Orpington is a town and electoral ward in the London Borough of Bromley in Greater London and lies at the south-eastern edge of London’s urban area.
Stone Age tools have been found in several areas of Orpington, including Goddington Park, Priory Gardens, the Ramsden estate, and Poverest. Early Bronze Age pottery fragments have been found in the Park Avenue area. During the building of Ramsden Boys School in 1956, the remains of an Iron Age farmstead were excavated. The area was occupied in Roman times, as shown by Crofton Roman Villa
and the Roman bath-house at Fordcroft.
During the Anglo-Saxon period, Fordcroft Anglo-Saxon cemetery was used in the area.
The first record of the name Orpington occurs in 1038, when King Cnut’s treasurer Eadsy gave land at "Orpedingetune" to the Monastery of Christ Church at Canterbury. The parish church also pre-dates the Domesday Book. On 22 July 1573, Queen Elizabeth I was entertained at Bark Hart (Orpington Priory) and her horses stabled at the Anchor and Hope Inn (Orpington High Street). On the southern edge of Orpington, Green St Green is recorded as ’Grenstretre’, which means a road covered with grass. It is known in the 1800s as Greenstead Green.
Until the railway came, the local commercial centre was nearby St Mary Cray, rather than Orpington. St Mary Cray had a regular market, and industry (paper mills and bell foundry), whereas Orpington was just a small country village surrounded by soft fruit farms, hop fields and orchards.
These crops attracted Romani people, working as itinerant pickers, to annual camps in local meadows and worked-out chalk pits. This work has largely ended, but the Borough still provides a permanent site at Star Lane, and the gatherings are commemorated in local street names, such as Romany Rise.
Orpington station was opened on 2 March 1868 by the South Eastern Railway (SER), when the SER opened its cut-off line between Chislehurst and Sevenoaks. The line was widened and the station rebuilt in 1904, expanding to six platforms. Third rail electrification reached Orpington in 1925, and extended to Sevenoaks in 1935.