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PORTER ancestry in Seal, Kent


According to 'The monumental inscriptions at Seal' in Margaret Stevens’ Past Generations of Seal and Kempsing from the Memorials of the Churches, the Porter family was in Seal, in Kent, at least as far back as 1450. She reported that they lived at Hall Place and elsewhere in Seal.

The Hall Place residence is confirmed in the IGI where an early record gives:

Andrewe Porter, baptised 10 June 1576, Seal, Kent, to William Porter of Hall and his wife.

The IGI does give earlier entries for Porters in Seal, but the majority are estimates rather than parish records. Two actual parish records are:

Andrew Porter, baptised 04 Oct 1562, Seal, Kent, to William Porter and his wife.

Andrew Porter, baptised 10 Aug 1567, Seal, Kent, to John Porter and Johane Holloway. (It is possible that the first of these two Andrews died young and that the record for 1576 is for his brother. Alternatively the Andrews could have been cousins.)

The last two Porter families may also have lived at the Hall, or Hall Place. The IGI does not usually mention residences. It seems from Margaret Stevens' book that the Porter family died out or left Seal, and it was their descendants (presumably via the female line) who took up residence there. To quote: "Thomas Thompson d. 1805 ... was one of the fourth generation of Thompsons at Hall Place."

More evidence of the presence of the Porter family in Seal and their Hall connection comes from the website Manorial Inscriptions in Kent Churchyards:

Old altar stone: Here lyeth interred the body of Andrew PORTER who lived Lord of _ _ _ _  / of Hall in this parish. He departed this life upon the 17th day of March 16  _ _  / being of the age of 70 years and 8 months. He had to wife Mildr _ _ / daughter of Robert FRENCH of Under River by whom he had issue 2  / ters, Elizabeth and Mildred. Elizabeth married Peter STOWELL Regis _ _ _ _ / of the Diocese of Rochester at whose charge this tombstone was erec _ _ _ [end of each line broken away] 

[Note the inter-marrying among the Seal families in connection with the mention of Robert French. Rose Porter was later to marry Francis Barrington whose mother was born Ann French.]

Here lyeth the body rry [sic] PORTER heir of oh [sic] Porter and Jane his wife who departed this life 30th day of April in the year 1742. She was born at Westerham in Kent 31 January in (Mary Porter buried 8th May 1742 PR F&ZB)

Porter to Cryer line of descent

Neil's Porter ancestry comes through Rose Porter of Seal, who married Francis Barrington.

Rose's father, William Porter (1660 - 1729) was baptised on 26 Dec 1660 at Seal. His ancestry, as shown in the chart, is extracted from the IGI, but cannot be guaranteed because William Porter was such a common name. For example there are two candidates in the IGI for the baptism of the earliest William Porter in the chart, both at Seal: 1 Nov 1576, Seal, to John Porter of Chart and Elizabeth; and 8 March 1578, to William Porter of Godden and Mrs William Porter. (Godden Green is a hamlet about a mile south of Seal.)

William (Rose's father) married Rose Roberts at Seal on 26 Nov 1690. The couple's children included:

William Porter was a tanner by trade, and the Porters of Hall Place owned the tannery at Mallets Hill. I am grateful to David Williams for this information and for transcribing the wills of William and Rose. He reported that he formed the impression from the wills that the Porter family was well-to-do. So a Porter-Barrington marriage would have well suited Francis' father, Robert, who appears to have prided himself on his gentlemanly status and Middle Temple membership.

William Porter died on 7 Nov 1729 at Seal, Kent, age 68. His monumental inscription in Seal churchyard reads

"William PORTER of this parish, tanner dy’d 7 November 1729 aged 77 years".

He was probably buried on 13 Dec 1729 at Seal. (The IGI gives this as his date or death, but is probably an error.) His wife Rose survived him by about 17 years. She probably died in 1746 as her will was proved on 10 July of that year.

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Hall Place / The Old Hall, Seal, Kent

The Old Hall / Hall Place, Seal, Kent 1920s A view of Old Hall / Hall Place, Seal, Kent A view of Old Hall / Hall Place, Seal, Kent A view of Old Hall / Hall Place, Seal, Kent

The material in this section was generously supplied by David Williams, a joint author of Seal: The History of a Parish, 2007, Phillimore. The first photo is believed to be from the 1920s. The others were taken in 1979 by John Lurcook, in advance of an exhibition which was put on in the church to commemorate its 800th anniversary. Although the house has been rebuild since the time when the Porter family occupied it, these more recent photographs do give an indication of the wealth of the families who lived there. The photos illuminate how the Porters lived and they support the contention that the Barringtons were well off; - since Francis Barrington married Rose Porter.

The caption which accompanied the photo of the fireplace said that it was 'one of two recently opened up' and implied that the fire irons could be those referred to in John Porter’s will of 1647/8.

Edited extract from The Sevenoaks Chronicle, June 1998

Hall Place in Seal is an important country estate including a 16th century Grade II listed manor house, 15 acres and the Lordship of Seal. The Lordship covers about 4374 acres and at Domesday was held by Geoffrey of Rois when there were 31 villagers, 14 smallholders and 10 slaves.

The first record of Hale Manor [sic] is found in a deed dated 1317, when the Manor was held by William Atte Hale. In 1343 the house was owned by Simon Champeneys who sold in it 1378 to Thomas Lovell. The Manor passed to the Theobald family in around 1411 who resided there until 1448 when the Porter family bought the Manor. The Porters lived at Hall Place for more than 200 years and during their occupation it is understood that the present house was built.

In 1648 the Manor passed to the Thompson family who held it until 1790, when John Frederick Sackville purchased Hall Place. The Sackville family held the Manor until it was sold in 1976 and on to the present owners in 1989.

Other benefits include cottages, a flat, recreation room, gymnasium, squash court, games room, summer dining room, orangery, an open bay garage block with parking for seven cars, a hard tennis court, oriental garden, knot garden, woodland and paddocks. ...

Impressive is an adjective with almost understates Hall Place. It has a wealth of exposed timbers, linenfold panelling in the main reception room and a splendid wide oak staircase with carved newel posts. The cross beams supporting the Queen posts are more than 30ft in length, believed to be the largest span of this type of construction in existence today, and there is speculation that this massive Queen post frame may have been build from the missing roof of the Great Hall of Knole which was removed in 1603.

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