IS the next parish eastward from Frittenden. That
part of it which is in the boroughs of Ibornden, Wosenden, Hevenden, Omenden, Stepherst, and Wachenden, is in the hundred of Barkley; and the residue of it, being in the borough of the Outbounds of
Smithsditch, is in the hundred of Cranbrooke. The
borsholder of the above-mentioned borough of Wosenden, is chosen at the court-leet held at Burham, in
this county; and the borough of Wachenden has a
court-leet of itself, holden in this parish, at which the
borsholder of that borough is chosen; so that neither
of these two borsholders last-mentioned are chosen at
the court-leet held for this hundred, nor do the inhabitants of them attend at that court; but at it there
may be chosen a constable for the hundred out of either of these boroughs.
The denns of Biddenden and Spelhurst, in this parish, are held of the manor of Shurland, in Pluckley;
the liberty of the manor of Wye claims over the borough of Wachenden; and the manor of Godmersham
extends into this parish, which is in the division of
THE PARISH is much the same, as to the appearance of the country, as those in this neighbourhood
last-described, having some gentle rises in it; the soil
too is much the same, having plently of marle throughout it, the southern and western parts are covered
with coppice woods, the large oak trees are numerous
throughout it, as well there, as in the hedge rows.
It is populous, containing about 2000 inhabitants, of
which about a fifth part are dissenters, there are no
clothiers remaining in it, though the trade formerly
flourished in this equally with the adjoining parishes.
The village, usually called in like manner as most
others in the Weald, the town of Biddenden, having
the church and parsonage on the western side of it,
stands rather towards the southern part of the parish,
on the high road from Tenterden to Ashford, which
is here joined by that from Cranbrooke. There are
three principal hamlets, which are dispersed at different parts of the parish, called Wosenden-green,
Stroud-quarter, and Standen.
There is a fair, formerly held on the day of St. Simon and St. Jude, now on Nov. 8, for Welsh cattle
chiefly, and another on Old Lady day.
BIDDENDEN PLACE, or, as it was afterwards usually
called, THE PLACE-HOUSE, stands at the south and
of the town, and was antiently the residence of an old
family, who took their surname from it; after which
the Mayneys were the next who succeeded to the possession of it, and resided here likewise, being, as well
as that great man Sir Walter de Mayney, so noted in
history both for his valour and piety, descended from
Walter de Meduana, or Mayney, who came into
England with the Conqueror, and, as appears by the
red book, in the exchequer, held twenty knights fees
in this county, and appears by his arms, Or, three
chevronels, sable, to have been the elder branch of this
family; those of Biddenden and Linton bearing, Per
pale, argent and sable, three chevronels, between as many
cinquesoils, all counterchanged. Sir John de Mayney
resided here in the beginning of king Edward III.'s
reign, as did his son, of the same name, who died possessed of this seat, with other lands continguous to it,
in the 50th year of that reign; and from him it descended down to John Mayney, esq. of Biddenden,
who left two sons, John, who succeeded him here,
and Walter, who was of Staplehurst, and sheriff anno
13 Elizabeth, the lands of both whom were disgavelled
by the act of 2 and 3 king Edward VI. John Mayney, the eldest son, resided here, and was sheriff anno
7 Elizabeth, 1566, in which year he died, leaving two
sons, Anthony and Walter; the former of whom was
father of Sir Anthony Mayney, who, in that reign,
having purchased a seat at Linton, removed thither. (fn. 1)
and alienated this seat to Sir Edward Henden, one of
the barons of the exchequer in the reign of Charles I. (fn. 2)
whose arms are in the semicircular window of GraysInn hall, of which he was a member, being Azure, a
lion passant, between three escallop shells, or; who dying
s. p. in 1662, was buried in the chancel of this church,
having given it by will to his nephew Sir John Henden, sheriff in the 22d year of that reign, who resided
here, as did his descendants down to William Henden; but he having, in the reign of king George I.
dissipated his patrimony, pulled down the greatest
part of this seat, and left the poor remains of it, consisting of only three or four rooms, and a very few
acres of the old garden and park, to his son William,
and he sold it to the trustees of Sir Horace Mann,
bart. the present proprietor of it.
ALMOST opposite the Place-house is A Mansion,
formerly the seat of the Taylors, from whom it passed
to Mr. Jenkin Hague, whose nephew, of the same
name, now owns it. And at the north end of the
town is another, called BIDDENDEN-HOUSE, formerly
the estate of the Pattensons, who bore for their arms,
Argent, on a fess, sable, three fleurs de lis, or; in which
name it continued down to Mr. Josias Pattenson,
who devised it to his eldest son of the same name.
