The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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WESTWARD from Wrotham lies IGHTHAM, so corruptly called for Eightham, which name it had from the eight boroughs or hams lying within the bounds of it, viz. Eightham, Redwell, Ivybatch, Borough-green, St. Cleres, the Moat, Beaulies, and Oldborough. (fn. 1) In the Textus Roffensis it is spelt EHTEHAM.
THE PARISH of Ightham for the most part is in the vale between the chalk and the sand or quarry hills, tho' it reaches above the former northward. Near the chalk hill, and for some distance southward the same soil prevails, thence it is an unsertile deep sand, and at the boundaries towards Shipborne a deep clay and heavy tillage land; from hence, and its situation, however healthy it may be, it is by no means a pleasant or a profitable one. The parish is very narrow, little more than a mile in width, but from north to south it extends near five miles, from Kingsdown, above the hills, to Shipborne, its southern boundary. At the foot of the chalk hill and north-west boundary of this parish, is the mansion of St. Clere, and not far from it Yaldham; about a mile from which is Ightham-court, and at a little distance further southward is the church and village, situated on the high road from Maidstone to Sevenoke and Westerham, which here crosses this parish by the hamlet of Borough-green, and the manor of Oldborough, or Oldbery, as it is now called, with the hill of that name, belonging to Richard James, esq. of this parish, in this part, and by Ivy-hatch plain, there is much rough uninclosed waste ground, the soil a dreary barren sand, consisting in this and the adjoining parish, of several hundred acres, being in general covered with heath and furze, with some scrubby wood interspersed among them. At the southern extremity of the parish, next to Shipborne, and adjoining to the grounds of Fairlawn, is the seat of the Moat, lowly situated in a deep and miry soil. A fair is kept yearly in this parish, upon the Wednesday in Whitsun week, which is vulgarly called Coxcombe fair.
The Roman military way seems to have crossed this parish from Ofham, and Camps directing its course westward through it. The names of Oldborough, now called Oldberry-hill, and Stone-street in it, are certain marks of its note in former times.
At Oldberry-hill there are the remains of a very considerable intrenchment, which is without doubt of Roman origin. It is situated on the top of the hill, and is now great part of it so overgrown with wood as to make it very difficult to trace the lines of it. It is of an oval form, and by a very accurate measurement, contains within its bounds the space of one hundred and thirty-seven acres. Just on the brow of the hill is an entrance into a cave, which has been long filled up by the sinking of the earth, so as to admit a passage but a very small way into it, but by antient tradition, it went much further in, under the hill.
The whole of it seems to have been antiently fortified according to the nature of the ground, that is, where it is less difficult of access by a much stronger vallum or bank, than where it is more so. In the middle of it there are two fine springs of water. The vast size of this area, which is larger even than that at Keston, in this county, takes away all probability of its having been a Roman station, the largest of which, as Dr. Horsley observes, that he knew of, not being near a tenth part of this in compass. It seems more like one of their camps, and might be one of their castra æstiva, or summer quarters, of which kind they had several in this county. An intrenchment of like form seems to have been at Oldbury hill, in Wiltshire, which the editor of Camden thought might possibly be Danish. There are remains of a Roman camp at Oldbury, in Gloucestershire, where the pass of the Romans over the Severn, mentioned by Antonine, is supposed to have been by Camden. And at Oldbury, near Manchester, in Warwickshire, are such like remains.
IGHTHAM was held in the reign of king Henry III. by Hamo de Crevequer, who died possessed of it in the 47th year of that reign, anno 1262, leaving Robert, his grandson, his heir. By his wife, Maud de Albrincis, or Averenches, he had also four daughters, Agnes, wife of John de Sandwich, Isolda, of Nicholas de Lenham; Elene, of Bertram de Criol; and Isabel, of Henry de Gaunt.
