Farms.

Over one hundred years ago there were no public parks or recreation grounds and, apart from the Manor Houses, there were few other private dwelling houses. From the Parish Church on the right hand side, going towards Beckenham Place, there was only one road, leading to FOXGROVE FARM which was situated between the present Foxgrove Road and The Avenue, about opposite Foxgrove Avenue, and all lands on that side of Southend Road, extending over the hill to the Ravensboume, belonged to that farm.

This was a moated farm where the local Volunteer Fire Brigade carried out much of their practice, and The Avenue, when first formed was known as Moat Road. The original Manor was pulled down about 1830 and the later buildings about 1878.

On the other side of the road, opposite the Parish Church, there were the Rectory grounds, stables and coach houses; then nothing until COPERS COPE FARM occupied by Michael Mathew, with its garden, barn, pond and granary. The farm fields, comprising about 250 acres, extended across the present New Beckenham area with footpaths linking up with Kent House Farm, and the farm house stood - and still stands - on the corner of Copers Cope Road and Southend Road.

There is considerable guess work about this peculiar name but it is generally accepted that it came from 'Cooper's Copse', although referred to in a Minute of the Parish Council as Koker's Koke.

The Mathews had been farmers in Beckenham for a long time, for in the Churchyard there is a grave with the name Mark Mathew 1700. There is a copy of an Agreement between John Cator and Michael Mathew on page 24. When part of the land towards New Beckenham was bought for railway development Michael Mathew took over Stone Farm, in Wickham Road.

His son Walter was born at Copers Cope Farm on 10th January 1850, christened at the Parish Church by Rev. Andrew Brandram and married some 20 years later by Rev. Frederick Chalmers. He became a Churchwarden at Christ Church, was a partner in the Coal Merchant firm of Moore and Mathews, and died in 1941 at the age of 91. Walter's son, Walter Andrew Mathew, who had Beckenham's first motor garage near The George Inn, left Beckenham in 1910 and died on 13th January 1968, thus terminating the family connection with Old Beckenham.

There was a picturesque cottage at Elmers End Green that was the home of the Hazelton family, from about 1906, until demolished for the erection of the Odeon cinema (now demolished) and the adjoining shops about 1938/39.

STONE FARM was situated on the right hand side of Wickham Road, opposite Hayes Lane, the buildings only being pulled down when the Park Langley shops and Stone Park Avenue were developed. A footpath through the farm ran over the hill to Eden Farm. Stone Farm belonged to the Burrell Family. At that time, the property consisted of about sixty acres of Land and an excellent dwelling house. It was then in possession of William Rodgers, and some of the farmland was in the possession of A.W. Colville.

The house was subsequently in the occupation of Michael Mathew, who lived there until the year 1860. It is, we think of interest to note that in the lease dated 1854 several acres of farmland were in cultivation for hops. The farm remained, more or less in the same condition for many years and was one of the only houses in Beckenham, which did not undergo any alteration during, half-a-century. The entrance to “Park Langley”, the name adopted for the building estate, which took place of Langley Park, did not improve the surroundings of Stone Farm.

KELSEY PARK FARM, a dairy farm, was almost adjoining in Wickham Road, and the last of the old buildings were only recently demolished for the erection of Park Farm Court.

KELSEY FARM (also known as Kelsey Cottage) in old Kelsey Lane, built in 1832 by John Woolley, was 6 years later the residence of Herbert Jenner. It stood on the present site of Uplands and part of Forest Ridge, and in 1875, according to a local directory, was occupied by Alexander Strickland. It was a large house and farm with a chapel, the entrance being opposite Sandhills School, with a lodge, still in existence although altered and enlarged; this was occupied by Mark Webster, head gardener to Mr. Preston, who recalled that when Selfridges Store was first opened in London some cotton plants were sent to him and when developed, these plants were used for window display in the Oxford Street store. The main house was lighted by electricity generated by gas engine, long before electricity was introduced locally.


