The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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Longfield is a small parish, long and narrow; there is no coppice wood in it, excepting shaves round the fields; the land in it is but poor, being very hilly; the surface is mostly chalk, and much covered with flint stones. It is an obscure place, the road from Green-street-green to Trosley-hill goes through it, along the valley. At the west end of it, close to the road, is the church, and above it the court lodge. At the east end of it is Longfield-green, where there are some houses, which, with a few others stragling about, are the only ones in the parish.
There was in this parish an antient dwelling called Longfield-house, which was the property and residence of the Burrow family as early as queen Elizabeth's reign, ancestors of those of Holwood-hill, and Sterborough-castle. It has been pulled down about fifty years since.
This place was given, whilst Ælsstane was bishop of Rochester, who came to the see in 945, and died in 984, by Ælfswithe, wife of Birtrick, of Meopham, who confirmed it by his last testament, to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, as two plough lands; (fn. 1) and being wrested from that church in the troublesome times which soon after followed, by reason of the Danish wars, it was recovered again at the solemn assembly, held at Pinenden, in 1076, and was immediately restored by Lansranc, archbishop of Canterbury, to bishop Gundulph and the church of St. Andrew; which was confirmed by archbishop Anselm, in 1101, as it was afterwards by several of his successors. (fn. 2)
GERARDE, the herbalist, found the Clenopodium vulgare, common basil, growing in great plenty at Longfield downs. (fn. 3)
LONGFIELD seems to have been appropriated to the archdeaconry of Rochester, immediately on its being restored to that church. At the time of the taking the survey of Domesday, anno 1080, it was in the possession of Anschitill, then archdeacon there. Accordingly it is entered as follows, under the general title of the lands of the bishop of Rochester in that record:
The same bishop (of Rochester) bolds Langafel and Anschitill the priest of him. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate and nine villeins, with seven borderers, baving two carucates. It was worth 70 shillings, and now 100 shillings.
The temporalities of the archdeacon of Rochester, in Longfield, in the 15th year of king Edward I. were valued at 3l. (fn. 4) After which the manor and court lodge of Longfield, with the lands belonging to it, continued part of the estate belonging to the archdeaconry; and Dr. Manning Griffith, who succeeded to this preferment in 1533, and became afterwards bishop of Rochester, seems to have been the first archdeacon who demised this manor, which he did for eighty years, and before that term was ended, a concurrent lease was granted for sixty years more; and it afterwards continued to be leased out, from time to time, but archdeacon Spratt, who succeeded to this dignity in 1704, suffered the lease of it to expire, for the benefit of his successors, since which it has been held under leases for twenty-one years, at the old accustomed rent, renewable in like manner as other ecclesiastical estates. The Rev. Mr. Samuel Denne, of Wilmington, is the present lessee of it.
The court lodge stands almost adjoining to the church-yard. It is a strong antient building, with arched doors and windows of hewn stone, and was once probably made use of by the archdeacons, as a house of retirement.
DR. PLUME gave by his will, in 1704, the sum of 5l. 8s. yearly to the repairs of his tombstone and the rails in the church yard, the overplus of which is always given among the poor of this parish, vested in the trustees of his will, and of the above annual product.
The church, which is a small mean building, is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. It consists of one isle and a chancel, having a low pointed steeple at the west end, in which hangs one bell. In it, among other monuments and inscriptions, in the north chancel are several memorials for the Burrows of Hartley; and, adjoining to the south wall of the church, on the outside, is an altar tomb, inclosed with wooden rails, for archdeacon Plume, who died Nov. 20, 1704, æt. 74, as has been already mentioned, as well as his charities, under the description of Stone near Dartford. (fn. 5) This church is of the ancient patronage of the bishopric of Rochester, part of the possessions of which it continues at this time. This rectory is now a discharged living in the king's books, of the clear yearly value, as certified, of 30l. the yearly tenths being 11s. 9d. (fn. 6)
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that Longfield was a parsonage, having neither house nor barn; that it had six acres of glebe land, and was worth 30l. per annum, master Thomas Stansall enjoying it, and preaching there. (fn. 7)
This rectory has been twice augmented; the first time by the governors of queen Anne's bounty, by which a small farm in Hoo, consisting of twenty-four acres, was purchased. The second augmentation was from Mrs. Ursula Taylor's legacy, paid by Sir Philip Boteler, to be applied for the augmenting of such small livings as should be named by himself, of which this was one; with the money a few acres of land were purchased in this parish.
Church of Longfield.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Bishop of Rochester||Thomas Stansall, in 1650.|
|John Chadwick, in 1669, obt. 1705. (fn. 8)|
|Thomas Barnett, inst. Dec. 24, 1705, obt. Oct. 13, 1731.|
|John Lambe, A.M. inst. Jan. 26, 1731.|
|Francis Ireland, 1740, ob. 1774.|
|John Derby, A.M. present. Dec. 7, 1774, obt. Oct. 6, 1778. (fn. 9)|
|John Currey, A.M. 1779. Present rector. (fn. 10)|