The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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THE PARISH AND TOWN OF FAVERSHAM.
CALLED, according to Lambarde, in Saxon, Fafresham, and Fafresfeld, in the record of Domesday, Favershant, and in some few others, Fefresham.
THE PARISH lies adjoining to the high London road southward at the 47th mile-stone, and extends to the creek on the opposite side of the town, the houses on the south side of which reach to within two hundred yards of the road, whence there is a good view into it.
The parish includes the north side of the London road from the above mile-stone westward, almost as far as the summit of Judde-hill, and the liberties of the town extend as far of this space westward as the rivulet in Ospringe street. Thus this parish intervenes, and entirely separates that part of Ospringe parish, at the northern boundary of it, in which are the storekeeper's house of the royal mills, and part of the offices and gardens belonging to it, and some of the mills themselves, and in the town likewise, Ospringe parish again intervening, there is a small part of West-street which is within that parish. At the east end of Ospringe-street, though within Faversham parish, and the liberties of the town, close to the high London road, there is a handsome new-built house, erected not many years since by Mr.Bonnick Lypyeatt, who resided in it till his death in 1789. He left two daughters his coheirs, one of whom married Mr.C.Brooke, of London, and the other Captain Gosselin, of the Life-guards. It is now occupied by John Mayor, esq.
The rest, or northern part of the parish lies very low, and adjoins the marshes, of which there is a very large tract. The country here is a fine extended level, the fields of a considerable size, and mostly unincumbered with trees or hedgerows, the lands being perhaps as fertile and as highly cultivated as any within this county, being part of that fruitful value extending almost from Sittingborne to Boughton Blean, so often taken notice of before. The grounds adjoining the upper parts of the town are mostly hop plantations, of a rich and kindly growth, but several of them have lately given place to those of fruit. About twenty years ago the cultivation of madder was introduced here, and many induced by the prospect of great gains, made plantations of it at a very considerable expence, and a mill was erected for the purpose of grinding the roots, but from various disappointments, and unforeseen disadvantages, the undertakers of it were deterred from prosecuting the growth of it, and I believe they have for some time entirely discontinued it.
At the south-east extremity of this parish, as well as in other particular parts of this county, there are several chalk-pits, the most noted of these being called Hegdale pit, of a great depth, which though narrow at the top, yet more inward are very capacious, having, as it were, distinct rooms, supported by pillars of chalk. Several opinions have been formed concerning the intent and use of them, some that they were formed by the digging of chalk, for the building of the abbey, as well as afterwards from time to time, for the manuring of the neighbouring lands; others that the English Saxons might dig them, for the same uses that the Germans did, from whom they were descended, who made use of them, according to Tacitus, as a refuge in winter, as a repository for their corn, and as a place of security, for themselves, their families, and their property, from the searches of their enemies. (fn. 1)
Near the west end of the bridge, opposite the storekeeper's house of the royal powder-mills, there is a strong chalybeate spring, which on trial has been proved to be nearly equal to those of Tunbridge Wells. (fn. 2)
In the year 1774, a most remarkable fish, called mola salviani, orthe sun-fish, was caught on Faversham Flats, which weighed about nineteen pounds and a half, and was about two feet diameter. It is a fish very rarely seen in our narrow seas. (fn. 3)
MR. JACOB, in his Plantæce Favershamienses, has given the list of a number of uncommon plants, which he has observed within the bounds of this parish, but they are too numerous to insert in this place, besides which Dr. Merrett, Mr. J.Sherrard, Mr. Ray, and Mr.Hudson, mention several scarce ones found by them here. (fn. 4)
THIS PLACE has given TITLE to several eminent families.
SIR GEORGE SONDES, K.B. of Lees-court, in Sheldwich, was created by Charles II. in his 28th year, anno 1676, Earl of Faversham, viscount Sondes of Lees-court, and baron of Throwleigh, for the term of his life, with remainder to Lewis, lord Duras, baron of Holdenby. He left surviving issues by his second wife only, by whom he had issue two daughters his coheirs, Mary, married to Lewis, lord Duras, above-mentioned, and Katherine to Lewis Watson, lord Rockingham. He died in 1677.
Lewis de Durfort, marquis of Blanquefort, and brother to the duke de Duras, in France, lineally descended from the famous Galliard de Dureford, lord of Duras, whom king Edward IV. made a knight of the garter, was naturalized by parliament, anno 17 Charles II. and being then captain of the guard to the duke of York, attended him in the sea-fight against the Dutch in 1665, and in consideration of his behaviour there, and other services, was created in 1672, Baron Duras, of Holdenby, in Northamptonshire; and in 1678, on the death of George, earl of Faversham, his father-in law, he succeeded by entail to that title, and in the 1st year of king James II. was elected knight of the garter, and in 1688 made general of the king's army, in which post he continued at the revolution. (fn. 5) He died in 1709, s.p. and was buried in the Savoy church, in the Strand, on which the little became extinct.
Erengard Melusina Schuylenberg, duchess of Munster, in Ireland, was anno 5 George I. 1719, created Countess of Faversham, baroness of Glastenbury, and duchess of Kendall, and in 1723, princess of Erbestein in the empire of Germany, on whose death the titles became extinct.
Anthony Duncombe, only surviving son of Anthony Duncombe, esq. younger brother of Sir Charles Duncombe, lord-mayor in 1709, was created Lord Faversham, baron of Downton, in Wiltshire, in 1747, anno 21 George II. He died in 1763, without male issue, on which the title became extinct.
THERE HAVE BEEN several persons of note, natives of this place.
Hamo de Faversham, a learned and famous Franciscan friar, was born here, and became provincial of his order, first in England and afterwards at Rome. He died, advanced in years, at Anagina, in Italy, in the year 1244. (fn. 6)
Simon de Favershamis mentioned as being the pastor of the British church in the county of Kent, but it is not said in what part of it. He wrote several books. (fn. 7)
Adam de Favershamwas archdeacon of Essex in 1271.
William de Favershamwas commissioned by Edward I. to visit the royal chapel of Hastings.
Simon de Favershamwas chancellor of the university of Oxford about 1304.
Thomas de Favershamis mentioned in a charter of king Edward II. anno 19, relating to Tunbridge.
Joane, the wife of Thomas Faversham, was assessed for two men at arms, for the ward of Grayston, anno 11 Edward III.
Richard de Favershamis called lord of Gravene in an inscription on a tomb in Graveney church, and John Faversham's name appears on a tomb in the same church, seemingly of the 13th century.
Stephen de Faversham, in 1324, was a monk of Christ-church, Canterbury, and the first of the sort who read divinity in that monastery.
There was a family of this name, several of whom lie buried in the church of Faversham; one of them, Sir John Faversham, had an annuity of forty marcs granted to him by Richard III. and Agnete, wife of John Faversham, was buried in it in 1417.
John Thornbury, of Faversham, was sheriff of Kent, anno 24 Henry VI.
Henry Page, esq. of Faversham, was commander in chief of the navy of the five ports in the reign of Henry IV. when he took one hundred and twenty French ships deeply laden. He died anno 13 Henry VI. and lies buried in this church.
John Wilson, the most noted musician in England, created doctor of music at Oxford in 1644, was born at Faversham anno 1595, and died in 1673, æt. 78, omnibus titulis et honoribus academicis in professione musicæ par, et in theoria et praxi musicæ maxime peritus, as he is called in the public register of convocation. He was buried in the little cloysters in Westminster abbey.
THE TOWN ITSELF, and so much of the parish as is within the bounds of the corporation, is subject to the liberties of it, and of the cinque ports, and is exempt from the jurisdiction of the hundred of Faversham; but the rest of the parish, together with the rectory, is within the liberties of that hundred, which has been always esteemed as appurtenant to the manor of Faversham.
Although from the several discoveries which have been made of Roman antiquities in this neighbourhood, it is plain, that it could not be unknown to that nation, during their stay in this island, yet there is no mention made of this place by any writer during that period; and it seems, even in the time of the Saxons, to have been a place of but little consequence, notwithstanding it was then a part of the royal demesnes, as appears by a charter of Cenulph, king of Mercia, anno 812, wherein it is stiled the king's little town of Fefresham; and in one of Athelwolf, king of the West Saxons and of Kent, anno 839, where it is said to be made, only, in villa de Faverisham. However, it was of note sufficient, perhaps as being the king's estate, even in the time of king Alfred, at the first division of this county into those smaller districts, to give name to the hundred in which it is situated. Lambarde, Camden, and Leland say, that king Athelstan held a parliament, or meeting of his wife menat Faversham, about the year 903, (no doubt for 930) in which several laws were enacted. (fn. 8)
FAVERSHAM continued part of the antient demesnes of the crown of this realm at the time of the taking of the general survey of Domesday, in which it is entered, under the general title of Terra Regis, that is, the king's antient demesne, as follows:
In the lath of Wivarlet, in Favreshant hundred, king William holds Favreshant. It was taxed at seven sulings. The arable land is seventeen carucates. In demesne there are two. There are thirty villeins, with forty borderers, having twenty-four carucates. There are five servants, and one mill of twenty shillings, and two acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of one hundred hogs, and of the pasture of the wood thirty-one shillings and two pence. A market of four pounds, and two salt-pits of three shillings and two-pence, and in the city of Canterbury, there are three houses of twenty-pence belonging to this manor. In the whole value, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth sixty pounds all but five shillings, and afterwards sixty pounds, and now it is worth four times twenty pounds.
The manor of Faversham, with the hundred appurtenant to it, remained part of the possessions of the crown till about the beginning of king Stephen's reign, when it was granted to William de Ipre, a foreigner, whom, for his faithful services against the empress Maud, the king, in his 7th year, created Earl of Kent; but within a few years afterwards, resolving to found an abbey here, he, with his queen Matilda, about the year 1147, exchanged the manor of Lillechirch, and other premises, for this manor and hundred, where they, at the latter end of that year, or the beginning of the year after, founded an abbey at a small distance from the town of Faversham, on the north-east side of it, for the space where Court, or Ab bey-street now stands was then unbuilt, and this was therefore, in the reign of Edward III. distinguished by the name of the New Town, as the rest of it, built before, was by that of the Old Town, and they appointed Clarembald, the prior of Bermondsey, to be abbot of this new foundation, which was dedicated to St. Saviour, and for their support, the king granted to him and the monks of it, twelve of whom had been removed with Clarembald for this purpose from Bermondsey, which priory was of the order of Clugni, the manor of Faversham, with its appurtenances, and other premises, in perpetual alms, with many liberties, as may be further seen in the charter itself. (fn. 9)
By the munificence of the royal founder, the building of this abbey was not long before it was compleated, for the queen, anxious for the carrying forward of this work, frequently staid at the abbey of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, that she might be at hand to visit it, and give the necessary orders about it. The church of it at least seems to have been finished before the year 1151, when queen Matilda died, and was buried in it, as was Eustace, earl of Bologne, her eldest son, about fifteen months afterwards, and king Stephen himself at the latter end of the year 1154.