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  • Mal Mitchell

    Michael try these links for maps at national library of Scotland and British Library, they show a collection of buildings close to what was Clockhouse
    and also the link for Bromley Historic collections catalogue search Thayers Farm.

    http://www.bromleyarchives.org.uk/Bromley/CalmView/Overview.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog
    https://maps.nls.uk/view/102343453
    http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/ordsurvdraw/b/zoomify82259.html

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  • Stone Farm is mentioned in Hasted's History of Kent as being owned by John Cator. A map of Foxgrove Manor for 1766 shows Stone farm but the position of the farm is about half way between Chancery Lane and Hayes Lane. A later map of circa 1780 shows the farm described as Barnfield House let to Mr Porson. A land exchange between Cator and Peter Burrell describes some fields being exchanged probably because Burrell was improving his Kelsey grounds. I was recently contacted by Mr. Stephen Kirkman whose ancester Jacob Kirkman, a harpsichord maker, is recorded as leasing Stone Farm from Cator in the 1770's and as having taken out insurance on the property. Around 1791/3 Cator exchanged Stone Farm and other land with Peter Burrell/Baron Gwydyr so that the Burrells had land mainly to the south of Beckenham and Cator estates were mainly to the north of Beckenham. The 1780 map shows a substantial amount of 'Cator' land around Kelsey and Langley. After Burrell acquired Stone Farm he absorbed the land into Kelsey grounds and moved the farm nearer Hays Lane as shown in 1809, Burrell had a map of his estates produced along with a book describing leased property including Eden Park/Farm. On that map, Stone farm is not mentioned but Home Farm is pretty much on the site of the Chinese Garage after South Eden Park Road was built but before Stone Park Avenue was built. Burrell had landscaped the area of the original Stone Farm as part of his Kelsey grounds. The maps are in the British Library and demonstrate how change has taken place very frequently. What Burrell established as Home Farm presumably got renamed Stone Farm to revive the name.

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  • Am I right in thinking that the lodge referred to as being part of Sandhills School is what is now known as Beau Lodge ? This would make sense to me as I seem to remember that there is,, or was, something like a school bell outside Beau Lodge (I must pop along there and see if it is still there). The name of Sandhills School also seems to tie in with my belief that an earlier name for at least that part of Kelsey Lane was Sandy Lane. Do you know if that is right as well, please ?

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  • Historian

    The Lodge mentioned is The Haven, the building is still there. Beau Lodge was once known as The Whitmores. Sandy Lane was an extension of Kelsey Lane.

    from Beckenham, UK
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  • Hi, further to the material we produced about Beckenham Place, it seems to have wet the appetite of at least one other researcher and the information about farms and estates pre 1800 is quite extensive. Kent House Farm seems to have been part of Lewisham and Sydenham at one time as records for it are in Lewisham but the Lethieullier family refer to it and a residence in Beckenham, probably Clockhouse in Wills. Thayers Farm is still a mystery as any search for a Thayer family hasn't returned any results relating to Beckenham property. Along with a fellow researcher who has found most material, a family of Pughs and Willis's had property referred to as a mansion and farm at Elmers End bordering and surrounded by Burrell property and additionally leasing some fields from the Burrells around 1780. The Willis family also occupied the Oakery along Bromley Road at one time. Woolseys Farm at Clay Hill has been the source of some information, The Burrells had it in the 1720's and exchanged it with Viscount Bolingbroke in 1757 for the old manor house opposite the church. Woolseys Farm then was bought by John Cator as part of the Beckenham Manor purchase in 1773. Cator's nephew John Barwell Cator subsequently sold it in the early/mid 1800's. I'll leave that story to a fellow researcher. It is evident that there were more farms, messuages, and smallholdings around and between the main estates than appreciated. Even the estates and manors contained farms that were leased. Although perhaps outside of Beckenham and in West Wickham, the estate of Langley Park or Place was divided into four farms under the ownership of Jones Raymond circa 1760 evidenced by a map in the British Library. The farms and leaseholder can be identified from the map key or legend. Early maps of Beckenham Place show a farm very close to the junctionof Foxgrove Road and Southend Road at the time when Southend Road was created in 1785. The absence of some maps and documentary evidence at least not yet discovered makes filling in the gaps difficult but a picture is emerging. The Burrell estate shown in a map of 1809 incorporates several leased properties, some farms, some residences and the mill at Glassmill Lane, all described in an estate book with field names and some annotation of what crops were grown in a particular though not identified year. The leaseholders are named with some changes annotated in pencil probably near the time of the Burrell estate sale in 1820.
    A curious discovery is the Lay Subsidy Roll of circa 1340, pre the Black Death, which lists taxpayers/landowners in Beckenham. Some names may be clues to local places ie Stomshulle for Stumpshill? Cleyhurst for Clay Hill? and other names more easily recognized from Hasted's history, Langley or Langele and Bruin. Maybe getting too remote; Hauek could be Hawk as in Hawksbrook which appears in maps of the Langley Park area and survives as an early name for the Beck river. Some of the material is quite entertaining ie why did Mary Lethieullier leave one daughter only one shilling in her Will when the family fortune was significant (even though that daughter had been left a significant sum by the father John). Although I haven't fully filled in the blanks this may have been a stepmother/stepdaughter situation. curiouser and curiouser....

