Monday 22 April 2019

(372) Bargrave of Bifrons Place and Eastry Court

Bargrave of Bifrons and Eastry
The family of Bargrave (or Bargar as it often appears in the earlier records) were yeomen at various places in east Kent in the 16th century. One of them, Robert Bargar (d. 1600) of Bridge, was also a tanner, and became sufficiently prosperous to send several of his sons to university or the inns of court, thus beginning their transition to gentry status. His eldest son, John Bargrave (1571-1624), entered the army in the service of the Earl of Essex, and is said to have taken part in his campaigns against the Spanish, perhaps including the capture of Cadiz in 1596. Soon afterwards, he seems to have abandoned the military life, perhaps as a result of his marriage early in 1597 to the daughter and co-heiress of a wealthy London haberdasher. She brought him a large dowry, which he invested in expanding the estate at Bridge and Patrixbourne that he inherited from his father in 1600, and in building a new mansion there, which he called Bifrons Place (and which must be distinguished from Bifrons at Barking (Essex)). The unusual name of the house evidently reflected the fact that the two facades of the house were of very different character, although only the appearance of the garden side of the house seems to be recorded. When the Virginia Company was founded in 1606, John Bargrave seems to have borrowed money to buy a stake in the colony, and in 1618 he established a settlement on his lands there. His brothers George Bargrave (c.1578-c.1630) and Rev. Thomas Bargrave (1581-1621) also emigrated to Virginia. John soon became embroiled in a dispute with his neighbour on the James River, John Martin, over the ownership of cattle, and this escalated into a row about the governance of the colony. He found he needed to be in Virginia to manage his lands and develop them into a successful enterprise, and to be in England to carry on his legal battle with the Virginia Company; but he could not be in two places at once and in the end both his legal affairs and his settlement failed. Bifrons seems to have been shut up or let, and by the time of his death he was acutely short of money and forced to sell his American interests; his two brothers both died in Virginia.

In the next generation, John's two surviving sons, Robert Bargrave (1600-58) and the Rev. John Bargrave (1610-80), were prominent supporters of the Royalist cause. Robert, who was a naval officer in the 1620s and 1630s, took an active part in the Royalist Kentish rebellion of 1648, and went to Holland to recruit mercenaries for the cause. When the rebellion was crushed, he had to flee to the continent and his estate was sequestrated, although he was allowed to return after the execution of King Charles I in 1649. In 1651 he eventually negotiated the return of his estate in return for a fine of £350,  but on top of the debts he had inherited from his father or incurred elsewhere, this was more than the estate could sustain, and after his death, his son, John Bargrave (1637-68) was obliged to sell Bifrons to Sir Arthur Slingsby in 1661 or 1662. He seems to have then gone abroad, or (according to one account) to Colchester in Essex. His brother, John Bargrave (1610-80) became a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1637, but was deprived of his fellowship in 1644 because of his Royalist views. Soon afterwards he went abroad, and between 1645 and 1660 he travelled in France, Italy, Germany and the Low Countries, eeking out a living by acting as bear-leader to young men sent abroad to acquire some knowledge of the world and more polished manners on what would come to be known as the Grand Tour. During his travels he kept a diary, part of which survives, and formed a collection of prints and antiquities, and he is believed to have been the chief author of one of the first guides for tourists, published in 1648 under the name of his nephew, John Raymond, who had been one of his charges the previous year. When news of the Restoration of the Monarchy reached him in 1660 he raced home and recovered his Fellowship, and shortly afterwards he was ordained. In 1662 he successfully petitioned Charles II for appointment to a canonry at Canterbury Cathedral, pointing out the extent of the hardships he and his family had endured for their support of the Royalist cause, and in 1665 he married a rich widow, so that he ended his days in some comfort, living in one of the canonry houses at Canterbury. His last, most dangerous and most romantic assignment for his monarch came in 1662-63, when he was appointed to take £10,000 raised by public subscription to Algiers and to negotiate the ransom from slavery of British subjects captured by Barbary pirates, a mission which he successfully accomplished. It was clearly his proudest achievement: when he died, the shackle of one of the prisoners he had freed was hung above his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral.

The youngest son of Robert Bargrave (d. 1600), yeoman and tanner of Bridge, was Isaac Bargrave (1587-1643), who was sent to Cambridge in about 1603 and pursued the conventional academic path to a clerical career; he was ordained in 1611. However there are indications that he was an able man with wider interests. In particular, in 1615 he was one of the performers who put on George Ruggle's Latin comedy, Ignoramus, in Cambridge before King James I, and soon afterwards he became chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton while the latter was Ambassador in Venice. Wotton, who was a seasoned traveller and diplomat and is said to have coined the double entendre that "An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country", sent him home in 1618 with a recommendation to King James I. Clearly identified as a 'rising star', in 1618 he married into the Dering family, who were among the leading Kentish gentry, and bought a lease of a Canterbury Cathedral estate at Eastry Court (Kent). In 1622 King James appointed him as vicar of St Margaret, Westminster, chaplain to Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles I), and to a canonry in Canterbury Cathedral. And when Dean John Boys (who was his brother-in-law) died in 1625, he succeeded him as Dean of Canterbury. The years 1622-25 marked the apogee of his career, when it said that he had the ear of both the king and parliament, but after he left Westminster and moved to Canterbury his influence waned. In 1627 he preached a sermon strongly in support of Charles I's right to raise taxes without parliamentary approval, which annoyed the parliamentarian party, and he became embroiled in petty squabbles with the Archbishop of Canterbury, his fellow canons, and the diocesan registrar at Canterbury. He remained a firm, vocal supporter of the king, and was the target of attacks in Parliament from the late 1630s. When the King raised his standard at the start of the Civil War and sent out a Commission of Array for the raising of armed forces in each county it was Bargrave who hosted a meeting of the Kentish justices to decide how to proceed. Just a few weeks later, however, his house in Canterbury was seized by a parliamentarian commander, and he himself was arrested and thrown into the Fleet prison. Although he was released without charge three weeks' later, his health was broken, and he died in January 1643.

