Parishes: Paul's Cray

Pages 125-134

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

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LIES the next parish northward. This place takes its name from the church being dedicated to St. Paulinus, and the river Cray, which runs through it; being in antient deeds usually written Paulins Cray, and sometimes Cray Paulins. In the Textus Roffensis it is called Rodulphs Cray.

This parish is but small, being hardly more than two miles and a half in length, from east to west, and somewhat less than a mile and a half in breadth. It lies for the most part in the vale, through which the river Cray takes its course, and having turned a corn mill belonging to the Paul's Cray hill estate, it runs on northward towards Foots Cray. The high road from Orpington and St. Mary Cray passes through it towards the Maidstone road, and thence across it to Bexley and Dartford heath. There is no village; the houses in the parish, about fifty in number, standing dispersed throughout it. The church stands alone, half surrounded by tall elm trees, the shade of which casts a pleasing gloom, and makes a picturesque appearance to the building, as well as the church-yard around it. It is situated near the road through it on the eastern side, the way to it used, till of late, to be through the water, to the great inconvenience of the parishioners, but it is now raised above it. About half a mile eastward trom hence, is the seat of Paul's Cray Hill; the opposite or western boundary is much covered with coppice wood, near which is Paul's Cray common, extending up to Chesilhurst, which is supposed on this side to have at times incroached much on the boundaries of this parish. The soil is chiefly a light dark coloured mould, though on some of the high grounds there is a strong loam. It is in general very fertile, pleasant and healthy, being diversified with hill and dale, interspersed with woods, verdant pastures along the vallies, and on the gentle declivities fertile fields of corn land.

The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims over part of this parish, as being within the duchy court ot Farnborough, to which such lands holding of it, pay certain annual rents. (fn. 1)

Paul's Cray was given by William the Conqueror to Odo, his half-brother, bishop of Baieux, and earl of Kent; and it is accordingly entered in the survey of Domesday, under the general title of the bishop's lands in this county, as follows:

Anscbill de Ros holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Craie. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is I carucate and 7 villeins, with 6 borderers having 1 carucate. There is a church and 1 acre of meadow, and 3 acres of pasture.

In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 4 pounds, and now 3 pounds. Leuric beld it of king Edward.

This place was afterwards part of the possessions of Sir Simon de Cray; he was lord-warden of the cinque ports in the 3d and 4th years of king Edward I. and his sons, William and Simon de Crey, attended that king in his victorious expedition into Scotland, and were there knighted. (fn. 2) He held it of the honour of Albermarle, by homage and service, and it was again held of him by Peter de Huntingfield and Simon at Broke, as half a knight's fee.

In the reign of king Edward III. this manor was in the possession of a family called De Campaigne; one of whom, John de Campaigne, in the 20th year of that reign, paid aid for it as half a knight's fee, which Peter de Huntingfield and Simon ate Broke before held in Crey Paulin of Simon de Crey.

From this name it passed soon afterwards into that of Scroope; and Henry le Scroope, of Masham, was possessed of it in the beginning of the next reign of king Richard II. as he was likewise of another half knight's fee in this parish, which once belonged to Anthony Bec, bishop of Durham. He was son of Geoffry le Scroope, who was possessed of the manor of Eltham, and was of the same family as those of Bolton, in Yorkshire. In the second year of king Richard II. being then banneret, he was sent ambassador to Charles, king of Navarre; (fn. 3) and died in the 15th year of that reign, possessed of this manor, which was held in capite, being worth twenty marcs yearly. (fn. 4) He left two sons, Stephen, his heir, and William, who was afterwards created earl of Wiltshire.

The eldest son, Sir Stephen le Scroope, succeeded him here that year, and obtained a grant of free-warren for his manor of Paulin's Cray. He died in the 7th year of king Henry V. being then possessed of this manor, and leaving Sir Henry Scroop his son and heir. But Margerie, his mother, surviving, had for her dower, among other premises, and assignation of two parts of it.

