The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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IT lies mostly at the foot of the great ridge of chalk hills, being near three miles across each way. It is, though healthy, rather unpleasantly situated, from the nature of its soil, for above the hill, where it extends but a small way till it joins Frinsted, it becomes where the chalk leaves it, a red earth, covered with flints, a heavy tillage and unfertile land. On the summit of the hill here called Stede hill, is Harrietsham-place, having a beautiful and extensive prospect over the country southward. At a small distance below the foot of the hill stands the church, with the parsonage close to it, and about a quarter of a mile farther, where the chalky soil continues over an open unshaded country, is Harrietsham-street, near which there is a pleasure ground, belonging to Harrietshamplace, in which there is a summer-house, shrubbery, and plantation, with a large sheet of water, and several cascades, containing in the whole six acres. Through the above street the high road leads from Lenham, through the hamlet of Holmemill-green, and thence by Leeds park towards Maidstone, and here the soil becomes a sand, and as it extends southward, mixes with the quarry or rock stone; through this part of the parish the Lenham rivulet flows on westward towards the Medway at Maidstone, receiving here into it several smaller streams, which rise at the bottom of the chalk hills, though at some distance from each other, the rivulet turning in its way Holmemill; about half a mile southward from which is Farborne and the heath of that name, beyond which it extends into the eastern part of Kingswood, where it joins to Ulcomb. There is a fair here, held yearly on the 5th of July, in the old-accustomed fair field, at the court lodge, for horses, cattle, and pedlary.
THIS PLACE was given immediately after the fatal battle of Hastings, among other great possessions, by William the Conqueror, to his half brother Odo, bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the general survey of Domesday:
In Aihorde hundred, Hugh, the grandson of Herbert. holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Hariardesham. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is six carucates, In demesne . . . . eighteen villeins, with ten borderers having four carucates. There is a church, and eleven servants, and two mills of eleven shillings and six-pence, and seven acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of fifteen hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth ten pounds, when he received it eight pounds, now ten pounds. Osuuard held it of king Edward.
The same Hugh holds of the bishop, Fereburne. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is two carucates. In demesne . . . . four villeins, with one carucate and an half, and two mills of forty pence. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth four pounds, afterwards, and now, three pounds. Aluuin held it of earl Godwin.
The same Hugh holds of the bishop one yoke of free land in Selesburne, and there he has half a carucate, with one borderer, and five servants, and one acre of meadow and an half. It is and was worth, separately, twenty shillings. Aluuin held it of earl Godwin.
After which this manor became part of the possessions of the family of Crescie, or Cressi; one of whom, Roger de Cressi, appears to have held it in the beginning of king Henry III's reign, of the honor of Peverell, as one knight's fee, it being then valued at twenty pounds.
He was succeeded in it by his son, Hugh de Cressi, who died in the 47th year of that reign, leaving Stephen de Cressi his next heir. After which it seems to have been in the hands of the crown; for king Henry III. in his 48th year, directed his writ to the sheriff of Kent, to deliver this manor to his niece Isabel, the illegitimate daughter of Richard, earl of Cornwall, a younger son of king John, and then the wife of Maurice, lord Berkeley, for her support, her husband at that time having forfeited his estates, by associating with the rebellious barons, and she being at that time in great distress and poverty. This appears to have happened during the minority of Stephen de Cressi, above-mentioned, who died possessed of it in the 52d year of that reign, holding it in capite by knight's service.
Soon after which, this manor seems to have been divided; that part of it which still retained the name of the manor of Harrietsham, came into the possession of the family of Northwood, of Northwood, in Milton.
Roger de Northwood died anno 14 Edward I. possessed of this manor, held of the king in capite, by the service of half a knight's fee, and the yearly rent of nineteen shillings, from thence to the prior and convent of Christ-church, Canterbury. His son, Sir John de Northwood, changed the tenure of his lands from gavelkind to knight's service, and in the 21st year of that reign claimed free-warren and other privileges of a manor here, before the justices itinerant, and afterwards, together with his grandson, accompanied king Edward in his victorious expedition into Scotland, and was sheriff of this county several times. Having been summoned to parliament among the barons of this realm, he died in the 13th year of king Edward II.
