A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Tatsfield is a very small parish lying between Titsey and the county of Kent, which surrounds it on the north and east. It extends along the Kent border in a narrow strip to the border of Limpsfield. The main part is about a mile each way; the extension runs down for about a mile and a half, but is very narrow. It contains 1,303 acres. Tatsfield forms an exception to the almost invariable arrangement of parishes on the edge of the chalk downs, for the village stands back from the edge of the chalk hill; the church is on the brow 790 ft. above the sea, with very fine views from it over the Weald, and the parish extends over the sands without reaching the Wealden Clay. In nearly all other cases the village and church are on the sand. In the tertiary beds in the chalk supposed eolithic implements have been found. (fn. 1) The road from Croydon to Westerham runs through Tatsfield, which is 9 miles south-east of the former and 3½ miles north-west of the latter. Along the slope of the hill the ancient road called the Pilgrims' Way runs from Surrey into Kent, passing just below Tatsfield Court Farm.
The oldest house in Tatsfield is that called Ken Court, formerly Cold Court, which was built towards the end of the 17th century. (fn. 2) It is perhaps the same as the house marked in old maps and directories as Colegates Farm.
In the time of Edward the Confessor TATSFIELD was held by Alvric of the king and was then valued at 30s. Later it was worth £2 and at the time of the Survey it had doubled its value, being estimated at £3. (fn. 3) In 1086 it was held by Anschitel de Ros of Odo Bishop of Bayeux, (fn. 4) half-brother of William I, who created him Earl of Kent. (fn. 5) The latter became possessed of many lordships and lands belonging to the archbishopric of Canterbury, but there seems no reason to suppose that Tatsfield had ever formed part of the archiepiscopal estates. After the forfeiture of Odo, however, the fee seems to have been granted to the Archbishop of Canterbury, for in the middle of the 14th century Tatsfield is said to be held of the archbishop's manor of Otford, (fn. 6) and later it appears from the court rolls of the archbishop's manor of Croydon that Tatsfield was a tithing of the latter manor.
The family of Ros appears to have continued in possession of the manor until about the middle of the 13th century, as lands in Tatsfield were in 1258 quitclaimed to Hugh de Windsor and Godeholda his wife, widow of William de Ros, by Maud wife of Geoffrey de Percy and Lora a widow, sisters of William de Ros. (fn. 7) In 1275–6 the manor was in the possession of Robert de Crevequer and Isolde his wife, who had probably acquired it from Hugh de Windsor, (fn. 8) and who in that year conveyed it to Robert de Campania. (fn. 9) It is next found in the possession of Retherick son of Griffin in 1309. (fn. 10) He was succeeded before 1324 by his son Thomas, styled Thomas son of Retherick of Tatsfield, who in 1334 (fn. 11) settled the manor on his wife Cicely and his issue by her. Later he granted the manor with the advowson of the church to Stephen Bradpul, parson of Tatsfield, Roger de Stanyngden and Allen Lombard for their lives (fn. 12) and afterwards released the reversion of the same to Roger de Stanyngden. The three feoffees then conveyed their rights to Thomas Uvedale and his heirs for their lives. (fn. 13) Thomas Retherick's heir was his son Owen, also called 'de Gales' (of Wales), who in 1366, during the war with France, left England to join the king's enemies in that country, and before going likewise released all his right in the reversion of the manor to Roger de Stanyngden and his heirs. (fn. 14)
In 1392 a grant of the manor of Tatsfield, which was alleged to have been long concealed, was made by the Crown to John Maudelyn, yeoman of the robes, for life, with reversion after his death to the Crown, (fn. 15) on condition that he sued for its recovery at his own charges. John Maudelyn was dead before 25 October 1399, (fn. 16) and in 1416–17 John de Stanyngden or Stalkynden, son of Roger, conveyed (fn. 17) his right in the manor and advowson to John Uvedale, who appears as holding half a knight's fee here in 1428. (fn. 18) John Uvedale in 1439 granted the manor to trustees, probably to the use of his son Thomas, (fn. 19) who was knighted in 1465. (fn. 20) Sir Thomas conveyed the same to his brother William Uvedale, Thomas Pound, Reginald Uvedale and others, and in 1473 the former, Reginald then being dead, settled the manor on Sir Thomas and his second wife Elizabeth, with remainder to Thomas Uvedale, son of Sir Thomas. (fn. 21) Sir Thomas died in 1474 and his widow in 1488. (fn. 22) Whether his son Thomas ever held the manor is doubtful, as on Elizabeth's death Tatsfield passed to Sir William Uvedale, eldest son of Sir Thomas. (fn. 23) He died in January 1524–5 and was succeeded by his son William, (fn. 24) who married Dorothy daughter