Robert de Crevequer left one son, William, who dying without issue, his inheritance devolved on the children of three of the daughters of Hamon de Crevequer, as above-mentioned, Agnes, Isolda, and Elene, and on the division of their inheritance, Ightham seems to have fallen to the share of Nicholas, son of Bertram de Criol, by his wife Elene, above-mentioned. He was a man greatly in the king's favour, and was constituted by him warden of the five ports, sheriff of Kent, and governor of Rochester castle. By Joane his wife, daughter and sole heir of William de Aubervill, he had Nicholas de Criol, who had summons to parliament, and died in the 31st year of king Edward the 1st.'s reign, possessed of this manor, which his heirs alienated to William de Inge, who held it in the first year of king Edward II. and procured free-warren for his lands in Eyghtham, (fn. 2) and in the 9th year of it, a market here, to be held on a Monday weekly, and one fair on the feast of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul. In which last year he was constituted one of the justices of the common pleas. (fn. 3) He bore for his arms, Or, a chevron vert. On his death, in the 15th year of that reign, anno 1286, Joane, his daughter, married to Eudo, or Ivo la Zouch, the son of William, lord Zouch, of Harringworth, by Maud, daughter of John, lord Lovel, of Tichmarsh, became entitled to it.
His descendants continued in the possession of this manor till the reign of king Henry VII. when it was alienated to Sir Robert Read, serjeant at law, afterwards made chief justice of the common pleas, (fn. 4) who died in the next reign of king Henry VIII. leaving by Margaret, one of the daughters and coheirs of John Alphew, esq. of Chidingstone, one son, Edmund, one of the justices of the king's bench, who died before him in 1501, and also four daughters, who became his coheirs, and on the partition of their inheritance this manor was allotted to Sir Thomas Willoughby, (fn. 5) in right of Bridget his wife, the eldest of them. He was in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. promoted to the office of chief justice of the common pleas, and in the 31st year of it, he, among others, procured his lands to be disgavelled by the act then passed for that purpose. He left Robert his son and heir, who alienated this manor to William James, third son of Roger James, of London, who was of Dutch parentage, and coming into England in the latter end of the reign of king Henry VIII. was first as being the descendant of Jacob Van Hastrecht, who was antiently seated at Cleve near Utrecht, called after the Dutch fashion Roger Jacobs, and afterwards Roger James, alias Hastrecht. This Roger James, alias Hastrecht, had several sons and one daughter. Of the former, Roger, the eldest, was of Upminster, in Essex, whose descendants settled at Ryegate, in Surry. William, was of Ightham, as before mentioned; Richard had a son, who was of Creshell, in Essex; John was of Woodnesborough, in this county, and George was of Mallendine, in Cliff, near Rochester. William-James, the third son of Roger as before-mentioned, resided at Ightham-court, as did his son William James, esq. who was a man much trusted in the usurpation under Oliver Cromwell, as one of the committee members for the sequestration of the loyalists estates, during which time he was in five years thrice chosen knight of the shire for Kent. His son Demetrius was knighted, whose son William James held his shrievalty for this county here in 1732. He left by his wife, daughter of Demetrius James, esq. of Essex, two sons, Richard his heir, and Demetrius, late rector of this parish, and a daughter married to Mr. Hindman. He died in 1780, and was succeeded by his eldest son Richard James, esq. now of Ightham-court, and the present possessor of this manor. He is colonel of the West-Kent regiment of militia, and is at present unmarried. The original coat of arms of this family of Haestrecht was, Argent, two bars crenelle, gules, in chief three pheons sable; which arms, without the pheons, are borne by the several branches of James, quartered with, Argent, a chevron between three fer de molins transverse, sable.
ST. CLERES, alias West Aldham, situated in the borough of the latter name, is a manor and seat in the north-west part of this parish, adjoining to Kemsing, which was formerly called by the latter name only, and was possessed by a family of the same denomination, who bore for their arms, Azure, a pile, or.
Sir Thomas de Aldham was owner of it in the reign of king Richard I. and was with that king at the siege of Acon, in Palestine. His descendant Sir Thomas de Aldham, possessed this manor of Aldham in the reign of king Edward II. and dying without male issue, his three daughters became his coheirs, the eldest of whom married Newborough, called in Latin de Novo Burgo, of Dorsetshire; Margery married Martin Peckham, and Isolda was the wife of John St. Clere, and on the division of their inheritance this manor fell to the share of John St. Clere, who possessed it in his wife's right. (fn. 6)
John de St. Clere, written in Latin deeds De Sancta Claro, died possessed of it in the beginning of king Edward III. leaving Isolda his wife surviving, on whose death John St. Clere, their son, succeeded to this manor, which from this family now gained the name of Aldham St. Cleres, and in process of time came to be called by the latter name only, and their descendants continued in possession of this manor till the beginning of the reign of king Henry VII. when it was alienated to Henry Lovel, who left two daughters his coheirs; Agnes, who married John Empson, cousin to Sir Richard Empson, the grand projector; and Elizabeth, married to Anthony Windsor.
