Kent House.

In February 1957 yet another old and historic building of the Village days was demolished - KENT HOUSE, which stood in Kent House Road not far from its junction with Lennard Road - thus breaking the final link of over 700 years. The building got its name from being close to the County boundary, the first house in Kent coming from the London area.

in 1910, the year of his death at the age of 46, gave us such historical facts as were then available to him. Members of the Beckenham Branch of the Historical Association, after intensive research in the County Archives, reveal that this house was the oldest house in Kent of which we have definite knowledge; its history has been traced back to 1240 when it was owned by St. Catherine's Hospital.

A document dated 1503 was also found relating to a petition to Henry VIII, following a murder trial, in which John Style, of Langley, was acquitted; the scene of the alleged crime was Kent House.

In the 17th century the Lethieulliers, descendants of Sir John Ie Thieullier (the name appears to have been altered in the following generations), Sheriff of London, occupied this house.

In 1776 it was sold to Thomas Lucas, of Lee, and in 1784 it passed, through marriage, to John Julius Angerstein, he being a rich merchant of Charlton.

Julius Angerstein was a member of Lloyds in the Coffee House days and initiated the move to the Royal Exchange. An oil painting of him by Lawrence now hangs in the new Lloyds Building in Lime Street, and in the Nelson Room there, are copies of letters between Angerstein and Nelson.

It was while staying with the Lethieulliers in 1694 that Anthony Rawlins, a wealthy London merchant, died and in his will left £50 for the use of the Poor, which sum was used, as Borrowman recalls - "in building a house with three distinct rooms, all under one roof, for the lodging and housing of the poor of this Parish". These are, of course, the Almshouses adjoining the Parish Church which are still administered by the Beckenham Parochial Charity, having been altered and enlarged from time to time.

Thomas Randall, one of the Parish Churchwardens in 1766, and whose name appears on the old treble bell, died there in 1806, after which the property passed to James Randall and was then used as a farm known as Kent House Farm.

In his diary of 13th December 1665 Samuel Pepys refers to the Lethieullier family, and it may well be that he, being a friend, visited them at Kent House.

Thackeray certainly was a visitor and it has been conjectured that it was to have been this house in which the hero and heroine of Thackeray's unfinished novel 'Denis Duval' were to have resided when they married, for among the notes left by its author is one giving a description of a villa at Beckenham which might well be Kent House.

In a 'Morning Post' issue of 1815 the property was advertised as having Common Rights on Penge Common. It was still a farm in 1878 but in later years the premises were used as a Nursing Home and as a Private Hotel.

Now, on the site of the ancient building, we have a block of residential houses and flats.


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  • Mal Mitchell

    If found this reference in the National Archive website:
    Kent House
    Indenture regarding title to Kent House Farm.
    This record is held by Lewisham Local History and Archives CentreSee contact details
    Reference: A62/6/61
    Title: Indenture regarding title to Kent House Farm.
    Description: Anne Loveday, Jonathan Brundrett, Alexander Baring, Sir Thomas Baring, John Cator, William Cator, Bertie Cornelius Cator and John Foakes.
    Details of other agreements receited - Indenture dated 27 Aug. 1691 between John Smallbone and Mary his wife and Benjamin Hodgekins;
    Act 5 and 6 Ann to rectify mistake in marriage settlement of William Peck - partitioning between William Pierrepoint and Hon. Charles Egerton, through which inheritance became absolutely vested in Jno. Reynolds.
    Indenture dated 6 Dec. 1706 between Jno. Reynolds, Lancelot Stephens, Edward Corbett, Wm. Peere Williams, William Williams; (Mortgage)
    Lease and release dated 6 and 7 April 1709 between Jno. Reynolds and Sir John Lethieullier;
    Indenture of Assignment of same date, Jno. Reynolds Wm. Peere Williams, William Williams, Sir John Lethieullier Samuel Lethieullier and John Lethieullier
    Lease and release dated 25 and 26 March 1778 between John Green Lethieullier and Susannah his wife, William Octber, John Seaber, Robt. Morphett, Thomas Symonds, Thom Hearden, George Jennett, John Kilvington, John Harrison and Thomas Lucas and a recovery of part of premises Trinity Term, 18 Geo.III.
    Thomas Lucas devises property to widow Elizabeth, who remarries John Julius Angerstein. John Beach, Thomas Plummer and Joseph Paice trustees.
    Indenture of Bargain and Sale dated 17 Feb. 1797 Joseph Paice, Thos. Plummer, Sir Francis Baring, Alexander Baring and Charles Wall.
    Details of wills, dates of death, etc. of Elizabeth Angerstein, Sir Francis Baring, Chas. Wall John Cator, Bridget Cator, Elizabeth Scott, Geo. Sparkes.
    Act 6 Geo IV enables John Cator to grant building leases.
    Details of dates of death, wills etc. of Samuel Lethieullier, William Lethieullier, Mary Tooke, Sarah Loveday, Dame Anne Hopkins, John Loveday, John Lethieullier, Smart Lethieullier, Charles Lethieullier, Elizabeth Lethieullier (marriage to Jno. Goodere), Mary Hulse, who died intestate. Letters of Admon. to Jonathan Brundrett.
    Indenture of Lease and release dated 26 and 27 July 1828, Alexander Baring, Sir Thos. Baring, John Cator, Wm. Cator and Bertie C. Cator in trust for Ann Loveday and John. Brundrett.
    Details of field names and acreages of land on Kent House Farm and Penge Common, with names of tenants.
    Date: 18 August 1829
    Held by: Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives

    .... for comparison with the record here.

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