Dean Bargrave's widow lived on until 1667, and probably remained the chatelaine of Eastry Court until her death. By then, the lease was in the hands of her grandson, Charles Bargrave (1651-1713), who pulled down part of the house in 1675 and added a new wing. Through his marriage in 1676, he acquired a manor at Charing (Kent), but Eastry seems to have remained his main home. At his death Eastry passed to his son, Isaac Bargrave (1680-1727), who pulled down more of the house and built a regular new front which survives today. His only son, Isaac Bargrave (1721-1800), was a bachelor, who having no family left the estate to his niece, Christian (1751-1806), and her husband Robert Tournay (c.1757-1825), who took the name Tournay-Bargrave. They also had no sons, and Eastry Court passed to their elder daughter, Christian (1782-1858) and her husband William Bridger (d. 1855). They left four daughters as co-heirs, and after Christian's death the lease was sold away from the family.

The story of one more member of the family must be explored further. This was the Dean's younger son, Robert Bargrave (1628-61), who seems to have inherited both his father's interest in the theatre and his cousin John's love of travel. He went very early to Grays Inn and Cambridge, but after the outbreak of the Civil War was moved to Oxford, which was a more comfortable berth for those of a Royalist persuasion. In 1647 he left England, perhaps largely for political reasons, and accompanied Sir Thomas Bendish to Constantinople, where Bendish had been appointed ambassador to the Porte. He then became established in business as a merchant, trading with the Levant and around the Mediterranean. Like his cousin John (with whom he spent several weeks in Italy in 1647), he kept a diary of his travels which conveys the flavour of the life of an Englishman abroad at this time. It also reveals his continuing interest in drama, for it contains the text, musical setting and dance notation for a masque of his devising, as well as a good deal of poetry. In 1656, Robert returned to England and became secretary to Lord Winchilsea, and when the Earl was appointed ambassador to Constantinople he accompanied him on his journey in order to take up the post of Secretary of the Levant Company in Constantinople. However, he died of a fever at Smyrna (now Izmir) early in 1661, and was thus deprived of the possibility of the sort of comfortable old age his older cousin John enjoyed.

Bifrons Place, Patrixbourne, Kent

Bifrons Place at Patrixbourne in Kent was not, in origin, the seat of one of the manors of Patrixbourne, but was built in 1607-11 for John Bargrave, the majority of whose lands lay in the neighbouring parish of Bridge. We would probably know rather little about the house he built were it not for the happy survival of a birds-eye view of the estate painted in about 1700, perhaps by Jan van der Vaardt (1647-1721) (but previously attributed to Jan Wyck, John Wootton and Jan Siberechts), which is now in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. 

Bifrons, Patrixbourne: the red brick house built for John Bargrave in 1607-11. Image: Yale Centre for British Art.
The unusual name of the house is said to mean 'two fronts', and although it could be argued that most country houses have at least two fronts, here it was perhaps coined because the two fronts were so different (there was another house in Essex with the same name). The painting shows the garden side of the red brick house, but it gives some hints about the entrance side.
Bifrons, Patrixbourne: detail of the birds-eye view above.
A late 19th century copy of an earlier drawing of the entrance front surfaced at auction in 2022. This side was more formally composed, with a five-bay centre flanked by a pair of ogee-capped towers and long projecting wings beyond them. The right-hand wing evidently contained the family accommodation and was rather more richly treated; the service accommodation was in the left-hand wing. The five bay centre had an elaborate stone doorcase, and the centre and the ends of the wings had elaborately shaped gables. On the garden side the main block was of three storeys, with the middle level being apparently a lower mezzanine of a rather curious kind. From this projected a central porch and two long wings composed of an open arcade on the ground floor with enclosed roofs above. The view also shows the side elevation of the building, where oriel windows on the first floor hint at richly decorated chambers within. It is clear that even if Bifrons was smaller than the great contemporary courtyard prodigy houses like Audley End, it was generously conceived and expensively finished. It was also complemented by a formal compartmented garden with statuary and a gazebo. 

Bifrons, Patrixbourne: a watercolour of the entrance front, copied in about 1880 from an earlier view by [forename unknown] Harcourt.
This view was offered for sale in 2022, but its current whereabouts are unknown.

John Bargrave's grandson sold the house in 1662 and it changed hands several times before being bought in 1694 by John Taylor (d. 1729), the son of a successful barrister who descended from a gentry family in Shropshire. It was very probably Taylor who commissioned the bird's eye view painting of the house. His grandson, the Rev. Edward Taylor (d. 1798), who inherited in 1770, rebuilt the Jacobean house, nearly on the same site, as a rather plain neo-classical two storey block of nine bays by three. The entrance front had a three bay pediment, and rusticated quoins defining the centre and angles. On the garden side, the two storeys were treated as a piano nobile and an attic; there was no stressed centre or pediment, but all the windows had architraves and those on the ground floor had pediments as well.

Bifrons, Patrixbourne: entrance front in the early 20th century.
Bifrons, Patrixbourne: the garden front as remodelled for the 2nd Marquess Conyngham. Image: Historic England.
Taylor was succeeded by his son, Edward Taylor (1774-1843), who was at one time the object of Jane Austen's affections, but in 1802 he married Louisa Beckenham, whose father was owner of the neighbouring estate of Bourne Park. For reasons which are unclear, they were perpetually short of money (having 12 children probably didn't help) and were forced to give Bifrons up from time to time and live more cheaply elsewhere, including stints on the continent and in a smaller house at Long Ditton in Surrey. Their tenants included (in 1828), Lady Byron and her daughter, the mathematician Ada Lovelace. In 1830 the Taylors sold Bifrons outright to Henry Conyngham, 1st Marquess Conyngham (1766-1832), reputedly for £100,000. The 2nd Marquess (1797-1876) made Bifrons his main English seat, and in the 1860s he undertook a remodelling, which added a new porch, the rather extraordinary miniature conservatory in the centre of the garden front, and possibly some other decorative details like the balustraded parapet, although this could have been part of the original design. The interiors were apparently more extensively altered, but I have not managed to find any internal photographs.
Bifrons, Patrixbourne: cottage ornee lodge. Image: Historic England
From 1882 onwards the house was let, with tenants including the cricketer Frank Penn (1851-1916), and at the outbreak of the Second World War it was taken over for military purposes. The mangled remains that were handed back to the family in 1945 were demolished soon afterwards, and nothing remains on the site today except for one rather charming cottage ornée lodge, probably built by Edward and Louisa Taylor in the first years of their marriage, soon after 1800, and some of the planting in the grounds. 

