IS the next parish westward from Eltham. It was
antiently written Legheart, and in old Latin, Laga,
i. e. a place which lies sheltered.
The parish of Lee is but small, it lies low and flat,
excepting towards the north, where the hill rises towards Blackheath; the lane, called Burnt-ash-lane,
bounds it westward, and separates the two manors of
Lee and Eltham. The village stands nearly in the
middle of it, on the high road towards Eltham, and
thence to Maidstone. It is very healthy and pleasant,
and is well-built, the houses being all inhabited by genteel families of fortune. On the north side is the antient seat of Lee-place; at the west end a house, which
has been many years the residence of the family of
Papillon, opposite to which are the alms houses, built
by the Boone family. Northward of the village the
hill rises, nearly on the summit of which is lady Dacre's
seat, most pleasantly situated, the church, the parsonage
close to it, and other houses.
There is a little bourn, or rivulet, which takes its
rise in this parish, and sometimes, on sudden rains,
swells so much, as to rise near ten feet in height, where
it crosses the high road, which made it so dangerous,
or rather impassable, at those times for passengers, that
within these few years there had been a bridge built
over it, and a high causeway raised for a considerable
length at each end of it, at the public expence. This
brook, running from hence, passes along by the foot
of the wall of the old seat of the Annesley's, long since
quite ruined; about the south side of which it seems to
have made a kind of moat, and afterwards discharges
its waters into the river Ravensborne in the adjoining
parish of Lewisham. The meadow lands in the valley
lying on each side of this stream are very rich, and let
at high rents. These Annesleys above-mentioned,
bore for their arms, Paly of six pieces argent, and
azures on a bend gules, a crescent, for difference.
In the time of William the Conqueror, Lee was
part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux and earl
of Kent, of whom it was held by Walter de Doway.
It is thus described in Domesday, under the general
title of the bishop's lands:
Walter de Dowai holds Lee of the bishop (of Baieux).
It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is 4 carucates. In demesne there are 2 carucates, and 11 villeins, with 2 cottagers having 2 carucates. There are 2
servants and 5 acres of meadow. There is wood for the
pannage of 10 hogs. In the time of K. Edward the
Confessor, and when the bishop received it, it was
worth 3 pounds, now 100 shillings. Alunin held it of
As early as in the reign of king Edward I. this place
was the residence of an antient family, called Bankwell,
written, in the bishop of Rochester's Register, Bakwell,
Bacwell, and Banquelle; which, probably, acquired
that surname, from a place in this parish, formerly
written Bankwells, but now, called Bankers.
In the 31st year of that reign, John de Banquel had
a grant, to him, Cicele his wife, of free warren in all
their lands in Lee, Lewisham, Bromley, and in Brokisham. (fn. 1)
In the first year of king Edward II. John de Banquel
was appointed one of the barons of the king's exchequer; (fn. 2) and in the return of John de Shelving, sheriff,
in the 16th and 17th year of that reign, of all the
knights and men at arms within it, William de Banquel
is mentioned in the second degree. He died in the
20th year of king Edward III. and left Thomas Ban-
quel his heir; who died in the 35th year of that reign,
possessed of Lee, and a large quantity of lands besides,
in Modingham, Shersholt, since corruptly called Shrawfield, Littlecroft, Bankers, and Wickham by Bromley.
