A brief history of the village of Bridge

The village of Bridge, straddling the main road from Dover to Canterbury has been an important village since the Roman occupation of England.

There was probably a Roman bridge across the river (Cf. Bruges which has a similar site and name). The village is situated on the old coaching route from Dover to London, known as Watling Street. In the parish records there are detailed many marriages between passing travellers and local villagers.

Near by on the Barham Downs the armies used to assemble for campaigns abroad such as "The Field of the Cloth of Gold", the Seven Years War and also India in the mid 19th Century.

The church in characteristic Kentish flint was restored with money given by Mrs. Gregory in 1852. It is a feature of the village as you come down the hill from Canterbury and is even more exposed since the great storm in October, 1987.

A characteristic of Bridge are the large manor houses near the village:
- Bridge Place was the home of the Braemes family (Sir Arnold Braemes was the first manager of the Dover Harbour Board),
- Higham House, now known as Higham Park was one of the largest country houses in East Kent in the l7th Century, Count Zborowski, of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fame, lived in the house earlier this century
- Bridge Hill House was the former home of the grandson of the French philosopher Montesquieu
- East Bridge House,
to mention but a few. A little further away is Bourne Park where Mozart stayed once to attend the horse races on the Barham Downs!

There are three pubs of great antiquity, the Plough and Harrow, the Red Lion and the White Horse. In The White Horse a famous brawl took place which is recorded in the Church Archives of Christopher Applegate, a contemporary of Marlowe.

The Post Office is a great centre of the village and was used by Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, then living at Broome Park, to send his first despatch in 1914.

One of the first work houses in Kent was built in 1835 in Union Road and the Record Book gives the names of many inmates who, often forced by poverty, took up residence there.

There are not many villages that can boast such varied architecture from Tudor to Victorian. The centre of village is a Designated Conservation Area but constant vigilance is needed to see that a high standard is maintained.

Bridge which has survived two wars mercifully undamaged, has grown since the war and with this growth has come social change and mobility. The population of Bridge was 1,297 at the 1981 Census. New houses have been built at Bridge Down and Western Avenue in the 1950's and 1960's. Riverside Close was developed in the 1970's and 1980's and the most recent addition is Mansfield Court.

One of the surgeons returning from the Battle of Waterloo, Dr. James wrote that "he was much impressed by the happiness and jollity of the inhabitants" of Bridge!