Parishes: Farnborough

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

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'Parishes: Farnborough', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (Canterbury, 1797) pp. 46-53. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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ADJOINING to Keston, eastward, lies FARNBOROUGH, called in the Textus Roffensis, FEARNBERGA. It most probably took its name from the natural disposition of the soil to bear fern, the latter syllable, berge, signifying in old English a little hill; an etymology well suiting the situation of the place. This parish lies on high ground, the soil of it is but thin and poor. The village is situated on the high road from London to Sevenoke, having the church on the south side of it; about a mile north-east from it is Tubbenden. The north-west part of the parish is much covered with coppice wood, among which is a hamlet, called Brasted-green. The fair is held here on September 12, yearly.

The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims over this parish, the manor of Farnborough having belonged to that duchy from the first erection of it.

FARNBOROUGH, in the reign of kingHentry kinfIIappears to have been one of the fees belonging to Simon de Montfort, the great earl of Leicester, who being slain at the battle of Evesham, in the 49th year of that reign, fighting on the part of the barons, his estates and honours were seized on, and given by the king to his second son, Edmund Plantagenet, earl of Lancaster, father of Thomas earl of Lancaster, of whom, in the reign of king Edward I. it was held by the eminent family of Grandison, Otho de Grandison then making it the principal seat of his residence. (fn. 1) In the 18th year of king Edward I. he obtained licence to hold a market every week, upon a Tuesday, here; and a fair yearly, on the feast of St. Giles the abbot, Sept. 1; and had at the same time a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands at Farnborough. (fn. 2)

After having had summons to parliament, in the 27th year of that reign, he died, s. p. leaving William de Grandison his brother, his next heir, who had likewise summons to parliament both in that and the succeeding reign of king Edward II. By Sibilla his wife, youngest daughter of John de Tregoze, he had three sons; and a daughter, Agnes, married to John de Northwood. Of the sons, Peter, the eldest, was made a knight banneret, and resided in Herefordshire, being summoned as a baron to parliament, and died without issue, anno 32 king Edward III. leaving his brother, John bishop of Exeter, his heir; and Otho, his third son, resided at Chelsfield. (fn. 3)

In the 18th year of king Edward III. Henry earl of Lancaster was in the possession of this manor, and had then a renewal of the liberties above mentioned, and an additional privilege of holding the fair on the eve and feast of St. Giles, and the eight days following.

After the execution of his brother Thomas, who had been beheaded at Pomfret, in the 15th year of king Edward II. he had been restored to all his titles, being lord of Monmouth, and earl of Lancaster, Leicester, Derby, and Lincoln. He died in 1345. (fn. 4) His son Henry succeeded his father in this manor, in whose life time he had been created earl of Derby. After his death, he had the earldoms of Lancaster and Leicester, and the stewardship of England; anno 23d king Edward III. he was created earl of Lincoln; and at a parliament held at Westminster, in the 25th year of that reign, duke of Lancaster. He died of the plague, in the 35th year of that reign, leaving by Isabel his wife, daughter of Henry lord Beaumont, two daughters his heirs, of whom Maud, the elder, married William, the fifth of that name, duke of Bavaria, &c. but dying without issue, Blanch, her younger sister, became her heir, being coheir of her father, and sole heir of her sister, she was fourteen years old at her father's death, having been married before to John of Gaunt, then earl of Richmond, fourth son of king Edward III. (fn. 5) who, anno 36 king Edward III. had a grant of the dukedom of Lancaster, and obtained the royalties of it; the king, his father, advancing the county of Lancaster into a palatinate for his benefit, and his possessions, in whatever county they were situated, were afterwards esteemed as part of the duchy of Lancaster, and were under the jurisdiction of the court of that duchy. He died anno 22 Richard II. leaving his estates and honours to his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, at that time in banishment, who was possessed of both the dukedoms of Hereford and Lancaster, and having deposed king Richard II. he afterwards obtained the crown, taking upon himself the title of Henry IV. He conferred the honour of duke of Lancaster upon Henry his son, (afterwards king Henry V.) and that he might entail it upon him and his heirs for ever, dissevered it from the crown of England, and had it so confirmed by parliament. Afterwards king Henry V. by act of parliament, annexed a very great estate to this duchy, which had come to him in right of his mother, who was the daughter and coheir of Humphry Bohun, earl of Hereford. After which king Edward IV. in the 1st year of his reign, when he had attainted king Henry VI. in parliament, of high treason, annexed it to the crown, i.e. to him and his heirs, kings of England. King Henry VII. broke into this entail, by an act in his 1st year, and the duchy of Lancaster afterwards followed the succession of the crown, and as such was in the possession of king Charles I. at his death in 1648.

