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Mount Morris, Monks Horton, Ashford, Kent, England

Joanna Barker

Monk’s Horton is a parish near Hythe in Kent. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the manor of Sherford was sold to Thomas Morris of London. Around 1690 his grandson Thomas Morris built on this site a mansion which he named Mount Morris. He died in 1717 and, since his only son had drowned under London Bridge in 1697 at the age of 23, the property passed to his grandson Morris Drake (1695-1733), son of his daughter Sarah (1673-1731), wife of Robert Drake. Following her husband’s death in 1702, Sarah married Dr Conyers Middleton (1683-1750). As a condition of his inheritance, Morris Drake took the further surname Morris.

Morris Drake’s sister Elizabeth Drake (c.1693-1746) was Elizabeth Montagu’s mother. She inherited Mount Morris from her brother, and on her death it passed through entail to her eldest son, Matthew Robinson (1713-1800), 2nd Baron Rokeby, who took the surname Morris.

Matthew Robinson Morris lived at Mount Morris for over fifty years. He never married and lived as something of a recluse. The property was a few miles from the sea, and he was accustomed to bathing every day in all weathers. He grew his hair and beard to unfashionable length and was rumoured to live on a diet of raw meat. He removed the formal gardens planted by Morris Drake and opened up the park to enable his horses and cattle to roam at will.

Following his death, the property passed to his nephew Morris Robinson (1757-1829), 3rd Baron Rokeby, who also took the surname Morris, and on his death to his brother, Matthew Montagu.

References:

Emily J Climenson, Elizabeth Montagu, the Queen of the Bluestockings, (London: John Murray, 1906), vol. 1, pp. 4-7

Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, (Canterbury: W Bristow, 1799), Vol. 8, pp. 52-63

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol8/pp52-63


Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.