Bromley College was founded in 1666 by the Will of John Warner, Bishop of Rochester to provide housing for "twenty poore widowes of orthodoxe and loyall clergiemen." The bishop had been deprived of his see and palace during the Commonwealth, when he spent years moving around the West Country, staying with relative and friends. He knew what is was like to be homeless and decided to use some of his considerable wealth to provide for the widows of clergy who had been killed in the Civil War, supporting the King. John Warner, whose estate in Walsingham in Norfolk is still in the family, and his wife had no children. His sister had married and her two sons became John Warner's heirs, assuming the name Lee-Warner. They became archdeacons in Rochester Diocese.
It was intended that the college should be built in Rochester, near the Cathedral where the residents would be able to worship.
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