Eltham, Kent
Home Up Master Index DNA Search Sending Info About

Eltham, Kent (Greater London)

Eltham Rectory

The rectory of Eltham was granted by Henry VIII to Sir John Hendley, who died without sons. His daughter Helen brought the rectory to her husband, Thomas Culpeper, Esq. of Bedgebury10, who sold it to William Roper. (Hasted I-487)

St. John the Baptist, Eltham, KentThe Church of St John the Baptist

The parish registers date from 1583. More research is needed to see if any Culpepers or Hendleys were present in this parish church.

St. John the Baptist Location: At the junction of Well Hall Road and Court Yard with Eltham High Street in Eltham London SE9.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 427 743

Eltham, Kent

1831 Topographical Dictionary:
Eltham, a parish in the hundred of Blackheath, lathe of Sutton at Hone, county of Kent, 8½ miles (S.E. by S.) from London, containing, with the hamlet of Mottingham, part of which is in the parish of Chiselhurst, 1977 inhabitants.
    This place, in Domesday-book called Alteham, from which its present appellation is deduced, is supposed to have derived its name from the Saxon Eald, old, and Ham, a dwelling. It formed part of the royal demesne in the reign of Edward the Elder, by whom it was given to Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and at a very early period became a favourite retreat of the English kings. Henry III kept a grand festival in 1270, attended by his queen and the whole court, in the palace, which was enlarged by Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, about the close of the thirteenth century. Edward II resided here for some time, where also his son was born (and from this circumstance called John of Eltham), and the palace, erroneously, King John's palace. Edward III held parliaments here in 1329 and 1375, and in 1364 sumptuously entertained his prisoner, King John, of France, in the palace. Richard II here celebrated the festival of Christmas, in 1384 and 1386; and Henry IV in 1405, on which occasion the Duke of York was accused of an attempt to surprise and murder the king. Edward IV repaired the palace and enclosed one of the parks; Henry VII built a front to it, and otherwise improved it, and it continued to be the occasional residence of the kings of England till the reign of Henry VIII, who celebrated two splendid festivals in it, after which time it began to yield in importance to Greenwich, which, in the reign of Elizabeth, obtained the ascendancy. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I, Eltham was occupied by the Earl of Essex, the parliamentary general, who died here in 1646. Of the extent of this once magnificent pile, some idea may be formed from the parliamentary survey, in which it is described as having “one fair chapel, one great hall, forty-six rooms and offices below stairs, with two large cellars; and above stairs, seventeen lodging-rooms on the king's side, twelve on the queen's side, and nine on the princes' side, thirty-five bayes of building, or seventy-eight rooms in the offices round the court-yard, which contained one acre of ground.”
    Of these, the only remains are, the great hall, being one hundred feet long, and thirty-six wide, having ten windows on each side, and a finely ornamented roof, which has for many years been used as a barn, but is now being restored, with a view to its preservation; two ancient stone bridges, portions of the walls, subterraneous passages, and parts of the inferior offices converted into modern buildings, and, with the surrounding lands, constituting what is called the Court Farm: the area is enclosed by a stone wall of great thickness, and from eighteen to twenty feet in height: the moat by which it was surrounded was from seventy to eighty feet in breadth, and from fourteen to fifteen in depth; it is quite dry, and though converted into a garden, its original form may be distinctly traced; the principal bridge has two pointed arches finely groined.
    The village is irregularly built, but contains many handsome houses, and the environs abound with noble mansions and elegant seats; Shooter's hill, so named from its having been anciently used for the practice of archery, and on which a singular triangular tower has been erected, by his lady, to the memory of Sir William Daines, Bart., is celebrated for the beauty of its situation, and the extent and variety of its prospects; on its summit has been erected one of the telegraphs communicating between London and Dovor.
    The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a plain edifice, with a spire: in it were interred the remains of Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich, who died in 1792; and in the church-yard, those of Sir William Daines, Bart., and Dogget, the comedian, partner with Wilks and Cibber; and who left a coat and badge to be rowed for annually on the 1st of August.
    On the summit of a hill south by east from the town, are the remains of a Roman camp. Dr. William Sherard, the celebrated botanist, resided here in the early part of the eighteenth century, and cultivated a botanical garden, assisted by the German botanist, Dillarius, who published a catalogue of the plants in two volumes, folio, under the title of Hortus Elthamensis, in 1732. The learned herald and Kentish historian, John Phillipot, was either a native of this place, or resided here. Frederick, Prince of Wales, was created Earl of Eltham in 1726, which title is still borne by the King of England.

Village Location: 35 miles NW of Goudhurst
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 420 740

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


 Home Up Master Index DNA Search Sending Info About

Culpepper Connections! The Culpepper Family History Site