The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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THE PARISH lies in a healthy country, great part of it being in the fertile Ashford vale; the fine pasture down hills of Wye and Braborne bound the eastern side of it, as does another range of hills on the opposite side, the tops of which are skirted by the large extent of woodland, called King's and Challock woods, over which, for near two miles, this parish reaches westward almost to the church and village of Molash. It contains about two hundred and thirteen houses, and fourteen hundred inhabitants; the rents of it are about 4500l. per annum. The soil of it is various, the hills above mentioned, as well as the vale between in the northern part of it, are mostly chalk; the rest of it a red cludgy earth, much intermixed with slints, a wet unpleasant soil; the meadows near the river are very sertile and rich. The town of Wye, in which the fine tower of the church is a conspicuous object, stands in the vale on the river Stour, which directs its course throught the parish in its way to Canterbury; over it here is a stone bridge of five arches, built in 1630, in the room of the former wooden one, at the charge of the county; the river is plentifully stowed hereabouts with pikes. The town, which stands low and damp, and from that and its soil an unpleasant situation, is a neat well-built town, consisting of two parallel and two cross streets, the whole unpaved. There is a large green in it, built round, on one side of which is the church and college close to it, and on the other a house, which was once the gaol to the manor-court, but long since disused.
There is a tradition, that the town once stood in the valley, which lies between Wye-down and Crundal, where the hamlet of Pett-street now is, about which there are still remaining several deep disused wells, and this place is still called Town borough, where as that in which Wye town stands is called Bewbridge-borough. About half a mile westward from the town is a pleasant seat, called Spring-grove, built by Thomas Brett, esq. of this parish, in 1674, who afterwards resided in it.
This family of Brett resided at the adjoining parish of Kennington, before they removed to Wye parish, and bore for their arms, Or, a lion rampant, gules, between six cross croslet, sable; the first of them mentioned here being Gregory Brett, who died in 1541, and with his descendants to the present time, lies buried in a vault in the middle isle of this church, over which there is a stone, with the descent of them to the present time. One of them, Thomas, of Spring-grove, was LL. D. a very learned divine, who had the rectories of Betshanger and Rucking, both which he resigned in 1714, his conscience not permitting him to take the oaths then imposed by government. He died in 1743, having had by Bridget his wife, daughter of Sir Nicholas Toke, of Chart, tweleve children, of whom only one son and two daughters survived. The son Nicholas Brett, clerk, died in 1776, having married Rebecca, daughter and coheir of William Brandon, by whom he had two sons Thomas and Nicholas, and a daughter Rebecca. Thomas Brett, esq. the eldest son, succeeded at length to this seat. He married the daughter of Thomas Kynaston, esq. of the Grove, in Wythiam, and is the present owner of Spring-grove, at which he resides.
The south part of the parish below the town, is full of small inclosures, and the soil deeper. In it is a hamlet, called Withersden, formerly accounted a manor, in which there is a well, which was once famous, being called St. Eustace's well, taking its name from Eustachius, abbot of Flai, who is mentioned by Matt. Paris, p. 169, an. 1200, to have been a man of learning and sanctity, and to have come and preached at Wye, and to have blessed a fountain there, so that afterwards its waters were endowed, by such miraculous power, that by it all diseases were cured. Hence the parish extends itself further southward by a narrow slip, between Brook and Braborne, to Nacolt-wood, once reputed likewise a manor, and the tile-kiln of that name.