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  • Mal Mitchell

    Well almost by accident a map held in Kent Archive shows the farms owned by Thomas Motley in 1736. These include Elmers End Farm, Thayers Farm tho spelt Thayre and let to William Lewin. And The Mead which is the site of what became the Cedars in the high street.
    The map was drawn for Thomas Motley and though not yet confirmed I suspect these passed into the possession of Thomas Motley Austin when Thomas Austen/Austin married into the Motleys in the late 18th / early 19th C. Motley Austin is shown on the 1809 Burrell estate map as owning Elmers End Farm territory and an area over what is now the Greyhound pub. Thayer or Thayre probably was an individual but so far untraced, but before 1730 I guess. Thayers Farm is bounded on two sides by William Lethieullier of Kent House and Clockhouse at that time and by John St. John on two other sides (of Beckenham Manor father of Frederick St. John? who later sold the manor of Beckenham to Cator). Another map looking similar to the work of Rob Copeland, shows the whole of Beckenham in the 18th century and is compiled from maps we have rediscovered and perhaps some not yet rediscovered. For me the maps show more information pictorially than can be explained in words. The footprints of various buildings and landscaping of grounds as well as bordering landowners who may or may not have been recorded in parish records and histories. If Bromley archive, Kent archive and other sources could be consulted I'm sure this website could benefit from images of the various maps and documents.
    In any case the farming landscape was more divers than the impression related here. And we can push back the date and detail of available information.

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  • Mal Mitchell

    More farm information can be gleaned from the rediscovered maps. New Farm mentioned here relates to Elmers End Farm which was owned by Thomas Motley in 1736 (map by Brasier in Kent archive). It was bordered by Elmers End Green on one side, Elmers End Road and the viscinity of Churchfields Road. Thomas Motley also owned Thayers Farm (spelled Thayres on the map) and The Ridge in the High Street on Thorntons corner, later to become the Cedars? Thomas Motleys daughter married Francis Austin and their son Francis Motley Austin inherited the property. Thayers Farm is shown as owned by G.Austin on Cator estate map of 1833. Probably George Austin, son of Francis Motley Austin. This is the same Austin/Austen family as Jane Austen who was a niece. The Austens also owned a lot of land around Kippington, Sevenoaks and elsewhere. Some coming via Thomas Motley who was a dyer based in Southwark. Potential link with the Lethieulliers who were also in the wool trade and some were dyers.
    New Farm was near Shortlands and bordered the parishes of Hayes and Bromley belonged to the Burrells, leased by them to William Angas in their 1809 Estate book. Elmers End Farm and Thayers Farm were both divided into Old and New Farms in 1736 and Elmers End was divided between Nicholas and Daniel Hodges. Thayers new farm was leased to William Lewin and the old farm retained by Thomas Motley. The maps tell more pictorially than can be related here. I'm sure Kent Archive would allow some reproduction permission if sought.

