The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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THE PARISH of Cobham is rather an unfrequented place, not having any road of traffic through it. It is a healthy and rather a pleasant situation, tho' the woods and foliage in Cobham-park give it in general a gloomy appearance; it extends about two miles and a half from east to west, and a mile and a half from north to south; it contains about two thousand nine hundred and fifty acres of land, seventy houses, exclusive of the college, about seven hundred and sixty inhabitants. Cobham park, having the mansion of Cobham-hall situated in a vale within it, contains the greatest part of the parish; on an eminence in the park, about a mile from the house, is a costly mausoleum, built pursuant to the will of the late earl, as a burial place for himself and family, which being finished, his body, which was deposited in the church, was brought hither, and laid in it. The building is a conspicuous object to a considerable distance round it. It stands on Williams's-hill, on a spot of ground where it is said there was once a chapel. This elegant structure is octangular, built of Portland stone, the columns at each angle supporting a sarcophagus, the top terminating with a quadrangular pyramid over the vault, which has sixteen recesses or burial places in it, besides those for the late earl and his countess; there is a chapel elegantly sitted up, the windows of which are of stained glass, and ornamented with Brocotello marble. The soil is various; strong good mould, chalk, and some gravel, and is in general accounted a good wheat land. The village is situated on high ground, in the south west part of the parish, having the church within it, from which there is a most extensive view southwestward over the country; adjoining to the church yard is Cobham college, and at the west end of the street the parsonage, the property and residence of Mr. Pemble. At a small distance further is the estate of Outlets, and at the western boundary of the parish the manor of Henhurst; Cobham mount is situated about a quarter of a mile's distance from the Shinglewell road, which runs along the northern side of this parish, by the pales of the park. The northeast parts adjoining Cobham-park, formerly called the out park grounds, are covered with coppice woods.
The antient Roman road, or Watling-street-way, shews itself very plainly from Shinglewell hither, in its way to Rochester, with the hedges standing on it, sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left of the present road, and at other times falling in with it. It goes on to Cobham-park, where the pales seem to stand on it for some little space, soon after which it leaves them, as may be seen in the passage out of the north gate of the park, where the way crosses it, from thence it runs into a thick wood, where it is not to be followed. At the north west boundary of this parish, adjoining the above road, is a water, called St. Thomas's-well, probably from the use made of it by St. Thomas Becket in his journeyings through these parts.
Lautana five viburnum, the wayfaring tree. (fn. 1)
ON OCTOBER 19, 1714, anno 1st king George I. Sir Richard Temple, bart. was, by letters patent, created baron Cobham of Cobham, in the county of Kent. He was grandson of Sir Peter Temple, bart. who married to his second wife, by whom only he had male issue, Christian, the eldest daughter and coheir of Sir John Leveson, of Whorne's place, by Frances his wife, daughter and sole heir of Sir Tho. Sondes, of Throwley, and Margaret his wife, eldest daughter of Sir William Brooke lord Cobham, &c. and sister of George Brooke lord Cobham, attainted, anno 1 king James I. by reason of which descent from Brooke lord Cobham, Sir Richard Temple obtained the titles of baron and viscount Cobham; and on April 7, 1718, he was created baron and viscount of the same place, with a limitation of both titles to his heirs, and in default to Hester, his second sister, the wise of Richard Grenville, esq. of Wotton, and to the heirs male of her body. Richard viscount Cobham, died in 1749, without issue, on which his titles and estates descended to his sister, Hester Grenville above mentioned, who was created, in 1749, countess Temple, with the dignity of earl Temple to her heirs male; she died in 1752, and was succeeded by her eldest son and heir, Richard Grenville Temple, earl Temple, and viscount and baron of Cobham, (fn. 2) who died, s.p. in 1779, without issue; on which his titles descended to his nephew, George Nugent Grenville Temple (the eldest son of this next brother George) since created marquis of Buckingham, who is the present viscount and baron of Cobham.
THIS PLACE afforded both seat and surname to that noble and eminent family of Cobham, possessors of this manor, and the mansion on it, called Cobham-hall, who, from the earliest accounts of time, filled the highest posts of trust and honour with the greatest lustre, both to themselves and their country.
Henry de Cobham, owner of this place, was one of the Recognitores magnæ assisæ, or justices of the great assize, in the 1st year of king John, and bore for his arms, Gules, on a chevron or, three fleurs de lis azure. He left three sons, John, Reginald, and William; of these, Reginald (the second) was a justice itinerant in the reign of king Henry III. and was sheriff of Kent, and constable of Dover Castle and warden of the cinque ports. He died in the 42d year of that reign; and William the third son was likewise a justice itinerant in the same reign. John de Cobham, the eldest son, succeeded his father in the manor of Cobham, and was twice married; first to the daughter of Warine Fitzbenedict, by whom he had two sons; John, who was of Cobham; and Henry, commonly called Le Uncle, who was of Roundal, in Shorne, where a further account will be given of him and his posterity: secondly to Joane, daughter of Hugh de Neville, by whom he had one son, Reginald, who was ancestor to the Cobhams of Sterborough castle, in Surry, and the lords Borough, as may be seen more at large under Chidingstone.
John, the eldest son above mentioned, by the first wife, was knighted, and from his being constable of Rochester castle early in life, was commonly called the young constable. He bore for his arms, Gules, on a chevron or, three lions rampant sable; which coat was continued by his posterity. He was a man well versed in the laws of the realm, and among other high employments, in king Henry III.'s reign, he was constituted sheriff of Kent, and continued in that office for several years; he was likewise a justice itinerant at several times in the same reign, and afterwards a justice of the common-pleas; in the reign of king Edward I. one of the justices of the court of King's bench, and a justice itinerant; in the 3d of that reign he was one of the king's sergeants at law, and the next year one of the justices of the common pleas, as also one of the barons of the exchequer. (fn. 3) In the 4th year of that reign he had a grant of the king's special favour for the change of the descent of all his gavelkind lands, and that the same should in future descend as lands held by sergeantry or knights service. (fn. 4) He died in the 28th year of it, possessed of this manor and others in this county, leaving by Joane his first wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Robert de Septvans, a son, Henry de Cobham, who had possession granted of the lands of his inheritance, excepting the dowry of Methania, his father's last wife, who lies buried in this church, with an epitaph in French, without any date. He, as well as fifty-four other Kentish gentlemen, who were the flower of the gentry of this country, attended king Edward I. in his victorious expedition into Scotland, and were all knighted for their assistance at the siege of Carlaverok, in that kingdom, where there were no less than four of this family present, who received that honour—Sir Henry and Sir Reginald de Cobham, of Cobham; Sir Henry de Cobham le Uncle, of Roundal, and Sir Stephen de Cobham, his son. (fn. 5)
