Pigots 1840 - Kent

Penshurst, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Hever, Leigh & neighbourhoods


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Penshurst is a pleasant little village about four miles and a half west from Tonbridge; its name is derived from the ancient British word pen, signifying the “head” and hurst a “wood.” The river Medway flows by this place and its stream might be made navigable from Tonbridge to Forrest Row in Sussex.  Adjoining to the village is Penshurst castle, or “place”, a noble and very ancient mansion, which in the time of the first William, was in the possession of the Penchester family; in the reign of Richard II, Sir John Devereux obtained a licence to fortify and embattle it; it has belonged to the Sydney family since the time of Edward IV. The house contains a superb collection of paintings, to an inspection of which the stranger is freely and courteously admitted; the garden extending from the house to the Medway are most tastefully laid out; and the park is esteemed one of the finest in the kingdom. The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist, is a good substantial structure of stone and contains several antique, elegant and splendid monuments of the successive proprietors of Penshurst castle, particularly those of the Sydney family, most of whom, for upwards of two hundred years, have been interred here; the benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of Sir John Shelley Sydney bart. Penshurst confers the inferior title of baron on Viscount Strangford. An annual fair is held here on the 26th of June.


About three and a half miles from Penshurst, and eight from Tonbridge Wells, is the village of Chiddingstone, so called from a remarkable stone standing in the park, near the village, upon a base of two steps. Chiddingstone lies within the Weald; the river Eden intersects it about the middle, running eastwards; and then bending to the south, joins the Medway. The church dedicated to St Mary, is handsome and commodious; the tower excites the admiration of every visiter to this place, and is considered to be unrivalled in the county; it contains a set of eight bells, famed for the melody of their tone. Within the church are some attractive monuments and at the east end is an elegant painted window; the edifice is kept remarkably clean and on the whole deserves the encomium often bestowed upon it, that of being a superior country church. The living is a rectory, in the exempt deanery of Shoreham and patronage of the see of Canterbury.


Six miles south from Westerham is the neat village Edenbridge, pleasantly situated near to the borders of Surrey, and on the banks of the Eden, which formerly was crossed by an ancient bridge, (superseded a few years since by a new one of one arch), from which and the river it derives its name. The church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, is a fine building, furnished with a good gallery; it is surmounted by a tower, containing six bells. Edenbridge has long been noted for the excellent shoes its workmen produce. Two annual fairs, for cattle and toys are held here, one on the 6th of May and the other on the 16th of October.


Two miles from Edenbridge and three miles from Chiddingstone, is the small village of Hever, remarkable as having been the residence of Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Ann Boleyn, one of the ill fated wives of Henry VIII. The castle is a very ancient structure, fortified in the manner prevalent in former ages, by a moat, drawbridge, portcullis and a tower. In the church, a plain antique fabric, with a lofty spire, is a monument to John de Cobham, dated 1399; also a magnificent tomb to Sir Thomas Boleyn. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the family of Streatfield.


Leigh is an inconsiderable village, four miles west from Tonbridge, situated close to the line of the South Eastern Railway, on it route from London to Dover. The church dedicated to St Mary, is built of stone, without tower, spire or turret and its exterior is far from prepossessing; the interior however, is convenient and clean, and contains some ancient monuments and considerable remains of richly stained glass. The benefice is a vicarage, in the presentation of the family of May. The houses are ranged around a pleasant rural green, and form a complete country village.


The above parishes are all locally situate in the lathe of Sutton at Hone, and their population at the census of 1831 was as follows: Penshurst 1453 inhabitants; Chiddingstone 1223; Edenbridge 1432; Hever 559; and Leigh 1011.


POST – Penshurst, Receiving House at the Leicester Arms; Edenbridge, at John CHANDLER’s grocer; and at Leigh at the Porcupine. Letters from London and all parts arrive every morning at nine in summer and ten in winter, and are despatched every afternoon at six in summer and five in winter.




