Parishes: Beckenham

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Parishes: Beckenham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1, (Canterbury, 1797) pp. 527-550. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


THIS PARISH is situated wholly within the county of Kent, though its bounds extend westward to that of Surry.

It is called in Domesday, BACHEHAM, and in the Textus Roffensis, BECCEHAM, being so called from its situation on the river Ravensborne, Becc, in Saxon, signifying a river, and ham, a village or dwelling.

The parish of Beckenham, like those already described, is interspersed throughout with handsome seats and buildings, mostly inhabited by persons of fashion and opulence, too numerous to be particularly mentioned here. Its small distance from the capital, and its pleasant and healthy situation make it a most desirable retreat from the hurry and confused bustle of the town. It is watered on the eastern side by the river Ravensborne, and the middle of it by a small stream, which being joined by another, at the north-west corner of the parish, meets the above mentioned river below at Lewisham. The village is situated on the northern side of the parish, having the church and Fox-grove, near the east end of it, and at a small distance northward, Beckenham-place and park, the house of which only is in this parish, the out offices being in that of Bromley. Southward of the village stands the seat of Kelseys and the Temple, both belonging to lord Gwydir, the latter inhabited by his sister the dutchess of Hamilton, beyond which is the residence of lord Gwydir, which stands on an estate which belonged to Mr. Cator, and was exchanged by him for other lands, for which an act passed in 1793. The house was originally built by Mr. Kirkman of London, but there have been great additions and improvements made to it since, and a shrubbery walk and communication with Langley-park, which is at about a quarter of a mile distance; at the extremity of the park, near the north-west corner of the parish is the hamlet of Elmer's-end, and near it is the seat of lord Auckland; those of Penge-green and Kent-house are at the boundary of it towards Sydenham. The soil is much given to gravel and clay, in the middle of it is mostly a red sand, though towards Bromley there is some strong fertile land.

Some have conjectured, that the great council, composed of the clergy and nobility, which is said to have been convened at Becanceld, in the year 694, by Wi- thred king of Kent, was held at this place, but Mr. Camden, Dr. Plott, Mr. Johnson of Cranbrooke, and others have, with much more probability, supposed it to have been held at Bapchild, about a mile and a half eastward from Sittingborne, on the high road from London to Canterbury, and midway between the coast of Kent and London, and therefore a much more convenient place for a Kentish council. (fn. 1)

At the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, by William the Conqueror, in the year 1080, this place was part of the possessions of Odo, the great bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus described in it:

In Brunlei hundred Ansgotus de Rochester holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Bacheham. It was taxed at 2 sulings. The arable land is eight carucates. In demesne there are 2 carucates, and 22 villeins, with 8 borderers, having 8 carucates and a half. There are 12 acres of meadow, and 4 servants, and 1 mill, and wood for the pannage of 60 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 9 pounds, now 13 pounds. Anschil held it of king Edward.

In the beginning of the above survey, Anschillus de Bacheham above mentioned is said to have had the liberties of sac and soc within his lands, in the lath of Sutton.

In the reign of king Edward I. the manor of Beckenham was held by a family, called in old Latin records, De Rupella, in French, De la Rochell, and in English, Rokele, who came originally from Rochell, in France. (fn. 2) Richard de la Rokele died possessed of it in the 5th year of king Edward I. when it was found by inquisition, that he held it in capite, as one knight's fee. (fn. 3) He was succeeded in the possession of this estate by Philip de la Rokele, who held it at his death, in the 23d year of that reign, and left it to his sole daughter and heir, Isolda, and she carried it in marriage to Sir William Bruyn. In memory of which match, the arms of Bruyn quartering those of Rokele, viz. Azure, a cross-moline or, quartering Lozengy, ermine and gules, were set up in one of the windows of Barham church, in this county. (fn. 4) These two coats of arms are now borne, with the other quarterings, by the earl of Derby. (fn. 5)

His descendant, Sir Ingelram, or Ingram Bruin, knt. of South Okendon, in Essex, died possessed of this manor and the advowson of this church in the year 1400, and lies buried with his ancestors in that church, and his widow, Elizabeth, was owner of them at her death, in the 8th year of king Henry IV. the same being the inheritance of Maurice their son. (fn. 6) His descendant, Sir Henry Bruin, about the beginning of king Edward IV.'s reign, left two daughters and coheirs, Alice and Elizabeth, each of whom had three husbands. The former married first Robert Harleston, esq. of Essex; secondly Sir John Heveningham; and lastly William Berners, esq. The latter married first William Malory, esq. by whom she had no issue; secondly William Brandon, esq. who was afterwards knighted, and standard-bearer to Henry VII. in Bosworth-field, where he was slain, by whom she had issue Sir Charles Brandon duke of Suffolk. He was the flower and perfection of the English nobility of that time, who sometimes kept his residence at this place (not, I imagine, as proprietary, but as lessee) where he entertained king Henry VIII. with great pomp and magnificence, as he went to bestow a visit at Hever, on his repudiated wife, Anne of Cleve. (fn. 7) She married lastly Thomas Tirril, esq. of Herne, in Essex, whose family is said to have enjoyed the honour of knighthood in a direct line for more than four hundred years, and to be descended from Sir Walter Tirrill, who held land in Essex at the time of the general survey, and is said to have shot king William Rufus in the New forest. The several branches of the Tirrills bear the same coat, with their respective differences, viz. Argent, two chevrons azure within a bordure engrailed gules. (fn. 8)

