Wickhambreaux manor was the home of Joan of Kent, wife to Edward Plantagenet, and mother of Richard II. The tomb of Edward Plantagenet, popularly known as the Black Prince, is in Canterbury Cathedral.
Joan was very much a power behind the throne and was well-loved for her influence over the young king. So much so that when she returned to London from a pilgrimage to Canterbury in 1381, which included a visit to her Wickhambreaux estate, and found her way barred by Wat Tyler and his rebels on Blackheath, the mob not only let her through unharmed, but saluted her with kisses and provided an escort for her for the rest of her journey.
Wickhambreaux’s ancient 14th century church includes an Art Nouveau stained glass window dating from the 19th century.
Historically the village was a farming community but as with so many rural villages many of the residents work in local towns. Although only small in population, around 500, it is a busy village with its church activities, Produce Association, competitive cricket club and many other similar interests. Village shops closed over the years but despite the small population the primary school still occupies its original historic building dating back to 1869.
The surrounding countryside is good farm land producing some of Kent’s finest fruit as well as cereal and vegetable crops.
The village green is bordered by a tall white clapboard mill with working water wheel, several houses and the former public house, ‘The Hooden Horse’.
The practice of hoodening in the village was carried out by labourers who went from door to door, collecting funds, sometimes aggressively, for their Christmas festivities. The hoodening tradition has since ended, but today is immortalized in some of the routines performed by Morris Dancers.
The house in the trees on the village green was used as the ‘Gluemans’ house in Powell and Pressburger’s wartime classic film A Canterbury Tale.
Squadron Leader David Maltby DSO DFC, of 617 Dambusters Squadron is buried in the churchyard. Christine McVie, former member of Fleetwood Mac, author Terry Ralph, and Nick Bateman, a contestant in the first series of the UK TV reality show Big Brother, all live in the village.