A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Blachingelei (xi cent.); Blachingeley (xiii cent.); Blatchinggeleghe (xiv cent.). The 't' is not often used until the 18th century.
Blechingley is a village, formerly a borough and market town, 3 miles east of Redhill and 3 miles north-west of Godstone station. The parish, which included Horne till 1705, was one of the largest in Surrey, covering nearly 10,000 acres. The present area is 5,424 acres, and the parish measures 4½ miles from north to south and from 2¼ to 1¼ miles in breadth. The northern extremity reaches the chalk downs; the village and most of the inhabited part of the parish are on the Green Sand; the southern part is on the Wealden Clay, this being the normal arrangement of a parish on the south side of the chalk. The Redhill and Tonbridge line of the South-Eastern railway crosses the southern part of the parish. There is no station. The commons of Blechingley were inclosed by award of 16 April 1814 under an Act of 1810. (fn. 1)
The prehistoric fortification on White Hill is on the borders of Blechingley and Caterham parishes, but when complete must have been chiefly in the former. It is on the crest of the chalk downs, 770 ft. above the sea. Manning and Bray call it Cardinal's Cap, but this name does not now seem to be known locally. Aubrey calls the copse near it War Copse, a name (now becoming obsolete) which is probably connected with Warwick Wold close by. No remains of implements, prehistoric or Roman, seem to be recorded. The hill-track called the Pilgrims' Way passes close by the camp, and the probable line of the Roman road through Godstone must also have passed near it. (fn. 2) We can only say that there is a trace of a great hill-top camp of refuge of a probably early date. Mr. Flower computed the area to have been at least 20 acres, judging from the curve of the banks which he saw. If so it was as large as any in the county. At Gravelly Hill near here Messrs. Wright and Johnson found a few flint flakes, (fn. 3) and here too they detected slight traces of banks and ditches. The appearance of a 'stone street,' or paved road passing near the place, is mentioned under Chaldon parish. The Roman remains in Blechingley parish, near Pendell Court, are noticed in another section of this history. In a field called Chapel Plat, near Lodge Farm in the south of the parish, there are remains of a large moated inclosure.
The village of Blechingley is situated on a ridge, on the road from Godstone to Redhill, about 3 miles from the latter town. The chief part of it lies along the main road, to the north of which stands the church towards the east end of the village. To the west of the church are some good half-timbered cottages, and on the south side of the main road at that end of the village is the 'White Hart,' a long two-storied house with a modernized front, but probably dating from the end of the 16th century. In one of the front rooms is a large plain chimney recess, with a cast-iron fire-back bearing the date 1613 and the initials M.I.F. To the west of the 'White Hart' are three brick gabled houses of two stories, probably of the early 17th century, but much modernized.
About half a mile to the north-west of the village are Pendell and Pendell Court. The former house is said to have been designed for Richard Glydd by Inigo Jones; from the symmetry of the plan this attribution is not improbable. On one of the chimney stacks is the date 1636. Glydd died in 1665, and his grandson John, some time M.P. for Blechingley, came into possession. He died without issue in 1689, and his mother and sister Ann Glydd sold the house to Andrew Jelf, who was succeeded by Captain Andrew Jelf, R.N. His daughters sold it to Joseph Seymour Biscoe in 1803, and he sold to John G. W. Perkins in 1811. On the death of his son John Perkins intestate in 1846 it was the share of his sister Maria Trotter, who left it ultimately to her sister's grandson Mr. Jarvis Kenrick, who now lives there. (fn. 4)
Pendell Court, built in 1624, as a stone tablet over the entrance porch records, is now the seat of Mr. W. A. Bell. It is a three-storied building of red brick with stone mullioned windows and tiled roofs. A modern wing has been added on the east or garden front and a billiard-room thrown out on the north side. Internally only a few of the original fittings have survived. The west side of the house, however, preserves its original plan intact. The entrance is at the centre of this front, at the north end of a large hall, out of which open the drawing-room on the south and the dining-room on the north; beyond the dining-room and entered from it is a room originally extending the full depth of the house, now used as a study. The panelling of the rooms on the ground floor is entirely modern, except in the hall, where some old work exists. The entrance door, with its moulded posts and small panels and dog-gates, and probably the stone four-centred fireplace of the hall, together with the plaster ceiling, are original. In the drawing-room and the adjoining small chamber are two 18th-century chimney-pieces of coloured marbles. Over the hall is a large room which still retains its original panelling and stone four-centred fireplace. The small panelled room at the north east of this floor has also been left much in its original state. Externally the west front is flush, except for the central entrance porch, which is continued the whole height of the building, and the bay windows at the south end lighting the drawing-room and the room above it. In the windows of the room known as the picture room is some modern heraldic glass; some of the shields, including the achievement of George Holman, the original owner of Pendell Court (who bore Vert a cheveron between three pheons or with the crest of an ostrich's head argent on a hat), show the same bearings as those which till lately existed in the lights of the hall windows. In the garden is a picturesque 17th-century garden-house, square in plan and of red brick, with a moulded cornice of the same material, stone-mullioned windows and a pyramidal tiled roof.
Adjoining Pendell Court to the south is a fine brick house dating from the early 18th century and known as the manor-house. About half a mile to the north of the village, reached by the road at the east end of the churchyard, is the old rectory-house, portions of which appear to date from the end of the 15th century. The house is two-storied, and seems to have undergone a complete transformation about the middle of the 18th century. In one of the upper rooms is a stone fireplace with a moulded four-centred head and jambs. To the east of the rectory is the farm-house known as Brewster, or Brewer Street Farm, a half-timber house of two stories. Additions in the same style were made to the old building by the late owner, Rev. C. F. Chawner, rector of the parish.
To the east of Brewster Farm is Place Farm, all that survives of the manor-house of Blechingley. There was a manor-house here in 1296, (fn. 5) besides the castle, which was then probably in ruins. A letter written by Gilbert de Clare in 1313 mentions that he had bought all the cattle and corn on the manor of Merstham belonging to Christchurch, Canterbury, to provide for his house at Blechingley, and warns the king's officers not to take any away on any pretence. (fn. 6) In the account of Buckingham's lands in 1521 the manor-place of Blechingley, described as being within a mile of the town, was said to be 'properly and newly builded with many lodgings and offices. The hall, chapel, chambers, parlours, closets and oratories be newly ceiled with wainscot roofs, floors and walls to the intent they may be used at pleasure without hangings.' (fn. 7) In the evidence collected and brought against Buckingham at his trial it was said that, while walking in his gallery at Blechingley with Lord Abergavenny, he had been heard murmuring against the king's councillors and saying that if the king should die he meant to have the rule in England. (fn. 8)
The manors of Blechingley and Richmond, given in 1540 to Anne of Cleves, were then stated to have 'splendid houses.' (fn. 9) The king wrote to her: 'We have appointed you two houses, that at Richemont where you now lie, and the other at Blechinglegh, not far from London, that you may be near us and, as you desire, able to repair to our Court to see us as we shall repair to you.' (fn. 10) An old map of 1622 in the possession of Mr. Jarvis Kenrick shows that the buildings originally surrounded two courtyards, while a large gateway is represented in the centre of the entrance-block. The manor-house was said in 1680 to have been lately pulled down by Henry Earl of Peterborough, and there then remained only the gatehouse and several barns, stables and buildings lying on each side of the court leading to the gatehouse. The courtyards, gardens and orchards belonging to the gatehouse were inclosed with walls, hedges and pales, and contained 7 acres, being then in the tenure of Stephen Stone. (fn. 11)
The middle portion of the original block forms the present farm-house, and the jambs and fourcentred heads of the moulded brick gateway may still be seen externally. New windows have been inserted and the interior entirely modernized, while the gateway has been blocked up and a door and porch of early 19th-century date inserted. At the rear, parts of the foundations of the remainder of the original buildings may be traced. The house appears to have been built early in the 16th century.
