The hamlet of Sole Street lies within the parish, the while of which covers an area of 3,064 acres and had a population of 1,469 at the 2011 census.
The village is in a Conservation Area and as such remains relatively unspoilt.
The parish church is 13th century and is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, and has monumental brasses which are reputedly the finest in England. Thirteen of the brasses belong to the years 1320–1529 and commemorate members of the Brooke and Cobham families. The church in Luddesdown, part of the ecclesiastical parish, is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Next to the church in the village is Cobham College, a one-time home for secular priests, and now acting as almshouses.
Cobham does not appear as a separate manor in the Domesday Book, so the village and parish were probably established later than 1086. The Cobham family was established here before the reign of King John (who reigned from 1199).
About the village
Cobham Hall was the former 17th-century home of the Earls of Darnley: its gardens were designed by Humphry Repton and the surrounding woods contain the Darnley Mausoleum, a Grade I listed building now undergoing restoration. Since 1957, the Hall has been a public school for girls (Cobham Hall School); it opens to the public on some occasions in the year.
There are two areas of open space in the parish: Cobham Park, which includes extensive woodlands; and Jeskyns, a one-time farm of 360 acres, which has been turned into a greenspace area by the Forestry Commission.
Cobham has strong links with Charles Dickens, who used to walk out to the village. He set part of The Pickwick Papers there. Other personalities connected with Cobham include Sir Joseph Williamson, and the insane artist Richard Dadd, who murdered his father near here in 1843. The Hon Ivo Bligh, who became the 8th Earl of Darnley, was the first English cricket captain to attempt to recover The Ashes from Australia in the late 19th century.
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