Sir Henry de Cobham, who possessed this manor, and had the addition of junior, to distinguish him from Henry his uncle, then living, in the 8th year of king Edward II. was made constable of Dover-castle and warden of the cinque ports; after which he was in the wars of Scotland, and in the 15th year of it was governor of Tunbridge-castle, and had summons to parliament in the 6th of that reign, and was one of the conservators of the peace in this county, a place of no small consequence, which he held at the time of his death. (fn. 6) He left by Maud de Columbiers, his wife, three sons; John, who succeeded him at Cobham; Thomas, who was of Beluncle, in Hoo; and Reginald, rector of Cowling. Sir John de Cobham, the eldest son, in the 9th year of king Edward III. had been made admiral of the king's fleet, from the mouth of the Thames westward, and was afterwards a justice of oyer and terminer in Kent, (fn. 7) and constable of the city and castle of Rochester. In the 17th year of that reign he obtained a charter for free warren within all his demesne lands within his lordships of Cobham, and other manors belonging to him in this county, and in the 25th year of that reign, he received summons to parliament, (fn. 8) and was afterwards made a banneret, and served in the wars in France. He died in the 33d year of that reign, being then possessed of this manor of Cobham. He left by Joane his wife, daughter of John lord Beauchamp of Stocke, one son, John de Cobham, of Cobham, who the year after his father's death, began the foundation of a chantry or college in the church of Cobham, and endowed it with ample revenues, as will be further mentioned. In the 40th and 41st years of king Edward III. he served in the king's wars in France, and in the latter of them he was sent ambassador to Rome, and that year obtained the grant of a market every week upon the Monday, at his manor of Cobham, and a fair yearly. In the 1st year of king Richard II. he was appointed one of that king's council, and served again in the French wars, with three knights, one hundred and five esquires, one hundred and ten men at arms, and one hundred and ten archers, and was made a banneret. In the 4th year he obtained licence to make a castle of his house at Coulyng, which he then rebuilt, and that year, with the assistance of Sir Robert Knollys, built the new bridge of stone across the Medway, at Rochester, at their joint and great expence, for the good of the country in general. In the 10th of that reign he was appointed one of those thirteen lords, constituted governors of the realm, and to enquire into the former miscarriages in the government of it. On this account he was impeached of treason by the lords appellant, and had judgment of death, and to forfeit all such lands as he had in fee in the 10th year of it, with his goods and all his fee tailed lands for his life, remainder to the right heirs in tail; notwithstanding which the king, of his mere grace, on condition no further means of pardon were made to him, granted him his life, during which he was to remain in prison in the isle of Jersey. At the accession of king Henry IV. he was received into favour by the king, and having been constantly summoned to parliament to the time of his death, he died in the 9th year of that reign, being then possessed of this manor, and others in this county, and was buried in the church of Cobham, having on his grave stone his effigy, holding a church in his hands, insoulped in brass, as the founder of the college in it. He married Margaret, one of the daughters of Hugh Courtenay, earl of Devonshire, by whom he had an only daughter Joane, who likewise died in his life time, leaving by her husband, Sir John de la Poole, an only daughter Joane, who on the death of her grandfather, John lord Cobham above mentioned, became his heir. She is said to have had five husbands, of whom Sir Reginald, second son of Sir Gerard Braybrooke, was the second, who died at Midleborough, in Flanders, in 1405, and lies buried in this church, as do Reginald and Robert, two of their sons, who died infants. His arms, Seven mascles gules, three, three, and one, are still remaining carved on the roof of the cloisters at Canterbury. By him the left an only daughter Joane, who afterwards became heir to her estates, as well as to the barony of Cobham. At the time of her grandfather's decease, she was the wife of Sir Nicholas Hawberk, who died at Cowling-castle, in 1407, and lies buried here, by whom she left no issue; after which she married Sir John Oldcastle, who in her right assumed the title of lord Cobham, and possessed this manor with the rest of her estates. He bore for his arms, Argent, a castle of three towers embattled sable; which arms, impaled with those of Cobham, are carved on the roof of the cloisters at Canterbury, as are those of the several branches of Cobham.
Sir John Oldcastle received summons to parliament by the title of John de Oldcastle, chlr. in the 11th year of king Henry IV. but in the 1st year of Henry V. attaching himself to the Lollards, he became one of the chief of their sect, for which he was cited to appear before the archbishop of Canterbury, upon which, retiring to his castle of Cowling, he was shortly after apprehended there, and being brought from thence before the archbishop and others, in the cathedral of St. Paul, had sentence passed on him as an heretic; after which, being convicted on record in the court of king's bench, for conspiring together with others, to the number of twenty men, called Lollards, at St. Giles's in the Fields, to subvert the state of the clergy, and to kill the king, his brother, and other nobles, he fled into Wales, where being taken within the territory of the lord Powis, he was brought back to London, being in the mean time outlawed upon treason in the above court, and excommunicated before the bishop. In consequence of which, in the 5th year of that reign, he was adjudged, upon that record and process, to be carried to the tower of London, and from thence to be drawn through London to the new gallows in St. Giles's, and there to be hanged and burned hanging. After his execution, Joane his wife surviving, again became possessed of Cobham manor, and the rest of the estates of her inheritance, of which she died possessed in the 12th year of king Henry VI. and was buried in this church. (fn. 9) She was then the wife of John Harpden, (fn. 10) who, if he was then living, did not possess this or any of her estates after her death, for her only daughter and heir Joane, by her second husband, Sir Gerard Braybrooke above mentioned, then entitled her husband, Sir Thomas Brooke, of Somersetshire, to them, who, though he was in his wife's right baron of Cobham, yet he never had summons to parliament. He died in the 17th year of king Henry VI. having had by her ten sons and four daughters. The family of Brooke was seated at the manor De la Brooke, near Ilchester, in that county, in the reign of king Edward I. (fn. 11) and bore for their arms, Gules, on a cheveron argent, a lion rampant sable, langued and unguled gules, crowned or. Of the surviving sons of Sir Thomas Brooke, Edward was the eldest; Reginald, esq. was of Aspal, in Suffolk; and Hugh was ancestor of the Brookes of Glastonbury abbey and Barrow-grove, in Somersetshire. Sir Edward succeeded his father in title and in his estates at Cobham and elsewhere; he received summons to parliament by the title of Edward Brooke de Cobham, chl. (fn. 12) and was a firm friend to the house of York; (fn. 12) he died possessed of this manor in the 4th year of king Edward IV.
His direct descendant, Sir George Brooke, lord Cobham, procured his lands to be disgavelled by the act of the 31st of king Henry VIII. He was a person of great eminence in his time, especially in the reign of king Edward VI. being then a privy counsellor, knight of the Garter, and lord deputy of Calais; and among the Harleian manuscripts, No. 283 and 284, is a large collection of letters on state affairs, to and from this lord Cobham, lord deputy, during the reigns of king Henry VIII. king Edward, and queen Mary; (fn. 13) but in the 1st year of the latter reign he was committed prisoner to the tower of London, on suspicion of being concerned with Sir Thomas Wyatt in his insurrection, though he was shortly after released from thence. He resided both at Cowling-castle and Cobham-hall, at the former of which he died in the 5th and 6th years of king Philip and queen Mary, and was buried among his ancestors in this church. By Anne his wife, sister and coheir of John lord Bray, he had ten sons and four daughters, as appears by his monument in this church. Of the sons, William was the eldest; George, the second, married Christian, daughter and heir of Richard Duke, of Otterton, in Devonshire, by whom he had Duke Brooke and others; Thomas, the third, left two daughters and coheirs; John, the fourth son, called also Cobham, lies buried in Newington church, near Sittingborne, where there is a neat monument overhim; Sir Henry Brooke, the 5th son, called also Cobham; had several sons and daughters, of whom the second son, Sir John Brooke, of Hekington, in Lincolnshire, was, anno 20 king Charles I. in consideration of his sufferings for his loyalty, advanced to the title of lord Cobham, to enjoy the same as amply as any of his ancestors had done.
