The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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ST. JOHN's, alias MARGATE,
IS THE NEXT ADJOINING PARISH north-eastward from Woodchurch, which latter, though only a borough within it, has so greatly increased in buildings of late years, and become so noted from the resort of company to it yearly, that it has almost obliterated its antient parochial name of St. John's, that of Margate being the only one now known to most people.
This parish is within the liberty and jurisdiction of the cinque ports, and is an antient member of the town and port, of Dover, and though united to it ever since king Edward I.'s reign, yet so late as in that of king Henry VI. it became a dispute, whether this parish was not in the county at large; to take away therefore all doubt of it, that king, by his letters patent, united it to Dover, to which place it is subject in all matters of civil jurisdiction. The mayor of Dover appoints one of the inhabitants to be his deputy here; but though he bears the name of the mayor's deputy, he has no power to administer an oath, or to act as the mayor himself might do if he was present. This officer is chosen either every year, or once in two or three years, at the pleasure of the mayor of Dover, and appoints a sub-deputy. He had antiently an assessment allowed him every year, to bear the charge he was at, in the execution of his office, out of which he paid several sums, by reason of the dependency of this parish on the town and port of Dover.
In this parish, and the other two parishes of St. Peter and Birchington, there were two companies of foot soldiers raised, which used to be mustered by the deputy constable of Dover, which was a considerable expence to the inhabitants, the governor and his attendants being all treated by them and their charges borne, which was done out of this deputy's rate or assessment. Out of the same rate there were built in 1624 two watch houses and a watch-bell, hung on the cage, and anothere watch-house built in the fort; out of this rate likewise were provided two brass guns for the fort, with appurtenances and ammunition for them; and a barrel with pitch to set upon the beacon; out of it were defrayed the charges of filling up the sea-gates made in the cliff, to prevent rogues from coming up into the country that way from the sea, to steal and plunder, especially in time of war; thus Fayernesse gate was dammed up in 1618; but such an asiessment has been discontinued for more than one hundred years past. (fn. 1)
THIS PARISH OF ST. JOHN, which is about three miles and a half across each way, has much the same appearance, as those parishes in this island heretofore described, consisting of open uninclosed corn lands, with frequent hill and dale, the soil mostly chalk. It is accounted an exceeding healthy situation, and the inhabitants long lived. In the year 1563, as appears by archbishop Parker's return to the order of the privy council, here were one hundred and seven housholds; but so far had they increased between that time, to when Mr. Lewis wrote his History of Thanet in 1736, that there were then computed to be in this parish, (including Margate) about six hundred families, which would make the number of inhabitants about two thousand four hundred in the whole. They are now increased to upwards of seven hundred families.
The village or town, now called Margate, situated in the borough of that name, a further account of which will be given hereaster, lies on the sea shore, on the north side of it, extending southwards, on the ascent of a hill, on the knoll of which stands the church. Besides the town of Margate, there are several other small villes, or clusters of houses in this parish. Westbrooke, (from west of the Brooks) lies about a quarter of a mile westward from Margate. Garling, which is a pretty large ville, consists of near twenty houses, about midway between Margate and Birchington, In this hamlet is a farm called Garling's farm, which belongs to the hospitals of Bridewell, and Bethlem, in London. Mutterer has about three cottages a little nearer to Birchington. Southward from Garling is Twenties and Lyden, and then Vincents, now the property of Mr. Francis Smith; all at present are only single farm houses, yet almost within memory, at the latter there was another dwelling house; and by the great number of disused wells found hereabout, it should seem that there were antiently many more houses at this place, which seems to account for the situation of the oratory or chapel, called Dene chapel, built by Sir Henry de Sandwich about the year 1230, to which resorted not only the lord of that manor and his family, but the inhabitants of Twenties, Vincents, and Fleet likewise, purchased by Henry, lord Holland, which has since passed in like manner as Kingsgate, and his other estates in this island, and is now owned by Wm. Roberts, esq. in the middle of, or at least at a convenient distance from those farm houses, this little oratory was placed. Chapel-hill house belongs to Miss Browne.—Fleet above-mentioned, is a place at the southern extremity of this parish, at a small distance from Vincents, extending partly into the parishes of St. Laurence and Minster. It was antiently a place of some account, having been the inheritance of a family, written in antient records de Fleta, who were resident here about the reign of king John, or of Henry III. at present there is only a small farm-house, one tenement, and the ruins of another. Philipott says, the family of Fleet sealed with Chequy, on a canton, a lion rampant, as appeared by antient ordinaries and alphabets of arms. In James I.'s time, one of this family ended in a daughter and coheir, married to Philipott, who became entitled to this estate, and possessed it in 1656.
Southward from the church is Draper's hospital, and the same distance further a good house called Updowne, belonging to Mr. Farrer; about half a mile from which is Nash-court, and about as much further Little Nash. In the eastern part of the parish are the two hamlets of East North Down, and West North Down, (the latter about two miles eastward from the church, the former about one only,) and lastly Lucas Dane, almost adjoining to Margate, in the same valley.
The northern and eastern sides of this parish are bounded by the sea-shore, along the whole of which there is a continued range of high chalk cliffs, excepting in the opening between that space, where the harbour and pier of Margate, with the town, stands, and a small place to the westward of it.
THE BOROUGH AND TOWN OF MARGATE is situated on the northern bounds of this parish, adjoining to the sea. This borough was antiently bounded on the land side byavery large lynch or bank, a considerable part of which has been so long since ploughed up, that no one knows the bounds of it on that side. It seems to have had the name of Margate, or more properly Meregate, from there being here an opening or gate, through which there was a small mere, or stream, running into the sea.
On that side of the town next the sea, was a pier of timber, built east and west, in the form of a half circle, to defend the bay from the main sea, and make a small harbour for ships of no great burthen, such as the corn and other hoys, and the fishing craft. By the present appearance of the chalky rocks, which were the foundations of the old cliffs, on each side of this pier at low water, it seems as if antiently nature itself had formed a creek or harbour here, the mouth of which was just broad enough to let small vessels go in and out of it; but since the inning of the levels on the south side of this island, the sea having borne har der on the east and north parts of it, the land on each side of this creek has been, in process of time, washed quite away by the sea, and the inhabitants were obliged to build this pier to prevent the town's being overflowed by the ocean, and to desend that part of it which lies next the water by piles of timber and jettees. This pier was at first but small, and went but a little way from the land, but the cliffs still continuing to be washed away, the sea by that means lay more heavily on the back of it than usual, and rendered it necessary to enlarge it by degrees, to what it is at present. At what time this pier was first built is unknown, that it was so long before the reign of king Henry VIII. is certain from Leland's account of it, (who lived in that reign) for he says, Itin. vol. vii. "Margate lyith in St. John's paroche yn Thanet a v myles upward fro Reculver, and there is a village and a peere for shyppes but now sore decayed;" which shews it to have been built many years before; and it seems to intimate, either that there were then no dues paid for the maintenance and preservation of it, or that the trade to it was so small, that those dues were not sufficient to keep it in repair. However this be, it is very certain that this pier was not then near so large as it is now, and that the lands in this island were not in such a state of cultivation as they have been of late years, and consequently the droits paid for corn shipped, by which it now chiefly subsists, were not near so much as they are now. In queen Elizabeth's reign, it is certain this pier was maintained by certain rates, paid by corn and other merchandize shipped and landed in it, which rates were confirmed by the several lord wardens of the cinque ports, who have from time to time renewed and altered the decrees, made for the ordering of this little harbour, under the management of two pier-wardens and two deputies, who were to collect the droits or dues to it, and inspect and provide for the necessary support and repairs of it. The oldest of these decrees is dated in 1615, and confirmed by Edward, lord Zouch, lord warden, chancellor and admiral of the cinque ports. In these decrees or orders, it is said, that they have been usually confirmed by the lord wardens for the time being, and time out of mind used by the inhabitants of Margate and St. John's, in the island of Thanet. By virtue of these orders, &c. two persons resident in Margate and St. John's, were every year chosen on May-day, to take care of this pier, by the name of pier-wardens; and two others called deputy pier-wardens. It is the office of these wardens and their deputies, to collect the droits, as they are called, or the monies due to the pier; of which they are to give an account to the parishioners, and their successors in this office, within twenty days after the choice of new pier-wardens. It is likewise the office of the pier-wardens to inspect and provide for the repairs of the pier; but they cannot make any new works above the value of five pounds, without the consent of the inhabitants.
