owned by a saddler and harness maker who ran his business there until granted a licence in 1680.[3]

Offham also has its own primary school, called Offham Primary School.

Offham Cricket Club (www.offhamcc.co.uk) plays each week during the season at its ground in Church Road. The club has two teams that play in the Shepheard Neame Kent Cricket League each Saturday, as well as a range of friendly fixtures on a Sunday. Adult training is each Wednesday evening during the season. The club has a vibrant and growing junior section with U9, U10, U11, U13 and U15 teams, the last three of which play in the Invicta Junior Cricket League. Coaching for all age groups is from 6pm each Friday evening, during the season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Origins of the Offham Quintain". Offham Parish Council. Archived from the original on 20 October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "Off the beaten track: Offham". BBC. 24 May 2006.
  4. ^ A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 469-472

External links[edit]

Media related to Offham, Kent at Wikimedia Commons

Nearest Settlements[edit]