The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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THE HUNDRED OF TENTERDEN.
THIS hundred contains within its bounds THE TOWN AND PARISH OF Tenterden, and part of the parish of Ebeney, containing the borough of Reading, the church of which is in another hundred.
This hundred was antiently accounted one of the Seven Hundreds, and was within the jurisdiction of the justices of the country, from which it was separated by Henry VI. who, on account of the impoverishment of the port and town of Rye, in Sussex, by his letters patent, in his 27th year, incorporated the town and hundred of Tenterden, by the name of the bailiff and commonaltie of the town and hundred of Tenterden, and granted that the same should be a member annexed and united to that town and port, and separated from the county of Kent, and that the bailiff and commonalty of this town and hundred should have for ever, on their contributing to the burthens and exigencies of that port and town from time to time, (fn. 1) many franchises, privileges, and freedoms, and all other liberties, freedoms, and free customs which the barons of the five ports had before that time enjoyed. In which state this town and hundred remained till the 42d year of queen Elizabeth's reign, when the name of their incorporation was changed to that of the mayor, jurats, and commonalty of the town and hundred of Tenterden, by which it continues to be governed at this time.
THE CORPORATION consists of a mayor, twelve jurats, and as many common-councilmen, a chamberlain, and town clerk; the jurisdiction of it being exclusive from the justices of the county. The mayor is chosen yearly on August 29. The election used to be in the town-hall; but that being burnt down by some prisoners in the prison-room over it, it was afterwards made under one of the great old oaks, which are not far from the place, on the other side of the street, where it stood. A neat and elegant hall was finished in 1792, adjoining the Woolpack Inn, in which the mayor has been elected as heretofore, and it is occasionally used as an assembly room by the inhabitants. The mayor is coroner of both the town and hundred; there is no sheriff; the commoners must be resciants, and are chosen by the mayor and two of the jurats; the jurats are all justices of the peace. They hold sessions of oyer and terminer, but cannot try treason. At the sessions holden at Tenterden, August 10, 1785, two men were convicted of burglary, and executed near Gallows-green the 27th following. Both the charters of this corporation being destroyed by the fire of the court-hall in 1660, an exemplification of them was procured anno 12 George III.
The liberty of the court of the bailiwic of the Seven Hundreds, claimed a paramount jurisdiction over this hundred, till the incorporation of the town of Tenterden, and the annexing this hundred to it in the reign of Henry VI. since which the mayor and jurats have been lords of the royalty of it, and continue so at this time.
The parish is divided into six boroughs, each having a borsholder chosen yearly, these are Town Borough, Castweasle, Boresile, Shrubcote, Dumborne, which includes all Smallhyth, and Reading, which is wholly in the parish of Ebene.
THE PARISH of Tenterden lies too near the marshes to be either healthy or pleasant, excepting that part where the town is situated near the northern boundaries of it, on what may be called for this country, high ground; it is about five miles across each way. The soil of it is various, the northern part being sand, towards the east it is a wet stiff clay, and towards the south and west towards the marshes a deep rich mould. The generality of the lands in it are pasture, but there are about one hundred acres of hop-ground dispersed in different parts of it; there is very little wood, and that mostly between the town and Smallhyth, a hamlet formerly of much more consequence, as will be further mentioned hereafter, situated at the southern boundary of it, on the road into the Isle of Oxney, close to the river Rother, which separates that part of this parish from the island. About a mile and a half eastward is the hamlet of Reading-street, built adjoining the high road to Apledore, close to the marshes below it, on the passage over the Rother into Ebeney, and the Isle of Oxney.
On Saturday, Nov. 1, 1755, between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon (being at the same time that the great bason at Portsmouth was disturbed) several ponds in this parish and neighbourhood, without any sensible motion of the earth, were greatly agitated, the water of them being forced up the banks with great violence, fretting and foaming with a noise similar to the coming in of the tide, so as to terrify many who were near them; some of these waters flowed up three times in this manner, others circled round into eddies, absorbing leaves, sticks, &c. and it was observed that only those ponds were affected, that had springs to supply the waters of them.
