Publication mentioning THORPE by Kitty ROOME

See Page on the Napoleonic Army Camp and the mention of Miss THORPE - could she be related to the THORPE mentioned in this document written by Kitty ROOME in 1976


K.M. Roome, LL.B., Bexley Antiquarian Society.

In Bexley Parish Church there is a small memorial brass to a. man named Thomas Sparrow, or Lamondby, who in his lifetime was a local landowner and sometime Deputy Reeve of the Manor of Bexley. In posterity he is a character shared in interest between the Bexley
Antiquarian Society and Lamorbey and Sidcup Local History Society.

The Kentish antiquary, John Thorpe the younger, came to live at Bexley at Highstreet House next to the Church in 1752 and noted this brass. The figure, 13 inches long, is a man with bobbed hair and a bulbous nose, wearing a long fur-trimmed robe with wide sleeves. The Latin inscription at his feet states that he died on 21 October 1513. Thomas made his will (P.R.O. Prob.11/17 f.24) on St. Gatheryne's Even 1505. He described himself as Thomas Lamondby, otherwise Sparrowe. Two nephews, Cuthbert and John Lamondby, are named but no surnames are given for his parents and deceased brother John. The reason for the alias of Sparrow remains unsolved; that name variously spelt appears several times in the Kent Lay Subsidy Roll 1334/5 and two entries point to an earlier family in North Kent - Thos. Sperwe in the Hundred of Rokesle and Wm. Sparwe in the Hundred of Blakehethe - but Thomas may have been a northcountryman by origin, Agnes, who married James Goldwell of the Goldwells of Great Chart, is described in the Heralds Visitation of 1574 as "daughter of Thomas Lamaby of Lamaby in com... Note to search for Lamaby of ye north". The research of Mr. B.N. Nunns of the Lamorbey and Sidcup Society has produced Lamonby near Penrith in Cumberland, but completion of the full set of Place Name Society volumes is, of course, some time ahead yet.

Thomas appointed four executors, James Yarford,. -'William Brokett, Goldsmyth of London, his wife Catheryne and William Inglishe, and three overseers, Sir John Pechye of Lullingstone, Richard Brok, sergeant at the lawe, and Maister Draper (perhaps William Draper of East Wickham). He made several pious gifts and directed with much detail a special mass on the Monday after Mydlent Sunday every year.

Land to produce 13s 4d annually was to be appropriated by the executors partly to support this mass and also to pay the Peter Ponce.
If Bexley Church defaulted then Crayford or North Cray Churches were to benefit. He left cash legacies and gifts in kind. Gold rings "written within Miseremini Mei" for the three overseers, and William Brokett, James Yarford and Lady Pechye; a gown each to John Hastlyn, Myles Thomlynson, vicar of Bexley, and William Kendall; nine servants, one of whom was William Kendall, -were given one cow each of "them that bee at Dertford ", and another of the servants, Christofr* Leyff, also had two oxen. There still is a Charity within the framework of the Bexley United Charities of a William Kendall arising from land at Bridgen, one of the former hamlets of Bexley. According to Hasted, it was created by Will in 1558.

Thomas's main provisions were for his wife, Catheryne, and their only child ^ignes. Catheryne was given "all my landes (excluding one house) and "my household stuf" for life. The house "Symond Walsche dwellith in" was given to nephew Cuthbert and his descendants or nephew John.
Walsche was another of Thomas's servants. It is conceivable that this house was at St. Mary Cray or Jbotscray, for in 1450 the horse of a Simon Walsche (perhaps an ancestor of the other Symond) was one of the eighteen stolen there. Lands at ELumstead, Halford Strete, messuages in Woodstrete and Broken Wharf, London, leases of the Abbey of Lesnes* manors at Dartford, Bawdewynes and Ochell (On the borders of Bexley, Wilmington and Dartford) and a new tilehouse on land at Bexley next to the .Abbey's lands, are all mentioned. Whether Halford Strete was Halfway Street hamlet on the borders of Lamorbey and Htham had exercised
many minds for some time, but recently a Lease of 1786 has been found re "Halford Street otherwise Halfway Street" so the identity now seems proved.
Catherine was liable to repair the lands and houses and to have "•wood for hyr fyre but none to sell". Bexley -was then a heavily wooded area and maybe it was Thomas's intention to make it clear that she had only the customary limited use and the valuable timber kept for the future.

His provisions for Agnes were twofold. On her marriage she was to have part of the "household stuf" and all the platej on her mother's death the houses and lands passed to her for her life and then to her descendants, or if she had none then for charitable purposes. Agnes married James Goldwell and he and his heir built a house Lamieriby Goldwell two miles westward of Bexley Church between the hamlets of Hurst and Halfway Street, Eventually after several changes in ownership the building there now became the Adult Education Centre at amorbey adjoining the road Halfway Street near Sidcup Station .Item about 1770 until almost living memory it was often known as Lamb Abbey. The Lamorbey and Sidcup Local History Society meet there. Whether antiquarian John Thorpe ever thought he was living in, or on the site of, a "Sparrow" house we shall never know. He didn't mention it. But there is a tenable Sparrow/Goldwell connection with Highstreet House, Thorpe "rebuilt this seat in 1?61"(Hasted) having acquired it from the Austens about 1752, who had it from sometime before 1666 and built a new front to it. The Manorial Survey of
Bexley 1681 shows Lady Anne Austen in possession, with a marginal note "purchased of Richard Bourne Esq.", who was connected by marriage with the Goldwells. Philipott in Yillare Cantianum 1659 said "there is an old house by the margin of the river in Bexley town which was the seat of an ancient family in this parish called in deeds Lamienby, alias Sparrow" and Hasted mentions the Goldwells as the owners of Highs treet House and that their arms were carved in stone on several chimney pieces in it. Extensive repairs and restorations within the last few years by the present owners, Mr, and Mrs. S.W. Gray, have yielded no sign of the chimney pieces, but they are not alone in feeling that they are living in a property older in places than Mr. Thorpe's and that he didn't rebuild it completely. Deeds have survived at Kent Archives Office which show that the Thorpes built up a fair-siaed estate in the heart of Bexley around Highstreet
House, but their settled estates in Kent were divided in the C19 so very few deeds are now current with it; otherwise more of the story of Mr. Thorpe's house might be known from original sources.

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