Grubb Street - Hartley-Kent

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Grubb Street

This name, which is probably related to woodland clearance, is just about lost today.  It was the name given to the hamlet around the Black Lion, which in the last century formed the commercial heart of Hartley.  Because the ownership of all the properties is so interlinked, I have dealt with them all here.  The earliest definite reference to the land comes in 1604 when the Overy family of Fairby were the owners. Forge Cottage and its 12 acres was the only property then, occupied by John Warren.  Adjoining that towards Ash was a “small green”, and then came the land now commonly but erroneously called Northfield (after all it is Hartley’s most southerly field!).  By the 1640s we can see the origins of the Black Lion holding, comprising the green and 3 acres out of Forge Cottage.  The other properties come much later.
Forge Cottage


Forge Cottage, Ash Road

Forge Cottage: Now partly hidden behind a high fence, there was a smith’s forge here for at least 300 years although the existing building is said to only date to the mid-18th century.  Thomas Edwards of Malling bought it for £100 from the Overys in 1646.  It proved to be an excellent investment, for twelve years later he sold it to Thomas Young of Fairby for more than twice the price!   Thomas's son John was the owner in 1713 when he left it in his will to his younger son John.  By 1748 Richard Glover of the Black Lion was the owner and he left it in his will to his son Richard.  Richard died in about 1782, his widow Sarah transferred it to Francis Glover.  He sold it to Thomas Edwards in 1796.  William Bensted of Hartley Court purchased the freehold in about 1815.  

For over a century the tenant blacksmiths were the Treadwell family.  Francis Treadwell (d 1747) was mentioned as tenant in 1704, he was succeeded by his son John Treadwell (d 1762) and his son Francis Treadwell (1738-1819).  In his will Francis left the forge to his kinsman and business manager William Treadwell.  William was the last Treadwell smith there, in 1843 he was succeeded by William Young.  One of the last blacksmiths at Forge Cottage was Elvy Cooper (1836-1921), who came here in 1860 and lived at the cottage until at least 1906.  

Francis Treadwell (1738-1819) was also parish clerk for over 40 years - a remarkable achievement.  During the c18th the Glover family were the freehold owners of the forge although the land appears to have been retained by the Youngs.  Francis Glover insured the property for £200 in 1780 with the Sun Insurance Office, probably the first person in Hartley to do so.  It was described as timber and tile with the forge under one roof.  He must have thought better of it, for he let the policy lapse the next year.  

Forge Cottage was sold for £310 in 1872 (Daily News 29.7.1872), but when the Valuation Office visited in 1911, they said it had been sold for £175 in 1906, but at that time the interior of the 6 roomed house was “very shaky and needs considerable repair”, as did the outbuildings housing the forge.  Since then it has been in private ownership, one notable person to live there was Frederick Jackson, one of the earliest secretaries of Hartley Football Club.
Bay Lodge


Bay Lodge, Ash Road

This is the neighbouring property north of Forge Cottage, named after the bay hedge at the front. For about half the 19th century the wheelright father and son William Deane (1794-1849) and Thomas Deane (1823-1891) lived here from 1843. According to Reverend Bancks, Thomas rebuilt the house and planted the bay hedge that gives the house its name.  He also wrote more about Thomas.

It may interest some to know that Thomas Deane was the good boy that year who won the prize given annually at midsummer.  When he grew up he became a carpenter and wheelwright, at first in a small way . But Thomas prospered, and went on gaining prizes all his life. He won an estimable wife, a good business, a nice house, and I think, the esteem of all his fellow parishioners. But he lost his only son aged 21 .  Thomas Deane was responsible for most of the carpentry work at the Church for 50 years. In 1859 he put up a new gate, and the following year altered the pews. I do not suppose it was his fault that pitch pine was substituted for the fine old carved oak. He died at Bay Lodge , and was buried in [1891], aged 68 years. His tombstone is a feature of our Churchyard , the stone obelisk surmounted by an urn. It commemorates also his wife and only child.