But it appears, notwithstanding this care for the preservation of the pier, that through neglect of the persons employed, it by degrees fell still further to decay, insomuch, that in the year 1662, complaint was made to James, duke of York, then lord warden and admiral of the cinque ports, that this pier and harbour was much ruinated and decayed, and that the monies formerly collected and received for the repairs of it, had not been duly improved for that purpose, and that for a long time past there had not been any due account given, or elections made of successive pier-wardens yearly, as by antient customs and orders of former lord wardens ought to be. This state of the pier and a supposition, which was generally believed, that the pier-wardens had no power to compel the payment of the droits, or harbour dues, went forward from time to time, and seemed to threaten the entire ruin of it, which induced the pier-wardens and inhabitants at last, in the 11th year of king George I. to petition parliament for an act to enable them more effectually to recover the antient and accustomary droits, for the support and maintenance of the pier; which act passed accordingly that year. The title of the act is, to enable the pier-wardens of the town of Margate, more effectually to recover the antient and accustomary droits for the support and maintenance of the said pier. The preamble to the act recites, that the antient town of Margate had, time out of mind, had a pier and harbour very commodious, and of great benefit and advantage to the trade and navigation of this kingdom, in the preservation of ships and mariners in storms and stress of weather, and from enemies in times of wars; and also very convenient for the exporting and importing many sorts of commodities. That the safety of the town of Margate, and of all the neighbouring country depending upon the preservation of this pier and harbour; there had been towards the maintenance and preservation of it, time immemorial, paid to the pier-wardens, or their deputies for the time being, certain droits, commonly called poundage, or lastage; and other rates or duties, which had been confirmed by the orders and decrees of the lords wardens of the cinque ports; without the due payment of which, this pier or harbour must inevitably fall to decay, to the utter ruin of the inhabitants of this town, and of all the neighbouring country, and to the great prejudice of the trade and navigation of the kingdom. Lastly, that it was necessary to make more effectual provision, as well for the recovery of the said droits, rates, and duties aforesaid, and for the enforcing of due payment of them, as for the better securing the said pier and harbour: It was therefore enacted, that the antient droits should be continued and paid, and that to this end the pier-wardens should chuse collectors, who should be allowed for their pains in the collecting of them, not exceeding one shilling and sixpence in the pound, and should give security for the same, and that their accounts should be yearly audited by the pier-wardens, with divers other regulations, powers, and penalties, for the better carrying forward of the same. Lastly, that all sums of money collected should be paid to the pier-wardens, to be laid out in repairing and improving the pier and harbour, and not applied to any other use; and that the pier-wardens should have power to prevent all annoyances in the harbour. Under this act the pier was maintained till the year 1787, when an application to parliament being intended for the improvement of the town of Margate, the rebuilding and improvement of the pier was applied for at the same time, and an act of parliament passed that year, anno 27 George III. for that purpose, as well as for ascertaining, establishing and recovering, certain duties, in lieu of the antient and accustomary droits, for the support and maintenance of this pier. Since this the old wooden pier has begun to be new cased on both sides with stone, and extended, and the whole is now compleatly finished. An act of parliament was passed this present year (1799) to amend the former, by encreasing the droits, and enabling the commissioners to make further improvements. This will certainly add to the increase of the trade of this place, and the general benefit of the inhabitants of Margate, and country contiguous to it. (fn. 2)
The rates, according to which the droits for the maintenance of this pier are at present settled, as well by the late act, as by the commissioners impowered so to do, are by much too long to be inserted here.
Most of the shipping trade, which was once pretty large, before the harbour was so much washed away by the sea, and the ships began to be built too large to lay up here, has been long since removed to London. However, there are still some ships of burthen resort hither for the importation of coals from Newcastle and Sunderland; and of deals, &c. from Memel and Riga; besides this, the exportation of corn and other product of the farms in this island is very considerable from this harbour, as is the quantity of goods of every sort from London, brought in daily by the hoys for the supply of the shops and other inhabitants of this place and neighbourhood; to which may be added the several passage-boats, or yachts, as they are now called, which are neatly fitted up with cabins and other accommodations, and sail every day to and from London, constantly freighted with passengers, baggage and other lading belonging to them; and the number of persons, which the inhabitants boast are carried to and from this place in the vessels yearly, is almost beyond a moderate credibility, even to 18,000 on an average.
As the passage from England to Holland is reckoned the shortest from this place, many great personages have embarked here from time to time for the continent. In particular, in king James I.'s reign, the elector palatine, the king's son-in-law, with the electress Elizabeth his wife, embarked from this place for Holland. In later times king William III. often came hither in his way to and from Holland; king George I. twice landed here; and king George II. and queen Caroline his consort, with the young princesses, came first on shore and staid all night at this place; and that successful and victorious General John, the great duke of Marlborough, chose this place for his embarking, and landing again to and from the several campaigns he made abroad.
THE TOWN of Margate was till of late years a poor inconsiderable fishing town, built for the most part in the valley adjoining to the harbour, the houses of which were in general mean and low; one dirty narrow lane, now called King-street, having been the principal street of it. It does not seem ever to have been in any great repute for its fishery or trade; and this appears more fully from the return made on a survey, by order of queen Elizabeth, in her 8th year, of the several maritime places in this county, in which it was returned, that there were in Margate, houses inhabited one hundred and eight; persons lacking proper habitations eight; boats and other vessels fifteen; viz. eight of one ton, one of two, one of five, four of eighteen, one of sixteen; persons belonging to these boats, occupied in the carrying of grain and fishing, sixty.
From this state of insignificance Margate rose unexpectedly, and that no long time since, to wealth and consequence, owing principally to the universal recommendation of sea air and bathing, and the rage of the Londoners at the same time of spending their summer months at those watering places situated on the sea coast; and when it came to be known that the shore here was so well adapted to bathing, being an entire level and covered with the finest sand, which extends for several miles on each side the harbour, and the easy distance from the metropolis, with the conveniency of so frequent a passage by water, it gave Margate a preference before all others, to which the beauty and healthiness of it, and of the adjoining country, contributed still more.
An objection has been made to the sea-bathing here, that the fresh waters of the rivers Thames and Medway, mixing with those of the sea here, lessen the saltness of the latter; but this can have but little force, when it is considered, that the mouths of those rivers are at the distance of near thirty miles, and are both salt for nearly that distance from their mouths; and besides, the waters of those rivers do not run on the ebb-tide half way down to Margate road, before the tide at flood turns them back again. Another advantage peculiar to Margate is, its being a weather shore, during the greatest part of the summer; or in other words, the southerly winds, which generally prevail in that season, blow off from the land; by which means the sea is rendered perfectly smooth, and the water clear to a considerable depth; whereas most of the places on the sea-coast in the English channel, from the North Foreland to the Land's End, are on a lee-shore during the whole of that time, and are incommoded very much by those winds; for those grateful gales, which produce fine warm weather, and render the Margate shore smooth and pleasant, never fail to occasion at the same time a continual swell and surf of the sea on the south coast of England; which not only makes the water there foul and thick, but annoys, spatters, and frightens the bathers exceedingly.
This induced numbers of genteel people, among which were many of the nobility and persons of fashion, to resort to Margate, as well for bathing, as for pleasure; but the houses were far from being sufficient to receive this increase of inhabitants, nor were there proper places of accommodation for them; this brought hither numbers of adventurers in building; a new town was built to the southward of the old one, on the side of the hill nearer the church, and the old town too was greatly improved and increased; a large square was erected in the former, called Cecil-square, on one side of which is a large assembly-room, with a public hotel adjoining. The assembly-room, which is supposed to be nearly as large as most in the kingdom, is finished with much taste and elegance. It is 87 feet long and 43 broad, of a proportionable height and richly ornamented; adjoining to it, are apartments for tea and cards; under which, on the ground floor, is a billiard and coffee room, which join the hotel, and a large piazza extends the whole length of the building. The number of subscribers names to these rooms in the season, amounts generally, as it is said, to more than a thousand. In the contiguous field there was afterwards built another square, called Hawley-square, and an entire range of genteel houses from one end of it to the other, most of which command a fine and extensive prospect over the sea. Near the harbour there are several commodious bathing-rooms, out of which the bathers are driven in the machines, any depth along the sands into the sea, under the conduct of the guides; at the back of the machine is a door, through which the bathers descend a few steps into the water, and an umbrella of canvas dropping over, conceals them from the public view. Upwards of forty of these machines are frequently employed until the time of high water; their structure is at once simple and convenient, and the pleasure and advantage of bathing may be enjoyed in so private a manner, as to be consistent with the strictest delicacy. Benjamin Beale, a Quaker, and inhabitant of this place, in the earliest time of its improvement, was the inventor of them; but, like other ingenious persons, his invention proved his own ruin, though numbers have since acquired an affluent support from the use of them.
