OR Hards, as it is usually pronounced, formerly
called likewise Nether, and Little Hardres, and sometimes North Hardres, to distinguish it from the adjoining parish of Upper or South Hardres, lies the next
parish south-eastward from Nackington. There is but
one borough in it, viz. of Lower Hardres.
THIS PARISH, called frequently from its smallness
Little Hardres, is rather an out of the way situation,
lying at the skirts of the fine pleasant country last-described, and the village, with the church in it, is in the
valley at a small distance from the Stone-street way,
which runs near the western boundary of this parish,
close to which is a farm and pond called Hermansole,
supposed to take its name either from the Saxon idol,
named Ermenseul, or from the Roman military way
on which it stands, Herman signifying military, and
sole a pond. From the valley on the other side, this
parish extends up to a dreary wild country of high hills
and deep dales, the land in which is very poor, mostly
chalky, and covered with sharp flint stones, having
frequent woodlands interspersed over it, and carrying a
face of rustic poverty throughout it.
THE MANOR OF NETHER, alias LOWER HARDRES,
which, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday,
was part of the possessions of Odo,. bishop of Baieux,
under the title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:
Ranulf de Colubels holds of the bishop, Hardres. It
was taxed at one suling. The arable land is four carucates. In demesnes there is half a carucate, and nine villeins having two carucates. 'There is a church, and eight
servants, and thirteen acres of meadow. Wood for the
pannage of four bogs. In the time of king Edward the
Confessor it was worth six pounds, and afterwards four
pounds, now one hundred shillings. Azor held it of king
Four years afterwards the bishop was disgraced, and
all his estates confiscated. After which this manor appears to have come into the possession of the Criols,
for John de Criol, younger son of Bertram, held it at
his death anno 48 Henry III. Soon after which it
passed into the name of Godynton, and John de Godynton died possessed of it anno 28 Edward I. holding
it in capite; but in the 20th year of king Edward III.
this name was extinct here; for then John de Cobham, John de Mortimer, and the heirs of John de
Swansham, were become possessed of it, holding it by
knight's service. After which that part of this manor
which belonged to Mortimer, passed at the latter end
of king Richard II. into the possession of the family of
Diggs. From which it came to be stiled the manor of
Nether Hardres, alias Diggs-court, and it continued in
the descendants of that name, (fn. 1) till Thomas Posthumus
Diggs, esq. of Barham, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated it to Sir James Hales, of the
Dungeon, whose grandson of the same name dying in
1665, and leaving one only daughter and heir Elizabeth, she carried it in marriage, first to Sir Stephen
Hales, K.B. of Warwickshire, and secondly to George,
third son of William Sheldon, esq. of Beoly, in Worcestershire, by neither of whom she had issue. They
resided at the Dungeon, where she died in 1678, as he
did a few months afterwards, possessed of this manor,
which his heirs alienated in 1680 to Henry Lee, esq.
whence it gained the name of Lee's court, and his
grandson Henry Lee Warner, esq. of Walsinghamabbey, in Norfolk, is the present owner of it.
There is no court held for this manor, but one within
memory used to be held for it, at a place called the
Butts, in this parish.
ANOTHER PART of the manor, anno 20 king Edward
III. held by John de Cobham as above-mentioned,
was afterwards called THE MANOR OF NORTHCOURT,
alias LOWER HARDRES, for which he had obtained
a charter of free-warren in the 17th year of that
reign, and it continued in his descendants, lords Cobham, till by the female heirs it passed successively till it
came by marriage to Sir T. Brooke, of Somerset shire,
whose descendant John Brooke, of St. James's, Dover,
(being of a younger branch of that family) died possessed of it anno 21 Henry VIII. and his son John
Brooke, of Denton, sold it, anno 3 Edward VI. to
Thomas Spylman, esq. of Canterbury, whose son Anthony, gent. of Petham, anno 3 Elizabeth, passed it
away to Thomas and Humphry Hales, esqrs. whose
joint property in it afterwards becoming vested in
James Hales, gent. of the Inner Temple, he sold it to
John Bigg, gent. of Hertfordshire, who in 1676 conveyed it to James Lever, merchant, of London, whose
great nephew James, in 1787, devised it to the Rev.
Edward Williams, who died in 1787, having devised
it to his sister Mary, and the next year gave it by will
to Henry Coope, esq. of Nottinghamshire, and he in
1790 sold it to Henry Godfrey Faussett, esq. of Heppington, the present owner of it. A court baron is held
for this manor.
THE REMAINING PART of this manor, which was
held anno 20 Edward III. by John de Swansham,
being only the fourth part of it, to which no part of
the manerial rights seem to have been allotted, came
afterwards into the family of Diggs, likewise from
which it passed before the end of king Henry VIII.'s
reign into the name of Rigden, in whose descendants
it continued down to William Rigden, in whose time
it had acquired the name of YOUNGS FARM, and he in
1697 alienated it to Edm. Calamy, clerk, whose grandson Edm. Calamy, in 1717, sold it to Thomas Willys,
esq. of London, afterwards created a baronet. After
which it passed, in the same manner, and in the like
interests and shares as the manor of Dargate, in Hernehill, before-described, vol. vii. p. 22, where a full account of them may be seen, down to Matthew, Robert
and Thomas Mitchel, the trustees for the several uses,
to which this, among other estates belonging to the
Willys's, had been limited; and they, for the use of
the several parties concerned, joined in the sale of it in
1788 to Henry Godfrey Faussett, esq. of Heppington,
the present owner of it.
There are no parochial charities.
The poor constantly maintained are about ten, casually fifteen.
LOWER HARDRES is within the ECCLESIASTICAL
JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry
of the same.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, seems
antient. It is but small and dark, consisting of two
isles and two chancels, having a low pointed steeple at
the west end, in which hangs only one bell. There are
no inscriptions remaining in it; the font is very antient,
of Bethersden marble.
This church is a rectory, the patronage of which,
before the reformation, belonged to the crown, and
the king is the present patron of it.
It is valued in the king's books at 7l. 19s. 9½d. and
the yearly tenths at 15s. 11¾d. It is now of the yearly
certified value of 58l. 19s. 0¼d. but is of the yearly value
of about eighty pounds. In 1640 it was valued at fifty
pounds, communicants sixty-four. There are seven
acres of glebe land.
Church of Lower Hardres.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Crown||Gregory Pulford, A. B. Oct. 17,
1660, resigned 1669. (fn. 2) |
|Thomas Hardres, A. M. April 5,
1669, obt. 1711.|
|Stephen Hobday, A. M. July 14,
1711, obt. September 29,
1743. (fn. 3) |
|John Minet, January 28, 1743,
obt. Nov. 13. 1771. (fn. 4) |
|Henry Thomson, Dec. 7, 1771,
the present rector. (fn. 5) |