Crayford (St. Paulinus)

CRAYFORD (St. Paulinus), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Dartford, hundred of Lessness, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent, 13 miles (E. by S.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Northend and Slade-Green, 2408 inhabitants. This place is so called from Creccanford, an ancient ford on the river Creccan, now Cray. In the immediate vicinity some antiquaries have placed the Roman station Noviomagus, near which a great battle was fought in 457, between Hengist the Saxon and the British king Vortimer, which ended in the secure establishment of the kingdom of Kent under the rule of the former. The parish comprises by measurement 2458 acres, of which 136 are in woodland: the surface is varied with hill and dale; the soil in general is gravel, resting in some parts on strata of loam, beneath which is chalk. The river Cray flows through the parish in two separate branches, and the meadows in its vicinity are occasionally subject to inundation: upon its banks are several extensive establishments for printing calico, silk, and chalis; and a very large flour-mill. The village consists of an irregularly formed street, branching off from the London and Dartford road. One of the archbishops of Canterbury, who formerly had possessions here, procured a weekly market on Tuesday, and a fair on Our Lady's Nativity; the market has long been disused, but a fair is still held on the 8th of September. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £35. 13. 4., and in the gift of Thomas Austin, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £850, and the glebe comprises nearly 57 acres, with a house. The church, which stands on an eminence at the upper end of the village, is a plain structure, adorned with an elegant altar-piece. There is a place of worship for Particular Baptists. In the parish are many ancient caves, some of which are from fifteen to twenty fathoms deep, increasing in circumference from the mouth downwards, and containing several large apartments, supported by pillars of chalk: it is conjectured that they were used as places of security for the families and moveable goods of the Saxons, during their wars with the Britons. The manor-house, which was built by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, is now tenanted by a farmer.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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