His successor, Henry II. at the request of his kinsman William, earl Warren, confirmed the manor, with its appurtenances, to them in perpetual alms, and several liberties to their tenants, as they had enjoyed them in the time of Henry I. his grandfather, and one fair for eight days yearly, to begin at the feast of St. Peter and Vincula; and he confirmed to them all their other possessions, liberties and free customs, in as ample a manner as any church within the realm was possessed of any such, all which were again confirmed to them by king John in his 16th year, and Henry III. in his 11th year.
Soon after the above-mentioned period, these religious seem to have changed their order from that of Clugni, to the rule of St.Benedict, of which they certainly were in the next reign of Edward I. in the very beginning of which, though by what means does not appear, this abbey was sunk into an abject state of poverty, and the abbot and convent were become so greatly indebted, that the king, to preserve them from ruin, as their revenues would not for a long space of time be sufficient for the payment of their debts, by his patent, in his 3d year, took them and all their lands, goods, and possessions, under his special protection, and committed them to the charge and management of Fulk Peyforer and Hamon Doges, during his pleasure, for the discharge of their debts, and the affording them a necessary support during that time, and in one of the registers of the monastery of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, there is a most melancholy letter from one of the monks of this abbey to the sacrist there; in which he tells him, that having often represented to him the miserable poverty of his house, he then informed him, that for three weeks past, they had not had a grain of barley to support their houshold, nor could they make any malt, nor sow their lands; for that none of their neighbours would let them have any corn, upon the credit either of their words or bonds; and, what was still worse and disgraceful, to men of their profession, they were forced to procure drink either in alehouses, or such as was bought in the town among their enemies, and even that was in a manner taken by stealth. Therefore he earnestly entreats him to afford him somewhat becoming for his subsistence, that he might not perish, &c.
Notwithstanding this humiliating situation, the abbot of Faversham, holding his abbey and lands, consisting of sixteen knights fees, of the king in chief, and by the tenure of barony, was a lord of parliament, and was obliged, on receiving the king's writ of summons, to attend it; accordingly Selden tells us, he was called to twelve several parliaments in the reigns of king Edward I. and II. but never after the 18th of the latter reign; and though there has been no discharge of his attendance found, yet it may well be supposed, that poverty, the length and trouble of the journey, and the expences attending it, might be the excuses alledged by him, and the reasons for his being omitted in all future writs of summons on this occasion. Coke, in his Comments upon Littleton, says, there were in England one hundred and thirteen monasteries founded by the kings of England, whereof such abbots and priors as were founded to hold of the king per Baroniam, and were called to parliament by writ, were lords of parliament, and had places and voices there; and of them in the time of Henry VIII. there were only twentyseven abbots and two priors summoned. King Stephen sounded this abbey, et dedit Abbati et Monachis et successoribus suis mon. de Feversham simul cum Hundredo &c. tenend per Baroniam, &c. who, (as he says) albeit, he held by a barony, yet because he was never (that he found) called by writ, he never sat in parliament; and this foundation was so pleaded in chancery, in Easter term, anno 30 Edward I. (fn. 10) And Reyner says, (fn. 11) that these abbots, who had not seats in parliament, yet were accounted among the spiritual barons of the realm.
King Edward I. in his 25th year, granted to the abbot and convent free-warrenwithin all their demesne lands in their manor here, and king Edward II. in his 9th year, confirmed to them the manor, the fair, and other lands and liberties.
In the 8th year of Richard II. anno 1384, the spiritualities of this abbey within the diocese of Canterbury were valued at 78l. 11s. 2d. and the temporalities at 155l. 6s. 2d.
King Henry VI. in his 20th year, granted to them a like confirmation of their possessions, together with the fishery of Middleton, with all liberties, &c.
CLAREMBALD, prior of Bermondsey, received his benediction as abbot of Faversham, from archbishop Theobald, on Nov. 11, 1147, at the high altar of the church of Canterbury, having first there made his profession of canonical obedience to the archbishop and his successors, at which were present queen Maud herself, with the bishops of Worcester, Bath, Exeter, and Chichester.
This profession of canonical obedience was afterwards constantly made by his successors, abbots of Faversham, to the several archbishops from whom they then received their benediction; and it was the office of the archdeacon, either in person, or by his official, to install the abbot for which his fees were the abbot's palfrey, and to stay at the abbey for two nights and a day, at the abbot's expence, and to have meat and drink for ten of his suit if he chose it. (fn. 12)
THE LISTof the abbots of Favershammay be seen in the first volume of Browne Willis's Mitred Abbeys, in his additions at the end of Tanner's Monasticon, and in Lewis's History of Faversham. They were all of them men of sanctity and exemplary behaviour, but as their conduct was in general confined to the internal government of their monastery, and the account of them, which would be little more than a series of their names, would be no ways interesting to the reader, it will be sufficient therefore to mention the last abbot of it, being the twenty-first in succession, since the first institution of them. This was John Shepey, alias Castelocke, who had the king's writ for the restoring of the temporalities of this abbey, on Feb. 17, anno 15 king Henry VII. The name of Castelock was his family name, though he changed it to that of Shepey, on his receiving the tonsure, as was usual on such occasions, and it continued in repute in this town for many generations after this, as appears by their monuments in the church of Faversham. His name (though erroneously stiled the prior of Faversham) is among those divines and others of both houses of convocation, who met in St.Paul's, in 1529, to give their opinion of the king's marriage, when the abbot did not appear in his own person, but by his proxy, the abbot of Hyde, and was of the number of those who pronounced the illegality of it. (fn. 13)
In the 26th year of that reign, 1534, the abbot of Faversham, the prior, the sacrist, and four monks, signed the act of succession, and the king's supremacy; which is the last public instrument I meet with relating to this monastery, preceding the dissolution of it, in the general storm which fell on the religious houses throughout the kingdom, when the abbot and his convent withstood for some time the threats and menaces of the king's power, and every art which was made use of to induce them to surrender their abbey and possessions; but as their characters and behaviour were irreproachable, the king's visitors had no pretence whatever to force them to it. Besides, the abbot, it is said, pleaded, that his abbey was of a royal foundation, and that the royal founder, with his queen, and the prince his son, lay all there interred, and that, according to the design of the foundation, continual suffrages and commendations by prayer were there used for their souls, and hospitality, alms, and other works of charity dispensed for the souls of the founders, their heirs, and all Christians whatever. If, therefore, they were found negligent and careless in those things, which they trusted would not be the case, the king, as their lord and heir of the founder, had a right to admonish them, and in case of want of reformation in them, to resume the pos sessions and abbey into his own hands. Upon this pretence, at last, the abbot and convent were most unwillingly brought to comply with the king's emissaries, and to surrender their abbey, of the order of St.Benedict, and all its manors, lands, possessions, immunities, and privileges, into the hands of Richard Layton, LL.D. one of the masters of chancery, commissioned for the purpose, for the use of the king and his heirs, by an instrument brought to them ready drawn up, to which they put their common seal, in their chapter-house, on July 8, in the 30th year of that reign, anno 1538, and it was signed by the abbot and eight more of the religious of it; and the same was afterwards confirmed by the general words of the act, passed the year afterwards for this purpose. (fn. 14)
The abbot had afterwards a pension of one hundred marcs for his support and maintenance, to hold for his life, or until promoted to one or more benefices, of the same or greater yearly value. On the like terms, eight of the monks there had yearly pensions, the largest of which was one hundred shillings, several of them were remaining in charge in 1553.
In the 14th year of king Henry VII. the yearly revenues of this abbey were 253l. 16s. 10½d. It was endowed at its dissolution with 286l. 12s. 6¾d. clear annual income, or 355l. 15s. 2d. total annual revenue.
The arms of the abbey were, Gules and azure, three demi lions passant-guardatn, conjoined to three demi ships bulls, a crosier erect in the middle, all, or.
Pope Innocent III. by his bull, in 1210, exempted the abbot and convent of Faversham from the payment of tithes of their lands, and therefore this is one of those religious houses which, by the statue of 31 king Henry VIII. is capable of exemption of tithes; for such being surrendered into the king's hands, in as free and ample a manner as the religious themselves held and enjoyed them, they were afterwards granted by the king to laymen, and others, with the like rights, immunities, and privileges. (fn. 15) Soon after the surrendry of the monastery the king ordered the principal part of the buildings of it to be pulled down, as appears by the king's bailiff's accounts in the Augmentation-office. What the state of the ruined buildings of this abbey were about one hundred years ago, may be gathered from Mr. Southouse, who tells us, in his Monasticon, that in the sacristy stood the abbey church, but that it was so totally demolished, that there was not so much as one stone left to inform posterity where it stood. There were two chapels belonging to it, one dedicated to St.Mary, the other the petie roodchapel. The refectory then remained entire, and was made use of as a storehouse, but Sir G.Sondes afterwards pulled it down. On the east part of this, stood the abbot's lodge, as it should seem, an antient chamber or two of which were ceiled with oaken wainscot, after the manner of some chancels. On the west side of the refectory stood a building of stone, which opened with two doors into it, and with another into the close northward, which he guessed to be the interlocutory, or parlour, to which the monks retired after meals. The kitchen, which is now totally rased, then stood contiguous to the well; in it there was a mantlepiece of timber, thirty feet long; the foundation of it, of stone, was dug up in 1652, to help pave the broad street in the town, called Court-street; under it an arched vault was discovered, which served as a drain or sewer, to convey the sullage from the kitchen. There was likewise a calefactory, where the monks used to warm themselves. Besides these buildings there was a malthouse, bakehouse, brewhouse, and cellar, the tattered skeletons of which were then in being. The stables belonging to the abbey stood in the abbey-close, at some distance from the other offices, among which was one called the palfrey-stable, for the abbot's nags and geldings, which stood on the ground where Sir George Sondes afterwards built the present farm-house.
