The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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NORTHWARD from Minster lies the parish of Birchington, adjoining to the sea. It is said to have been antiently called, sometimes Birchington in Gorend, and at other times Gorend in Birchington, from a place called Gorend, in this parish, where it is reported the church formerly stood, though the most usual name was always, as it is at present, Birchington only.
THIS PARISH is within the liberty and jurisdiction of the cinque ports, and is a member of the town and port of Dover; and though Gorend in it, is said to have been united to that town and port, ever since the reign of king Edward I. yet in king Henry VI.'s reign it was disputed whether this parish was not in the county at large; to take away therefore all doubt of it, the king, by letters patent, united it to Dover, the mayor of which appoints a deputy here, to whom the inhabitants have recourse for justice.
By the Landtax act of 1711, it was enacted, that in future, the parishes of St. John, St. Peter, and Birchington, in the Isle of Thanet, within the liberty of Dover, should be deemed and taken to be a distinct division within the said liberty, and in the executing of that act, should be charged towards making up the whole sum charged on the town of Dover, and the liberty thereof, according to the proportion which was assessed upon the said parishes by the act of the 4th of William and Mary, for granting an aid of four shillings in the pound, &c.
THIS PARISH joins the sea shore northward, along the whole of which it is bounded by high cliffs of chalk, through which there are several apertures made for the conveniency of a passage on to the sea shore. The parish is, in general, high land, and very pleasantly situated; in the middle of it stands the church and village adjoining, tolerably well sheltered with elm trees. This village, in a pleasing situation, on a gentle eminence, commands many delightful prospects over sea and land; particularly a fine view up the delightful vale to Canterbury, the principal tower of which cathedral froms a conspicuous object, though at the distance of twelve miles; beyond which, in clear weather, are plainly seen the range of hills and the losty woods in Chilham and Godmersham parks, more than six miles further southward.
About three quarters of a mile north-west of the church, and near as much from the sea shore, is Goreend, antiently a place of note, being particularly men tioned in the great charter of the cinque ports, as one of the members of the town and port of Dover. Leland, in his Itinerary, vol. vii. says, "Reculver is now scarce half a mile from the shore, but it is to be supposid, that yn tymes paste these cam hard to Goreende, a two mile from Northmouth, and at Gore ende is a litle straite caullid Broode Staires to go downe the clive: and about this shore is good taking of mullettes. The great Raguseis ly for defence at Gore ende and thens again is another sinus on to the Forelande." Here it is said the church stood antiently, and that it was lost by the falling of the cliff on which it stood, and that the present one was built in its stead; near this is a farm, called Upper Gore end, which was given by the owner of it, Henry Robinson, gent. by his will in 1642, for the maintenance of two fellows and two scholars in St. John's college, in Cambridge, as has been already related before. About a mile southward, lie Great and Little Brooksend; and at a like distance eastward, Great and Little Quekes. At the north-east boundary of the parish is Westgate, where there is a small hamlet of houses; from which place Domneva's deer is said to have begun its course across this island, running for some space eastward, till it turned southward towards the boundary of it, at Sheriffs Hope, in Minster.
This parish is somewhat more than two miles and an half each way; about the village and Quekes, it is pleasantly sheltered with trees; the lands in it are fertile, and like the other parts adjoining to it, are arable and mostly uninclosed, lying high, with hill and dale intermixed. The high road from Sarre to Margate runs along the southern side of the parish. There is a bay of the sea adjoining to the shore of this parish, called Hemmings bay; probably so called from Hemming, the Danish chiestan, who landed with his companion Anlef and their forces in this island, in the year 1009.
By the return made to the council's letter by archbishop Parker's order in 1563, there were then computed to be in this parish forty housholds; and by the return of the survey made by order of the same queen, in her 8th year, of the several maritime places in this county, it appears that there were then here houses inhabited forty-two; that there was a landing place, but it had neither ship nor boat.
