Boundary stone, probably early C19.
Reason for Listing
This boundary stone, probably of early C19 date, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it is likely to have marked the eastern limit of the Ingress Abbey estate and to have been erected in the 1830s when James Harmer was carrying out substantial works to the estate;
* Intactness: it survives intact and is the only one of three boundary stones on the eastern side of the estate to remain;
* Group value: with other buildings and garden features within the boundaries of the former Ingress Abbey estate of which a number are statutorily listed.
'Ingryce' was endowed in 1363 by Edward III to the nuns of Dartford Priory, who used it until the 1530s, as a farm, and for chalk quarrying. After the suppression the crown granted it to John Bere of Dartford and in 1562 Queen Elizabeth granted it jointly to John Bere and Sir Edward Darbyshire. In 1649 there is reference to a 'Mansion' and in that year the estate passed to Captain Edward Brent of Southwark for Â£1122. Between 1698 and 1737 the estate was owned by Jonathan Smith, who was Sheriff of Kent from 1721: a print of 1720 by Badeslade shows a six bay house surrounded by walled gardens, parterres and avenues.
In 1748 the house was conveyed to Viscount Duncannon, who became Earl of Bessborough in 1758. Changes to the park were carried out by Sir William Chambers and the Earl of Bessborough is likely to have created some of the follies in the grounds, including the Cave of the Seven Heads, the South Tunnel and the Flint Cave. In 1760, the estate was sold to John Calcraft, a former army agent and later the MP for Rochester. John Calcraft retained Sir William Chambers and from 1763 employed Lancelot 'Capability' Brown at the cost of Â£1000 to landscape the parkland to the north-east of the estate, the approach to the house through the grounds, and the sloping of the ground towards the house. The parkland appears to have spread eastwards towards Swanscombe. Calcroft appears to have constructed other follies, Lover's Arch and the Flint Alcove, and he also re-sited the kitchen garden. Greenhithe and its parkland appear on the 1769 'A Topographical Map of the county of Kent' by Andrews and Dury showing an H-shaped main house with formal gardens and tree-lined avenues. In 1772 the estate passed to Calcroft's son who sold it to John Disney Roebuck. In 1799 the estate was bought by William Havelock who partially demolished the house after 1815.
In 1833 James Harmer, Alderman of the City of London, rebuilt Ingress Abbey, possibly reusing some elements of the earlier house in the east wing, and built The Grange, the East Tunnel and laid out a flower garden. The estate was left to his daughter in 1853. The First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1868 depicts Lovers Lane running on a raised bank and appearing to continue after a slight turn at a bridge westwards through Ingress Park. A path from Ingress Cottages within the park leads under the bridge and continues northwards. Three stones are marked on the 1869 and 1872 Ordnance Survey maps, and repeated on the 1884 Ordnance Survey map. On the 1897 Ordnance Survey map 'Barge Yard Wharf' has been added next to the shore of the River Thames. Parts of the parkland were sold off after 1903 and Ingress Abbey Paper Mills are shown to the east of the park on the 1909 Ordnance Survey map.
During the First World War Ingress Abbey was used as an army hospital and by 1922 both house and grounds were purchased by the Thames Nautical Training College. Ingress Abbey and its garden buildings became dilapidated but the house was listed at Grade II in 1970, the stable block in 1982 and the known garden buildings were listed in 1997. Re-development of the site began in 1997 and Ingress Abbey became the centrepiece of a large residential development.
DATE: either a boundary marker for the reduced 1833 Ingress estate of James Harmer or, less likely, a parish boundary stone between the parishes of Greenhithe and Swanscombe. It is first shown on the 1869 and 1872 First edition Ordnance Survey maps and again on the 1884 Second Edition Ordnance Survey map.
DESCRIPTION: it consists of a square stone with rounded head projecting about two feet above ground level. The front face is inscribed with the letters B I (possibly standing for Boundary Ingress) and the face to its left is inscribed either with the letter I or the Roman numeral for one.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.