The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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LIES the next parish eastward from Crayford, on the high road from London to Dover, about fifteen miles from the former. It was called in Saxon Derentford, in Latin Derenti Vadum, signifying the forde or passage over the river Derent. (fn. 1) In Domesday it is written Tarentefort.
THIS PARISH takes within its bounds almost the whole both of Dartford-heath and the Brent. It contains about 4300 acres of land. The town has about four hundred houses and about two thousand five hundred inhabitants. The upland parts of the parish are but thin and gravelly, the crops of which are greatly increased by the culture of turnips; the vallies are a sertile and rich loam, the northern part of the parish is marsh land, which reaches to the Thames, containing about eight hundred acres, none of which is ever ploughed. The town of Dartford is situated in a valley, between two hills, which rise suddenly and sleep at each end of it. On that at the western extremity are chalk pits, which have been worked underneath to a considerable extent, and have rather a fearful and dangerous appearance to travellers; the opposite hill is a deep sandy loam. Dartford is at present a handsome and wealthy town, still increasing in size and inhabitants, the principal street of which is the great thoroughfare from London to Dover, on which there are built several good inns. From this street southward branches off the high road through Farningham to Sevenoke, in which stands Horseman's-place, now used, with the gardens, by a public gardener; northward from the high street is the Water-lane (so called from the little stream, the Cranford, which rises about a mile and a half southward of the town, at Hawley, which runs through it) and leads to the wharss at the water side, not far distant from which stands the Place-house, formerly the priory, with the buildings belonging to it, now used as a farm house and offices, adjoining to which is a piece of land, inclosed with a wall, formerly belonging to the priory, exceeding rich, which has been for many years been made use of as a public garden ground. The artichokes growing in it are noted for being the largest and best flavoured of any brought to the London markets, and are called, for distinction sake, the Dartford artichoke.
There is a good market for corn and provisions here on a Saturday, weekly; and a fair yearly, on the 2d and 3d of August. The old market house and shambles stood very inconveniently in the middle of the high street, but they were removed some years ago, and the present market place and shambles were built more commodiously elsewhere, by public subscription, to the great embellishment of the town, and the satisfaction of all travellers; at the same time the old uneasy pavement through the town was removed, and a new road of gravel made in its room, with a handsome footway of curbed stone on each side; near the east end of it stands the church, almost adjoining to the river Darent, which here crosses the high road under a handsome bridge. In king Edward III.'s reign there appears to have been no bridge here, the passage or ferry over the Darent at this place being valued among the rents of the manor; however, there was one built before the end of king Henry VI.'s reign, but it was one most narrow, steep, and dangerous for travellers, which continued so till not many years since it was altered to its present more commodious state, at the public charge of the county. A little below this bridge, the Darent becomes navigable for barges; and at the distance of about two miles, receiving the Cray into its channel, at a like distance empties itself into the Thames. On this creek there was formerly a considerable fishery, as appears by the records before mentioned; for so late as king James I.'s reign, the royal manor of Dartford received for the fishery six salmons yearly, a kind of fish now unknown here; and the manor of Dartford priory received a yearly rent of fifty pounds for a fishery likewise here at the same time; but no fishery at this time exists, nor has for many years past.
The trade and manufacture carried on by the several mills on the Darent contribute much to the flourishing state this town is in at present; for besides the powder-mills, first erected by Sir John Spilman as a paper mill, as before mentioned, situated a quarter of a mile above the town; there is a paper mill at a small distance below it, where there was one so early as 1590, erected by one Geoffry Box of Liege, for the cutting of iron bars into rods, being the first supposed to be erected for this purpose in England, and for the more easy converting of that metal to different uses; lower down, at the east end of the town, are two corn mills, and farther below bridge the ruins of the mill, employed as a cotton manufactory, which was burned down in 1796, and now lies in ruins. It was before made use of as a sawing mill, and before that as a brasel mill, for the slitting of iron bars into rods, nails, &c. being first erected for that purpose by John Browne, soon after the death of king Charles I. Near this is the public wharf, to which hoys and barges come up from the Thames. To this wharf is brought the produce of the woods in this neighbourhood, which are of considerable extent, and the manufactures, which are here shipped for the London market, as are the goods for the subsistence of the town and vicinity of it from the metropolis.
In the return of the survey, made of the several maritime places, in this county, by order of queen Elizabeth, in her 8th year, Dartford is said to contain houses inhabited, 182; persons lacking habitation, 6; keys or landing places; 4; ships and boats, 7; three of three tons, one of six, two of ten, one of fifteen; persons for carriage from Dartford to London, and so back again, 14; Sir Thomas Walsingham, steward of the town; Mr. Asteley, keeper of the queen's house; John Beer's; the wardens of Rochester-bridge.
In the reign of king Henry III. the archbishop of Cologne was sent hither, with several noblemen, by the emperor Frederick, to demand Isabella, the king's sister, in marriage, which was solemnised by proxy in this town, and she was then delivered to them, to be carried over. In 1331, king Edward III. at his return from France, held a famous tornament in this town. In the 5th year of king Richard II. a great commotion of the common people begun at this place, occasioned by Wat Tyler's having beat out the brains of one of the collectors of the poll tax, on account of his insolent behaviour to his daughter. The people, who were in general discontented, being inflamed by this circumstance, broke out into open rebellion, and he soon found himself at the head of one hundred thousand men. (fn. 2)
Thus attended, he marched directly to London, freeing, in the mean time, the prisoners detained in the public goals; among these was a priest, in the neighbourhood of Maidstone, one John Ball, vulgarly called John Straw, who, by his seditious sermons, had raised the people's sury to the utmost heighth, insomuch that, in conformity to his maxims, they resolved to destroy all the nobility and lawyers in the realm, for he had persuaded them that all men, being the sons of Adam, there ought to be no distinction; and, confequently, it was their duty to reduce the world to a perfect equality; in consequence of which he preached to the people on these rhymes:
The king, hearing they were advanced as far as Blackheath, sent to know their demands, to which, returning a most insolent answer, they immediately marched towards London, and took possession of the borough of Southwark; and the gates of London bridge being thrown open to them by the citizens, they entered the city, where they committed every scene of barbarity that could be expected from such a body, guided solely by their sury. They then seized on the Tower, where they sound the archbishop and the lord treasurer, whom they immediately beheaded. Upon this the king, dreading the consequences of so powerful a body, repaired to Smithfield, with some few attendants, and sent a knight to Tyler, to come there and confer with him, which this rebel, with much deliberation, at last complied with. At this conference he behaved with such insolence, that William Walworth, lord mayor of London, who attended the king, without considering the consequences that would attend it, discharged such a blow at the rebel's head with his sword, that he instantly fell dead at his feet. However, contrary to expectation, the multitude were so terrified, that they threw down their arms, and sued for mercy; and were all, in the space of a few minutes, dispersed, without the effusion of any blood, except of their leader. (fn. 3)
About a mile south-westward from the town is the large plain, called DARTFORD. HEATH, containing about 500 acres of land. It lies high, and on a fine gravelly soil; on it there are a great many of those pits and holes so frequent in these parts. Some of these reach below the gravel as low as the chalk, others no farther than the sand and gravel; many of them have been stopped up of late years, to prevent the frequent accidents which happen of men and cattle falling into them. The occasion of their being first dug has been already explained, under the adjoining parish of Crayford. This heath has been much noted of late, as being the spot chosen by the corps of Toxopbilites, under the appellation of the Royal Kentish Bowmen, for whose use a house has been fitted up at the western side of the heath, not far from Baldwin's, and is now distinguished by the name of the Lodge, being the scene of their exercise and recreation; at which times, on their gala days, butts, apartments, and company, have made the most splen did and costly appearance. It is as delightful and pleasant a spot as any in these parts.
Less than half a mile eastward from the town, the high road to Rochester crossing it, lies another heath, called DARTFORD-BRENT, vulgarly the BRIMPT. This place is famous for the encampment of the army of Richard Plantagenet, duke of York, in 1452, whilst he waited to obtain a parley with king Henry VI. who then lay encamped on Blackheath. In the year 1648 General Fairfax's army rendevouzed here.