He left three sons, John, William, and Robert, who
became heirs in gavelkind to all his inheritance; and
upon the division of it, Lee, Bankers, and Shersholt,
or Shrawfield, fell to the share of John Bankwell, the
eldest: but this family ending in a female heir, she carried these estates in marriage to John Arrapon; whence
they were, in the next reign, of king Richard II. sold
to Sir Thomas Stury, who continued in possession of
them till the reign of king Henry VI. when they became the property of Richard Widville, or Woodville,
who, in the 26th year of king Henry VI. was created
Baron Rivers, and made knight of the Garter, and afterwards, in 1465, Earl Rivers and Constable of England, by king Edward IV. who had married his daughter Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Grey. (fn. 3) His great
favour with the king brought on him the hatred of the
Lancastrians, who seized him, with his son John, and
carried them to Northampton, where they were both
beheaded, in the 9th year of king Edward IV. By
Jaquet de Luxemburgh his wife, widow of John, duke
of Bedford, he had several sons and daughters. Of the
sons, Anthony, the eldest, succeeded his father in his
honours, and likewise in these manors and estates. He
had married, in his father's life-time, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas lord Scales, and had summons
to parliament in the 1st year of king Edward IV. as
baron Scales. He was beheaded at Pontefract-castle
in 1483, under the pretence of treason, by order of
Richard duke of Gloucester, afterwards king Richard III. He died without legitimate issue; upon which
Richard Woodville, his brother, succeeded him in titles
and estates. But dying unmarried, anno 7 king Hen-
ry VII. by his will he appointed Thomas Grey, marquis
Dorset, his nephew, his heir, as was found by inquisition, taken after his death, and that he died possessed
of the manor of Lee, with five hundred and seventy
acres of arable, meadow, wood, and pasture, in Lee
and Lewisham, held of the king by sealty, and the service of performing suit at the court of the sheriff, held
at Sutton-at-Hone, in lieu of all services; and of the
manor of Lee-Shroffold, with one hundred and six acres
of arable and meadow in Shroffold, and of the manor of
Bankers; both which were held of the prior of St.
John of Bethlehem of Sheene, in Surry.
Sir Thomas Grey, marquis Dorset, was eldest son of
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Richard Widville, or
Woodville, earl Rivers, (afterwards married to king
Edward IV.) and sister of the last-mentioned earl, by
Sir John Grey. He was, anno II king Edward IV.
created Earl of Huntingdon; and in the 15th year of
that reign, Marquis Dorset, only per cincturam gladii,
et capæ honoris et dignitatis impositionem, the coronet
After the death of king Edward IV. he was, in respect of his near relationship to the young king Edward,
attainted of high treason, by the duke of Gloucester;
but he found means to steal away privately, and escaped
into Brittany, with many other persons of note, to the
aid of Henry earl of Richmond; where he staid till
the overthrow of king Richard III. at Bosworth, when
he returned, and king Henry VII. fully restored him,
and made him one of his privy-council. He married
Cecilie, daughter and heir of William lord Bonville,
(afterwards married to Henry earl of Wiltshire,) by
whom he had several sons and daughters, and died anno
17 king Henry VII. having given by his will to Thomas, his eldest son, among other manors, those of the
Lee-Shroffold, and the Lee-Bancors and Levisham. (fn. 4)
He kept them but a few years; for he granted to king
Henry VIII. in his third year, the manors of Lee,
Bankerds, and Shrofolde, with the advowsons of the
church of Lee, and all other lands and tenements, of
his inheritance in the towns of Lee, Bankerds, and
Shrofolde, with all liberties, &c. in exchange for other
manors and lands in Leicestershire. (fn. 5)
In the reign of queen Elizabeth these manors were
in the tenure of Thomas Sackville lord Buckhurst,
afterwards earl of Dorset, and lord high treasurer;
whose grandson, Richard earl of Dorset, exchanged
his interest in them with king James I. and his successor,
king Charles I. granted the royalty and fee-simple of
them, (the advowson of the rectory being excepted) at
the yearly rent of 87l. 10s. 2d. (fn. 6) to Ralph Freeman of
Aspeden, in Hertfordshire, who was afterwards knighted, and in 1633 lord-mayor of London. He married
Joan, fourth daughter of John Crowch of London,
clothworker, and had by her an only daughter and heir,
Joan, with whom he gave these manors in marriage to
Sir George Sondes of Lee's-court, in Sheldwich, knight
of the Bath, (fn. 7) afterwards created Earl of Faversham.
