The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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ADJOINING to Meopham, eastward, lies Luddesdon, commonly called Luddesdown. In the Textus Roffensis it is written Hludesdune, (fn. 1) and in Domesday, Ledesdune. This place takes it name from the two Saxon words, leod populous, and dune collis, i. e. the peopled hill, alluding to its situation in this hilly country.
LUDDESDON is a small parish, lying upon high ground, among the hills; it is about two miles in length, from north to south, and not one in breadth; the soil is but poor and very stony. There are two villages, one called Luddesdon-street, near the northern bounds of the parish, near which is the estate, called Little Buckland, and the hamlet of Sall-street; the other, called likewise Luddesdon, near the southern bounds, in which is the church, and not far distant the manor of South Buckland. It is but an obscure place, but little frequented or known, and would have been less so, had it not been for the reputable school kept in it some years ago by the Rev. Mr. Thornton, rector of this parish, which occasioned it to be resorted to by most of the gentry of this part of the county, whose sons were educated in it.
LUDDESDON was part of those extensive possessions with which William the Conqueror enriched his half brother Odo, the great bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the general survey of Domesday, taken in the year 1080, being the 15th of the Conqueror's reign.
The same Ralph (Fitz Turold) holds Ledesdune of the bishop. It was taxed for two sulings and a half, and half a yoke. The arable land is six carucates. In demesne there are two, and 17 villeins, with four borderers, baving five carucates. There is a church and one servant, and three acres and a half of meadow, wood for the pannage of 20 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth six pounds, and afterwards 100 shillings, now eight pounds. What Richard holds in his lowy (is worth) 20 pence. The bishop holds in his own hand four houses in the city of Rochester, belonging to this manor, from which he has nine shillings and ten pence. Leuuin the earl held it.
On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, in the year 1083, his estates were all consiscated to the crown, among which was this estate of Luddesdon. In the reign of king Henry II. Richard Gissard appears to have held the manor of Luddesdon, then valued at twenty-five pounds, and from which no service was due (of the new feossment in the reign of king Stephen) of Walter de Meduana, who held it again of the king in capite, which premises were held in capite of king Henry I. by Jessry Talbot. The fees, which were said to be of the old feossment, were such whereof seoffment had been made before the death of Henry I. as those which were said to be of the new, were such whereof feoffment had been made afterwards. (fn. 2) In the reign of king John this place was come into the possession of the family of Montchensie. (fn. 3)
William, son of William de Montchensie, who died in the 6th year of 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, for a fine of two thousand marks, had livery of his whole inheritance; after which, in the 37th year of king Henry III.'s reign, he obtained a charter of free warren to his manor of Luddesdon, among others, and died the next year, at which time he was reputed one of the most valiant, prudent, and wealthy men in the kingdom. He died in the 17th year of that reign, leaving one daughter and sole heir, Dionisia, who was shortly afterwards married to Hugh de Vere, the third son of Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, who, in the 25th year of the above reign, in consideration of his services in the wars in France, had possession granted of this manor, among others of his wife's inheritance.
His son, William de Montechensie, in the 8th year of king Edward I. had a grant in see of view of frank pledge, and the courts belonging to it, in all his lands. (fn. 4) He died in the 17th year of that reign, leaving one daughter and sole heir, Dionisia, who marrying Hugh de Vere, third son of Robert earl of Oxford, intitled him to this manor, among others of her inheritance. (fn. 5) After which it passed in like manner as the manors of Hartley and others, before described, (fn. 6) into the families of Valence and Hastings, successively earls of Pembroke; and then to Reginald, lord Grey of Ruthin, who was found to be cousin and next heir of the whole blood to John de Hastings, earl of Pembroke, who died without issue in the 13th year of king Richard II. but he being afterwards taken prisoner in Wales by Owen Glendower, was obliged to make over this manor, among others, to raise money to pay for his ransom; for which purpose it was accordingly assigned over to Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, and others, his feoffees, who conveyed the manor of Luddesdon to Thomas Montacute, earl of Salisbury, who by his many noble acts and great atchievements, was become the darling of his country. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest heroes and generals of his age, whether we consider his extraordinary diligence in whatever he undertook, his unwearied consequence in pursuing, or quickness in executing his designs. After a continued series of bravery and success, he was at last slain in besieging the city of Orleans, in France, in the 7th year of king Henry VI. to the great grief of every one. He left by Eleanor, his first wife, fourth daughter of Thomas earl of Kent, one sole daughter and heir, Alice, then the wife of Richard Nevill, son to Ralph Nevill, earl of Westmoreland, by Joane his second wife. By his will he directed his body to be buried at Bisham abbey, with his ancestors, (fn. 7) and bequeathed this manor of Luddesdon to John (or, according to others, James) Montacute, his illegitimate son, who alienated it in the 30th of Henry VI. to John Davy, gent. who bore for his arms, Sable, a chevron engrailed argent, between three annulets; and he not many years after conveyed it by sale to Edward Nevill, lord Abergavenny, fourth surviving son of Ralph earl of Westmoreland, by Joane his second wife, daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster.
Edward lord Abergavenny had been summoned by writ to the parliament held in the 29th of Henry VI. by reason of his marriage with Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of Richard Beauchamp, lord Bergavenny, in whose right he possessed the castle and manor of Bergavenny. He died in the 16th year of king Edward IV. possessed of this manor, which continued in the possession of his descendants, lord Abergavenny, till about sixty years, when it was alienated by George lord Abergavenny, to William Brasier, whose descendant, Mr. Petit Brasier, gent. at his death in 1770, left it to his widow, who remarried Mr. Walter, and entitled him to the possession of it; not long after which the right to it was transferred to Mr. John Hilliam, gent. whose widow is at this time the owner of it.