of Thomas Troyes of Kilmeston, co. Hants, and by his will (fn. 25) dated 3 November 1528 gave Tatsfield to his eldest son Arthur and annuities of £20 charged on this and other manors to each of his four younger sons. (fn. 26) The manor descended to Arthur's eldest son William, who was under age at his father's death and who married Helen daughter of Sir John Gresham of Titsey, alderman of London. (fn. 27) He conveyed Tatsfield to Richard Norton and Richard Whorwood to the use of himself for life subject to an annuity of £80 payable to his uncle William Uvedale of Himley during his life. (fn. 28) By his will dated 3 May 1569 (fn. 29) he devised this manor to his brother Thomas in trust during the minority of his son William, and gave the reversion of lands in this manor called Alleyns Fields, Church Lands, Flint Lands, Nields Gotes Croft, Pit Croft and Pit Grove to his late wife's goddaughter, Helen Oberd, for life at a rent of 20s. a year. (fn. 30) He died in 1569, his son and heir William being then only nine years old. (fn. 31) The latter married Mary daughter of Sir Richard Norton and in 1608 settled Tatsfield on himself for life, with reversion after his death to his wife and on her decease to their son William. (fn. 32) He died in 1616 (fn. 33) and his son William came into possession. He conveyed the manor and the advowson of Tatsfield to Sir John Gresham, kt. (fn. 34) Sir John died without issue in 1643 and was succeeded by his brother Sir Edward, (fn. 35) who married as his second wife Mary daughter of Edward Campion of Putney (fn. 36) and by her had a son Marmaduke, who was created a baronet in 1660. (fn. 37) By his will dated 14 January 1696 (fn. 38) Sir Marmaduke Gresham demised the manor of Tatsfield and lands there called Wett Wood, Coppin's Heath, Coppin's Mead, Marles Wood, Lord's Mead, Longlands, Row Tie, Cubitt's or Kippers Coppice and Frith Wood to his son Charles and his daughter Alice Gresham to pay his debts out of the issues, or, if necessary, to sell the manor for that purpose. (fn. 39) In a partition made of the estates of Sir Marmaduke the manor of Tatsfield and the above specified lands were allotted to Sir Charles, (fn. 40) who in 1717 conveyed the manor to John Appleby and Edward Mathews, probably in trust for Sir Isaac Shard, as the latter was holding the manor in 1718. (fn. 41) Sir Isaac died on 22 December 1739, (fn. 42) having by a settlement made on the marriage of his son Isaac Pacatus Shard in December 1735 settled the manor on him for life, with power to sell it for the purpose of providing legacies for his four younger children. (fn. 43) By his will dated 18 April 1759 Isaac Pacatus Shard desired that the sale of the manor for this purpose might take place, (fn. 44) and his heir William put it up for sale with the courts, quit-rents, &c., three farms containing 500 acres let at £190 a year and 40 acres of wood. (fn. 45) It was bought by Mr. Butler and by him sold to Sir John Gresham. (fn. 46) Sir John died in 1801 (fn. 47) and his estates passed to his only child Catherine, who married William Leveson-Gower, in whose family the manor still remains. (fn. 48)
A court leet was appurtenant to this manor. (fn. 49) The ancient manor-house, called Tatsfield Court Lodge, stood near the church and was pulled down by Sir John Gresham before his death in 1801, and a new house was built at the foot of the hill, near the Pilgrims' Way. (fn. 50)
CALCOTTS was a capital mansion (fn. 51) belonging to the collegiate church of Lingfield and at the Dissolution was worth £3 6s. 8d a year. (fn. 52) On the surrender of its master, Edward Colepeper, LL.D., in 1544, the college and its possessions were granted by the king to Thomas Cawarden, (fn. 53) a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, who thus became possessed of Calcotts. In 1560 licence was granted to his heir William Cawarden to alienate it to William Lord Howard of Ellingham, (fn. 54) who sold it in 1564 to Sir Richard Sackville, kt. (fn. 55) The latter died on 20 April 1566 (fn. 56) and was succeeded by his son Thomas Sackville Lord Buckhurst. (fn. 57) On 22 June 1575 the latter sold Calcotts with appurtenances called Paynters in Westerham and a lease of which nine years had still to run, made to John Woodden by the late Lord Howard of Effingham, to Walter Henley, his wife Jane and son Richard. (fn. 58) The Henleys kept it until 1598, when Richard Henley sold it to Thomas Gresham of Limpsfield for £690, (fn. 59) reserving to himself land called Eades Croft, situated on Westmore Green, Tatsfield, which was then in the tenure of Joan Burstow, widow. (fn. 60) With the rest of the Gresham property, Calcotts passed to the Leveson-Gower family. (fn. 61)
