It has been suggested that Scadbury was first recorded in legal documents as Scadebir’ in 1254, later as Scadbery, and comes from the Old English Sceaða meaning the manor of thieves or criminals. This however is a rather fanciful idea, it is in fact named after the de Scathebury family who became resident Lords of the Manor of Scadbury in the mid-13thCentury. There is evidence of a manor house being here much earlier. By 1301, the de Scathebury’s had prospered with John de Scathebury becoming the richest man in the parish of Chislehurst. His accumulated wealth being valued at £22 3s far outstripping the next wealthiest, Hornchurch Priory, their valuation being £6 10s 2d. John de Scathebury’s son, also called John, married Christina de Hadresham (from a wealthy Surrey family), but died childless. Christina re-married, and in 1369 Scadbury Manor was sold to John de Hadresham, thought to be her nephew, for 100 marks of silver. There is no mention of the manor until 1425, when it was sold to Thomas Walsingham and his wife Margaret. In 1597, Queen Elizabeth I visited Scadbury.
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