THE next parish northward from Merston is
HIGHAM, which in antient records is variously written
Hecham, Hegham, and Heabham.
It was from the reign of king Stephen till about the
reign of king Edward III. frequently called Lillechurch,
alias Higham; the former of which names it took from
a manor or ville in this parish, where a priory was
built, but in later times it seems to have been called by
its former name of Higham only, that of Lillechurch
being entirely omitted.
THIS PARISH is situated on the north side of the
London high road, nearly opposite to Shorne. It lies
low adjoining to the marshes, the river Thames being
its northern boundary, of course the air is very unhealthy, and much subject to intermittents, a satality
which attends in general all those parishes, which lie
on the north side of the high London road as far as
Canterbury, and thence again to the uplands of the Isle
of Thanet. Higham is about four miles in extent
from north-west to south-east, and but little more
than a mile in breadth. The surface is slat, and the
soil in general very fertile, excepting towards the eastern part of it, where it is high ground and light land.
The village and church stand close to, and entirely exposed to the marshes, which comprehend nearly one
half of the parish. The nunnery, now called the Abbey, was situated not far from the east end of the
church, where the farm-house, of which the sides and
back part are built of stone, with windows of a gothic
orm, discovers marks of some antiquity, and seems to
have been a part of the abbey, but it is supposed to have
been only a part of some of the offices, (fn. 1) there being in
the field on the south side many appearances of foundations, and contiguous to the farm-yard there remains some part of the thick stone wall covered with
ivy, being the inclosure of the abbey, and was carried
quite round the yard. About a mile from the church,
near the road to Cliff, is Lillechurch-house, where the
priory or abbey of Higham, as it is now called, is supposed to have been first erected; behind the garden of
which, in a field called Church-place, many human
bones have been found. At the east end of the parish,
in the road from Frindsbury to Cliff, is the estate of
Mockbeggar, and on the submit of the hill southward,
The mansion of Hermitage, below which, in the flat
country, at an equal distance from the church, is the
manor and hamlet of Higham-ridgeway, a name
plainly derived from the antient causeway through it,
leading towards the river. Plautius, the Roman
general, under the emperor Claudius, in the year of
Christ, 43, is said to have passed the river Thames
from Essex into Kent, near the mouth of it, with his
army, in pursuit of the flying Britons, who being acquainted with the firm and fordable places of the river,
passed it easily. (fn. 2) This passage is considered to have been
from East Tilbury, in Essex, across the river to Higham. (fn. 3)
Between these places there was a ferry on the river for
many ages after, the method of intercourse between
the two counties of Kent and Essex for all these parts,
and it continued so till the dissolution of the abbey here;
before which time, Higham was likewise the place for
shipping and unshipping corn and goods in great quantities from this part of the county to and from London
and elsewhere. The probability of this having been a
frequented ford or passage in the time of the Romans,
is strengthened by the visible remains of the raised
causeway, or road, near thirty feet wide, leading from
the Thames side through the marshes by Higham,
southward to this ridgeway before-mentioned, and
thence across the London high road on Gads-hill to
Shorne ridgeway, about half a mile beyond which it
joins the Roman Watling-street-road, near the entrance
into Cobham park.
In the pleas of the crown in the 21st year of king
Edward I. the prioress of the nunnery of Higham
was found liable to maintain a bridge and causeway that led from Higham down to the river
Thames, in order to give the better and easter passage
to such as would ferry from hence over into Essex.
This parish, among others in this neighbourhood,
was antiently bound to contribute to the repair of the
ninth pier of Rochester bridge, as the manor of Okely
was to the fourth pier of it. (fn. 4)
In queen Elizabeth's reign there was a fort or bulwark at Higham for the defence of the river Thames,
under the direction of a captain, soldiers, &c. (fn. 5)
HIGHAM was part of the possessions with which
William the Conqueror enriched his half-brother, Odo,
bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, under the general
title of whose lands, it is thus entered in the book of
Domesday, taken in the year 1080.