The ROMAN-ROAD shews itself very conspicuously on the south side of the high road between Dartford and the Brent, and when it comes to the latter, it shapes its course more to the south south-east, leaving the high road at a greater distance, on the lefthand, and entering among the inclosures and woods, in its way to a hamlet called Stonewood, it goes on to Wingfield-bank, and thence to Shinglewell, towards Rochester.
The gravel-pit at the entrance of the Brent from Dartford was, whilst the affizes were held in this town, which was frequently, at the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, the place for the public execution of criminals; and in 1772, in digging for gravel here, eight human skeletons were sound, lying contiguous to each other; most probably the remains of some of those unhappy convicts. This spot was likewise made use of in the reign of queen Mary, for the execution of those who suffered for religion.
Orchis hermaphroditica, the butterfly satirion; testiculus vulpinus spegodes, the humble bee orchis; orchis melittias, the bee orchis; orchis myodes, the fly satirion; are found on the downs, southward of Dartford brent.
Trisolium stellatum glabrum, smooth starry headed tresoil, in Dartford salt marshes. (fn. 4)
EDWARD, eldest son of Sir Edward Villiers, was, March 20, in the 3d year of king William and queen Mary, created viscount Villiers of Dartford, and baron Hoo, in this county; and in 1697, earl of Jersey; which titles are now possessed by his great grandson, George Bussy Villiers, earl of Jersey, &c.
There was once a family of the name of Row, seated in Dartford, who bore for their arms, Argent, on a obevron, azure, three bezants, between three trefoils slipt, parted per pale, gules and vert. Of which, William Row, who was of Dartford, had two sons; Reynold, who was of Lyghe, and was ancestor to those of Penshurst, in this county; of Muswell-hill; and of Shakerwell, in Middlesex; and Robert Row, who was ancestor to those of Layton, in Essex.
The king's land, in the half of Sutton lath, in Achestan hundred.—King William holds Tarentefort, which was taxed at 2 sulings and a half. The arable land is 2 carucates. In demesne there are 2 carucates, and 142 villeins, with 10 borderers, having 53 carucates. There are 3 servants and 1 mill. Of meadow 22 acres, of pasture 40 acres, of wood there are 8 small denns and 3 large; there are 2 hiths, that is, havens. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth 60 pounds, and as much when Hamo the sheriff received it.
It is now rated by the English at 60 pounds; but the reve, a Frenchman born, who holds it to ferm, says, that it is worth no more than 20 pounds, and 10 pounds; yet be pays from this manor 70 pounds by weight, and 111 shillings, in pence 20 in ore (fn. 5) and 7 pounds, and 26 pence, by tale. Besides these the sheriff pays 100 shillings.
The tenants of the hundred affirm, that there are taken away from this manor of the king one meadow, and one alder ground, and one mill, and 20 acres of land, and now so much meadow as belongs to 10 acres of land, all which were in the occupation of king Edward as long as be lived. These were worth 20 shillings; but they say that Osuuard, then sheriff, let them to ferm to Alestan, portreve of London; and now Heltut, the king's steward, and his grandson, hold them.
The above tenants likewise affirm, that Hagelei (fn. 6) is taken away from this manor; it was taxed at half a suling. The sheriff held this land, and when be quitted the shrievalty, it remained in the king's occupation, so it remained also after the death of king Edward; now Hugo de Port holds it, with 54 acres of land more. The whole of this is worth 15 pounds. Of this same manor of the king there are now taken away 6 acres of land and a certain wood, which the above named Osuuard, the sheriff, set without the manor to pledge for 40 shillings.
In the reign of king Henry II. the sheriff of Kent accounted at the Exchequer for the rent of DARTFORD MANOR, then in the king's hands, as he did likewise in the 1st year of king John; soon after which it was granted to the earl of St. Paul, a Norman lord. In the 3d year of that reign, Hugh earl of St. Paul, then going to the Holy Land, had the king's licence to mortgage his land at Dartford for three years. (fn. 7) King Henry III. in his 14th year, granted to John de Burgo the manor of Dartford, which had been the earl of St. Paul's and which was then held by Reymund de Burgo, the king's bailiff, to hold till the king should, by composition, or at his own pleasure, restore it to the earl's right heirs; (fn. 8) and in his 17th year he again granted it to William de Fortibus, earl of Albermarle, and his heirs, for their support in the king's service, and until the king should restore it upon treaty or peace to the earl of St. Paul's right heirs; for when Normandy was seized by the king of France, many lands became vested in the crown, by way of escheat, or seizure, for whilst England and Normandy were under the obedience of the king of England, the lands of the English and Normans were common; that is, the English held lands in Normandy by hereditary right, and the Normans did the like in England. But when Normandy was separated from England, the king of France seized the lands which the English held there, and the king of England, in like manner, seized those the Normans held here; and these lands became vested in the crown by escheat, under the title of Terrœ Normannorum. After which the king granted all these lands, under the above conditions, to Englishmen. (fn. 9)
William earl of Albermarle died possessed of this manor, in the 44th year of that reign, holding it of the king in capite. (fn. 10)
King Henry III. in his 47th year, restored it to Guy de Chastilian, earl of St. Paul, on whose death it reverted to the crown, where it staid till Edward I. in his 9th year, granted it to queen Alianor his mother, for her life; (fn. 11) she died in the 20th year of that reign. King Edward II. in his 13th year, committed to Elias de Tyngewick the custody of this place, during the king's pleasure, in the same manner as Robert de Rydgware, the late bailiff, had the custody of it, and for which he paid 30l. yearly, as for the ferm of the royalty and market of it; (fn. 12) and in his 15th year, he, by the consent of parliament, granted to Edmund de Woodstock, his half brother, whom he at the same time made earl of Kent, among other estates of great value, the ferme of the royalty and market here, for his life, then valued at thirty pounds, which was confirmed by king Edward III. in his 1st year, it being then held of him as half a knight's fee. (fn. 13)
He died possessed of this estate in the 4th year of king Edward III. when, by inquisition, taken after his death, it appears that this estate then consisted of rents of assize of the tenants of Cransted, Combe, Chesilhurst, Cobham, Dartford, Stannel, and Gilde, the passage of the Darent, tolls, views of frankpledge, and perquisites of courts, &c. and were altogether of the value of thirty pounds; after which this manor went in the same succession of ownership as that of Chesilhurst, which was a member of it, as has been already fully described before, and to which the reader is referred (excepting that king Richard III. in his first year, granted the reversion of it, being then in the possession of the lord Stanley, to John Brooke, lord Cobham, to hold by knights service; (fn. 14) but he never came to the possession of it, for king Henry VII. on his obtaining the crown, secured this reversion of it to himself) until Sir Thomas Walsingham became possessed of it in king James I.'s reign, by the description of the manor of Dartford, Cobham, Combe, Chesilhurst, the wharts, fairs and markets in Dartford, and the profits of the courts of the hundred and of the manor. He, in the 11th year of that reign, for five hundred pounds, conveyed all these premises (excepting the manor of Chesilhurst, with all its appurtenances and courts in that parish, belonging to it) to Sir Robert Darcy of Dartford, in as full a manner as he then held them himself; which deed was afterwards inrolled in chancery, at which time the fairs and markets were valued at twenty pounds; and for the fishing in the creek, six salmons yearly, worth forty shillings.
Sir Robert Darcy, was descended from Thomas lord Darcy, who was beheaded in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. whose eldest son George was restored to the title of lord Darcy in the 4th and 5th years of Philip and Mary; which line is now extinct. Arthur, the second son, was knighted, and dying in the 3d year of queen Elizabeth, left several sons, of whom Thomas, the second son, left Conyers Darcy, who was created and restored to the barony of Darcy; and the third, Sir Edward Darcy, died at the priory of Dartford, then called Dartford-place, of which he had a lease for life, in the 70th year of his age, 1612, and was buried in a vault among his ancestors, in the church of St. Botolph Aldgate, London. (fn. 15) By Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Aftley, esq. of Rittle, in Essex, he had three sons, the eldest of whom, Sir Robert Darcy, was of Dartford, as above mentioned, and was then possessed of the manor and scite of Dartford priory, and the lands belonging to it, and the manor of Temple's, in this parish, of which an account will be given hereafter. (fn. 16) He left one son and heir, Edward Darcy, esq. of Dartford-place and Newhall, in Derbyshire; to whom, on his death, these estates (excepting the farm, called the Temple farm, which was separated from it, as will be farther mentioned) descended. By his first wife he had no issue; but by his second, the lady Elizabeth, daughter of Philip Stanhope, first earl of Chesterfield, he left three daughters his coheirs—Katharine, married to Erasmus Phillips, bart. of Picton-castle, in Pembrokeshire; Dorothy to Sir . . . . . . Rokesby; and Elizabeth, first to Thomas Milward, esq. of Derbyshire, and secondly to Mr. Barnes.
