Kevington, Bromley

Although situated just a mile to the south-​​east of urban St Mary Cray, this is a rural hamlet (also spelt Kevingtown), with farms, nurseries and old cottages

postbox and village sign

There’s not much to Kevington, but what there is is pretty

The name may come from Old English, meaning ‘place on a small hill’, or it may relate to a landowner named Cyfa. The Ordnance Survey map of 1876 shows Kevingtown and Kevington as two separate places – the former at the top of the hill, the latter on its western slope – but this could have been due to some carto­graphic confusion.

The manor of Kevington was in the hands of the related Manning and Onslow families from the late Middle Ages to the mid-​​18th century, when Middleton Onslow sold it to Herman Behrens, a City merchant from Amsterdam who commis­sioned the construction of Kevington Hall, completed in 1769 by Sir Robert Taylor. Behrens’ descendants held the property until the Second World War, when the government requisi­tioned it to accom­modate Canadian troops. Afterwards, Kent County Council used the hall as a primary school until the early 1980s. It is now privately owned and available for conducted group tours (and private functions) by arrangement.

Next door, the former Shawcroft special school, built in 1974 in a woodland setting on Crock­enhill Road, has been renamed Oakview Hospital and operates as a commer­cially run, specialised secure unit – assessing, treating and caring for young people, aged 12 to 18, who have been detained under the Mental Health Act.

The hamlet lacks any amenities for residents or visitors and the former Kevington Arms is now Blueberry Farm.

Postcode area: Orpington, BR5


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