Sir William succeeded his father in his estates, and as lord Cobham, (fn. 14) and on July 17 following, entertained queen Elizabeth at Cobham-hall, in the 1st year of her reign, with a noble welcome, as she took her progress through Kent. He was a person much in favour with that queen, and was continually employed by her in different negotiations abroad; he was lord warden of the cinque ports, constable of Dover castle, lord lieutenant of the county of Kent, one of her privy council, lord chamberlain, and knight of the order of the Garter. He died in the 39th of that reign, and was buried at Cobham; he bore for his arms fifteen coats; Brooke, Cobham, Delapole, Peverel, Braybrooke, St. Amand, Bray, Haliwell, Norbury, Butler, Sudley, Montfort, Croser, and Dabernon; having been twice married; first to Dorothy, daughter of George lord Abergavenny, by whom he had an only daughter, wife of Thomas Coppinger, esq. of Stoke, in this county, and afterwards of Edmond Beecher, esq. secondly to Frances, daughter of Sir John Newton, by whom he had three sons and three daughters; of the former, the eldest succeeded him in title and estate; Sir William Brooke, the second son, was twice married, but died without male issue; George, the youngest, married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Thomas lord Borough, by whom he had issue; of the daughters, Margaret, the eldest; was married to Sir Thomas Soundes of Throwley, from whose sole daughter and heir, Frances, descended the present marquis of Buckingham, viscount and baron of Cobham, as has been before mentioned.
Henry lord Cobham, the eldest son, was likewise lord warden of the cinque ports, constable of Dovercastle, lord lieutenant of this county, and knight of the Garter; but in the 1st year of king James I. being accused of having, with his brother George, the lord Grey of Wilton, Sir Walter Raleigh, and others, conspired to kill the king, and by an insurrection to alter the religion and subvert the government, they were brought to trial, and being found guilty, had judgement of death pronounced against them; George, his brother, was beheaded, and both of them attainted; but the execution of the lord Cobham and some of the others was, through the king's clemency, superseded, and his estates, which are said to be seven thousand pounds per annum in land, and thirty thousand in goods and chattels, being forfeited to the crown, he lived many years afterwards in great misery and poverty, and died in 1619. He married Frances, daughter of Charles earl of Nottingham, and widow of the earl of Kildare, by whom he had no issue, so that William, son of his brother George, became his heir, and was restored (with his sisters) in blood in the 7th year of that reign, but not to enjoy the title of lord Cobham without the king's especial grace, which was never granted him. (fn. 15)
This manor coming thus to the crown by his attainder, was confirmed to it by an act, passed in the 3d year of king James I. as were likewise all grants made by the king of the lord Cobham's estates and possessions. After which this manor, with the seat of Cobham-hall, and the rest of the lord Cobham's lands, in this parish, was granted by the king, in his 10th year, to his kinsman, Lodowick Stuart, duke of Lenox, who with his brother, the lord Obigney (so spelt in the act) and their children, had been naturalized by parliament in the 1st year of that reign.
Lodowick, duke of Lenox, was the son of Esme Stuart, created duke of Lenox, in Scotland, by king James I. and grandson of John lord Aubigny, younger brother to Matthew earl of Lenox, who was grandfather to that king. In the life time of his father he bore the titles of lord Darnley, Tarbolton, and Methven, and on his death succeeded to the dukedom, and likewise to the hereditary offices of lord great chamberlain and admiral of Scotland. After king James's accession to the throne of England, he was made a privy counsellor and knight of the Garter; and in the 11th year, he was created lord Settrington of Settrington, in Yorkshire, earl of Richmond, and in the 21st year of it, earl of Newcastle upon Tyne and duke of Richmond; he died suddenly at Whitehall, in the month of February following, and was honourably buried in king Henry VII.'s chapel in Westminster abbey, where a stately tomb is erected to his memory. The duke's arms, within the garter, is painted in one of the windows of the Middle Temple hall, viz. four coats quarterly; 1st and 4th, Azure, three fleurs de lis or, within a bordure gules, charged with eight round buckles or; 2d and 3d, Argent, a fess chequy argent and gules, within a bordure engrailed of the field; over all an escutcheon of pretence, argent, a saltier engrailed, between four roses gules; the motto, Avant Darnley. And the same arms, without the garter, as well as that of his brother Esme, are in the east window of Gray's-inn hall. Although he was thrice married, he left no issue by either of his wives, so that he was succeeded, as duke of Lenox, and in this estate, by his only brother, Esme Stuart, lord Aubigney, who had been created lord Leighton of Leighton Bromswold, in Huntingdonshire, and earl of March, in the 17th year of the same reign; he married Catherine, the sole daughter and heir of Gervas, lord Clifton, of Leighton Bromswold, who had received summons as such to parliament, by writ, July 9, in the 6th year of that reign, by whom he had seven sons and four daughters. Of the former, James earl of March, the eldest, will be mentioned hereafter; George, stiled lord Aubigney, was slain in the royal cause at the battle of Edge-hill, in 1642, leaving by Catherine his wife, daughter of Theophilus earl of Suffolk, one son, Charles, and a daughter, Catherine, both of whom will be mentioned hereafter; John died of the wounds he received in the fight of Bramdene, in 1644; and Bernard was captain of the king's horse guards, in which post he performed eminent services, in consideration of which he was designed to be created baron of Newbury and earl of Litchfield, and accordingly took on himself those titles, but before the necessary forms could be completed, he was slain in a fight with the parliament forces, near Chester, in 1645, and was buried near his brothers, George and John, in the choir of Christ church, in Oxford.
Esme, duke of Lenox, survived his brother, but a short time, for he died the next year, and was succeeded by his eldest son James, duke of Lenox, who, in 1641, was created duke of Richmond; he was also hereditary lord great chamberlain and admiral of Scotland, lord steward of the king's household, warden of the cinque ports, gentleman of the bedchamber, and knight of the Garter, and having married the lady Mary, the only daughter of George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, widow of Charles lord Herbert, he died in 1655, and was buried beside his uncle, Lodowick, duke of Richmond, in the south side of king Henry VII.'s chapel, leaving an only son, Esme, and a daughter Mary.
Esme, duke of Richmond and Lenox, the son, died in France, in 1660, being at that time about ten years of age; upon which his titles and this manor of Cobham, among other estates belonging to him, devolved to his cousin german and next heir male, Charles Stuart, earl of Litchfield, son of his uncle, George lord Aubigney above mentioned, the next surviving brother of his father James duke of Richmond, who, although he was thrice married, left no issue by either of his wives. He died near Elsineur, in Denmark, being then a knight of the Garter, and ambassador extraordinary to that court, in 1672; and his body being brought over into England, was buried in king Henry VII.'s chapel, in Westminister abbey. (fn. 16) Upon which Catherine, his only sister and heir, became entitled to this manor, among the rest of his estates in this county; she married Henry lord Obrien, eldest son and heir of Henry earl of Thomond, by whom she had two sons and two daughters, viz. Donatus Obrien, who married the lady Sophia, youngest daughter of Tho. Osborne, duke of Leeds, and was drowned in 1682, leaving no issue; George, the second son, died young. Of the daughters, Mary married John earl of Kildare, by whom she had one son only, who died young; and Catherine married Edward lord Cornbury, son and heir of Henry earl of Clarendon, and will be further mentioned. Catherine lady Obrien, upon the decease of her mother, sister and sole heir of Charles duke of Richmond and Lenox, became entitled to the barony of Clifton, and in 1673, made her petition to the house of lords, to be allowed it, and the judges, to whom the petition had been referred, by order of the house, having reported their unanimous opinion in her favour, the lords, by their resolution, concurred in it.
