East Sutton Park, Kent, England History
East Sutton Park is located about 1 mile from Sutton Valance, and
about 7 miles East of Maidstone,
The Saxons were the first known people to settle at
this place in 814 A.D., however, Iron Age and
Roman artifacts have been located in the area. A Roman road between Maidstone and Lympne
passed through Sutton Valence.
Town Sutton is mentioned in the Doomsday Book when
the town was owned by Leofwine Godwin,
a half brother to King Harold. Leofwine was killed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
William the Conqueror had granted Town Sutton to his
half-brother, Odo Fitz Hubert, the Bishop of Bayeux
by 1086 when the Doomsday Book was written. Apparently Odo “sub-let” the lands to Adam Fitz Hubert.
Odo's lands were confiscated for being too ambitious and he was imprisoned until 1087. On release he was
defeated at the Battle of Rochester.
The Norman two-story stone keep and bailey fortress
ruins of Sutton Valence Castle are all that is left of this
small 12th Century structure built by Baldwin de Bethune, Count of Albermarle. He acquired the property in
1166 and probably rebuilt a wooden castle with stone. The castle was abandoned in the 14th Century to
crumble away. Baldwin de Bethune died in 1212.
Baldwin de Bethune’s widow was forced by King John to
marry Fulke de Breaute who became the next
owner of the village. Fulke de Breaute obtained a charter for an annual Fair for the village in 1221.
Apparently he was a violent man and was exiled for committing atrocities.
Baldwin de Bethune’s daughter, Alicia, married
William Marshall, Earl Pembroke, but she died in 1225 and
her husband then married Eleanor, the sister of King Henry III. After William Marshall died, his widow,
Eleanor married Simon de Montfort and brought the manor into that marriage.
Simon de Montfort and Eleanor then owned Sutton. The
castle and its lands were seized in 1265 after Simon
de Montfort foolishly criticized King Henry III for his excesses, when Montfort was defeated and killed at the
Battle of Evesham.
King Henry III then gave the village and lands to
William de Valence in 1265, his half-brother. The town name
then became known as Sutton Valence in his honor.
Aymer de Valence, the son of William de Valence
inherited the property at his fathers death. Aymer married
Mary St. Pol but the union was childless. Aymer de Valence died in 1344 and the property went to Agnes
Mortimer, a sister of Aymer, who married Laurence Hastings, 1st Earl of Pembroke.
St. Peter and St. Paul Church is dated to the
14th Century. It has a Jacobean pulpit. The font is late 13th
Century. The Filmer (1629) and Argall brass can be found adjutant to the East Sutton Park Manor buildings.
Rita Greenfield says in her manuscript on page 13, that King Richard II conveyed East Sutton Church to the Priory at Leeds.
The Hastings family owned the village in 1344 and it
was called Sutton Hastings for a few years but the name
reverted back to Sutton Valence. The village of Sutton Valence was sold around 1401 by the Hastings family
to pay ransom for Lord Grey of Ruthin, a family member, from his Welsh captor, Owain Glendown.
Sutton lands were conveyed to Richard Brigge in 1413. He was a Lancaster King of
Arms (a Herald). This appears to be the will of the same gentleman: "Richard
Brygg, alias Lancaster rex armorum.—To be buried in the conventual church.
Bequests for masses to be said for his soul here and in two other churches.
Witnessed by John Walden. A.D. 1415". (25 d, Moore.) (See also Lambeth Wills,
331 d, Chichele.) (fn. 41) From: 'Abstract of wills', The records of St.
Bartholomew's priory [and] St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield: volume 1
(1921), pp. 528-57.
Sutton lands conveyed to Thomas Bittiller and Thomas Bank.
The Clifford’s obtained Sutton Valence in 1418 and
after owning it for 130 years, they sold it to the Argall /
Filmer family. This statement is from: http://www.suttonvalence.org.uk/his/framehistsummary2.html however, Rita Greenfield states in her manuscript, Life and Times of East Sutton Park, 1066 AD to 1994 AD, there are many other owners that she found in her research in the Kent Archives, so those will be added.
Sutton lands conveyed to Richard Darell, from the Darell Family who owned Scotney Castle for 350 years until 1778. Rita Greenfield says, "It was during Sir Richard's ownership of East Sutton that the first ever house was built. This is the grey stone building with the clock which is on your right as you come up the drive, being built about 1432 with the clock being added in the 18th century. It originally had a little sort of turret on the top as can be seen in photographs taken before the war but it became unsafe and had to be removed."
1548 to 1939
FILMER ARMS. - Sable, three bars, in chief as many cinquefoils, or. FILMER CREST. - on a broken tower or, a falcon rising proper, belled or. ARGALL ARMS. - per fesse, three pales counterchanged [or and sable / argent and vert], as many lions' heads erased[gules]. ARGALL CREST. - a sphinx with wings expanded proper.
The Filmer family owned Sutton Valence property until
1916, when the last male heir, Robert Filmer, died
fighting for his country in France on 27 Jan 1916, age 37 years old. Most of Robert Filmers’ large land properties
were sold by his sister but the Filmer family kept the East Sutton Park property and remained there until 1939.
Sir Robert Marcus Filmer, 10th Baronet,
was killed in the service of his country in the 4th Battalion,
Guards, on 27 Jan 1916 at the age of 37 years in France. He was the son of Sir Edmund Filmer, 9th Baronet
and his wife. He is buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France. Grave VII.A.4.
According to Ian Argall, Thomas Argall, was a
Secretary (Scrivener / Clerk) to Thomas Cromwell, (Secretary to
Cardinal Wolsey, Chancellor of all England). Thomas Argall bought the estate at East Sutton in 1546 from Richard
Covert. Thomas Argall was granted the right to use the Argall Coat of Arms around 1554.
