Penshurst, Kent
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Penshurst, Kent, England

Penshurst Park

John, duke of Northumberland, made a lease of the park of Penshurst to Sir George Harper and Thomas Culpeper10b, Esq., who granted their interest in them to Christopher Roper. (Hasted Volume III, page 70).
    Sir George Harper and Thomas Culpeper10b, were half-brothers, the sons of Constantia Chamberlayn, who married first, Sir Alexander Culpeper9b of Bedgebury and Hardreshull, and second, Richard Harper. Note, also, that Sir Alexander was the grandson of Walter Culpeper7b and Agnes Roper, and Agnes was the daughter of Edmund Roper of St. Dunstan's Canterbury. Christopher Roper, to whom the above lands were granted, was presumably a member of this Roper family.

Location: On the east side of Penshurst Road, 1 mile north of Penshurst.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 527 447

St. John the Baptist Church, Penshurst

Ancient Parish
Original registers from 1558

The Culpepers removed from the Penshurst area prior to the date of the oldest extant parish registers. No monumental inscriptions have been found and there is no tangible evidence connecting them to this church.

Location: At center of Penshurst
National Grid CoordinatesTQ 527 438

Penshurst Church, March 2000
Penshurst Church, March 2000
Photo by Warren Culpepper

Penshurst, Kent

One of the prettiest villages in Kent is Penshurst, which makes the most of its hilly wooded setting and its Tudor architecture. The houses at its core are all old - dating from two to four centuries ago and each with its own sense of charm and identity.

The heart of the village is the church of Saint John the Baptist, originally built in the 12th century and still containing elements from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Of particular interest is the 15th century ornamental font. Almost as interesting as the church itself is the way it is reached - through an ancient lych-gate. The two-story Tudor house which was built around the gate is now a test for geometry students, with its bulging walls and crooked beams hard-pressed to produce a right angle among them. Together with its neighboring houses it makes up Leicester Square, although it would be hard to find a more tranquil counterpart to its namesake in the heart of the West End of London.

Source: Sean Connolly, The Hidden Places of Kent, Travel Publishing Co., 1998, pages 66-68.

1831 Topographical Dictionary
PENSHURST, a parish in the hundred of SOMERDEN, lathe of SUTTON at HONE, county of KENT, 4 miles (W.S.W.) from Tunbridge, containing 1392 inhabitants. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, has a spire steeple and three chancels, and is rich in ancient monuments. The river Eden here meanders in divided streams, and unites with the Medway in its course to Tunbridge. Penshurst castle, adjoining the village, is a noble pile erected in the reign of Henry VIII, on the site of an ancient mansion, which, in the time of William the Conqueror, belonged to the Penchester family; but, since that of Edward IV, to the Sydneys, from whom Sir Philip Sydney was descended. In the neighborhood are remains of a Roman fortification. 

Location: At the intersection of the B2128 and B2176, 14 miles WNW of Goudhurst, 16 miles SW of Maidstone.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 527 437

Penshurst Place

One of England's finest historic houses, Penshurst Place dominates the rural landscape of Penshurst and commands fine views over the Weald of Kent. The medieval house, renowned for its galleried Barons Hall, was built of local sandstone in 1341. Two centuries later it became the property of the Sidney family, who continued developing and adding to the estate. Today it stands as an impressive,  and remarkably well-preserved, example of a defended manor house. A fascinating collection of armor, tapestries, paintings and furniture fills the state-rooms. Outside, there is the original ten acre 16th century garden, the Toy Museum, a Venture Playground and extensive walking trails. Penshurst Place can also claim England's second oldest cricket pitch.

Source: Sean Connolly, The Hidden Places of Kent, Travel Publishing Co., 1998, pages 66-68.

No Culpepper connection to Penshurst Place has been discovered, but certainly the ancient Culpepers would have been guests in this home, and it is a site well worth visiting.

Penshurst Place Location: Just north of Penshurst on the B2176.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 527 440

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015

 

 
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