This manor, as a member of the manor of Swanscombe, parcel of the antient barony of Montchensie, is held by the service of castle guard to Rochester castle, which is now compounded for by a certain annual rent paid to the lord of the manor of Swanscombe. A court baron is held for this manor.
SOUTH BUCKLAND is a manor in this parish, which was antiently called Bocland, no doubt from the tenure of it in the time of the Saxons; for there were only two sorts of lands among the Saxons, bocland and folkland; the former of which was hereditary, and passed by deed, and was possessed by the thanes, or nobler sort; the latter was terra vulgi, who had no estate therein, but held the same by the agreement, or at the will of the lord, or thane. It is now generally called Great or South Buckland, to distinguish it from an estate called Little Buckland, in this parish. The manor of Buckland, in the reign of king John, was held by Reginald de Luddesdon, who, in the 5th year of that reign, was amerced three hundred marcs for a misdemeanor relating to an impression of the king's seal. In the reign of king Edward I. it was held by William de Lodesden, of the heirs of Warine de Montchensie, as three parts of a knights fee. (fn. 8) He gave the whole tithe of the corn of his estate of Bocland to the nunnery of Malling, in this county, in perpetual alms, at the time his daughter Joice was made a nun there, and he gave them besides one acre of his land, to build a barn on, to lay their corn in; (fn. 9) which was afterwards confirmed by Richard and Hamo, bishops of Rochester; and by Simon, Theobald, and Hubert, archbishops of Canterbury. In the above confirmation, Buckland is said to be, De feodo Thalebot, this place being part of those fees which Galfridus Talebot held in capite at the death of king Henry I. which fee was afterwards, in the reign of king Henry II. held in like manner of the king, by Walter de Meduana, and again of him by William de Lodesdon.
After this family was extinct here, this manor came into the possession of owners who took their name from it; one of whom, William de la Bocklande confirmed the above gift of tithes to Malling abbey. His descendant, Reginald de Bokelande died possessed of it in the beginning of the reign of king Edward III. and his heirs paid aid for it in the 20th year of that reign, as half a knight's fee, which he held formerly in Luddesdon of the heirs of Warine de Montecanisio. Sir Thomas de Buckland was possessed of this manor at the latter end of the above reign, from whom it descended to Thomas Buckland, who, in the latter end of the reign of king Henry VI. left an only daughter and heir, Alice, who carried this estate, with Preston, in Shoreham, in marriage to John Polley, alias Polhill, (fn. 10) of Polhill-street, in Detling, in this county, in which name it continued many descents, until one of them alienated it to Walsingham, whose descendant, Mr. John Walsingham, conveyed it by sale, about fifty years ago, to Thomas Whitaker, esq. of Trottesclive, sheriff of this county in 1743; and he, at his death, devised it to his second son, Mr. John Whitaker, of Barming, in this county; whose nephew, Thomas Whitaker, esq. of Watringbury, is the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
Among other monuments and memorials in it—In the chancel is a mural monument, arms, Argent on a bend gules, three escarbuneles of eight rays or, impaling argent three boars heads, erected and erased sable, langued gules, for Stephen Thornton, rector of this church sixty-three years, ob. Aug. 27, 1744. In the chancel, south of the rectors, in the north-east corner, over an altar monument, are two brass plates; on one, the essigy of a man in armour; on the other a shield, being two coats quarterly, 1st and 4th, three lozenges in sess; 2d and 3d, an eagle displayed, over all a batton dexter; there has been another plate of arms, which as well as the inscription, is lost. This monument was no doubt erected for James (falsely called John) Montacute, natural son of Thomas Montacute, earl of Salisbury, who was killed at the siege of Orleans, and left the manor of Luddesdon to James, his son, above mentioned. (fn. 11)
It was antiently an appendage to the manor of Luddesdon, and continued so till one of the lords Abergavenny alienated it. It is now a rectory; the patronage of it, in 1742, was in Mr. Hall, (fn. 12) as it was, in 1763, in Mr. John Tysoe, gent. It afterwards belonged to the Rev. Mr. Charles Harland, rector of this church; and since his death, to Edward Barrett, esq. the present patron of it.
In an antient valuation of the livings in this diocese, taken in the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Luddesdon was valued at fifteen marks. (fn. 13). In the survey of ecclesiastical benefices, taken in 1650, by order of the state, it was returned, that here was one rectory, worth sixty-five pounds per annum, Mr. Wm. Dunbane then incumbent; and that there was a chapel, called Dowdes, adjoining to this parish, which was fit to be added to it; that the chapel was fallen down, and was worth twenty pounds per annum. The ruins of the walls of this chapel are still visible, in a field belonging to Buckland farm, in this parish, about a quarter of a mile from the house. (fn. 14) This church is valued in the king's books at 11l. 11s. 3d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 3s. 1½d. (fn. 15)
Church of Luddesdon.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Richard Fasby, in 1501. (fn. 16)|
|Thomas Ditchfield, about 1631. (fn. 17)|
|William Dunbane, in 1650. (fn. 18)|
|Stephen Thornton, A.M. 1681, ob. Aug. 27, 1744. (fn. 19)|
|Richard Tysoe, A. M. 1744, ob. June 6, 1746. (fn. 20)|
|Meard, 1746, ob. 1765.|
|Charles Harland, 1765, ob. Oct. 1784.|
|Thomas Manning, A.M. ob. Decemb. 1786. (fn. 21)|
|William Thompson, S.T.P. Present rector.|