The same Adam holds Hecham of the bishop (of
Baieux). It was taxed at 5 sulings. The arable land
is 12 carucates. In demesne there are 3 carucates, and
24 villeins, with 12 borderers having 6 carucates and
an half. There are 20 servants, and 30 acres of meadow. There is a church, and 1 mill of 10 shillings, and
a fishery of 3 shillings, and in Exesle pasture for 200 sheep.
In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth
12 pounds, and afterwards 6 pounds, now 15 pounds.
In the time of king Edward, Goduin, the son of Carli
and Toli, held this land for two manors.
These were the two manors of Higham and Lillechurch, which on the disgrace of bishop Odo, about
four years afterwards, were with the rest of his estates,
consiscated to the crown, where they remained till
king Stephen, together with Matilda his queen, in the
14th year of his reign, gave them by the name of the
manor of Lillechurch, with its appurtenances, under
which name both manors seem then to have been comprehended, being part of her inheritance, with other
premises, to William de Ipre, in exchange for the manor for Fauresham.
KING STEPHEN afterwards founded a NUNNERY, of
the Benedictine order, at Lillechurch in Higham, (fn. 6) to
which his daughter, the princess Mary, as is mentioned
in a deed, retired cum monialibus suis quas tanquam in
proprietate sua recepit. (fn. 7) She afterwards became abbess
After the death of king Stephen, William de Ipre
above mentioned, earl of Kent, was, with the rest of
the Flemish, of whom he was principal, forced to
abandon this kingdom, and their estates were all seized,
by which this manor came again to the crown; but in
the 6th year of king John, the nuns gave the king
one hundred pounds for his grant of the manor of Lille
cherche; after which, king Henry III. in his 11th
year, granted and confirmed to the abbey of St. Mary
of Sulpice, in Bourges, and to the prioress and nuns
of Lillecherche, that manor, in pure and perpetual alms,
with all its appurtenances, and all liberties and free
customs belonging to it, by which it should seem that
this house had then some dependence on that abbey;
and he further granted to the prioress and nuns, to have
one fair at Lillecherche for three days yearly, on the
day of St. Michael, and two days afterwards; and that
they should possess them, and in like manner as the
grant, which they had of his father, king John, plainly
testified. (fn. 8)
King Henry, in his 50th year, granted to the prioress
and nuns of Lillechurch an exemption from the suit
they were yearly used to make at his court of the honor
of Boloigne, at St. Martin the Great in London, for
their demesne lands in the manor of Lillecherche.
King Edward I. in his 16th year, confirmed the above
fair to the prioress and nuns there.
This monastery was subject to the visitation of the
bishops of Rochester; and accordingly Hamo de Heth,
bishop of Rochester, in 1320, visited it, and professed
eight nuns here; as he did again in 1328, when he
buried Joane de Hadloe, prioress of this house, and he
afterwards confirmed Maud de Colcestre prioress in
her place, at Greenwich. At what time this priory
was removed from Lillechurch, where it was certainly
first built, to where the ruins are still visible, near the present church of Higham, is no where mentioned, nor is
there any clue leading to discover it. That it was so
those ruins, as well as the change of the name of it,
are convincing proofs; nor is there any thing further
worth mentioning relating to it till king Henry VII's
reign, at which time the manors of Higham and Lillecherche, with their lands and appurtenances, conti
nued in the possession of the prioress; in the 17th year
of which reign, this house was become almost deserted,
for it appeared then, on the election of a prioress, that
there were only a sub-prioress and two nuns belonging
to it, though there had been in former times sixteen
belonging to it. Soon after which, in 1548, Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby, having begun
the foundation of St. John's college, in Cambridge,
died, and left her executors to carry on the design;
one of these was John Fisher, bishop of Rochester,
who being himself a learned man, and greatly anxious
for the increase of learning, obtained licence of king
Henry VIII. to dissolve this monastery with that of
Bromhall, in Berkshire, that the lands and revenues of
them might be annexed towards the better support and
maintenance of the above college. (fn. 9) Accordingly,
about the year 1521, these nunneries were dissolved, (fn. 10)
and, with their revenues, were surrendered into the
hands of the crown; three years after which, the master
and fellows of that college obtained, at the instance of
bishop Fisher, of the king and pope Clement VII. these
priories, with their appurtenances, to be transferred
and confirmed for ever to their college, (fn. 11) where the inheritance of the scite of this priory, or abbey as it is
now called, the manor and church of Higham, with
the manor of Lillichurch, and the rest of the lands and
revenues belonging to it here and elsewhere, continue
at this time. The lease of these manors, with the scite
of the abbey, and the lands in this parish belonging to it,
were some years ago purchased by Mr. Rich. Hornsby,
of Horton Kirkby in this county, of Mr. Tho. Peake.
