The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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ADJOINING to Chelsfield, northward, lies Orpington. The name of this place is corrupted from its original, which was Dorpentune, a name partly British and partly Saxon, signifying, the village, or street, where the head or spring of water rises. In Domesday it is called Orpintun, and in old deeds and charters, Orpyntone, and Orpedingtune.
This parish is very extensive. The village, which is of some length, and very populous, lies in the valley, having the church, Mr. Carew's house on the east side of it; near which, northward, is the house of Barkhart. On the hills, at the eastern extremity of the parish, is East-hall; and at the western, among the woods, the manor of Croston. At Newell, a little to the westward of the village, the river Cray, so called from the Saxon word Crecca, signifying a small brook or rivulet, takes its rise, and running from thence almost due north, it passes through the several parishes of Cray, (to which it gives name) to Bexley and Crayford, where it crosses the London road, and then joining the river Darent below the town of Dartford, it flows in one channel with that stream into the Thames, nearly opposite to Purfleet in Essex.
A small part of this parish is in the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster, and the rest of it in that of the archbishop of Canterbury, which claims over the manor of Orpington.
The manor of Orpington, otherwise called Orpington Magna, or Great Orpington, extends likewise over the parishes of Hayes, Downe, Nockholt, and St. Mary Cray, which are accounted appendages to it.
In the year 1032 Eadsy, a priest, with the consent of king Canute, and Ælfgife his queen, gave his land at Orpedingtune, which he bought with eighty marcs of white silver, by hustings weight, for the good of his soul, to the monastery of Christ Church in Canterbury, to God's servants, for garment land. (fn. 1)
Odo, bishop of Baieux, the king's half-brother, and earl of Kent, among other acts of tyranny and oppression which he committed, through the greatness of his power, seized on several manors and possessions belonging to the churches of Canterbury and Rochester, and added them to his own domains. (fn. 2) From the former he took this manor of Orpington, which, however, he was not suffered to keep long; for on the promotion of Lanfranc to the see of Canterbury, in the room of archbishop Stigand, he forced Odo to restore to both those churches whatever he had robbed them of, in a solemn judicial assembly of the whole county, convened by the king's special command for this purpose, in the year 1076, at Pinenden-heath; at which the liberties of the archbishop, and his church, were solemnly consirmed to both of them.
Archbishop Lansranc, among other regulations which he made for the future good government of this monastery, made a division of the manors and possessions of his church; for before this, the archbishop and his monks lived together as one family, and had their revenues in common; one part of which he allotted for the maintenance of himself and his successors in the archbishopric, and the other to the monks for their subsistence, cloathing, and other necessary uses of their monastery, in the proportion they now stand recorded in Domesday, under the general titles of each.
In Somner's Gavelkind is a petition from the subprior and monks of Christ Church, Canterbury, to king Henry II. on occasion of the dispute between them and archbishop Baldwin; wherein they assert, that archbishop Theodore (who was elected in 668) first parted the lands belonging to the church between himself and the monastery, assigning to each their respective share; and that the reason of archbishop Lanfranc's having been said to have made this division was, that when the Normans, having conquered England, had seized on all the lands of the church, king William resigned them, at the instance of Lanfranc, who restored to each church what before they had possessed; but retained to himself what had been possessed by his predecessors.
In this partition this manor fell to the share of the monks; and it is accordingly entered, under the title of the land of the monks of the archbishop, as follows, in Domesday-Book:
The archbishop of Canterbury holds Orpintun. It was taxed at three sulings in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now at two sulings and a half. The arable land is .... In demesne there are 2 carucates and 46 villeins, with 25 borderers, having 23 carucates. There are 3 mills of 16 shillings and 4 pence, and 10 acres of meadow, and 5 dens of wood, sufficient for the pannage of 50 bogs. In the whole value in the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 15 pounds, when he received it 8 pounds, and now 25 pounds, and yet it pays 28 pounds. There are two churches.
