Keston, Kent Genealogy

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Keston Parish Church

Parish History

Keston is a place in the London Borough of Bromley Keston Wikipedia

Keston is an Ancient Parish in the Diocese of Rochester; a map of the parish boundary is available at A church near you

Keston Parish Church has been designated as a grade B listed building British listed building

Following bomb damage in World War II to the church wall excavation found evidence of  an earlier wall likely to have been constructed in the 11th century. below the footing of the wall Romano British burials were found indicating that the site

In the traditional place by the East Wall, South Side, are the remains of a piscina basin damaged, in all probability, by Cromwellian soldiers.
In the mid 17th century Puritan mobs damaged churches throughout the land and Keston did not escape. Parish records record…….. ‘1645. On the 23rd April our church was defaced, our font throwne down and new formes of prayer appointed’.
The chancel is known as a ‘weeping chancel’, in that it is not built in line with the nave but is inclined to the North side. This was customary in the building of ancient churches, following the tradition that Christ’s head fell on his right shoulder when on the cross.
The church has no dedication.

See Kent Archeological Society and Edward Hasted The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1797), pp. 37-46 at British History Online  and Kent Churches website

See Keston North West Kent Family History Society and Keston Parish Church

Within the parish boundary is the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Prospect Place (now Croydon Road) which dates from 1828


Civil Registration

See Bromley Registration district

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

International Genealogical Index Christenings 1541-1875 Batches (C131521, C131522) Marriages 1540-1752; 1754-1876 Batches (M131521, M131522)

Deposited Parish registers are held at Bromley Archives reference P 208

Bromley Central Library
Telephone: 020 8461 7170
Fax: 020 8466 7860

The Keston Composite Register Bromley Archives reference P 208/1/1 includes Keston Baptism Register, 1541-1685; Marriage Register, 1540-1682; and Burial Register 1542-1685 including two victims of the plague 1666, deaths by accident are also recorded.

The register is on 86 parchment leaves with the remains of a further 3 which have been cut out. A note in the register on a paper leaf shows that the register was copied by Sir Alfred Scott, Garter King of Arms in 1887. Sir Alfred was additionally a distinguished musician in addition to his appointment as York Herald.

The Baptisms and burials in the register on close examination are not consecutive but are found in different parts of the volume, which appears to be a replacement for an earlier binding or book since there are several sheets of burials inserted which are identical in the register. Additional insertions include:

  • the lease of Thomas Stevens (1602)
  • Parish Accounts
  • a partial letter signed by Wm Wynard and others

Baptismal entries for 1638 are interrupted with a Latin inscription to refer to the latter pages of the volume ( in the Family Search image presentation the register entries for 1838 resume at image 22 of 29 and continue until 1685).

Marriage Register, 1540-1682 in the FamilySearch image presentation is found from image 7-11 of 29 images, burial entries follow on the same image. The path to these images reads England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911>Kent>Keston>Baptisms, Marriages, Burials 1540-1685 although the last marriage in the volume is for August 1682.

The Ancient Parish register shows that Holwood was the principal land ownership in the parish and the early owners were the Pearch family. Later Holwood became the property of Sir William Pitt and subsequently the Frasier family who lived in the neighbouring parish of Cudham, Kent

The most frequent entries relate to the Phillips and Whiffen families (also found frequently in the neighbouring Downe, Kent parish registers).

London's citizens were often buried at Keston. John Pepys for example was a watch maker, who in common with his name-sake came from the parish of St Bride's, Fleet Street . 

Another common feature is the burial of "nurse children". This term is found in local parish registers and may be defined as a child sent from London to local parishes to be nursed or cared for payment. Contrary to misperception the term used in burial registers does not imply that the child was unwanted or illegitimate but were often placed in the countryside to offer a healthier environment and in the case of Keston probably the parent's had a local connection. Death in the nurse's parish is reflected in the Keston registers like the 1692 burial of Elizabeth Staples. There are several generations of Staples in both the parish and the district in rural parishes.See also London Foundling Hospital: Reclaimed Foundlings for information on this subject.

A further composite register Bromley Archives register reference P 208/1/2 includes Keston Baptism Register, 1683-1812; Marriage Register, 1690-1752; Burial Register 1690-1812 contains 115 pages, several of which are left blank, others contain duplicate entries. There appear to be several years of "rough" and final versions and several Baptisms are recorded out of sequence. This includes a variety of other records relating to the parish including a 1637 copy of a lease to the rector  (Bromley Archive reference P 208/21/2) and a manuscript of burials for 1738-1744 (Bromley Archive reference P208/12/1

This register contains collations, 1545-1800; list of rectors, 1602-1868; copy of clerk's fees c.1636 and following the burials of 1757, memoranda concerning the erection of a new font, 1716; building of a barn and stable, 1729; additional pews, 1732; erection of a gallery for young men and servants, 1733; and the conversion of the spring head into a parish well to be called the Archdeacon's Well, 1736

The sequence of this register can be confusing and there are several pages of duplicate entries. For this reason the Kent Online Parish Clerks transcript has been prepared to provide easy search and free from duplication.

