RECORD: Howarth, O. J. R. and E. K. Howarth. [1933.] A history of Darwin's parish: Downe, Kent. With a foreword by Sir Arthur Keith. Southampton: Russell & Co.
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A HISTORY OF
O. J. R. HOWARTH AND ELEANOR K. HOWARTH
WITH FOREWORD BY SIR ARTHUR KEITH
THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION
ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE
(Incorporated by Royal Charter, 1928)
was founded in 1831 to promote general interest in Science and its applications. This is effected by means of-
(1) Annual Meetings in great provincial centres in the United Kingdom, or in overseas dominions of the Empire.
(2) The publication of an Annual Report and numerous individual communications.
(3) The prosecution of researches, many of which have had results of very high importance and wide effect.
The proceeds from Members' subscriptions to the Association are devoted to the promotion of scientific interests, and the support accorded to the Association by way of membership is therefore an aid to the advancement of Science generally.
No technical qualification is required for membership.
The Association (as detailed in this book) maintains Darwin's house at Downe as a national memorial, freely open to the public, under the gift of Sir Buckston Browne, F.R.C.S., F.S.A. (Situation—16 m. from London Bridge ; 6 m. from Bromley, Kent. Station : Orpington, S.R., A m. Omnibuses from Bromley.)
The rates for membership subscription and full particulars will be sent on application to the Office of the British Association, Burlington House, London, W.1 (Tel.: Regent 2109), or to Down House, Downe, Kent (Tel.: Biggin Hill 53).
A HISTORY OF DARWIN'S PARISH
O. J. R. HOWARTH, Ph.D.
ELEANOR K. HOWARTH
WITH A FOREWORD BY
SIR ARTHUR KEITH, F.R.S.
SOUTHAMPTON: RUSSELL & CO. (SOUTHERN COUNTIES) LTD.
Foreword. By Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S Acknowledgement I Site and Pre-history II The Early Manor
III The Church and its Registers
IV Some of the Ministers . V Parish Accounts and Assessments
VI The People.....
VII Some Early Families (the Mannings others) .....
VIII The Lubbocks, of High Elms IX The Darwins, of Down House
Note on Chief Sources of Information
By Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S.
THE story of how Dr. Howarth and I became residents of the parish of Downe, Kent—Darwin's parish—and interested in its affairs, both ancient and modern, begins at No. 80 Wimpole Street, the home of a distinguished surgeon, Sir Buckston Browne, on the morning of Thursday, September 1, 1927. On opening The Times of that morning and running his eye over its chief contents before sitting down to breakfast, Sir Buckston observed that the British Association for the Advancement of Science—of which one of the authors of this book was and is Secretary—had assembled in Leeds and that on the previous evening the president had delivered the address with which each annual meeting opens. It was not my presidential address which caught his eye—for I had the honour to be president in 1927— but a brief report of an appeal I had made on behalf of the Council of the Association for the preservation of the home of Charles Darwin as a national treasure. Having read the appeal—which had re-awakened in him an old resolve—Sir Buckston Browne, instead of sitting down to breakfast, sallied out to the nearest post-office, where he dispatched a telegram to Leeds. That telegram, which has become famous, offered to purchase and endow Down House, and to convey it to the British Association as a national possession.
Readers can imagine the feelings of pleasure and also of relief with which the telegram was received in Leeds by the officers of the British Association. In launching the appeal we had thought of the arduous toil which lay before us—of begging for subscriptions year in and year out until a sufficient sum was at our disposal to accomplish the object we had at heart. In a moment our difficulties had been resolved and our forebodings dispelled through
the generous action of a retiring worshipper of Darwin. Neither Dr. Howarth nor I, as we shared that hour of intense pleasure in Leeds, dreamed that Sir Buckston Browne's message was destined to alter the course of our lives and bring us within the magic circle of Downe.
With the dispatch of the telegram above mentioned our little drama opened ; then Sir Buckston took the centre of the stage. He purchased Down House and grounds ; he supervised the repair of the house ; he obtained the willing co-operation of the Darwin family to assist him in restoring the ' old study' and other rooms to their original Darwinian state; he converted the upper part of Down House to serve as quarters for a resident officer. Having done all these things the donor of Down House conveyed his gift to the British Association with an endowment for its upkeep. The Council of the Association made its Secretary resident at Down House ; that is how the author of this book came to live in Darwin's parish.
Although the history of Down House is well known from 1842—when Darwin made it his home—no one had enquired concerning the history of the house or of the families who had lived on the site previous to the coming of Darwin until Dr. and Mrs. Howarth took this task in hand. They have now made good this blank in our knowledge of Down House. As they searched for information they were drawn into a study of other records pertaining to the parish of Downe and in this way the materials for this book came to be assembled.
The annals of Darwin's parish are a contribution to the history of England. Modern historians, like modern physicists, are of two schools. In physics there are men like Jeans and Eddington who seek to extend our knowledge of the physical universe by studying the phenomena of stellar space; there are others like J. J. Thomson and Rutherford who approach the same problems by a study of the atom. Likewise historians may approach their problems by the study of continents, or as exemplified by this book, they may concentrate on the smallest of human units, such as a parish or a village. We need both kinds of history if we are to know our country
aright. There are special reasons which made the parish of Downe worthy of a history. These reasons are particularly apparent in the final chapters.
' No high road leads through the village,' wrote Darwin to his sister in 1842. Today Dr. Howarth makes this statement about our parish : ' No high road traverses it, and that is the salvation of its rural beauty.' And yet, although our crooked and behedged tracks may be classified as only ' third-class ' roads, the sky over our parish has in truth become a chief highway ; it lies in the beaten track which air-liners follow in their goings and comings between continental ports and Croydon. In less than ten minutes of their leaving Croydon airmen look down on our church and village, on Darwin's old home, and on a building which has just come into being known as the Buckston Browne Research Farm. This prominent building, another of Sir Buckston Browne's magnificent benefactions, represents the latest development in the history of the parish of Downe.
I have explained how Dr. and Mrs. Howarth became residents in Downe ; readers must bear with me a moment while I tell them how I came to join them. In my early married life my wife and I fell in love with the orchards of Kent and obtained a country cottage to permit us to spend our vacations among them. Then, as usually happens sooner or later to week-end sojourners—it was later in our case—we grew tired of the packings and un-packings which week-end visits entail, and we gave up our footing in Kent. Then, as age crept on, our longing for the country became again insistent and we again succumbed to the attractions of Kent. This time it was Darwin's parish that drew us. There was a cottage on the Darwin grounds which seemed to us desirable—as much for its own sake as for its proximity to Darwin's home. And so we made application and in due season were accepted by the Council of the British Association as tenants of this cottage.
All of this long account which the authors of this book have permitted me to contribute as an introduction to their pages, has been written to illustrate a truth recognized by historians of all ages and countries—namely,
that very great events may be determined by the most trivial of circumstances. For if Sir Buckston Browne had failed to note a minor paragraph in The Times of September I, 1927, this history of Downe might never have been written. Nay, the mere fact that Sir Buckston read this brief note and acted on it is now altering the history of Darwin's parish.
WE owe and offer our gratitude, for their interest and practical help, to these :
The Lady Avebury and Mrs. Grant Duff; the Rev. A. C. Gibson, Vicar of Downe, for access to the registers and churchwardens' accounts ; the Misses Smith of Downe Court and Mr. A. B. Murray of Downe Lodge for the loan of deeds ; Dr. Gordon Ward, Mr. E. G. Box, and Mr. G. C. Bosanquet of Sevenoaks ; Mr. William Page, General Editor of the Victoria County History ; the Rev. C. Eveleigh Woodruff, Hon. Librarian, and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Bickersteth, Librarian of the Chapter Library, Canterbury; Miss I. Churchill, Librarian of Lambeth Palace Library ; Mr. S. L. Douthwaite, Librarian of Guildhall Library, London; Miss Marian K. Dale (for the translation of certain early documents) ; Mr. William Baxter of Bromley, Kent; Sir Richard Gregory; Dr. Hardman of Walmer ; Mr. H. W. Knocker ; Mr. Warren H. Manning, Secretary of the Manning Association, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A. ; Professor E. J. Salisbury ; the Rev. A. Taylor of St. Bride's Vicarage in London ; the Rev. J. M. Thompson of Magdalen College, Oxford ; Mr. H. B. Walters.
Down House, E. K. H,
SITE AND PRE-HISTORY
NO village history, if at all recoverable, can fail to reveal some reflection of great events, some record of men and women noteworthy in their day. Nor is the site of any village, the reason for its being, ever devoid of interest, whether that reason be matter for speculation or matter of fact. But the village of Downe in Kent has acquired both a peculiar fame and a peculiar position. Its fame, gained through intimate association with two great names, Darwin and Lubbock, cannot be taken from it. Its position, as a rural site wellnigh within the tentacles of outer London, may yet, and indeed soon, be jeopardized; though those of us who hold it in affection still hope against that. This sketch of its history is intended as a modest tribute to its fame ; and, since suburbanization may submerge history only less easily than visible charm, as a protection against that fate should it befall.
The peculiarity of the position of Downe lies in this: that it is a parish completely rural, within twelve miles, as the crow flies, of Charing Cross. If from Charing Cross a circle be drawn with that radius, it passes through such centres of suburban population as Coulsdon and Hampton, Elstree and Potters Bar, pendant towns such as Hounslow and Harrow, Romford and Dartford ; and from these names it may be judged how little of ' real country ' survives within that circle. Downe parish extends from the road between Green Street Green and Keston, villages in process of becoming outer suburbs, up the gentle northward slope of the North Downs, to reach a height of 5 00 feet at the village itself, and of a hundred feet more on the southern boundary, where Downe marches with the parish of Cudham in the woods which border Downe golf course. No high road traverses it, and that is the salvation of its rural beauty.
The North Downs are chalk hills, scored down their long northern slopes by little deep valleys, no longer watered by any streams. Many geologists, Charles Darwin among them, have discussed the features of these valleys. Darwin, in some notes on the Downe country begun in 1843 and printed in More 'Letters of Charles Darwin (London, 1903), writes that
' The valleys . . . sloping northward, but exceedingly even, generally run north and south ; their sides near the summits generally become more abrupt, and are fringed with narrow strips or, as they are here called, " shaws " of wood, sometimes merely by hedgerows run wild.'
(One is glad that the word ' shaw ' survives here and elsewhere in Kent: it comes of good Old English stock, and is classified in the dictionary as ' archaic and poetical'.)
' The sudden steepness may generally be perceived, as just before ascending to Cudham Wood, and at Green Hill, where one of the lanes crosses these valleys. These valleys are in all probability ancient sea-bays, and I have sometimes speculated whether this sudden steepening of the sides does not mark the edges of vertical cliffs formed when these valleys were filled with sea-water, as would naturally happen in strata such as the chalk.'
The view which seems now to hold the field as to the origin of the valleys is that they were made by swift streams flowing from the snowfield which, in a colder climate than to-day's, capped the high ground to the south, when the frozen state of the soil prevented downward percolation.
On the surface of the chalk between the valleys and above them there are caps of the formation known geologically as clay-with-flints. This, then, is our soil; one which has yielded plenty of picturesque flints to earlier builders. It offers obstacles to the gardener, but, if he overcomes them, does not wholly withhold rewards. If the cultivator wished for chalk, he must (as a rule) seek it at the edges of the valleys, where it is found at the surface or near it. Within the area of the clay caps, the chalk may be ten feet down or less, or it may be thirty or forty; its surface must be irregular and pitted with
holes. There are old chalk workings at several points in our parish : Darwin gives us a reason for their existence.
' Nearly all the land is ploughed, and is often left fallow, which gives the country a naked red look, or not unfrequently white, from a covering of chalk laid on by the farmers . . . This ... is said to have been the practice of the country ever since the period of the Romans, and at present the many white pits on the hill sides, which so frequently afford a picturesque contrast with the overhanging yew trees, are all quarried for this purpose.'
These words point to the greatest change which has taken place in our countryside within the past century. The custom of spreading chalk has vanished : very little of our land is arable today ; and it is green, not naked red, or white. The origin of the clay caps is ascribed by geologists to dissolution of the chalk and admixture with other and later materials.
The earliest period known to us in which Downe is mentioned in written history is about the year 1100, as will presently appear; but we can date some reasonable suppositions earlier than that.
So far as we are aware, no remains of very early antiquity have been found within the present parish; the more is the pity. It is true that not far outside the western boundary, within the park of Holwood at Keston, there is a fine early earthwork. Like others of its kind it has in the past been attributed to the Romans and is called Casar's Camp ; no doubt the Romans made use of it, and evidences of Roman occupation have been found in its immediate neighbourhood, not far to the north of Keston church. But the work itself has been traced back to the early Iron Age. This does not help us to a definite date: the incidence of the Iron Age differed widely in different lands ; but at least it dates the work substantially back into the pre-Christian era. The existence of this early stronghold bids us recall that the Celtic word dun, from which the name of the Downs and of Downe is descended, has besides its common meaning of a hill a special connexion with fortified places. But the possibility of a relationship between the dun of Cassar's Camp and the name of Downe does not attract
us : the camp and the village are nearly two miles apart. Nor is there evidence of any other early earthwork within our parish, and no point in the terrain remotely suggests the existence of one. So we will return later to the meaning of our name.
The natural covering of the clay caps on the Downs was probably forest in which the oak predominated, or, at the worst, scrub. It is not likely, though it has often been asserted, that the tops of the high downs were grassland. Therefore there must have been clearing of woodland before cultivation; but clearing may have taken place within our area in very early times.
Kent, on account of its close geographical connexion with Europe and (no doubt) its own natural attractions, had an early system of settlement and land-division peculiar to itself. When the Romans invaded (first century B.C.), those parts of what is now the county which were not heavily forested or otherwise unfit were fairly closely covered with farmsteads and hamlets, to be distinguished in some measure from the collective settlements of the later villages of the Saxon period. We shall find that there was at the time of the Domesday Survey a system of land-division peculiar, in England, to Kent, and a unit of that division which concerns us now is the jugum or yoke. This was probably, in origin, an area capable of being cultivated by a yoke of oxen, whether single or double, but it came to vary according to the value of the product of the land, and for this and other reasons we cannot lay down a standard equivalent in acres. The point for our purpose is that this was a measure used by the Romans, and had probably reached Kent from the Continent before the Roman invasion.
There are certain evidences by which the existence of yokes in Kent can be recognized now. One is a pattern of fields arranged around a central settlement and named from points of the compass. The fields would be cultivated by the people of the settlement in common, so that none could bear the name of a specific owner, and if there were no specific features to distinguish the fields, then the points of the compass were convenient for the purpose. Thus in Kent, and especially in west Kent,
north, south, east, and west fields, arranged in relation both to villages and to individual farms, can still be found. We do not now see such cardinal systems (so to call them) complete, because when the common fields were broken up for private ownership, as happened unusually early in Kent, the new divisions were given the names of their owners or other descriptive names. But when a compass-name remains, it may well be that of an old common field or fragment of one, and when there are two or three together the identification with an ancient yoke becomes reasonably safe.
In parenthesis, when we use the present tense of extant field names, they are as a fact based upon the tithe map of 1840, which provides the latest available complete list, but so far as our fields and field names survive today, they agree pretty well with this. There is, then, in the parish of Downe today, evidence of at least two early yokes. There is in the north of the parish an East Field which might be a fragment, possibly, of the common eastern field either of the settlement on the site of Downe village itself, or of the hamlet of Farthing Street. There is a West Field in exact geographical relationship to Downe village—no doubt, by its position, the westernmost fragment of a big common field afterwards divided. It also, by the way, bears the same, and a closer, relationship to a certain ' capital messuage ', beneath a modern portion of which there is said to be a well, no doubt that of the smaller building which formed the nucleus of the present house. And that well was traditionally called a Roman well. We have all the romanticist's affection for tradition, and this is, alas ! the only Roman tradition we have encountered in Downe ; though Darwin preserves the story that the farmers' practice of dressing the clay fields with chalk, common in his day, had been carried on ' since the time of the Romans '. But as to the position of the supposititious yoke to which this West Field belonged, let us romance no further.
A far better example of the yoke-pattern is found in the south of the parish. Here the hamlet of Luxted centres upon a substantial farm of that name, and among the fields surrounding it are North Field, East Croft,
and South Field. The immediate terrain is something featureless, and where a West Field might have been there are divisions bearing later personal names. And from this point we cannot do better than quote one of our friendly (but anonymous) counsellors.
' Another feature of importance,' he tells us, ' shown also at Luxted, is the relation of the yoke to the parish boundary. Where an ancient farm seems to be bounded in part by the limits of the parish it is reasonable to suppose that it existed in substantially its present form when the parish was first demarcated. This was at some time far back in the Saxon period, or, if we assume, as we ought to do, that the parish was based on an earlier boundary, it is possible to envisage the yoke as of pre-Saxon origin on this ground alone.'
Our correspondent offers to apologize for suggesting
' that the fact that the fields of Luxted bear compass names is evidence that the uplands of Downe were ploughed in Roman times. This ', he says, ' might seem too wild a flight of fancy to earn examination. But it accords well with Cassar's description of what he found here—the multitudinous farms and the rich cornfields which, as we know, had long before established a trade in corn with the continent. Indeed, Downe was so near to a Roman centre at Keston that it is little likely that its possibilities were overlooked.'
And the Keston settlement itself, at the junction of the chalk and the Blackheath pebble beds, had little attractive arable land on the spot; but it had the springs emerging where the gault underlies the chalk. The clays over the chalk offered its best venture for cultivation.
Evidence similar to that for the yoke of Luxted is found close to it on the west, where the territory of Southwood is found under that name from the thirteenth century onward, while part of it is still concealed in the pleasant grove of Sow Wood. A deed of 1297 exists in which a piece of land in ' Suthwudes Suthfelde ' is granted; the Northfield is mentioned as a boundary, and elsewhere in the property are Eastlese and Westlese. It seems to have lain partly outside the parish, to the south. The justification for envisaging the yoke of Luxted allows us to do the same for the yoke of Southwood.
THE EARLY MANOR
E are not yet, properly, within sight of documentary history, and when at last we become so, the relations of Downe seem to lie less with Keston than with Orpington. There is no room for doubt that Downe was very early included in the manor of Orpington. (And so, today, rural Downe must needs be included in the new urban district of Orpington. Twentieth-century circumstances alter tenth-century cases.)
In 1032 Eadsige, a priest and secretary to King Canute, gave certain lands to Christchurch, Canterbury, which was the Benedictine monastery founded by Augustine in the seventh century and attached to the cathedral. Eadsige made this gift on entering the priory himself. It was almost certainly he who was Archbishop of Canterbury in 1038-50. His lands included Orpington; but there is no specific mention of Downe. Nor is there in Domesday Book (1086), though Orpington, Cudham, and Keston all appear there, and also the manor of Crofton between Orpington and Farnborough. Orpington was then held by the Archbishop of Canterbury; the other three, and many more in north-west Kent, were held by various persons of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, half-brother of William the Conqueror. Orpington was the largest of this group of manors. Domesday records that it was assessed in the time of Edward the Confessor (1066, the date of his death) at 3 sulungs, ' now ' (that is, in 1086) at z\ sulungs ; that on the demesne are 2 ploughs, and that there are 46 villeins with 25 bordars who have 23 ploughs ; there are 3 mills and 10 acres of meadow and 5 denes which render 50 swine. It was worth £15 in Edward's time, £$ when it came into the Archbishop's hands, and £25 at the time of the survey, ' and yet', it is added, ' it pays £28 ', which suggests active agricultural development by
the Archbishop's men in these parts. ' Two churches are there.'
