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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This place takes its name from the river Cray, and from Godwin Fot, its owner, in the reign of Edward the Confessor.
Boundaries, extent, &c.
Foot's Cray lies in the hundred of Ruxley, at the distance of 12 miles from London, on the road to Maidstone. The parish is bounded by Chislehurst, North Cray, Paul's Cray, Bexley, and Eltham, It contains between seven and eight hundred acres of land; about two-thirds of which are arable. The soil is chiefly gravel, or a light loam; in some parts clay. This parish pays the sum of 62l. 8s. to the land-tax.
The manor of Foot's Cray was held of Edward the Confessor by Godwin Fot; in the Conqueror's reign, William Fitzoger held it of the Bishop of Baieux (fn. 1). In the reign of King John, William de Eynsford held a knight's-fee in Foot's Cray of Robert de Crevequer (fn. 2) . Gregory de Rokesley died seised of the manor of Foot's Cray in the year 1292 (fn. 3). His son Roger appears to have had only a moiety of it; the other moiety being vested in Thomas de Warderobâ (fn. 4). Roger de Rokesley sold the said moiety, anno 1305, to John Abel, who died seised of it in 1323: his son Walter aliened it to Sir Simon Vaughan. In 1346, this Sir Simon had one moiety, and the prior of St. Mary Overie the other; which had been Thomas de Warderobâ's: of this moiety there is no farther mention. Eleanor, only daughter and heir of Hamo Vaughan, married into the family of Warner; and from her this manor descended to John Warner, Esq. High-Sheriff of the county, in 1441. This family also becoming extinct in the male line, the manor of Foot's Cray became the property of John Heron, who married one of the coheirs. Christopher Heron, Esq. in 1529, aliened it to the Walsinghams. Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's Secretary, sold it to Mr. John Gellibrand; whose descendant, Samuel Gellibrand, in 1694, conveyed it to Mr. George Perkins. John Perkins (son of George) dying without male issue, Mary, his only daughter and heir, brought it in marriage to Mr. Edward Townsend of Brockley in Deptford; whose three sons, being joint heirs, sold it, in 1764, to John Calcraft, Esq. Mr. Calcraft's son of the same name aliened it, in 1787, to Charles Stuart Minshaw, Esq, who is the present proprietor (fn. 5).
A court-baron is held for this manor, which extends over the greater part of the parish; the demesne lands are about 140 acres.
Foot's Cray-place, the seat of Benjamin Harenc, Esq. was built on a parcel of the demesne lands sold by Sir Francis Walsingham to John Ellis. This estate was afterwards in the families of Limen and Smith. The heirs of Mr. George Smith sold it to Bourchier Cleve, (fn. 6), Esq.; who, in 1752, (having pulled down the old mansion,) built an elegant villa, after a design of Palladio. He inclosed the park also, and embellished it with plantations. Mr. Cleve's only daughter married Sir George Yonge, Bart., who resided here some years, and had a valuable collection of pictures; which were removed to his house in town, in 1772, when Foot's Cray-place was sold to Mr. Harenc.
The parish church, dedicated to All-Saints, is a small structure, consisting of a chancel, nave, and north aisle. At the west end is a wooden tower and a low spire, covered with shingles.
On the south wall of the chancel (which has narrow-pointed windows) is the monument of William Smith, rector, 1765; on the floor is a brass plate in memory of Thomas Myton, rector, 1489; and the tomb of Mrs. Briana Harwich, 1735.
In the wall of the north aisle is a low obtuse arch, under which are the effigies of Sir Simon Vaughan and his lady, recumbent; they are much mutilated (fn. 7), and have been covered over with whitewash.
The font is square, of Norman architecture; the sides ornamented with circular arches.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Thomas Engeir, Gent. 1720; Mr. William Engeir, 1721; and John Manley, Esq. of Sedcop, 1743.
The church of Foot's Cray, which lies within the diocese of Rochester, and in the deanery of Dartford, was given (probably by Thomas de Warderobâ) to the prior and convent of St. Mary Overie: upon the suppression of that monastery, it fell into the hands of the Crown; in which the advowson is still vested. In 1287, the rectory was valued at 100s.; in the King's books it is among the discharged livings; the clear yearly value certified to be 42l. 17s. In 1650, the rectory, with seven acres of glebe, was valued at 35l. per annum (fn. 8).
The present rector is the Rev. Thomas Moore, M. A. who was instituted in 1768.
The earliest date of the parish register is 1559.
Comparative state of population.
|Average of Baptisms.||Average of Burials.|
|1730–9||3 7/10||3 9/10|
Number of houses.
The present number of houses is 23. It must be observed, that a considerable part of this little village is in the parish of Chislehurst, and being situated at a great distance from their own church, the inhabitants generally christen their children here; which makes the average of baptisms greater than might be expected from so small a number of inhabitants as the parish contains. Sedcop, a small hamlet in this parish, on the road to London, about half a mile from the village, consists of a few houses, included in the above number.
Extracts from the Register.
"Theodora, daughter of Sr Thomas Josslen, Knt, buried Sep. 11, 1605."
"Mr. Henry Sherlye, grandchild to the right worshipful Sr Thomas Sherlye, buried March 5, 1605–6."
There are a few entries relating to the Walsingham family.