Descent: built 1607-11 for John Bargrave (1571-1624); to son, Robert Bargrave (1600-58); to son, John Bargrave (1637-68), who sold 1661/2 to Sir Arthur Slingsby (1623-66), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Charles Slingsby (d. after 1677), 2nd bt.; sold 1677 to Thomas Baker of London; to William Whotton of London, who sold 1680 to Thomas Adrian; sold 1694 to John Taylor (d. 1729); to son, Dr. Brook Taylor (d. 1731); to brother, Rev. Herbert Taylor (d. 1763); to son, Herbert Taylor (d. 1770); to brother, Rev. Edward Taylor (d. 1798), who rebuilt the house; to son, Edward Taylor (1774-1843); sold 1830 to Henry Conyngham (1766-1832), 1st Marquess Conyngham; to on, Francis Nathaniel Conyngham (1797-1876), 2nd Marquess Conyngham; to son, George Henry Conyngham (1825-82), 3rd Marquess Conyngham; to son, Henry Francis Conyngham (1857-97), 4th Marquess Conyngham; to son, Victor George Henry Francis Conyngham (1883-1918), 5th Marquess Conyngham; to brother, Frederick William Burton Conyngham (1890-1974), 6th Marquess Conyngham, who demolished it in 1948. The house was let after 1882 and occupied by the military, 1939-45.

Eastry Court, Kent

Eastry Court: the early 18th century entrance front hides a much earlier building behind.
The house now has the appearance of a long low ten-bay two-storey brick house with a hipped roof, but this masks an extremely complex story that is not fully understood. The manor belonged in Saxon times to the kings of Kent, who gave it to the monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury. The cellars below the house contain some coursed rubble walls once thought to be a survival from a Saxon royal palace, and although this is no longer accepted, the house may well stand on the palace site. A thatched hall house existed here in 1294-95 and was then pulled down and replaced by a timber-framed aisled hall with a tiled roof and a chamber at one end. A new kitchen was built in 1314-15, the upper end of the hall was reinforced in 1318-19, and more radical repairs were carried out in 1330-31, when stone walls were added. Parts of this walling may remain at the rear, where there are flint walls.

At some point, probably in the 14th century, a timber-framed cross wing was added at the lower (north) end of the hall. If, as seems likely, the chamber that formed part of the original building phase lay at the upper (south) end of the hall, the addition of a wing at the north end would have made this quite a substantial house. An 18th century engraving of unknown date shows a brick range with a steeply-pitched roof south of the present house, which could be the former upper-end wing, but this was demolished before the age of photography. In the early 16th century a further small extension was made at the east end of the low-end wing, the purpose of which is unknown, although it had a crown post roof, suggesting fairly high status. It is possible that this was the chapel, recorded as being on the east side of the house, and to have been made into a kitchen after the original kitchen was demolished in 1675; in 1800 the east window, though blocked, was still visible but it has gone since, and this range now shows evidence of truncation. Later in the 16th century, the hall range was updated: a chimney was built within it, a screen was erected to divide the hall from the entrance passage, and a floor was inserted in the hall to provide an upper chamber. In the early 19th century the initials T A N (for Thomas and Anne Nevinson, tenants at the end of the 16th century) could be seen picked out in the brickwork of the house, but these had disappeared by 1870.

Eastry Court: showing the house in relation to the parish church and village pond.
From the early 17th century, the house and its demesne lands were leased by Canterbury Cathedral to the Bargrave family, who extended the lower-end wing to the north by a three-storey block, and later infilled the space between this and the early 16th century addition. Despite all these changes, it is thought that the medieval origin of the house as an aisled hall would still have been quite apparent until, in the early 18th century, most of the hall was demolished for Isaac Bargrave (d. 1727) and a new brick structure was erected on its footprint, reputedly in 1723. At the same time, the top storey of the 17th century block was removed, and the house was given a new brick facade with sash windows and a low-pitched roof. A pine panelled room with raised and fielded panelling, dado rails and a moulded cornice is presumably of the same date. In the mid 18th century, the house is recorded to have been divided into two tenements, 'each with its own hall', but this arrangement came to an end in 1782, and in 1786 Isaac Bargrave (d. 1800) "pulled down a considerable part of the antient building, consisting of stone walls of great strength and thickness, bringing to view some gothic arched door ways of stone, which proved the house to have been of such construction formerly, and to have been a very antient building". It seems likely that this demolition involved the removal of the upper-end wing of the house which is shown in an 18th century engraving.

Descent: Canterbury Cathedral leased to Thomas and Anne Nevinson (d. 1594) and later to Very Rev. Isaac Bargrave (1587-1643); to son, Thomas Bargrave (1620-54); to son, Charles Bargrave (1651-1713); to son, Isaac Bargrave (1680-1727); to son, Isaac Bargrave (1721-1800); to niece, Christian Clare (1751-1806), wife of Robert Tourney (later Tourney-Bargrave) (d. 1825); to daughter, Christian (1782-1858), wife of William Bridger (c.1774-1855); sold c.1859 to George Gardener (d. 1900); sold to George Gunson; sold 1925 to Capt. Tordiffe... the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gained possession c.1940 and sold the house in 1946 to F.H. Shoobridge, who divided it into five was later reconverted into a single residence... sold 1981 to Marion Gear (fl. 1996)..sold before 2006 to David Anthony Freud (b. 1950), Baron Freud.