The sulung, the unit of assessment peculiar to Kent in this survey, is estimated to have been about 200 acres, but the estimate is admittedly vague : the term means literally ploughland, from sulh, a plough. It was equal to four yokes ; that is to say, it represented land which required four yokes or teams of oxen to work it. A heavy plough drawn by eight oxen seems to be assumed in the reckoning throughout the Domesday Survey, and the use of such heavy ploughs is known in Kent back to the early ninth century. The denes of woodlands were valued according to the number of pigs paid by the villeins for their pannage or pasturing in the woods. Some at least of the denes attached to the manor of Orpington were not in our locality at all, though there were considerable tracts of woodland on the North Downs. But many manors, irrespective of distance, held woodland rights in the great forest of the Weald, southward beyond Holmesdale and the Red Hills, where then there was little clearing for cultivation.
The villeins were freemen by birth, who, however, performed services to the lord ; the bordars were cotters or smaller holders. The demesne was the land occupied or used by the lord himself as distinct from that held by the villeins and bordars.
The Domesday Survey makes separate reference to a holding from the manor of Orpington.
Malger holds of the Archbishop three yokes in Orpington, and they were assessed at this much in the time of King Edward separately from Orpington. There are now two yokes inside Orpington and a third outside.
Malger (who also held other lands in this neighbourhood) had 1 plough on his demesne here, and there were 4 villeins, 1 bordar, 4 serfs, and half a plough, 3 acres of meadow and woodland to render 10 swine ; at the time of the survey it was worth 50s. One of the registers of Christchurch, Canterbury, preserved at the British Museum in Cotton MS. Galba E. iv, indicates that these three yokes used not to pay geld or tribute with
this manor, and were included in the ' seizure ' which the Archbishop made against the Bishop of Bayeux by agreement. This statement appears to refer to action taken by Archbishop Lanfranc against Odo in 1071, as the result of which he recovered a large extent of the lands formerly in archiepiscopal hands. The register goes on to record that of these three yokes ' Dirman has half a sulung at Kestane '. This sounds to be near our territory : may we venture that the dispute concerning this land belongs to the pre-history of Downe ?
We next, and not long after, arrive at the earliest written references to Downe. In the monastic Registrum Roffense or register of Rochester, as transcribed by the antiquary Thorpe in 1769, we find that the church of Northfleet on the Kentish shore of the Thames was assigned by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093-1109, to the church and Bishop of St. Andrew in Rochester and the monks thereof, and that it carried with it certain tithes, including some from Downe. Archbishop Radulphus or Ralph (1114-22) confirmed this gift, and added to the tithes, in these terms :
. . . & ecclesiam de Northflete, quam Anselmus dedit mon-archis in Roffa famulantibus, cum omnibus ad earn pertinanti-bus . . . & de meo dominico do eis unam acram terre in mea propria cultura, in campo que dicitur Gudlesfield, ad edifican-dum domos sibi & suo capellano, ad opus predicte ecclesie, & totam decimam de meo dominico & omnes decimas villanorum qui habent terram in Doune. . . .
That is to say that Radulphus confirmed the gift of
the church of Northfleet, which Anselm gave to the monks serving in Rochester, with all thereto belonging, and from my lordship I give them one acre of land in my own demesne, in the field which is called Gudlesfield, toward the building of dwellings for themselves and their chaplain, toward the work of the aforesaid church, and the whole tithe of my lordship and all the tithes of the villeins who hold land in Downe.
A list ' concerning the donors of benefactions to the church in Rochester ', under the heading of ' donors after the coming of the Normans ' and the sub-heading ' in archiepiscopatu ', states that ' Radulphus archiepiscopus
dedit decimam de Casfeld, de Wenivalle, de Dune '; and confirmations of the grant of Northfleet by Archbishops Richard (1174-84) and Baldwin (1185-90) refer to ' eccle-siam de Northflete, cum decimis de Hyfield et de la Doune '. (There is a High Field in Downe parish ; but the name is common. As for Gudlesfield, there is near the village a field now called Goodly Piece, which actually was the field of one Godliffe in the fifteenth century ; but earlier identification with Gudlesfield can only be surmised. There is no other evidence of archiepiscopal demesne land here.)
We spring a century, and find in Custumak Roffense (the custumal of Rochester) about the year 1300 a list of the possessions and dues of the church there, from which we translate this entry :
What we should hold in Downe (Duna). From the lands of the villeins of Downe we take the whole tithe, save that the church of Northfleet shall have from each old acre, at the feast of St. Michael, by the hand of the aforesaid villeins, one sheaf.
So the old grants still held, and we learn further that the tithes of Downe were set apart for the support of the office of sacristan, who managed the business affairs of the priory. His own account makes reference again to the ' old acres ', and the implication is probably that land brought into cultivation since the time of Anselm did not pay the tithe to Northfleet.
We find, then, the Archbishop holding the manor of Orpington at the time of the Domesday Survey, and about the same time having disposal of the tithes of Downe, and as he held then no other manor in this immediate neighbourhood, the connexion of Downe with the manor of Orpington becomes clear. This argument leads back to the interpretation of the name of Downe, which to us is not otherwise self-evident. The name, or the syllable in compound place-names, is related as we saw to the Celtic dun, a hill, cognate with old English tun, an enclosure or village, and the common Latin termination -dunum. Early topographical historians connect the name of our Downe simply with its position
on the North Downs. There is no reason conceivable by us why this of all settlements on the North Downs should be labelled with their name. As a hill-village, it is rather unusually inconspicuous. Two of the little valleys already described, that below Cudham and that now occupied by the golf-course, demarcate a plateau almost level to the eye, in the midst of which stands the village of Downe, on no eminence. Orpington lies 250 to 350 feet lower than Downe : its immediate vicinity comprises soils of chalk, gravel, sands, loam, and alluvium, but the clay lands of the manor were away up the down, La Doune. Orpington's downland was clearly distinguished from the rest of its territory ; and the name was given to its settlements thereon. Such is the explanation we offer : will it pass ?
We look back. A huddle of low huts stands here and there among the open fields—at Downe itself, at Farthing Street perhaps, at Luxted; maybe elsewhere. They are of timber from the woods around, with walls of branches and clay, and of a single storey only. The farmyard with its small enclosures of hurdles lies about each group of dwellings ; the arable land close outside it, cultivated on an enforced rotation, which no man may forego on the strips or plots assigned to him. Here the slow oxen haul the plough which grates in the flinty soil. Farther out lies the common pasture where each family drives its cattle to feed under due supervision. All has been cleared of the natural wood and scrub with labour, and shaws of wood have been left to mark off many of the clearings—have we not today fields known as riddens, whose name points to the original meaning of riddance—the clearing of land ? The uncleared woods encompass the clearings : men cut their timber and gather their fuel here, and shake the branches of the oaks till the acorns fall for the pigs to eat. On the appointed days men carry their dues of produce along the trails of mud and stones to the court of the overlord at Orpington : at Michaelmas, they must not forget that sheaf for Northfleet.
As for their souls' welfare, when had they first their own church ? We know definitely of none before the
present building, which reveals the thirteenth century in one tiny lancet window. And yet—Domesday, we have seen, assigns two churches to Orpington. The one we know well, with its stately western doorway of transitional Norman work, and its sad evidences of pre-modern restoration. Where was the other ? A list of churches dating probably from about 1077 seems exhaustive but makes no mention of churches at Downe or Keston, and either of these might have been the second church of Orpington, but it was more probably that of Keston, of which an incumbent's name is known before 1207, while the place itself is mentioned in charters as far back as 862. Again, no church of Downe is mentioned in a list for ecclesiastical taxation in 1291. On the other hand, in that same year, it is recorded in a Register Book of Christchurch priory 1 that Prior Henry built a new chapel in the manor of Orpintone at a cost of £61 os. 1 id. It seems really likely that this was the chapel at Downe —for a chapel it was, first of Orpington and later of Hayes, until the nineteenth century. We can do no more, then, than date our present church, with some show of probability, from 1291 if no earlier ; nor is even its original dedication quite certain. It is dedicated now to St. Mary the Virgin. But by his will in 1492 Thomas Fryth, then of Chelsfield—there was, however, a long line of Fryths in Downe—devised ' corpus meum ad sepeliendum in cimiterio ecclesie parochialis de Downe. Lego unum cereum coram imagine Sancte Marie Magdalene vjs. viijd. imperpetuum.' His candle was to be burned, after his burial at Downe, not before St. Mary the Virgin, but before the other Mary.
We have our old yew tree on the south side of the churchyard, that common early feature to which so many traditions attach. You know the tales—these trees mark the sites of altars set up by the first Christian missionaries before churches were : they were planted in a public but at the same time hallowed spot that men might cut from them the wood for their bows but not otherwise deface them : they were planted to yield green boughs in lieu of palms upon Palm Sunday : they were planted 1 In Cotton MSS. Galba E. iv (British Museum).
to provide sombre decoration at funerals: they are evidences of a pre-Christian veneration for their longevity and came to symbolize immortality—take your choice. For our own yew tree, we have not tempted our advisers in forestry to hazard an estimate of its age. They will do that for some kinds of living trees ; not for yews.
The medieval peasantry of Kent enjoyed a high status, judging upon the standard of the English peasantry generally. The Romanized Britons of Kent had benefited by the process of Romanization, and they were a well-advanced class when the Jutish invaders came upon them in the fifth century. The old traditions and customs had withstood this invasion, for the Jutes were not so numerous as to oust those over whom they lorded. During the Saxon period of English history the Kentish churls had been better to do than those of Mercia and Wessex. Now, therefore, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, we find the villeins of Kent to a large extent commuting the personal services, which they owed to their lords, for money payments ; though it should be added that services of labour persisted longer in ecclesiastical manors, such as Orpington, than in others—as will presently appear. Free dealings in small areas of land were common at this time, and deeds relating to quite a considerable number of such transactions within the parish of Downe are still in existence from the later part of the thirteenth century onward.
And here we feel a measure of difficulty. Those who look back into the histories of their own villages may readily acquire a personal interest in their forerunners in the place, and it is a pleasant interest to possess. But it is questionable how far to seek to impose it upon other people. Thus when, on the way to the golf course, or otherwise upon our lawful occasions, we descend the steep slope of Green Hill, we are capable of enjoying a thrill at the memory that here, some time before 1297, dwelt Sabina of Green Hill. We have her name solely because, in a deed of that year, she is stated to have sold half an acre of land ' which lies in the Westfield ' (and the Westfield is still there). We know nothing more of Sabina, nor ever shall, unless in the hereafter. Yet, were
she maid, wife, or widow, we love her for her name alone. But will anyone else share our sentiment ?
At least let us allow ourselves something of a retrospect into the early years of the manor of Downe. There is not material for close study. There is enough for guesswork if you know the terrain, and then it is a pleasant recreation ; but we must spare it here.
In 1287 a deed dealing with the transfer of land by Henry of Southwood is witnessed, among others, by John de la Dune or John of Downe. This is the earliest definite reference known to us to a member of the family De la Dune, alias Atte Doune ; though there is a later casual reference to John Henry, who seems to have been this John's father. At any rate they were the most important family in Downe as early as the reign of Edward I. There is some evidence that their demesne was in the neighbourhood of the present Downe Court (' a most beautiful old farm-house, with great thatched barns and old stumps of oak-trees ', as Darwin described it in 1842) ; and Downe Court is by tradition the site of the ' original' manor house. The Atte Dounes, whether they created or otherwise acquired the manor (as tributory to Orpington) certainly possessed it, for they conveyed it away early in the fifteenth century. They came also to hold land in the neighbouring parishes of Cudham, Keston and Chelsfield.
On the collection of a subsidy in 1302 the largest assessment in Downe was made upon John de la Doune, and his name appears as a juror in 1307. On the other hand, Richard atte Doune participated in a regrettable business in 1315, when he and some of the de Esthalles raided the estate of Esthalle (East Hall near Orpington) and carried off corn nominally in the custody of the executors of that property.
This, the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, is the period of the earliest deeds relating to transactions in land in the parish of Downe. The first is dated 1284, and concerns a field in the north of the parish forming part of the property of one Sampson, a name which occurs in several later deeds, and persisted at least until 1840 as the name of the present North End Farm. There
are not enough of these old deeds to supply much detail; but some of them indicate the process of breaking up the old common fields. ' A piece of land in Southwood's South Field' (1297) has been mentioned already. In 1344 there is a quitclaim by William de Luxstyle (Luxted) to Richard son of Ralph Willem of his right in three acres of land ' in the midst' of a field called Northfeld.
The evidence of tradition and indications of the whereabouts of the Atte Dounes' land, which certainly bordered Luxted land, help to place Downe Court as the manor house. The name supports the argument. The site certainly is old. There is a suggestion, given colour by the position of certain ponds, that it was moated. It had a forstall and a postern, things pertinent to manor houses. The forstall was the way connecting the house with the highway, together with ground before the house where horses might be tethered. Downe Court stands a short half-mile from the village. But the major houses in the village itself, one of which might have been suspected of occupying the manor-house site, bore the names of individual occupiers in earlier times, and they were not lords of the manor. Trowmers, so called until the last century, but now the Tower House, preserved a name known from these early deeds. Downe Hall, standing close beside the church, is now a blameless edifice of the middle Victorian period. It replaced what tradition describes as a very old house which had horn windows in the attics ; if that be so, bad luck to its destroyers that they did not preserve a sample of those windows. We hear of a family named Atte Hulle or At Hall in 1315 ; but Downe Hall at one time bore the name of Goddards. The first Godarde appears in our records in 1447.
Three of the meadows close behind Downe Court bear the good old name of riddens or clearings, with descriptive epithets. There is another, further away, called Thomas Riddens ; but we can by no means identify Thomas. Nor, alas, can we locate the Elderedyn or Old Riddens which appears in 1300 and later, save that it seems to have been near the village to the north. As for the village itself, in the medieval equivalent to its present form, it must have grown up on the edge of the
demesne. There was (and is) a junction of roads, from Cudham to Keston and from Luxted to Orpington. The roads are old. All appear in Andrews and Drury's map of the country round London in 1777. From Philip Symonson's map of 1596 we get no details. But our lanes, in particular that which swoops down the hill from Cudham and up again past Hangrove to Downe, bear every appearance of antiquity. We hear of this road in 1364, but it must be much older. The road 'from Orpington to the church of la Doune' (through High Elms) is mentioned in 1340. The main road from Orpington to Farthing Street is mentioned several times in this period. In the fifteenth century the main road through Keston, Leaves Green and Biggin Hill (just outside our parish) is surprisingly named Wallstreet. The word ' street', occurring here and in the names of an early family of Upstrete, is usually taken to imply high antiquity, though we cannot say, as some do, that it always implies a Roman road. The earlier history of our roads is elusive. Nevertheless, neither village nor manor is nearly so old as we suppose farming settlements and therefore communications in this area to have been.
A tomb inscription in the church, now lost, is quoted by old historians as commemorating Richard Downe and Margery his wife ; there is no date. An undated deed shows that William son of Richard of Downe assigned ' a daywork and a half and a quarter part of a daywork of land, with a house thereon ' to Lettice daughter of Richard le Chaluner. The deed bears the seal of William Child, conceivably William the child of Richard of Downe. There were other Childs, so that the family of Downe may have thrown off a branch. And the family name itself occurs within the manor of Orpington down to 1447. But some time before 1417 the manor of Downe passed from Richard of Downe and Margery his wife to John Leccheford of Cherlewood and Roberta his wife, perhaps but not certainly the daughter of Richard and Margery. John Leccheford died, and in 1417, Roberta having married William Okehurst, Leccheford's brothers and heirs conveyed the manor to them. Later in the century the manor was held by Thomas Pulter of
Downe, who died in 1488 : how he came by it is not known.
About this time we enjoy our first view of the rents and services paid by the tenants of the manor. Previously we have only one picturesque glimpse, in 1292, when John son of John Scrivin of la Dune granted all his lands in the parish to Richard de Burgham, who was to render to the chief lords the services due and accustomed, and to him, his heirs and assigns the rent of a rose at midsummer, if demanded there.
There is, however, in the Chapter library at Canterbury a document, catalogued as O. 118, and dated, though not certainly, in 1470, of which the portion relevant to our purpose is headed ' Downe Rent and Customys '. The other portions deal with the manors of Orpington, Cray, Hese or Hayes, and Okkolt or Knockholt, of all of which the priors of Christchurch, Canterbury, were the overlords. The section on Downe deals with the duties of twenty-eight tenements or (in certain few instances) groups of tenements, and it falls at a period of transition between personal services, payment in kind, and payment in money. Indeed, the very first entry indicates a recent commutation of services for money payment. It concerns Southwood, and begins—' The londholderis of the lond Tenement of Sudwode shall repe a yerde of whete.' This has been struck out, and there follows : ' The londholderis of the Tenement of South-wode shall be yer' in rent xxijs. vjd.'
Southwood, then, paid £1 2s. 6d. a year in money, nothing in kind, and performed no services.
The next entry, however, dealing with Luxted, is more or less typical of the rest.
The Londholderis of the tenement Lukkestyle shall be yer' in rent Vs. viijd. ob, and find a man to wede ij daies atte lordes mete and they erye a benerth and repe di' acre of whete and a yerde of barly and fynde a man to bederepe and close half a yerd, and pay 1 hene and xxx eyren.
This is to say that the landholders of the tenement of Luxted paid 5 s. 8|d. a year in rent, found a man to weed for two days at the lord's behest, performed ploughing
service similarly, reaped half an acre of wheat and a rod of barley, found a man to do service at harvest, maintained a portion of fencing, and paid a hen and thirty eggs. The word erye is an archaic form of the verb to ' ear ' in its sense of ploughing. Benerth was a Kentish term meaning service of ploughing and carting. Here it seems to imply an area to be ploughed. A bedrepe (as a substantive) was a day of work done by customary tenants for the lord at harvest time.
The whole document need not be quoted, but the names are worth transcribing:
Pette (? Petle) and Edgare Ferthyng
Garold and the part of the lond of Trugins with the per-tinance of other tenements which John a Doun helde. Neweman now Upstrete Trogmere (Trowmer)
Foukis the sone of Ordyng and Jordan Sarsyn Adam the sone of Geffray and Edythe Besing Herbard
Wybard Richard Bayly
Walkelyn att Chirch
About two-thirds of these names are known, certainly or doubtfully, from earlier documents, and it does not follow from their appearance here that these families occupied the tenements at the date of the list. All but one (Bayly) are prefaced by the phrase ' The londholderis of the Tenement of' . . . , or something similar : Bayly, the exception, was himself rented only ' for lond', and at an earlier date the Baylys held land elsewhere in Kent, and probably did not live in Downe. Unfortunately it is possible only in a few cases to locate the tenements. (We can actually, with satisfaction to ourselves if to nobody else, reckon upon thirteen of them with some show of reason.)