By her he had three sons, all of whom died without
issue; he afterwards married Mary, daughter of sir
William Villiers of Brokesby, in Leicestershire, bart.
by whom he left two daughters and coheirs; Mary,
married to Lewis Duras, marquis of Blanquefort, who
succeeded to the title of earl of Faversham; and Catherine, to Lewis Watson, earl of Rockingham, who,
in her right, inherited these manors on the death of
the earl of Faversham, without issue.
On the death of Lewis, earl of Rockingham, in
1724 his grandson (son of Edward, viscount Sondes,
by Katherine his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs
of Thomas earl of Thanet, who died in his father's
life-time) succeeded him in titles and estates; but dying
without issue in 1745, he was succeeded by his next
brother, Thomas, who dying without issue likewise,
devised these, among his other estates, by will, to the
Hon. Lewis Monson, second son of John Monson lord
Monson, by Margaret, third and youngest daughter of
the first Lewis earl of Rockingham, with an injunction
for him to take and use the surname and arms of Watson.
Lewis Monson Watson above-mentioned was, in
the year 1760, being the last of king George II. advanced to the title of Baron Sondes of Lees-court, in
the parish of Sheldwich in this county, and he in 1788
settled this estate on his eldest son the Hon. Lewis Thomas Watson on his marriage, who, in 1795, on the
death of his father, succeeded to the title of lord
Sondes; and is the present proprietor of this manor of
Lee, and its two appendages of Bankers and Shrawfield.
LEE-PLACE is an antient well-built seat, which formerly belonged to, and was the residence of the family
of Boone, in which it continued till Thomas Boone,
esq. dying in 1749, it came by his will to his natural
daughter, married to Charles Cornforth, esq. who died
possessed of it in 1777, when it went, by the limitations
in Mr. Boone's will, to his nephews, sons of his brother, one of whom, Charles Boone, esq. now possesses
it, but Benjamin Harrison, esq. treasurer of Guy's hospital at present resides in it.
About a quarter of a mile towards the north-west,
from the village of Lee, on the ascent of the hill, stands
an elegant modern-built seat, late belonging to Sir
Thomas Fludyer, who died possessed of it in 1769,
bearing for his arms, Sable, a cross flory, between four
escallops argent, each charged with a cross flory of the
field; which arms were granted in 1739. He left, by
Mary his wife, daughter of Sir George Champion,
alderman of London, a daughter and heir, Mary, who
in 1773 married Trevor Charles Roper, esq. and
brought him the possession of this seat. He was the
eldest son of the Hon. George Roper, the son of Henry
lord Teynham, by his second wife Anne, daughter and
coheir of Thomas Lennard earl of Suffex, and baroness Dacre, whose second husband he was. Her first
husband having been Thomas Lennard Barret, esq. by
whom she had a son, the late Thomas Lennard Barret,
lord Dacre, on whose death, s. p. in 1786, Trevor
Charles Roper, esq. above-mentioned, succeeded to
that title, and became lord Dacre. (fn. 8) He died at this
feat in July 1794, s. p. and was buried in Lee church,
leaving the possession of it to his widow Mary, lady
Dacre, who now resides in it.
At the west end of the village of Lee is a row of alms-houses,
with a chapel adjoining to them, built and endowed by CHRISTOPHER BOONE, of London, merchant, and MARY his wife;
who, by their deed, in 1683, enfeossed the master and wardens of
the Merchant-taylors in London, in a parcel of land in this parish; on which were built a chapel and four houses, for a schoolmistress, to teach poor children to read and work, and six poor
antient alms-people; and in a piece of ground for a garden plat.
And they also enfeoffed them in twenty-three acres of land, lying
near Blackheath, let for 15l. per annum; and in an annual rent
of 42l. per annum, out of the fee-farm rent of the city of Hereford, in trust, that they should pay yearly the salaries, &c. to the
several members of this charity. And likewise furnish firing,
gowns, and certain necessaries for the use of the poor people and
children. The residue of the income, to be a stock to desray the
charge of repairs, and augment the allowances of the members
of it. The master and wardens to visit them every year, on the
first Thursday in July.