Henry lord Obrien, husband of the lady Catherine, died in 1678, whose issue by her has been already mentioned; and she married in December following, Sir Joseph Williamson, of Milbeck-hall, in Cumberland, then one of the principal secretaries of state and a privy counsellor, and entitled him to her interest in this manor, as well as the rest of her estates; but the duke of Richmond dying greatly in debt, the manor of Cobham, with Cobham-hall, and the rest of his estates in this parish, and elsewhere in this county, valued at three thousand pounds per annum, were sold to pay debts and for other purposes. Those in this parish of the manor of Cobham, the Great house, with Williamson above mentioned; they consisted in this parish of the manor of Cobham, the Great house, with its appurtenances, the inward park, commonly called the Deer-park, with the paddocks, containing eight hundred and thirty acres, the woods in the out park, containing four hundred acres, with several farms in it, containing in the whole two thousand three hun dred and forty-five acres. He afterwards resided at Cobham-hall, and died possessed of them in 1701, and was buried in Westminster abbey. Sir Joseph Williamson was a minister's son, of Cumberland; he had been plenipotentiary once to Holland, and another time at Cologne; in 1697, he went in the same station to France. He was president of the Royal Society, and by his will left several charitable legacies, particularly to Thetford, which place he had formerly represented in parliament, and to which he had been a good benefactor in his life time; as he had been to the Clothworkers company, of which he was master. He left six thousand pounds to Queen's college, in Oxford, where he had been educated; and founded a mathematical school at Rochester, for the sons of freemen, which city he had represented. His paternal arms were, Argent, on a chevron engrailed azure, three crescents or, between as many trefoils sable; (fn. 17) which coat was altered by Sir Edw. Walker, garter, Feb. 1672, by patent, for Or, a chevron engrailed, between three trefoils slipt sable. By his last will he bequeathed two thirds of his estates here and elsewhere in this county, to the lady Catherine his wife, and one third to Mr. Jos. Hornsby, who was likewise one of his executors.
Lady Catherine Obrien died in November following; upon which two thirds of this manor and seat, with the rest of the estates of the late duke of Richmond, purchased by Sir Joseph Williamson, descended to Edward lord Clifton and Cornbury (son of Edward lord Cornbury, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Catherine his wife, the only daughter and heir of the said lady Catherine, by her first husband, Henry lord Obrien) and on his death without issue, in 1713, to his only surviving sister and heir, the lady Theodosia Hyde, who in August following, carried her in terest in them in marriage to John Bligh, esq. of the kingdom of Ireland; the other third of these estates, on Joseph Hornsby's decease, became vested in his widow, Mary Hornsby, between whom and Mr. Bligh, and the lady Theodosia his wife, there were long and vexatious litigations in the court of chancery, concerning their several interests in them. In 1718, there was a decree for a partition of them, which, through the disagreement of the parties, came to nothing; after which they agreed, that the whole should be put up to public sale, and the produce arising from them divided into specie, according to their respective interests in them. Subsequent to this, Mr. Bligh above mentioned, who had been, in 1721, created lord Clifton of Rathmore, in Ireland, was next year advanced to that of viscount Darnley, of Athboy; and lastly, in 1725, to that of earl of Darnley, in that kingdom; entered into a contract before a master in chancery, for the purchase of the manor of Cobham, as well as the rest of the late Sir Joseph Williamson's estates in this county, then in litigation as above mentioned, for the sum of fifty-one thousand pounds, the third part of which Mrs. Hornsby became entitled to for her share in them.
John earl of Darnley was grandson of John Bligh, esq. of London, the son of William Bligh, esq. of Plymouth, in Devonshire, who, in the reign of king Charles I. was seated at Rathmore, in the county of Meath, and died in 1666, leaving by Catherine, his wife, sister to William Fuller, bishop of Lincoln, an only son, Thomas, and six daughters.
Thomas Bligh, esq. of Rathmore, the only son, was knight of the shire for the county of Meath, and a privy councellor of that kingdom. He died at Bath, in 1710, and was buried at Rathmore, in Ireland; he married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Col. James Napier, of the county of Meath, and by her had four sons and six daughters. Of the sons, John, the eldest, was created earl of Darnley, and married, in 1713, the lady Theodosia Hyde, baroness Clifton, as has been already mentioned. Thomas, the second son, was of Brittas, in the county of Meath, and taking to a military life, arrived at the rank of lieutenant gegeneral; after a service of near fifty years he retired to his seat above mentioned, where he died in 1775, aged eighty, without issue, and was buried at Rathmore. Robert, the third son, was dean of Elphin, in Ireland, and on his brother's death, without issue, became heir to a very considerable estate; and Anthony, the fourth son, was a lieutenant of dragoons, and died unmarried in 1737.
The earl of Darnley died at Epsom, in 1728, and was buried in Westminister abbey, having survived his lady, who died in 1722, in the twenty-sixth year of her age, and was buried near her brother, the lord Cornbury, in that abbey. By her he left two sons, Edward and John, successively earls of Darnley, and three daughters; of whom Mary was married to William Tighe, esq. of the kingdom of Ireland, by whom she had issue; Anne first to Robert Hawkins Magill, esq. of the county of Downe, by whom she had issue; and secondly to Bernard Ward, esq. member for that county, afterwards created baron and viscount Bangor, of the kingdom of Ireland; and Theodosia married to William Crosbie, esq. of that kingdom, afterwards created a peer of that kingdom, by the title of earl of Glandore.
After the earl's death, Hornsby brought his bill in chancery, in 1731, against his executors, to have the purchase of Cobham and the rest of the estates completed, which the court decreed, and it was accordingly complied with by Edward earl of Darnley, his heir and successor, who then became possessed of the entire fee of these estates. Edward earl of Darnley, had succeeded to the English barony of Clifton, in right of his mother on her death; he was fellow of the Royal Society, lord of the bedchamber to Fre derick prince of Wales, and hereditary high steward of the corporation of Gravesend and Milton. He died unmarried in 1747, and was buried near his mother, in Westminster abbey; on which John, his only brother, succeeded to his titles and estates, and in 1766, married the daughter and heir of John Stoyte, esq. of the county of Westmeath, in Ireland, by whom he had three sons, John lord Clifton, Edward and William; and four daughters. Mary married to Mr. Palk; Theodosia to Thomas Bligh, esq. nephew of general Bligh; Sarah and Catherine. The earl died in 1781, and was succeeded by the present Rt. Hon. John earl of Darnley, lord Clifton, &c. who is the present proprietor of the manor of Cobham, the hall, parks, and other estates belonging to it, and resides at Cobham-hall; he married, in 1791, Elizabeth, daughter of the Right Hon. William Brownlow, of the kingdom of Ireland, by whom he has issue one son, born in 1792. He bears for his arms, Azure, a griffin segreiant or, armed and langued gules, between three crescents or, for Bligh, quartering quarterly, Hyde, Obrien, Stuart, and Clifton, in one coat; and in another, Stoyte; for his crest, on a wreath a griffin's head erased, or; and for his supporters, two griffins with wings expanded, or, each having a ducal collar and obtained, azure.
COBHAM-HALL is a noble and stately mansion, which cost upwards of sixty thousand pounds building; it consists of a centre and two wings, the former is the work of Inigo Jones; the latter were made uniform, new cased with brick work, and sashed by the late earl. It stands in the midst of an extensive park, formerly much more so, which is finely interspersed with woods and stately timber trees, many of the latter being of great age and size; some of the oaks are twenty feet and upwards, in circumference; the noted chesnut tree, called the four sisters, from its dividing into four very large arms, stands in the grove, about a mile from the hall, near the path leading to Knights-place farm, and is thirty-two feet in circumference. The herbage of this park is so excellent, that the venison produced from it is highly esteemed, as being of a finer flavour than most others in this county.