There are now hardly any, even of the ruins, of this abbey, and its numerous buildings left. The two gate houses remained till within these few years, but becoming dangerous through age, they were lately taken down. The oratory or chapel belonging to the almnery is yet standing, in a little meadow, and converted into a dwelsing-house, as is the porter's lodge.
Among the wills proved in the Prerogative office, in Canterbury, there is mention of several persons buried in the abbey church, among others, Theobalde Evias, of Faversham, widow, by her will in 1479, ordered her body to be buried within this monastery, and among other bequests devised, to the new-making of a window in the chapter-house there twenty shillings, and to the monastery here great cloth of tapstre-works, to do worship to God in their presbyterye, and on the sepulchre next the high altar there, on high days; and to the same likewise here vestment of green velvet embroidered, with its appurtenances, a chalice, two crewets, a bell, and a paxbrede, all of silver, to the intent that they should serve only in her chapel there; and she ordered that there should be embroidered on the said vestment, Orate paia Theobalde Evias; and she devised that her cross of gold, which she wore about her neck, be offered to the shrine of St.Richard, in Chychester; her beads of gold to St.John hys hed in Amyas, and her ring of gold with the rubye to the sepulchre ofthe three kings of Coleyne; and she ordered her executors to purchase lands to the value of ten pounds, above all charges or reprises, and with the yearly rents and profits thereof, she willed that the reparations of her alms houses be kept, the renewing of the bedding of the said house be made, and the reward of him that should have the governance and oversight of it to be yearly paid; and this ordinance touching the said alms-house to be made sure, as firm as by her executors and council could be.
Richard Goore, gent. of Faversham, by his will in 1504, ordered his body to be buried in this monastery, beside the chapel of St.Anne.
Robert Browne, esq. comptroller of the houshold of Thomas, earl of Arundel, by his will in 1509, ordered his body to be buried in this abbey, before the rode of pity, in the overhande of the church, &c.
When the church of the monastery was demolished, the body of king Stephen, mentioned before to have been buried in it, was for the lucre of the lead in which it was coffined, taken out, and is said to have been cast into the neighbouring creek, (fn. 16) and most probably those of the queen and prince met with the same usage, however the report of the inhabitants has been, that the king's body was afterwards interred in the parish church, but whereabouts in it is not known.
THE ABBEY being thus, with the manor and all its possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, the scite and adjoining lands remained there but a small time, for the king, in his 31st year, granted the scite of it, with certain messuages, lands, meadows, &c. lately demised by him to John Wheler, to Sir Thomas Cheney, warden of the five ports, &c. to hold in capiteby knight's service, by the twentieth part of one knight's see, and he in the 36th year of the same reign, alienated them to Mr. Thomas Ardern, gent. of Faversham, who bore for his arms, Ermine, a fess chequy, or, and azure. He was basely murdered in his own house here, by the contrivance of Alice his wife and her accomplices, on February 15, 1550, anno 4 Edward VI. for which they were afterwards executed at different places. (fn. 17) He died possessed of this scite of the dissolved abbey, and the lands granted with it, leaving an only daughter and heir Margaret, who afterwards married Thomas Bradburne, who had possession granted of them in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, and that year levied a fine of these lands, soon after which he died, for at the end of that year, his wife Margaret again possessed them in her own right. She died in the 18th year of that reign, holding them in capiteby knight's service, when it was found that Nicholas Fathers, alias Bradborne, for so he is called in the inquisition, was her son and heir. He seems to have sold it in the 23d year of that reign to John Finch, gent. who resided in a house here, situated on the north side of the monastery. He was descended from those of Linsted, as already mentioned before, and bore the same arms as the Finch's, of Eastwell, and the other branches of that family. Several of those of Faversham lie buried in this church and that of Preston. John Finch beforementioned, in the 25th year of the above reign, alienated these premises to Thomas and Robert Streynsham and Richard Dryland. After which they became the property of George Streynsham, who left two daughters his coheirs, one of whom, married Sir Edward Master, of East Langdon, and the other Appleford, the latter of whom, as her part of her inheritance, entitled her husband to this estate, which at length came to her descendant Edward Appleford, esq. of Winchester, who alienated it to Sir George Sondes, of Lees-court, in Sheldwich, who was become likewise the proprietor of the manor of Faversham, and its appurtenances, by purchase from John Diggs, esq. second son of Sir Dudley Diggs, of Chilham-castle, and master of the rolls, who had settled it on his son soon after the grant of it to him from the crown, in the reign of king Charles I. where it had remained from the time of the dissolution of the monastery. (fn. 18)
Sir George Sondes was afterwards created Earl of Faversham, and died without surviving male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs, of whom Catherine, the youngest, married Lewis Watson, earl of Rockingham, who in her right became entitled to this manor and hundred, with the demesne lands, the scite of the abbey, and the other premises above-mentioned, all which have since descended down in like manner as Lees court, in Sheldwich, to the right hon. Lewis Watson, lord Sondes, who is the present owner of them.
There is a court leet and court baron still held for this manor, which extends over the whole hundred, and contains within its bounds, the town and parish of Faversham, the boroughs of Hartye, Ore, Ewell, Selgrave, Oldgoldyschelde, Chetham, Brinnystone, Bedlysmere, Oldeboudysland, Rode, Graveney, and Bourdfeld, and the lands of Monkendane, in the parish of Monketon.
COOKSDITCH is situated almost adjoining to the east side of the town of Faversham. It was formerly the antient seat of the family of Dreylond, or as they were afterwards written, Dryland, who were of good account, and at times intermarried with some of the best families in this county. In king Henry the VI.th's reign, John Dryland was knight of the shire, and they were in the succeeding reigns several times mayors of Faversham. They bore for their arms, Gules, guttee de'larme a fess nebulee, argent. An ancestor of them, John, son of Stephen Dreylond, resided here in the reign of king Edward III. in the 25th year of which he demised land in a place called Crouchfield, to William Makenade, and in the deed stiles himself of Cokes ditch, and in his descendants Cooksditch continued down to Richard Dryland, who resided here at the beginning of king Henry VII.'s reign. He was twice married, and left by his first wife Joane, daughter and heir of Thomas Quadring, of London, only one daughter Katherine, who became heir to her mother's inheritance, which she carried with Cooksditch likewise, in marriage to Reginald Norton, esq. of Lees-court, in Sheldwich, who had by her two sons, Sir John, who was of Northwood, in Milton, and William Norton, to whom by his will he devised Cooksditch. He afterwards resided at it, and married Margaret, daughter and heir of Matthew Martyn, by whom he was ancestor of the Nortons, of Fordwich, in this county, one of whom, about the reign of king James I. alienated it to Parsons, who not long afterwards conveyed it to Ashton, whose daughter and heir carried it in marriage to Buck, who owned it at the time of the restoration of king Charles II. In his descendants this estate continued till the beginning of the present century, when it was, by one of them, alienated to Mr. Jenkin Gillow, who bore for his arms, Argent, a pale, sable, between four fleurs de lis, gules, whose nephew Mr. Stephen Gillow, of St.Nicholas, in Thanet, died possessed of it in 1774, and was succeeded in it by his son Mr.Stephen Gillow, who rebuilt the house, and resided in it. He died possessed of it in 1790, and in his family it still continues.
LANGDON is a manor in this parish, which in the reign of king Richard II. was in the possession of Nicholas Potyn, who seems by his will to have devised it to his widow Alicia, for her life; remainder to his feossees, William Makenade and Stephen Bettenham, and their heirs, in trust, that they should give and amortise this manor, then of the yearly value of ten marcs, or 6l. 13s. 4d. above all reprises, to the wardens of Rochester bridge and their successors, for the use of the same; and king Richard II. granted his licence, by his writ under his privy seal, in his 22d year, for that purpose. (fn. 19) Since which it has continued part of the possessions of the wardens and commonaltie of the said bridge, for the repair and maintenance of it. Mr. John Murton is the present lessee of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
EWELL is a manor situated at the eastern extremity of this parish, next to Goodneston, which, in the reign of king Richard II. was in the possession of the family of Boteler, of the adjoining parish of Graveney, in which name it remained till Anne, only daughter and heir of John Boteler, esq. carried it in marriage to John Martyn, one of the judges of the common pleas, who died possessed of it in 1436, leaving his widow again entitled to it. She afterwards remarried Thomas Burgeys, esq. whom she likewise survived, and died herself in 1458. By her will she devised her manor of Ewell-court to her son Richard Martyn, in tail; remainder to her sons Robert and John. After which this manor became separated in the hands of different owners; one third partof it, in the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. appears to have come into the possession of John Cole, warden of All Sould college, who, in the 18th year of that reign, gave the part of this manor, which he was then possessed of, with the lands belonging to it, in Faversham and Goodneston, to the abbot and convent of Faversham, in trust, for the maintenance of the school, which he had then founded in this parish. At the dissolution of the abbey soon afterwards, in the 30th year of that reign, this estate, with the rest of the possessions of it, came into the hands of the crown, where this part of Eswell manor remained till queen Elizabeth, having at the petition of the inhabitants of this town, by her charter in her 18th year, again endowed the school, seems to have granted to the governors of it, for its support, all that was remaining in the hands of the crown of its former endowment, which had been, however, diminished by the several grants which had been at times made of different parts of it: but several of the lands belonging to this manor lying in a part of it, called Ewell field, intermixed and without boundaries, frequent disputes arose between the joint proprietors of them, which at last were ended in the 26th year of that reign, by a partition then made of these lands, by which it was agreed that the mayor, &c. as governors of the school, should hold their part of them, and Edward Fagge, the owner of the remainder of this manor, should hold his part of them in separate severalties; that part of Ewell manor, which was allotted to the former still continues vested in the mayor, jurats, and commonalty of Faversham, governors of the school, for the support and maintenance of it.
The other two-third parts of Ewell manor, which included the court lodge, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, was the property of Mr. Edward Fagge, gent. of Faversham, before-mentioned, who died in 1618, leaving two daughters his coheirs. How this estate passed from them afterwards I have not seen; but in king Charles II.'s reign it was become the property of John Pennington, of Agmondesham, in Buckinghamshire, who, in the year 1691, suffered a recovery of it. His trustees under his will, sold it in 1723, under a decree of the court of chancery, to Mr. Thomas Gillow, of St. Nicholas, in Thanet, and it is now the property of Mrs.Gillow, widow of his grandson, Stephen Gillow, late of Cooksditch Gate.
