Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thames Tributary - Cray flowing to Darent. Foots Cray

Cray Tributary to Darent, itself a Thames Tributary
The Cray continues northwards, curving slightly to the east. It is joined by a number of small tributaries as it flows through the meadows.

Post to the south Foots Cray
Post to the east North Cray
Post to the north Albany Park


Baugh road
Baugh House is an old people’s home opened in 1976. It stands in a new road. This land was part of a 19th farm owned by Edward Baugh. He did not live here but in Sussex; and was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy

Bexley Lane
85 Dower House, used to be Footscray Cottage

Church Road
Harenc Primary School. Village school erected in Victoria's jubilee year of 1887. A long building c1882 with a low sweeping tile-hung roof, and an amazing tall clock tower with a pyramid top. The inscription under the clock reads: 'While ye have light believe in the light that ye may be the children of light'. It was originally the Footscray National School; and the first school on the site was built in 1816. Built in 1883 to replace the original thatched school, it has changed very little externally. The teacher's accommodation formed part of the building. There are grooves on the brickwork where the children sharpened their slate pencils.
War Memorial
Police
Five Arches Business Park
Foots Cray Place. Burnt down in 1950. There is a flat grassed area on the site of it and the imprint of the foundations especially in dry weather. It was one of the four ‘English Villa Rotundas’, built c. 1756 probably by Isaac Ware for Bourchier Cleeve, London pewterer and writer on finance, to outdo his friend, Lord Westmorland, at Mereworth. It later passed to Benjamin Harenc whose crest is on the gate. In 1822 the estate was bought by Sir Nicholas Vansittart, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, later to become Lord Bexley. He lived there until his death in 1851 when, the estate passed to his nephew. He also bought the adjoining North Cray Place in 1833, and the two combined estates remained in the ownership of the Vansittart family until the 1890s. The house was let to tenants including Kirkland, submarine cable maker, until it was bought by Samuel Waring, of Waring & Gillow. Extensive gardens were created in 1902 for him to a scheme by T. H. Mawson. Only fragments remain of the 260 acres and 7-acre lake. It became a Royal Naval Volunteers training establishment and then in the Second World War the Training Ship, Worcester, was there. After the War, it was the intention of the Kent Education Committee to develop it as a museum. However, workmen restoring the house in 1949 accidentally set it on fire and the ruin was demolished. The estate was transferred to the London Borough of Bexley in 1965.
Car park –a grassed area with two plane trees. A colony of parakeets live there.
Stone fountain ruined.
Wall – long range of red brick, partly 18th century.
Bowls Pavilion designed in 1903 by Frank Atkinson for Lord Waring. This has a dome-shaped roof; behind, to the north, is the bowling green, very overgrown. When the estate was taken over by Kent County Council after the Second World War, the Pavilion was let to the headmaster of Alma Road Boys' School, was used as housing.
Foot's Cray Outdoor Activity Centre. Stable Block of red brick with cupola on top; this is the only building remaining from the original Foots Cray Place. These stables are all that is left of Foots Cray Place. The stables are at present used as a centre for the Bexley Rangers. The weathervane was blown down in the 1987 gale but restored. Behind are the walled gardens. Listed Grade II
Cottage - one-storey red brick building c1903, which was for the chauffeur
Gates 18th iron flanked by red brick gate piers; which lead to the Dutch garden and kitchen garden beyond. They are the Harenc arms. Listed Grade II, Registered Park and Garden Grade II.
Orchard – now two large fields
Dutch garden with an ornamental pool, which was once a fountain. Both gardens were laid out by Thomas Mawson, in 1902 and are surrounded by garden walls which are partly 18th. In a glade are the stone footings of a circular garden structure, the base of a fountain. Terraces lead down to a flat-grassed area backed by a yew hedge; remaining from Mawson’s formal landscape garden. Remains of the stonework and bricks can be found in the bushes around.

Foot's Cray Meadows
An extensive area of open space, with parkland, fields, copses, and woodland, with trees. The River Cray runs through the area. It covers the grounds of both Foots Cray Place and North Cray Place; which were combined for most of the 19th. Foots Cray Place was in the southern part of the Meadows west of the river, whilst North Cray Place was east of the river and in the remaining area to the west. Capability Brown was involved in the landscaping of North Cray Place. There are a number of fungi and mosses growing in moist conditions, and many other species associated with meadows and water edge like marsh marigold and purple loosestrife as well as yellow flag iris. Stinging nettles, cow parsley and other plants encourage butterflies in summer months. William Morris’s fabric design was inspired by a study of River Cray plant life.
Lime Trees. On the west side of the river a double avenue of lime trees leads to a screen of yew trees which were depleted by the 1987 gale. These were planted by Lord Waring shortly before the First World War,
Site of lake which was filled in, the remains of islands can be seen
Elizabethan House was behind the church. Owned by the Walsinghams and Called Pike Place
Lake behind the dam at the bridge. This supports a large population of waterfowl including breeding mute swans.
Canal. This ran parallel to the Cray which fed it. The water flowed over a weir, which drove a pump to pump water to the house. It was used for boating and fishing. It was filled in with the rubbish collection during the last war to prevent enemy aircraft using the lake as a reference point
Old farm buildings.