The rents range from £1 12s. o|d. (John a Doun's former holdings) down to 8d. (Trowmer). The only tenants who paid rent in money but did no service, besides Southwood, were Bayly and Walkelin ; but the tenant of Herbard had brought the matter down to a fine point: he paid 2s. 8|d. and a hen. Besing, in addition to rent and certain services, paid a quarter of a hen and a quarter of an egg, and there are several other instances of fractions of these commodities. The entry quoted above for Lukkestyle contains examples of all the services except one : the tenements of Wybard and Wylde, and they only, had each to ' pay ii sharis ', probably a tribute of ploughshares to the manor. Lukkestyle is the only tenement which supplies all the other services.
At the end of the account the clerk has entered a cash total of £10 us. ojd. The cash items add up, in fact, to £j 18s. 2§d. We must not presume to sign the account as audited and found incorrect: perhaps the balance represents a cash valuation of the payments in kind.
There is nothing to indicate the conditions of tenancy of the manor of Downe at this period. But by way of example we may (looking back a little) cite a lease of the manor of Orpington in 1396, when the Prior of Christ-church let it to Hugh Burys and William atte Welle. It survives in the library of Lambeth Palace. The rent was £5 2 a year. The lessees were to have complete possession, and were allowed the services of waifs and strays and any forfeiture due to the estate. The priors' bailiffs were to have access, by day or night, upon their visitations. The lessees undertook to maintain all buildings, the hall and chapel, the principal room, kitchen, and stable. They were not to cut underwood, except an amount for fuel and fencing adjudged reasonable by the keeper. They were to harvest, manure the land, and generally keep the place in order. They took over live and dead stock, and wheat from thirty acres in the barn, together with peas, oats, the year's hay, and so forth. They also took over a certain amount of furniture—six tables in the hall, a basin and ewer, a set of vestments in the chapel, a tripod and other things in the kitchen, granary fitments, and the
mill and millstones. The lease seems to have been terminable ' at the will of the holy men ', who also could distrain upon the tenant's goods, and re-enter upon the manor, in the event of default with the rent.
Some views of frankpledge for the manor of Orpington are preserved in the Public Record Office, and include records of affairs at Downe. Frankpledge was an institution based upon the principle that a community should be responsible for the misdemeanours of any of its members : this principle followed upon that of family responsibility, and was in force in pre-Norman England. After the Conquest the system was more exactly defined, and tithings or associations of ten responsible men were formed, with officers called tithingmen ; but this number was not exactly adhered to. The sheriffs- held courts to take view of frankpledge—that is, to see that the law respecting it was upheld ; so also did lords of the manors, in the sessions known as courts leet. By the time of our views of frankpledge, which fall in the reigns of Henry VI and VII and are thus of the same period as the rents and customs already discussed, the system of frankpledge was decaying ; but the ecclesiastical manors, as we have seen, were conservative.
These courts provided glimpses of the minor troubles of village life. In the earliest of the views, there is a blank beneath the heading of Downe, and it may be hoped that the peace had been unbroken ; but previously to the court in 1447 there had been a certain liveliness in various quarters : here are some examples.
John Austyn said John Upstrete owed him 6s. 8d., because Upstrete had done the medieval equivalent of backing a bill for John Fylle. Upstrete denied all knowledge of the business. The story ends there, for the case was adjourned for the summons of a jury, and there is no further record. John Ferdyng (Farthing) and John Reynold had trustfully paid William Kyng of Nokeholt (Knockholt) 5 s. to cut two dozen of ' colewode ' (for charcoal burning) by a certain date, and Kyng had not done it. He asked for an adjournment in order to prepare his argument, and there, again, the story ends. John Smyth, the tithingman for Downe, shows a superb im-
partiality in a nasty little affair between Richard Ferdyng and John Upstrete :
Item presentat quod Ricardus Ferdyng insultum fecit Johanni Upstrete iniuste contra pacem. Et similiter Johannes Upstrete insultum fecit prefato Ricardo iniuste contra pacem.
Item (John Smyth) presents that Richard Ferdyng has made assault on John Upstrete unlawfully against the peace. And likewise John Upstrete has made assault on the aforesaid Richard unlawfully against the peace.
John Upstrete himself was in trouble all round. He was the aleconner or taster, and in virtue of that position was at issue with a powerful section of the female population of Downe. In a splendid outburst of official rectitude he indicted no less than eight of them for that they brewed and ' broke the assize' in doing so. At the same time he haled forth Joan Smyth for refusing to sell ale outside her house, ' contrary to proclamation '. Joan Bayley (who also was one of the alleged illicit brewers) was called upon to answer William Coupere for impounding three cows and two oxen of his. She merely replied that she did nothing of the sort, and it needed a jury of thirteen (among whom are several acquaintances of ours) to settle the issue—but the settlement is unrecorded.
The matter of brewing continued to give trouble, and in or about 1503 two women brewed and sold beer ' against the assize '. The paper sheets of the record are mutilated and it is possibly the clerk's memorandum that we have, not the finished minute ; his Latin is pleasant to the eye. Thomas Tromer was the aleconner, and he ' presented ' that one Wyndesoner, whose Christian name is missing, was ' pro quarteria brasiatrix & tipulatrix '— alas, she had brewed and tippled (or sold) beer four times. Also Alicia Austen was ' pro tria tipulator bere' —three times a tippler of beer, and the clerk forgets her gender. From the manner in which fines are noted in other cases there is a suggestion that these misguided ladies escaped with a caution.
There is one case of theft: Geoffrey Pope stole a knife and ' gesam vocatam a byll' from William Pettley. He may have appropriated Pettley's pruning-hook; in the
interest of peace one would prefer to believe this ; but the Latin suggests rather the once common weapon known as a bill. It is impossible to guess at the ambition of Pope, for at the same time he took half a foot of hide and two armfuls of fuel from Augustine Maynard. William Smyth and Thomas Tro . . . (perhaps Trowmer) were fined fourpence each in 1501 for being ' common breakers of hedges '. As a last reference to these unhappily scanty records, so far as the courts were concerned with preserving the peace : in 1508 the grand jury made inquisition upon one Stephen Gabell of Downe, because, ' contra formam statuti', and not being in possession of land worth 40s., he kept a ferret.
It was the duty of the ' homage ', or officers of the court baron, to ' present' cases of alienation of lands which involved manorial dues, for example the payment of a heriot at the death of a tenant. Thus in 1501 it is presented that Alan Williams has died since the last court, and that Richard Bere is feoffee of Alan's son Richard Williams in lands and tenements held at the rental of 8j. 3|d. and half a hen, and ' harietabill', but the heriot is not stated. A few years later (the exact date is missing) the homage presents that Thomas Bunsted of London, leatherseller, had alienated a messuage and lands in Downe to John Mannyng, of whose family we shall hear in a later chapter ; but details are lacking.
From this period records of rentals, courts and the like fail until the nineteenth century. They may exist, but have not been found. So we break the historical sequence to glance at a rental of the manor of Orpington Magna, of which Sir Thomas Dyke, Bart., was lord, in the year 1819, so far as it relates to Downe.
Ten persons paid rent and services for sixteen tenements in all, and the total of the rents was curiously near that reckoned by the accountant of 1470—£10 14s. 4d. The services consisted of ' ffealty and suit of Court releif on every death and alienation of every tenant'. Nine of the tenements also paid a heriot on the death of every tenant, consisting, as the heriot commonly did, of the best live beast on the estate. (Actually this service was commuted by a payment of £10.) And lastly, there
survived in two instances, along with the rent in money, the payment of one hen.
The whole record bears the stamp of anachronism, and evokes something of the pity of anachronism. It is beautifully engrossed on vellum, and shows how the manorial courts met in spring every two years from 1816 to 1832 ; after that, the intervals become irregular, till at last there is one of fourteen years between 1865 and 1879, and then the remaining leaves are blank. The procedure is set out in stately form:
The Court Leet or View of Frankpledge of our Sovereign Lord the King and General Court Baron of Sir Thomas Dyke Baronet Lord of the said Manor holden at the dwelling house of John Day commonly called or known by the name or sign of the White Hart in Orpington within the said Manor. . . .
The courts were faithful to the same house of call throughout the period; but they styled it the White Hart Inn later on without any compunction. So far as the view of frankpledge was concerned, each parish, until toward the close of the period, sent its borsholder or elected elder of the burgh, who declared himself ' ready to do and execute all things belonging to his office'. There were still aleconners for Orpington and St. Mary Cray, but not for the other parishes. Next, jurors were sworn, and the officers were elected. The Records continue : ' Now of the Court Baron : the Homage ', and three persons are named.
The Homage aforesaid being sworn and charged on their oath present all and every the Tenants of this Manor who have been duly summoned to appear there this day and have made default and each of them is amerced one shilling.
(A blessed word, amerced, implying justice a merci, ever merciful.) The court goes on to take note of the deaths of tenants and the alienation of holdings, recording or claiming the incidental manorial dues. Sometimes the homage present persons for encroaching or cutting down trees, or, it may be, present that such things have been done and the homage do not know by whom. For example, in 1824:
Also the Homage aforesaid on their Oath aforesaid present Richard Childs for making an Incroachment on the Waste by erecting a Workshop thereon near ffarthing Street in the parish of Down and it is ordered that he pay one shilling per Annum for the same to the Lord so long as it is permitted to remain.
Other petty misdemeanours had passed out of the view of these courts.
At last comes the day in 1879 when a borsholder appeared for Orpington but none for any of the other parishes ; the homage is reduced to two persons who ' present' certain deaths and alienations, and finally admit that
certain other of the hereditaments holden of this Manor had since the last Court become aliened but further or otherwise they the said Homage were ignorant and craved time to inform themselves thereof . . .
Whether they ever did so, we cannot say.
THE CHURCH AND ITS REGISTERS
THE sixty-pound chapel of Downe (if we have rightly identified it with the erection of 1291) must have been a singularly severe little building, aisle-less, devoid of a chancel arch, a plain oblong, lit by tiny lancets, of which one survives. The Perpendicular builders improved the lighting by replacing the other Early English windows, and it is pleasant to suppose that they left the one as an example of what had been, for there is no apparent reason otherwise for doing so. They probably added the tower also, to contain the bells. Three of them out of the present six are old. The first and second were made by William Dawe of London (1385-1418). The third dates from 1511.
The chapel before the Reformation was not ill-furnished in a modest manner: here is the inventory of 1552, by Anthonye Crane and Thomas Sipher, churchwardens, such as was made throughout the land.
Firste ii chalks with theire patents of silver one of them broken waying together xiii ouncs.
Item iii bells of brass suted in the steple, and one sancts bell of brasse, and ii hand bells for procession, and a sacrying bell of bras.
Item a brasse panne and treffete, a bason of latten [a yellow metal like brass] and foure candlesticks of latten for thalter.
Item xv bolles of brasse wherein the tapers were wonte to be putte or sett on.
Item a vestmente of blewe satten of bridgs [Bruges satin] with flowers of gold, one vestment of red saye [fine serge] with flowers.
Item one other of red chamblet [fine worsted] with flowers of the same and one other of red silke all worne.
Item iiii albes, and iiii amyss belonging to the same iiii vestments.
Item ii corporaxes [the cloths used to cover the consecrated
elements] with theire cases, and ii holy water stocks of latten.
Item ii Crosses of copper and gilte and a crosse cloth of old grene silke.
Item ii surplases, and one rocket of lynnen.
Item iii alter clothes, one of diaper, iii shets of lynnen to cover the fonte.
iii longe towells and ii other shorte towells, one of diaper and thother of lynnen cloth, ii clothes for the alter, thone red chamlet and thother of oringe coloure with flowers of gold uppon them.
Item a blewe cloth canvass died.
Item a bible of alblaster for thigh alter there, on old christe bounde aboute with iron, on sepulcre of wood, on pix of latten, and on censer of latten, iii cruetts of tynne.
Item on crismatory [vessel for holy oil] of pewder, on canapie cloth of lynnen and painted, a valle cloth blewe and white.
Item iii banner clothes of lynnen stayned, ii stremers of lynnen clothe painted, on clothe for the roode somtyme painted.
All these things are lost; but a valuable heritage remains in the parish registers.
The earliest of the registers of Downe is a modest volume, in size thirteen inches by five and a half, and having seventy-four pages, all of parchment save the last twenty, which are paper. It is roughly stitched with string, by way of binding, into a parchment sheet which actually is part of an old deed. This, so far as it can be deciphered, appears to deal with a debt and consequent transactions between ' the said Anthony ' and ' the said Israeli', one Sale of Wapping, distiller, and a Mr. John Johnstone. One of the parties seems to have lived in the parish of the Blessed Mary of Bow in the ward of Cheap. There is no visible evidence of any connexion with the parish of Downe—unless, indeed, Colonel Johnson, who inhabited Down House early in the last century, had retained this record of some ancestor till he gave it to bind the register. The latest date visible in the deed is 1650.
But the book itself is of more honourable age. The entries begin in 1538, and that is the earliest year for which any such records exist. For it was then that Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General under King Henry VIII
(or as he styled himself ' the Lord Crumwell, Vice-gerent to the King for all his Jurisdiction ecclesiasticall'), ordained that these books should be kept, and only ten complete sets of parish registers survive in the whole bishopric of Rochester. Those of Downe form one of the ten.
Thomas Cromwell, son of a brewer and blacksmith, is among the more unpleasant characters in English history. As a youth he was drunken and vicious, and he had to flee the country before he was twenty. Abroad, he appears successively as a soldier of fortune, a merchant, a moneylender and a solicitor, and also in the role of a courier when he escorted to Rome a petitioner on behalf of a gild in Boston, and secured his patron's object by means of a gift of sweetmeats to the Pope. He thus first discloses a facility for currying favour which stood him well later on when he became a legal adviser to Cardinal Wolsey, and entered parliament. He acted for Wolsey in dissolving some of the lesser monasteries, and after Wolsey's fall he retained the confidence of the King—for a while. At least he did so long enough to become Master of the Rolls, Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Visitor-general of the monasteries in 1534-5, and he was the King's chief agent in the dissolution of the monasteries. A few more years brought him the office of Lord Privy Seal and the earldom of Essex; but he lost the King's goodwill by supporting his marriage with Anne of Cleves (who, poor lady, never enjoyed that doubtful favour), and Cromwell, detested by lords temporal and spiritual alike, was condemned to the Tower of London and there beheaded in 1540.
Two years earlier he had issued the Injunctions to the clergy which among other matters ordained
that you and every parson vicare or curate within this diocese shall for every churche kepe one boke or registere wherein ye shall write the day and yere of every weddyng christenyng and buryeng made within yor parishe for your tyme, and so every man succeedyng you lykewise. And shall there insert every persons name that shalbe so weddid christened or buryed. And for the sauff kepinge of the same boke the parishe shalbe bonde to provide of there comen charges one sure coffer with twoo lockes and keys whereof the one to remain with you, and
the other with the said wardens, wherein the said boke shalbe laide upp. Whiche boke ye shall every Sonday take furthe and in the presence of the said wardens or one of them write and recotde in the same all the weddinges christenynges and buryenges made the hole weke before. And that done to lay upp the boke in the said coffer as afore. And for every tyme that the same shalbe omytted the partie that shalbe in the faulte thereof shall forfett to the said churche iiis. iiiid. to be emploied on the reparation of the same churche.
Some of the ordinances thus peremptorily set forth were acceptable to the clergy ; some were far otherwise, and among them this of keeping parish registers. Many of the clergy and wardens must have shirked this duty, the proper discharge of which is so precious to the historian, so that within the next twenty years enquiries were reiterated four times as to whether the injunctions had been obeyed. There may have been a good local reason for punctiliousness in our own case, for Thomas Cromwell himself was not far away. He held the manor of Esthall by Orpington, ' with appurts. in the pishes of Grey St. Mary's, Orpington, Downe, Eynsford, and Chelisfelde'—so runs a deed of 1547, referring back to the time when he had been attainted and sold Esthall to the King.
Finally, in 15 97 a Constitution of the Convocation of Canterbury, confirmed by a Canon in 1603, ordered that the paper books or loose sheets of the registers down to those years should be replaced by parchment, and copies of the earlier entries made thereon, at least for the reign of Queen Mary. Many of the clergy seized upon this last concession, and started their transcriptions in 1558: the paper originals for the earlier years were destroyed or subsequently lost. The more honour to Nicholas Peirson, minister of Downe from 15 89, if (as is probable) it is his cultured script in which the entries for our parish from December 1538 are copied. Cromwell's original Injunctions bear the date of September 5 in that year. Our transcript was evidently made in 1599, in or aiter which year the script shows that entries were made individually from time to time ; the ink varies in colour, and so forth.
The period of the Civil Wars and Commonwealth was one of ecclesiastical anarchy, which seriously affected parish registers. ... In 1640 a Committee was appointed to deal with scandalous ministers, that is, with the Clergy who were loyal to Church and King.1
Refusal to take the Covenant caused the ejection of many clergymen in 1643 and afterwards. New ministers, often undesirable persons, were imposed upon many parishes, and in 1653 civil registrars were ordered to be appointed, and marriages to take place before justices of the peace. All these conditions came to an end with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 ; meanwhile, the system of parish registers had fallen into confusion if not into neglect.
There were curates at Downe during part at least of the troubled period. No appointment appears between those of Nicholas Peirson in 1589 and Thomas Emerson in 1646 ; but Emerson was followed by one Kinge in 1650, and he by George Bradshaw in 1654. The next is Philip Jones in 1672.
Actually, the disorder of the Downe registers extends over a longer period than that of 1640-60. The entries of baptisms are not completely interrupted, except in 1646-8, for any period longer than a year; but there are only fifty-one of them in twenty-two years. Marriages are not registered from 1640 to 1653, nor burials from 1641 to the same year. From 1654 George Bradshaw made some entries in his own hand until 1664. But another and quite literate hand made most of the few baptismal entries over the whole period from 1638 to 1663, apparently at one time, and this may represent an attempt to collect the names of those who at the end of the Commonwealth were not unbaptized. Again from 1665 there is a lapse in the marriage entries until 1671, and in those of burials until 1672. Thus the year of the plague (1665-6) is not covered. Philip Jones resumed the proper keeping of the register in 1672.
For the benefit of the wool trade, it was enacted in
1 Rev. W. E. Buckland, The Parish Registers and Records in the Diocese of Rochester, Kent Archaeological Society, 1912.
1666 that the dead should be buried in woollen shrouds, and this was re-enacted in 1678 when an affidavit before a magistrate was enjoined : in 1680 it was conceded that the affidavit might be signed by the minister. Observance of these enactments was lax in Downe. One burial in 1677 has against it a note—apparently a marginal afterthought—' woole bd.'. Our affidavits begin in 1680, and continue before a magistrate (Henry Sandys or Edward Manning) till the end of 1683 ; after that until 1686, save once in 1685, an affidavit is specified to have been made, but not he who received it. The first enthusiasm of Philip Jones had deserted him, for it is another and less educated hand which makes the entries after 1680, and the word ' affidavid ' is not always achieved without pains.