THE MANOR OF KINGSMILL is a small manor situated in the south-west part of this parish, which, in the beginning of king George II.'s reign, belonged to Mr. John Ingham. In 1749 it was vested in Matthew Cox, esq.and afterwards in Richard Chauncy, esq. whose heirs some years ago sold it to the master general and principal officers of the board of ordnance, who are at this time possessed of the fee of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
THE TOWN OF FAVERSHAM is within the limits of the cinque ports, being esteemed as a limb or member of the town of Dover, one of those ports. Of what antiquity these ports and antient towns are, when enfranchised, or at what times their members were annexed to them, has not been as yet, with any certainty, discovered; and, therefore, they are held to enjoy all their earliest liberties and privileges, as time out of mind, and by prescription.
It is, however certain, that at the time of king Edward the Consessor, the five ports were enfranchised with divers liberties, privileges, and customs, peculiar to themselves; for the better conducting of which they had the establishment of one grand court, called the court of Shipway, from its being almost always held at a place of that name near Hyth; in which the general business relating to the whole community was transacted before the warden, as principal and chief over them. Nevertheless, though they acted here jointly, like a county palatine as to the government, for the desence of the liberty of the whole, yet every particular corporation in each town acted severally and distinctly, according to its own privileges, charters, and customs within their own particular limits, without any controul or interference from this court, or the rest of the community. (fn. 20)
The five ports, as being from their situation most exposed to the depredations of enemies, were first incorporated for their own mutual defence, and were afterwards endowed with great privileges, for the public desence of the nation, and the king's service. The force they were enjoined to raise and keep in residence for this purpose was fifty-seven ships, properly furnished and accoutred for a certain number of days, to be ready at the king's summons, at their own charge, and if the state of affairs required their assistance any longer, they were paid by the crown. But because the expence was in after times found to be too burthensome for these five ports, several other towns were added as members to them, that they might bear a part of the charge, for which they were recompenced with a participation of their privileges and immunities. All which were confirmed to them by Magna Charta, by the name of the barons of the five ports, and again by one general charter by king Edward I. which, by inspeximus, has received confirmation, and sometimes additions, from most of the succeeding kings and queens of this realm.
FAVERSHAM, stiled both a town and a port at different times in antient records, isa corporation by prescription. In the oldest charter now remaining, which is that of the 36th year of king Henry III. wherein the members of it are stiled, according to the usual language of those times, barons, that is freemen, there is contained a confirmation of all their former antient rights and privileges. In the 42d year of the above reign, which is as far as can be traced by evidence, the jurisdiction of this town was then in a mayor or alderman, and twelve jurats. In a charter of Edward I. the barons of it are acknowledged to have done good services to him and his predecessors, kings of England; and in the 21st year of that reign, there is an entry of the mayor and jurats assembling in their hallmote, or portmote-court, as it is elsewhere called, together with the lord abbot's steward, and there sealing a fine with the town's seal, of a messuage and garden in Faversham, according to the use and custom of the court, by which it is evident, that this court was of some antiquity at that time. (fn. 21)
This town has been favored by the different kings of this realm with no less than seventeen different charters, besides those granted from time to time to the cinque ports in general, confirming its antient privileges, and granting new ones. These were from king Henry III. Edward I. Henry V. and VI. Edward IV. Henry VIII. and Edward VI. King James II. confirmed the two last, with some variations; but as this charter was rather forced upon the town, at a considerable expence, than by their own application, and the revolution succeeding, no particular attention was ever paid to it.
Before the dissolution of the abbey of Faversham, this town seems to have continued under a mixed form of jurisdiction; the abbot, as lord of the manor, was entitled to the same ample privileges that the kings of England, formerly lords of it, had exercised within it, and which were by custom of long time become appurtenant to it; all these became vested in the abbot by the special grant of the royal founder king Stephen, and consequently, the town, as being within the manor, was alike subject to the lord's jurisdiction over it.
However unwilling the inhabitants were to submit to the abbot's exercising these privileges over them, and interfering in the government of their town, their endeavours to oppose it produced no other effect than continued quarrels, and a bitter enmity towards the religious, who, notwithstanding the contumelies they underwent, remained firm in the preservation of their rights.
In the reign of king Richard I they obliged the inhabitants to compound with them for the liberty of sending their swine to pannage, and in the next reign of Edward III. there was a long contest, multis retroactis temporibus, faith the record, between them, which ended in favor of the abbot; for by it, the townsmen submitted to nominate annually three persons out of their body, to execute the office of mayor, and present them to the lord abbot in his court or hall of pleas, for him to appoint one of them to that office.
One great dispute between them seems to have been the naming their chief officer, mayor; for in an agreement made between the contending parties, in king Richard I.'s reign, that part which was executed by the abbot stiles him only alderman; and in another dispute, left to reference in Edward I.'s reign, the bond of each party still remaining, that on the abbot's part stiles him alderman, while that on the townsmen's stiles him mayor.
The extreme poverty of the abbey soon after this, left them in a most humiliating state, and totally unable to withstand the innovations of their adversaries; accordingly we find, in the reign of Edward I. the before-mentioned custom of chusing the mayor before the abbot broken through, and the freemen electing a mayor, and as soon as he had nominated the twelve jurats, by virtue of his office, immediately proceeding with him to the abbey for the abbot's approbation, which course seems to have been constantly pursued till the dissolution of the abbey.
The inhabitants of Faversham do not seem to have consined their opposition and dislike to the abbot and convent here only, the religious of St. Augustine near Canterbury, patrons of the church of Faversham, seem equally to have been partakers of both: for anno 28 Edward I. 1301, on a dispute concerning the burial of a person of the town in this church, the whole commonalty here, of both sexes, with the mayor at their head, with a great noise, and sound of horn, rose upon the few monks, and others, who were attending here on this account, and being armed with swords, hatchets, clubs, stones, and others such weapons, they beat, wounded, and maimed the monks and their attendants, broke open the church, destroyed the furniture in it, and then attempted to set fire both to that and the parsonage-house. But their unquiet and riotous behaviour at last cost them dearly, for in the 30th year of that reign they were amerced, not only in the king's court, but in that holden before Robert de Burghershe, warden of the cinque ports, and upon a quo warranto they were found guilty of certain trespasses, which they had done to the king, in presumptuosly usurping sundry royal liberties, without grant thereof from the king, by which their charter became forfeited; for the renewal of which, and pardon for the above amerciaments, they were fined in five hundred marcs, (fn. 22) the largeness of which sum was not in respect to the wealth of the place, but the enormity of the crime.
Notwithstanding there was a solemn agreement entered into, between the abbot and the commonatly of this town, in the 4th year of king Edward II. concerning the rights and privileges claimed by each party, yet the same incessant litigations continued between them, one being as resolute not to give up his right, as the other not to submit to them: but the opposition to the abbot's claims never ended with impunity to the townsmen, for the annual payment of a certain sum was always the result of the contest.
Though the mayor, as has been already mentioned, was obliged to have the abbot's approbation, and take an oath of fealty to him and his church, yet the abbot appointed a bailiff, or in his absence, another officer, called a seneschal, or steward, who accompanied the mayor in all his transactions, whose names were constantly placed after the mayor's, and before the jurats, and the chamberlains of the town were obliged annually to pass their accounts in the abbey. These claims and privileges, exercised by the abbot, seem, after the dissolution of the abbey, to have been kept up, and every part of them uniformly used, by king Henry VIII. afterwards, as lord of the manor of Faversham, and they were quietly submitted to from that time, till his granting away many of them to the mayor and commonalty, by his new charter in the 37th of his reign; for the king in his 36th year, resting here one night, in his journey towards the siege of Bulleine, upon an humble prayer and application then made to him by the corporation and inhabitants, the ensuing year granted to the town a new and more ample charter, not only confirming by it all the former rights and privileges, but the additional ones of a court leet, the markets, and fair, and several others, which before appertained to the abbot, as lord of the manor; and he granted to them, to hold their town, and all the liberties therein mentioned, by the yearly fee-farm of eight pounds, which rent continues to be paid at this time, and by this charter the corporation is at present governed.
By this charter the corporation is made to consist of a mayor, eleven jurats, and twenty-four commoners; the mayor being elected yearly on September 30, who by his office is coroner within the liberties of the town; he holds likewise a court of clerk of the market, and a court of pie-powder, when requisite; he holds a court of portmote, in which fines and recoveries have been acknowledged, and all pleas and suits touching them; and all manner of pleas and suits, as well personal as mixed, have been therein determined, and much business used formerly to be transacted in it, but lately it has been but little attended to.
The court of general sessions of the peace and gaol delivery, together with the court leet or law day, is holden twice in a year, before the mayor and jurats, who are justices within their own liberties, exclusive of all others.
Besides which, by this charter, they are empowered to make laws for the governing of their town, and to alter them when necessary; to purchase lands, notwith standing the mortmain act, and to alienate them again; to have two law days, with the profits of them; to have the goods and chattels of felons, and all deodand, waifs, and strays; and to have markets and fairs, and the profits of them, and a court of pie-powder, and to erect a goal on any part of the waste of the manor, within the liberties of the town; all which privileges were enjoyed by the late abbot of this place. (fn. 23) The arms of the town of Faversham are, Gules, three lions passont, guardant in pale, per pale, or, and argent.
It appears by the Tower records, anno 7 Henry IV. that the king then granted to the mayor to have a mace borne before him, with the arms of the five ports on the top of it. King Henry VI. in his 25th year, granted by his letters patent, that the inhabitants of Faversham should answer no where but in the court of Shipway, not before the admiral of England; and that they should be exonerated from all rent to the constable of Dover castle.
THE TOWN OF FAVERSHAM is situated close to the east side of the navigable creek, which runs from hence into the Swale. It consists of four principal streets, forming a somewhat irregular cross, the northernmost of which, called Court or Abbey-street, leading to the scite of the late abbey, is remarkably broad and handsomely built, and the southernmost leading to the high London road, and thence to the town of Ashford, is called Preston-street, from its being within the boundaries of that parish. In the center of the town stands the market-place, and guildhall over it, erected in 1574. The guildhall before this time was over the goal in the Market-street, built in 1571, and used as such upon quitting the oldest guildhall upon Tanners-green. On the area before the present market-house were formerly three rows of shambles, which were purchased of the proprietors and taken down by the corporation. The markets, which are plentifully supplied, are held weekly, on a Wednesday and Saturday. The fairs are held annually on Feb. 25, and August 12, for three days each.