King John, by his letters patent, dated at Romney, in his 7th year, granted to the prior and monks a market weekly, on a Wednesday, at this manor. (fn. 3)
King Edward II. in his 10th year, granted and confirmed to them, and their successors, for ever, freewarren in such of their demesne lands as they were possessed of in Orpinton in the time of his grandfather. (fn. 4)
William Selling, who was elected prior of Christ Church in 1471, made great improvements at the several manors belonging to his church, especially at the apartments of the prior in this manor. In which state it continued till the final dissolution of this great monastery, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the hands of the king's commissioners, by Thomas Goldwell, then prior, and the convent; together with the manors, lands, and revenues belonging to it. All which were confirmed to the king and his heirs, by the general words of the act passed the same year, specially for that purpose.
The manor of Orpington being thus vested in the crown, stayed there but a short time; for it was granted, with its appendages, in the parishes and hamlets of Orpington, Okeholt, St. Mary Cray, Lynkill, Downe, and Heze, among other premises, by that prince, in his 32d year, to Percival Hart, of Lullingstone, esq. at the yearly rent of one hundred shillings, one penny, and three farthings, to hold in capite. (fn. 5) From him it descended lineally to Percival Hart, of Lullingstone, esq. who leaving an only daughter and heir, she carried this manor, with its appendages, in marriage to her second husband, Sir Thomas Dyke, bart. of Horeham, in Sussex, whose only surviving son, Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone, is the present possessor of it.
Sir Percival Hart, knight of the body to king Henry VIII. and grantee of the manor of Orpington as before-mentioned, built a feat in this parish, in which he magnisicently entertained queen Elizabeth, on the 22d of July, 1573; who, on her reception here, was addressed by a nymph, personating the genius of the house. Then the scene shifted, and from several chambers, which, as they were contrived, represented a bark, or ship, and a sea conflict was exhibited to her view; which delighted the queen so much, that, at her departure, (to perpetuate the memory both of the owner and the entertainment,) she gave this house the name of Bark-Hart, (fn. 6) by which it is still called, being part of the possessions of Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone before-mentioned.
CROFTON is a manor, or, as it is now called, Crawton, which lies in the midst of the woods, about a mile and a half westward of Orpington-street. It is said to have been once a parish of itself, and to have been destroyed by fire. However that might be, the scattered foundations of houses, which the plough frequently turns up, and other such remains, shew it to have been formerly a place of some size and consequence.
This place was part of those vast possessions, with which William the Conqueror enriched his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, and it was accordingly entered, under the general title of that prelate's lands, in Domesday as follows:
Anscibitillus bolds of the bishop (of Baieux) Croctune. It was taxed at 1 fuling and 1 yoke. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is nothing; but there are 3 villeins and 4 borderers.
In the reign of king Edward I. this place was become the inheritance of Ralph de Wibourn, whose family was of good esteem and considerable property in this county, as appears by several antient deeds of that time. From this name it went, about the latter end of king Edward III's reign, to Sir Robert Belknap, chief justice of the common-pleas, who was attainted and banished into Ireland, in the 11th year of king Richard II. In the 2d year of king Henry IV. this manor escheated to the crown, by the death of Juliana his wife, (fn. 7) who had been left in possession of it by authority of parliament, notwithstanding her husband's attainder and banishment. (fn. 8) In which year, on the petition of Hamon Belknap, their son, the parliament enabled him in blood and land to his father, notwithstanding the judgement made against him, as before-mentioned. For though Sir Robert Belknap was permitted by the parliament in the 20th year of that reign, to return from banishment, yet his attainder still remained as before. The Belknaps bore for their arms, Azure, on a bend between two cotizes three eagles displayed argent.