THE TOWN OF TENTERDEN is situated nearly in the centre of the parish and hundred. It stands on high ground, neither unpleasant nor unhealthy; the greatest part of it is built on each side of the high road leading from the western parts of Kent and Cranbrooke through this parish south-east to Apledore. A small part of it is paved, where there is a small antient market-place, built of timber; but the market, which is still held on a Friday, is but little frequented, only two millers, and seldom any butchers attending it. It is a well-built town, having many genteel houses, or rather seats, interspersed throughout it, among which are those of the Curteis's, a numerous and opulent family here, who bear for their arms, Argent, a chevron between three bulls heads, caboshed; (fn. 2) the Haffendens, who have been long resident here, and in Smarden and Halden, in this neighbourhood. Bugglesden, in the north part of Boresile borough, in this parish, was very antiently, and till within these few years, their property and residence. Richard Haffenden now resides in a new house, built by his father, called Homewood, at the west end of this town, and in the south part of Boresile borough. They bear for their arms, Chequy, sable and argent, on a bend, sable, three mullets, or; the Staces, who have been resident here from the beginning of the last century, as appears by their wills in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury, in several of which they are stiled gentlemen; the Blackmores, possessed of Westwell house, a handsome seat at the south east end of the town, built by James Blackmore, esq. in 1711, one of whose descendants afterwards becoming possessed by gift of the seat of Briggins, in Hertfordshire, removed thither, where they have continued ever since, and this of Westwell-house is now occupied by Mr. James Blackmore, the uncle of Thomas Blackmore, esq. of Briggins, who died possessed of it in 1789, having been thrice married. He left by his two first wives three sons and two daughters; his third. wife Anne, daughter of Mr. Tatnall, of Theobalds, now survives him. They bear for their arms, Argent, a fess between three balckmoors heads sideways, couped at the neck, sable; and several others, most of whose wealth, as well as that of the inhabitants of this town in general, has arisen from its near neighbourhood to Romneymarsh, where most of them have some occupation in the grazing business.
The church stands on the north side of the town, which, with the rest of the parish, consists of about three hundred houses, and two thousand inhabitants, of which about five hundred are diffenters, who have two meeting-houses here, one of Presbyterians, the other of Methodistical Baptists.
At the east end of the town is Craythorne-house, which formerly belonged to the Bargraves, and then to the Marshalls, who sold it to the late Mr. John Sawyer, who built a new house here, in which he afterwards resided, and his assigns now possess it. A branch of the family of Whitfield had once their residence in a large house at the east end likewise of this town. John Whitfield resided here, as did his son Herbert, who died in 1622; they were descended from an antient family in Northumberland, and bore for their arms, Argent, on a bend, plain, between two cotizes, ingrailed sable, a mullet, or. At length the heirs of Sir Herbert Whitfield, sold this seat to Wil liam Austen, esq. of Hernden, in this parish. Sir Robert Austen, bart. the last of that name, resided in it, and it now belongs to his heirs, and is made use of as a boarding school for young ladies.
There is a large fair held in this town on the first Monday in May yearly, for cattle, wool, merchandize, and shop goods of all sorts, to which there is a great resort from all the neighbouring country. Most of the road, leading from the town to Smallhyth, particularly the upper part of it, known by the name of Broad Tenterden, is said to have been lined with buildings on each side, and to have been the most populous part of the parish.
THERE ARE several places in this parish worthy notice, the first of them is HALES-PLACE, at the northwest end of this town, which was for many generations the residence of a branch of the family of Hales, who removed hither from their original seat, of the same name, in the adjoining parish of Halden. Henry Hales, who lived in the reign of Henry VI. was born here, and married Juhan, daughter and heir of Richard Capel, of Tenterden, by which he greatly increased his estate in this parish. He had by her two sons, of whom John Hales, the eldest, was of the Dungeon, in Canterbury, esq. and was one of the barons of the exchequer. He had four sons, Sir James Hales, one of the justices of the common pleas, who was of the Dungeon, where his descendants continued many generations afterwards; Thomas, who was seated at Thanington, whose descendant Robert was created a baronet in 1666, and was ancestor of the present Su Philip Hales, bart. Edward, the third son, inherited this seat and his father's possessions in this parish; and William, the fourth son, was of Recolver and Nackington, in this county. Edward Hales, esq. the third son, who inherited this seat and estate at Tenterden, resided at it, and left a son Sir Edward Hales, who was created a baronet on the 29th of June, 1611. He removed his residence from hence to the neighbouring parish of Woodchurch, in which parish he possessed the antient seat of the Herlackendens, in right of his wife Deborah, only daughter and heir of Martin Herlackenden, esq. of that place. His son Sir John Hales, having married Christian, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir James Cromer, of Tunstal, became possessed of the antient seat of the Cromers in that parish, where he resided, and died in his father's life-time, in 1639, whose son Edward Hales succeeded to the title of baronet on his grandfather's death, in 1654 whose heir he was, and resided at Tunstal. His son Sir Edward Hales, bart. having purchased the mansion of St. Stephen's, near Canterbury, resided there, as his descendants have ever since; and from him this seat and estate at Tenterden at length descended down to his great-grandson Sir Edward Hales, bart. now of St. Stephen's, who about forty-eight years ago pulled down the greatest part of this antient seat, and fitted up a smaller dwelling or farm-house on the scite of it, which, together with the antient offices or out-buildings of the mansion still remaining, continues part of his possessions.