The fish-market is likewise kept under the markethouse. The gaol, which indeed hardly deserves the name of one, is situated at a small distance north-eastward of the market-place; it was antiently situated on the opposite or west side of the river, the ruined walls of which still remain.
Leland, in his Itinerary, written in the time of Henry VIII. thus describes this place, "The towne, he says, is encluded yn one paroche, but that ys very large. Ther cummeth a creke to the towne that bereth vessels of xx tunnes, and a myle fro thens northest is a great key cawled Thorn to discharge bygge vessels. The creke is sedde with bakke water that cummeth fro Ospring."
The state of this place in queen Elizabeth's reign, appears by a return made of it by her command, in her 18th year, by which it appears, that there were then here houses inhabited 380, no person lacking habitation, ships or vessels, eighteen, from five tons to fortyfive tons burthen; and persons occupied in merchandize and fishing fifty.
Upon comparing this with the present state of Faversham, thorugh the houses may not perhaps have increased so much in number as might be expected, yet upon the whole it is greatly improved; for vessels of eighty tons burthen and upwards (of which size are the common corn hoys) come now up to the keys close to the town, at common tides, and even those which draw eight feet of water, at common spring tides. A constant attention has always been paid to the prefervation and improvement of the navigation of this creek, by the corporation, who take the whole expence of it on themselves.
To enable them to do this, was perhaps the origin of port-dues or tolls, granted by some of the kings whilst they were possessed of this manor, nor is it known when, but certain it is, they have been paid time immemorial, and upon a dispute of the right of the corporation to these droits, a trial was had at Maidstone in 1764, when they had a verdict in their favor, and by it the same was confirmed to them. There had been formerly, in 1578, a quo warranto issued to try the right of the corporation to droits for timber, which was tried in the exchequer, before chief-justice Manhood, next year, and a verdict was given in their favor.
There are three keys or wharfs belonging to this town, the antient and formerly the only key on this creek, was much lower down on it, at a place called Thorn, which has been disused for many years.
The principal shipping trade is now carried on from this port by six hoys, which go alternately every week to London with corn, amounting in very plentiful years to 40,000 quarters of different sorts yearly. Colliers likewise, of one hundred tons burthen, which supply not only the town but the neighbouring country with coals, and larger vessels, which import sir timber and iron from Polish Prussia, Norway, and Sweden, frequently resort hither, the principal proprietors and merchants concerned in them being inhabitants of this town. Besides which, there are several fishing vessels, and others, employed in carrying wool, fruits, and other traffic to London and other parts. The following was the state of the shipping in 1774, being the annual average of the imports and exports for six years, coasting vessels, exclusive of fishing smacks, belonging to this port 29, from forty to one hundred and fifty tons; coals imported 12,154 chaldrons; oysters exported to Holland and Flanders, in thirty-one vessels, 11,456 bushels; packs of wool shipped for London and Exeter 2573.—Ships entered inwards from foreign parts: from France with oyster-brood, from four to seven; from Norway with deals and timber, from five to nine; from Sweden with the like, tar and iron, from one to three; from Polish Prussia with deals and timber, from one to three. But this account includes those vessels also belonging to Milton, Whitstaple, and Herne, which are under the controul of the custom-house here.
There is a branch of the customs established here, as one of the out-ports, under the direction of a collector, surveyor, &c. and of the excise-office, under a supervisor and other interior assistants, whose authority extends likewise over Sittingborne, Milton, Herne, Whitstaple, and Reculver.
This town at present consists of about four hundred and sixty houses, which contain about 2500 inhabitants. Many of the houses are large and handsome, and the inhabitants of good condition, and wealthy in general. There are in it an assembly-room and a theatre, the former of which, exclusive of the inhabitants of the town, is numerously attended by most of the genteel families of the neighbourhood, and it is now in a very flourishing and increasing state.
Part of the town was first paved in 1549, and the rest of it in 1636. In 1773 the town was laid open to the London road, by a spacious avenue from thence into Preston-street, and a bridge was erected over the stream at the bottom of West-street; besides which, all the roads to this town have been widened and rendered more commodious, at a considerable expence, within these few years, and in 1789 an act was procured for the further improvement of the town, by the new paving, lighting, and watching of it.
Since the town has been paved, and the inhabitants, from their increase of wealth, have been enabled to afford better housekeeping, and a larger quantity of seacoal has been burned by them, it has not been near so unhealthy as formerly; for no doubt but its low situation amidst the noxious vapours of so large a tract of marshes adjoining to it, cannot but render it at most times unhealthy.
The several kings and queens of this realm, and other royal personages, seem frequently to have rested themselves at this town in their journeying to and fro, particularly Mary, widow of Lewis XII. king of France, and sister of king Henry VIII. on her return from that kingdom in 1515. King Henry VIII. in 1522, passed through here with the emperor, whom he was conducting, with a numerous train of nobles and others, to Greenwich, and that king lay here one night on his journey to the siege of Bullein, in 1545. King Philip and queen Mary passed by this town in 1557. Queen Elizabeth came here in 1573, and lay two nights in the town. King Charles II. on his restoration in 1660, visited this town, and dined with the mayor; and lastly, that unfortunate monarch king James II. was unwillingly brought to this town on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1688, endeavouring to escape into France. An authentic account of which transaction, as given by Capt. Richard Marsh, of Faversham, who was an eye-witness of the whole of it, is printed in Mr. Jacob's History of Faversham, of which the following is an extract:
"The nation was already in a serment, and every one upon his guard to secure suspicious persons, especially strangers; at which time the Faversham sailors observing a vessel of about thirty tons burthen lying at Shellness, to take in ballast, resolved to go and board her; accordingly they went in the evening, with three smacks and about forty men, and three files of musqueteers, and in the cabin of it they seized there persons of quality, of whom they knew only Sir Edward Hales; from them they took three hundred guineas, and two gold medals, and brought them all three on shore beyond Ore, on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1688, about ten o'clock in the morning, where they were met by a coach, and about twenty gentlemen of the town on horseback, and brought to the Queen's Arms, in Faversham, where Capt. Marsh seeing the king come out of the coach, and knowing his person, told them, to their no small surprise, that they had taken the king prisoner, upon which the gentlemen owned him for their sovereign; then the king ordered the money taken from him to be distributed among them that took him, and wrote a letter to lord Winchelsea, to come to him, who arrived from Canterbury that night, at which the king was greatly rejoiced, as having one with him who knew how to respect his person, and awe the rabble and the sailors, who had carried themselves very brutish and indecently to him. He desired the gentlemen very much to convey him away at night, in the custom-house boat, and pressed it upon their consciences; for if the prince of Orange should take away his life, his blood would be required at their hands. But they would by no means admit of this, saying, they must be accountable for him to the prince, and it would be a means of laying the nation in blood. After which he was carried from thence into the mayor's house, where he continued, under a strong guard of soldiers and sailors, until Saturday morning following at ten o'clock.
"The king having, during that time, sent to the lords of the council, acquainting them, that the mob had possessed themselves of his money and necessaries, and desiring them to supply him with more upon which the earls of Faversham, Hillsborough, Middleton and Yarmouth, with about one hundred and twenty horse guards, besides sumpter horses, &c. and coaches were sent to him. They were ordered, if possible, to persuade the king to return to Whitehall, but not to put any restraint upon his person, if he chose to go beyond the seas. The lords came to Sittingbourn on Friday evening, but were met by Sir Basil Dixwell, who commanded the horse-guards in town, under the earl of Winchelsea, with some other persons of quality, and persuaded the lords to leave the guards at Sittingborne, and they would conduct his majesty there the next morning, which was done, with much order and satisfaction, both to the king and people. The king lay that night at Rochester, and went the next day to Whitehall.
"Sir Edward Hales, and the rest of the popish prisoners, were kept in the court hall, only Sir Edward was removed to Maidstone gaol, within a few hours after the king's departure.
"There were about ten popish priests and others, and three protestants, who remained prisoners at Faversham, under a strong guard, until Dec. 30, when some were conducted to the Tower, others to Newgate, and some were released."
Another account of this transaction, from an eyewitness likewise, which in almost every materials thing agrees with the above, is printed in Tindal's Continuation of Rapin. (fn. 24) There is another account among the Harleian MSS. (fn. 25)
THE OYSTER FISHERY here, by which upwards of one hundred families are principally supported, and the whole town greatly benefitted, ought not to go unnoticed. These olysters, which may well be called the only stable commodity of this town, are taken within the fishing-grounds belonging to the manor of Faversham, and are, no doubt, of the same kind, as are all those caught along this coast, quite from Queenborough to Reculver, as those which were so highly esteemed by the Romans as a great delicacy, under the names of Rhutupian, and British oysters, by which they are described by Juvenal, Pliny, Ausonius, and other antient writers.
But as these beds do not afford native oysters sufficient for the demands made for them, large quantities of small ones, called brood, are annually laid on these shores, which are collected from different parts of the sea, even from the Land's End in Cornwall to Scotland and France, in order to increase and fatten, and be meliorated of their saltness, by the constant flow of the fresh waters from the Thames and the Medway.
The Dutch give a preference to these oysters of the Faversham grounds, before all others along this coast, and have, time out of mind, kept up a constant traffic here for them, never dealing with any others, whilst they can purchase here those suitable for their consumption, at an equal price to those of the adjoining grounds, and generally laying out upwards of 3000l. annually for them.
These oyster-grounds, as they are termed, seem to have been granted as early as the reign of Henry II. by the yearly rent of 23s. 4d. which is still continued to be paid to the crown for them, to the company of free dredgers of this place, which still subsists as such, by the name of the free fishermen and free dredgermen of the hundred and manor of Faversham, under proper rules for their regulation and good conduct, each of whom, before he is admitted, having served seven years to a freeman, and being at the same time a married man. The company is under the jurisdiction and protection of the lord of the manor, as tenants of it, and he appoints a steward to hold two courts, called Admiralty-courts, or Water-courts, annually, where all matters relating to their good government are tranfacted.