Harborough Avenue

High Street
The road retains very few of its old buildings. There was a Cross there in the middle ages. This Road to Wrotham from Foot's Cray was turnpiked in 1751, and to Lee in 1781
Tollgate was near Walnut Tree Cottage, 1808.
Sidcup Toyota Centre is the Site of Manor Farm which Hasted calls the 'original house'

Main Road
Marechal Niel Parade

Rectory Lane
A narrow road
David Lloyd Leisure
Cray Youth and Community Centre
170 The Old House. Altered in 1818, though much of it Tudor. Deep eaves typical of the period. Its cream walls support wisteria, almost obliterating the windows. Grade II listed building with early 19th extensions on either side.
Stable block, timber with a section of old red brick walling in front
The Gardeners' Cottage. Once the farm house of Foots Cray Place. It had a pond opposite for watering stock
4-8, an upstanding row of early c 18 cottages in Red brick. Moulded wood cornice, the sort banned by the Act of 1709; although the date 1737 is shown on two bricks.
War memorial Family names found here can also be found in the two churchyards at the Baptist Chapel and All Saints
School Cottages. Story that they were a rope factory
Tigers Head. This pub was part of Foot's Cray Place state, orchard etc., burnt down in 1792. It was a coaching inn with 50 horses. In 1875 it became a temperance hotel, and renamed Albany Lodge with Albany Nursery next door, Tiger Tap
North Cray Woods. Oak and Ash managed by London Wildlife Trust. Across a wide expanse of grass, with an old oak occupying the middle ground. There are Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the woods. . Site of a colony of rare White Letter Hairstreak butterflies. It is a small to medium colony with most adults being seen on the south eastern woodland edge
180/8 Belgrave Place. Early Georgian tall red brick terrace. Built c1760. The rear is weather boarded. Dormers and the wooden cornice under the roof. Grade II listed. One house was once a bakery. Inglenook fireplaces with original salt holes.
Rokesle. probably basically c1790 though much altered. It was the rectory until the present rectory was built next-door c1952.
Dower House Lodge. A low whitewashed lodge bearing the date 1820. It was the lodge for Dower House, a stuccoed mansion c1800,
All Saints. A stone village church built on the site of a Saxon wooden church c.900. The earliest part dates to 1330 and it was a chantry chapel in 1350. The oldest fitting is a late 12th font of Purbeck marble with a waterleaf motif. The church has an unusual timber tower with five bells. It was heavily restored by Henry Hakewill c. 1863 and is thus virtually a new building although it still looks like a rural church. It originally had a shorter nave and chancel and a chantry chapel but extensions were built beyond the tower, a new roof was erected, and much of the exterior was faced with flint. The timber porch too is a replica. The gate to the rood-loft stairs is 1638 and was probably made from the altar rails. There are two large, round-headed panels of Moses and Aaron Said to be made by a Mr Taplock in 1709 as part of an altarpiece. There is the recumbent effigy of a lady under a brick arch in the aisle in a costume of the mid c 14 with Long folds falling unbroken to her feet and a. Headless angel supporting her pillows with the loose head of a chain-mailed knight. Also tomb of Sir Simon de Vaughan. The tower, is wooden with a ‘candle snuffer’ shingled spire, but is a replica c 1901 The spire was given by Lord Waring to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1901. The west porch and doorcase are c1500 and a door c 1650; were reset in their present positions. A new vestry was built in 1973. Two windows from the 14th century church have trefoil heads. There are also some nice Victorian decorations and inscriptions.
Churchyard. Iron grave slab - a very unusual feature outside the Kent Weald - to Francis Manning 1696. Tomb behind the church, to Sir John Pender 1890, pioneer of the transatlantic cable and former resident of Foots Cray Place, with a tall Runic Cross. This was restored after the 1987 gale by English Heritage and Cable and Wireless. Harenc grave, with members of his family mentioned in stone. Graves of the Birch family, lying side by side; the Reverend Birch was Rector of Foots Cray from 1861-1910
Lych-gate of 1877 at the southern end of the churchyard. 'Lych' is the Saxon term for corpse and here the corpse was rested before the burial service.
Footscray Lime Chalk and Brickworks. C. Knight 1903-1918
British Metallic Packing. 1933 on corner site called Britimp Works. Electric pumping machinery. Buildings now in other use.

Sidcup Hill
164 Walnut Tree Cottage a timber-framed house c 1550; refaced c1930, and there is a modern porch. Grade II listed building, external chimney. It once housed the coachman of the adjoining The Elms.
Ivy Cottages. 1891. Also belonged to the Vansittart estate.
170 1890. Note the initials RAV for Robert Arnold Vansittart, who owned Foots Cray Place and North Cray Place. He was. One of the largest local landowners and related to Nicholas Vansittart, Lord Bexley and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1812.
Footscray Baptist Church dominated by its Gothic fa├žade. 1885. The first chapel on the site was built 1836, and amongst the monuments and tombstones in front, are some which pre-date 1885. Opened on a piece of land bought by Mr John May for 25 pounds. Memorials ton John Roger's. "This man of God was in the act of filling a camphire lamp in the schoolroom: an explosion occurred - he was incurably burnt... His body was interred in this burial ground amidst the regret and tears of a numerous assembly."
Bertha Hollomby House sheltered housing. Bertha Hollamby was a mayoress and a local midwife.
Sidcup Hill Gardens on site of The Elms which was an early Victorian building demolished in 1936.
Woodland Villas. Late Victorian houses which once backed onto orchards and were occupied by middle class families.

The Drive

Middleton Avenue
Baptist Chapel

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