Parishes: Bromley

Pages 550-570

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 other parish in this hundred, lying the next eastward from Beckenham. It was antiently written in Saxon Bromleag, and Bromleah, in Latin Bromlega; which signifies a 'field or pasture, where broom grows.

The parish is of a large circumference, being near four miles in length. The lands in it are in general very thin and poor, the soil being much inclined to gravel. The river Ravensbourne directs its course northward along the western part of it; about a quarter of a mile eastward of it stands the town of Bromley, having the church on the west side of it. It is built on each side of the high road leading from London, through it to Farnborough, and thence to Sevenoke, passing over Mason's, alias Gravel-hill, near the entrance to Bromley-common, the extremity of which and Southborough are the southern boundaries of this parish. Between the river and the south end of the town is Simpson's-place, and about a quarter of a mile on the opposite side of it, the bishop's palace. Towards the north east the parish stretches a long way among the woods, which extend along this whole side of it; close to them stands the seat of Sundridge, now called Washers in the Woods, from its situation among them. There are several hamlets in this parish, among which those of Plaistow and Widmore are the two principal ones, in which are several genteel houses; in the latter is an elegant mansion called Bickley, which was erected about fourteen years ago, by John Wells, of Deptford, esq. who left it at his death to his brother William Wells, esq. who now resides here, and another since built by John Harrison, esq. called Shawfield, in which he now resides.

Bromley is a populous well-built town; the buildings of which are continually increasing. Its situation is pleasant and healthy, and among its inhabitants there are many opulent gentlemen's families, which, together with the college, situated at the north end of it, the bishop of Rochester's residence near it, and its well frequented market, support it in a most flourishing condition.

The market, as will be further mentioned below, was granted to the bishop of Rodhester in the 25th and 26th years of king Henry VI. to be held weekly within his manor of Bromley. It is now much resorted to for the sale of corn, live cattle, and every kind of provisions. At the same time were granted two fairs, one on the feast of St. James the apostle, in the village of Bromley, now kept on the 5th of August, and the other on the day of St. Blaze, the 3d, now the 14th of February.

There is a well in the bishop's grounds, near his garden, called St. Blaze's well, which, having great resort to it antiently, on account of its medicinal virtues, had an oratory annexed to it, dedicated to that saint. It was particularly frequented at Whitsuntide, on account of a remission of forty days injoined penance, to such as should visit this chapel, and offer up their orisons in it, on the three holy days of Pentecost.

This oratory falling to ruin at the refomation, the well too came to be disused, and the scite of both in process of time, became totally forgotten, and continued so till the well was again, discovered in the year 1754, by means of a yellow ochrey sediment remaining in the tract of a small current, leading from this spring to the corner of the moat, with the waters of which it used to mix. In digging round the well, there were found the remains of the old steps leading down to it, made of oak-plank, which appeared to have lain under ground a great many years.

The water of this spring is chalybeat, and rises at the foot of a declivity, at a small distance eastward from the bishop's palace. The soil, through which it passes is gravel, and it issues immediately from a bed of pure white sand. The course of the spring seems to be about north-north-east and south-south-west, from its aperture; its opening is towards the latter, and as Shootershill bears about north-north-east from its aperture, it probably comes from thence. The water of this spring being thus found to be a good chalybeat, was, by the bishop's orders, immediately secured from the mixture of other waters, and inclosed, in hopes it might prove beneficial to such as should drink it. Since which numbers of people, especially of the middling and poorer fort, have been remarkably relieved by it, from various infirmities and diseases, which were not only afflicting, but some of them dangerous.

Between Bromley and Eltham there grows Bupleurum angustisolium monspetiense; the narrow-leaved hares ear. (fn. 1)

Ethelbert, king of Kent, gave to bishop Eardulph and the church of Rochester, land in Bromley, containing six sulings. (fn. 2)

King Edgar, in the ninth year of his reign, anno 967, (fn. 3) granted to St. Andrew, and the church of Rochester, certain land at the place, commonly known by the name of Æt Bromleage, containing ten hides, called by the Kentishmen, sulings, with all liberties and emoluments whatsoever; excepting the repelling invasions, and the repairing of bridges and fortifications, which privileges were granted on account of the great price, which bishop Alfstan had paid for this land; being no less than eighty marcs of the purest gold, and six pounds of fine silver, and thirty marcs of gold besides to the king's præsect.

