St.Martin of Tours,
Chelsfield, Kent

© 2024 Chelsfield PCC
Charity Number 1131573

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Historic people


The Recorded Rectors of St.Martin's

Richard De Wotton 1317

Roger De Clehnugre 1322

John De Rokesle 1334

John De Benteley 1361

Robert De Brun 1400

William Wryght 1400

Robert De Brun 1400

William Robroke 1417

John Kynge 1420

Martin Osborne 1432

William Mortonne 1433

John Penaunt 1442

William Fyndon 1445

Henry Middleham

Robert Colynson 1452

Richard Bonnaunto 1464

Peter Greves

John Williams 1493

Thomas Bacon 1522

William Gybbyns 1558

George Smith 1576

George Smith 1626

George Smith 1646

Robert Mile 1650

Michael Petty 1692

Charles Meetkerke 1751

John Sandford 1774

John Long 1781

Peter Coryton 1797

Edward Williams 1817

Spencer Rodney 1833

John E. Tarleton 1834

Folliott Baugh 1849

John W. Nutt 1888

Henry B. Barnes 1892

Josiah J. Baddeley 1898

Bertram Parsons 1920

Herbert W. Mackay 1938

Norman Woodhall 1951

Leslie R. King 1959

Leslie Virgo 1974

Paul Spreadbridge 2011

 John Tranter 2014
Susan Atkinson-Jones 2021 **

Miss Read

Miss Read (Dora Saint nee Shafe MBE) the best selling novelist of the famous Fairacre and Thrush Green series of books. She was born 17 April 1913 and died 1 April 2012. On 2 March 1921 at the age of 7 she moved from Hither Green, South London to Chelsfield. Her Fairacre books have been based upon her early experiences in the Village, the Village School and surrounding countryside. The first of these, Village School, was published in 1955.

Her word portrait of Chelsfield 'Time Remembered' gives a particularly interesting vision of Chelsfield and its inhabitants in the 1920's before the Orpington by-pass split the village in half. Her mile and a quarter walk to Chelsfield Village School along Church Road with its yellow coltsfoot and celandine flowers on the banks. Past the violet and sage fields, ivy covered Julian Brimstone Farm, duck ponds, Court Lodge and St.Martin's, The cream painted fire Station, the two Bakers shops, the Post Office, Neals the Grocers, the 5 Bells, the Wesleyan chapel and into school. How things have changed!

She used to attend St.Martin's church with her parents, who were in the choir, her father occasionally played the organ. She makes reference to pumping the organ for her younger sister Eli who also played the organ when the main organist was away. The hand pump is still there and was put into action again in October 1987 following the Hurricane which left the church without power for three weeks.

Edith Nesbit

Another famous author who lived on the borders of the Parish was Edith Nesbit (married name Bland), born in August 1858, who lived for 3 years in her early teenage years close to the South Eastern Railway Company's station (then under construction known as 'Halstead for Knockholt') at Halstead Hall. Edith had witnessed the construction of the 597 yard tunnel from Chelsfield and the cuttings at Knockholt in the mid 1870's. The miners worked in terrible conditions, several were killed their deaths recorded in our Church Registers. As a founder member of the Fabian Society, Edith had become very concerned for their well being. It is recorded that she used to walk to Chelsfield Station. It was these experiences which inspired her classic children's book 'The Railway Children' written in 1906.

** Rectors of the Benefice of Chelsfield with Green Street Green and Pratts Bottom.

Brass Crosby

'’As Bold as Brass' - the saying that does not appear to make sense unless you realise that the Brass refers to Brass Crosby. Alderman Crosby was Lord of the Manor of Chelsfield, Lord Mayor of London and champion of the Liberty of the press. In the late 1700's he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after demanding that the minutes of Parliament be published. Public support led to his release and the formation of Hansard hence the saying 'As bold as Brass'. A memorial to Brass Crosby is on the North Wall of the aisle of the church and a Blue Plaque on a post to the Left of the Church Drive entrance. Our 2006 church extension is named after him.