It may not be improper to describe here the manner in which oysters are produced. Oysters are produced and grow in all seas and salt water; one oyster brings forth many thousands; the young or spawn of them are increased in numberless quantities, between May and August yearly, in which time none are taken or marketed. That season is called their sickness, in which they are not fit to be eaten. The spawn, or brood oysters, are not subjects to destruction, as the eggs and fry of many other forts of fish are, nor are they bait or food to any other fish, nor are they marketed for consumption if taken till of due size, but laid again in the fisheries to grow; and the oylster spawn is distributed all over seas, rivers, and waters, by the flux and reflux of the tide; for when the eggs, or spat, as the fishermen call it, are first shed, they rise in a very small bubble like oil, or glue, and float on the surface of the waters, and are moved to and fro till by the air, and sun, they are brought to maturity, and the shell formed, and then, by their natural gravity, they subside, and always remain at the place where they fall.
There is a branch of the ordnance established here, partly in this parish and partly in Ospringe and Davington. A manufactory of gunpowder has been established here ever since the reign of queen Elizabeth, which continued in the hands of private owners till Thomas Pearse, esq. about the year 1760, conveyed these premises by his trustees to Charles, duke of Marlborough, mastergeneral of the ordnance, and others, for the use of the public; since which all the several numerous houses, buildings, and works belonging to this manufactory, have been rebuilt in the most substantial and expensive manner, so as to render it as complete and extensive as possible for the purpose; the mills being worked severally by the Ospringe rivulet, and the others by horses, and the whole under the direction of a storekeeper, clerk of the survey, master fire worker, and others; the three first of whom have handsome houses for their constant residence here. The powder manufactured is about one hundred barrels per week, each weighing about one hundred pounds.
The mills and several works and storehouses, are almost adjoining to the west side of the town, which has more than once severely suffered by the explosions of this dangerous commodity. Besides accidents which happened formerly, whilst these mills were in private hands, two dreadful ones have taken place since; one in 1767, when the stove, in which were twenty-five barrels of gunpowder, blew up, and the explosion was so great as to do great damage to the town; but the most horrid accident happened in 1781, when, the corning-mill and dusting-house, in which were about 7000 pounds weight of powder, were, by some unknown accident, blown up, and by the force of the explosion the buildings were scattered around in the air to a considerable distance, and the workmen were blown to atoms. A pillar of flame and smoke was caused by it, which ascended a considerable height in the air before it expanded, and was seen in the isle of Thanet. The air for near the space of a mile round was so impregnated with sulphur, as almost to prevent persons breathing in it, but with great difficulty. The noise of it was heard at twenty miles distance, and even at Canterbury, eleven miles off, it gave the sensation of an earthquake
The produce of the adjoining gardens were entirely blown away, and the ground left bare, and surrowed, as if ploughed up afresh; the boughs of the larger trees were torn off, and the trunks left bare, and scorched black. All the surrounding houses and buildings were in a great measure destroyed, and in many the furniture of them rendered useless.
The houses in the western part of the town, from the direction of the wind, suffered most, for had the wind set directly towards the town, the whole of it must have been inevitably destroyed. In short, the scene of ruin and desolation which presented itself on every side, with the terrors of the inhabitants in general, and the lamentations of the poor for the loss of their relations and friends, and of their little property, was beyond any adequate description, and perhaps was hardly ever before equalled in this kingdom. Five years afterwards parliament granted a sum of money to be paid to the sufferers, in part of their loss; and the widows and children of the workmen who lost their lives, had their pay continued to them for life; and an act passed for the better securing these powder works from the like catastrophe in future; in consequence of which the stoves were removed into the marsh, at a considerable distance from the town, and fortunately so, for in 1793 an explosion of forty barrels of powder happened in one of them, but from the distance of them, and the precautions taken to prevent the destructive effects of these dreadful shocks, the damage did not extend far beyond the building and its contents.
Dr. JOHN COLE, one of the chaplains of the royal chapel, and warden of All Souls college, by his indenture, anno 18 Henry VIII. conveyed to the abbot and convent of Faversham, lands and tenements in this and the neighbouring parishes of Goodneston, Hernhill, and Leysdown, (fn. 26)for the endowment and maintenance of a school, as has been noticed before, in which the novices of the abbey should be instructed in grammar; and he directed that the warden and fellows of that college should nominate the schoolmaster from time to time, and that the abbot should admit him, and allow him ten pounds a year wages, together with meat, drink, a gown, a chamber, and four loads of sewel.
It was not long after this endowment, that the abbey of Faversham was suppressed, and the school, as part of it, became involved in the same ruin; upon which the lands above-mentioned became, with the rest of its possessions, vested in the crown, and though several parts of them were granted away at different times, yet the chief of them remained in the crown till the reign of queen Elizabeth.
The inhabitants of the town, soon after the dissolution, had petitioned king Henry VIII. to re-endow the late school, but without success; but on queen Elizabeth's resting here for two nights in her 16th year, they took that opportunity strongly to solicit the queen, by their humble petition, to erect and endow A GRAMMAR SCHOOL for the good education and instruction of their youth, and those of the neighbouring parts, according to the purpose and intention of Dr. Cole, in his foundation of one in the late abbey, and to settle upon it such of those lands as he had endowed it with, which were still remaining in the hands of the crown; to which the queen consented, and by her charter in her 18th year, granted, that the mayor, jurats, and commonalty of the town of Faversham, and their successors, should be governors of the revenues of the school, to be called the free grammar school of Elizabeth, queen of England, in Faversham, and that they should be a corporation for that purpose, and have a common seal for all matters relating to it; and further, that the warden, or sub-warden, and six senior fellows of All Souls college, should nominate the schoolmaster, and remove him from time to time; and that they, together with the mayor, jurats, and commonalty, should make rules and statutes for the government of it; and upon a vacancy of master, if one should not be appointed by the warden, &c. within two months, the archbishop should appoint one. According to this grant, orders were made and established, by Robert Hoveden, warden of All Souls, in 1604, by which the school is at present governed.
The lands belonging to it are now let at upwards of eighty-two pounds per annum, out of which the master is paid an annual salary of sixty pounds, and the residue, after repairs and others incidental charges are deducted, is reserved by the governors, and generally paid to him once in five years, the whole of the income being appropriated to the master, and the support of the school. (fn. 27)
In the year 1582, some years after this grant, the school-house was erected, on the north side of the church-yard, by a general benevolence, and an assessment upon the whole town. There is a library in it, first formed by Mr. Rawleigh, the master, and since increased by the gift of Mr. Mendfield, the mayor, and by such books as the governors and others have from time to time purchased. In the school-room is a whole length picture of the royal foundress, placed there by the later Edward Jacob, esq. F.R.A. the editor of the history of this town, Plantæ Favershamienses, and other curious and learned treatises of antiquity and natural history; and John Smith, esq. of Sturrey, gave the walk before it, which is well gravelled, and ornamented with a row of trees.
Joshua Childrey, D.D. was master of this school about the time of the great rebellion, and was here at the restoration afterwards. He was born at Rochester, and in 1663 became archdeacon of Salisbury, and prebendary of that church, being accounted a learned and religious divine, and a great virtuoso. He was author of several books, and among others of Britannia Baconica, or the Natural Rarities of England. He died in 1670, at Upway, in Essex, of which he was rector, and was buried in the chancel of the church there. (fn. 28)
Francis-Frederick Giraud, B.D. is the present master of it.
TWO CHARITY SHOOLS were established in 1716, for the cloathing and instructing of ten poor boys, and ten poor girls of this town, which have ever since continued to be supported by an annual subscription of the principal inhabitants, and by other different benefactions, as may be seen in the list of the charities to this town and parish.
THE CHATITABLE BENEFACTIONS to this parish are very numerous, of which the following is a list:
ROBERT BELLESDEN, a considerable benefactor to the abbey, gave three small tenements in Church-lane for poor widow, to be nominated by the vicar.
ROBERT FALE gave by will, anno 21 Henry VIII. to the master and follows of St. John's college, in Cambridge, as much of his lands as should be of the yearly value of 3l. for the finding of one scholar there for ever, who should be a man's sun of the hundred of Faversham, such as the abbot and vicar of Faversham should appoint.
MR. HENRY HATCH, merchant adventurer and jurat of this town, by his will anno 25 Henry VIII. gave several estates in the counties of Kent and Suffex, to the mayor, jurats, and commonalty for ever, requiring them to obtain licence of mortmain, and to apply the rents and profits to the use and maintenance of the haven and creek, the highways within a mile of the town, and the ornaments of the parish church.—These estates, when they came into the hands of the corporation in 1574, on the death of Mr. Hatch's widow, were let at 66l. 13s. 4d. per annum; at this time they amount to upwards of 250l. yearly rents. (fn. 29)
THOMAS ARDERN, gent. by his will proved in 1550, gave some houses and lands to the corporation, to be annual value of 40s. appointing a sermon to be preached every year, in commemoration of the several benefactors to this parish, and for an encouragement for others to do the same, the residue to be expended in bread, to be distributed to the poor.—This charity produced a law-suit, which seems to have been compromised with Mr. ARdern's daughter and heir, and the estates were sold; what recompence the corporation had I do not find, but the donor's intent is fulfilled at the expence of the corporation, to the annual value of 1l. 6s. 8d.
THOMAS STREYNSHAM, gent. of Faversham, by his will in 1585, ordered his executor to distribute to the poor people of Faversham, the first half year's rent of a farm of 16l. per annum, in Luddenham, Buckland, and Murston; and he charged all the lands with a rent charge of 3l. per annum, to be distributed in wood, coals, or money, once every year for ever, to the poor, now vested in the corporation, and of that annual produce.
WILLIAM SAKER, jurat of Faversham, by will in 1594. gave a yearly rent of 15l. out of certain lands called Elliots, in the isle of Harty, 10l. of in to be applied to the relief of the poor of Faversham, and 5l. to the maintenance of a weekly lecture, now vested in the corporation, and of the annual amount, on an average, of 8l.
ROBERT ALLEN, who was mayor in 1601, gave a house in Partridge-lane, now made into two tenements, for poor widows, and vested in the parishioners.
MR. ROBERT STONE, master of the school here, by will in 1604, gave a house and garden, behind the Middle-row, for a house of correction.