A wheelwright's shop at Shere, Surrey, 1885

Mr P W Goldie bought it in 1906 for £450, a slight rise on the 1872 sale price of £410 (Daily News 29.7.1872).  It was described around that time as being an old stucco and slate double fronted house with a brick floor on the ground in fair condition.  A William Nash lived here in the 1920s, he had been coachman to Lord Lauderdale, the Archbishop of York and Lady Dunraven.
The Black Lion Pub



The Black Lion is Hartley's only surviving pub.  It was built between 1688 and 1698 by Edward Best and has been a pub since 1731 when Richard Glover moved here.

In the c17th this was a 6 acre smallholding owned by the Best family of Middle Farm.  Edward Best bought the land from John Young in 1688.  In 1698 a cottage in the occupation of Richard Day was said to be “lately built” there, and this would fit in with the date range for the building given by Dr Cramp (Hart - March 1999). Richard Glover (1680-1748), possibly an ancestor of Roy and Eric Glover,  purchased it in 1731, and is almost certainly the first licensed victualler here.  He with his father William were already publicans - they had leased a pub called the Black Lion in Fawkham in 1707, and he seems to have taken the name with him to Hartley.  He and his son Francis were sufficiently well off to be entitled to vote at a time when the number of voters in Hartley could be counted on one hand.  One interesting aside is that at this time there was no secret ballot, people’s votes were noted down and published in “Poll Books” - some are in Gravesend library, so you can find out how Francis voted all those years ago.


Black Lion between 1907 and 1913

Francis sold the pub to Robert Monk in the 1790s who sold it on to Hussey Fleet from the Dartford brewing family.  The freehold eventually came to the Dartford Brewery, which was closed down and demolished in the 1930s when it was taken over by Courage.  Many of the licencees of the pub have stayed for a long time and must have pulled many pints over the years. George Wansbury (1881-1907), Charles English (1913-33) - he drove a horse and grocery van, and was named “the midnight grocer” because of the time of some of his deliveries!, Edward Kitto (1941-54), Ronald and Thelma Antwiss (1964-74), and Joe and Pam Smith from 1974 until fairly recently.  A plan of the pub in 1914 shows the grocery shop at the southern end and a store room at the opposite end with a sitting room, tap room, private bar, scullery and kitchen in between.  

YearPublican
1731-1748
Richard Glover (1680-1747)
1748-1797
Francis Glover (1724-1797)
1797-1836John Treadwell (1750-1837)
1836-1852William Treadwell (1776-1852)
1852-1865Rhoda Treadwell (1807-1883) - William's daughter
1864Henry Treadwell
1864-1877Henry Cooper (????-????) - Rhoda's nephew
1877-1907George Wansbury (1846-1907)
1907-1913Emily Wansbury (1859-1952) - George's widow
1913-1933Charles English (1890-1980)
1933-1940Frank Lionel Cox (1907-1978)
1940-1954Edward Arthur Kitto (1904-1994)
1954-1955George Clark
1955-1964Cyril P Holland
1964-1974Ronald Arthur Antwiss (1912-1992)
As well as a pub, the Black Lion was for a long time the village shop.  The shop is first mentioned in 1860 when Rhoda Treadwell ran it.  The shop was still running in 1932 as "English Brothers" but I haven't found any later reference to it.  It appears to be famous for the range of goods sold, someone in 1916 said the shop was like a "miniature Whiteleys" after London's first department store opened in 1911.  Charles English had to run the business on his own during much of the first world war, working until midnight on weekdays and doing the accounts on Sunday.  He had the local nickname of "the midnight grocer" because of the time of some of his deliveries!


Black Lion Shop in about 1920s

Recently the building has been extended with the addition of “Defoe’s Restaurant”, the new building has been well executed in sympathy with the original.  The bar at the front has been turned into a tea shop, with the pub bar now accessed at the back of the building.

The Black Lion also had Hartley's oldest letter box, which was put in the front wall between 1882 and 1899.  Sadly this was stolen in 2015.
Darenth Cottages
Darenth Cottages 1960 (the cottages are in the centre of the photo)

This pair of semi-detached cottages once lay between the Black Lion and Hartley House.  According to sale particulars in 1869, these were built in wood and thatch.  Darenth Cottages started life as the parish poor house.  In 1837 Francis Treadwell, aged 79, said from his earliest years he could remember them being used as the poor house, meaning they were as old as at least the mid c18th.  After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, local paupers would have been sent to the Dartford Union Workhouse at West Hill, so in 1859 the Dartford Union sold the cottages by auction at the Black Lion.

