IS the next parish northward from Lamberhurst,
a small part of it is within the borough of Rugmerhill, which lies at the western side of it adjoining to
that of Brenchley, and is as such within the antient
demesne of the manor of Aylesford, and consequently
exempt from the jurisdiction of this hundred.
A small part of this parish is said to be within the
hundred of Larkfield.
THE PARISH OF HORSEMONDEN is situated much
like that of Lamberhurst last described. being a surface of continued hill and dale. It is bounded towards the north-east and south by different streams of
the river Medway, which flow from hence, and join
the main river at Yalding, besides which it is watered
by two other smaller rivulets, and several lesser springs
interspersed over it, all which join the larger stream
on the southern side of the parish. It is full four
miles in length from north to south, but its breadth
is but small, in some places not more than one, and
in its broadest part not more than two miles. The
high road from Maidstone through Yalding to Lamberhurst and Sussex, runs through the whole length
of the parish; that from Watringbury over Brandt
bridge through Brenchley towards Goudhurst crosses
this parish and the other road, at a small green called
Horsemonden-heath, which is built round with
houses, forming the only village in the parish, the
rest of the houses being dispersed singly over different
parts of it. The soil, near the high road, is in general
a sand intermixed with the rock or sand stone, the remainder is a deep stiff clay, exceeding miry in wet
weather. It is much interspersed with coppice woods
of oak, especially on the west and north sides of it,
where the soil abounds with iron ore; the whole is
much covered with fine spreading oak trees, which
here from the soil being very kindly to their nourishment grow to a large size, and become sometimes
nearly equal in value to the freehold of the estates.
The church stands, with the parsonage, about a
quarter of a mile distant from it, very near the southeast boundary of the parish. In the upper part of itnear the river is a seat called Baynden, late belonging
to Sir Charles Booth, of Stede-hill, deceased.
A fair is held here on St. Swithin's day, now by
the alteration of the style on July 26, for cattle, pedlery and toys.
THE MANOR of Horsemonden was part of the antient possessions of the archbishopric of Canterbury,
the archbishop holding it of the king in capite as
one knight's fee, of whom it was again held by
the noble family of Clare, earls of Gloucester and
It appears by the inquisitions returned into the exchequer in the 13th and 14th years of king John,
of the knights fees and other services held in capite,
that this place was then in the possession of the family
of Albrincis, (fn. 1) one of whom, William de Albrincis, or
Averenches, dying s. p. Maud, his sister, at length
became her brother's heir, and entitled her husband,
Hamo de Crevequer, to the possession of it. He died
in the 47th year of king Henry the IIId.'s reign, before which however, this manor seems to have passed
in marriage with one of his daughters, Elene, to Bertram de Criol.
In the 42d year of king Henry III. there was a
composition entered into between archbishop Boniface
and Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester, in relation
to the customs and services which the archbishop
claimed on account of the lands, which the earl held
of him in Tunbridge, Horsemonden, and other places
in this county, by which it was agreed that the earl
should do homage, and the service of one knight's
see for the manor of Horsemonden, and suit at the
court of the archbishop and his successors at Canterbury.
In the 8th year of king Edward II. this manor was
part of the possessions of the family of Rokesle, the
heirs of Roger de Rokesle then holding it of the honor of Clare; one of these was Sir Richard de Rokesle,
who died without male issue, leaving by his wife
Joane, sister and heir of John de Criol, son of Bertram above-mentioned, two daughters his coheirs;
of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings; and Joane, the youngest, first Hugh de Pateshull, and secondly Sir William le Baud, each of
whom in her right became possessed of this manor,
and the latter of them died possessed of it in the 4th
year of king Edward III. His widow, in the 20th
year of that reign, paid aid for it, being then held of
the earl of Gloucester.
After which, although their son, Sir William Baud,
seems to have had some interest in this estate, at his
death in the 50th year of that reign, yet on hers, the
manor itself came to her nephew Michael, son of
Thomas de Poynings above mentioned, by Joane de
Rokesle her sister, in whose descendants it continued
down to his grandson Robert de Poynings, who died
in the 25th year of king Henry VI. leaving Alianore,
the wife of Sir Henry Percy, lord Percy, eldest son of
Henry, earl of Northumberland, daughter of Richard de Poynings, his eldest son, who died in his
life-time, his next heir; upon which the lord Percy,
in her right, became entitled to this manor, and from
him it continued down to Henry, earl of Northumberland, who died without issue in the 29th year of
Henry the VIIIth.'s reign. The year before which,
he by deed, granted to the king, all his manors, castles
and estates, (fn. 2) although the year before this, an act had
passed for assuming to the king all his lands and possessions, in case of failure of heirs of his body.
