The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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SOUTHWARD from Westerham lies Eatonbridge, called in old records, Eddelnesbrege, (fn. 1) and Edilnebrigg, and in Latin, Pons Edelmi. (fn. 2) Its present name of Eatonbridge, is a corruption of its true one of Edenbridge, which it took from its situation on the banks of the little river Eden, one of the heads of the river Medway.
THE PARISH OF EATONBRIDGE lies at some little distance below the ridge of sand hills southward, and it is accordingly accounted within that part of the county called The Weald, and is bounded westward by the county of Surry, from whence the little river Eden, the two streams of which from Oxsted and Lingfield having united, enters this county and directs its course across this parish, and receiving in its way several small streams, especially from the sandhills, it flows on eastward and joins the Medway at Penshurst. The river Eden crosses the village of Eatonbridge, which has the church on the east side of it, about half a mile south of which is Gabriel's house, belonging to Mr. John Stanford, and a little farther the two hamlets of Marshgreen and Stanford's-end, and about a mile distant from it on the other side are those of Marlepit-hill and Medhurst-row. The country here, and for the most part of the neighbouring parishes in this district, bears a far different aspect from that before described above the hills, the soil being for the most part a deep tillage land of stiff clay, moist and swampy, the hedge roads round the fields broad, and much filled with broad, spreading oaks, and the roads deep and miry, broad, and very much covered with green swerd; the farmhouses are old-fashioned timber buildings, standing single and much dispersed, all which give the country rather a gloomy appearance, but whatever it may want in pleasantness is made up by health, fertility of soil, and its many local advantages equally profitable both to the landlord and occupier. A fair is held annually in the village on St. Mark's day, April 25, for cattle, toys, &c.
An extraordinary and surprising agitation of the waters, though without any perceptible motion of the earth, having been observed in different parts of England, both maritime and inland, on November 1, 1755; and on the same day, and chiefly about the time that the more violent commotions of both earth and waters so extensively affected many very distant parts of the globe, the like phenomenon appeared in this parish in a pond about an acre in size, across which was a post and rail sence, which the water almost covered, when some persons near it hearing a noise, as if something had tumbled into the water, hastened to see what it was, when to their suprise they saw the water open in the middle, so that they could see the post and rail almost to the bottom, and at the same time they observed the water dashing up over a bank about two feet high, and perpendicular to the pond. They did not feel the least motion upon the shore, nor was there any wind, but a dead calm. (fn. 3)
On January 24, 1758, about two o'clock in the morning, a slight shock of an earthquake was felt in this parish and the adjacent parts, which shook the furniture of the houses, and went off with a noise like a small gust of wind. It alarmed many of the inhabitants, but no damage ensued. (fn. 4)
THE MANOR OF WESTERHAM is paramount over this parish, which was formerly within its own manor, called the manor of Eatonbridge, as may be plainly seen in the description of that parish, and the several records from which it is drawn up. (fn. 5)
THE MANOR OF STANGRAVE, alias EATONBRIDGE, which claims over the greatest part of this parish, notwithstanding it has the above-described manor paramount over it, antiently gave name to a family, who made it their capital mansion.
Robert de Stangrave obtained a charter of freewarren, to him and his heirs, in the 6th year of king Edward I. for his demesne lands in Eatonbridge and Hockenden, in this county; (fn. 6) his descendant, Robert de Stangrave, was with king Edward I. at the siege of Carlaverock, and received the honor of knighthood for his gallant behaviour there.
He died, possessed of this manor, in the 12th year of king Edward III. (fn. 7) Quickly after which it passed into the possession of John Dynley, who had a confirmation of the charter of free-warren to his lands in Edenbride, in the 14th year of that reign, and immediately afterwards passed away his interest in this estate to Hugh de Audley, earl of Gloucester, and lord of the castle and manor of Tunbridge, (fn. 8) who died possessed of it in the 21st year of it, (fn. 9) leaving by Margaret his wife an only daughter and heir, Margaret, then the wife of Ralph Stafford, who in her right became possessed of this manor, then stiled the manor of Edenbrugge, alias Stangrave, and was afterwards made earl of Stafford, and in his descendants dukes of Buckingham; it continued down to Edward, duke of Buckingham, who in the 13th year of king Henry VIII. being accused of conspiring the king's death, he was brought to his trial, and being found guilty, was beheaded on Tower-hill that year, and his body was buried in the church of the Friars Augustines, near Broad-street, London.
