The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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EASTWARD from Gravesend lies Milton, on the southern shore of the river Thames. It is called in Domesday, and other antient records, Meletune and Melestun, and takes its name from its middle distance between the parishes of Gravesend and Chalk. It is generally written Milton juxta, or near Gravesend, to distinguish it from two other parishes of the same name in this county, Milton near Sittingborne, and Milton near Canterbury.
THE PARISH of Milton is but small, being not more than three quarters of a mile, from east to west, and a mile and half north to south. The high London road leads along the southern part of it, close to which stand the Court-lodge and Paddock-farm. It contains about eleven hundred acres of land, of which fifty are marsh. There is much fertile land in it of a loamy soil, which changes more and more southerly to an entire sand; the surface of it is a continued series of hill and dale. The eastern part of the town of Gravesend is within this parish, the liberty of which corporation extends over the whole of it, and is therefore incorporated by the name of the mayor, jurats, and inhabitants of the parishes of Gravesend and Milton, as has already been related before, in the description of that parish. One of the bulwarks or platforms, built for the defence of the river, by king Henry VIII. as there mentioned, is in this parish, for the purpose of building which, William Burston, in the 35th year of that reign, conveyed to the king two pieces of land, called Chapel-field and Le Green. (fn. 1) This parish, with others in the neighbourhood, was antiently bound to contribute to the ninth pier of Rochester bridge. (fn. 2) A fair was granted to Milton, to be held yearly, on the day of the conversion of St. Paul, which holds for a week.
MILTON, at the time of taking the great survey of Domesday, was part of those extensive possessions belonging to Odo, the great bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, the Conqueror's half brother, and it is accordingly thus entered under the general title of his lands in that record, as follows:
Ralph Fitz Turold holds Meletune of the bishop. It was taxed at one suling and three yoke. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there is one, and 21 villeins, with two borderers, having two carucates. There is a church and one mill of 49 pence, and a hythe of 20 shillings, and three servants. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth four pounds, and afterwards three pounds, now six pounds. Richard holds in his lowy (what is worth) five shillings in one wood. Leuuin the earl held it.
And somewhat further, in the same record—
Helto holds Melestun of the bishop. It was taxed at half a suling, the arable land is one carucate, and there are also five villeins and one acre of meadow. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, and afterwards, it was worth 10 shillings, now 30 shillings. Uluuard held it of king Edward.
The former of these descriptions seems intended for the manor of Milton, and the latter for that of Parrock in this parish.
On the disgrace of bishop Odo, in 1083, all his possessions were consiscated to the king's use, and these estates as part of them.
After which, the MANOR OF MILTON came into the family of Montchensie, called in Latin, De Monte Canisio. (fn. 3) William, son of William de Montchensie, who died anno 6 king John owned this manor at the time of his death, in the 15th year of that reign; he died without issue, upon which Warine de Montchensie, his kinsman, for a fine of two thousand marcs had livery of his whole inheritance. In the 37th year of king Henry III. he obtained a charter of free warren for his manor of Milton, and died next year, be ing then reputed one of the most noble, prudent, and wealthy men in the kingdom.
After which this manor passed in like manner as that of Hartley, before described, by the heiress of this family, to Hugh de Vere, and afterwards to the families of Valence and Hastings, successively earls of Pembroke; thence again to Reginald lord Grey, of Ruthin, for the payment of whose ransom, being taken prisoner in Wales by Owen Glendower, this manor, with others, were assigned over to Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, and others, his feoffees, to sell them for that purpose, (fn. 4) as may be seen more at large in the description of the manor of Hartley, before mentioned. (fn. 5)
They sold this manor to Sir Reginald Cobham, who died possessed of it in the 7th year of Henry IV. leaving the possession of it to Isabel his wife, who carried her interest in it presently after in marriage to William Clifford, esq. who held it in her right in the 5th year of king Henry V. After her death it returned to the heirs of her former husband, for it appears that John de Cobeham became entitled to it after her death; but in this name it continued but a short time, for Robert de Poynings died possessed of this manor in the 25th year of king Henry VI.