At the end of this grant is a list of the several woods or denberries in Andredreswald, or the Weald, the commodity of which belonged to this land of Bromley. Part of this land might probably be the same which was given before by king Ethelbert; for in the donations of the Saxon kings, the same manors and estates are frequently recorded as having been given by different kings, which happened by their dissentions and contentions with each other, with various success, and one while taking away the possessions of the church, and another while regranting them again. Besides, it is to be observed, that when different kings have given small parcels of land in the same parish or manor, as appears by many instances in the Saxon codicils, they have been said to have given the whole of such parish or manor, instead of such small part of it. (fn. 4)

King Ethelred, son of Edgar, on some dispute with the bishop of Rochester, laid waste the lands belonging to his see, and in 987 gave to his minister, Æthelsine, (by whose advice he had taken several estates from it) ten plow lands at Bromley.

But afterwards, he, with much contrition, in 998, in the presence of the convent of Rochester, and his principal nobility, declared what he had done was by the advice of this Æthelsine; and then restored to the church six plow lands here, together with the privilege of the woods in the Weald, &c. (fn. 5)

At that time the Weald acknowledged no private lord or proprietor, but belonged wholly to the king, so that on the royal donation of a parcel of land out of the Weald to any person, in the nature of what is since called a manor or lordship, it was the usual custom, in order to render it the more complete, to accommodate it with an additional grant in the deed, of a common of pannage, or liberty of seeding and keeping hogs in the Weald, hot at large, but with a restriction to a particular part of it. And there is scarce any such antient grant to the churches of Canterbury and Rochester, or St. Austin's monastery, in their registers, of any considerable portion of land out of the Weald, without this additional liberty. (fn. 6)

One Birtrick, a Saxon nobleman, and Elsswithe, his wife, of Meopham, in this county, bequeathed by their testament, made in the time of Alfstan, bishop of Rochester, who died in 984, their land at Bromley, after Britware's life, to St. Andrew's priory in Rochester, as Elsric their lord had bequeathed it for him and his ancestors. (fn. 7)

After the conquest, Odo, the great bishop of Baioux, the king's half brother, seized on the possessions of the church of Rochester at Bromley, among many other estates belonging to it; but archbishop Lanfronc did not suffer him to keep them long, for he recovered them, in the solemn assembly of the whole county, held on this occasion, by the king's command, at Pinenden-heath, in 1076, and afterwards restored them to bishop Gundulph, and the church of St. Andrew; (fn. 8) which donation was confirmed by archbishop Anselm, and several of his successors. (fn. 9) In the reign of king Edward the Confessor Bromley continued to be estimated at six sulings. Whether the whole of them came into the hands of the bishop of Baieux, I do not find; but it is certain only three of them returned after the above abjudication to the church of Rochester.

Accordingly this estate is thus entered, under the general title of the bishop of Rochester's lands, in the survey of Domesday, taken in the year 1080.

In Bronlei hundred the same bishop (of Rochester) holds Bronlei. It was taxed at six sulings in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now at three. The arable land is 13 carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and 30 villeins, with 26 borderers, having 11 carucates. There is one mill of four shillings, and two acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of 100 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 12 pounds and 10 shillings, now 18 pounds, and yet it yields 21 pounds, all but two shillings.

Bishop Gundulph, most probably soon after this, erected a mansion or palace here, for himself and his successors, which seems to have been but a mean and inconvenient habitation; at least it was in the time of bishop Gualeranus, who died in 1184, become so ruinous, that his successor, bishop Gilbert de Glanvill, found it necessary to rebuild it in a more commodious manner.

On a taxation of the bishop of Rochester's manors, anno 40 king Henry III. it was returned that Bromley was worth, as it was then let to farm, in annual rent, twenty-three pounds, that the buildings could not be sustained, but from the rent, because the arable lands did not repay the necessary expences laid out annually about them; and that the buildings required the expence of sixty shillings yearly. There is an account in a manuscript in the Cotton-library, of the stock and household furniture which ought to remain on the several manors of this bishopric, after the decease of each bishop, and among others of this of Bromleghe, but that the latter on this, as well as those on the other manors belonging to the bishop, being in the custody of the archbishop, during the vacancy of the see, were usually destroyed or lost; but now, continues the manuscript, by the long vacancies of this see, and the reservations of that of Rome, they will be all made away with, and not only this, but the buildings themselves too will probably run to ruin, the temporals will be diminished, and the woods will be destroyed.

