27 JANUARY 1900, Page 37

The History of Chislehurst. By E. A. Webb, G. W.

Miller, and 3. Beckwith. (G. Allen. 30s. net.)—This is a very handsome volume, worthy of the beautiful district of which it tells the story. The name means "The Wood on the Gravel," the first part of the word being the same that is found in the Chesil Bank at Portland. The name "forms a description of the place almost as suitable now as it doubtless was in Anglo-Saxon times." There are two manors in the parish, Chislehurst and Scadbury ; the first originally belonged to the Crown, the early history of the second is interrupted by many lacunae. In 1424 Scadbury became the possession of one Thomas Walsingham, of London. His family held it for two hundred and forty five years. Both are now united in the Townshend family. Considerable space is, of course, allotted to the parish church. This building shows a slight trace of the Norman period, to which, indeed, the font belongs, but the main structure dates from the fifteenth century. Considerable additions and restorations have been made during the incumbency of the present rector, who has held the benefice for fifty-four years. The vicinity of Chislehurst to London, its picturesque scenery, and its healthiness have made it a favourite residence. Perhaps the most distinguished of its inhabitants has been Sir Francis Walsingham, unless we are to except Napoleon III., who took up his residence at Camden Place after the fall of the Second Empire. Mr. Strode, the owner of the house, placed it at the disposal of the exiles. The Empress and her son arrived on December 10th, 1870, and the Emperor joined them a few days afterwards. A number of less famous residents, with the houses which they owned or occupied, may be fc.und in the very interesting " Itinerary " which Mr. J. Miller has contributed. Another portion of the volume is devoted to the history of the two Commons of Chisle- hurst and St. Paul's Cray. Then comes a contribution from Mr. E. A. Webb on the "Natural History of Chislehurst." Mr. Webb is able to give a respectable fauna (including a badger). There is a particularly interesting list of butterflies and moths. The flora is less numerous, of course, than it was in former times, lint still makes a brave show, at least on paper. The geology is some- what peculiar. At one of the highest points of the parish the chalk is one hundred and thirty-five feet below the surface, but it comes to the top at the base of the Camden Hill, and is also to be seen at St. John's Railway Station. Part IL contains a collection of documents, charters, Inquisitions post mortem, and wills. One strange omission we cannot but notice. There is no mention of any Nonconformist place of worship, except a few lines in the " Itinerary " about the Wesleyan

chapel. Surely it is ridiculous to ignore facts, however distasteful they may be to the rector and his friends.