Sir Hamon Belknap left three sons, John, William, and Henry, each of whom successively inherited this manor. The latter, on the death of his two brothers, S. P. (fn. 9) becoming possessed of it, resided at Beccles, in Sussex. He died in the third year of the reign of king Henry VII. leaving a son, Edward, and four daughters. He was succeeded in this manor by Edward his son, who became a great warrior, and a man of much public action, and was of the privy-council, both to king Henry VII. and VIII. He resided at Weston, in Warwickshire, and was afterwards knighted, and died in the 12th year of that reign, without issue; on which his four sisters became his coheirs; Elizabeth, married to Sir Philip Cook, of Giddy-hall, in Essex; Mary, to George Dannet, of Dannet-hall, esq. Alice, to Sir William Shelley, and Anne, to Sir Robert Wotton. (fn. 10) On a partition of their inheritance, this manor fell to the share of Sir William Shelley, who soon afterwards passed it away by sale to Sir Robert Read, chief justice of the king's bench, in that reign; who, before the end of it, conveyed it to the hospital of the Savoy in London.
This hospital was suppressed in the 7th year of king Edward VI. a little before his death. Part of the revenue of it, consisting of seven hundred marcs yearly rent in lands, (in which was included this manor of Croston) was given by the king to the citizens of London, towards maintaining his house of Bridewell, which he had given them at that time, and St. Thomas's hospital, in Southwark. This gift the king confirmed by his charter, on June 26, next following.
On the division of the above-mentioned lands between the two hospitals, this manor was allotted to St. Thomas's hospital, part of the possessions of which the inheritance of it still remains, and as such is now vested in the mayor and commonalty of the city of London, Thomas Cope, esq. being the present lessee of it.
There was a free chapel at this place, called Rufferth chantry, which was suppressed by the act of the 1st year of king Edward VI. and vested in the king: and it appears by the survey then taken, (fn. 11) that it was distant two miles from the parish church, that there was a flood between them, by which the people of Croston were hindered from going thither; and that there were two chantries more in this chapel.
MAYFIELD PLACE is a seat on the west side of the village of Orpington, being the scite of the small manor of Little Orpington, alias Mayfield. The latter name of Mayfield, or Mayvil, being its most antient and proper one, which it acquired from a family who formerly held it, as appears by several dateless deeds. Philip de Malevill, or Mayvil, as his name was commonly called, held this manor in the 12th and 13th of king John's reign, of Richard de Rokesley, who held it of the archbishop, as the fourth part of a knight's fee; Malgerius de Rokesle, ancestor of Richard, held it of the archbishop by knights service, in the reign of the Conqueror, as appears by the general survey of Domesday, in which it is thus entered, under the title of land held of the archbishop by knights service:
Malgerius holds of the archbishop 3 yokes in Orpington, and it was taxed for so much without Orpington, in the time of king Edward the Confessor; now there are 2 yokes within Orpington, and the third without. The arable land is . . . . . . In demesne there is 1 carucate, and4villeins, with 1 borderer, and 4 servants; and half a carucate and 3 acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of 11 bogs. In the time of king Edward it was worth 40 shillings, when he received it 20 shillings, and now 50 shillings.
When the family of Malevill, or Mayvil, quitted the possession of this manor I do not find; but in the reign of king Edward III. the Rokesleys held it themselves; for John de Rokesley, grandson of Gregory, and rector of the church of Chelsfield, in the 33d year of that reign, conveyed it to Sir John Peche, from whom it descended down to Sir John Peche, knightbanneret, of Lullingstone, who dying without issue, in the reign of king Henry VIII. Elizabeth his sister became his heir, and being married to John Hart, esq. of the Middle Temple, he, in her right, became possessed of it. (fn. 12) His grandson, Sir George Hart, on the death of his father, in the 22d of queen Elizabeth, had possession granted of the manor of Mayfield, alias Malvyle, and two messuages, with five hundred acres of land, in Orpington, Chelsfield, Farnborough, and Otford; being held of the king, as of his manor of Otford, by knights service. (fn. 13) From him it descended to his grandson, William Hart, esq. who died in 1671.