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  • Nigel Farey

    MICHAEL PALMER Some maps from the period can be found at Bromley Library by asking for the reference number 989
    which should bring up ‘Papers of the Cator Estate in Kent
    dated 05/12/1887’
    To view their maps held you might have to go there with ID.
    http://www.bromleyarchives.org.uk/Bromley/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=989%2f6%2f93%2f1&pos=2
    Search (Thayers Farm road,Beckenham) without brackets.

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  • Nigel Farey

    Reading and contributing to the thread has given me some options regarding searching New Farm Bromley.
    ( Elmers End Farm ,beckenham,kent. ) at the National Archives
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=Elmers+End+Farm+%2Cbeckenham%2Ckent.
    gets five interesting searches

    “Elmer Farm”,Elmers End (plan)
    date:1878
    Sale particulars
    Held by Historic Collections Bromley Library
    Reference: 907/2/7 (Maps & Plans)

    Duplicate copy conveyance for £3,520 of part of Lerchins farm, to permit access to Mid Kent railway line; 3 schedules; plan
    Elmers End (plan)
    Spelling variations: Lurchens/Lurchins and Lerchins
    1883
    Held by Historic Collections Bromley Library
    Reference: 728

    Valuation of Farms
    Gordon Ward collection.ESTATE PAPERS.
    1816-1828
    Held by Kent Historic and Library Centre
    Reference: U442/E43

    Richard Adams family of Beckenham
    1825-1936
    Quote “Nearly all the documents in this collection arise from the Will of Edward Richards Adams of Elmer Lodge, Beckenham, proved in 1856”

    Note: The reference number looks incorrect for Bromley library because the National Archives only gives a brief précis and where search results are held.

    Example: Click the name Richard Adams family of Beckenham in National archives
    > 81 - Bromley Historic Collections
    click > This record (browse from here by hierarchy)
    Click Maps right of page
    which should bring up
    1) Land
    2) Elmer Farm
    3) etc..

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  • malvin mitchell

    More has been gleaned about Foxgrove which is described as a Manor in Hasted, and he it seems copied material pre 1659 from Thomas Philipott's Villare Cantianum. We can aid Philipott's description by translating his dating method ie 3r year of Henry VIII to a calendar year. Philipott attributes it to a John de Foxgrove and a John Foxesgrove was a landlord in the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1348, but not for Beckenham. A family named Stommeshulle are mentioned in the Lay Subsidy Roll and it would be tempting to identify them with Stumpshill which is on the edge of Foxgrove Manor or maybe even Cleyhurst (Clayhill?). A family named Grene are listed in Philipott and two documents reside in the National Archive relating to them and Foxgrove.
    Though Hasteds post 1659 update is helpful its not comprehensive, can't blame him he was covering all of Kent. With input from another researcher, The ownership from the Leigh Family via the Tolsons, Tillys, Timewell, Bridges and Grove families can be traced to the Raymonds, Burrells, St. Johns and finally Cators. Its a complex process involving sales to settle debts, wills without direct heirs, court cases to settle disputes, the division of Foxgrove Manor among distant relatives, a degree of rejoining under John Cator and the final dismemberment under John Barwell Cator and subsequent Cators to its final demise under the spread of suburbia. Apart from the part which constitutes Beckenham Place Park. Evidence lies in Foxgrove Manor maps of 1766 and 1776, Cator estate plans of 1833 and 1868, Burrell maps from 1723 and 1735, Beckenham Manor map of 1768 and various documents in Bromley Historic Collections, the National Archive, and elsewhere. As with most of the estates constituting Beckenham Foxgrove included some outlying fields or woods and the overall result was a mishmash of landlords and tenants. Stone Farm mentioned here was under the landlordship of Foxgrove along with parts which became part of other estates ie Barnfield Wood, exchanged by Cator with the Burrells. The original Stone Farm was exchanged again between Cator and Burrells and was absorbed into Kelsey grounds, the farm being moved further along Wickham Road. When the full account is written up it would be nice to get it on this site if possible but I'm finding that the goal posts move and a more easily editable medium would be desirable.

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