“The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent” by Edward Hasted was first published in 1797 and is still considered a definitive work on the County. In the section on Eythorne he writes “ Further northward (of Upper Eythorne) is the borough of Lower Eythorne, comprehending Eythorne-court, and Lower Eythorne-street, having the church and parsonage house within it, the two small hamlets of Wigmore, (formerly Jenkin) and Street End. At the northern boundary of the parish is Elmington, but lately accounted within this borough, and a farm called Brimsdale.” Now more or less all merged into one “Lower Eythorne”, the original locations of these places can be seen on a later map complied using Tithe Award data collected in the 1830s and 1840s (see Figure 1). Of the places Hasted identifies, Eythorne Court, Lower Eythorne and Wigmore (not shown in the map section but is the old farm complex along Wigmore Lane) are all readily recognisable today. What has vanished is Street End which occupied the site where Elvington Court used to be before demolition, the remnants of which still exist in Woodpecker Court. Street End has a very interesting history and illustrates that many of the people who have lived or were born in Eythorne have been historically important.
Henry Jenkin, Yeoman of Eythorne, made his will in 6th October 1652, shortly before his death in that year aged 39. It was proved on 20th May 1653. Henry’s father was Thomas Jenkin (born 1579 in Eythorne and died 1668 in Eythorne) and his mother Susanna Jenkin (nee Denwood, born 1583 Eythorne, died before 4th November 1672 at Eythorne). Henry was one of three sons of Thomas and Susanna.
In his will, Henry, leaves to his second son, John Jenkin (born 1640), a property called ‘Streetend’, in Eythorne, subject to him paying his step-mother (Anne, nee Huffam) an annuity of £32 and allowing her use of the property. Anne was allowed use of a “parlour, chamber, garret, ‘one of the little Cellare’ of the property called ‘Streetend’ with use of kitchen and waterwell, and ‘the keeping of a Cow on the lands’, and the little garden, so long as she did not remarry”. She was also bequeathed other property in Eythorne “purchased from Alexander Smithson and occupied by William Neale” during her widowhood, subject to her living in Eythorne, keeping the property well repaired and also subject to her paying an annual sum of 20 shillings to the pastor of the ‘Congregation’. Should Anne re-marry or leave Eythorne, the property purchased from Alexander Smithson would revert to John Jenkin.
His eldest son, Thomas Jenkin (born 1638, died 1673), received a property called Langdon in Eythorne (on the death of the testator’s father). This is believed to be on land situated between what is now Chapel hill and Sandwich Road. Later maps show no building on that land but the place of residence may be where Langdown House now is. It might be assumed that “Langdon” is a superior residence to Street End as it is occupied, at the time the will was written, by the testators father and it is the property that Henry Jenkin bequeaths to his eldest son. Thomas was also bequeathed other property in Eythorne, purchased by testators father from John Lawrence.
Henry’s youngest son, also Henry, born 1646 received amongst other things “Rest of property in Eythorne, Worth or elsewhere in Kent”.
Immediately after his death, Henry Jenkin requested that his goods chattels and personal estate be appraised by “persons nominated by his father-in-law Stephen Solley (Henry’s first wife was Mary Jenkin Solley, born 1616) and his father Thomas Jenkin and that £5 per year per £100 of the personal estate be allowed towards educating the two younger sons (John and Henry) sons and his two daughters (Mary and Susan) and any possible unborn child.
As Henry’s eldest son Thomas was only about 14 when Henry wrote his will, he appointed his father Thomas Jenkin or ‘loving friend’ Edward Day of Sandwich, Maltster, should his father refuse or die before son turns 21, as guardians of Thomas.
In addition, Henry’s will granted to the “Congregation to which I am now a member Free liberty to meet in house called ‘Streetend’ to Act in the Ordinances of god soe often as they please without any lett or disturbance”. This is possibly the first clearly identified location of a place of worship for the early Baptist congregation. He also left to the “Pastor of the Congregation where unto I am a member 20 shillings annually (paid from property occupied by William Neale in Eythorne).
The Jenkins family were an important family in the area. According to the “Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin “, who was Professor of Engineering at Edinburgh University and inventor of the cable car, by none other than Robert Louis Stevenson and which he published in 1887, the family of the name Jenkin, “claiming to come from York” settled in Kent in the reign of Henry VIII. He goes on to say “William Jenkin became Mayor of Folkestone in 1555, and “no less than twenty-three times in the succeeding century and a half, a Jenkin (William, Thomas, Henry, or Robert) sat in the same place of humble honour. Of their wealth we know that in the reign of Charles I, Thomas Jenkin of Eythorne was more than once in the market buying land, and notably, in 1633, acquired the manor of Stowting Court”. “ From 1633 onward it became the anchor of the Jenkin family in Kent; and though passed on from brother to brother, held in shares between uncle and nephew, burdened by debts and jointures, and at least once sold and bought in again, it remains to this day in the hands of the direct line”. The Thomas Jenkin of Eythorne, who purchased Stowting Manor, is buried in Stowting. According to “A Royal Descent, with other pedigrees and memorials”, compiled by Thomasin Elizabeth Sharpe in 1875, this Thomas Jenkin (baptised Eythorne, 1608) is the eldest son of Thomas and Susanna Jenkin of Eythorne and hence would be the brother of Henry whose will is discussed above. The memorial brass for Thomas Jenkin in Stowting Church shows that he died in 1657, aged 49, which is in agreement with a 1608 baptism date.
