Carved stone age beside doorway

Another in the occasional series on “Far-Flung Lost London” …

Scadbury was first recorded in 1254 as Scadhebir, from the old English scathe and burh, meaning “(disused) fortification used by robbers or thieves”.

A moated manor-house was built here in the thirteenth century, and the nearby church of St Nicholas, Chislehurst in the fifteenth.

Moated Manor-House

A moated manor-house was built here in timber by the wealthy de Scathebury family in the mid-thirteenth century.   It was rebuilt in brick by the equally wealthy and even-better connected Walsingham family, who also built the nearby church of St Nicholas  in the fifteenth, c. 1424.  The Walsingham family continued to live here  until the seventeenth century.  One member, Sir  Thomas, entertained Elizabeth I here in the late sixteenth.  The house was eventually substantially demolished by the by-then owners of the manorial estate, the Townshend family, in the eighteenth century.   Well-preserved footings and a few standing structures still survive, as does the surrounding moat.  The site may be viewed remotely from a vantage point at the end of a long approach-path leading to and from the St Paul’s Cray Road.  It is occasionally opened  to the public by the  Orpington and District Archaeological Society.

Church of St Nicholas

The church of St Nicholas was built by the Walsingham  family in the fifteenth century, c. 1460, on the site of an older, Saxo-Norman, church, and it was partially rebuilt in the nineteenth.  Many members of the Walsingham and Townshend families are buried in the so-called Scadbury Chapel here, including Sir Edmund Walsingham (d. 1549), the Lieutenant of  the Tower of London under Henry VIII, the aforementioned Sir Thomas Walsingham (d. 1630), courtier to Elizabeth I (and also, incidentally, patron to the playwright Christopher Marlowe), Ferdinand (Marsham-) Townshend (d. 1915, fighting in the First World War), and Thomas (Marsham-) Townshend (d. 1944, fighting in the Second World War).  Also of note are  the surviving Saxon window above the west door, Norman font, and later Medieval – fifteenth-century – rood screen.

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