The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.
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The name of this place is written in ancient records, Ciselhyrst (fn. 1). Later records vary it to Chyslehurst, Chiselhurst, Chisilhurst, &c. The mode of spelling now generally adopted, and used in all public proceedings, is Chislehurst.
Quantity of land, and how occupied.
Chislehurst lies in the hundred of Ruxley, at the distance of eleven miles from London. The parish is bounded by Bromley, Orpington, Paul's Cray, Foot's Cray, Eltham, and the extraparochial hamlet of Mottingham. It contains about 2500 acres; the cultivated land is almost wholly arable, there are about 500 acres of woodland (fn. 2) and about 200 of waste. The soil is for the most part gravel. This parish pays the sum of 196l. to the land-tax, which is at the rate of about 1s. 2d. in the pound.
The manor of Chislehurst is not described in the record of Doomsday, but is supposed to have been included in that of Dartford, which was then vested in the crown. King John granted it to Hugh Earl of St. Paul, a Norman nobleman (fn. 3). When the King of France seized upon Normandy, all the possessions of the Normans in England were declared escheats to the crown, and the manor of Dartford was granted to John de Burgh till the King should think fit to restore it to the Earl of St. Paul, or his heirs. In 1233, it was granted to William Earl of Albemarle, on the like conditions (fn. 4); and in 1263, the Earl of Albemarle being then dead, the King restored it to Guy Earl of St. Paul (fn. 5), on whose death it reverted to the crown. King Edward I. granted it to his mother Queen Eleanor, for her life (fn. 6). His successor, in 1322, gave the manor of Dartford, with its appurtenances, to Edmund Earl of Kent. It is evident that the manor of Chislehurst was included in this grant, since the record of the inquisition, taken after the Earl's death, values the rents of assize in Chislehurst at 4l. 14s. 10d. per annum (fn. 7). His sons, who were successively Earls of Kent, dying without issue, their sister Joan (married, first, to Sir Thomas Holland, afterwards to Edward the Black Prince) became their heir. On the death of her grandson Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent, without issue, his estates were divided among his four sisters: the manor of Dartford (with rents of assize in Chislehurst) fell to the share of Joan Duchess of York; who died without issue, in 1434 (fn. 8). Her inheritance being divided among her surviving sisters, this estate became the property of Margaret; and was inherited by the descendants of her first husband John Earl of Somerset. On the attainder of Henry Duke of Somerset, in 1464, the manor of Dartford, with its appendages, was granted to Richard Nevil, Earl of Warwick. His estates also became forfeited after the battle of Barnet, in which he was slain; but several of them were given to his daughters, and this manor, among others, to Isabel, wife of George Duke of Clarence; who was attainted in 1477. The King (Edward IV.) then granted the manor of Dartford (with Chislehurst) to Thomas Lord Stanley, for life. Henry VII. having restored to the old Countess of Warwick all her husband's possessions, for the purpose of her making a conveyance of them to himself and his heirs, she granted him accordingly 114 manors, among which was Dartford (with Chislehurst). Lord Stanley, who was permitted to enjoy his life-interest in this manor, died seised of it in 1504; and his widow, (Margaret Countess of Richmond, the King's mother,) in 1509. The manor of Dartford, with its member Chislehurst, then reverted to the crown. In 1512, Henry VIII. granted a lease of the manor of Chislehurst to Sir John Petche for 60 years (fn. 9). Queen Elizabeth (anno 1584) granted a lease of Dartford and Chislehurst to Edmund Walsingham for 21 years; which was renewed in 1597, to Sir Thomas Walsingham for the same term. King James, in 1610, granted the manors of Dartford and Chislehurst (in see) to George and Thomas Whitmore (fn. 10); who, the next year, conveyed them to Sir Thomas Walsingham the lessee (fn. 11). Sir Thomas, in 1613, sold the manor of Dartford to Sir Robert Darcy; reserving Chislehurst, which his son Sir Thomas Walsingham sold, about the year 1660, to Sir Richard Betenson. On the death of Sir Edward Betenson, Bart. without issue, in 1733, his sisters became coheirs (fn. 12). Albinia, the eldest, having married Major General Selwyn, left issue a son, John Selwyn, Esq.; who, having purchased the shares of the other coheirs, conveyed the whole of the manor of Chislehurst to his son-in-law, the Hon. Thomas Townshend, father of Lord Viscount Sydney, who is the present proprietor.