Blechingley House belongs to the Rev. Canon Barwell, Sandhills to Mr. Henry Lambert, C.B., South Park Farm to Mr. A. U. M. Lambert, J.P., War Coppice to Mrs. Verner, Harewood House to Mr. A. H. Lloyd, J.P.
A church house was built in 1905 from the proceeds of the sale of an older building given for the same purpose by Mr. Jarvis Kenrick, but now forming part of the village club. Godstone Union workhouse is situated in Blechingley.
At the west end of the village, in the grounds of the modern house of Castle Hill, the seat of Mr. A. P. Brandt, are the remains of Blechingley Castle, of which the foundations and some walls of the square keep containing two chambers and a newel at the north-east angle are all that survive. The inner and outer moats can be plainly traced on the north and west, and on the north-west is a small mound which may mark the site of a barbican. (fn. 12)
The origin of the castle is unknown. Blechingley, being the head of the Clare barony in Surrey, was chosen as the site of a manorial stronghold. The earthworks may have been thrown up by Richard of Tonbridge at the end of the 11th century, but are possibly later. The remains of the masonry defences point to mid-12th-century work and indicate a masonry castle of the time of Stephen, a period during which many such strongholds were erected. The Clares sided with the barons during the disputes with the Crown in the 13th century, and in the wars of 1263–4 Blechingley Castle, so far as is recorded, for the first and only time was the scene of military operations. Simon de Montfort, accompanied by Gilbert de Clare, marched by here on his way to attack the king's army on the coast. Although the barons won a victory at Lewes, the Royalises from Tonbridge Castle fell upon the Londoners who had been driven from the field and were retreating the way they had come, and are said to have taken and dismantled Blechingley Castle, an operation which might have been disastrous for the barons had they been worsted at Lewes. It is probable, however, that the castle was not totally destroyed by this comparatively small force, but that, having once been dismantled, it fell into neglect and became gradually ruined. (fn. 13) Aubrey, writing about 200 years ago, mentions 'one piece of wall of 5 foot thick' as still remaining. (fn. 14) Manning, in the early 19th century, says the foundations were still visible.
The land on which the castle had stood became separated from the manor, and appears to have been held in the 16th century by the family of Cholmeley, (fn. 15) who were also seised of land called Unwins (fn. 16) (a name still extant in the parish), which lay close by the site below the hill. According to Manning the site afterwards belonged to the Drakes, who assumed the name of Brockman in the late 18th century. In 1793 James Drake Brockman sold it to John Kenrick, whose brothers, Matthew and Jarvis, afterwards held in turn. It belonged to this family when Brayley wrote, (fn. 17) subsequently to Mr. James Norris, who built Castle Hill about 1860, to Mr. Partridge, and now to Mr. A. P. Brandt.
The great possessions and continued residence of the Clares in this part of Surrey account for the fact that Blechingley was a place of considerable importance during their tenure. It was from quite early times both a market town and a borough. In 1262–3 mention is made of the profits due from shops and stallage here, (fn. 18) and in 1296 the stalls and tolls of the market were valued at 16s. yearly. (fn. 19) Account was rendered in 1325 of 14s. from the same source. (fn. 20) The market here has long been discontinued, (fn. 21) but an annual fair at the festival of All Saints, which was granted to Gilbert de Clare in 1283, (fn. 22) was held as late as 1891, and a fair on 10 May is still held. Another fair was held in June. (fn. 23)
An early mention of the borough occurs in 1225–6, when returns for the hundred of Tandridge refer to a malefactor dwelling in the borough of Blechingley. (fn. 24) References to burgage tenure within the manor in the 13th century are also to be found. (fn. 25) A detailed extent of it is given in 1262–3, when the yearly rent due from it amounted to 106s. 4d.; rent of shops, stallage, &c., to 40s., view of frankpledge to half a marg, and pleas and perquisites of the borough to 20s. The burgesses owed tallage at the will of the lord for the knighting of his eldest son or the marriage of his eldest daughter. (fn. 26) A view of frankpledge was held for the burgesses and the other tenants, a separate common fine being payable by the burgesses and by the tenants of 'Upland.' A portmote was also held for the burgesses. In 1325 the sum of 109s. 10½d. was returned as the rent of assize of the borough. (fn. 27)
Blechingley was a mesne borough and was never incorporated. It was held by the Clares, whose interest in Surrey was thus represented in the House of Commons. (fn. 28) Blechingley first returned members to Parliament in 1295, Richard de Bodekesham and John de Geyhesham being elected on that occasion. At the last election in 1831, before Blechingley was disfranchised by the Reform Bill of 1832, Lord Palmerston was returned, after his rejection as a reformer for Cambridge University. Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, a well-known politician, was member in 1797, and in 1826 William Lamb, afterwards Lord Melbourne, was elected. But generally the members were chosen from families long settled in the neighbourhood, who held lands there. There was a noteworthy election in 1624, (fn. 29) when Henry Lovell claimed that he should have been returned instead of John Hayward, and the borough-holders charged Lovell and also Dr. Harris, rector of Blechingley, with having attempted in an underhand fashion to prevent Hayward's return. From the evidence it appears that Blechingley was, and had always been, a borough by prescription, the rights of election being in the borough-holders. (fn. 30) At this election there were seventeen borough-holders only, summoned by writ of the sheriff, the rest being absent, and Sir Myles Fleetwood and Hayward were elected. On the following Sunday the bailiff declared in church that the borough-holders and also all the other inhabitants should meet to make a new election, and on this occasion Lovell was chosen in place of Hayward. Lovell contended, in support of his own case, that in certain indentures concerning the returns of burgesses for Blechingley in 1553 and later, it was said that the elections had been made not only by the boroughholders but also by 'alii de communitate eiusdem burgi,' a term which could only apply to the other inhabitants, not borough-holders, and that his election was therefore just. This contention was upset by Parliament, and Lovell was condemned to be committed to the Tower during the pleasure of the House, and to make his submission and ask pardon at the bar of the House. The rector, for aiding and abetting Lovell, was obliged to make a similar submission, and to acknowledge his fault publicly from the pulpit of his church.