In the 5th year of the reign of king Edward IV. John Moresbye died possessed of it; soon after which it became the property of Robert Brent, whose son, John Brent, held this manor by knights service at his death, in the 8th year of king Henry VII. His son, William Brent, soon after this alienated it to Sir Henry Wyatt, from whom it descended to his son, Sir Thomas Wyatt; and he in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. granted this manor and the advowson of the church, with their appurtenances, to that king, for ever, in exchange for other premises.
King Edward VI. in his 5th year, in consideration of a fine of twenty pounds, granted to Catherine Martin, widow, her messuage, called Milton-place, late Figges, in this parish, and other parcels of land there, and the herbage and pasture, called the afterleaze of the Town marsh in Milton, from the feast of St. Edward to the feast of the purification of the Blessed Virgin, all which were parcel of the possessions of Sir Thomas Wyatt, to hold for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of twenty pounds. Queen Elizabeth, in her 15th year, granted the manor of Milton, in see, to George Tucker, at the yearly rent of 41l. 7s. 2d. who was the eldest of the three sons of Wm. Tucker, esq. of Thornley, in Devonshire, and bore for his arms, Azure, a chevron or between three sea horses argent. (fn. 6) His grandson, George Tucker, esq. alienated it to Mr. Hamond, of Queenhith, in London, in whose descendants it continued till about thirty years ago, when Leonard Hamond, esq. of Horton Kirkby, passed away his interest in it to Mr. Peter Moulson of London, who rebuilt the court lodge, (fn. 7) and greatly improved the grounds round it. He gave this manor, by will, to his only daughter and heir, married to Mr. George Vaughan of London, from whom it passed, by sale, to Michael Bedell, esq. who died in 1795, and his executor is now entitled to it, but it is occupied by Mr. Weston, who now resides in it.
PADDOCK, alias PARROCK'S, is a manor in this parish, which had once owners of the same name, as is evident by an antient record, which testifies that Robert de Parrock obtained a market weekly on the Saturday, and a fair at this manor yearly for three days, viz. on the Vigil, the day of St. Edmund, and the day after, in the 52d year of king Henry III. This family bore for their arms, Ermine, a chief quarterly or and gules; in the first quarter a chess rook sable. (fn. 8) In the next reign of king Edward I. this manor was in the possession of William de Clovil, who then held half a knight's fee in Paroke, of Warine de Montecanisio, (fn. 9) after which it came into the possession of the family of De Gravesend, one of whom, Stephen de Gravesend, bishop of London, died possessed of it in the 12th year of king Edward III. His kinsman, Sir Thomas de Gravesend, held it in the 20th year of that reign, and died possessed of it in the 49th year of it; soon after which it was purchased by that king; who, by his charter, in his 50th year, granted this manor, among others, to feoffees, for the endowing his newly founded Cistertian abbey, called St. Mary Graces, near the tower of London. After which it was conveyed for the like term of years as the manor of Gravesend above mentioned, till king Richard II. in his 22d year, granted it to the abbot and convent, in pure and perpetual alms for ever; and it remained part of the possessions of the above monastery till the dissolution of it, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. after which it was, together with the lands and revenues belonging to it, given up to the king for ever, by the general words of the act, passed in the 31st year of that reign; after which king Henry VIII. in his 31st year, granted this manor of Parrocke, with all its rights and appurtenances, and all his lands and tenements, called Spryvers-hache or Spryvers-place, and lands called Le Arbor, parcel of this manor, and several other lands, in Milton, all parcel of the possessions of the above mentioned late abbey, to Sir Christopher Morys for life, and afterwards to his widow, dame Elizabeth, for her's likewife; Thomas Asteley, had afterwards a term in them, granted by king Edward VI. who again, in the 7th year, granted them to his servant, John Fowler, one of the grooms of his privy-chamber, and Anne his wife, for their lives.
The fee of this manor afterwards remained in the crown till the 13th year of king James, when it was granted to Mr. William Salter, who not many years after passed it away by sale to Mr. James Crispe, from whom, partly by purchase and partly by exchange, it went to Mr. John Child, (fn. 10) whose descendant, Mr. Henry Child, in the 24th year of king Charles II. conveyed the house, and the greatest part of the demesne lands in this parish, since called by the name of Lower Parrock, alias the Paddock-farm, to Mr. John Coosens and his descendant, Richard Coosens, esq. of Westminster, who died in 1779, leaving one sole daughter and heir, who continues at this time the possessor of this estate.