These two daughters of Sir Henry Bruyn divided this manor and the advowson of the church between them; and their husbands successively, in right of their wives, possessed the same in moieties. By an inquisition, taken in the 13th year of king Edward IV. it was found that Alice, late wife of John Heveningham, held at her death the half part of the manor of Begenham, and the moiety of the advowson in capite; and that John Berners, son of John Berners, was her son and heir, and in 1742, there was a licence from Richard III. in his first year, to 'Sir John Hynyngham, to entre in the manoir of Bekyngham,' &c. by reason of the said John Berner's minority. (fn. 9)

In the 22d year of king Henry VIII. Henry Harleston of Cooksale, alienated this his moiety, with its appurtenances, and the moiety of the advowson of the church, to Robert Leigh of London, merchant; (fn. 10) and his descendant, Mr. Robert Leigh, about the middle of king James's reign, alienated it to Sir Henry Snelgrave, from whom it descended to his grandson, Mr. Henry Snelgrave, who, in the latter end of Charles I.'s reign, passed it away to Mr. Walter St. John. The Snelgraves bore for their arms, Or, three oak trees pulled up by the roots vert.

Elizabeth, the second daughter of Sir Henry Bruin possessed the other moiety; and it seems as if her se- cond husband, Sir William Brandon, by promoting the interests of the earl of Richmond, had forfeited his interest in this manor, for in the 2d year of king Richard III. there was an agreement made by the king, with Edmund Shaa, Thomas Tyrelle, Richard FitzHughes, and Humphry Tyrelle Squires, touching the manors of South Wokington, in Essex, and Bekengham, in Kent, which late belonged to William Brandon Squire, (fn. 11) which they had purchased of the king; however it appears by an inquisition, taken in the 7th year of king Henry VII. after the death of Elizabeth before mentioned, wife of Thomas Tyrril, esq. that she died possessed of this moiety of both manor and advowson, which were held in capite. Their descendant, Thomas Tyrril, afterwards held this estate, and in the reign of queen Elizabeth, John Dalston, in right of his wife Elizabeth, sister and heir of Thomas Tyrril, held this moiety of the manor of East Beckingham, and of the church, of the queen as above mentioned.

From him this moiety descended to Sir George Dalston of Cumberland, who about the middle of Charles I.'s reign, alienated it to Sir Patrick Curwin of Workinton, in the same county, who had been created a baronet, anno 1626, whose ancestors are said to be descended from Gospatrick earl of Northumberland, who took that name from Culwen, vulgarly called Curwen, a family of Galloway, the heir of which they had married. They bore for their arms, Argent a fretty gules a chief azure. He, at the latter end of the same reign, conveyed his interest in it to Sir Oliver St. John of Battersea, in Surry, from whom it came to Mr. Walter St. John, afterwards a baronet, on the death of his nephew, Sir John St. John, bart. son of Oliver before mentioned, who having before purchased the other moiety of this manor and advowson of Mr. Henry Snelgrave, as has been already related, now possessed the entire see of them both.

This family of St. John is paternally descended from the Ports, lords of Basing, in Hampshire, in the time of the Conqueror. At the time of the general survey made in that reign, Hugh de Port held fiftyfive lordships of the king in that county, whereof Basing became the head of his barony, besides other manors in Dorsetshire and Cambridgeshire. One of his descendants William, son of Adam de Port, in the reign of king John, assumed the name of St. John from his mother Mabell, daughter of Reginald de Aurevalle, by Murielle, daughter and heir of Roger de St. John, (fn. 12) who was lineally derived from William de St. John (so named from the territory of St. John, near Rouen, in the province of Normandy) who entered England with the Conqueror, anno 1066, and is said to have been supervisor of the waggons and carriages in that expedition; for which reason the horse-hemes (or collar) was borne for his cognizance, and his name occurs in the roll of Battle-abbey, among those who were with the Conqueror, when he obtained the memorable victory near Hastings. (fn. 13)

