Parishes: St Mary Cray

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

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Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: St Mary Cray', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2( Canterbury, 1797), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: St Mary Cray', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2( Canterbury, 1797), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: St Mary Cray". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. (Canterbury, 1797), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


LIES the next parish northward. It was antiently called South Cray, as being the most southern of those parishes in this neighbourhood, which take their name from the river Cray; but so early as king Edward I.'s reign it was known by its present name of St. Mary Cray, the church of it being dedicated to St. Mary.

This parish lies in a valley close to the river Cray, near the western banks of which it has a populous, handsome village, consisting of a street near three quarters of a mile in length, with the church on the eastern side of it. The market was continued to be kept in the market-house here till it was blown down, all but the chimney, in the great storm, on Nov. 26, 1703, since which it has been disused, to the no small detriment of the place.

In the village are two seats worth notice, one of which belonged to the Haddons, owners of Godyngton, in Chellsfield, in which name it continued till Alexander Haddon, jun. gent. passed it away to Edmund Hodsoll, third son of William Hodsoll, gent. of South Ash. He died in 1711, and was buried in this church, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, only daughter of Thomas Stonehouse of London, four sons and seven daughters; from him this seat descended to Mr. Edward Hodfoll, banker, of London, who much improved it, and resided here. He died possessed of it in 1794, as did his son about one month afterwards, unmarried, on which it came to his sister Matilda Hodsoll, spinster, the present possessor of it.

The other seat was the property and residence of Benjamin Greenwood, esq. who, by Philadelphia his wife, daughter of Sir George Mertins of London, left one son, George, and a daughter, married to William Cope, esq. George Greenwood, esq. resided here, and died possessed of this estate in 1775, leaving his sister above mentioned his sole heir, whose husband, William Cope, esq. passed it away to Mr. Whitaker of London; since which it has been purchased by Gerard Levinge Van Heythuysen, esq. who resides in it, the present owner of it.

The house in which the Stanhopes are said to have resided in this parish is called the Mount, and by the ruins of walls, foundations, &c. round it, appear to have been a seat of some size and note, but it is now dwindled down to a mere cottage, being at present the property of James Chapman, esq. of Paul's Cray hill.

A fair is holden here on September 10, for toys.

This Parish is within the manor of Great Orpington, to which it is an appendage, which manor is now in the possession of Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone.

The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims over such part of this parish as is not within this manor.

In the 7th year of King Edward I. the prior of Christ church, Canterbury, claimed before Reygate, and others his associates, Justices Itinerant, the privilege of a market in the town of Crey weekly, on a Wednesday throughout the year, and all rights belonging to it. (fn. 1)

St. MARY LYNG OCKMERE is a manor in this parish, which was formerly two, called the manors of Ackmere and Sentling.

At the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the reign of William the Conqueror, these manors were part of the possessions of Odo, the great bishop of Baieux, the King's half brother, under the general title of whose lands they are thus entered in it, viz. the former manor by the name of South Cray.

Adam Fitzberbert holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Sud Crai. It was taxed at 1 suling. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there are 2 carucates and 14 villeins with 1 borderer having 4 carucates. There are 6 servants, and 10 acres of meadow; wood for the pannage of 10 bogs. In the time of King Edward the Confessor it was worth 6 pounds, and afterwards 4 pounds, and now 10 pounds. Toli held it of king Edward.

And the manor of Sentling as follows:

Hugh, grandson of Herbert, holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Sentlinge. It was taxed at 1 suling and a half. The arabic land is . . . . . In demesue there are 2 carucates, and 20 villeins with 2 carucates. There is a church and 9 servants, and 6 acres of meadow, and 20 acres of pasture; wood for the pannage of 8 bogs. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was worth 8 pounds, and afterwards 6 pounds, now 8 pounds. Bonde held it of the archbishop.

After the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, in the 19th year of the Conqueror's reign, these two manors came into the possession of Jeffry de Peverel, who held them in capite, by barony, as of the castle of Dover.