Bargrave family of Bifrons

Bargrave, Robert (d. 1600). Son of John Bargrave of Bridge (Kent) and his wife Alice Kennard, who was later the wife of John Lukyn of Fordwich. Yeoman and tanner. He married, 1568, Joanna (d. 1598), daughter of John Gilbert of Sandwich, and had issue:
(1) John Bargrave (1571-1624) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Bargrave (c.1573-1615), born about 1573; married, 2 November 1592 at Patrixbourne, Robert Naylor (d. 1618), but may have had no issue; buried at Patrixbourne, 25 April 1615;
(3) Alice Bargrave (c.1575-1640), born about 1575; married, 11 January 1596/7 at Nonington (Kent), Robert Turnlie alias Tourner; buried at Speldhurst (Kent), 1 November 1640;
(4) Angela Bargrave (c.1577-1645), born about 1577; married, 4 October 1604 at Patrixbourne, Very Rev. John Boys (1571-1625), rector of Betteshanger (Kent) and Dean of Canterbury, son of Thomas Boys of Eythorne and Barston (Kent), but had no issue; buried in Canterbury Cathedral, 13 November 1645;
(5) George Bargrave (c.1578-c.1630), born before 1579; a sea captain employed in the trade between England, Bermuda and Virginia, who reputedly brought the first slaves to Bermuda from Africa to dive for pearls, although when this venture failed they were put to work planting and harvesting the first large crops of tobacco and sugar cane; in 1619 he settled land on the lower James River; married, 20 July 1615 at St Gregory by St Paul, London, Dorcas (who m2, Robert Adney of Hawkinge), daughter of Capt. John Martin, one of the earliest settlers on the James River, and had issue one daughter; he probably died in Virginia sometime after 1625;
(6) Isaac Bargrave (b. & d. 1580), baptised at Bridge, 12 June 1580; died in infancy and was buried at Bridge, 2 December 1580;
(7) Rev. Thomas Bargrave (1581-1621), baptised at Bridge, 2 January 1581/2; educated at Clare College, Cambridge (matriculated c.1596; BA 1599/1600; MA 1603; BD 1610; DD 1621); rector of Sevington (Kent), 1615-21, but went to Virginia in 1619 and settled as a minister at Henrico; died at Henrico, Virginia, 1621, and bequeathed his library to the newly-established college at Henrico (which closed in 1624);
(8) Richard Bargrave (b. 1583), baptised at Bridge, 21 December 1583; married, 15 September 1608 at Westbere (Kent), Alice Tournay, and had issue two daughters;
(9) Robert Bargrave (1585-1650), baptised at Bridge, 8 February 1584/5; married, 13 February 1614 at Hollingbourne (Kent), Frances (d. 1635??), daughter of [forename unknown] Ballard of Brenchley (Kent) and widow of Richard Wood of Hollingbourne; buried 24 January 1649/50 at Bridge, where he is commemorated by a portrait in the chancel;
(10) Very Rev. Isaac Bargrave (1587-1643) [for whom see below, Bargrave family of Eastry Court].
He inherited a freehold farm at Bridge (Kent) from his father.
He was buried at Patrixbourne, 14 January 1599/1600. His wife died in 1598.

Bargrave, John (1571-1624). Eldest son of Robert Bargrave (d. 1600) of Bridge (Kent) and his wife Joanna, daughter of John Gilbert of Sandwich, born at Bridge, 13 September 1571. Admitted to Lincoln's Inn (special admission), 7 November 1590. He was an officer in the Earl of Essex's regiment in wars against Spain during the 1590s, and in the 1610s became an investor in the Virginia Company (founded in 1606); he later claimed to be 'the first person who established a private plantation in Virginia' in about 1618, and to have a patent of free trade from the company; a claim which led to a lengthy and acrimonious dispute with Sir Thomas Smythe about the government of Virginia; in the end he lost heavily on his adventures in the colony and was obliged to sell his property there. In 1611 he obtained a grant of arms from William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms. He married, 13 February 1597 at St Mary Woolchurch, London, a wealthy heiress, Jane (1574-1638), daughter and co-heir of Giles Crouch, citizen and haberdasher of London, and had issue:
(1) Giles Bargrave (b. & d. 1598), baptised at Patrixbourne, 3 November 1598 but died in infancy and was buried there 8 November 1598;
(2) Robert Bargrave (1600-58) (q.v.);
(3) Joan Bargrave (b. 1603), baptised at Patrixbourne, 3 May 1603; married 1st, 20 January 1627/8, Ven. Thomas Rayment alias Raymond (d. 1631), archdeacon of St. Albans, and had issue two sons; married 2nd, Mr. Hussey;
(4) Jane Bargrave (b. 1605), baptised at Patrixbourne, 7 April 1605; married, 1626, Rev. Lewis (or Ludovic) Wemyss (1608-59), sometime vicar of Gedney (Lincs) and rector of Finmere (Oxon) and prebendary of Westminster, probably fifth son of Sir James Wemyss of Bogie, and had issue;
(5) Rev. John Bargrave (1610-80), baptised at Nonington, 18 November 1610; educated at King's School, Canterbury and Peterhouse, Cambridge (matriculated 1629; BA 1633; MA 1636; DD 1660); Fellow of Peterhouse 1637-44 (ejected for his Royalist sympathies) and 1660-63 ; travelled in France, Italy, Germany and the Low Counties, 1645-60, sometimes acting as tutor to young gentlemen from Kent, and collecting small antiquities and momentoes of his travels; his diary and part of his collection are preserved at Canterbury Cathedral; he also played a major (and perhaps predominant) role in the compilation of the most famous English guidebook to Italy of the Civil War period, An Itinerary Contayning a Voyage Made Through Italy, in the Yeare 1646, and 1647, published under the name of his nephew, John Raymond in 1648; ordained, 1660; rector of Harbledown (Kent), 1661-70 and Pluckley (Kent), 1662-76; prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral, 1662-80; in 1662-63 he made his last journey abroad, at the request of King Charles II, taking £10,000 raised by public subscription, to ransom British subjects captured by Barbary pirates and held as slaves at Algiers; he married, 26 March 1665, a rich widow, Frances (1617-86), daughter of Sir John Wild and widow of Thomas Osborne of Nackington, and had issue one son; died 11 May 1680 and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral;
(6) Sarah Bargrave (b. c.1613), born about 1613; married, 1635 (licence 10 June), Partridge Rigdon of Gedney (Lincs);
(7) Anne Bargrave (b. 1614), baptised at Patrixbourne, 1 November 1614; died in infancy;
(8) Hester Bargrave (b. 1617), baptised at Patrixbourne, 20 July 1617.
He inherited an estate at Bridge and Patrixbourne from his father. He enlarged the estate and built Bifrons Place in 1607-11, developments which were made possible by his wife's large dowry.
He was buried at Patrixbourne, 24 October 1624, where he is commemorated by a monument erected by his grandson in 1663. His widow was buried at Patrixbourne, 18 December 1638.