HERNDEN, formerly spelt Heronden, was once an estate of considerable size in this parish, though it has been long since split into different parcels. The whole of it once belonged to a family of the name of Heronden, whose arms, as appears by the antient ordinaries in the Heralds-office, were, Argent, a heron volant, azure. At length one part of this estate was alienated by one of this family to Sir John Baker, of Sissinghurst, whose descendant Sir John Baker, knight and baronet, died possessed of it in 1661; but the capital mansion and other principal parts of it remained some time longer in the name of Heronden, one of whom, in the reign of Charles I. alienated some part of it, now called Little Hernden, to Short, a family whose ancestors had resided at Tenterden for some time. In the Heraldic Visitation of this county, anno 1619, is a pedigree of this family, beginning with Peter Short, of Tenterden, who lived in the reign of Henry VIII. They bore for their arms, Azure, a griffin passant, between three estoiles, or. At length one of them sold this part of it to Curteis, whose grandson Mr. Samuel Curteis is now in the possession of it. But the remainder of Hernden, in which was included the principal mansion, situated about a quarter of a mile southward of the town, was at the same time conveyed by sale to Mr. John Austen, the second son of William Austen, esq. of this parish, and elder brother of Robert, created a baronet anno 1660. He afterwards resided here, and dying in 1655, s. p. gave it by will to his nephew Robert Austen, esq. the second son of Sir Robert above-mentioned, by his second wife. He afterwards resided here, and had two sons, Robert and Ralph; the eldest of whom, Robert Austen, esq. resided here, and left three sons, William, of whom hereafter, and Edward and Robert, both of whom afterwards succeeded to the title of baronet. William Austen, esq. the eldest son, inherited Hernden, and in 1729, suffered a recovery of this, as well as all other the Kentish estates comprised in his grandfather's settlement of them, to the use of him and his heirs. He died in 1742, and by will devised it to Mr. Richard Righton, who afterwards resided here, and died possessed of it in 1772, and was buried, as was his wife afterwards, under a tomb on the south side of the church-yard; upon which it came into the hands of his son Benjamin Righton, esq. of Knightsbridge, who in 1782 conveyed Hernden, a farm called Pixhill, and other lands in this parish and Rolvenden, to Mr. Jeremiah Curteis, gent. of Rye, in Sussex, who finding this antient mansion, which seems, by a date remaining on it, to have been built in the year 1585, being the 28th of queen Elizabeth's reign, in a ruinous condition, pulled it down; but the scite of it, together with the lands belonging to it, still remain in his possession.
PITLESDEN, or Pittelesden, as it was antiently spelt, is situated near the west end of this town. It was once a seat of some note, being the residence of a family of that name, who bore for their arms, Sable, a fess, between three pelicans, or, in whose possession it continued till Stephen Pitlesden, (fn. 3) about the reign of Henry VI. leaving an only daughter and heir Julian, she carried it in marriage to Edward Guldeford, esq. of Halden, whose descendant Sir Edward Guldeford, warden of the five ports, leaving an only daughter and heir Jane, she entitled her husband Sir John Dudley, afterwards created Duke of Northumberland, to the possession of this manor, and they, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. joined in the conveyance of it to Sir Thomas Cromwell, lord Cromwell, afterwards created Earl of Essex, who passed it away by sale to that king, and it remained in the hands of the crown till king Edward VI. in his 7th year, granted it, with the pend of water, wear and fishery, with the dove-house belonging to it, and all its appurtenances, to Sir John Baker, one of the privy council, to hold in capite by knight's service, in whose family it continued till Sir John Baker, bart. of Sissinghurst, in the reign of king Charles I. conveyed it by sale to Mr. Jasper Clayton, mercer, of London. At length, after some intermediate owners, it came into the possession of Mr. William Blackmore, gent. of this place, who at his death devised it to his daughter Sarah, who entitled her husband Mr. John Crumpe, of Frittenden, to the possession of it for her life, but the remainder, on her death, is vested in her brother Mr. Thomas Blackmore, gent. now of Tenterden.