In the 1st year of king Henry V. he was appointed to conclude a peace with the French; a trust which he shamefully abused, by treating privily with them, on promise of a reward; but before this plot could be put in execution, it was discovered; soon after which he was tried at Southampton, and was beheaded there. On his attainder this manor escheated to the crown. Sir John Scroope, his brother, on his death without issue, became his next heir. He wrote himself of Masham and Upsale, where he had two eminent seats. In the 2d year of king Henry VI. by the assent of the lords in parliament, he obtained a grant from the king of those lordships, which came to the crown by the attainder of Henry lord Scroope, his brother, to hold for four years, among which was this manor, of which he afterwards obtained the fee. He died in the 34th year of king Henry VI. being then possessed of this manor, which descended down to Thomas, lord Scroope, who was summoned to parliament from the 22d year of Edward IV. until the 7th year of king Henry VII. and died shortly after possessed of this manor, leaving by Elizabeth, daughter of John Nevill, marquis Montagu, one sole daughter, his heir; who carried it in marriage to Henry, lord Scroope, of Bolton; who leaving likewise one only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, married to Sir Gilbert Talbot, knightbanneret, (fn. 5) he, in her right, became possessed of it.

Sir Gilbert Talbot was of Graston, in Worcestershire; and was third son of John, second earl of Shrewsbury, by his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of James Butler, earl of Ormond and Wiltshire, and was ancestor to the present earl of Shrewsbury and the late earl Talbot; and being a great favorer of king Henry VII's pretensions to the crown, when earl of Richmond, he was by that king, in his 1ft year, made a privy-counsellor; and being then knight for his majesty's body, had many rewards of lands conferred on him, and among others the manor of Grafton abovementioned. In the 2d year of that reign, being one of the commanders at the battle of Stoke, near Newark, where Lambert Simnel, and his followers, were defeated, he was made a knight-banneret; and being a person of singular wisdom and valour, was elected knight of the Garter; and was honorably employed, both by that king, and his son king Henry VIII. till the time of his death, in the 8th year of that reign. He had two sons; Sir Gilbert, his heir, and Sir Humphry Talbot, who died without issue, in the holy land; and two daughters, Catherine and Jane. (fn. 6) By one of these daughters the manor of Paul's Cray went in marriage to Danby, descended from those of Middleham, in Yorkshire; (fn. 7) in which name it continued some years, till it was sold to Hunt; and from thence again, in the reign, of queen Elizabeth, to Mr. James Smith, of London, gent. who deceasing without issue male, Mary, his sole daughter and heir, carried it in marriage to Mr. Edmund Waller, of Beconsfield, in Buckinghamshire; whose descendant passed it away by sale to James Narborough, esq. only brother of Sir John Narborough, knight and baronet, admiral of the fleet in the reigns of king Charles and James II. both of whom were unfortunately cast away, with Sir Cloudesly Shovel, on the rocks of Scilly, in 1707.

James Narborough, esq. had settled this manor and his other estates in this parish, on his three nieces Elizabeth, Elhanna, and Sophia, daughters of Sir Thomas D'Aeth, bart. by Elizabeth, daughter of his brother, Sir John Narborough. They carried this manor and estate in marriage to their three husbands; Elizabeth, being married to the hon. Henry Dawney, clerk, third son of Henry viscount Downe; Elhanna to captain Fitzgerald; and Sophia to William Champneys, esq. of Boxley, in which state it continued till about the year 1742, when they all joined in the sale of it to the hon. Thomas Townshend, of Chesilhurst, whose son, the right hon. Thomas, lord viscount Sydney, is the present proprietor of it.

The quit rents of this manor are small; a courtbaron is held for it.

There were some lands, part of the manor of Paul's Cray, which, with the advowson of the church, were alienated, in the reign of king Edward I. by Sir Simou de Crey, owner of them, to Walter de Trailly; (fn. 8) and on his death, descended to his son, of the same name; and his descendant, John Traylie, died possessed of them in the 34th year of king Edward III. They came afterwards into the possession of Heron, cwner of Kitchin-grove, another parcel of this manor, which formerly belonged to the family of Crey before-mentioned, and in the 20th year of king Edward III. was possessed by John de Paulteney, and others, who then paid aid for it as half a knight's fee, as parcel of the manor of Paulin's Crey, called Kechyngrove.

Sir Christopher Heron possessed these premises in the reign of king Henry VIII. when he alienated them, with the advowson, to Walsingham, of Scadbury, in Chesilhurst; (fn. 9) whence they passed, in like manner, by sale to Betenson; and from that name to the hon. Thomas Townshend, of Chesilhurst, whose son, the right hon. Thomas, lord viscount Sydney, is the present proprietor of these premises, together with the advowson of the church of Paul's Cray.

