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The History of Kent

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History of Ightham

Ightham (pronounced 'item') comes from the Old English ‘hām’ meaning a ‘village, an estate, homestead’ combined with a warlord’s name; therefore, ‘Ehta’s homestead/village’. Although, Edward Hasted suggests the name is a corruption of Eightham, referring to the eight boroughs within its boundaries. The Textus Roffensis records Ightham as Ehteham..

Ightham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Peter. The Normans built it in the early 12th century with additions and extensions over the next 200 years. In the first half of the 15th century, John Walgrave cast three bells for the newly built west tower. In 1620, John Wilnar added a tenor and Richard Phelps a treble in 1732, to complete five. William and Thomas Mears recast one of the John Walgrave bells in 1789. In the 19th century, the Victorians heavily restored the church. John Warner Added a treble bell to make six in 1888…. more

In 1336, King Edward II, at the request of the Lord of the Manor, granted a licence for an annual three day fair – known as Coxcombe Fair - to be held in the village. The villagers revived it in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, in 1988 commemorating the defeat, in 1588, of the Spanish Armada and in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Sir William Cawne built a fortified manor house named
Ightham Mote in 1340, with the addition of a tower at the time of the Wars of the Roses. The Selby family purchased the house in 1591. The skeleton of a woman found bricked up in a wall in the great hall might be that of Dorothy Selby, the wife of Sir William, who disclosed the gunpowder plot.