History of the Bromley area

Bromley timeline 1300 - 1800

Some of the dates given here are approximate. This is especially true for the earlier periods when the documents recording events are not dated exactly.

  • 1301 Hornchurch Priory given as owners of Kemnal Manor, Chislehurst. John de Bastane in possession of Baston manor, Hayes.
  • 1308 First mention of a windmill in West Wickham.
  • 1310 Licence granted to William be Bliburgh to strengthen and crenelate his house in Bromley, later known as Simpson's Place.
  • 1315 Theft of corn from East Hall, Orpington by Richard atte Downe
  • 1318 West Wickham granted the right to hold a market. No evidence that it was ever held. The proposed location may have been Norwood Cross, outside the present day Swan pub.
  • 1332 Mass celebrated at Bromley manor chapel. First specific reference to a religious service in the town.
  • 1346 William de Godyngton holds Goddington manor Chelsfield.
  • 1354 Sir Maurice Bruyn, Lord of the Manor of Beckenham and chamberlain to Edward III dies.
  • 1355 Richard de Tubbenden moves from Orpington to Southborough. Both Tubbenden and Turpington Lanes are believed to be named after him.
  • 1373 Sir Robert Belknap acquires Setlings and Ackmere (Okemere) manors in St. Mary Cray, Crofton in Orpington and Keston.
  • 1388 Sir Robert Belknap banished to Ireland for upholding the royal prerogative too vigorously.
  • 1391 New College, Oxford, acquires Kemnal Manor and holds it for the next 481 years.
  • 1400 The de Blackbrooke family leave Bromley; Blackbrook Lane is named from them.
  • 1408 First Kelsey House, Beckenham built.
  • 1425 The Walsinghams arrive at Scadbury (named after the de Scathebury family, the wealthiest in Chislehurst in the 14th century.)
  • 1433 Walsinghams acquire Town Court on the borders of Chislehurst and Orpington.
  • 1446 Rebuilding of Chislehurst Church begins. It takes 21 years to complete.
  • 1447 Bromley Market moves from a Tuesday to a Thursday. Apart from a few years in the 1860's it has been held every Thursday since
  • 1449 Lord Saye purchases Bromley's watermill, mentioned in the Domesday Book as used to grind grain, and converts in into a paper mill.
  • 1450 Bernard Cavyll of Chislehurst was constable of the hundred of Ruxley.
  • 1453 Beckenham church gets new bells, paid for from a bequest by Ralph Langle.
  • 1456 Thomas Ferby excommunicated for procuring a clandestine marriage in St. Paul's Cray.
  • 1475 William Heydon builds Wickham Court.
  • 1484 Population of West Wickham estimated to be 120.
  • 1503 Robert Simpson sells Simpson's Place to John Style of Langley.
  • 1509 Robert Beckyngham given as owner of The White Hart, Bromley.
  • 1526 Sir Francis Walsingham born in Chislehurst.
  • 1532 John Burdde of Chislehurst supplied 6068 tiles for Hampton Court Palace. Red Hill was home of tile works for over 450 years. First mention of "The Grete House" Bromley, owned by Thomas Knight, a London brewer.
  • 1540 John Heron of Chislehurst charged with practicing astronomy (astrology?) and necromancy (raising the dead). Orpington Priory and South Cray (St. Mary Cray) manor surrendered to the King.
  • 1543 John Juler listed as owner of the Freelands estate.
  • 1544 Sir Percival Hart builds a house adjoining Orpington Priory, later called Bark Hart.
  • 1561 Claimed date for the building of Stubberfield's Farm, later Sparkes Cottages, Mason's Hill. Elizabeth Mounselowe of West Wickham indicted for infanticide after throwing her newborn baby on the fire.
  • 1579 John Nicholls, publican born. Nichol Lane, Plaistow may be named after him.
  • 1585 Ground subsides near Fairy Hall, Mottingham (Eltham College) swallowing three elm trees, No explanation was ever found.
  • 1586 First Chislehurst rectory built.
  • 1577 The Thornhill family acquire The Grete House. William Pett in possession of woodland in Chislehurst, later Petts Wood.
  • 1588 John Scott of Bromley gives £25 towards the "Armada Loan". Freelands passes to the French family
  • 1597 Queen Elizabeth I visits Scadbury. The Lennard family become Lords of the manor of West Wickham and remain so for over 300 years.
