Culpeper Manors

Homes of my ancestors.

John

 

Bletchenden, Kelsham, Summerhill, and Moatenden Manors
plus Kent’s Chantry

Culpeper Sites at Headcorn, Kent, England

Bletchenden Manor

Bletchenden Manor, March 2000 Bletchenden, alias Cruttenden, was part of the possessions of the Culpepers of Aylesford. Peter Culpeper8a (the great-great-grandson of Sir Thomas Culpeper3, a direct ancestor of the modern-day Culpeppers) became the owner in 1411, and it continued in the family down to Sir Thomas Culpeper16a, 3rd Baronet, who died childless in 1723. It then passed to his sister Alicia Culpeper16a, who had four husbands. The third was Thomas Culpeper, Esq., of Hollingbourne, and the last was John Milner, M.D., of Maidstone, to whom Bletchenden passed.

Source: Hasted, History of Kent, Vol. V, pages 332-333

Photograph by Warren Culpepper, March 2000.

Location: 1 mile S of Headcorn, 0.3 mile west of the A274.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 838 431

Summerhill Manor, March 2000Summerhill Manor

A mile west of the village and just north of the river (Beault) lies Summerhill. This and Kelsham adjoining were originally one estate and belonged to the Culpeper family (probably as part of Moatenden). It is said that the Bethersden marble used for the greater part of the church was quarried on this estate.

Source: The Parish, Church and People of Headcorn, Kent. Page 6, Date unknown

Photograph by Warren Culpepper, March 2000.

Locations: 1 mile W of Headcorn on Moat / Summerhill Road.
National Grid Coordinates:
TQ 823 447

Kelsham Manor

A mile west of the village and just north of the river (Beault) lies Kelsham. This and Summerhill adjoining were originally one estate and belonged to the Culpeper family (probably as part of Moatenden). It is said that the Bethersden marble used for the greater part of the church was quarried on this estate.

Source: The Parish, Church and People of Headcorn, Kent. Page 6, Date unknown

Photograph retrieved 27 May 2011 from Primelocation.com, a real estate website. Thanks to Carla Groen of the Netherlands for pointing out this picture. The house was identified as being on Four Oaks Road, has 8 bedrooms, 6 reception rooms and 6 baths. Asking price of £1,850,000.

Locations: 1 mile W of Summerhill on Summerhill / Four Oaks Road,
then S at Dray Corner.
National Grid Coordinates:
TQ 814 444

Moatenden Manor

Moatenden (Mottenden) was originally a house of Trinitarian or Crutched Friars founded in 1224. In 1548, Walter Hendley conveyed it to his son-in-law Sir Thomas Culpeper10 of Bedgebury, and he in 1550 passed it to his son-in-law, Christopher Sackville, Esq.

Source: Hasted, History of Kent, Vol. V, pages 326-329.

Photograph provided 9 Apr 2012 by Jenny Spence.

Location: 1.5 miles N of Headcorn, 0.1 miles W of the A274.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 818 464

Kent’s Chantry

Founded by John Kent in 1466. In 1538 the chantry was suppressed by Henry VIII and in 1546 was given to Sir Anthony St. Leger to hold in capite in knight’s service. His son, Warham St. Leger, sold it circa 1575 to Thomas Culpeper, who sold it in 1581 to Michael Beresford of Westerham.

Source: Hasted, History of Kent, Vol. V, pages 330-331.

Location: The Chantry no longer stands, but its site is in the middle of Headcorn, at the junction of Grigg Lane and Oak Lane.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 840 443

Historical Notes on Headcorn

1450: Among the 80 men of Headcorn to whom pardons were given in connection with the Jack Cade Rebellion was “William Culpeper of Bedgebury”. [Culpepper Connections! comment: The Culpepers came into possession of Bedgebury in 1425 when Walter Culpeper married Agnes Roper, the young and childless widow of John Bedgebury. There are no known sons or siblings of Walter named William, so it seems unlikely that this Culpeper was “of Bedgebury”. Perhaps the rebel was William Culpeper8 of Aylesford, brother of the first Culpeper to have held Bletchenden Manor, Peter Culpeper8.]
Circa 1450: “…when Headcorn had reached the height of its prosperity, a further rebuilding (of the church) took place and the work seems to have been chiefly that of the unknown Culpeper whose arms are over the west doorway and upon the tomb in the south wall just outside the Lady Chapel. On a silver field a red engrailed bend with a crescent (on one of the shields) for cadency (second son)… [Culpepper Connections! comment: Most likely, the Culpeper in question was Peter Culpeper8 of Bletchenden.]
1547: “In 1547 this Chantry (Headcorn) with all the others was suppressed. The property of the Chaplain, the £10 for the poor and the upkeep of the Church, all were taken away and given to the Ulcombe St. Legers who in due course parted with it to the Culpepers and today only the name Chantry remains to recall a pious benefaction impiously stolen in the name of religious reform. N.B. The Chantry was at the junction of Grigg Lane and Oak Lane.”
1599: Lease on the parsonage and Lordship of Headcorn by St. John’s College, Cambridge to Thomas Culpeper12 of Wigsell in Sussex in which the lessee agrees to pay the annual £5 to the Vicar.
1604: “Our Chancel lacketh repairing both of the roof and elsewhere, herein Mr. Culpeper (Thomas12 of Wigsell) is faulty, who hath the lease of the parsonage, or Christopher Fullage who occupieth it under him.”

Source: The Parish, Church and People of Headcorn, Kent

Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Headcorn, Kent

Location: on A274 in the middle of Headcorn
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 833 442

St Peter and St Paul Church at Headcorn, Kent, Oct 1999

Culpeper Arms at Headcorn Church, March 2000

St Peter and St Paul Church at Headcorn, Kent, Oct 1999

Culpepers at St. Peter and St. Paul
The Culpeper arms are over the west doorway (pictured at left) and upon the tomb in the south wall just outside the Lady Chapel (bottom left).

The tomb is set under a double-feathered arch with floral ornaments now partially mutilated. A rich carving of flowers is In the spandrels, and the Culpeper arms are in quartrefoils.

Presumably, the otherwise unidentified Culpeper who erected the arms and lies in the tomb is Peter Culpeper8 of Bletchenden.

All photographs except that of the tomb by Warren Culpepper, Oct 1999.

Tomb photo courtesy of Dave Godden, provided March 2010

Village of Headcorn

Location: 9 miles NE of Goudhurst, on the A274.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 833 442

1831 Topographical Dictionary
Headcorn, a parish in the hundred of Eyehorne, lathe of Aylesford, county of Kent, 8½ miles SSE from Maidstone, containing 1191 inhabitants. The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is principally in the later style of English architecture. Headcorn is a decayed market town, situated on a branch of the river Medway.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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