Sir Fisher Tench, bart. of Low Layton, in Essex, was possessed of it in the beginning of the reign of king George I. He had been created a baronet Aug. 8, in the 2d year of that reign; and bore for his arms, Argent, on a chevron between three lions beads erased gules, a cross croslet or. (fn. 14) He died in 1736, and was succeeded in the possession of it by his only surviving son, Sir Nathaniel Tench, bart. who died in 1737, unmarried; on which the title became extinct, and his only surviving sister, married to Soresby, became his heir, and he, in her right, became entitled to the manor of Little Orpington, which he soon after sold to Mr. William Quilter, leatherseller, of London, who new built the manor house. He was sheriff of this county in 1747, and died in 1764, having by will devised it to his niece, Susannah, who first married Mr. George Lake of Sevenoke, and next Richard Glode, esq. who on her death became possessed of it in his own right. He married secondly, Martha, daughter of James Oldershaw, esq. deceased of Leicester. He was sheriff of London, and knighted in 1795, and is the present owner of this estate, and at times resides here.
A court baron is held for this manor.
EASTHALL is a manor here, which is so called from its situation near the eastern bounds of this parish, though great part of the lands belonging to it lie in St. Mary Cray.
In the reign of king Edward I. it was in the possession of the family of Chellesfeld; one of whom, William de Chellesfeld, in the 13th year of that reign, had a grant of free warren for his lands here, and at other places in this neighbourhood. From this family the manor of Easthall, with that of Chelsfield, passed, before the end of that reign, to Otho de Grandison, whose descendant, Sir Thomas Grandison, died possessed of both in the 50th year of king Edward III. From which time to the 2d year of king Richard III. this manor passed in the same tract of ownership as that of Chelsfield did; in which year Isabel, widow of Henry viscount Bourchier, and earl of Essex, died possessed of them both.
In the next reign of king Henry VII. this manor appears to have been in the possession of Sir Edward Poynings, K. G. son of Robert, who was a younger son of Robert lord Poynings. He was a person of eminent note, and in great favour with Henry VII. who made him of his privy council, constable of Dover-castle, warden of the cinque ports, K.G. &c. By Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir John Scott, he had an only son, who died in his life time, though he left several natural children. He died possessed of it in the 14th year of king Henry VIII. as was found by the inquisition taken that year. On his death, not only without lawful issue, but without any collateral kindred, who could make claim to his estates, this manor, with his other lands, escheated to the crown, (fn. 15) where it continued till king Henry VIII. granted it to Sir Thomas Cromwell, lord Cromwell, afterwards created earl of Essex, on whose attainder, in the 32d year of that reign, it became again vested in the crown, and staid there till the king, in his 36th year, granted it, among other premises, to Sir Martin Bowes, to hold in capite, by fealty only. (fn. 16) He alienated it in the 1st year of king Edward VI. to Sir Percival Hart of Lullingstone, from whom it descended lineally to Percival Hart, esq. of Lullingstone, whose only daughter and heir, Anne, carried it, with many other estates in these parts, to her second husband, Sir Thomas Dyke, bart. of Horeham, in Suffex, and their only surviving son, Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone, is the present possessor of this manor.
It appears by the escheat-rolls of the 28th of king Edward III. that Augustine Wallys then possessed premises calledBucklers, in Orpington. King Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted a messuage, formerly DELAHAYS, in Orpington, to Edward lord Clinton and Saye. (fn. 17) —The Hon. Richard Spencer, second son of Robert lord Spencer, of Wormleighton, was possessed of aseat in Orpington, in which he resided. He died in 1661, leaving by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys, bart. of Northborne, two daughters, Mary, married to William Gee, esq. of Bishop's Burton, in Yorkshire; and Margaret, to John Venables, esq. of Cheshire, who became their father's coheirs. William Gee, esq. seems, in right of his wife, to have become possessed of this estate, whose descendant, Richard Gee, esq. afterwards resided here, and died in 1727, having married Philippa, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew, bart. widow of the Hon. John Beaumont. He was succeeded in it by a son of the same name, who died in 1791, leaving by Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Holt, esq. two sons, the eldest of whom became intitled to this seat. Before his father's death he took the name and arms of Carew, in pursuance of the will of Sir Nicholas Hacket Carew, bart. who died in 1762; an act having passed for that purpose in 1780, whose estate he likewife at length succeeded to by virtue of the limitations in Sir Nicholas's will. In 1794 he served the office of sheriff of this county, and now resides here. The arms of Gee are, Gules a sword in bend proper bilted or.