Mr. Hornsby died possessed of it within these few
years, since which his interest in this estate has been
sold to Mr. Thomas Williams and Mr. Thomas Smith,
gent. of Dartford, the former of whom sold it to Mr.
John Prebble, who is the present lessee of them.
Prioresses of Higham.
MARY, daughter of king Stephen, first prioress. (fn. 12)
ALICIA, JOANE, Named in several charters.
ACELINA, anno 50 king Henry III. (fn. 13)
AMPHELICIA, anno 16 king Edward I.
MATILDA, succeeded anno 17 king Edward I.
JOANE DE HADLOE, obt. anno 3 king Edward III. (fn. 14)
MAUD DE COLCESTRE, chosen in her room. (fn. 15)
ELIZABETH, or ISABEL, anno 18 and 31 king Edward III
CECILIA, anno 38 and 52 of the same reign.
JOANE DE COBEHAM, anno 15 and 18 of king Richard II
JOANE SOANE, succeeded anno 19 of the same reign.
ALICE PECKHAM, anno 7 king Henry V.
ISABEL, anno 25 king Henry VI.
ELIZABETA BRADFORTH, resig. anno 17 king Henry VII. (fn. 16)
AGNES SWAINE, succeeded. (fn. 17)
MARGARET HILDERDEN, anno 4 king Henry VIII.
ANCHORET UNGOTHORPE, alias OWGLETHORPE, anno 6
king Henry VIII. She died Jan. 31, anno 12 of the same
reign, after which there was not another prioress elected.
GREAT and LITTLE OKELY are two reputed manors in this parish, which derive their name from ac,
or ake, an oak, and ley, a field, in Saxon, Aclea, a
place in which there is plenty of oaks. In the reign
of king John, John le Brun held half a knight's fee in
Acle, of William de Clovile, as he did of Warine de
Montchensie. (fn. 18)
In the 7th year of Edward I. both these estates
were in the possession of William de St. Clere, (fn. 19) the
former being held, as half a knight's fee, of Warine
de Montchensie, as of his manor of Swanescombe;
and the latter, as half a knight's fee, of the bishop of
Rochester. Soon after which these estates were possessed by two different branches of this family: Great
Okeley descended to Nicholas de St. Clere, from
whom it passed to Walter Neile, who, as well as his
descendants, were lessess to the abbey of Higham, for
great part of their possessions in this parish. One of
his descendants, in the reign of king Henry VII.
alienated it to John Sedley, esq. of Southfleet, in this
county, one of the auditors of the exchequer to that
prince, whose descendant, Sir Charles Sedley, (fn. 20) bart.
in the reign of king Charles II. passed away this manor by sale to Mr. Shales, of Portsmouth, who not
long afterwards sold it to Peter Burrell, esq. of Beckenham, in this county, whose descendant the Right
Hon. Peter lord Gwydir is the present possessor of it.