In the 13th of King John, they were in the possession of John de Mares, who held them by the like service, and was descended from Thomas de Mares, who accompanied king Richard I. to the Holy Land, and was with him at the siege of Acon there, (fn. 2) in whose name they continued in the beginning of Edward I.'s reign, when they passed to Gregory de Rokesle, who in the 9th year of it, obtained the confirmation of a market weekly on a Wednesday, and a grant of a fair on the assumption of the Virgin Mary, in his manor of Sentling. (fn. 3) Gregory de Rokesle died possessed of these manors in the 20th year of king Edward I. Reginald de Rokesle held them at the time of his death, in the 11th year of king Edward III. as appears by the inquisition then taken, in capite, by the service of one knight's see, and paying besides to the ward of Dover-castle, 16s. 4d. for each week in which he ought to perform ward there, and paying to the manor of Ospringe one pair of gilt spurs, and suit to the king's court of Osprings; and it was then sound that his grandson Richard, son of William de Rokesle, was his heir. In the 20th year of that reign, John de Rokesle, parson of the church of Chellesfield, paid respective aid for them, by the names of the manors of Seintlyng and Okemore, alias St. Mary Cray, as one fee, which Roger de Rokesle before held of the king in Seintlying and Okemore, the tenants of them always paying to the ward of Dover-castle.

They continued in the possession of this family till the latter end of king Edward III.'s reign, in the 46th year of which Reginald de Rokesle died possessed of them, (fn. 4) soon after which they became the property of Sir Robert Belknap, chief justice of the common pleas, who was attainted and banished into Ireland, in the 11th year of king Richard II. not withstanding which, his wife Juliana continued in possession of them by grant of parliament, and died possessed of them in the 2d year of king Henry V. leaving Sir Hamon Belknap her son and heir; who, on his petition to parliament, was enabled to succeed to these manors, of which he died possessed in the 7th of king Henry VI. as did his grandson Sir Edward Belknap, in the 12th year of king Henry VIII. On his death without issue, his four sisters became his coheirs; and on a partition of his estates among them, these manors sell to the share of Anne, married to Sir Robert Wotton of Bocton Malherb, who, in her right, became possessed of them. By the inquisition taken after the death of his son, Sir Edward Wotton, in the 6th year of king Edward VI it appears that these manors were then held in capite; they afterwards descended to his grandson, Sir Edward Wotton, of Bocton Malherb, who in the 1st year of James I. was created lord Wotton, baron of Marley in this county. (fn. 5) He was succeeded by Thomas lord Wotton, his son and heir, who died in the 6th year of king, Charles I. without male issue, on which his four daughters became his coheirs; of whom Catharine, the eldest, carried this manor (for both Sentling and Ockmere seem now to have been esteemed but as one) in marriage to Henry lord Stanhope, son and heir to Philip earl of Chesterfield, (fn. 6) who died in his father's life time, leaving one son, Philip, and two daughters surviving.

Catharine, lady Stanhope, on her husband's death, became again possessed of this manor in her own right, and carried it in marriage to her second husband, John Poliander Kirkhoven, lord of Hemsleet, in Holland. She was afterwards created countess of Chesterfield for her natural life, and married, thirdly, Daniel O'Neale, and died in 1667. By her second husband she had one son, Charles Henry, who succeeded his father in this estate, and was afterwards, on account of his mother's descent, created lord Wotton in Kent, baron Wotton of Boughton, anno 2 Charles II. and in 1660, was naturalised by parliament. He was likewife created earl of Bellamont in the kingdom of Ireland, and dying without issue, (fn. 7) was buried in the cathedral church of Canterbury, in 1683. He died possessed of this manor of St. Mary Cray, alias St. Mary Okemore, which he devised by his will to his nephew, Charles Stanhope, second son of his brother Philip before mentioned, then earl of Chesterfield, with several limitations and remainders in it.

