The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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NEXT to Paul's Cray, northward, lies Foot's Cray, which takes its name from the owner of it in the time of the Saxons, one Godwin Fot, (Fot in the Saxon tongue signifying the same as Foot in English), and from the river Cray which runs through this parish. It is also frequently written Votes-Cray, and Foets Cray, in old deeds and writings.
The high road which leads through the centre of this county from New Cross to Wrotham, and thence to Maidstone, Cocks-heath, and the Weald of Kent, passes through this parish. Near the east end of which a small street of houses built on each side of the above road forms the village of Foot's Cray, at the east end of which the river Cray, crossing that road, and having turned a mill, directs its course towards North Cray. Foot's Cray park almost adjoins the village, on the north side of it, near which the church stands. Hence the ground rises westward towards Sidcup, at about half a mile distance from whence, towards the western bounds of this parish, it is very dreary and unpleasant, and much covered with coppice wood, and the soil is very poor, being much of it either a gravel or cold unfertile clay. It contains about sevend hundred and fifty acres of land.
At the time of the taking of Domesday, in the reign of the Conqueror, this place was part of the possessions of Odo, the great bishop of Baieux, and earl of Kent, the king's half brother; accordingly it is entered in that survey under the general title of the bishop's lands:
The same William (Fitzoger) holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Crai. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is. . . . . In demesne there is 1 carucate, and 8 villeins, with 1 carucate and an half, and 4 cottagers, and 1 mill of 10 shillings. There is 1 servant, and wood for the pannage of 6 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 4 pounds, and afterwards 3 pounds, now 4 pounds. Goduin held it of king Edward.
In the reign of king John Robert de Crevequer held one knights fee in Foot's Cray, and William de Eynesford held it again of him. After which this place was held by the family of Rokesle. Gregory de Rokesle died possessed of it in the reign of king Edward I. His son Roger de Rokesle seems to have possessed only a moiety of this estate, the other being possessed by Thomas de Warderoba. Roger de Rokesle passed away his interest in it in the 33d year of that reign, to John Abel, who died possessed of it in the 16th year of king Edward II. (fn. 1) his son Walter Abel conveyed it to Sir Simon de Vaughan, (fn. 2) who paid aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. In the book of which it is thus entered.
"Of Sir Simon Vagen, and the prior of St. Mary, of Southwarke, for one fee in Fotiscrey, which the heirs of Thomas de Wardroba, and the tenants of Robert Crevequer, held of Hamon Crevequer; of which Simon holds one moiety, viz. that part which was Robert Crevequer's; and the prior holds the other moiety, which was the aforesaid Thomas's, in the fields called Le Hoke and Craywode, in this parish."
Sir Simon Vaughan died possessed of the manor of Fotis Crey, who lies buried with his wife under an altar tomb in this church, with their figures at length on it. His descendant, Hamo Vaughan, died owner of it in the 18th year of king Richard II. and left an only daughter and heir, Alianore, who carried it in marriage to Warner, from whom it descended to John Warner, esq. of Foot's Cray, who was sheriff of this county in the 20th year of king Henry VI. But this family at length ended in two daughters, and coheirs, one of whom married John Heron, and the other Denham; and on the division of their inheritance, this manor was allotted to the former. His descendant, Christopher Heron, esq. in the 21st year of king Henry VIII. passed it away by sale to Sir Edmund Walsingham, whose descendant, Sir Francis Walsingham, principal secretary of state to queen Elizabeth, about the middle of that reign, alienated some part of the lands by fine in the 7th and 8th of that reign to John Ellis, and the manor itself, with the remainder of the demesne lands some years afterwards to Mr. John Gellibrand, of London; (fn. 3) whose descendant, Mr. Samuel Gellibrand passed it away by sale in 1694 to Mr. George Perkins, gent. of Lambeth, on whose death it descended to his son, John Perkins; who, dying without issue male, Mary, his only daughter and heir, carried it in marriage to Mr. Edward Townsend, of Brockley, in Deptford, who joined with his wife in the sale of part of the demesne lands to Bourchier Cleve, esq. to enlarge his possessions about Foot's Cray Place, and they are now in the possession of Benjamin Harenc, esq.
But the manor of Foot's, alias Votes Cray, with the residue of the demesne lands, descended to their three sons and coheirs; who, in 1764, alienated it to John Calcraft, esq. of Ingries, who died possessed of it in 1772, and his eldest son, by his will, became intitled to it, by whose trustees it was afterwards sold to Charles Stewart Minshaw, esq. the present owner of it.
A court-baron is held for this manor, which extends over part only of this parish. The tenants are all freeholders, and it appears by the court rolls, that some of the lands within it are held by heriot service.
FOOT's CRAY-PLACE is a seat in this parish, which was built on that part of the demesnes of the manor of Foot's Cray, which was sold by Sir Francis Walsingham by fine, anno 7 and 8 queen Elizabeth, to John Ellis; from which name this estate passed to Limen, and from thence to Smith, in which it remained till the heirs of Mr. George Smith alienated it to Bourchier Cleve, of London, pewterer, who pulled down the old seat, and erected, at some distance northward from it, an elegant mansion of free-stone, built after the model, though with some few alterations, of the late earl of Westmoreland's seat at Mereworth, who designed it after one of Andrea Palladio, built for a Vincentine gentleman on the bank of the river Bacchiglione, near the city of Venice. At the same time he inclosed a park round it, which he embellished with plantations of trees, and an artificial canal, which flows the whole length of the park, at about a quarter of a mile's distance from the house, seeming from thence a natural stream, though it is but an artificial cut from the river Cray, which runs just by.
