Deeds, estate and family papers and correspondence of the Streatfeild and related families, 13th to 19th centuries.
The bulk of the collection consists of title deeds for property purchased by the Streatfeild family from the late sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. For some of the properties purchased there are deeds going back to medieval times and an interesting feature of the collection is that for some farms there are good series of deeds running through with few gaps from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century showing the particular property concerned changing hands and being increased in size. There is, however, nothing about members of the Streatfeild family before the sixteenth century.
Another feature of the collection is the fine series of eighteenth century estate maps of farms on the estate. Estate papers, rentals and accounts are, however, few and on the whole uninformative apart from a good series of letters about the administration of the family's Welsh estates, 1797-1813 [see U908/E58] and a series of vouchers, 1739-45, for Delaware Farm, Brasted, which show among other things the wide area over which cattle from a single farm were bought and sold [see U908/E6].
The manorial records, as with those of many Kentish estates, are mainly of late date and uninformative being brief and stereotyped, due partly to the character of the Kentish manor as a financial and judicial unit rather than an economic and social one. A rental of the demesne of Chiddingstone Burgherst, 1393, is the most interesting item in this section [see U908/M1].
Papers connected with lawsuits form a considerable bulk of material in the collection particularly those connected with the rival claims on the Sidney family's estates in the mid-eighteenth century [see U908/L12-15, 19-22]. These throw some light on the childhood of Ann Sidney, married 1752 to Henry Streatfeild (d. 1762).
Of correspondence for the main branch of the family there is only a little for the second quarter of the eighteenth century connected mainly with Ann Sidney's affairs and also some family letters written in the eighteen thirties. The bulk of the correspondence is for families related to a junior branch of the Streatfeild family and is in the collection as a result of the marriage in 1858 of Richard Streatfeild, fourth son of Henry Streatfeild (d. 1852), and Harriette Armytage. There is a great deal of correspondence by and to Harriette's mother, Charlotte Armytage and for her family, the Starkie family of Huntroyde, near Padiam in Lancashire, where they lived from the fifteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. There is also correspondence connected with Charlotte's aunt, Mary Preedy, who brought her up after her mother's death and for Mary's father, Dr. Benjamin Preedy. Of interest among this correspondence of the Preedy, Starkie and Armytage families are the letters written by Charlotte's husband, Henry Armytage, (2nd son of Sir George Armytage, Bart. of Heath, near Wakefield in Yorkshire) from Spain in the closing phases of the Peninsular War [see U908/C101] and the letters of his son, Henry, from the Crimea, forty years later [see U908/C106]. There is further information about those families in the Family papers section of the catalogue. Some letters are also to be found with Estate papers and Legal documents in the cases where it seemed more appropriate that they should be listed with these papers.
There are few papers of a personal nature in the collection and little connected with any public offices held by members of the family.
The documents have been arranged according to the standard sub-sections used in the K.A.O. catalogues:- manorial; title deeds including settlements and testamentary documents; estate papers; family papers; correspondence; legal papers; ecclesiastical and charity papers; business papers; miscellanea; and maps.
An attempt has been made to give details of significance while still retaining the form of a summary list. Further particulars of the amount of detail included and arrangement used are to be found before the main sections affected:- manorial, title, correspondence and legal.
All names of parishes have been standardized to modern form throughout. Before c. 1550 the names of individual properties and fields have been given as in the documents, followed by the modern spelling in brackets if this varies greatly from the old. After c. 1550 the modern forms of the names as given by the Ordnance Survey are used; or for names not marked on the maps, the most common spelling of the name in the documents. If the spelling in the document is very different from the modern form the variant is given in brackets in inverted commas. Such common elements in field names as croft, land, mead, and field are given modern spelling after c. 1550 though the word field is usually spelt "feild" in the documents until the late eighteenth century, an explanation of the origin of the spelling of the name Streatfeild. The surnames of personal names have been standardized after c. 1550 to the modern or most usual form with significant variations in brackets, but for the earlier deeds they are given as in the deed. Christian names are given in modern form throughout. Normally only the year date is given but where there are a group of documents close together in date, as in the correspondence or on occasion in the early title deeds the full date is given.
|Administrative / biographical background:
The Streatfeilds were yeomen, who by the end of the sixteenth century had interests in two important Kentish industries of the time, cloth and iron. There are references to Henry Streatfeild (d.1598) as a woollendraper in 1590 [see U908/T251] and to his son, Richard, as an ironmaster in 1594 [see U908/T224/3]. Richard was leasing Canserns Forge in Hartfield, Sussex, in 1589 [see U908/T461] and Pilbeams Forge in Chiddingstone and Withyham on the borders of Kent and Sussex in 1592 [see U908/T218] and he died in possession of the latter in 1601 [see U908/T303]. In his will he was still termed a yeoman though by this time he had become a lord of a manor, the manor of Cowden Leighton having been purchased in 1591 by himself and his father from a neighbouring noble family in decline, the Burgh family of Starborough Castle in Lingfield, Surrey [see U908/T3]. Further lands of the Burgh family were purchased in the same year [see T6] and in 1596 the manors of Chiddingstone Cobham and Tyehurst were mortgaged by Thomas, Lord Burgh, to Richard Streatfeild's trustees [see T8]. The mortgage was never repaid [see L35-36] and the manors remained in the possession of members of the Streatfeild family.
