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Surnames - C

Caine, Sir Hall

Hall Caine (1853-1931) the Victorian author of novels, including The Manxman, The Deemster, The Eternal City etc, lived at Aberleigh Lodge, Upton, Welling. For a 30-year period after 1890 his novels sold in hundreds of thousands. His plays were also successful and he was easily the highest paid author of his day. His friendship with Rossetti in the artist's final years also gives him a claim to fame although he was a notorious self-publicist and his own accounts of his life were sometimes 'variable'. He lived with Mary Chandler, a 13-year-old girl, let it be assumed that they were married (then not illegal), and had a son by her when she was still only 14. They actually married in 1886 when Mary was 17, although Caine, then aged 33, declared her age as 23 so as not to offend his chapel-going parents.

'Capability' Brown

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-83), the landscape gardener, designed gardens at North Cray Place in 1782 and is believed to have advised on the setting-out of parts of the Danson estate. He acquired his nickname from his habit of telling potential clients that their gardens had 'great capabilities'. Brown was immensely sought after and it is believed he was responsible for more than 170 gardens and estates. He has been criticised for destroying the works of previous generations of gardeners by sweeping away the past to create new landscapes. His vision was of wide, green undulating lawns with sinuous bands and groups of trees planted to appear natural. In later life he was appointed head gardener at Hampton Court, though he continued his private work.

Castlereagh, Lord

Robert Stewart (1769-1822), 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, known until 1821 by the courtesy title Viscount Castlereagh, retired to Loring Hall (later Wollet Hall), Water Lane, North Cray, where, suffering from depression, he committed suicide by cutting his throat with a letter opener. Born in Dublin, he managed Britain's foreign policy between 1812-22. He planned Napoleon's defeat, represented Britain at the Congress of Vienna and attempted to introduce a system of five major powers managing European affairs, which failed because of irreconcilable differences between the nations. He was closely involved with the Irish Act of Union and set the boundary between Canada and the USA. He simultaneously occupied the posts of Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Leader of the House.

Champneys, Sir John

Sir John Champneys (1495-1556), was City of London Sheriff in 1522 and Lord Mayor in 1534. He began the building of Hall Place, Bexley, about 1537. The son of Robert Champneys of Chew, Somerset, he was a member of the Skinners' Company. A contemporary chronicler noted that he was blind. He is buried at St Mary the Virgin, Bexley.

Cope, Wendy

Wendy Cope, the poet, author and humorist was born at Erith in 1945. Her parents owned Mitchells of Erith, formerly a large store in the town. In a BBC Radio 4 poll in 1998 she was the listeners' choice to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate. Educated at Farringtons School, Chislehurst, she went on to read history at St Hilda's College, Oxford. Her books of poetry include Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, 1986, Serious Concerns, 1992, and If I don't Know, 2001. She has also edited several anthologies of comic verse. She has been compared to Philip Larkin because of the bathos in much on her work, though she shows much more warmth and humanity in her treatment of ordinary English life.

Crawford, Michael

Michael Dumbell-Smith, known as Michael Crawford, the actor, was born in 1942 in Salisbury, but after his mother's re-marriage in 1945 he came to live in Bexleyheath where his stepfather managed David Greig's grocery store. He has worked on radio, television, stage and film. He became a household name as Frank Spencer in the TV series Some Mothers Do 'ave 'em which ran from 1973-8. He has appeared on the West End and Broadway stage in musicals such as Phantom of the Opera and Barnum. He was awarded the OBE and named Variety Club's Show business Personality of the year. His first notable public appearance was aged seven as a choirboy at St Paul's Cathedral. He played Sammy in a school production of Benjamin Britten's Let's Make an Opera and was later hired by Britten to play the same role in a professional production at the Scala Theatre in London's West End, alternating with another boy.