In 1699, dame Catherine Phillips, dame Dorothy Rokesby, and Thomas Milward, esq. conveyed these premises, by the name of the manor of Dartford, alias Dertford, alias Dartford priory; (and from this time the manor of Dartford, alias Richmond lands, and the manor of Dartford priory, seem by unity of possession to have been accounted but as one manor, which at this time is called by the latter name only), to Thomas Gouge, esq. who died in 1707, leaving a widow and three sons, Thomas, Nicholas, and Edward; and a daughter, married to Mynors, of Hertfordshire.
Upon the death of Thomas, the father, a dispute arose between the brothers, touching the descent of these estates, which from the time of the conquest, had been granted to hold in capite by knights service; the two younger brothers insisting, that by the act of the 4th of king James, a new socage tenure was thereby created, and that the manor and lands ought to descend according to the custom of gavelkind, as other lands of socage tenure had usually done; and the eldest brother, on the contrary, insisting, that a new tenure, created of late years, could not make the lands partake of the nature of gavelkind, which was gained by antient usage and custom.
However, by the interposition of the mother, these disputes subsided; and Thomas, the eldest brother, enjoyed these estates till his death, in 1731; when Nicholas, then becoming the eldest brother, Thomas and insisted on the same right his brother Thomas had done before; and upon a trial at bar in the king's bench, in Michaelmas term, 1734, the judges determined—That if lands were subject to gavelkind, nothing can alter the tenure but an act of parliament, expressly for that purpose; and, on the contrary, if not subject to the custom originally, nothing can render them subject to it. That there was nothing in the acts of 4 James I. or 12 Charles II. being the act for abolishing the court of wards and liveries, which does expressly alter the course of descent of lands throughout England; and therefore they did not apprehend that the tenure, being turned into socage, would alter the course of descent; so that the acts before mentioned had not altered the course of descent here; and it seems settled, that land held by military tenure, is not subject to the above custom; (fn. 17); and a verdict was found for the plaintiff, Nicholas, the eldest brother, who enjoyed all these estates till his death, in 1755, being then rector of Gilling, in Yorkshire, and prebendary of York and Lincoln.
He died unmarried, and by his will devised large sums to several public and parochial charities, and these estates to his only surviving brother, Edward, who likewise died unmarried about two years afterwards, upon which they, as well as others in Yorkshire and London, descended to his sister's son, Robert Mynors, as heir at law, who took upon himself the name of Gouge, in pursuance of his uncle, Nicholas's will, for which an act passed in the 29th year of George II. He was before this become possessed of the Temple's farm, a very considerable one in this parish; which had come to him through the name of Priestley, one of which had married a descendant of the Darcy's, by whom, as has been mentioned before, it had been separated from this estate, to which it thus became again united. He died in 1765, without issue, and devised these manors and estates to his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Gouge, who afterwards re-married with Charles Morgan, esq. of Herefordshire, who died possessed of it in 1787, and was succeeded in it by his brother John; and on his death, in 1792, it came by his will to their brother-in-law, Sir Charles Gould, who took on him the name of Morgan, and was, on October 30, that year, created a baronet; but he holds it by the above will, only as trustee, for his nephew of the name of Van, now in his minority, and he continues the present possessor of this manor.
The court leet comprehends all the parish of Dartford, except the bishop of Rochester's liberty, and that of Temple's manor, and all the parish of Wilmington. The high constable of the hundred of Dartford and Wilmington, and four petty constables for so many several liberties within this manor; and also an aleconner and leather-sealer for the hundred, are chosen at this leet annually. At it there has been likewise chosen a constable and borsholder for Temples liberty, which takes in the water-side, or Hyth-street, in Dartford, and all the lands from Temple-hill, on the north-east side of the town, down to the river Thames. The tenants of it are all free tenants.
THE MANOR OF TEMPLE in this parish, antiently called the manor of Dartford Temple, was so called from the possessors of it, the knights templars, which order possessed lands in this parish in very early times.
Nicholas, son of Nicholas de Twitham, soon after the reign of king John, gave fifteen shillings rent to them in this parish. King Henry II. gave the knights templars one carucate of land in Dartford, which one Gilbert rented in the 32d year of that reign at twelve marcs. In the 6th year of king Henry III. William, prior of Rochester, granted to Alan Martel, master of the temple, half an acre of land in Dartford, lying by the stream which slowed down from the mill belonging to that brotherhood. In the reign of king Edward II. the wealth and power of the knights templars being thought too great, they were accused of the most atrocious crimes, and were every where imprisoned, and their estates seised; after which the king, in his 5th year, granted the custody of their lands and tenements in Dartford, to Robert de Kendale, to hold them during his pleasure, accounting for the profits of them at his exchequer. (fn. 18) The next year their order was suppressed by Pope Clement V. in a general council held at Vienna.
The estates of the templars in Dartford remained in the hands of the crown till the 17th year of king Edward II. when their possessions here and elsewhere within the realm were given by act of parliament to the prior and brethren of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, commonly called the knights hospitallers, who were possessed of a manor and lands in Dartford long before the dissolution of the templars, for Robert Basing, in the reign of king John, gave his manors of Dertselde, Sutton, and Halgel, to them; (fn. 19) and it appears by the Testa de Nevil, which was drawn up in the beginning of king Edward I's reign, that the king gave the lands of Robert Bacun, in Dartford, which had escheated to the crown, to the brethren of this order, and in the roll of the 6th of king John, in the tower, entitled De Terris Normannorum, Robert Bacun is said to possess five pound rents in Dertford. In the 14th year of king Edward II. Thomas le Archer, prior of St. John's granted in ferm to one of the family of Cobham, a term in the manor of Dartford, (fn. 20) the interest in which descended down to John, son and heir of Henry de Cobham, anno 17 king Edward III. who obtained a charter of free warren, within all his demesne lands within his manor of Dartford. (fn. 21) However, I do not find he was possessed of any land here in see, so that this manor continued parcel of the possessions of these knights till their general dissolution, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. by an act passed specially for that purpose, in which this order was suppressed in England and Ireland, and all their estates and possessions were given to the king.
The manor did not continue long in the hands of the crown; for I find Sir Maurice Dennis, of St. John's, held the court of this manor, by the name of the manor of Temple Dartford, in his own name, long before, and to the time of his death, in the 5th year of queen Elizabeth, as his widow, dame Elizabeth Dennis, did afterwards. (fn. 22) However, it was again vested in the hands of the crown in the beginning of the reign of king James I. for that king, in his 4th year, granted it to the earl of Salisbury, in exchange for Theobalds, and other lands, as will be more fully mentioned below. Since which it has remained under the same title of ownership that the manor and priory of Dartford has, andis, with them, now in the possession of Sir Charles Morgan, bart. of Herefordshire, in trust as before-mentioned.
THE PRIORY OF DARTFORD was founded by king Edward III. (fn. 23) who seems to have had a different intention at first, in the foundation of this monastery, than that he afterwards put in execution. His first design appears, by his patent in his 36th year, to have placed in it twenty-four sisters and six brothers, to whom he gave two hundred marcs, viz. ten marcs for each, to be received yearly at his exchequer for ever, or until he should otherwise provide for them. (fn. 24) His patent of endowment bears date in his 46th year, in which he granted to Maud, the prioress of the monastery of St. Mary and St. Margaret the Virgins, in Dartford, founded there by him, of the order of St. Augustine, and under the government of the order of Friars Preachers, among other premises in the counties of Suffolk, Surry, Wilts, Hereford, in London, and in Wales, the following in the county of Kent, viz. the monastery and scite of it, (where the prioress and convent then dwelt) the manors of Shipborne and Portebrugge, late Robert Bicknore's; the advowson of the chapel of St. Edmund the Martyr, in Dartford; all those lands and tenements which the prioress and convent lately had, of the grant of John Bronde, chaplain, which were lately William Clapte's, and Joan his wife's, in Dartford, Stone, Wilmington, and Southsleet, and several other houses, lands and rents, in Dartford and Wilmington, late William de Wilmington's; and others in Dartford, which belonged to the king; and all those which were Alice Perer's, in Wilmington, Stone, Southsleet, and Mersh, in this county; and a plat of ground in Dartford, called the Castel-place; and rent in Dartford, late William Morgaunt's; and the manor of Hecchesham, in the countries of Surry and Kent. (fn. 25)
King Richard II. in his 8th year, gave to this monastery lands in Norfolk, for the support of a chaplain, to perform divine offices daily in the infirmary chapel, then lately built, for the benefit of the sick brothers and sisters there.