Bargrave, Robert (1600-58). Eldest surviving son of John Bargrave (1571-1624) and his wife Jane, daughter and co-heir of Giles Crouche of London, baptised at Patrixbourne, 23 November 1600. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1618). In the 1620s and 1630s he was an officer in the Royal Navy and involved in ferrying troops to France for the disastrous Ile de Ré expedition. JP for Kent by 1641. He was an active supporter of the Kentish Rebellion of 1648, and travelled to Holland with Sir Henry Palmer to secure Dutch support, returning with 1500 soldiers; after the collapse of the insurrection he fled abroad and had to seek the permission of Parliament to return in 1649; his estates were sequestered and in 1651 he paid a fine of £350 to recover them. He married, 13 April 1635 at Canterbury Cathedral, Elizabeth (1617-72), daughter of Sir Samuel Peyton, 1st bt., and had issue:
(1) John Bargrave (1637-68) (q.v.);
(2) Robert Bargrave (1638-69), baptised at Patrixbourne, 14 September 1638; a proctor in Doctor's Commons; died in 1668 or 1669;
(3) Thomas Bargrave (1639-41); baptised at Patrixbourne, 3 September 1639; died in infancy and was buried at Patrixbourne, 28 May 1641;
(4) James Bargrave (1640-62), baptised at Patrixbourne, 15 December 1640; died unmarried; will proved 6 August 1662;
(5) Elizabeth Bargrave (1642-1703), baptised at Patrixbourne, 4 July 1642; married, 22 May 1684 at Otterden (Kent), John Fullager (d. 1715?) of Langley, but had no issue; buried at Patrixbourne, 6 January 1703;
(6) Thomas Bargrave (b. 1643), baptised at Patrixbourne, 20 October 1643; probably died young;
(7) Samuel Bargrave (b. 1646), baptised at Patrixbourne, 31 March 1646; probably died young;
(8) Isaac Bargrave (1648-79?), baptised at Patrixbourne, 30 April 1648; living in 1669; possibly the man of this name buried at Guildford (Surrey), 24 December 1679;
(9) Mary Bargrave (1650-53), baptised at Patrixbourne, 5 May 1650; died young and was buried at Patrixbourne, 28 December 1653;
(10) Jane Bargrave (1651-68), baptised at Patrixbourne, 17 June 1651; died unmarried and without issue and was buried at Patrixbourne, 20 November 1668.
He inherited the Bifrons estate from his father in 1624.
He was buried at Patrixbourne, 13 October 1658. His wife died in 1672.

Bargrave, John (1637-68). Elder son of Robert Bargrave (1600-58) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Samuel Peyton, bt., baptised at Patrixbourne, 11 July 1637. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1654). He was unmarried, and was without issue.
He inherited the Bifrons estate from his father in 1658, but sold it to Sir Arthur Slingsby in 1662. He may have subsequently lived abroad or at Colchester (Essex).
His date of death is unknown, but administration of his goods was granted to his brother Robert, 23 July 1668, and after the latter's death to his brother Isaac, 5 August 1669.