  • 1599 The old cottage, Widmore constructed.
  • 1600 Bromley's first windmill erected.
  • 1603 Outbreak of the plague in Chislehurst kills 62.
  • 1609 Parish records are now written mainly in English. Latin had previously predominated.
  • 1615 Langley Chapel consecrated.
  • 1619 Beckenham Church extended.
  • 1630 Widmore House built. The plague hits Bromley. The bishop of Rochester is forced to flee his palace.
  • 1636 A baby found in the porch of Beckenham Church, christened George of Beckenham
  • 1638 Farnborough church rebuilt.
  • 1646 John Thornhill dies and the family's connection with Bromley ends.
  • 1650 St. Mary Cray church becomes a chapel of ease to Orpington and services are alternated between the two churches.
  • 1652 John Evelyn diarist, robbed on Bromley Common. The assailants jumped out from behind a huge oak tree. First mention of "The Bell" at Bromley
  • 1654 The Hodson brothers found a bell foundry in Blacksmith's Lane, St. Mary Cray.
  • 1659 Sir Humphrey Style of Langley dies.
  • 1662 Survey of Bromley lists 129 households suggesting a population of around 700
  • 1664 Payment tokens issued by the White Hart in Bromley.
  • 1670 The Walsinghams leave Scadbury.
  • 1672 Bromley College, a home for widowed clergymen's wives is completed. Built following a bequest from John Warner, Bishop of Rochester. Chelsfield Church installs five new bells.
  • 1673 First mention of Holwood House, Keston.
  • 1675 First mention of Plaistow Lodge estate, later Quernmore.
  • 1680 A new inn is built at Chelsfield, named the Five Bells in celebration of the 1672 installation.
  • 1684 Sir Robert Knightley acquires Bromley Hill.
  • 1686-9 Beckenham plagued by hedgehogs. 4d paid for each one killed. 104 payments made.
  • 1687 First account of beating of the bounds in Beckenham.
  • 1694 Anthony Rawlins, a wealthy London merchant, dies while staying at Kent House and bequeaths money to be used for almshouses. The Rawlins Almshouses survive today next to Beckenham Church. Thomas Farrington of Chislehurst dies, owner of a large estate in the parish. Farringtons School is named after this family.
  • 1702 Claimed date for Shortlands House, now Bishop Challoner School.
  • 1703 St. Mary Cray market hall blown down in a storm and never replaced.
  • 1706 First mention of The Tiger's Head, Mason's Hill.
  • 1708 John Hulls acquires Freelands
  • 1710 John Dunn, cabinetmaker, establishes his business in Bromley Market Place where it remains for more than 250 years.
  • 1713 Clock House, Beckenham built. Demolished 1896.
  • 1716 Bromley Charity School set up. Keston windmill built, replacing an earlier one on the same site.
  • 1717 William Davies builds The Cedars, later Village Place, Beckenham. Demolished 1920. Leonard Banyer dies and leaves £100 to Beckenham vestry
  • 1718 Anthony Ball owner of the Rookery estate, Bromley Common dies.
  • 1720 Redwood House built by William Emmett in the lower High Street.
  • 1721 St. Mary Cray parish school opens above the church porch.
  • 1724 Farnborough church steeple blown down.
  • 1725 A new bridge is built at Locks Bottom at a cost of £2 1s 6d plus 8s 7d for workman's beer.
  • 1726 Eating match at Bromley fair. The winner, receiving 5 guineas consumed, 4lb of bacon, a bushel of French beans, 2lb of butter, a quartern loaf and a gallon of small beer.
  • 1729 Market House erected in Bromley Market Place.
  • 1731 Chelsfield village sends a cricket team to play a match against "London" at Kennington common.
  • 1732 Bromley parish workhouse opens.
  • 1733 The Plough, Bromley Common is first mentioned.
  • 1735 First recorded Bromley cricket match takes place on Shooting Common.
  • 1740 Margaret Finch, Queen of the gypsies is buried in Beckenham church. Reputed to be 109 years old.
  • 1741 First record of The Porcupine, Mottingham.
  • 1742 Viscount Bolingbroke becomes Lord of the manor of Beckenham. First record of a Bromley cricket team.
  • 1745 Gang of smugglers attack customs officers at Green Street Green.