Charles Stanhope, esq. above mentioned, changed his name to Wotton, and possessed this manor, but died in 1703, without issue, on which it came, by the above entail, to Philip lord Stanhope, his elder brother, who, on his father's death, in 1713, succeeded as earl of Chesterfield, and died in 1726, being succeeded in titles and estate by his eldest son, Philip Dormer Stanhope, earl of Chesterfield, who passed away this manor of St. Mary Lyng Ockmore to Thomas Borrett, esq. of Shoreham, in this county, late prothonotary of the court of common-pleas. He died possessed of it in the year 1751, leaving two daughters his coheirs; the eldest of whom, Susannah, married William Glanvill Evelyn, esq. of Ightham; and the youngest, Martha, married her kinsman, Thomas Borrett, esq. of Shoreham, the son of Trevor Borrett, eldest son of John Borrett, prothonotary, by Elizabeth Trevor, his second wife; which John Borrett, by Anne Partridge, his first wife, was father of Thomas Borrett of Shoreham, father of Susannah and Martha above mentioned. They, in right of their wives, jointly possessed this manor, in undivided moieties, and afterwards joined in the sale of it to Herman Berens, esq. of Kevington, who died possessed of it, in 1794, and his only son, Joseph Berens, esq. is now owner of it.

KEVINGTON is a manor and seat in this parish, now vulgarly called Kebingtown. (fn. 8) This estate was, for some generations, the residence of the Mannings, a family of good account in this part of Kent, who took their name from a town so called in Saxony, (fn. 9) from whence they came very early into this kingdom. In the reign of king Henry IV. John Manning (fn. 10) was settled in Cowdham, his son of the same name was also of that parish, and died anno 14 Henry VI. leaving by Juliana his wife, daughter and heir of Richard Brockhill, relict of William Wallys, one son, Hugh Manning, who was of St. Mary Cray, and married the daughter of Sir William Brandon, kinswoman to Charles duke of Suffolk, by whom he had two sons, John, who settled at Downe, from whom descended the Mannings of Downe, Halsted, and Westerham; and Richard, who continued at St. Mary Cray, and had three sons; of whom Richard, son of Thomas, the eldest, is said, in his epitaph, to have been of Manning's-hall, the old family seat. He lies buried in this church with the rest of this family.

The Heraldic Visitation of Kent, taken in the year 1619, gives the arms of Manning, Gules, a cross patonce between four cinquefoils or. Notwithstanding which it appears by their monuments and grave stones in this church, which was the burial place of the family for many generations, that the Mannings of this parish bore the cinquefoils in their coat of arms slipt; those of Westerham bore, A chevron between three cinquefoils slipt.

John Manning, gent. the youngest son of Richard above mentioned, was of Kevington, and had two sons, Edward, who was bred to the law, and Richard; the former of whom succeeded to this manor in 1640.

Edward Manning, great grandson of Edward, the youngest son of Edward above-mentioned, succeeded at length to Kevington, and married Anne, only daughter of Sir Henry Onslow of Drungwick, in Sussex, by whom he left several children. He died in 1703, and was buried in this church; on which Richard Manning, esq. their eldest surviving son, succeeded to this manor, and resided at Kevington, of which he died possessed in 1753, without issue, and by his will bequeathed it to his nephew, Denzil Onslow, esq. of Drungwick, son of Denzil Onslow, esq. of that place, by Mary his sister; he afterwards resided at Kevington, and married in 1730, the daughter of Thomas Middleton, esq. Their son, Middleton Onslow, esq. after some years, passed it away by sale to Hermans Berens, esq. merchant of the city of London, who resided here. He married the daughter of Mr. Stephen Riou, merchant of London, and died in 1794, leaving one son, Joseph Berens, esq. of Hextable, and two daughters unmarried. He was succeeded in this estate by his son above mentioned, who is a director of the South Sea and Hudson's Bay companies, and is the present possessor of this estate.

HOCKENDEN is a manor, which lies partly in this parish, and partly in Paul's Cray and Sutton at Hone.

In the reign of king Edward I. it was in the possession of the family of Stangrave, who were owners of Eatonbridge in this county.

