What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE HOME OF GENERAL WOLFE
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Westerham. =Distance from London.=–25 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 1 to 2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 3s. 10d. 2s. 5d. 2s. 0d. Return 6s. 8d. 4s. 10d. 4s. 0d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The King’s Arms,” “The Bull," “The George and Dragon,” etc.
Westerham as a small country town is not very remarkable in itself, although not devoid of interest, but as containing the birthplace of General Wolfe it becomes a place worthy of a pilgrimage. Colonel and Mrs. Wolfe, the parents of the hero of Quebec, had just come to Westerham, and occupied the vicarage at the time of the birth of their son James in 1727. This, being previous to 1752, was during the old style, when the year began on March 25. The day was December 22, now represented by January 2. Colonel Wolfe’s infant was christened in Westerham Church by the vicar, the Rev. George Lewis; but although born at the vicarage, James’s parents must have moved into the house now known as Quebec House almost immediately afterwards, for practically the whole of the first twelve years of the boy’s life were spent in the fine old Tudor house which is still standing to-day. The vicarage is also to be seen, and though much altered at the back, the front portion, containing the actual room in which Wolfe was born, is the same as in the past. It has a three-light window towards the front, and two small windows in the gable at the side. Quebec House is near the vicarage. It does not bear its name upon it, but it will be pointed out on inquiry. The front is a most disappointing stucco affair, but this merely hides the beautiful Elizabethan gables which originally adorned the house from every point of view. Two private tenants now occupy the house, but the interior is on the whole very little altered since little James Wolfe played hide-and-seek in the old passages and rooms. Squerryes Court, the seat of Lieut.-Colonel C.A.M. Warde, J.P., is the local storehouse of Wolfe relics. Numbers of letters, portraits, and other interesting objects are all carefully preserved there. Young Wolfe was constantly at Squerryes, and the spot in the park where he received his first commission is marked by a stone cenotaph.
[Illustration: QUEBEC HOUSE, WESTERHAM.
Where General James Wolfe spent the first twelve years of his life.]