They were burnt down on the night of 12/13 May 1877.  Arson was suspected, and William Longhurst was accused.  He lived in a shed at the back of the cottages and had a record for poaching.  However he was sensationally acquitted at the Kent Assizes, when it was discovered that the chief prosecution witness had once been charged with arson of a barn.  They were rebuilt in brick, stucco and tile, and named after the home of Mr Fleet (Darenth Grange).  Two families lived here a very long time in the 20th century - the Days and the Chearys.

Courage Limited sold the cottages to Kent County Council for £4,000 in 1972 which were demolished for road widening.

“Defoe’s Cottage”


"Defoes Cottage" from the Parish Magazine 1931

Defoes Cottage was said to have once been the home of the author, this tiny brick cottage of just one room, was between Darenth Cottages and the Black Lion.  Attractive though this legend is, it is almost certainly untrue, for there is contemporary testimony from Francis Treadwell that it was built by the parish in 1832 and that the first tenant was Fanny Longhurst.

Its reputed connection to Daniel Defoe the author was the matter of discussion in 1937 when Mr Fleet the owner, gave notice of his intention to demolish it.  News of the dispute even appeared in a local newspaper in Manitoba, Canada.  He said he did not want to repair it and it was in danger of falling down.  Local historian Sir Stephen Tallents wrote to the Dartford Chronicle to point out that such evidence as there is related to the other Hartley in Kent.  It appears that this cottage was uninhabited for a long time before it was pulled down.
Black Lion Cottages
Frith photo of Black Lion, 1960 (Black Lion Cottages can just be seen through the trees at the top of the photo)

According to Bancks, by 1800 there was a house here, which was replaced by a row of labourer’s cottages in brick and slate, said to be by the owner Mr Cooper.  Their earliest appearence on the parish rate book was 1841 when William Letchford, Richard Bowers and Robert Dudeney were the tenants of 3 of them.  However I have not found any reference to a house being there before 1841.

It was in a small room in one of these cottages that Hartley’s first school was kept by the Misses Prowse of Hartley House.  Mr E Treadwell bought them for £360 in 1904, then their tenants paid 3s 6d weekly, less than the 5s paid by the tenants of Darenth Cottages, because of their poorer condition.  Richard Woodward, one of the names on the war memorial, lived at number 4.  He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1914, and served in France until January 1916 when he contracted pleurosy, a disease which led to his discharge and death in 1918.  His is the one war grave in the Churchyard.

The cottages were replaced by the houses Hedgeway and Pinleigh in 1973.

Hartley House


Hartley House

For its age this grade II listed house is quite unique in Hartley, being the sole example of an early c19th gentleman’s residence.  The more classically influenced style is quite striking in comparison with the local vernacular architecture.

Before Hartley House it appears that there was a small cottage here, which appears on the Ordnance Survey draft map of 1798.  Its last tenant from 1812 to about 1814 was James Parker.  By 1816 it was empty.  Thereafter it disappears from the parish rate book to be replaced in 1818 by Hartley House.

Hartley House's beginning appears to start with William Bensted's acquisition of the Forge Cottage holding from John Johnson in about 1812, which included the other cottage.  Mr Bensted was the owner of Hartley Court and he had Hartley House built in 1818, although then it was named Hartley Cottage.  The first tenant was John Stokes who lived there until 1820.

With the property back in Mr Bensted's hands, he placed an advert in the Times in 1820, inviting prospective tenants.  The advert describes it as being suitable for "a small family wishing for a healthy situation or for a summer residence."  Richard Prowse (1760-1844) answered the advert.  He lived here with his family from 1821 to about 1832.  He had been a shipwright at the Woolwich Dockyard.  His unmarried daughters ran a school at the Black Lion Cottages, two of them married local lads, Elizabeth Rose married George Best of Middle Farm in 1825 and her sister Rachel married George Oliver.