The earliest mention found of LUSTED (Lovestede, Lofested) is in a rental of Titsey (fn. 62) dated 19 November 1401, wherein it appears that the priory of Merton held a small parcel of land called 'Lovestedesdoune.' (fn. 63) At the Dissolution the priory held wood in Lusted to the value of 4s. a year. (fn. 64) In 1553 Sir John Gresham devised to his son William, after the death of his wife Katherine, the farm in Surrey and Kent where Steven of Lusted dwelt, for which he paid £10 a year. (fn. 65) Beatrice Gresham, widow of William, by a deed dated 9 January 1598, settled Lusted on herself for life, with remainder to her younger daughter Cccily wife of Sir Henry Woodhouse, and after her death to her son Gresham Woodhouse. Beatrice died in 1604. (fn. 66) Sir Marmaduke Gresham, by his will (fn. 67) dated 14 January 1696, gave Lusted to his son Charles and daughter Alice Gresham. It was owned in 1891 by Mr. Jeremiah Dummett. The lands belonging to this farm lie for the most part in Tatsfield, but the house itself is in Cudham, co. Kent.
In the same rental of Titsey is found a mention of the family of Godard, (fn. 68) who gave their name to Godard's Farm in Tatsfield, since called Buckland's Farm (fn. 69) and now called the Manor House and in the tenure of Mr. F. H. Keeble.
The church is of unknown dedication. The churchyard is entered by a modern lych-gate and has a bare appearance, being separated from the surrounding fields by low hedges and open fences. It contains in its eastern part a yew tree of great age and size subdivided into several stems. The church, constructed chiefly of flints, chalk, firestone and a peculiar yellow sandstone dug in the neighbouring hills (besides modern Bath stone), with brown plaster over the chancel walls, and redtiled roofs, is a small building, consisting only of nave (about 43 ft. by 21 ft.) and chancel, with south porch (1838) of very shallow projection, and small square-topped western tower, built within the area of the nave, with a ve-try to the north of it, also internal. This tower, which dates from 1838, replaces the boarded timber turret with conical roof shown in Manning and Bray's Surrey, Cracklow's View (1824) and other early representations, which also show a simple old porch, of the normal projection, standing somewhat eastward of the modern one. The chancel was restored in 1874 and the building generally in 1882. (fn. 70)
There was probably a church here in the 11th century. The nave is certainly at least as old as c. 1075. Its walls are exceptionally high for so small a structure and the north wall retains its early north-east quoin, of large pick-dressed stones, and one of the original small round-headed windows, in greenish-yellow sandstone, 6 in. wide, with the head in three voussoirs cut to a circular outline. This is very high up in the wall, with narrow splays and circular internal arch, and further west is another, which has lost its internal head and has been altered externally to a 13th-century lancet form. The quoins of the chancel, which are of the same yellow sandstone and of large rough-hewn stones, show that it also, so far as the walls are concerned, is of the 11th century. In the eastern part of the south wall of the nave is a perfectly plain square-headed piscina, probably of the 12th century.
The chancel appears to have been remodelled and almost rebuilt in about 1220, when two short lancets were inserted, one in the north and the other in the south wall. That in the south wall has been partially destroyed internally at some subsequent date, but the northern window is in a singularly perfect state. Externally it is in sandstone and simply chamfered, but the internal splays are finished with a filleted and quirked bowtel, and in the arch this is recessed within a deeply moulded outer order, in which occurs a keel-shaped member, set within hollows and chamfers, the whole being finished with a hood of deeply undercut section, which has a horizontal piece of the same moulding as a stop on either side. The outer arch order rests upon a delicate little shaft, with circular moulded capital and base, the latter with a square sub-base, and a slender stopped chamfer finishes the angle of the jamb. These windows stand upon a moulded string course of elegant section, the whole being wrought in a calcareous sandstone of greenish-white tint. In the south wall of the chancel, adjoining the east wall—a very unusual position—is a large and deep double aumbry, with square heads, rebated for doors, in the same stone, which probably served partly for reservation. The chancel arch, of acutely pointed shape, with two chamfered orders springing from square piers, without capital or impost, replaces the early arch. It is in firestone and the date is about 1260. The outer chamfer has stops of unusual form. The chancel again seems to have undergone structural alterations early in the 14th century, when the present east window of two horse-shoe trefoiled lights was inserted. The internal arch of pointed segmental form has a hollow on the front face and rests upon engaged shafts with small capitals of bold section and bases, the latter being stilted up on the angles, with a length of plain splay beneath.