King Edward IV. in his first year, confirmed their possessions to them, and in his 7th year granted them a new patent of incorporation, on account of some imperfection found in their former grants. (fn. 26) It seems they changed the order they were of at first; for at the dissolution they were dominicans, but under the government of black friars, and those of Langley, in Hertsordshire, appear to have had that care.
Ladies of several noble families have been prioresses and religious in this house. Bridget, fourth daughter of king Edward IV. was a nun here; and at the time of the suppression the prioress and the several nuns, as may be seen by their names, were of the best and most antient families in this county. Several women of nobility have been buried here; as the lady Bridget, above-mentioned; the lady Joane, daughter of the lord Scroope, of Bolton; lady Margaret, daughter of the lord Beaumont, both prioresses here; and Catharine, widow of Sir Maurice Berkeley, who was buried in our lady's chapel in this priory, in the 18th year of king Henry VIII. (fn. 27)
Though the prioress and convent of Dartford, by their public instrument, dated May 14, anno 26 king Henry VIII. signed to the act of succession, and the king's supremacy, yet that did not save them from the general destruction which soon after sell on these houses; and they were prevailed on to surrender up their house, lands, and possessions into the king's hands.
This priory was valued at the suppression at 380l. 9s. 0½d. per annum, according to Dugdale; or 400l. 8s. according to Speed. Joane Fane, alias Vane, the prioress at the time of the surrender, had a pension of 66l. 13s. 4d. per annum; and there were twentythree nuns, who had pensions from 40s. to 6l. per annum each. (fn. 28)
King Henry VIII. kept the scite of the priory, the buildings belonging to it, and the gardens and orchards adjoining in his own hands, as a house fit for the residence of himself and his successors; and they remained in the possession of the crown till king Edward VI. in his 2d year, in consideration of the surrendry of lands in Surry, granted to the lady Anne of Cleves, the repudiated wife of king Henry VIII. his manor of Dartford, with its appurtenances, belonging to the late priory; his park, called Washmeade, in Dartford; the scite of the late monastery or priory of Dartford, together with the houses, buildings, gardens and orchards belonging to it, with all waters, fisheries, wears, courts-leet, views of frank-pledge, liberties, warrens, &c. with other premises therein-mentioned, to the late priory belonging to him in Dartford, to hold for her natural life, or so long as she should reside within the realm, at the yearly rent of 18l. 16s. 1½d.
The lady Anne of Cleves died possessed of these premises in the 4th of queen Mary; after which they were, next year, granted to the house of the friars preachers at Langley, in Hertfordshire, then restored; but on their dissolution again in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, they once more reverted to the crown, and the queen kept them in her own hands, and rested in her own house here in her return from a progress she had made into Kent, in the 16th year of her reign; in which state they remained till king James I. in his 4th year, granted the manor of Dartford, alias Temples, in Dartford, parcel of the possessions of the late priory of St. John of Jerusalem; the manor of Dartford, sometime parcel of the possessions of the late priory or monastery of Dartford, the scite and mansion of the said late priory, and all the lands in Dartford and Wilmington belonging thereto; and all other the king's lands and possessions in those parishes, among other premises, to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, in exchange for the house and manor of Theobalds, in Hertfordshire, and other lands, to hold of the king, as of his manor of East Greenwich, by fealty only, in free and common socage, and not in chief, or by knight's service; yielding and paying to the king, his heirs and successors, for the manor of Temples, 20l. 14s. 5d. and for the manor, scite, and lands late belonging to Dartford priory, the rents of which at that time were 307l. (fn. 29) per annum; of which the fishery was three pounds per annum, and the toll of the market fifty pounds, by which it should seem that there were two markets then held here, of which this was by far the most considerable rent; the other, belonging to the royal manor of Dartford, as appears before in the account of that manor, during the life of Sir Edward Darcy, nothing, and after his decease, forty-nine pounds and two and twenty-pence halspenny; which exchange was confirmed by act of parliament that year.
By a conveyance, inrolled in the king's bench, anno 10 king James I. the earl of Salisbury, and Sir William Cecil, his son and heir apparent, conveyed these manors, scite, and other premises to Sir Robert Darcy, by one of whose descendants the Temple's farm, which formed a considerable part of this estate, was separated from it, as has been already mentioned, though it has since again become united to it. Since which these manors and estates have continued under the same title of ownership as the other manor, already fully described, has, and is, with that, now in the possession of Sir Cha. Morgan, bart. for the trust above mentioned.
On Sir Edward Darcy's taking possession of this house, he gave it the name of Dartford-place; by which name, and that of the Place-house, it has been called ever since. The present remains of this priory, or Place-house, are built of brick, of about the time of king Henry VII. They consist of a large gatehouse, and a south wing adjoining to it, now used as the farm-house. The rest of the scite of the priory was where the farmer's garden and stack-yard now are. It appears to have been a vast pile of building, and doubtless very noble, as appears by the great number of foundations of cross walls, drains, &c. which have been discovered; and which, with its environs, took up a great extent of land. On the north-east side were large gardens and orchards, encompassed with the antient stone wall still entire, and more than half a mile round, inclosing a piece of ground of twelve acres, which has been for some years occupied by a public gardener. It lies about a quarter of a mile northward of the west end of the town of Dartford, the antient road leading to it was, by the turning out of the London road, a little westward of the town, by the present workhouse, through a field still called King's-field, the street from thence called the water side now leading to it.
THE MANOR OF PORTBRIDGE, alias BIGNORS, mentioned above to have been given to the priory of Dartford, at its endowment by king Edward III. was, in the earlier part of that reign, in possession of the family of Bicknore. (fn. 30) In the book for levying forty shillings upon every knight's see, in the 20th year of that reign, John de Bykenore, and his coparceners, answered for one see, which Peter de Anesham, Roger de Bykenore, John le Clerk, and Reginald le Tanner held in Dartford, of Roger de Lestchequer, and he again of Warren de Montchensie. The above charter of king Edward mentions its having lately belonged to Robert Bicknore. King Henry V. in his first year, confirmed this manor to the priory, with the addition of several liberties, as did king Edward IV. (fn. 31)
In a rental of the lands belonging to the knights of St. John's in this parish, taken in the 1st year of king Henry VIII. the manor of Portbrege, otherwise called Bykenores, was held by the prioress of Dartford, of the manor of Dartford Temple, by the yearly rent of ten shillings.
Elizabeth Cressener, prioress, and the convent here, by their indenture, under their common seal, anno 26 king Henry VIII. let to George Taffer, of Dartford, their manor of Bignours, their two water-mills, called the Wheat-mill, and the Malt-mill, and several other premises to the manor appertaining, in Dartford, at the rent of twelve pounds. This lease, after the dissolution, came into the hands of William Vaughan, belonging to the king's wardrobe; who had afterwards several renewals of his leafe, the last of which was in the 12th year of queen Elizabeth. (fn. 32) Sir John Spilman had soon afterwards a grant of this manor from that queen, and on part of it, being the scite of the mills before-mentioned, erected a paper-mill, probably the first of the kind in England, for the making of writing paper, and died possessed of it in 1607. He was the queen's jeweller, and in the 31st year of her reign, had a licence for the sole gathering for ten years of all rags, &c. necessary for the making of such paper. (fn. 33) He is said to have brought over sea with him in his portmanteau, two lime trees, a tree unseen before in these parts, and planted them here. These trees, which, from their texture, were well worth the observation of the curious, stood near the dwelling-house of the powder-mills, and were cut down within these few years.
