The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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IS the next parish westward from Eltham. It was antiently written Legheart, and in old Latin, Laga, i. e. a place which lies sheltered.
The parish of Lee is but small, it lies low and flat, excepting towards the north, where the hill rises towards Blackheath; the lane, called Burnt-ash-lane, bounds it westward, and separates the two manors of Lee and Eltham. The village stands nearly in the middle of it, on the high road towards Eltham, and thence to Maidstone. It is very healthy and pleasant, and is well-built, the houses being all inhabited by genteel families of fortune. On the north side is the antient seat of Lee-place; at the west end a house, which has been many years the residence of the family of Papillon, opposite to which are the alms houses, built by the Boone family. Northward of the village the hill rises, nearly on the summit of which is lady Dacre's seat, most pleasantly situated, the church, the parsonage close to it, and other houses.
There is a little bourn, or rivulet, which takes its rise in this parish, and sometimes, on sudden rains, swells so much, as to rise near ten feet in height, where it crosses the high road, which made it so dangerous, or rather impassable, at those times for passengers, that within these few years there had been a bridge built over it, and a high causeway raised for a considerable length at each end of it, at the public expence. This brook, running from hence, passes along by the foot of the wall of the old seat of the Annesley's, long since quite ruined; about the south side of which it seems to have made a kind of moat, and afterwards discharges its waters into the river Ravensborne in the adjoining parish of Lewisham. The meadow lands in the valley lying on each side of this stream are very rich, and let at high rents. These Annesleys above-mentioned, bore for their arms, Paly of six pieces argent, and azures on a bend gules, a crescent, for difference.
In the time of William the Conqueror, Lee was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, of whom it was held by Walter de Doway.
It is thus described in Domesday, under the general title of the bishop's lands:
Walter de Dowai holds Lee of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is 4 carucates. In demesne there are 2 carucates, and 11 villeins, with 2 cottagers having 2 carucates. There are 2 servants and 5 acres of meadow. There is wood for the pannage of 10 hogs. In the time of K. Edward the Confessor, and when the bishop received it, it was worth 3 pounds, now 100 shillings. Alunin held it of the king.
As early as in the reign of king Edward I. this place was the residence of an antient family, called Bankwell, written, in the bishop of Rochester's Register, Bakwell, Bacwell, and Banquelle; which, probably, acquired that surname, from a place in this parish, formerly written Bankwells, but now, called Bankers.
In the 31st year of that reign, John de Banquel had a grant, to him, Cicele his wife, of free warren in all their lands in Lee, Lewisham, Bromley, and in Brokisham. (fn. 1)
In the first year of king Edward II. John de Banquel was appointed one of the barons of the king's exchequer; (fn. 2) and in the return of John de Shelving, sheriff, in the 16th and 17th year of that reign, of all the knights and men at arms within it, William de Banquel is mentioned in the second degree. He died in the 20th year of king Edward III. and left Thomas Ban- quel his heir; who died in the 35th year of that reign, possessed of Lee, and a large quantity of lands besides, in Modingham, Shersholt, since corruptly called Shrawfield, Littlecroft, Bankers, and Wickham by Bromley. He left three sons, John, William, and Robert, who became heirs in gavelkind to all his inheritance; and upon the division of it, Lee, Bankers, and Shersholt, or Shrawfield, fell to the share of John Bankwell, the eldest: but this family ending in a female heir, she carried these estates in marriage to John Arrapon; whence they were, in the next reign, of king Richard II. sold to Sir Thomas Stury, who continued in possession of them till the reign of king Henry VI. when they became the property of Richard Widville, or Woodville, who, in the 26th year of king Henry VI. was created Baron Rivers, and made knight of the Garter, and afterwards, in 1465, Earl Rivers and Constable of England, by king Edward IV. who had married his daughter Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Grey. (fn. 3) His great favour with the king brought on him the hatred of the Lancastrians, who seized him, with his son John, and carried them to Northampton, where they were both beheaded, in the 9th year of king Edward IV. By Jaquet de Luxemburgh his wife, widow of John, duke of Bedford, he had several sons and daughters. Of the sons, Anthony, the eldest, succeeded his father in his honours, and likewise in these manors and estates. He had married, in his father's life-time, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas lord Scales, and had summons to parliament in the 1st year of king Edward IV. as baron Scales. He was beheaded at Pontefract-castle in 1483, under the pretence of treason, by order of Richard duke of Gloucester, afterwards king Richard III. He died without legitimate issue; upon which Richard Woodville, his brother, succeeded him in titles and estates. But dying unmarried, anno 7 king Hen- ry VII. by his will he appointed Thomas Grey, marquis Dorset, his nephew, his heir, as was found by inquisition, taken after his death, and that he died possessed of the manor of Lee, with five hundred and seventy acres of arable, meadow, wood, and pasture, in Lee and Lewisham, held of the king by sealty, and the service of performing suit at the court of the sheriff, held at Sutton-at-Hone, in lieu of all services; and of the manor of Lee-Shroffold, with one hundred and six acres of arable and meadow in Shroffold, and of the manor of Bankers; both which were held of the prior of St. John of Bethlehem of Sheene, in Surry.