Besides the benefit of sea-bathing at this place, there are, if warm bathing is thought necessary, close to the harbour, four salt-water baths, on a very good construction, which may be filled in a few minutes, and the water brought to any degree of heat with the greatest facility.
On the 21st of June, 1792, the first stone of a general Sea-bathing Infirmary, situated in West Seabath Bay, and for which a very large subscription had been raised, was laid by John Coakley Letsom, M. D. of London, assisted by the committees both of London and Margate, with much parade and ceremony.
Near the squares above-mentioned is a theatre, established by act of parliament in 1786, at the expence of upwards of 4000l. and a public library with contiguous rooms, built in an elegant and magnificent stile. (fn. 3)
Margate at first, from this great increase of inhabitants, was but ill supplied with provisions from the neighbouring country, which had not sufficient for the purpose, and even what they did supply was but very precarious; to obviate this, a grant of a public market was obtained in 1777, to be held weekly on a Wednesday and Saturday. This grant was made to Francis Cobb and John Baker, gents. wardens of the pier, and their successors; to be holden in the town of Margate, for buying and selling of corn, grain, flour, flesh, fish, poultry, butter, eggs, fruit, vegetables, and other provisions, so that now this place is exceedingly well supplied; and to add still further improvements to this town, an act of parliament passed in the year 1787, for the paving, lighting, and otherwise improving it, which has been since carried into execution; thirty-four respectable parishioners being appointed to superintend this very useful and necessary business. The application to parliament was, as well for rebuilding the pier of Margate, and for supporting and maintaining it, as for widening, paving, repairing, cleansing, lighting and watching the streets, lanes, highways, and public passages in the town of Margate and parish of St. John the Baptist, in the Isle of Thanet; and for settling the rates of porters, chairmen, carters, and carmen, within the said town; and for preventing encroachments, nuisances and annoyances therein. And now the inhabitants of Margate thought their town of sufficient consequence, to throw off the yoke of dependency on the town and port of Dover, and to exempt themselves from the jurisdiction of it; for which purpose they petitioned the crown for a charter of incorporation, which was strongly opposed by the town and port of Dover; and on a hearing of the merits of the petition, in 1785, before the king's attorney-general, though he agreed that the town stood in need of a more regular police, yet he disapproved of the matter in question, and ob served to them, if they persisted in their present mode, they had still the power of applying to parliament, and recommended to their attention certain propositions previous to such application, to be taken into their consideration, and after their return and consulting their friends, they would at their own time, acquaint him with their determination; but this so far discouraged them from the further prosecution of a charter, that all further intentions of it from that time fell to the ground.
In Love lane, adjoining to the market, the Baptists have a meeting-house, to which there belongs in summer a numerous congregation; and in the middle of the north side of Hawley-square, is neat chapel, for the followers of the late Mr. Wesley.
A little above the old town northward, adjoining to the sea, is a small piece of ground, called the Fort, being formerly put to that use, and maintained at the parish charge; there was a large deep ditch on the land side of it next the town; at its entrance towards the east was a strong gate, which was kept locked to preserve the ordnance, arms, and ammunition; for here were two brass cannon, bought and repaired by the parish; here was likewise a watch-house; a gunner was appointed by government, with a salary of twenty pounds per annum, and a flag hoisted upon occasion; and there were sent hither from the tower, ten or twelve pieces of ordnance, with carriages. This was not only a great safeguard to the town, but a means of preserving merchant ships going round the North Foreland and the Downs, from the enemy's privateers, which often lurk hereabouts, and being hidden behind the land, surprize ships sailing that way. But this appointment of a gunner has been for some time discontinued; the gate at the entrance of the port has been taken away, and the ditch has been converted into a small square of houses. A small battery is now erected on its scite, and the guns mounted on the improved construction.
On the opposite hill north eastward of the new town, is built another hamlet of houses, called usually Hooperrs hill, on which there is a curious horizontal windmill, erected by Capt. Hooper, for the purpose of grinding corn, upon a very large scale, and of such excellent mechanism as to render it worthy the inspection of the curious.
There was a branch of trade, that of malting, which was formerly so large, that there were about forty malting houses in this parish; but this trade is now almost wholly gone to decay here, as it has been for several years throughout all the neighbouring country.
The hanging and drying of herrings has formerly been of great use to the poor of this town, a great many of whom were employed in the season, to wash, salt, spit, and hang them. But this trade would have been much more beneficial to the place, had these herrings been caught by the inhabitants, for then there would have been more employment for the poor, many of whom had little to do, but in spinning and twisting of twine to make nets with, and the knitting of nets, &c. But this fishery here has long since gone so much to decay, that those who depended on it were forced to sell their large boats, or let them run out; after which, those in which they fished were so small, that they dared not go out far to sea in them, nor venture out of the pier in a fresh gale of wind; (fn. 4)of late years the affluence of the strangers resorting hither has diffused a spirit of emulation among the fishermen, who are now very numerous; and have furnished themselves with substantial vessels and large boats, by which they not only supply their own town, but in their seasons carry considerable quantities of fish to London. The fish generally caught here are skaite, wraiths, small cod, haddock, turbot, whitings, soles, and other flat fish; mackrel and herrings in their seasons; lobsters, pungers, oysters, and other shell-fish; and likewise eels, of which, as old fishermen have asserted, such plenty has been caught here formerly, that they used to be measured by the bushel, but for these many years past they have been very scarce; the reason of this, perhaps, may be the great use that has been made for some years of the sea woose hereabouts, not only in taking up such of it as is cast up by the sea to mix with the dung or lay on the land, but stripping the rocks of it, to burn and make kelp, of which notice has been already taken before, by which the shelter and food of these fish and others of the like nature, which lie near the shore, were taken away; of which there was a complaint made to the lord warden so long ago as the 35th of Elizabeth: that by the burning and taking up the sea-weed, the inhabitants of this island were annoyed in their health, and greatly hindered in their fishing; in consequence of which, a warrant was granted to the deputies of the mayors of Dover and Sandwich, to forbid and restrain the taking up and burning the sea-woose within the Isle of Thanet, by any one whatsoever; but this warrant seems not to have been regarded, perhaps from an insufficiency of the power of the lord warden to pursue the execution of it; and the same custom of taking it away at the free will of those who have a right so to do, has continued (and indeed there can be no reason why it should not) to the present time. The first lord Conyngham, as lord of Minster manor, brought an action against the inhabitants of the part of the island within that manor, for taking away this sea-woose from the shore without his licence; which claim was tried at the county afsizes, but his lordship failed in the establishment of it.
Among the other improvements at this place, the schools ought not to be forgotten; there are two for young ladies, and two for young gentlemen, besides a private seminary, lately established by a clergyman; and a charity school has been not long ago instituted, for the education of forty boys and an equal number of girls, supported by the voluntary subscriptions of the inhabitants, and much assisted by the liberal donations of the nobility and gentry, who resort hither in the summer. There are no fairs kept at Margate; but at Northdown one is held on the 25th of July, being St. James's day, to whom the north chancel of the church was dedicated; and the feast is kept in pursuance of the will of Ethelred Barrow, who appointed a give-all on that day for ever.
From the exposed situation of Margate to the north and east, it has frequently suffered by tempests and storms, setting in to the land from those quarters. The town and harbour of Margate are situated so directly open to the northern ocean, that a vessel taking her departure from thence and steering her course north half east, would hit no land till she came on the coast of Greenland, in the lat. of 75° north, after having run 1380 miles. Great damage was done by storms of wind, particularly in the years 1755, 1763, and 1767, to the ships within the pier, and to the houses near the harbour, which from the force of the sea and its impetuosity were almost demolished.
