Thames Tributary Darent - Westerham

TQ 439 534
Thames Tributary Darent

Darent. It runs north into the Grounds of Squerryes Court and enters a series of four ponds used by anglers. One is longer than the others and includes remains of the millpond of Westerham Mill. At the junction of Westerham Road it is joined by a tributary from the lake in Squerryes Court and a tributary from the area near the Grasshopper to the west. It then goes under a bridge from Mill Lane and enters another pond. It then turns east and runs south of Sevenoaks Road past another pond and the end of Lodge Lane, where after the millpond dam on the fourth pond, it is joined by another stream from the pool. At Squerryes Lodge it widens and then turns north again at Mill Street.

Post to the west Moorhouse Bank
Post to the north Westerham
Post tothe south Squerryes Park

High Street
Brewery. Black Eagle Brewery. Brewing dates back to the early 1600’s. In 1841 Robert Day opened The Black Eagle Brewery to brew pale bitter ales and it was so successful that the railway line was built for it. In the Second World War Westerham ales were exported to troops in Normandy inside the auxiliary fuel tanks of Spitfires and Audit Ale was supplied to Clarence House. Taken over by Taylor Walker in the 1950s closed in 1965. Yeast was preserved at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures and is now used by a new Westerham Brewery established in 2004
Fair – site of medieval fairs was opposite the site of the brewery
Great Moretons. Early 18th
Farley. 1700 five bays and a big roof.
Drill Hall
Pitt’s Cottage. Said to be where Pitt stayed while Holwood was being done up. Now an Indian restaurant.
General Wolfe pub. Weather boarded with low ceilings and next to the demolished brewery.
Royal British Legion
Verralls Corner
97 Old Forge, once a smithy
Victorian post box on the brewery wall
Wells Place
Old Laundry Cottages 14th-18th centuries. Smoke bays of lath and plaster remain to take the smoke out of the rooms – but they were a fire risk.
Old Manor House.17th
Delagarde Farm. Oast all that remains
Royal Standard pub

Hosey Common Road
Swan cinema. Tudoresque and promoted by a local brewery, Bushell, Watkins and Smith in 1912 and managed by Captain Outwin. Two balconies stopped being used because of fire regulations. From 1956 it was known as The Tudor because of its half timbered front. Closed in 1963, and demolished in 1970 after plans to reopen ended when much of the building was destroyed by an arson attack

Lodge Lane
Lodge Close
Squerryes Lodge, manor house with the earliest form of lancet window -plate tracery with decoratively shaped openings cut through solid stone infilling. It may have been the window to the first floor hall. It is an 18th building with a medieval house inside and there is the remains of a 13th stone house in one corner. Dates from the 12th when the chapel by the Darent was built following transfer of the estate to Westminster Abbey after the death of Eleanor of Acquitaine. It was used by monks until the Dissolution.
Darent has been widened, giving it the effect of a pool.

Market Square
Kings Arms. Early 19th stuccoed.
Russell House, the Parish Council office and surgery, with the Domesday Mosaic by local artist Kenneth Budd. Sponsored by Rotary in 1980, it illustrates the entry for 'Oistreham' in the Domesday Book.
George & Dragon, coaching inn, a plaque commemorates James Wolfe's last stay in December 1758. Grade II, 16th frequented in the past by such luminaries as William Pitt (the Younger), Sir Winston Churchill and General James Wolfe, George and Dragon old coaching inn. Court leets and court baron in the courtyard

Mill Lane
The Darent is joined here by a stream from the west and the area of the Grasshopper. So, five sources have come together. Which, then, is Lambarde's 'fountaine' at 'Squyrreys', the lake or the Crockham House spring?
Mill site. Beyond the round pond stones mark the site of another corn mill which was built into the side of the pond. This was Spring Shaw Mill, or Squerries Park Mill. It was a corn mill with a cast iron overshot 9 feet diameter and 3 feet wide. Marked as disused on the 1895 OS map. It was a small building, two storeys and derelict by 1955. The upright shaft was wooden and the wooden great spur wheel was of compass arm construction

Back Meadow,

Mill Street
Footbridge is the site of a mill
Chimney stack on the site of White Swan brewery

Sevenoaks Road
Pool which is quite long and an old millpond, the site of the dam is the site of Westerham MillDarent - From the dam the river flows past a pool then turns right, where it is joined by a flow from a culvert.Darenth Mill - Westerham Mill. This corn mill had an external cast iron overshot waterwheel carried on a wooden axle. It worked up to the outbreak of the First World War and was demolished in the 1930s. It had two pairs of millstones. Probably the earliest of the Westerham Mills and the last to work.

Squerryes Park
Grounds of Squerryes Court. Near the house are 15 acres of historic garden in a bowl of the hill with woodlands and lake. The front lawn is the site of demolished wings of the house. The garden was landscaped in the 18th and includes a restored formal garden using the 18th plan. Lake in the park and also a number of ponds, including millponds from which the house drew its water. There are 300 year old lime trees. Park divorced from the house and there were Deer in the 17th. Cattle graze the meadow and drink the water in the stream.
Lake in the park is one of the sources of the River.
Squerryes Court on uphill side of the lake. It is a red brick manor house of 1680, originally built for Sir Nicholas Crispe, it has been the family home of the Wardes for 300 years who Bought it in 1731 from the 3rd Earl of Jersey. John Warde has been called the Father of Foxhunting, and was for 57 years Master of Foxhounds, and Master of Pytcheley. There is a collection of militaria, old master paintings and furniture, and ephemera connected with General Wolfe...
Venetian pavilion on a knoll
Farm. North of the house
Dovecote with conical roof. 18th
Cenotaph commemorating Gen Wolfe on flight of steps to the south. Where he was standing when he got his first commission.

Tower wood
Folly tower, dates to the 18th, and was built by one of the Wardes for their children's amusement. One story is that it is a medieval watchtower or the prison for Anne Boleyn on her journey from Hever for her trial and execution. It is at a junction of paths like a border castle. Possibly a dovecote

Water Lane
Where residents once drew their supplies from the mill leat.
Owl House next to it with the glass engraving 'reflecting' The Green behind you and depicting the faces of the children who once lived there


Gwyn said…
I may be able to add to your info.
According to our Drill Halls project data, Westerham Drill Hall was recorded in Kelly's Directory of Kent, 1913. It was used before the First World War by H Company, 4th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). If the original building is still there, we would love a photo of it! Your blog has given us its address, which we didn't have before, so thank you!
Anonymous said…
I don't know who you are but I have read Edith's streets and some of the attached that is just plain wrong. You have read other people's assumptions and then assumed it to be true when it isn't. Don't ask me to go over the wrongs there are too many and it would take a lifetime. I have been researching Westerham for 14 years properly. Stick to what you unsderstand then you will not mislead others.
Edith said…
Anonymous - sorry - please send me (privately if you want) a link to your research, or somewhere I can buy a copy, or anything.
I PROMISE to go through and look for changes and give you a credit if you want. Would that be ok? I will also come to Westerham - tomorrow?? - and see if I can find a recent publication I might have missed. I only want to get things right.
marie said…
I wonder if you would mind if I linked your blog to the one I'm currently writing called "one thousand mile walking". Last weekend I visited my home village, Westerham, and did a short walk there. My aim is to walk 1000 miles by June, having begun this at the end of January. I came upon your blog whilst looking for something about the history of Westerham. My great Uncle worked at the Black Eagle brewery and I have a measure which was used there to measure the depth of beer in the barrels. It is marked with old fashioned measures such as "hogshead". Thank you.

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