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Styleman Almshouses Bexley

Summary

Styleman Almshouses were built in 1755 under the will of John Styleman of Danson (d.1734), to provide for 12 poor families. There was a pump and well, and an oak fence was erected around the property and ground levelled behind the houses. In 1833 gravel was spread and in 1845 a quick hedge was planted. Originally the back gardens were divided into strips but at some point after 1908 they were all amalgamated into one. A summerhouse was built in 2005 in celebration of the Almshouses 250th anniversary.

Basic Details

Site location:
13-35 High Street, Bexley

Postcode:
DA5 1AB ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Private Garden

Date(s):
1755

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
LBII: Styleman Almshouses

Borough:
Bexley

Site ownership:
Bexley United Charities

Site management:
Bexley United Charities

Open to public?
No

Opening times:
private

Special conditions:

Facilities:

Events:

Public transport:
Rail: Bexley. Bus: B15, 132, 229, 492

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2005
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ493735 (549370,173600)

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
Yes

Conservation Area name:
Old Bexley

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
No

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of High Archaeological Priority

Other LA designation:
None

Fuller information

Under the will of John Styleman of Danson, who died in 1734, almshouses for 12 poor families were endowed and the two-storey row was built in 1755 on freehold land in the parish of Bexley, provided with a pump and well. A large memorial to John Styleman and his five wives is on the south wall of the nave of the parish church of St Mary (q.v.), and until 1883 two benches bearing the name 'Styleman's Charity' stood in the chancel before the communion rail; a sermon for the inhabitants was preached in the church each year on Midsummer Day. The almshouses have a central broken pediment and originally were 2-up 2-down having 12 wooden privies with cess pits in the separate back gardens. The Bexley almshouses accounts of 1755-71 record that in 1755 an oak fence was erected and ground levelled behind the houses; in 1761 a mason was paid for a new setting of the sundial with the words 'Tempus Fugit'. In 1833 gravel was spread and in 1845 a quick hedge was planted by John Hills.

The houses were repaired in 1880 and the pump removed in 1897; a stone plaque on the house gives the date 1882. In 1961 the houses were modernised with bathroom extensions, at a cost of £8000, and in 1985 a major overhaul included installation of central heating. In 2004-5 kitchen extensions were built and a summerhouse built in 2005 in celebration of the Almshouses 250th anniversary on 17 August 2005. Originally the back gardens were divided into strips but at some point after 1908 they were all amalgamated into one. The front garden has grass strip bedding, straight paths, with lavender and roses next to the houses and 2 wisterias. At the back are mature trees, an oak, 3 sycamore and a chestnut and greensward. Shrubs are in the east boundary border, with perennial and bedding plants in flower beds.

Sources consulted:

K M Roome 'Styleman's Almshouses', 1985; Records of the Trustees of Bexley United Charities; W Threfall 'Charities of Bexley', 1956; Styleman Act of Parliament 1761; Kentish Times, 24 February 1961; K M Roome, 'A History of the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bexley, Kent', 2nd ed 1981.

LPGT Volunteer Research by Kristina Taylor, 2005

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