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 is an unfrequented and obscure place, situated in a wild and dreary country, near the summit of the chalk hills, just above Charing, its southern boundary. It lies on high ground, exceedingly bleak, and exposed to north and north-east winds. The land in it is in general a red cludgy earth, of very stiff tillage, very barren, wet and flinty, and the inhabitants, as well as the country, are equally poor. It has continued hill and dale in it, the greater part of it is coppice wood, which is mostly beech and oak, usually felled at sixteen and eighteen years growth, and even then from its sort, and its out of the way distance from markets, is not of any great worth; what village there is stands round Starchfield-green, lying near the summit of the hill, on the road to Charing, at the south-west part of the parish, the church in the opposite part of it, and the parsonage midway between them. Near the north-east boundary of the parish, next to Throwley, is an estate called Holborne, but its proper name is Holbean, belonging to St. Bartholomew's hospital, in London; it is said formerly to have belonged to the north chantry of this church of Starchfield.
THIS PLACE, at the time of the taking of the general survey of Domesday, in 1080, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus described in it:
The same Adam (de Port) holds of the bishop Stanefelle. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there is one carucate, and ten villeins, having two carucates.There is a church,and six servants,and two acres of meadow.Wood for the pannage of sixty hogs.In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth sixty shillings, and afterwards forty shillings,now one hundred shillings,Turgis held it of earl Godwin.
On the bishop of Baieux's disgrace, about four years afterwards, this, among the rest of his possessions, came into the hands of the crown, so that Adam de Port before-mentioned, became the king's immediate tenant of it, of whose heirs it was again held afterwards by Arnulf Kade, who gave this manor, with that of Ore and its appurtenances, to the knights hospitallers, and it was assigned by them to the jurisdiction of their preceptory at Swingfield.
This manor continued part of their possessions till the general dissolution of their hospital, in the 32d year of Henry VIII. After which this manor did not remain long in the hands of the crown, for the king, in his 36th year, granted it to Sir Anthony St. Leger and his heirs male, to hold in capite by knight's service, who by the act of the 2d and 3d of Edward VI. procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled. After which, Edward VI. in his 4th year, made a grant of this manor to him and his heirs, to hold by the like service. (fn. 1) He immediately afterwards passed it away by sale to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Bishopsborne, whose son Sir Anthony Aucher, about the beginning of king James I.'s reign, sold it to Salter, whose descendant Sir Nicholas Salter, possessed it at the restoration of Charles II. They bore for their arms, Gules, ten billets, four, three, two, and one, a bordure engrailed, argent, charged with sixteen burts and torteauxes, alternately. His son Nicholas Salter, esq. of Stoke Poges, in Buckinghamshire, died in the reign of king William and queen Mary, leaving one son John, who was of London, surgeon, and three daughters, towards the raising of whose portions, he by his will ordered this manor to be sold, which it accordingly was, in 1699, to Mr. Richard Webbe, of Eleham; he, in 1711, after some controversies at law for the possession of it, alienated all his right and title to it to the trustees, for the periormance of the will of dame Sarah Barrett, widow of Sir Paul Barrett, serjeant-at-law, who had died in the beginning of that year.
She was the only daughter and heir of Sir George Ent, M. D. of London, and president of the college of physicians, and widow of Francis Head, esq. eldest son of Sir Richard Head, bart. who died in his father's life-time. She had by her first husband one son, Sir Francis Head, bart. of and a daughter Sarah, married to John Lynch, esq. of Groves, father of John Lynch, D D. dean of Canterbury, who left issue Sir William Lynch, K. B. and John Lynch, LL. D. archdeacon and prebendary of Canterbury.
Lady Barrett, by the trusts of her will, devised this manor to her male issue by her first husband in tail male, remainder to the issue of Sarah her daughter by the same husband in like tail, remainder to her several daughters and their heirs in fee; by virtue of which limitation, her grandson Sir Francis Head, bart. at length succeeded to it, and son his death in 1768, without male issue, his next brother Sir John Head, bart. and archdeacon of Canterbury, became possessed of it, and died s. p. in 1769, leaving his widow lady Jane Head, sister of Dr. William Geekie, prebendary of Canterbury, surviving, on whom he had settled this manor in jointure; she died in 1780, on which the property of it, under the above will, became vested in lady Barrett's next heir male Sir William Lynch, K.B. of Grove, who was her great-grandson, being the eldest son of John Lynch, D. D. dean of Canterbury, the son of John Lynch, esq. by Sarah his wife, her daughter by Francis Head, esq. who, to bar all further remainders, with his brother Dr. John Lynch, suffered a recovery of this manor, and died in 1785, s. p. After which it was alienated to the Rev. Wanley Sawbridge, who dying unmarried and interstate in 1796, it came to his two nephews and heirs-at-law, Samuel-Elias and Wanley Sawbridge, esqrs. who are the present possessors of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
DARBIES-COURT, is a manor situated in the northwest part of this parish, which took its name from a family who resided at it, and were of the rank of gentlemen in very early times, for in the antient registers and rolls of Kentish gentry, their coat armour is thus described, Party, per chevron embattled, or, and azure, three eagles counterchanged. In the 20th year of king Edward III. Sara de Darbye paid aid for lands here, which William de Darbie and the heirs of Thomas Franklyn held before in Winsfield, of Reginald de Cornhill, by knight's service; and there is a hamlet and valley adjoining to Darbies-court, once part of it, called at this time Wingfield, and Wingfield valley. Of this family was John Darbie, who was alderman of London, and sheriff in 1445, anno 24 Henry VI. who built the south isle of St. Dionis Backchurch, in that city, and was otherwise a good benefactor to it; in memory of which, the above-mentioned coat of arms was put up in the windows of it. (fn. 2)
But the manor of Darbies court was alienated by one of that family, in the beginning of the reign of Henry IV. to Sir Ralph St. Leger, of Otterden, who died in the 10th year of that reign, leaving a daughter Joane, then the wife of Henry Aucher, esq. of Newenden, who entitled her husband to the possession of it. In whose descendants this manor continued till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was alienated to Sir Michael Sondes, then of Eastry, who was the second son of Sir Anthony Sondes, of Throwley, and on his elder brother Sir Thomas Sondes's death, in 1592, without male issue, succeeded him in his seat at Throwley, as well as the rest of his intailed estates in this county. He afterwards resided at Throwley, where he died in 1617, anno 16 James I. Since which this manor has descended, in like manner as Throwley and Lees-court, in Sheldwich, both which the reader will find described in the future part of this volume down to the right hon. Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes, the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
ROGER PAYNE, ESQ. late of Otterden, by his will in 1706, gave 20l. chargeable on his estate at Otterden, to poor housekeepers of this parish; which is placed out at interest at 4l. per cent. the yearly distribution of it being vested in the minister, churchwardens, and overseers.