Almost one half of the parish now belongs to Mr. Sawbridge, his estate here being greatly increased by his father's late purchase of the estates of Bond Hopkins, esq. which consist of Wye-court, Harvile, Coldharbour, Wye-downs, and Nacolt, in this parish; they formerly, I conjecture, belonged to Wye college, and afterwards to the Kempes; they were bought in chancery by John Hopkins. esq. commonly called from his rapacity, Vulture Hopkins, who died immensely rich in 1732, and devised his estates so as not to be inherited till after the second generation, then unborn; but the court of chancery set the will aside, and gave his estates to his heir-at-law, from whom they descended to the above-mentioned Bond Hopkins, esq. In the northern part of it stands the stately mansion of Ollantigh, close to the river, which is here beautifully formed by art to ornament it. Adjoining are the park-grounds, containing near six hundred acres, which extend almost as far as Wye town; and the eastern part of the ridge of hills called Wye-downs, the chain of which reaches to the sea-shore at Folkestone. On the summit of the hill, at the eastern extremity of this parish, is Fanscomb-beech, a tree visible to all the country round, to a great distance; near it was formerly a cottage, of the same name, now pulled down, and the lands laid into Mr. Sawbridge's park grounds. Also near it is Fannes wood, now a cottage, and belonging to him likewise. Both these were formerly esteemed manors of good account. The manor of Fannes, alias Fanscombe, formerly belonged to the master of the Savoy, now to St. Thomas's hospital, in Southwark, and that of Fannes wood, formerly the property of the Kempes, to Mr. Sawbridge.
The high road from Canterbury to Ashford leads along this parish, about half a mile distance westward from Ollantigh, on higher ground from whence there is a fine view over the vale beneath and the opposite downs, including the mansion and grounds of Ollantigh, and the town and church of Wye, which it leaves in its course at the same distance.
It is by some supposed that the Romans had a highway through this parish, which went on towards Lenham, and so to Aylesford; and the several remains of that nation dug up on Tremworth-down, in the adjoining parish of Crundal, on the side of it next to this parish, will serve to strengthen this conjecture. Wye had formerly a market on a Thursday, granted to the abbot of Battell, which was held in the time of king Henry VIII. It was held in Leland's time, who calls it a pratie market townelet; but it has been for some time disused. The two fairs formerly held here on St. Gregories day, March 23, and on All Souls day, Nov. 2, are now held on May 29 and Sept. 3, yearly, for Welch cattle, stock, &c.
There were formerly several families of good account resident in this town and parish, the Finch's, lived at Wye-court, descended from those of Sewards, in Linsted, a younger branch of the Finch's, of Eastwell; the Swans, removed hither from Lyd. Francis Swan, esq. resided here, his house being in the town of Wye, at the latter end of Henry VIII.'s reign. They bore for their arms, Azure, a chevron, ermine, between three swans, proper; the Twisdens, one of whom, Roger Twisden, gent. was of Wye, had a lease of the scite of the manor of Wye, and other premises here, from the abbot of Battel, anno 25 Henry VIII. and the Haules, who were antiently written De Aula five Haule, in Latin deeds, likewise resided here for several generations, till they removed to Maidstone in king James the 1st.'s reign, where George Haule, esq. of Maidstone, died in 1652. Elizabeth his daughter, and at length sole heir, married Sir Thomas Taylor, bart. of that parish. They bore for their arms, Or, on a saltier, five mulets of the field.
ON THE PLACE where the famous and decisive battle between king Harold and William, duke of Normandy, was fought in 1066, the Conqueror in the next year began to build a noble abbey, named from that event, Battell abbev; in Latin records, Abbatia de Bello; the royal founder endowing it with exemptions and privileges of a very extraordinary nature, and with many manors and good estates; among which was this Royal manor of Wye, with all its appendages, being of the demesnes of his crown, as the grant expresses it, with all liberties and royal customs, as well here as in Dengemarsh, which belonged to the court of Wye, (fn. 1) as freely as he himself held it, or as a king could grant it. Accordingly it is thus entered in the record of Domesday, under the title of land of the church of Battell, or De Labatailge, as there spelt.
The abbot of St. Martin, of the place of Battle, holds the manor which is called Wi, which in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now, was and is taxed at seven sulings. The arable land is fifty-two carucates. In demesne there are nine carucates, and one hundred and fourteen villeins, with twenty-two borderers, having seventeen carucates. There is a church, and seven servants, and four mills of twenty-three shillings and eight pence, and one hundred and thirty three acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of three hundred bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth no more than twenty pounds and one hundred shillings, and six shillings and eight pence; when be received it, one hundred and twenty-five pounds, and ten shilling of the twenty in ore; (fn. 2) now one hundred pounds by tale; and if the abbot bad had sac and soc, it would have been worth twenty pounds more.
