There is a long history to Lilleys Farm. The older part of the house was of Tudor construction, a wing was added during Queen Anne's reign, and the house was enlarged and altered over the years until 1944 when it was flattened by a flying bomb. In the eighteenth century the house and farmland was bitterly contested following the death of John Styles. A distant cousin, James Burton, who farmed at Goddington, claimed Lilleys on the grounds that John Styles had made a deathbed will or a "memorandum", which meant he was the legitimate heir. Other distant cousins came forward to contest this and a long legal wrangle ensued, during which a supposed will was produced, stories chopped and changed dramatically, and a key witness was produced and discredited. Documents of the time record all this in its complex and colourful detail. The full story can be found in Geoffrey Copus' book "Chelsfield Chronicles". On 27th June 1944, a Doodlebug landed on Lilleys. Here’s an account of the event which was recorded by Philip Lane. The bomb did not leave much of the farmhouse standing. There is also an eyewitness account of the event from a young Bob Hogben, longterm resident of Chelsfield Village, which you can hear by clicking play below. Anyone interested in original documents relating to Lilleys farm can look at our Sources section, where you can find documents from the Harris Maunscripts, which have been made available by Dr John Nightingale, to whom the collection belongs, and transcribed by Geoffrey Copus. The documents date from 1617 to 1947, and consist mainly of abstracts of wills, inventories, leases, and indentures (sale documents). .
Chelsfield A Community Archive
Lilleys Farm
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