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History Trail

Extract from Wingham: A Kentish Village reproduced by permission of the Wingham Local History Society

Route and Commentary

Wingham displays a wealth of historic buildings - at least sixty houses of before 1760 AD and many of those belong to the 15th Century or earlier. This trail points out thirty‑two sites of particular interest and can be followed in a logical progression from the parish church and ending at the Preston Hill end of the village.
Click on a number on the map to be taken to the appropriate notes

1. The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin   A mixture of styles. Originally a large cruciform church with aisles of c. 1200 AD   only the arches from the aisles to transepts survive of this period  the northern one blocked as the north aisle disappeared in Tudor times. In the 1280's the church became "collegiate" which involved a complete rebuilding of the east end in a grand Decorated style of the Geometric type. A large west tower was added at the end of the 14th Century as was the south porch. By early Tudor times, the orginal nave had become ruinous (nobody knows why) and was rebuilt together with the south aisle between 1520‑1560. The nave is unusual for its nave piers are of chestnut rather than stone and has a fine timber roof of socalled crown post construction. There are some Georgian "patch ups" in the 18th, Century and a vigorous restoration in the 19th Century, including the large 5 light east window. Internally, the Oxenden monuments in the south transept are noteworthy.  Top
2. Delbridge House  This is the finest post medieval building in Wingham ‑ a beautifully made 5 bay Georgian house to which were added, after 1806, the two semi‑circular additions to the east and west.  Top
3. The "Mill Area"  Domesday Book mentions 2 water mills and this is the probable site of one of them. The former Mill Pond is now occupied by Waterlock Cottages and their gardens. Top
4. From Mill Cottages return to the main road and opposite you stands Wingham Court, the former seat of the Archbishop's manor. This has a fine 17th Century Dutch gable at the end nearest you and an Bath Century front to the road, but behind all this is a late medieval "hall" house. Adjoining the main house are a late 16th Century single storey house and an 18th Century barn.  Top
5. On the map (notaccessible) marks the site of the Roman Villa partially excavated in the 1880's and again in the mid 1960's. A large bath house complex and a large aisled structure (? an agricultural barn) have been found. Top
6. Wingham House to the east of the church is an early 19th Century building which replaced a very large Jacobean mansion built by the Palmer family who took over the Provost's (he was in charge of the collegiate church) house, after the College was dissolved in 1547. Top
7-10. represent "Canon's Row" and are the finest series of medieval buildings in Wingham and arguably the finest grouping in Kent. They are supposed to represent the Collegiate buildings of the six Canons attached to the Collegiate Church. Parts of the Old Canonry (7) probably date back to the College foundation in the late 13th Century. Most of the existing structures of these four fine buildings date to 1450‑1500. They all have first floor halls with exceptional "crown post" roofs. Note particularly the finely carved "barge boards" on the high gable of (7), the date plaque "1661" on the high gable of (8) (there was a major fire in 1660 which badly damaged the College buildings and "The Dog" in particular), the small medieval windows along the side of (9) and the fine late 15th Century "wagon entrance" of the same and the generally fine proportions of the "The Red Lion" (10) and particularly its "oriel" window oversailing the entrance.  Top
11. to 14. Retrace your steps back to the Old Canonry (7) and turn up School Lane to the large 9 bay Georgian Vicarage (11) the largest secular building in Wingham. Beyond it is a small alley ‑ go along here and on your right, through an iron gate you will glimpse a view of Canon House (12), another fine jettied, *first floor hall building perhaps of the 14th Century. Continue along alley to the main road and turn left and head back towards the Red Lion. On the right (13) represents a greatly altered 15th Century so‑called "Wealden" hall house (common in Kent & Sussex)  * overhanging of first floor level Top
15. Lloyd's Bank looks rather incongruous. It replaces a 16th Century dwelling and was built in the 1920's when it was thought Wingham was going to prosper with the local coal mines and railway.  Top
16. Opposite, the long stretch of walling stands on the side of the former large Tithe Barn which disappeared in the latter part of the 19th Century. Top
17. A row of 16th Century jettied buildings, most greatly altered. Top
18. First the Tobacconist's    an "end jettied" building, i.e. built at right angles to the road with a short jetty to the road. Next to it, Old Vicarage House represents another "Wealden" hall house, damaged by fire in the 17th Century and then altered.  Top
19. Elgar's    a very fine all brick dwelling of the late 17th Century  a small date plaque is supposed to read "1698" but the '9' is no longer decipherable.  Top
20. Hiding beneath the chestnuts, Nos. 51 & 52 . is a late medieval building. Look at the roof. Top
21. Nos. 54 & 55. is the third of Wingharn's "Wealden" hall houses Which has entirely lost its front jetty but again note the huge medieval roof.  Top
22. The Anchor 15th, 16th and 18th Century portions from left to right. Top
23. Just beyond the access road to the car park and toilets, this building, now three cottages Nos. 56, 60 & 61 : High St. represents a probably 14th Century open hall house with "cross wings" either side. This was altered and extended in the 18th Century.  Top
24. Formerly the Ship Inn one of Winghain's few surviving thatched buildings  a continuous jetty house of about 1600.  Top
25. A pretty row of cottages with quaint iron framed windows  late 17th Century but original purpose unknown  note blocked windows. Top
26. The Old Manse a fine Georgian facade dated 1722 hiding an earlier 16th/ 17th Century house.  Top
27. As you approach Wilmshurst's the Bakers, look back at the end gable of No. 92 High St. and you will see a "ghost wall"  a wall within a wall  either No. 92 has got bigger or there is a missing building between it and Wilmshurst's. Top
28. You have just crossed the Wingham river (you may not have noticed!) and Bridge Antiques represents a greatly altered early (?) hall house with Qtcross wings" and a later addition of 1784.  Top
29. Opposite is the White Cottage Restaurant thatched  originally a two bay hall house with jettied cross wing and a later 18th Century addition to the south. Top
30 Nos. 102  103 High St.  thatched again  two dwellings  an end jettied building (No. 103 now in filled) and a slightly later addition (No. 102).  Top
31. Beech Tree House  this splendid building represents the fourth and last of the "Wealdens" a very early one  perhaps early 14th Century, masked by its magnificent "Gothic" facade of c. 1820's.  Top
32. The Thatched Cottage This charming building brings our trail to an end. Originally an early, small one bay hall house, altered in the 16th and 17th Centuries with a large Victorian addition to the north. Top