After the beginning of the seventeenth century members of the main branch of the family were referred to as gentlemen and continued to acquire property steadily, though at the same time either by deliberate policy [see T303, T312] or as a result of intestacy [see T18, T304] the younger children of each generation were well provided with parts of the estate.
Important additions to the estate were made by bulk purchases of property particularly by the acquisition in 1689 of the property of the Jemett family in Edenbridge and Cowden and in 1699 of the property of the old established family of Seyliard in Brasted, Edenbridge, Chiddingstone and Cowden. Also during the late seventeenth century the dwelling house of the family in Chiddingstone, High Street House, was rebuilt and a picture of the red-brick house surrounded by formal gardens is portrayed on a map of 1702 [see P1]. It presumably replaced a timber-framed house similar to those remaining in the village today and was in turn succeeded in the mid-nineteenth century by a mock-gothic castle, the style of the family's dwelling matching their rising status and wealth. As all the adjoining property to the house was gradually acquired during the eighteenth century the grounds were extended [see P87] and ultimately about half the village disappeared into the Park and the road through the village was diverted away from the house and round the Park.
As well as being considerable landowners both Henry Streatfeild (d.1709) and his son. Henry (d.1747) were lawyers with chambers in Lincoln's Inn [see F1]. Henry (d.1747) was one of the Deputy Lieutenants for the county but managed to avoid what he described as "that trouble-some office" of sheriff of the county, on the grounds that he held the office of one of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, [see 02, 015]. He also held the more prosaic office of surveyor of highways for Chiddingstone parish [see 05], a duty which local landowners usually left to one of the villagers. In addition he was one of the churchwardens of Chiddingstone [see Q12/5]. It was not until 1792 that a member of the family became sheriff, this being Henry Streatfeild (d.1829) [see U908/01].
An important event in the rise of the family's fortunes was the marriage of Henry Streatfeild (d.1762) and Ann Sidney, heiress of Jocelin, 7th Earl of Leicester, who brought with her a marriage portion of £10,000 and estates in Glamorganshire [see U908/T281]. Further purchases increasing the size of the estate in Kent were made throughout the late eighteenth century by Ann Streatfeild as a widow during her son's minority and then by her son, Henry himself.
Another large addition to the estate came in 1801 when Henry Streatfeild inherited from a distant cousin, Thomas Streatfeild of Oxted, in Surrey property in Oxted and on the borders of Kent and Surrey in Lingfield, Limpsfield, Edenbridge and Cowden, as well as a colliery near Manchester. Part of the Welsh estate was sold in 1809, due to the difficulties of administering it at a distance and the poor monetary return provided by it, and the money from the sale was divided among the younger children of Ann Streatfeild [see E4, E58].
In 1836 and 1837, High Street House was rebuilt, as already mentioned, in the Gothic style and gradually became known as Chiddingstone Castle. The architect was H.E. Kendall and the builder "Mr. Cubitt" [see P94, C24/7-13, 16].
The small number of documents of a personal nature already referred to, unfortunately means that there is little information about individual members of the family such as for instance, Sophia, daughter of Henry Streatfeild and Ann (Sidney) who became a friend of Dr. Johnson. She had her own house in London and there is a glimpse of her in June 1810 living in Queen Street and visiting an exhibition at Somerset House [see E58/59]. Her will made in October 1832 when she
Was living in Wilton Place shows that she had provided financial assistance to her younger married sister Harriet Bracebridge and to Harriet's daughter, Harriet Ann, and also directed that her Greek books bound in red morocco and her other Greek books with their catalogue should be considered as heirlooms belonging to the Chiddingstone estate, [see T331]. She died in 1835.
Henry Streatfeild, elder brother of Sophia, was also related by marriage to Richard Brinsley Sheridan, his wife, Elizabeth Catherine Ogle, daughter of the Rev. Newton Ogle, Dean of Winchester, being a sister of Esther-Jane Ogle who married Sheridan as his second wife [see T286] but there are no documents in the collection showing whether there was much contact between the two men.