Ralf de Curbespina holds one denne and one yoke of the land, of the sockmen of this manor, and pays by custom six pence. Adelulf two parts of one suling, and pays twelve pence; and Hugo de Montfort has two yoke, and pays three hundred eels and two shillings; and in the time of king Edward the Confessor, they paid both sac and soc.
For such was the dignity of this manor, which then consisted of seven sulings, or hides of land, that, as the antient book of this abbey expressed it, with its own hundred, it had jurisdiction over twenty-two hundreds and an half, which belonged to its court.
The grant of king William was confirmed by his son king Henry I. with several other liberties and privileges; and king Henry III. in his 56th year, by his letters patent granted to this abbey further ample liberties, and among them for the pleas of all the tenants of it, to be held before their own steward. All which, with the grant of other liberties, were confirmed by charter of inspeximus, by king Henry IV. in his 13th year; (fn. 3) and as a mark of royal favour to it, king Edward II. after the burial of his father, and before his own coronation, in his first year, held the solemnity of a whole Christmas at the manor-house of Wye, and it appears that this place was afterwards frequented by several great personages, among others, John de Langeton, chancellor of the realm, landed at Dover, anno 27 Edward I. from the court of Rome, and delivered to the king his seal, in his chamber at Wye. Henry VI. was here in the month of March, in his 7th year, as was Humphry, duke of Gloucester, protector of the realm, in the 8th and 9th year of that reign. (fn. 4) In which state this manor continued till the suppression of the abbey in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when it came, with the rest of the possessions of it, into the king's hands, where this manor staid till king Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted the manor, rectory, and advowson of the vicarage of Wye, two tithe-barns, and the tithes themselves, to Edward, lord Clinton and Saye, to hold in capite by knight's service, but he kept them only a few months; when he re-conveyed them back again to the king, where this manor remained till queen Elizabeth, in her first year, granted it, by the name of her royal manor of Wye. together with Aldons, Dods, Westure, and Bromford, in this parish, Shottenton in Westwell, and the manor of the vicarage of Wye, with other lands belonging formerly to the abbey of Guisnes, in Flanders, as will be more particularly mentioned hereafter, to her kinsman Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon, to hold in capite by knight's service. His grandson Henry, earl of Dover, soon after the year 1628, alienated this manor and the premises abovementioned to Sir Thomas Finch, knight and baronet, of Eastwell; since which they have, in the like succession of ownership as that manor, descended down to George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present possessor of them.
There used formerly to be held here, on every Monday three weeks, a court of record, for determining all actions, real, personal, and mixt; but this has been sometime disused. The liberty of the royal manor of Wye extends over the boroughs of Henwood, alias Hewit, in Ashford; of Snodehill, in Bethersden, and of Wachinden, in Biddenden; over all Boughton Aluph; the borough of Cocklescombe, in Braborne; all Brooke; part of the church-yard, the fair-place, and such other part of Challock as is not in the manor of Godmersham; part of Chilham; the borough of Frisley, alias Abbots Franchise, in Cranbrooke; all Crundall and Eastwell; part of Godmersham; the denne of Romeden, in Halden; the boroughs of the town, in Hastingleigh; of Hawkhurst, alias Southborough, in Hawkhurst; part of West Hyth; all Kingsnoth; the borough of Dengemash, in Lid; part of Mersham and Molash; the borough of West Kingsnoth, in Pluckley; part of Rucking; the yoke of Develand, being all Sevington; the denne of Crepredge, in Tenterden; the borough of Towne, in Waltham; part of Warehorne; the borough of Shottenden and Deane, in Westwell; the borough of Henwood, in Wilsborough; the denne of Plurenden, in Woodchurch, and all Wye.