Elizabeth Bensted, the widow of William Bensted of Hartley Court, came here in about 1832, followed by her widowed daughter Mary Ann Parsons in 1849, under the provisions of Mary Ann's father’s will.  As well as the house he left her £2,000 in stocks and shares, but made provisions to prevent her husband Owen (the tenant of New House Farm) getting the money!  She died in 1864 was followed as owners by her nephews Henry and William. In 1872 Henry bought out his brother for £540, which allowed him to sell it on to James Thomas Smith of Fairby, who bought it at auction in July 1872 for £1,080.  Mr Smith sold it for £1,050 to Philip Bincks a watch gilder in 1875.  Charles Bradley the licensee of the Black Lion lived there at the time of the next census in 1891.  It was sold in 1903 for £1,900, rather less than what it was recently marketed for!  The valuation office description in 1911 shows 3 reception rooms, a kitchen and a scullery on the ground floor; with 6 bedrooms, toilet and bathroom above.  Other buildings included sheds, wash house and a billiard room.  Three acres of land has always gone with the house, a mixture of orchard and pleasure grounds.

A track runs past the house to Hartley House Cottage.  Mr Spier, the owner of Hartley House, got planning permission in 1926 to convert a garage to a cottage.  In 1972 it sold for £6,800.
Source Documents

Conveyance of Forge Cottage, 3 October 1646
Reference: CKS U713/T45

Indenture dated 11 November 1646

Made between:

(1) John Overy of Hartley, yeoman
(2) Thomas Edwards of East Malling, yeoman

John sells to Thomas for £100: all that one messuage or tenement, one barn, one garden, one orchard and 5 pieces of land containing 9 acres in Hartley, now or late in the occupation of Thomas Oliver.

Bounded by lands now or late of Edward Best and Tristram Bashford (S); to the King's Highway from Ash to Dartford (W); other lands of John Overy (N) and to the lands of Sir John Sedley (E).

Conveyance of Forge Cottage, 24 December 1658
Reference: CKS U713/T45

Made between:

(1) John Edwards the elder of Hartley, yeoman, and Denise his wife.
(2) Thomas Edwards of East Malling, yeoman, and Ann his wife; and Richard Edwards of Southfleet, yeoman, son of the said Thomas
(3) Thomas Young of Southfleet, yeoman

John sells to Thomas Young for £225: all that messuage or tenement with a smith's forge, barns and 3 pieces of land adjoining, in whole 10 acres in Hartley, bounded by the highway from Ash to Longfield, in the occupation of John Best (Forge Cottage).

Feet of Fine relating to deed:

Between Thomas Young, plaintiff, and John Edwards and Denise his wife, Thomas Edwards and Anne his wife, Richard Edwards, defandants, of 2 messuages, 2 barns, 1 stable, 2 gardens, 2 orchards and 18 acres of land, and 3 acres of pasture with the appurtenances in Hartley.  Consideration £41.

(note: while description tallies with the deed, the consideration is fictional.)
Will of John Young of Hartley, yeoman (Proved 1713)
Reference: DRb/PW5

27 January 1704

He leaves his soul to Almighty God and his body to be committed to the earth.

To his sons, Thomas and John Young: his household goods, implements, utensils etc.

"Item: I give, bequeath and devise all that my messuage or tenement called Feerby House and the barns, stables, stalls, outhouses, edifices, buildings, gardens, orchards and small pieces or parcels of land, arable, meadow and pasture thereunto belonging and now therewith used or enjoyed, containing in the whole by estimation 180 acres.... with all and singular their appurtenances, situate and being in the several parishes of Hartley aforesaid, and of Fawkham and Ash.... now in my own occupation - unto my said son Thomas Young and the heirs of his body" with remainder to John and his heirs.