LITTLE OKELEY manor descended from William
de St. Clere, who possessed it, as has been beforementioned, in the 7th year of king Edward I. to Nicholas de Clere, and from him to John de St. Clere,
who paid respective aid for it in the 20th year of
king Edward III. at making the Black Prince a
knight, as half a knight's fee, held of the bishop of
Rochester. From this family it passed, after some intermission, to that of Cholmeley; one of whom, Sir
Roger Cholmeley of London, died possessed of this
manor, and left it to one of his daughters and coheirs, among other premises. She married Mr. Beckwith, by whom she had one son, Roger, and two
daughters, Elizabeth and Frances, She afterwards
married Christopher Kenne, esq. of Kenne, in Somersetshire, who was possessed of it in her right, anno 22
queen Elizabeth; and then, having levied a fine of
it, sold it to Thompson; and he, in the reign of king
Charles I. alienated it to Best, who passed it away by
sale to Sir Charles Sedley, bart. from whom it went
the same way to Farnham Aldersey, one of whose descendants sold it to Mr. Wm. Gates, gent. of Rochester, on whose death, in 1768, it came to his son of
the same name, and his eldest son, Mr. George Gates,
attorney at law and town clerk of Rochester, died possessed of it s.p. in 1792, and his sisters are now entitled to it.
There are no courts held for either Great or Little
THE HERMITAGE is a pleasant seat in this parish,
situated at almost the south-east extremity of it, about
a mile northward from the London road to Dover.
It stands on a hill, and commands a most extensive
prospect both of the Medway and Thames, the
Channel below the Nore, and a vast tract of country
both in Kent and Essex.
This seat was new built by Sir Francis Head, bart.
who inclosed a park round it (since disparked) and
greatly improved the adjoining grounds. He resided
here, and died possessed of it, with the manor of Higham Ridgway, and other estates in this parish, in
1768, and was buried in a vault in Higham church.
He was descended from Richard Head, of Rochester,
who by Anne, daughter of William Hartridge, of
Cranbrooke, in this county, had issue four sons; of
whom Richard, the second, was advanced to the dignity of a baronet, on June 19, 1676. He had three
wives, first, Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Francis
Merrick, alderman of Rochester, by whom he had
three sons; Francis, of whom hereafter; Henry, who
married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Summers, esq.
and Merrick, D. D. who married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Dixon, D. D. prebendary of Rochester,
by whom he left a daughter, Elizabeth, married to
Theophilus Delangle; Dr. Head was rector of Leyborne and Ulcombe, in this county, and died in 1686,
and lies buried in Leyborne church—And also one
daughter, Elizabeth, married to Sir Robert Faunce,
of Maidstone, in this county. Secondly, Elizabeth,
daughter and coheir of Mr. Willey, of Wrotham, by
whom he had one son, Henry, who married the daughter and coheir of John Dawes, merchant, of London,
by whom he had Dawes Head, ancestor of the present
baronet, now in Virginia; and also two daughters,
Jane, first married to Herbert Price, esq. and afterwards to John Boys, esq. of Hode; and Frances, first
married to Thomas Poley, esq. and afterwards to
Adam Lawry, of Rochester. Thirdly, Anne, daughter of William Kingsley, D. D. archdeacon of Canterbury, and relict of John Boys, esq. by whom he
had no issue.
Sir Richard Head above mentioned, served several
times in parliament for the city of Rochester. He
died in 1689, and lies buried in Rochester cathedral,
having been a good benefactor to the poor of St. Nicholas's parish, in that city.
Francis Head, esq. barrister at law, eldest son of
Sir Richard, married Sarah, only daughter of Sir Geo.
Ent, of London, M. D. who afterwards married Sir
Paul Barrett, by whom he had six children. He died
in his father's life time, in 1678, and was buried in
the chancel of St. Margaret's church, Rochester; and
by his will gave his house, pleasantly situated in St.
Margaret's, to that see, for the residence of the bishop
and his successors. Only two of his children survived
him, viz. Sarah, married to John Lynch, esq. of
Groves; and a son, Francis, who succeeded his grandfather in titles and estate, and resided at Canterbury,
He married Margaret, daughter and coheir of James
Smithbye, esq. by whom he had six sons and three
daughters; he died, and was buried in St. Mildred's
church, in Canterbury, in 1716. Of the above children, only four sons and one daughter survived him,
viz. Sir Richard, his successor, who died unmarried,
in 1721; Sir Francis, of whom hereafter; James
Head, esq. barrister at law, who died unmarried in
1727, and was buried at Ickham, in this county; and
Sir John Head, bart. who was D.D. and prebendary
and archdeacon of Canterbury, and succeeded his
brother, Sir Francis, but died in 1769, without surviving issue, though he was twice married; first, to
Jane, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Peter Leigh, by
whom he had several children, who all died before
him; secondly, in 1751, Jane, sister of Wm. Geekie,
D.D. prebendary of Canterbury, who survived him,
but by whom he had no issue.