The manor of Bignors, with the rights belonging to it, after several intermediate owners, passed into the name of Coote, at which time there was a large manufactory of gunpowder carried on at it, by Mess. Pike and Edfall, the mills for which were built on the scite of the other mills formerly belonging to the priory as before-mentioned. They afterwards purchased the freehold of this manor, and on on the death of Mr. Pike, Mr. Edfall became solely possessed of it, and was succeeded in it by his son Mr. Thomas Edfall, who in 1778 becoming a bankrupt, it was sold by his assignees to Mess. Pigou and Andrews, who now possess it, and carry on the above manufacture at it to a very large extent.
CHARLES is a manor in this parish, which was formerly the estate of an antient family from which it took its name; one of whom was Edward Charles, who was captain and admiral of the sleet from the Thames mouth northward, as appears by the patent, anno 34 king Edward I. After they had left the possession of it, which was about the beginning of king Richard II's reign, Nicholas, son of Sir John de Brembre, became proprietor of it; who becoming obnoxious by his attachment to the unwarrantable measures adopted by king Richard II. was attainted in the 10th year of that reign, and forfeited both his life and estate. Soon after which this manor was by that king granted to Adam Bamme, esq. of London, goldsmith, who was twice lord-mayor of London, in the 14th and 20th years of that reign. One of his descendants sold it to William Rothele; whose son, Roger, died possessed of it in the 11th year of king Edward IV. (fn. 34) In the beginning of king Edward VIth's reign it was come into the possession of William D'Aeth, gent. principal of Staples Inn, and ancestor of the D'Aeths, of Knowlton, in this county; (fn. 35) and his grandson, Thomas D'Aeth, in the time of king James, conveyed it by sale to Francis Goldsmith, esq. of Marshals-court, in Crayford, who afterwards sold it to Edmund Tooke, gent. fourth son of George Tooke, esq. of Bere-court, near Dover. (fn. 36)
This Edmund had a son, Edmund, and one daughter, who married Mr. Vernetti, whose arms were, Parted per chevron, in the upper part a mullet, in the lower three trees sesways on a bank proper. By him she had only one daughter, Anna-Margaretta, who was the wife of Francis Edwards, esq. Edmund Tooke last mentioned died without issue, about 1706; upon which this manor descended to his sister's daughter, Anna-Margaretta, above-mentioned; and her husband Francis Edwards, esq who bore for his arms, Parted per bend ermine and ermines, over all a lion rampant or, he became in her right possessed of it. By her he had one daughter. On his death it was possessed in jointure by his widow, who survived him many years; and on her death, in 1765, it came into the possession of Gerard-Anne Edwards, esq. the natural son and devisee of her daughter before-mentioned. He married the lady Jane Noel, second daughter of Baptist, earl of Gainsborough, and died in 1774, leaving her surviving, and a son, Gerard Noel Edwards, esq. who married the only daughter of Sir Charles Middleton, bart. by whom he has several children. He is knight of the shire for the county of Rutland, and is the present possessor of this manor.
The manor-house is now a small mean cottage, occupied by a gardener, and stands a small distance northward from the present mansion-house, which is a handsome antient building, of the time of king James I. situated on the north side of the high-street, about the middle of the town, but it has been lately much disfigured by turning the lower part of it into shops.
HORSEMAN'S-PLACE is a mansion of some note in this parish, situated southward of the high–street in Lowfield, close to the little stream, called the Cranford. In the 14th year of king Edward II. this house, with the estate belonging to it, was owned by one Thomas de Luda, between whom and Thomas, abbot of Lesnes, there was a composition touching the passage of a current of water here. It next seems to have come into the family of Shardelow; one of whom, Thomas de Shardelow, possessed it about the beginning of king Henry V's reign, and on his death left it to his daughter, Margaret, who carried it in marriage to Thomas Horseman; (fn. 37) and he, probably, new built the mansion here, and called it after his own name; on his death, in the beginning of king Henry VIth's reign, without issue, Margaret, his widow, became entitled to the possession of it, and held it in her own right of the manor of Temple Dartford, in the 9th year of Henry VI. as appears by the court-rolls of that manor. She died in the 19th year of that reign, and bequeathed it to her kinsman, Thomas Brune, alias Brown; whose daughter and sole heir, Katherine, carried it in marriage to Robert Blage, or Blague, one of the barons of the court of exchequer, who left by her Barnabie Blage; and he, in the 33d year of king Henry VIII. conveyed it by sale to Mr. John Byer, who rebuilt the mansion and the gate-house, as appears by the initial letters of his name, and the date, 1551, on the latter. By his will, in 1572, he founded four alms-houses in Lowfield, adjoining to his mansion, endowing them out of certain lands mentioned therein; and devised his manor or mansion, called Horsemans, or Brunes-place, to his eldest son, Henry, in tail-general, with remain der to his second son, Nicholas.
John Byer, who as well as his descendants, were commonly called and written Beer, had by his first wife Alice, only daughter and heir to William Nysell, of Wrotham, three sons and two daughters. Anne, married to Christopher Twisleton, esq. of Barley, in Yorkshire, and Dorothy. Of the sons, the youngest, Nicholas, (his two eldest brothers having died, s. p.) succeeded to this estate, and bore for his arms, Argent, a bear saliant sable, muzzled or, a canton gule quartered with Nisell, three garbs or, a chief ermine. (fn. 38)
After which John Beer, as well as his brother Clement, grandsons of Nicholas above-mentioned, dying without issue, Edward Beer, their uncle, became their heir, and possessed Horsemans-place, which he enjoyed but a small time, and dying without issue about 1627, bequeathed it, together with the rest of his lands in Kent, to his cousin John Twisleton, grandson of Christopher Twisleton, esq. of Barley, by Anne, his aunt, daughter of John Beer. He was of Drax, in Yorkshire, and was uncle and heir of Sir George Twisleton, bart. of Barley, the antient paternal seat of the family, who bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron between 3 moles sable, which coat was confirmed by Segar Norroy in 1602, anno 45 Elizabeth. (fn. 39) His son, John Twisleton, esq. was of Horsemans-place, and had four wives; by the third of whom, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and coheir of James, viscount say and seale, who died in 1673, and lies buried in Bunhill-fields buryingground, (fn. 40) he left surviving an only daughter, Cecil, who married first, George Twisleton, of Wormesly, in Yorkshire, by whom she had a son and heir; and secondly, Robert Mignon. John Twisleton beforementioned died in 1682, having bequeathed this manor and feat to his nephew, John, eldest son of his younger brother, Philip, who possessed them at the time of his death in 1721. He died without issue, and by his will devised this estate to his nephew John Twisleton, son of his brother Thomas, in tail male, (who had likewise a daughter, Mary, married to the Rev. Josias Cockshutt, who will be further mentioned hereafter) and after divers intermediate remainders, then to Fiennes Twisleton, son of Cecil Mignon, esq. by her first husband, George Twisleton before-mentioned.
John Twisleton, the nephew and devisee beforementioned, possessed this estate, and died in 1757, without issue, having left his estates in Kent by his will to his nephew, Thomas Cockshutt, of Kegworth, in Leicestershire, clerk. But it being discovered, that Horsemans-place, and other parts of the estate, entailed as above, had not been barred; John Twisleton, esq. of Broughton, the only son and issue in tail of Fiennes Twisleton before-mentioned, (all the intermediate remaining being extinct) laid claim to them, and the issue was tried at Maidstone in 1758, when he was adjudged to be entitled to the premises so entailed, among which was this seat of Horseman's-place, and that part of the will which related to them was set aside; but the rest of it was established in favour of Mr. Cockshutt, who afterwards took upon him the name of Twisleton, as will be further noticed hereafter under Wilmington.