By the inquisition then taken, he was found to hold two parts of this manor in capite, by the service of two parts of one knight's fee, and suit to the court of the manor of Ospringe, as of the honor of Peverel. He was succeeded by his grandson Roger de Northwood, who in the 20th year of king Edward III. jointly with William de Clynton, earl of Huntingdon, who possessed the other part of this manor in right of Juliana de Leyborne, his wife, then paid aid for it, as one knight's fee, in Harrietsham and Est Ferbourne; at length his descendant, John Northwood, esq. dying anno 4 Henry V. and leaving no issue male, his two sisters became his coheirs, who afterwards carried their respective shares of his part of this manor in marriage, the former to John Barley, of Hertfordshire, and the other to Sir John Norton, of this county. John Barley soon afterwards conveyed his moiety of it to John Adam, who was possessed of considerable estates in Essex, and bore for his arms, Vert, a plain cross, or. His descendant, Stephen Adam, was of Harrietiham, and died s. p. leaving his sister Eve his heir, then the widow of John Levet, esq. who carried this moiety of the manor in marriage, at the latter end of the reign of Philip and Mary, to Laurence Ashburnham, gent. of Sussex, (fn. 1) who, before the 17th of the next reign of queen Elizabeth, alienated it to William Stede, esq. who that year levied a fine of this moiety of the manor of Harrietsham.
THE OTHER MOIETY of this manor, which came into the possession of Sir John Norton, in right of his wife as before-mentioned, passed from his name into that of Peckham, in which it remained till Reginald Peckham, esq. of Yaldham, in the 15th year of king Henry VIII.'s reign, conveyed it to Edward Scott, esq. and he not long afterwards transmitted it in like manner, to John Hales, esq. of the Dungeon, in Canterbury, one of the barons of the exchequer, whose descendant, William Hales, anno 4 Elizabeth, by a fine then levied, passed this moiety away by sale to Sir Warham St. Leger, of Ulcombe, sheriff in the 2d year of that reign, and chief governor of the province of Munster, in Ireland, and he, in the 21st year of it, alienated this moiety of the manor of Harrietsham to William Stede, esq. who having before purchased the other moiety of it, of Laurence Ashburnham, esq. became now possessed of the entire fee of them both. The Stedes were of some note in this parish for more than a century before this; for John Stede, senior, was resident here in 1460, when by his will he devised his principal mansion at Stede-street, in this parish to William his son. They bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron between three bears heads couped sable, muzzled, or. William Stede, esq. the possessor of this manor as above-mentioned, resided at Harrietsham, and dying in 1574, lies buried in this church, under an altar tomb. His son, Sir William Stede, resided likewise at Harrietsham, and was sheriff anno 11 James I. (fn. 2) whose eldest son, Sir John Stede, becoming possessed of this manor, built a handsome seat on it, naming it from himself and the situation of it, Stedehill, in which he afterwards resided, and in his descendants, who most of them lie buried in this church, this estate continued down to Edwyn Stede, esq. who succeeded to it on his father's death in 1735, and resided here. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Hamilton, esq. of Chilston, who survived him, and died s. p. Soon after he became possessed of this estate, he sold it to William Horsemonden Turner, esq. of Maidstone, of which town he was recorder, and twice represented it in parliament. He was the son of Anthony Horsmonden, of Maidstone, by his second wife Jane, daughter of Sir William Turner, of Richmond, and grandson of Daniel Horsmonden, D. D. rector of Ulcomb, by Ursula, daughter of Sir Warham St. Leger.
He changed the name of this seat to Harrietshamplace, by which it has ever since been called, and dying s. p. in 1753, was buried at Maidstone, bearing for his arms, first those of Turner, which he assumed on his uncle John Turner's death, being, On a bend, three fer de molins, quartered with those of Horsmonden, Gules, a saltier argent, surmounted by a fess, azure, charged with leopards heads of the first. He married Elizabeth Read, of Gravesend, who survived him, and by his will possessed this manor and seat among his other estates, she resided here, and dying in 1782, was buried beside her husband, upon which it came by the limitation of her husband's will, to Charles Booth, esq. of the Temple, London, who resided here, where he kept his shrievalty in 1781, in which year he was knighted. Sir Charles Booth married Mrs. Sheppard, and died s. p. in London in 1795, upon which it came by the further entail, and limitations in Mr. Turner's will, with his other estates in this county, to William Baldwin, esq. who is the present owner of this manor and seat, and now resides at Harrietshamplace. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.
THE OTHER PART of the manor of Harrietsham, lying in East Farborne, in this parish, has already been taken notice of in the above-description of that manor, in which mention has been made of its having belonged to the bishop of Baieux, by gift from his half-brother the Conqueror, and the description of it in the survey of Domesday has been likewise given.
