St. Thomas Becket

1162 AD

St. Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket, it is said, particularly liked staying at Otford, which he did several times over the next eight years.

St.Thomas Becket regarded Otford as his favourite residence and he gave his name to the medieval cistern, Becket’s Well. Its water continues to feed the Darent to this day.  In his book A perambulation of Kent (written in 1570 and published in 1576) William Lamparde wrote:
“As he walked on a time in the olde Parke, busie at his prayers, he was hindered in devotion by the sweete note and melodie of a nightingale.  Therefore he enjoyned that from henceforth no byrde of that kynde shoulde be so bolde as to sing thereabouts.  He strikes his staffe into the dry groundne, immediately water appeared.”

The Well is part of the Otford Palace  Scheduled Monument.  There is a comprehensive description in  The Northern Antiquarian website.