Sir Robert de Stangrave was owner of the manor of Hockindenne, in the 24th year of the above reign, for he then released to the prior and convent of Christ church, in Canterbury, a piece of land lying hard by their wood at Hockindenne, in consideration of which they released him from the custom of fencing round their wood. his seal, being a cross verry, remained appendant to the deed. In the 28th year of the same reign he had a grant of free warren for his manor here, (fn. 11) and his descendant, Robert de Stangrave, died possessed of it in the 12th year of king Edward III. (fn. 12)

In later times the family of Feerby, or Ferby, who resided at Paul's Cray hill, were in possession of it; one of them, Sir Leonard Feerby, in 1675, conveyed his manor of Hockenden to Mrs. Anne Yeend, widow, who devised it by will to her grandchild, Mary, the eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, by Mary her daughter.

Sir Anthony Browne left four daughters, Mary the devisee above mentioned, who married John Archer, but died without issue; Anne, married to Sir John Tyrril, who likewise died without issue; the third daughter was lady Rawsterne; and the fourth Elizabeth, who married Robert King, by whom she left surviving three daughters, her coheirs. On the death of Mary, the eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, and devisee of this manor, without issue, Lady Rawsterne, by a decree of Chancery, became entitled to one moiety or three-sixths of it, which part came afterwards into the possession of William Wentworth, earl of Strafford, who died possessed of it in 1791; since which it has passed from his heirs by sale to James Chapman, esq. of Paul's Cray hill, who is the present owner of it.

The other moiety was divided between the issue of the fourth daughter Elizabeth, and their husbands. In consequence of which two-sixths of this manor became at length, by descent and marriage, the property of Thomas Sergison, esq. who, in the year 1740, conveyed them by sale to Sir Thomas Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone.

As to the remaining sixth part of this moiety, it came at length by descent, as well as will, to Elizabeth, the only daughter and heir of Richard Young; and she, in 1747, sold her interest in it to Sir Thomas Dyke, bart. before mentioned, who on this became possessed of the three sixth parts, or one full and undivided moiety of this manor.

From him it descended to his only surviving son, Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. who obtaining an act of parliament for that purpose, passed it away by sale, in 1767, to James Chapman, esq. of Paul's Cray hill, who by purchasing the other moiety of the earl of Stafford's heir, as before mentioned, is now become the owner of the whole of this manor and estate.

It appears by an inquisition taken at Hockynden, before the king's escheator, in the 2d year of Edward I. that Isabella de Monte Alto, held in gavelikende of the prior of Christchurch in Canterbury, a messuage and forty-two acres in Hokinden, by the service of 10s. 11d. per annum, and by the service of ploughing, mowing, and carrying the produce of certain lands of the prior to his grange at Orpington, and other services, and by, making suit at the court of the prior there. (fn. 13)

WALDEN'S is a reputed manor in this parish, which in 1662, was in the possession of Caleb Trenchfield, esq. who lies buried in Eltham church, and died possessed of this manor; he was the son of Thomas Trenchfield, esq. one of the admirals of the navy in the reign of king Charles I. and left by Judith, his wife, daughter of Edmund Poyntell, esq. of Chesilhurst, a son, Caleb Trenchfield, who was a merchant of London. The Trenchfields bore for their arms, A cbevron between three cinquefoils. He sold this manor to Ebbutt, whose descendant, Mr. John Ebbutt, dying a few years since, left it by will to his nephew of the same name, who is the present owner of it, and resides here.


Sir George Hart ordered by his will, 40s. to be given in money to the poor of this parish, who do not receive aims, and 3s. 4d. in bread, and 6s. 8d. in money for a sermon, charged on an estate, called Wested, now belonging to Sir John Dyke, vested in the minister and churchwardens, and of the annual produce of 2l. 10s.

Mr. EDMUND HODSOLL in 1711, gave by his will, the annual sum of 15s. in money, to be given weekly to the poor, who shall be aged and importent, and who come to church to hear divine service and sermons, charged on a farm, called Hutchin's, in St. Mary Cray, vested in the minister and churchwardens, and of the above annual produce.

Mr. MANNING gave by will, for three poor people, who do not receive alms, a sum of money yearly, one-third charged on the Kevington estate, in St.Mary Cray, the other two thirds on an estate, called Patten-grove, in Orpington, now vested in the owner of the former estate.