"Item: I give, devise all that my messuage... with the appurtenances containing by estimation 10½ acres.... in Hartley... and now in the occupation of William Mugg or his assignees, which I formerly purchased of my mother in law Mary Boycott, and all my term for years, right, title and interest therein and thereto (Stocks Farm).  And also all that my messuage or tenement, smith's forge, gardens, orchards and small pieces or parcels of land, containing 9 acres ... situate ... in Hartley... now in the occupation of Francis Treadwell (Forge Cottage).  And also all that my messuage or tenement, barn, gardens, orchard and several small pieces or parcels of land, containing.... by estimation 9 acres, situate... in Hartley, and now or late in the occupation of Matthew French or his assignees" (Hartley Cottage).  Also: 1 messuage and 1 acre at Southfleet, 1 messuage 6 acres at Swanscombe in occupation of Simon Baker; also 1 messuage 3 acres in Swanscombe in occupation of John Inman - to son John and his heirs, with reversion to Thomas Young and his heirs.

Residue of corn, grain, hay, clover, cattle etc, loans, plate, chattels etc to son Thomas Young, who is appointed executor.

(S) John Young

Witnessed: (S) James Burrow
(S) Joseph Oliver
(S) John Hooper

Proved on 3 July 1713.
Will of Richard Glover of Hartley, victualler (1748)

In the name of God, Amen.  I Richard Glover of Hartley in the county of Kent, victualler, being indisposed in bed, but of a sound and perfect mind and memory, praised be Almighty God for the same, yet duly considering the frailty of human nature and the certainty of death, do make my last will and testament in manor and form following (that is to say).  First and principally I do with all humility resign up my poor and immortal soul into the hands of Almighty God, my creator hoping through the meritorious death and passion of my dear redeemer Jesus Christ to have and receive full and free pardon of all my sins and transgressions, and my body I commit to the earth to be decently interred and buried at the discretion of my executrix hereinafter named.  And as for such worldly estate as it hath pleased Almighty God to bless me withal, I dispose thereof as followeth.  First I will order and direct that my just debts and funeral expenses be first satisfied and paid.  Also I give and devise: All my messuage or tenement situate, standing, lying and being in Hartley in the county of Kent aforesaid, and now or late in the tenure or occupation of John Treddale, together with the smith's forge thereto belonging, together with the yard, garden and orchard thereto belonging.  And also all that piece of arable land thereto adjoining containing by estimation 2 acres and a half and now or late in my own possession and occupation.  And also all that messuage or tenement situate, standing, lying and being in the parish of Meopham in the county of Kent aforesaid, together with all the edifices and buildings thereto belonging.  And also the yard, garden, and orchard and all that piece of arable land thereto also belonging, containing together by estimation 2 acres more or less, now or late in the tenure or occupation of Frances Townsend - unto my son Richard Glover and to his heirs and assigns forever, subject nevertheless to the payment of £20 a pieces of lawful money of Great Britain unto my two daughters following (viz.) unto my daughter Hannah, the wife of John Baker, to be paid to her within twelve months next after my decease without the intermedling of her husband and her receipt shall be a full discharge.  And in case my said daughter Hannah shall happen to depart this life within twelve months next after my decease, then my will and mind is that my said son Richard Glover shall retain the said sum of £20 so given to my said daughter Hannah.  And shall pay the same amongst all and every the child and children of my said daughter Hannah when they or any of them shall attain their respective age or ages of 21 years, equally to be divided between them, share and share alike.  And the other sum of £20 wherewith the messuages, lands and tenements above mentioned are charged with the payment thereof unto my daughter Susan, the wife of John Loft, to be paid likewise in twelve months next after my decease.  Also I give and devise unto my son Francis Glover: All that my messuage or tenement situate, standing, lying and being at a certain place called Hodsoll Street in the parish of Ash cum Ridley and now or late in the tenure or occupation of John Bratton or his undertenants.  And to his heirs and assigns forever.  Also I give and devise unto my loving wife Dorothy: All that my messuage or tenement wherein I now dwell, situate, standing, lying and being in the parish of Hartley aforesaid, commonly called or known by the name of the Black Lyon, together with all that piece or parcel of land thereto adjoining containing by estimation one acre and a half for and during the term of her natural life.  Also I give and devise all that other messuage next adjoining the aforementioned messuage, together with all and every the yards, gardens, orchards, backsides and appurtenances whatsoever to the said messuages or tenements belonging, unto my said wife Dorothy, of and during the term of her natural life.  An from and after her decease, I give and devise the two last mentioned messuage or tenements and piece or parcel, together with the yards, gardens, orchards and backsides thereto belonging unto my son Francis Glover and to his heirs and assigns forever.  Subject nevertheless to the payment of £20 a piece unto my two daughters following (viz.) unto my daughter Ann Glover and unto my daughter Sarah the wife of              Wilks, to be paid to them severally and respectively within twelve months next after that he shall have the possession thereof.  Also I give and bequeath all my ready money and securities for money and my stock of beer and other liquors unto my loving wife Dorothy.  Also my will and mind is such and I do hereby declare the same to be that my said wife shall have, hold, live, occupy, possess and enjoy all and singular the furniture" of house, brewing utensils for live, then to son Francis Glover.

