Charles Polhill

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Charles Polhill

Birthdate: (80)
Death: 1805 (79)
Immediate Family:

Son of David Polhill, MP and Elizabeth Polhill (Borrett)
Husband of Tryphena Penelope Polhill (Shelley) and Patience Polhill
Father of Tryphena Penelope POLHILL; George POLHILL; Charles POLHILL; Patience POLHILL; David POLHILL and 2 others
Brother of Elizabeth Polhill; John Polhill; Henry Polhill and Thomas Polhill

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About Charles Polhill


Charles, (to be called No. 1 to distinguish him from his grandson,) the only surviving son to David IV and Elizabeth Borrett, was born May 8th 1725. He was thus 29 when he succeeded his father. In December of the same year he married Tryphena Penelope, daughter of Sir John Shelley, 4th Baronet, of Michelgrove, Sussex. Their marriage came to a sad ending on 3rd July 1756 when she died in giving birth to a daughter, who was given the same Christian name as her mother.

Charles I contemplated parliamentary life, but owing, as he said, to ill health in youth was forced to refuse many requests that he should pursue the career that his father had so brilliantly adorned. (Appendix C). Immediately after his father's death Charles wrote to all of his father's friends who had expressed sympathy but none were able to promise him support in a candidature for the vacant seat of Rochester as their support had always">

already been successfully canvassed on behalf of Sir Nicholas Haddock of Wrotham, son of Admiral Haddock, M.P. for Rochester 1734 to 1746. Charles surrendered his interest to Haddock 'for the sake of peace and being desirous of coming to Parliament at some future vacancy elsewhere'. An attempt to secure nomination for Boroughbridge in Yorkshire failed and Charles devoted himself to the care and management of the vast family estates. He lived at Chipstead but had a town house in the parish of St. Andrew's Holborn.

A strange belief concerning the Shoreham property is revealed in the terms of an Indenture dated 28th July 1741.(A) regarding about 4 ac. land sold to Thomas Borrett for L160. The deed of sale conveys all rights except:-

Money, coin or treasure trove that may hereafter be found or discovered under all or in all or any part of the hereby granted and released ground, lands and premises: there being a tradition that one of the ancestors of the said Charles Polhill laid or concealed money or coin within or near adjoining to some part of the ground or land hereby granted and released.

There is no other record of this treasure nor information as to its recovery, although the fields have been well turned over since.

During the lifetime of Charles I the national zeal for roadmaking reached the Otford area and sometime between 1749 and 1769 the turnpike between Orpington and Riverhill demanded a new stretch of road between Knockholt Pound and Dunton Green. The name given to this road was Polhill; not because a long section happened to be hilly but because it was carved out of Polhill land. (B). The hostelry at the top of the hill was called 'Polhill Arms' and doubtless originally bore the sign of the family arms, but in recent days the sign has been repainted and now displays the arms of Polhill-Drabble.

In 1767 the road on the other side of the Darent valley between Dartford and Sevenoaks was out through Eynsford and Shoreham, where skeletons were found in the chalk cliffe on both sides of it. (36). Any association with the casualities of the Battles of Otford in the eighth and eleventh centuries has never been proved.

In 1791, Charles contracted with one John Osborn of Sevenoaks to remodel the ancient house of Broughton Manor. The specification for the work of alteration has not survived but there are sketches in existence which indicate that party of the old house was pulled down and rebuilt. (A).

The partitions between the old 'Pallers, kitchen, pantry, ale-cellar and brewhouse' were removed and the east wing converted into a large half-timbered hall with gabled end and musicians' gallery, with the original stone floor. This is the only part of the 1600 house to remain. A break in the vertical line of brickwork suggests that the portion nearest the highway was rebuilt in more modern style. The house, which was then let to Thomas Baker, has had many different occupiers since and has passed into new ownership, which, while faithfully preserving the old portion has introduced modern panelling into the newer part of the structure.

On April 3rd 1766 Charles married Patience, daughter to Thomas Haswell and had by her six sons and one daughter, of which only the eldest son, George, survived his parents. She died April 16th 1803.

Charles in correspondence with the Kentish historian Hasted in 1768 concerning the district and much of the information about Otford, Shoreham and Chipstead given by the historian is owed to Mr. Polhill.

Charles left considerable property in the district of Chipstead, Sepham, Palsters, Otford, Hadlow, Barden and Parkfields (between the village of Otford and the river Darent which he acquired in 1778). The only portion which he considered worthy of notice was Danefield "where the battle was fought between the Danes and the Saxons".

On his death there were three hatchments added to those of the family already hanging in Otford Church:-those of his two wives and of himself. A handsome memorial, the work of J. Bacon, Junr. R.A. was erected to his memory on the south wall of the sanctuary of Otford Church. On a tablet of white marble is depicted an urn and weeping willow, with a pelican feeding her young. There is a cross and book, open at the page for 1st. Corinthians chapter 15, verse 22:-

"As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive".

The inscription reads:-

"Sacred to the memory of CHARLES POLHILL, ESQ. who departed this life 23rd. July 1805 in the 81st year of his age. Whose Virtues both public and private entitled him to universal Respect and Affection. His MANNERS were gentle, affable and engaging, which with a native Simplicity set off to Advantage all the domestic and social Virtues by which his Character was adorned. He was humane, courteous and generous without ostentation. Though sincere and ardent in his profession and practice of religion he carefully avoided their open Display; Content

with the inward feeling of those PRINCIPLES which CHRISTIANITY inspires. With a Heart expanded by BENEVOLENCE he felt for the Happiness of all mankind; but more especially for the INTERESTS, LAWS, LIBERTIES, RIGHTS and PRIVILEGES of his native COUNTRY: which he ever zealously vindicated and maintained. The amiable and laudable CHARACTER is not delineated by the Hand of ADULATION but by that of AFFECTION, guided by TRUTH: and meant not for the Praise of the Dead so much as for Example of the Living and more especially of those who from FILIAL PIETY, AFFECTION, and REVERENCE mournfully erect this frail Memorial to the character of the best of FATHERS and the best of FRIENDS." source