Manor of Scadbury.
The manor of Scadbury was long the property of a family of that name. John de Scadbury died seised of it about the year 1346, leaving an only daughter and heir, married to Osmund de Walsingham; in whose family it continued till about the year 1660, when it was sold, with Chislehurst, to Sir Richard Betenson; and has since passed through the same hands, being now the property of Lord Viscount Sydney (fn. 13). A court-leet and court-baron are held for the manors of Chislehurst and Scadbury. The old mansion at Scadbury has been many years dilapidated; a farm-house having been built upon the site.
Frognal, or Frogpool.
Frognal, or Frogpool, an ancient seat in this parish, was, in 1253, the property of Thomas le Barbur. About the beginning of the next century, it came to the family of Cressel. John de Cressel is recorded as a liberal benefactor to the church of Chislehurst, in the reign of Edward III. About the year 1540, this estate passed from the Cressels to the Dyneleys. Sir John Dyneley, in the early part of the last century, sold it to William Watkins, Esq.; who enlarged the house, and, about the end of Charles the First's reign, sold it to Sir Philip Warwick (fn. 14). Sir Philip, by his will, left it to be inhabited by his sister Clerke, or his sister Turnor, (widow of Sir Christopher Turnor, Baron of the Exchequer,) during their lives; with remainder, on failure of issue from his son Philip, to their heirs male (fn. 15). Philip Warwick, Esq. died without issue, in 1683; surviving his father only two months. This estate was sold by Sir Philip Warwick's representatives to Rowland Tryon, Esq. In 1749, it was purchased of his nephew Thomas Tryon, Esq. by the Hon. Thomas Townshend (fn. 16); whose son, now Lord Viscount Sydney, is the present proprietor, and resides here during the summer season.
Manor of Tang-court.
The manor of Tang-court belonged to the Abbot and Convent of Lesnes, who, in the year 1433, exchanged it with Thomas Walsingham for a tenement and lands in Plumsted, called Fulham-place (fn. 17). It has since passed through the same hands as the manors of Chislehurst and Scadbury.
An ancient seat, now the property and residence of Charles Townshend, Esq. (brother of Lord Sydney), was built in the reign of King James I. by Thomas Farrington, Esq. of Lancashire (fn. 18), whose descendant of the same name left this house and estate to Lord Robert Bertie, son of his sister Albinia, Duchess of Ancaster, and entailed it upon the present proprietor, who is the grandson of his other sister Mary, the wife of John Selwyn, Esq.
Camden the antiquary and historian, his residence at Chislehurst.
His monument mutilated.