THE MANOR OF QUEKES, or QUEX, as it is frequently spelt in the antient deeds of it. It is situated in the south-east part of this parish, about three quarters of a mile from the church, and was antiently the seat of a family who gave name to it, many of whom lie buried in this church, several of whose gravestones and inscriptions yet remain; among which are those of John Quek, who died possessed of it in the year 1449, anno 28 Henry VI. and of his son Rich. Quek in 1456; (fn. 1) from the latter of whom this seat devolved by paternal descent to John Quekes, esq. who about the beginning of king Henry VII.'s reign, left an only daughter and heir Agnes, who carried it in marriage to John Crispe, esq. descended of an antient family seated at Stanlake, in Oxforshire; he afterwards resided here, and died possessed of it in 1500, anno 16 Henry VII. He left by her four daughters, married to Barret, Gosborne, Thomas, and Symons; and one sone and heir John Crispe, who was sheriff in the 10th year of king Henry VIII. and kept his shrievalty at this seat of Quekes. He had three sons, John, the eldest, was of Cleve-court, in Monkton, of whom further mention has been made in the description of that place; Henry, the second, was of Quekes; and William, the third, was lieutenant of Dover castle.
Henry Crispe, esq. the second son, of Quekes, kept his shrievalty at this seat in the 38th year of the above reign, anno 1546, being the last of it, and was a man of great name and eminency, and of singular estimation for his discretion and weight in the management of the public affairs of the county, as well as for his hospitality, insomuch that he was reputed to have the entire rule of all this island. He died at Quekes, at a good old age, in the year 1575, leaving by his second wife six children; of whom Nicholas Crispe, esq. the eldest son, was of Grimgill, in Whitstaple. He was sheriff in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, and died here in his father's life time, anno 1564, leaving an only daughter Dorothy. John, the second son, by his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Roper, esq. of Eltham, left a son Henry, heir to his grandfather, who will be further mentioned hereafter; and Henry, the youngest, had three sons, Henry, who was first of Great Chart, and afterwards succeeded to this seat of Quekes, of whom further mention will be made; Thomas, who was first of Canterbury and afterwards of Goudhurst, where he died in 1663. He left three sons, Thomas, who at length succeeded to Quekes, as will be mentioned hereafter; Henry, who was of Monkton, and died in 1678, being ancestor of Henry and Thomas Crispe, esqrs. of the custom-house, in London, and of West Ham, in Essex, the latter of whom ended in an only surviving daughter Susan, who married the late George Elliot, esq. of Upton, in that county; and Richard, the third son, died s. p.
Now to return to Henry, the only son and heir of John, the second son of Sir Henry Crispe, of Quekes, by his second wife, who became his grandfather's heir and possessed of Quekes; he was knighted and resided here till his death in 1648. He was twice married, but left no issue; he bore for his arms two coats for Crispe, viz. first, Ermine, a fess chequy; and second, Or, on a chevron, sable, five horse shoes, argent. (fn. 2) On his death in 1648, this seat came, by the entail of it, to his first-cousin Henry Crispe, gent. of Great Chart, before-mentioned, (the eldest son of Henry, the fourth and youngest brother of Nicholas Crispe, of Grimgill, the father of Sir Henry Crispe, last-mentioned.) He removed to Quekes, and in the year 1650 was appointed sheriff; but on account of his great age and infirmities, his son was suffered to execute this office in his room. He was commonly called Bonjour Crispe. from his having been kept a prisoner in France for some time, and never learning more French than those words, at least he never would use any other whilst there. In August 1657, he was forcibly, in the night time, taken away and carried from his seat of Quekes, by several persons, Englishmen and others, to Bruges, in Flanders, and detained there as a prisoner, till the sum of 3000l. should be paid for his ransom. A few days after his arrival at Bruges, he sent to his nephew Thomas, who then lived near Quekes, to come over to him, to assist him in his great exigencies and extremities. After some consultation together, he dispatched his nephew to England, to join his endeavours, with those of his