Denbridge Wood

My mother and father used to live in Denbridge Road, Bickley until about 10 years ago. When I helped to clear out the house, I kept an old framed map of Chislehurst which I think my parents must have acquired because Denbridge Wood appeared on it.

A copy of the map is attached. I have removed the map from its frame (because I wanted to use the frame for something else) and it would seem that the map has been cut off the corner of a larger print.

It is difficult for me to date and I am pretty certain that Denbridge Wood is not very near Denbridge Road but it could be but off the map! I suppose seeing the home of Francis Cooper close to Chislehurst itself means that the print (on hessian) must be post 1750?

I really do not need to keep the map but The Chislehurst Society might wish to retain in any archives and so I would be happy to donate meanwhile if anyone has any knowledge about it, I would be interested.

Richard Shaw

A copy of the map fragment

Many thanks for sending this to us. What a fascinating map, one which I have not seen before though I imagine some of my colleagues in The Chislehurst Society have. I know we would love to have it as a valued addition to our archives and may even be able to display it from time to time. There is a great deal of interest in old maps and images of Chislehurst I can assure you. Roques’ map of London, dated 1741, extended 20 miles out from the centre of the city, so your map may well be a copy of Roques or a derivation from it.

When it comes to historical information I have learned to trust Webb’s History of Chislehurst. The references from it that are relevant here are as follows:

Mr Robert Weston owned Camden Place in 1717 and the next owner was Mr Harry Spencer who sold it to Charles Pratt (afterwards Lord Camden ) in 1760. So that gives us the parameters of the dates of the original map of certainly early eighteenth century. Camden Park was formed from Red Hill Wood clearly identified by the map.

At the foot of Chislehurst Hill (now Old Hill), the Kyd Brook is crossed by an ancient bridge with a four centred arch “The Denbridge” quite hidden from view in the nineteenth century by the raising and widening of the road.
Denbridge Wood itself was a portion of Chalkpit Wood, later Susan Wood and belonged to George Bascomb – he owned Summerhill House. He formed the greater part of the wood into a garden for Summerhill House. Denbridge Wood terminated at a cliff formed by a chalk quarry of large extent and great antiquity (Chislehurst Caves). Den means a small cavern or hollow place in the side of a hill, an appropriate description!

Coopers dates from about the middle of the eighteenth century, as you correctly note the estate was formed by Mr Francis Cooper before 1741.

The nucleus of Hawkwood was a farm and it was sold in 1725 to Mr William Wall of London. he died and is buried at St Nicholas 1753

It’s interesting to see Frogpool named as Frogpole!