OLLANTIGH, the noble mansion of which is situated near the river Stour, at the north-west boundary of this parish, in the reign of Edward I. was in the possession of Ralph Kempe, whose grandson Sir Roger Kempe, dying s. p. Thomas, his younger brother, became his heir, and dying in 1428, left two sons, the youngest of whom became cardinal of the church of Rome, and archbishop of Canterbury, who built an oratory or chapel at this mansion, and was founder of the college in this parish. The eldest son inherited Ollantigh, and left two sons, of whom Thomas, he youngest, was bishop of London. The eldest left one son, Sir Thomas Kempe, K.B. he new built this mansion of Ollantigh, where he kept his shrievalty anno 8 and 21 Henry VII. and 4 Henry VIII. He died in 1520, and in his descendants, several of whom were sheriffs of this county, and lie buried in this church and its cemetery, who bore for their arms, Gules, a fess between three garbs, or, a bordure engrailed of the second, it continued down to Sir Tho. Kempe, whose lands were disgavelled by the acts of 31 king Henry VIII. and 2 and 3 Edward VI. (fn. 5) But on his death in 1607, without male issue, his four daughters and coheirs, Dorothy, married to Sir John Cutts; Anne, to Sir Thomas Chicheley; Amy, to Sir Henry Skipwith, bart. and Mary, to Sir Dudley Digges, entitled their respective husbands jointly to this estate, which they soon afterwards conveyed to Sir Timothy Thornhill, who soon afterwards resided here. He was descended from John Thornhill, of Tunford, in Nottinghamshire, whose son Richard was of Bromley, in Kent, esq. and purchased lands in Bredhurst and Rainham, of lord Cheney, in queen Elizabeth's reign, as has been already mentioned under those parishes. They bore for their arms, Gules, two bars gemelles, argent; a bend of the last; on a chief of the second, a tower triple towered, azure. In his posterity this seat continued down to Major Richard Thornhill, of Ollantigh, who in the 4th year of queen Anne, obtained an act for vesting this and other estates in trustees, to be sold for payment of his debts. This Major Thornhill was the person, who in 1711, fought a duel with Sir Cholmley Dering, bart. in Tothill-fields, Westminster, in which Sir Cholmley received a wound, of which he died the same day. His trustees accordingly sold this seat and estate of Ollantigh, with several other estates in this county, soon afterwards to Jacob Sawbridge, esq. one of the directors of the South Sea Company in the memorable year 1720. He died in 1748, bearing for his arms, Or, two bars, azure, each charged with a barrulet dauncette, argent, a chief indented of the second. He left three sons, John, of whom hereafter; Jacob, who was of Canterbury, and married Anne, sister of Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmer sham. They both lie buried in Crundal church. By her he had a son Jacob, a colonel in the army; and Catherine, married to T. Heron, esq of Chilham; and John-Elias, who was of Canterbury, esq. and died unmarried in 1789; the eldest son John Sawbridge, esq. succeeded him in his estates, and resided at Ollantigh, where he died in 1762, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Mr. George Wanley, banker, of London, two sons, John, who was of Ollantigh, and Wanley, who was vicar of Stalisfield, and resided at Otterden, where he died unmarried in 1796, and two daughters, Mary, who married Stephen Beckingham, esq. of Bishopsborne; and Catherine, who married Geo. Macaulary, M.D. and afterwards Mr. Graham. He was succeeded here by his eldest son John Sawbridge, esq. who resided here, and from the great alterations and elegant improvements to this stately seat of Ollantigh, might with great propriety be called the second builder of it. He was chosen in three successive parliaments for the city of London, of which he was an alderman, and lord-mayor in 1775. His first wife was Mary, only daughter of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, bart. who died s.p. His second was the youngest daughter of Sir Wm. Stephenson, alderman of London, by whom he had three sons, John, who died at Caen, in Normandy, in 1707, æt. 21, unmarried; Samuel-Elias, who became his heir, and Wanley, and one daughter. He died in 1795, and was brought to Wye, and there buried with his ancestors. He left his wife surviving, and was succeeded in this seat, and the rest of his estates, by his eldest surviving son Samuel-Elias Sawbridge, esq. who married the daughter of Brabazon Ellis, esq. of Widdial hall, in Essex. He is the present possessor of this seat of Ollantigh, but at present resides at Otterden, in this county.