son Sir Nicholas Crispe, for his ransom and enlargment, in which they found great difficulty, as Oliver Cromwell, who was then protector, suspected the whole to be only a collusion, to procure 3000l. for the use of king Charles II. then beyond the seas; and accordingly an order was made by the protector in council, that Mr. Crispe should not be ransomed; upon which much difficulty arose in procuring a licence for it; Sir Nicholas died before it could be effected, and then the whole care of it devolved on Mr. Thomas Crispe, to obtain the licence and raise the money, which finding himself not able to do without the sale of some of his uncle's lands, he impowered him and his son-in law, Robert Darell, for that purpose, who made every dispatch in it; but it was eight months before the ransom could be paid, and Mr. Crispe released out of prison; when he returned to England, and died at Quekes, in 1663. (fn. 3)
This enterprize was contrived and executed by Captain Golding, of Ramsgate, who was a sanguine royalist, and had sometime taken refuge with Charles II. in France. The party landed at Gore-end, near Birchington, and took Mr. Crispe out of his bed, without any resistance; though it appears that he had been for some time under apprehensions of such an attack, and had caused loopholes, for the discharge of muskets, to be made in different parts of the house, and had afforded a generous hospitality to such of his neighbours as would lodge in his house, to defend him; but all these precautions were at this time of no effect, so that they conveyed him, without any disturbance being made, in his own coach, to the sea side, where he was forced into an open boat, without one of his domestics being suffered to attend him, although that was earnestly requested as a favour. He was conveyed first to Ostend, and then to Bruges, both which places were then in the power of Spain, which had been at war with England for more than two years. (fn. 4) He died possessed of this seat above-mentioned, having had one son and one daughter, who married Robt. Darell, esq Nicholas the son was knighted, but died before his father at Quekes, in 1657, leaving an only daughter and heir, who married Sir Richard Powle, of Berkshire.
On Mr. Crispe's death in 1663, without surviving male issue, this seat came, by the entail made of it, to his nephew Thomas Crispe, (the eldest son of his next brother Thomas Crispe, of Goudhurst) who afterwards resided at Quekes, where he died in 1680, leaving by his wife, whom he married in Holland, four daughters his coheirs, viz. Maria Adriana, married to Richard Breton, esq. of the Elmes, in Hougham; Frantosi, or Frances, to Edwin Wiat, esq. of Maidstone, sergeant at law; Elizabeth, to Christopher Clapham, esq. of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, and Anne-Gertruy Crispe, who died unmarried in 1708. On the division of their inheritance, this seat fell to the lot of Richard Breton, esq. who immediately afterwards sold it to Edwin Wiat, esq. and he alienated it, after some little interval, to John Buller, esq. of Morvall, in Cornwall, whose son William dying s. p. the reversion of it, (after the death of his wife, who was entitled to it for life, as part of her jointure) (fn. 5) was sold to Sir Robert Furnese, bart. of Waldershare, but he never came into the possession of it; for Mr. Buller's widow, afterwards the widow of F. Wiat, esq. son of Edwin above-mentioned, enjoyed it till her death in 1760, when it came into the possession of Catherine, countess of Guildford, one of the three daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Furnese, bart. who in 1767 sold it to Henry Fox, lord Holland, and he conveyed it to his second son, the hon. CharlesJames Fox, who passed away his interest in it to John Powel, esq. who dying s. p. his sister, then the wife of William Roberts, became his heir and entitled to this estate, and he is now in her right possessed of it. At this house king William used to reside till the winds favoured his embarking for Holland. A room said to be the bedchamber of the royal guest is still shewn. His guards encamped on an adjoining inclosure.
It has been a large commodious structure, built partly of timber and partly of brick, much of which has been within these few years pulled down, and the rest modernized and converted into a farm house. It is pleasantly situated among a toll of trees, which defend it from the winds. There was formerly a vineyard in the gardens, which are walled round.