In the summer of the year 1788, a female beaked whale came on shore at Margate; it was twenty-seven feet in length, and in girt seventeen feet. Mr. Hunter, surgeon, of this place, in dissecting the head of this fish, discovered four teeth just penetrating the gums in the lower jaw, which led him to conjecture that it had scarcely attained half its growth, and that its common length might be, when full grown, at least sixty feet.
BETWEEN THE HAMLET OF GARLING and the sea, there were found in the year 1724, in digging a sea-gate, or way through the cliff into the sea, to fetch up sea-oose, or woose, for the manure of the land, twenty-seven SEVERAL INSTRUMENTS, lying all together, about two feet under ground; which makes it rather strange, that they were not before that time discovered by the plough. They were of mixed brass, or what is usually called pot or bell metal, of several sizes and somewhat different shapes, but both sides alike; the largest of them seven inches one quarter long, and two inches three quarters broad at the bottom; the lesser ones, were five inches in length, and two inches and one-half in breadth at the bottom; two of them had ringles on one side about the middle, which was the thickest or deepest part. These instruments are usually called celts, and have been found in great numbers in various parts of this island, as well as on the continent, as in Spain, France, and Herculanium, in Italy; and our learned antiquaries have differed much in opinion to what uses they were designed, though they seem to agree that they are either Roman or British; most probably the former. The learned Montfaucon has described that among them with a ringle, among the Roman tools of building, and is of opinion that it was a chisel, with which they used to cut or hew stones. Count Caylas, in his antiquities, observes, that these instruments with and without rings are common in France, and are called Gallia Hatchets; he is for referring them to domestic use, as chisels with handles fitted into them perpendicularly; but observes, that whether employed for domestic use or military purposes, they cannot be of much service for want of strength.
Montfaucon likewise observes, that the metal of which these instruments are made, seems not hard enough for such work; though the antients used some kind of temper by which they made brass as hard as iron; but, says Mr. Lewis, in his History of Thanet, it was but viewing these tools, if such they were, found here, with some attention, to be satisfied that the metal of which they were made, though somewhat harder than common brass, was not so hard as iron, nor yet hard enough to hew any stone that was not soft and easy to be cut. Mr. Hearne, after several arguments to prove that they were not military weapons, agrees in the same opinion, as does Dr. Borlase, which is in some measure corroborated by there having been one found in Herculaneum; (fn. 5) and the latter thinks they were offensive weapons originally, indeed of British invention and fabric, but afterwards improved and used by the provincial Romans, as well as Britons. Mr. Thoresby supposes them to have been the heads of spears of the civilized Britons, (fn. 6) and Mr. Whitaker that they were the heads of light battle-axes; and Mr. Gordon, in his Itinerary Septentrional, seems to have fancied them a kind of Roman Securis, or axe.
Again it has been conjectured with some probability, by a learned and ingenious gentleman, that these instruments were chisels of the Roman soldiers, with which they used to sharpen the stakes, called sudes and valli, which were a part of their travelling baggage, sarcina, since they used them in their daily encampments; (fn. 7)and that as every soldier must have had one or more of them, this might be the reason why so many of them are found, at various periods in different places.
Lastly, Dr. Stukeley, ever druidical, undertakes as usual, to shew that these brass cast instruments, called celts, were British, and belonging to the Druids; that they were fixed occasionally at the end of their staves to cut off the boughs of oak and misletoe; but that when not made use of for these purposes, they put them into their pouches, or hung them to their girdles by a little ring or loop.
See Mr. Lort's observations on celts, printed in the Archæologia, vol. v. where there are four plates of different kinds of celts, found in various places, and one of these found here in Lewis's History of Thanet.
At the beginning of the year 1791, as some la bourers were digging to lay the foundation of three new houses behind the charity-school in Margate, about two feet below the surface they found the remains of several bodies, which were interred in graves hewn out of the solid chalk, and lay in the direction of north and south. None of the graves were more than six feet long. In one of the graves was found a coin, having on one side a head crowned, and on the reverse the figure of a man in a running attitude, having a lance in his right hand, the inscription not legible; but was found to be a coin of Probus. At the same time there were found a sword and a scabbard, both much decayed. The bones were found very entire, but on being exposed to the air soon crumbled into dust; and another coin was picked up at the same time in excellent preservation, a coin of Maximianus, having his head, and round it IMP. MAXIMIANUS, P. F. AUG. On the reverse, the figure of Jupiter standing, having in his right hand the thunder bolt, and in his left a spear, JOVI CONSERVAT AUG. and underneath XXI T. a compliment to the 21st legion; and not long afterwards there was found a coin, in good preservation, of Helena, the first wife of Constantius; on one side her head, with this inscription, FL. HELENA AUGUSTA, and on the other side, REIPUBLICÆ SECURITAS, around a female figure.
In 1792, as some workmen were sinking a cellar, in one of the graves adjoining to the above they found a small Roman urn, which was filled with ashes, but no bones or other remains were discovered beside it.
THE MANOR OF MINSTER claims over the greatest part of this parish; the lands holding by certain rents of assize, called Corn-gavill and Penny-gavill. The lands were antiently distinguished by a large lynch, balk, or greenswerd, part of which is still remaining, though not so broad as it was formerly, and the other part has undergone the fate of other lynches hereabouts, being so entirely ploughed up, that there are no remains of it left. Notwithstanding which, the number of acres is still preserved in the books of the collectors of these rents of assize, according to which it is still gathered, though much of the land is gone over the cliff into the sea.
Subordinateto this manor, are the following places of note, situated mostly in the southern, or inland part of this parish, excepting that of Dandelion, which is in the north-west extremity of it. The first of these to be described is
SALMESTONE, or Salmanston grange or parsonage, usually called Salmstone, being a manor, situated about one quarter of a mile southward from the church. It was part of the antient possessions of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, to the sacristie of which monastery it was appropriated. King Henry III. in his 9th year, anno 1224, granted to the abbot and convent the privilege of holding a fair within this manor. In the 21st year of king Edward I. the king brought his claim against the abbot for this manor, by writs of quo warrantoand de recto, which was tried before J. de Berewick and his sociates, justices itinerant at Canterbury that year; but the king relinquished his claim, and afterwards confirmed it to the abbot and convent, and their successors. In the 7th year of king Edward II. anno 1313, in the iter of H. de Stanton and his sociates, justices itinerant, the abbot was summoned by quo warranto, to shew why he claimed sundry liberties therein mentioned in this manor, among others; and the abbot pleaded the grants and confirmations of them, by divers of the king's predecessors, and that they had been allowed in the last iter of J. de Berewick and his sociates, justices itinerant; and he pleaded, that king Edward II. by his charter in his 6th year, had fully confirmed all of them to the abbot and convent. After which, the rolls of the last iter of J. de Berewick being inspected, it was found that all the liberties which the abbot then claimed by allowance of the said iter were allowed in it; upon which every part of them was allowed. After which, king Edward III. by his charter of inspeximus, in his 36th year, confirmed to this abbey all the manors and possessions given to it by former kings, and by another charter, the several grants of liberties and confirmations made by his predecessors, among which were those above-mentioned; and Henry VI. afterwards confirmed the same.