Of this family was that ancient branch of the St. Johns, seated at Stanton St. John, in Oxfordshire, which it is probable came first to possess the lordship of Bletsho about the time of Henry VI.'s reign, Sir Oliver St. John then marrying Margaret, sister and sole heir of John de Beauchamp, knt. of Bletsho, a junior line of the Beauchamps of Powick, by whom likewife Lydiard Tregoze, the antient inheritance of the Beauchamps, came into this family. From the eldest of their sons, Sir John St. John of Bletsho, descended the St. Johns, earls of Bolingbroke, now extinct, and the present lord St. John of Bletsho. And from Oliver their second son, of Lydiard Tre- goze, descended the present lord viscount Bolingbroke and St. John. He was, anno 2 king Charles I. created lord St. John, baron Tregoze of Highworth, in Wiltshire; and next year obtained of the king the manners of Battersea and Wandsworth, in Surry. He died without issue, in the 6th of king Charles I. by which the dignity of baron Tregoze became extinct, and John, his nephew, the son of his eldest brother, Sir John St. John, became heir to this estate, as well as to that of Lydiard Tregoze, and was first knighted, and then created a baronet, on May 22, 1611, being the 17th in precedency by creation. He was a zealous royalist, having three of his sons killed in the civil wars, fighting for the king. By his firft wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Leighton of Feckenham, in Worcestershire. He had several children, of whom Oliver, the eldest son, purchased the moiety of Beckenham of Sir Patrick Curwen, and died in the life time of his father, having married Catharine, daughter and coheir of Horatio, lord Vere of Tilbury, by whom he had Sir John St. John, bart. who died before he came of age, unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle, Sir Walter St. John, in the title of Baronet, and in his estates at Lydiard Tregoze, Battersea, and Wandsworth, and in the moiety of this manor of Beckenham and advowson of the church, of which, having before purchased the other moiety, possessed now the entire fee of them. He died at his seat at Battersea, in 1708, and was interred there, (fn. 14) leaving an only son Henry, who was on July 2, in the 2d year of king George I. created baron St. John of Battersea, and viscount St. John, and died about the 90th year of his age, in 1742, and was succeeded in the possession of this manor and advowson by Henry St. John, visc. Bolingbroke, his only son by his first wife Mary, second daughter and coheir of Robert Rich earl of Warwick. By his second wife, Angelica Magdalene, daughter of George Pillesary, a French officer under Louis XIV. he had three sons and one daughter; (fn. 15) of which sons John, the second, will be mentioned hereafter, as continuator of the male line; the other two died unmarried.

Henry St. John, the only son of the lord viscount St. John, by his first wife, being one of the ministers of state to queen Anne, and of her privy council, was, in the 11th year of that reign, created Baron St. John of Lydiard Tregoze, in Wiltshire, and Viscount Bolingbroke, in Lincolnshire, with remainder, for want of issue male, to Sir Henry St. John, his father, and the heirs male of his body. In 1715, the 2d year of king George I. his honours were forfeited by attainder, but he was restored in blood in 1723, and two years afterwards an act passed, enabling him and his issue to inherit the family estate, notwithstanding his attainder. He died in 1751, in the seventyninth year of his age, having been twice married; first to Frances, daughter and coheir of Sir Francis Windebank, bart. of Berkshire; and secondly to Mary Clara des Champs de Maresilly, marchioness de Vilette, relict of the marquis Vilette, and niece to the celebrated madam de Maintenon, wife to Louis XIV. but having no issue by either, his titles and estates descended to his nephew, Frederick, the third lord viscount St. John, viz. son of John, second and only surviving son of Henry, viscount St. John, by his second wife Angelica, before mentioned.

John viscount St. John, married in 1729, Anne, one of the three daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Furnese, bart, of Waldershare, in this county, and had by her Frederick before mentioned, and Henry, now a lieutenant-general in the army, and two daughters.

Frederick, the eldest son, on his father's death, which happened in France, in 1749, succeeded to his titles and estates, and upon the death of his uncle, above mentioned, inherited his dignities of viscount Bolingbroke, and baron of St. John of Lydiard Tregoze; in 1757, he married the lady Diana Spencer, eldest sister of George, the present duke of Marlborough, (which marriage was dissolved by act of parliament, anno 8 George III.) by whom he had two sons, George and Frederick.

Frederick viscount Bolingbroke, in 1773, passed away the manor of Beckenham, and its appurtenances (in which conveyance the advowson of the church was excepted) an act having passed for this purpose, by sale to John Cator, esq. of this parish, who is the present owner of it.