From information in Deeds and Court Rolls for East Kent in the library of Lambeth Palace we can identify ownership/occupation of Street End following on from Henry Jenkin’s will. Hence John Jenkin, his son, paid rent in 1670. Henry Jenkin of Eythorne in 1676 was entered for a rent of 12s. 4d. John Jenkin of Eythorne paid rent from 1682 to 1701. The heirs of John Jenkin appear on the list of tenants for 1708, when John Jenkin’s death was presented (to court). The heirs paid rent until 1725, but on the list of tenants’ names for 1715 against the heirs of John Jenkin is written’ now Capt. Kent not enter’d’ (it’s not clear what this means). In 1731 Richard Ladd of Knowlton, Yeoman, was presented as entering, by purchase from heirs of John Jenkin, the land at Street End at Eythorne, and he paid rent till 1747. Presentment was made in 1750 that Ingram Thomas and Richard Kenny entered lands at Eythorne devised them by the will of Richard Ladd dated 10thOctober ,1747, probate 13thDecember 1748. Ingram Thomas and Richard Kenny were cousins of Richard Ladd. They paid rent till 1756, and then Mrs. Kenny until 1765. On the list of tenants in 1786, Richard Canney Kenny) is given, and he paid rent of 12s. 4d. a year in 1789; against the name in 1792 is ‘Bart (abbreviation for Baronet), Sir Brook Bridges.’
Richard Kenny (sometimes spelt Canney) was born 1726 in Deal, died in 1789, and, according to Hasted, Street End was still owned by Richard Kenny’s widow, Anne Kenny/Canney, nee Noakes, in 1799 . This is at variance with the suggestion (from the Deeds and Court Roll records) that the house became part of the estates of Baronet Sir Brook Bridges in 1792. Whether this is the estate of the late 3rd Baronet Sir Brook Bridges (1733–1791, MP for Kent 1763-1764) or the 4th Baronet Sir Brook W. Bridges 1767-1829 is unclear. The family seat of the Bridge family was at Goodnestone (and is now owned by their heirs the Barons FitzWalter).
Whether Anne Kenny or the estate of Sir William Brook Bridges had Street End in 1792, what is certain is that it came into the hands of the Sayer family sometime before 1845. The Sayers were closely connected with both the Minet and Fector banking families though marriage. There is a monument to the Sayer family in the graveyard at SS Peter and Paul at Eythorne in the form of an obelisk on a double plinth.
From the Tithe Award Schedule published 1845, but with data collected 1830-1840 ,we know that Street End, along with Wigmore Farm and other land, was owned by the Rev James Minet Sayer, Rector of Ss Peter & Paul. The 1841 Census shows him living at Street End Eythorne and he is a Clerk (in holy orders).
James Minet Sayer was born in Eythorne March 1768 and was one of four sons of Thomas Sayer (1732-1796) and Henrietta Sayer (nee Minet) both also of Eythorne. Henrietta Minet (1738-1800) was one of seven surviving children of John Minet (1695-1771) and Alice Minet (nee Hughes, 1701-1778). John Minet became Rector of Eythorne in 1722/3 and is buried in Ss Peter & Paul churchyard. John Minet’s will makes it clear he purchased Wigmore Farm from Henry Nicholl shortly before 1769. On John Minet’s death in 1771, the Wigmore estate passed to Henrietta Sayer and then on her death in 1800, to James Minet Sayer. It is not known, however, when and by how James Sayer came to own Street End but seemingly the land was acquired after John Minet’s death according to the records of ownership listed above.
Using the map based on the 1830-1840 Tithe Award information we can see the extent of the immediate Street End estate owned, and occupied, by the Rev James Minet Sayer, which is illustrated in Figure 2. The main dwellings are in red and other dwellings and outbuildings are in grey . Plot 43 is Street End House itself and plot 36 is Park Pasture, marked as “Street End Park” on the map. Plot 42 is a House and Garden which is owned by James Minet Sayer but is occupied by Richard Holton. Richard Holton was left £100 in James Minet Sayer’s will and was probably his bailiff. A bailiff of a manor would oversee the manor’s lands and buildings, collect its rents, manage its accounts, and run its farms. It is clear that Street End House is a building of some stature, comparable in size with the Manor of Eythorne Court. Whilst the map is a good guide to the position of buildings it may not entirely accurately show their footprint. As will be clear later, Street End House is in a position that Elvington Court will occupy further on in time.