John Empson conveyed his moiety of it, in the 8th year of king Henry VIII. to Sir Thomas Bulleyn, afterwards created earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and father of the lady Anne Bulleyn, wife to Henry VIII. (fn. 7) and Anthony Windsor, in the 10th year of that reign, passed his moiety away by sale to Richard Farmer, who that year purchased of Sir Thomas Bulleyn the other part, and so became possessed of the whole of this manor of St. Cleres. In the 28th year of that reign, Richard Farmer conveyed it to George Multon, esq. of Hadlow who removed hither. He bore for his arms, Or, three bars vert; being the same arms as those borne by Sir John Multon, lord Egremond, whose heir general married the lord Fitzwalter, excepting in the difference of the colours, the latter bearing it, Argent, three bars, gules. His grandson Robert Multon, esq. was of St. Cleres, and lies buried with his ancestors in this church. He alienated this manor and estate, in the reign of Charles I. to Sir John Sidley, knight and baronet, a younger branch of those of Southfleet and Aylesford, in this county, who erected here a mansion for his residence, which is now remaining. He was descended from William Sedley, esq. of Southfleet, who lived in the reign of king Edward VI. and left three sons, of whom John was ancestor of the Sedleys, of Southfleet and Aylesford; Robert was the second son, and Nicholas the third son, by Jane, daughter and coheir of Edward Isaac, esq. of Bekesborne, afterwards married to Sir Henry Palmer, left one son, Isaac Sidley, who was of Great Chart, created a baronet in 1621, and sheriff of this county in the 2d year of Charles I. whose son Sir John Sidley, knight and baronet, purchased St. Cleres, as above-mentioned. (fn. 8) He left two sons, Isaac and John, who both succeeded to the title of baronet. The eldest son, Sir Isaac Sidley, bart. succeeded his father in this estate, and was of St. Cleres, as was his son, Sir Charles Sidley, bart. who dying without issue in 1702, was buried in Ightham church. By his will he devised this manor, with the seat and his estates in this parish, to his uncle John, who succeeded him in the title of baronet, for his life, with remainder to George Sedley, his eldest son, in tale male. But Sir Charles having been for some time before his death, and at the time of his making his will of weak understanding, and under undue influence, Sir John Sedley contested the validity of it, and it was set aside by the sentence in the prerogative court of Canterbury.
Soon after which Sir John, and his son George Sedley above-mentioned, entered into an agreement, by which Sir John Sedley waved his right as heir at law, and his further right to contest the will. In consequence of which an act of parliament was obtained for the settling in trustees the manor of West Aldham, alias St. Cleres, with its appurtenances, and the capital messuage called St. Cleres, in Ightham, and other messuages and lands in Ightham, Wrotham, Kemsing, Seal, &c. that they might be sold for the purposes of the agreement, which the whole of them were soon afterwards to William Evelyn, esq. the fifth son of George Evelyn, esq. of Nutfield, in Surry, who afterwards resided here, and in 1723 was sheriff of this county.
He married first the daughter and heir of William Glanvill, esq. and in the 5th year of king George I. obtained an act of parliament to use the surname and arms of Glanvill only, the latter being Argent, a chief indented azure, pursuant to the will of William Glanvill, esq. above-mentioned. By her he had an only daughter Frances, married to the hon. Edward Boscawen, next brother to Hugh, viscount Falmouth, and admiral of the British fleet. His second wife was daughter of Jones Raymond, esq. who died in 1761, by whom he had William Glanvill Evelyn, esq. who on his father's decease in 1766, succeeded to St. Cleres and the rest of his estates in this county. In 1757 he kept his shrievalty at St. Cleres, where he resides at present, and is one of the representatives in parliament for Hythe, in this county.
