Hall Place 1660-1780
Edward Hasted in his History of Kent (1778) states that in the reign of Charles II Hall Place was transferred to Harrison and the monument in the north wall of the Chancel in the Church shows that Abraham Harrison was the owner of the Manor of Hall Place, alias Hollenden, and died on 14 December 1717.
Leigh Church is unusual in that, while most old village churches are literally plastered with 18th century wall monuments to the rich and the powerful, this is the only 18th century wall monument in the church.
Abraham Harrison gave directions in his Will for this monument, which was to be as near as conveniently may be to his pew (and we know that the Hall Place pew was on the north side of the chancel) where the ‘wall is substantial’. He seems to have been a very practical man as he goes on to give two bells to the church but ‘they must be smaller than the other three as the steeple is weak.’
In his Will he described himself as of East Greenwich which was clearly his principal residence and he gave to his son, James, ‘my farm called Hall Place now in possession of William Heath together with the barns and 240 acres of land also a house called the Porcupine and five acres.’ The land was probably the land now covered by the park and the Porcupine is the house now called ‘Porcupine House’ and formerly the Gate House.
The Burial Register shows that James Harrison Esq was buried on 13 June 1733. The suffix ‘esq’ is rarely used in the Register and one can assume that this was the James Harrison to whom Hall Place was given by Abraham Harrison’s Will.
The Churchwardens Accounts show the annual rate demands made on William Heath (who was the tenant at Abraham Harrison’s death) until 1746 showing that he was certainly the occupant in the period 1717 to 1746 and he may, of course, also have been the owner after James’s death in 1733. William Heath’s sister, Elizabeth, married Isaac Burgess who appears as the occupant of Hall Place in the years 1747 to 1752 and as the owner of the Deed of Churchyard Bounds of 1750. In 1753 it seems to have been handed over to Isaac Burgess’s son, Robert Burgess, who certainly lived at Hall Place as his principal residence and erected the substantial Georgian House in 1780.
Lawrence Biddle (Parish Magazine article May 1987)