The rector of Lee to be chaplain; or, if he refused, or removed,
then the vicar of Lewisham; or, if he refused, or misbehaved, any
other minister of the church of England.
The school-mistress to teach twelve poor children, to be presented by the rector and churchwardens of Lee. The alms people
to be men or women, two in a house, of the poorest people of this
parish, who had lived orderly, and supported themselves by their
honest labour in their younger days, or if there were not enough
such found, then of the parish of Lewisham; and if not there,
then of Greenwich.
The Rev. ABRAHAM COLFE, in 1656, gave by will, to be
distributed in bread at the church every Sunday in the year, in
money vested in the Leatherseller's-company, of the annual produce of 8s. 4d. and a free scholarship for one boy, in the freeschool of Lewisham, vested in the same company.
WILLIAM HATCLIFFE gave by will, for the relief of indigent
persons, by the distribution of 10s. per annum each, a share of
certain land, vested in trustees, of the annual produce of
22l. 11s. 6d.
THIS PARISH is entitled for ever to place one poor person in
Queen Elizabeth's college, in Greenwich, founded by the will of
William Lambarde, esq. and vested in the Draper's company, of
the annual produce of 8l. 13s. 4d.
Lee is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION
of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Dartford. The
church is dedicated to St. Margaret; it seems an antient structure, the church-yard is crowded with tombs
and monuments, many of them of excellent sculpture;
among which is a plain table tomb for Dr. Edward
Halley, the famous astronomer, who lies buried underneath it.
Among other monuments and memorials in this
church, in the isle, is a monument in brass, with the
effigies of a woman, for Elizabeth Conkyll, obt. 1513.
At the east end of it a monument for Abraham Sherman, A. M. minister of God's word in this parish, who
rebuilt the parsonage house in 1636, obt. Oct. 5, 1654.
On the north side of the altar a sumptuous monument,
with the figures of a man in armour, and his wife lying
at full length, and an inscription, for Bryan Anslye, esq.
late of Lee, and Awdry his wife, only daughter of Robert Tirrell, of Essex, esq. by whom he had one son and
three daughters, Brian, who died s. p. Grace, married
to Sir John Wilgorse; Christian to lord Sandes, and
Cordell to Sir William Hervey. The said Brian the
father died in 1604, being one of the gentlemen pensioners to queen Elizabeth; the said Awdry died in
1591. Erected by Cordell their daughter. On the
south side of the altar a monument, with effigies in brass
of a man in armour, kneeling at a desk with a book open
before him, and an inscription in black letter for Nicholas Ansley, serjeant of the cellar to queen Elizabeth,
obt. 1593, æt. 58; and an inscription was here formerly
for George Hatcliffe, esq. the king's treasurer in Ireland, and one of the clerks of the king's household,
obt. 1514. (fn. 9)
The church was antiently esteemed as an appendage
to the manor, and seems to have continued so till king
Charles I. granted the fee of the manor to Ralph Freeman, reserving the right of the patronage of the church
to the crown, where it continues at this time.
The church of Lee was valued, in the 15th year of
king Edward I. at ten marcs. It is valued in the king's
books at 3l. 11s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 7s. 2d.
The parsonage-house was rebuilt by Abraham Sherman, rector of this parish in the year 1636.
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value
of church livings, in 1650, out of Chancery, it was returned, that Lee was a parsonage, with a house, and
fifteen acres of glebe land; all worth seventy pounds
per annum, one master Abraham Sherman enjoying it.
CHURCH OF LEE.
|PATRONS, Or by whom presented.||RECTORS.|
|Family of Bakewell||Jordanus.|
|Richard de Toste, inst. March 22,
1320. (fn. 10) |
|William de Ardenne, adm. Sept.
