SOUTHWARD from Hadlow lies Capel, so
called from the church of it having been always
esteemed as a chapel only, as it is at this time, to the
church of Tudeley adjoining; though as to its civil
jurisdiction it has always been a distinct parish of itself. Part of it is in the hundred of Wachlingstone,
but the greatest part of it, together with the church,
is within the lowy of Tunbridge.
THIS LITTLE PARISH is situated opposite to Hadlow, on the other or southern side of the river Medway, about a mile from it, it lies obscurely in a
woody country, and is but little known or frequented,
the surface of it is very low and flat, except in the
middle of it, where there is a small rise, on which the
church stands; here the soil is sand and stone, but in
the rest of the parish it is a deep miry clay, the hedge
rows broad, and filled with large and spreading oaks,
which makes it exceeding gloomy. It is a wet place,
full of ponds, and watered besides by two small
streams, on the east and west sides of the parish,
which runs from hence into the Medway; towards
the south it joins to the Southfrith woods and the parish of Pembury.
The manor and borough of Hadlow, in Tunbridge,
claim over that part of this parish which is within the
lowy, which is here called the borough of Hadlow
TATLINGBURY is a manor in this parish, which as
appears by the Book of Knights Fees, taken in the
reign of king Edward I. was part of the possessions of
the prior and convent of Tunbridge. with which it
was surrendered up in king Henry VIIIth.'s reign,
and was given by the king in his 17th year, towards
the endowment of cardinal Wolsey's college, founded
by him in Oxford, (fn. 1) but that great prelate being cast
in a prœmunire, four years afterwards, all the possessions
of the college, which for want of time had not been
firmly settled on it, became forfeited to the crown,
from whence this manor was afterwards granted to
the elder branch of the family of Fane, settled at Badfell, in the adjoining parish of Tudeley, who became
earls of Westmoreland, the last of whom, John, earl
of Westmoreland, died s.p. in 1762, since which it
has, with Mereworth and the rest of his estates in this
county, at length come by the limitations of his will,
to the right hon. Thomas lord le Despencer, the present owner of it.
There are no parochial charities.
The number of poor relieved are about fifty.
CAPEL is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of
The church is dedicated to St. Thomas Becket the
Martyr. The body of it has lately been rebuilt of
brick; the chancel seems very antient. It has a
tower at the west end, with a small spire set on it.
It has long been a chapel annexed to the church of
The rectory of Capel, with the chapel belonging to
it, was antiently part of the possessions of the knights
hospitallers, by whom it was annexed to the jurisdiction of their preceptory of West Peckham.
In the 22d year of king Henry VII. the prior and
brethren of that hospital, let to ferm to Sir Thomas
Starkey, chaplain, their chapel, commonly called
Capel, together with all tithes, lands, and appurtenances, woods and underwoods only excepted, to
hold for his life, he being beneficed in it, paying the
yearly rent of forty shillings to the prior, and duly
serving either by himself, or by some able curate in
his stead, the cure of the chapel, and the parishioners
of it; and further, that he should repair and maintain the mansion of it, and the barn and little stable
belonging to it in a covering of straw, with other covenants therein mentioned.
On the dissolution of the order of knights hospitallers, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. by an
act specially passed for the purpose, their lands and
revenues were given to the king, who that year demised this rectory and chapel of Capel, belonging to
the preceptory or commandry of Peckham, otherwise
called the Chantry Magistrale, together with the mansion of it, and all the messuages, tithes, lands, &c.
belonging to it, to Sir John Baker, at the yearly rent
of four pounds. After which, the fee of this rectory,
with the advowson of the chapel, seems to have been
granted to Sir Ralph Fane, and he, in the 37th year
of the same reign, alienated it to Thomas Stone, of
How it passed back again into the same family of
Fane, I do not find; but it was for some length of
time, together with the above-mentioned manor of
Tatlingbury, possessed by the elder branch of it, earls of
Westmoreland, the last of whom, John, earl of Westmoreland, died s.p. in 1762, since which it has, by
his will, in like manner with the rest of his estates in
this county. at length descended to the right hon.
Thomas, lord le Despencer, the present owner of it.
The vicars of Tudeley serve the cure of this parish
and chapelry, united to that church as before-mentioned.
It is not in charge in the king's books.