He died possessed of it in 1760, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, an only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, who, in 1765, carried this seat, with other possessions, in marriage to Sir George Yonge, bart. The ancestor of whose family was Walter Yonge, esq. who is mentioned in the visitation of Devonshire, taken in 1620, to be a younger son of the Yonges of Berkshire, and to have settled in Devonshire in the reign of king Henry VII. Sir John Yonge, on the restoration of king Charles II. was advanced to the dignity of a baronet, Sept. 26, 13 king Charles II. from whom descended the present baronet. They bear for their arms, Ermine on a bend, between two cotizes sable, three griffins heads or. They in 1772 joined in the sale of Foot's Cray-place, with the rest of their estate in this parish, to Benjamin Harenc, of London, esq. sheriff of this county in 1777, who now resides here.
SIDCUP is a hamlet in this parish, lying on the Maidstone road, and was so called from a family who formerly possessed much land in and about it. Thomas de Sedcopp was owner of this estate in the 35th year of king Henry VI. as appears by his deed; wherein styling himself of Chesilhurst, he grants to Bernard Cavell, gent. of the same place, a parcel of his land here, called Estfeld and Groves. It consists at present of a small street of houses, among which is an inn of much resort, and two or three gentlemens houses, the principal of which is a seat which belonged to Christopher Hull, esq. who resided here, and died possessed of it in 1790, having married the widow of Mr. Eastchurch, of Maidstone, sister of Lewis Cage, esq. by whom he had no issue. He devised his interest in it to his nephew of the same name, now of London, gent. who is at present intitled to his interest in it, but it is in the occupation of lady Hardy.
This parish is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The church stands at the back of the village on the north side, close to the corner of Foot's Cray park. It is a small mean building, consisting of two isles and a chancel, having a low spire steeple at the west end, and is seemingly of high antiquity. It is dedicated to All Saints.
In this church, among others, are the following monuments and inscriptions:—In the chancel, a grave-stone and memorial for John, the insant son of Sir Robert Marsham, and Margaret, his wife, obt. 1682; a grave-stone and brass plate and inscription in black letter, for Thomas Myton, rector of this church, obt. Jan. 30, 1489; on the south side a small monument and inscription, shewing that in the cemetery at the east end of this chancel, is buried William Smith, rector of this parish, obt. Aug. 4, 1765. In the north chancel, on an altar tomb, under an arch on the north side, are the figures in stone of a man in armour and his wife, with their heads resting on cushions, that of the man is much broken, but the woman is entire, with a dog at her feet; they are very antient, and of rude sculpture; Philipott says they represent Sir Simon de Vaughan and his wife, and were entire when Robert Glover made his collections of the Kentish monuments. In the east window of the great chancel are these arms, very antient, argent, a chevron gules between three mullets pierced sable, impaling argent a faltier engrailed azure, bearing the arms of Abell. (fn. 4)
The advowson of this church was part of the possessions of the priory of St. Mary Overy in Southwark, so early as the reign of king Edward I. (fn. 5) and seems to have been part of that moiety of this place which the prior paid aid for, in the 20th year of king Edward III. as hath been already mentioned.
The patronage of it continued in the prior and convent of St. Mary Overie till its final dissolution, which happened in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when the priory, together with the revenues and possessions belonging to it, were surrendered into the king's hands. (fn. 6) The advowson of this church, thus becoming part of the royal revenues, has remained fixed there ever since, the king being the present patron of this rectory.
In the 15th year of king Edward I. this church was valued at one hundred shillings. (fn. 7)
This rectory is a discharged living in the king's books, of the clear yearly certified value of 421. 17s. the yearly tenths of which are 16s. 4d. (fn. 8)
By virtue of a commission of enquiry in 1650; issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that Foot's Cray was a parsonage sequestered, with a house and seven acres of land, all worth thirty-five pounds per annum, one master May preaching there. (fn. 9)
Church Of Foot's Cray.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Prior and Convent of St. Mary Overy.||Thomas Myton, obt. Jan. 30, 1489.|
|The King.||John Smith, in 1557. (fn. 10)|
|Adam Wilson, D. D. June 25, 1633, obt. 1634. (fn. 11)|
|Edward Foliatt, L.L.B. June 9, 1634. (fn. 12)|
|John Rowlands, M. A. presented June 12, 1734, obt. 1660. (fn. 13)|
|Isaac Hunt, clerk, 1690.|
|John Hancocks, clerk, presented 1691.|
|John Whittell, 1720, obt. 1726.|
|Richard Lucas, instit. July 26, 1725.|
|—Uffington, May 12, 1739.|
|William Smith, 1747, obt. Aug. 4, 1765.|
|—Gwyn, June 1766.|
|Thomas Moore, M. A. 1768. Presentrector. (fn. 14)|