FOXGROVE is a manor in this parish, which had antiently owners of that surname, as appears by the Book of Aid, in the 20th year of king Edward III. in which the heirs of John de Rokeley and John de Foxgrove accounted for it as half a knight's fee. To which family succeeded Bartholomew de Burghersh, a man of great eminency in those times, who possessed this manor at his decease, in the 29th year of king Edward III. leaving Bartholomew his son and heir; Henry, a younger son, and one daughter, named Joan. (fn. 16) Bartholomew de Burghersh, the son, in the 43d year of the same reign, passed it away, with much other land in this county, to Sir Walter de Paveley, in whose family it remained until the latter end of the reign of king Richard II. and then it was conveyed to Vaux of the county of Northampton, (fn. 17) written in old deeds, De Vallibus, an antient family, who bore for their arms, Chequy, argent and azure. The several branches of it all bore the chequy in their arms, though different. Thus, the lord Vaux of Gillesland, bore, A bend chequy, or and gules; and lord Vaux of Harowdon, bore, Argent and gules chequy, on a chevron azure three roses or. In the name of Vaux this manor remained till the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign, when it was alienated to John Greene, esq. in whose family it continued till the beginning of king Henry VIII.'s reign, when it was demised by sale to Beversea; and Humphry Beversea held it in the 18th year of it. His descendant passed it away to Luke Hollingworth, who, about the beginning of king Edward VI.'s reign sold his interest in it to Sir John Olyffe, alderman of London, (fn. 18) on whose death, in 1577, Joane, his only daughter and heir, married to John Leigh, esq. of Addington, in Surry, entitled her husband to it; his direct descendant, Sir Francis Leigh of Hawley, in this county, on his death in 1711, (fn. 19) ordered this manor by his will to be sold, which was accordingly decreed by the court of chancery, in 1716, and it was then purchased by Mr. John Tolson, from whom it descended to Lancelot Tolson, and from him to Launcelot Tolson Tilly, and he by his will left his estate in this parish in three parts; Foxgrove, as will be mentioned below, to Timewell; Stone-farm to Mrs. Tilly; and his woodlands to Mr. Benjamin Browne, which, as well as Stone-farm, have been since purchased by John Cator, esq. lord of the manor of Beckenham, and he at present possesses them; but he devised this manor of Foxgrove to Timewell for his life, and afterwards to John and Edward Brydges of Wotton, esquires, in this county, who, about the year 1765, conveyed it by sale to Jones Raymond, esq. of Langley, in this parish, on whose death, in 1756, it came by devise to Amy his sister, widow of Peter Burrell, esq. late of Beckenham, and William and George Evelyn, esquires, sons of William Glanville, esq. by Bridget, another sister of James Raymond above mentioned; soon after which the two latter alienated their interests in this manor to Mrs. Amy Burrell, widow of Peter Burrell, esq. as above mentioned, who, at her death, left it to her son, Sir William Burrell, bart. and he sold it to his nephew, Sir Peter Burrell, knt. and bart. since created lord Gwydir, who, in 1792, exchanged it for other lands, in this parish, with John Cator, esq. of Beckenham-place, the present possessor of it.

KELSEYS is a seat of note in this parish, which as early as the reign of king Henry III. had owners of that name, as appears by deeds written in a character seemingly of that time, wherein John de Kelsey, William de Kelsey, and others of that surname, are described as having an interest in this seat. After this family had deserted the possession of this place, which was in the reign of king Richard II. the Brograves (sometimes written Boroughgrave) were by purchase become owners, and resided at it.

An ancestor of this family was Sir Roger Brograve, who lived in the reign of Edward I. and was of Warwickshire, who bore for his arms, Argent three lions passant guardant gules; from whom descended William Borgrave of Beckenham, to whom, in 1479, licence was granted by the bishop of Rochester (as appears by the records of that church) to erect an oratory, or chapel, at his manor house of Kelseys, the ruins of which are not now even to be traced out. (fn. 20)

At length, a descendant of this name and family, John Brograve, some small time before the year 1688, conveyed this estate by sale to Peter Burrell, esq. who was the ninth son of Walter Burrell, esq. of Holmstead-house, in Cuckfield, in Sussex, whose ancestors are said to have been originally seated in Northumberland as early as the reign of king Edward I. but Randulphus Burrell, son and heir of Randulphus, having married Sermonda, daughter and coheir of Sir Walter Woodland of Devonshire, anno 19 king Edward II. became in her right possessed of a great estate in that county. His direct descendant, John Burrell, was a man of eminence in the reign of king Henry V. and left several sons, of whom Walter, the eldest, succeeded him in his estates; and Gerardus, the youngest, settled at Cuckfield, in Sussex, anno 1446, being vicar of that church, and archdeacon and residentiary of Chichester. He died in 1508, leaving his estate to his nephew, Ralph, who settled at Cuckfield. Thomas, his son, by Dorothy Weston, his wife, had Ninian Burrell, esq. of Cuckfield, who married Jane, daughter of Henry Smith of Surry, afterwards remarried to Peter Courthope, esq. of Danny, in Sussex, and died in 1614, leaving several sons and daughters.