LIGHTS, formerly called Lights Notinden, is a small manor here, which together with another called East Asherinden, the name of which is now almost forgotten, though there was a family of this name of Asherinden, or Ashenden, as it was afterwards spelt, who were resident in this parish, and were, as appears by their wills, possessed of lands here called Ashenden, so late as the year 1595. These manors belonged partly to a chantry founded in this parish, and partly to the manor of Brooke, near Wye, which was part of the possessions of the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury; in which state they continued till the reign of Henry VIII. when, on the suppression both of that priory and of the chantry likewise, they were granted by that king to Sir John Baker, his attorneygeneral, whose descendant Sir John Baker, of Sissinghurst, knight and baronet, died possessed of them in 1661. How long they continued in his descendants, I do not find; but the former is now-become the property of Mr. William Mantell, and the latter belongs to Mr. William Children, who has lately built a house on it, in which he resides.
FINCHDEN is a seat here, situated on the denne of Leigh, at Leigh-green, which was formerly in the possession of a family, who were ancestors of the Finch's, whose posterity still continued till very lately in the possession of it. They were antiently called Finchden, from their seat here; one of them, William de Fyncheden, was chief justice of the king's bench in the 45th year of the reign of Edward III. (fn. 4) though his name in some old law books, which appear to be of that time, is written contractedly Finch, which probably was the original name, though I do not find any connection between this family and the descendants of Vincent Herbert, alias Finch, seated at Eastwell and elsewhere in this county; excepting that they hear the same coat of arms. In later times I find William Finch, gent. of this place, died possessed of it in 1637, and in his direct descendants this seat continued down to Mr. William Finch, gent. who resided in it, and died possessed of it in 1794, s. p. leaving his brother Mr. Richard Finch, of Tenterden, his next heir.
ELARDINDEN is an estate, which was formerly of some account here, and is parcel of the manor of Frid, or Frith, in Bethersden. It was antiently part of the possessions of the noble family of Mayney. Sir John de Mayney, of Biddenden, died possessed of it in the 50th year of Edward III. and in his descendants it continued till the reign of Henry VI. when it was alienated by one of them to William Darell, esq. whose descendant George Darell, esq. conveyed it by sale in the 17th year of king Henry VIII. to Sir John Hales, of the Dungeon, in Canterbury, one of the barons of the exchequer, who gave it to his third son Edward Hales, esq. of Tenterden, in whose descendants it has continued down to Sir Edward Hales of St. Stephens, near Canterbury, the present possessor of it.
THE MANORS OF GODDEN AND MORGIEU are situated in the south-west part of this parish. The former of them was once in the possession of a family of that name, one of whom, Roger de Godden, paid aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. as one knight's fee, which he held here of Stephen de la Hey. Soon after which it seems to have passed into the possession of the family of Aucher. How long it continued in this name I have not seen; but in the 36th year of Henry VI. the executors of Walter Shiryngton, clerk, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, having founded a chantry in the chapel near the north door of St. Paul's cathedral, London, which, from the founder, bore the name of Shiryngton's chantry, they purchased both these manors towards the endow ment of it. (fn. 5) These manors remained part of this foundation till the suppression of it, in the 1st year of Edward VI.when coming into the hands of the crown, they were granted by the king, the year afterwards, to Sir Miles Partridge, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he sold them, in the 6th year of that reign, to Thomas Argal; and from his descendant they passed into the possession of Sir John Colepeper, afterwards created lord Colepeper, who died possessed of them in 1660; upon which they came to his second son John, who on his elder brother's death without male issue, succeeded to the title of Lord Colepeper, and dying in 1719 without issue, bequeathed these manors to his wife Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Colepeper, of Hollingborne, who by will devised them to her nephew John Spencer Colepeper, esq. of the Charter-house, being the last of the vast possessions of the different branches of this family dispersed over this whole county. He, in 1781, alienated them to Mr. Richard Curteis, of Tenterden, the present possessor of them.