  • 1750 William Quilter, a London leather merchant, rebuilds Mayfield manor, Orpington, first mentioned in the Domesday Book.
  • 1752 Elizabeth "Tetty", wife of Samuel Johnson buried in Bromley Church. Tetty Way is named after her.
  • 1753 Elizabeth Monk dies in Bromley aged 101.
  • 1754 St. Blaise's Well, famous in medieval times for its medicinal qualities, but lost in the 16th Century, is rediscovered in the Palace grounds. William Pitt the Elder, buys Hayes Place.
  • 1755 Norman family arrive at The Rookery
  • 1756 Peter Burrell of Kelsey House dies.
  • 1759 Chislehurst parish workhouse built. William Pitt the Younger, future Prime Minister, baptised at Hayes.
  • 1761 First mention of the Prince Frederick pub at Plaistow.
  • 1765 Norman family buy the Rookery estate. The Pye House, later The Crown, Bromley Common opens.
  • 1766 Ann Isted accidentally shot and killed at Kelsey Park by a man who failed to realise his gun was loaded.
  • 1768 Part of Bromley Common enclosed. Herman Berens acquires Kevington manor, St. Mary Cray.
  • 1771 Population of Bromley has risen to about 1360. Orpington church tower damaged in a storm. Brass Crosby is resident at Court Lodge, Chelsfield. A magistrate and one time Lord Mayor of London he was imprisoned in the Tower for setting free a printer who had published the proceedings or Parliament but set free after a public outcry. The expression "bold as brass" is claimed to originate from this incident.
  • 1773 John Cator buys the manor of Beckenham and builds a new manor house, Beckenham Place Park. Dr. John Hawkesworth, man of letters and friend of Samuel Johnson, dies while resident at the Grete House.
  • 1774 Large house built in the lower High Street, later named Neelgheries and replaced in 1906 by Bromley Public Library. Francis Fawkes becomes vicar of Orpington, a writer of popular songs he is said to have inspired the Toby jug.
  • 1775 Bromley Palace rebuilt by Bishop John Thomas.
  • 1778 Beckenham Rectory built, designed by Robert Adam it contained a number of his fireplaces, later transferred to Beckenham Town Hall one of these is now in the mayor's parlour at Bromley Civic Centre. William Pitt the Elder, former Prime Minister, dies at Hayes Place. Outbreak of smallpox in Beckenham causes the vestry to offer free inoculations.
  • 1780 John Wells of Bickley Park builds the mansion and enlarges his estate by demolishing the hamlet of Cross in Hand and diverting Chislehurst Road to follow its present route.
  • 1784 John Julius Angerstein, a member of Lloyd's of London, acquires Kent House, Beckenham.
  • 1785 William Pitt the Younger buys Holwood House, Keston and leaves Hayes Place.
  • 1787 The "Musical Nunnery" founded in Bromley with the aim of advancing the musical education of young ladies.
  • 1788 The cage or lock up built in Chislehurst.
  • 1789 Jeremiah Ringer tenant of Simpson's Place dies. Ringers Road is named after him. Amy Burrell of Langley House dies aged 89. Sevenoaks mail robbed by a highwayman 2 miles from Farnborough.
  • 1790 Clendon School established in the lower High Street. Kelsey House, Beckenham rebuilt.
  • 1792 Foxgrove manor sold to Peter Burrell of Langley. Dr. James Scott arrives in Bromley. Thomas Wilson, author of "The History of Bromley" opens his printing business.
  • 1793 Clendon School moves to Church House.
  • 1794 George Grote, author baptised at Beckenham.
  • 1794-7 West Kent Yeomanry established.
  • 1795 Bromley's paper mill, used by Thomas Ribright, oculist. Glass Mill Lane named from this use. It ceased to be a mill in 1832.
  • 1796 Chislehurst windmill erected. Chislehurst Telegraph station opens. Claude Scott of Chislehurst acquires the ancient estate of Sundridge Park and builds the mansion.
  • 1797 Temporary prison erected on lands of the former Grete House to house French prisoners of war.
  • 1798 A highwayman was hanged on Bromley Common. Another highwayman was active at Lock's Bottom; he escaped towards Croydon on a horse with a white face.
  • 1800 Warren Road is built between Chelsfield and Farnborough at a cost of £10