Henry Polsted or Polstede (born by 1510 – December 10, 1555) was a 16thCentury landowner and property dealer who was granted lands in Catford in 1548. Born in Surrey, he had made his name in Tudor circles as an able administrator and was soon in charge of Thomas Cromwell’s own finances. His services to Cromwell were varied in nature. He was present when Bishop Fisher was questioned in the Tower of London, helped to take the surrenders of monastic houses in Kent and Sussex, and reported to Cromwell on their condition; he examined suitors to his master and accounted for the issues of the Rolls office. Following Cromwell’s downfall, Polsted came under the king’s service and at various times was a Member of Parliament. The Historyofparliamentonline writes: “One of the most noticeable features of Polsted’s career is his large accumulation of monastic and chantry property. In February 1540 he paid £540 for the priory of Bicknacre, Essex, and in August 1548, with William More, £382 to augmentations for former chantry property in Berkshire, Hampshire, London, Surrey and Sussex. In December 1548, again with More, he purchased for £2,035 chantry lands in Kent, Surrey and Sussex and in the following March, with Sir Anthony Aucher, he paid £2,745 into augmentations for lands in Essex, London, Surrey and Sussex. He had inherited some property in Guildford and its neighbourhood from his father, but alienated much of it before his death.” Among these was the manor of Catford, which had originally belonged to John Poultney, the mayor of London. In 1338 Poultney gave the property to the College of St Lawrence Poultney, which he had established some years earlier in the City, to help with running costs. In 1547 the estate – along with nearby Bellingham manor – was seized by the crown under Henry VIII during his land grab against the church, the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry’s son, Edward VI, held it for a brief while before selling the Catford manor for £2,034 to Henry Polstede, of Surrey, in 1548. The land was inherited by his son, Richard, who having no children of his own passed it to his cousin Francis Polsted in 1578. Francis sold it to Brian Annesley, of Lee, another cousin, and from him it has descended to the Earl of St Germans.
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