Monday, 24 March 2014

The origins of Mason's Hill Bromley

The origins of the name for Masons Hill are unknown. That much is clear. However the name was in use in the early years of the parish registers as two entries in the baptismal register for 1564 record the name as a dwelling for the Erly and Humfrie children baptised in April and May of that year.
One of the early buildings in Bromley History became known as Ravenscroft. In the 1594 will of Anthony Calthorpe (20 April 1594) he bequeaths "to Johane my wife my mansion house at Masons Hill in Bromley which I lately bought of one Pope."
Anthony Calthorpe was born in 1522 and appears to have been a member of the Mercers Guild in the City of London (he leaves plate to the value of £10 to them in the will).He had a large family of 7 sons and 9 daughters and died 19  July 1594 and was buried in Bromley Parish Church. A commemerative brass marked his grave and when his wife died her will with a codicil direct that she be buried "in the chancell of the Parish Church of Bromley, as near the body of my late husband as may be".
The Calthorpes appear to have resided on the site of Ravenscroft;the date on Ravenscroft's gable 1660 clearly implies the earlier building was removed.
Mason's Hill in the sixteenth century was largely farm land and by 1673 it is referred to in registers as Stubarfields or Stubberfield's Farm. The farming had by the nineteenth century ceased and the buildings became known as Sparke's or Clarke's Cottages, implicitly referring to their occupants.The Cottages are known to have been pulled down in 1877.
Mason's Hill Pond lay on one side of the highway and was used by passing horses for water and by carmen to "plim" their wagon wheels when shrunken in dry weather.
Mason's Hill linked town and common and on the right hand side of the hill leaving town stood an ancient Inn. The Rate books prior to 1697 only show rate levied on land but in 1706 they record a house,stables,barn orchard and meadows "at the back called Tygor Grove". This implies that the house was called the Tiger. Certainly by 1729 the burial of Richard Joans is recorded in the Parish Burial register as  "ostler at the Tiger's Head,Mason's Hill".
The later rebuilding has left modern day Bromley with a buildng called the Tigers Head (although in recent years this has been rebranded) and adjacent Tiger Lane now surrounded by the housing development which replaced the Bromley Cottage Hospital site with the demise of the Hospital on the land.
Whatever the origins of the name,Masons Hill has been part of daily Bromley life for centuries.