The church, which stands near the centre of the parish, is dedicated to St. Mary. It is built in the form of a cross; the steeple stands in the middle of the south side. In the north wall of the north chancel is an antient tomb, with the effigies of a man in armour lying at length on it. In the east window are these coats of arms, Sable, a chevron gules, between three clothworkers handles, or; another, the coat broke, impaling, Quarterly, azure and argent, per fess indented, surmounted by a battune, or, and azure.
The church of Stalisfield belonged to the priory of St. Gregory, in Canterbury, perhaps part of its original endowment by archbishop Lansranc, in the reign of the Conqueror, and it was confirmed to it, among the rest of its possessions, by archbishop Hubert, about the reign of Richard I. (fn. 3)
In the 8th year of Richard II. it was become appropriated to the above-mentioned priory, and a vicarage endowed in it, the former being then valued at twelve pounds, and the latter at four pounds, on the taxation of them.
The church, with the advowson of the vicarage, remained part of the possessions of the priory till the dissolution of it in the reign of Henry VIII. when they came into the hands of the crown, where they remained but a small time, for an act passed that year to enable the king and the archbishop of Canterbury to exchange the scite of the late dissolved priory of St. Radigund, near Dover, with all its possessions, lately given by the king to the archbishop for the scite of the late dissolved priory of St. Gregory, and all its possessions, excepting the manor of Howfield, in Chartham.
This church becoming thus part of the revenues of the see of Canterbury, was demised by the archbishop, among the rest of the revenues of the priory, in one grands beneficial lease, in which, all advowsons and nominations of churches and chapels were excepted, and it has been continued under the same kind of demise from time to time ever since, renewable in like manner as such leases usually are.
Philip, earl of Chesterfield, was lessee of this parsonage as part of the above premises, as heir to the Wottons, after whose death in 1773, the lease was sold by his executors to George Gipps, esq. of Canterbury, who is the present lessee under the archbishop for the parsonage of Stalisfield, among the rest of the possessions of the priory of St. Gregory, but SamuelElias and Wanley Sawbridge, esqrs. as heirs of their uncle the Rev. Wanley Sawbridge, late vicar of this parish, are the occupiers of it, at a yearly reserved rent under him. The parsonage consists of a house, buildings, yard, and small orchard, ninety-four acres of land, and nine acres of wood, let together with the tithes of corn, at 75l. per annum; besides which, there are sixteen acres of woodland more in the hands of the lessee of the parsonage, worth 3l. 10s. per annum. It pays 7s. 6d. procurations to the archdeacon, and 6s. 4d. to the archbishop at his visitations.
The vicarage of this church appears to have been endowed before the 8th of Richard II. by the taxation then made of it. It is valued in the king's books at 5l. 6s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 10s. 8d. and is now of the yearly certified value of 33l. 18s. 3d. In 1587 there were sixty-one communicants here. In 1640 it was valued at only 35l. and the communicants were the like number.
Archbishop Juxon, by indenture anno 13 king Charles II. and by another anno 28 of that reign, augmented it with 25l. per annum, to be paid by the lessee of the great tithes. The archbishop continues patron of this vicarage.
THERE WAS a portion of tithes in this parish, of the value of ten shillings, which was given soon after the conquest to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, by Humphry Canute; and this gift was afterwards confirmed by D. de Monci, his descendant, to be holden in like manner as the same was held of his ancestors; and it was likewise confirmed to it by the archbishops Richard, Baldwin, and Hubert. (fn. 4)
Church of Stalisfield.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop||Henry West, A. B. Jan. 2, 1597, ob. 1629.|
|Phineas Cosby, A. M. Dec. 30, 1629, resigned 1641.|
|Robert Trott, A. M. August 13, 1644, ob. 1664.|
|Thomas Conway, A. M. April 28, 1665, ob. 1691.|
|Joseph Lupton, A. M. Aug 4, 1691, ob. 1692.|
|John Symonds, A. M. Feb. 16, 1692, obt. Feb. 21, 1748. (fn. 5)|
|Benjamin Dawney, July 8, 1748, obt. Oct. 23 1778.|
|Warley Sawbridge, A. M. March 16, 1780, obt. July 5, 1796. (fn. 6)|
|Thomas Lamprey, A. M. 1796, the present vicar. (fn. 7)|