Nestling between Wimbledon Village and bustling Kingston, Coombe is a leafy haven with a history dating from Roman times.
Coombe today is a desirable residential neighbourhood, close to Kingston-upon-Thames. It includes the Coombe Hill Estate; a series of private roads and gated communities where you’ll find spacious contemporary and period properties. The area is also home to luxury developments of prestigious homes, between Kingston Hill and Coombe Lane West.
- Objects and coins discovered in the area reveal that Coombe can trace its history back to the Roman invasion.
- The area gets a mention in the Domesday Book, where it is referred to as ‘Cumbe’. Its assets are listed as including four ploughs and 12 acres of meadow – worth the princely sum of £8.
- In 1215, King John awarded Coombe to the nobleman Hugh de Nevill – you can still find a road called ‘Coombe Neville’ close to Coombe Wood Golf Club.
- Records show that Coombe had a gallows; erected during the 16th century and reputedly used for public hangings at a time when executions were a popular spectator sport.
- Queen Elizabeth I visited Coombe in 1602 – not surprising given the area’s close proximity to Tudor palace Hampton Court. Tudor-era structures used for supplying spring water from Coombe to Hampton Court have been found in the area.
- In 1761 Coombe was owned by John Spencer, the first Earl Spencer – ancestor of Princess Diana and father of Georgiana, the subject of the acclaimed film The Duchess starring Keira Knightly.
- Much of Coombe has been woodland throughout its history, especially the area around Coombe Warren, which was the stamping ground of notorious ‘Laughing Highwayman’, Jerry Abershaw, during late 18th century. Abershaw would hide out in local woods – when he wasn’t spending time in nearby hostelry the Bald-Faced Stag.
- In 1822 the navy established a telegraph station in Coombe Warren; part of the London to Portsmouth semaphore line. This is where Telegraph Cottage on Warren Road, got its name. Future US president, General Dwight D Eisenhower lived in the cottage during World War II.
- Warren House, now a prestigious venue for weddings and events, was built in 1865 for Hugh Hammersley, wealthy banker to the British Army. The house was extended in the 1880s by well-known architect George Devey.
- Dame Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and the most famous singer of the Victorian era, lived in Coombe House, Devey Close in 1906 – a blue plaque commemorates her time here. She would later name her Melbourne home Coombe Cottage.
- Other famous Coombe residents have included British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, novelist John Galsworthy, actor Joss Ackland, tennis player Annabel Croft and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Coombe is popular with families thanks to a good selection of outstanding schools. Properties have ample gardens and a wide range of parks within easy reach, including the wide-open spaces of Richmond Park and Bushey Park. There’s access to Greater London’s top places of interest too, including Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens, as well plenty of opportunities for riverside walks along the Thames.
The area is also ideal for young professionals, thanks to an easy train ride into central London and all the amenities of Kingston close-by. With its impressive range of high street shops and a superb riverside location, Kingston has plenty to recommend it. There’s great nightlife with plenty of bars, restaurants and venues including the Rose Theatre – and the University of Kingston means it has all the buzz of a student town too.