John Twisleton, esq. of Broughton, died possessed of Horsemans place, with other estates in Dartford in 1763, and left three sons, John, Thomas, and Francis; the eldest of whom having been killed in Germany the year before, his two brothers became entitled to it, as heirs in gavelkind; and on a partition made of all their father's estates, this at Dartford sell to the share of the next son, Thomas, who was a colonel in the guards, and renewed the claim made by his father in 1733, who had petitioned the house of lords to be admitted to the barony of Say and Sele, as heir general of the body, and likewise heir at law of Sir Richard Fiennes, created Baron Say and Sele by king James the Ist, in his first year, and although his claim was not allowed, yet colonel Twisleton now succeeded in it, and was summoned to parliament as lord Say and Sele, on June 29, 1781, whose grandson, Gregory, is the present lord. But to return to colonel Thomas Twisleton before-mentioned, who in 1768, conveyed Horsemans place, with the rest of his estates in Dartford, to Thomas Williams and Thomas Smith, and they quickly after passed this seat away to Richard Leigh, esq. serjeant-at-law, who died possessed of it in 1772, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, eldest daughter of Prosper Brown, of Dartford, one son, Richard, and a daughter, Elizabeth. He died intestate, and was succeeded in the inheritance of this mansion by his son, Richard Leigh, esq. before-mentioned, now of Wilmington, who is the present owner of it.
BALDWINS is a seat and reputed manor, situated at the extremity of this parish, at the south-west corner of Dartford heath. This place was antiently in the possession of Sir John Baude, a man of an honorable family in this kingdom, of whom it acquired the name of Baudiwins, which it keeps at present, the difference of the language of the times only excepted. This place afterwards came into the possession of the abbot and convent of Lesnes, who were possessed of lands in this parish as early as king John's reign; (fn. 41) they in the 1st year of king Henry VIII. held it with other lands adjoining, of the manor of Temple Dartford, by the yearly rent of 2s. 5d. and fuit of court.
In the 16th year of king Henry VIII. on the suppression of this abbey, the revenues of it were granted to cardinal Wolsey, for the better endowment of his college, vulgarly called Cardinal college, in Oxford. But four years afterwards, when the cardinal was cast in a præmunire, this, among the other estates of that college, which for want of time had not been firmly settled on it, were forfeited to the king, and became part of the royal revenue, where it did not continue long; for that king, in his 23d year, granted it, by the name of the manor of Baudwyns, and other lands and premises thereto belonging, in exchange for other lands, to Eton college, near Windsor, to which the inheritance of this seat and manor now belongs. (fn. 42)
The Adams's were formerly lesses of this estate under the college, it was afterwards held by Lovelace, and then by Sir Edward Hulse, bart. who being eminently distinguished in his prosession, as a physician, was so created in 1739. He was the eldest son of Edward Hulse, M. D. by Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Westrow, esq. and married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Levett, lord mayor in 1700, by her he had three sons, Edward, who succeeded him in title, and settled in Hampshire; Westrow, who died before him; and Richard, of whom further mention will be made hereafter; and a daughter Elizabeth, married to John Calvert, esq. of Hertfordshire. Several years before his death he retired to Baldwins, where he died in 1759, and was buried in Wilmington church-yard, bearing for his arms, Argent 3 piles, one issuing from the chief between the others reversed sable, being the arms likewise of the families of this name in Cheshire, Kent and Berkshire. At his death he bequeathed his interest in this estate, with the freehold lands adjoining, to his second son, Richard Hulse, esq. who resided here, and added much to the improvements his father had made to this seat, and the grounds belonging to it, which he inclosed with paling as a paddock in 1768. He served the office of sheriff in 1768, but on his removing to Blackheath in 1783, he sold his interest in it to Arnold Nesbit, esq. who resided here, and in 1791 alienated it to Simon Frazer, esq. a director of the East-India company, who is the present possessor, and resides in it. Mr. Fraser's daughter married Alexander lord Selton, who died here in 1793.
A little more than half a mile north-westward from the town of Dartford lies the hamlet of Stanham, antiently called Stoneham, which formerly was part of the possessions of the priory of Dartford. Elizabeth Cressener, prioress, and the convent of Dartford, anno 25 king Henry VIII. let to Robert Dove, husbandman, their capital messuage here, with the buildings and several pieces of land thereto belonging, at the rent of 20l. 14s. After the suppression the interest in this lease was become vested in William Thynne, esq. who in the 37th year of king Henry VIII. had a further term granted in it.
Queen Elizabeth in her 11th year, granted to Hugh Cartwright her capital messuage, and a house called the Dayern-house, in Stoneham, at the above rent. This estate was lately in the possession of Mr. Smith, a merchant in London, and two Mr. Bucks, of Norfolk, who conveyed it by sale to Mr. Mark Fielder, of Dartford. He died in 1782, and by will, gave it to his nephew, Mr. Mark Callow, the present possessor of it.
John de Fremingham gave and mortyzed his manor at Dartford, at the Hythe, to the value of one hundred shillings, above all reprises, to the wardens and commonaltie of Rochester bridge. The whars and some land adjoining, they still possess; but the manor has been long forgotten.
Sir John Stewart and Maltilda his wife, resided in their mansion house at Dartford in the 14th year of king Henry VI. for he then granted to his eldest son Thomas, and his heirs, licence to make use of his swan-mark, a little ragged staff; which mark he took by inheritance after the death of his father, Sir John Stewart, to hold the same by the delivery of one cignet yearly at his house in Dartford; for it seems that none could have a swan-mark but by the king's authority, and who had five marcs freehold estate, above all reprises; and all swans swimming in open and common rivers so marked, became then the property of him whose mark they bore. (fn. 43)
King Henry VI. in his 31st year, granted licence to John Bamburgh, William Rothele, Roger Jones, and Thomas Booth, or the survivor of them, to sound here an ALMS-HOUSE, in honour of the Holy Trinity, to be an hospital for five poor persons, to be called the Trinitees Almes House, in Dartford, of which the vicar and churchwardens of Dartford, and their successors, were to be governors for ever; and a corporate body, with power of acquiring lands and tenements in mortmain, to the value of twenty pounds yearly, beyond reprises, for the support as well of the said five poor persons, as other deeds of charity and piety, according to the direction of the said John Bamburgh, William Rothele, &c. This hospital seems afterwards to have been used as a spital-house for lepers; for in a rental of the manor of Temple's, anno 1 king Henry VIII. it is called the spytell-house, where the leprous inhabit and dwell, (fn. 44) the street where it was built being still called Spitel-street.
There was an anchorite or hermit at Dartford so early as the 20th year of king Henry III. In the 3d year of king Henry V. Henry lord Scrope left to this anchorite by will, 13s. 4d. (fn. 45) These anchorites were a kind of religious beggars, who took their stations at the end of bridges, or other most frequented thoroughfares, to implore the benevolence of the passengers. There was one remaining here so late as the reign of king Henry VI. whose stand was at the foot of the bridge here.
THOMAS AUDITOR, alias BARNARD, gave by will, in 1536, an annuity of 3s. to buy peas, to be distributed among the poor, in the first week in Lent, payable out of four acres of land, called Docklincrost, which bequest has not been paid for many years.
WILLIAM VAUGHAN gave by deed, in 1596, a rent, to be distributed quarterly to the most poor inhabitants of Dartford, out of a house and garden, vested in trustees, and of the annual produce of 13l. 4s.
MRS. CATHARINE BAMME gave by deed, in 1572, among other charitable bequests, 20s. to the poor of this parish, to be paid out of an messuage and lands in Gillingham, vested in Edward Taylor, of the annual produce of that sum.
JOHN BYER gave by will, in 1572, for the habitation of the poor of this parish, nine alms houses, in Lowfield, adjoining southward to Horseman's-place, and endowed them with a barn and several pieces of land, in the occupation of Mrs. Glover and Mr. Fleet; the former at 17l. the latter at 5l. annual rent, and for the habitation of four poor aged people, and 20d. to be paid quarterly to each of them; now inhabited by paupers; annual produce 1l. 6s. 8d.
JOHN BARTON gave by will, in 1613, the interest of 130l. yearly, to be bestowed on bread, and distributed to the poor by the vicar and churchwardens. N. B. With this money, in 1623, the parish purchased by deed, of Francis Goldsmith and others, thirteen acres of land in Crayford parish, and a house in Dartford, the former vested in William Flint and others, at 12l. per annum rent; the latter in William Nettlefold, at 11l. 10s. per annum; on condition that 20s. should be yearly distributed to the poor on Shrove Sunday, as his gift, out of the rents of the lands purchased of him by Barton's money. He agreed to abate 15l. out of the purchase money; annual produce 1l.