Bargrave family of Eastry Court

Very Rev. Isaac Bargrave 
Bargrave, Very Rev. Isaac (1587-1643). Sixth son of Robert Bargrave (d. 1600) of Bridge [for whom see above], and his wife Joanna, daughter of John Gilbert of Sandwich (Kent), baptised at Patrixbourne, 20 December 1587. Educated at Pembroke College (BA 1607), Clare College, Cambridge (MA 1610; DD 1622) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1622). In 1612 he filled the office of junior taxor in Cambridge (a University post charged with supervising matters relating to trade in the town of Cambridge). Ordained deacon and priest, 1611; rector of Eythorne (Kent), 1612-43 and Chartham (Kent), 1628-43, but retained his Cambridge connections and performed at the university in George Ruggle's Latin comedy, Ignoramus, before James I on 8 March 1615; chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton while the latter was ambassador to Venice, 1616-18; he returned to England with Wotton's recommendation to the King, and was appointed rector of St Margaret, Westminster and prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral, 1622-25 and chaplain to Charles, Prince of Wales (later Charles I). In 1625, he succeeded his brother-in-law, John Boys, as Dean of Canterbury, a post he held until his death. In his sermons at Westminster, Bargrave struck a robustly independent line, seeking to position the Church of England as a middle way between extremes, which succeeded in satisfying neither the Puritans on the one hand nor his Archbishop, William Laud, on the other. Within the cathedral close, Bargrave engaged in disputes with both Laud and the cathedral clergy and diocesan registrar, and he stirred up further trouble by claiming precedence over the deans of London and Westminster. His unpopularity extended to Parliament, where he was attacked verbally and he was one of the targets of a 1641 bill to abolish deans and chapters, which he exerted himself to oppose successfully. On the outbreak of the Civil War, Bargrave hosted a meeting of gentry to put into effect Charles I's Commission of Array, but within a few weeks his deanery had been occupied by Parliamentarian forces commanded by Col. Edwin Sandys, and his wife and children were roughly treated; he himself was absent but he was arrested at Gravesend and imprisoned in the Fleet prison for three weeks. After being released without charge, he returned to Canterbury, but his health had been broken, and he died soon afterwards. He married, 1 October 1618 at Boughton Malherbe (Kent), Elizabeth (1593-1667), daughter of Sir John Dering, kt., of Pluckley (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Thomas Bargrave (1620-54) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Bargrave (1621-1701), baptised at Eythorne, 12 April 1621; married 1st, 27 December 1636 at Canterbury Cathedral, Rev. Thomas Coppin (d. 1639); married 2nd, 22 October 1640 at Eythorne, Sir Henry Palmer (d. 1659) of Howletts, Bekesbourne and later of Covent Garden, Westminster (Middx), an active supporter of the Kentish Rebellion of 1648, and had issue three daughters; married 3rd, 1669 (licence 15 November) in the chapel of Grays Inn, as his second wife, Sir Philip Palmer (1615-83), kt. of Dorney Court (Bucks), cupbearer to King Charles II; buried at Wingham (Kent), 29 July 1701;
(3) Edward Bargrave (c.1622-24), baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 16 January 1622/3; died in infancy and was buried at St Margaret, Westminster, 8 April 1624;
(4) John Bargrave (1624-25), baptised at St Margaret, Westminster, 8 February 1623/4; died in infancy and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral, 25 July 1625;
(5) Isaac Bargrave (b. & d. 1626), baptised at Canterbury Cathedral, 17 November 1626, but died and was buried there the following day;
(6) Robert Bargrave (1628-61), born 25 March and baptised at Canterbury Cathedral, 30 March 1628; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1640 at an unusually early age, perhaps so that he could witness the dramatic entertainments there), Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1642) and Corpus Christi College, Oxford (matriculated 1643); in 1647 he left England (perhaps primarily for political reasons) with the embassy to Turkey of Sir Thomas Bendish, and established himself as a merchant trading with the Levant and Mediterranean ports, 1647-56; he kept a diary (now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) of his travels by sea and over land, interspersed with his own poetry and the text of a masque complete with a musical setting and dance steps; personal secretary to Heneage Finch, Earl of Winchilsea, 1656-60, and on the Earl being appointed ambassador to Constantinople, he was appointed as Secretary to the Levant Company in Constantinople, 1660-61, but died en route to his posting; married, c.1653, Elizabeth (1632-1703), daughter and heiress of Robert Turner of Canterbury (Kent) and had issue two sons (who died young) and two daughters; died and was buried at Smyrna, between 7 January and 9 February 1661;
(7) Mary Bargrave (1629-86), baptised at Canterbury Cathedral, 31 May 1629; married, 5 March 1651, John Smythe (1615-93) of Lested Lodge, Chart Sutton (Kent), and had issue four sons and seven daughters (many of whom died young); buried at Chart Sutton, 3 February 1685/6;
(8) Jane Bargrave (b. & d. 1630), baptised at Eythorne, 4 June 1630; died in infancy and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral, 23 July 1630;
(9) Hester Bargrave (b. 1632), baptised at Canterbury Cathedral, 23 December 1632; married 1st, 7 May 1662 at St Bartholomew-the-Less, London, Francis Nowers (1631-70), herald painter, who died in a fire at his house in London, and had issue one son and three daughters (two of the children also died in the fire); married 2nd, 5 February 1680/1 at Canterbury Cathedral, Francis Turner of London; date of death not found;
(10) Elizabeth Bargrave (b. 1635), baptised at Canterbury Cathedral, 11 March 1634/5; married Edward Wilsford (perhaps the man of this name who was vicar of Lydd);
(11) Henry Bargrave (1636-37), baptised at home, 28 December 1636; died in infancy and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral, 8 January 1636/7.
He lived at Eythorne (Kent) until he purchased a lease of Eastry Court from the Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral in c.1618.
He was buried in the Dean's Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral, 25 January 1642/3, where a monument was erected by his nephew in 1679. His widow was buried in Canterbury Cathedral, 29 June 1667.

Bargrave, Thomas (1620-54). Eldest son of Very Rev. Isaac Bargrave (1587-1643) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Dering, baptised at Patrixbourne, 7 May 1620. Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1638). He married, 5 August 1647 at St Bartholomew-the-Less, London, Honora Estcott (c.1626-82), and had issue:
(1) Charles Bargrave (1651-1713) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Bargrave (b. 1654), baptised at Eastry, 24 March 1653/4.
He inherited Eastry Court from his father in 1642.
He died in 1654; his will was proved 4 September 1654. His widow married 2nd, 20 January 1660 at St Mary Bredin, Canterbury, Joseph Roberts of Canterbury, and was buried at Eastry, 31 March 1682.

