Leigh, Kent
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Leigh, Kent, England

Ramhurst Manor

During the reign of Edward I (late 13th century), Ramhurst passed to the Culpepers, one of whom, Walter4a, paid respective aid for it to King Edward III as the sixth part of a knight's fee. It continued in the family for several generations, and was eventually sold to the Lewknor family.

(This reference was apparently in Hasted's History of Kent, but cannot now be found.)

Location: Just east of the A21, on Powder Mill Lane.
National Grid Coordinates
: TQ 563 468

Ramhurst Manor, March 2000
Ramhurst Manor, March 2000
Photo taken by Warren Culpepper

See: "Haunted House Story"

Great Barnetts (Bernet)

Sir Thomas Culpeper6 will of 1428: "The manor of Bernet in Leghe, Penserst, Bitteberg and Tonbregge, with the mill of Greenerssh and lands called Scottegrove in Asshe, Gatewicke mede in Otteford, and rents and farms in Sele and Sevenoaks, to Thomas my son and his heirs, remainder to Nicholas his brother, remainder to the heirs of me and Joyce lately my wife, remainder to my right heirs." 

Leigh (on the northwest, and called Leghe in the will), Penshurst (on the southwest, and called Pensert in the will), Bidborough (on the southeast, and called Bitteberg in the will), and Tonbridge (on the northeast, and called Tonbregge in the will), form a parallelogram. Great Barnetts (called Bernet in the will) is in Leigh today, but its lands once spilled into each of the other three parishes.

Mr. James Gravell wrote on 23 Jul 2003: "Over the years, the spelling has changed to barnetts (which originally meant 'burnt clearing' or so I have been told), and the house beside the Moat seen on the map, is called Great Barnetts (aerial photo). It is about the same age as Ramhurst Manor (15th + 16th centuries). There's also a Barnetts Road in the village. I know because I call it home. Great Barnetts house and farm was owned by the nearby Penshurst Place estate until the 1920s, but the former farmhouse and its land are both now owned separately."

On 25 Mar 2011, Mr. Gravell followed up with the photograph above and said: "The picture was taken in Spring 2007 a little while before my mother sold the house.  It was our family home for 40 years, but of course has had many owners and occupants since it was built, and a new chapter has begun.

"The house was originally constructed circa 1580, it is thought, with alterations since.  The building has many ancient oak beams, and the house is built adjacent to a moat which shows evidence of occupation between 1270 and 1320.  May be in later centuries the need for defence was reduced, the moated site was restricted, or damp perhaps, so they rebuilt a more modern house nearby.  But if you had some good beams available, you would make use of them, surely?  Only a carbon dating test on the house beams today would reveal what century the oaks grew and that hasn't been done of course.  But to be big enough to be cut down and used as a beam, in which year would the tree have to start growing?  Eight or nine hundred years ago may be?  and still in use....

"Here are other links, which may be of interest:

Leigh Historical Society: Great Barnetts (history and photos)

British Listed Buildings: Great Barnetts Farmhouse, Leigh

St. Mary's Church, Leigh, Kent, March 2000St Mary's Church, Leigh

Ancient Parish
Original registers from 1592

The Culpepers left this area prior to the date of the earliest extant parish registers. Their involvement in this parish, if any, is currently unknown. Further research is needed.

Location: On the main road, in the middle of Leigh.
National Grid CoordinatesTQ 548 466

Photograph taken by Warren Culpepper, March 2000

Leigh, Kent

1831 Topographical Dictionary
Leigh, a parish partly in the hundred of Somerden, but chiefly in that of Codsheath, lathe of Sutton at Hone, county of Kent, 3 miles W from Tunbridge, containing 876 inhabitants. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, contains some ancient monuments, and considerable remains of richly-stained glass: it had formerly a chantry, which was suppressed by Edward VI. The river Medway bounds the parish on the south; and there are mineral springs possessing properties similar to the water of Tunbridge Wells.

Location: On the B2027, 14 miles SW of Maidstone and 14 miles NW of Goudhurst
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 548 465

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


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