Chislehurst

Chislehurst

A suburban settlement in Kent, south-east England and a part of the London Borough of Bromley. At the time of the 2001 census the population was almost 20,000.

The village of Ceosol Hyrst began life as a clearing in the wood. The Anglo Saxon descriptive place name is a reference to its appearance and not to a founder. The first element, Chisel or Chesil, indicates a stony or gravelly place with hurst, indicating woodland. Therefore Chislehurst literally means a stony wood, areas of which are still very much apparent today.

From medieval times Chislehurst was a royal manor, held for many years by the wealthy Walsingham family. Sir Thomas Walsingham IV was visited twice at Scadbury by Queen Elizabeth I, the second time being in 1597. This particular visit is commemorated on the Chislehurst village sign. He purchased the Royal Manor of Dartford in 1611 re-selling most of it except the Chislehurst Manor. On his death, Scadbury was passed to his son Sir Thomas V, the last of the Walsinghams to be Lord of the Manor of Scadbury. Although he’d retired to Saffron Walden, his body was buried in St Nicholas’ Church in 1669, the last of the Walsinghams to be laid in the family vault there.

The village soon became a popular location with Londoners looking for property in the country, the area being high and well drained but little in demand for agriculture. The arrival of the railway in 1865 had no immediate impact as it was a fair distance from the traditional centres of the population at Prickend, later known as the High Street. It was the arrival of the exiled Emperor Napoleon at Camden Place in 1870 that added to Chislehurst’s standing, and thereby the area adjacent the common soon becoming fashionable with city workers and businessmen. Thus, larger properties were developed in the more remote parts of the parish.

Most of Chislehurst’s development occurred during the Victorian period with only small-scale changes during the first half of the twentieth century. These were mainly on the Eltham and Mottingham borders, where new houses covered the former fields, and on the Orpington border where the new garden suburb of Petts Wood was developing. Subsequent development has been restricted to the replacement of Victorian houses with modern flats and houses. As a result of this, Chislehurst retains its village atmosphere, especially so around the common, which has never been fully developed. It continues to be a fashionable place for wealthy Londoners requiring quick access to the city combined with the quiet of the countryside.

Chislehurst boasts an excellent selection of pubs and restaurants. The Rambler’s Rest in Mill Place and the Sydney Arms in Perry Street are two such pubs, both of which are listed buildings dating back to the 1800′s.