Hayes (Kent) History

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Hayes (Kent) History

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The most significant arrival in Hayes in Georgian times was William Pitt the Elder who moved to Hayes Place after his marriage to Hester Grenville in November 1754.  Five children were born between 1755 and 1761 including his second son William, born in 1759, who like his father was to become a Prime Minister. He was determined to create a lavish estate and did not hesitate to divert a road and buy up and demolish cottages and an Inn that was too close to his house.

Today many of the houses that survive from the Georgian period are listed buildings.

  • Hayes Grove was under construction in 1729 when its owner, Thomas Curtis, a brewer, died and the house was completed by George Wane, a merchant. He became bankrupt and the new owner in 1750, Gabriel Neve, was a member of the Inner Temple. Towards the end of the Georgian Period, the property was owned by Sir Vicary Gibbs, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and in 1823 was leased by Abel Moysey a Deputy Recorder of the Common Pleas until his death in 1831.
  • Hayes Court dates from the 1770s and was bought as his main house by Vicary Gibbs in 1797.  He greatly enlarged the estate by exchanging land for two acres of the Common and like William Pitt diverted a road that came too close to his property.
  • The Nest (demolished in 1936) was originally built in the 1740s and owned by John Hinton, publisher of the Universal Magazine by 1755. It was also bought by Vicary Gibbs in 1797.
  • Bath House (54 Baston Road)  stands almost opposite the site of the Nest.  Parts of it probably date to the beginning of the 18th century but occupancy can be traced from the time of Edward Hall in 1741. After his death, it was owned by Andrew Bath, one of the largest ratepayers for farmland in Hayes.
  • The Rectory, (Hayes Library today), was built in 1757 for Revd William Farquhar and caused considerable problems between the builders and the rector.
  • Street House was developed on the site of an older house in the 1740s.
  • Pickhurst Manor (demolished 1936) was bought in 1765 by Mariabella Eliot from William Cowley who had almost finished building a new brick house.  Sadly she died soon afterwards and her brother John Eliot became the new owner.
  • Hayes Street Farmhouse appears to be shown on the map of the land of William Pitt in 1766 and also the Walnut Tree, Dalton’s Bakery in the 1760s.
  • Pickhurst Mead (demolished 1934) was described as a pretty residence in the Swiss style and was built for Miss Charlotte Moysey in 1833.  She lived there until her death in 1846.
  • Baston Manor is not a listed building but in 1823 it was sold to Samuel Ward who used the architect Decimus Burton to plan additions to the house.

The building used by the Village School, set up in 1791 and Baston farmhouse, (now Baston House School) also survive.

The development of the new houses led to the lessening of the importance of Baston and Pickhurst. Their owners with their London connections and visitors placed Hayes firmly on the ‘map’. They created employment for many servants, 48 in 1831 and brought new people into the village.

During the century two new inns emerged, the Fox and Hounds at Pickhurst Green and the Red Cow situated between Hayes Street and Hayes Ford but both had disappeared by 1830.  The George, which took its name from the inn demolished by William Pitt, was the only one to survive.

Many improvements were made to the church including flooring, windows, the tower and spire but the main one was the addition of a gallery erected on the west wall for use by the choir and school children. Children who attended the school also had to attend church on Sunday.

About half of the villagers lived in the houses along the village street either to the north or south of the church and the rest were scattered around the parish. Almost two-thirds of the families were involved in agriculture or trade.

Notable People

Some of the more notable people who lived in Hayes in Georgian times

  • John Bowdler at Pickhurst Manor 1791 – 1813
  • Revd Christopher Clark, Rector of Hayes, 1714 -1733
  • Revd Francis Fawkes, Rector of Hayes, 1774 -1777
  • Major General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser died at Hayes 1809
  • Charles Fraser lived at Hayes Court as a child in 1802.
  • Vicary Gibbs of Hayes Court 1797-1820, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
  • Elizabeth Montague, ‘Queen of the Blue Stockings’, leased Hayes Place 1751 – 1754
  • Abel Moysey, Hayes Grove 1820 – 31,  Deputy Recorder of the Court of Common Pleas
  • William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham, owned Hayes Place 1754 – 1778
  • William Pitt the Younger born in Hayes Place 1759, Youngest Prime Minister 1783
  • Thomas Worsdell born in Hayes 1788 made the tender for Stephenson’s Locomotive, The Rocket


  • National Archives 30/8, The Pitt Papers
  • Staffordshire Record Office  D 1548 & 1778, Legge Family Paper
  • Aberdeen University Historic Collections MS 3470, Fraser Papers
  • Vere Birdwood ed., So Dearly loved, so much admired,1994
  • Emily Climenson, Queen of the Blue Stockings, Vols 1 & II 1906
  • Hester Wells, John Till of Hayes, Bromley Borough Local History No 3