Copyright Kent Past 2010
The History of Kent
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History of Otford
Otford comes from the Old English ‘ford’ meaning a ‘ford’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Otta’s ford’. The Domesday Book chronicles Otford as Otefort, and the Textus Roffensis records it as Otteford.
Otford parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Bartholomew,
and built as a Chapel-
St Bartholomew’s had the benefit of St Thomas Becket as chaplain for a while, and
later as Archbishop he resided at Otford Palace. There are many local beliefs associated
with the saint, for example: on finding his house needed a well, he struck the ground
with his staff (like Moses) and water issued forth. The well is in Castle Farm grounds,
and the sick resorted to it for healing as late as 1914. In 1228, a leper colony
instituted itself around the well, with many miracle healings claimed from the waters.
The saint is also said to have banished all nightingales from the area because their
sweet songs disrupted his prayer.
The Archbishop's Palace existed in 1150. Archbishop Winchelsea, who died in there in 1313, often entertained King Edward I at Otford. In 1514, Archbishop Warham rebuilt the Palace and tower, making it larger than the first Hampton Court. Warham entertained King Henry VII and Henry VIII at Otford -
Otford railway station opened on the London Chatham and Dover Railway’s eastward extension to Maidstone on the Bat & Ball route, on 2 June 1862…. more