BLOORS PLACE - Lower Rainham

Bloors Place stands on the Lower Rainham Road, not far from the riverside and Bloors Wharf, which was known in earlier times as Blowers Quay. The quay, and Bloors Place, take their name from the family of le Bloere or le Blore. The house, one of the oldest in Medway, was originally built between 1470 and 1510. Once a simple Wealden hall house, a stone range was added to the rear in the early 16th century, perhaps at the same time as the very large central octagonal chimney was inserted. These improvements were probably made when Christopher Bloor lived there. According to Hasted, Christopher Bloor, who had bought the Manor of Sileham from Sir Antony St Leger, 'rebuilt his seat in this parish ... .in which his ancestors had resided for several generations'. The house was surrounded by walls with defensive apertures known as gun loops, and also special niches, bee boles, to hold the straw skeps where the bees were kept.

Like most old houses, Bloors Place has been frequently altered and extended. In 1710 the front was refurbished. The building was damaged by a fire in the eighteenth century and 'A great part of the old mansion was pulled down circa 1798 or earlier to adapt the size of it to that of a farmhouse, though what still remains of it, with the garden walls, offices, and so on show it to have been of large size, well suited to the hospitality of those times, and to the rank which the founder of it, Christopher Bloor, esq., held among the gentry of the county'. [Kent on line - Parish Clerk.]

drawing of bloors place in 1880

The house came indirectly into the ownership of the Tuftons, Earls of Thanet, through Bloor's daughter, Olympia. The Tufton surname is commemorated by monuments to two descendants in St Margaret's Church at Rainham: the chapel at the end of the north aisle (officially St John's Chapel) is often called 'The Tufton Chapel'. An 1851 survey of Sir Richard Tufton's Bloors Place estate describes the house, rooms and all the outbuildings in some detail. It then goes on to make comments on the fields (there were 447 acres of arable, pasture and orchard), and records that the tenant, William Smart, was highly respectable and from the appearance of his farm, stock, etc. a man of substantial property (Holley). 

From 1891 a Scotsman named James Stewart had been running the farm, and in 1920 he bought the whole estate for £2S,000. It has changed hands several times since then - when last sold the price was nearly thirty times that sum. According to some recent sale particulars 'The property still boasts a wealth of character features including a heavily timbered interior with feature crown posts and 16th century moulded stone mullion windows to the rear, panelled drawing room and a first floor landing with detail enriched spandrels and moulded stops above the doorway'. The agent at an earlier sale also mentioned 'the delightful wall paintings of fairy tale scenes from the 1950s in one of the bedrooms. During the Second World War SW Fleming lived in the house and in 1950 a well known TV personality Willoughby Gray bought the property and became a popular customer of the Three Mariners pub.

Since then new owners have partly modernised the interior, putting in another staircase, reordering the kitchen and converting an outbuilding to a utility room for example, but any such alterations to a listed building have to be done following detailed planning consultation. Currently planning permission is being sought for exterior changes such as replacing a flat roof with a pitched roof more in keeping with the original house, and also adding a second dormer window at the front.



#5 Fred Cornwell 2020-09-25 12:22
I wonder if anyone can help me please? I am trying to find the location of "Stewart's Field" in Rainham. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I have made the assumption that it was part of the Bloor's estate, possibly named after James Stewart when he owned and farmed the estate in the early 1900's. Does anyone know the true location of this field please?
#4 Anthony Nicol 2019-09-21 02:36
In 1963, my stepfather Dr. Edwin Anderson purchased Bloors Place from Willoughby-Gray for about 6000 pounds.
Over the years he spent much time and funds redecorating the house internally, restoring the roof and chimneys.
He was an excellent gardener and spent many hours with Ray Edmunds improving the Lady Garden with flowers and shrubs and as the soil in the vegetable garden had been tilled for centuries he produced a quality of fruit and vegetables were such that 40 years later I still remember them!
Dr Anderson passed away in 2011, and ownership passed to his son, who sold the house the following year.
I have retained two pen and ink prints of Bloors, produced my Miss Walter, as shown in the article above.
I now live on Vancouver Island, Canada, but will always hold fond memories of that beautiful house and garden
#3 Stephen Evans 2019-07-19 19:11
My family lived in part of the house with Willoughby Gray and his wife - name escapes me sorry - for a few years until my father was so taken by Loch Goil that we moved to Argyll in 1956. I remember Alfred the gardener and long walks with my mother past orchards laden with plums. Willoughby collected model soldiers and I was astonished to seeing him recently in a modern movie "The Princess Bride". Never forgotten my time there.
#2 Patrick Woodford 2019-07-12 14:21
My mother Janet Gascoyne lived at Bloors Place with her brother and parents until the start of the war when bombing led to their evacuation. My grandfather farmed the land along with Bapchild Court and widely in the area for many years.
#1 Carol Waugh 2018-04-26 00:44
I am so enjoyed the article on Bloors Place, Rainham. My ancestor was Sarah Blundy, a servant on the farm who died in 1850 . The Smart family who lived on the farm put up a tombstone in her honour as she worked for the family for 42 years. I am researching my family and Rainham and have so enjoyed this article as I saw the tombstone in Rainham many years ago and wondered about it. Thank you from Canada.

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