PAUL's CRAY-HILL is a seat in this parish, which takes its name from its situation. It was very early the residence of the family of Fereby, or, as they afterwards were called, Ferby, whose antient seat was at Speldhurst, where they resided in the reigns of king Edward II. and III. John de Fereby, of Speldhurst, in the latter end of those reigns, sealed with his paternal coat armour, A fess ermine, between three goats heads erased, as appears by the labels fixed to several of his deeds. (fn. 10) One of his descendants, some time after, removed from Speldhurst hither, (fn. 11) having purchased lands, at Hockenden and elsewhere in this parish, of John Dynley, who in the 16th year of king Edward III. had licence to build a bridge over the river here, to his demesne lands at that place.

Andrew Ferby possessed this seat, the manor of Hockenden, and other premises in this parish, in the reign of king Henry VII. and lies buried in this church, bearing for his arms, Sable, a fess ermine, between three goats heads erased argent. (fn. 12) In whose descendants it continued down to Leonard Ferby, esq. who resided at this seat, which he much improved; one of the gateways belonging to it still bearing the initial letters of his name, and the date, 1632. He was knighted in 1629, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Percival Hart, and then settled on her in jointure his seat in Paul's Cray, his manor of Hockenden in St. Mary Cray, and his capital messuage called Walkins, alias Waklins, and other premises in Paul's Cray, and died at Dartford in 1679, after which his grandsons, Maniford Feerby, of Farningham, esq. and Catherine his wife, and Leonard and John Feerby, his brothers, (sons of Percival Feerby, esq.) conveyed this estate in 1686 to George Gifford, of Penis, in Fawkham, esq. whose son and heir, Thomas Gifford, esq, dying without issue male, his estates became, partly by his will, and partly by descent, the property of his three daughters and coheirs; Margaret, married to Thomas Petley, esq. Mary, to John Selby, of the Mote, in Igham, esq. and Jane, first to Finch Umphrey, gent. and afterwards to Francis Leigh, of Hawley, esq.

In 1718, a partition was made of several of the estates left by his will to his daughters, Mary and Jane, and among others, one moiety of this seat and estate, was by it allotted to Francis Leigh, and Jane his wife, who were before possessed of the other undivided moiety of it. They in 1722, by their trustees, conveyed this estate to Mr. William Chapman; on whose death his son, Richard, possessed it; but dying, without male issue, Eleanor, his daughter, carried it, first, in marriage to Mr. Richard Abbot, and then to Mr. James Chapman. She left only by her last husband, one son, James, and a daughter, Anne, who married the Rev. Edmund Faunce, late vicar of Sutton-at-Hone.

James Chapman, esq. the son, on his father's death, became intitled to this manor, with the seat and estate belonging to it, of which he is the present possessor, and resides here. He married Miss Mawe, by whom he has three sons and four daughters, the eldest of the sons, James Chapman, jun. esq. of the secretary of state's office for the war department, married in 1792, Miss Greenwood, of New Norfolk-street, London.

By virtue of a commission of concealments an inquisition was taken, anno 19 king Edward IV. in which it appeared that Thomas Sutton, clerk, and others, were possessed of a fourth part of the manor of Broke, in this parish; which they conveyed to Thomas Walsingham, esq. who possessed it at his death in the 7th year of that reign, (fn. 13) when it was held of the king, as of his duchy of Lancaster, by knights service.


ARABELLA KINGSMAN, by will, in 1751, gave towards the putting of children of this parish to school, a sum of money, being now 50l. vested in the 3 per cent. Bank annuities.

RICHARD CHAPMAN, by will, in 1724, gave a like sum of money for the same purpose, vested in the hands of James Chapman, at the interest of 4 per cent.

JOHN FERBY, esq. in the reign of king Henry VI. by deed in his life-time, founded an alms-house in this parish, which he ordered by his will, to be regulated in every thing accordingly by it.

This parish is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Dartford. The church is dedicated to St. Paulinus. It consists of two isles and a chancel, having a low pointed steeple at the west end, in which are three bells.