This manor thus coming to the crown, stayed not
many years there, for the king in his 36th year,
granted it to Stephen Darell, esq. and Agnes his wife,
to hold in capite. He died in the 2d year of queen
Elizabeth, after which his two sons, Henry and
George successively, possessed it, the latter of whom
in the 10th year of that reign, alienated this manor to
Richard Payne, who anno 17 queen Elizabeth, levied
a fine of it, and some time afterwards alienated it to
William Beswicke, esq. of Spelmonden, in this parish,
sheriff in the year 1616. He was son of William
Beswicke, alias Berwicke, alderman and lord-mayor of
London, the son of Roger Beswicke, of Cheshire.
They bore for their arms, Gules, three bezants, a chief
or. His son, Arthur Beswicke, was of Spelmonden,
and married Martha, daughter of Laurence Washington, esq. of Maidstone, by whom he left an only
daughter Mary his heir, who in her life-time settled
this manor on Mr. Haughton, descended from those
of Haughton Tower, in Lancashire. He left two
daughters his coheirs, the eldest of whom Anne, carried it in marriage to James Marriott, esq. of Hampton, in Middlesex, who bore for his arms, Barry of
six, or, and sable. His son, of the same name, died
s p. in 1741, and gave it by will to his sister Anne,
for her life, and then to his second cousin, Hugh
Marriott, esq. who died in 1753, leaving by Lydia,
his wife, widow of Dr. Hutton, two sons, James; and
Thomas, slain at the siege of Madras in 1765, and one
daughter Anne. James the eldest son is in holy orders,
and LL. D. He married in 1767, Miss Bosworth,
and is the present possessor of this manor, and other
estates in this parish.
There is no court held for this manor.
SPELMONDEN is an antient seat at the southern
boundary of this parish, which was once possessed by
a family which took its surname from it. John de
Spelmonden, one of the proprietors of it, is frequently
mentioned in the deeds and evidences belonging to
this estate; after they were become extinct here, this
seat became part of the possessions of the eminent family of Poynings, one of whom Michael, son of Thomas de Poynings, by Joane de Rokesle, possessed it at
his death in the 43d year of king Edward III.
He left two sons, Thomas, who died s. p. and Richard, who became his brother's heir, and died possessed of this estate in the 11th year of Richard II.
He was succeeded in it by Robert de Poynings his
only son, at whose death in the 25th year of king
Henry VI. Robert, his younger son, seems to have
inherited Spelmonden, and died in the 9th year of
king Edward IV. His son and heir, Sir Edward Poynings, in the 14th year of that reign, alienated it to
John Sampson, whose son, Christopher Sampson, in
the 37th year of king Henry VIII. passed it away by
sale to Stephen Davell, who afterwards resided here,
and his son, George Darell, in the 10th year of queen
Elizabeth, conveyed it to Richard Payne, of Twyford, in Middlesex, who in the 28th year of it sold
this estate to William Nutbrown, and he next year
alienated it to George Cure, esq. of Surry, from whom
it immediately after was sold to Arthur Langworth,
and from him again as quickly to William Beswicke,
esq. who afterwards resided here, and was sheriff in
1616. Since which this seat has passed in like man
ner as the manor of Horsemonden down to the Rev.
Dr. Marriott, who is the present possessor of it.
LEWIS-HEATH is a manor situated in the centre of
this parish, which was antiently part of the possessions
of the family of Groveherst, or Grotherst, one of
whom, John de Grotherst, rector of this church, as
his epitaph still remaining in it informs us, gave this
manor of Leueshothe to the abbot and convent of
Begeham, to find one perpetual chaplain to celebrate
in the church of Horsemonden and chapel of Leueshothe; and it continued part of the possessions of
that abbey till the dissolution of it in the 17th year of
king Henry VIII. who that year granted it with all its
possessions, among which was this manor, to cardinal
Wolsey, for the better endowment of Cardinal's college, in Oxford; but on his being cast in a præmunire, about four years afterwards, all the estates of that
college, which, for want of time, had not been firmly
settled on it, came into the king's hands, where this
manor lay till queen Elizabeth, in the beginning of
her reign, granted it to Anthony Brown, viscount
Montague, who, as appears by the inquisition taken
after his death, died possessed of it in 1593. He was
succeeded in it by his eldest son and heir, who not
long afterwards alienated it to William Beswicke,
esq. of Spelmonden, in this parish, since which it has
passed in like manner as that seat, and the rest of his
estates in this parish, to the Rev. Dr. Marriott, the
present possessor of it.