In the year 1318, anno 12 Edward II. the abbot of St. Augustine and his servants, giving offence to the tenants of the manor of Minster, especially for taking distresses on them, the latter assembled together, and assaulting the court-lodges, or mansions of that manor and of Salmanstone, set fire to the gates of them; during which the monks and their servants here kept themselves confined within the walls for fifteen days; so that the people without, not being able to encompass their design of firing the house, destroyed the abbot's husbandry utensils in the fields, and all the trees in this manor, so effectually, that none have grown here ever since; but a method was found afterwards to punish these rioters, or at least the principal of them, who were fined in a large sum, and imprisoned at Canterbury till it was paid. (fn. 8) At the beginning of king Richard II.'s reign, Thomas Ickham, sacrist of the abbey of St. Augustine, among many other improvements made on the monastery, and other estates belonging to it, built a new hall at this manor, with chambers, at the cost of one hundred marcs; at which time, according to the measurement made of the lands of Salmanstone, they amounted to eighty-nine acres of arable land; and there belonged to it likewise, the tithes, great and small, of the parochial chapel of St. John Baptist, the small tithes of the parochial chapel of St. Laurence, and of the parish of Minster, exclusive of those given to the vicar; and a portion of great tithes in every one of the three parishes; from the possession of which tithes, this estate was usually called the rectory, or grange of Salmanstone. The sacrist of the monastery for the time being, was used yearly at Salmeston, in the first week of Lent, to distribute to twenty-four poor persons of the island, and dwelling in the undermentioned parishes; of Minster six, of St. John's six, of St. Laurence six, and of St. Peter six, to each of them nine loaves and eighteen herrings; and to distribute yearly on Midlent Sunday to the said poor persons, or as many of the like in those parishes, to the like number, the like charity; and to twelve poor persons, three of each of those parishes, to each of them two yards of blanket; and on Monday and Tuesday in every week from the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross, to the feast of the Nativity of St. John Baptist inclusive, during the said term, to deliver to each poor person coming to Salmeston, one dish-full of peas dressed; and to pay yearly to the vicar of St. John's for the time being, two bushels of corn, and the same to the vicars of St. Laurence and of St. Peter; and to the vicar of the church of Minster for the time being, ten shillings sterling yearly, and also twelve shillings yearly to the convent of the monastery, to be divided among them at the feast of All Saints, and to find sufficient man's meat and horse meat, for the monks and servants and horses at Salmeston, yearly on the feast of St. Mildred, the day after, and the feast of St. Bartholomew, and to yearly pay to the fourth prior of the monastery thirty shillings; and yearly find and provide, and send to the monastery on the vigil of St. Mildred, and St. Bartholomew the Apostle, two horses handsomely caparisoned, for the use of the fourth prior of the monastery. So long as the abbot and convent continued in possession of this estate, they kept it in their own hands, collected the tithes and ploughed the lands with the assistance of lay-brethren; the mansion-house served them for retirement and the use of the grange. The chapel and infirmary here are still entire, excepting that the windows are demolished.
On the final dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. this manor came to the crown, where the possession of it staid till the second year of queen Elizabeth, when it was granted for a term of years, to E. Thwayts, then lessee of it, who was bound to yearly pay to the vicar of the churches of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Laurence, in Thanet, two bushels of corn, and to the vicar of Minster ten shillings, as he was before bound to pay; and likewise all the charities and alms in like manner as before. (fn. 9) And next year the queen having taken into her hands several manors, lands, &c. parcel of the see of Canterbury, by letters patent, that year granted to the archbishop and his successors, several rectories, parsonages, and other premises, in lieu of them, among which was the rectory of Salmestone, late parcel of the possessions of the late monastery of St. Augustine, valued at the annual sum of 38l. 10s. 0½d. with the reprise out of it, of eight pounds yearly, to the vicar of St. John in Thanet; and of four pounds yearly to the vicar of Waltham. Anno 1558, being the last year of Philip and Mary, the queen granted to the archbishop the right of patronage of several rectories and vicarages, among which was that of Salmeston cum Deane. (fn. 10) Since which this manor and grange has continued part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, the archbishop being the present owner of it. The lessee is still bound by his lease to pay out of it all the above charities, the same as were paid by the lessee of it before the dissolution of the monastery; but the dish of peas, convenanted to be given to every poor man coming to Salmestone, is almost grown obsolete, which it is said, is owing to the lessee's taking advantage of the word dish in the lease, which being an uncertain measure, is given to the poor people in so small a pittance, that it is not worth their while to go for them. (fn. 11)
It has been for many years past demised by the archbishop, on a lease for three lives, at the beforementioned yearly rent; the earl of Guildford has at this time the interest of this lease. (fn. 12)
DANDELION is an estate situated in the north-west extremity of this parish, about half a mile from the sea-shore. This was in antient times the seat of a family of this name, and who spelt their name at first, both Daundeleon and Daundelyonn, as appears by divers antient deeds, some of which are without date, some as high as king Edward I.'s reign. William Daundelynn, or Daundelyon, possessed it in the 2d year of king Richard II. as appears by the registers of St. Augustine's monastery; his successor was John Dandelyon, who resided here in the next reign of king Henry IV. whose successor of the same name died possessed of this seat in 1445, anno 24 Henry VI. and was buried in the north chancel of this church. He left an only daughter and heir, who marrying with Pettit, entitled him to the possession of this seat, His descendant John Pettit, (son of Valentine) was an alderman of London, whose son Valentine resided here, and in his descendants, who bore for their arms, Argent, on a chevron, gules, three bezants between three lions heads erased, sable, crowned, or; quartered with those of Daundelyon, viz. Sable, three lions rampant, between two bars, dancette, argent, (fn. 13) it continued down to Capt. Henry Pettit, who died here in 1661, and was buried with his ancestors in this church, leaving surviving five sons, Thomas, John, and Valentine, by his first wife, and Richard and Henry, by his second wife, who became heirs in gavelkindto this estate, which afterwards, in consequence from such division of it, became vested in several different pronumber prietors, whose respective heirs afterwards joined in the sale of it to Henry Fox, lord Holland, who conveyed it to his second son, the hon. Charles James Fox, and he passed away his interest in it to John Powell, esq. who dying without issue, his sister, then the wife of William Roberts, esq. became his heir, and entitled to this estate, and is the present possessor of it.
This antient seat has for some length of time been made use of as a place of public resort, with a bowling green and other accommodations for the purpose. It seems as if it had been antiently walled round very strongly, according to the manner of that age, for a defence against bows and arrows; part of this wall is still standing, with the gate-house, built with bricks and flints in rows, with loop-holes and battlements at top. Over the main gate are the arms of Daundelyon as above-mentioned; on the right side of this gate is a smaller one for common use, at the right corner of which is a blank escutcheon, and at the left corner a demi lion, rampant, with a label out of his mouth, on which is written, DAUNDELYONN.
Under the right side of it, as you go out of the gate, was found in the year 1703, a room large enough to hold eight or ten men, in which were many pieces of lacrymatory urns, of earth and glass; under the other side of it is a well prison. In the window of the dining room in the mansion-house, are the arms of Daundelyonn, quartered with those of Pettit.
THE MANOR OF DENE, with the estate called Hengrave, is situated about a mile south-eastward from Dandelion. THE MANOR OF DENE was in the beginning of king Henry III.'s reign in the possession of the family of Sandwich, to one of whom, Sir Henry de Sandwich, Robert, abbot of St. Augustine, granted a licence to build an oratory at this manor, being within the bounds of the abbot and convent's capital manor of Minster, in which the abbots exercised an ecclesiastical as well as civil jurisdiction, in which he might cause divine service to be celebrated by his own chaplain, in the presence of himself, his heirs, and successors. The ruins of this little chapel are still to be seen, in a little valley, called Chapel Bottom, in an open field, by the great road leading from Margate to Minster, without any house or building near it. The south-west wall is quite down. It was built of flints, rough cast-over. On the north side are the remains of two rooms, which, as they have no communication with the chapel, might probably be the apartments of the officiating priest. (fn. 14) He was succeeded in this manor by Sir Simon de Sandwich, who, as it appears, held it of Sir Stephen Heringod, for in the 42d year of that reign, this Sir Stephen released to the church of St. Augustine, all the homage which Sir Simon and his heirs owed to him, on account of this manor, and which he held of him by knight's service. After the death of Sir Simon de Sandwich, his heirs passed away the possession of the manor of Dene, with a tenement just by it, called Austone, to Roger de Leyborne, whose son William de Leyborne died possessed of it in the third year of king Edward II. leaving Juliana his grand daughter his heir, who being heir both to her father and grandfather, became entitled to large possessions in this, and several other counties; from the greatness of which, she was usually stiled the Infanta of Kent; she was thrice married, the last of her husbands being William de Clinton, afterwards created earl of Huntingdon; and he, in her right, was possessed of this manor in the 20th year of king Edward III. He died possessed of it in the 28th year of that reign, upon which Juliana his widow, countess of Huntingdon, who had issue by neither of her husbands, became again possessed of it in her own right, and in the 36th year of that reign made a donation of this manor of Dene, with the tenement called Austone, to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine; on the condition, nevertheless, that the monks and their successors, after her death, should out of the profits of it for ever, celebrate yearly on St. Anne's day, one solemn mass in the choir, as on a double feast, and distribute on the same day to one hundred poor persons, two hundred pence, that is, to every one of them two-pence; and to their convent one sufficient pittance; that on the day of her anniversary they should every year celebrate the obsequies of the dead with a solemn mass in the choir, and other things thereto appertaining, as on a double festival; and on the same day should distribute to two hundred poor people, two hundred pence, and a pittance to the abbot of the monastery, the prior, and to every monk, and that the abbot and convent should find a secular chaplain, to celebrate for ever at the altar of St. Anne, in the monastery, one mass every day for the king, and for the souls of his and her ancestors; and for the souls of Laurence de Hastings, and John his son, &c. And further, that all the monks who were to celebrate at this altar, should have as above. In default of the performance of which, her heirs should retain the rents and profits till such time as the abbot and convent should make full satisfaction for their defaults. (fn. 15) This gift was confirmed by the king to the abbot and convent, by whom this manor was afterwards appropriated to the sacristy of it.
