Manor House Estate.

BECKENHAM, soon after the battle of Hastings, with a greater part of the County of Kent, was granted by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux in Normandy and Earl of Kent, who had accompanied him to England. It was described later as a Parish within the Hundred of Bromley, the Lath of Sutton-at-Hone, in the County of Kent.

Early historians recorded, quite erroneously, that Beckenham was divided into four Manors. Beckenham and Foxgrove are authenticated as Manors in various documents, but there is absolutely no justification for now continuing the old legend that Langley and Kelsey were Manors; they never were but were later developed as Estates.

A document dated 1791 would lead us to believe that in the 12th and 13th centuries there were no records of local history, but more recent local historians, having perused hundreds of documents at Maidstone, have provided us with a wealth of material of that period of history.

The MANOR OF BECKENHAM extended on both sides of Bromley Road, from the Parish Church to Wickham Road, along Southend Road and up Stumps Hill to part of Beckenham Place; and on the west side of Beckenham Road and the High Street, taking in the lands of 'Kent House', 'Clock House' and 'Village Place', with the Manor House opposite the Parish Church.

The MANOR OF FOXGROVE was on the east side of Southend Road, beyond the Parish Church, and over the hills of the present Foxgrove Road and The A venue to the Ravensbourne at Shortlands, with the Manor House at Foxgrove Farm, near the present Foxgrove Avenue.

The LANGLEY ESTATE was an extensive, rambling estate covering an area from Hayes Lane up to Pickhurst and across to Eden Park and EImers End.

The KELSEY ESTATE occupied the west side of Wickham Road, adjoined Langley and came down to the High Street.








0 # Malvin Mitchell 2017-02-15 17:10
Hi, in the interest of seeking accuracy and detail, some recent rediscoveries.
It seems much of what is now Beckenham Place Park was originally held by Hugh Raymond prior to 1766 under the Foxgrove Manor. An estate plan was drawn in 1720 by John Holmes, Surveyor and later redrawn by Proudlove in 1766 when the Foxgrove Manor passed to Hugh Raymond’s son Jones Raymond. At that time John Cator seems to have purchased 2 or 3 plots on Stumps Hill probably from the Forster Estate at Southend, Lewisham in 1757. Cator’s father in law Peter Collinson tells of him building a fine house on Stumps Hill between 1760/62.
The Foxgrove Manor was neighbour to the Beckenham Manor much of which came into the hands of Lord Bolingbroke. The Foxgrove manor plan shows plots and fields interspersed under various owners, Bolingbroke, Peter Burrell, Jones Raymond and Cator.
Jones Raymond died without issue and his sister inherited having married Peter Burrell. Part of BP was still in Burrell ownership in 1777, some fields called Pill Crofts and part of a plot called Hop Ground. Its possibly at this time that Cator acquired those plots in purchases or exchanges from Burrell. Cator later diverted or built a new road around his park in 1785 (papers and plan in Maidstone Archive).
The plans or maps of Foxgrove Manor 1766 and 1776, Manor of Beckenham 1768 and Langley are in the British Library although Bromley Local Studies have a version or copy of the Foxgrove map.
The 1766 plan shows lands including around Kelsey and Elmers End and upto Shortlands, Bromley Hill, Plaistow Lane etc.
The 1776 plan cover less area including BP and the village high street, interestingly Cator owns some plots along the high street but not all.
So it seems likely that Cator created his parkland estate between 1777 and 1785 have acquired some part of it as early as 1757.
The acquisition of Beckenham Manor from Bolingbroke in 1773 also contributed some land to the park.
We are trying to get permission from the British Library to reproduce these maps or part of them and we regularly update the history of Beckenham Place on our Friends of Beckenham Place Park website.
We still claim that Linnaeus would never have visited Beckenham having known Peter Collinson in 1736 and then corresponded with him but not known John Cator.
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