Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Cobham
Cobham comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, homestead, estate’ or
‘hamm’ as ‘land hemmed in, land with a boundary’ combined with a personal name; therefore
either ‘Cobba’s homestead/village’ or ‘Cobba’s hemmed-
From the 13th century, the history of the parish links closely with the families
who owned the land. The family of de Cobham acquired their lands, in Cobham and Shorne,
from the de Quartermeres during the reign of King John. For the next 400 years, they
and their heirs, the Brookes, dominated the village and generously endowed the church.
As lawyers, the de Cobhams and the Brookes associated with the Court. As soldiers, they fought for the Cross in the Holy Land, and for the King in France and Britain. Following Henry Brookes implication in a plot against the king, in 1603, King James I gave Cobham to his cousins the Stuarts. The last Stuart heiress married secondly Sir Joseph Williamson, the First Secretary under Charles II, who gave Cobham some beautiful Communion silver. In 1715, the lands passed by marriage to the Blighs, -
Cobham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.
The de Cobham family rebuilt the earlier Saxon chapel in the early 13th century.
The de Cobhams regarded it as their own Chapel and place of burial. They made it
exceptionally large for a parish church, similar to the huge endowments of the Norfolk
'wool' churches. Sir John de Cobham, who described himself as 'Founder of this place',
carried out intense building work. He re-
In 1797, Edward Hasted described the Cobham church as a ‘handsome spacious building, consisting of three isles and a large chancel, and has a good tower at the west end of it, with a ring of bells’. Gillett and Johnson cast a treble bell in 1907 to commemorate the coming of age of the 8th Earl of Darnley’s son, Lord Clifton…. more