COBHAMBURY is a manor here, which in the reign of king Henry III. belonged to Robert de Burnevile, who for his service, and two hundred marcs sterling, sold it, with its appurtenances, to Henry de Gaunt, to hold of him and his heirs, in fee and perpetual inheritance, at the yearly rent of one penny, in lieu of all services, customs, and secular demands, and by performing the services due to the capital lord of the fee. In the beginning of the next reign of king Edward I. Henry de Gaunt, in consideration of three hundred and sixty marcs of silver in hand paid, granted to Walton de Merton, bishop of Rochester, his manor in the parish of Cobham, called Cobehamberi, with all the appurtenances belonging to it, and the mill, which he had bought of Peter de Cobham, to hold to the bishop and his successors, bishops of Rochester.
At the time of this manor's coming to the see of Rochester, it was valued at eleven marcs, and in the 15th year of king Edward I. at only 4l. 5d. (fn. 18) at which sum it was likewise taxed in the 33d year of king Edward III. There is an account in a manuscript, in the Cotton library, of the stock which was to be left on the several manors of this bishopric, after the decease of each bishop, which says, that at Cobhamberi there should remain four stallions, and four oxen, but no implements either from these or any other lands, which had been purchased and happening by escheat.
In the 7th year of king Edward I. when the bishop of Rochester claimed certain liberties, by the grant of king Henry, in all his lands and fees, they were allowed him by the jury in all of them, except in this manor of Cobehamberi; and these liberties were confirmed, with the like exceptions, to Thomas de Woldham, bishop of Rochester, in the 21st year of king Edward I.
In the year 1519, this manor, then usually stiled the farm or prebend of Cobhambury, was held under the bishop of Rochester, by one Mr. Horsey, who again let it to Mr. George Cromer, master of Cobham college, at the yearly rent of 26l. 8s. (fn. 19) Soon after the Reformation, in the reign of Henry VIII. the bishop of Rochester's interest in this estate, with the lands and appurtenances belonging to it, was surrendered into the king's hands, who seems to have granted it in see to Sir George Brooke, lord Cobham, whose grandson, Henry lord Cobham, being attainted for treason, in the 1st year of king James I. forfeited it to the crown, together with the rest of his estates, and in the 3d year of that reign an act passed for the establishing them in the crown, with a confirmation of all grants made by the king.
King James granted this manor, prebend, or farm of Cobhambury, to Sir Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury (son of the famous William lord Burleigh, by his second wife, and he died possessed of it, in 1612, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, sister of the above unfortunate George lord Cobham, a son, William earl of Salisbury, who, in the beginning of the reign of king Charles I. alienated this estate to Mr. Zachary King, whose descendant, Francis King, sold it in 1670, to Gilbert Spencer, esq. of Redleafe-house, in Penshurst, who died possessed of it in 1709, and was buried at Penshurst.
His second, but eldest surviving son, Rob. Spencer, esq. possessed this estate on his father's decease, and was of Darking, in Surry, and dying without issue, in 1730, it came to his brother Abraham Spencer, esq. of Penhurst, sheriff of this county in 1736. (fn. 20) He died unmarried, in 1740, and was buried at Penshurst, having by his will devised the manor of Cobhambury to Thomas Harvey, esq. of Tunbridge, who died possessed of it in 1779, and by his will gave it to his wife, Mrs. Charlotte Harvey, for her life, remainder to his second son, William Thomas, who both, in 1793, joined in the conveyance of it to the Rt. Hon. John earl of Darnley, the present possesser of it.
This prebend or farm of Cobhambury, is valued in the king's books of ecclesiastical benefices, at 128l. 2s. 1d. the yearly tenths of which being 12l. 16s. 21/2d. are still paid by the owner of this estate to the crown. A court baron is held for this manor.
HENHURST, usually called HENNIS, is a manor in this parish, which in the time of William the Conqueror was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, and earl of Kent, of whom it was held by Ansgotus de Rochester, and it is accordingly thus entered under the general title of that prelate's lands, in the record of Domesday, as follows:
Ansgotus de Rochester holds Hanehest. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is one carucate. In demesne there is one carucate, and two villeins, with four servants. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 20 shillings, when he received it 30 shillings, now 40 shillings. Goduin held it of earl Goduin.
This manor afterwards came into the possession of one Gotcelin de Hænherste, who became a monk in St. Andrew's priory, in Rochester. His descendant, William de Lanvalai died possessed of it in the reign of king Henry III. leaving his son and heir an infant, by reason of which it came into the possession of Hubert de Burgh, chief justiciary of this realm, as having the custody of him during his infancy. (fn. 21)
In the 15th year of the next reign of king Edward I. Edmond, son of William de Pakenham, died possessed of this manor; after which it was given to the priory of Leeds in this county, where it continued till the final dissolution of that house, in the reign of king Henry VIII. when this manor, among the rest of the possessions belonging to it, became vested in the crown, from whence it was quickly afterwards granted to Sir George Brooke lord Cobham, who immediately after conveyed it to Sir George Harpur, (fn. 22) of Sutton Valence, sheriff of this county in the 2d year of king Edward VI. who bore for his arms, Within a bordure, ingrailed a lion rampant, whose lands were disgavelled by the act of the 2d and 3d year of that reign.
On queen Mary's coming to the crown, he engaged in the rebellion raised by Sir Thomas Wyatt, and was committed to the Tower, from whence he was, with several others, released by the queen's especial grace, the next year, and pardoned. He left by Mildred, his wife, only daughter of Nicholas Clifford, esq. one son, Sir Edward Harpur, who, in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated this manor to Mr. Thomas Wright, whose son, George Wright, esq. dying without issue, devised it by his will to his kinsman, Sir George Wright, whole arms were, Per pale or, and sable a bend counterchanged; and his son, in the reign of king Charles I. conveyed it by sale to Dr. Obert, physician to the queen, who after some years alienated it to Henry Gifford, esq. of Burstall, in Leicestershire; who was, after the Kestoration, on Nov. 21, 1660, created a baronet; his grandson, Sir John Gifford, bart. dying in 1736, without issue, it devolved to his only sister and heir at law, Anne Gifford, who in 1750, alienated this manor to John Staples, esq. of the Temple, London; who devised it by his last will to Percival Hart Dyke, esq. second son of Sir John Dixon Dyke, bart. of Lullingstone, and he is the present owner of it.
GOTCELIN DE HÆNHERSTE, who owned this manor, and became a monk of the priory of St. Andrew of Rochester, as above mentioned, gave to those monks the half of the tithes of his lands of Hænherste, in pure and perpetual alms, to be distributed by the hands of their almoner to the use of the poor; (fn. 23) and they were confirmed to the priory by William de Lanvelai, and by the several succeeding bishops of Rochester and others.
This portion of the tithes remained part of the possessions of the priory till the final dissolution of in the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with the rest of the possessions of that monastery, surrendered into the king's hands, where it remained but a small time; for the king, by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, settled it on his new founded dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose inheritance it continues at this time, the present lessee of it being the devisee of the late Mr. Richard Hayes, deceased, of this parish.
