History

DARRICK AND NEWSTEAD WOODS HISTORY
– THE 1840/41 TITHE MAPS –
Prepared for the Friends of Darrick and Newstead Woods
by Alan FILBY November 2013

DARRICK AND NEWSTEAD WOOD LOCAL NATURE RESERVE AND DARRICK COMMON

1. THE 1841 TITHE MAPS AND THEIR RELATION TO THE PRESENT DAY LANDSCAPE.

Original copies of the 1841 Tithe maps for Orpington and Farnborough (Kent) parishes are held in the Bromley Local Studies Library together with the accompanying landowner records. The records also show land use (eg Wood, Arable), land size, and who rented or leased the land. The maps show the shapes and boundaries of each piece of land. Buildings are shown but not water features. Each piece of land has a unique number which relates to the landowner records.
The Orpington and Farnborough maps were prepared by different surveyors and there are differences in notation, in the symbols used and in the scale, but the maps are compatible .
The present area of Darrick And Newstead Wood Local Nature Reserve And Darrick Common and its boundaries are illustrated in the map prepared by Bromley Council in April 2010 for the Local Nature Reserve.

2. GENERAL INTRODUCTION

The present area is the remnants of the extensive mixed farmland and woodland which covered the area between Orpington Station, Locksbottom and Farnborough at one time in the north west part of Kent but now in the London Borough of Bromley.
The ridge running through our area is the divide between the water systems of the Ravensbourne and Cray valleys.
Most of the area is in the Crofton Manor part of Orpington Parish, two much smaller areas are in Farnborough parish. The Parish boundaries go back 1000 years or more and Crofton, Orpington and Farnborough are all mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Parts of our area follow the old boundary ditch. Roman villas in the nearby area were at Keston and the Crofton villa next to the present day Orpington Station.
The Crofton Manor was owned by the Belknapp family (Hasted and Philipott)in the 1400s, but when the daughters inherited in the 1500s, there being no sons, it was sold. Sir Robert Reid, one of Henry VIII’s Chief Justices, bought it and then donated it to charity – to the Savoy Hospital. In the upheavals during the Reformation this manor finally passed to St Thomas’s Hospital just before the death of Edward VI (1553).
Over the years parts were sold off by the Hospital but the Darrick Wood area itself was only sold to Kent County Council in the mid 1950s. Darrick Wood is shown as State Wood on the 1805 Ordnance Survey map but not in later maps.