Wife Dorothy to maintain Mary Peate, then Francis to do the same.  If he refuses then son Richard to bring her up and Francis to pay him £10.

Wife Dorothy to be executor.

(X) Richard Glover

Witnesses: (S) John Selby; (X) Edward Thorpe; James Trumball

Dated 26 September 1748
Proved at Rochester 14 November 1748
Sun Life Insurance Policy for Forge Cottage, 1780
Reference: Guildhall Library Ms 11936/287

434910 27 October 1780
6s
Michaelmas 1781 - delap’
Michaelmas 1782 -

Francis Glover of Hartley in Kent, farmer, and John Laurence of Greenhithe in the parish of Swanscombe on a house and blacksmith’s forge and under one roof in Hartley aforesaid in the tenure of Francis Treadwell, blacksmith.  (Timber and Tile)

Two Hundred - £200

G Mercer C Bericke C Freniter (?)
Will of Francis Treadwell of Hartley, Blacksmith (1819)
Reference: TNA PROB 11/1620 (sig 443)

To sister Ann Griggs, late of Alling[....] and now residing with me - a life interest in the joint stock annuities in Bank of England.  After her decease to his niece Sarah Rich, now or late of Woolwich, and to godson Francis Alchin, son of William Alchin of Camer, Meopham, carpenter.  To be equally divided among them.

To William Treadwell, cousin, "who lives with me and manages my business": all the remainder of his goods and chattels, net of funeral expenses.

Executors to be George Rich (?) of Milton next Gravesend and William Benstead of Hartley.

Dated 14 January 1819

Administration with will attached granted to William Treadwell on 24 September 1819, the named executors having first renounced probate.
Will of William Best of Hartley, yeoman (1728)
Reference: CKS DRa/PW7

25 October 1728

He is "sick and weak of body"

To niece Margaret, daughter of brother John: £30
To Edward and William Best, sons of brother John: £30 each
To nephew Matthew Best, son of brother John: £30 when he is 21
To Ann, daughter of brother John Best: £15, when she was 21
To sister in law Margaret Best and niece Rebeccah Best, daughter of brother Edward: £15 each.
To Hannah Best, daughter of brother Edward: £10

"I give and devise all that my messuage and tenement with the barn and outhouses thereto belonging.  And also all those several pieces or parcels of land thereunto belonging, containing by estimation 6 acres.... situate in Hartley.... now in the occupation... of Richard Day or his assignees.  Unto my brother Edward Best and to my nephew John Best, son of my said brother John Best, and to their heirs and assigns forever.  To hold as tenants in common and not as joint tenants".

Remainder of personal estate to nephew John Best (executor)

(X) William Best

Witnesses: (S) Thomas Young; (S) James Ashdowne

Proved 2 November 1728
Black Lion - Feet of Fine 1731
Reference: TNA CP25/2 1142 (Easter 4 George II, 1731)

Feet of fines were fictitious court cases to record the evidence of a deed.  The consideration is usually made up.

Between Richard Glover, plaintiff, and Edmund Best and Martha his wife, and John Best, deforciants, of 1 messuage, 1 barn, 1 garden, 1 orchard and 6 acres of land with the appurtenances in Hartley.  Consideration £60.

The Glovers previously owned a pub in Fawkham called the Black Lion.