This antient seat, like most others of the same rank, has been for some years going fast to ruin, the weather penetrated into most of the apartments, which had been the principal ones; the roof and windows were greatly demolished, and no part of it inhabited, or indeed capable of being so, except a small part at the end occupied by the farmer; a grand suit of apartments at the north-west corner was demolished in 1781, and much of the remaining parts of it were taken down by piecemeal at different times, for the sale of the materials; in which ruinated state this seat remained till the year 1789, when Mr. Powell took down great part of it, and rebuilt the rest as it remains at present. (fn. 6)
THE MANOR OF WESTGATE, alias GARLING, lies at the eastern part of this parish, extending likewise into the parish of St. John. It had antiently owners of its own name, for it appears by the book of knight's fees in the exchequer, and other records, that Robert de Westgate held it in the reigns of king Henry III. and Edward I. of the abbot of St. Augustine's, by knight's service. He left at his death his son Robert, under age, who afterwards was in the custody of Sir Henry de Sandwich, and he held it accordingly as such in the latter of those reigns. It went into the family of Leyborne very soon after this, for William de Leyborne died possessed of it in the 3d year of Edward II. leaving Juliana his grand-daughter his heir, (daughter of his son Thomas, who died in his life-time) who being heir both to her father and grandfather, became entitled to large possessions in this and several other counties, for the greatness of which she was usually stiled the Infanta of Kent, who having issue by neither of her husbands, (for she had three) whom she survived, this manor escheated to the crown for want of heirs; for it appears by the inquisition taken after her death, in the 43d year of king Edward III. that there was then no one who could make claim to her estates, either by direct or even collateral alliance. After which this manor continued in the crown, till king Richard II. in his 11th year, gave it to the priory of Canons,alias Chiltern Langley in Hertfordshire, where it continued till the dissolution of that house in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when it was, with all its possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, and was confirmed to him and his heirs, by the general words of the act, passed the next year for that purpose.
King Henry VIII. becoming thus possessed of it, granted this manor, with all itsrights, members, and appurtenances, among several other premises, for divers good causes and considerations, to Richard, suffragan bishop of Dover, to hold to him and assigns, during his life, without any account of rent whatsoever; provided, if he should be promoted to one or more ecclesiastical benefices, or other dignity or annuity, of the yearly value of 100l. that then this grant should be void. This certainly happened before the 36th year of that reign, for the king that year granted this manor to Sir Thomas Moyle, to hold in capite by knight's service; he alienated it in the first year of Edward VI. to Roger and Valentine Byer, alias Bere, (fn. 7) to the use of the former, who died possessed of it in the 4th and 5th year of Philip and Mary, and was succeeded in it by John Byer, his son and heir, and he conveyed it, anno 3 Elizabeth, to Thomas Adam, who in the 17th year of that reign, alienated it to Thomas Dane, of Herne, whose daughter and heir Thomasine marrying Robert Denne, esq. of Denne-hill, entitled him to the possession of this manor. His eldest son Thomas Denne, esq. who was recorder of Canterbury, died in 1656, and was succeeded in it by his eldest son Thomas, of GraysInn, esq. who dying s. p. devised it by will to his brother John, of the Inner Temple, esq. who dying likewise s. p. gave it by will to his four maiden sisters; the eldest of whom, Thomasine, on the share of the inheritance left them by their brother, became entitled to it, and afterwards marrying Sir Nicholas Crispe, of Quekes, he became in her right possessed of it, and died in 1657, leaving an only daughter Anne, who carried it in marriage in 1673 to Sir Richard Powle, K. B. of Berkshire, whose son John Powle, esq. of Lincoln's Inn, dying in 1740, s. p. this manor, among other estates, by the entail of it, reverted to the right heirs of his mother Anne Crispe, in the person of Tho. Crispe, esq. of West-Ham, in Essex, (descended from Tho. Crispe, of Goudhurst, the next brother of Henry, the father of Sir Nicholas Crispe, above mentioned) whose sole daughter and heir Anne married Sir Rich. Powle, K. B. the father of John, who died s.p. in 1740, as above mentioned.) He left an only surviving daughter and heir Susan, who married in 1757, the late Geo. Elliot, esq. of Upton, in Essex, who possessed it in her right, and in 1764 alienated it to Mr. John Wotton, of this island, as he did again to Mr. James Taddy, gent. of St. John's, whose surviving sons and devisees James and Edward Taddy, became entitled to it, but the latter is since become the sole possessor of it.
BROOKSEND, antiently spelt Brookesende, is a manor situated about a mile south-west from the church of Birchington; it was part of the antient possessions of the priory of Christ-church; and in the 10th year of king Edward II. the prior obtained a grant of free warren for his demesne lands in this manor among others, after this it continued with the priory till the final suppression of it in the 31st year of Henry VIII. when this manor, among the other possessions of it, came into the king's hands, where it did not continue long, for he settled it, among other premises, in his 33d year, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose inheritance it still continues. There is not any court held for this manor.
