Type Coat of Arms
Crest over entrance archway leading through to courtyard of college. It comprises a carved stone cartouche standing in front of a segmental pediment and projecting above it. The shield is divided vertically; on the left is a diagonal cross, painted red, with a gold shell in the centre; on the right are two blue rectangles with gold fleur-de-lys in their centres, and some zigzag decoration at the side. There is scrolled decoration round the shield and a bishop's mitre on top with prominent detailing, including a crown round its base, and ribbons projecting at the side. Beneath the pediment a stone tablet projects carved with the inscription.
On top of the gateposts which front the road, bishop's mitres are carved.
John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, whose residence was in Bromley at Bromley Palace, left £8,500 in his will for the founding of Bromley College as a home for 'twenty poore widowes of orthodoxe and loyall clergymen', as stated on the inscription on the front of the building. Money was also left for maintenance and a chaplain's salary.(1) It was built between 1670 and 1672 to the designs of Richard Ryder, also spelt Rider, a Master Surveyor and Master Carpenter to the Office of Works, who worked with Wren on the rebuilding of London.(2)
Land was acquired in 1669 and the Act authorising the building was passed in 1670. The archway and pediment are in the centre of a long frontage facing the road. The building was originally a single quadrangle in form, and is of red brick with the pediment in stone, supported on Doric half-columns. This style of building developed before the Civil War and was a speciality of masons and bricklayers of the City of London. The college is one of the largest and earliest to survive. Called by Pevsner 'a building of country-wide influence in its time'.(3)
The accommodation was spacious allowing room for each resident to have a servant and preferably an unmarried daughter aswell to attend them.(4)
The arms of the Bishop of Rochester, founder of the College. He was John Warner, chaplain to Charles I, dispossessed under Cromwell, then reinstated as Bishop on the restoration to the throne of Charles II in 1660. He died in 1666.(1)
On projecting tablet immediately below pediment:
DEO ET ECCLESIAE [AE elided] / THIS COLLEGE FOR TWENTY POORE / WIDOWES (OF ORTHODOXE & LOYALL / CLERGYMEN) & A CHAPLIN WAS / GIVEN BY JOHN WARNER LATE LD / BISHOP OF ROCHESTER / 1666
PMSA recording information