Blechingley always remained a burgage-tenure borough, and in the hands of the Claytons became a mere pocket borough, all the votes being the property of the lord.
Sir Robert Clayton sat for Blechingley in 1698 for the first time, and from that time onward, as long as the borough was held by the Claytons, one and sometimes both of its representatives were very frequently members of this family. Manning states that in his time there were ninety-seven houses in the borough. (fn. 31) There had formerly been about 130. Brayley says that towards the close of its history as a borough the number of voters who actually attended seldom exceeded eight or ten. (fn. 32) The borough was sold with the manor in 1816 to Matthew Russell, who, like the Claytons, had the nomination of both members, all the burgage tenures being his property. (fn. 33)
Manning says that until 1733 the elections were held in a house called the Hall. They were then transferred to the White Hart Inn, lately purchased by Clayton, and were always afterwards held there. (fn. 34)
In 1086 the manor of BLECHINGLEY was held by Richard de Tonbridge of the king. (fn. 35) Before this time there had been three manors, held by Aelfech, Alwin and Elnod, the assessment being for 10 hides; in 1086 there was one manor only, assessed for 3 hides. Of the 10 hides Odmus held 2½, Lemei 2, and Peter 1½ at the time of the Survey. The part held by Richard himself was worth £12 and that held by his homagers 73s. 4d. He also held houses in London and Southwark appurtenant to this manor.
With the exception of the king, Richard was the largest landholder in Surrey. He was ancestor of the Earls of Hertford and Gloucester, who were lords of Blechingley, their chief seat in this county, until the extinction of the male line of the Clares in 1314. (fn. 36) They held by knight's service and by a rent of 5s. called Park-silver, which was paid to the sheriff for the king's use. (fn. 37)
With the other great Surrey family, the Warennes, the Clares exercised great influence in this part of the country on the political dissensions of the time, the Clares usually supporting the cause of the barons against the king. (fn. 38) Gilbert, fourth holder of the honour of Clare, was created Earl of Hertford probably in 1138; he was succeeded at his death by his brother Roger, the latter being the first and only head of this family who was called neither Richard nor Gilbert. His son Richard became heir to the Earl of Gloucester by his marriage with Amice daughter and eventually sole heir of William FitzRobert Earl of Gloucester. Gilbert, son of Richard and Amice, was recognized as Earl of Gloucester in 1218. He was succeeded by his son Richard, the eighth Clare to hold Blechingley, who died in 1262. Gilbert, son and heir of Richard, surnamed the Red, opposed the king in the civil war of 1264, but afterwards came over to Henry's side and fought for him at Evesham. (fn. 39) Having divorced his first wife, Gilbert married secondly Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I, giving up on the occasion of his marriage all his lands, including Blechingley, to the king, who regranted most of them to the earl and Joan his wife and their issue. (fn. 40) The earl died in 1295, and Blechingley was for several years in the king's hands owing to the minority of the heir. (fn. 41) Joan Countess of Gloucester and widow of Gilbert died in 1307. (fn. 42) Their son Gilbert was slain at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, leaving no issue; his heirs were his three sisters, Eleanor wife of Hugh le Despenser the younger, Margaret, who married first Piers Gaveston and secondly Hugh de Audley the younger, and Elizabeth wife of John de Burgh; among these three the extensive lands of the Clares were divided. By partition made in the Court of Chancery the manor of Blechingley was apportioned to Margaret. It appears, however, from a suit concerning the matter a good many years later that it was the manor only which she inherited, whilst Eleanor was granted the knights' fees belonging to it. The suit just referred to raised the point as to whether if one person was seised of a manor, and granted the suit and services of a tenant holding of that manor to a third person, the grantor or the grantee should make cognizance for arrears. (fn. 43) It was apparently decided that, the partition having been made in Chancery, and not by Margaret herself, the actual rent and services due to the manor must belong to her. (fn. 44) Though Blechingley Manor continued to be held by Margaret's descendants, there are inquisitions in which Tandridge (q.v.), the particular manor under discussion in the case just quoted, is mentioned among the knights' fees held by Eleanor's descendants.
Hugh de Audley, Margaret's second husband, was declared a contrariant in 1321, and his lands were seized, an action due to his neglect of various commands sent him by the king requiring his presence, and to his refusal to serve the king in any way. (fn. 45) He took part in the insurrection of 1322, but was pardoned in 1327 on the revolution being accomplished, and his lands were restored. (fn. 46) He was afterwards created Earl of Gloucester. The earl died in 1347, when, his wife Margaret being already dead, his daughter and heir Margaret wife of Ralph de Stafford inherited Blechingley. (fn. 47) Ralph was created Earl of Stafford in 1351, (fn. 48) and this family, the members of which after 1444 also bore the title of Duke of Buckingham, (fn. 49) continued to hold Blechingley until the attainder and execution of Henry second Duke of Buckingham in 1483. (fn. 50)
The manor, thus forfeited to the king, remained in the Crown until Henry VII in the first year of his reign granted it to Katherine, widow of the Duke of Buckingham and then Duchess of Bedford, to hold in dower, (fn. 51) and her son Edward, third Duke of Buckingham, having been restored in lands and honours, afterwards held it. (fn. 52) He was attainted and beheaded in 1521, when Blechingley finally passed from the family who had held it for so long.
