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Otford

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"OTFORD, a parish in the hundred of Codsheath, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, county Kent, 3 miles N. of Sevenoaks, its post town. It is the terminus of a branch line of the London, Chatham, and Dover railway. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the river Darent, and is wholly agricultural. It is- the Saxon Ottanford, where, in 773, Offa, King of Mercia, defeated Aldric, King of Kent, and also the scene of the defeat -of the Danes, under Canute, in 1016, by Edmund Ironside. Shortly before the Norman conquest it became the property of the see of Canterbury, and was the favourite retreat of Thomas-a-Becket, who had a palace here, which was repaired by Archbishop Warham at an expense of £33,000. In it Henry VIII. was entertained; but all that now remains is a roofless tower and the cloistered side of a court, now converted into stables. Near the ruin is Becket's well, enclosed by a wall, and said to have been used by him as a bath. A hospital for lepers was founded here in the reign of Henry III. The soil is chalky, and the land partly in hop-grounds. Lime is burnt, and there are some brick kilns. The great tithes belong to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, but are leased to Lord Willoughby de Broke. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Canterbury, value £179, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, has an E. window, renewed after the design of the original one, which was destroyed when the church was burnt in 1637. The interior of the church contains several monuments, among which is one by Sir William Cheer, composed of seven kinds of marble, erected to the memory of Charles Polhill, Esq. The register dates from 1635. The parochial charities produce about £24 per annum. There is a National school for both sexes. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Dowager Lady Amherst is lady of the manor."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]

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Historical Geography

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