Mrs. CATHARINE WITHENS, gave by her will, in 1715, for the education of poor children at school, and towards the support of poor aged men and women, who do not receive alms of the parish, a sum of money to purchase lands, which were accordingly purchased near Eatonbridge, now vested in the ministers of Paul's Cray, St. Mary Cray, and Orpington, and in trustees appointed by them, and of the annual produce of 40l.

Mr. VALENTINE SPARROW gave by his will, in 1726, to be distributed in bread for the poor weekly, to the minister one guinea for a sermon on Easter Sunday, and to the clerk half a guinea, money vested in the public funds, of the annual amount of 205l. 16s. 8d. in the names of trustees, now of the annual produce of 6l. 3s. 6d.

ST. MARY CRAY is within the ECCLESIATICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a large building, and contains three isles and a cross isle, a large chancel, and two small ones or chapels; the two latter belonging to the family of Hodsoll, of this parish. At the west end is the steeple, in which hang five bells. It is esteemed as a chapel to the church of Orpington, and as such is in the patronage of the rector of that church, the vicar of Orpington being instituted to that vicarage with the chapel of St. Mary Cray appendant to it.

In this church, among other monuments and inscriptions, are the following. In the cross isle, at the west end, on a grave stone, a brass plate with the figure of a woman in her shroud, and inscription in black letter, for Isabell Cossale, and for William Obson her son; on another, near the former, a brass inscription, the figure having been torn away, John Morgan, sen. ob. 1479. In the middle isle, on a grave stone, a memorial for Mr. John Abbot of this parish, ob. 1759, æt. 69. In the south isle, a brass plate with inscription in black letter, the figure torn off, for Alice Lorde, ob. 1515. In the great chancel, within the rails of the altar, a mural monument for one of the Manning family, the arms at the top are defaced; on the south side, within the rails, an altar tomb, on which are the figures of a gentleman and lady finely engraved in brass, and over them an inscription for Richard, son of John Manning, gent. who married Rachael, one of the daughters and coheirs of William White of Hempsted, in Middlesex, with whom he lived thirty-nine years, and died in 1904, æt. 63, S.P. leaving her surviving; above are the arms of Manning, Gules a cross patoncee between four cinquefoils slipt or, a crescent for difference. On the north side, within the rails, opposite the above, is an altar tomb with a brass plate, with an inscription for Richard, son of Tho. Manning, who dwelt and died at Manning's-hall, the old homestall of this family, he died in 1605, æt. 72. On a grave stone, without the rails, a memorial for Edward, son of Edward Manning, esq. who married the only daughter of Sir Henry Onslow of Drungwick, in Sussex, by whom he had fifteen children, nine of whom are here buried, and Thomas was then living, ob. 1703, æt. 49; above are these arms, quarterly, 1st, Manning, as above; 2d, a cross between twelve croslets fitchee impaling a fess between six rooks. A memorial for Edward, son of Edw. Manning, esq. and Anne his wife, daughter of Geff. Nightingale, esq. of Newport Pond, in Essex, he died in 1640, æt. 65; she died in 1659, æt. 79. Richard Manning, esq. died in 1753, æt. 54; above are these arms, quarterly, 1st and 4th, Manning; 2d, a bend counterchanged; 3d, a cross between twelve cross croslet. fitchee; at the bottom, in a lozenge, the arms of Manning impaling per pale ermine a role. On a hatchment against the screen, on the north side, are the arms of Manning, a crescent for difference, and over them an inscription, shewing, that under a stone in this chancel lies buried Thomas Manning, of the exchequer office, gent. of Clifford's inn, second son of Edw. Manning; esq. of this parish; he died unmarried in 1704; on the north side of the altar is a boarded pannel, shewing that the same was erected by Stephen Parker and Anne his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Onflow, to the memory of her three children, Edward, Elizabeth, and Anne Manning, who lie buried in this chancel by their father, Edward Manning, esq. on the south wall is a hatchment