Cobham (St. Mary Magdalene)

COBHAM (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish, in the union of North Aylesford, hundred of Shamwell, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (S. by E.) from Gravesend; containing 758 inhabitants. The parish comprises about 3000 acres, of which 1400 are arable, and 180 woodland; the surface is hilly, the soil in the greater portion a sandy loam, and in the remainder a light chalk and sand. The village stands upon an eminence, and is supplied with water from works constructed by the family of Cobham. It had formerly a weekly market on Monday, and a fair on St. Mary Magdalene's day, granted to John, Lord Cobham, in the 41st of Edward III.; the fair is held on the 2nd of August, but the market has been long disused. The living is a vicarage not in charge; net income, £94; patron, the Earl of Darnley; impropriator, T. Wells, Esq. The church is a handsome structure in the early and later English styles, with an embattled tower, and a north porch of elegant design: it contains a piscina in a richly canopied niche, and some very ancient monuments and brasses to the noble families of Cobham and Brooke. In 1362, John, Lord Cobham, made it collegiate, and, contiguous to the churchyard, erected a college, which he amply endowed for five chaplains, afterwards increased to eleven: at the suppression the college was valued at £128. 1. 2., and was confirmed by the crown to George, Lord Cobham, whose executors, in 1598, built upon the site the present college, and endowed it with the former possessions, for the maintenance of 20 persons. It is a neat quadrangular building of stone, comprising part of the ancient structure. The course of the Roman Watling-street is visible in the parish; and on a hill in Cobham Park is a splendid mausoleum, of the Doric order, erected by the late Earl of Darnley, at an expense of £15,000. The place confers the title of Baron on the Duke of Buckingham.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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