NORTH-EASTWARD from Kingsdown lies
Rodmersham. It lies at a mile southward from Bapchild-street and the high Dover road, on high ground,
the church being plainly seen from it. It contains
about 1050 acres of land, of which not more than
seventy-five are wood. The village, which is built
straggling along the road, having the church in it,
has at the lower or northern part of it two or three
pretty modern houses; at the opposite end of it is
New house, which has been for some years tenanted by
the Taylors; at the south-east corner of the parish is
the hamlet of Upper Rodmersham, and on the western
side that of Rodmersham-green, which joins to a long
tract of woodland, called Minchin wood. The land
in the lower or northern part of this parish is rich and
fertile for corn, and is let at a high rent, but higher up
among the hills it becomes chalky and light, and
much of it very poor. It is not an unpleasant situation, and considering its nearness to a very unwholesome country, is not so unhealthy as might be expected.
THE PARAMOUNT MANOR of Milton claims over
it, subordinate to which is
THE MANOR OF RODMERSHAM, which was antiently the inheritance of the family of De la Pine,
whose seat of residence was at Easthall, in the neighbouring parish of Murston.
John de la Pine was possessed of it in the 20th year
of the reign of king Henry III. as appears by private
evidences, whose grandson James de la Pine, about
the latter end of king Richard II.'s reign, sold it to
John de Podach, descended originally from John de
Podach, who held lands of his own name in Devonshire in the reign of king Henry III. as appeared by
an antient pedigree of this family. His descendants,
possessors of this manor, from being usually called Pordage, at length wrote their names so. The antient
arms of which family were, Argent, a fess chequy, or,
and gules, in chief, three cross-croslets, sable; but this
John Pordage altered the fess to plain sable, in which
form his descendants have borne it ever since.
His descendant Sir William Pordage, as well as his
ancestors, resided at Rodmersham, where he rebuilt
the manor-house in the reign of king James I. naming
it New-house, at whose request in 1615, the pedigree
of Pordage was drawn up from old evidences, by John
Philipott, Somerset herald, by which it appears that
he bore for his arms six coats, Pordage, Crowland,
Gourly, Belton, Gisors, and Barrow; all which, except the first and last, were borne in right of the heir
of Crowland, and in one of the windows of Faversham
church were painted the arms of Pordage, impaling
Crowland. (fn. 1) He died s. p. and was succeeded by his
brother and heir Thomas Pordage, esq. who resided
here. His grandson William Pordage, or Porridge, as
the name was then usually called, about the beginning of queen Anne's reign alienated it, with the seat,
and all the rest of his estates in this parish and neighbourhood, to Stephen Lushington, esq. of Sittingborne, whose father Mr. Thomas Lushington, had
been in the possession of them under a mortgage term
for some years before. He was the son of Mr. Augustine Lushington, gent. of Sittingborne, who bore for
his arms, Argent, a fess engrailed, gules, between three
lions heads erased, or. Of whose family was Thomas
Lushington, a noted scholar of his time, born at
Sandwich in 1589, and afterwards educated at Oxford, and preferred to a prebend of Salisbury, &c.
He wrote several books, a list of which the reader will
find in Wood's Ath. Oxon. At length retiring in his
latter days to his relations at Sittingborne, he died
there in 1661, and was buried in the south chancel of
that church, having had a handsome monument, with
his bust on it, set up to his memory, by his kinsman,
Thomas Lushington, esq. of Sittingborne, whom he
by will made heir to all he had.
Mr. Stephen Lushington was twice married, and
left issue by both his wives, by his second he had several children, the eldest surviving son of whom was
Henry, vicar of East Bourne, in Sussex, and D. D.
who left several children, of whom Henry, was massacred in the East Indies, and Stephen was a proctor
of Doctors Commons.