At this time the abbot and convent were possessed of an estate at this place, called HENGRAVE, consisting of two hundred and three acres, which it seems was then accounted a manor, as appears by the composition entered into in the year 1441, between the abbot and convent and the tenants. In which situation the manor of Dene with Hengrave continued, till the dissolution of the monastery in the 30th year of king Henry VIII.'s reign, when it came into the hands of the crown, where the see of it continued till the reign of king James I. who soon after his accession to the throne granted it to William Salter, who conveyed it to Manasser Norwood, of Dane-court and Norwood, in this island, and he died in 1636; from whom it passed to his grandchild Alexander Norwood, who mortgaged it, with part of the demesnes of it, to several persons, (for several parts of them had been before sold and parcelled out to different purchasers). (fn. 16) But this manor of Dene, with Hengrove, afterwards, though after several intermediate owners, became the property of Sir Henry Hawley, bart. of Leyborne, who still continues the owner of it.
NASH-COURT is an estate lying about a mile southward from the church, which seems antiently to have been part of the possessions of the priory of Christ-church, if we give credit to a date cut on a stone in the wall of the mansion-house of it, which is 1108; and as a corroboration of it, in the window of the hall is painted the mitre and pastoral staff, used by the priors of Christ-church, with the arms of that monastery pendant by a string on each side, and the initial letters G. P. which I suppose to mean Gillingham Prior, who died in 1376. In another part of the same window is painted W. a bird, and underneath Chpchele: by which probably is intended William Chychele, who was archdeacon of Canterbury in 1420. By all which it should seem that this estate once belonged to that priory; if so, it was held of the prior and convent, by the family of Garwinton, of Bekesborne, for they were then in the possession of it; one of whom, William Garwinton, dying s. p. Joane, his kinswoman, married to Richard Haut, was, anno II Henry IV. found to be his next heir, and entitled to his interest in this estate; and their son Richard Haut, leaving an only daughter and heir Margery, she carried it in marriage to William Isaac, esq. of Patrixborne, in memory of which alliance, the windows of this mansion in the great hall were some years since, in several panes of glass, adorned with the arms of Haut and Isaac, and near them the arms of archbishop Warham, impaled with those of his see. The Isaacs seem to have continued to hold this estate at the time of the dissolution of the priory in king Henry VIII.'s reign; after which the see of it appears to have been vested in the name of Lincolne; from one of whom it passed in queen Elizabeth's reign, to William Norwood, who at his death in 1605, left nine sons, who became his heirs in gavelkind, and shared this estate in equal parts. They joined in the sale of the whole of it to Paul Cleybrooke, esq. who bore for his arms, Argent, a cross paté, gules. (fn. 17) He resided here, and died possessed of it in 1622, whose second son William succeeded to it, and was of Nash court, esq. and at his death in 1638, devised it, after his widow Sarah's death, (fn. 18) to his kinsman Alexander Norwood, of St. Stephen's, near Canterbury, (fn. 19) who leaving only two daughters his coheirs, they joined in the conveyance of it to David Turner, yeoman, lessee of Salmestone Grange, and he settled it on his second son David, on his marriage with Catherine, eldest daughter of Stephen Nethersole, of Wimlingswould, who died in 1710, leaving one son Nethersole Turner, who proved insane; after which it became vested in his next heirs of the name of Turner, in the persons of the Rev. David Turner, of Fordwich, and rector of Elmstone, and of Mr. David Turner, gent. of Margate, the former of whom left two sisters his coheirs, to whom he devised his moiety of this estate, viz. Sarah Smith, widow, and Mary Turner, and the survivor of them for their lives; Mrs. Smith, as survivor, is now in possession of this moiety, on whose decease the see of this estate will pass by the will of Mr. Turner above-mentioned, to her son James Smith, and Ambrose Collard, jun. heir of her late daughter Sarah, wife of Ambrose Collard, sen.
The latter Mr. David Turner, of Margate, devised his moiety by will to his only daughter and heir Anne, late the wife of James Brown, afterwards remarried to Mr. Jacob Sawkins, gent. who is now in her right entitled to it.
In the windows of this mansion is painted this shield of arms of four coats, viz. first, Sable, a chevron, between three mullets pierced, argent, a crescent on the chevron for difference; second, Argent, two lions passant, gules; third, Azure, a saltier engrailed, argent; fourth, Or, a fess between three escallops, gules; anothere, Azure, three lions rampant, two and one, or; another, Azure, a fess, between three esquires helmets, or, impaling Or, a saltier engrailed, between four martlets, sable; and another, Or, a cross, gules, impaling Sable, a bend and canton, or.
But within these few years past it has been converted into a storehouse, granary, &c. for the adjoining farm-house. (fn. 20)
ETHELRED BARROWE, by will in 1513, ordered her executor William Curlyng to maintain a yearly give-all, while the world endured, viz. every year a quarter of malt and six bushels of wheat and victual according thereto; to maintain this, a purchase was made of fifteen acres and an half, lying at Northdown iu this parish, which is invested in trustees, and called by the name of St. James's land. This is one instance of the donations made to churches, for the more solemn celebration of the wake or feast of the church's dedication, or at least of some chancel in it; thus in this parish there used to be kept what the inhabitants called a fair, on St. John Baptist's day, the saint to which the church was dedicated; but I snppose there being no such fair on St. James's day, to whom the north chancel of this church is dedicated, or no provision made for the celebration of it, the testatrix Ethelred Barrowe, ordered her executor to provide for an annual feast for ever on that day, which is still observed in this parish, at Northdowne, and by the country people called Northdowne fair; only instead of a give-all, or a common feast for all goers and comers, the corn and meat are by the feoffees distributed to poor house-keepers. She likewife ordered by her will, that what money was left of hers, after her legacies were paid, should be bestowed on repairing the chancel of St. James, in the church of St. John. (fn. 21)
And here I shall observe, that as it was then usual in populous towns, to celebrate the anniversaries of their churches dedication with an accustomed fair, so even in the most private parishes these yearly solemnities were observed with feasting, and a great concourse of people; some poor remains of which are still continued in many of the parishes in this island under the name of fairs, which Sir Henry Spelman supposes was first occasioned by the resorting of people to such a particular place for solemnizing some festival, and especially the feast of the church's dedication, or the wake; and that therefore the word fair is derived from the Latin word feræ, or holyday. Thus in the next parish of St. Peter are still kept two fairs, one on St. Peter's day, the saint to which the church is dedicated; the other on Ladyday, to whom the north chancel is dedicated by the name of our Lady of Pity.
THOMAS TODDY, by will in 1566, gave 30l. to purchase so much land as could be bought for that money, which land was to be let out for rent to the most value; and yearly, for evermore, to be distributed, and given to the most poor and needy of this parish. Accordingly with this money were purchased 13 acres of land, lying in this parish at Crowe-hill, which is invested in trustees.
JOHN ALLEN, of Drapers, in this parish, by will in 1594, gave for ever, to be distributed to the poorest people of this parish, on Shrove Tuesday. two hundred of Winchester billets. and two bushels of wheat, to be baked into bread at the place aforesaid.
