The Crippen - Crippin Connection - Crippenden Manor

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  Crippenden Manor

I had very little information about Crippenden Manor, until late 2001. It is very near Cowden in the County of Kent, England. Itís actual location can be seen on the Streetmap site here, and is currently the Crippenden Stud & Riding School, Crippenden Manor, Spode Lane, Cowden, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7HJ ( 01342 850638). I am indebted to Floyd Bradley for providing details of previous owners, which he is in the process of researching and a picture of the current house built around 1607.

The Village of Cowden

Cowden is pretty well as far west as it is possible to travel without leaving Kent. Indeed, parts of the parish straddle the Kent Water (further south it is the Kent Ditch) which forms the border with East Sussex and Surrey where the three counties meet.

It's an attractive little village, centred around a 13th century (although much altered in 1884) church of St Mary Magdalene with its slender, wooden shingled spire, bomb-damaged during WW2 and since re-shingled. The spire is barely perceptibly out of perpendicular, but is is enough to have allowed some long-forgotten grudge to be expressed:

'Cowden church, crooked steeple,
Lying priest, deceitful people.'

The church is, typically for this part of the county, built of sandstone, its tower and steeple massively timber-framed inside. The old bells were recast and rehung in 1911 to commemorate the rein of Edward VII and a sixth bell was added at the Coronation of George V.

One of the stained glass windows, given to the church in 1947, celebrates 'the remarkable preservation of this village during the years 1939-45' and features figures of St Bridget (representing the women of the parish), St Nicholas (for the sailors), St George (the soldiers and airmen) and St Mary Magdalene (the church's patron saint), all the company of Sir Walstan (the farmer bishop of Worcester 1062-95 representing the local farmers). Below them are 20th century figures: a sailor, soldier, airman, a nurse and others making up a representative group of WW2 characters, all turned towards a Christ-figure whose protection they seek.

This is old Wealden iron country, recalled by the cast iron memorial slab in the church, to John Bottinge, dated 1622. This was a time when the area was producing guns for the Army and navy, as well as much more humble domestic and agricultural ware. Cowden had its own blast furnace in 1573 and during the 17th century it had two. The air of prosperity the place must have breathed in those days lingers still.

The Romans would have found British iron workers plundering the local orestone when they built their London-Lewes road across what is now the garden of Waystrode Manor. The first owners of the manor received it from King John in 1208.

Crippenden Manor, built in about 1607, was once the home of another ironmaster, Richard Tichbourne.

Another member of the Tichbourne family, Robert, presented a Londoners' petition to the House of Commons in 1649, in favour of the execution of Charles I. He was one of the Commissioners who, in 1651, prepared the way for the union with Scotland and he was knighted in 1655 by Cromwell and made a peer in 1657. After the Restoration he was arrested and sentenced to death, but he was reprieved, imprisoned in Dover Castle and died, in 1682, in the Tower of London. The family, however, did not die out in Cowden until 1708, when John Tichbourne was buried there.

Reproduced from

Completely revised December 2001, this page was last updated Saturday, March 30, 2002.

 © John Crippen, 2000-2002

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