SPRIVERS is a manor situated on the western side
of this parish, which had antiently owners of that
surname, one of whom, Robert Sprivers, died possessed of it in 1447, anno 26 Henry VI. and by his
will devised it to his son of the same name. After
this family was become extinct here, the Vanes became proprietors of it, from whom it passed into the
name of Bathurst.
Robert Bathurst possessed this manor and resided
here in the reign of queen Elizabeth. He was second
son of Laurence Bathurst, of Staplehurst, whole eldest son Edward was ancestor of the Bathursts, of
Franks, in this county, under which more may be
seen of them. Robert Bathurst, above-mentioned,
was ancestor by his first wife to those of Letchlade, in
Gloucestershire, and of Finchcocks and Wilmington,
in this county, and by his second wife of those of
Richmond, in Yorkshire; soon after this it was alienated to Malbert, and from thence again, after no
long intermission, to Morgan, in which name it remained till it was sold to Holman, whose descendant
Anne Holman, in 1704, passed it away by sale to Mr.
Courthope, who bore for his arms, Or, a fess azure
between three estoils sable. Some account of the different branches of whose family has already been given
before under Brenchley. That branch of it, from
which the Courthopes of Danny, in Sussex, and those
of Horsemonden were descended, was seated at Goddards-green, in Cranbrook, in the reign of king
Henry VIII. one of whom, Alexander Courthope, of
Cranbrook, possessed lands there, in Biddenden, and
Maidstone, as appears by his will in the Prerogativeoffice, Canterbury, as early as the year 1525.
Mr. Courthope, the purchaser of this estate, left
by his wife, one of the sisters of Edward Maplesden,
of Cheveney, in Marden, a son, Alexander, and five
daughters, who all died unmarried, except Barbara,
who married Mr. Cole, of Marden, and died in 1783,
by whom she had two surviving sons, Peter and John.
Alexander Courthope, esq. the son, rebuilt the mantion house of Sprivers at some distance from the antient
one, and afterwards resided in it with true old English
hospitality, and with a reputation of the highest integrity. He died unmarried in 1779, and by his
will gave this manor, with the estate belonging to it,
to his nephew, John Cole, esq. the present possessor,
who resides in it.
A court baron is regularly holden for this manor.
Grovehurst is a manor which lies on the eastern
side of this parish, and was in very early times part
of the possessions of a family who took their surname
from it. William Grovhurst died possessed of it, with
Puleyns in this parish, (now the property of the Rev.
Richard Bathurst, late of Finchcocks in Goudhurst)
in the 7th year of king Edward III; his descendant
Richard Groveherst left three daughters his coheirs,
one of whom, Anne, carried this manor in marriage,
about the latter end of the reign of king Richard II.
to Richard Hextall, of Hextalls-court in East Peckham. His eldest son William, in the beginning of
king Henry VI.'s reign, increased his property in this
parish by the purchase of four estates here, called
Hothe, Smeeths, Capell, and Augustpitts. He left
Margaret his sole daughter and heir, who carried them
in marriage to William Whetenhall, esq commonly
called Whetnall, whose descendant of the same name,
was sheriff in the 18th year of king. Henry VIII.'s
reign, and in the 31st year of it procured his lands to
be disgavelled by the act passed that year.
His descendant, Henry Whetenhall, in the reign
of king James I. passed away the manors of Grovehurst, Hoathe, Smeethe, and Capell, (for that of
Augustpitts had been before sold off, being now the property of Mr. John Osborne, who resides at it,) together with a seat in this parish, called Broadford,
situated near the bridge of that name over the river
here, to Francis Austen, the fifth son of Mr. John
Austen, of this parish, who dying in 1620, was buried
in this church, where his arms still remain, viz. Or,
on a chevron sable three plates, between three lions paws
erect and erased, sable. He afterwards resided at
Grovehurst, of which he died possessed in 1687, and
was buried here. He left a son, John Austen, who
was likewise of Grovehurst, where he died in 1705,
and was buried here. His son; John Austen, esq.
resided at Broadford, and died the year before him,
leaving six sons and one daughter, of whom John,
the eldest, became his grandfather's heir to his estates
in this parish, and Francis, the second son, was father
of Francis Motley Austen, esq. now of Sevenoke in
John Austen, esq. the eldest son, was of Broadford,
and married Mary, daughter and coheir of Stephen
Stringer, esq. of Goudhurst, by whom he had John
Austen, esq. now of Broadford, who married Miss
Joanna Weekes, of Sevenoke, by whom he has one
daughter Mary, and he is the present possessor of these
manors and estates.
There is a court baron regularly held for the manors of Grovehurst, Hoathe, and Smeethe.