He married Elizabeth, the eldest of the two daughters
and coheirs of Felix Kadwell, esq. of Rolvenden, by
whom he had Kadwell Pattenson, of the Gate-house,
in Rolvenden, who died s. p. Margaret, Ellen, Josias Pattenson, esq. now of Brooke-place, in Ashford,
and Mary, who married Samuel Muna, of Hastings,
by whom she had Samuel, late of Ashford, gent. and
Ellen, married to William Jemmett, gent. of Ashford. The Pattensons bear for their arms, Argent, on
a fess, sable, three fleurs de lis, or. After his death
his heirs alienated it to Mr. Peter Berry, who afterwards sold it to Mr. Stephen Elmstone, the present
owner of it.
THE FAMILY OF POMFRET was for several generations possessed of a good estate in this parish. The
mansion in which they resided is a large old house,
near the town. It formerly belonged to Edmund
Steed, gent. who died in 1664, and afterwards to Vincent Quilter, by whose daughter and heir is came by
marriage to Pomfret, in one of whose descendants it
continues at this time. Many of them lie buried in
the south part of the church-yard, where their tombs
are yet remaining, with their arms on them, being
Quarterly, argent, and gules, a bend, sable; a branch of
the family of Seyliard, who intermarried with the
Boddenhams, likewise resided here during the last century, bearing for their arms, Gules, a chief, ermine.
ALLARDS is an estate in this parish, which had on
it an antient seat, which for many generations was the
mansion of a family of the same name, one of whom
was Gervas Allard, who was admiral of the western
seas in the 34th year of Edward I. and in his descendants it continued till the reign of Charles I. when
Francis Allard, gent. of this place, leaving an only
daughter Elizabeth, she carried it in marriage to Terry
Aldersey, gent. of Swanton-court, in Bredgar, who
died possessed of it in 1678, and bequeathed this estate
to his second son Mr. Henry Aldersey, of Maidstone,
whose descendant sold it to Thomas Tong, surgeon,
of Milton, from whom it passed by sale to Mr. John
Hooker, gent. of Brenchley, and his descendant John
Hooker, esq. now of Broadoak, in that parish, is the
present owner of it.
CASTWISELL is an estate here, situated at the
boundary of this parish, next to Cranbrooke, which
was once accounted a manor, and had in very early
times owners of the same name, as appears by some
antient deeds without date, relating to it, in which
John de Castwisell is a witness at the teste of them.
But before the reign of Edward IV. the Moiles were
become possessed of it; in the 6th year of which Sir
Walter Moile, of Eastwell, granted to Reginald and
William Sands, all those lands, tenements, rents, and
services, which Simon Gidenden lately held of him,
as of his manor of Castwisell. His grandson Mr.
Thomas Moyle (afterwards knighted in the 29th year
of Henry VIII.) conveyed it to Stephen Rogers, gent.
whose descendant Mr. Jonathan Rogers owned it at
the restoration of Charles II. At length, after it had
continued for some time in his descendants, it became
the property of Sir Henry Fermor, bart. who died
possessed of it in 1734, without lawful issue. Since
which it has remained vested in the trustees of his
will, for the uses mentioned in it.
LESSENDEN is an estate here, about a mile and a
half northward from the church, which was formerly
the residence of a family of the name of Boddenden,
or Boddenham, one of whom, William Boddenden,
died possessed of it in 1579, leaving by his first wife a
son William, who was afterwards knighted. He bore
for his arms, Azure, a fess, between three chess rooks, or,
and lies buried in the chancel of this church. His
sister Jane having married Bernard Randolph, of this
parish, Clothier, he by that alliance became afterwards
possessed of this estate, of which he died possessed in
1628, and was buried by his wife in the chancel of
this church. His eldest son William was of Burton,
in Kennington, where his posterity afterwards remained John, the third son, went to Virginia, where
his descendants still continue; and Edmund, the fifth
son, travelled into Italy, and took the degree of M. D.
at Padua, and on his return was incorporated into the
university of Oxford in 1628; afterwards he practised
physic at Canterbury, and dying in 1649, was buried
in St. George's church there, leaving a numerous issue, one of whom was Bernard, author of the account
of the Archipelage. Herbert, the fourth son, succeeded him in this estate, whose grandson Herbert
Randolph, esq. was recorder of the city of Canterbury, and died possessed of Lessenden in 1724, leaving a numerous issue by his two wives. By the first
he left only two surviving children, Herbert; and
Mary, who married Christopher Packe, M. D. By
his second wife he had eight children, Thomas, D. D.
late president of Corpus Christi college, Oxford;
George, M. D. of Bristol; Francis, D. D. principal
of Alban hall, Oxford; and Charles, bred to the law;
and four daughters, of whom a further account may
be seen under Aldington. They bear for their arms,
Gules, on a cross, argent, five mullets pierced, sable.
