Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …
West Wickham was first recorded as Wichema mearcae in an Anglo-Saxon Charter of 862 (and as Westwycham – in contra-distinction to Estwycham – in 1284). The name is thought to refer to the boundary (maerc) of a homestead or village (ham) associated with an earlier Romano-British settlement or vicus (wic). The earliest settlement in the area would indeed appear to have been along the Roman road running from London to Lewes. Despite some development following the arrival of the railway in the late nineteenth century, West Wickham retains something of a rural character to this day, especially to the south. Technically, it is now part of the London Borough of Bromley.
Church of St John
The church of St John was probably originally built here in the Saxon period, and rebuilt in the later Medieval, and again in the early Post-Medieval, in the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509), by Sir Henry Heydon, a lawyer and Justice of the Peace, and the husband of Anne Boleyn (daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, a one-time Lord Mayor of London, and great-grandfather of Queen Anne Boleyn).
There are some surviving Medieval to Post-Medieval memorials in the interior, including one to William de Thorp, a one-time rector (d. 1407), and another to Sir Samuel Lennard (d. 1618), another lawyer and Justice of the Peace (also a Member of Parliament), and the husband of Elizabeth Slayne (daughter of Sir Stephen Slayne, another one-time Lord Mayor of London).
There are also some particularly fine stained-glass windows, believed to be by Anglo-Flemish artists.
The manor house now known as Wickham Court was probably also originally built here in the Saxon period, and rebuilt with fortifications in the later Medieval, sometime between 1469 and 1480, also by Sir Henry Heydon. In the Post-Medieval period, it entered the possession of the Lennard family. In 1935, it was sold and adapted for use as a hotel, and it is currently a preparatory school.