Bargrave, Charles (1651-1713). Elder son of Thomas Bargrave (1620-54) and his wife Honora Estcott, baptised at Eastry, 13 May 1651. He married, 18 November 1676 at Merstham-le-Hatch (Kent), Elizabeth (1653-1732), daughter of George Wightwick of Brockton Manor, Charing (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Bargrave (1678-1746), baptised at Tenterden (Kent), 12 May 1678; married, 1 October 1702 at Littlebourne (Kent), Edward St. Leger (d. 1729) of Deal (Kent), surgeon, and had issue one son and five daughters; buried at Gt. Mongeham (Kent), 28 October 1746;
(2) Isaac Bargrave (1680-1727) (q.v.);
(3) Honora Bargrave (1682-1776), baptised at Eastry, 29 March 1682; married*, 21 August 1709 at Eastry, Charles Knowler (1678-1750) of Canterbury, and had issue one son and two daughters; died 9 March and was buried at St Alfege, Canterbury (Kent), 16 March 1776; will proved 16 April 1776;
(4) Martha Bargrave (1684-1750), baptised at Eastry, 27 March 1684; married, 6 April 1714 at Swingfield (Kent), Zouch Pilcher (1686-1762) of Swingfield, and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 4 October and was buried at Swingfield, 11 October 1750;
(5) Capt. Charles Bargrave (1686-1755), baptised 6 March 1686; an officer in the Royal Navy, 1701-43 (Lt., 1707/8; Capt., 1741), 'a gallant and veteran commander' who was apparently dismissed from the service in obscure circumstances, 27 February 1742/3; lived at Shurland, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey (Kent); married, 22 September 1719 at Lamb's Chapel, Monkwell St., London, Sarah Austen (d. 1772) of Eastchurch, and had issue two daughters; buried at Eastchurch, 4 August 1755; will proved 26 March 1765;
(6) Hester Bargrave (1692-1741), baptised 6 March 1691/2; married, 24 February 1717/8 at Swingfield, William Bridges (1687-1746) of Sandwich; buried at Eastry, 4 March 1741;
(7) Robert Bargrave (1695-1779), born 31 January 1695; married 1st, 10 May 1733 at St Margaret, Canterbury, Elizabeth (c.1705-37), daughter of Sir Francis Leigh of Hawley, and had issue one son; married 2nd, 30 June 1753, Elizabeth (d. by 1778), widow of Thomas Basset of London; died 17 December 1779; will proved 15 April 1780;
(8) Mary Bargrave (1697-1747), baptised 13 December 1697; married, 29 May 1718 at Knowlton (Kent), David Denn (d. 1774?) of Wingham (Kent), and had issue two sons; probably the Mary Denne buried at Eastry, 29 December 1747.
He inherited Eastry Court from his father in 1654. Through his marriage he also acquired the manor of Brockton in Charing (Kent).
He was buried, 7 November 1713 at Eastry, where he is commemorated by a monument. His widow was buried at Eastry, 26 December 1732.
* Some accounts show her as marrying 2nd, Joseph Roberts, but I have found no such marriage and she was buried as Honora Knowler.

Bargrave, Isaac (1680-1727). Eldest son of Charles Bargrave (1651-1713) and his wife Elizabeth Withwick, baptised at Tenterden (Kent), 25 April 1680. He married, 12 September 1717 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, Christiana (1698-1772), daughter of Sir Francis Leigh of Hawley, and had issue:
(1) Christian Bargrave (1718-96) (q.v.);
(2) Frances Bargrave (1719-95), baptised at Eastry, 1 November 1719; noted for her sound understanding and retentive memory, and for her piety and Christian charity; married, 26 December 1758 at Hythe (Kent), John Broadley (c.1705-84) of Dover (Kent), surgeon, but died without issue and was buried at Eastry, 17 March 1795;
(3) Isaac Bargrave (1721-1800) (q.v.).
He inherited Eastry Court and Brockton from his father in 1713, but sold Brockton to Humphrey Punder.
He died in March 1727 and was buried at Eastry. His widow was buried at Eastry, 14 October 1772.

Bargrave, Isaac (1721-1800). Only son of Isaac Bargrave (1680-1727) and his wife Christian, daughter of Sir Francis Leigh of Hawley, baptised at Eastry, 10 September 1721. Educated at Middle Temple (admitted 1737). Articled to Joseph Ashton, solicitor, 1738, and practised as an attorney in Cook's Court, Carey St., London for some years. JP for Kent. He married, 23 March 1750 at Canterbury Cathedral, Sarah (1723-87), daughter of George Lynch MD of Ripple (Kent), but had no issue.
He inherited Eastry Court from his father in 1727, and came of age in about 1744. At his death he bequeathed his leasehold at Eastry Court and his freehold property at Eastry, Worth, Joychurch, Newington (nr. Chatham) and Canterbury in Kent to Robert Tournay, the husband of his niece Christian.
He died 24 May 1800 and was buried at Eastry; his will was proved 12 June 1800. His wife died 16 April and was buried at Eastry, 24 April 1787.

Bargrave, Christian (1718-96). Elder daughter of Isaac Bargrave (d. 1727) and his wife Christian, daughter of Sir Francis Leigh of Hawley, baptised at Eastry, July 1718. She married 1st, Rev. Claudius Clare (1717-64) of Hythe (Kent), vicar of Lympne, 1748-64 and rector of Dymchurch 1752-64, and 2nd, 28 October 1785, Capt. Robert Kirk RN (c.1732-1802), and had issue:
(1.1) Christian Clare (1751-1806) (q.v.);
(1.2) Claudius Clare (b. & d. 1756), baptised at Hythe, 21 September 1756; died in infancy and was buried at Hythe, 24 October 1756;
(1.3) Frances Clare (b. & d. 1758), baptised at Hythe, 24 January 1758; died in infancy and was buried at Hythe, 21 June 1758.
She lived at Hythe (Kent).
She died after a long illness, 28 February, and was buried at Eastry, 12 March 1796. Her first husband was buried at Hythe, 24 December 1764. Her second husband was buried at Eastry, 26 May 1802.

Clare, Christian (1751-1806). Only surviving child of Rev. Claudius Clare of Hythe (Kent) and his wife Christian, elder daughter of Isaac Bargrave of Eastry Court, baptised at Hythe, 23 June 1751. She married, 10 January 1782 at Hythe, Robert Tournay (later Tournay-Bargrave) (c.1757-1825), attorney-at-law, son of Robert Tournay, and had issue:
(1) Christian Tournay-Bargrave (1782-1858) (q.v.);
(2) Sarah Tournay-Bargrave (1784-1832), baptised at Saltwood, 4 April 1784; married 1st, 20 May 1805 (div. 1817), Richard Halford of Canterbury, banker with Baker & Co., and had issue one son (who died young); married 2nd, 24 May 1819 at Eastry, Capt. Sir Thomas Staines RN* (1776-1830) of Dent-de-Lion, Garlinge (Kent), and had issue two daughters; married 3rd, 24 November 1831 at Margate, George Gunning (1783-1849) of Frindsbury (Kent), but continued to be known as Lady Staines; died 25 January 1832 and was buried at St John the Baptist, Margate (Kent); she is commemorated by monuments at both Margate and Frindsbury.
Her husband inherited Eastry Court and other estates in Kent from her uncle in 1800.
She died 23 September 1806 and was buried at Eastry. Her husband died 19 May and was buried at Eastry, 27 May 1825; his will was proved 16 November 1825.
* Sir Thomas Staines was the first cousin and former close friend of her first husband but was convicted of 'criminal conversation' with Sarah in 1817 and fined £1,000.