N. B. With these two gifts were purchased a house and piece of land belonging to it, which house has been taken down, and four new houses have been built on the ground, with monies borrowed upon them, which money the rents have discharged. The houses are let to several tenants, at the yearly rent of 5l. each; 2s. worth of bread have been yearly distributed every Sunday, out of the rent of these houses, as was stipulated when they were purchased; the annual produce 20l. per annum.
ANTHONY POULTER gave by will, in 1629, an annuity of 20s. to be distributed by the minister and churchwardens on Easter day, payable out of a house in Dartford, occupied by Mrs. Pettit, of the annual produce of 1l.
JOHN TWISLETON, esq. gave by deed, in 1660, certain rent, to be applied, one-third of it to the alms houses, and the other twothirds to be given to the poor, issuing out of three acres of land, in the occupation of Edward Rawlins, of the annual produce of 5l. 6s. 3d.
THE REV. CHARLES CHAMBERS gave by will, in 1745, the sum of 50l. vested in the 3 per cents. the interest to be distributed by the minister on Christmas day, among twenty-four poor persons, twenty of whom to be widows, annual produce 1l. 10s.
JOHN RANDALL gave by will, in 1771, 200l. now vested in the 3 per cent. the interest to be distributed among poor housekeepers and widows, at 5s. each; annual produce 7l. 8s. 6d. and he gave 100l. since, vested in like manner, the interest to be laid out in bread, and distributed to the poor on Sundays; annual produce 3l. 14s. 3d.
CHRISTOPHER HEATH gave lands to the next of kin of Ellen Sherrington, on condition that they should pay yearly out of them, to the use of the poor, 1l. 6s. 8d. and to the churchwardens and their successors, to the reparation of the church, 1l. 13s. 4d.
JOHN BEALE, of Swanscombe, devised 40s. per annum, towards the maintenance of a schoolmaster in Dartford, to be paid out of a messuage, called Hamanslay's, in Halsted, formerly occupied by William Watson.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the deanry of Dartford, and diocese of Rochester. The church, which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, stands near the east end of the town, and is a large handsome building, consisting of three isles' and two chancels. In 1793, the whole church was repaired and beautified by the parishioners, at the expence of twelve hundred pounds. The pavement within the altar rails, with the painting and gilding over it, was done at the charge of Charles Manning, gent. in 1702. The tower is at the west end of it, in which there is a clock and a good ring of bells; one of which, of the smaller size, used till of late to be constantly rung, as of old custom, at four o'clock every morning, and again at the time of curfew at night.
The church yard formerly surrounded it, but some few years ago that part of it, which was on the southerin side, was given to the public to make the road more commodious for passengers. There is another burying-ground belonging to this church at some little distance from it, adjoining the high London road at the top of the hill, eastward of the town, of which further mention will be made. It is situated on so high an eminence, that it overlooks even the top of the tower of the church.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in this church, are the following: In the great chancel, on the north side of the altar is a monument for Sir John Spilman, inclosed with iron railing; on it are his essigies in armour and that of his lady, kneeling at a desk, each with a book open, and over their heads, on a tablet of black marble, with an inscription in German text for both of them; he died in 1607; on the top of the monument his arms, Or, a serpent wreathed in pale azure, crested, gules, on a mount in base, vert, two slaunches, gules, each charged with three lions passant, or; beneath, on the tomb, are two coats, Spilman, as above, impaling argent, a man cloathed sable, with a long cap on, holding in his hand an olive branch proper, and standing on a mount, inverted, gules. On the south side of the chancel, an altar tomb, inclosed with rails, and inscription, for Clement Petit, esq. of Joyes, in this parish, whose paternal seat was at Dentelion, in Thanet, obt. 1717. Before the rails of the altar, on a grave stone, are the figures of a man and woman, in brass, under a canopy, with labels from their mouths; round the verge of the stone is an inscription in brass, in part torn away, for Richard Martyn, of Dartford, who died in 14 . . . . she died in 1402. Near it is another stone, which had the figure of a man, with a label from his mouth, and an inscription round the verge, all in brass, now lost; but an inscription in brass still remains, on a plate, for John Hornley, S. T. B. who died in 1477. On another adjoining, are the figures in brass of a woman and six children, that of the man is lost; beneath on a plate, is an inscription for capt. Arthur Bostocke, gent. who married Francis, second daughter of Francis Rogers, esq. he died in 1612. On a grave stone, before the step of the chancel, is the figure in brass, of a woman, and inscription, for Agnes, daughter of John Appleton, wife of Wm. Hesilt, one of the barons of the exchequer of Henry VI. afterwards of Robert, brother of Sir Tho. Molyngton, baron of Wemme; she died in 1454. On the south side of the chancel, a monument for Wm. Burgess, late citizen and salter of London, obt. 1640; arms, a sess sret between three rooks. On the same side, before the altar rails, a memorial for Nicholas Tooke, gent. of Dartford, obt. 1672, æt. 90; arms, Tooke, argent, on a chevton, sable, three plates of the field between three greyhounds heads erased, sable collared, or; but this is cut here very erroneous. On the north side, a memorial for Mr. Mark Fielder, 1753, æt. 91; on the south side, a memorial for Mr. Wm. Tasker, of this parish, ob. 1732; and for Wm. Tasker, jun. their second son, ob. 1733. In the south chancel, a mural monument for John Twisleton, esq. of Horseman's-place, son and heir of John Twisleton, esq. of Drax, in Yorkshire, who was uncle and heir of Sir Geo. Twisleton, bart. of Barley, in that county, the antient paternal seat of the family. A memorial for John Twisleton, esq. late of Horseman's-place, ob. 1721. At the east end an altar tomb, inclosed with wooden rails, and on the south of it an inscription for John Beer, of Dartford, who had Nicholas, Anne, and Dorothy; for Nicholas, who had Clement and Edward, and for Clement Beer, who had John and Clement, who both died, s. p. Edward Beer, their uncle, was their heir, and lived unmarried fifty-nine years, and died in 1627. On the north side, an inscription, shewing, that Christopher Twisleton, esq. of Barley, in Yorkshire, married Anne Beer, by whom he had George Twisleton, who had John Twisleton, and Edward Beer, dying, s. p. gave all his lands in Kent to John Twisleton above mentioned, who erected this monument in 1628. On the west side are two shields, one quarterly, 1st and 4th, quarterly, a canton ermine; 2d and 3d, on a fess, three garbs; the other the same arms, impaling a chevron. A grave stone, having a brass plate for John Beer, esq. of Dartford, and Alice and Joan, his wives, and also for Henry Beer, his son and heir, who married Anne Beer, widow of Rich. Howlett, gent. deceased, and had by her a son, Wm. Beer, deceased, which John Beer died in 1572, and Henry in 1574; above, are two coats in brass, both, a bear rampant, on a canton, five escallop shells. On a grave stone, the figures of a man and his two wives, with children and their shields of arms in brass, all of which are lost, excepting the second wife and four children, and a plate with the inscription, for Wm. Rothele, of Dartford, who died in 1464, and Beatrix and Joane, his wives, and their children. Another on the north side, on which were the figures of a man and woman, in brass, now lost, but part of the inscription remains, for Katryn Burlton, who died 1496, and Rich. Burlton, jantilman, her husband, who died 15 . . . the rest torn off. A mont for Margaret, relict of John Pitt, esq. predent of the S. Sea company at Vera Crux, ob. 1731, æt. 49, arms, Pitt impaling a chevron, ingrailed, betw. three eagles heads erased. In the middle isle, are several memorials of Manning; a grave stone in the south cross isle, having the figures in brass of a man between his two wives, and underneath those of fifteen children, with inscription in black letter, for Wm. Death, gent. principal of Staple's inn, who had two wives, Elizabeth and Anne, by the former he had ten sons and six daughters, ob. 1590, Elizabeth, 1582; above a shield of arms, being death, a grissin passant between three crescents, quartering four other coats. (fn. 46) In the north isle are memorials for the Round's, Woodin, Poulter, Dalling, and Chambers, all of this parish. There are many more memorials and tombs of respectable inhabitants of this populous town and parish, as well in the church as the two church yards, but they are by far too numerous for insertion in this place.