KENCHILL is a seat in this parish, which was formerly the property of the family of Guldeford, one of whom, Sir Richard Guldeford, knight-banneret, and of the garter, possessed it in the reign of Henry VIII. His son Sir Edward Guldeford, warden of the five ports, leaving an only daughter Jane, she carried it in marriage to Sir John Dudley, afterwards duke of Northumberland, and he, about the 30th year of king Henry VIII.'s reign, conveyed it to that king, who, in his 36th year, granted it to Thomas Argal, to hold in capite by knight's service, on whole decease his son Thomas Argal had possession granted of it, in the 6th year of queen Elizabeth. At length, after some intermediate owners, it came into the possession of Robert Clarkson, esq. of London, who sold it in 1687 to Mr. John Mantell, grazier, of Tenterden, who was one of the instances of the quick accumlation of riches from Romney-marsh; for in fourteen year she had acquired sufficient to become the purchaser of this and other estates, which rented at 800l. per annum. He devised Kenchill by will, together with the manor of East Asherinden, already mentioned before, Dumborne, and other lands in this parish, to his son Reginald, who died possessed of them in 1743, and lies buried in this church-yard. They bear for their arms, Argent, a cross between four martlets, sable, as borne by the family of Horton Monks, excepting, that the latter bore the cross engrailed; and leaving no issue, he gave them to his nephew Mr. Edward Mantell, of Mersham, who left several sons and daughters, who afterwards joined in the sale of their respective interests in them to Mr. William Mantell, the then elder brother; by which means he became entitled to the entire see of Kenchill, with the manor of East Asherinden, and resided at the former of them. He married Anne Marshall, of Mersham, and died in 1789, leaving issue several children. The Rev. Mr. Thomas Mantell, the younger brother, re-purchased Dumborne, of which he is now possessed, having married in 1788 Miss S. Horne, by whom he has one daughter.
THE HAMLET OF SMALLHYTH, commonly called Smallit, is situated somewhat more than three miles from the town of Tenterden, at the southern boundary of this parish, close to the old channel of the river Rother, over which there is a passage from it into the Isle of Oxney. The inhabitants were formerly, by report, very numerous, and this place of much more consequence than at present, from the expressions frequently made use of in old writings of those infra oppidum and intra oppidum de Smallhyth; the prevalent opinion being, that the buildings once extended towards Bullen westward; no proof of which, however, can be brought from the present state of it, as there remain only three or four straggling farm-houses on either side, and a few cottages in the street near the chapel. The sea came up to this place so lately as the year 1509, as is evident by the power then given of burying in this chapel-yard the bodies of those who were cast by shipwreck on the shore of the sea infra predictum oppidum de Smalhyth; which are the very words of the faculty granted for that purpose.
At this place A CHAPEL was built, and was soon afterwards licensed by faculty from archbishop Warham, anno 1509, on the petition of the inhabitants, on account of the distance from their parish church of Tenterden, the badness of the roads, and the dangers they underwent from the waters being out in their way thither; and was dedicated to St. John Baptist. The words of it are very remarkable: And we William, archbishop aforesaid, of the infinite mercy of Almighty God, and by the authority of St. Peter and St. Paul the apostles, and also of our patrons St. Alphage and St. Thomas, remit, &c.
Divine service still continues to be performed in this chapel, which is repaired and maintained, and the salary of the chaplain paid out of the rents of lands in this parish and Wittersham, which are vested in trustees; who pay him the annual produce of them, the rents of them being at this time 52l. 10s. per annum, though it is set down in Bacon's Liber Regis, as only of the clear yearly certified value of forty five pounds. The present curate is Thomas Morphett, appointed in 1773.
JOHN WOOD, by will in 1560, gave an annuity of 40s. per annum, out of certain lands in Tenterden, now belonging to Sir Edward Hales, bart. payable to the churchwardens, towards the repair of the church; which gift is confirmed by a decree of the court of chancery; the lands being in the occupation of Richard Farby.
LADY JANE MAYNARD GAVE by will in 1660, thirty acres of land in Snave and Rucking, let at 24l. per annum, for putting out poor children apprentices, whose fathers are dead or otherwise disabled by sickness; the overplus to be given to poor, honest and aged widows of this parish, that have not been nor are likely to become chargeable to it.