Sir Thomas Grey, marquis Dorset, was eldest son of Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Widville, or Woodville, earl Rivers, (afterwards married to king Edward IV.) and sister of the last-mentioned earl, by Sir John Grey. He was, anno II king Edward IV. created Earl of Huntingdon; and in the 15th year of that reign, Marquis Dorset, only per cincturam gladii, et capæ honoris et dignitatis impositionem, the coronet being omitted.
After the death of king Edward IV. he was, in respect of his near relationship to the young king Edward, attainted of high treason, by the duke of Gloucester; but he found means to steal away privately, and escaped into Brittany, with many other persons of note, to the aid of Henry earl of Richmond; where he staid till the overthrow of king Richard III. at Bosworth, when he returned, and king Henry VII. fully restored him, and made him one of his privy-council. He married Cecilie, daughter and heir of William lord Bonville, (afterwards married to Henry earl of Wiltshire,) by whom he had several sons and daughters, and died anno 17 king Henry VII. having given by his will to Thomas, his eldest son, among other manors, those of the Lee-Shroffold, and the Lee-Bancors and Levisham. (fn. 4) He kept them but a few years; for he granted to king Henry VIII. in his third year, the manors of Lee, Bankerds, and Shrofolde, with the advowsons of the church of Lee, and all other lands and tenements, of his inheritance in the towns of Lee, Bankerds, and Shrofolde, with all liberties, &c. in exchange for other manors and lands in Leicestershire. (fn. 5)
In the reign of queen Elizabeth these manors were in the tenure of Thomas Sackville lord Buckhurst, afterwards earl of Dorset, and lord high treasurer; whose grandson, Richard earl of Dorset, exchanged his interest in them with king James I. and his successor, king Charles I. granted the royalty and fee-simple of them, (the advowson of the rectory being excepted) at the yearly rent of 87l. 10s. 2d. (fn. 6) to Ralph Freeman of Aspeden, in Hertfordshire, who was afterwards knighted, and in 1633 lord-mayor of London. He married Joan, fourth daughter of John Crowch of London, clothworker, and had by her an only daughter and heir, Joan, with whom he gave these manors in marriage to Sir George Sondes of Lee's-court, in Sheldwich, knight of the Bath, (fn. 7) afterwards created Earl of Faversham. By her he had three sons, all of whom died without issue; he afterwards married Mary, daughter of sir William Villiers of Brokesby, in Leicestershire, bart. by whom he left two daughters and coheirs; Mary, married to Lewis Duras, marquis of Blanquefort, who succeeded to the title of earl of Faversham; and Catherine, to Lewis Watson, earl of Rockingham, who, in her right, inherited these manors on the death of the earl of Faversham, without issue.
On the death of Lewis, earl of Rockingham, in 1724 his grandson (son of Edward, viscount Sondes, by Katherine his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of Thomas earl of Thanet, who died in his father's life-time) succeeded him in titles and estates; but dying without issue in 1745, he was succeeded by his next brother, Thomas, who dying without issue likewise, devised these, among his other estates, by will, to the Hon. Lewis Monson, second son of John Monson lord Monson, by Margaret, third and youngest daughter of the first Lewis earl of Rockingham, with an injunction for him to take and use the surname and arms of Watson.
Lewis Monson Watson above-mentioned was, in the year 1760, being the last of king George II. advanced to the title of Baron Sondes of Lees-court, in the parish of Sheldwich in this county, and he in 1788 settled this estate on his eldest son the Hon. Lewis Thomas Watson on his marriage, who, in 1795, on the death of his father, succeeded to the title of lord Sondes; and is the present proprietor of this manor of Lee, and its two appendages of Bankers and Shrawfield.
LEE-PLACE is an antient well-built seat, which formerly belonged to, and was the residence of the family of Boone, in which it continued till Thomas Boone, esq. dying in 1749, it came by his will to his natural daughter, married to Charles Cornforth, esq. who died possessed of it in 1777, when it went, by the limitations in Mr. Boone's will, to his nephews, sons of his brother, one of whom, Charles Boone, esq. now possesses it, but Benjamin Harrison, esq. treasurer of Guy's hospital at present resides in it.