After the bishop's disgrace, it passed, as part of the manor of Harrietsham, into the possession of the family of Cressi, and continued in it till the death of Stephen de Cressi in the 52d year of king Henry III. about which time the manor of Harrietsham seems to have been divided; two-thirds of it passed into the possession of the family of Northwood, as has been already mentioned, and the remainder into that of Leyborne.
Roger de Leyborne died possessed of this estate, then stiled the manor of Harrietsham in East Farborne, in the 56th year of that reign, and his son William de Leyborne succeeded to it, in the 2d year of king Edward I.
Juliana, his grand daughter, who from her great possessions, was usually stiled the Infanta of Kent, became his heir, whose last husband, Sir William de Clinton, afterwards created earl of Huntingdon, held this estate in her right in the 20th year of Edward III. when he, jointly with Roger de Northwood, paid aid for one knight's fee in Harrietesham and Est Ferbourne, which John de Northwood and William de Leyborne before held there of the king, as of the honor of Peverel.
Juliana de Leyborne had no issue by either of her husbands, whom she survived, and died possessed of this estate in the 41st year of that reign. On which it escheated to the crown, there being then no one found who could make claim to her estates, either by direct or even collateral alliance. (fn. 3)
After which, this part of the manor of Harrietsham, then stiled the manor of Harietesham, in Est Farborne, continued in the crown, till king Richard II. in his 11th year, gave it to the priory of canons, alias Chiltern Langley, in Hertfordshire, where it remained till the dissolution of it in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, who next year granted it to Richard, suffragan bishop of Dover, together with the scite of the before-mentioned monastery, and other lands and possessions belonging to it, to hold during his life, or until he should be promoted to one or more ecclesiastical benefices, of the yearly value of one hundred pounds, in which case this grant should be void. This certainly happened before the 36th yeas of that reign; for the king, that year, granted this manor to Sir Thomas Moile, to hold in capite, who gave it in marriage with his youngest daughter and coheir Amy, to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Wye, who passed it away in the reign of queen Elizabeth, to Thomas Wotton, esq. of Boughton Malherb, whose son Sir Edward Wotton, was in the 1st year of king James I. created lord Wotton, baron of Marley, in this parish. After which it continued by the name of the manor of East Farborne, in the like succession of ownership as the manor of Boughton Malherb heretofore described, down to Philip Dormer Stanhope, earl of Chesterfield, who in 1750 alienated it, with the rest of the Wotton estates in this county, to Galfridus Mann, esq. who died possessed of it in 1756, and his only son Sir Horace Mann, knight and baronet, is the present possessor of this manor of East Farborne. (fn. 4)
WEST FARBORN is a manor in this parish, so called from its situation in respect to that of East Farborne, already described, which was part of the possessions likewise of Odo, bishop of Baieux, accordingly it is thus entered in the book of Domesday, under the general title of that prelate's lands:
Ralph Curbespine holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Fereburne. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and two villeins, with one borderer, and two servants, and one acre and an half of meadow. Wood for the pannage of six hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth thirty shillings. Shern Biga held it of king Edward.
After the bishop's disgrace, about the year 1084, and the confiscation of all his possessions to the crown, this estate was granted to the family of Magmipot and Say successively; of which last it was held in king Henry III.'s reign, as chief lords of the fee, by Sir William de Pevington, of Pevington, in Pluckley, as one knight's fee. His descendants John and William Pevington, two brothers, both dying s.p. Amabilia, their sister, became their heir, and carried this manor in marriage to John Gobyon, esq. of Essex. She survived him, and dying anno 7 Henry IV. by her deed, vested this manor in feoffees, for the discharge of her debts and legacies. They passed it away to Hedd, whose descendant William Hedd died possessed of it in the 5th year of Henry VIII, it being then held of the king, as of his honor of Saye, and paying ward to Dover castle.
From this name it passed into that of Love, and thence again to St. Leger, and Sir Warham St Leger, of Ulcomb, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, conveyed it to Mr. Benedict Barnham, alderman of London, and sheriff of that city, anno 1592. He died possessed of it in 1598, and on the division of his estates among his four surviving daughters and coheirs, this manor of West Farborne fell to the share of Dorothy, the third daughter, who entitled her husband Sir John Constable, to the fee of it; from whose descendant it passed by sale to Sir Thomas Colepeper, of Hollingborne, in whose family it remained till Thomas, lord Colepeper, leaving an only daughter and heir Catherine, she carried it, with Leeds castle and other possessions in this neighbourhood, in marriage to Thomas, lord Fairfax, whose brother Robert, lord Fairfax, dying s.p. in 1793, it became the property of his nephew the Rev. Denny Martin Fairfax, D.D. now of Leeds castle, who is the present possessor of it.