Anne, the surviving daughter of Sir Francis Head,
married William Egerton, LL.D. prebendary of Canterbury, and grandson of the earl of Bridgewater.
Sir Francis Head, bart. the son, succeeded his brother Richard in title and in this estate, and having
new built the seat, resided here, as above mentioned.
The arms borne by the family of Head were, Argent, a chevron ermines, between three unicorns heads,
couped sable. (fn. 21)
Sir Francis last mentioned, married Mary, daughter
and sole heir of Sir William Boys, M.D. (by Anne his
wife, daughter of Sir Paul Barrett, sergeant at law,
who married the widow of Francis Head, esq. the
eldest son of the first baronet) by whom he had three
daughters and coheirs; Mary Wilhelmina, married in
1753, to the Hon. Harry Roper, eldest son of Henry
lord Teynham, and died, s.p. in 1758; Anne Gabriel, married first to Moses Mendez, esq. by whom
she had two sons, Francis and James, who both took
the name of Head, and will be hereafter noticed; and
a daughter, who became a nun prossessed in France;
and secondly, in 1760, to the Hon. John Roper,
next brother to Harry Roper above mentioned, by
whom she had no issue, and died in 1771; and Eliza
beth Campbell, married to the Rev. Dr. Lill, of Ireland, since deceased, by whom she had one son, Francis, and three daughters.
On the death of Sir Francis, this seat, with the manor of Higham, Ridgway, and other estates in this
parish, devolved, by settlement, to his widow, lady
Head, who died in 1792, and was buried in the same
vault with her late husband; and this seat, and the
manor and estates above mentioned, descended by
settlement, one fourth part to the widow of Francis
Head, seq. (daughter of Mr. Egerton) re-married to
colonel Andrew Cowell, of the Guards, as guardian
to her only daughter by Mr. Head; another fourth
part to James Roper Head, esq. his younger brother,
who married Miss Burgess, and now resides at the
Hermitage; and the remaining half part, or moiety,
to Elizabeth Campbell, the widow of Dr. Lill; in
which divisions the property of these estates remain
vested at this time.
SIR ANTHONY ST. LEGER, in the reign of king
Edward VI. was possessed of an estate, called the
BROOKES, being marsh lands, with other lands in
Higham; all which, in the 4th year of that reign,
he conveyed to the king. This estate afterwards
came into the possession of the Stuarts, dukes of
Richmond, from whom it is now come, in like manner as Cobham hall, to the Right Hon. John earl of
Darnley, the present possessor of it.
THIS PARISH of Higham has a right of nomination to one
place in the New College of Cobham, for one poor person, inhabitant of this parish, to be chosen and presented so, and by
such as the ordinances of the college have powder to present and
elect for this parish; and if the parish of Halling make default in
their turn, then the benefit of election devolves on this parish.
THOMAS SHAVE gave by will, in 1655, two dozen of bread
to the poor of this parish, to be disposed of every Sunday; for
which purpose he settled the Sun-house, with the yard, and three
acres and three roods of land, now vested in the minister and
churchwardens, feoffees in trust, and of the annual produce of 7l.
HIGHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The
church is dedicated to St. Mary, and consists of two isles
and two chancels, with a slat tower, having two bells.
Among other monuments and memorials in it are the following: In the chancel, a stone with a bend voided between six escallops for William Inglett, B.D. vicar of this parish, ob. Jan. 4,
1659; another, with a chevron between three leaves slipped, for
Mr. Richard Pearson, forty-four years vicar here, obt. Ap. 14,
1710; under an arch, in the south wall, an altar monument for
Anne, wife of Samuel Cordwell, and daughter of Richard Machan, esq. obt. 1642. In the north chancel, by the north wall, on
an altar monument, a brass plate, having three cups covered,
impaling on a chevron three birds heads erased, for Elizabeth Boteler, obt. 1615, wife of Wm. Boteler, esq. of Rochester, daughter
of Sir William Crayford, leaving two sons and two daughters,
Henry, Thomas, Anne, and Elizabeth; another like for Robert
Hylton, late yeoman of the Guards to king Henry VIII. obt.