In the first century of the keeping of the registers (1538-1637), when, as we have seen, they appear to be complete, there are 553 baptisms, 273 of boys and 280 of girls—a difference from the present day, when there are usually more boys born than girls. It is perhaps worth while to draw a comparison between the number of those who can be recognized as dying in infancy, and the present rate of infant mortality. Forty children who were christened at Downe died in infancy and were buried at Downe during the century, which represents a proportion of nearly 73 per thousand. The infant mortality rate in Great Britain in 1930 was 60 per thousand, and 66 in 1931. Obviously the comparison is in no way exact; but the figure would suggest reasonably healthy conditions, for that time, in Downe.
The common baptismal names, as elsewhere in rural parishes, are very few in number, especially in earlier years. Among boys, during the first fifty years, over a quarter were named John, and over the whole century seven names were distributed among 210 out of the 273 boys christened: these were John (64), Thomas (52), Henry (24), William (23), George (20), and Edward (10). Thirty-four other names were distributed among sixty-three boys (two being unnamed): among them, considering names common today, Robert occurs but three times, James only once, and Charles not at all. The most unexpected Christian names are an Avorie in 1605,
a Browneing in 1611, and one which has beaten the clerk (and perhaps the parents) in 1618, and appears as Vaspation.
The case of girls' names is similar : out of the 280 baptisms there are 52 Elizabeths, 46 Annes (variants are Anne, Annye, Anna, Ann, An), 42 Joans (Joan, Johan, Jone), 24 Alices, 21 Maryes (occasionally Marie), with 10 each for Agnes, Dorothy (Dorotie, Doritye, Doritie), Katherine, and Margaret (Margret, Margrite), so that these nine names were distributed among 225 of the girl babies. Among other names, there is a Briget in 1603, a Crisanna in 1555 ; eight girls are christened Emme and one, simply, Em; there are seven Janes, and one name occurs four times in four variants—Tomasin, Thomasin, Tomazen, and Thomazen. There are also two girls christened Dennis. Bitteris, in 1545, is a noteworthy Christian name in the burial register.
That the orthography of proper names caused difficulty when the parish clerks were left to make the entries is not surprising when there was so wide a freedom in the spelling of common words. ' Pacesents Jones wos bab-tized August ye 31 (1735). She was ye Daughtar William & Elizabeth Jons.' Such is a typical entry by a parish clerk of long standing : his version of ' Patience ' is not without freshness ; but perhaps of greater philological interest is the fact that for two years during his term, but not before or after, he acquired the conviction that' daughter ' was to be written ' daftar ', thus following phonetically the pronunciation of the time.
We have at Downe none of those strange Puritan baptismal names of the seventeenth century—Hope-above, Remember-death, and such like—which occur in many registers, some not far distant from us.
There are in the first century of the register only eight baptisms of children recognizable as illegitimate, either through the mother's name alone being given, or through one or other parent being named as ' reputed', or, in one instance, through the blunt entry ' Joan ye daughter of an harlot'. An infant in 1607 is stigmatized as ' a base chylde ' ; otherwise the phrase ' base-born ' comes only later into use. In 1655 we find ' Comford a base born child was baptized March 24 '. Poor Comfort,
denied not only parentage but even the distinction of sex!
Among other baptismal entries, one in 1545 refers to ' George ye son of John Christopher a vagabond Egyptian', the first reference to the gypsy folk who still frequent our neighbourhood. In 1555 there is a curious entry, ' John—John ye sonne . . . ', and so forth, and on the same day an entry of burial—' John and John ye sonnes . . .': we must perhaps suppose the merciful release of unseparated twins. In 1618 we find ' Amie the daughter of Mr. James Waldron Baptized the 7th of January borne upon the ffeast Day of Innocents.' We may imagine the parents insisting upon the insertion of that happy record, for otherwise nothing of the sort is found, and the baptismal entries show little else of special interest, save one. The entry of the baptism, in 1559, of Margaret Maninge (who afterwards became Viscountess Bindon) is preceded by the words ' Baptized after ye Queenes visitason'. Regrettably we have no other clue to this outstanding incident in the village history; but the connexion of Margaret's father Henry Manning with the royal household will appear in another chapter. And Elizabeth's presence in these parts is traceable, as we shall see, at other times.
From 1538 to 1637, 115 marriages were registered: the proportion of baptisms to marriages is thus large. The point is not of great significance ; but certainly some of the earlier families increased at high frequency and in prodigious number. Perhaps the most noteworthy marriage is one which appears in 1698, when ' The Earle of Eglinton and the lady Kay were married december: 6 '. This was the lady's fourth union, contracted at the age of ninety, as we shall see later. She died less than two years afterwards : ' The Right Honble Katherine Countess of Eglintoun (late Lady Kay) was Buried August ye 26th 1700'.
There is a curious feature about the entry of this marriage, which might, but must not, tempt us to romance. ' Chr. Clarke M: A: Minister of this Parish of Downe ', who entered upon his curacy in 1696, started a new register book, making entries in his own very beautiful
script, while the old register (by that time sadly untidy and disordered) continued to be kept by the parish clerk. But the minister omits the entry of the Countess' marriage, while he duplicates all the others made by the clerk. The apparent explanation is that the marriage actually took place at St. Bride's, London, and one must suppose that the clerk found reason for recording it as an historical event. But the minister is punctilious to give her ladyship due respect after her death. For the clerk's entry of the burial styles her ' The honourable Countis of Eglinton '; and between the two first words the minister's hand has added ' Rt.'
This duplication of the registers continued to 1733. They seem to be less fertile than some others in their hints of village history ; nevertheless, an entry here and there presents some momentary picture to the mind, or maybe recalls some little tragedy. In the sixteenth century we get the impression of a community pretty closely self-contained, with families whose names occur frequently in the first few pages of the registers—Crane, Farrant, Frythe, Phillips, Whrffin, as well as others we shall encounter elsewhere—persisting for terms of years sometimes to be measured in hundreds. It is later that the wanderers appear whom now we call tramps : we find such entries of burial as ' Charles ffinch a poore man ' and 'Joane Gaisson a poore stranger' (1624), 'Ann Wakfield the Daughter of a Stranger' (1637) ' Old Nell a Stranger' (1716), and other such. The burial of 'A Stranger', unnamed, occurs several times after 1716; never before. Itinerant labourers came in at harvest time : ' A stranger a reaper from Downe Court' was buried in 1688 ; ' An infant belonging to Harvesters ' in 1787 ; ' James ye son of Harvesters Born at High Elms Farm ' was baptized in 1791, and so forth.
In 1619 appears the singular entry ' Elizabeth Glover widow of the wishe of Cowdhame (Cudham) buryed at Downe'. Later, in the eighteenth century, quite a number of funerals took place from considerable distances. Some were members of families long established in Downe; thus, three Durlings from Greenwich in 1737, 1749, and 1760; a Henman from Greenwich in 1777;
an Ouseley from Shoreham in 1737. But in other instances, from London and Bromley, the names are not found elsewhere in our registers. In the same century, from time to time, a number of children were brought from Cudham to be baptized. Persons from London were married at Downe in 1735 and 1742, and from Woldingham in 1746, by licence from Doctors Commons, and we find other, and some earlier, examples of the marriages of gentlefolk otherwise unknown to us. The gentry, by the way, are from the first distinguished as ' Mr ', or Mistress, excepting ' Mr Jacob Versiline esquire ', buried in 1606, of whom we shall hear more.
In 1714' Thomas Whitehead Batchelour and Cordwainer who planted the Wallnut Tree in the middle of the Towne was Buried April ye 30th'. Close to this tree, against the churchyard wall, the village stocks remained till 1826 or later. Whitehead's is the sole example of an early benefaction attributed upon decease; but Clarke, the minister already named, records to his own credit that ' All ye Trees in ye Church-yard (except the Two great yews) were planted by the Present Curate for ye sole use and benefit of his Successors in ye years [i6]97, 98 99, Sec' Clarke, it may be added, was later rector of Hayes and of Keston, where he is buried ; he became prebendary of Ely and archdeacon of Norwich in 1742.
Accidental deaths are recorded as such. ' Thomas Doer A well sinker who by misfortune brake his neck in Mr Maninge's well' (1589); 'Henry the sonne of Richard Maninge who by misfortune was killed wt a hatchet' (1601); ' Sammul Giles was killed by overthrowing of a cart an wos Buried' (1770) ; ' Mr John Smith (who was killed by bis Horse falling on him) was buried' (1788)—such are examples. Occasionally there appears a major tragedy. ' Old John Mitchell was Interr'd on the North side of Downe Church but deny'd Christian Burial because he Drown'd himself in Ravens-bourne Pond' (1713). 'Elizabeth Brown Spinster was Bured on the North Side of the Church of Down but denied a Christion Burial becaus she Hanged herSelf' (1758). And the crime of another who hanged himself in a noose must even be veiled by the minister in Latin—
' Richard Owseley (qui se laqueo suspendebat), Jan 7, 1775 '
A word is due to the practice of our registers in regard to dating. From early medieval times the year began on March 25 among most Christian peoples. According to the Gregorian calendar of 1582 New Year's Day became January 1, as it had been according to the Julian calendar of Cassar. The Gregorian calendar was not formally adopted in England until 1751 ; but in the Downe registers Philip Jones, the curate, wrote January 1675/4 and February 1674/5 in successive months, and the second of these forms was adopted by those who followed after him—when it occurred to them to do so.
The church, as we have seen, was a chapel of Orpington, and the patron was the rector of Orpington. All the appendages of Orpington were peculiars of the archbishop. Downe was apparently reckoned as a vicarage in the seventeenth century, but afterwards it became a curacy of Hayes, and it was a vicarage again only in 1841.
SOME OF THE MINISTERS
AT the beginning and end of the earliest parish register appears a list of the clergy of Downe, starting, unfortunately, no earlier than 1585, when Oliver Bag-thwaite was buried, and at that not quite complete. It runs to 1871. A missing sheet or two must be assumed, for the earliest and some of the later names are additions by a modern hand. Of the clergy before 1585 almost nothing is known ; but in a list of 15 34, giving the signatures of the clergy who declared that' the Bishop of Rome hath no greater jurisdiction committed to him by God in this realm of England than any other foreign bishop ', there occurs the name of ' Johannes Leu'sage, curats de Downe'. And in 1530 Elizabeth Brisley, alias Bendon, of Bromley, left twelve pence to pray for her soul to ' Sir John Leuersage my gostly father'. A commission of enquiry in 1650 showed that the vicarage was worth £20 per annum, and belonged to ' master King, who was a painful honest minister, and kept the school here'. George Bradshaw entered upon his ministry in 1654 with a rather dubious Latin tag—' NiMH pr. sumiter actum dum superis aliquid ad agendum '. Thus he wrote, and if we venture to suggest ' praesumitur ' and ' superest' as emendations we arrive at the suitable aphorism ' Nothing is deemed done so long as anything remains to be done'. This example in scholarsMp was followed by Robert Davidson (1593) who gives as Ms message ' NUiil abusque labore ' (' nothing without labour ') ; and by Thomas Browne, A.B., who ' succeeded Francis Fawkes in the year 1777—wMch year Ne cressa careat pulchra dies nota'. Mr. Browne makes a trifling misquotation of Horace (Odes, I, 36)—' Let not this fair day be without its wMte chalk mark '.
But the most remarkable of the ministers' own records is this :
St Thomas Day 1687 James Fayrer one of the Fellows of Magdaien Colledg in Oxford being deprived by order of King James ye second, was minister of this poore Down for one year ; being restored again to the said Colledg in 1688.
Fayrer had been a demy (or scholar) of Magdalen in 1675 and became a fellow in 1683, and divinity lecturer in the college, where, however, his reputation was far from savoury. He probably was not unwilling to be restored from ' this poore Down ' to the comforts of his college, for it appears that later he was given the living of Appleton in Berkshire, but ' left it at the year's end, because he had rather live a collegiate life, i.e. because he had rather lie at his ease, and do just nothing but eat the Founder's bread '. So wrote Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, in his contemporary diary, who considered that Archbishop Tenison
' had done great prejudice to the University by being a main instrument to bring in Dr. Farrar of Magdalen College (a Fellow all guts and no brains) to be Natural Philosophy Professor ' (1705).
He was openly accused by some of his colleagues of liaisons with women bedmakers in the college (' who had been scandalously lewd and vitious '), when he opposed their expulsion. And this is Hearne's epitaph when Fayrer died in February 1719/20 : ' He died of the dead palsy in the College. He was a very proud, haughty man, of no learning, and therefore altogether unfit for the Natural Philosophy lecture '—and Hearne concludes with a caustic story of the lady to whom he is ' supposed to have been married'. Fayrer held also the rectory of St. Martin (Carfax) in Oxford for the last twenty-seven years of his life. Downe at least must have been well rid of him.
Far different a character was Francis Fawkes, who held the curacy of Downe as part of the living of Hayes from 1774 until his death in 1777. This was a Yorkshireman born (1720), of Warmsworth near Doncaster, who was
educated at Leeds and Jesus College, Cambridge, and became a curate at Croydon. He must have been a merry, sociable fellow—too much so, it is hinted, to assure him of high preferment in the church. But he acquired fame, in his day, as a poet; and it was indeed by writing an ode to Thomas Herring, Archbishop of Canterbury, on his recovery from an illness in 1753, that Fawkes secured the archbishop's favour, and was preferred by him to the vicarage of Orpington, with the chapelry of St. Mary Cray and the curacy of Knockholt, in 1755. Fawkes (if the phrase may be allowed) kept up the pressure, and an ode to his grace conveys the poet's picture of his new cure:
Thanks to the generous hand that plac'd me here Fast by the fountains of the silver Cray,
Who leading to the Thames his tribute clear,
Through the still valley winds his secret way.
Yet from his lowly bed with transport sees
In fair exposure noblest villas rise, Hamlets embosom'd deep in antient trees,
And spires that point with reverence to the skies.
O lovely dale I luxuriant with delight I
O woodland hills ! that gently rising swell;
O streams ! whose murmurs soft repose invite ;
Where peace & joy and rich abundance dwell. . . .
Well, the Cray valley is not yet wholly ruined ; though even Fawkes' enthusiasm would scarcely have attributed the epithet ' noblest' to the ' villas ' of Orpington in the modern sense. We have another glimpse of our own country in Fawkes' Elegy on the death of Dobbin, the butterwoman's horse.
The death of faithful Dobbin I deplore ;
Dame Jolt's brown horse, old Dobbin, is no more.
The cruel Fates have snapt his vital thread,
And gammer Jolt bewails old Dobbin dead.
From stony Cudham down to watery Cray
This honest horse brought butter every day,
Fresh butter meet to mix with nicest rolls,
And sometimes eggs, and sometimes geese and fowls ;
And though this horse to stand had ne'er a leg,
He never dropt a goose, or broke an egg. . . .
Dobbin, we learn, was fed to the hounds, and the poet counsels the foxes to take cover from the hunt which the old horse's shade will leave behind in the chase. Fawkes himself was a sportsman : he wrote an eclogue in praise
of partridge shooting ; and an anonymous Mr. ------- of
Brazen Nose College, Oxford, addressed to him an ode ' On a Country Vicar, carrying his wife behind him, to visit his parishioners '—
In southern climes there lies a village, Where oft the vicar, fond to pillage, Sallies with gun aloft on shoulder. . . .
Fawkes replies in'good part—
This vicar lives so blithe and happy, With daily roast-meat, and ale nappy ; With dogs to hunt, and steeds to ride, And wife that ambles at his side ; Who loves no hurries, routs, nor din, But gently chucks her husband's chin. . . .
And finally invites his lampooner—
Mean while, to prove my honest heart, Step down direct, and take a quart.
It was, indeed, Fawkes' love of his glass which brought him greatest fame. His song ' The Brown Jug ' was set to music, sung on the stage, and remained in currency for many years : it runs thus—
The Brown Jug :
Imitated from the l^atin of Hieronymus Amaltheus.
Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
(In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale)
Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul
As e'er drank a bottle, or fathom'd a bowl;
In boosing about 'twas his praise to excel,
And among jolly topers he bore off the bell,
It chanc'd as in dog-days he sat at his ease In his flow'r-woven arbour as gay as you please, With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away, And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay, His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut, And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.
His body, when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolv'd it again,
A potter found out in its covert so snug,
And with part of fat Toby he form'd this brown jug,
Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale,
So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale.
It has been held that Fawkes' Toby Fillpot, and not (as is the alternative view) Laurence Sterne's Uncle Toby, gave origin to the still familiar Toby jugs, which are stated to have been made at Mortlake from the middle of the eighteenth century onward till about 1830.
But Fawkes' acknowledgement of his model for this song discovers the higher bent of his art. Though his verse may appear to us something glib, and his efforts as a panegyrist even nauseating, he must have been a fine scholar, and his many translations into English rhyming lines earned him a high reputation. Contemporaries held him the finest translator after Alexander Pope : his work on Anacreon was praised by Johnson ; and he translated also Sappho, Bion, Moschus, Musaeus, parts of Menander and Horace, and the Idylliums of Theocritus, being aided in the last by Johnson, Bishop Zachary Pearce, and others. He was disappointed, as has been suggested, of ecclesiastical preferment beyond the rectory of Hayes—save that he became chaplain to the Princess Dowager of Wales— and it was sad that dying prematurely he should have left his wife in poor circumstances. The explanation may be found in Alexander Chalmers' English Poets : ' Mr. Fawkes was a man of a social disposition, with much of the imprudence which adheres to it'.
PARISH ACCOUNTS AND ASSESSMENTS
WE have in Downe a manuscript volume of churchwardens' accounts, and the vestry's assessments upon the landowners, running from 1709 to 1853. It is fortunately well preserved through having been rebound in vellum, with brass spring clasps, in 1823.
As an indication of the liabilities of the vestry in the first part of this period, it is worth while to transcribe the account for a typical early year : here it is.
The Accounts of John Jewell one of the Church wardens of dowon for the yeare 1713
Gave to three mained [maimed] semen . . 00 01 00
Gave to a woman that was burnt out in oxford-
sheare and had an order from the Justeses of
peese for Relefe .....
Paid for one hedg hoge ....
for feching of two Lode of sand
paid for 20 busheles of Lime and for feching
paid for one hedg hoge ....
Paid for two thousand of plaine tiles and Ridg
tiles and feching .....
Paid two [to] Tho : Greene for worck
paid two Danel Omer for worck
Paid for 48 feet of facing ye Rafters .
Paid for 16 feet of Ease bord .
Paid for one hedg hoge ....
Est [Easter] visettasion paid the Court fese
Paid the parretor for worning .
Paid for the minester Diner and mine
Paid for Laying a boock for ye Conformasion
Paid two Danel Omer for seting the vane to Rit
and one Shilling spent ....
Paid for bread and wine att witsontide
Paid for one hedg hog ....