William the Conqueror confirmed the gift which Hamo his steward had made of the church of Tarentford, in the king's manor, to the church of St. Andrew of Rochester; (fn. 47) which king Henry I. confirmed, with the churches appendant to it, and the tithes of this parish in corn, pannage, cattle, money, and in all other things, in like manner as St. Austin held the church of Middleton, with the tithes of that parish, in the time of his father, (fn. 48) and also the tithes of his mills in Darenteford.
Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was elected to that see in the reign of the Conqueror, having recovered the manors and possessions of his church, which had been dissipated and made away with, separated his own maintenance from that of the monks, in which division he allotted this church, among others, to the support of the almonry, belonging to the convent. (fn. 49) The monks did not continue long in the possession of it, for bishop Gilbert de Glanvill, who came to the see in 1185, on pretence that his predecessor had impoverished the see by his too large donations to the priory, divested them of all right to this church, which he restored to the see of Rochester; however, he reserved and confirmed to the monks their antient pension from it. (fn. 50)
Laurence, bishop of Rochester, in 1253, reserving the tithes of sheaves, and of every kind of hay, demised this church, and all the small tithes, oblations, and obventions, and the tithes of sheaves arising in gardens and curtileges not being ploughed, to the convent of Rochester, at the rent of thirty-eight marcs per annum, on condition that they supplied the cure, and they were to deduct their pension of ten marcs, paid by the rector, out of it. (fn. 51) He afterwards obtained pope Innocent IV.'s leave to appropriate this church, during his life, to the use of his table, which he complained was so slenderly provided for; that he and his family had not at times common necessaries for food; the clear receipts for the bishop's table being but five hundred marcs, which were not more than sufficient for half the expence of it, and the receipts from his manors not exceeding sixty marcs per annum. (fn. 52) This was confirmed to the bishop and his successors by pope Alexander IV. and again by Clement IV. Bishop Laurence, on the appropriation, endowed the vicarage of this church, with the small tithes of it, excepting hay, with two acres of arable, and one of meadow; and also with the tithes of sheaves growing from land dug up with the foot, as well for the support of the vicar, as the discharge of the ordinary burthens of his vicarage, and the payment of the above pension to the monks, the profits of the vicarage being then sound by a jury to be worth forty marcs sterling per annum, communibis sannis; which endowment being lost, bishop Thomas de Woldham, in 1299, confirmed it; and as the vicar had no house belonging to his vicarage, he granted him one standing on the soil belonging to the church, as a vicarage house for himself and his successors; and further, the tithe of twenty-one acres of meadow, called King's-marsh, in Dartford, heretofore taken by the bishop and his predecessors, and he decreed, that the vicar and his successors should keep and maintain the books, vestments, and other ornaments of the church, in a proper state and order, and should sustain and acknowledge all other ordinary burthens of it.
Archbishop Robert Winchelsea further endowed this vicarage with the tithe of hay, to the value of forty shillings, in satisfaction of which the whole tithe of hay, arising from the great salt march in Dartford, (excepting to the bishop of Rochester for the time being, the yearly sum of four shillings, due from the Knights Hospitallers to the bishop, as rector of this church) was decreed to the vicar, by the desinitive sentence of Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, in the year 1315, as an augmentation of his endowment.
Thomas de Woldham, bishop of Rochester, in the above year, granted in mortmain, to Robert Levee, vicar of Dartford, and his successors, a messuage, with its appurtenances, in Overe-street, in Dartford, which the bishop had purchased of Robert de Levee, of Frindsbury. (fn. 53) At the dissolution of the priory of Rochester, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. the above pension of ten marcs, or 6l. 13s. 4d. was, by the king, in his 33d year, granted, among other pre emises, to his new erected dean and chapter of Rochester, who continue possessed of it at this time. The parsonage and advowson of the vicarage still remain part of the possessions of the bishop of Rochester. (fn. 54)
In the antient valuation of the bishop's revenues, this church was valued at 40l. and the bishop's mill and rent here, at 100s. In the 15th year of king Edward I.'s reign, the church was valued at forty-five marcs, and the vicarage at 100s. In the 33d of king Edward III. the church was valued at the like sum. (fn. 55)
By virtue of a commission of enquiry, in 1650, it was returned, that Dartford was a vicarage, with a house and glebe, all worth, with the privy tithes, seventy pounds per annum, master Charnock then incumbent. (fn. 56) It is a discharged living in the king's books, of the clear yearly certified value of 45l. 5s. 10½d. the yearly tenths of which are 1l. 17s. 1½d. (fn. 57)
This vicarage was, in 1736, augmented by the governors of queen Anne's bounty; at which time the Rev. Mr. Charles Chambers, vicar of Dartford, contributed one hundred pounds for that purpose. (fn. 58)
Bishop Laurence de St. Martin seems to have purchased, in the reign of king Henry III. several of the rents which now constitute the greatest part, if not the whole of the MANOR OF DARTFORD RECTORY, from Robert and Richard de Ripa, John Badecock, William de Wilmington, and others. (fn. 59)
This manor extends over both sides of the Highstreet, in Dartford, from the scite of the old marketplace to the church, and southward, in Lowfield, as far as the house of correction; all which is called the Bishop's liberty. At the leet of this manor, a constable and a borsholder are annually chosen for the liberty. There are several tenants which hold of it in socage, at small quit-rents.
In the 21st year of king Edward I. on a Quo warranto, the jury found that the bishop was feild, in right of his church, of view of frank pledge, and assize of bread and ale of his tenants in Dartford and Stone; and that the bishops, his predecessors, had been possessed of the same beyond memory.
There were TWO CHANTRIES, founded for divine services, in this parish; that of St. Edmund the Martyr, and of St. Mary, otherwise called Stampit. The former stood in the upper burial ground of this parish, which was a cimetary to it, and under this building was a charnel house. This chapel was suppressed at the same time with all other such endowments, and presently sell to ruin; but the cimetary was granted to the parish, as a place of burial for the parishioners, and continues so at this time. The advowson of this chantry was granted to the prioress and convent of Dartford priory, in the 46th year of king Edward III. at their first endowment.
John Bykenore endowed this chapel with five marcs, payable out of lands and tenements in Dartford, for the support of the chaplain of it. This chapel was under the jurisdiction of the archdeacon of the diocese.
The latter chantry of the Blessed Virgin St. Mary was subject to the official of the diocese. (fn. 60) It was founded by Thomas de Dertford, alias Art Stampett, vicar of this parish, in 1338, for one chaplain, to celebrate divine offices daily in the parish church of Dartford, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, and for the health of his soul, &c. and he appointed Ralph de Felthorpe the first chaplain of it, and endowed it with several lands and tenements, to the amount of one hundred and twenty acres, (fn. 61) in Dartford, the chaplain paying twelve pence yearly to the vicar of Dartford and his successors; and he gave the patronage of it, and the nomination of a chaplain to it in future, to the bishop of Rochester and his successors; which was confirmed by the bishop and the prior and chapter of Rochester the same year. (fn. 62) In the year 1553, Robert Bacon, incumbent of this chantry, had a pension of six pounds per annum.
Church Of Dartford.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Prior and Convent of Rochester||Peter de Rupibus, in Henry II.'s reign.|
|The Prior and Convent of Rochester||Ralph de Wingham, obt. 1176. (fn. 63)|
|Bishop of Rochester.||Thomas Chewte. (fn. 64)|
|Laurence de St. Martin, in 1245. (fn. 65)|
|Walter, 1299. (fn. 66)|
|Robert Levee, 1308. (fn. 67)|
|Thomas de Dertford, alias Stanpit, 1338. (fn. 68)|
|Richard Wich. (fn. 69)|
|John Hornley, obt. 1477. (fn. 70)|
|Richard Turner, 1565. (fn. 71)|
|John Browne, in 1587. (fn. 72)|
|John Denne, seq. 1642. (fn. 73)|
|Vavasour Powel, resigned Jan. 7, 1646. (fn. 74)|
|. . . . . . . . Price, 1685.|
|Thomas Price, 1718. (fn. 75)|
|Charles Chambers, A. M. inst. Sep. 30, 1718, obt. Feb. 22, 1746. (fn. 76)|
|John Lewis, A. M. resig. 1755. (fn. 77)|
|James Harwood, A.M. 1755, ob. 1778. (fn. 78)|
|John Currey, A. M. April 1778. Present vicar.|