Thames Tributory Darent - Eynsford

Thames Tributary Darent
The Darent continues to flow in a generally north east direction. The River is embanked nearer the mill with the race eventually going under the mill buildings. There is a Weir ten feet drop on the left bank round the site. Then a long stream to Farningham mill.

Post to the north Farningham
Post to the west Eynsford

High Street
Norman castle. In ruins. One of the earliest examples of a stone enclosure castle in England. It was probably erected to protect the ford and, although the present remains are Norman, Roman settlers may also have used the site. The site makes a double centre for Eynsford – the main road outside it is wider than elsewhere as a sort of parade ground area. This was the home of William de Eynsford, who changed his name to this after being given the land following the Conquest. It is essentially a fortified manor house and had no keep – uniquely in England.  De Eynsford deserted it in 1163 after his excommunication following the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket. It is built of Kentish Rag, flints and tufa on the line of a track way from the coast to London and a timber watch tower stood in the centre as well as living accommodation which was later replaced by a stone hall. It was not originally motte and bailey but used an ancient mound. All that remains is some thick flint walls, part of the empty moat and the keep, but it is surrounded by deep water, it must originally have been very secure. However as the threat of attack decreased in the middle Ages more comfortable homes were preferred. It was used during the 18th and 19th centuries to house the Lullingstone foxhounds and hidden behind outbuildings. The curtain wall collapsed in 1872 and is still lying on the ground... Two enclosures, oval shape, lots of detail. In the 18th it was used as kennels by the Hart Dykes. Given to the Ministry of Works. Elliott Till did it up and the care of it was later taken on by Lady Fountain.
New Place. Stone Hall House dating from 970 in a corner of the Motte. It is Norman but it was forgotten until 1835 when it was excavated. It is closely associated with Becket's murder. Characteristic stone hall house 1150. Undercroft of the hall and the solar remain with a defensible stair approach.
Village hall, wooden with five doors where villagers had to enter for different purposes, even to have free baths. There is an amazing proscenium curtain painting commissioned by Till. The original Hall was built in 1905 at a cost of £1,100 by Till. in 1917 it was bought by Lady Emily Hart Dyke and In 1928, ownership was passed to Trustees In 1947 Sir William Hart Dyke sold Institute Cottage next to the Hall to the Trustees for £50.Since 1992it has provided accommodation for caretakers. The Darenth Room, which was completed in 1969 followed by the River Room in 1973 and the Millennium Porch in 2000. In 2005, a plaque on the wall marked the 100th anniversary of the building. It says Prest A Faire - Ready to Do/Serve Tiens Ta Foy - Hold Your Faith” these are the mottos of the Hart and Dyke families
Little Mote built on the site of the hall. Once called Sibylls - the medieval manor house restored in 1908 and later inhabited by the redoubtable Lady Fountain. The only remains of the old house which have survived are some old timbers and a chimney-stack of stone and brick with two fire-places of carved stonework. That on the ground floor appears to be some kind of limestone. The coat of arms carved in the spandrils is that of the Sybill family.
St.Martin of Tours Church. This flint church is Norman and the date and site suggest it was collegiate.. Dedicated to Martin of Tours was a monk bishop, from Hungary. He was a pagan intended for the Roman army but became a Christian and was imprisoned. He founded the first monastery in Gaul about 360 and was made bishop of Tours in 372. The first William d’Eynsford built the church on the site of a Saxon one using local Kentish flint and Kentish ragstone. Because the old site was used and because of the rising land, the altar does not face due east and the steps into the chancel and into the Lady Chapel follow the gradient of the slope. The door in the arch was added in the 12th, and in 1163, it was closed and barred by a younger William d’Eynsford against a new Rector appointed by Becket. There was once a gallery on the back wall. When was removed it was replaced by the coat of arms of King George III. Wooden shingles on the spire were a common roof covering when oak was plentiful but tiles or slates usually replaced them after the 14th century. The spire was reshingled in 1988 and local children wrote their name on the underside of the shingles. The clock on the tower was repaired in 1904 by Elliot Till with Robert Browning’s words on it 'Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be'. The lectern is a memorial to men of the village who died in the 1939 - 1945 war. The font is 15th of Kentish ragstone. On the west face are the cross and crown of thorns, on the south face a tau cross representing baptism. In the porch the two stone coffins discovered when a grave was being dug. Nice memorial to Mary Bosville.
Lych Gate. Erected in 1920 in memory of Elliot Till. In 1961 it was moved back to make room for a pavement.
Churchyard: Till’s grave
Gibson’s Place. Site of Gibson’s Ironworks.
Munn’s shop – three trees in front to commemorate Boer War events of Kimberley, Ladysmith, Mafeking – Kalus, Lime and Maple
Olive Seal church hall
War memorial – on a triangle of ground where the stocks once stood.
Stocks were removed when imprisoned man nearly died. More rows when Till tried to reinstate them.
Wall plaque beside the off-licence tells nothing of those it recalls
Drinking fountain for coronation of Edward VII. Blue tiled.
3, 4, 5, Elizabeth Cottages, a 15th Wealden house. Entire house was clad from eaves to ground in weatherboarding.
Castle pub. Had been the Harrow and Till renamed it. Rows with him over one drink each only.
Cottages 16th and 17th
Five Bells, pub
Cottage where Peter Warlock lived during the 1920s. Warlock was a prolific author and composer of songs and choral works, a conscientious objector, brilliant and scurrilous. He was trundled home drunk sometimes on the station hand- cart. He walked round in "Jesus" costume of long robe and sandals, and scandalised the village by driving naked on a motor cycle. He filled his cottage with cats and mistresses. His real name was Philip Heseltine and he was a presumed suicide at thirty-six
Baptist Chapel. Where Spurgeon preached in 1852.
Acrostic in trees from the Chapel to Mill Lane planted by Till ‘Grow Old Along with Me. The Best is Yet to Be’
Post office. Ford House probably began as an 18th coaching inn on a turnpike road.
Anthony Roper schools. Built 1863 on Towercroft Meadow. Acrostic of trees set out there by Elliott Till. It says ‘My son be wise’
Willow Cottage. Graham Sutherland, the artist, who lived there in the 1930s.
Old village school
Bay Tree Cottage
Bower House, old workhouse
Windmill Cottage. Home of Moeran, a composer of many chamber and orchestral works and arranger of folk-songs, in war a despatch rider and officer who, wounded, returned as music master to his school, Uppingham, and found in a river at fifty-six, dead from a heart attack.
Modern primary school, light, airy, in a green set- ting edged by the river, and contrasting with the poky school of yesteryear we saw further back
Eynsford House. Occupied by a Hall great-grandson

Knight’s Field
Glyndel House

This is built on land left for the benefit of Eynsford and Farningham. Sold for building and the profits went to the charity.
21 Ernest Tomlinson composer
The Denes. C. Ross Parker who wrote ‘there’ll always be an England’ passed his last years there.

Priory Lane

Sparepenny Lane
Furlong’s Farm


Anonymous said…
Very informative about this interesting village. Thank you!

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