In the parliament begun April 15, in the 14th year of that reign, though there then passed an act for his attainder, yet there was likewise another for the restitution in blood of Henry, his eldest son, but not to his honors or lands; (fn. 10) so that this manor, among his other estates, became forfeited to the crown, where it lay, till king Henry VIII. granted it to Sir John Gresham, who died possessed of this manor of Stangrave in 1556, holding it in capite by knights service. (fn. 11) In whose descendants it continued, till Sir Charles Gresham, bart. in the reign of queen Anne, alienated it to Mr. Richard Still; whose only daughter and heir carried it in marriage to Mr. Dyke, of Burwash, in Suffex, on whose death it came to their only son and heir, Richard Still Dyke, esq. who married one of the daughters of the reverend Mr. George Jordan, of Burwash. He devised this manor by his will to his wife, who survived him; and she, about the year 1765, conveyed it by sale to Thomas Streatfeild, esq. of Oxsted, in Surry, descended from Richard Streatfield, esq. of Chidingstone, who lived in the reign of king Charles I. and left four sons; of whom, William, the third son, was of Hever, in this county, and by his wife, daughter of Terry, left Robert, who was of Hever; William, who was of Oxsted; George, who was of Stoke Newington, in Surry; and Thomas, who was of London. Which William, the second son, was father of Thomas Streatfeild, esq. of Oxsted, the purchaser of this manor as before-mentioned; whose widow, Mrs. Sophia Streatfeild, is the present owner of it. (fn. 12)
There is likewise in this parish a farm, called STANGRAVE, which is a reputed manor, and was many years since sold to Mr. John Bassett, whose grandson, Mr. Michael Bassett, is the present possessor of it.
SHARNDEN, in this parish, was once a manor, though now it is reputed to be within the manor of Stangrave. It was antiently part of the possessions of the branch of the family of Cobham, settled at Sterborough-castle, in Surry. (fn. 13)
He was son of John de Cobham, of Cobham, in this county, by his second wife, and died possessed of this manor of Sharendon in the 35th year of the above reign, leaving Reginald, his son and heir, who was lord of Sterborough-castle, from whence this branch of the Cobhams were henceforward called Cobhams, of Sterborough; who bore for their arms, on a cbevron three stars of six points.
At length his grandson, Sir Thomas Cobham, (fn. 14) died possessed of it in the 11th year of Edward IV. leaving an only daughter and sole heir Anne, who carried it in marriage to Sir Edward Borough, of Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, whose son and heir, Thomas, was summoned to parliament in the 21st year of Henry VIII. by the title of lord Burgh. (fn. 15)
After which this manor at length descended to his grandson, Thomas, lord Burgh, who died possessed of it in the 40th year of queen Elizabeth, and was buried in Westminster-abbey, having had by Frances his wife, Robert, who died without issue in his life-time, and four daughters, who at length became his coheirs, Elizabeth, married to George Brooke; Frances, to Francis Coppinger, esq. Anne, to Sir Drew Drury, and Katherine, afterwards married to Thomas Knyvett, esq. (fn. 16). They, in the next reign of king James I. to defray debts, and other uses, joined in the conveyance of it to Sir Thomas Richardson, who was speaker of the house of commons in the last parliament but one in the reign of king James I. and was in the 2d year of king Charles I. made chief justice of the king's bench. He was of Hunningham, in Norfolk, and married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Beaumont, of Leicestershire, and widow of Sir John Ashburnham, who in 1627 was created baroness Cramond, in Scotland, with an intail of that dignity on her male issue by her second husband before-mentioned.
Her son, by Sir Thomas Richardson, succeeded as lord Richardson, of Cramond, and was member of parliament for the county of Norfolk, in the 1st and 2d parliaments of king Charles II. one of whose descendants alienated this estate to the family of Stanford, in which name it continued till it was sold, a few years since, to Mr. James Glover, the present owner, who resides in it.
MARSH-GREEN is a district here, the manorial rights of which are appendants to the manor of Cowdham, with which it was purchased in 1707, of Thomas Lennard, earl of Sussex, by Thomas Streatfeild, esq. who was the second son of Richard Streatfeild, esq. of Chidingstone, who lived in the reign of Charles I. he died in 1730, and was buried in Sevenoke church, leaving by Martha his wife, sole daughter and heir of Thomas Godwin, esq. of Trottesclive, one son, Thomas, and a daughter, Martha, married to Charles Polhill, esq. Thomas, the son, was of Sevenoke, esq. and dying in 1722, was buried there, leaving by his wife, daughter of Mr. Fuller, of Suffex, one son Thomas, and two daughters; Thomas Streatfeild, esq. the son, is now of Sevenoke, and married Miss Green, by whom he has issue; and he, as owner of Cowdham manor, is intitled to the manorial rights of this district like wife.
But the estate or farm, called MARSH-GREEN likewife, which lies in the district above-mentioned, adjoining to Sterborough and the county of Surry, was several years ago alienated, by Robert Nightingale, esq. to Mr. Francis Green, whose son, Mr. Thomas Green, lately died seised of it, leaving his window surviving, whose son, Mr. Francis Green, of London, a few years since, sold it to the Hon. Mr. Lumley, the present possessor of it.