He married about the year 1760, Susan, one of the two daughters and coheirs of Thomas Borrett, esq. of Shoreham, late prothonotary of the court of common pleas, by whom he had a son, William Evelyn, esq. who died in 1788 at Blandford-lodge, near Woodstock, by a fall from his horse, æct. 21, and unmarried; and a daughter Frances, afterwards his sole heir, married in 1782 to Alexander Hume, esq. of Hendley, in Surry, brother of Sir Abraham Hume, who in 1797 had the royal licence to take and use the name and arms of Evelyn only, and he now resides at St. Clere.
THE MOAT is another borough in this parish, in which is the manor and seat of that name, lying at the southern extremity of it next to Shipborne, which in the reign of king Henry II. was in the possession of Ivo de Haut, and his descendant, Sir Henry de Haut, died possessed of it in the 44th year of Edward III. as appears by the escheat roll of that year. His son, Sir Edmund de Haut, died in his life-time, so that his grandson, Nicholas Haut, became his heir, and succeeded him in the possession of this estate. (fn. 9)
He was sheriff in the 19th year of king Richard II. and kept his shrievalty at Wadenhall, in this county. He left two sons, William, who was of Bishopsborne; and Richard Haut, who succeeded him in this estate, and was sheriff in the 18th and 22d years of king Edward IV. keeping both his shrievalties at this seat of themoat; but having engaged, with several others of the gentry of this county, with the duke of Buckingham, in favor of the Earl of Richmond, he was beheaded at Pontefract, anno 1 Richard III. and afterwards attainted in the 3d year of that reign, and his estates confiscated. (fn. 10) Quickly after which, this manor and seat were granted by that king to Robert Brakenbury, lieutenant of the tower of London, and that year sheriff of this county. He kept possession of the Moat but a small time, for he lost his life with king Richard in the fatal battle of Bosworth, fought that year on August 22, and on the Earl of Richmond's attaining the crown was attainted by an act then passed for the purpose, and though his two daughters were restored in blood by another act four years afterwards, yet the Moat was immediately restored to the heirs of its former owner Richard Haut, whose attainder was likewise reversed, and in their descendants it remained till the latter end of the reign of king Henry VII. when it appears by an old court roll to have been in the possession of Sir Richard Clement, who kept his shrievalty at the Moat in the 23d year of king Henry VIII and bore for his arms, A bend nebulee, in chief three fleurs de lis within a border, gobinated. He died without any legitimate issue, and was buried in the chancel of this church. Upon which his brother, John Clement, and his sister, married to Sir Edward Palmer, of Angmering, in Sussex, became his coheirs, but the former succeeded to the entire fee of this estate.
John Clement died without male issue, leaving an only daughter and heir Anne, who carried the Moat in marriage to Hugh Pakenham, and he, in the reign of king Edward VI. joining with Sir William Sydney, who had married Anne, his only daughter and heir passed it away to Sir John Allen, who had been of the privy council to king Henry VIII. and lord mayor of London in the year 1526 and 1536. He was of the company of mercers, a man of liberal charity. He gave to the city of London a rich collar of gold, to be worn by the succeeding lord-mayors: also five hundred marcs as a stock for sea coal, and the rents of those lands which he had purchased of the king, to the poor of London for ever; and during his life he gave bountifully to the hospitals, prisons, &c. of that city. He built the mercers chapel in Cheapside, in which his body was buried, which was afterwards moved into the body of the hospital church of St. Thomas, of Acon, and the chapel made into shops by the mercer's company. He bore for his arms, In three roundlets, as many talbots passant, on a chief a lion passant guardant between two anchors. (fn. 11)
He left a son and heir Sir Christopher Allen, whose son and heir, Charles Allen, esq. succeeded his father in this estate, and resided at the Moat, which he afterwards sold at the latter end of the reign of queen Elizabeth to Sir William Selby, younger brother of Sir John Selby, of Branxton, in Northumberland. He resided here in the latter part of his life, and died greatly advanced in years in 1611, unmarried, and was buried in this church, bearing for his arms, Barry of twelve pieces, or and azure. He by his will gave this estate to his nephew, Sir William Selby, who resided here, and died likewise without issue, and by his will, for the sake of the name gave the Moat to Mr. George Selby, of London, who afterwards resided here, and was sheriff in the 24th year of king Charles I. and bore for his arms, Barry of eight pieces, or and sable. He died in 1667, leaving several sons and daughters. Of whom William Selby, esq. the eldest son, succeeded to this estate, and was of the Moat. He married Susan, daughter of Sir John Rainey, bart. of Wrotham, by whom he had several children, of whom John Selby, esq. the eldest son, was of the Moat, and by Mary his wife, one of the three daughters and coheirs of Thomas Gifford, esq. left two sons, William, who succeeded him in this seat and estate at Ightham, and John Selby, esq. who was of Pennis, in Fawkham, and died unmarried.
