"COBHAM, a parish in the hundred of Shamwell, lathe of Aylesford, in the county of Kent, 1 mile N.E. of the Sole Street station of the North Kent line, and 4 from Graves end, its post town. The village was anciently a market town, and belonged to the Cobham family, but afterwards came to the Blighs, through the Stewarts, to whom it was presented by James I. on its forfeiture to the crown. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester, value £391, in the patronage of the Earl of Darnley. The church, which was formerly collegiate, is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene; it is an ancient structure in the early English style, with a square tower, and contains several monuments and brasses, chiefly to the Cobham and Brook families, some of them dated as early as 1320. There is a parochial school supported by the Earl of Darnley, and a college founded by Sir John Cobham in 1407, consisting of twenty almshouses for the poor. It is a good specimen of the smaller hospitals of the middle ages. Cobham Hall, the residence of the Earl of Darnley, was designed by the celebrated Inigo Jones, and restored by Wyatt; the picture gallery of which contains, among other pictures, Rubens' "Death of Cyrus," and portraits by Vandyck. This building also contains a beautifully gilded hall, which is open to visitors on certain days by the kind permission of the Earl. The park, which consists of 1,800 acres of ground, well stocked with deer, possesses some beautiful and romantic spots. The mausoleum, which was erected in the park in 1783, has not been used. There is a fair held on the 2nd August."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]