It appears by the survey, taken in pursuance of the act passed in the 1st year of king Edward VI. for the suppressing of chantries, obits, &c. that there was land in this parish of the clear yearly value of 6s. 8d. which had been given for a sermon, to be preached yearly in the church of Orpington. (fn. 18)
There are no parochial charities.
ORPINGTON is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester. It is a peculiar of the archbishop of Canterbury, and as such is in thedeanry of Shoreham. The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is small but neat, and kept in good repair; it consists of one isle, and a chancel at the east end; the screen between them is a curious piece of Gothic work, carved on oak, in good prefervation; the spire and part of the tower are shingled; it contains two bells. On the north side of the inner door way, at the west end, is a tomb in the wall, under an arch of stone, of an elliptical or contrasted Gothic form, curiously ornamented; under it is an altar tomb, now boarded over, to form a seat, The entrance, or west door of this church is of Norman construction, as appears by the ornaments about it.
In this church, among others monuments and inscriptions are the following: on a small square board, fixed to the screen on the north side, next to the body of the church, is a memorial for Oliver, third son of Thomas Watts, vicar of this place, and of Aubrey his wife; he died an infant, 1698. In the great chancel, on the north side, a memorial for Rd. Gee, esq. ob. 1727; above are these arms quar. 1st and 4th, Gee a sword in bend: 2d and 3d, Spencer; another for Philippa, relict of the above mentioned Richard Gee, obt. 1744. Arms, Gee impaling three lions passant in a lozenge. On a grave stone, a brass plate and inscription in black letter, for William Gulby, esq. obt. 1439; underneath, a shield of arms, a chevron between three cross molines. On a grave-stone, in the middle, before the steps to the altar, is a large brass plate, with the figure of a priest, and inscription in black letter, for Tho. Wilkynson, A. M. preb. of Rippon and rector of Harrow, in Midd. and of Orpington, ob. 1511; on the south side, a mural monument for Mr. Rd. Spencer, 4th son of the Hon. Rd. Spencer, son of Rt. lord Spencer, arms, Spencer, above; below, Spencer, impaling or, a fess dancette between 3 cross croslets fitchee gules. On adjoining grave-stones, within the rails, are memorials for Mary, wife of Wm. Gee, esq. of Bishop's Burton, in Yorkshire, one of the daughters and heirs of the Hon. Richard Spencer, ob. 1702; above are the arms of Gee and Spencer quarterly; for Margaret, wife of John Venables, esq. of Agdon, in Cheshire, one of the daughters and heirs of the Hon. Rich. Spencer, ob. 1676; the arms, two bars impaling Spencer. A memorial for the Hon. Mary Spencer, widow of the Hon. Rd. Spencer, daughter of Sir Rich. Sandys of Northborne, obt. 1675, æt. 69; arms, Spencer impaling Sandys. A memorial for the Hon. Rich. Spencer, second son of Robert lord Spencer, baron of Wormleighton, obt. 1661, æt. 68; arms, Spencer with seven quarterings, a crescent for difference. In the north chancel, which is a small one, belonging to the seat called Barkhart, in this parish, at the west end, on a grave stone, is a brass plate, with the figure of a priest, and inscription in black letter, for Mr. John Gover, BLL. and vicar of this church, ob. Aug. 6, 1522. On two truss stones of an arch, at the east end, and on the capitals of the columns at the entrance of this chancel, are these arms, 1st, a chevron between three trefoils, 2d as the former, impaling a bend on a chief, two mullets pierced. (fn. 19)
In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Orpington was valued at sixty marcs, and the vicarage of it at eight marcs. (fn. 20)
The church is a sinecure rectory, with a vicarage endowed, to which the church of St. Mary Cray is a chapel, as was formerly the church of Nockholt, which has been many years separated from it, and is now a free parochial chapel, the vicar of Orpington being instituted to this vicarage with the chapel of St. Mary Cray annexed. The vicarage was endowed by Richard archbishop of Canterbury, in 1173, and with a house and a parcel of land by archbishop Courtney, in 1393, which was confirmed by the dean and chapter that same year. (fn. 21) In 1687, Robert Say, provost of Oriel college, and rector of this church, on his granting a new lease of this parsonage, bound the lessee to pay annually an augmentation of 261. 13s. 4d. to the vicar of Orpington cum St. Mary Cray, which was that year confirmed by the archbishop and dean and chapter, and entered in the Register of the latter.