Other assets in the immediate vicinity of Street end House, are plots 44 drove pasture, 45 “Shrubbery Wood”, 46 Garden , 47 Cow Lodge Piece pasture and buildings, 41 New Orchard pasture, 37 Moles Close pasture and 57 Garden pasture. The Rev James Minet Sayer also owned the hamlet of Wigmore, which was occupied by William Gray, a Maltster, at this time, as well as other land in Eythorne.
James Minet Sayer wrote his will on 13th September 1842, not long before his death in Eythorne on 20th December 1843. It was proved in London in 1844. As he never married he left his estate mainly to friends, extended family (which illustrate how well connected he was) and to his servants. He left to the three daughters of the late John Minet Fector of Dover Esquire, namely Mrs Anne Judith Laurie Bruyeres, Mrs Charlotte Mary Bayley and Mrs Caroline Fector, five hundred pounds each. To the three daughters of the late Isaac Minet of Baldwyns “a seat and manor, situated at the extremity of the parish of Dartford, at the south-west corner of Dartford heath” (Isaac Minet was Sheriff of Kent in 1827), namely Mrs Susan Mantell (married to Edward Reginald Mantell, Dean of Stamford), Mrs Frances Catherine Cartwright (married to Henry Anson Cartwright, Capt Royal Engineers, later superintendent of the London and Birmingham railway) and Mrs Millicent Dyke (married to John Dixon Dyke) he also gave five hundred pounds each.
He left one hundred pounds to each of his god-daughters (Charlotte Frances Bruyeres and Anne Emma Matson). He also left ten sovereigns each to some of his friends “to buy some small token in remembrance of me”.
To his friend Capt John Parker of the Royal Navy he gave £2000, and to Major Edward Matson of the Royal Engineers and William Rastall Dickinson (of Lowndes Street London and formerly of Muskham Grange, Notts) he gave each one thousand pounds in stock. Matson and Dickinson were trustees of the will and there had been a long time association and friendship between the families of Minet and Matson. William Rastall Dickinson is presumed to be a son of William Dickinson (1756–1822) who was an English topographer and legal writer who was baptised William Dickinson Rastall but assumed the name of William Dickinson in 1795.
James Minet Sayer bequeathed £50 pounds to the parish poor and £100 to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. He also left money to servants and friends. In particular to his servant, John Ladd, he left £500 and “all his wearing apparel (except body linen), all his carpenters tools and all his gardening tools and gardening frames”. To his current housekeeper Harriet Smithson he left interest for life on £1000 of stock, and all the furniture of the “bedroom over my kitchen”. He also left something to his previous housekeeper.
Harriet Smithson appears later in the history Eythorne, as she is bequeathed the property and land in the possession of her friend, John Ladd, landlord on the Crown who is assumed to be the same John Ladd that was a servant to James Minet Sayer. It seems very likely therefore that it was the generosity of Rev James Minet Sayer in his will that allowed John Ladd and Harriet Smithson to buy the Crown Inn and associated land at an auction of properties and lands of William Horn Harvey in 1849. John Ladd paid £800 in total for the Crown and land and to fund the purchase, John Ladd borrowed, just after the auction, £550 plus interest (at 5 % pa) from Clare Neales of Margate (Spinster). Prior to the sale John was renting the Crown Inn and land at an annual rent of £47 and 10/- . It is thought the Crown Inn was built, in the form it is today, by William Horn Harvey, probably in 1847. The land included the field immediately behind the Crown, used for livestock auctions, and land up to the edge of Sandwich Road which Harriet later sold off in smaller lots for housing (for current numbers 13, 15, 17, 19, and 21 Sandwich Road)
James Minet Sayer “gave devised and bequeathed all my houses, lands, tenements and hereditaments and all other real estate in the manner following; that is to say one moiety thereof unto said Edward Matson and Mary Frances Matson, his wife, and the survivor of them his or her heir and assigns for ever and the other moiety thereof unto the said William Rastall Dickinson and Emma his wife and the survivor of them his or her heir and assigns for ever”. The witnesses to the will were James Higgins, a landowner in Eythorne, and Samuel Spurling, Steward to Peter Lane Fector of Eythorne House (and other houses).
Possibly because of the way James Minet Sayer divided his properties and land equally between Edward Matson and Mary Frances Matson his wife and William Rastall Dickinson and Emma his wife, James Minet Sayer’s estate doesn’t seem to have been immediately sold but was probably put to let at first. On 13th March 1847 a notice appeared in the press stating “To let ready furnished the whole or part of that delightful residence of the late Rev J.M. Sayer in the pleasant village of Eythorne…either for 12 or 6 months or apartments for a shorter period. The salubrity of the air is proverbial in this locality for the benefit of invalids. Enquire Mr Ladd on the premises”.