HARBILTON is another manor in this parish, written in antient deeds Herbreton, which is now so far blended with that of Harrietsham, by having had the same owners, as to be but little known by name, was part of those estates in this parish given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday:
Robert Latin holds to ferme Herbretiton. Adelold held it of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and two villeins, with one borderer, having two head of cattle, and there are four acres of meadow. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth sixty shillings, and yet it is let to serme for four pounds. Aluric held it of earl Godwin.
In the reign of king Henry III. the family of Malmains were possessed of this manor; one of whom paid aid for it, in the 20th year of that reign, as three quarters of a knight's fee, held of the earl of Ewe, as of his honor of Hagenet.
They were, soon after the above period, succeeded here by the family of Mareys; William de Mareys possessed it in the reigns of king Henry V. and VI. to the former of whom he was esquire of the body, and in the latter reign sheriff of this county in the 20th year of it, and likewise esquire to Henry Chichele, cardinal and archbishop of Canterbury. He died anno 1459, and lies buried in Preston church, near Faversham. Soon after which, this manor became vested in Walter Moile, who was justice of the peace for this county, in the reigns both of Henry VI. and Edward IV. He was succeeded in it by his heir John Moile, esq. whose son Robert Moile, about the beginning of king Henry VIII.'s reign, alienated it to Ralph St. Leger, esq of Ulcomb, whose grandson Sir Warham St. Leger, of Ulcomb, alienated this manor in the reign of queen Elizabeth, one part of it to Francis Colepeper, and the other to Henry Brockhull, esq. of Aldington, soon after which I find William Stede, esq. possessed of it, in whose descendants it continued down to Edwyn Stede, esq. who soon after the year 1735 alienated it, together with the manor of Harrietsham, and the rest of his estates in this parish, to William Horsmonden Turner, esq. Since which it has passed with them, through the same succession of ownership, down to William Baldwin, esq. of Harrietsham-place, esq. the present owner of it.
THERE ARE TWO MANORS in this parish, called MARLEY, alias Merley-court, and HOLME-MILL, alias BENTLEY; the former of which is recorded in the book of Domesday, as having been an appendage to the manor of Bewley or Bouley, in Boughton Malherb, and part of those possessions given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:
Of this manor (of Bogelei) one Homager (homo) Adam has one suling, and it is called Murlea, and there he has one carucate and four villeins, with one carucate, and a church, and two servants, and wood for the pannage of four hogs . . . . . The whole manor, in the reign of king Edward the Confessor, was worth six pounds, and afterwards as much, now seven pounds. Turgis held it of king Edward.
After the bishop of Baieux's disgrace, and the confiscation of his estates to the crown, the manor of Merley continued in the possession of Adam abovementioned, who gave the tithes of it to Anschetil, archdeacon of Canterbury. He was succeeded in it by his brother Eudo Dapifer, that is, the king's steward, who gave the tithes of it, with the consent of Anschetill, to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, as will be further mentioned hereafter.
Robert Fitzhamon, a potent Norman lord, afterwards appears to have held it, whose daughter Mabel carried it in marriage to Robert, earl of Gloucester, natural son to Henry I. (fn. 5)
In the reign of king Henry III. the heir of Robert de Merlee held it, as half a knight's fee, of Roger de Cressi, and he of the king, as of the honor of Peverel; but they were extinct here before the 20th of king Edward III. when John de Somerye paid aid for it, as half a knight's fee. How it passed afterwards, I do not find, but at the beginning of Edward IV.'s reign, it was in the possession of Thomas Kemp, bishop of London, who died possessed of it in 1489, and was buried in the chapel of the Trinity, on the north side of the body of St. Paul's church, founded by himself, in which, by his will, he founded a perpetual chantry, and endowed it with this manor of Murley-court, as it is stiled in his will, then of the yearly value, beyond reprises, of 3l.4s. 8d. In which state this manor continued till the first year of king Edward VI. when the chantry was suppressed, among others of the like sort, and was vested in the king and his heirs, by an act passed that year specially for that purpose. At which time it appears, by the survey taken of it, to have been let to William Pratts, gent. at four pounds per annum, and that it paid a quitrent to Sir Anthony St. Leger, lord of the manor of Lenham, and that it was given by the will of Thomas Kemp, bishop of London, for the purposes abovementioned,
Soon after which, the king granted this manor of Merley to Sir Edward Wotton, one of his privy counsel, who was then likewise possessed of the manor of Holmemill, alias Bentley, in this parish, which, if I mistake not, had belonged to the priory of Leeds, and had come into the hands of king Henry VIII. at the suppression of it, by the act passed in the 31st year of that reign. He died possessed of both these manors in the 6th year of king Edward VI. then holding them of the king in capite by knight's service. After which they passed in like manner as that of East Farborne before-mentioned down to Philip-Dormer Stanhope, earl of Chesterfield, who, in 1750, sold them, with the rest of the Wotton estates in this part of the county, to Galfridus Mann, esq. who died possessed of them in 1756, and his only son Sir Horace Mann, is the present possessor of these manors.