Tournay-Bargrave, Christian (1782-1858). Elder daughter of Robert Tournay (later Tournay-Bargrave) and his wife Christian, daughter of Rev. Claudius Clare of Hythe (Kent), baptised at Saltwood (Kent), 19 December 1782. She married, 30 September 1805 at Eastry, as his second wife, William Bridger (c.1774-1855) of Lympne (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Christina Bargrave Bridger (b. & d. 1808), baptised at Eastry, 28 June 1808; died in infancy and was buried at Eastry, 6 July 1808;
(2) Christian Bargrave Bridger (1809-90), baptised at Eastry, 25 July 1809; married 9 April 1844 at Eastry, Capt. Thomas Harvey RN of The Lodge, Upper Deal (Kent), but had no issue; died 2 August 1890; will proved 25 August 1890 (estate £11,592);
(3) Sarah Bargrave Bridger (1811-86), baptised at Eastry, 30 April 1811; married 1st, 25 October 1854 at Eastry, Capt. Augustus Charles May RN (1811-63), son of John May, solicitor; married 2nd, 7 August 1866 at St Luke, Lower Norwood (Surrey), as his second wife, Rev. George Rainier (c.1813-72), vicar of Ninfield (Sussex), but had no issue; died at Anerley (Surrey), 29 November 1886 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery (Middx); will proved 4 January 1887 (estate £8,035);
(4) Bargrave Bridger (1813-22), baptised at Eastry, 16 June 1813; died young, 13 August 1822 and was buried at Eastry, 21 August 1822;
(5) Mary Bargrave Bridger (1815-83), baptised at Eastry, 14 May 1815; married, 3 April 1856 at Eastry, as his second wife, Cmdr. Edward Bunbury Nott RN of Beach House, Deal, son of Rev. Edward Nott, but had no issue; died at Anerley (Surrey), 10 November 1878; will proved 29 November 1878 (effects under £5,000);
(6) Charlotte Frances Bargrave Bridger (1817-66), baptised at Eastry, 21 August 1817; married 1st, 17 July 1850 at Eastry, Capt. John Allen William Wade (1812-51), an officer in the Royal Marines, son of Col. Hamlet Nicholas Wade; married 2nd, 7 December 1854 at Eastry, as his second wife, Rev. Thomas Watkins (1805-75), rector of Llansantffraed (Brecons.), son of Thomas Watkins esq., and had issue one son; died 21 May and was buried at Llansantffraed, 25 May 1866.
She and her husband inherited Eastry Court from her father in 1825. After her death the lease was sold to George Gardener.
She died 9 September 1858; her will was proved 21 September 1858 (effects under £4,000). Her husband died 19 January 1855; his will was proved 21 February 1855.


W. Bristow, The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent, vol. 10, 1800, pp. 98-121; J. Phillimore, Reports of cases argued and determined in the ecclesiastical courts at Doctor's Commons, 1809-12, vol. 1, pp. 316-33; W. Berry, Pedigrees of the families in the county of Kent, 1830, pp. 106-07; W.F. Shaw, Liber Estriae, 1870, especially pp. 54-55; Anon., 'Captain John Bargrave's charges against the former Government of Virginia, 1622', The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Jan. 1899, vol 6, no. 3, pp. 225-28; S. Pearson, P.S. Barnwell & A.T. Adams, A gazetteer of medieval houses in Kent, 1994, pp. 51-53; P.S. Barnwell & A.T. Adams, The house within: interpreting medieval houses in Kent, 1994, pp. 140-41; S. Bann, Under the Sign: John Bargrave as collector, traveler and witness, 1994; M.G. Brennan, 'The exile of two Kentish Royalists during the English Civil War, Archaelogia Cantiana, vol. 120, 2000, pp. 77-105; J. Newman, The buildings of England: Kent - North-East and East, 3rd edn., 2013, pp. 338, 483; Channel 4, Time Team, series 13, episode 6;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive. The diary and collection of John Bargrave is at Canterbury Cathedral (; the diary of his cousin Robert in the Bodleian Library.

Coat of arms

Or, on a pale gules a sword erect argent, hilted and pomelled gold, on a chief azure three bezants.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone provide any internal photographs of the Georgian and Victorian house at Bifrons?
  • I refer above to an 18th century engraving of Eastry Court which I have not, in fact, been able to find. Can anyone supply me with an image of this view?
  • I should be most grateful if anyone can provide photographs or portraits of people whose names appear in bold above, and who are not already illustrated.
  • As always, any additions or corrections to the account given above will be gratefully received and incorporated.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 22 April 2019 and amended 7 December 2022.


  1. Many thanks for this very helpful information about the Bargrave family of which I’m a direct descendant. One query concerning Charles Bargraves’s wife Elizabeth Wightwick. Brockton Manor was inherited by Robert’s brother George who had a daughter Elizabeth baptised 1653 in Charing. Robert’s daughter Elizabeth was baptised in 1665, possibly too young to marry Charles in 1676? Could the Elizabeth, who married Charles, have been the daughter of George rather than Robert?

    who married Charles have

    1. I am sure you are right, and have amended this accordingly above. The licence for the 1676 marriage says that Elizabeth's parents were both dead and gives her age as 23, which accords with the 1653 baptism. Thanks for pointing this out!


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.