The word Wouldham is based on a Saxon word “Wolde” which means Treeless Down. The Medway was once wider than it is today and this would have created a flat marshy landscape adjacent to the river.
Wouldham is a rapidly expanding village, the older half has many houses that were built 150 years ago as a result of the village growing up with the cement industry once located along the river bank to the south of the village.
New chalk pits were opened in the village in 1861 and this led to large industrialised cement production, in the 1890’s 1000 men worked a single shift. Henry Peters owned and ran the factories, he was a kindly benefactor of the village and the Church.
In the middle ages men of Wouldham provided one day a month labour to build a bridge over the Medway in Rochester, now Wouldham has a new bridge over the Medway, linking Wouldham on the east bank to Halling and Snodland on the west bank, the bridge is named after Henry Peters.
The old cement works is where the village is expanding, 1200 homes are being built along with shops and a new community centre. All Saints School which was built in the village in 1886 has relocated to the centre of the village in a purpose built building which is a fantastic addition to the village. The staff moved with it along with their “outstanding” Ofsted report.
All Saints Church was mentioned in the Domesday book (circa 1086) with evidence of Celtic and Bronze age habitation before that. Much of the original Saxon Church remains with a rebuild in the Norman period but there is evidence to suggest the Church was built in 1070.The bells were cast in 1624 and are one of only four remaining complete sets.
Walter Burke was purser on Nelson’s Flag Ship Victory at the Trafalgar and it was in his arms that Nelson died, his summer residence was in Wouldham, known as Burke House and he died here in 1815, once a year the children of All Saints lay flowers on his grave.
The Village has acquired a new river walk and some of the SSSI has been maintained in the old quarry, all new residents to the village are most welcome.