Scadbury and Frognal House Sale

Q1. Arthur Holden at Bromley Local Studies has indicated to me that the Chislehurst Society may have a copy of the contents sale catalogue of Frognal House dating from 1915. I thought that Roy Hopper had shown it to me some years ago when I was writing my history of Queen Mary’s (which came out in 1994) but in retrospect I now wonder whether in fact it was Michael Sim who had it. I recall the sale lasted 11 days and included Gainsboroughs and Romneys among the portraits, as well as important correspondence relating to the American War of Independence. In any event if the Society does now possess it I wonder whether it might be possible to have a copy (digital would do) of the portrait items. I am particularly interested in any attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller, of which there appear to be several. I am writing a more detailed book on Sidcup and facial surgery in WWI, and came across the reference in my notes.

Q2. I have acquired a clock which contains the label ‘Scadbury/Frognal Sale’. The family is well documented on the net as is Scadbury Park/Manor. I wonder whether any of your members have any archive information on this dispersal sale. Also is there any record of Scadbury Place? Was it the Victorian house destroyed by fire in 1976? Any help will be appreciated.


A. Scadbury Manor had been unoccupied since around 1751, when it was largely demolished.

The site is now licenced to the Orpington District Archaeological Society (ODAS) for excavation, and they arrange annual open days to the site.  A later building was built by the moat, erected within the space occupied by the original hall of the moated house, and this was the building destroyed by fire in 1976.

The Society does have a copy of the sale particulars from 1915. There are indeed a number of paintings of members of the Townshend family attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller, including the picture on the right of Mrs Townshend.

The sale took place over 12 days, from 12 June 1915.

We were able to provide details to Andrew Bamji, who raised the first question, and we worked out by some protracted deduction that the second enquirer had the long case clock from the Frognal kitchen. He was delighted by the provenance and sent quite a lengthy piece of research – which he does not want me to share before he publishes it.