Henry VIII granted Blechingley in 1522 to Sir Nicholas Carew and Elizabeth his wife and to their issue male. (fn. 53) After the attainder and death of Carew and the consequent forfeiture of his lands, Elizabeth, his widow, petitioned the king through Cromwell to be allowed to keep Blechingley and Wallington, with lands in Sussex, the whole to amount annually to about 300 marks, 'under which she cannot honestly live.' (fn. 54) By a letter of the same date (March 1539) to Cromwell her mother thanked him for sending word of the king's kindness in allowing Elizabeth to keep lands in Sussex, but begged that, as there was no house on it where her daughter could lie, she might keep Blechingley also, as she had 'not been used to strait living.' (fn. 55) The petition seems, however, to have had no effect, as in 1540 the manor of Blechingley was granted to Anne of Cleves for life, on her divorce from the king, in consideration of her willingness to remain in England and to renounce her marriage. (fn. 56) Sir Thomas Cawarden was appointed keeper of the manor, (fn. 57) and in 1546 he received a grant in fee of the reversion after the death of Anne of Cleves, (fn. 58) which occurred in 1557. Sir Thomas, who was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and who also held the offices of Master of the Revels and Master of the Tents to Henry VIII, (fn. 59) died in 1559, William Cawarden; his nephew, being his heir. (fn. 60) The latter alienated the manor in the following year to William Lord Howard of Effingham and Margaret his wife. (fn. 61) Charles, theirson, Lord High Admiral and Commander of the English Fleet in 1588, created Earl of Nottingham in 1596, afterwards held Blechingley, (fn. 62) and during his tenure an attempt was made by Francis Carew, heir of Sir Nicholas, to obtain the estate. William Lord Burghley, as Lord Treasurer, and others, ordered him to renounce his claim, (fn. 63) and in 1575 he quitclaimed all right to Charles Lord Howard and Margaret his mother. (fn. 64) The admiral did not die until 1624, but he had previously given up his estate at Blechingley to his son William Lord Howard, who in 1602 addressed a letter to 'my loving tenants of my manor of Blechingley,' telling them he had assigned 5 or 6 acres in the common of Horne, parcel of Blechingley, to Henry Jeffrey, a servant who had attended his father in his voyage to Cadiz. (fn. 65) William, who was summoned to Parliament in his father's barony of Effingham in 1603, (fn. 66) died in 1615, leaving a daughter Elizabeth, on whom he had settled the manor a short time previously. (fn. 67) Charles, brother of William, on whom the contingent remainder was settled, made an unsuccessful claim at William's death. (fn. 68) Elizabeth afterwards married John first Earl of Peterborough, (fn. 69) who died in 1644. Henry, their son, second Earl of Peterborough, compounded for his estates in 1646 and again in 1649. (fn. 70) John Mordaunt, Viscount Avalon, their second son, was an ardent Royalist, and his estates were sequestrated in 1659, (fn. 71) when some discussion arose as to whether he held any estate at Blechingley beyond what was allowed him of free will by the Dowager Countess of Peterborough, amounting to about £500 per annum coming from both Blechingley and Reigate. (fn. 72) In 1667 he was holding an annual rent of £300 from the manor of Blechingley. (fn. 73) An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1677 to enable Mary, the daughter and heir of the Earl of Peterborough, then under age, to release her interest in the manor, (fn. 74) and in July of that year it was accordingly sold to Sir Robert Clayton and John Morris, (fn. 75) one of the trustees being John Evelyn, who writes in his diary, 'I sealed the deedes of sale of the manor of Blechinglee to Sir Robert Clayton for payment of Lord Peterborough's debts, accordingly to the trust of the Act of Parliament.' (fn. 76) Morris at his death left his property to his partner Clayton. (fn. 77) The latter, a man of humble origin, had been apprenticed to his uncle, a scrivener in London, from whom he afterwards inherited a fortune, and made his way rapidly. He held many important offices in London, and was sheriff in 1672 and Lord May or in 1679–80. Evelyn refers to him as 'this prince of citizens, there never having been any who, for the great stateliness of his palace, prodigious feasting and magnificence, exceeded him. He was a discreet magistrate and, tho' envied, I think without much cause.' (fn. 78) He was also member of Parliament for Blechingley. He died in 1707, leaving no issue, having devised Blechingley to his nephew William Clayton, who was created a baronet in 1732. (fn. 79) He married Martha Kenrick and was succeeded by his son Sir Kenrick Clayton. Sir Robert, the third baronet, became deeply involved in debt and sold the reversion of Blechingley in 1788 to a cousin, John Kenrick, nephew of Martha. (fn. 80) It passed successively to his brothers Matthew and Jarvis Kenrick, the latter holding in 1808. (fn. 81) In 1816 the manor was sold to Matthew Russell, after whose death in 1835 it passed by purchase to John Perkins. (fn. 82) John Perkins died intestate in 1846, and his estate was divided among his four surviving sisters. Clara Matilda Charles (sic) Perkins took (inter alia) the manor of Blechingley, of which the monetary value was small. She died in 1870 and left it to her niece Margaret Mayers, who died the same year and was succeeded by her brother Colonel John Perkins Mayers. He died in 1877, and her estate was conveyed to Sir George Macleay, K.C.M.G., after whose death in 1891 his trustees sold it in 1893 to Mr. William Abraham Bell.
Two parks were included in the manor of Blechingley. These were inclosed before 1233. (fn. 83) In 1262 the pasture in the parks was worth 40s. yearly, pannage 50s., and underwood and deadwood were also valued. (fn. 84) In 1296 the annual value of the pannage there was 60s. (fn. 85) They were known by 1403 as the North and South Parks, (fn. 86) and later they are also called the Little and Great Parks respectively. They followed the same descent as the manor (q.v.). Records of trespass, of deer stealing and of appointments of keepers of the park are occasionally found. (fn. 87)
In 1523, after Buckingham's death, £4 11s. was rendered from Ambrose Skelton and John Scott, keepers of the North and South Parks. (fn. 88) Tithes from the South Park were due to the rectory in 1536. (fn. 89) In 1540 Sir Thomas Cawarden was made keeper of the parks and master of the hunt of deer there. (fn. 90) In the grant made of the parks to Anne of Cleves they were said to be 'of two leagues,' (fn. 91) this being apparently their circumference.
The homagers presented in 1680 that 'the demesnes did heretofore consist of two parks, Little and Great, now called the North and South Park, but are and have been for many years disparked and laid into several farms.' (fn. 92) The North Park contained 1,135 a. 22 p., the South 1,681 a. 28 p.; the boundaries of the parks are lost, but the names are still retained in the parish. (fn. 93)
The land called HEXSTALLS was at one time held as a manor, or reputed manor. After Buckingham's attainder Sir Nicholas Carew in 1523 received a grant in tail-male of a messuage and 200 acres in Blechingley, formerly called Hexstalles, part of Buckingham's lands. (fn. 94) After Carew's death the 'farm of Hexstalles,' lately in the occupation of John Lad, was demised for twenty-one years to Jasper Horsey. (fn. 95) It was included in the life grant made to Anne of Cleves, (fn. 96) and the reversion of it, as the 'manor or farm of Hexstalles,' was afterwards granted to Sir Thomas Cawarden. (fn. 97) About this period it is frequently referred to as a manor, being always held with Blechingley (q.v.), with which it seems to have afterwards descended. (fn. 98)
In 1086 Richard de Tonbridge held in demesne CHIVINGTON (Civentone) in Blechingley, assessed for 6 hides, (fn. 99) and at this time possibly the principal manor. It does not, however, seem to have been afterwards held as a separate manor, but apparently became very early merged in Blechingley. It is still a hamlet east of the main village.