In the 21st year of king Edward I. Thomas de Woldham, bishop of Rochester, claimed certain liberberties, viz. the return of the king's writs, assize of bread and ale, view of frank-pledge, and pleas of withernam, in his manor of Bromley, as well of his own tenants, as those of the parson of that parish; and he complained, that Abel de St. Martin, parson of Bromley, caused, in like manner, amerciaments to be levied of the tenants of his church, when it happened they were amerced at the bishop's view of Bromley for breaking the assize. Notwithstanding which, the bishop causing the same to be levied by his bailiffs too, the tenants were twice punished for the same default; whereupon the jury sound upon oath, that the bishop had a right to those liberties, and that he sound his church possessed of them upon his coming to it. Upon which the parson submitted, and was fined half a marc, (fn. 10) &c.

The same year the bishop of Rochester was summoned to answer the king in a plea of Quo warranto, why he claimed to hold pleas of withernam, and to have return of the king's writs, assize of bread and ale, and view of frank-pledge, in his manor of Bromley; and the bishop appeared and claimed the above liberties in this manor; and as to the return of writs, &c. he said, that the manor was within the precinct of the liberty of the archbishop, and that the bailiffs of the bishop received such return by the hands of the archbishop's bailiffs; therefore he prayed judgment, &c. And as to the other liberties, the bishop said, that he and his predecessors, beyond the time of memory, had them in this manor, and used them without interruption: on which the jurors found for the bishop, &c. And the record of these pleas was, at the request of John de Shepey, bishop of Rochester, exemplified by inspeximus, under the great seal, in the 30th year of king Edward III.

Anno 14 king Edward II. bishop Hamo de Heth was necessitated to sell the wood of Elmsted in Bromleigh, which he did for two hundred marcs, to pay the debts which his church had incurred, in soliciting the affairs of it at the court of Rome. In the 25th and 26th years of king Henry VI. the bishop of Rochester had a most ample confirmation of all former charters and liberties, and a grant of a market in his manor of Bromley, on a Thursday weekly, and one fair in the village here, on the feast of St. James the apostle, and another within this manor, on the day of St. Blaze. (fn. 11)

In the great rebellion the parliament passed an ordinance, in 1646, for the abolishing archbishops, and bishops, &c. and for settling their lands and possessions in trustees, to be disposed of according to the appointment of both houses; and another for the sale of them, to satisfy the debts due from the state upon the public faith. In consequence of which the manor of Bromley, with its appurtenances, as part of the possessions of the bishoprick of Rochester, was sold in 1648, to Augustinc Skinner, for 5665l. 11s. 11d. (fn. 12) in which situation it remained till the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660, when it returned again, with the palace, to its right and lawful owner, in the person of Dr. John Warner, bishop of Rochester; in whose successors they have both continued ever since; being now in the possession of the right reverend the lord bishop of this diocese.

The palace, which is most pleasantly situated, is at present the only one belonging to the see of Rochester, which, as the bishops have constantly resided at it since the reformation, had many additions made to it from time to time. But among its late benefactors we may reckon bishop Sprat, who pulled down and rebuilt the chapel, and much improved the grounds about it, and bishop Atterbury, who made some expensive additions to it.

But the greatest benefactor to it was bishop Wilcox, whose reparations of the buildings, and improvements of the gardens and grounds about the house, were executed with no small cost and elegance. After which it remained with little alteration till the late bishop Thomas, on his promotion to this see in 1774, finding the house much dilapidated, pulled the whole of it down, and erected a small neat brick edifice on the scite of the old palace, which was completed in 1776, and was afterwards made use of by him, as it is now by his successor, for his episcopal summer residence.

In the 4th year of king George III. an act passed for extinguishing the right of common upon certain commonable lands and grounds within the manor and parish of Bromley.