Camden-place takes its name from the celebrated antiquary and historian William Camden, who fixed upon this spot for his residence in the year 1609; and during the remainder of his life, spent his summers at Chislehurst (fn. 19), where he is said to have composed his Annals of Queen Elizabeth. His funeral certificate at the Heralds' College, records that William Camden, Clarencieux King of Arms, (to which place he was appointed in 1597,) died a bachelor, Nov. 9, 1623, at his house at Chislehurst, and was buried with great solemnity the 19th, at Westminster-abbey. His funeral was attended by the whole College of Heralds, the Bishop of Lincoln (Lord Keeper), the Bishops of London, Durham, &c. Lord Paget, the Earl of Leicester, Lord Grandison, &c.; the funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Sutton. His body lies in the south aisle; a monument was erected to his memory, which, in the year 1646, was wantonly mutilated, as is related by Whitlock (fn. 20), and in the Diurnals of that time. "This mischievous and malignant spirit, (says one of the Diurnals,) whoever it was, rested not here, to deface the herse of the Earl of Essex; but, in one of the aisles of the Abbey near adjoining, meeting with the effigies of old learned Camden, well known by the name of Camden's Britannia and Camden's Remains, used the like uncivil deportment towards his statue, which was in stone, cut the book in pieces held in his hand, broke off his nose, and otherwise defaced his visiognomy (fn. 21). Who were the intermediate owners of Camdenplace I have not been able to learn; but it appears, that having been before in the family of Weston, it was purchased of Harry Spencer, Esq. by Charles Pratt, Esq. (fn. 22); who, being created a Peer in 1765, took the title of Lord Camden, Baron of Camden-place, in Kent. It is now the property of his son, John Jeffreys, Earl Camden; and, during his Lordship's absence as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, is in the occupation of William Lushington, Esq. M. P. for the city of London.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is built principally of flints, and consists of a chancel, nave, and north aisle: at the west end is a spire covered with shingles.
Sir Richard Adams.
On the south side of the chancel is a piscina, and an ancient Gothic arch, within which are now placed tablets in memory of Thomas Moore, D. D. rector, 1769; and Elizabeth, his wife, 1776. On the same wall is the monument of Rowland Tryon, Esq. (fn. 23), of Frognal, 1720. On the north wall are monuments in memory of Thomas Farrington (fn. 24), 1694; General Thomas Farrington (fn. 25), 1712; Mrs. Mary Farrington, 1717; Sir Richard Adams, Baron of the Exchequer (fn. 26), 1774; and Dame Mary Adams, 1771. On the floor (within the rails of the altar) are the tombs of Alan Porter, rector, (there is a brass plate with the effigies of the deceased,) 1482; Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Poyntell, and wife of Robert Hickes, 1655; Ellis Cunliffe, Esq. 1672; Nicholas Cunliffe, Gent. (who married Margaret, daughter of John Scroggs, Esq.), 1677; and Francis Fox, M. A. master of St. Paul's School, 1686. In the lower part of the chancel are those of Custance, daughter of James Drylond, Esq. wife of John Grene, Esq. 1476; Thomas Wigg (fn. 27), 1602; Richard Carmarden (fn. 28), Esq. 1603; Robert Osborne (fn. 29), Gent. 1678; Lucy, daughter of Thomas Webb, Esq. (by Elizabeth Woodhouse) and wife of William Dutton Colt, Esq. 1681.
Sir Philip Warwick.
On the south wall of the nave are the monuments of Sir Philip Warwick, Knt. (fn. 30), 1683; John Rands, 1714; Lord Robert Bertie (fn. 31), fifth son of Robert, the first Duke of Ancaster, General of his Majesty's forces, Lord of the Bedchamber, &c. 1782. On the floor are the tombs of Mary (Ellis), widow of John Stevens, Gent. 1689; George Owen, Gent. of the Middle Temple, 1710; and Martha Golding, daughter of Gregory Wescomb, by a daughter of Alderman Conliff, 1744.
On the wall of the north aisle is a monument in memory of Albinia Duchess of Ancaster, who died in 1745, and Lord Thomas Bertie (fn. 32), her fourth son, a captain in the navy, who died in 1749.
Sir Edmund and Sir Thomas Walsingham.
The east end of this aisle is parted off by a wooden screen, and belongs to the Scadbury estate. Over the arch, which divides it from the nave, are the cognizances of Edward IV. and Henry VII. (fn. 33), and the dates 1422 and 1460. In the north-east corner is a monument in memory of Sir Edmund Walsingham (fn. 34), 1549, and his grandson Sir Thomas, 1630. There are the monuments also of Sir Richard Betenson, Bart. (fn. 35), 1679; Ann, his wife, daughter of Sir William Monyns, Bart. 1681; Sir Edward Betenson, Bart. (fn. 36) (son of Richard Betenson, Esq.), 1733; and the Hon. Roger Townshend (fn. 37), youngest son of Charles Viscount Townshend, by Elizabeth his first wife, daughter of Thomas Lord Pelham, 1760.