At the time of the Domesday Survey there was a mill in Chivington Manor worth 32d. (fn. 100) A water mill worth 10s. and a windmill worth 33s. 4d. were among the appurtenances of Blechingley Manor in 1262. (fn. 101) In 1296 the water mill had been demised to farm for a rent of 20s., and the windmill was described as 'new, and of no value because broken.' (fn. 102) The latter is represented by Blechingley Mill, which is the windmill between the site of the castle and Nutfield. Two water mills and four dovecots were included among the appurtenances of the manor in the time of Elizabeth, and are mentioned in 1735. (fn. 103)
The manor of GARSTON, GASTON or GASSON may perhaps be traced to the early 13th century, when William son of Eustace de Garston granted land in Blechingley to Hugh son of Asketun de Chivington, reserving a rent of 5d., and also granted a virgate in Tandridge to Adam le Butteler, who married his daughter Agnes. (fn. 104) In 1229 William de Garston quitclaimed 2½ hides in Blechingley to the Prior of Rochester. (fn. 105) A conveyance between Roger de Garston and Reginald de Garston, dealing with a messuage, two mills, 140 acres of land, 9 acres of meadow, 60 acres of wood, a rent of 28s. 2d., and 2 lb. of pepper is recorded in 1303. (fn. 106) In 1364 Roger son and heir of John atte Garston granted to William de Burton, goldsmith, of London, all his right in the land and rent which he had inherited from his father in Blechingley. (fn. 107) In 1418 a manor of Garston was held by Robert de Chichele and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 108) Probably these held as lessees of the Prior of Tandridge (of whom the Garston family above mentioned may have been tenants), as in 1505 this priory was found to be holding Garston as a manor, (fn. 109) and held it until the Dissolution. (fn. 110)
In 1538 the manor of Garston was granted, with the other possessions of the priory, to John Rede in tail-male, (fn. 111) in return for the surrender of Oatlands to the king. He died in 1545 and was succeeded by his son John, during whose minority an uncle, Thomas Rede, held. (fn. 112) In 1577 John sold the manor to Henry Hayward, (fn. 113) who made a settlement of the manor on his son John and Agnes his wife; he died in 1611. (fn. 114) John settled it in 1614 on his second wife Elizabeth, widow of William Watts and daughter of William Angell. (fn. 115) In 1630 another settlement was made, on William eldest son of John and Elizabeth, Humphrey, his eldest son by the previous marriage, being disinherited because he had 'been always a disobedient child.' (fn. 116) William Hayward was afterwards knighted, and in 1681 he, with Martha his wife, conveyed the manor to John Burrough. (fn. 117)
In 1691 John Bourrough joined with William Hayward (fn. 118) in conveying to Michael Edwards of Kingston. (fn. 119) Sir James Edwards, bart., his nephew, afterwards held, and, dying in 1702, left it to his son James, (fn. 120) who sold to Sir Joseph Jekyll in 1713. (fn. 121) Sir Joseph Jekyll died without issue in 1738, having devised his property to twelve relations. (fn. 122) A decree for sale was made in 1749, (fn. 123) and by Acts of Parliament in 1751 and 1753 two out of the twelve parts, belonging to the heirs of two of the original devisees who had died, were vested in trustees for purposes of sale with the bulk of the property, the said heirs being both infants. (fn. 124) In 1753 the ten remaining devisees conveyed ten twelfths of the manor of Garston to Sir Kenrick Clayton, (fn. 125) who presumably obtained the other parts also, and it was afterwards held by his family, who retained it when they sold the reversion of Blechingley Manor (fn. 126) (q.v.). Sir William Clayton was lord of the manor in 1841, (fn. 127) but the manorial rights are now lost. (fn. 128) The house is now the seat of Mr. Stanley Boulter, J.P.
In 1509 Thomas Uvedale quitclaimed all his right in the manor of PENDHILL or PENDELL or BABERNON to Henry Saunder. (fn. 129) It was held in 1568 by William Saunder son of Henry, (fn. 130) and afterwards by Nicholas, who in 1592 conveyed to William Brend. (fn. 131) In 1613 John Tyndall and Margaret his wife held in the right of Margaret, possibly the heiress of Brend. (fn. 132) Tyndall in 1617 conveyed to George Holman, (fn. 133) who built Pendell Court about 1624. (fn. 134) Robert Holman son of George died in 1664, (fn. 135) and after the death without issue of his sons, Mary his daughter, wife of Thomas Seyliard of Penshurst in Kent, became his heir. (fn. 136) She afterwards married Thomas Lee and held Pendell jointly with her husband in 1686. (fn. 137) Her son John Seyliard (fn. 138) afterwards held it and died in 1744 or 1745. In 1750 John Seyliard, son of the latter, died, leaving his manor-house called Pendell and lands to his wife Isabel for life with reversion to his daughters and heirs, Henrietta Maria and Ann, both under age. (fn. 139) According to Manning, Ann, who apparently survived her sister, died in 1760, (fn. 140) when her cousin Hester Wade Seyliard, wife of George Scullard, inherited. (fn. 141) She after her husband's death gave the estate to John Perkins, her step-brother, whose son John Perkins acquired the manor of Blechingley in 1835, (fn. 142) with which Pendell Court has subsequently descended.
The rent rolls of Pendell from Henry VII to Elizabeth are in the possession of Mr. Jarvis Kenrick.
The house called Pendell Court, though not the manor-house of Pendell or Blechingley, was formerly occupied by the Perkins family (fn. 143) and by Sir George Macleay, and is now the residence of Mr. Bell. For description of it see above.
Land in HAM in Blechingley was held by a family of that name in the 13th century, and in 1271–2 Reginald de la Hamme exchanged lands there with John de Hever. (fn. 144) The estate afterwards belonged to the family of Turner, which was settled in this parish as early as the reign of Richard II. Richard Turner was member for Blechingley in the Parliament of 1396–7. (fn. 145) In 1607 John Turner died seised of the capital messuage called Ham, which his father of the same name had held before him, and his son, also called John, succeeded him. (fn. 146) In 1638 the constable of Blechingley complained that he had by warrant from the sheriff distrained Mr. Turner by his cattle for ship-money in 1636, but that the distress had been forcibly rescued by Turner's servants, who were therefore called upon with their master to answer the charge. (fn. 147) In 1647 John Turner, having been nominated High Sheriff of Surrey, petitioned to be dismissed from serving, on the plea that being very old he was infirm and had not left his house for nearly a year and that he had moreover suffered great loss, chiefly through the billeting of soldiers on himself and his tenants, so that his revenue was then scarcely sufficient to support his family. (fn. 148) The last John Turner died intestate in 1713, but he had previously sold Ham, the purchaser, according to Manning, being a certain Mr. Budgen, father of Thomas Budgen, M.P., whose son John Smith Budgen died in 1804 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who held in 1808. (fn. 149) It was purchased from this family before 1844 by Mr. King. (fn. 150) It is now occupied as a farm-house. The gateway, which had the date 1611 on it, was pulled down in 1843, but portions of the old house remain, with some panelling dated 1585, and a fine chimney-piece of about that date.