Herbert Randolph, clerk, the only son by his first
wife, succeeded him here. He died in 1755, leaving
issue only by Catherine his first wife, daughter of Edward Wake, D. D. prebendary of Canterbury, one
son Herbert, and a daughter Mary. Herbert Randolph, the son, is of Wiltshire, and is in holy orders,
and married Elizabeth Adcock, of Ashford; he is the
present possessor of this estate.
ON THE NORTH SIDE of the parish is a seat, called
Ibornden-HOUSE, which, with the greatest part of the
denne in which it is situated, has been, from the very
beginning of the last century, the estate and residence
of the family of Pattenson. Roger Pattenson, clothier,
came out of Yorkshire, and purchased this estate,
with several others in this and the adjoining parishes,
and built three several houses in Biddenden. He died
about 1638. His descendant Josias Pattenson, left
two sons, Josias, late of Biddenden house, and William, the latter of whom inherited Ibornden, in which
he was succeeded by his only son Mr. William Pattenson, the present proprietor of it.
The denne of Ibornden, or Iberden, as it is sometimes
spelt, is held of the manor of Ashford. It lies in the
western part of this parish, a little more than a mile
north-west from the church.
AT ABOUT HALF A MILE northward from the village, is THE BOROUGH OF STANDEN, in which is a
hamlet of houses, on the high road; this has formerly
been a place of some note, and now beiongs to Mrs.
Knight, the widow of Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmersham, for her life; remainder to Edward Austen,
esq. now of Godmersham park.
RIVER-HALL is a seat in the south-east part of this
parish, near Stroud Quarter, which has been for more
than a century in the possession of the Beales, formerly clothiers here. Richard Beale, clothier, of Biddenden, resided here in the beginning of Charles II.'s
reign, and his grandson Mr. Richard Beale is the
present owner of it, and resides in it. They bear for
their arms, Sable, on a chevron, or, between three griffin's heads erased, argent, as many estoiles, gules.
WHITFIELD-HOUSE is near the above, taking its
name from the owners of it. Thomas, second son of
Clement, Whitfield, the second son of John Whitfield,
of Tenterden, (fn. 3) possessed it in king James I.'s reign,
and was succeeded in it by his son John, who was of
Biddenden, gent. and died in 1695, and in his descendants it continued till it was sold, not many years
since, to Mr. Jenkin Hague, whose nephew, of the
same name, now possesses it.
AT THE corner of this parish, among the woods, lies
THE MANOR OF WACHENDEN, in the borough of its
own name, which belonged to the abbot and convent
of Battel, most probably at its first foundation in the
reign of the Conqueror, at least they were owners of
it in the reign of Edward II. as appears by the patent
rolls of the 7th year of that reign; and in the church
chest here, there is an antient deed, dated anno 3 king
Henry IV. wherein the abbot and convent acknowledge to have received four pounds of Thomas Brickenden, for his ferme of their manor of Wachendenne,
which continued part of their revenues at the time of
their dissolution, in the 30th year of Henry VIII.
when it came, among the rest of their possessions, into
the hands of the crown; whence it was granted to Sir
John Baker, of Siffinghurst, one of whose descendants
sold it to Henden; from which name it passed to
Sir John Norris, of Hemsted, at whose death in
1767, it came to his son John Norris, esq. whose
trustees alienated it to Thomas Hallet Hodges, esq.
of Hemsted, in Benenden, who is the present possessor of it.
A court leet is held for this manor.
TWENTY ACRES OF LAND, called the Bread and Cheese Land,
lying in five pieces, were given by persons unknown, the yearly
rents to be distributed among the poor of this parish. This is
yearly done on Easter Sunday in the afternoon, in 600 cakes,
each of which have the figures of two women impressed on them,
and are given to all such as attend the church; and 270 loaves,
weighing three pounds and an half a-piece; to which latter is
added one pound and an half of cheese, are given to the parishioners only, at the same time.
There is a vulgar tradition in these parts, that the figures on
the cakes represent the donors of this gift, being two women,
twins, who were joined together in their bodies, and lived together so till they were between twenty and thirty years of age.—But this seems without foundation. The truth seems to be, that
it was the gift of two maidens, of the name of Preston; and that
the print of the women on the cakes has taken place only within
these fifty years, and was made to represent two poor widows, as
the general objects of a charitable benefaction. William Horner, rector of this parish in 1656, brought a suit in the Exchequer, for the recovery of these lands, as having been given for
an augmentation of his glebe land; but he was nonsuited. They
are altogether of the yearly value of about 31l. 10s.
THOMAS TAYLOR, of Cranbrooke, by his will in 1569, gave
a parcel of woodland in this parish, upon the denne of Etilte,
containing by estimation seven acres, which he purchased of John
Pattynden, and ordered, that the profit that should come of it,
whether it be wood or otherwise, should always be employed to
the use of the poor people of this parish; to be distributed to
them by the churchwardens, at their discretion, from time to
time for ever.