After which the powers then in being seized on the royal estates, and the same year passed an ordinance, to vest them (among which the duchy of Lancaster was particularly included) in trustees, in order for their being sold, to supply the necessities of the state. Accordingly the manor of Farnborough, commonly called the duchy court of Farnborough, belonging to the revenue of the duchy of Lancaster, part of the late king's possessions, was, in 1652, surveyed, and returned—

THAT there belonged to it several chief rents or common fines, payable for lands in Farnborough, West Wickham, Paul's Cray, and Chelsfield, and from several cottages (therein particularly mentioned) holding by copy of court roll, and at the will of the lord; that there was a court-leet and a three-week court, belonging to the liberty, with fines, issues, &c. and the profits of the fair held at Farnborough on the 1st of September yearly.

That the court leets were usually kept at Farnborough twice in a year, and the three-week court had been usually held at the same place, but had been discontinued nine or ten years. The liberties of the court extended to the townships of Farnborough, Chelsfield, West Wickham, Paul's Cray, and Caiston. At the three-week court, all actions under forty shillings were tried and determined. That Lewis, keeper of the courts, went over to the king at Oxford, and carried all the rolls, books, &c. of the court with him, and the parliament were forced to hold and keep a court of survey by a jury for the better discovery thereof. (fn. 6)

At the restoration of king Charles II. in 1660, this manor again returned to the crown, and continued, among the revenues of it under the jurisdiction of the duchy court of Lancaster, without any grant being made of it till 1766, when the Hon. Thomas Walpole obtained a grant of it, under the seal of the duchy court, the term of which was renewed in 1787, for thirty-one years, to James Bond, esq. who, in 1788, passed away his interest in it to Thomas Cope, esq. of Bexley, who now possesses it.

FARNBOROUGH-HALL is an estate here, which appears to have been held by Simon de Chelesfield of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, in the reign of king Henry III.

John Flemming possessed it in the reign of king Edward I. whose heirs paid aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. as one knight's see in Farnborough.

This estate went soon afterwards, by purchase, to Petley, and again to Peche, in a short time. From him it descended down to Sir John Peche, knightbanneret, of Lullingstone, who dying without issue, Elizabeth his sister became his heir, and her husband, John Hart, esq. of the Middle Temple, became in her right entitled to it; (fn. 7) and in his descendants it continued till Percival Hart, esq. of Lullingstone, leaving an only daughter and heir; Anne, she carried it in marriage to her second husband, Sir Tho. Dyke, bart. of Horeham, in Sussex, and their only son, Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone, is the present possessor of Farnborough-hall, and the estate belonging to it.

TUBBENDEN'S is an antient seat in this parish the demesnes of which lie partly in this parish, and partly in that of Orpington.

In the 21st year of the reign of king Edward I. it was in the possession of owners of the same name; for by a deed of that year it appears, that Gilbert Saundre of Croston, in Orpington, demised several parcels of land to John de Tubbenden of Ferneborough, and his sons. (fn. 8)

After this family was extinct here, the Belknaps were owners of this place; of whom Sir Edward Belknap, son of Sir Henry, and privy-counsellor to king Henry VII. and VIII. dying without issue, his four sisters became his coheirs; of whom Alice, marrying Sir Wm. Shelley, justice of the common-pleas, of Mitchel grove, in Sussex, he, on the division of her inheritance, became, in her right, entitled to this estate. He soon afterwards alienated it to Posier; who, after some years, sold it to Dalton, descended from those of that name in Yorkshire, in which name it continued till Anne Dalton carried it in marriage to Mr. Aunsell Becket, whose son, Mr. Matthew Becket, upon his decease, bequeathed it by will to Mr. John Winterborn of London, who was the son of Cuthbert Winterborn of Burnshall, in Yorkshire, in which county his family had been upwards of one hundred years, and bore for their arms, Argent, three piles sable. He soon after the year 1652, passed it away by sale to William Gee, esq. of Bishop's Burton, in Yorkshire, (fn. 9) who conveyed it to Thomas Brome, esq. made a sergeant-at-law in the year 1660, whose arms are in one of the windows of Gray's-inn hall, viz. Azure, a dexter hand, couped at the wrist, and extended in pale argent, with a crescent, for difference; and underneath, his name and addition of title. (fn. 10) He resided at Tubbenden's, and dying in 1673, was buried in this church. His grandson, Col. John Brome, who resided here, married Elizabeth, daughter and only child of George Berkeley, prebendary of Westminster, second son of George earl of Berkeley, and had by her several chil dren. He died in 1747, being succeeded in the inheritance of his estates by his two surviving daughters; one of whom married ......Clarke, M.D. and the other Mr. John Hamond, surgeon, at Chatham, and he, in her right, became intitled to Tubbenden's, of which he died possessed in 1774, leaving two daughters his coheirs, one of whom married ...... Brown, and the other James Primrose Maxwell, esq. of Lynn, in Dorsetshire, the latter of whom, in his wife's right, is become the present proprietor of it.


GEORGE DALTON by will, in 1566, gave 3s. 4d. annually to the poor for ever, to be distributed on the next Sunday after the feast of St. Peter, charged on the Tubbenden estate, vested in the church-wardens, and the annual produce of the above sum.

STEPHEN BRAZIER by his will, left a tenement, garden, and orchard, in this parish, the profits to be equally divided between the poor of this parish, and of Chelsfield for ever, and vested it in five feoffees for that purpose.

FARNBOROUGH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL Jurisdiction of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The church, which stands at the southeast end of the village, is dedicated to St. Giles the abbot.

On Dec. 26, 1639, it was so rent and torn by a violent storm of wind, that the inhabitants were forced to take it down and rebuild it, as appears by a brief granted for that purpose in the 17th year of king Charles I.

In this church, among others, are the following monuments and inseriptions. In the body, two grave stones for Eliz. Wyatt and Francis, son of Mr. Rich. Wyatt, who both died young. In the great chancel, a memorial for Elizabeth, wife of John Brome, esq. of this parish, ob. 1730, æt. 38, leaving five children; she was daughter and only child of George Berkeley, prebendary of Westminster, second son of George earl of Berkeley, and also for John Brome, esq. who died in 1747, æt. 53; above a shield of arms, being quarterly, of two coats, first and fourth, a dexter hand, couped at the wrist, and extended in pale; second and third, ermine on a cross quarter pierced four per de molines, impaling Berkeley. On the north side of the altar is an elegant mural mo nument and inscription for T. Brome, esq. sergeant, ob. 1673, æt. 68; beneath, on a tablet, is an inscription, shewing that the above monument was put up by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir Walter Mansel, knt. and bart. on the top of the monument, two shields, the first Brome, the second Mansell, a chevron between three maunches. Within the alter rails, an inscription for Sergeant Brome above mentioned, and Margaret his second wife, by whom he had six children. At top, the arms of Brome, impaling a lion rampant. A monument for Wm. Brome, esq. late of Tappendence, in this parish, ob. 1730, æt. 67. (fn. 11)

This church is only a chapel to the adjoining parish of Chelsfield, the rector of which is instituted to the rectory of Chelsfield, with the chapel of Farnborough annexed.

By virtue of a commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, out of chancery, it was returned, that Farnborough had been a chapel of ease to Chelsfield, and was already fitly divided; it had only one acre of land, and an old house, belonging to it, the parsonage being worth, at most, thirty pounds per annum, one master John Montagu the minister. (fn. 12)

John King, rector of the parish church of Chelesfield, with the chapel of Farnberg annexed, brought his suit in the consistory court of the bishop, against John Bertone, alias Botelere, of Farnberg, possessor of Diceris-croft in Farnberg, for withholding an annual spiritual pension due from the profits of it to the rector of Chelesfield, in right of his church, which had always been paid beyond the memory of man, excepting by him, who neither appearing nor making any defence, the official passed a desinitive sentence in favour of the rector. (fn. 13)


  • 1. Philipott, p. 110.
  • 2. Dudg. Bar. vol. ii. p. 17.
  • 3. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 18.
  • 4. Sandf. Gen. Hist. p. 105, 109.
  • 5. Sandf. Gen. Hist. p. 243.
  • 6. Camb. Brit. p. 981. Cott. Rec. p. 392, 541, 693. Parl. Surveys, Augmen. Off.
  • 7. Philipott, p. 110.
  • 8. Philipott, p. 260.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Dugd. Orig. p. 303.
  • 11. See the monuments and inscriptions in this church at large, in Reg. Roff. p. 953.
  • 12. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth lib. vol. xiv.
  • 13. Reg. Roff. p. 355.