Ham, which lies detached from Blechingley, was united to Nutfield in 1894. (fn. 151)
A family called Stangrave held land in Blechingley as early as the 13th century. In 1251 Joan de Stangrave conveyed three burgages and 13 acres of land there to Robert Cook. (fn. 152) In 1258 John de Stangrave was seneschal to the Earl of Gloucester, (fn. 153) in whom the overlordship of these lands lay. (fn. 154) In 1303 Robert de Stangrave received a grant of free warren in his lands of STANGRAVE. (fn. 155) Later he by the name of Robert de Stangrave, kt., granted to Walter de Godstone all his lands called Stangravesdowne. (fn. 156) In 1322 he lodged a complaint against certain persons who had broken into and hunted in his park at Stangrave. (fn. 157) He received licence in 1326 for an oratory in his manor of Stangrave and it was renewed in 1331. (fn. 158) In 1356 Sir Robert, possibly son of the above, received licence to retain 50 acres of land which he had acquired from Ralph Earl of Stafford, of whose manor of Blechingley they formed part. (fn. 159) He died in 1360 seised of the tenement called Stangrave, John Breton, kt., being his kinsman and heir. (fn. 160) In 1372 Ralph Earl of Stafford died seised of it, (fn. 161) but the overlord seems afterwards to have enfeoffed another family of these lands. (fn. 162) According to Manning and other authorities, Edward Barber of Blechingley held Stangrave at his death in 1580, when it passed by the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to the family of Beecher of Kent, in whose hands it remained until 1676, when a daughter and heiress conveyed it by marriage to Thomas Northey, ancestor of Millicent Parkhurst, who with her sisters sold the property to the Clayton family. (fn. 163) The Northeys pulled down the old house in 1740 and built one called Ivy House. (fn. 164) This was also pulled down a few years ago, and a third house has been recently built. It is now the property of Mr. Arthur Henry Brandt.
The church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel, modern clergy and quire vestries on the north side, south or Clayton chapel, nave, north transept or Ham chapel, modern north aisle, south aisle, west tower and south porch. (fn. 165)
The earliest part of the present church appears to be the tower, which is possibly of early 12th-century date, but which may possibly have been added to a still earlier nave, incorporating its west wall. A larger nave was added about 1180, of which the north wall possibly still exists above the modern arcade, and the present tower arch was inserted at the same time.
Early in the 13th century the chancel seems to have been largely rebuilt and the south chapel added a little later. The lancets in the south wall of the chapel can be seen outside, while the good state of preservation of the south door would seem to show that a 13th-century porch preceded the present one. In the first half of the 15th century large alterations were made, the south arcade of the aisle was taken down and rebuilt, and at this date the chancel arch and south arcade of the chancel were enlarged and a north transept added to the nave; later in the same century new windows appear to have been inserted in the south chapel and tower. No further alterations or additions appear to have been made till the 19th century, when about the year 1845 a north aisle was added, with an arcade to match the south arcade, a new window inserted in the north transept and the south aisle windows altered to their present form. In the year 1906 the south and east walls of the church were refaced and all details renewed, and in the year 1910 the tower underwent a similar process, the coat of rough-cast given to it in the 18th century being removed. It was found that all the dressings had been so hacked about to afford a key that no alternative was possible.
In the east wall of the chancel are three grouped lancet windows. These are almost entirely modern. The former east window was of late 15th-century date and the position of its jambs can still be traced externally. In the course of its removal fragments of 13th-century jamb mouldings were uncovered which have been worked into the present windows. At the east end of the north wall is a late 12th-century window, now blocked. West of this is a peculiar wall-arcade of three plain two-centred arches with chamfered jambs of about 1235. In the easternmost bay is a stone seat. Above is a lancet window, the jambs splayed to the whole width of the bay with a string course at the sill level. The lower part of the middle bay is occupied by a 13th-century doorway with a 15th-century four-centred head with blank shields in the spandrels. The 13th-century string course is continued in this bay, following round the splays of the doorway, the head of which rises above it. Above the doorway is a lancet window like that in the east bay, but considerably shorter, the sill being raised to clear the doorway below. The upper portion of the western bay is now open, the organ being placed in a modern chamber adjoining the north side of the chancel. The south side of the chancel consists of an early 15th-century arcade of two unequal bays with two-centred arches of two orders with a double ogee and a deep casement. The arches are supported by a pier of four threequarter shafts on an inner square with hollowchamfered angles. The shafts have moulded bases and capitals with octagonal abaci, and stand on double plinths of the same form. The inner order is received upon the east respond by a short shaft similarly moulded and supported by a corbel sculptured with an angel holding a shield charged with a cheveron. The mouldings of the outer order on the chancel side die on to the east wall and on the chapel side are received upon a plain chamfer. The west respond continues the outer orders, and the inner order is carried by a shaft answering to the pier shafts. It seems to have been originally contemplated to fill the east bay, which is the smaller of the two, with some sort of stone screen-work or tomb canopy, as the lower portion of the east face of the pier is squared out to form an abutment and the shaft on this face is cut away a short distance below its capital. The original intention, however, was never carried out. The finished portion with its miniature buttress-work shows that the projected design was an elaborate one. The chancel arch, which is considerably to the south of the nave centre, is four-centred, with a label on the nave side, and is of the same date and detail as the chancel arcade. It has short shafts for the inner order on corbels sculptured with angels, holding on the north an open book and on the south a viol. The outer order dies on to the walls except at the north-west, where the north wall of the nave allows sufficient space for it to be brought down whole to the springing. The east wall of the chancel was recently refaced externally with rough Tilburstow stone.
In the east wall of the south chapel is a window of three cinquefoiled lights with a segmental head, which was blocked early in the 18th century when the huge Clayton monument was erected, and is visible from the outside only. There is a similar window, but drop-centred, in the south wall. The glass-line of both windows is near the centre of the wall.
At the east end of the south wall is a 14th-century piscina grooved for a shelf, with a trefoiled head and projecting basin on a corbel carved with a small animal conceived with great spirit. The wall is rubble-faced and has been carefully restored without disturbing these features. An arch like those of the south arcade of the chancel opens to the south aisle. Visible externally in the west part of the south wall is a small built-up lancet window, and to the east of it the west jamb of a second. Both have a rebate for a shutter and date from c. 1200. To the west of these, near the ground, is a round hole, also blocked up, the origin and purpose of which is uncertain.
In the north-west corner of the nave is a projection of masonry of 15th-century date with an embattled cornice at the level of the springing of the chancel arch, and the eastern arch of the north transept arch, its faces lining with their responds. In the west face is a shallow trefoil-headed niche, on the jambs and head of which are remains of former painting of white stars on a red ground. It had originally an embattled canopy, similarly painted, since cut away flush with the face. This masonry was doubtless added to make a niche for the nave altar without weakening the support of the chancel arch.
The transept arch is also of the 15th century and is like those of the chancel arcade; the carving on the east corbel of the inner order is cut away, but the western one is sculptured with a serpent on a hemisphere, the upper edge of which appears to be fringed with leaves. The remainder of the north side of the nave is occupied by a modern arcade of three bays, a facsimile of the south arcade, which is of four bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders, and the details are in every respect similar to those of the south arcade of the chancel, with which it corresponds in date. The east and west responds continue the outer order, the inner order being carried by shafts answering to the pier shafts.
The details of the north transept are modern.
The north aisle has three north windows and one west window of 15th-century pattern.
At the east end of the south wall of the south aisle is a small four-centred doorway leading to a rood stair, and above it, at the level of the former gallery, a similar doorway. The stairs are contained within a projecting turret and are continued upwards to the aisle roof. The rood was erected at the same time as the chancel arch and the nave altar, for the mouldings at the north spring are unfaced. To the west of the rood-stair door are three modern windows like those of the north aisle. Between the two westernmost is the south doorway, a good example of mid-13th-century work. Externally the two-centred head is of two characteristically moulded orders with shafted jambs. The shafts and their capitals have been restored, but the head has been left practically untouched. There is an external label, stopped on the east by a mask-stop and on the west by a head. In the west wall is a window of the same design as those in the south wall. There is a consecration cross cut in the west jamb.