The manerial rights the dean and chapter reserve in their own hands; but the scite and demesne lands are demised on a beneficial lease, the present lessee being Mr. John Friend, junior, who is the present occupier of it.
THE MANOR OF BROADGATE, otherwise called Brockmans, lies within the bounds of this parish, and extends likewise into Monkton; it was part of the possessions of Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset, and on his attainder in the 8th year of king Edward IV. came to the crown, whence it was granted to John Brockman, esq. of Witham, in Essex, to hold by the same tenure and services as it was held in the 1st year of his reign, and he died possessed of it in the 16th year of king Henry VII. anno 1500, as was found by the inquisition then taken. (fn. 8)
TEN ACRES AND ONE HALF OF LAND, were given for the repairs of the church here, or perhaps purchased with the several legacies left to the church fabric, of which one acre is let by the churchwardens to a poor man employed by them, to keep the boys orderly at church; the residue is let out, and the rents applied to the use of the church.
ANNA-GERTRUY CRISPE, fourth daughter and coheir of Thomas Crispe, esq. of Quekes, by her will in 1707, devised to the overseers of the poor of Birchington and ville of Achole, for ever, 47 acres of land in Birchington and Monkton, then in lease at 18l. per annum, in trust, to pay to the clerk of the parish yearly 20s. to keep clean the isle and monuments belonging to Quex; to three widows of Birchington 3l. to two widows of Achole 2l. for wearing apparel to appear at church; to keep at school with dame or master, 12 boys and girls, and to give to each, at leaving the school, a bible; the overseers to take yearly ten shillings; to dispose of the remaining money for binding a school-boy apprentice; that the overseers fix up a yearly account of receipts and payments, and pass the same before a justice of the peace. (fn. 9)
The church, which is exempted from the archdeacon, and dedicated to All Saints, is a handsome building, situated on a rising ground; it consists of a nave and two isles, reaching but half the length of it, and what is remarkable, they are all spanned by a single roof; beyond these are three chancels. That on the north side of it belongs to the antient seat of Quekes, in this parish, and is repaired by the owners of it; in it are many fine antient monuments and memorials of the families of Quekes and Crispe, &c. The south chancel is made into a handsome vestry, and just by stands the steeple, which is a tower, on which is placed a spire covered with shingles, of great use to ships at sea as a land-mark. There are five bells in it. In the windows of the church are some few remains of painted glass, just sufficient to shew that there was much more formerly. Before the reformation, there were here beside the high altar, altars and images with lights before them, for the blessed Virgin Mary, St. Nicholas, the Holy Trinity, St. Anne, and St. Margaret; to each of which legacies of a few pence and sometimes shillings, were almost constantly devised by the parishioners; as appears by their wills, remaining in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury.
Among other memorials in this church, in the high chancel, is a stone with a brass plate, having on it, the effigies of a priest in his habit, and an inscription for master John Heynes, clerk, late vicar of Monkton, obt. 1523. In the vestry, on a brass plate, an inscription for Mrs. Margaret Crispe, late wife of Mr. John Crispe, the youngest daughter and heir of George Rotherham, esq. obt. 1508. In the Quekes, formerly called St. Mary's chancel, are many gravestones, with brass plates and monuments well preserved, for the family of Crispe, of Quekes, with their busts, several of which, as well as the ornaments, are of excellent sculpture, from the year 1508 to 1737. A very handsome mural monument and inscription for dame Anne Powel, only daughter and heir of Sir Nicholas Crispe, of Quex, and relict of Sir Richard Powel, K. B. obt. 1707, leaving only one son John Powel, esq. of Lincoln'sInn, who died unmarried 1740, and lies here interred. By her death, all his mother's estates in Kent pursuant to her deeds of settlement, descended to Henry and Thomas Crispe, esqrs. of the custom-house, London, the only surviving branch in the male line of this antient name and family. A memorial for Wm. Buller, esq. of Quekes, ob. 1708; arms, Sable, on a cross, argent, four eagles displayed of the field, a crescent for difference; impaling sable, a chevron between three pelicans, or. John Blechenden, gent. of Birchington, appears, by his will, anno 1580, to lie buried in the nether end and north side of the chancel, where Sir Henry Crispe was buried. There are engravings of three of the monuments of the Crispe's in Lewis's History of Thanet.—On an antient tomb in this chancel, lie the effigies of a man and woman; on the sides and end of it are the arms of Crispe singly, and those of Scott, three catherine wheels in a bordure, engrailed, and Crispe, impaling the same several times. In the middle isle, a memorial for Capt. George Friend, of this parish, obt 1721; and several others for the same family. A memorial, shewing, that in a vault underneath, lie several of the Neames, of Gore-end, and Mockett, of Dandelion. One for Samuel Brooke, esq. obt. 1774. Several memorials for the Kerbys, of Southend, and Brooksend; Austens, and of Gore. A memorial for Thomas Underdown, late of Fordwich, and thrice mayor of that corporation; he died 1709. A stone, on which is a brass, with a priest in his habit, the inscription gone, but in small circular brasses at each corner are his initials, I. F. conjoined in the manner of a cypher.
