A short history of Halsted Place and its owners has been made available by British History Online, with an extract from The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, vol 3, originally published in 1797.
The map below shows a cluster of country residences in the area, with Chepsted, Montreal, Bradborne and Wilderness adding to Knole at the intersection of the main East-West route from Canterbury to Winchester and North-South roadways from London and Dartford to Hastings.
It takes a moment or two to realise that for hundreds of years the primary route to London from this intersection did not follow the path of the modern-day A21, but ran up the North Downs via Star Hill, down Rushmore Hill then onward towards London.
In those days, Halsted Place was not hidden on a quiet side road as it is today. It was in the company of two other residences , Chevening Manor and Morants Court, all of which occupied commanding positions adjacent to a major arterial route, in beautiful elevated countryside at the point where the road southwards tumbled down into the Weald of Kent. This was prime real estate.
In the early 1400’s, Halsted Place, then known as Halsted Court and Manor, was in the ownership of William Bury, previously a Sheriff of Kent. After William’s death in 1444, the property was acquired by Thomas Bouchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a powerful political and religious figure.
Thomas Bouchier is better known as the creator and occupier of Knole Park, but he only acquired Knole in 1456 and didn’t start living there until 1459. His involvement with the area of Sevenoke, preceded this by 12 years with the acquisition of Halsted Court.
Whilst Bouchier’s magnificent residence at Knole Park was in a different league to Halsted Court, the presence of a church at Halsted Court shows that Bouchier’s earlier residence at Halsted was by no means insignificant. The church was there before Bouchier acquired the estate, as evidenced by the existence of the gravestone of his predecessor, William Burys. Thomas Bouchier’s daughter Alyce and her husband William Petley were also buried at Halsted Church, suggesting enduring family ties with this residence, located just over the top of the hills leading to London.
The renamed Halsted Place reached its apogee in the second half of the 18th century, as indicated on the map below. It was by then in the ownership of Robert Bagshaw., who in 1755 acquired the house and gardens with 8 acres of land, from Lord Vere Beauclerk.
The agricultural estate itself continued to be owned by Aubrey Lord Vere until 1793, when this was sold to William Brooks. Before this the combined estate was known as Halsted Court and Manor.
Records of ownership of Halstead Place form 1200 to 1793 are as follows:
1793 (Halsted Manor) William Brooks
1791 (Halsted Place) Arnold Arnold
1755 (Halsted Place) Robert Bagshaw
1738 (Halsted Court & Manor) Lord Vere Beauclerk
previously John Lansdell
previously Sir James Ashe (jnr)
previously Sir James Ashe (snr)
previously Joseph Ashe of Twickenham
previously Edward Ashe of Heytsburt
previously Thomas Pope, 2nd Earl of Downe, Ireland
previously Thomas Pope, 1st Earl of Downe, Ireland
previously Sir William Pope, Baron Pope of Belturbett
(by marriage to Alyce Bouchier)
1621 Elizabeth Watson
(inherited as daughter of Sir Thomas Watson)
1551 Sir Thomas Watson
Previously Thomas Petley
1582 Stephen Petley
Previously William Petley
(by marriage to Alyce Bouchier)
Previously Alyce Bouchier
(inherited as daughter of Sir Thomas Bouchier)
1486 Sir Thomas Bouchier
1444 Thomas Bouchier, Archbishop of Canterbury
1381 William Bury, Sheriff of Kent
1347 Ralph Savage
previously William de Chellesfield
previously William de Malevill
c1200 - 1212 Roger de Malvil, Justice of the Great Assise
Interestingly, Ralph Savage also owned La Coyle, now Currys Farm – a nice example of how names develop over time. Ralph also owned La Hewette, now Hewitts Farm, together with land in East Barming and Shoreham.