with these arms, Sable, lion rampant, ermine langued, and armed gules between three crosses pattee fitchee gules, a crescent for difference, and an inscription, shewing them to be the arms of Henry, son of Robert King, who died in 1659; on the north side, another hatchment, with the like arms in lozenge, being those of Anne King, youngest daughter of Robert King, gent. ob. 1615. At the entrance into the chancel, a memorial for Philadelphia Greenwood, eldest daughter of Benjamin Greenwood, esq. by Philadelphia his wife, ob. 1751, æt. 18; under the above Inscription, the figure of a woman in brass, and beside it a mark cut in the stone, as if intended for another figure, and an inscription for Mrs. Philadelphia, wife of Benjamin Greenwood, esq. of this parish, she was second daughter to the late Sir George Mertins, of London, she died in 1747, æt. 46 years. On a grave stone on the north side, before the rails, is a brass, with the effigies of a man and his three wives, and an inscription in black letter, for Richard Avery, Johne, Agles, and Elinor, his wives, obt. 1588. In the south chancel, on a mural monument, are the effigies in stone of a man and his wife, in the dress of the age, kneeling at a desk, with each a book open, and behind him his son, and beneath an inscription for Margaret, wife of Robert Crewes, citizen and grocer of London, who had one son buried here by her, she died in 1602, and was the daughter of Francis Haddon, of this parish, gent. beneath are the arms of the Grocers Company, and above these, or, a bend indented quarterly between 6 escallop shells, or, impaling Haddon, or, a leg couped at the thigh, azure; on a hatchment, are these arms, Hodsoll quarterly, a fess wavy argent between three stone fountains; of the second, impaling, argent on a fess fable, a leopard's head between two mullets, or, between three falcons with their wings displayed azure, armed, jessed and belled or, and inscription, shewing, that under a stone near it, lies Edward, third son of William Hodsoll, of South Ash, gent. he married Elizabeth Stonehouse, only daughter of Thomas Stonehouse, citizen and apothecary of London, by whom he had eleven children, of whom two sons and two daughters lie in the church of Stansted, near Wrotham, and two sons and one daughter in this chancel; he died in 1711, æt. 71. She died in 1725, æt. 77, and were buried in the same grave. Mr. Hodsoll purchased this estate of Alexander Haddon, gent. the younger. A memorial for Jane, wife of Samuel Atwood, rector of Ash, near Wrotham, youngest daughter of Edmund Hodsoll, of this parish, gent. obt. 1734, æt. 50; above, a lion rampant between eight acorns impaling Hodsoll. A memorial for Mrs. Helena Hodsoll, eldest daughter of Mr. Edmund Hodsoll, late of this parish, ob. 1756, æt. 83. In the north chancel, on a grave stone, the figure of a woman in brass, and inscription in black letter, for Elizabeth Cobham, late wife of George Cobham, brother to the lord Cobham, and her first husband, John Hart, gent. father and mother to Sir Percival Hart, she died 1543. At the corners of the stone have been four shields, the two upper ones only remain, viz. quarterly, first and fourth, Hart; second and third, Peche. (fn. 14)

By virtue of a commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that St. Mary Cray was a vicarage, and chapel of ease to Orpington, and fitly divided already from it, being worth sixteen pounds per annum; and that it had neither house or glebe land belonging to it. (fn. 15) Its valuation in the king's books is included in that of Orpington.


  • 1. Regis. of Christ ch. Cart. 283.
  • 2. Philipott, p. 260.
  • 3. Rot. Pat. anno 9 Edward I. No. 35.
  • 4. Rot. Esch. ejus an. Cott. Rec. p. 331, 340.
  • 5. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 414.
  • 6. Philipott, p. 260.
  • 7. Coll. Peerage, last edit. vol. iii. p.270.
  • 8. Augtn. Off. Parl. Surveys.
  • 9. Guillim, p. 138.
  • 10. Vis. Co. Kent, anno 1619. Pedigree of Manning.
  • 11. Rot. Cart. ejus anni. No. 13.
  • 12. Rot. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 13. Somner's Gavelkind, p. 184.
  • 14. See the monuments and inscriptions in this church at large in Reg. Roff. p. 1017.
  • 15. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth libr. vol. xix.