Paid two to women and foure Children that was semens wifes that was Cast away att see and hade an order from the Justeses for Relefe to go to
rye in susex . . . . . . oo 02 6
Gave to four mained solgers that was agoing in to
Lincon sheare . . . . . 00 01 o
paid two ye Ringers for ye thanksgiving . . 00 03 6 Gave two a woman and six Children that was burnt
out in Warwick sheare . . . . 00 01 o
Gave two eight mained semen . . . . 00 01 6
Gave to a man that was burnt out in Gloster sheare 00 01 o
Paid two the Ringers one Gonpouder treason . 00 02 6
Paid for bread and wine att mickelmus . 00 04 7
mickelmus Court for my one Diner . . . 00 02 6
Gave two six semen yt wase agoing to Porchmoth 00 01 o
Gave to five mained semen yt was agoing to York 00 01 o
Paid for bread and wine att Crismus . 00 04 7 Gave to twelfe people and Children that ship was
Cast away acoming from nue England . 00 01 6
Paid for mending the Church windows . . 00 09 o
for woshing and mending the surples and Linen 00 02 6
Paid for bread and wine at Ester . . . 00 04 2
Paid two Nikles Crundal for a years Repares . 00 02 6 Paid two henry Bratford for mending the Church
gate and the stocks and a bocks . . . 00 13 o
These disbursements, in purport continually recurring, suggest that the vestry had four main duties : to keep the church in repair and maintain its services ; to relieve poor persons ; to provide for the ringing of the bells on certain occasions, and to pay rewards for the destruction of vermin.
Downe was a curacy within the period of this account-book until 1841. We have seen that it was at one time attached to the vicarage of Hayes. The Rev. Henry Fly has entered himself in the register as ' appointed minister of this Chapel and Nockholt 1788 '. His successors John Pieters and James Drummond are perpetual curates. John Willott, in 1841, is the first incumbent defined as vicar. There is no evidence as to how many services the curates were supposed to conduct, but the accounts indicate that in the early part of the eighteenth century the Holy Communion was celebrated only four times a year, at Easter, Whitsuntide, Michaelmas, and Christmas, The
ecclesiastical visitations appear to have entitled the vicar and a churchwarden to a half-crown dinner apiece. We hesitate to assume how often the surplice and linen were washed, but the washing bill was paid once a year; so also was the apparitor for warning those who were slack in attendance at church.
There is more than a suggestion that at the beginning of the eighteenth century Downe Church was in a bad state. Quite extensive repairs extend over several years, entailing considerable supplies of material such as tiles, ' deles ', ' ocken bordes ', ' gystes ' (joists), ' nales ', ' henges ',' baddricks for the beles ' (these were the leather thongs carrying the clappers), repairs to the ' Beele wheales ', bell-ropes, and a ' lader for the belfree'. In 1737, ' repearing the Steple ' cost £16. About the year 1826, again, there were large repairs and alterations, and it may have been a culminating episode when in 1828 the authorities hired a ' carriage to London and back to order weathercock'. This excursion cost them 7s. One item there is which should no doubt be classified among repairs, though its exact purport escapes us : in 1736, one Mills was paid is. 8d. 'for a new Eye for a peek'.
There is evidence, too, that the church had fallen spiritually low by the early part of the eighteenth century. The modest payment to the apparitor for ' worning ' was perhaps not enough: at any rate, in the course of an enquiry concerning the archbishop's peculiars in 1758, William Farquhar, then curate of Downe, reported that many meaner persons absented themselves from church, so that ' it draws tears from my eyes that my labours have not better succeeded'.
It is clear that the administration of relief under the Poor Law Act of 1601 was far from adequate, and, long before the Act of 1834 organized the work of districts under commissioners, it had become thoroughly bad. Gifts from the parish of Downe to poor persons are insignificant for a century before 1825, when the last ' poor woman' in the accounts was paid a shilling. In the earlier years the cases dealt with were detailed with some precision, as when in 1711 2s. 6d. were paid ' to a woman
and five Children that came with a pattorne [patent] from the Queene to ask Relefe'; from time to time, also, expectant mothers (described in no uncertain terms) were assisted. Later on, the assisted casuals are entered merely as 'strangers' or ' pasingers'. Down to about 1721, again, there were certain classes of needy persons who were regularly helped, as appears from examples quoted in the accounts above.
There were those who had lost their effects by fire, and may have been making their way to their original homes, or simply living on the country. There were the soldiers and sailors moving about the country during and after the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-13). A rather sorry sight is suggested, by some of the entries, of wounded men set ashore to trail their long ways home, begging from village to village. ' Three lame solgers that ware to York sitty ' received 6d. from Downe. ' Six mained solgeres that ware agoing to Eyle of Whit' had a shilling. And one imagines the stories with which the village may have been entertained by the ' eight Disbanded solgeres that came from port mahon', and received a shilling. (Port Mahon, in case the question should arise, is in Minorca of the Balearic Islands, and was in British hands from 1708, with short intervals, until 1802.)
Persons who had been shipwrecked, too, had some sad tales to tell. ' Two meen that came from Dim Church wall all that thay had was drounded.' They received a shilling (1718). So also, in 1719, did a ' poure womman that had ail that she had was drouned and Lost her husband and one Child '. ' Eight and thirty pore seemen that were cast away near Sandwich in Kent' had half-a-crown. ' A clargey mans widdow that came from Ierland and was cast away going to Cornwell', had a shilling : she must have travelled far. But many did this : ' Plym-moth ', ' Yarmoth ', ' Norrig ', ' Dossettsheare ', are among other destinations.
Lastly, within this category fall a few curious and similar entries, of which the first—' Gave to 29 slaves, 2s.'—appears in 1729. In that very year a legal opinion was given to the effect that a slave entering the British Isles from the West Indies did not ipso facto become free,
and the question exercised the law and public feeling until 1772, when the contrary was decided.
The ringing of bells on public festivals was not, in most instances, a practice of long duration. That ' on gunpowder treason' survived the longest. A certain sense of boredom with this function is suggested by the terseness of the entries in and after 1758—' For Ringing Powderplot'. In 1783 the churchwarden enters ' Nov. 5. For ringing as usual on this day', and the practice continued until 1797, after which there seems to have been a spasmodic and isolated revival in 1821. The fee for these and other similar performances was 2s. 6d. or 3s., save once, when in 1714 5s. were 'paid to the Ringers when the King came'. The occasion was no doubt the landing of George I at Greenwich from the Continent. They celebrated, later in the same year, what the churchwarden of the time calls ' the Kings Cronatision Daye ' : in later years his successors come nearer to the truth with ' Crounnashon'. The bells also were rung on ' The Kings berth Day and the Resstrasion day '; but practices of this sort survived but a few years.
We come lastly to the more homely item of vermin. The price upon the head of the hedgehog (treated so, no doubt, on account of his liking for eggs and young game-birds) remained at 46.. from the earliest account until 1839. His orthography sorely troubled the churchwardens. He appears at times as a hedg hodg, heage hog, heghog, and in many other versions. Once only does his price vary, when the paymaster was not to be cheated—' Five young hedg hodge and one old one' made only is. 2d. in 1715 : 'children half-price' must have been the custom then as now. Warfare upon them was apparently desultory—they appear singly, or a few at a time—until the thirties of the last century, when there must have been organized battues upon them and upon sparrows. With a climax of 84 hedgehogs and 13 5 dozen and nine sparrows in 1838, and rather less in the following year, the payments cease, and perhaps it is no matter for wonder.
In earlier years an occasional ' bodgere' makes a shilling, but the badger is still with us in the parish of
Downe. Not so the polecat, of which only two examples appear—a ' pulcat' in 1714 and a ' poulcat' in 1752. Foxes (or their heads) are rewarded with a shilling more frequently. The last of them appears in 1753, and the year is not without interest, as it is ' about the year 1750 ', according to Wilton's Sports and "Pursuits of the English, that ' hounds began to be entered solely to fox '. And we have seen elsewhere that Thomas Fawkes the minister, who died in 1777, recognized the sport.
FOR a poll-tax in the year 1377, the first levied in England, the population of Downe was counted as 167, excluding children under fourteen years old. For comparison, that of Orpington was 290, and that of Hayes 104; so far has the distribution of population changed in our area in five centuries and a half. Downe is a village still, when some of its neighbours have become urban concretions ; but its relative status continued high for long after the fourteenth century. Lambarde, in his Perambulation of Kent, 15 76, gave a list in which he
set over against eche towne and place, such summes of money, (as by reporte of the recorde of the 13 yeare of her Maiesties reigne) was levied in the name of a tenth and fiftene, upon every one of the same : which being done, I will haste me to the description of such places. . . .
He did not, unhappily, haste him to the description of Downe or of any place within the ' hundredth ' of Rokesley to which it belonged ; but the list is not without interest. The ' townes and places ' consisted of the hundred-centre of Rokesley (north of Orpington, and eastward of Foots Cray), Bexley, Orpington, Farneburghe, Codeham, Downe, Hese, Keston, North Craye, Fotycraye, Chellesfeld, West Wickham, S. Marie Craye, Heuer and Lingell (the woodland in the Weald, belonging of old to Orpington), Noke-holte, Pollescraye (Paul's Cray), and Chesilhurst. Of these, the levy upon Bexley, £G 12s., was the largest, then followed Orpington with £4 13s. iod., then Cud-ham with 62s. 2d., and then Downe with 52s. 4d. : for all the rest the levies were smaller, and for nearly all very much smaller.
In 1831 the population was 340, so that if allowance be made for the children in 1377 (let us say that the
total population was then 200) there had been no startling increase through those centuries. There were 69 houses in the parish in 1831, 93 in 1861, with a population of 496; 184 in 1931, with a population of 717. In 1734 there were 12 voters according to the poll-book; in 1802 the number fell to 4. After the Reform Act of 1832, the number rose triumphantly to 19 in 1837.
Darwin's biographer, his son Sir Francis, remarked upon the survival of family names in the village as Darwin knew it, from many centuries before. One or two still survive, though not of the oldest. Though unknown to fame the longevity of names in one place may entitle them to record, and of some we hear elsewhere in our story. Here, then, are examples.
Alice, the daughter of John Henry de la Doune, inherited from her brother John a tenement which she gave to John Hwyffyn some time before 1356; and the Whiffins, whose land at that time was in the north of the parish, are the family whose name survived probably the longest, for we never lose sight of them from then until 1744. Some survivals appear in the local nomenclature. Thus, in what is now the hamlet of Farthing Street, we hear of the family of Ferthing first in 1366. It may be observed that the name of the Farthing lands, which they possessed, might bear the meaning of poor lands. In the same century appear the names of Trowmer, which till lately was attached to a house in the parish, and of Petley, which still is so to two. One other house still bears the family name of Gorringes, but that comes only from a later time : we meet with William Penington Goringe as a ratepayer in 1764.
The field names sometimes guide us still. In 1287 we first encounter Ralph Walkelyn, whose family name is pleasantly corrupted in a field known as Walking Piece to this day; there were Wakelings in Downe in 1750, but there is not a continuous succession. Godliffe is another early family whose land survives as Goodly Piece. The Waterfield of the present is the Weterfield of 1297, which before this date was in the occupation, at least in part, of John de Aqua, whose name
suggests in classic style his connexion with his tenement.
Other names, such as the Cranes, Farrants, Frythes, Happies, Heylockes, Hollesters, Owtredes, which run long through the registers if not before them, may sound pleasantly on the ear, but have no claim to fame ; save perhaps the Frythes, with whom certainly was connected John Frith the martyr who died in 1533. He is said to have been born at Westerham, and was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, moving afterwards to Cardinal College (later Christ Church), Oxford, and he was burned for heresy. Thomas Frythe before 1483, and about 1500-30 a John Frythe of Downe, a Richard of Westerham, a Robert of Limpsfield, a Thomas of Edenbridge, and a John of Seal, all related, appear in deeds relating to the transfer of property in Downe : the family evidently was widespread in the locality.
It happens that the Farrants, who lived at North End with property extending into Farnborough, supply a good example of the old Kentish system of tenure called gavelkind, through the survival of a deed of 1633. The manifestation of this system best known is the descent of an estate, in case of intestacy, not to the eldest son only but to all the sons in equal shares, resulting in minute and curious divisions. Thus it befel that Henry, Thomas, and John Farrant, sons and coheirs of John Farrant, divided a house, barn, and forty acres in such manner that details of this sort appear : Henry had the kitchen and the loft over it, the buttery adjoining the kitchen and the loft over it, a room adjoining the buttery on the south, and free passage through the yard to the highway : he had also a building called the Old Stawle, the part of the orchard next the kitchen, certain fields, and the use of a pond in the yard not his own. Thomas had the entry to the hall of the house, the hall itself and the chamber over it, the buttery next to the parlour, the barn and the stable, and half the yard with the pond in it: he had also the south end of the orchard and a little land besides. John had the largest share of the land, but no share in buildings.
Lastly we owe reference to the family of Phillips of Orange Court, whose name runs from the earliest registers down to the later part of the last century; for George Phillips in 1771 established a trust (afterwards supplemented by Sir John William Lubbock) in favour of the education of children in the village.
SOME EARLY FAMILIES (THE MANNINGS AND OTHERS)
OF the Pulters, who acquired the manor of Downe toward the close of the fifteenth century, little is known, and nothing to their credit. Early historians of Kent, among them Hasted, have placed the manor in the hands of the Petleys of Downe and elsewhere in West Kent; but this will not stand, and perhaps there has been some confusion between Petleys and Pulters. Thomas Pulter the elder ' of the parish of Downechirche, County Kent, esquire ' received pardon of outlawry in 1484 after he had failed to appear to answer for a debt of £20 to William White, mercer, of London. In i486 Thomas Pulter the younger, late of Downe, received a general pardon notwithstanding that he was convicted and attainted of treason by parliament. Thomas Pulter, presumably the elder, had enfeoffed Sir John and Sir Richard Gyldeford and others of the manor in 1460. Shortly before his death an inquisition shows him possessed of the manor and various other holdings of the prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, the services for which are stated to be unknown. On his death in 1488 he was succeeded by a child of five, his son or cousin, Richard by name, and in 1513 there is a writ for the performance of covenants by Richard with Sir John Haydon and others concerning the manor of Downe and property in Chelsfield and Keston. The manor next appears in the possession of Sir Thomas Myrffyn, Mirffine, or Mer-vyn ; but the Pulters seem to have retained some interest, for in Mervyn's will it was provided that Francis Pulter, for a consideration, was to ' release all his right and title in the manor of Downe as his father did before him '. The Pulters now leave the stage.
From this point the succession of the manor as such
has less interest than some of the personalities associated with it.
Sir Thomas Mervyn of Downe Court was Lord Mayor of London in 1518 and served two terms as master of the Skinners' Company (1509-12, 1515—16). By his first marriage he had eleven sons and a daughter, all of whom predeceased him save one son who was a monk and another who died childless shortly after his father. By his second marriage Mervyn had a daughter, Frances, who was Oliver Cromwell's great-grandmother, and another, Mary, to whom the manor of Downe was left, by Mervyn's will, after the death of the second Lady Mervyn. She was Elizabeth, daughter of Angel Donne or Dunne, alderman of London, whom we should like to, but cannot, connect with the family of Atte Downe. It was provided that she was not to inherit Mervyn's property unless her father discharged his debt to him: her dowry, apparently, had not accompanied her hand. Mervyn died in 1523, leaving an astonishing number of provisions for masses to be said for his soul by numerous religious institutions. Among other bequests he gave a penny to each prisoner in the London gaols.
Mary Mervyn married Sir Andrew Judd, or Judde, also of the Skinners' Company, to which he was apprenticed, and of which he was master for four terms between 1538 and 1555. He came of a Tonbridge family, and he founded Tonbridge School. He was a great figure in the city as a merchant of Muscovy where he traded in furs ; he travelled also to Africa, and he became Lord Mayor of London in 1550. The inscription on his mural monument in the church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate, sums up his career:
To Russia and Muscova to Spayne Gynny (Guinea) withoute fable traveld he by land and sea Both Mayor of London and staple [merchant of the staple, belonging to the society licensed to export staple goods] the Commonwelthe he norished so worthelie in all his daies that ech state fullwell him loved to his perpetuall prayes Three wyves he had One was Mary Fower sunes one mayde had he by her Annys had none by him truly By Dame Mary had one dowghtier Thus in the month of
September a thousande fyve hunderd fyftey and eyght died this worthy staplar worshipynge his posterytye.
(The original inscription is unpunctuated, and in capital lettering throughout.)
Two of the first Mary Judd's ' fower sunes ' died as children: the other two divided the Downe property, but the whole was later reunited in the hands of one of them, Richard Judd. He conveyed the manor to his brother-in-law Thomas Smyth of Westerhanger in Kent, the father of two distinguished sons out of a large family. Sir John Smyth, the eldest, inherited the Downe property. Sir Thomas Smyth (Smythe), the second son, achieved eminence, not unaccompanied by notoriety, as governor of the East India Company and treasurer of the Virginia Company.
None of these prominent families, however, had any very intimate connexion with Downe. It is otherwise with branches of two well-known Kentish families. One of these, the Petleys, never possessed the manor. The other, the Mannings, had representatives here for many years before the manor came into their possession.
In the county genealogies of William Berry (1830) it is shown that the Petley line which afterwards branched to several other places in Kent originated with Richard Petley at Downe in the thirteenth century. The succession, however, agrees only in part with the names of Petleys known to us from other sources (deeds relating to the transfer of land and so forth) : it may be supposed that there were two coeval households of Petley in Downe ; and that supposition is supported by the fact that two houses in the parish still bear the name of Petleys. The earliest transaction by a Petley in land in Downe which we have seen involves William de Petteleye in 1297, and he is not in the succession from Richard. Such evidence as exists in old deeds suggests that a good deal of land in the parish was held by Petleys in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and early sixteenth centuries. They must have been people of substance, and considerable employers. Thomas Pettele in 1393 was licensed by Elizabeth Lady de Say to cut and make 10,000 of ' talwode ' in her park
of Bettred for £10, with allowance also for the charcoal made from the tops of the trees felled. The Petleys of Downe do not seem to have risen to eminence until Matthew in the later part of the sixteenth century married into the Polhill family, of Otford, and entered parliament. Previously they appear to have gone their modest ways in peace, save when in 1408 William Pettele proceeded against William Lukstile for trespass, and John Petteley, described as a ' colyer', found trouble in 1439. For he failed to appear before the King to answer touching divers trespasses, falsities and deceptions whereof he was indicted; but he surrendered to the Marshalsea prison of the King's Bench, and was pardoned. He also appears, in the style of John Petle, husbandman, as one of the eight inhabitants of Downe who took part in Jack Cade's rebellion, and received pardon of Henry VI in 1450. His companions were various other husbandmen (including a Godard and a Smyth), John Erie, yeoman, and William Walleys, ' gentilman '.
The next John Petley, described as a yeoman, seems to have entered into partnership with John Mannyng in the acquisition of property, from Richard Godarde in 1501 and from Thomas Farthing in 1506, and his daughter Agnes married Mannyng. There were three other daughters ; but the male line in this branch of the Petleys now ceases. Matthew, the member of parliament in later years, is described as of Downe, but neither he nor any of his people appears in the parish registers.