MR. ANNE SHELTON, widow, by will in 1674, gave nine acres of land in Brookland and Brenset, now let at twelve guineas per annum, to the vicar and churchwardens to put out one or more children, born in Tenterden, apprentices to some honest handicrast trade.
DAME FRANCES NORTON, widow, sister of Judith, wife of Robert Austen the elder, of Heronden, esq. gave by deed in 1719, an estate, of 35l. per annum, in Hollingborne, for the joint benefit in equal moieties of this parish and Hollingborne. Since which, by a commission of charitable uses, in 1748 a farm of 15l. per annum, in Hucking, has been purchased and added to it; the division of the profits of which between them, and the application of them, has been already fully related under the description of the parish of Hollingborne, in the fifth volume of this history, p. 473.
AN ANCESTOR of the family of Heyman, of Somerfield, many years since founded the free school in this town, for teaching the Latin tongue gratis, to so many poor children of this parish as the mayor and jurats should think proper, who are trustees of it, and appoint the master; but at present there are no children on this foundation.
WILLAIM MARSHALL, clerk, about the year 1521, gave 10l. per ann. to be paid the master of this school, out of a messuage and twelve acres of land, in this parish, now belonging to Sir Edward Hales, bart. which was confirmed by a decree in the Exchequer, anno 4 queen Anne, and then in the occupation of Thomas Scoone.
JOHN MANTELL,gent in 1702, gave 200l. which was laid out in the purchasing of a piece of fresh marsh land, containing ten acres, in St. Maries, let at 10l. per annum, to be paid to the master of this school.
The south chancel of the church is appropriated to the use of this school.
TENTERDEN is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Charing.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mildred, is a large handsome building, consisting of two isles and three chancels, having a lofty well-built tower at the west end, which standing on high ground is seen from the country for many miles around it. There are eight bells in it, and a set of musical chimes. The two isles and chancels are all ceiled; the north isle is curiously ceiled with oak and ornamented. There are three galleries in the church. On the front of the steeple are the arms of St. Augustine's monastery, and likewise on a beam over the altar. In the north window a coat, Two chevrons, gules, on a canton, gules, a lion passant, or. In the south window, at the bottom, Or, a saltier, between four mullets, sable; and another, Gules, a bend sinister azure, fretted argent. The monuments and gravestones in this church, as well as the tomb-stones in the church-yard, are so numerous as to be far beyond the limits of this volume. Among them are those belonging to the families of the Austens, Curteis's, Blackmores, Haffendens, and other families mentioned before, as the modern possessors of estates and manors in this parish.
Thomas Petlesden, esq. by will in 1462, appears to have been buried in the chancel of St. Catherine, and gave one hundred marcs to the steeple here, to be paid out of his land, &c. as long as it was a werking. (fn. 6)
Till within these few years there hung a beacon, (a very singular instance remaining of one) over on the top of this steeple. It was a sort of iren kettle, holding about a gallon, with a ring or hoop of the same metal round the upper part of it, to hold still more coals, rosin, &c. It was hung at the end of a piece of timber, about eight feet long. The vanes on the four pinnacles were placed there in 1682. There was formerly a noted dropping stone, in the arch of the door-way going into the bell-lost, which has ceased to drop for many years. By the dropping of it, part of a stone, or two stones rather, were carried off, leaving a considerable rist or hollow where the stones were joined. Upon the water drying in 1720, where it fell underneath, the stone hardened and grew slippery, being probably of the nature of the stelastical water in the Peak of Derbyshire, at Poolshole.
There is a noted saying, that Tenterden steeple was the cause of the Goodwin Sands—which is thus accounted for: Goodwin, earl of Kent, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, was owner of much flat land in the eastern part of it, near the isle of Thanet, which was desended from the sea by a great wall, which lands afterwards became part of the possessions of the abbot of St. Augustine's, near Canterbury still retaining the name of Goodwin, their former owner; and the abbot being at the same time owner of the rectory of Tenterden, the steeple of which church he had then began building, had employed during the course of it so much of his care and attention to the finishing of that work, that he neglected the care and preservation of that wall, insomuch, that on Nov. 3, 1099, the sea broke over and ruined it, drowning the lands within it, and overwhelming it with a light sand, still remaining on them, the place retaining to this time the name of the Goodwin Sands, and becoming dreadful and dangerous to navigators. Thus this steeple is said to be the cause of the Goodwin Sands. This is the common tradition; how far consistent with truth, so far as relates to these sands, will be taken notice of in its proper place. (fn. 7)
THE CHURCH of Tenterden was part of the antient possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, to which it was appropriated in 1259, on condition of a proper portion being assigned for the maintenance of a perpetual vicar of it; and the official of the archbishop, on an inquisition concerning this vicarage, made his return that it then consisted in all tithes, obventions, and oblations belonging to the church; except the tithes of sheaves, corn, and hay, of which latter the vicar should receive yearly four loads from the abbot and convent, and that it was then valued at eighteen marcs and more per annum.
