The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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TO VOLUME III.
THIS PARISH is supposed to be about twenty miles round, and to contain five thousand acres of land, of which seven hundred are woodland. The soil, though chalky on the side of the hills, is a strong clay otherwise on the summit of them; the valley is a hazely mould, the meadows rather wet and marshy; there are about one hundred houses. There are two mills, the one a corn mill belonging to Thomas Borrett, esq. the other a paper mill belonging to Mr. James Bedill, of Ruxley.
PAGE 27. Two thirds of Serjeants Otford manor, late belonging to Sir Charles F. Radcliffe, bart. was sold, as to his life estate in them, to lord Amherst, who died in 1797, and his nephew and heir William Pitt Amherst, lord Amherst, now possesses them, but after Sir Charles's death, they will devolve by entail, to his brother John Farnaby, esq. of West Wickham.
Kemsing and Seale.
The vicarage of Kemsing with Seal, consists of the small tithes of both parishes, with a portion of the great tithes in Seale, formerly called Bordirivere, now Under River, consisting of about eight hundred acres of land.
PAGE 61. Northward of the plain is a seat, some few years since belonging to Sir Multon Lambard, whose widow afterwards resided in it, since which John Pratt, esq. late of Wilderness, occupied it and died here in 1797, the property of it belonged, and does now to Multon Lambard, esq. of Sevenoke.
PAGE 95. Lord Amherst died in August, 1797, and his nephew and heir William Pitt Amherst now (by his uncle's second patent) lord Amherst, of Montreal, is the present owner of this seat, and the rest of his estates in this county.
PAGE 104. Greatnesse. This is mentioned in the parish of Swanscombe, vol. ii. p. 400, as meaning Greenhyth; paying too implicit a respect to Mr. Thorpe's opinion, I placed it there, but wrong, for it certainly was meant for the chapel at Greatness, in Sevenoke church.
PAGE 211. Sharp's Place, with Idehill farm in this parish, and Sevenoke, belonged to Sir Charles F. Radcliffe, bart. who had a life estate in them, which was in 1796 purchased by his brother John Farnaby, esq. of Wickham, the next tenant in tail, who now possesses them.
PAGE 325. From the immense quantities of chalk which has been cut away from these pits in different directions, a scene is exhibited perfectly romantic, and to strangers not a little dreadful. In the digging numerous fossils are dug and discovered, principally of the Echinus species, as also the Glossa Petra, most curiously polished, and sharp as thorns. The struta of flints, usual among the chalk, are napped into gun flints, in the midst of which are found compleat cockle shells filled with chalk, and sometimes of so large a size as to be esteemed exceedingly curious by the naturalists.
PAGE 356. This parish is estimated to contain about 5,700 acres of land; it contains one hundred and seventeen families, consisting of about six hundred and twelve persons, all of the church of England, and chiefly agricultural labourers and linen weavers, forty-eight houses, land from 5s. to 30s. per acre.
PAGE 389. The extent of this parish is not much more than a mile each way. The arable land is about 1100 acres, saltmarsh sixty-five, and woodland two hundred and forty. Knight's place farm is no part of it within this parish, and only Ranscombe-house, and about one hundred acres of land belonging to it within it. Upper and Lower Bush is one hamlet, the principal part of which is likewise within it. Near the church at the foot of the hill is the parsonage, and three other houses. The church stands nearly north and south.
It was not Richard but Bonham Hayes, who repaired these water-works, and assigned the land on which they now stand, to the parish officiating minister and two churchwardens, reserving the interest of the money expended, to be levied by a small assessment on the houses, amounting in the whole to about six guineas per annum, they are situated in Cobham-street, which they supply with water.
PAGE 443. This parish contains about one thousand acres of arable, four hundred of wood, three hundred and fifty of marsh, and about sixty houses. The soil is chalk, sand and gravel, in different parts. Jarvis Maplesden died in 1787. Mr. Thomas Hartridge left two daughters, who are the only children descendants of the Maplesden family now remaining. On Mrs. Maplesden's death, (widow of Jarvis) this house became the property of Mr. Thomas Pemble, but it has not been inhabited since her death.
Mr. Ayerst's house was built by his mother. It stands opposite the church, commanding a most delightful prospect, It is now occupied by Mr. Comport. There is a good house late belonging to the Maplesden's, in Shorn Ifield; the last possessor of that name, Mr. James Maplesden, left two daughters, Anne married to Mr. Thomas Noakes, and Charlotte to Mr. Mason, who became jointly entitled to it. Thomas Noakes died in 1796, his wife before him in 1790, and his brother Mr. Jarvis Noakes now occupies it.
PAGE 443. At Shorne ridway is a good house, with a tan-yard, formerly the property of Mr. George Holmes, now of his daughter Mrs. Bevan. In scouring a well lately belonging to this house, there was drawn up some sea mud, and a quantity of cockle shells, and in a chalk pit at the bottom of Gad's-hill, on a break of the chalk, the like fort of mud and shells were discovered.
PAGE 483 Gadshill in this parish, on the London road, is the spot described by Shakspeare, where Henry, prince of Wales, and his dissolute companions robbed the Kentish carriers and the auditors who were carrying money to his father's exchequer. At a small distance westward, on the knole of the hill, is a genteel house, built by Mr. alderman Stevens, of Rochester, who occasionally resides in it.
PAGE 489. Little Oakley, late Mr. George Gate's, now Mr. Taite's, by marriage of one of his sisters; Mr. Dudlow's, of Town-Malling, by marriage of a daughter of Mr. Edward Gates; and George Gunning's, esq. by purchase of a fifth part from Miss Catherine Gates.
PAGE 507. Priors-hall. This estate is now held by lease from the dean and chapter, by the chapter clerks, as trustees, under the will of dean Hardy, and a settlement made by dame Elizabeth Clarke, his widow, and the profits of it are applied in payments to the schoolmaster, chanter, and lay clerks of that church, in augmentation of their salaries; the surplus to be applied in putting forth the children of the minor canons, lay clerks and choristers in the first place after that; to the poor boys of the parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Margaret's, in Rochester, apprentices, but not more than 5l. to one boy. This trust will cease in about twelve years after the expiration of the lease.
PAGE 521. Cowling lodge. On the decease of Mr. Thomas Smith, Samuel his youngest son had this estate as part of his share of the inheritance, since which he has sold it to his brother, Mr. Thomas Smith, of Stroud, who now owns it.
The Quarry-house. To this estate there belongs a dock, with a rope-yard and other conveniences situated below it on the bank of the Medway, at which men of war of a large size have been built with great ease and safety.
PAGE 552. The manor of Hawkins is reserved by the dean and chapter in their own hands; the demesne lands are now in lease to the Rev. Dr. Frederick Dodsworth, of Thornton Watness, in Yorkskire, in right of Catherine his wife.