Roger Forde, abbot of Glastonbury, a man of great learning and eloquence, was killed at this palace, in the time of bishop Laurence de St. Martin, on a journey, which he undertook to defend the rights of his church, anno 1261.

SUNDRIDGE is a manor and seat, situated towards the north-east corner of this parish, among the woods, and was formerly the residence of a noted family of the name of Blund, or Blound, who were antiently lords of Guines in France. One of them had three sons, who came into England with William the Conqueror; of these, one returned into France again, and the other two, Sir Robert and Sir William, remained in England, the former settling in Suffolk, and the latter in Lincolnshire. From these the several families of Blount in this kingdom are descended. Of a younger branch of them was Peter le Blund, who was owner of this place in the reign of king Henry III. in the 39th year of which he was made constable of the tower of London. (fn. 13) His descendant, Edward de Blund, was possessed of Sundridge, in the 20th year of king Edward III. as appears by the book of aid made that year; in which Edward de Blund was assessed for one quarter of a knight's fee, which John de Blund before held in Bromleigh of the bishop of Rochester. Soon after which this family ended in a female heir, who carried this seat in marriage to Willoughby; from which name, after some years, it passed, by purchase, to Booth, whose descendant, William Booth, was sound by inquisition, taken in the 1st year of king Henry VII. to die possessed of the manor of Sundrigg, held of the bishop of Rochester, as of his palace of Rochester, by knights service, and by the service of making suit at the court of the palace, and that Robert Booth was his son and heir; (fn. 14) who was, with one hundred other gentlemen of this county, made knights of the Bath, in the 17th year of that reign. In whose descendants Sundridge continued till Sith Booth, esq. dying without male issue, one of his daughters and coheirs carried it in marriage to Thomas Bettenham, of Shurland, in Pluckley, esq. whose great-grandson, Stephen Bettenham, of Bromley, gent. (fn. 15) gave it in marriage with his daughter Anne, to Robert Pynsent, third son of John Pynsent, of Chudleigh, in Devonshire, and prothonotary of the court of common-pleas, who bore for his arms, Gules, a chevron ingrailed between three mullets argent. He died here in 1679, without issue, and was buried in the chancel of this church. He was succeeded in the possession of this seat and estate by Tho mas Washer, of Lincoln's-Inn, esq. formerly of Lyneham, in Devonshire, whose arms were, Barruly argent and gules, over all a lion rampant sable, crowned or; (fn. 16) on whose death in 1720, it came to his son, John Washer, of Lincoln's-Inn, esq. who dying in 1749, without male issue, his only daughter and heir carried it in marriage to William Wilson, esq. sheriff of this county in 1766. He died possessed of it in 1776, leaving three sons and two daughters, of whom the eldest son, William Wilson, esq. alienated it to Edward George Lind, esq. who is the present owner of this seat and manor, and now resides at it. From the family before mentioned, and its situation amongst the woods, this seat acquired the name of Washer's in the Woods; by which, I believe, it is generally known among the common people at present.

SIMPSONS is an estate in this parish, which was formerly of much greater account than it is at present. It was antiently owned by the Bankwells, a family of good repute, (fn. 17) who resided at Lee in this neighbourhood, as has been already taken notice of. In the 31st year of king Edward I. John de Banquel was possessed of this estate, and had that year a grant for free-warren in all his lands in Bromley, Lee, &c. to him, Cicele his wife, and their heirs. William de Banquel died possessed of it in the 20th year of king Edward III. and left Thomas Banquel his heir, who paid aid for it that year, as the fixth part of a knight's fee in Bromley, which John de Bankwell before held there of the bishop of Rochester. He died, in the 35th year of that reign, possessed of much land here, and in this neighbourhood, and left three sons, John, William, and Robert Bankwell, who became his heirs in gavelkind, and on the division of their inheritance, William, the second son, became entitled to his father's estate in Bromley.

