Berrylands (Manor Drive) - Hartley-Kent: The Website for Hartley

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Berrylands (Manor Drive)

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Hartley Kent: Manor Drive 1936 map superimposed on modern map
Hartley Kent: Manor Drive 1936 map superimposed on modern map
(Black and White Houses are 1936 map, colour are modern)

This article is about the group of roads around Manor Drive, which  includes Manor Lane, Springcroft, Manor View and Berrylands.   Historically this is the area where a number of ancient farms meet - Hartley Court, Hartley Manor, Stocks Farm and Hartley Wood Corner.  It's layout today is more influenced by the way Small Owners Limited divided up the estate in 1913.

Manor Lane

Hartley Kent: Manor Lane
Manor Lane

Manor Lane is the oldest of the roads. It started out as a track leading to Hartley Manor Farm. As such it is of considerable antiquity, since Hartley Manor farm was in existence by the 14th century.  Manor Lane itself is first mentioned in a 1633 deed, when it is described as a private road (cartway, as opposed to the King's Highway which were adopted roads).  How a private road to a house came to be adopted can be traced back to 1814, when the waywarden for Hartley agreed to repair it at public expense.  The waywarden was a local official appointed by the vestry to oversee repair of the roads for a year.  This created a precedent that when a later waywarden refused to repair the road in the 1860s, the Dartford Highway Board found that it had become a public highway.

The road now only runs to the top of Manor Drive, the remaining part leading to the Manor has become part of Manor Drive. It retains the narrow tree lined aspect that all of Hartley's roads would have once had. Only 2 houses have been built along here, although a number of attempts have been made to develop the land, inlcuding in 1960, 1961 and 1968.

Manor Drive

Hartley Kent: Manor Drive - looking south
Manor Drive - looking south

Manor Drive was built probably between 1884 and 1890, although the 1869 Ordnance Survey map does show a track that links St John's Lane to Hartley Wood Corner with a slightly different alignment.  A sale advert of 1884 is silent, but the 1890 advert and subsequent sales adverts all mention a "long carriage drive".  Charles Ellerby describes it in 1912 as "the newly planted larch trees lining the unbuilt verges of Manor Drive are nearly 10 feet high". A 1925 deed says the road used to be called "The Avenue". When Small Owners Limited bought the land here in 1913, they split it into a number of smallholdings that were gradually sold between 1913 and 1924.  Manor Drive itself and the verge was transferred to Jane Foote Maxton, the company secretary in 1928 and presumably still forms part of her estate.

Hartley Kent: Manor Drive - southern end
Manor Drive - southern end

Springcroft and Manor View

Hartley Kent: Springcroft - Middle of Road looking to Manor Drive
Springcroft - Middle of Road looking to Manor Drive

Springcroft's 68 properties are built on 12¾ acres of land and are a mixture of semi-detached houses and bungalows, numbered 1-65 odd and 4-72 even. Being Hartley's longest cul-de-sac it is a pleasant and quiet road with an attractive green verge on both sides of the road in the middle. It is at the bottom of a dry valley which runs up to Stocks Hill, which means people's gardens slope upwards and does cause problems with surface water run off from the valley sides of Manor Drive.  Periodic flooding has been a problem, in 2004 Sevenoaks Council said they had received evidence of flooding in 1984, 1985, 1995, 1998 and 2004.   

It was not intended originally to be a cul-de-sac; plans at Sevenoaks council from 1955 show the accommodation drive between 45 and 47 was planned to link into Gorse Way. This was dropped at the insistence of the Parish Council, who pointed out that the narrow, dangerous access from Gorse Way to Church Road did not need any more traffic.

The road was built on two smallholdings - most of the land behind Fairhaven and Brambledown (a house where The Pines and Forge House are today). Both holdings were owned in 1919 by The Rural Development Company Limited.  This was a shortlived farming company who also owned The Firs, Manor Drive.  Their purpose was to encourage innovation and eduction in small holdings; they employed Will Hooley, one of the leading poultry experts of his day.  His 1919 book "Poultry Keeping" contains a diagram of an ideal 4 acre Poultry Farm, which could well be how the Hartley Poultry Farm (Fairhaven) was laid out. The firm ran into financial trouble and went into liquidation in 1919. The two holdings were sold to Ernest Frederick Davis of Lewisham in 1921.  In 1925 he sold them to Ellen Stevenson of Blackheath.

