22nd July 1591. Thicker than Mortar.
The Durtnall Family, whose building company is still in existence in 2015, appears to have held land on Rectory Lane overlooking Braston, Kent, village green since 1496.(1)
Nearly a century later, when Raleigh was discovering tobacco and the Armada was being vanquished, when Shakespeare was putting quill to paper, we note that Today in 1591, John Dartnall of Brasted, married Ann Hearst and registered his trade as a carpenter.(2)
The year 1591, also saw a carpenter John building a timber, rectangular-boxed-framed house, at Poundsbridge in the Medway Valley, Kent, with the help of his brother Bryan.
They spent two years on the building, for their father William, Rector of Penshurst (1524-96, who seems to have ingratiated himself into becoming a minor member of the Court of Henry VIII.
The builders’ uncle Robert ‘Darknell’, who died in 1562 appears to have been elected as one of two burgesses to a ‘packed’ Parliament, for Canterbury, which decided on the fate of the monasteries and later involved in buying and selling monastic land.(3)
The Durtnalls as carpenters built timber frames of Carpentum (wagons), and excelled in buildings, carts, ploughs and wagons at Westerham, Kent.
They would have been well qualified to build Poundsbridge Manor started in 1591 and completed in 1593, a date inscribed in the stucco inside a diamond of Tudor wooden beams.
Poundsbridge Manor, originally called ‘Durtnolls’ probably by William Dartnoll Rector (1563-1596) over the centuries fell into disrepair, and once split in two, with an inn in one half. In World War II being situated in ‘bomb-alley’, it suffered damage, but restored to its original beauty.
Durtnall’s is in 2015 reckoned as Britain’s oldest building concern, and still based in Brasted, Kent as Richard Durtnell & Son and doing ‘high-end’ work for various authorities.
(1) The family name previously, was spelt variously: Darcknoll, Dutnall, Datnell and Dartnoll.
(2) John Dartnell (1555-1610).
(3) The first spelling of the name is recorded in the mid 15thc as Darkynhole in 1435 (Streatfield Mss). William Darknold 1505 is recorded in ‘Testamenta of Cantiana’ of Kent.
Ref: William T. O’Hara 2004/books.google.co.uk.
Ref: Kent Life 24.4.2009.
Ref: bbc.co.uk/news/magazine. Pic. Image of Yard. Lucy Wallis 15.1.2014.
Ref: googleimages/pic of house.