After this family was extinct here it came next into the possession of the Clarks; one of whom, William Clark, in the reign of king Henry V. having obtained the king's licence, erected a strong, but small building here, of stone, with an embattled wall, and encircled it with a deep moat. His posterity did not continue long in the possession of it; for about the latter end of the next reign of king Henry VI. John Simpson resided here, by right of purchase, and having much improved the mansion, it adopted his name, by which it has been called ever since. (fn. 18)

In the 11th year of king Edward IV. Robert Simpson died possessed of this seat; (fn. 19) his descendant, Nicholas Sympson, the king's barber, alienated Sympsons to Alexander Basset, who, in the reign of king VIII. conveyed it by sale to Sir Humphrey Style, of Langley, son of John Style, alderman of London; this estate being then held in socage. (fn. 20)

His descendant, Humphry Style of Langley, esq. dying without male issue, his only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, carried this estate in marriage to Sir John Elwill, bart. who dying in 1727, without issue, Edmund, his brother, succeeded him, and about 1732, conveyed Sympsons to Hugh Raymond of Great Saling, in Essex, esq. who settled it on his only son, Jones Raymond, esq. in tail general, with remainder to his eldest daughter Amy, married to Peter Burrell, esq. and her issue male. On the death of James Raymond, esq. son of Jones Raymond before-mentioned, in 1678, without issue, Peter Burrell, of Beckenham, esq. in right of his wife became intitled to it; after the death of whose widow it descended to her grandson, Sir Peter Burrel, knt. and bart. since created lord Gwydir, and he is the present owner of it.

Bromley college, a charity as unexampled at the time of its institution, as it has been without compare since, was founded by Dr. John Warner, bishop of Rochester, who died in 1666, and by his will, proved that year, (fn. 21) directed the foundation of an HOSPITAL or COLLEGE, for twenty widows of loyal and orthodox clergymen, and a chaplain. To accomplish this noble and generous design, he directed his executors to raise, out of his personal estate, a building proper for this purpose, and he charged his manor of Swayton with an annual payment of four hundred and fifty pounds for their maintenance. Of which sum each widow was to receive twenty pounds yearly, and the remaining fifty pounds was for a stipend to the chaplain, who was always to be appointed from Magdalen-college, in Oxford, where the bishop himself had been educated.

The bishop had also expressed a desire, that this hospital should be fixed as near as conveniently might be to the cathedral of Rochester; but there being a necessity for applying to the legislature, for an explanation of some parts of the will, which were rather obscure, and of others not quite practicable, the executors obtained leave, by an act passed anno 22d Charles II. to build upon any other spot within the diocese, where they thought proper.

This college, or hospital, was accordingly built, adjoining the north end of the town of Bromley, and has ever since been known by the name of Bromley-college.

There was, however, a defect in the bishop's original plan; for by a clause in his will, so much was to be reserved out of the widows exhibitions, as would be necessary to keep the buildings in good repair, which would in general have been a larger drawback upon their small incomes, than could well have been sustained. The parliament, therefore, to prevent this, charged, with the consent of the heir at law, the beforementioned manor of Swayton with the additional sum of five pounds for repairs; though as this was thought too small for the maintenance of so large a building, the two executors immediately gave one hundred pounds each towards it. With which the trustees purchased a fee-farm rent of ten pounds, but still this revenue was found very insufficient for the purpose, and the trustees have at times been much embarrassed, how to preserve the college in a decent and substantial state, and somewhat more than fifty years ago, they were under the necessity of soliciting voluntary contributions towards it, from the clergy of the diocese, and of the peculiar jurisdiction of Shoreham.

The kindness of the benefactors has hitherto made a second application of this nature needless, and in the list of those well-disposed persons who have contributed to this charity, are the reverend doctor Plume, archdeacon of this diocese, who dying in 1704, left by his will one hundred pounds to it; archbishop Tenison, who by his will left one hundred guineas, half to the repairs of this hospital, and the other half to the widows in it. Joseph Wilcocks, esq. son of the bishop of Rochester of that name, who completed the inclosure of the college-grove, at the expence of one hundred and twenty pounds, and Mrs. Wolfe, mother of the late brave general, who dying in 1765, bequeathed by her will to the trustees five hundred pounds, to enable them to put it in a thorough state of repair. Since which this charitable establishment has been increased by still further benefactions. These have been from the two worthy and beneficent brothers, the late Jeffry Hetherington, esq. of North Cray, and the Rev. Mr. William Hetherington, of Farnham-Royal, his only remaining brother and heir. The former of whom allowed, for some years before his death, in 1767, the interest of 2000l. to be applied every winter, in providing the widows with coals and candles. This sum, in old South Sea annuities, the latter gentleman (among other almost unparalleled acts of munificence and charity) soon after his brother's death, settled upon it as a perpetuity, the interest of it from time to time, to be applied for the like purpose.