ALLNUTT Mrs Frances, Penshurst

BOISSIER Rev George Richard, Penshurst

COLQUHOUN James esq, Penshurst

COWBURN Henry esq, Hever

DE PASSOW Rev John Claus, Heber

DODD Rev P Stanhope, Penshurst

GAY Rev William, Bidborough

MARSHALL Robert esq, Edenbridge

MAY Rev Thomas, Leigh

PAYLOR Rev Charles Anthony, Chiddingstone

PEEL Rev Robert, Edenbridge

POLHILL Rev, Chiddingstone

SAINT William esq, Leigh

STREATFIELD Henry esq, Chiddingstone

STREATFIELD Major Henry, Penshurst

STREATFIELD Captain Richard, Hever

SYDNEY Sir John Shelley bart. Penshurst

WELLS William esq, Penshurst

WHITTON Mrs Mary, Chiddingstone




CHAPMAN William (day), Hever

Free School, Chiddingstone, Charles CARPENTER, master

GRATWICK Elizabeth, (day), Edenbridge

National School Leigh, Thomas HUMPHREY, master

PEEL Rev Robert, (gents boarding), Edenbridge

PURSER William, Edenbridge

SAXBY William, (day), Edenbridge




CORKE Augustus, (& land surveyor), Edenbridge

PARSONS Robert, Edenbridge




CHANTLER Thomas, Edenbridge

HOLMES John, Edenbridge

MELLISH James, Edenbridge




BRIGDEN Joseph, Chiddingstone

BURR & BAKER, Edenbridge

CHAPMAN Thomas, Chiddingstone

CHAPMAN William, Hever

DANN Abraham, Edenbridge

HUMPHREY William, Leigh

MOORE Richard, Penshurst

SEAL William, Hever

SHOOBRIDGE William, Edenbridge

SMITH Thomas, Chiddingstone




AYNSCOMBE John, Chiddingstone

HILL William, Chiddingstone

MITCHENOR William, Edenbridge

NICHOLSON William, Edenbridge

NIGHTINGALE William, Chiddingstone

PAGE John, Hever

PURSER Edward, Edenbridge

SIMMONS Joseph, Edenbridge

SPARROWHAWK Thomas, Edenbridge

SPARROWHAWK William, Edenbridge

WICKING William, Leigh




EDWARDS George, Chiddingstone

GOODWIN William, Edenbridge

HUMPHREY James, Chiddingstone

JORDAN William, Edenbridge




BASSETT William, Edenbridge

FRY John, Leigh

LANGRIDGE George, Edenbridge

LEIGH Henry, Chiddingstone

LEIGH Henry jun. Chiddingstone

WOODHAMS Richard, Penshurst




CONSTABLE Henry, Penshurst

KIRBY John, Hever

LEIGH Charles, Chiddingstone

LEIGH Henry, Edenbridge

SEAL William, Hever

WHEATLEY William, Leigh

WICKENDEN Nicholas, Edenbridge




COOMBER Stephen, Chiddingstone

KILLICK John, Penshurst

MILLER Thomas, Edenbridge




DUKE Timothy, Penshurst

EADE Luke, Penshurst




JEFFERY John, Edenbridge

JEFFERY Thomas, Edenbridge

LAMPON Thomas, Edenbridge




Kent, William SAXBY, (& land surveyor), Edenbridge




ARNOLD Nicholas, Penshurst

BROOK Richard, Chiddingstone

CHANDLER John, Edenbridge

CRANDALL John & Henry, Leigh


HEASMAN James, Penshurst

HUMPHREY Robert, Leigh

KIRBY Elizabeth, Hever

SCOTT Thomas, Chiddingstone

SNASHALL William, Chiddingstone

WITHERS Nicholas, Edenbridge




Castle, Henry LEIGH, Chiddingstone

Chequers, John LAWRENCE, Tudeley

Chequers, Henry LEIGH jun, Chiddingstone

Crown, Thomas PARSONS, Edenbridge

Four Elms, Elizabeth KIRBY, Hever

Henry VIII, Thomas MOON, Hever

Leicester Arms, William TAYLOR, Penshurst

Porcupine, William MEDHURST, Leigh

White Horse, William CHRISMAS, Edenbridge




ARNOLD Nicholas, Bidborough

JINKENS George, Chiddingstone

PARSONS Robert, (& maltster), Edenbridge

STANFORD Frederick, Edenbridge

YOUNG James, Chiddingstone





SMITH William, Edenbridge

WOOD James, Edenbridge




JEFFERY Thomas, Penshurst

LANGRIDGE Thomas, Edenbridge




CREASY William, Edenbridge

GREGORY Charles Leigh

NASH Joseph, Edenbridge

PICKANCE William, Penshurst




CORKE Augustus, Edenbridge

SAXBY William, Edenbridge




ALLISON Thomas, Penshurst

BOWRA Thomas, Leigh

CARPENTER Charles, Chiddingstone

EAGLETON Thomas, Chiddingstone

SMEED William, Edenbridge

WITHERS Nicholas, Edenbridge




ALEXANDER Thomas, Edenbridge




MOYCE William, Chiddingstone

WALLIS James, Edenbridge


WINTER William, Edenbridge




BONNICK William, tanner, Edenbridge

COLLINS William, stonemason, Edenbridge

CRUNDWELL John, watchmaker, Edenbridge

KING John, brewer, Edenbridge

STEDOLPH Godfrey, turner & rake maker, Edenbridge

WICKENDEN John, ironmonger, Edenbridge




To London, a Coach, (from Tonbridge Wells), calls at the Leicester Arms Inn, Penshurst every Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning at nine.


To Tonbridge Wells, a Coach, (from London), calls at the Leicester Arms Inn, Penshurst every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday evening.




To London, Edward MARCHANT, and William JEFFERY from Penshurst, every Wednesday & Jas GROVES and Stephen JENNER, from Edenbridge every Thursday.



This page was last updated on 06-Mar-2021.

Copyright © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason.