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Biggin Hill Parish
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Biggin Hill is now a town situated in the London Borough of Bromley, England. Its post town is Westerham notwithstanding that Westerham itself is not located in the Greater London area. Inasmuch as the ancient parish and manor was located across three parishes, it is possible that the church registers of all three associated parishes, vizt. Cudham, Sundridge and Westerham, may have to be examined to located any one particular family living in that area.
The settlement was an ancient parish and manor in the county of Kent, in the Diocese of Rochester, and was known originally as Appelfeld alias Aperfield. Although thought to form only part of Cudham parish, the Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry VII: volume 1 (1955), describes the place as being "...with all lands and tenements, rents and services, meadows, lesues [sic] and pastures in Appulderfeld [sic], Codam [sic], Sundrissh [sic] and Westram [sic],...".
The Manor of Aperfield was given by William the conqueror to his half-brother, the Bishop Odo of Bayeux. The Manor was given as a thank you for Odo's support to the conqueror during the battle of Hastings in 1066.
Henry de Apuldrefeld, in the 38th year of King Henry III. obtained a fair and market to his manor of Apuldrefeld; and in the book of knights fees, taken in the reign of King Edward I. and now remaining in the hands of the King's Remembrancer in the exchequer, it is mentioned to be then held by him as one knight's fee.
In the 11th year of King Edward II. John de Insula had a charter of free-warren granted to his manor of Apuldrefeld.
In the 20th year of that reign, Stephen de Ashway, and his coparceners, paid aid for this manor, as one knight's fee, which Henry de Apuldrefeld before held in Codeham of Geoffry de Say, being then held of the king as of the honor of Say, and performing ward to Dover castle. A charter of free-warren to the manor was renewed to Stephen de Ashway, in the 38th year of King Edward III. who had a free chapel annexed to it.
It appears by the patent-rolls in the tower, of the 46th year of the above reign, that the king, by his writ that year, granted to John Atte-Welle, and Robert William, licence to assign rent of the value of four marcs, out of tenements, called La-rye, in Otteford, to Adam Flemynge, the chaplain celebrating divine service in the chapel of Apuldreselde, to hold to him and his successors celebrating divine service there.
This manor continued in the name of Ashway for many generations, till at last it became, by purchase, the estate of Thomas Denny, of Cheshunt, in Hertfordshire. Thereafter, it changed ownership many times and at the end of the seventeenth century was owned by Thomas Lord Dacre, Earl of Sussex. It was he who leased a large part of it to a widow Ann Brasier and in 1699 a survey on the leased land was carried out. A plan was prepared and the outline is recognizable as the Biggin Hill found on maps of today.
In 1835 the Manor was sold to John Christy of Hatcham Manor in New Cross and the Christy family owned it for sixty years. Some land was used for livestock and arable farming.
Aperfield Manor was lastly sold by auction in one lot during 1895 to Frederick Henry Dougal of Wandsworth. Dougal then broke up the manorial holdings and sold the land cheaply in small parts. A plan was drawn and the plots numbered, but there was no real planning as it would be recognised today. As there were no building regulations at the turn of the century, the land could be used for any purpose.
It was not until after the Second World War that the name of the area was changed from Aperfield to Biggin Hill in recognition of the Biggin Hill Aerodrome and the role played by the inhabitants of the area during the war.
Under the Local Government Act, 1894, the area was moved over to become part of the Bromley Urban District. In 1935 the status of Bromley Urban District was upgraded to one of a municipal borough. At that time Bromley and Biggin Hill were still under the authority of the second tier of local government, the Kent County Council. However, further massive changes took place during 1965 the result of which the London County Council was abolished and replaced by the Greater London Council. At that time the Greater London Council was granted an expanded administrative area that took in the parts of the Home Counties that were metropolitan to London. Hence, Biggin Hill is now part of the London Borough of Bromley.
St. Mark's Church, Church Road - 'the moving church' - was designed by Richard Gilbert Scott and erected during the 1950s using the dismantled materials from All Saints Church, North Peckham. Much of the work was undertaken by volunteers led by the Reverend Vivian Symons who undertook much of the decorative work himself. The church is an architecturally noteworthy building.
Charles Darwin School is the only secondary school in the immediate area. Otherwise, there are two main primary schools: Oaklands Primary School and Biggin Hill Primary School. On the outskirts of Biggin Hill, there is also Cudham Church of England Primary School which is situated near Foal Farm; Tatsfield Primary; and Downe Primary, in Downe village.
The area does not have any railway station in its own location. The closest stations are Hayes station (6.5 mi or 10.5 km), Orpington station (7 mi or 11 km), and Bromley South station (7.5 mi or 12.1 km).
Sources: 1 "Parishes: Cowdham", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1797), pp. 60-78.
Biggin Hill Bibliography
-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates. [Note: The following volumes can be found on archive.org: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch; http://www.familysearch.org.
Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online
Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).
Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005). URL: British History Online.
Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908). URL: British History Online
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323. URL: British History Online.
Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302. URL: British History Online.
Location of Records
The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive. There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England. This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues. If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.
Church Records, Church of England
Church Records, Non-Conformist
Parish chest records
Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Assizes and Sessions Records
|Record Type||Dates||Archive 1
|Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
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|Hearth tax||Currently under revision|
|Victuallers Recognizances||Currently under revision|
|Churchwarden's Presentments||Currently under revision|
|Parish rate books||Currently under revision|
|Record Type||Dates||Archive 1
|Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
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|Currently under revision|
pre-1066 to 1895 existed as the Manor of Appelfeld alias Aperfield partly in Cudham parish
1873 Jail Inn, Biggin Hill opens, the building having formerly been temporary housing for prisoners proceeding to Maidstone Jail.
1894 manor moved into Bromley Urban District authority
1895 manor sold by auction to Frederick Henry Dougal of Wandsworth who broke up the land into small holdings for individual sales
1903 building on Aperfield Court Estate begins
1904 a temporary iron structure, originally sited on Polesteeple Hill, was erected to be used as St Mark's Church to serve the then 200 residents
1915 bus service to Biggin Hill commences
1917 a wireless testing park opened and the Air to Air and Air to Ground telephony systems were developed at this site
1924 the R.A.F. had been established at Biggin Hill
1935 Bromley Urban District became a municipal borough
1940 August 30th to September 2st - Battle of Britain - Biggin Hill sector station severely hit during German air attacks during WWII
1945 name changed from Aperfield to Biggin Hill
1950s St. Mark's Church built
1957 formation of the "Historic Aircraft Flight"
1959 April 25th St. Mark's parish church dedicated
1965 Biggin Hill moved into the administrative area of Greater London Council and became part of the London Borough of Bromley
1971 population was approximately 9,000
1973 Charles Darwin School opens
1981 population was approximately 11,108
1981 library opens
1991 population was approximately 11,468
1991 RAF Biggin Hill closes
1801 - n/a
1811 - n/a
1821 - n/a
1831 - n/a
1841 - n/a
1851 - n/a
1861 - n/a
1871 - n/a
1881 - n/a
1891 - n/a
1901 - n/a
1911 - n/a
1921 - n/a
1971 - ~9000
1981 - 11,108
1991 - 11,468
London 14.2 mi.
Canterbury 45.4 mi.
Ashford 38.1 mi.
Bromley 6.2 mi.
Chatham 22.1 mi.
Cranbrook 26.5 mi.
Dartford 11.1 mi.
Deptford 11.6 mi.
Dover 57.0 mi.
Faversham 37.3 mi.
Folkestone 51.7 mi.
Gravesend 17.6 mi.
Greenwich 11.2 mi.
Hythe 49.1 mi.
Maidstone 21.9 mi.
Margate 58.8 mi.
Milton Regis 30.6 mi.
Queenborough 32.1 mi.
Ramsgate 60.3 mi.
Rochester 20.0 mi.
Sandwich 57.1 mi.
Sheerness 32.6 mi.
Tenterden 33.4 mi.
Tunbridge 16.3 mi.
Woolwich 12.5 mi.