Bishop Pearce gave, in his life-time, five thousand pounds, old South Sea annuities, to the widows and chaplain of this college, from which the latter receives ten pounds per annum. Since which, Mrs. Rogers, who some time inhabited, at a yearly rent, the apartment in the north wing, called the Trustees House, directed by her will her furniture to be sold, for the benefit of the widows, in any manner the trustees should appoint, they received one hundred and twenty pounds upon this account, which they appropriated to the building fund. The reverend Mr. Bagshaw, late chaplain of the college, who died in 1787, left by his will two hundred pounds stock in the three per cents. to increase the salary of the chaplain. Mrs. Helen Betenson, only sister and heir of Sir Richard Betenson, bart. late of Bradborne, in Sevenoke, by will in 1788, gave, among other extensive charities, the sum of ten thousand pounds, with which ten new apartments have been erected for as many additional widows, who receive each twenty pounds per annum on this foundation, nor has it any provision at present for repairs. Dr. John Thomas, late bishop of Rochester, who died in 1793, left by his will one hundred pounds, to be divided among the widows of the old foundation, who might inhabit the college at the time of his decease, which was accordingly paid to them; he likewise left by his will three hundred pounds to be funded, the interest of it to be applied for repairs.

Since which, a very large legacy has been paid into the hands of the trustees, left conditionally, to the college, by Mr. Pearce, brother of bishop Pearce, to his great nephew and great niece, in case they should die without issue, which they both did about three years ago, on which event happening, he directed that twelve thousand pounds should be paid to the trustees of this college, for the purpose of building ten additional apartments, and that the chaplain should receive twenty pounds per annum out of the interest of that sum. These buildings are not as yet erected, and it seems to be the determination of the trustees not to begin them, till by an accumulation of interest, a sufficient sum shall have been laid by, for the purpose of repairs, and at the same time to make some addition to the chaplain's salary. The income of the widows on this foundation will not be less than thirty pounds per annum. Those on the old foundation receive at this time thirty pounds ten shillings per annum, which arises as follows:

£ s. d.
From bishop Warner 20 0 0
bishop Pearce 7 0 0
Mr. Hetherington 3 0 0
Lady Gower 0 10 0

Another benefaction (for so I must call it, though it took not the desired effect) ought not to pass unnoticed; which was that of Mrs. Street, of Dartford, who a few years ago bequeathed three hundred pounds to this college. But the good intentions of the testatrix have been unhappily defeated; she having inadvertently charged the legacy on a real estate.

This charitable institution of bishop Warner, was the first of the kind in England; however, the plan has been followed in other dioceses, by several esta- blishments of a similar nature, particularly, at Winchester and Salisbury, and by Sarah, duchess dowager of Somerset, in the alms-house, so nobly and munificently endowed by her at Froxfield, in Wiltshire. Bromley college was exempted from payment to the land-tax, by act anno 30 king George II. In the chapel is a fine whole length picture of the founder.


JOHN BUCKERIDGE, bishop of Ely, by his will, bequeathed the sum of 20l. to be employed for some yearly benefit of the poor of this parish; with which, and the addition of some little money besides, a purchase was made of a house in Nichol-lane, rented at 40s. a year; which sum, necessary repairs being first deducted, was to be distributed every Good Friday (or near that time) amongst the poorest and most necessitous inhabitants.

JASPER GREENE, vicar of Woodnesborough, by his will in 1660, gave 20s. yearly to the poor of this parish.

The Rev. GEORGE WILSON, late rector of Chesilhurst, at his death, left by his will, 200l. to be disposed of in a purchase, the annual income of which he directed to be appropriated to the sole use and benefit of the charity-school in this parish, for ever.

Dr. JOHN WARNER, bishop of Rochester, bequeathed by his will, 20l. in money, for the benefit of the poor of this parish.

Bromley is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, seems to have been erected at different times; the eastern part appearing much the most antient. At the west end is a tower, in which hang five tuneable bells.

Among other monuments and memorials in this church, in the chancel, is a monument and memorial on brass, for John Yonge, bishop of Rochester, obt. 1605; two for John Flavell and his wife; several for the Youngs, of London, merchants; a brass plate for Jane, wife of Henry Bodenham, of Folston, in Wiltshire, obt. 1625; another for Anthony Chalthorp, esq. obt. 1594; several for the Thornhills; a memo- rial for Robert Pynsent, of Sundridge, gent. obt. 1679. In the nave, a monument against the north wall, for Peregrina, wife of lieutenant Busy Mansel, obt. 1721. In the south isle, a monument against the east wall, for John Maunsell, of Chichely, in Buckinghamshire, esq. obt. 1625; another for Abigail, wife of Hamington Bagshaw, clerk, and three daughters, and a French inscription for Walter de Henche, parson of Bromleghe, obt. 1360. (fn. 22)

Dr. John Buckeridge, first, bishop of Rochester, and afterwards of Ely, who died in 1631, was buried here, but had no memorial whatever put over him; (fn. 23) Dr. Zachariah Pearce, late bishop of Rochester, who died at Ealing in 1774, was likewise buried here. In the wall of the church once, was, as is reported, the portraiture in stone of Richard de Wendover, bishop of Rochester, and rector of this parish, who died in 1250: yet it is said, his body was buried at Westminster by the king's special command, being accounted a very holy and virtuous man. (fn. 24)

This church has always been considered as an appendage to the manor, and as such was recovered with it from Odo, bishop of Baieux, by archbishop Lanfranc, in the assembly of the whole county at Pinenden-heath, in the reign of the Conqueror, and immediately restored to bishop Gundulph, and the church of Rochester. Which gift was confirmed to that bishop, and the church of St. Andrew, by archbishop Anselm, in 1101, and afterwards by several of his successors in the see of Canterbury, as has been already taken notice of.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Bromley was valued at thirty marcs. (fn. 25)

Anno 35 king Henry VI. Richard Fryston, clerk, parson of the church, brought his writ of Juris utrum in the court of common-pleas, against one Henry Ferrour, for the recovery of a messuage, with its appurtenances, in Bromleigh, which he claimed to belong to his church in free alms, and he recovered seisin of it, by view of the jurors impannelled thereupon. (fn. 26)

In 1534 this church was a rectory, and then valued at thirty-nine pounds twelve shillings, soon after which it became appropriated to the bishop of Rochester, in which state it remains at this time, the church being served by a curate appointed by the bishop. It is not in charge in the king's books. (fn. 27)

On the abolition of episcopacy, at the latter end of the reign of king Charles I. those revenues were seized on by the ruling powers, and soon after the king's death, were by the parliament ordered to be surveyed and sold, to supply the necessities of the state. Accordingly, in 1650, it was returned on a survey, that the rectory of Bromley had a manor belonging to it, and a good mansion-house, with a gate-house, a large barn of eleven bayes, two small barns, and other buildings, and fifty-one acres of glebe land; which altogether were worth fifty pounds per annum; and the quit rents of the manor eight shillings and nine-pence yearly; that the tythes were worth one hundred and thirty pounds per annum; and a small tenement two pounds and upwards. All which (the tenants of the manor here having common of pasture in the glebe land, and common mead, which last contained about ten acres, from Lammas-day to Michaelmas-day) were let by John, bishop of Rochester, from 1639, for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of sixty pounds per annum, and forty quarters of oats; and it was returned, that the same, tythes and all, were worth, to be let by the tenant, one hundred and eighty-three pounds per annum. (fn. 28)