But THE MANOR itself continued in the name of Child till William Child, gent. in 1691, passed it away by sale to Richard Etkins, gent. whose son, George Etkins, esq. one of the jurats of the corporation of Gravesend and Milton, in 1695, conveyed it to trustees for the use of that corporation, in which trust it remains at this time.
The town hall and market yard, the free school, the wharf or town key, in the town of Gravesend, and the ferry across the Thames, from thence to Tilbury, in Essex, are parcel of this manor, and as such are now in the above mentioned trust, for the use of the corporation; and there are about thirty-three houses, mostly in the East-street, and the east side of the High-street, of the town of Gravesend, which are held of this manor. The court baron for it is held in the town hall above mentioned.
BESIDES eight or nine hundred poor persons, travelling by water, from Gravesend to London, constantly relieved by the corporation, this parish receives jointly with that parish, the charities of Richard White, Henry Pinnock, David Varchal, and James Fry, as has been already fully related among the charities of that parish; and further, the following given to the parish of Milton solely.
MARY LONGWORTH gave by will, in 1699, the sum of 20l. the yearly profits to be distributed among eight poor widows of this parish every Christmas eve, vested in trustees, and of the anual produce of 3l. 7s.
ANNE PEARCE gave by will, in 1776, the sum of 50l. the interest to be distributed at Christmas yearly, among such poor persons of this parish as do not receive alms, vested in trustees.
MILTON is in the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester.
The church, which stands at a small distance from the east end of the town of Gravesend, and on the east side of the road leading from thence to Chalk, is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. It is a fair handsome building, with a square tower at the west end of it. (fn. 11) In 1792, it was repaired and beautified at the expence of six hundred and fifty pounds.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in this church—In the chancel, on the south side of the altar is a mural monument for Thomas Chiffinch, esq. one of king Charles II.'s searchers at Gravesend, obt. 1681. Within the rails, a memorial for James How, rector here, obt. Aug. 30, 1766. (fn. 12)
Round the walls of this church are painted the crefts of the several kings of England, from Edward III. to king James I.
The church of Milton was appendant to the manor till Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, lord of it, anno 15 king Edward I. granted to brother Roger de Stow, chaplain, master of the chantry and chapel of Melton, and the brothers of it, the advowson of this church, with its appurtenances, for ever, in pure and perpetual alms, for the support of him and his brethren, chaplains in this, for the health of his soul, and those of his ancestors, for ever; which gift was confirmed by the king that year, by inspeximus. (fn. 13)
Hamo de Hethe, bishop of Rochester, by his instrument, in 1322, reciting that the revenues of this chantry were mean and little for the support of the burthens of it, appropriated to the master, brothers of the chantry of priests of the chapel of Melton, the parish church of Melton, of their patronage, with all its rights and appurtenances, saving a competent portion for the maintenance of the vicars, to be by him and his successors instituted in it, the unanimous consent of the chapter of Rochester being first obtained, and the bishop appropriated and granted it to them, to be possessed to their own proper use for ever, saving the episcopal and all other rights to him and his successors, as well as to the church of Rochester, all which was confirmed by the prior and chapter of Rochester by their letters of inspeximus that year; but the king's licence for this appropriation appears not to have been obtained until near three years afterwards. Whether this appropriation of the church of Milton ever took place I am not certain, for on the dissolution of the chantry above mentioned, which happened by its escheating to the crown, it came into the king's hands as a rectory; soon after which, in 1524, it was granted to Sir Henry Wyatt, who in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. exchanged it, among other premises, with the crown; after which the presentation to it was confirmed, two turns contiguous to the crown, and the third to the bishop of Rochester and his successors, in which state it remains at this time.
In the 15th year of king Edward I. this church of Melton was valued at sixteen marcs. In the survey of ecclesiastical livings within this diocese, taken in 1650, it was returned, that Milton was one parsonage, the presentation to which was two turns in the king and one in the bishop of Rochester; that it was worth ninety pounds per annum, the incumbent of it being Mr. Thomas Isaac, in the room of Mr. Lee, sequestered. (fn. 14) In the reign of queen Anne the rectory of Milton was valued at one hundred pounds per annum. This church is valued in the king's books at 16l. 5s. 10d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 12s. 7d.