1529. A memorial for Elizabeth, wife of Robert Parker, of
Shinglewell, who left two sons, Richard and Robert, ob. 1670. (fn. 22)
The church, with its appurtenances, once belonged
to the Benedictine abbey of St. John, in Colchester,
and was granted at the instance of queen Matilda,
wife of king Stephen (that king and his son, earl Eustace, confirming it) by Hugh, abbot, and the convent of that abbey, to the convent of the nuns of
Lillechirche, in exchange for land, of one hundred
shillings value, at East Doniland, in Essex. (fn. 23) Not
withstanding which great disputes afterwards arose between them concerning this church, which was settled
by agreement in the beginning of Edward II.'s reign,
when Walter, abbot of Colchester, and his convent,
gave up to the nuns all their right and title to it. In
consideration of which they granted to the abbot and
convent certain land in Lillecherche, belonging to
this church, of the yearly value of thirty shillings;
and if the land, called Blunteshale, should be made
over to them by the nuns, on the same terms as the
above land was granted to them, then they agreed to
restore the lands of thirty shillings value to the nuns,
and to receive the lands of Blunteshale in exchange
for it of them, which was then confirmed by Gilbert,
bishop of London, and S . . . . . . . . . abbot of St. Alban's,
and the abbot of Colchester above mentioned and his
convent, having, for the purpose of this exchange,
resigned this church into the hands of Walter, bishop
of Rochester, and quitted all kind of claim to it, he
granted and gave the same in alms to Mary, daughter
of king Stephen, and her nuns at Lillechurch, with
all its appurtenances, in as ample and full a manner
as any of their predecessors ever possessed it; and at
the same time, with the consent and good will of
Amselice, then prioress here, endowed the vicarage
of this church as follows: viz. that the chaplain ministering in it should have all obventions of the altar,
exceptiog twenty-four candles, which the nuns should
receive on the day of the purification of the Blessed
Virgin, of the better ones made on that day; and all
legacies, made as well to himself as to the church,
except it was a horse, ox, or cow, which the prioress
and nuns should take; and that he should have all
small tithes arising from the parish, excepting those
from the demesnes of the nuns, and from the food of
their cattle, and except the tithe of wool arising from
the parish; and that he should have yearly six seams
of corn from the nuns, viz. two of wheat, two of barley, and two of oats; of which, two should be paid
to him at the feast of St. Michael, two at the Nativity, and two at the feast of Easter, and forage and
herbage for one horse; and that he should sustain the
burthen of clerks necessary to administer in the
church, of whom one should daily be present at the
greater mass before the said nuns; that the prioress
should pay the synodals, and sustain the other episcopal burthens, saving, nevertheless, in all matters episcopal, the right to the bishop; all which was confirmed by him.
The prioress and convent, in the reign of king Edward III. having begun the repair of this church, pope
Alexander IV. in his 4th year, anno 1357, granted
an indulgence of forty days remission of penance to
all who should contribute to it, by his bull for that
purpose, which was to continue in force for five years.
This church remained with the nunnery till the
dissolution of it, about the year 1521, when it was,
with the other possessions of it, surrendered into the
hands of king Henry VIII. three years after which,
the priory and church, together with all the rents and
revenues belonging to them, were granted by the
king, with the pope's consent, to the master and sellows of St. John's college, in Cambridge; the church,
with its appurtenances, to be held by them in like
manner as it was held before by the prioress and convent, and paying yearly to the bishop of Rochester,
and his successors, 13s. 4d. as an annual pension; and
to the archdeacon and his successors, 7s. 6d. yearly
for ever, as had been accoustomed; and on the vacancy
of the see of Rochester, to the archbishop and his
successors, four shillings for procurations, &c. and also
out of the revenues of the priory twelve pence yearly
on Michaelmas day, in the priory, to the poor people
dwelling and being there for ever. The instrument
of the commissary of the bishop of Rochester, for the
above union and appropriation of the priory and
church of Higham, to the master and fellows of St.