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. RECTORS.
Bishop of Rochester Richard de Wendover, or Wendene, 1226 and 1238. (fn. 29)
John Sudbury, in the reign of king Henry III. (fn. 30)
Abel de Sancto Martino, in 1292. (fn. 31)
John de Frendeshurie, deprived in 1329. (fn. 32)
Hugh de Penebregg, collated in 1329. (fn. 32)
Walter de Henche, obt. in 1360. (fn. 33)
William Fryston. (fn. 34)
Richard Freston, in 1456. (fn. 34)
Wynando, in 1465.
James Dyer, 1604.
Stephen Constantine, 1607.
John Preston, 1608.
Jasper Greene.
William Wallis, buried Sept. 29, 1624.
John Hodges, A. B. 1627.
Noah Webb, 1628.
Robert Rainsford, 1630.
Richard Rathbone, 1634.
Thomas Smith, buried Sept. 22, 1639.
Robert Antrobus, 1640.
Joseph Jackson, 1647.
Henry Arnold, 1656, ejected 1662. (fn. 35)
Thomas Pike, 1666.
David Barton, 1667.
Bishop of Rochester Edmund Lees, 1670.
S. Grascomes, 1681.
George Wilson, 1682. (fn. 36)
Thomas Johnson, 1684.
Edward Roman, 1686.
Henry Maundrel, B. D. 1680. (fn. 37)
Samuel Bowles, 1695.
Harrington Bagshaw, 1698, obt. May 29, 1739. (fn. 38)
Joseph Simms, A. M. June, 1739.
Thomas Bagshaw, 1744, obt. 1785. (fn. 39)
H. Smith, 1785, the present Curate.


  • 1. Merrett's Pinax, p. 17.
  • 2. Apograph. Dering Library.
  • 3. The date of this charter in the Textus Roffensis is misprinted, viz. in the 9th year of king Edgar, anno 955; for that king did not begin his reign till 959; and Dunstan, who, as one of the witnesses, signs himself archbishop of Canterbury, did not come to that see till the year 960.
  • 4. Reg. Roff. p. 5.
  • 5. Text. Roff. p. 130.
  • 6. Somn. Roman Ports, p. 108.
  • 7. Reg. Roff. p. 442.
  • 8. Reg. Roff. p. 442.
  • 9. Ibid. p. 442, et seq.
  • 10. Reg. Roff. p. 11, 61, 64, 65, 89, 132.
  • 11. Reg. Roff. p. 662., Ang. Sac. p. 361. Rot. Cart.
  • 12. Hist, of Rochester, 1723, p. 119.
  • 13. Bar. vol. ii. p. 367. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 518, 519.
  • 14. Rot. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 15. Coll. Baronetage, vol. v. p. 17.
  • 16. See Guillim's Heraldry, p. 403.
  • 17. Philipott, p. 84.
  • 18. Philipott, p. 84.
  • 19. Manuscript papers of Sir Humphry Style.
  • 20. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 21. Will in Prerogative-office, lib. i. p. 14. See Newcaurt's Rep. vol. i. p. 330, and Wood's Athenæ, vol. ii. p. 374, and History Rochester, anno 1772, &c. Ken. Improp. p. 282.
  • 22. See the monuments, epitaphs, arms, &c. in this church, described at full length in Reg. Roff. p. 811.
  • 23. See Willis Cath. v. ii. p. 363.
  • 24. Weever, p. 338, 482.
  • 25. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 26. Coke's Entries, p. 401.
  • 27. Bacon lib. Regis.
  • 28. Parl. Surveys, Lamb. libr. vol. xiv and xix.
  • 29. He was, when parson of this church, consecrated bishop of Rochester, Nov. 21, 1238, and died in 1250. Le Neve's Fasti, p. 248. Reg. Roff. p. 95.
  • 30. Coke's Entries, p. 401.
  • 31. Reg. Roff. p. 193, 194.
  • 32. Ibid. p. 113. This John de Frinsburie was deprived by the bishop of Rochester, for inobedience, and the bishop placed Hugh de Penebregg in his room; notwithstanding which, this John thrust him out by force.— Wharton's Anglia Sacra, v. i. p. 369.
  • 33. He lies buried in this church.
  • 34. Coke's Entries, p. 401.
  • 35. Ejected by the Bartholomew Act. Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 286.
  • 36. Afterwards vicar of Chesilhurst, and in 1718 was buried there.
  • 37. Fellow of Exeter college, Oxon. and chaplain to the factory at Aleppo, and published a curious account of his travels to Jerusalem.
  • 38. Also rector of Woolwich.
  • 39. In 1778 he was presented to the rectory of Southfleet, which he held with this curacy.