Other branches of the family settled at Halstead, Shoreham, and Riverhead near Sevenoaks, at which last place they appear in the registers until 1852. At least one owned property in London, and the name occurs in the outskirts of London, not many miles from Downe, to this day.
The Mannings were the most distinguished of the earlier families of Downe. They are stated by Hasted to have taken their name from Mannheim in Saxony, and to have come to England before the Conquest. A more circumstantial version of this statement, the origin of which is unknown to us, indicates that Ranulph of Mannheim, Count Palatine about 940, married Elgida,
aunt of King Harold I, and was granted lands including the sites of Downe and St. Mary Cray. Before we hear definitely of them as living in Downe, however, they were in the neighbouring parish of Cudham, where their ancestry is traced back to Simon Manning, who went to the crusades under Richard I at the end of the twelfth century, and was ' lord of the castle and town of Bettrede ', according to Phillipott in his Visitation of Kent (1619). Hasted, however, says that the Bettrede property came into the family only through the marriage of William, Simon's grandson, with the daughter of Richard de Cherfholt, who held the reeveship of the manor early in the fourteenth century.
Bettrede, Bertred, or Bertrey, was early a part of the manor of Cudham. It was merged with that of Aper-field (Apuldrefeld or Appletree Field) in the fourteenth century. Both properties bordered the parish of Downe on the south. The site of the ' castle ' or manor house of Bertrey is lost. The ' town' may be taken as represented now by the hamlet of Single Street. The house of Aperfield is not long vanished : among the desolate remnants of its demesne there survives one majestic conifer which should be allowed immunity against the assaults of bungalow-plotters. But we must not stray farther outside our bounds.
A second Simon Manning married a relative (some say a sister) of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. He probably owned land within the parish of Downe ; at any rate he witnessed a deed relating to the transfer of a messuage in the parish in 1382. John Manning his son certainly owned land here, for in 1405 he exchanged Wakelins Field in Downe for two fields below Cudham Park. This John married Juliana, widow of William Wallys of Cudham (this being the first of several marriages connecting the Mannings and the Wallyses) and died in 1436. Another John Manning followed in the line, and his son Hugo or Hugh was ' of Cray ', and through him and his son Richard the well-known family of Mannings who lived at St. Mary Cray till 1753 traced their descent. It was Hugh's son John who married Agnes Petley as already narrated; he is the first of the Mannings who,
in the several deeds relating to transactions in land, is specified as ' of Downe' ; he also bears the style of ' yeoman'.
John Manning died in 1542. His eldest son, George, married in the following year, and his second son, Henry, some twelve years later. The third and fourth sons, John and Richard, lived and worked in London. It is not recorded what John did for a living: he must have been prosperous, as he left some land in Lambeth to his godson Peter (George's eldest son), a ' gold ring worth 20s. or better with a dead man's head graven on it' to his brother George, and his lute to his brother Henry, with 1 os. each ' in gold or silver' to their wives. Richard was a merchant tailor. George spent the whole of his life in Downe, and Henry lived there till he moved to Greenwich in 1560. George had twelve children in sixteen years, of whom four died as babes. After this he had three more who were not baptized at Downe, so that we do not know their ages. Henry had five children in the six years after his marriage before he left Downe, of whom one died at the age of six. A fine phalanx of young Mannings must have enjoyed themselves together in those days.
Henry Manning seems to have usurped his elder brother George's place ; perhaps because he was evidently the ambitious member of the family, lived at Greenwich, and became Marshal of the Royal Household, while George stayed quietly secluded at Downe. But the suspicion cannot be avoided that George was somewhat unpopular in the family circle. Brother Richard in his will left brother John ' all such sums of money, debts and duties as my brother George oweth to me ', and made Henry his overseer or trustee. There was a tendency to put Henry in this honourable but arduous position among his contemporaries in the family. Mylles and William, the sons of Hugh Manning (John Manning's son by his first wife) both did so. William, after leaving his own brother a ' bed furnished except curtains which I myself did commonly use ' and a cupboard, and remembering two of George's daughters, left all his ' evidences and writings' to Henry, as well as making him trustee.
Henry was trustee also for George, for his father-in-law, Erasmus Kirkner, and his son-in-law, Viscount Bindon. Kirkner left him three yards of crimson satin for a doublet as a solatium, Viscount Bindon four horses, George £z, and Mylles i2d.
Henry Manning was Knight Marshal, or Marshal of the Household, under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. His position must have rendered him impressive in the eyes of the other members of the family living at Downe :
The Knight Marshall, called Mareschalus Hospitii Regis, hath Jurisdiction & Cognizance of all Crimes within the Royal Palace, whereunto one of the parties is the King's servant. He is one of the Judges of the Court called the Marshalsea or Marshal-seat of Judicature, which is held in Southward, and hath there a prison belonging to the same. Upon Solemn Occasions he rides before the King with a short Baston tipped at both ends with Gold and hath six Provost Marshals or Virgers in Scarlet Coates to wait on him and to take care of the Royal Palace, that no Beggars, Vagabonds, Common Women that prostitute their bodies, Malefactors, etc., come within or near the Court.
In a previous chapter we saw that the Downe parish register records that Margaret, one of Henry's daughters, was baptized on November 30, 1559, ' after ye Queene's visitason'. From Elizabeth's palace in London Downe must have seemed in those days far away, but the Queen knew at any rate much of the road, for it is said she was fond of the country at Lewisham, where she used to come ' a-maying'. According to a guide to Kent of the early nineteenth century, there was then an oak near a spring at Catford under which she dined al fresco on one of these expeditions. The waters of this spring, the Ladywell, resembled those of Cheltenham. At a later date we hear of the Queen visiting Sir Percival Hart, to whom the manor of Orpington had been granted after the dissolution of the monasteries. He presented to her a masque in which there figured a bark (or ship), and she, as the story goes, showed her appreciation by naming the house Bark-Hart.
Did the christening-day of her marshal's daughter come
to the Queen's ears and did she graciously announce her intention of visiting Downe on that day ? Or was it a lucky chance for the infant Margaret ? She was, in any case, the member of Henry's family who rose highest, for she became the wife of Thomas Howard, first Viscount Bindon. He had four wives, and she was the last, and was only twenty-three when he died, leaving her with a daughter. His will shows his solicitude for her welfare and that of her child. He named a number of highly-placed personages—Lord Burghley (the Lord High Treasurer), the Earl of Sussex, Sir Edward Horsey (Captain of the Isle of Wight), Bartholomew Clark (Dean of the Arches) and his brother Francis, with his brother-in-law, Richard Burton, and Henry Manning—as trustees, ' humbly praying these honourable personages to take under their honourable protections and defence my true and loving wife Lady Margaret and my said daughter that their weakness by their honourable strength may be aided, protected and defended from wrongs and injuries. He left the ' government and education ' of his daughter, until her marriage, to his sister-in-law, with many elaborate precautions, ' unless she be preferred to her Majesty in service ' : and added, ' I wholly refer her advancement in marriage unto her Majesty'. Margaret later married again, and became Lady Ludlow.
The entry of Margaret's baptism in 1559 is the last referring to Henry and his family in the Downe parish register until that of the death of his wife in 15 96. He sold Downe Court in 1560, so that he presumably left Downe for Greenwich in that year. His widow may have come back to end her days at Downe, perhaps with her eldest son Henry, whom she made her executor and heir. This Henry was evidently, like his father, a man of parts, for he became a doctor of laws, and chancellor of the diocese of Exeter. He followed fashion and had a family of ten. His mother in her will left 40s. for a ring to Margaret, Viscountess Bindon, and a piece of plate worth £5 to her other married daughters, with £5 extra for Katherine ' in recompense of a gown promised her by my father'. The youngest daughter, Fortuna Mildred, married Thomas Whitfield. This marriage
provides the first link between Downe and the early settlers of America : we shall hear later of others. The son of Thomas and Fortuna Mildred Whitfield was the Rev. Henry Whitfield who went to America in 1639 after he had had a family of ten children, all born at Ockley in Surrey. He returned to England with his wife eleven years later, but his children were the progenitors of a number of well-known American families.
When George Manning died in 1582, his eldest son Peter was thirty-one, and his four eldest daughters were married. Elizabeth, the third of them, seems to have been something of a family favourite, or else she married a poor man, for she appears before her elder sisters in her father's will, and is left £10, while two of them only get £3 6s. 8d. each : and we also find her mentioned, alone of George's family, in the wills of two of her uncles. Peter was followed in the family by five girls, the four already mentioned and one unmarried, so that the other sons were quite young when their father died, the eldest, Thomas, being twenty-three. George directed that he and his next brother should be given £50 when their apprenticeship expired, and that the younger two, George and William, should be kept at ' writing school' for a year after his death, should then be apprenticed to a trade for eight years, and should only then receive £50 apiece. (Both these sons subsequently died across the seas, George in Normandy, and William in Ireland.) This apprenticing of younger sons to some trade was a common practice among the landed gentry at the time, but it is interesting to notice for what a lengthy period the indentures lasted. To his wife George left £20 ' and her chamber furnished'. All the rest of his property went to Peter, the eldest son.
Phebe Manning, George's youngest daughter (who was not baptized at Downe), provides another connexion with the early history of America. She was only a child of twelve when her father died, and he directed that she should be ' kept to school' for six years under the tuition of Dorothy, the only other unmarried daughter, then twenty-four years old, who was to have 40s. a year for her pains. When Phebe grew up she married James
Waters, an ironmonger of London. He died in 1617, leaving her with a son Richard, and in the following year she married a gunsmith, William Plasse. Both she and Plasse were about forty-seven at the date of their marriage, but, astonishing as it may seem, they and Richard voyaged to America and joined the adventurous settlers of Virginia. The first settlement had been made only in 1607, and the settlers had suffered grievously from contagious disease, grave mistakes in administration, and the threatening attitude of the natives. Before Phebe started on her voyage, however, Sir Thomas Dale had crossed the Atlantic with a new charter and a large number of emigrants of all ranks and classes, so that the Virginia plantations were on a more settled basis. No doubt England was full of talk of the riches of the New World, and Phebe may also have had her imagination fired by contact with the Sandys family, hereafter to be mentioned : for Col. Richard Sandys was living at Downe Hall in the early part of the seventeenth century. In 1637 the authorities of the town of Salem granted William Plasse a house with half an acre of land, and in 1643 he was provided with a workshop, and room to set up a forge, so that he evidently continued to ply his trade until his death as a man of about seventy-five three years later. Other Mannings (not from Downe) made their way to America, and the American connexions of the Mannings are not allowed to be forgotten. The family name is still widespread in the United States of America. There is a Manning Association, with headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts, ' devoted to the perpetuation of the traditions of the Manning family in America'. The Manning Manse Foundation maintains as a place of resort (with dining salon and tea tavern) the Manning Manse at North Billerica, Mass., built in 1696, where family reunions are celebrated. The collection of mementos of the family is undertaken, together with genealogical work, and a periodical called the Manning Manse Messenger is published, containing among other matter the results of historical researches relating to the family. We cannot exclude from this record (by way of example) the recollection that William Manning of Billerica, in or about the
year 1847, invented the popular confection known as the cornball, as a corollary to his success as a trader in pop-corn.
Peter Manning must have hastened to marry as soon as he found himself head of the family and in a position to do so. There is evidence, as it happens, of his escape (at a price) from an unmatrimonial alliance with a ward of his sister Katherine at Greenwich. His first son, the eldest in another large family, was born in 1585, two years after George Manning's death, and was christened Jacob in compliment to Jacob Verzellini, whose daughter Elizabeth Peter had married. Verzellini is an interesting figure, and played a large part in Downe society. He owned the property of Valence at Westerham, and bought Downe Court and the manorial rights when Henry Manning went to Greenwich in 15 60. Subsequently Verzellini acquired large tracts of land in Downe, Keston, Hayes, Farnborough and Bromley, and he seems to have lived at Downe Court until shortly before his death. His second daughter, Mary, also married a Downe gentleman, Michael Palmer.
Verzellini is an unexpected figure to find among the landed gentry of Kent in the sixteenth century. Although he became a ' free-denizen ' of England, he was a fugitive Venetian; a glass-maker, who established works in Crutched Friars, London. The old hall of the friars was converted into the factory. Verzellini was granted a monopoly by the Crown ' for the makynge of drynkynge glasses such as be accustomablie made in the towne of Morano ', with the condition that he ' hath undertaken to teache and bringe uppe in the said Arte and knowledge of drynkynge glasses owre natural subjects '. The importation of the glass was forbidden, on condition that Verzellini sold it as cheaply as foreign ware. He was probably the first to use soda-ash made from seaweed and seaside plants instead of crude potash from wood and fern ash. His monopoly did not go unchallenged, for in 1589 two English glass-makers petitioned to be allowed a patent for the manufacture of domestic glass other than that made by ' one Jacob, a stranger dwelling in the Crutched Friars ', who made ' all mannre of counter-fayt Venyse drynkynge glasses '. Only three pieces of
[page] 62 A HISTORY OF DARWIN'S PARISH
Verzellini's glass are now known. One, called ' Queen Elizabeth's glass ', is kept in its leather case at Windsor Castle. The second, a round tankard with silver and enamel mounts, which belonged to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, is in the British Museum. The third is an ornamented goblet, with the motto ' In God is al mi trust', and the initials G & S linked. A fourth piece was dropped and broken at an auction sale. During excavations on the site of the works in London many fragments of glass were discovered. Verzellini disposed of his patent to one Jerome Bowes some years before his death in 1606, and the works continued in operation till 1641. His wife was also a foreigner, the only daughter of a rich merchant of Antwerp.
Verzellini's will is an exceedingly complicated and lengthy document, tying up his property as firmly as possible, with the result that it led to litigation after his death between his wife and his children. There was apparently trouble in the family during his lifetime also, for he left annuities of £40 to his two sons, Jacob and Francis, only on condition that they should not either of them ' vex sue or molest or rouse or assent to the suing and rousing or molesting of the said Elizabeth my loving wife and their natural mother ', or enter upon any of his possessions (which mostly went to his wife at his death) ' to molest or trouble any of the undertenants or occupiers ', or try to frustrate any of the dispositions in his will. Verzellini left a number of charitable bequests, including presents to his tenants in Downe, and ' as much cloth of say 6d. or 8d. the yarde as will make everyone of them a coate to be by them worne at my funerall'. He also left careful instructions as to a marble stone to be placed in Downe church, which was to cost £20 and to be engraved with pictures of himself and his wife ' with our arms and some other remembrance or epitaph '. This stone may still be seen on the floor of the church, with the brass figures of Verzellini and Elizabeth, and underneath their two sons, three sons-in-law and three daughters. The smallest male figure is probably their eldest grandchild, Jacob Manning. The inscription reads thus :
Here lyeth buried Jacob Verzelini Esquire borne in the cittie of Venice and Elizabeth his wife borne in Andwerpe of the ancient houses of Vanburen and Mace who haveing lived together in holye state of Matrimonie fortie nyne yeares and fower moneths departed this mortall lyfe. The said Jacob the twentye day of Januerye An0 DHi 1606 aged LXXXIIII yeares and the sayd Elizabeth the XXVI daye of October An0 DSi 1607 aged LXXIII yeares. And rest in hope of resurrexion to lyfe eternall.
At his death Verzellini gave Peter and Elizabeth back Randall Woods, which he had bought from them, and also land at Leaves Green, and in West Wickham, Hayes, Keston, Southborough, Bromley and Farnborough. Downe Court, land at Cudham, and Valence went to his wife, and after her death to the eldest son Jacob. Both houses were let two or three years before his death, when he retired to his house in Hart Street, London. Possibly Mary and Michael Palmer, his daughter and son-in-law, who received the Hart Street property and land in Keston, Cudham and Farnborough, under the will, were already living in Downe Court. Certainly they came into possession of it before very long, and brought up their family there. We must suppose that Jacob Verzellini the younger died without a son, in which case it was devised to the Palmers.
The will of Michael Palmer, which is dated 1631, affords us interesting glimpses of the Palmer family, and opens with an unusually elaborate preamble, even for those days :
Beinge at this tyme whole in body, of good, sound and perfect minde and memory, laud & praise be therefore given to Almightie God, yet nothinge is more certaine than death, nor anythinge more uncertaine than the tyme and hower thereof, And that in tyme of sickness I maie be the more freed from the cares of this world,
and so forth. This preamble may have been considered desirable because wills at that time and earlier were usually dictated from the deathbed of the testator, but Michael Palmer was moved to make his will by the birth of a third son, the child of his second wife, whom he married after the death of Mary Verzellini (or Versalyng, as he spells it). Michael Palmer put in an anxious codicil to the effect
that, although his son's name was mis-spelt Michaell twice at least in the body of the will, when it was really Micah, this was not to be allowed to affect the baby's inheritance of Phillis farm, Farthing Street. Unfortunately in the codicil itself the name is given as Micha and Micah. One hopes that Michaell, Micha, or Micah got his patrimony safely all the same.
Michael Palmer (the father) appears to have come by most of the Verzellini property, with the exception of the Trowmers and Petleys farm land, which was still in the hands of the Mannings. There is a curious repetition of the terms of the will of his father-in-law, Jacob Verzellini, in the proviso that if his eldest son should bring a lawsuit against his' mother or dispute the dispositions of the will, the gifts made to him should go to the second son. Downe Court must have been a pleasant house in Michael Palmer's time, for he evidently had a pretty taste for personal possessions. He tells us in his will of his ' brass and irons '; of his ' crimson covers for stooles & chaires embroithered with blacke velvet and green twist'; of the ' cushions of cloth of orrise being the story of the Samaritan and Jacobs well,' and those which were ' grounded with white silke and the flower being a holy tree full of redd buries '; of the ' best grogron curtaines and vallance of crimson ingrained with silke fringe' for the windows ; and of the wainscot which he had set up on the walls of the manor house. ' Orrise' may have been embroidery in gold or silver. Michael Palmer was very properly house-proud.
The last Manning who was buried at Downe, so far as the register shows, was Elizabeth, wife of Peter, in 1633. Their youngest son Edward predeceased her in iGzz at the age of twenty. He acquires a measure of romance from having been a page to Prince Charles, afterwards Charles I, and a marble slab bearing the Manning arms and motto in the church thus records him :
Pax Fidei Crux.
Hie jacet Edward Manning quondam ex familia illustrissimi
Principie Caroli, filius natu minimus Petri Manning de Trowe-
mere Armigeri et Elizabethae uxoris ejus filiae cohaer : Jacobi
Verzelline Domini manori de Downe, vitae sanctimonius
Deum in caelestem patriam emigravit X die Junii, anno salutis MDCXXII aetat: suae XX.
In 1651 Thomas Manning, probably a grandson of George, sold property including that which afterwards became Charles Darwin's, as will appear in a later chapter. Another Edward Manning was taking affidavits of burials here in 1680, but there is no evidence that he or any later Manning lived here.