13, 1330, obt. 1332. (fn. 10) |
|John Moyne, adm. Jan. 8, 1332,
resigned 1335. (fn. 10) |
|John de Lenne, 1335, another induction March 9, 1338. (fn. 13) |
|Family of Bakewell||William Drayton, admitted Oct.
8, 1349. (fn. 14) |
|John Kinge, adm. April 28, 1353,
resigned 1362. (fn. 15) |
|John de Somerbye, adm. October
26, 1362. (fn. 16) |
|Richard Holewaye, resig. 1390. (fn. 17) |
|Sir Richard Story||John Clerk, adm. May 17, 1390,
resigned eod. ann. (fn. 18) |
|William Glastynbery, Dec. 5,
1390, resigned 1391. (fn. 19) |
|Hugo ap David, adm. May 24,
1391, resigned 1402. (fn. 20) |
|Sir Robert Story||John de Bardenage, adm. July
1402, resigned eod. ann. (fn. 21) |
|William Howet, adm. Sept. 5,
1402, resigned 1403. (fn. 22) |
|Thomas Talbott, April 7, 1403,
resigned 1405. (fn. 23) |
|John Gyffard, adm. Jan. 17,
1405, obt. 1406. (fn. 24) |
|William Cowpere, adm. April
26, 1406. (fn. 25) |
|Robert Pejonn, obt. 1425. (fn. 26) |
|John Hoo, adm. Nov. 23, 1425. (fn. 27) |
|Richard Wydville||Richard Moore, adm. October 3,
1452, resigned 1459. (fn. 28) |
|Lord de Rivers||Thomas Clote, March 20, 1459. (fn. 29) |
|Anthony Wydville||John Mellory, adm. Nov. 10,
1462, resigned 1463. (fn. 30) |
|Lord de Seales||Robert Ayward, adm. Sept. 2
1463. (fn. 31) |
|John Walronde, July 15, 1495,
resigned 1497. (fn. 32) |
PATRON. Thomas, Marquis Dorset.
Robert Houghtone, instit. June 2,
1497, obt. 1498. (fn. 33)
Roger Abraham, instit. Sept. 29,
1498, second induct. Oct. 9,
1500, obt. 1501. (fn. 34)
William Lambe, inst. Nov. 10,
1501, obt. 1503. (fn. 35)
Thomas Robyns, inst. June 10,
1503, second induct. Sept. 9,
1504, resigned 1509. (fn. 36)
Simon Templeman, inst. Oct. 31,
1509, obt. 1526. (fn. 37)
PATRON. The Crown.
Robert Hale, alias Hales, instit.
Sept. 14, 1526, resig. 1569. (fn. 38)
Wm. Brooke, inst. Oct. 6, 1569,
Hugo Probart, deprived 1579.
John Stoner, inst. June 12, 1579. (fn. 39)
obt. June 1599. (fn. 40)
William Tyler, A. M. inst. July
16, 1599, obt. March 13,
1632. (fn. 41)
Abraham Sherman, inst. Oct. 2,
1632, obt. Oct. 5, 1654. (fn. 42)
Hiccocks, ejected 1662. (fn. 43)
George Shawe, B. D. inst. Oct.
24, 1662. (fn. 44)
John Jackson, A. M. inst. Dec.
18, 1672, obt. 1701. (fn. 45)
John Ovington, I. T. P. inst. Dec.
18, 1701, obt. June 1731. (fn. 46)
Richard Atkins, A. M. instit.
Aug. 28, 1731, obt. April
24, 1745. (fn. 47)
John Lawry, A. M. inst. May
3, 1745, obt, Aug. 20, 1773. (fn. 48)
Henry Reginald Courteney, L.L.D.
instituted Septem. 1773, lord
bishop of Bristol. The present rector. (fn. 49)
* This list of rectors was kindly communicated by the Rev. Mr. Samuel
Denne, of Wilmington.