In this church, among other monuments and inscriptions, are the following:—In the chancel, a grave-stone and memorial for Mr. Henry Frith, of North Cray, son of John, and grandson of Mr. Roger Frith, some time rector of this place, obt. 1697, æt. 78; another for John Ashley, A. M. rector of this parish 41 years, obt. July 18, 1703, æt. 63; and Hannah, his wife, obt. 1691, æt. 44; and two of his children, who died young. On another, a memorial for William Scrafton, A. M. rector of this parish 38 years, obt. Jan. 31, 1743, æt. 64; and Frances, his wife, obt. 1738, æt. 78; and for their grandson, lieut. Thomas Sharpe, who was lost in the Ramilies, on Feb. 15, 1760, æt. 24. In the north isle, a grave-gone, with a small plate, having an inscription in black letter, for John, second son of James Smythe, of London, gent. obt. 1584; above is his figure in a winding sheet. In the upper end of the south isle, on a grave-stone a brass plate, with the remains of an inscription in black letter, for John Feerby, gent. obt. 14 . . under the inscription were the figures of himself and his wife, under him 4 sons, and under her 2 daughters. Many of the family of Ferby of Paul's Cray-hill, are buried in this church, but the chancel belonging to them in it having tumbled down, continues still a heap of ruins, covering their grave-stones and monuments so much, as to prevent the discovery of any of them. It is shut out from the rest of the church by a wall. (fn. 14)

The patronage of it was formerly appendant to the manor of Paul's Cray, and continued so till Sir Simon de Crey, lord of that manor, enfeoffed Walter de Trailly in this advowson, among other premises, part of the manor of Paul's Cray, as has been already mentioned. His descendant, John Traylie, possessed them in the 34th year of king Edward III.

In the reign of king Henry VIII. the Herons were patrons of this church, from whence it was alienated to the family of Walsingham, and from them to Betenson, from whom it passed to the hon. Thomas Townshend, of Chesilhurst, whose son the right hon. Thomas, lord viscount Sydney is the present patron of it.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Greypaulir was valued at eleven marcs. (fn. 15) It is valued in the king's books at 12l. 13s. 4d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 5s. 4d. (fn. 16) There are twenty-two acres of glebe land belonging to it.

By a commission of enquiry in 1650, it was returned, that Paul's Cray was a parsonage, with an house, and eighteen acres of glebe land, all worth sixty pounds per annum; one master Snelling preaching there. (fn. 17)

Church Of Paul's Cray.

Or by whom presented.
Robert de Lodesdone, in 1316. (fn. 18)
William Hermer, 1453, (fn. 19)
John Seman, 1557. (fn. 20)
Roger Frith.
Sir Thomas Walsingham, knt. Laurence Snelling, deprived in 1637. (fn. 21)
John Ashley, instituted in 1662, obt. July 18, 1703.
William Scraston, A. M. instit. Nov. 19, 1703, obt. Jan. 31, 1743.
Colonel Selwyne. Tho. Kingsman, ob. July 1752. (fn. 22)
Hon. Thomas Townshend. Edward Barnard, D.D. ind. Sep. 28, 1752, obt. Dec. 2, 1781. (fn. 23)
John Symons, ind. May 23, 1782, the present rector.


  • 1. Parl. Surveys, Augtn. off.
  • 2. Philipott, p. 109, 122.
  • 3. Dugd. Bar. vol. i, p. 658. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 4. Ibid. vol. p. 427. Rot.
  • 5. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 657.
  • 6. Collins's Peerage, last edit. vol. ii. p. 425.
  • 7. Philipott, p. 109.
  • 8. Reg. Roff. p. 269.
  • 9. Philipott, p. 109.
  • 10. Philipott, p. 320.
  • 11. Ibid. p. 109.
  • 12. Visitn. co. Kent, anno 1619, pedigree of Ferby.
  • 13. Rot, Esch. ejus anni, No. 78.
  • 14. See the monuments and inscriptions in this church at large, in Reg. Roff. p. 1001.
  • 15. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 16. Ect. Thes. p. 382.
  • 17. Parl. Surveys; Lambeth libr.
  • 18. Reg. Roff. p. 113.
  • 19. He was canon of Windsor in 1453, and was prebendary of Troll in the church of St. David. Antiq. of Berksh. vol. iii. p. 250. He died in 1472. Le Neve's Fasti, p. 379.
  • 20. Reg. Roff. p. 588.
  • 21. He was censured and deprived, for not reading the Book of Sports, Rushworth, vol. ii. p. 459.
  • 22. He and his two predecessors were buried in this church.
  • 23. Afterwards head master of Edton school; in 1760 canon of Windsor, provost of Edton college, and vicar of Ospringe in this county.