Of the sons, Walter, the eldest, married Frances, daughter of John Hooper of Stockbury, esq. in this county, by whom he had nine sons and three daughters. (fn. 21) Of the former, Peter Burrell, esq. the ninth son, purchased the manor of Kelseys, some few years before the Revolution, as mentioned above. He afterwards settled here, and married Isabella, the second daughter of John Merrick, esq. of Essex, by whom he had six sons and four daughters. He died in 1718, and was buried in this church, leaving only two of his sons, Peter and Merrick, and three daughters, surviving; of whom, Frances married Richard Wyatt, esq. of Egham, in Surry; Isabella married Thomas Dalyson, esq. of Hampton, in this county; and Anne married Richard, brother to Sir Hugh Ackland, bart. of Devonshire.

Merrick Burrell, the youngest son, was of West Grinsted-park, in Sussex, and was created a baronet in the 6th year of George III. to him and his heirs male, and in default of such, to his nephew, Peter Burrell, esq. of Beckenham, since deceased, and his heirs male. On Sir Merrick Burrell's death, s. p. the title of baronet descended to his great nephew, Sir Peter Burrell, the present baronet, since created Lord Gwydir, as will be farther mentioned below.

Peter Burrell, esq. the eldest son, succeeded his father in this estate, and resided at Beckenham. He served the office of high-sheriff of this county in 1722, and died in 1756. He married Amy, eldest daughter of Jones Raymond of Langley, esq. in this parish, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. Of the former, Peter Burrell, esq, the eldest son, succeeded him in this estate, and was of Beckenham; Raymond, the second son, died young; and William; the third, was bred to the civil law, commenced Doctor of Laws, and was chancellor to the bishops of Worcester and Rochester. He married Sophia, daughter of Charles Raymond of Valentine-house, in Essex, who was created a baronet in 1774, with remainder, in default of issue male, to William Burrell above mentioned, and his heirs male by Sophia his wife, which title, on his death, descended to Sir William Burrell, bart. above mentioned, who died in 1796, leaving his widow surviving, and by her two sons and one daughter. Of the two daughters, Amelia married Tobias Frere, esq. and Isabella died young. Peter Burrell, esq. married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of John Lewis, esq. of Hackney, by whom he had one son, Peter, and four daughters, of whom Elizabeth-Emelia married Richard Henry Alexander Bennett, esq. of Cambridgeshire; Susanna married lord Algernon Percy, second son of the late duke of Northumberland, now lord Lovaine; Frances Juliana married Hugh earl Percy, now duke of Northumberland; and Elizabeth, the fourth daughter, married Douglas duke of Hamilton. He died possessed of Kelseys, in 1775, being succeeded in it by his only son and heir, Peter Burrell, esq. of Beckenham, who was afterwards knighted; and at length, on the death of Sir Merrick Burrell, bart. succeeded to that title by the limitation of the patent. He married in 1779, the lady Elizabeth Priscilla Bertie, eldest sister of Robert late duke of Ancaster. on whose death, s. p. she succeeded to the title of Baroness Willoughby of Eresby, and in her own right and person to the office of Lord Great Chamberlain of England, the office being executed by her husband Sir Peter Burrell, knt. and bart. who was, in May 1796, created Lord Gwydir of Gwydir, in Carnarvonshire. By her he has a son, Peter Robert, born in 1782, and other children, and is the present possessor of this estate. He bears for his arms, Vert three plain shields argent, each having a bordure ingrailed or.

LANGLEY-PARK is a seat of eminent account in this parish, which was formerly accounted a manor, and in the reign of the Conqueror was part of the vast estate of Odo, bishop of Baieux, and earl of Kent; and is thus, if I mistake not, described in the general survey of Domesday, taken in that reign:

Goisfridus de Ros holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Lasela. It was taxed at 7 shillings. The arable land is . . . . . . . In demesne there are 3 carucates, and 31 villeins, with 14 borderers having 16 carucates. There are 10 servants, and one fishery producing fourscore and 10 eels; wood for the pannage of 55 hogs. The whole manor was worth, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, 30 pounds, when he received it 16 pounds, and now 24 pounds, what Goisfridus held; what Richard of Tonbridge held in his lowy was rated at 6 pounds; what the king held of this manor, 22 shillings. Brixi Cilt held it of king Edward.

This place afterwards came into the possession of the family of Malmaines, who were settled at Waldershare in this county, in the time of the Conqueror. John de Malmaines obtained a charter of free warren for his lands in Begenham, in the 12th year of king Edward II. which was renewed to Henry Malmaines, of Cliffe, in the 3d year of king Edward III. (fn. 22)

It appears by the Book of Aid, in the 20th year of king Edward III. that Nicholas Malmains held half a knight's fee of the king in Begenham. He died, in the 23d year of that reign, possessed of much land in this county; (fn. 23) before the end of which, the property of this manor was transferred by sale to Langley, a name most probably taken from this place, though the family itself has been long since extinct. These Langleys of Beckingham were, most probably, adistinct family from those of Knowlton in this county, who were originally descended from a family of that name in the county of Warwick.