Hartley Kent: Hartley Poultry Farm 1915 on the site of Springcroft
Hartley Kent: Hartley Poultry Farm 1915 on the site of Springcroft
(c) 2020 TopFoto (Ref: EU001058).  Not to be reproduced without permission.

In 1946 she partitioned the land between her two children, Fairhaven and the land behind went to her daugher Nellie Ann Grace Cocks, with the Brambledown holding going to her son William Albert Stevenson.  In effect Nellie got what became the west side of Springcroft and the road itself, while the east side was built on the land that became William's.  Nellie Cocks sold Fairhaven to Lydia Sparkes in 1950. In 1954 Lydia applied for and got planning permission (ref 54/176) for residential development here. In some ways it is surprising permission was given, as this land was not in the council's development area, and it was certainly used a precedent by other would-be developers outside the centre of the village. The Parish Council did not object to the principle, but didn't like the "street like appearance", nor, as we have seen, the access to Briars Way.

Division of Fairhaven (pink) and Brambledown (green) holdings 1925   Hartley Kent: Division of Fairhaven (pink) and Brambledown (green) holdings 1946
(left) Division of Fairhaven (pink) and Brambledown (green) holdings 1925
(right) Division of Fairhaven (pink) and Brambledown (green) holdings 1946

Lydia Sparks and William Stevenson  both sold their respective plots for £3,020 and £2,775 respectively to a Gravesend building firm R.E.Jury and Co in November 1955. They had already applied for and got detailed planning permission (55/263) and by 1956 were selling the houses. One house fetched £2,375, but in this case all the purchase money went to the RE Jury & Co's mortgage company! In 2005 the same house was sold again - this time for £390,000.

Springcroft road is adopted by the council, but adjoining Manor Drive is not. So in 1964 the residents of Springcroft, Berrylands and Manor Drive metalled the road between Springcroft and Church Road themselves (Gravesend Reporter 24.4.1964). The sleeping policemen were added later.

Hartley Kent: Manor View
Manor View

In the 1950s the land at the entrance to Springcroft was left undeveloped. At the time it looked like they envisaged building just one house here later (Springcroft has no number 2). This was filled in when the 5 houses of Manor View were built by Brooklands Park Investment Company Limited in 1970. It was given a separate name to avoid having to renumber Springcroft.


Hartley Kent: Berrylands

About 100 yards from the Church Road entrance to Manor Drive on the eastern side is the small cul-de-sac of Berrylands. This road was built in 1962 by J H Brewser Limited of Sidcup on the site of the house "The Glen" and part of the back garden of "The Firs" Manor Drive. The exception are Coppathorne and Trowley Bottom, which were built by HJ Baker & Sons (Bexleyheath) Limited in 1986 on the back of the garden to Applewood, Gorse Way.

Length of Road:
Berrylands  - 0.06 miles (100m)
 Manor Drive - n/a
 Manor Lane - 0.32 miles (508m)
 Manor View - 0.03 miles (56m)
 Springcroft - 0.21 miles (334m)
KCC Reference:
Berrylands  - U12401 (adopted)
 Manor Drive - Restricted byway
 Manor Lane - U1120 (adopted)
 Manor View - U12207 (adopted)
 Springcroft - U12207 (adopted)
Berrylands  - 1.25 acres (0.51 ha)
 Manor Drive - 40.19 acres (16.27 ha)
 Manor Lane - 5.29 acres (2.14 ha)
 Manor View - see Springcroft
 Springcroft - 12.6 acres (5.1 ha)
Berrylands  - 9
 Manor Drive - 47
 Manor Lane - 2
 Manor View - 5
 Springcroft - 66
Berrylands  - 7.2 houses/acre (17.8 per ha)
 Manor Drive - 0.9 houses/acre (2.2 per ha)
 Manor Lane - 0.4 houses/acre (0.9 per ha)
 Manor View - see Springcroft
 Springcroft - 5.8 houses/acre (14.3 per ha)
Population  (2011):
Berrylands  - 16
 Manor Drive -124
 Manor Lane - 7
 Manor View - 16
 Springcroft - 164

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