Wateringbury History snippets

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Place names in Wateringbury

posted Feb 11, 2017, 8:15 AM by Terry Bird   [ updated Apr 3, 2018, 11:36 AM ]

Place names are of interest in themselves and may help to paint a picture of the wider environment. A high level of speculation is sometimes needed. This is work in progress and additions are very welcome. For each place the intent is to identify the name's earliest usage and variants of its current form. Doomsday Book only contains the place name Wateringbury -although with two variants. 


 The name "Wateringbury" is a three element name :
  • "Othere" an Anglo-Saxon masculine personal name;
  • "Ing" meaning "people of" or "tribe of";
  • "Burh" meaning "fortification" or "stronghold" :
and so, all together, "The fortification of the people of Othere". 
This is based on the web-site of the  Institute for Name studies at Nottingham University.
The use of "ing" may indicate a possible settlement date of 7th,8th or early 9th century. Other nearby places with "ing" incorporated in the name include Malling, Barming, Beltring and Yalding. 
Further details, including photos of the earliest written forms of the name in both Old English and Latin
, are to be found in the society's publication A History of Wateringbury to 1086.

Lilly Hoo. 

A detached part of the parish of Wateringbury until 1888, near Beltring Hop Farm and representing a "den" in the Weald used for feeding pigs on acorns in autumn.  "Hoo" is a name not just used in Kent (Hoo peninsula) but also in Chilterns. Literally word means 'ridge' or 'spur of land' but , according to Alan Everitt ('Continuity and Colonization' p 345) it also often indicates an outlying woodland pasture. Used in 1839 Tithe schedule. Greensted's account of 1780 only refers to it by the name Lilly (without the Hoo). The 1851 census refers to Lily Hoo.

Pizien Well. 

Conveyance of 1517 uses term PyssyngwellGreensted's account of 1780 refers to 'Pizingwell' and says "now commonly called Pissingwell" and "It is said that this place took its name from one Pizein and the well in the street was his property; both together give the name of the place viz Pizein's Well." Note the use of ing  (meaning 'people of' in Saxon usage) in these early usages.  Ted Bates explores the possible connection with a Holy Well in the Society's publication "More about Wateringbury".  Used as 'Pizien Well' in 1839 Tithe schedule. The 1851 census refers to "Pizen Well Street".  In the 1915 register of Parliamentary voters it is consistently referred to as "Poisonwell"

Brattles Mill. This is the mill that still exists in the village although with the disappearance of Wardens mill the name Brattles is less used.  A Robert Brattle is recorded as parish overseer in 1732 but it may be after a later descendant, also Robert, that the mill was named. Used in 1839 Tithe schedule

Canon Lane/Court. Both used in Greensted's account of 1780 and in 1839 Tithe schedule. Frequently used with a double n (cannon, meaning type of gun) whereas derivation is from the canons (clerical title) of Leeds Abbey who owned this area of Wateringbury in early Middle Ages.

Broomscroft. In Greenstead account of 1780 Bromsdown is referred to as Mr. Knell's "large field lately a cherry garden. Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.

Chart.  Chart is one of 4 manors of Medieval Wateringbury. The Dumb Borsholder hanging in Wateringbury Church is from Chart manor. Chart is derived from the Norwegian word kartr meaning 'rough, rocky sterile ground' and a strip of land across Kent, between the Downs and Weald,is called the Chartland with places like Chart Sutton and Great and Little Chart. Used in Greensted's account of 1780 and in 1839 Tithe schedule. The name is still used today for two fields on Manor Farm known as Lower Chart and Greater Chart field. 

Clattenden Wood.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Latters Buildings.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
North Pole. Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Cocks crouch.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Kettle's Farm.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.

Bow Road/Bridge. In the earliest known (1702) document the bridge is referred to as Wateringbury Bridge. However a map of the Upper Medway in 1739 has the words The Bow alongside the river at this point.  Greensted does not refer to any bridge but Hasted in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1778–99) does refer to Bow-bridge at Wateringbury.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule. A document of 1868 refers to the bridge known as Wateringbury Bow.  

The name of the road coming down the hill in Wateringbury to the bridge is Bow Road and the name of the field on the opposite side of the river is Bow Meadow. The hill on the opposite side is Bow Hill.

Some think the name Bow is derived from the Old English "boga". This word generally translates as “bow” as a weapon for shooting arrows, but was applied to describe anything arch shaped. 

It could refer to the curve of the river. If we look at the OS map of the area, we can see the wide curve of the River Medway which is visible from the top of Bow Hill. Compare with the term “ox-bow lake” which refers to a bend in a river which is shaped like the yoke used for harnessing oxen when ploughing.

Some give a less certain alternative interpretation of the word “boga” to mean an "arched bridge" which would support the idea that there was a near bridge in this location from the earliest times.

Dann's Lane.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Red hill.  Both used in Greensted's account of 1780 and in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Fullers Corner.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.
Wardens.  Used in 1839 Tithe schedule.

Westbury: the current use is limited to Westbury Cottage on the Tonbridge Road. There are places called Westbury in Bucks., Shrops., Wilts. (x2), Glos. & Somerset (per Cambridge Dictionary of English Place Names, 2004. It means "At the West fortified place or manor house".  Westbury Manor was in the west of Wateringbury- Manor farm now. J.K. Wallenberg in his Place Names of Kent (pub. 1934) records the following early usages:
1253 -de Westbere (Lesti et Hundreda cum Villadtis Kancie ety Feoda Militium )
1278-de la Westberug (Assize Rolls for Kent)
1296-atte Westbbyry (I pm)
1296-de Westbury (Patent Rolls of reign of Henry III)
1346-Westbery (Feudal Aids)
1782 -Westbery (Hasted)
The 18th century land transactions of the Twysdens generally record Westbury (otherwise Westberries).

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