William Selby resided at the Moat, of which he died possessed in 1773, leaving his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Burroughs, surviving, who afterwards possessed this seat and resided here. She died in 1788, and her only son, William Selby, esq. of Pennis, having deceased in 1777, and his only daughter and heir likewise, Elizabeth Borough Selby, by Elizabeth his wife, one of the daughters of John Weston, esq. of Cranbrook, under age, and unmarried in 1781. This seat, with her other estates in this county, devolved to John Brown, esq. who has since taken the name of Selby, and now resides at the Moat, of which he is the present possessor.
The park, called Ightham park, has been already mentioned under the parish of Wrotham, to which the reader is referred.
It appears by the visitation of 1619, that there was a branch of the Suliards, of Brasted, then residing in this parish.
John Gull resided in this parish in the reign of king Henry VIII. and died here in 1547.
HENRY PEARCE gave by will in 1545, to be distributed to the poor in bread yearly the annual sum of 6s. 8d. charged on land now vested in Cozens, and she gave besides to be distributed to the poor in bread at Easter yearly, 40l. now of the annual produce of 2l. and for the providing of books for poor children to learn the catechism, the sum of 10l. now of the annual produce of 10s.
HENRY FAIRBRASSE gave by will in 1601, to be distributed in like manner, the annual sum of 1l. to be paid out of land now vested in William Hacket.
WILLIAM JAMES, ESQ. gave by will in 1627, to be distributed in bread to the poor every Sunday, the annual sum of 2l. 12s. to be paid out of lands now vested in Rich. James, esq.
GEORGE PETLEY gave by will in 1705, to be distributed in like manner, every Sunday, 2s. the annual sum of 5l. 4s. to be paid out of land vested in William Evelyn, esq.
ELIZABETH JAMES, gave by will in 1720, for the education of poor children, the annual sum of 5l. to be paid out of land now vested in Elizabeth Solley.
IGHTHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and being a peculiar of the archbishop, is as such in the deanry of Shoreham.
The church is dedicated to St. Peter. Under an arch on the north side of it, there is a tomb of free stone, having on it a very antient figure at full length of a man in armour, ornamented with a rich belt, sword and dagger, his head resting on two cushions, and a lion at his feet, over his whole breast are his arms, viz. A lion rampant, ermine, double queued. This is by most supposed to be the tomb of Sir Thomas Cawne, who married Lora, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Morant. He was originally extracted from Staffordshire: he probably died without issue, and his widow remarried with James Peckham, esq. of Yaldham. His arms, impaling those of Morant, were in one of the chancel windows of this church.
The rectory is valued in the king's books at 15l. 16s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 11s. 8d. It is now of the yearly value of about 200l.
The patronage of this rectory seems to have been always accounted an appendage to the manor of Ightham, as such it is now the property of Richard James, esq. of Ightham-court.
Church of Ightham.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Lords of the manor of Ightham.||Richard Astall, A. M. ob. Aug 21, 1546. (fn. 12)|
|Henry Farbrace, A. M. obt. Feb. 21, 1601. (fn. 13)|
|Hart, obt. 1628.|
|Grimes, in 1643. (fn. 14)|
|Alexander, ejected 1662. (fn. 15)|
|John Hickford, in 1690.|
|Ralph Leigh, 1744, obt. May 1760.|
|Halford, obt. 1763.|
|Samuel Dawason, A. M. inst. 1763, obt. 1769.|
|Temple Henry Croker, A. M. presented 1769, obt. 1773.|
|Demetrius James, 1773, obt. Feb. 1781. (fn. 16)|
|Peter James, Feb. 1781, obt. Sept. 1794. (fn. 17)|
|George Bithesea, A. M. Nov. 1791, the present rector.|