The last of this name here was Ralph Langley, who died in the 30th year of king Henry VI. and by his will directed Langley, with the rest of his demesnes in Beckenham, to be sold for discharging his debts; in pursuance of which it was passed away by sale to John Violett, who bore for his arms, Gules, three coronets, or, whose descendants enjoyed it until the beginning of the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was conveyed to John Stile, alderman of London. (fn. 24)

He was the son of William Style of Ipswich, was afterwards knighted, and of the Drapers company, and dying in 1500, was buried in Allhallows Barking church, London. He married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir Guy Wolston of London, by whom he had Sir Hum- phrey Style, of Langley, who was one of the esquires of the body to king Henry VIII. and sheriff of this county in the 35th year of the same reign. He died in 1557, and was buried in Beckenham church. He procured a grant from Sir Thomas Wriothesley, garter principal king at arms, reciting, that not being willing to bear arms in prejudice to the other branches of his family, he had petitioned for a coat, with a proper difference, which the said king at arms, in 1529, granted, under his hand and seal, viz. Sable, a fess engrailed between three fleurs de lis, within a bordure or, the fess fretted of the field.

He procured, with others, an act of parliament in the 2d and 3d years of king Edward VI. for the disgavelling of his lands in this county. (fn. 25)

By his first wife, Bridget, daughter of Sir Thomas Baldrey, he had three sons; Edmund, born at Langley, in 1538; Oliver, who was sheriff of London, and ancestor of the Styles, of Watringbury, barts. and Nicholas, who was knighted.

From Edmund Style of Langley, esq. before-mentioned, eldest son of Sir Humphrey, descended Sir Humphry Style of Langley, eldest son of William, who was gentleman of the privy-chamber to king James, and cupbearer to king Charles I. and was created a baronet, by privy-seal, on the 20th of May, 1627. (fn. 26) But though this branch was the elder to those of Watringbury, yet these last were the senior baronets, being created April 21, 1627, anno 3 Charles I. He died in 1650, and was buried in the vault at Beckenham church, and leaving no issue, his title became extinct, and he was succeeded in this estate at Langley by his half-brother, William, the eldest son of William Style by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Clarke, one of the barons of the exchequer.

This William Style of Langley, esq. was bred a barrister at law, and was of the society of the Inner Temple. He married Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of William Duleing, by whom he had two sons, and two daughters, and dying in 1679, was buried in this church.

Of the sons, the second, but only surviving son Humphry, succeeded his father at Langley, in whose time there were several coats of arms, as well of this family as of those they had intermarried with, painted in the windows of this house, but dying without issue male, his only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, carried it in marriage to Sir John Elwill, bart. (fn. 27) who died in 1727, without issue by her. This family of Elwill was of Exeter in Devonshire, who bore for their arms, Ermine on a chevron engrailed, between three eagles displayed gules, three annulets or, and were advanced to the dignity of a baronet, in the person of Sir John Elwill, in the 8th year of queen Anne's reign. He was twice married, but left issue only, by his second wife, the daughter and heir of — Leigh of Egham, in Surry, by whom he had two sons, Sir John above-mentioned, and Edmund, who succeeded his brother in title and in this estate of Langley, and in 1732 transferred his property in it, together with the house, called Langley-house, the park, and also the north and south isles of the parish church of Beckenham, to Hugh Raymond of Great Saling, in Essex, esq. who settled them on his only son, Jones Raymond, esq. in tail general; remainder to his eldest daughter, Amy, who married Peter Burrell, esq. and her issue male. On his death his son, Jones Raymond, esq succeeded to this estate, and kept his shrievalty for this county at Langley in 1738, in which year he died, and was succeeded by his son, of the same name, who died unmarried in 1768, on which it descended, by the intail before-mentioned, to his sister, Amy, before mentioned, whose husband, Peter Burrell, esq. in her right, became possessed of it. He died in 1756, having had by her, who survived him, four sons and two daughters. Mrs. Burrell, his widow, afterwards resided here, and died in 1794, on which this seat descended, together with her other estates in this parish, to her grandson, sir Peter Burrell, bart. since created lord Gwydir, of whom a full account has already been given, and he is the present possessor of this seat, with the park and grounds belonging to it.

KENT-HOUSE is situated on the very edge of this county, towards Surry, and seems to be so called either from its having been once the outer bounds of this county, or from having been formerly the first house on the entrance into this parish within this county, from that of Surry. It was for some generations in the possession of the family of Lethieullier; the first of whom was Sir John Le Thieullier a Hamburgh merchant, who had raised himself by his industry in trade, and settled in this parish. He devised it at his death to his son, William Lethieullier, of this parish, esq. who by his will gave it, with his mansion and other estates in Beckenham, to his second son, Manning Lethieullier, esq. whose son, John Greene Lethieullier, esq. alienated it, in 1776, to Thomas Lucas, of Lee, in this county, esq. who died possessed of it in 1784, leaving his widow surviving, who re-marrying John Julius Angerstein, of Charlton, esq. he is, in her right, at this time possessed of it.