CKS U947 T1/6 Counterpart Lease 14 December 1706

Made between:

(1) John Selby of Fawkham esquire, and Finch Umfrey esquire
(2) William Glover of Fawkham husbandman, and Richard Glover, one of his sons

lease of messuage called “Black Lyon” with barn stable, yard, garden, orchard and 3 parcels of land containing 6 acres in Fawkham in the occupation of William Glover.  From Michaelmas past for 14 years.  Rent £6.

(X) William Glover
(X) Richard Glover
Darenth Cottages - formerly the parish poor house (1837)
Reference: TNA MH12/4924

I Francis Treadwell of Hartley in the county of Kent, farmer, do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare as follows, namely that I am of the age of 79 years or thereabouts.  That I have lived in Hartley aforesaid from my earliest remembrance and was born there, as I have always been informed and believe, and have frequently served Parish office in the said parish during the whole of my remembrance and from time immemorial as I have always heard and believe, the said parish of Hartley has been possessed of a messuage or dwelling house occupied on 3 tenements and a small piece of land containing about 10 rods, situate in the said parish.  That the said house and land have always been used for
the residence and occupation of the paupers or poor persons of the said parish, and that the said premises have always been repaired at the costs of the said parish.  That about 5 years ago another small cottage or tenement was erected on part of the said land by the parish officers at the expense of the said parish.  That the same has ever since been occupied by one Fanny Longhurst, a parish pauper who was put in these by the said parish officers and that the whole of the said premises have been as long as I remember anything been held by the said parish in manner aforesaid without any interruption, adverse claim whatsoever and without payment of any quitrent or acknowledgement.

Declared at Hartley 29 December 1837

Return by Dartford Union says they can’t use it and it would go into decay as only the small tenement and one man who occupies one room at a weekly rent.  Sale proceeds estimated to be £100 to go to new workhouse.

(30.12.1837) Request by Dartford Union for sale signed by William Bensted of Hartley amongst others.

Darenth Cottages, Sale Particulars 1869

Lot 17 - a small freehold at Hartley, Kent.  Consisting of 2 boarded and thatched tenements, and one brick ditto, with gardens.  Having a frontage to the road of about 146 feet.  Near the Black Lion Inn, Hartley, let to Rhoda Treadwell, a yearly tenant up to Michaelmas 1869, at the very inadequate rent of £3 pa; and underlet by her to labourers at 1s 6d per week, making a total of £11.14s pa.  This lot is tithe free.

The plan shows the large tenement near the pond, with the other smaller one adjoining the Black Lion.  Adjoining owners to SE (NW according to map!) are Messrs Miller and Aldworth.

Darenth Cottages - Arson charge 1877
Dartford Chronicle

26 May 1877 - Charge of Arson: William Longhurst, a middle aged man of poor appearence, was charged on remand with having maliciously set fire to two cottages at Hartley, on the 12th inst.,  several persons being at the time therein.  George Day living at Hartley, said the one cottage belonged to him, and the other to his father.  They were tenants under T H Fleet esq.  Prisoner, who lived in a shed between the two cottages, came in on that morning at about a quarter to two.  Witness and his brother Henry were sitting up late talking, and were surprised at the visit.  Prisoner went out threatening that he was going to leave the country and they should not be there long.  Shortly afterward he found his own cottage on fire, and both were burned down.  Henry Day brother, and Annie Day, daughter corroborated.  William Cherry spoke to having seen prisoner walking fast along the Longfield Road without his hat.  Mr Cooper, agent, said he went to Mr Longhurst’s hut, and that finding him apparently asleep, he roused him.  PC Law said that the prisoner, when charged, made no reply.  The case was sent for trial in the usual manner, prisoner briefly protesting his innocence.