BADMONDEN is a reputed manor in this parish,
in which there was formerly a cell, but not conventual, belonging to the priory of Beaulieu, in Normandy; in which situation it continued till the general suppression of the alien priories throughout England, in the 2d year of king Henry V. anno 1414,
when their houses and possessions were in parliament
given to the king and his heirs, who the next year
gave it to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester,
where it remained till the dissolution of that society
in 1540; when all the rents and revenues of it were
surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation
charter in his 33d year, settled it on his new-founded
dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom the inheritance of it remains at this time.
The manor of East Farleigh and East Peckham
claims over this part of Horsemonden; the freeholders in Badmonden holding their lands of it in free
BRAMBLES is a small manor in this parish, which
was heretofore the property of Mr. John Barnes, and
now belongs to Mr. Usherwood.
A court baron is held for this manor.
The manor of Gillingham claims over the tithing
or hamlet of Baveden, in this parish, being one of
the four denns in the Weald holden of that manor,
the freeholders holding their lands of it in free socage
WILLIAM WYKES gave by will in 1682, for the maintenance of the poor in land, vested in trustees, the yearly produce of 14l. 6s. 6½d.
LADY ABERGAVENNY gave by will for the like purpose, in
money and jewels, which were recovered by a decree in chancery in 1618, and laid out in the purchase of two farms, one
in Tunbridge, of the clear annual produce of 19l. 16s. 5d. the
other in Ticehurst, of 7l. 8s.
The number of poor constantly relieved here is yearly about
fifty, those casually twenty.
HORSEMONDEN is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of
The church is dedicated to St. Margaret; it is a
handsome building; in it are memorials of Groshurst,
Browne, Austen, Courthope and Campion, and in
the chancel, on the south side, a fair altar tomb, without the appearance of having ever had any inscription
on it. Over the west door are the arms of Poynings
and Fitzpaine; one of the former might very probably be the builder, or at least a considerable benefactor to the building of it.
It is valued in the king's books at 26l. 3s. 9d. and
the yearly tenths at 2l. 12s. 4½d.
The patronage of this church was, from the earliest
time, an appendage to the manor of Horsemonden,
and consequently has had the same proprietors. There
are two small manors annexed to it, called the manors
of Hasellets alias Radmanden, and Cossington alias
Heyden, for which there are court barons held—These, with the rectory, are now part of the possessions of the Rev. Dr. Marriot, lord of the manor of
Robert de Grosshurst, of Horsemonden, in 1338,
founded a perpetual chantry in this church, in the
chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built in honor of
her annunciation in the north part of it, to the praise
of God, and for the souls of himself, his wife, &c.
And he ordained, that after the first vacancy, the
parishioners should nominate the priest of it, to be
presented to the bishop of Rochester, to be instituted
and inducted into the said chantry. The priest to reside constantly, and to celebrate daily in it, according
to the rules therein mentioned. And he ordained,
that Sir William Langford, the first priest, and his
successors, perpetual chaplains of it, should receive
yearly for their maintenance, and the burthens incumbent on it, from the abbot and convent of Boxley, six marcs sterling yearly rent, which he had purchased of them for the endowment of it. Anno 1445,
the bishop directed his official, &c. to enquire by inquisition, among other matters, concerning the dotation and endowment of this chantry, when it was returned that it consisted in six marcs annual rent
from the abbot of Boxlay, of forty shillings annual
rent from lands in the parish of Merden, granted to
the chaplain for a term of years, and in one messuage
and gardens of the value of twelve-pence, and in rent
in Horsemonden of six shillings per annum; and
that the house of the chantry was so much out of repair, that six marcs would scarce be sufficient to put
it in good repair; and that thus the true value of this
chantry, the burthens belonging to the chaplain of it
being borne by him, amounted according to their
estimation to eight marcs per annum.
Sir Edward Poynings gave twenty-four acres of
land to the maintenance of lights in this church;
from whence they obtained their present name of
Torchfield. (fn. 3)
In the year 1701, this church was repaired by the
aid of a brief collected for that purpose.
Church of Horsemonden.
|Or by whom presented.|
|John de Groshurst. (fn. 4) |
|John Wickham, in 1587. (fn. 5) |
|Jeffry Amherst, D. D. sequestered in 1643. (fn. 6) |
|John Crouch, A. M. sequestered
in 1653. (fn. 7) |
|Edward Rawson, 1653, ejected
1662. (fn. 8) |
|John Crouch, restored in 1662. (fn. 9) |
|Stephen Bate, obt. October 22,
|William Hassel, A. M. inslit.
Oct. 19, 1724, obt. March
3, 1785, æt. 90.|
|Upon his own peninon||James slarriott, LL. D. 1785,
the present rector.|