— JOHNSON gave out of his sarm at Garlinge, (since given to Bethlem hospital, in London) 6s. 8d. paid yearly to the churchwardens, of which 6s. to be distributed by them in time of Lent, to the poorest of the parish, and 8d. to be divided betwixt themselves.
HENRY SANDFORD, by will in 1626, gave to the poor of this parish every Sunday or sabbath-day throughout the year, sixpenny worth of good bread, to be distributed by the discretion of the churchwardens and overseers.
FRANCIS BULLER, esq. of Kingston upon Thames, gave to this parish several tenements and half an acre of land, lying at Church-hill, the rents of which to be laid out by the feoffees, in binding poor boys apprentices to some sea-faring employment.
MICHAEL YOAKLEY, born in this parish, by will in 1707, endowed an hospital, or alms-house, the building of which was erected in the year 1709, at a place called Drapers, about threequarters of a mile from Margate, whence it is called Draper's hospital; consisting of ten dwellings, one of which is appropriated for an overseer, and the others for such poor men and women as are natives or inhabitants of the four parishes of St. John, St. Peter, Birchington, and Achol; who were to have warm gowns or coats of shepherd's grey for outward garments, firing, and a weekly allowance at the discretion of the trustees; which injunction is altered by the trustees, and each have now only an allowance of coals, a yearly stipend, and each a slip of ground for a garden. This institution being intended for the relief of indigence, not for the encouragement of idleness, the founder has in his will specified the qualifications of such as should be admitted, industrious, and of a meek, humble and quiet spirit. The stipend given by the founder being found not so fully adequate to his charitable intentions as formerly, owing to the increase in the price of provisions at this place, the late George Keate, esq. whose benevolence is too well remembered to stand in need of any encomium here, who usually visited this place every summer for several years, promoted a subscription among the company, by which a considerable addition was made to the comforts and conveniency of these poor people.
In the middle of the building is a meeting-house for the people called Quakers, of which persuasion the paupers were to be, though that is not now particularly required, so that they otherwise answer the donor's description.
Over the middle doors in each front is placed a square white marble, wherein, according to the directions of the founder, is cut the following inscription, to which he refers in his will, as containing the conditions and qualifications of the poor persons to be admitted into this alms-house.
|of||Meek||according to his word|
At a place called Frog-hill, are two small cottages belonging to the parish, built on the waste of the manor of Dene, which was purchased of Alexander Norwood, esq. lord of it in the year 1641, by Christopher Frenchbourn, who growing necessitous, in 1662, for a yearly pension paid to himself and his wife during their lives, sold this land, containing four perches and an half, to the churchwardens, &c. of this parish.
The donation of nine loaves and eighteen herrings to six poor persons yearly, on Midlent Sunday; and of two yards of blanket to three poor persons, all of this parish, yearly, from Salmanstone Grange, has been already fully mentioned before, and is still continued.
MRS. SARAH PETIT, relict of Capt. John Petit, of Dandelion, in 1720, gave 1461. towards the providing some additional ornaments for this parish church, which she laid out in the addition of two silver flaggons for the Communion, double gilt; double gilding the other plate; a crimson velvet cloth for the Communion, trimmed with gold orras; wainscot rails round it with new cushions; the floor matting, and a branch for the middle isle. And by her new will in 1729, she gave 71l. for the ceiling of the north and south isles, and so much of the three chancels as were not ceiled at that time.
The church, which is dedicated to St. John Baptist, stands about half a mile from the lower part of Margate southward, on the knoll of the hill; it is a large building of flints, covered with rough-cast; the quoins, windows and door cases of ashlar stone. It consists of three isles and three chancels, having a low square tower, with a small pointed turret on it at the west end of the north isle, in which is a clock and six bells.
The north chancel is dedicated to St. James. The whole building of the church is low and of a considerable length, and seems to have been raised at several times. The roofs of the north and south isles and chancels are covered with lead; on that side which is outermost on the north side of the high or middle chancel, is a square building of hewn stone with battlements, and a flat roof covered with lead, and the windows guarded with a double set of iron bars. This most probably was intended and used formerly for the church treasury, or safe repository of the plate and valuable relicts belonging to it. At the beginning of the last century, being then of no kind of use, it was employed as a store-house for gunpowder, shot, &c. for the use of the fort, and was repaired by the deputies; but in 1701 it was fitted up and has since been made use of as a vestry. The tower was somewhat too small for the former ring of bells which were in it, consisting of six very tuneable ones; they were by much the largest of any hereabouts, the other parishes having before lessened theirs by casting their old bells anew. A partition divided the west end of the south isle from the body of the church, which was made use of fora school-house. At the end of the south isle is the font, of stone, octagonal, on the several sides are the arms of the Cinque Ports and England quartered with France. In the middle isle was a tombstone, without any inscription, having a cross on it, and the Greek X. (for xpistos) intermixed, which signisies its being for one of the priestly order; perhaps this might be the monument of St. Imarus, who was a monk of Reculver, and is said by Leland, col. vol. iv. to have been buried in this church. Among other memorials in this church are the following: In the middle chancel a stone, with brass effigies, for Tho. Smyth, vicar, obt. 1433. On a brass plate, the effigies of a priest, and inscription for Thomas Cardiffe, vicar for fifty-five years, obt. 1515, which is engraved in Lewis's History of Thanet. A memorial on brass for Nicholas Chewney, S. T. P. twenty years pastor of this church, obt. 1685. Several brass plates and inscriptions for the Norwoods, one in the middle chancel, covered now by the matting and seats, for Thomas Cleve, gent. obt. 1604. A memorial for John Coppin, esq. son of William, born 1607, commander of several of the king's ships, who in two actions with the Dutch received several wounds, one of which proved mortal, and he died two days afterwards, 1666; arms, Party per pale, three boars heads, couped. In the south chancel, a plain mural monument for Henry Crisp, second son of John Crisp, of Cleave, the eldest son of John Crisp, esq. of Quekes, and elder brother of Sir Henry Crisp; arms at the top, Or, on a chevron, sable, five horse shoes, or, quartering Denne, ar gent, two leopards heads, or, on two flasques, sable. On a shield below in a lozenge, sable, on a bend ingrailed, gules, a crescent, argent, for difference. On a mural monument are the effigies, kneeling, of Paul Cleybrooke, esq. of Nash-court, in this parish, and Mary his wife, daughter of Richard Knatchbull, esq. of Mersham, and an inscription to their memories. (fn. 22) He died 1622; arms, Argent, a cross patee, gules, impaling Knatchbull. In the south chancel is a stone, on which are in brass remaining the arms of Cleybrooke, with the crest, a demi ostrich, argent. On the north side of the chancel hangs Paul Cleybrooke's helmet, with the crest, &c. On an altar tomb underneath, a memorial for William Cleybrooke, esq. of Nash-court, ob. 1638. An inscription and effigies on a brass plate for Nicholas Canteys, obt. 1431. A memorial for George Somner, gent. of Canterbury, who being commander of a detachment of horse was slain in the conflict at Wye, obt. 1648; arms, Ermine, two chevrons, voided, impaling ermine, a cross; underneath are two lines cut out with a chisel, by order, as it is said, of the rulers then in power. In the north chancel, an inscription on a brass plate, and the effigies in armour of John Daundelyon, gent. obt. 1445, the arms torn off. Several monuments and gravestones for the family of Petit, of Dandelyon, in this parish; arms, Petit, argent, on a chevron, gules, between three lions heads, erased, sable, crowned, or, three bezants, quartered with Dandelyon, sable, three lions rampant, between two bars, dancette, argent. In the middle isle on brass plates, inscriptions, among others, for Richard Notfield, obt. 1416; for Luke Spraklyn, gent. and Mary his wife, he died in 1591. In this church likewise are the following monuments and gravestones: a handsome mural monument for William Payne, esq. of this parish, descended from the Paynes, of Shottenden; he died 1717; arms, six coats, the first of which is for Payne, Per saltier, argent and sable, a lion rampant, counterchanged. Near it a neat mural monument for Robert Brooke, merchant, and Sarah his wife, daughter of Gilbert Knowler, esq. of Herne; he died 1767; she died 1731; arms, Gules, on a chevron, argent, a lion rampant, sable. Within the altar rails is a vault for the family of Brooke. A memorial for the Rev. John Jacob, vicar of this parish, obt. 1763. Memorials for Anne, wife of Dudley Diggs, obt. 1720; for John Forbes, M. D. ob. 1780; for William Fox Parry, esq. son of William Parry, esq. vice-admiral of the red, obt. 1776. A memorial shewing that under the right hand pews lies Dame Elizabeth Rich, relict of the late Sir Robert Rich, bart. ob. 1788, wife of James Walker, M. C. of this place.— Memorials for John Leapidge, esq. of East Ham, in Essex, obt. 1789; arms, Argent, on a chevron, sable, three cinquefoils of the first, between three holly leaves, proper; for George Meard, esq. obt. 1761. It is remarkable, that though this gravestone is but four feet by two, there is 100l. by his will, vested in the 3 per cents. to keep it in repair. Memorials for the Hon. Gertrude Agar, obt. 1780. Memorials for several of the Turners, of Nash-court, in this parish. A memorial for Edward Diggs, obt. 1726, and Susanna his wife, obt. 1689. Memorials for Dudley Diggs, gent. obt. 1716, and Mary his wife, obt. 1689. Another for John Glover, gent. who died at London in 1685.—One for Humphry Pudner, gent. obt. 1671, and Mary his wife, obt. 1691, and for Peter Tomlin, obt. 1700; arms, On a fess, three right hands couped at the wrist, between three battle axes, impaling three battle axes.