THE WHOLE TITHES of the manor of Merley-court were given, by Adam the possessor of it, in the time of the Conqueror, to Anschetill, archdeacon of Canterbury, who, together with Eudo Dapifer, brother and successor of Adam, in the possession of this manor, granted them to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester. (fn. 6)
This portion of tithes remained with the priory till the dissolution of it, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when it was, among the rest of the possessions of the monastery, surrendered into the king's hands. After which, the king, in his 33d year, settled it by letters patent, by his dotation-charter, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose possessions it remains at this time. William Baldwin, esq. of Harrietsham-place, is the present lessee of it, under the dean and chapter.
On the intended dissolution of deans and chapters, soon after the death of king Charles I. this portion was surveyed, by order of the state, in 1649; when it was returned, that it consisted of all the tithes, both great and small, arising out of the lands and fields of the manor of Merley-court, in Harrietsham, or within the precincts of it, amounting to one hundred and eighty-four acres, which were of the improved value of 10l. 10s. and were let by the dean and chapter, anno 15 Charles I. for twenty one years, to Christopher Clarke, at the yearly rent of five shillings, so there remained clear only 10l. 5s. lady Stanhope being then immediate tenant of them.
MR. MARC QUESTED, citizen and fishmonger of London, by his will in 1642, founded twelve alms-houses in this parish, which he endowed out of his manor of Pen-court, in Hollingborne; six of them for as many poor inhabitants of this parish, and the other six for as many of the poor of that company, whom he had made his trustees. Each poor person, besides the above, receives in money about 6l.
SIR WILLIAM STEDE gave by deed 10l. per annum in land, in the parish of Sandhurst, for the binding out yearly apprentices two poor children of this parish, Milton and Tong, vested in William Baldwin, esq.
THREE PIECES of land near Runham, in Lenham, of the value of five guineas per annum, were given by a person now unknown; the profits of them to be equally divided between the poor of this parish and Hollingborne, vested in the churchwardens and overseers of both parishes.
A PERSON UNKNOWN gave half an acre of land, in Weststreet, on which two houses have been erected for the reception of the poor, vested in like manner. (fn. 7)
The church, which is a handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, with a square tower at the west end, is dedicated to St. John Baptist. In it are some handsome monuments, and several memorials of the family of Stede, there was once a fraternity in this church of the blessed Virgin Mary, to which Robert Waryn, of this place, by will in 1471, gave land called Bonyers, in this parish.
The church seems once to have belonged to the priory of Leeds, for king Richard II. in his 19th year granted his licence to the prior and canons of it, to appropriate it to their own uses. How it happened that this appropriation never took place, or that the priory were divested of the possession of it, I do not find; but in the reign of king Henry VI. it was in the hands of the crown, for that king, in his 27th year, granted the patronage and advowson of it, to the warden and fellows of All Souls college, in Oxford, who still continue in the possession of it.
Church of Harrietsham.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Queen, by lapse.||George Havenden, 1625.|
|All Souls college.||Richard Steward, LL. D. Jan. 11, 1625.|
|John Lynch, A. M. 1637, sequestered about 1642.|
|Samuel mith, intruded, 1643. (fn. 5)|
|John Barton. (fn. 9)|
|John Lynch, restored in 1660. (fn. 9)|
|John Clerke, esq. A.M. 1680, obt 1689 (fn. 10)|
|Thomas Baker, A.M. 1689. (fn. 11)|
|Daniel Pratt, A.M. 1718, ob. July. 30, 1723. (fn. 12)|
|Miles West, A.M. 1723, obt. Aug 27. 1743. (fn. 13)|
|Edward Smith, LL. D. Nov. 1743, obt. 1773.|
|James R. Hayward, April 1773, the present rector. (fn. 14)|