John's college, Cambridge, (fn. 24) is dated in 1523; and
with them the inheritance of the appropriation and
advowson of the vicarage of the church of Higham
continues at this time.
The yearly rent paid by the lessee of this parsonage
to the master and fellows of St. John's, is 5l. 6s. 8d.
in money, six quarters of wheat, three quarters of
malt, and six couple of capons.
About the time of the restoration of king Charles II.
colonel Goodyer was lessee of it, and he sold his interest in it to one Page, who alienated it to Richard
Pearson, A. M. vicar of this parish, who possessed the
lease of it for forty years, and died in 1710, and de
vised his term in it to his nephew, John Pearson, who
by his will devised it to his executors, Richard Pearson and John Till, of Essex, who, in 1738, for one
thousand pounds, sold it to Mr. Tho. Harris, gent.
of Sutton-at-Home. He died possessed of it in 1769,
and by his will devised his interest in the term of this
parsonage to Stephen Dilly, yeoman, whose widow is
the present lessee of it.
The vicarage of Higham is valued in the king's
books at 8l. 10s. and the yearly tenths at 17s. In
the year 1650, this vicarage was valued at 60l. per annum. (fn. 25) The vicar receives all tithes arising within
this parish, excepting corn.
THERE ARE certain lands in Higham, in Okeleyfarm, of which the impropriator of the parsonage takes
but half the tithes (the other half being part of the
portion of tithes belonging to the dean and chapter
of Rochester, of which a further account will be given)
These lands are now called dominical lands, and are
The orchard, below the house, five acres; Barnfield, eight acres; Downefield, elevan acres; Cookfield, eighteen acres; in the whole, forty-two acres.
The impropriator takes the whole tithes of all the
rest of Okeley-farm, as well as of the rest of the parish, excepting one field, called the Homestal, which
belongs to the vicar, and is compounded for at three
pounds and some shillings yearly.
The portion of tithes above mentioned was part
of the antient possessions of the priory of Rochester.
William de Cloeville gave for ever two parts of his
tithe of Acle, now Okeley, to the monks of St. Andrew's, Rochester, in consideration of their having
made his son a monk there; which gift he made with
the consent of Gosfrid Talbot, chief lord of the see. (fn. 26)
Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was consecrated
in 1077, confirmed this donation, as did several of the
succeeding bishops of Rochester, and others. (fn. 27) On the
dissolution of the priory of Rochester, in the reign of
king Henry VIII. this portion of tithes was, together
with the rest of the possessions of that monastery, surrendered into the king's hands in the 32d year of his
reign; who presently after, in his 33d year, settled it,
by his dotation charter, on his new founded dean and
chapter of Rochester, part of whose inheritance it continues at this time.
It appears by the survey of this portion of tithes,
called Odeley portion, taken by order of the state in
1650; on the dissolution of deans and chapters, &c.
that the same was then valued at ten pounds per ann.
improved rent, and was let, anno 6 queen Elizabeth,
by the dean and chapter, to John Sedley, esq. for
ninety nine years, at the yearly rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 28) Peter
Burrell, esq. of Beckenham, died possessed of the lease
of these tithes this year, 1775, and his descendant, the
Right Hon. lord Gwydir, is the present lessee of them.
Church of Higham.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Master and Fellows of St. John's
college, Cambridge.||Henry Bearblocke, A. M. about
1630. (fn. 29) |
|William Inglett, B.D. obt. Jan.
14, 1659. (fn. 30) |
|Richard Pearson, 1666, ob. Ap.
14, 1710. (fn. 31) |
|George Smith, ob. Ap. 17, 1725. (fn. 32) |
|Henry Foche, B.D. inst. May 15,
1725, ob. 1732.|
|Michael Nickins, A.M. inst. Ap.
|Major Nourse, obt. 1759.|
|John Youde, 1771, ob. 1796.|
|Richard Hargraves, A.M. 1796.
Present vicar. (fn. 33) |