THOMAS MENDFIELD, Esq. who died in his mayoralty, by will in 1614, gave to the mayor, jurats, and commonalty, 20 marcs, to purchase a bell salt, of silver, for the mayor's table; 10l. to the vicar, &c. and also 1000l. towards erecting and endowing six alms-houses, for six poor widows, and appointed his executor to lay out 400l. on the buildings, and the residue in purchasing lands, within ten years after his decease, and to give security to the corporation for the due performance of the trust. These houses were erected in due time; but as no estate was purchased within the time appointed, the executor was called upon to fulfil the testator's bequest, when upon advice of council, the corporation accepted of 450l. in lieu of the 600l. the whole of it being become very precarious. Shortly after, no estate having been purchased, the money was lent upon bonds to different persons, and the whole is said to have been by that means lost; nevertheless, the corporation continues to pay the originally appointed annuity of 24l. to six poor widows, and keeps the houses in repair, the expence of which is always considerable; in 1760 it amounted to upwards of 100l.
CATHERINE LATCHFORD, of Davington, by will in 1615, gave 50l. to the corporation, the interest of it to be applied to the putting out a poor apprentice annually, vested in the corporation.
JOHN FOAD, by will in 1633, gave to the corporation, his house behind the Middle-row for ever, to be employed for an alms-house, for three widows to inhabit and dwell in for ever, now vested in the parishioners.
THOMAS MUSTARD, citizen of London, by will in 1635. gave three houses in this town, the rents of them to be expended in bread for the poor, to be distributed upon every Sunday or Friday after morning service, at 2s. 6d. each time, now vested in the corporation, and of the annual produce of 4l. 19s.
SAMUEL PRESTON, jurat, by will in 1640, gave 40s. per annum for ever, towards the weekly lecture.
STEPHEN HAYWARD, gent. of Faversham, gave four silver flaggons, of the value of 120l. for the use of the communiontable.
JOHN CASTELOCK, ESQ. by will in 1651, gave lands in the isle of Harey, called Finners, the rents of which he ordered to be expended in putting out poor children apprentices, now vested in the corporation, and of the annual produce of 2l. clear of taxes.
EDWARD SPILLET, jurat, by will in 1665, gave a piece of land called Allens, containing four acres, at the upper end of North-lane, in Boughton Blean, the profits of it to be distributed in bread. to 12 poor widows, every Sunday in the afternoon, at 12d. each Sunday, now vested in the corporation, and of the annual produce of 2l. 5s.
WILLIAM SPILLET, son of the last-mentioned Edward, by will in 1670, gave two messuages or genements, and land, in Boughton-street, to the corporation, the yearly profits of it to be bestwed towards putting out poor apprentices, or for the relief of poor widows, now vested in the corporation, and of the annual produce of 4l. 1s.
JOHN TROWTS, jurat, gave by will in 1673, two annuities, to be paid out of his house and malt-house in Court-street, now vested in Edward Norwood, of Ashford, one to the vicar of this church, for the preaching of a sermon on Good Friday yearly; the other to be distributed to 40 poor widows, or other poor people of Faversham, who should come and hear divine service on that day yearly, unless prevented by sickness or old age, now of the annual produce of 2l.
MARK TROWTS, son of the said John, by his will in 1679, among other bequests, settled two annuities of 40s. per annum each, payable out of his estates in Faversham and Herne; one of them to the minister of Faversham, for his reading divine service, and preaching a sermon on St. Mark's day; the other to be distributed on the same day to the poor of Faversham, the premises are now vested in Richard Milles, esq. of Nackington.
MR.THOMAS KNOWLER, mayor in 1688, gave two almshouses, unendowed, for two poor widows, at the end of Tannersstreet, in the presentation of the heirs of John Knowler, esq.
MRS. ELIZABETH THOMAS, by will in 1716, gave 20l. yearly, the interest of it to be applied to the use of the charity schools for ever.
DOROTHY, LADY CAPEL, baroness dowager of Tewkshbury, by will in 1719, gave lands in Preston, in trust, for distributing the annual income of them to twelve charity schools, of which that in the town of Faversham to be one; the distribution to this school, consisting of the 12th part of the rents of a farm, called Petty-court, vested in the heirs of lady Capel, is of 11l. annual produce.
THOMAS NAPLETON, ESQ. by will in 1721, gave to the mayor and commonalty, all his lands and tenements in Faversham and Hernehill, in trust, to found an hospital at Tanners-green, for six poor old men, who should each of them have 5l. yearly in money, and every two years a new cost. This has been for many years increased to 10l. per annum, the yearly gross rent being 115l. coibs. annis.
RICHARD ISLES, citizen and sailmaker of London, by will in 1721, gave out of his estates called Kingsfield lands, to the minister for preaching a suneral sermon on Feb.11, 20s. to the clerk 5s. to the sexton for making clean his tomb 20s. to the poor in two-penny and three-penny loaves 10s. and also of three yearly annuities of 5l. for ever, to three poor fishermen of Faversham, freemen of Harty shores, who do not take alms; and if either of the said poor men should have a wife, who should survive him,the said annuity should be paid to her during her life; the lands are now vested in Richard Isles Dimsdale, the proprietor, and the mayor and churchwardens.
MR. STEPHEN SMITH, by will in 1729, gave 200l. to purchase an annuity of 6l. or more, if that sum was not sufficient, to be applied, 20s. to the vicars for ever, for reading in the church on the evening of the day before Christmas, and 5s. a piece to the clerk, sexton, organist, and bell-ringers, for their services on that day, and the residue of the annuity to be disposed of after the service on Christmas day, in the afternoon, to poor people, each person to have not less than one shilling, nor more than two shillings. The above sum is vested in the funds, in the name of the vicar and churchwardens, and is of the annual produce of 4l. 15s.
JOHN MARISH, ESQ. by will in 1751, gave 2000l. for the benesit of the company of dredgers.
MARY, LADY DOWAGER GOWER, daughter of Thomas, late earl of Thanet, in 1771, by deed, settled 200l. in government securities upon Lewis, lord Sondes, lord of the manor of Faversham, and Mr. Richard Marsh, then vicar, and their successors in the manor and vicarage, in trust, for the benefit of the charity schools of this town; the sum is now 229l. 19s. 11l. 3 per cent. Bank consolidated annuities, now of the annual produce of 6l. 17s. 10d.
MR. JAMES BERRY, by his will in 1753, gave 60l. the interest of it to be equally divided in the support of the charity schools, and to the poor in bread.
BESIDES the charities before-mentioned, there have been made at times several small benesactions in money, by different persons, as well towards the charity schools, as the church and poor of this town, the sums of which being vested in the corporation, were laid out in N.S.S. annuities, to the amount of 137l. are now of the annual produce of 4l. 2s. 6d. (fn. 30)
The poor constantly relieved are about one hundred and twentyfive, casually about four hundred.
Faversham is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Ospringe.
The church, which stands close to the east side of the town, was dedicated to the assumption of our lady of Faversham. It is built in the form of a cross, of flints, with quoins of ashler stone. It had, until 1755, when it was taken down, a large square castellated tower in the middle of it, and there remains now another low tower at the north side of the west front, upon which is erected a frame of timber, covered with shingles. So long ago as king Henry the VIIth.'s reign, there seems to have been no steeple to this church, for in 1464, Edward Thomasson, of this town, gave sixty pounds towards the edifying of a new one to it; (fn. 31) and of later time, James Lawson, esq. a wealthy inhabitant of this town, who died in 1794, gave by his will 1000l. for the same purpose, with this sum, together with 500l. given by the corporation, and the remainder payable by a rate, a steeple, seventy-three feet high above the tower, with pinnacles at each corner of it, on the plan of St. Dunstan's in the East, has been erected, and is now nearly compleated, at the expence of 2500l.
Behind the tower, within the outer walls, is a strong timbered room, formerly called the tresory, in which, before the reformation, were carefully deposited the goods and ornaments of the church; over it was the chamber for the sextons. On the south side of the west front is a room, formerly open to the church, in which was taught reading and writing; under it is a neat chapel, with stone arches, supported by three pillars in the middle. Over the south porch there is another stone room, the window of which is grated with strong iron bars.
Mr. Henry Hatch, whose extensive charity to this town has already been mentioned, by will in 1533, gave a sum of money, at the discretion of the mayor, and his brethren, in making a new jewel-house for this church.
In 1440 there were placed in it five new bells, and in 1459 a sixth was added; these remained till 1749, when they were cast into a new peal of eight.
The church seems to have been built in the latter end of the reign of Edward I. or the beginning of the reign of Edward II. by a silver penny of one of those kings being found under the basis of one of the piers, which supported the middle tower. In the east window of the great chancel, were some time since remaining two shields of arms, viz. Gules, two lions passant-guardant, or a label of five points, azure; and Argent, a lion rampant, sable, within a bordure of the second, bezante.
In the year 1754, the body of the church, as well as the roof of it, on a survey, being deemed in a dangerous state, a faculty was obtained to pull it down, which was accordingly done, under the plan and directions of Mr. George Dance, of London, architect, at the expence of 2300l. besides which, 400l. was afterwards expended in an organ, and 100l. more in other ornaments, and ninety pounds in improving the great chancel, which through age was become very unsightly; so that the whole of it is now made equal to, if not the most elegant and spacious, of any parish church in this county, and is extensive and spacious enough to afford convenient room for all the parishioners of it.
When this church was new built, and the body and isles new paved, the grave-stones, many of which were antient, with brasses on them, were removed from the places where they lay, to other open and consipicuous parts of it. Among the monuments were those for Henry Hatche, merchant adventurer, 1533; Thomas Mendfield, 1614, John Fagg, esq. 1508, and one for Thomas Southouse, esq. 1558, who wrote the Monas tion Favershamiense. Both monuments and epitaphs are by far too numerous to insert in this place, they may be found at large in Weever's Funeral Monuments, in Lewis's Appendix to his History of Faversham Abbey, and in Harris's History of Kent. Besides which there is in the Appendix to Jacob's History of Faversham, a chronological list of such persons as have been known to have been buried in it.
This church measures from east to west, including the chancel, one hundred and sixty feet, the width of the body sixty five feet; the length of the isles from north to south one hundred and twenty-four feet, and their width forty-six feet.
Before the reformation, besides the high altar in the great chancel, there were two chapels, one dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and the other to St. Thomas, and there were several altars in the isles and chancels.
James Dryland, esq. of this parish, settled an annual pension of 6s. 8d. for six chaplains to keep his obit, on every vigil of St. James the Apostle, in this church.
King William the Conqueror, in his 5th year, anno 1070, gave this church to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, and the tenths of all the products arising from that manor, and of all its appurtenances of the land, wood, meadows, and waters, excepting the tenths of honey, and rent paid in money. (fn. 32)
Sometime after which, in 1168, the conventual church of St. Augustine was, the greatest part of it, burnt; on which account the pope confirmed and appropriated this church, with the chapel of St. James of Sheldwich annexed, to the reparation of it.
