Cudham, Bromley

A quiet village with several flint and red brick buildings, lying two miles east of Biggin Hill

Hidden London: Cudham village sign
Cudham’s millen­nial village sign

Cudham’s church of St Peter and St Paul is of twelfth century origin, though much restored since. There is evidence that there has been a place of worship on this site since 900bc and two yew trees in the church­yard may be 17 centuries years old. Local landowners have often been of noble birth but none has ever chosen to live in the village.

In 1865 Richard Relph acquired the Blacksmith’s Arms, a property that dates from 1628. As the name suggests, it was orig­i­nally a smithy. Relph’s wife bore him fifteen children, one of whom – born at the inn when the landlord was at a remark­ably advanced age – went on to become the cele­brated music hall star Little Tich. The pub features in the village’s millen­nial sign, shown in the photograph.

The houses and cottages of Cudham date mainly from the 19th century. Cudham Hall served until recently as a trade union-run engi­neering college but has since been converted to apart­ments. The Angas Home has been a vicarage and a sailors’ conva­les­cent home. It’s now a private house and was valued at around £2,750,000 in 2012.

The surrounding farms were once known for growing dyer’s weed (Reseda luteola), which produces a yellow pigment. Its culti­va­tion ceased when synthetic competi­tors rendered it uneconomic.

Run by the Woodcraft Folk, Cudham envi­ron­mental activ­i­ties centre is set within a three-acre woodland site on New Barn Lane. It has a resi­den­tial field studies unit, a camping area and a mini-farm.

Postcode area: Sevenoaks, TN14