LIES next eastward from Milsted, and is usually
called Kingsdown, next Sittingborne, to distinguish it
from a parish of the same name near Farningham.
It is situated obscurely among the hills, on high
ground. The parish is very small, containing only six
hundred acres of land, of which one half are wood.
The lands in it are very poor, chalky, and much covered with flints; the church stands nearly in the
centre of the parish, the woods are very thick throughout it, especially on the east and west sides; near the
former is a hamlet called Dungate-green, and not far
from it a good modern house, built by Mr. Stephen
Allsworth, whose son John leaving an only daughter
Anne, she carried it in marriage to Mr. Thomas
Howe. Mr. Lushington Taylor now resides in it.
THE MANOR OF KINGSDOWN, in the beginning
of the reign of king Henry III. was part of the possessions of Hubert de Burgo, earl of Kent, who, on
his foundation of the hospital of St. Mary, otherwise
called the Maison Dieu, in Dover, gave this manor
to it. After which, anno 14 Edward I. the master of
the Maison Dieu obtained a grant of free-warren for
his lands here, among others.
In which situation this manor remained till the dissolution of the hospital, in the reign of Henry VIII.
when it was surrendered up, with all its possessions,
into the king's hands. After which, the manor of
Kingsdown seems to have remained in the hands of
the crown, till king Edward VI. in the last year of
his reign, granted it, among other premises, to Sir
Thomas Cheney, to hold in capite by knight's service,
who in the 1st year of queen Mary, sold it to Thomas Finch, gent. who seems to have resided at Kingsdown at that time, as tenant of the manor under the
master and brethren of the Maison Dieu. He was
descended from John Finch, the second son of Vincent Herbert, alias Finch, of Netherfield, in Sussex,
whose eldest son William was ancestor of the several
branches of this family, of the name of Finch, enobled by peerages at different times, whose arms he
likewise bore. John, the second son, above-mentioned, married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard Seward, of Sewards, in Linsted, of which seat
he became possessed in her right, and afterwards resided there. He died in 1442, and was buried at Sevington. His grandson John Finch, of Linsted, left
two sons; Herbert, who was of Linsted, from whom
descended those of Linsted, Norton, Faversham,
Wye, and other places, and Thomas Finch, who purchased this manor of Kingsdown as above-mentioned. (fn. 1)
He died anno 3 and 4 Philip and Mary, 1555 After
which it continued in his descendants who resided
here, down to Thomas Finch, esq. who dying s. p.
by his will bequeathed the manor itself, and part of
the demesnes belonging to it to his brother's daughter
Judith Finch, who carried it in marriage to John
Umsrey, esq. of Darent, who bore for his arms, Gules,
across botony, argent, charged with five pellets; from
who it descended down to Finch Umfrey, gent. of
Dartford, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr.
John Jarvis, of Dartford. He died without issue,
and at his death gave this manor, with the part of the
demesnes before mentioned, to his widow, who died
in 1781, and by her will, which had been made near
twenty years before her death, devised it to her next
heirs, which at the time of her death were two persons named Brook, uncle and nephew, as coheirs in
gavelkind, and they joined in the sale of it in 1782,
to Mr. Thomas Smith, gent. of Dartford, upon whose
death in 1787, it came by his will to his nephews,
Thomas, William, and George Smith, since which it
is become vested in Mr. Thomas Williams, gent. of
South Darent, the present possessor of this manor
and estate. A court leet and court baron is held for
BUT THE REST OF THE DEMESNES of this manor,
which comprehended by far the greatest part of them,
were sold by one of the Finch's to the family of Bartholomerw, of Oxenhoath, in which name this estate
remained till one of them sold it to Cockin Sole, esq.
of Bobbing, who died in 1750, and was succeeded in
it by his son John Cockin Sole, esq. afterwards of
Norton-court, who some years afterwards passed it
away by sale to Mr. Evans, who is the present possessor of it.
There are no parochial charities.
The poor constantly relieved are about ten, and
KINGSDOWN is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of
The church, which is dedicated to St. Catherine,
is a very small mean building, consisting of one isle
and one chancel; there is a tomb of Bethersden marble in the chancel, with a brass plate against the east
wall, erected to the memory of Thomas Finch, gent.
though buried at Chichester, anno 1555, and to that
of his son Ralph Finch, esq. who lies buried near it,
a great benefactor to this church, obt. 1591. At the
west end there is a small turret, with one bell. This
church has always been an appendage to the manor,
and continued as such, till after the death of Mrs.
Elizabeth Umfrey, when her two heirs at law, and
devisees under her will, of the name of Brook, sold it
in 1782 to Thomas Pennington, D. D. late rector
of this church, who is the present possessor of it.
In 1640 this rectory was valued at fifty pounds per
annum. Communicants thirty six. It is now of the
clear yearly value of sixty pounds.
It is a discharged living in the king's books, of the
clear yearly certified value of forty five pounds, the
yearly tenths of it being ten shillings and elevenpence.
Church of Kingsdown.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Ralph Fynche, esq.||Laurence Collinson, Sept. 20,
1581, obt. 1623.|
|The King.||Christopher Batcheler, A. M. October 30, 1623. (fn. 2) |
|Nathaniel Godden, resigned.|
|Thomas Finch, esq.||Richard Tylden, clerk, March
|Thomas Allen, obt. 1668.|
|William Slaughter, A. M. Feb.
16, 1668, obt. 1699. (fn. 3) |
|Edmund Barrel, A. M. May 31,
1700, resigned 1712. (fn. 4) |
|Thomas Allen, A. M. 1717, ob.
Dec. 17, 1732. (fn. 5) |
|Finch Umfrey, esq.||Tobias Swinden, May 31, 1733,
obt. March 1754. (fn. 6) |
|Elizabeth Umfrey.||William Gardiner, B. D. presented April 1754, obt. May
|Thomas Pennington, D. D. July
27, 1754, resigned 1786. (fn. 7) |
|Thomas Pennington, D. D.||Thomas Pennington, A. M. 1786,
the present rector. (fn. 8) |