In the church yard, on the north side, there stood formerly a small house, called the Wax-house, where they used to fabricate the lights for the church processions, &c. In the time of the sequestration of this vicarage, about the year 1642, or rather the resignation of it by Dr. Casaubon, on the ordinance against pluralities, this church was left by the vicar, to any one who would officiate in it, and this house was fitted up at the parishioners charge, or perhaps at the expence of the family of Crispe, who were defirous of a conformist's officiating here, for the minister to live in. Accordingly Mr. Edmund Fellows, A. M. of Sandwich, officiated here as minister from 1657 till after 1660; but in a late vicar's time, this house was, by his order, pulled down, and the materials carried away.
This church was one of the chapels belonging to the vicarage of Monkton, and is now the only one of them in being. As this church was a chapelry of the parish church of Monkton, and the chapel was erected for the ease of the inhabitants, they were antiently obliged to contribute towards the repairs of the mother church; but this usage, as well as that of the other chapels in this island, (except St. Nicholas, which still continues to pay a certain sum towards the repairs of its mother church of Reculver) has been for a long time discontinued.
By the endowment of the vicarage of Monkton in 1367, it was decreed, that the vicar of Monkton for the time being, should find one chaplain in this chapel of Birchington, dependant on that church, daily to celebrate, as far as he conveniently could, which chaplain should officiate in this chapel duly in divine services; for which the vicar allowed him a stipend of six pounds per annum.
The vicar of Monkton now finds a curate to officiate in this church, being collated by the archbishop, the patron, to the vicarage of Monkton, with the chapels of Birchington and Wode appendant to it; but the appropriate parsonage of this parish, including that of Wood adjoining, as an appendage to that of Monkton, which was part of the possessions of the priory of Christ-church, was yet a distinct parsonage from it, and as such was granted, after the dissolution, by king Henry VIII. in his 33d year, by his dotation charter, to his new-erected dean and chapter of Canterbury, in whom the inheritance of it is at this time vested.
The parsonage of Birchington, including that of Wood, alias Woodchurch, adjoining, is let on a beneficial lease for twenty-one years. In 1778 the rack rent of it was two hundred pounds per annum; but it was valued, on a survey, at six hundred pounds per annum, having 2000 acres of titheable land within the tithery of it. The family of Hugessen, of Provender, were lessees of it. From the coheirs of the late William Western Hugessen, esq. their interest in this lease was sold, in 1791, to Mr. George Bushell, of Minster, whose son Mr. Benjamin Bushell is the present lessee.
The parish clerk here had formerly some peculiar privileges, as appears by the antient book of the clerks for collecting his dues, (fn. 10) different from those enjoyed by other parish-clerks in this island; besides certain sums of money, amounting to 5s. 6d. and a groat a year for every cottage; and he had paid him in kind by the farmers, twelve cops and twelve sheaves of wheat, and twelve cops and two sheaves of barley; but in the year 1638, an assessment was made by the parishioners of this parish, and of the parish and ville of Wood, wherein they rated their lands at twelve pence the score acres, and the cottages at four pence each, for the clerk's wages.