THE MANOR of Haydon, or Hathdune, in Saxon, ædune, now called THE MOUNT, lies within the bounds of this parish. It was part of the great estate of Odo, bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's half brother, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the general survey of Domesday:
The same Ernulf (de Hesding) holds of the bishop Hadone. It was taxed at three yokes. The arable is one carucate, and there is in demesne and six vil leins, with one borderer, having one carucate. There are six acres of meadow. In the time of Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 50 shillings, now 60 shillings. Osuuard held it of king Edward.—Odo holds of the bishop in the same Hadone one yoke. The arable land is half a carucate. In demesne there is nothing In the time of king Edward, and afterwards, and now it was and is worth 20 shillings.
Who were the possessors after this, until the beginning of the present century, I cannot learn, but it then came into the possession of Hubbard, and Mr. James Hubbard, in 1734, alienated it to Richard Hornsby, esq. of Horton Kirkby, on whose death it became the property of his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Hornsby, who sold it to William Salton Stall, esq. whose widow is now entitled to it.
OWLIE is an estate, situated a small distance westward of Cobham-street, which has been for some centuries the property and residence of the family of Hayes, in which it continued down to Mr. Richard Hayes, who by his will devised it to trustees, and they sold it, subject to the life estate of his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Hayes, to Mr. Henry Edmeads, son of Mr. Henry Edmeads, of Nutsted, and he is the present possessor, and resides in it.
THE KING'S MANOR of Dartford claimed over lands in this parish, as appears by the Escheat-rolls, and other records, from the earliest times; in all which the parish of Cobham is mentioned among those into which that manor extended its jurisdiction, The lands over which it claims in this parish are said, in the rolls of that manor, to lie in Havonfee, near Round-street, and near the highway leading from Stone-street to Cobham-street; the rents of them are yearly paid at the court held for the manor of Dartford priory, in Dartford, where the several tenants perform their customary suit and service to Sir Charles Morgan, bart. the present possessor of that manor. (fn. 24)
WILLIAM LORD COBHAM gave by will, anno 39 Elizabeth, for the relief of three poor parlishioners of this parish, a dwelling house and garden in it to each, and 6s. 8d. per month, charged on lands, vested in the presidents of the college of Cobham, and now of the annual produce of 12l.
WILLIAM HAYES gave by will, in 1678, 20s. for bread, to be paid by his executors, to the churchwardens and overseers of this parish, every Christmas eve for ever, and payable out of lands of the late Mr. Richard Hayes, and of that annual product.
COBHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen, is a handsome spacious building, consisting of three isles and a large chancel, and has a good tower at the west end of it, with a ring of bells.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in it, in the middle of the chancel is a most noble monument of white marble, on which lie the essigies of Sir George Brooke lord Cobham, governor of Calais, K. G. and his wife, in full proportion; the figures and names, of their children, ten sons and four daughters, were likewise cut in marble round it; he died in 1558. This fine piece of sculpture seems once to have had a canopy of marble over it, which, with the pillars that supported it, and many pieces of the figures, now lie broken and scattered upon the tomb. It was erected by his son, Sir Wm. Brooke, in 1561, arms, Brooke quartering Cobham, and seven other coats within the garter. Almost the whole of the pavement of this chancel is covered with the gravestones of the family of Cobham and Brooke, with several of the brasses remaining on them, though so very loose, that in all probability they will soon be purloined, as numbers of the same sort were by some workmen a few years ago. Those which remain are as follows: a brass plate and figure, and inscription in French, in very antient capitals, cut round the edge of the stone, for dame Joan de Cobham; a brass plate and figure in armour, with a like inscription, south of the former, for Thomas de Cobham, and for Maud, the wife of Sir Thomas Cobeham, who died in 13 3 Richard II. another of the like sort, south of the last, with the figure of a man in armour, holding a church in his hands, for John de Cobham, founder of this place. On another, south of the former, on brass, on a chevron three lions rampant, and the same impaling three roundles, a file of three points in chief, and the figure of a woman, and round the verge of the stone, a French inscription in brass, for Margaret de Cobham, daughter of the earl of Devonshire, wife of the lord of Cobham, builder of this place, obt. 1395. In like manner with the last, are the figures of two women, for dame Maud de Cobham, 13 the rest lost; south of the last a brass plate, with the figure of a man in armour, and arms of Cobham as above, and inscription round the verge of the stone, in French, for John de Cobham, ob. 1390; westward of this, on brass plates, are the figures of a man and woman, eight sons and ten daughters, and round the verge of the stone an inscription in brass, for Sir John Brooke, baron of Cobham, and Margaret his wife, daughter of Edward Nevile, lord of Burgavenny; he died in 1506, she died in 1500; arms, Cobham as above, impaling Nevile with quarterings; north of the former, brass and figure of a man in armour, and round the verge in brass, an inscription for Sir Nicholas Hawberk, husband of Joan lady Cobham, heir of John lord Cobham, founder of this college; he died at the castle of Cowling, in 1407; underneath the figure of a child, and inscription, for John their son; another, north of the last, and brass, with the figure of a woman, six sons, and four daughters, for Joan lady Cobham, wife of Sir Reginald Braybrooke, ob. 1433; arms, Cobham as above, with impalements and quarterings. Northward of the last, on brass, the figure of a man in armour, and round the verge and inscription in brass for Sir Reginald Braybrook, husband of Joan lady Cobham; he died at Middleburgh in Flanders, in 1405; on the same stone the figure of a child, and inscriptions for Reginald and Robert, their sons; northward of the former, the figures of a man in armour, his wife, five sons, and six daughters, and round the verge, in brass, an inscription for Sir Thomas Brooke, lord Cobham, and kinsman and heir of Sir Richard Beauchamp; he married first Dorothy, daughter of Sir Henry Haydon, by whom he had seven sons and six daughters; and secondly Dorothy Fowthewel, widow; and thirdly Elizabeth Hart; by neither of whom he had issue, ob. 1529, arms quarterly, 1st, on a chevron, a lion rampant, crowned; 2d, Cobham as above; 3d, seven mascles, three, three, and one; 4th, on a fess between three leopards heads an annulet. A brass plate for John Sproltle, master of this college, ob. 1498; on brass the figure of a man, and these arms, on a chevron three cross croslets bottone, in the dexter chief a star, for Ranf. de Cobham, esq. of Kent, who died in 1402; a brass plate and figure for William .......... master of this college, obt. 14. another like for Wm. Tanner, first master of it, ob. 1418. A stone and inscription for Tho. Webb, esq. secretary to James Stuart duke of Richmond, ob. 1649. In the nave a brass figure for master John Gladwyn, master of this college. In the north isle, a brass for John Gery, fellow of this college, obt. 1447; a brass, on a chevron between three trefoils as many annulets, and inscription for several of the Claverings; in the nave, now almost worn out, an inscripition for Alice, daughter of Nicholas Harpur, esq. first wife of William .......... and late to Edmond .......... There is a vault in this church, which belonged to the family of Hayes, of this parish, and being full, another was granted to them in the church yard, by the good will of the parishioners. Against the wall of the church on the outside, on the east side of the porch, is a small figure cut in stone, about two feet high, of a man to his waist, and under it an inscription, to the memory of one Robert Hoth, but the date is obliterated, and the whole of it in so perishing a condition, that a few years will entirely destroy it.
The church of Shorne, with that of Cobham appendant to it, was given by king Henry I. in the 33d year of his reign, to the monastery of St. Saviour, of Bermondsey, together with the tithes in corn and lambs, and other customs, in like manner, as Turstin, his chaplain, possessed the same. Walter, bishop of Rochester, who came to that see in the 12th year of king Stephen, confirmed these churches to the monks, in pure and pepetual alms, to possess them freely and peaceably to their own use, together with the lands, and all tithes and other things belonging to them; and as he had granted to the monks a parsonage in the above churches, he gave leave that the vicars, serving yearly in them, who should answer to the bishop and his officials, for the cure of souls should, with their consent, perform their fealty and due obedience to the monks, who engaged solemnly to keep the anniversary of his death. This appropriation was confirmed to them by Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury.