Keston Baptism Register 1813-1862 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/4
Keston Baptism Register Bromley Archives reference 1862-1903 P/208/1/5 (microfilmed until 1900)

Keston Baptism Register, including lists of confirmation candidates, 1913, 1915 1903-1946 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/6

Keston Marriage Register, 1754-1810; banns 1754-1801 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/3 is the familiar standard form post 1754 marriage and Banns format. The volume for Keston was published by Joseph Fox, Parish Clerk to the House of Commons.

Keston Marriage Register 1818-1835 Bromley Archives P/208/1/7

Keston Marriage Register 1838-1941 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/8

Keston Marriage Register 1941-1955 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/9

Keston Burial Register  1813-1890 Bromley Archives reference P/208/1/10

Keston Burial Register1890-1943 ( microfilm until 1900) Bromley Archive reference P/208/1/11

The burial register series for Keston in common with neighbouring parish registers for Cudham, Kent and Downe, Kent contain references to local traveller families who resided for part of the year in the surrounding district. See also Farnborough, Kent

Keston Banns Register 1862-1906 Bromley Archives P/208/1/12

Family History Library film numbers

Microfilm conversion to digital images are included in England, Kent, Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts (FamilySearch Historical Records) for certain years due to limited filming and contractual agreements/privacy considerations.

The Keston Baptism register 1862-1903 only displays images to 30 January 1876 ( register entry number 216) at August 2012 online at the FamilySearch site.

See Known_Issues for presentation of the Keston Marriage Register 1754-1810 and banns 1754-1801 image presentation.

Kent Online Clerks have entered into a Co-Operative Indexing Agreement to produce complete parish register transcripts for baptismal registers, marriage registers and burial records with FamilySearch and transcription work is underway to deliver these online by Summer 2013. These will cover events to 1913 working from original records with the consent of the Diocese of Rochester and Bromley Archives.

Keston Methodist Church was within the Bromley Methodist Circuit; Keston Methodist Church: Registers see Bromley Archives reference 622/K/1

Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, non conformist and other types of church records, such as parish chest records.

Land Tax

Images for Keston are available at FamilySearch Records see England, Kent, Land Tax Assessments (FamilySearch Historical Records) 1780-1831

Census records

Census returns for Keston 1841-1891

FamilySearch Records includes collections of census indexes which can be searched online for free. In addition FamilySearch Centres offer free access to images of the England and Wales Census through FHC Portal: Computers here have access to the Family History Centre Portal page which gives free access to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
[1] to locate local Family History Centres in UK
[2] to locate outside UK.
Many archives and local history collections in public libraries in England and Wales offer online census searches and also hold microfilm or fiche census returns.

Images of the census for 1841-1891 can be viewed in census collections at Ancestry (fee payable) or Find My Past (fee payable)

The 1851 census of England and Wales attempted to identify religious places of worship in addition to the household survey census returns.

Ancestry UK Census Collection

Find my Past census search 1841-1901

Prior to the 1911 census the household schedule was destroyed and only the enumerator's schedule survives.

The 1911 census of England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911 and in addition to households and institutions such as prisons and workhouses, canal boats merchant ships and naval vessels it attempted to include homeless persons. The schedule was completed by an individual and for the first time both this record and the enumerator's schedule were preserved.
Two forms of boycott of the census by women are possible due to frustration at government failure to grant women the universal right to vote in parliamentary and local elections. The schedule either records a protest by failure to complete the form in respect of the women in the household or women are absent due to organisation of groups of women staying away from home for the whole night. Research estimates that several thousand women are not found by census search.
Find my Past 1911 census search

Poor Law Unions

Included in the parish records 1709-1754 under Bromley Archives reference P/208/12/1 Accounts including assessments, the appointment of overseers, and Burial Register, 1732-7, 1744-5

For post 1844 records see Bromley Poor Law Union

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Kent Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

See England, Kent, Wills and Probate (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Extract from A Topographical Dictionary of England

KESTON, a parish, in the union of Bromley, hundred of Ruxley, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (S. by E.) from Bromley. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 659-663

Local Family History Centre

Orpington Family History Centre, Kent is within the London Borough of Bromley, located adjacent to Orpington Station and on major bus routes through the borough.

Web sites

History of Keston