At the south-east corner of the church-yard of Beckenham, three small alms-houses were erected by ANTHONY RAWLINS, esq. in 1694, for the use of the poor of this parish.

EDWARD STYLE and NICHOLAS STYLE, esqrs. and SIR HUMPHREY STYLE, bart. in 1694 gave 60l. for two sermons to be preached yearly, 13s. 4d. each; the residue for bread to be distributed weekly to the poor; which money was afterwards laid out in land, vested in trustees, and of the annual produce of 5l. 15s.

— STYLE, of Langley, gave to this parish land in it of the annual produce of 2l.

A person unknown gave land to this parish of the annual produce of 3l.

Another person unknown gave land to it of the annual produce of 10s.

Captain LEONARD BOWER gave, for teaching poor children to read, a bond, which was sold in 1732, for which it received the annual produce of 4l.

This parish is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford.

The church, which stands on a rising ground, a little to the eastward of the village of Beckenham, is dedicated to St. George, and may be conjectured to have been built about the reign of king Edward III. from its being dedicated to that saint; few of our churches being dedicated to him before that reign. In this church there are many coats of arms carved, and painted hatchments and penons, belonging to the family of Style, of Langley. It antiently consisted but of one isle, till it was increased by the addition of a large chapel or isle on each side, both which were built by Oliver Style, of Wateringbury, esq. Under the south isle he built a vault for the sole use of Langley-house, and the family there, though he himself was buried at Wateringbury. It is a neat building, having a handsome spire steeple at the west end of it, covered with shingles, in which is a ring of five tuneable bells. But on Thursday morning, December 23, 1790, a great storm of thunder and lightning destroyed the spire of it, and the greatest part of the church by fire; it has been since repaired, and restored to its former state.

In this church, among others, are the following monuments and memorials:—In the chancel, a brass plate and inscription, for William Danyell, alias Malham, rector, obt. June 24, 1458. A memorial for Elizabeth, wife of John Christmas, one of whose daughters, Joan, wife of John Storer, minister here, obt. 1653, one for Richard Hale, and Sarah his wife, he died 1678. Another for Elizabeth, daughter of William Skinner, LL. D. chancellor of Hereford, and vicar of this church, obt. 1642, æt. 18. On brass plates several coats of arms, and the figure of a woman, for dame Margaret, the wife of Sir William Damsell, obt. 1563, and for Elee, alias Ellen Berney, her sister, both daughters of John Berney, of Redham, in Norfolk, esq. by his first wife Margaret, daughter of Reade, obt. 1609. On the north wall a monument for Benjamin Burdett, merchant, obt. 1710. On the north wall are several brass plates of arms, and the effigies of a man, two women, and eleven children, (viz. nine to the first, and two to the second), and an inscription for Sir Humphry Style, and dame Bridget, his first wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Bauldry, sometime mayor of London; he left surviving his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of George Peryn, esq. he died in 1557, and the said Bridget in 1548. In the nave, on the east wall, a monument for Peter Burrell, esq. obt. 1718, æt. 69. In the south chancel, on the west wall, a monument and inscription, shewing, that in a vault near it is buried William Style, of Langley, esq. counsellor at law, and of the Inner Temple, obt. 1679, æt. 80. A monument near the former, shewing that in the same vault, appropriated to that family, lies Sir Humphry Style, owner of Langley, in this parish, knight and bart. of England and Ireland, obt. 1659, æt. 64. Another for Thomas Style, LL. D. obt. 1677. On the south wall a monument for Oliver Style, of London, esq. sometime sheriff thereof, second son of Sir Humphry Style, of Langley, who lies buried at Wateringbury, at his proper costs and charges built this isle, and the vault therein, for the sole use of the Langley house and family. On the walls of this isle are several coats of arms of the Style family, their matches and quarterings, as there are on the west wall of the north isle; on the north wall of which is an inscription for Oliver Style, of London, esq. above-mentioned.

It seems always to have passed as an appendage to the manor of Beckenham, till Frederick, viscount Bolingbroke, in 1773, alienated the manor to John Cator, esq. reserving the patronage of this church to himself. He died in 1787, and his son, George viscount Bolingbroke, sold it to the reverend William Rose, who is the present owner of it.

