Downe, Kent

Historical Description

Downe, a parish in Kent, 16 miles from London, 5 SSW of St Mary Cray, 3 from Orpington station on the S.E.R., and 5½ SE by S of Bromley. It has a post and money order office under Farnborough (R.S.O.); telegraph office, Farnborough. Acreage, 1652; population, 581. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury; value, £400 with residence. The church has a spire, contains a piscina, six brasses, and monuments. A yew tree in the churchyard is upwards of 700 years old. There are a Baptist chapel and a school. Downe was for many years the residence of the great naturalist Darwin.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1538.


Church of England

St. Mary the Virgin (parish church)

The church of St. Mary the Virgin, formerly a chapel to Orpington and Cray, is of flint, in the Rectilinear style, and has a tower with spire containing a clock and 6 bells: there are several stained windows, two 15th century brasses with small figures, and in the chancel a larger one with effigies to John Vezeglini esq. a native of Venice, ob. 1606, and Elizabeth his wife, of the ancient house of Vanburen and Olace, of Antwerp, ob. 1607, and their children. The church was restored in 1872, at a cost of £2,000, and has 220 sittings. In the churchyard is a yew tree said to be 700 years old. By an Order in Council, gazetted Dec. 1, 1896, burials were discontinued in the churchyard, and a cemetery of half an acre has been opened as an extension of the churchyard. In 1904 a choir vestry was added.


Baptist Chapel

No information available

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.


Old maps of Downe are available on the site, and a current map is available on the site.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Kent newspapers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Kent, 1619 is available on the Heraldry page, as is also The Visitation of Kent, 1663-68.