By an antient valuation, taken in the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Cobham was valued at thirty marcs, and the vicarage at seven marcs. In the 20th year of king Edward III, this church, then appropriated to the priory of Bermondsey, was taxed at thirty marcs; and in the 26th year of that reign, the prior and convent demised this church in ferme to the monks of Rochester. (fn. 25)
The priory of Bermondsey paid a pension of four pounds yearly to the bishop of Rochester for the four churches of Cobham, Shorne, Byrling, and Kemsing, with Seale, which they held in his diocese, as appears by the bishop's registers; in which priory the appropriation of this church seems to have continued vested till the final dissolution of it in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with the other lands and possessions of it, surrendered into that king's hands. After the lord Cobham had founded the college or chantry in this church, as will be mentioned hereafter, the presentation to the cure of it seems to have been wholly in him and his successors, and to have continued so after the suppression of the college, when it came to be esteemed no longer as a vicarage, but merely a donative. On the attainder of Henry lord Cobham, in the 1st year of king James I. what interest he had in it came to the crown; and in 1608, Francis Rogers and Charles Brooke claimed a right to it; who succeeded I do not find, but on the dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. a survey was taken of the living of Cobham in 1650, by order of the state, in which it was returned, that there was then in this parish neither parsonage nor vicarage presentative, but a composition made by the duke of Richmond with the minister for land inclosed in his park, and also sixteen pounds per annum, in all worth twenty eight pounds per annum; that the parsonage was an impropriation; that the providing for the living was formerly in the lord Cobham, but then in Mr. Alcock, owner of the impropriation; which was afterwards, with the presenta tion to this church, alienated to Pemble, in which they continued till about the year 1794, when William Pemble, esq. sold the presentation to this church, now esteemed as a donative, to John earl of Darnley, the present owner of it, but he continues possessor of the impropriation, which consists of four-fifths of the tithes of this parish. In Ecton's Thesaurus, it is said to be a living not charged in the king's books, but it seems rather, as appears by a preceding page, to be valued at two pounds, and the yearly tenths at four shillings.
In the 36th year of king Edward III. John de Cobham, lord Cobham, founded a PERPETUAL CHANTRY or COLLEGE in the church of Cobham, for five priests or chaplains, making a college there, for the performing of divine services in it for ever, of whom one, on the resignation or death of the perpetual vicar of the church, the presentation of which belonged to the prior and convent of St. Saviour. Bermondsey, who posses sed the appropriation of it, should be master of the chantry, and should preside over the college, and undertake the cure of the church, and support the burthens incumbent on the vicarage, and at the same time he amply endowed it with possessions and annual rents for ever, consisting of his manor of West Chalk and lands in this parish, and St. Werburgh Hoo, and several rents of corn from his tenants in Chalk; to which endowment was afterwards added the churches appropriate of Chalk, Horton Kirkby, and Rolvenden, in this county (which latter will be further mentioned) and the church of East Tilbury, and lands there, and in West Thurrock in Essex, and other lands in Luddesdowne, Halstow, and Cobham, in this county; (fn. 26) and he gave them proper ordinances and statutes to be kept by them. At which time he sumptuously repaired the church, and gave to it several goods, books, vestments, and other ecclesiastical ornaments, which the above prior and convent were bound to provide; all which was confirmed by William, then bishop of Rochester, with the consent of the archdeacon, by the prior and convent of Rochester, and the prior and convent of St. Saviour above mentioned, and by pope Urban V. by his bull for that purpose. Afterwards the lord Cobham being desirous of increasing the number of these chaplains with two more, and as the revenues of the college were not sufficient for it, he gave the church of Rolvenden to it, the revenues of which were at that time valued at sixty marcs, as those of the college were at two hundred marcs sterling, all which pope Urban VI. ratified, and he confirmed likewise the appropriation of that church to the use of the college, as did the bishop of Rochester, in 1387, at the lord Cobham's petition, and with the consent of the chaplains, added these two more in the college, who were to be temporal and amoveable, at the will of the master and more discreet members of the college, and be supported out of the revenues of Rolvenden church; that they should not be incorporated in the college, nor enter the chapter, nor have a voice there, that they should receive one marc less than the other chaplains, and should not partake of any other part of the revenues of the college but what was specially assigned to them; and he decreed, that there should be two aquibajuli, who should serve in the church as sacrists, who should learn in the schools with the other scholars; and lastly, that the overplus of the yearly profits accruing from the church of Rolvenden, beyond the burthens above mentioned, should be laid up in the treasury, to answer such emergencies and accidents as might happen to the college; and William, archbishop of Canterbury, the prior and convent of Canterbury, and William de Pakyntone, archdeacon, confirmed and ratified the whole by their several instruments two years afterwards. (fn. 27) In this situation the college or chantry re mained till the reign of king Henry VIII. in the 27th year of which John Bayley, master, Thomas Webster, William Wharse, and Sir John Norman, fellow, and Stephen Tennard, brother of this college, signed to the king's supremacy under their common seal; (fn. 28) but about the 30th year of it, the master and brethren, foreseeing their approaching dissolution, with the king's consent, sold the scite of it, and all the lands and possessions belonging to it, to George lord Cobham. The college, at its dissolution, was valued at 142l. 1s. 2½d. in its whole value, and 128l. 1s. 9½d. clear per annum.
The house or college, in which the chaplains and members of this foundation inhabited, was a large quadrangular building, erected of stone, by the lord Cobham, and was situated almost adjoining the south-east part of the church yard; part of the east wall, overgrown with ivy, and large chimney pieces of the refectory or kitchen, as well as part of the north cloister, yet remain in ruins. The door way from it into the church is still visible, through which the master and brethren entered daily to their stalls, yet remaining on each side of the great chancel, to celebrate mass for the soul of the founder and his noble family.
By a clause in the act of the 31st of king Henry VIII. by which all monasteries, colleges, and other religious and ecclesiastical houses, which had been surrendered since the 27th year of his reign, were vested in the king, as well as by the act of 1st Edward VI. it was enacted, that nothing therein should be prejudicial to the lord Cobham, or to his heirs or assigns, but they might hold and enjoy the scite of this college or chan try, then utterly dissolved, and all its possessions, as well temporal as ecclesiastical, within the realm of England.
His son, Sir William Brooke, lord Cobham, died possessed of this college and the possessions late belonging to it, in the 39th year of queen Elizabeth, and by his will, dated that year, devised to trustees, and to their heirs for ever, all the edifices and ruined buildings, soil, and ground, with their appurtenances in Cobham, late the scite of the above college, and lying on the south and south east part of the church there, with a close of pasture ground, containing three acres, adjoining on the south and south east of the buildings, to the end that they should re-edify and make there one college for poor people to inhabit, to be relieved and maintained there for ever, which he willed to be called, THE NEW COLLEGE OF COBHAM.
