Hayes (Kent) History

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Hayes (Kent) History

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Within the village, there were few changes in the number of houses until towards the end of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. The population may have increased slightly but price rises, poor harvests and outbreaks of plague or ‘sweating sickness’ made life hard for the villagers. The number of beggars or wanderers seeking help increased. More of the woodland was managed and several men, including Robert & William Shott, John Hoare and John Humphrey, were described as ‘colliers’ [charcoal makers].

Baston Manor continued to be significant in the time of the Tudors. In 1499 a new hall was built and in renovations in 1813 fragments of some of the earliest paintings in oil on wood were discovered which may have lined the walls. (See illustration above. The panels are now in the Society of Antiquaries)

John Heydon inherited Baston on his father’s death in 1504 and was knighted at the coronation of Henry VIII in 1509. He spent most of his time at Court or on his Norfolk estates. The dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII resulted in Sir Percival Harte being granted Orpington Manor with its sub manor of Baston in February 1541. It was to him and not the Prior of Christ Church Canterbury that Sir John Heydon paid his manorial dues. His great-grandson William in 1580 sold John and Samuel Lennard the manor but there were difficulties with the legal titles and a protracted dispute with the Calthorpe (Calthrop) family who also claimed it. Baston Manor subsequently descended through the Calthorpe family who recognised the Lennard’s right to the manorial dues.

The ownership of Pickhurst was acquired by Sir Robert Rede, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1506 and remained in his family until the end of the century when it was sold to William Jackson.

At the end of the 16th century, an important change occurred when Robert Hall, a wealthy London grocer started to buy property in Hayes and had a new ‘double house’ built opposite the Church. It was this house, Asshleys, that would eventually become the most important one in Hayes.

Hayes Church also witnessed changes caused by the religious upheavals of the century which affected the traditional form of worship. Christopher Sharpearrowe complied with Henry VIII’s command in 1534 that the clergy obeyed him and not the Pope.

His successor William Dryland did not survive the return to pre-Reformation worship under Queen Mary I but Robert Garrett, appointed in 1554, remained as minister of Hayes in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I until he died in 1566. His successor John Hoare, 1566-84, was also more traditional than the next minister, Samuel Darcknoll, the first married priest in Hayes, who recorded the names of his nine children in the register of baptisms.

Register of baptisms, marriages and burials in Hayes Church started to be recorded in 1539.


  • Archbishops’ Registers, Lambeth Palace Library
  • Bernard Davis, Notebooks Vol 2, Bromley Historic Collections
  • Manorial Records U312 M13-M22, Centre for Kentish Studies
  • Mother Mary Gregory: Wickham Court and The Heydons, Archaeologica Cantiana 1963
  • Mother Mary Gregory; The Purchase of Wickham Court by the Lennards, Archaeologica Cantiana 1964