Notwithstanding this king Henry the IId. afterwards claimed the presentation to this church in his own right, as did king John in his 3d year. (fn. 33) This brought on much altercation, threatnings, and prohibitions, on the king's part, and in the course of them there happened many blows, and some bloodshed, as has been mentioned before, and it caused several appeals, and bulls of the pope, on the monks part, which continued till at length the king, by the archbishop's advice, who was now become mediator for them, seems to have relaxed from that firmness and resolution he had hitherto supported his claim with, and having admitted them to his presence, he at their humble intreaties restored all their possessions, and in recompence of the losses the monastery had sustained through his means, he confirmed to them the charters of his predecessors, as well of this church as of their several rights and liberties.
At the time that king John had this contention with the abbot and convent, the archdeacon of Canterbury claimed the custody of this church, as being vacant, and the profits of it for the time it was so; as such he, on the above-mentioned vacancy, took possession of it, and the monks entered their protest against it, and appealed to the pope, who referred this dispute to delegates, but by the mediation of mutual friends, and at the king's request to the archbishop, that he would not disturb the abbot and convent in any shape, in regard to this church, he, through respect to the king, ratisied it to them, to be possessed by them, as above-mentioned, for ever, and in the next reign of Henry III. anno 1238, a composition was entered into between archbishops Edmund and Roger, abbot of St. Augustine's, for the accommodating of all disputes concerning their respective privileges and jurisdictions.
In the next reign of king Edward I. a vicarage was endowed in this church by archbishop John Peckham, who by his instrument, in 1305, decreed, with the consent of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, patrons of it, that the then vicar Robert de Hoynton, and his successors, vicars in this church, should have the usual house of the vicarage adjoining to the churchyard, with its appurtenances, to hold freely and exempt from all rent and secular service, and that they should take, in the name of their vicarage, all manner of oblations in the church of Faversham, and in all places whatsoever situated within the bounds, limits, or tithings of it, made or to be made upon any account whatsoever, and all manner of oblations, of whatever fort, made in the first mass of the thirteen householders, inhabiting certain tenement in the hamlet of Schelwych, either whilst they were living or on their deaths, of whatever sort they should be made, in the chapel of that hamlet annexed to this church, and made within the tithing of that parish; the names of which tenements were therein specifically named.
And that they should take in the name of their vicarage, all tithes of hay, wool, lambs, pigs, flax, hemp, apples, pears, pulse, cheese, milkmears, ducks, pidgeons, merchandizes, eggs, and of all mills then situated, or which might afterwards be, within the parish, and also of beans and other feeds planted in orchards and gardens, or of such sown or increasing elsewhere; and also that they should have in the name of their vicarage, from the master of the Maison Dieu for the time being, five shillings for the small tithes arising from the close and orchard of that house, situated within this parish, according to an agreement between the vicar of it and the master, but that the vicar and his successors should undergo, at his and their own expences and charge, the burthen of serving by themselves, or two fit priests in the divine services of this church, the burthen also of ministering bread and wine, two wax processionals, and other candles, which should be necessary for the celebrating of divine rights there, and also the finding of rushes, to strew the church with in summer, and the payment of tithes and other impositions, which might be laid on the church of England, at any time, or by any one, or which should be incumbent on the church of Faversham itself, for the taxation of ten pounds, but that the burthens of repairing and amen ling the chancel, both within and without, and the finding and repairing of books, vestments, and ornaments of the church, which ought, either by right or custom, to be found or repaired by the rectors of churches, and straw to strew the church with in winter time, and all other burthens, ordinary and extraordinary, incumbent on the church, not assingned above to the vicars of it; the religious should for ever undergo and acknowledge, &c. (fn. 34)
The abbot and convent of St. Augustine, as appropriators, were entitled to the tithes of a field on the north side of the church, which, as they had no way of carrying them off, but through the grounds of the abbey of Faversham, were of little or no profit to them: this bred continual disputes between them, till at laft, in the year 1293, an agreement, by the mediation of their mutual friends, was entered into, by which the abbot and convent of Faversham, granted licence to the abbot of St. Augustine, and his servants, to carry out, in the time of autumn, without any hindrance or impediment, the tithes of that field, through the gate of the abbot and convent of Faversham, which was on the north part of the field, until they should provide another fit and competent way for that purpose; nor should the abbot and convent of St. Augustine claim any right or property of going or returning through the said gate or way, when another was provided for them, but only free ingress and egress in the time of autumn, for the purpose above mentioned, as was therein expressed.
It appears by a dispute, which was litigated anno 1297, being the 26th of king Edward I. that the church of Sheldwich was then esteemed as a chapel, annexed and belonging to this church, and it continued so in the 21st year of Richard II.
The abbot and convent of St. Augustine having obtained from time to time many grants and extensive privileges from the see of Rome, among which was an exemption from all archiepiscopal authority, about the year 1295, ordained an institution of several new deanries, and apportioned the several churches belonging to their monastery to each of them, according to their vicinty; one of these was the deanry of Lenham, in which this church of Faversham was, among others, included. This proceeding raised great contests between the archbishops and abbots of St. Augustine, each appealing in his turn to the pope, who referred the settling of it to the abbot of Westminister, and others, who stripped the abbot of these exemptions, and he was declared by the pope's bull, to be subject to the archbishop's jurisdiction in all matter whatsoever, in like manner as before, which entirely dissolved the new deanries, and that of Lenham among them. (fn. 35)
In the year 1307, there was an agreement entered into between the abbots of St. Augustine and Faversham, concerning certain tithes and customs in this parish and elsewhere, by which it was agreed, that the former should receive out of the manor of the latter, with its appurtenances in Faversham, six marcs of annual rent, and the benefit of two cows feeding with their cows at Faversham, in manner as was therein expressed, and of seven heifers seeding with their's at the Blean, in like manner, and of six hogs, at the time of pannage, with their's in pannage yearly, and that they should receive seven carriage loads of brush faggots, each load drawn by two horses, in their wood of Blean yearly; all which, they acknowledge, the abbot and convent of St. Augustine had continually taken by the charter of Willam the Conqueror, which hav Blean yearly; all which, they acknowledge, the abbot and convent of St. Augustine had continually taken by the charter of William the Conqueror, which having inspected, they thereby ratisied and confirmed. And they further released all right and claim, which they then, or at any time afterwards might have, in the advowson of the parish church of Faversham, with its appurtenances, canonically appropriated to the religious of St. Augustine, who released and quit-claimed to the abbot and convent of Faversham, all the right and title which they then had, in the tithes arising from Melefeld and Suthfeld, and certain fields but newly asserted at Lamberislonde, viz. Eastrete, Westrete, Mucheseld, and le Coumbe, whenever, and as long as those lands should be cultivated in their own hands; saving nevertheless, and reserved to themselves the tithes arising from one acre and an half in Melfeld, and one acre in Suthfeld. which those of Faversham had purchased, and of the lands lately tilled, assarted and to be assarted, purchased already and those in future to be purchased, so that their privileges, if any such they had at that time, should not be diminished in any thing.
It appears that the scite of the vicarage was given to the church by queen Maud, after the death of one Helmide, a nun, by the description of an acre of land, for the building of an house in alms, close to the cemetery, between the church of St. Mary, and the chapel of St. Gregory. (fn. 36)
The abbots of St. Augustine were frequently cited by the several archbishops at their primary visitations, to shew cause why they were not present, to perform their obedience there, on account of the churches appropriated to their monastery; upon which the abbots produced the several bulls, charters, and instruments, which exempted them from it, with which the archbi shop being satisfied, granted to them letters of exemption from such appearance. (fn. 37)
Upon a survey of the possessions of St. Augustine's monastery, about this time, there appeared to belong to this church, thirty-three acres of glebe land, and that thirty-eight acres belonging to the abbey of Faversham paid tithes to that abbot and convent.
In the 8th year of Richard II. this church was valued at 36l. 13s. 4d. yearly income.
The church and vicarage of Faversham, after this (the chapel of St. James of Sheldwich being separated from it, and having before this become an independent parish church) remained in the same state, and parcel of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, till the final dissolution of it in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands.
After which the king, by his dotation-charter, settled both the church appropriate of Faversham, and the advowson of the vicarage, among other premises, on his new-founded dean and chapter of Canterbury, with whom the inheritance of the parsonage still remains, the present lessee of it being Mr. John Bax, of London, but the advowson of the vicarage the dean and chapter retain in their own hands, and are the present patrons of it.
King Henry VIII. in his 36th year, granted to Anthony St. Leger, among other premises, a barn with its appurtenances, formerly belonging to the rectory of Faversham, and all those tithes arising from and within the borough of Rode, to hold in capite by knight's service. In 1646 the lady Darel was lessee of this parsonage, at the yearly rent of 32l. 6s. 8d. and fifty pounds fine every seventh year.
The vicarage of Faversham is valued in the king's books at 38l. 18s. 3d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 13s. 9d. In 1578 the communicants here were eight hundred and forty five.
At the archbishop's visitation, anno 1630, it was returned, that there was a vicarage-house, and about forty rods of land about it, and an acre of pasture-ground.
In 1640 it was valued at one hundred pounds per annum, and in 1732, including the offerings at Easter, at the like sum. Communicants fifteen hundred.
Church of Faversham.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.||William Master, A. M. Aug. 30, 1605, resigned 1606. (fn. 38)|
|John Philips, A. M. instituted April 19, 1606, obt. 1640.|
|Thomas Hurt, S. T. B. Dec. 8, 1640, obt. 1642.|
|John Jeoffray. S. T. P. inducted February 27, 1642. sequest. 1643.|
|Nathaniel Wilmot, ejected 1662.|
|Francis Worral, A. M. Dec. 1, 1662, resigned 1665.|
|Giles Hinton, S. T. P. March 3, 1665, resigned.|
|John Gamlyne, A. M. obt. 1715. (fn. 39)|
|Shadrach Cooke, A. M. July 22, 1715, obt. 1724.|
|Henry Archer, S. T. P. April 2, 1724, obt. Feb. 16, 1744.|
|Richard Marsh, A. B. July 14, 1744, obt. Aug 31, 1778.|
|William Chafy, A. M. inducted Dec. 12, 1778, resig. 1780. (fn. 40)|
|Richard Halke, A. M. June 17, 1780, the present vicar.|