AYMER DE VALENCE, earl of Pembroke, founded a CHANTRY in this parish some time before the 15th year of king Edward II. in his charter for which, he gave and confirmed to brother Roger de Stowe, master of the chantry or chapel of Melton, and the brothers there, for ever, for the health of his soul, and those of his ancestors, the scite or mansion where the chapel was founded, with the lands, rents, and all other appurtenances belonging to it; and he granted to them, in free and perpetual alms, all the lands and tenements belonging to the chantry, in the hundreds of Berdestaple and Rocheforde, (fn. 15) in Essex. And he directed, that there should be there one master, a priest, and two chaplains, bearing the habit prescribed by him; and he directed in what manner the master and chaplains should be chosen, from time to time, when any vacancy should happen, by death or otherwise; which charter was confirmed by king Edward II. by inspexi mus, in the 15th year of his reign.
Hamo de Hethe, bishop of Rochester, by his instrument, in 1322, ordained, at the instance of Aymer, earl of Pembroke, patron of this chantry, and of the secular priests then in it, among others things, that the priests in it should be for the future regulars, who should receive and keep the rule and institution of it, and who celebrating divine rites for the souls of the family of Montchensie, of the earl, his wife, &c. should especially commemorate him and the founder of it. And that the priests, who should be first placed in it, should be appointed by him, one of whom, adjudged most fit by him, should be appointed as provost or master, whom the rest should obey as their superior, according to the above rule, and on his death or removal the rest should choose another priest, who had prosessed the aforesaid rule of this chantry for one year, and present him to the earl, as patron, and afterwards to the bishop, to be admitted as provost or master; and he granted, that they should have an altar in the chapel of the chantry, and a competent burial place for themselves, but for no others whatsoever, and that no one but themselves should administer the sacraments of the church in it, and that with bells, in such decent manner as to be no prejudice to the mother church, saving all episcopal right to him and the church of Rochester, (fn. 16) &c. all which was confirmed by Aymer, earl of Pembroke.
At the latter end of the reign of king Edward IV. Richard Martyn was master of this chantry, after whose death T. Hede, clerk, was presented as master.
John Dygon, master of this chantry, died in 1524, after which it by some means escheated to the crown, for king Henry VIII. soon afterwards granted it to Sir Henry Wyatt, who seems to have had the king's letters patent for his founding another chantry in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Melton. Whether this chantry was ever founded, or if it was, when it was suppressed I do not find, but the chapel of Milton, with its appurtenances, was, before the 31st year of king Henry VIII. become a lay see, and was in the hands of Sir Thomas Wyatt, and it appears at that time to have consisted of the chapel, called Meltonchapel, together with the hall, pantry, kitchen, storehouse, chambers, &c. with their appurtenances, and the wharf, orchard, pond, two gardens, and two closes of land lying on the south and east sides of the chapel, and a field, called Millers-field, lying at the west side of the parish church, together with pasture for two horses in the common marsh of Melton, all which were of the yearly rent of six pounds eight shillings. (fn. 17)
King Edward II. in his 4th year, granted licence to Roger Orger, of Melton, to assign for ever, notwithstanding the statute of Mortmain, two messuages, two oxgangs and an half of land, three acres of arable, and two acres and a half of meadow, with their appurtenances in Melton, to a chaplain, to celebrate daily in the church of Melton. (fn. 18)
Church of Milton.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Bishop of Rochester||Edmund Jackson, obt. 1575. (fn. 19)|
|The Crown||John Soan, obt. 1631. (fn. 20)|
|Francis Merlyn, D. D. Nov. 3, 1631, obt. 1639. (fn. 21)|
|George Hume, A.M. Oc. 1, 1639. (fn. 22)|
|William Wall, D.D. ob. Jan.13, 1728. (fn. 23)|
|James How, A. M. inst. Feb. 8, 1728, obt. Aug. 30, 1766. (fn. 24)|
|Joseph Pote, A. M. 1766. Present rector. (fn. 25)|