The name Barnehurst originates from the family name Barne and the saxon word hurst, meaning a wood or grove.
Back in 1745 Miles Barne, son of Miles Barne a wealthy London merchant, married Elizabeth Elwick of Crayford. Elizabeth's father, Nathaniel Elwick, was the largest landowner in the Parish of Crayford and owned the May Place country house and estate that dates back to the 15th century. Miles and Elizabeth had a son and daughter but unfortunately Elizabeth died shortly after the birth of their daughter in 1747.
Elizabeth's father died in 1750
and Miles inherited
Nathaniel's possessions including the estate. Miles then moved away to
Suffolk but continued to have business connections in the area until his
death in 1780.
Mile's 7th son from his second marriage, Rev Thomas Barne resided at the Crayford Manor House whilst his elder brother Barne lived at the May Place until financial problems saw them leave in 1820. In 1881 part of the land was sold by Colonel Frederick Barne for the creation of the Bexley Heath Railway. A railway line was planned in the hope of attracting housing developers and Barnehurst train station opened in 1895.
In 1895 there were not that many houses as we know today but plenty of
woods and land with several cottages and large country houses on the estates
of May Place, Martens Grove and Oakwood. The name Barnehurst only really
related to the area around the station including the Hills and Holes Road,
later renamed Barnehurst Road. This land was bought from Michael Barne
in 1926 and the Barnehurst Estate was born.
The first houses, of nearly 600, were built in Barnehurst Road and this was the first official term of the name Barnehurst. Shops were also built in Midfield Parade in 1928 and later, other developers created housing estates around Parkside Avenue and Martens Grove.
The Barne family still owned the May Place until 1938 but all residents during this time were leaseholders. In 1903 the May Place became a Ladies Golf Club set up by keen golfer Mr Gray of Belvedere and in 1938 the building was bought by Crayford UDC (Urban District Council) and later became the golf club we know today.
Many of the houses built in the 20's and 30's were rebuilt due to bomb damage from the Second World War. During June 1944 heavy bombing fell on the golf course and surrounding areas causing damage to over 1000 homes.
The post war years saw swimming galas and tennis tournaments at Martens Grove and a successful Barnehurst Residents Association Club at Parkside hosted major indoor events. The club and surrounding allotments were demolished in 1965 and became Taunton Close.
For a view of Barnehurst today please visit our galleries page.