21 July 1877 - Charge of Setting Fire to Dwelling Houses: William Longhurst, 50, labourer, was indicted at the Kent Summer Assizes on the 13th inst. for setting fire to two houses,
several persons being therein, the property of T H Fleet esq. at Hartley, on the 12th May.  Mr Waring prosecuted, and Mr Dean defended prisoner.  George Day, a labourer, said that he occupied a cottage next door to his father near the Black Lion, at Hartley.  The roofs were thatched.  About one o’clock at night the prisoner came into the room, where witness was talking with his brother.  Prisoner remained about a quarter of an hour and left.  Before he left he said he was going to leave the country, and witness would not stop the [............] Shortly after prisoner left [............]  He saw the house (?) [............... ....................] corroborated, and identified the hat produced as the one worn by the prisoner.  William Cherry [.......] to seeing William Longhurst comin fromt the direction of the hut shortly after it commenced.  Prisoner had no hat on then.  Witness afterwards found the hat produced near where the fire originated.  Annie Day, daughter of George Day, corroborated her father’s evidence, and said she saw the prisoner take her father’s hat from his head and put it on his own whilst the house was on fire.  George Day recalled, acknowledged to being apprehended once on a charge of setting fire to a stable. The case was dismissed without Mr Dean addressing the jury.

It seems William Longhurst did not emigrate as he said he was thinking of.  He is probably the William Longhurst buried at Hartley on 14 October 1915, aged 87.  Although other members of the Longhurst family did emigrate later to Australia.  William had a police record - Gravesend Journal 28.11.1866 - William Longhurst given 2 months’ hard labour for stealing 12 rabbits from Hartley Manor estate on 12 November.  Gravesend Journal 15 June 1870 - William Longhurst given 2 months’ hard labour for stealing pair of scales belonging to Fanny Parris.  But was also the victim of crime - Dartford Chronicle 25.10.1879 - Thomas Spicer fined 5s for assaulting William Longhurst at Longfield)
Defoe's Cottage, Local press debate in Dartford Chronicle

11 June 1937 - “Defoe’s Cottage” at Hartley.  Was “Robinson Crusoe” Written there?:  “Defoe’s Cottage” at Hartley, where the famous journalist, so local legend claims, wrote the children’s immortal classic, “Robinson Crusoe”, has fallen into disrepair, and there seems little possibility that it will be preserved.

The one room cottage is on the main Ash road next door to the Black Lion Inn, where it is presumed Daniel Defoe, after completing an exciting chapter about Man Friday, quenched his thirst.

Mr A M Fleet JP of Darenth Grange, the owner of the cottage, told the Kentish Times this week that he first heard of the legend only about 12 years ago, and in the absence of documentary evidence he did not feel inclined to repair the cottage, which is close to two modern cottages, replacing two others which he believed were burnt down.

The late Rev C G W Bancks, Rector of Hartley, in his history, refer to the legend, and says that at the time the book was published, 1719, Defoe was credited with being employed on Government service at Tilbury.  As he was concerned in many political arguments, and was forced into hiding, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Defoe sought refuge in picturesque Hartley.

6 August 1937 - Sir Stephen Tallents and “Defoe’s Cottage”: in his letter he says that Robinson Crusoe was written at Defoe’s house at Stoke Newington.  Hartley legend appears to date back to Lee’s ‘Life of Daniel Defoe’ in 1869 which mentions Hartley as a possible location.  However it is based on earlier biography of Walter Wilson (1830) who reported letter by William Titford of 1822, in it he said he was born at Cranbrook in 1752 and his father at Hawkhurst in 1717, his father pointed out on visit to Duke William’s Head pub at Hartley, the chamber over a washhouse where Defoe was supposed to have written the novel.  “So it seems clear that the Hartley which lies between Longfield and Ash has at some time in the last hundred years stolen a claim which originally belonged to the Hartley which lies between Cranbrook and Hawkhurst.”
Hartley House to Let 1820
Source: The Times 15.6.1820

To be let, with immediate possession, a newly-erected convenient small house, with garden, and 2 stall stable, chaise house, well of excellent wter, 3 acres of pasture and orchard land, very pleasantly and salubriously situate in the parish of Hartley, in the county of Kent, a sporting country, about 4 miles from the turnpike road leading from Farningham to Wrotham, 5 miles from Farningham, and 7 from Dartford and Gravesend; this will be found a very desirable situation for a small family wishing for a healthy situatio or for a summer residence.   Apply to Mr Hooks, solicitor, Dartford; or Mr Santer, 49 Chancery Lane, London.

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