About a quarter of a mile towards the north-west, from the village of Lee, on the ascent of the hill, stands an elegant modern-built seat, late belonging to Sir Thomas Fludyer, who died possessed of it in 1769, bearing for his arms, Sable, a cross flory, between four escallops argent, each charged with a cross flory of the field; which arms were granted in 1739. He left, by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir George Champion, alderman of London, a daughter and heir, Mary, who in 1773 married Trevor Charles Roper, esq. and brought him the possession of this seat. He was the eldest son of the Hon. George Roper, the son of Henry lord Teynham, by his second wife Anne, daughter and coheir of Thomas Lennard earl of Suffex, and baroness Dacre, whose second husband he was. Her first husband having been Thomas Lennard Barret, esq. by whom she had a son, the late Thomas Lennard Barret, lord Dacre, on whose death, s. p. in 1786, Trevor Charles Roper, esq. above-mentioned, succeeded to that title, and became lord Dacre. (fn. 8) He died at this feat in July 1794, s. p. and was buried in Lee church, leaving the possession of it to his widow Mary, lady Dacre, who now resides in it.
At the west end of the village of Lee is a row of alms-houses, with a chapel adjoining to them, built and endowed by CHRISTOPHER BOONE, of London, merchant, and MARY his wife; who, by their deed, in 1683, enfeossed the master and wardens of the Merchant-taylors in London, in a parcel of land in this parish; on which were built a chapel and four houses, for a schoolmistress, to teach poor children to read and work, and six poor antient alms-people; and in a piece of ground for a garden plat. And they also enfeoffed them in twenty-three acres of land, lying near Blackheath, let for 15l. per annum; and in an annual rent of 42l. per annum, out of the fee-farm rent of the city of Hereford, in trust, that they should pay yearly the salaries, &c. to the several members of this charity. And likewise furnish firing, gowns, and certain necessaries for the use of the poor people and children. The residue of the income, to be a stock to desray the charge of repairs, and augment the allowances of the members of it. The master and wardens to visit them every year, on the first Thursday in July.
The rector of Lee to be chaplain; or, if he refused, or removed, then the vicar of Lewisham; or, if he refused, or misbehaved, any other minister of the church of England.
The school-mistress to teach twelve poor children, to be presented by the rector and churchwardens of Lee. The alms people to be men or women, two in a house, of the poorest people of this parish, who had lived orderly, and supported themselves by their honest labour in their younger days, or if there were not enough such found, then of the parish of Lewisham; and if not there, then of Greenwich.
The Rev. ABRAHAM COLFE, in 1656, gave by will, to be distributed in bread at the church every Sunday in the year, in money vested in the Leatherseller's-company, of the annual produce of 8s. 4d. and a free scholarship for one boy, in the freeschool of Lewisham, vested in the same company.
WILLIAM HATCLIFFE gave by will, for the relief of indigent persons, by the distribution of 10s. per annum each, a share of certain land, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of 22l. 11s. 6d.
THIS PARISH is entitled for ever to place one poor person in Queen Elizabeth's college, in Greenwich, founded by the will of William Lambarde, esq. and vested in the Draper's company, of the annual produce of 8l. 13s. 4d.
Lee is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The church is dedicated to St. Margaret; it seems an antient structure, the church-yard is crowded with tombs and monuments, many of them of excellent sculpture; among which is a plain table tomb for Dr. Edward Halley, the famous astronomer, who lies buried underneath it.
Among other monuments and memorials in this church, in the isle, is a monument in brass, with the effigies of a woman, for Elizabeth Conkyll, obt. 1513. At the east end of it a monument for Abraham Sherman, A. M. minister of God's word in this parish, who rebuilt the parsonage house in 1636, obt. Oct. 5, 1654. On the north side of the altar a sumptuous monument, with the figures of a man in armour, and his wife lying at full length, and an inscription, for Bryan Anslye, esq. late of Lee, and Awdry his wife, only daughter of Robert Tirrell, of Essex, esq. by whom he had one son and three daughters, Brian, who died s. p. Grace, married to Sir John Wilgorse; Christian to lord Sandes, and Cordell to Sir William Hervey. The said Brian the father died in 1604, being one of the gentlemen pensioners to queen Elizabeth; the said Awdry died in 1591. Erected by Cordell their daughter. On the south side of the altar a monument, with effigies in brass of a man in armour, kneeling at a desk with a book open before him, and an inscription in black letter for Nicholas Ansley, serjeant of the cellar to queen Elizabeth, obt. 1593, æt. 58; and an inscription was here formerly for George Hatcliffe, esq. the king's treasurer in Ireland, and one of the clerks of the king's household, obt. 1514. (fn. 9)
The church was antiently esteemed as an appendage to the manor, and seems to have continued so till king Charles I. granted the fee of the manor to Ralph Freeman, reserving the right of the patronage of the church to the crown, where it continues at this time.