The rectory is a donative, in the gift of the archbishop of Canterbury, and is from time to time leased out by the rector, together with the tithe of wood in Knockholt, the parsonage-house, and about sixty acres of glebe land belonging to it. Hugh de Mortimer, rector of this church, released the demand of small tithes from the priors manor of Orpington. (fn. 22)
The rector is patron of the vicarage, and receives 16s. 8d. as a yearly acknowledgement from the vicar, who has 40l. per annum paid him by the lessee of the parsonage. The church of Orpington, with the chapel of St. Mary Cray, is valued in the king's books at 30l. 14s. 4½d. and the yearly tenths at 3l. 1s. 5¼d. The vicarage is a discharged living of the clear yearly value, as certified, of 45l. the yearly tenths of which are 13s. 9d¾. (fn. 23)
By virtue of a commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that the parsonage of Orpington was a donative, belonging to one Mr. Robinson, who received forty pounds per annum out of it, and held it by grant from the last archbishop of Canterbury, and let it out with the tithe wood in Knockholt, with the parsonage house, and forty acres of glebe-land, in Orpington, for certain years, and was worth, communis annis, two hundred pounds. That the vicarage belonged to one master Joiner, who had forty pounds per annum paid him out of the aforesaid tithes, and that the vicarage, as computed, was worth twenty pounds per annum. (fn. 24)
Church Of Orpington.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Hugh de Mortimer, in 1254. (fn. 25)|
|Archbishop of Canterbury.||Master Reginald de Brandon, 1293. (fn. 26)|
|Thomas Wilkinson, A. M. obt. Dec. 13, 1511. (fn. 27)|
|Hugh de Mortimer. (fn. 28)|
|John Bancrost, D. D. obt. Feb. 1640. (fn. 29)|
|Robert Saye, in 1687. (fn. 30)|
|Robert Uvedale, LL.D.in 1696.|
|Henry Hall, A.M. obt. Oct. 31, 1763. (fn. 31)|
|Charles Plumptree, D.D. Nov. 1763, obt. Sept. 14, 1779. (fn. 32)|
|The Crown, by lapse||William Backhouse, D.D. Ap. 1780, resigned 1781.|
|William Clarke, A.M. Mar. 30, 1782.|
|Rector of Orpington||John Gover, LLB.obt. Aug. 6, 1522.|
|William Wood,obt. June 1620. (fn. 33)|
|Christopher Monkton,obt. July 1, 1651. (fn. 34)|
|Henry Stiche, obt. Nov. 1670.|
|Benjamin Blackstone, obt. Jan, 1671. (fn. 35)|
|Robert Bourne, 1671, obt. Nov 1687. (fn. 36)|
|Thomas Watts,A. M. 1687. resigned 1732.|
|James Whitehouse, 1732, obt.|
|Francis Fawkes, A.M. resig. 1755. 1774. (fn. 37)|
|John Till, A.M. 1774. (fn. 38)|
|J. Pratt, 1778. Present vicar.|