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Posted on 20th September, 2017

Listed in 1085 in the Domesday book as Ferlaga, the website "British History Online" suggests the name Farleigh is from Saxon times when it took its name from the passage across the River Medway since 'Fare' signified a journey or place and 'Lega' a place, i.e. the place of the way or passage.

 

The entry in the Domeday book notes that Ferlaga was given by Wlliam the Conqueror to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Baieux soon after 1066. The Bishop became "disgraced" in 1084 and Ferlaga was confiscated back to the crown prior to being given to Robert, son of Hamon de Crevequer who took part with the rebellious barons against the King at which point Ferlaga was again seized by the crown.

 

It appears to have remained in the hands of the crown until Edward l gave it to his queen, Eleanor, who in 1290 gave it to the priory of Christ Church in Canterbury in exchange for the port of Sandwich. 

 

The parish continued as part of the possessions of the priory of Christ Church until the dissolution under King Henry Vlll in 1540 when it was again surrendered into the King's hands and he granted it to Sir Thomas Wyatt. However, Sir Thomas' son raised a rebellion in 1553 against Queen Mary and the parish once again was seized and the ownership was passed to her attorney general, Sir John Baker, in 1554. 

 

The parish continued to be owned by their family until 1649/1650 when it passed into the ownership of Robert Newton, described as "grocer of London" who conveyed it to Augustine Hodges, described as "gentleman" who sold the parish to John  Amhurst. "esq of East Farleigh Court Lodge" who by his will in 1711 devised it to his brother, Nicholas Amhurst, "gentleman of West Barming." 

 

Currently the name change to West Farleigh has been difficult to date. A comment in British History Online states "West Farleigh, so called to distinguish it from the adjoining one of East Farleigh." Additionally the phraseology in older records alternates between 'manor' and 'parish' and it is therefore somewhat diffcult to determine whether more recent comments are about the village generally or a particular property.

 

The primary school which had one classroom was located on Lower Road and closed in 1976. One of its two teachers at the time was Miss Whittle, the daughter of Sir Frank Whittle, co-inventor of the jet engine. The village's post office and only stores at the top of Charlton Lane closed in 1986.

 

Additional information will be added as and when available from various records...... watch this space......