Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Streatfeild, Thomas

STREATFEILD, THOMAS (1777–1848), topographer, genealogist, and artist, born in 1777, was the eldest son of Sandeforth Streatfeild, of London and Wandsworth, first a partner in the house of Brandram & Co., and then in that of Sir Samuel Fludyer & Co. His mother was Frances, daughter of Thomas Hussey, of Ashford, Kent. He matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 19 May 1795, and graduated B.A. in 1799 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886, iv. 1365). In early life he was curate at Long Ditton to the Rev. William Pennicott (d. 1811), whose funeral sermon he preached and afterwards published. At that time he was also chaplain to the Duke of Kent. He was subsequently for some years curate of Tatsfield, Surrey. There he continued to officiate till, in 1842, ill-health compelled him to relinquish the duty. In 1822 he went to reside at Chart's Edge, Westerham, Kent, not far from Tatsfield, on an estate of forty acres, where he built a house from his own designs. In 1823 he published ‘The Bridal of Armagnac,’ a tragedy in five acts and in verse; and he composed other tragedies which still remain in manuscript. He had been elected a fellow of the Society of Antitiquaries on 4 June 1812, and for many years he was employed in forming collections, chiefly genealogical and biographical, in illustration of the history of Kent. On drawings and engravings for this projected work he is supposed to have expended nearly 3,000l., having several artists in his constant employment, while the armorial drawings were made on the wood blocks by himself. Many copper-plates of portraits and monumental sculpture were also prepared, but during Streatfeild's lifetime the public derived no further benefit from the undertaking than the gratuitous circulation of ‘Excerpta Cantiana, being the Prospectus of a History of Kent, preparing for publication’ [London, 1836], fol. pp. 24. Subsequently he brought out ‘Lympsfield and its Environs, and the Old Oak Chair,’ Westerham, 1839, 8vo, being a series of views of interesting objects in the vicinity of a Kentish village, accompanied with brief descriptions. He died at Chart's Edge, Westerham, on 17 May 1848, and was buried at Chiddingstone.

His first wife, with whom he acquired a considerable fortune (8 Oct. 1800), was Harriet, daughter and coheiress of Alexander Champion, of Wandsworth; his second, to whom he was married in 1823, was Clare, widow of Henry Woodgate, of Spring Grove, and daughter of the Rev. Thomas Harvey, rector of Cowden. He left several children.

His extensive manuscript materials for a history of Kent were left at the disposal of Lambert Blackwell Larking [q. v.] They included a large number of exquisitely beautiful drawings, which show that he was not merely a faithful copyist, but a masterly artist. Some specimens of his wood-engraving are given in the ‘Archæologia Cantiana,’ vol. iii. The first instalment of the projected county history has been published under the title of ‘Hasted's History of Kent, corrected, enlarged, and continued to the present time, from the manuscripts of the late Rev. T. Streatfeild, and the late Rev. L. B. Larking … Edited by Henry H. Drake … Part I. The Hundred of Blackheath,’ London, 1886, fol. An excellent portrait of Streatfeild was painted by Herbert Smith, and an engraving is prefixed to the volume just mentioned. Streatfeild's collections for the history of Kent, forming fifty-two volumes, are now in the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 33878–33929).

[Memoir by J. B. Larking in Archæologia Cantiana, iii. 137, also printed separately, London, 1860; Register, i. 122, 123; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iii. 380; Gent. Mag. 1836 ii. 57, 1838 ii. 70, 1848 ii. 99; Introd. to new edit. of Hasted's Kent.]

T. C.