In the church-yard, among many other tombs and memorials, is a plain brick tomb for Tho. Stevens, esq. he died in 1790, being the only son of Philip Stephens, esq. secretary of the admiralty, who was killed in a duel near this place, by one Anderson, an attorney, of London, at the second discharge of the pistols. On a handsome monument encompassed with iron rails, are inscriptions for the Tomlins and Lesters, and for the Brookes, all related by intermarriages; on a large tomb, arms, Lozengy, on a chief, a lion passant, guardant, and memorials for the Bakers and Cowells; on a tomb fenced in with iron rails, these arms, Parted per pale and fess, in the first quarter, a lion rampant; and a memorial for the Bings and Sollys. Another tomb and memorial for Alexander Alexander, LL. D. (master of the academy at Hampsted, and a person of considerable literary abilities) obt. 1788. Another such tomb and memorial for the Trowards. An elegant tomb and memorial for Stephen Sackett, obt. 1786, and for several of the Cobbs. A memorial for Mrs. Jane Wallis, obt. 1745, daughter of Dudley Diggs, gent. and Anne his wife, and wife of Henry Wallis, surgeon, who died 1734. A memorial on the south side of the church, for Edward Diggs, mariner, obt. 1791. On a tomb-stone, at the north side of the church, are several memorials for the Gurneys, of Shottenden; arms, Paly of six, parted per fess, counterchanged, impaling a saltier, engrailed. On a plain gravestone, a memorial for John Perronet, of Shoreham, in Kent, obt. 1767; and for the Colemans. Before the reformation, besides the high altar at the east end of the middle chancel, there were altars in this church dedicated to St. George, St. John and St. Anne, and very probably others for other particular saints; on or over them, in niches, stood the images of the several saints, before which were burnt wax tapers, to the maintenance of which, people used to contribute when alive and leave legacies at their deaths. Adjoining to the church-yard on the south side, stood antiently two houses, called the waxhouses, in which were made the wax lights used in the church at processions, &c. These were burnt down in 1641; since which a lease of the ground has been demised by the churchwardens to build upon.
This church was one of the three chapels belonging to the church of Minster in this island, and very probably was first begun to be built as early as the year 1050, and was made parochial sometime after the year 1200, when the church of Minster, with its appendages, was appropriated, in the year 1128, to the monastery of St. Augustine, and was at the same time assigned, with the chapels of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Laurence, with all rents, tithes, and other things belonging to them, to the sacristy of that monastery; and it was further granted, that the abbot and convent should present to the archbishop, in the above-mentioned chapels, fit perpetual chaplains to the altarages of them, to the amount of the value of ten marcs; besides which, they were to retain the manses and glebes belonging to them; but that the vicar of the mother church of Minster should take and receive, in right of his vicarage, the tenths of small tithes, viz. of lambs and pigs, and the obventions arising from marriages and churching forbidden at these chapels, the inhabitants of which, preceded by their priests, were accustomed to go, with much ceremony, in procession to Minster, in token of their subjection to their parochial mother church. (fn. 23)
In 1375, Simon Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury, granted a commission, in a cause of augmentation of this vicarage. After this, the appropriation of the church of Minster, with its appendant chapels, and the advowsons of the vicarages of them, continued with the abbot and convent till the dissolution of the monastery in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when they were surrendered, together with the rest of the possessions of the monastery, into the king's hands.
After the dissolution of the monastery, and the change brought by the reformation, this parochial chapel of St. John Baptist became entirely separated from the mother church of Minster, the vicar of this parish having no further subjection to it in any shape whatever; but by this same change he was likewise deprived of several of those emoluments he had before enjoyed in right of his vicarage; for all the great and small tithes of this parish were, as has been mentioned before, appropriated to Salmestone Grange, in this parish, formerly belonging to the abbot and convent; so that the endowment of this vicarage, at that time, consisted of a payment of two bushels of wheat, to be paid yearly at Midsummer, and a pension of eightpounds to be yearly paid out of that grange; besides which, he had a vicarage-house, with a dove-house and garden, containing an acre and three roods; and eight parcels of glebe, containing together about fourteen acres.
The advowson of this vicarage, as well as the great and small tithes of this parish, as part of Salmestone grange, being thus vested in the crown, application was made to king Edward VI. for some augmentation to it, which seems to have been granted, though the king died before his intentions towards the doing of it were completed; however, this was very soon afterwards done by his successor queen Mary, who by her letters patent, in her first year, granted to Thomas Hewett, clerk, vicar of this parish, in augmentation of his maintenance, all manner of tithes of lambs, wool, pigs, geese, flax, wax and honey, and other small tithes whatsoever, yearly, arising, growing, and being in and throughout the whole borough of Margate within this parish; and all oblations arising on the four principal days and feasts yearly within this parish; and all tithes, personal and paschal, from all the parishioners within it, yearly increasing and arising, to take and enjoy all the aforesaid tithes and oblations, and premises to him and his successors for ever; to hold in pure and perpetual alms, in lieu of all services and demands, without any account whatsoever from thenceforward. (fn. 24) This vicarage is valued in the king's books at eight pounds. In 1588 here were communicants five hundred, and it was valued at fifty pounds. In 1640 here were the like number of communicants, and it was valued at eighty-five pounds.
In 1709 this vicarage was returned to be of the clear yearly value of 49l. 12s. 6d. It is now a discharged living, of the same clear yearly value as above-mentioned. The advowson of this vicarage coming into the hands of the crown on the dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, continued there till Edward VI. in his first year, granted the advowson of the vicarage of Minster, with the three chapels appendant to it, one of which was this church of St. John Baptist, among other premises, to the archbishop; since which this advowson has continued a part of the possessions of that see, the archbishop being the present patron of it.
Church of St. John Baptist.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Crown, sede vac.||Thomas Stevens, S. T. B. adm. Sept. 18, 1660, obt. Dec. 1662. (fn. 25)|
|The Archbishop.||John Overyng, admitted Sept. 4, 1662, obt. 1665.|
|Nicholas Chewney, S. T. P. admitted April 24, 1665, obt. 1685. (fn. 26)|
|Gilbert Innys, A. M. admitted December 9, 1685, resigned 1692. (fn. 27)|
|George Stevens, A. M. admitted September 3, 1692, resigned 1697. (fn. 28)|
|John Johnson, A. M. 1697, resigned 1703. (fn. 29)|
|John Warren, A. M. 1703, resigned 1705 (fn. 30)|
|John Lewis, A. M. 1705, obt. Jan. 16, 1747. (fn. 31)|
|Jacob Omer, Feb. 1747, obt. 1749.|
|John Jacob, A. M. 1755, obt. Dec. 21, 1763. (fn. 32)|
|William Harrison, A. B. June 16, 1764, the present vicar.|