1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sevenoaks

SEVENOAKS, a market town in the Sevenoaks parliamentary division of Kent, England, 22 m. S.E. by S. of London by the South-Eastern and Chatham railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 8106. It is beautifully situated on high ground among the wooded undulations of the North Downs, above the valley of the river Darent. The town consists principally of two streets which converge at the south end, near which is the church of St Nicholas, of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. It contains monuments of the Amherst family and a tablet to William Lambarde (d. 1601), which was removed from the old parish church of Greenwich when that was demolished. Lambarde was author of the Perambulation of Kent, and founded the College of the Poor of Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich. The grammar school founded in 1418 by Sir William Sevenoke was reconstituted as a first-grade modern school in 1877. There is also a school founded by Lady Margaret Boswell, wife of Sir William Boswell, ambassador to Charles I. at The Hague, and almshouses founded by Sir William Sevenoke in Connexion with his school. Close to Sevenoaks is Knole Park, one of the finest old residences in England, which in the time of King John was possessed by the earl of Pembroke, and after passing to various owners was bought by Archbishop Bourchier (d. 1486), who rebuilt the house. He left the property to the see of Canterbury, and about the time of the dissolution it was given up by Cranmer to Henry VIII. By Elizabeth it was conferred first on the earl of Leicester and then on Thomas Sackville, afterwards earl of Dorset. By this earl it was in great part rebuilt and fitted up in regard to decoration much as it now exists. The gateway in the outer court and the Perpendicular chapel are from Archbishop Bourchier’s time. The great hall, with elaborately carved music-gallery, is mainly the work of the first earl.