The poor in it to be in such number, so elected, weekly relieved, and by such rules and ordinances to be governed, and by such persons to be visited, corrected, and expulsed, as he should in his life time prescribe in writing, or in default of such, then by those which by the discretion of his trustees, or the survivor of them, should be in writing set down and appointed, and if they should not be prescribed by him, that his trustees should perform and finish the same within three years after his decease, but if by them, then within four years after such his decease, and to that end he gave to them one hundred thousand of such burning bricks as should be within his park, and forty tons of timber, to be taken in any of his lands within the county of Kent, his park at Cobham and Cooleing excepted. (fn. 29)
Sir William Brooke, lord Cobham, did not live to establish this foundation, so that his trustees and executors, Sir John Leveson, Tho. Fane, esq. and Wm. Lambarde, esq. proceeded after his death to the performance of his will in this matter, and having a considerable sum of money, viz. 2000l. left in their hands by the lord Cobham, to be employed by them in the re-edifying the buildings of this college, to contain twenty several lodgings, and in the purchasing of lands, tenements, and here ditaments, in fee simple, for the continual maintenance of poor persons to inhabit the same, according to the ordinances and rules as above mentioned; and they having already laid out 500l. on the re-edifying this college, and intending to purchase lands, as above mentioned, and to employ the profits for the use of the poor, according to the trust reposed in them, procured an act of parliament, in the 39th year of queen Elizabeth, for the perpetual continuance of this charitable trust for the good of the poor, by which it was enacted, that the wardens of the lands, contributary to Rochester bridge, and their successors, being with the commonalty of the same, a body politic lawfully incorporate, having perpetual succession (which wardens were continually chosen of such persons as were of great estimation and credit in the county, who no doubt would be faithful and careful for the due execution and performance of so honourable and charitable a work) should from thenceforth be for ever called by the name, and be indeed, The Presidents of the New College of Cobham, and be a body corporate, and have perpetual succession by that name for ever; and that the said presidents and their successors should have a common seal for the use of the college, and should take and purchase, as well the said edifices, ruined buildings, ground and close, with the appurtenances, though the same were holden of the queen in chief, as any lands, tenements, and hereditaments, to them and their successors for ever, not exceeding 2col. per annum in the whole, not being holden of the queen in chief, and that the poor in the said college should be, from time to time, elected, relieved, maintained, governed, visited, and corrected and expulsed, by such rules and ordinances as the trustees, or the survivors of them should, in their life time, set down and appoint; and in default of such, then in such manner as the presidents and their successors should from time to time, under their common seal, set down and appoint; all the buildings, lands, tenements, &c. to remain to the presidents and their successors, for the perpetual relief and maintenance of the poor in the college, and to none other use, end, or purpose whatsoever. After which, Sir John Leveson and William Lambarde, gent. two of the above trustees, being then wardens of the bridge, and withal presidents of this college, drew up certain rules and ordinances for the election, maintenance, &c. of the poor there, among which they ordained, that the number of poor persons to be perpetually sustained and lodged with in the college, should be twenty in all, married or unmarried, each taking 6s. 8d. in each month in the year. Of this number one, being a man, should be from time to time chosen, from any place whatsoever, without any restraint, and presented by the baron Cobham, for the time being, to be admitted and placed for a warden of this college; another, being a man also, should be from time to time chosen from any place whatsoever, without any restraint, by the presidents of the college, and their successors, and placed sub-warden of this college. The eighteen residue, being men or women, married or unmarried, should be chosen and drawn as follows, according to the above ordinances and rules:
From the parish of Cobham three poor inhabitants, upon the election of each of which, two persons should be chosen, one of whom should be selected by the baron of Cobham for the time being; and if the parish of Cobham should make default in such choice within the limited time, that then the parish of Chalk should have the benefit of such turn.
From the parish of Shorne two poor inhabitants, upon the election of each of which, two persons should be chosen, one of whom should be selected by the baron of Cobham; and in default, then the parish of Cooling should have the benefit.
From the parish of Cooling one poor inhabitant, upon the election of each of which two persons should be chosen, one whom to be selected by the baron of Cobham for the time being; and in default, the parish of Strood should have the benefit.
That the nominators and electors of the poor persons should be in each parish, the parson, vicar, or other daily incumbent, and residentiary within that parish, for celebrating divine service, &c. the churchwardens, sidemen, the collectors and overseers, for the time being, and the constables, petty constable, and borsholders, then inhabiting within such parish. The place of election to be with in such parish church or vestry, after evening service on a Sunday, of which notice should be given, as there in mentioned. That the then baron Cobham, and other heirs male after him, as should be barons Cobham, should be principal visitors of this college, and in default of heirs male the bishop of Rochester, and during the vacancy of that see the dean and chapter of Rochester to be the visitors. Besides which, other rules and ordinances were then made and set forth for the well ordering the demeanor and behaviour of the poor conversing in this college. In which state it now continues under the management of the wardens of Rochester bridge, for the time being, presidents of it, the clerk of the revenues of the bridge being the manager, clerk, and paymaster of the revenues of this college and the poor placed in it.
Cobham college is a neat quadrangular stone building, built partly out of the former college and partly new, at the time of its new foundation. It contains twenty lodging rooms, with a large hall, having a screen at the entrance, and a raised floor at the upper end, as in other antient halls; at the corners of the large chimney piece are two shields, one a saltier in base, an escallop shell; the other, a Saracen's head, being one of the crests of Brooke. In the windows are the arms of the founder; over the south gate of the col lege, next the gardens, are his arms, with twelve quarterings within the garter, and under it an inscription of the foundation. (fn. 30)
Dr. Thorpe, of Rochester, being elected one of the wardens of Rochester bridge, of course one of the presidents of this college, took indefatigable pains to restore it to the flourishing state in which he left it. He had the seals of the office of presidents re-engraved, with the arms of the founder properly blazoned on them, an engraving of which may be seen, in the next volume, among those belonging to Rochester bridge. In this parish there are some water works, originally erected by one of the Brookes, lords Cobham, for supplying the college, as well as the neighbouring inhabitants with water; these works being unendowed, through length of time and neglect, fell entirely to ruin, and continued so till 1778, and were then put into good and substantial repair by the care and assiduity of Mr. Richard Hayes of this parish, who met with no very grateful return from the several persons most interested in the benefit arising from them.
WLFWARDUS DE HOU, surnamed Henry, took upon himself the habit of a monk, in St. Andrew's priory in Rochester, for which he gave to the monks there his TITHES IN COBHAM; which gift was confirmed by Gilbert, bishop of Rochester, in the time of king Henry, and by several of his successors afterwards.
Ordiva, the grand daughter of Wlfward Henry, gave the tithe of her land in Cobham, called Bethene court, to the same priory. (fn. 31) These tithes continued in the possession of the priory of Rochester till the surrendry of it, together with its lands and possessions, into the hands of king Henry VIII. in the 32d year of his reign, who next year settled them, by his do tation charter, on his new founded dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose inheritance they continue at this time. The Brookes, lords Cobham, were for some years lessees of these tithes, under the dean and chapter. Afterwards, in the reign of king Charles I. Stephen Alcock, esq. of Rochester, held them in like manner. The present lessee of them, with other adjoining tithes in Shorne, belonging to the dean and chapter, is the Rt. Hon. Thomas lord Le Despencer.
Church of Cobham.
|PATRONS,||VICARS OR MINISTERS.|
|Or by whom presented.|
|Thomas Mudd, A. M. (fn. 32)|
|Matthew Rutten, A.M. Sept. 21, 1637. (fn. 33)|
|Priest, in 1700. (fn. 34)|
|Spencer, resigned 1713. (fn. 35)|
|William Pemble, 1723.|
|Painter, March 1730.|
|Richard Chapman, in 1733, obt. 1762. (fn. 36)|
|William Porter, A.M. July 1766, ob. 1793. (fn. 37)|
|Thomas Pemble, esq.||James Jones, Dec. 1793. Present incumbent.|