Apparently the eldest son of Thomas, Richard Argall,
built the present red brick East Sutton Park Manor in 1570,
which is still standing in 2007. A smaller Jacobean house was built in 1612, according to the source from Here's
History Kent, Architecture of Kent, Brickwork in Kent article below.
ready availability of bricks had two important effects on smaller houses. They
enabled chimneys to be built in brick
Sir Edward Filmer born
abt 17 Jan 1566, of East Sutton, Kent, England, occupation Lord of Charleton
Manor and purchased the manor of East Sutton from his brother-in-law John
Argall, esquire. Sir Edward married 1585 (and was married for 44 years), to
Elizabeth Argall, born abt 1570/75, Kent, England, (daughter of Richard
Argall and Mary (Marie) Scott of Scott's Hall, Smeeth, Kent). Elizabeth died 9
Aug 1638, East Sutton, Kent, England, buried: East Sutton Church, Kent, England.
Sir Edward died 2 Nov 1629, East Sutton, Kent, England, buried: East Sutton
Church, E. Sutton, Kent, England. 18 children (9 sons, 9 daughters) are named on
his brass monument. Residences: Colledge (sic)
house, Maidstone; Nichols in Chartham, Otterden & Romney Marsh; knighted 23 July
1603 by Queen Elizabeth; sheriff of Kent, 1616; will proved 5 Dec 1629.
The Filmer family were anciently seated at Manor of Herst, parish of Otterden, England in Ed II till time of Elizabeth when Robert Filmer, son of James, moved to Little Charleton, E. Sutton. Elizabeth Argall was a sister to Sir Samuel Argall, the Governor of Virginia, USA 1617-19 and the ships Captain who captured Pocahontas. Elizabeth resided in Maidstone, Kent; her will proved 16 Aug 1638, and she was buried beside her husband.
[Sources: Monumental Brasses from the 13th to the 16th century by John Green Waller and Lionel A. B. Waller p. 61; Virginia Gleanings In England, p. 346; Visitations of Kent 1619 pps 127, 167, 168; Robert Clutterbuck, History of Hertfordshire, Vol. I p. 172 FILMER chart; Visitations of Kent 1619; Weis, The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215 p. 97; VA Magazine of History & Biographies; Lothrop Withington, Virginia Gleanings in England p. 395; Charlemagne, Alfred the Great and Other Ancestors by James T. Mitchell chart 1313; Weis: Magna Charta Sureties 1215 4th ed page 147; Robert Clutterbuck: History of Hertfordshire, Vol. 1 page 172 for FILMER chart; Wurts page 1964; Noble & Gentlemen of England by E. P. Shirley p. 108.]
1939 to present
In 1939, the war department requisitioned East Sutton Park from its private owner.
1945 saw the large red brick, grade – II listed,
Elizabethan mansion and its surrounding 36 acres sold to the Prison
Commission for 13, 500 pounds. It was used as a girl’s borstal (reformatory) for juvenile offenders between 1946
In 1978, the estate prison began to hold females over the age of 21, as well as younger offenders.
The prison grounds have grown to include 65 acres.
An additional five acres are set aside to grow vegetables and
flowers for the prison’s use or to sell in some of the local markets and the prison’s farm shop. Purebred Saddleback
pigs are bred and raised and along with a few beef cattle, help supply the prison with food and sausages are sold to
the public. A few retired horses have a haven on the grounds. A garden is planted each year to compete in the Kent
Show. In 2005, the garden won a gold medal.
In 2007, Governor Edmund Tullett has charge of the
minimum-security open style prison that has 21 dormitories
housing approximately 100 young and adult female inmates. The goal is to prepare the population for gainful
employment and resettlement in the community.
While serving their sentences, the young women help
maintain the farms and gardens. Training and physical education
courses in Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Pig Husbandry, Domestic Occupations and Customer Care are
provided for the inmates to gain skills to get gainful employment when they are released.
Behavior courses such as Enhanced Thinking Skills,
Victim Awareness, Anger Management, and Alcohol Awareness.
Substance Abuse, Counseling Services and others are available to help those incarcerated to stay out of prison in the
future and improve their own self-esteem and quality of life.
Life and Times of East Sutton Park, 1066 AD to 1994 AD
by Rita Greenfield. A private manuscript in possession of East Sutton Park
Kent County Archives Office Micro-reproductions of typescripts housed at the Kent County Archive Office. Analytics for some fiches.
0.018.066 U120 Filmer mss. "Manorial documents, --------------- 6070416 deeds and estate papers of the Filmer family of East Sutton Place, ca. 1200-1925." (4 fiches)
0.018.596 U1115 Scott mss. Papers of the Scotts --------------- 6089470 Hall estate, including deeds, 1350-1700. (4 fiches)
0.018.743 U1353 Filmer mss., ca. 1750-1800. (1 fiche) --------- 6089617
0.018.767 U1397 Filmer mss. (addl.), 1733-1947. --------------- 6090123 Various manorial and land records. (1 fiche)
0.018.973 U1736 Filmer account book, 1757-1786. --------------- 6090329 "Account book of Sir John Filmer ... ". Includes detailed typewritten abstracts. (1 fiche)
0.018.980 U1747 Maps of Filmer estate. (1 fiche) -------------- 6090336
0.018.995 U1770 Sutton Manor. Deed, 1393. (1 fiche) ----------- 6090351
0.018.1100 U1870 Notebook, 1907. "Commonplace ----------------- 6090624 book of Sapper G. B. Filmer 15944 E Company R. E., Chatham, containing notes of baptisms, marriages and burials of members of the Filmer family, and of names and addresses of persons with the surname Filmer; genealogical notes, family trees ... ". (1 fiche)
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