In Thorpe's Registrum Roffense, mention is made of inscribed atchievements in Chislehurst church, in memory of Edmund Poyntell, Esq. 1634; Judith, his relict, of the family of Shatterden, 1677; Bridget, his daughter, wife of Walter Pelling, 1649; Katherine, wife of Richard Poyntell, daughter of Edward Bishop, 1649; and Hester, daughter of Robert Shard, by Jane, daughter of Augustine Crewe, 1739.
Tombs in the churchyard.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Mr. Caleb Trenchfield (grandson of Thomas Trenchfield, Esq. Admiral of the Navy in the reign of Charles I. and grandson (by his mother's side) of Edmund Poyntell, Esq.), 1712; Thomas Trenchfield, Esq. 1730; George Wilson, M. A. 35 years rector, 1718; John Garnett Stevens, Esq. 1733; Sarah, his daughter, wife of John Whitmore, merchant, 1747; Elizabeth, wife of John Whitmore, and daughter of Abraham Henckell, 1788; John Whitmore, 1791; John Stevens, Esq. 1790; Elizabeth, wife of William Wall, Esq. 1753; William, son of Arthur Wall, of the county of Durham, 1754; William Russell, Esq. his nephew, 1775; Mary, wife of Captain John Hope, 1760; John Hill, 1769; Susan Remnant, daughter of Mr. John Hill, 1771; John Remnant, Esq. 1772; Elizabeth, wife of Timothy Topping, Esq. and daughter of John Hill, 1791; Mary, wife of Jaspar Lawrence Richter, merchant, and daughter of Thomas Coates, 1774; J. L. Richter, 1779; James Benson, Esq. 1779; John Lawson, S. T. B. rector of Swanscomb, and curate of Chislehurst, 1779; Mary Selwyn, spinster, 1783; Louisa Selwyn, spinster, 1787 (daughters of Henry Selwyn, Esq. by Ruth Compton); Mr. John Edwards, 1784; and George Lewis, Esq. colonel in the artillery, 1791 (fn. 38).
The church of Chislehurst is a rectory in the diocese of Rochester, and in the deanery of Dartford. King Henry I. gave this rectory to the church of Rochester (fn. 39). Bishop Gundulph, when he separated his own maintenance from that of the Monks, gave them this church, among others (fn. 40); but his successor, Gilbert de Glanville, took it away, reserving to them only a pension of half a mark out of the annual profits (fn. 41). Since Glanville's time, the advowson has been vested in the Bishops of Rochester. The above-mentioned pension of 6s. 8d. now belongs, under a grant of Henry VIII., to the dean and chapter of that church (fn. 42).
The rectory of Chislehurst was valued, in the reign of Edward I. at 15 marks; in the King's books it is rated at 16l. 3s. 6½d.; in 1650, it was estimated at 80l. per annum (fn. 43).
The present rector is Francis Wollaston, LL. B. (author of the General Astronomical Catalogue (fn. 44) and other works), who was instituted in 1769, on the death of Thomas Moore, D. D.
There is a charity sermon in print, preached at Chislehurst, and published in 1718, for which the author, William Hendley, was tried at the assizes at Rochester, July 15, 1719, and convicted as being evilly and seditiously disposed. An account of the trial was published under the title of "Charity still a Christian Virtue."
The earliest date of the register of baptisms, burials, and marriages, is 1558.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
|1580–9||13 1/10||7 4/5|
|1630–9||15 4/5||14 1/2|
|1730–9||18 2/5||16 1/2|
|1770–9||23 3/5||21 4/5|
|1780–4||22 3/5||25 1/5|
|1784–9||25 3/5||26 3/5|
|1790–4||26 1/5||23 2/5|
The present number of houses is 196; fifteen new houses are building.
