Meopham Tourist Guide

Introduction

Meopham is a large village in Gravesham with the parish to the south of Gravesend. Within the parish are four villages: Meopham Green, Culverstone Green, Hook Green and Harvel. Meopham, Hook Green and Harvel still preserve their village greens.

The village stretches in a long line down the A227 road, and is frequently called the longest village in Europe. On Meopham Green is a cricket pitch, on which the game has been played for centuries. Meopham Green is also the ground of Meopham Cricket Club, which has been in existence for well over 200 years. The cricket club was formed in 1776. The club is one of the oldest cricket clubs in the county of Kent with references dating back to 1773. Nearby is Meopham Windmill, built in 1801 and in 2005 restored to full working order. Milling has long been undertaken in Meopham, the earliest mill being near Westdown. At least eight mills have been used over the centuries.

 

This area was inhabited in the Stone Age – the evidence coming from the discovery of a flint knife in a field north of CamerPark. A Romano-British farmstead has also been discovered just south of the original village centre.

 

A number of archaeological digs revealed ditch boundaries and artefacts dating to AD80-120. The original name “Meapa-ham” indicates that an early settler was probably named Meapa, possibly a Jute, and this name appears in a deed of AD774. By the tenth century, the manor of Meopham was owned by Byrhtric, an apparently wealthy Saxon, who owned many other manors in Kent and Surrey.

 

There are two parish churches: the main parish church of St. John the Baptist and St JohnsChurch. The Parish Church of Meopham, St. John the Baptist, was originally founded in Saxon times, the current building dates in part from 1325. The vicar’s vestry, the oldest part of the church, was previously a Lady’s Chapel before being transformed to a private chantry complete with squint so that church services could be watched in seclusion. Somewhat older are the aisles which were rebuilt in 1386 after the earthquake of 1382 and the 14th to 20th century stained glass windows.

 

The village railway station opened in 1863, starting the London commuter process, as well as providing access to the resorts on the Kent coast and a large country park at Camer.

 

Famous residents have included Simon de Mepham, Archbishop of Canterbury (1327-1332), and John Tradescant the elder and his son of the same name, who were renowned botanists.

 

The village sign is to be found on Hook Green at the north end of the village. The sign incorporates a bishop's mitre in honour of one of Meopham's famous residents, Simon de Mepham, who was born in the parish in 1272 and died at Mayfield in East Sussex in 1332. It also includes St John's church which dates back to 1325 and was built during Simon de Mepham's incumbency.  Other features on the sign are cricket stumps and bat to recognise the long history of Meopham cricket club which traces its beginnings to 1776 and Meopham windmill built in 1801 and which is still operational.  The leaves included on the sign are of tradescantia virginica as a tribute to a Meopham family, the Tradescants, remembered for their contribution to horticulture. 

 

CamerPark in Camer Park Road is comprised of 45 acres of designated Outstanding Natural Beauty. Following the death of its last occupant, Kate Smith-Masters, the Camer estate was sold to Strood Rural District Council in 1967 for £9,750 and transformed into a public park in 1971. Visitors can select to either roam at leisure admiring the diversity of original trees that make up the mature parkland or embark on one of the series of walks devised by Meopham Footpaths Group through the neighbouring woodland. Tel:+44 (0)1474 337553 

 

Nurstead Court in Nurstead Church Lane is a manor house which has stood on the site since at least the reign of Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. There are references to it belonging to a nobleman named Vlfstan in the Domesday Book. The oldest parts of the house that visitors can see today only date back 650 years to the aisled hall built by Stephen de Gravesend, Lord of the Manor and also Bishop of London. The house has since undergone some Regency and Victorian renovations and is run today as a working farm. Tel:+44 (0)1474 812121 

 

Meopham Valley Vineyard at Norway House in Wrotham Road has grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Madeleine Angevine, Reichensteiner, Triomphe and Leon Millot. The two hectare vineyard grows an extensive range of grapes and makes white, red, rosé and sparkling wines as well as grape juice. Tel 01474 812727

 

White Horse Riding Centre in White Horse Lane, Harvel offers horse riding lessons and hacking for all the family. It is open 7 days a week and is suitable for all abilities. Tel: 01474 816555

 

A chance to buy local produce directly from the farmers, producers and growers: meat, dairy products, fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit, bread, honey and preserves, wines and much more is offered by the local Farmers’ Market. It is held at Meopham Fitness Centre between 9.00am - 12.30pm on the first Sunday of each month. Tel: 07775 736116

 

Taxis

Meopham Cars, Meopham Station, Station Approach 01474 813441

Village Taxis, Lomer Farm/Wrotham Road, Meopham01474 815814

 

Doctors

Meopham Medical Centre, Wrotham Road, Meopham

Contact: Appointments Line - 01474 814811

Meopham Natural Health Centre, Coningsby House, Wrotham Road 01474 812135

 

Dentists

Meopham Dental Care, Unit 1/The Mews/Wrotham Rd, Meopham 0870-747 2830

 

Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.

 

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015