Thomas Godfrey Lushington, esq. of Sittingborne,
the only son of Stephen, by his first wife, succeeded
him in this estate, and afterwards resided at Canterbury, where he died in 1757, and was buried at Sittingborne, having had by his first wife Dorothy,
daughter of John Gisborne, esq. of Derbyshire, three
sons, Thomas, who died before him unmarried; William, a captain in the army, who died unmarried in
1763; and James-Stephen, now in holy-orders; and
likewise two daughters, Dorothy, who died unmarried, and Catherine, married to John Cockin Sole,
esq. At his death he gave this manor, with the seat
of New-house, and the rest of his possessions in this
parish, to his second surviving son, the Rev. JamesStephen Lushington, of Bottisham, near Cambridge,
who is the present possessor of them.
The Rev. Mr. Lushington is a prebendary of Carlisle, and has been twice married; first to Mary, one
of the daughters of Edmund Law, lord bishop of
Carlisle, who died in 1768, having had by her two
sons and one daughter; and secondly to Mary, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Christian, of Norfolk; by whom
he has three sons and two daughters.
There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about twenty, casually fifteen.
RODMERSHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry
The church, which is dedicated to St. Nicholas.
consists of three isles and two chancels; the southern
chancel belongs to the family of Lushington, as lords
of the manor, in it are several memorials for the family of Pordage. In the high chancel are four seats,
with a kind of wooden canopy over them; perhaps
made use of for the knights of St. John, when they
visited their estate here. At the west end is a handsome tower steeple, built of squared slint, very neat,
and of much superior masonry to the rest of the
church. There are four bells in it. In the east window of the high chancel are these arms remaining.
A cross, between four mullets; there was likewise, anno
1719, a scrole remaining in the windows of William
Somptere and John Cheynestere, who had been good
benesactors to this church. In the south chancel is a
brass plate for William Pery, 1482.
A person unknown gave one acre of woodland to
beautify the church, now of the annual produce of
King Henry II. gave the church of Rodmersham
to the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, which was
confirmed by king John in his 1st year.
About which time an agreement was entered into
between Alanus, prior of the hospital, and the chapter
of it, and the abbot and convent of St. Augustine's,
near Canterbury, that when their chapel of Rodmersham should be dedicated, and the cemetery consecrated, they granted to the abbot and the convent,
that they would diminish none of the rights of the
mother church of Milton, one of which was, the burial of housekeepers, male and female, (fn. 2) of Rodmersham, at Milton, which should never be withdrawn
by them, and that neither in that, nor in any thing
else, they should sustain any injury, &c. (fn. 3)
After which, this church was appropriated by the
prior and chapter of the hospital, to their preceptory
established in the parish of West Peckham; in which
state it continued till the general dissolution of the
hospital, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when
this order of knights being suppressed, by an act specially passed for the purpose, their hospital, with all its
lands and revenues, was given by it to the king.
After which the fee of the rectory of Rodmersham,
with the advowson of the vicarage, seems to have remained in the crown, till the king, in the 36th year
of his reign, granted it, with its appurtenances, to
John Pordage, esq. of this parish, to hold in capite
by knight's service. Since which they have continued
with the manor down to the Rev. James-Stephen
Lushington, the present owner of them.
In 1640 the vicarage was valued at thirty pounds
per annum. Communicants one hundred.
It is a discharged living in the king's books, of the
clear yearly certified value of thirty pounds, the tenths
of it being 16s. 8d.
Church of Rodmersham.
|Or by whom presented.|
|William Pordage.||John Mills, Sept. 10, 1580, ob.
|William Bramiche, A. M. July
|William Jewell, obt. 1640.|
|Sir Ralph Whitfield, king's sergeant at law.||James Wilkin, A. M. April 4,
|The crown, by lapse.||Thomas Conway, A. M. February
1693, obt. 1713.|
|Stephen Lushington, esq.||Charles Holway, A. B. March
14, 1713, resigned 1714.|
|John Swanne, A. M. Dec. 11,
1714, obt. 1722.|
|The Archbishop.||John Seale, A. M. January 4,
1722, resigned 1751.|
|Thomas Godfrey Lushington, esq.||James Allet, A.M. Oct. 21,
1751, obt. 1776.|
|James-Stephen Lushington, clerk||Thomas Edmundson, Oct. 25,
1776, obt. Oct. 23, 1797.|
|Wilfrid Clark, A. M. April 5,