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History of Wrotham

Wrotham (pronounced ‘ru:tam) comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, homestead, estate’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Wrota’s homestead/village’. The Domesday Book chronicles Wrotham as Broteham and in the Textus Roffensis as Wroteham. 

The settlement dates from Roman times and perhaps had a Roman station situated on or near it. The ancient military way from Old borough to Stane-street passed through the village. There is also a variety of grape vine growing in the churchyard, which could have descended from a one favoured by the Romans. 

Wrotham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint George. The Saxons built the first church in the 10th century. The Normans rebuilt it in the late 11th or early 12th century. Extensions and enlargements continued until the final stage in the 15th century with the construction of the west tower. Richard Melchbourne –Vicar of Wrotham 1397-98 – bequeathed four marks for the purchase of bells in 1404. Lester and Pack recast six bells into a ring of eight in 1754. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Wrotham church as a ‘very handsome large building, consisting of three isles, a cross isle, and a large chancel, which last was new-paved and otherwise much beautified some years ago, by the late rector, Dr. John Potter’. Newman and Billing carried out a major restoration to the chancel in 1861…. more

Until 1349, The Archbishop of Canterbury had a palace just behind the church. However, Archbishop Simon Islip, required the materials for his riverside palace in Maidstone, and demolished part of the building at Wrotham, leaving only what amounted to a large house. 

Wrotham railway station opened on the Sevenoaks Maidstone and Tunbridge Railway’s Otford to Maidstone spur, on 1 Jun 1874…. more