The abbot of St. Augustine took upon himself, about the year 1295, to constitute several new deanries, and apportioned the several churches belonging to his monastery to each of them, according to their vicinity; one of these was the deanry of Lenham, in which this church of Tenterden was included, but this raising great contests between the archbishops and them, it ended in stripping the abbot of these exemptions, and he was by the pope declared to be subject to the archbishop's jurisdiction in all matters whatsoever, which entirely dissolved these new deanries. (fn. 8)
This church had a manor antiently appendant to it, and on a quo warranto in the iter of H. de Stanton, and his sociates, justices itinerant, anno 7 Edward II. the abbot was allowed year and waste, and cattle called weif, in his manor of Tentwardenne among others; and those liberties, with all others belonging to the abbot and convent, were confirmed by letters of inspeximus by Edward III. in his 36th year, and likewise the additional privilege of the chattels of their own tenants condemned and sugitive, within their manor here.
In which state this church continued till the general suppression of religious houses, when it came with the rest of the possessions of the abbey of St. Augustine, anno 30 Henry VIII. into the hands of the crown, after which the king, by his dotation charter in his 33d year, settled both the church appropriate of Tenterden, with the manor appendant and all its rights and appurtenances, 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 remains. After the death of Charles I. on the dissolution of deans and chapters, this parsonage was surveyed in order for sale; when it appears to have consisted of one great barn, newly erected, on a close of pasture of five acres; together with all the tithes of corn within the parish; and several rents, out of lands and tenements in Tenterden, amounting to 26s. 8d. taken in right of the parsonage, which had been let in 1640 to Sir Edward Hales, at the yearly rent of 20l. 6s. 8d. but that they were worth over and above that rent seventy-eight pounds. That the lessee was bound to repair the premises, and the chancel of the church, and provide for the dean and officers, or pay the sum of 33s. 4d. The present lessee of it is Sir Edward Hales, bart. of St. Stephens, but the advowson of the vicarage the dean and chapter retain in their own hands.
In 1259 this vicarage was valued at thirty marcs, and in 1342 at forty-five marcs. It is valued in the king's books at 33l. 12s. 11d.and the yearly tenths at 3l. 7s. 3½d. In 1588 there were communicants five hundred and eighty-six. In 1640 it was valued at 120l. per annum. Communicants six hundred. It is now double that value.
There is a modus claimed throughout the parish, in the room of small tithes.
Church of Tenterden.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.||George Elye, alias Heely, April 26, 1571, obt. 1615.|
|John Sympson, S. T. P. Jan. 16, 1615, resigned 1619.|
|Walter Pargiter, A. M. July 5, 1619,obt.1626.|
|Isaac Bargrave, S. T. P. Jan. 30, 1626, resigned 1727. (fn. 9)|
|Richard Seliard, A. M. April 16, 1627.|
|John Gee, obt. 1639. (fn. 10)|
|Humphry Peake, S. T. P. Oct. 18, 1639. (fn. 11)|
|Barnes, in 1649. (fn. 12)|
|George Haws, ejected in 1662. (fn. 13)|
|Nathaniel Collington, A.M. Nov. 7, 1662, obt. 1682.|
|Jonathan Maud, A. M. Feb. 27, 1682, obt. 1709.|
|Robert Turner, A. M. Dec. 6, 1709, obt. 1723.|
|Theophilus Delangle, July 31, 1723, obt. June 29, 1763. (fn. 14)|
|Mathew Wallis, A. M. Dec. 1763, obt. Nov. 1771.|
|William Taswell, A.M. Nov. 1771, vacated the same year. (fn. 15)|
|Joseph Mathew, July 10, 1772, obt. 1796.|
|John Luxmore, D.D. April 28, 1796, the present vicar. (fn. 16)|