Parish of Southfleet History
Southfleet has some 530 dwellings in a large land area and includes the hamlets of Betsham, North End, Highcross, Westwood, Hook Green Road, Red Street, Springhead, Broadditch and at one time New Barn Road. It is five miles west of Gravesend in Kent, although it is a civil parish within Dartford Borough. There are many Listed Buildings including a former Pub dated 1414, hall houses and the old Rectory dating from 14th century or earlier The Rectory has a number of ghost stories told about it, including one about a nun said to have been bricked up in one of the rooms. The parish church of St Nicholas has 14th century origins.
Southfleet had a railway station on the Gravesend West Branch line, which had been opened from Fawkham Junction near Longfield on 10 May 1886; the line was closed on 14 March 1968, although passenger traffic had ceased on 3 August 1953. The section of the trackbed south of the A2 road of the closed line was utilised for Phase 1 of Channel Tunnel Rail Link line to London Waterloo.
On the northern edge of the parish was the Roman settlement of Vagnicea along Watling Street; and Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age remains indicate a long history of people living and moving through the area. In 2005 on our northern boundary, a trap pit was found containing part skeleton of a giant elephant: carbon dated 450,000 years old.
In the Domesday book circa 1066-1086 the settlement is given as Suthfeta and Betsham was formerly known as Bedesham