of the family of



The "ancient and knightly" family of Scott resided in the county of Kent from the early fourteenth century to the late eighteenth century. They lived in the vicinity of Smeeth, Brabourne and Chilham, were lineal descendants and representatives of the ancient, but now, in name, extinct Norman family of Balliol, and through them of the Kings of Scotland of Malcolm's line. 3.


These Scotts who claim direct lineal descent from William de Balliol le Scot, lived mostly in Scot's Hall, in Smeeth. They served their King and country over many centuries with loyalty and distinction, and contributed in large amount to the Kings and nobles of the time, and in many cases achieved high office, although surprisingly, none were ever enobled. 3.


The Scot's Hall scrolls, 2, which consist of beautifully illustrated vellums and scrolls complete with coats of arms impaled with the arms of the families of their various spouses, are a measure of the pride of this illustrious family. They certainly were able to marry well, their many connections to the Royal families of the time, and wealthy landowners in that part of England are well recorded in the scrolls and J.R. Scott's "Memorials.." 2, 3, and are graphically displayed in the coats of arms in these documents. According to J R Scott, "There was a time when one could ride from Scot's Hall to London without leaving Scott Property". Some statement !

The following extract from "The Scotts of Scots Hall" gives some idea of the achievements and services to the State by members of this family during the Kentish era., and many of them are immortalised in the magnificent Memorials, Altar, and Stained Glass Windows of Brabourne Church. 3,16

Sir John Scotte

Sir William Scott

of Brabourne, Lord Chief Justice and Knight Marshall of England in the reigns of Edward II, and Edward III. Buried in Brabourne 1350

Sir William Scot

of Scot's Hall, Knight of the shire of Kent, and Sword-bearer to Henry V at Agincourt. d 1433.

Sir Robert Scot

Lieutenant of the Tower of London 1424

Sir John Scotte

Of Scot's Hall, Knight of the Shire, Comptroller of the Household of Edward IV. High Sheriff of Kent, Privy Councillor, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Governor of Dover Castle, Chamberlain to Edward, Prince of Wales (Edward V., murdered in the Tower), and Ambassador to the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne in 1473. d. 1485 He is depicted above in a detail from the Scot's Hall scrolls.

Thomas Scott

(alias Rotherham), b 1423 Cardinal Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England. d 1500

Sir William Scotte

of Scot's Hall, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, High Sheriff of Kent 1491 to 1517, and Governor of Dover Castle temp. Henry VIII.

Sir John Scotte

of Scott's Hall, Knight of the King's Body Guard, Henry VIII. Sheriff of Kent 1528

Sir John Scott

A Judge of the Exchequer, 1530.

Sir Reginald Scott

of Scot's Hall, Captain of Calais Castle, temp. Henry VIII. High Sheriff of Kent 1541-2

Sir Thomas Scott

of Scot's Hall, Knight of the Shire, Commander in Chief of the Kentish Forces at the approach of the Spanish Armada. Commissioner of Dover Harbour 1581, and the draining of Romney March.

Sir John Scott

of Scot's Hall and Nettlestead, Knight of the Shire, implicated in Essex's plot, and confined to the Tower of London temp. Queen Elizabeth

Sir William Scott

Ambassador to Florence, Venice, and Turkey in the reign of James I. d. 1612

Sir Edward Scott

of Scot's Hall, K.B., Knight of the Shire, and a member of the Committee of Safety for the county of Kent during the troubles of King and Parliament. 1649-50

as well as others of distinguished note, who witnessed the decay of their family and fortune in more recent but less troubled times, and thus apparently paid the penalty suggested in the ancient Kentish Proverb, that :

Scot's Hall shall have a fall;
Ostenhangre was built in angre (pride),
Somerfield will have to yielde;
And Mersham Hatch shall win the Match."

All were large estates in Kent at that time.

Scot's Hall eventually fell into decay along with the decaying family fortunes, and was demolished in 1808. 3

The Church of ST MARY THE VIRGIN, Brabourne

One of the owners of Scot's Hall in the days when it 'rivaled the most splendid houses in Kent' in Elizabethan times, was Sir Thomas Scott, Lawyer, Superintendent of the improvement of Dover harbour, and commissioner of the draining of Romney Marsh, and improving the breeds of horses in England. He seemed quite an affable fellow judging by the poem, probably written by his famous cousin Reginald, and depicted in the "Sir Thomas" page. 3,10 Sir Thomas had four wives and seventeen children.

In the same period Thomas Scott's cousin, Reginald Scot, whose "Discoverie of Witchcraft" is a famous book which gives an eye-opening exposure of the beliefs and superstitions of that time. He, with an insight far in advance of his age sought to stay the hideous persecution which, especially in rural districts, made any lonely aged person (and many others) liable to a charge of witchcraft with but the rarest opportunity of escape from consequent barbarities. It is said that this book was used as a reference by Shakespeare. 10

At that time it was a common belief that :

"They sacrifice their owne children to the divell before baptisme, holding them up in the aire unto him, and then thrust a needle into their braines . . .They use incestuous adulterie with spirits . . . They eate the flesh and drinke the bloud of men and children openlie . . . They kill mens cattel . . . They bewitch mens corne . . . They ride and flie in the aire, bring stormes, make tempests . . . They use venerie with a divell called Incubus and have children by them, which become the best witches." 11

Many of this Reginald's contemporaries hailed his reasonable exposure of unreasonable superstition with joy, for, as one of them put it, he "dismasketh sundry egregious impostures, and in certaine principall chapters, and speciall passages hitteth the nayle on the head with a witnesse".

James the VI of Scotland described the work as "damnable," and on becoming James I. of England the same bigoted and pedantical monarch ordered all copies of the "Discoverie" to be burnt. 10 In spite of this there seems little doubt that this book was largely instrumental in changing the thinking which eventually ended wichcraft in England and Scotland. Happily it has been reprinted several times since, and is available on the Internet in paperback from

The same Reginald (sometimes spelled Reynold) published his first book; "A Perfect Platforme of a Hoppe-Garden" in 1574, which led to the establishment of hop-harvesting in Kent. To this day, hops are still one of Kent's major agricultural products.

* The line of descent from the Scot's Hall Scotts to the Norfolk Scotts is still being researched for confirmation of the information I have assembled.