KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH    Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Dartford & District Archaeological Group (DDAG)   -    Rediscovering Dartford - Page 24

9.    Horsman’s Place
This important Dartford residence stood in Lowfield Street on an area of land
now partly covered by a doctors’ surgery (demolished early 1983) and Dartford Social Club.
   It would appear that a building of some importance has existed here since at least 1321. In that year, the owner, Thomas de Luda, came to an arrangement with Thomas de Sandwich, Abbot of Lesnes Abbey, to establish a water-course to link the River Cran or Cranpit with the water supply to his house. At this time the Cran flowed along the east side of Lowfield Street, down Hythe Street, and finally emptied into the Creek.
   The house and estate were later owned by Thomas de Shardelow, who gave it to his daughter, Margaret, on her marriage to Thomas Horsman. It is believed the house was rebuilt by him, and this is how it came to derive its name. Margaret outlived her husband and the whole of the estate remained in her ownership until her death in 1441 when it was bequeathed to a relative of hers named Thomas Brune (Brown). Eventually. the estate passed to Brune’s daughter, Katherine, on her marriage to Robert Blage (Blagge). In 1541. a son of the marriage. Barnahy, sold Horsman’s Place to John Beer (Byer or Bere).
   John Beer had lived in Dartford for some years in a house situated on the south side of the High Street. In 1551, John rebuilt Horsman’s Place and he was later responsible for alterations to the ‘Spital House’ on West Hill, and also for the building of the Almshouses in Lowfield Street. Horsman’s Place remained the

property of the Beer family until 1628 when the estate was bequeathed to their cousin, John Twisleton. He died in c1658.
   In 1682. his son, also called John died and his manor and residence passed to a nephew. once more bearing the same names. In the year 1704 this John Twisleton rebuilt the ‘Spital House’ (now called the ‘Twisleton Almshouses’) on West Hill. The Horsman’s estate remained in the possession of the Twisleton family until 1768. The last of the family to own the property was Thomas Twisleton, a colonel in the Guards, later to become the tenth Lord Saye and Sele, and he sold the property’ to the mortgagees. Williams and Smith. The house and estate then passed through the hands of a number of owners and was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. In 1782. it was let to James Storey, a market gardener, who some years later (c.l800) obtained the permission of the owner to ‘pull down the old mansion and rebuild one of smaller proportions’. In the course of this work, part of the ground floor of Horsman’s Place became the cellar of the new smaller building.
   James Storey also changed the aspect of this house. Originally it had faced west and was reached via a long tree lined avenue which ran from a point near the ‘Spital House’, West Hill. The new building constructed by Mr. Storey now faced east towards Lowfield Street, which had also been realigned to improve access. It was this last building that served for many’ years as a doctors’ surgery— now replaced by a modern purpose-built health centre sited to the rear of the demolished surgery. and named in keeping with tradition. Horsman’s Place.

Previous Page          Back to Contents Page          Next Page

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back to D.D.A.G. Introduction   Back to Archaeological Fieldwork     Back to Research    Back to Homepage

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society March 2006

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs.  Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details to