Externally the aisle has been entirely refaced and the embattled parapet and cornice renewed. The embattled turret containing the rood stair rises above the general parapet level. On plan it is square with the western angles truncated. Between the two eastern windows is a modern buttress of two off-sets. This was added in 1910, the remains of an original buttress having been discovered in the process of refacing the wall.
The tower, which has been entirely refaced, appears to date from c. 1100. It is of three receding stages, with a cornice and embattled parapet. The tower arch is a plain two-centred arch, with nook-shafted responds and moulded abaci. The foliation of the shaft capitals is carried in a band around the faces of the responds, and is of a more advanced type on the south than on the north respond. In the north and south walls of the ground stage are small semicircular-headed windows with wide internal splays. The west doorway is entirely modern. Immediately above it is a late 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights within a dropped two-centred head renewed externally. The ringing stage has on the north two small round-headed windows and one in the south wall. The belfry has two-light modern windows with segmental heads, copied from the previous late 15th-century windows, on the north, west and south. The east window of the belfry is of two round-headed lights, with a circular central shaft having a foliated capital, also modern, but replacing a 12th-century window formerly in this position.
The outer doorway of the 15th-century south porch has a four-centred head with a square label and traceried spandrels. This has been almost entirely renewed. In the east wall is a small square-headed window. Immediately over the doorway in the south wall is an original square-headed niche with a modern figure of the Virgin and Child. The parvise is lighted by a two-light cinquefoiled segmental-headed window, drastically restored. At the north end of the west wall is a small doorway with four-centred head, which forms the only means of entrance. This must formerly have had an external stair, probably of wood. The whole is crowned by a cornice and embattled parapet with panelled and crocketed pinnacles at the angles.
The chancel has an original 15th-century trussed rafter roof with embattled cornices. The south chapel has a similar roof, but with two cambered and chamfered tie-beams and plain cornices. The nave has a similar 15th-century roof, with the addition of cambered and moulded tie-beams supported by wall-posts and curved braces carried on stone grotesque corbels, mostly unrestored. The king posts and longitudinal purlin are modern reinforcements. The low-pitched lean-to roof of the south aisle is also of the 15th century, and has a central purlin and principals, with carved bosses at their intersections supported by wall-posts and curved braces, the spandrels being filled with vertical tracery. The wall-posts rest on grotesque head corbels. The roofs of the chancel and nave are covered externally with slates, while the south aisle roof is leaded. The modern north aisle has a tiled roof.
The font is of 15th-century date, and is octagonal, with panelled faces to the bowl and stem. By the pulpit is an hour-glass stand, which with its wroughtiron bracket is probably of the early 17th century.
On the floor at the east end of the north aisle is a brass to Thomas Warde, who died 21 August 1541, and Jane his wife, with figures in civil dress, and at the top of the slab the symbol of the Trinity.
At the east end of the south aisle in the floor is a stone slab with three brass plates containing the figures of six boys, six girls and five girls respectively. (fn. 166) The third plate originally belonged elsewhere. At the top of the slab are two shields: (1) A cheveron engrailed between three scallops, impaling a cheveron between three rings; (2) the dexter coat alone.
In the chancel floor to the north of the altar is the brass of a priest in full vestments, without inscription, which seems to be of mid-15th-century date. Above the figure is a shield with a cheveron between three choughs. Another brass of the 16th century is the figure of an unmarried woman with flowing hair. Under the eastern arch of the south arcade of the chancel is the altar tomb of Sir Thomas Cawarden, who died in 1559. In the panel at the west end is a bow between two pheons. The panels at the sides are sculptured with large roses. On the slab is a brass plate with the following fine inscription:—
'The epitaphe of Sr Thomas Cawarden | Knyght who
dyed the 25 day of August | Anno Domini 1559. |
They, that olde tymes preferre before our dayes
For courage, vertue, witte, or godly zeale,
But hearinge of Sir Thomas Caw'rden's preyse
In servinge God, his Prince, the common weale,
Will yelde to us and seye: was never none
Paste him, that lyeth underneath this stone.
Which leaste his foes shoulde it denye for spighte
Three have accorded by rewards to prove;
Kynge Henry, who for service made him Knighte,
His countrey, which for justice geues him love;
And God, who for to make full recompence
To place in heaven with his, did take him hence.'
This plate was placed on the tomb in modern
times, having been discovered in a lumber room at
Loseley. (fn. 167) On the west wall of the south chapel is
a brass tablet to the memory of Richard Glydd of
Pendell, who died in the year 1681. The inscription is as follows:—
'The Glory be to God alone | To the Memory of A Good Man prudent as well as | pious, One that in his time was very useful, being | alway ready to do his good Offices to all Sorts of | People. Richard Glyd Esqr deceased, sometime of | Pendhill in this Parish of Bletchingley & once A | Worthy Treasurer of Christ's Hospital London | dureing 11 years who Wth Eliz. (Evans) his Wife | Lyes Buryed here nigh. By her he had Several Children vizt. Richard, John, Abraham, Charles, Elizth | Ann and Mary. John, Charles, Abraham & | Mary dyed young unmarried. Eliz. dyed & left | no Child but was married first to Mr Willm | Bewley & then to Mr Richard Chandler, | ; Ann was married to Mr Willm Waylet | and has had many Children. | Richard and his Sister Elizth were rare | and Excellent Christians and also | Gifted with very Choice and great Endo- | wmts of mind, Insomuch as to have | been Kin to them is to have been Kin | to Greatness and Nobility indeed | that is to Vertue and Goodness | This Richard Glyd the son (who Lyes Bur- | yed here nigh) by Ann (Stoughton) his Wife | had eight Children vizt John Richd & Laurence, | Martha, two Elizths & two Anns. John Lived to | be a Barrester of Grays Inn of Some years Stand- | ing & in Practice being a Lawyer of Sound Judgmt | good Learning & very fair Reputation as well for | his Morals as for his Religion. And being one of | the Parliament Men for this Borrough of Bletch | ingley, so dyed, | unmarried | A.D. MDCLXXXIX & | Lyes Buryed here nigh. Laurence, Richd | & one of ye Elizths & one of ye Annsdyed Children. | Martha was married to Mr Ralph Drake & both | He & She Lye burryed here nigh having Left Six | Children: ye other Elizth lived till about 18 & then | dyed unmarried: & lyes Buryed here nigh the | other Ann is married to Willm Brockman of | Beachburrough in Kent Esqr & has Children | Recollected A.D. MDCC by (M G) one of ye obliged Nephews of the abovesd. Treasurer.'