The history of the manor, as such, becomes confused. Jacob Manning, son of Peter and Elizabeth, acquired it from Jacob Verzellini (the son) in 1614, together with other manors, Verzellini receiving £260 and an annuity of £50, and giving what he evidently regarded as a bargain at the price ' for the love and affection which he bore to Jacob Manning, being his sister's son'. The financial operations of Jacob Manning are hidden in an obscurity possibly merciful; but in 1646 his son Thomas exhibited a bill against various defendants, declaring that Jacob died in (or about) 1621 seized of the manor and farm of Downe Court and various other lands, when his wife Dorothy was ' priviment enceinte with the plaintiff'. Abraham Chamberlin, Thomas declared, entered into part of the Downe Court property worth £80 a year when Thomas was a baby. Peter Chamberlin, his successor, who died in 1631, and Thomas Cargile continued to take the rents and profits, and entered on the manor and cut large quantities of timber. Also John Palmer and John Symons, soon after Jacob Manning's death, had entered other part of the premises and received rents and profits of £80 a year. Between them all they let the premises fall into decay, and Thomas Manning now claimed £3,000 damages. The defendants refused to give up the premises and the ' writings ', or to pay damages. They claimed to have a conveyance from Jacob Manning, whereas Thomas asserted that if such a thing existed it was only a mortgage for some small sums for which they had received treble satisfaction from the property.
After the hearing, Thomas Manning recovered the manor. But it appeared further that in 1624 Jacob had mortgaged part of Downe Court to Peter Symons and
[page] 66 A HISTORY OF DARWIN'S PARISH
Helkiah Heysy for £400 in trust for Peter Chamberlin, John Palmer being in possession of the other half, and the division was decreed by the Court in 1627. Thomas Manning had to pay back this mortgage, and the defendants to account for the profits and pay what was due. Meanwhile, a deed exists (in private hands) purporting to show that the manor had come into the hands of Sir Thomas Watson, receiver of first fruits and arrears of the King's tenth. He died in the King's debt, and the Crown leased the manor and various lands in the district to Stephen Alcocke and Thomas Ellis in 1623.
Jacob Manning's career must have been a lesson to fathers. Litigation continued until 1652. After this the manor got into the Palmers' hands, for Michael Palmer, grandson of the former Michael, conveyed it to Richard Glover in 1662. There were Glovers in Downe at least as early as 15 40 ; they were not of gentle birth, but they must have risen, for some of them became merchants ' of St James's ' in London. They conveyed the manor to Claude Champion Crespigny in 1768, but he was not a resident: Downe Court was leased by John Glover in 1689 to Richard Jewell, a member of a line of yeomen-farmers in Downe. His family was succeeded, probably in 1727, by Thomas Lambert, also a member of an old Downe family, for an earlier Thomas Lambert married Anne, one of the daughters of George Manning, in 15 60. In 1770 Downe Court was leased to John Smith ; and his son, of the same name, bought the property, with the manorial rights, in 1824. These came of a line of Smiths who had lived at Farthing Street since the seventeenth century. Their descendants remain; but the manorial rights passed in recent times into the hands of the Hart-Dyke family, the owners also of Orpington.
Among other earlier families in Downe we must by no means neglect the Sandys, of Downe Hall. The old house which bore that name was formerly called Goddards : it is known that the Mannings acquired property from Richard Godarde, and it is tempting to believe that they built a new hall, over against the church. Henry Manning, at any rate, seems to have sold it about the middle of the sixteenth century to Sir Frances Carew of Bedding-
ton in Surrey, and from a successor of his it passed to Colonel Richard Sandys. This was a member of no mean family, the grandson of an Archbishop of York, and son of Sir Edwin Sandys.
Sir Edwin, born in 1561, was a man of many parts. A friend of Richard Hooker's from his youth, he gave him much help with his ' Ecclesiastical Polity ', and after three years' travel he wrote a book, Europae Speculum, which had a wide vogue. He stood high in parliament in the reign of James I, and was knighted, but gave offence by his bold support of Whig dogma, and was imprisoned in 1621. His chief interests lay in the East India and the Virginia companies. By his fourth wife he had a large family, in which Richard Sandys of Downe Hall was the third son. He (like his elder brother Edwin) became a colonel in the parliamentary army : the sons followed their father's tenets. Richard was also, in 1647, governor of the Bermuda Company ; some of his contemporary relatives married ladies of the Washington family, connexions of the young Washingtons who went to Virginia, and Richard and Edwin Sandys were themselves members of the Virginia Company, though they did not cross the Atlantic. Downe Hall, according to the hearth-tax of 1645, had the largest number (eight) of chargeable hearths in the village.
After the death of Richard Sandys, Downe Hall passed to his son Henry, who yielded to the charms of a very remarkable lady—in her way the most remarkable in our village history. This was Katherine, daughter of Sir William St. Quintin of Yorkshire, who became successively the wife of Sir George Wentworth, Sir John Kaye (whose third wife she was), Henry Sandys, and Alexander, eighth Earl of Eglintoun.
The earl succeeded to the title in 1669, being then ' a very young man', and, by his portrait, of excellent good looks. He is said to have been called Greysteel for his courage and truthfulness. He had made in 1658 a runaway match which was accounted ' an unexpected pranck worse to all his kinn than his death would have been '. He handed over the family estates to his eldest son in 1676, and lived in England after his second marriage, in 1678, with the widow of Sir Thomas Wentworth, an
alliance deemed of' vast advantage to his son and family '. He did a little soldiering and dabbled in politics.
He must have been a startling figure in Downe—but less so than his third bride. Henry Sandys died in 1694, and in 1698 the earl and Sandys' widow, still known as Lady Kaye, were united at St. Bride's church, by Fleet Street in London. The marriage was also recorded, as we notice elsewhere, in our own register, so deeply was the village moved. And no wonder : the husband was about seventy years old ; the bride not less than ninety. In fact, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, the Scottish antiquary and artist, uncharitably gave her six years more. He wrote thus in 1838 to an unnamed lady:
Antient marriages never surprise me, knowing a prodigy of that kind in my mother's family. Her great-grandfather, Lord Eglintoune, at seventy, married a widow aged ninety-six —I suppose the oldest bride that ever went to church : they were publicly married in London, where the mob should have given them a good ducking. She was an Englishwoman, and had married two (sic) husbands before she made Lord Eglintoune, happy with her fair hand, and a good heavy purse in it. Long ago I employed some friends in Yorkshire, where the lady was born, and contrived her first pair of matches, to enquire about her picture, which would be a great curiosity ; but there is no portrait of her known—which is a sad pity, considering her remarkable conquests.
It is matter for comment that the registration of the marriage refers neither to banns nor to licence. The lady died in 1700, and was buried at Downe.
Jordan (or Gordon) Sandys, son of Henry, reached captain's rank in the Royal Navy, but seems to have settled into country life at Downe after his father's (or his stepmother's) death. He was a churchwarden for five years from 1717, and he died in 1735. His son Henry came into family property at Northbourne by marriage with a distant cousin, Priscilla, great-granddaughter of Colonel Edwin Sandys. Her father, Sir Richard Sandys, had no son, but seven daughters, of whom only three grew up. Priscilla as the eldest inherited the Northbourne estate : she and her husband went there to live, and that was the end of the family of Sandys in Downe.
THE LUBBOCKS, OF HIGH ELMS
THE family of Lubbock is traceable in the district neighbouring to Cromer in Norfolk as early as the fourteenth century. A banking business in which John Lubbock, eldest son of the Rev. William Lubbock, of Lamas, was a partner, started in London in 1772 and became prosperous and famous. John Lubbock was created a baronet in 1806, and was the first of his line to enter parliament. He died without issue in 1816, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his nephew Sir John William Lubbock (1773-1840), who followed his uncle as a banker and merchant, and also was a member of parliament. It was he who bought the nucleus of the High Elms estate, 270 acres, in the parish of Downe, from James Edge in 1808. The name of High Elms, as a farm, is old. We know it from the register of 1703 as being, then and earlier, in the occupation of the family of Brasier, who were in the parish before 1630.
Sir John William Lubbock's only son became also Sir John William Lubbock (1803-65), and maintained the banking connexion of the family but not the parliamentary connexion; on the other hand, he added the lustre of a distinguished career in science. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1828, and in the following year, at a remarkably early age, was elected to fellowship of the Royal Society, of which he was later a vice-president and the treasurer. He received its Royal Medal in 1834. His work in the comparison of tidal observations and theory, in physical astronomy, and on the lunar theory ranked him very highly, and he also was a leading exponent of the mathematical doctrine of probability, and worked on its application to life assurance. He was the first vice-chancellor of the University of London (1837-42).
From 1840 Sir John William Lubbock spent most of his life at High Elms, where he extended the property and built the present house in 1844. He was deeply interested in, and successfully practised, farming, planting, and the breeding of livestock, and among othar activities he laid out a race-course in the higher part of the park. The earlier meetings were at least partially private affairs ; but the last of them, held in 1864, was far otherwise. A contemporary account places the attendance at 40,000, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and many other notable persons, and waxes enthusiastic, not without reason, upon the beauty of the scenic setting. Members of the Lubbock family were winners of several events.
Sir John William Lubbock died in 1865, and was buried at Downe. He was succeeded by the eldest of a large family, Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913), later (1900) Lord Avebury, who in a life rarely paralleled for multitudinous activities seemed to unite all, and more than all, the interests of his predecessors.
It is no part of this record to enter into details of that extraordinary career. It has been admirably set forth in Horace G. Hutchinson's Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. In business, in science, and in public life alike high endeavour attained success. It has been written of Lord Avebury that ' as an expositor of science and an intellectual and moral mentor to the general public he had a vogue almost without parallel in modern times '.
He was born in London in 1834, but High Elms was his home for the rest of his life except from 1861 to 1865 when he lived at Chislehurst (after his first marriage), and for intervals after 1902 when he lived at Kingsgate Castle near Margate, where he died. Like his father he went to school at Eton; but the curriculum had little attraction for him, and alone he laid the foundation of his studies in natural history. He did not go to a university, but was taken by his father into the bank in his fifteenth year, and at a very early age was in a position of responsibility there. He was later to institute the important reforms of the country clearing system and the publication of clearing house returns ; and to become president of the Institute of Bankers (1879-83). Meanwhile, he 'improved
his general and scientific knowledge by carefully ordered private study ', and the influence of Charles Darwin upon him (to which we must presently turn) was profound. His first scientific lecture was given to an enthusiastic village audience in Downe in 18 5 o : it dealt (appropriately) with the wireworm. In 1853 he attended his first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science—the society over which he was subsequently to preside at its jubilee meeting in 1881, when he gave a remarkable review of the then state of science, mainly out of his own wide knowledge, though he was characteristically punctilious in acknowledging the contributions of others to his presidential address. This, too, is the Association which has acquired so intimate a relation with Downe through its custody, hereafter to be recorded, of Darwin's home, Down House.
In 1857 Lubbock was a fellow of the Royal Society. His published scientific works embraced the fields of anthropology (prehistoric times ; the origin of civilization ; marriage, totemism, and religion), zoology (ants, bees, and wasps ; the intelligence of animals, etc.), botany, and physical geography ; and his literary activities alone would have equalled the life-work of many a man. His works on The Pleasures of'Life (1887), The Beauties of Nature (1892), The Use of Life (1894), and Peace and Happiness (1909), brought him into touch with an immense number of readers, and his wide literary interest is sufficiently illustrated by his famous list of the hundred best books (1891). His purely scientific work was rated very highly by such leaders of scientific thought as Lyell, Tyndall, Huxley, and Sir John Evans, in addition to his intimate friend Darwin.
Lubbock entered parliament in 1870, and remained in it until his elevation to the peerage. The attribution of the title St. Lubbock's Day to the first bank holiday which followed the passing of the Bank Holidays Act (1871) does no more than justice to its originator. It is not recorded whether the unforeseen spate of holiday-makers to favoured resorts, which took place on that first Monday in August, had any overflow in the direction of Downe. But the many who now, on public holidays, find their
pleasant ways to this place will do well to remember High Elms as in a sense the birthplace of their enjoyment. Among Lubbock's other major contributions to legislation were those dealing with the preservation of ancient monuments (1882)—of one of which, Avebury, the ownership gave him his title as baron—and the amelioration of the hours of work of shop-keepers and assistants, through the movements for early closing and Sunday closing of shops. Among many offices, he held that of Vice-chancellor of the University of London (1872-80); he was an original member and (1890-2) chairman of the London County Council, and he was a trustee of the British Museum.
When Sir John William Lubbock first carried his eldest son with him into the daily routine of the bank, they must needs drive ten miles from High Elms to Sydenham railway station in the morning, and the return at night. The elder Lubbock's love for his country life must have been strong. Later the nearest station was at Bromley; and an informant of Lord Avebury's biographer recalled a familiar sight of the road in the mail phaeton and pair from High Elms, with postboy, carrying the working father and son, and a contingent of younger members of the family enjoying the drive. Among all his interests, Lord Avebury always retained a love of outdoor games : he was for some time secretary of the West Kent cricket club; there is a record of his celebrating, with singular appropriateness, a bank holiday at the age of fifty with a score of 44 not out on the home pitch at High Elms. He had there also a golf course and a fives court. He entertained extensively at High Elms : other great figures of his day were his frequent guests.
Relations between High Elms and Down House were intimate. The story of them begins pleasantly with an incident in 1842, when Sir John William Lubbock came home one day with word of a great piece of news. He did not immediately disclose it: the child John wondered, could it be that he was to have a pony of his own ? No, it was that Charles Darwin was coming to live at Down House. The boy in later years recalled his disappointment ; but it was not to last for long. A close friend-
ship arose between John Lubbock and Darwin, and continued throughout two lives which save in the union of common interest in science could hardly have been more dissimilar : on the one hand that of the active man of affairs, on the other that of the profound thinker moving but seldom outside a circle of narrow radius from his home. ' How on earth you find time is a mystery to me ' : thus Darwin wrote to Lubbock after reading the presidential address to the British Association, already mentioned, which he annotated before it was delivered. It opened with a deep appreciation of Darwin's own work. It was the pupil's acknowledgement to his master. Darwin's influence upon Lubbock's scientific work, and indeed upon his outlook and character, was profound. It was exercised in the course of walks around Downe and visits to Down House : it was early stimulated by the gift of a microscope, which now has returned to Down House as a treasured possession in the collection of Darwiniana there. Lubbock did his first original scientific work on some of Darwin's collections, and gave him help as a draughtsman. At a later stage, through Darwin, Lubbock was brought into contact with other leaders in science, and Darwin, through Lubbock, with men outside his own scientific sphere. Lord Morley records, and Hutchinson recalls, a week-end party at High Elms in 1876, which included Morley himself, Huxley, Playfair, and Gladstone; and how on the Sunday afternoon they went to Down House, ' whence in his quiet Kentish village Darwin was shaking the world'. Darwin and Gladstone had not previously met: Gladstone was full of conversation, Darwin a contented listener, who afterwards, with characteristic modesty, remarked appreciatively to Morley upon the honour ' that such a great man should come to visit me '.
On the death of Darwin, 1882, it was Sir John Lubbock who drew up the memorial to the Dean of Westminster, asking that the burial should be in the Abbey.
This friendship between Darwin and Lubbock is an outstanding fact in the more intimate historical heritage of Downe. Horace Hutchinson has recorded it finely.
Such a friend as Sir John Lubbock had, and lost, in Charles Darwin, is given to few men indeed. . . . That Darwin was
his' father in science ' he never for a moment disguised, nor the immense debt that he owed him in the way of most profitably-directing his scientific energies. Nor is it on the intellectual side alone that the counsel and the example of the great Darwin counted for much with him. He was immensely indebted, too, to the example of his fine and serene character—cheerful, uncomplaining, courageous in the midst of attacks of ill health, and of enemies who were unable to appreciate his work and who misunderstood its tendency.
Lord Avebury, as we have seen, died in 1913 at Kings-gate Castle; but the funeral took place from High Elms, the procession passing on foot to the adjacent church of Farnborough.
Others of the large family which Sir John William Lubbock brought up at High Elms acquired distinction in various directions. Among them, Sir Nevile Lubbock was governor of the Royal Exchange Assurance and chairman of the West India Committee. Some of them shared their father's and eldest brother's interest in scientific studies : one of these, Frederick Lubbock, built the house called the Rookery, in Downe.
CHAPTER IX THE DARWINS, OF DOWN HOUSE
Thought and Worked
for Forty Years
and Died, 1882
IN these words an inscription at the entrance gate of Down House records the episode in the history of Downe which brought our village to the height of its fame. The words were chosen and the inscription set up by Mr. (now Sir) Buckston Browne, F.R.C.S., whose benefactions to the village of Downe, the British Association, and the Royal College of Surgeons, and through these to the nation, have been detailed in Sir Arthur Keith's foreword to this book.
Down House and its grounds were handed over by Mr. Buckston Browne as a gift to the British Association ' in custody for the nation ', with an endowment to assure free access for the public, to whom it was formally opened on June 7,1929. The land which intervenes between the Down House property and the golf course in the valley to the west is now also mercifully preserved, and by the same hand which preserved Down House. It was acquired in 1930 by Sir Buckston Browne, who built upon it the research farm for the Royal College of Surgeons of England. This institution is destined to maintain the scientific tradition in Downe, and to add to its lustre.
Down House stands a quarter of a mile to the south of the village. The spelling of its name preserves that in use by Darwin and before his time, when the Ordnance
[page] 76 a history of darwin's parish
Survey map and general practice agreed to the form without the final e. The story goes that the use of that letter was resumed at the instance of the post-office authorities, in order to avoid confusion with County Down in Ireland. If that be so, the argument makes no appeal to us.
At our first sight of the property it covered about 16 acres : when Darwin acquired it, about 18. It now covers 23, the balance having been added in or after Darwin's time. The first owner known to us was Thomas Manning, whom we encountered in a previous chapter. He sold the property, with some land now outside it, to John Know the elder in 1651 ; and it can hardly have included a house, for the price was only £345. Know probably built a house, and some of the existing house may be of this date, but there is evidence of extensive alteration apart from Darwin's additions.
Robert Know lived in Downe in the sixteenth century : his son Roger (not his eldest) was baptized here in 1584, and he himself was buried here in 1597. The Knows were yeomen in good standing, and in the eighteenth century they bore arms. All who concern us derive from Robert Know of Downe, and one branch came to possess the manor of Aperfield at Biggin Hill. John Know the elder was Robert's eldest son, and the Down House property passed from him to his son Roger in 1653, and in 1743 to the family of Bartholomew of West Peckham in the Weald, through the marriage of Mary Know, the great-great-granddaughter of Robert. The house was uninhabited when Leonard Bartholomew sold it to Charles Hayes of Hatton Garden in 1751. Hayes, among other matters mentioned in his will (1759), made careful disposal of his rights in certain religious tracts—' A Vindication of the History of the Septuagint', and similar works.