In the fifteenth year of king Edward I. it was valued at twenty-five marcs. (fn. 28)

It is valued in the king's books at 16l. 18s. 9d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 13s. 10½d. (fn. 29)

By virtue of a commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of Chancery, it was returned, that Beckenham was a parsonage, with an house and forty acres of glebe land, worth thirty pounds per annum, and that the profit of the other tythes was worth one hundred and ten pounds per annum; master John Storer, enjoying the same, being put in by the parliament. (fn. 30)

In the reign of queen Anne several queries were sent by the archbishop of Canterbury, to every incumbent, concerning the state of their livings, and the revenues of them: when William Asheton, B. D. then rector of this parish, returned, among other matters, that this church was endowed with all sorts of tythes; but that there had been no augmentation, or benefaction whatsoever, made to it.

The present rector, Mr. Rose, has new built the parsonage-house on a large scale, and in a very handsome manner.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. RECTORS.
Lords of the Manor of Beckenham John Matham, in the reign of king Henry I.
William de Knapton, anno 22d Edward I. (fn. 31)
John Bush, anno 35 king Edward I. 1306. (fn. 32)
William Danyell, alias Malham, obt. June 24, 1458. (fn. 33)
Henry Sherelocke, clerk, buried May 3, 1541.
Peter Racwiche, buried Dec. 16, 1545.
Nicholas Rokewood, 1551.
Robert Coozine, alias Cuyshen, 1552.
John Smith, buried Sept. 15, 1557.
Hugh Tayler, buried Oct. 16, 1560.
Hugh Calverley, buried July 4, 1576. (fn. 34)
Peter Punter.
William Skinner, LL. D. 1628, obt. 1644. (fn. 35)
John Storer, in 1650. (fn. 36)
Roger Clisold, in 1659, obt. Aug. 15, 1676.
William Asheton, D. D. 1676, obt. Sept. 9, 1711. (fn. 37)
Holland, D. D. obt. Dec. 30, 1730.
Lords of the manor of Beckenham Thomas Clerk, 1731.
Frederick viscount Bolingbroke William Fraigneau, A. M. 1765. (fn. 38)
William Rose, A. M. 1778, the present Rector. (fn. 39)


  • 1. See Wilkins's Councils, vol. i. p. 56.
  • 2. Philipott, p. 63.
  • 3. Rot. Esch. ejus anni, No. 6.
  • 4. Philipott, p. 63.
  • 5. Cooke's Bar. MSS.
  • 6. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 7. Philipott, p. 63.
  • 8. Guillim, p. 71. Cambden, Britan. p. 1010. Guillim, pt. ii. 189.
  • 9. Inquis. ejus an. Among the Harl. MSS. No. 433.
  • 10. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 1.
  • 11. See the original among the Harleian MSS. No. 433–2169.
  • 12. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 463.
  • 13. Coll. Peer. vol. vi. p. 270.
  • 14. Stow's Survey. Append. p. 77.
  • 15. See Lord Bolingbroke's Life. Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 3559.
  • 16. Rot. Esch. ejus an. No. 44. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 35.
  • 17. Camb. Brit. p. 1039. Cooke's Bar. MSS.
  • 18. Philipott, p. 64.
  • 19. See more of this family of Leigh, under East Wickham.
  • 20. Chauncy's Hertf. Vistn. Co. Kent. 1619 Ped. Brograve.
  • 21. Kimb. Bar. vol. iii. p. 23.
  • 22. Philipott, p. 63.
  • 23. Rot, Esch. No. 160.
  • 24. Philipott, p. 64.
  • 25. The several charities of these Styles to the city of London may be seen in Strype's Stow's Surveys, book i. p. 268, 272; book ii. p. 40, 81, 168; book iii. p. 32; book v. p. 57.
  • 26. Rym. Fœd. vol. xviii. p. 986.
  • 27. See Kimber's Bar. vol. i. p. 80.
  • 28. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 29. Bacon's Lib. Regis.
  • 30. Parl. Surveys, Lamb. libr. vol. xix.
  • 31. Prynne, p. 394.
  • 32. In the 25th year of king Edward I. master John Bush, parson of the church of Beghkinghum, had a grant of free-warren in all his demesne lands for the term of his natural life. Rot. Cart. ejus an. No. 28.
  • 33. He lies buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 34. He was archdeacon of Rochester. See Wood's Ath. Oxon. Fasti, vol. i. p. 82.
  • 35. Chancellor of Hereford. Reg. Roff. p. 815. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. i. Fasti, p. 205, 232.
  • 36. He was put in by the Parliament.
  • 37. His life was written by Mr. Watts, vicar of Orpington. He was prebendary of Knaresborough cum Bickhill in York cathedral. See Willis on Cath. vol. i. p. 147. He died in the 70th year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of this church.— See Biog. Brit. vol. i. p. 238.
  • 38. In 1765 a dispensation passed for his holding this rectory with the vicarage of Battersea in Surry. He was formerly Greek professor in the university of Cambridge.
  • 39. In October 1778, a dispensation passed for his holding the vicarage of Carshalton, with this rectory.