THE MANOR OF DOWNE-COURT, with the scite of it, in the reigns of king Edward I. and II. was the property and residence of Richard de Downe, who lies buried, with his wife Margery, in the chancel of this church, but without any inscription on his grave stone, the brass having been torn from it. This family was extinct here before the middle of the next reign of king Edward III. when the Petle's of Trowmer, in this parish, were become lords of it. John Petle of Trowmer, esq. died possessed of it in the 18th year of king Richard II. in whose descendants this manor continued down to John Petley, esq. (for so the name began now to be spelt) who lived in the reign of king Henry VIII. He died without male issue, leaving by Christiana his wife, daughter and heir of Thomas Philipott, four daughters his coheirs; John Petle, the ancestor of this family, was settled at Downe, in the reign of king Henry III. and bore for his arms, Argent, two bends ingrailed, a canton sable. His son, Richard, left two sons, of whom John, the eldest, was possessor of Downe manor, in the reign of king Richard II. as above mentioned; and Richard left two sons, John, ancestor to those of Halsted, now extinct, and William, ancestor to those of this name seated at Filston, in Shoreham, now likewise extinct, and those of Riverhead, in Sevenoke, now remaining there. John Petle, eldest son of Richard, married Juliana, daughter and heir of William Troumer of Downe, by whom he had Thomas Petle, who died in the 9th year of king Henry V. and lies buried with Isabel his wife, in this church. His son, John Petle, married Alice, daughter and coheir of James Brampton, by whom he had John Petley, who lived in the time of king Henry VIII. and left four daughters his coheirs, as above mentioned. (fn. 1) Of whom Agnes, the eldest, was married to John Manning, esq. of Downe, who, on the division of their inheritance, became en titled to it. (fn. 2) He was descended from John Manning, who was of Cowdham, and died in the 14th year of king Henry IV. leaving John Manning, his son, who by Juliana, daughter and heir of Richard Brockhill, had Hugh Manning of St. Mary Cray, who married the daughter of Sir William Brandon, by whom he had two sons, of whom Richard, the youngest, settled at St. Mary Cray, where his posterity continued till within these few years; and John Manning, the eldest, married Agnes Petley, as above mentioned. (fn. 3) He died possessed of it in the 35th year of king Henry VIII. and lies buried with Agnes his wife in this church. His descendant, Peter Manning, esq. of Trowmer, in the reign of king James I. alienated this manor to Palmer, and in 1657 it was in the possession of John Palmer, whose son and heir, Michael Palmer, in 1662, sold it to Mr. Richard Glover, from whom it descended to Mr. Richard Glover, merchant of London, whose daughter marrying James Gladhill Vernon, esq. intitled him to the possession of it, and he is the present owner of it.
But the seat itself, formerly called DOWNE-COURT, but since DOWNE-HALL, which passed, together with the manor, to John Manning, in right of his wife Agnes, one of the daughters and coheirs of John Petle, as before mentioned, was, by his son, Henry Manning, esq. of Greenwich, separated from the manor, and sold by him to Sir Francis Carew of Beddington, in Surry, who some time afterwards alienated it to Mr. Ellis of London; from whom it passed by sale, in the reign of king Charles I. to Col. Richard Sandys, third son of Sir Edwyn Sandys of Norborne; the second son of Dr. Edwyn Sandys, archbishop of York, by Cicely, daughter of Thomas Wilsford of Cranbrooke. Henry Sandys, the eldest son of Richard above mentioned, by Hester his wife, daugh ter of Edwin Aucher, esq. of Wilshorough, was of Downe-court, and married Catherine, widow of Sir John Kay, bart. and daughter of Sir William St. Quintin, bart. by whom he had Jordan Sandys, esq. who passed away Downe-court, by sale, to Rich. Oldner, esq. of Exton; and he a few years ago alienated it to Thomas Omer, esq. who left it by will to his grandson, Thomas Omer, esq. the present owner of it.