The name of Down House does not appear until 1837. Some time before this it was called the Great House : it was so known to Hasted, who, however, incorrectly placed it' in the centre of the village '. George Butler, a wealthy man of business and an extensive landowner, acquired it in 1778, and its style would conform with his having rebuilt and enlarged it. He paid the highest window-tax in Downe in 1781. He died in 1783, and the property
was never long in a single hand until in 1819 it was acquired by Lieut.-Col. John Johnson, C.B., colonel of engineers in the Hon. East India Company, Bombay establishment. He kept it until 1837, when he emigrated to ' Lake Erie near Dunville in Upper Canada'. We probably owe to him a good deal of the timber in the garden. The great limes alongside the house are estimated to have been planted about 1800, and may have been Butler's ; but it is said that William Pitt, the Prime Minister, who was born at Hayes and afterwards possessed Holwood House, with property extending into the parish of Downe, was interested in distributing exotic conifers and other trees among his neighbours.
Down House—the name must have been adopted by Johnson—passed from him to the Rev. James Drummond, incumbent of the parish, who previously had occupied Petleys, and distinguished himself there by a restoration which included the removal of stained glass bearing the Petley arms. Before Darwin acquired Down House Drummond had vacated it, and it had been auctioned but unsold ; so narrowly did it miss losing the fame it was to acquire.
Charles Darwin (1809-82) was born in Shrewsbury, the son of Robert Darwin, an eminent medical practitioner there, whose father was Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802). Erasmus also was by profession a physician, who practised successively in Nottingham, Lichfield, and Derby, and achieved a high reputation. He cultivated science in various departments, writing on pathology, generation, and agriculture and gardening ; and as a recreation he composed poetry which is associated with his love of nature and interest in botany, notably in his Botanic Garden. Charles Darwin's mother was a daughter of Josiah Wedgwood (1730-95), the most famous of the family whose name was made in connexion with the potteries of Staffordshire ; and with that family, as we shall see, Darwin was to find a still closer relationship. He went to Shrewsbury School, in which the then educational system benefited him little—the parallel with the case of John Lubbock at Eton, mentioned in an earlier chapter, is not without interest. Darwin proceeded at first to Edinburgh Uni-
versity with a view to a medical career, but had no inclination toward that prospect, and soon moved to Cambridge where his scientific interests were directed under congenial guidance. There had been an idea that he should enter the Church; but his scientific qualifications were rated so highly that in 1831, very soon after taking his degree, he was urged and allowed to apply for the post of naturalist on board H.M.S. Beagle, a ship about to start on a long surveying expedition. He got the post, was away on the voyage until 1836, and in that time visited many islands in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, South America (principally), Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope. He returned with knowledge and materials, especially in geology, botany, and zoology, which brought him quickly into the first rank of scientific men; and to some of his observations on that voyage he himself traced the origin of his own views upon the origin of species. In 1839 he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood the second of that name, and settled in London. He was by now, and remained throughout his life, delicate in health, and both he and his wife were willing to make a quiet home in the country not wholly out of touch 'with the scientific life of London. They hunted houses till they were tired of the task, before they lighted upon Down. Darwin, after an early visit here, wrote a description to his sister for which we who make this record must be grateful. We have in it a clear-cut little view of Downe and Down House in 1842. The month was July.
Position :—about J of a mile from the small village of Down in Kent—16 miles from St. Paul's—8 J miles from station (with many trains) which station is only 10 from London. This is bad, as the drive from [owing to] the hills is long. I calculate we are two hours going from London Bridge. Village about forty houses with old walnut trees in the middle where stands an old flint church and the lanes meet. Inhabitants very respectable—infant school—grown up people great musicians— all touch their hats as in Wales and sit at their open doors in the evening ; no high road leads through the village. The little pot-house where we slept is a grocer's shop, and the landlord is the carpenter—so you may guess the style of the
village. There are butcher and baker and post-office. A carrier goes weekly to London and calls anywhere for anything in London and takes anything anywhere. On the road to the village, on a fine day the scenery is absolutely beautiful: from close to our house the view is very distant and rather beautiful, but the house being situated on a rather high tableland has somewhat of a desolate air . . . The charm of the place to me is that almost every field is intersected (as also is ours) by one or more footpaths. I never saw so many walks in any other county. The country is extraordinarily rural and quiet with narrow lanes and high hedges and hardly any ruts. It is really surprising to think London is only 16 miles off. The house stands very badly, close to a tiny lane and near another man's field. Our field is 15 acres and flat ... no view from the drawing-room which faces due south, except on our flat field and bits of rather ugly distant horizon. Close in front there are some old (very productive) cherry trees, walnut trees, yew, Spanish chestnut, pear, old larch, Scotch fir and silver fir and old mulberry trees, which make rather a pretty group. They give the ground an old look, but from not flourishing much they also give it rather a desolate look . . . There is a really fine beech in our hedge. The kitchen garden is a detestable slip and the soil looks wretched from the quantity of chalk flints, but I really believe it is productive. . . . House ugly, looks neither old nor new—walls two feet thick— windows rather small—lower story rather low . . . Emma was at first a good deal disappointed, and at the country round the house ; the day was gloomy and cold with N.E. wind. She likes the actual field & house better than I; the house is just situated as she likes for retirement, not too near or too far from other houses, but she thinks the country looks desolate. I think all chalk countries do, but I am used to Cambridgeshire, which is ten times worse. Emma is rapidly coming round . . . in coming back yesterday she was so delighted with the scenery for the first few miles from Down, that it has worked a great change in her.....
There is no doubt that they came to love their home more wholeheartedly than this account suggests. We can still see something of what they saw, though Orpington station is only four miles away and London Bridge no more than three-quarters of an hour now. There are more, but not so many more, houses in the village: the old walnut trees have been replaced by a single tree : the old flint church is there. The inhabitants without
doubt are very respectable, though any special musical gifts they may possess have escaped us. No high road yet leads through the village, and may it never. The houses of call are something less unsophisticated now than the letter implies. The scenery within the parish, and northward over the common land beyond Keston, is still almost unspoiled—but for how long will it remain so ? Footpaths still traverse the fields, as thousands of holiday strollers know well. The country is even yet to be called, for its position, ' extraordinarily rural and quiet'—so long as the neighbouring aerodrome at Biggin Hill is not manifesting its activities. Darwin's ' rather ugly distant horizon' puzzles a little : today at least we are grateful that old Southwood (now Sow Wood) and others beyond the golf-course have not vanished. Of the trees he mentions near the house, the cherries, pear, larch, and silver fir are there no longer; one old mulberry survives ; some of the walnuts, yews, Spanish chestnut and Scotch firs are present, and the ' really fine beech' still stands. The ' detestable slip ' of the kitchen garden was enlarged by Darwin. The house no doubt was ugly, but it has lost its desolate air—thanks largely to Darwin himself, who added the bay toward the south and the drawing-room wing, and thereby broke the severe outline of the old building. The quiet of Downe is not uncommonly mentioned in Darwin's letters. We have one written not long after he settled here, in which he fears the place ' must be very dull to all visitors ', and tells how ' my brother, who detests the country, declared we ought to call the place Down-in-the-Mouth, but he is now with us and has rather altered his opinion'.
As for Darwin's work at Downe, it suffices here to quote a report by Sir Arthur Keith to the British Association, made in 1928 after the house had been presented to the Association by Mr. Buckston Browne. Darwin, he wrote,
worked continuously at Down for almost forty years. In that period he made his first draft of the Origin of Species (1842), he wrote his researches on the Zoology of the Beagle, on Coral Reefs, and prepared a new edition of a Naturalist's Voyage. Before he settled down to work at Barnacles, to which he gave
seven years (1847-54), he prepared his papers on Volcanic Islands and on the Geology of South America. Preparations for the Origin of Species, which did not receive its final form until 1858-59, went on continuously from 1842 onwards. Then followed his inquiries into Fertilisations of Orchids (1862), Variations of Animals and Plants under Domestication (1868), Descent of Man (1871), the Expression of the Emotions (1872), Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants (1875) ; Insectivorous Plants appeared in the same year; Cross and Self Fertilisation in 1876, and his last work of all, one which was begun soon after he settled at Down, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms. No single home in the world can show such a record. Truly from Down Charles Darwin shook the world and gave human thought an impress which will endure for all time. Down is a priceless heirloom not only for England but for the civilised world. One of the greatest men of all time lived there.
As against the record in the preceding paragraph, we cannot refrain from quoting an entry in Bagshaw's Directory of 1847, from among the householders in Downe. It runs :
Darwin, Charles, farmer.
The life at Downe was one of peace: even after the Origin of Species was published, and very many persons said and wrote very many foolish things, Darwin's quiet temperament was unmoved, and even when in the volumes of his published correspondence reference is found to his attackers it is never ungentle; if ever it reveals any hurt, that is more than half hidden, often under some word of humour.
He never left Downe for long : his days followed a regular order, and Mrs. Darwin's loving task was to help him in the fight against bodily weakness. The hours given daily to the actual writing of books were not very long ; but there was work upon plants in the greenhouse or at the window-shelf in the ' old study', and other observations of nature; there was a very large correspondence. For recreation he rode in the earlier years at Downe ; there is mention of billiards ; there is a recollection of occasional cricket, and there was a constant interest in the interests of his family. There was walking,
and he could think while walking, and one spot out of doors is above all associated with his thoughts upon the problems to which he set his mind.
Many of our meadows are separated by narrow belts of wood and shrub—something wider than hedges— known as shaws, often masking a sloping bank between one meadow and the next. There must have been such a shaw between the southern part of the Down House estate and the adjacent meadow of Great Pucklands. This strip was widened by plantation in 1846, and a pathway passes round within its edges. It was (and still is) known as the Sandwalk from the sandy dressing got for the path from a shallow pit beside it, and it was here that Darwin most commonly took his exercise, and thought over his work. It was his ' thinking-path'. It was neglected in more recent years : holly from the hedge which borders one side of it overran the rest, and (assisted no doubt by marauders) almost killed off the bluebells and primroses and other wild flowers which were Mrs. Darwin's joy. But the Sandwalk now is hallowed ground.
The life at Down House is particularly well documented, mainly in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, edited by his son, Francis Darwin (London, 1887) and the second volume of Emma Darwin, A Century of Family Letters, edited by her daughter Henrietta Litchfield (London, 1915). These books, in Darwin's own autobiography included in the first of them and in many letters (and how admirable the letter-writing of those generations, though the Darwins themselves would probably have been first to deny it!), are full of intimate details of those quiet days. We shall not attempt to extract them here : they are not to be taken out of their setting. But x ' for those who would realize the intimacy of Down with Darwin '—and, it may be added, for us whose privilege it is now to inhabit the house—
it is a happy experience to read (for example) the chapter of Reminiscences in the Life and Letters (vol. i) and to recognise those features which have survived or have been restored to it.
1 The quoted passages in this paragraph are from The British Association: A Retrospect, 2nd ed. (1931).
They are many. There, in the old study, redecorated almost as he used it, are his library, his chair, his writing knee-pad, his tables, including the round revolving table, with radiating drawers, standing handy to his father's stool on which he himself sat when working at the microscope now replaced upon the window-shelf. The new study and the new drawing-room also contain much of his furniture and effects; the old drawing-room, now called the Donor's room, has been filled by Mr. Buckston Browne with fine furniture and pictures of his own collection, appropriate to Darwin's family or his times, while the old dining-room contains portraits of a long line of great scientific workers who have occupied the presidential chair [of the British Association, together with some of the banners which used to mark their terms of office]. The ground floor of the house, on which all these rooms are situated, is decorated, as nearly as could be recollected or surmised, as the Darwin household had it. Outside, the greenhouse and experimental laboratory survive, the orchard, the bank beneath the big lime trees [where Darwin used often to lie], the Sand-walk, and the view from it over the ' quiet little valley ' with its woods, which may man preserve ! For that view helped to draw Darwin and his wife to Down.
We see still the famous ' worm-stone ' at the edge of the lawn, used in making the observations on which was based the work on vegetable mould and earthworms ; still see, too, the hard tennis court laid down in 1881, to modern eyes a strange sheet of cement, edged almost to the outline of the court itself with grass.
We read of Darwin's own interest in the life of the village—a practical interest, too, for we have letters of his relating to local charities, and a rule, drafted in his own hand, for the friendly club of which he was treasurer for thirty years. If his own thoughts led him away from the doctrines of the established church, he did not cease to second its social activities in Downe. And Mrs. Darwin's charity was far-reaching, organized to the point of giving bread-tickets to those who sought them, and never easily refused. We read of a happy family, of whose head we must avoid thinking as the grave scientific thinker tout court: his busts and portraits show him so ; but we prefer the words written of him in 1856—and they must have been in a measure true to the end of his
life—' Charles is uncommonly agreeable, fresh and sparkling as the purest water.' As for that family, we may draw again upon the report already quoted. The two eldest, William and Anne, were born in London, before their parents settled at Down. The third, Mary, was born and died just after arrival at Down. Then followed in 1843 Henrietta, who became Mrs. Litchfield; in 1845 George, who became Sir George Darwin, K.C.B., F.R.S., Plumian professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy in the University of Cambridge, and President of the British Association in 1905 ; in 1847 Elizabeth was born; in the following year Francis, who became Sir Francis Darwin, F.R.S., a distinguished botanist and President of the British Association in 1907. Leonard followed in 1850—Major Leonard Darwin, scientist, philanthropist, and for seventeen years president of the Eugenics Society. Then (1851) came Horace, afterwards Sir Horace Darwin, F.R.S., distinguished as a designer of scientific instruments. The tenth of the family, Charles Waring (1856), died in childhood. 'Down was thus', says the report, ' the home of a large and happy family, perhaps the most gifted family ever born in England.' Two ladies of the Wedgwood family, besides Mrs. Darwin, spent the later parts of their lives in Downe. Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (called Sarah) came to Petleys in 1847, at the age of sixty-nine. She was the youngest daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, and Mrs. Darwin's aunt. Though (like her niece) infinitely generous, she was clearly of a severe and retiring temperament which inspired something of awe not only in the minds of the younger Darwins, who knew Petleys as a playground where Sarah Wedgwood's old servants were their devoted friends. Miss Wedgwood is sketched for us (by Darwin's daughter, Mrs. Litchfield) as a rather eccentric figure who wore always several small capes or shawls over a scanty muslin frock, with a great straw bonnet, and kept at hand several pairs of gloves, black for such duties as adding coals to the fire or shaking hands with children, lighter for more cleanly occupations. She died at the age of eighty, and Darwin himself described her funeral—how he and other relatives, wearing black cloaks
and crepe on their hats, walked behind the coffin which was borne by six men, and how the procession returning from the church was headed by black standards.
Another Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (called Elizabeth) came to Trowmers, then known as Tromer Lodge and now the Tower House, in 1868, when she was seventy-five. This was Mrs. Darwin's elder sister, a lady beloved of all the family for her kindness, and of many others for her charity. After her parents' deaths she had built a house on the borders of Ashdown Forest, and set up a little school for the children of the neighbouring cottages. The house was a happy visiting-place for the young Darwins. Miss Wedgwood moved later to London, but found herself troubled by those who imposed upon her generosity, and she removed to Downe for her last twelve years. She was physically weak, and became blind, but retained her energy remarkably, and the contact between Down House and Tromer Lodge was constant and intimate.
Darwin's elder brother Erasmus, another friend of the family deeply beloved, lived in London but was buried at Downe in 1881.
Charles Darwin died in Down House on April 19, 1882 ; Mrs. Darwin on October 2, 1896.
The property remained in the family until 1927 ; latterly it was let, and here began a well-known school for girls which still bears elsewhere the name of Downe, and has left behind it an unlovely memorial in the foundations of certain buildings, now only partially concealed by an attempt at decorative gardening by no means Darwinian.
In this short sketch we have dwelt, of purpose, mainly upon matters pertinent to the life of Down House; matters of small moment, and even trivial, compared with the influence which radiated from Downe all over the civilized world. Lest that influence should be forgotten —and today from its very familiarity it is not easily realized—hear the opening words of Thomas Henry Huxley's obituary notice of Darwin in the columns of Nature :
Very few, even among those who have taken the keenest interest in the progress of the revolution in natural knowledge
set afoot by the publication of the Origin of Species, and who have watched, not without astonishment, the rapid and complete change which has been effected both inside and outside the boundaries of the scientific world in the attitude of men's minds towards the doctrines which are expounded in that great work, can have been prepared for the extraordinary manifestation of affectionate regard for the man, and of profound reverence for the philosopher, which followed the announcement of the death of Mr. Darwin.
Not only in these islands, where so many have felt the fascination of personal contact with an intellect which had no superior, and with a character which was even nobler than the intellect; but, in all parts of the civilised world, it would seem that those whose business it is to feel the pulse of nations, and to know what interests the masses of mankind, were well aware that thousands of their readers would think the world the poorer for Darwin's death, and would dwell with eager interest upon every incident of his history. In France, in German, in Austro-Hungary, in Italy, in the United States, writers of all shades of opinion, for once unanimous, have paid a willing tribute to the worth of our great countryman, ignored in life by the official representatives of the Kingdom, but laid in death among his peers in Westminster Abbey by the will of the intelligence of the nation.
NOTE ON CHIEF SOURCES OF INFORMATION
In addition to authorities cited by name in the text, and information acquired from the kindly helpers who are named in the introductory pages, our principal sources (omitting many consulted on individual minor questions) are as follows:—
More Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin and A. C. Seward. 1903. Victoria County History, Kent.
Ancient deeds, various (Patent Rolls, Close Rolls, etc.) in Public Record Office. Anglo-Saxon Charters.
Thorpe : Kegistrum Koffense and Custumale Roffense. Victoria County History, Kent (translation of Domesday and
commentary). Cotton MS. Galba E. iv (British Museum). John Philipott : Visitation of the County of Kent, 1619. Thomas Philipott : Villare Cantianum (2nd ed., 1776). Archaologia Cantiana, passim. Weaver : Funeral Monuments.
The parish registers. Magdalen College Registers. A. Chalmers : English Poets.
CHAPTERS V, VI, VII
The churchwardens' accounts and parish registers ; ancient deeds as above ; wills as stated. The tithe map, 1840.
Ancient deeds as above, and wills as stated. Collection of the Dering Papers (Maidstone Public Library). Hasted: History and Topographical Survey of Kent, 1778, and other histories and gazetteers, e.g. Harris, 1719 ; Ireland, 1829 ; Bagshaw, 1847.
W. Berry: County Genealogies, Kent, 1830. Howard: Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, 1884. Genealogical Gleanings in England and Wales, 1901. The Topographer and Genealogist, passim. Brown: Genesis of the United States, 1890.
H. G. Hutchinson : Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury, 1914. R. Birkbeck : Notes on the History and Genealogy of the Family
Lubbock, 1891. The Life-work of Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock), by various writers, ed. the Hon. Mrs. Grant Duff, 1924.
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, 1888.
More Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin and A. C. Seward, 1903.
Emma Darwin : a Century of Family Letters, ed. Mrs. Litchfield, 1915.
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In the peaceful solitude of Downe, after many years of patient research, CHARLES DARWIN wrote his masterpiece
THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
This work revolutionized speculations concerning the origin of mankind and is the most influential book ever published on that subject.
More about the life of the famous author and of his method of working can be learned from the
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Both the above volumes appear in the THINKER'S LIBRARY and can be °" Sale at obtained bound in cloth-
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