In the east wall beneath, to the south of the altar—again an exceptional position—is a piscina, with a credence above it, under a curious arch of plain chamfered ogee shape. The drain, instead of having a vertical hole, is dished to carry off the water horizontally through the wall.
In the western part of the south wall of the chancel, worked in yellow sandstone, is a low-side window, in shape a quatrefoiled circle, set within a sunk square externally, the sill about 4 ft. 9 in. from the ground, on the inside framed within a rectangular recess having a cambered stone lintel, its internal sill being 2 ft. 11 in. from the floor. This is of 14th-century date, perhaps early, and appears in Manning and Bray's engraving, but not in Cracklow's and another old view. In the south wall of the nave, which batters internally and is somewhat out of the perpendicular, there are two old two-light windows, the western corresponding in date and general character to the east window of the chancel, and the eastern, which has flat four-centred heads in a square head, but no hood moulding, being of early 16th-century character. (fn. 71) Internally this has a pointed segmental head of the early part of the 14th century and the later tracery is a repair. On the inside of this wall eastward of the present modern doorway is a blocked doorway with a pointed head, probably of early 14th-century date. The whole of the west end of the nave seems to have been rebuilt when the little tower was constructed in 1838.
The oak roofs of chancel and nave, of massive timbers and of tie-beam and king-post construction, are probably of the early 14th century. In a watercolour view of the interior, dating from the early 19th century, (fn. 72) is shown as then in position an interesting rood-screen of c. 1500, having a moulded and embattled beam (but no traces of a loft) and a wide central opening for a pair of doors with three bays of cinquefoiled and super-traceried openings right and left. The large square pulpit is shown with identical tracery and looks as though it had been made up out of the missing screen doors. In The Ecclesiologist for 1850 (fn. 73) half of this rood-screen is said to be 'lying in the vestry, and the other half is worked up into the pulpit, reading pew, &c.' All trace of it has now vanished from the church. The old pulpit had a sounding-board with a 'carved dove in the midst of glory' on its underside.
There are five steps from the chancel arch to the altar, but the elevation thus given is purely modern, as is shown by the levels of the piscina drain and aumbry sill. All the seating and other fittings, including the communion rails and font, are modern. The font existing in 1720 had a 'stone bason sunk within a square pedestal.'
The only monument of any antiquity is a wooden tablet, painted to imitate stone, on the south wall of the nave to John and Alire Corbett (d. 1711 and 1710). This John Corbett is described as 'of St. Saviour's, Southwark, Carpinder,' and his son John, 'Citizen and Painter-stainer of London,' as giving 'this Monument, with the Altar-peice and Queens Armes Ano 1712.' The altar-piece is apparently a picture shown in the old interior view above referred to; it is not now to be seen in the church. The royal arms are in the recess where the old porch was.
Manning and Bray mention a large stone of Richard and Elizabeth Hayward (d. 1662 and 1696) and another of Valentine Hayward, 1731, as then (1809) lying 'in the middle of the floor,' but these also have disappeared.
In the church of the adjoining parish of Westerham (Kent) is a very remarkable brass to a former 'Parson of Tattisfylde,' 1567, in which he is styled 'Syr William Dye, Prest.' It bears the inscription ' On whose soul J'hu have mercy.'
The registers (fn. 74) date from 1689.
The church is a rectory in the deanery of Godstone. The advowson has always followed the descent of the manor, (fn. 75) except on the sale to Sir Isaac Shard, when Sir Marmaduke Gresham retained the same and bequeathed it to his son Charles. (fn. 76) On the latter's death in 1718 it passed to hisson Marmaduke. (fn. 77) In 1728 John Holman, sen., John Austin and John Kirrill had it during life (fn. 78); and in 1759 it was in the hands of Thomas Mompesson and John Godfrey, (fn. 79) trustees for the will of Sir Marmaduke Gresham, who died in 1741. (fn. 80) It has since followed the descent of the manor.
Thomas Streatfeild, topographer, genealogist and artist, born in 1777, was curate here for some years, until in 1842 ill-health compelled him to relinquish the curacy. (fn. 81) He died in 1848 and was buried at Chart Edge, Westerham.