Sevenoaks - Ightham

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Ightham (pronounced "Item") is a village in Kent, England, located approximately four miles east of Sevenoaks and six miles north of Tonbridge. The parish includes the hamlet of Ivy Hatch.

Although Ightham was not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, it seems to have been in existence long before then. It is generally accepted that the name Ightham dates from the earliest Anglo-Saxon period, and was originally Ehtaham; derived from 'Ehta' a Jutish personal name and 'Ham' - settlement

It is most famous for the nearby medieval manor of Ightham Mote (National Trust) although the village itself is of even greater antiquity.

Ightham Mote was first lived in by Sir Thomas Cawne from 1340 until his death in 1374 and the Great Hall dates from this period. Thereafter, it passed through various owners until it was bought in 1591 by Sir William Selby whose family lived there, for the next three hundred years. In 1953 the Mote was bought by an American, Henry Robinson, from Portland, Maine, who had first been attracted to it while on a cycle tour as a young man. He died in 1985, having bequeathed the Mote to the National Trust.

The church was originally built in the 12th century and stands on a splendid site overlooking the village. It is visible from the Ightham By-pass. It is a typical medieval parish church and was reconstructed early in the 15th century

During the last war many bombs fell in the parish, but the church was not hit; however, it did lose much of its glass. The east window was replaced in 1949 and a plaque records that it was erected in memory of parishioners who lost their lives in the two World Wars.

The centre of the village is very picturesque with its half timbered houses and does not seem to have changed much over the years when a comparison is made with old photographs. The village is well cared for and though all the shops and Post Office have gone there are two public houses in the centre the George and Dragon and the Chequers Inn, which continue to thrive. There are three other public houses in the parish

Ightham was famous for growing Kentish cob nuts. These seem to have been cultivated first by a James Usherwood who lived at Cob Tree Cottage, which was until recently the Cob Tree Inn. There are still a number of cob trees in and around the village.

Interesting fact:Two VCs have been awarded to Ightham men. The first was William Sutton, a bugler with the Royal Green Jackets who won his in 1857. The second was Riversdale Colyer-Ferguson of Ightham Mote whose award was made posthumously in 1917.