(Mediaeval: Lodlyndenne, later Lodynden)
|Estate Agents Knight, Frank and Rutley, in their particulars of sale for the 1954 auction described the estate as "Loddenden, a twelfth century manor house, with three farms (300 acres) and seven cottages". The 18th century Kentish historian, Hasted, wrote: "At the entrance to the village on the hill at a small distance from the high road, on the east side of it, is a large antient manor house called Loddenden". Historical inaccuracies and urban change make both decriptions inapplicable.|
is not a manor house and was certainly not built in the twelfth century.
A yeoman house might be a more appropriate description, built in the
16th century. Since Hasted's time the village has extended north to the
railway and the house is now surrounded by suburban development.
The Loddenden connection with the Usborne family dates back to William Usbarn, (the borsholder) in the reign of Edward III (1312 - 1377). The proven pedigree starts with Osbert Usborne (or Osborne) born in 1405. He also used the name Osbertus de Hengherst.
Although Loddenden is in the Usborne triangle bounded by Maidstone, Goudhurst and Staplehurst, there is no proof of blood relationship between the Loddenden Usbornes and our tribe.
The estate was built up by judicious marriages, particularly when adjacent land-owning families came together with the marriage of William Usborne and Constance Toke in the 1720's. William's younger brother Edward (1705-1765) was the most prominent and successful of the family. He made his fortune in the City of London as a goldsmith and banker, dividing his time between his house in Ludgate Hill and Loddenden. Between 1732 and 1737 he bought out his brothers' share of Loddenden. The Leeds coat of arms is displayed on his tomb under the altar in Staplehurst Church. In his will (proved in 1765) his substantial fortune is divided between his wife, Mary, and relations. In addition to a life interest in his numerous properties, Mary gets £3,000 stock in New South Seas Annuities as well as his post chariot and horses, plate, jewels, china and farm stock.
An entry in the Staplehurst parish register reads "Edward Usborne, Esq., in his lifetime gave a new silver flagon and patten and repaired the old cup, at the expense of twenty three pounds and wainscoated the chancel, gave a new altarpiece, communion table and rails for the table and cushions round ye rails at the expense of seventy six pounds and upwards".
The last resident in direct Usborne line was Elizabeth Usborne who died in 1839, aged 95. Edward, her brother, had married a lady called Downing who was 36 years his junior and who survived him 47 years, dying in 1875. The estate then passed to her niece (who she had adopted) Elizabeth Sarah Downing, the daughter of a brother living in Australia. This lady married Major Thomas Starling Usborne (who comes from our tribe). The initials "TEU 1875" on the stable are those of Thomas and Elizabeth Usborne. Thomas Starling died in 1903 and his wife in 1906. Loddenden passed to his niece, Mrs Shaw, who divided the estate and sold it in 1908.
Thus was finally broken the last link with a family which had lived at Loddenden since the days of Edward III. and owned it, at any rate, since the middle of the fifteenth century.
The present owner, Jane