Burials in the plague-years.
In 1603, there were 62 burials; in 1625, 22; and in 1665, 21.
Extracts from the Register.
Family of Walsingham.
Sir Francis Walsingham a native of Chislehurst.
"Mrs Katherine Walsingham, baptized Jan. 8, 1559; Mary, Sep. 29, 1564; James, Jan. 12, 1564–5, buried Feb. 4, 1566–7; Mr Thomas Randal and Mrs Anne Walsingham, married Oct. 3, 1571; Mr Anthony Sherley and Mrs Barbara Walsingham, and Mr Henry Shelley and Mrs Frideswide Walsingham, married May 29, 1575; Elizabeth Walsingham, baptized Nov. 19, 1581; Francis, Dec. 11, 1582; Dorothy Walsingham, buried Mar. 29, 1584; Sr Thomas Walsingham, buried Jan. 18, 1583–4; Edmund Walsingham, Nov. 20, 1589; Adrian Walsingham, Lady of Honour to Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne, May 20, 1624; Mary the Ladie Pelham, (wife of Sr Thomas Pelham, Bart, and daughter of Sr Thomas Walsingham,) Oct. 30, 1624; Sr Thomas Walsingham, died Aug. 11, buried Aug. 19, 1630; Elizabeth Lady Walsingham, Apl 24, 1632; Francis, son of Sr Thomas Walsingham, baptized Oct. 20, 1635; Arabella his daughter, Sep. 29, 1636; Edmund, Aug. 20, 1639; Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Walsingham, Esq. baptized Aug. 1648; Anne, Nov. 15, 1649; Thomas, Feb. 29, 1651–2; Mary, July 5, 1652; Osmund Walsingham, buried Apl 14, 1659; Sr Thomas Walsingham, Apl 10, 1669." The great ornament of this family, Sir Francis Walsingham, was a native of this place, but his birth happened at a period too early to be found in the register. He was the youngest son of William Walsingham, of Scadbury.
"Frances, daughter of Sr Thomas Horde and Frances, baptized at Mottingham, Mar. 11, 1623–4, buried Mar. 29."
Anecdotes of Sir Philip Warwick.
"Lady Warwick (fn. 45), buried May 16, 1672; Sr Philip Warwick, Knt, Jany17, 1682–3." Sir Philip was son of Thomas Warwick (fn. 46), Organist of the Chapel Royal and of Westminster-abbey, who is said to have composed a song of forty parts (fn. 47). He was educated at Eton, and studied at Geneva under the famous Diodati. On his return, he became Secretary to Lord Treasurer Juxon, and Clerk of the Signet. During the civil war, he attached himself to the Royal party, and in 1646 was one of the King's Commissioners to treat with the Parliament for the surrender of Oxford: the next year he attended his Majesty as his Secretary in the Isle of Wight. After the Restoration, he represented the city of Westminster in Parliament, became again Clerk of the Signet, and Secretary of the Treasury. In 1667, he retired from public business, and spent most of his time at Frogpool, in this parish, as appears by a letter of that date, addressed to him by Sir William Temple. "Though the retreat you have made from business (says he) must needs be a trouble and a loss to us all, yet I know it is an ease and a happiness to yourself, or else a wise man, as you are, ought not to have chosen it. I hope you do not intend to retire from the commerce of your friends as well as that of business, for though you should lock yourself up within your walls of Frogpool, I shall ever pretend to have a share in you there itself."