The church of Lee was valued, in the 15th year of king Edward I. at ten marcs. It is valued in the king's books at 3l. 11s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 7s. 2d.
The parsonage-house was rebuilt by Abraham Sherman, rector of this parish in the year 1636.
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, out of Chancery, it was returned, that Lee was a parsonage, with a house, and fifteen acres of glebe land; all worth seventy pounds per annum, one master Abraham Sherman enjoying it.
CHURCH OF LEE.
|PATRONS, Or by whom presented.||RECTORS.|
|Family of Bakewell||Jordanus.|
|Richard de Toste, inst. March 22, 1320. (fn. 10)|
|William de Ardenne, adm. Sept. 13, 1330, obt. 1332. (fn. 10)|
|John Moyne, adm. Jan. 8, 1332, resigned 1335. (fn. 10)|
|John de Lenne, 1335, another induction March 9, 1338. (fn. 13)|
|Family of Bakewell||William Drayton, admitted Oct. 8, 1349. (fn. 14)|
|John Kinge, adm. April 28, 1353, resigned 1362. (fn. 15)|
|John de Somerbye, adm. October 26, 1362. (fn. 16)|
|Richard Holewaye, resig. 1390. (fn. 17)|
|Sir Richard Story||John Clerk, adm. May 17, 1390, resigned eod. ann. (fn. 18)|
|William Glastynbery, Dec. 5, 1390, resigned 1391. (fn. 19)|
|Hugo ap David, adm. May 24, 1391, resigned 1402. (fn. 20)|
|Sir Robert Story||John de Bardenage, adm. July 1402, resigned eod. ann. (fn. 21)|
|William Howet, adm. Sept. 5, 1402, resigned 1403. (fn. 22)|
|Thomas Talbott, April 7, 1403, resigned 1405. (fn. 23)|
|John Gyffard, adm. Jan. 17, 1405, obt. 1406. (fn. 24)|
|William Cowpere, adm. April 26, 1406. (fn. 25)|
|Robert Pejonn, obt. 1425. (fn. 26)|
|John Hoo, adm. Nov. 23, 1425. (fn. 27)|
|Richard Wydville||Richard Moore, adm. October 3, 1452, resigned 1459. (fn. 28)|
|Lord de Rivers||Thomas Clote, March 20, 1459. (fn. 29)|
|Anthony Wydville||John Mellory, adm. Nov. 10, 1462, resigned 1463. (fn. 30)|
|Lord de Seales||Robert Ayward, adm. Sept. 2 1463. (fn. 31)|
|John Walronde, July 15, 1495, resigned 1497. (fn. 32)|
PATRON. Thomas, Marquis Dorset.
Robert Houghtone, instit. June 2,
1497, obt. 1498. (fn. 33)
Roger Abraham, instit. Sept. 29, 1498, second induct. Oct. 9, 1500, obt. 1501. (fn. 34)
William Lambe, inst. Nov. 10, 1501, obt. 1503. (fn. 35)
Thomas Robyns, inst. June 10, 1503, second induct. Sept. 9, 1504, resigned 1509. (fn. 36)
Simon Templeman, inst. Oct. 31, 1509, obt. 1526. (fn. 37)
PATRON. The Crown.
Robert Hale, alias Hales, instit.
Sept. 14, 1526, resig. 1569. (fn. 38)
Wm. Brooke, inst. Oct. 6, 1569,
Hugo Probart, deprived 1579.
John Stoner, inst. June 12, 1579. (fn. 39) obt. June 1599. (fn. 40)
William Tyler, A. M. inst. July 16, 1599, obt. March 13, 1632. (fn. 41)
Abraham Sherman, inst. Oct. 2, 1632, obt. Oct. 5, 1654. (fn. 42)
Hiccocks, ejected 1662. (fn. 43)
George Shawe, B. D. inst. Oct. 24, 1662. (fn. 44)
John Jackson, A. M. inst. Dec. 18, 1672, obt. 1701. (fn. 45)
John Ovington, I. T. P. inst. Dec. 18, 1701, obt. June 1731. (fn. 46)
Richard Atkins, A. M. instit. Aug. 28, 1731, obt. April 24, 1745. (fn. 47)
John Lawry, A. M. inst. May 3, 1745, obt, Aug. 20, 1773. (fn. 48)
Henry Reginald Courteney, L.L.D. instituted Septem. 1773, lord bishop of Bristol. The present rector. (fn. 49)
* This list of rectors was kindly communicated by the Rev. Mr. Samuel Denne, of Wilmington.