This place was formerly the feat of a family of this name; one of whom, Hamon de Brown, died pof sessed of it in the 4th year of king Edward III. but leaving no issue, he bequeathed it by his will to his kinsman, Thomas Brown, who dying likewise childless about the end of that reign, his sister, Agnes, then the wife of Laurence de Bedenstede, became by his will, as well as by inheritance, entitled to it.
He soon after alienated this manor to his wife's kinsman, Henry At-Browns; in whose descendants it continued till towards the end of king Henry VIII's reign, and then Ursula, daughter and heir of Hamon Brown, carried it in marriage to Mr. John At-Lee, of Essingham; whose descendant, John Lee, about the middle of king Charles II's reign, conveyed it by sale to Mr. James Beecher, (fn. 17), whose ancestors bore for their arms, Vaire argent and gules, on a canton or, a stag's head caboshed vert; which coat was confirmed to James Beecher, of Shorne, in this county, by Rob. Cooke, clarencieux, in 1574, (fn. 18) who purchased of Sir Charles Gresham the tithes of this estate. He died in 1749, and by will devised Brown's, with the above tythery, to his wife's grandson, Beecher Walter, on whose death intestate, it came to his two brothers, William and George, and on a partition of their estates, this in Eatonbridge sell to the share of the former, who afterwards sold it to John Boddington, esq. since which it has been sold to the Hon. Mr. Lumley, the present owner of it.
Gabriel's is a house in this parish, which was antiently the residence of a branch of the Seyliards, of Brasted. Nicholas Seyliard, gent. principal of Clifford's inn, and third son of Nicholas Seyliard, gent. of Brasted, resided here, and died possessed of it in 1625, leaving by Sarah his wife, daughter of Richard Potter, esq. of Westerham, two sons, Robert and John, and two daughters, viz. Dorothy, married to Richard Antrobus, gent. and Margaret, to Richard Jemett, gent. From the name of Seyliard it passed into that of Petley; and John Petley, second son of Ralph Petley, esq. of Riverhead, alienated it to Mr. John Stanford, whose son of the same name is the present possessor of it, and resides in it.
Besides the above, there are several small manors in this parish, as Hilder's farm, the property of the Hon. Mr. Lumley; Scane's, belonging to Henry Streatfeild, esq. Crouch house, to Mr. Richard Killick; and Coben Bere, to John Major Henniker, esq.
MARY SMITH, widow, gave by will in 1737, five shillings yearly, for five poor widows, and 58. yearly to be distributed in prayer books, to be paid out of a house and land in the possession of James-John Humphrey, and of that annual produce.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is a large handsome building, having a spire steeple at the west end; in it there are the remains of a rood lost, and of some good painted glass.
Among other monuments and memorials in it, in the chancel is a memorial for John Standford, sen. obt. 1729, and for Mary his wife, obt. 1730; on the north side of the altar is the figure of a man in brass, and inscription in black letter for John Selyard, gent. late of Bracested, who had by Alice his wife three sons and a daughter, obt. 1558; within the rails of the altar are several grave-stones for the Jemets, of Skaines; on the north side a monument for Nicholas Seyliard, gent. of Gabriel's, third son of Nicholas Seyliard, gent. of Brasted, he was principal of Clifford'sinn, and left by Sarah his wife, daughter of Richard Potter, esq. of Well-street, two sons and two daughters, obt. 1625.—In the south chancel, an altar tomb, and round it a brass plate for Thomas Martyn, esq. and Richard Martyn, esq. son of the laid Thomas, and Thomasine his wife; at the east end a mural monument for Robert Seilyard, gent. of Pawlins, in Brasted, 7th son of Thomas Seilyard, gent. of Pawlins aforesaid, obt. 1577, unmarried; on the south side a mural monument, with the figure of a man in armour, kneeling on a cushion before a desk, with a book open, for Wm. Seilyard, esq. of Pawlins, obt. 1595, by Dorothy his wife, daughter of W. Crowmer, esq. of Tunstall, 6 sons and 2 daughters.
The account of the patronage of this church, its value, the appropriation of it to the monastery of Christ-church, Canterbury, and the several other particulars relating to it, together with the names of the incumbents, may be seen fully described in the account of the church of Westerham.
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in this diocese, in 1650, it was returned, that in Eatonbridge there was a parsonage impropriate, then in the hands of one John Streatfeild, who farmed the same of the heirs of Sir Edward Grefham, at the rent of fifty pounds per annum; that the vicarage tithes were worth thirty pounds per annum, but there was no house nor glebe land; that the vicar of Westram had formerly received the tithes, but then master John Head supplied the cure there, and received them for his salary; that the church was well situated, and had been a chapel of ease to Westram, from which it was almost five miles distant, and from which it had ever had distinct officers.