Sir Philip Warwick wrote "A Discourse of Government, as examined by Reason, Scripture, and the Law of the Land," and Memoirs of the Reign of King Charles I. with a Continuation till the Restoration;" both published after his death. An anonymous work published in 1646, intitled "A Letter to Mr. Lenthal, shewing that Peace is better than War," is ascribed also to him (fn. 48). Sir Philip Warwick died on the 15th of January 1682–3. His only son, who was Envoy to Sweden, died at Newmarket, as he was returning post to England to take a last farewell of his father, and was buried at Chislehurst Mar. 23, 1682–3. He married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of John Lord Freschville, of Stavely. Elizabeth, relict of Sir Philip Warwick, was married at Chislehurst, Jan. 8, 1684–5, to Conyers Lord Darcy.
"Margaret the Lady Boles, buried Oct. 3, 1679; Sr Wm Boles, Jan. 31, 1680–1."
Family of Bertie, Duke of Ancaster.
"Albinia Duchess Dowager of Ancaster, buried Aug. 1, 1745; Ld Thomas Bertie, Aug. 9, 1749; Ld Montague Bertie, Aug. 18, 1753; the Hon. George Hobart and Albinia Bertie, married May 16, 1757; the Rt Hon. Ld Robert Bertie and the Rt Hon. Mary Baroness Dowager Raymond, married April 13, 1762; Ld Robert Bertie, buried Mar. 18, 1782."
Family of Townshend, Lord Visc. Sydney.
"Roger Townshend (fn. 49), Esq. buried Aug. 15, 1760; Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Townshend (now Ld Visct Sydney) and Elizabeth, born Sep. 2, 1762; Albinia, buried Mar. 15, 1770; Charles Horatio, and Henry George, Dec. 22, 1773."
"Mary Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. John Townshend and Sophia, born Mar. 6, 1794; John Charles Southwell, Nov. 9, 1795; Sophia, wife of the Hon. John Townshend, buried Nov. 16, 1795."
Instances of longevity.
"John Marten (annos centum et ultra natus) was buried the last day of May 1620; Samuel Roycroft, from Greenwich, aged 92, Apl 7, 1785."
Sir Nicholas Bacon a native of Chislehurst.
That great statesman Sir Nicholas Bacon, the Lord Keeper, father of the still more celebrated Sir Francis Bacon, was born in this parish about the year 1510, some years before the institution of parish registers.
Mr. Thomas Moore, anno 1733, bequeathed the sum of 50l. to a charity-school then existing at Chislehurst, but afterwards discontinued. It was revived in another form in 1757, when the remainder of the money, with accumulated interest, amounted to 67l. 9s. 2d. 3 per cent. consols. It is now raised to 150l. stock; with the interest of which, aided by voluntary contributions, twelve girls are clothed and educated (fn. 50).
Mr. William Harvill, anno 1777, gave by will a house, for the endowment of a boys' school. This legacy becoming void by the Mortmain Act, his brother, Mr. John Harvill, in 1781 conveyed it to feoffees for the use of the parish, to teach six boys reading, writing, and accounts.
This parish has a right of putting two pensioners in Philipott's alms-houses at Eltham (fn. 51).
|Date.||Donor's Name.||Nature, and present Value.||Use.|
|1630.||John Canan,||10s. per annum,||Poor.|
|1638.||Sarah Cowell, widow,||Interest of 12l.||Poor widows.|
|1656.||Abraham Colfe,vicar of Lewisham,||4s. 4d. per annum,||One penny-loaf, weekly, for a poor householder attending divine service on Sundays.|
|1682.||Sir Philip Warwick,||Interest of 100l. (now 150l. stock),||To apprentice a boy to the sea-service.|
|1705.||John Rands,||Houses and lands (fn. 52),||Poor widows and house-keepers, in sums of 3s. each.|
|1717.||Mrs. Mary Farrington||Three tickets in the lottery, which proved blanks (fn. 53), recovered by the present rector, now become (by means of accumulated interest) 70l. 3 per cents.||Poor.|
|1718.||Rev. George Wilson,||Tenements (fn. 54),||To the clerk for teaching to sing psalms, 1l. the remainder to buy Bibles, &c. for the poor.|