The most conspicuous monument in the church is the immense Clayton memorial at the east end of the south chapel. This is of white marble with Corinthian columns supporting a curved pediment crowned by urns, arms and weeping angels framing the life-size figures of Sir Robert Clayton (Lord Mayor of London 1679–80) and his lady, the former in the robes of his mayoralty. Between them is the recumbent figure of their infant son. The inscription states that ' he fixt the seat of his family at Marden, where he left a remarkable instance of the politeness of his genius, and how far Nature may be improv'd by Art.' He died at Marden in the year 1707. A fine wrought-iron railing surrounds the monument.
In the churchyard close to the east end of the south aisle wall is a slab with the matrices of a figure of a priest, and a shield above.
There is a peal of eight bells, all by Thomas Janaway, 1780.
The communion plate consists of nine pieces: a chalice of 1568, cover paten of the same date, almsdish of 1850, a chalice of 1851 with cover, paten (not silver), glass flagon silver mounted of 1901, two similar flagons of 1900, and a large flagon of 1733, inscribed 'The Gift of Sr William Clayton Bart. to the Parish Church of Blechingly in Surrey in 1733.' Below the inscription are engraved the arms of the donor; also a paten, with foot, of 1707, engraved with a shield charged with a griffon having a blank chief.
The registers are in seven volumes: (i) 1538 to 1596; (ii) 1597 to 1673 (gap in marriages 1653 to 1661); (iii) 1654 to 1695; (iv) 1695 to 1714; (v) baptisms and burials 1715 to 1812, marriages 1715 to 1754; (vi) marriages 1754 to 1776; (vii) marriages 1777 to 1812.
A book of churchwardens' accounts of the 16th century is preserved.
There are Wesleyan and Congregational chapels and a Friends' meeting-house in the parish.
Roger de Clare Earl of Hertford, who was lord of Blechingley after the death of his brother in 1152 until his own death in 1173, gave the church to the Cluniac priory of St. Pancras at Lewes, (fn. 168) the grant being afterwards confirmed by Gilbert de Clare. (fn. 169) The confirmation of the priory charters made by Henry de Blois, who was Bishop of Winchester 1129–71, includes among their churches that of Blechingley. (fn. 170) At what period the advowson once more became the property of the Clares is not certain.
Richard Earl of Gloucester, who died in 1262, does not appear to have held it at his death (fn. 171); his son, Gilbert the Red, however, was certainly patron of the church, of which he was seised when he died in 1295. (fn. 172) Possibly it was taken into the king's hands during the war with France and restored by him to his son-in-law Gilbert the Red, or the continued opposition of the great Surrey families of the Clares and Warennes, which became very active on the outbreak of civil war in 1263, may have been responsible for a surrender by the priory of St. Pancras, which had been founded by and was under the protection of the Warennes. The patronage henceforth remained in the hands of the Clares. (fn. 173) In 1315 confirmation was made to the master and brethren of the hospital of St. Thomas at Southwark of a grant to them by Gilbert late Earl of Gloucester, made in 1313, of the advowson of Blechingley, with licence to appropriate the church. (fn. 174) This grant, if it ever took effect, must have been cancelled very shortly after. In 1317 leave of absence for one year was granted to Robert de Chivington, rector of Blechingley, at the request of Hugh le Despenser, husband of Eleanor, eldest sister and co-heir of Gilbert de Clare, (fn. 175) and in 1320 Maud de Clare, Gilbert's widow, was stated to be patron. (fn. 176) The church, with the manor of Blechingley, became the property of Margaret, youngest sister of Gilbert and wife of Hugh de Audley the younger, (fn. 177) and henceforth followed the descent of the manor (q.v.) until the late 18th century. (fn. 178) Robert Clayton, who was lord of Blechingley 1769–99, sold the advowson to Richard Troward in 1790, (fn. 179) having, however, previously given the next presentation to Matthew Kenrick. When Dr. Thomas, the incumbent, was made Bishop of Rochester, Matthew Kenrick, son of the elder Matthew, was presented by the king. After his death in 1803 a presentation was made by Jarvis Kenrick, (fn. 180) after which the patronage reverted to Troward. (fn. 181) Later the advowson came into the hands of the Duke of Norfolk, after whose death, in 1815, it passed to Mr. Ward, whose heirs held it in 1836. Mr. H. Chawner was patron in 1841, and so remained until after 1870, when the advowson passed to Mr. Robert Few. (fn. 182) In 1882–3 it became the property of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in whose gift it still is.
In 1548 particulars were given concerning the rents, amounting to 13s. 3½d., from three parcels of land in Blechingley and Horne. The first was given by an unknown person for the finding of certain lights in Blechingley Church; the second and third provided in the names of Henry Tanner and Thomas Beccher for a lamp to be burnt and for a mass to be said annually for the donor in the chapel of Horne. (fn. 183)
A case before the court of High Commission is recorded in 1638, in which it appears that John Blundell of Blechingley was tried and punished because on Whit Sunday he, with a warrant to arrest Robert Betts, arrested him about a quarter of an hour after evening prayer, in the churchyard of Blechingley, 'and upon some struggling rent a skirt in the said Betts's doublet,' and further because, in the church of Blechingley, Blundell, 'in a saucy and scornful manner desired Mr. Hampton, the rector, to make him a churchwarden of the parish for that it was a gainful place.' Having thus violated the liberties of the church and of consecrated ground, he was enjoined to make public submission in church, to pay costs of the suit and a fine. (fn. 184)
The history of the Grammar School founded by deeds by Mr. John Whatman 8 September 1564 has been already dealt with. (fn. 185) Evans's school charity is now in the hands of the Surrey County Council, and is used to provide scholarships for Blechingley boys and girls at Reigate Grammar School and elsewhere.
Blechingley charities were unfortunate, for there were once ten almshouses, 'built chiefly by the parish' in 1668, and another added by the rector, the Rev. Charles Hampton, who by his will, 1667, left also land to provide firing for poor inhabitants. These were condemned by the sanitary authority as unfit for habitation and pulled down some time ago. There are, however, four almshouses for widows built by the late Miss C. M. Perkins, who died in 1870, the inmates being endowed with 1s. 6d. a week.
There are church lands the rent of which, £18 15s., is applied to church purposes, and which are supposed to have originated in a grant of land in 1407–8 made by a deed quoted by Manning and Bray. (fn. 186) This land, called Parkgate land, formerly Green's, was given for lights in the church. How they escaped the confiscation of lands left for superstitious usages under Edward VI does not appear. Mr. Evans, the second founder of the school, gave land in 1633 to 'set the poor to work.' The proceeds are now devoted to subsidizing allotment and cottage gardening. There are also Hampton's and Masere's charities for the poor, and Chapman's of £42 a year, left by Isaac Chapman, who died in 1763, for the parish clerk. Smith's charity is distributed as in other Surrey parishes, chiefly in clothing, but is much more valuable than is usually the case, amounting to £65 a year. This is not because of any former importance of Blechingley, but merely because it was charged upon one of the most valuable of the estates belonging to Smith's trustees.