A sum of money, arising from the sale of the timber on the
above-mentioned land in 1733, was laid out in the purchase of a
house and farm in Bredgar, of the yearly rent of 8l. per annum,
by deed of feossment.
MRS. HOOPER, of Cranbrooke, widow, in 1682, gave 20l.
with which was purchased Tripe-lane house, and one field adjoining, of the yearly rent of one guinea, to be distributed among
twenty-one widows. The house is now made into two dwellings
for poor people.
JAMES STONE, of Cranbrooke, in 1722 gave by will 2l. per
annum, payable out of Highpoles-farm, in this parish, to be
distributed among sixteen poor widows, or decayed housekeepers, on the 1st of November for ever, by the overseers of
DR. JOHN BANCROFT, rector of this parish, and in 1732 bishop of Oxford, gave a set of communion-plate to this church.
A new workhouse has been built for the use of the poor within
these few years.
The poor constantly relieved are about ninety; casually 36.
WILLIAM, or JOHN MAYNE, esq. of this parish,
by a deed of feoffment in 1522, founded A FREE
Latin grammer school in it, and endowed it
with a school-house, garden, and certain payments out
of lands in this parish, Tenterden and Bethersden, of
the yearly value of 20l. 3s. 4d. (fn. 4) The management
of it, and the appointment of the master, is under the
direction of Mr. Richard Beale, of this parish, with
other feoffees. The Rev. Mr. Pitman is master of it.
The archbishop of Canterbury is visitor of this school;
which jurisdiction has not been exercised for many
years. For want of this interposition, this endowment
has been much abused, and the whole of it is now
made a sinecure. There is a deputy, who is a decayed
tradesman, put in by the master, who lives in the
school house, and with whom he shares half the salary.
There have been no children taught in it for some
BIDDENDEM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of
The church, which is dedicated to All Saints,
stands on an eminence, close at the west end of the
village, with the parsonage-house on the north side
of it. It is large and well-built, consisting of three
isles and three chancels, having a handsome square
tower at the west end, with a beacon turret at one
corner. In it are six bells, and a set of chimes. There
is a small vestry-room on the north side of the great
chancel, in which lies buried Sir Edward Henden,
baron of the exchequer, anno 1662, and several of the
family of Randolph and Everden; in it is a memorial
for Richard Allard, alderman of Rochester, 1593.
In the north chancel there is a brass plate, fixed to
the wall, for Sir William Boddenden and his wife,
having the figures of them and their children, and an
inscription to their memories. This chancel belonged
to the Mayneys, of whom there are monuments in it,
and does now to Sir Horace Mann. The south chancel is ceiled with wainscot, in pannels, at the corners
of each of which are carved and painted different devices and arms; among others are the arms of the
see of Canterbury, impaling Warham, Argent, three
birds volant, sable, and portcullis, &c. Alice Bedlyngston, by her will in 1463, ordered her feoffees, out of
the money arising from the sale of a piece of land in
this parish, to make a new window on the south side
of this church; and it appears that in the beginning
of king Henry VIII.'s reign, there was a new isle
building to this church, by the several legacies left
On the outside of the steeple are three shields of
arms, carved in the stone-work, viz. first, A saltier;
second, A bend, sinister; and third, A fret. In the
church-yard are buried several of the family of Beale.
This church is a rectory, and was part of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, where it
still continues, the archbishop being the present patron of it.
It is valued in the king's books at thirty-five pounds,
and the yearly tenths at 3l. 10s.
In 1578 there were five hundred and forty-five
communicants here, in 1640 there were four hundred, and it was then valued at one hundred and
twenty pounds per annum. It is now of the annual
value of about two hundred and forty pounds.
Church of Biddenden.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Thomas Scott, esq.||John Whetcombe, A. M. June
10, 1579, obt. 1609.|
|The Archbishop.||John Bancroft, S. T. P. April 7,
1610, obt. 1640. (fn. 5) |
|George Wilde, LL. B. Feb. 19.
|The King.||Moses Lee, Sept. 4, 1660, obt.
1681. (fn. 6) |
|The Archbishop.||Giles Hinton, S. T. P. Jan. 23,
1681, obt. 1702. (fn. 7) |
|Elias Sydal, S. T. P. March 5,
1702, resigned 1704.|
|William Trent, June 12, 1704,
obt. Jan. 15, 1740. (fn. 8) |
|Walter Walker Warde, B. D.
June 9, 1740, resigned 1747. (fn. 9) |
|John Mather, A. M. inducted
March 12, 1747, obt. 1794.|
|W. P. Warburton, 1794, the