HINKSELL is a manor here, situated in the hamlet of Bilting, which lies on the high road from Canter bury to Ashford, partly in this parish, and partly in that of Godmersham; but the scite of it, called Deal place, is in that of Wye. It once belonged to a family of the name of Bilting, or Belting, as they were sometimes spelt. John Beltyng, in his will, anno 1460, mentions his house and lands of Dele, which continued in his descendants down to William Bilting, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, but he dying s.p. Arthur Franklyn and Richard Videan, gentlemen, were found to be his heirs; and upon the partition of his estates, this was allotted to the former, who afterwards resided at it, and died possessed of it in 1601. This family of Franklyn was originally of Chart Sutton, John Franklyn resided there, and in his will, proved anno 1500, stiles himself gentleman; and from him descended those of Wye, Badlesmere, Maidstone, Sitting borne, and other parts of this county. They bore for their arms, Argent, on a bend, gules, three lions heads erased, or, between two dolphins of the second; confirmed by William Harvey, clarencieux. (fn. 6) Arthur Franklyn above-mentioned, by his last will devised this estate to his three sons, Arthur, John, and James Franklyn; the former of whom, together with John and Thomas, sons of the two latter, joined in the sale of it to their kinsman Thomas Carkeridge, of Maidstone, who died s.p. and was buried at Maidstone, being the son of Gervas Carkeridge, of Godmersham, descended from ancestors settled for some time at Cranbrooke. They bore for their arms, Argent, on a fess, engrailed, sable, three quaterfoils, or. (fn. 7) He by his will in 1640, gave it to his nephew William Cooper, of Maidstone, and his descendant alienated it to John Farnaby, esq. of the precincts of Christ-church, in Canterbury, the son of Thomas Farnaby, the noted grammarian, by his first wife; by the second are descended the Farnabys, late of Sevenoke, baronets. John Farnaby, by his will in 1673, gave it to his eldest son Thomas, whose son James Farnaby sold is to Edward Filmer, esq. who succeeded to the title of baronet on the death of his father Sir Robert, in 1720, and his son Sir John Filmer, bart. of East Sutton, dying s.p. in 1797, by his will gave this estate to his younger brother the Rev. Edmund Filmer, rector of Crundal, who is the present possessor of it.
THE MANOR OF ALDONS, the scite of which is now called PERRY-COURT, is situated about a mile and an half south-west from Bilting, on the Ashford road. It was so named from the family of Aldon, possessors of it, who were likewise owners of several estates in other parts of this county, one of them, Thomas de Aldon, was possessed of it in the 43d year of king Edward III. and from him it passed to Sir Robert Belknap, who was owner of it in the 10th year of king Richard II. How long it continued in this name, I do not know; but it afterwards became the estate and residence of a family named Pyrie, afterwards called and written Perry; and though they possessed it but a small time in comparison of the Aldons, who were of much greater note in this county, yet from their residence at it, the house of it gained the name of Perry-court, which it still retains. Of the heirs of Geoffrie de Pyrie this manor was purchased by cardinal archbishop John Kempe, in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, and he in the 10th year of it settled it among other premises, on his new-founded college of Wye, with which it staid till the dissolution of it in the 36th year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the hands of the crown, whence it was granted that year to Walter Bucler, esq. secretary to queen Catherine, to hold in capite by knight's service, who in the 38th year of that reign alienated it to Sir Maurice Dennis, and he, in the first year of queen Mary, sold it to William Damsell, esq. (fn. 8) afterwards knighted, who bore for his arms, Ermine, on a cross engrailed, sable, a tower, between four mullets, issuing from as many crescents, argent. He died before the 25th year of queen Elizabeth, leaving his four daughters his coheirs, one of whom marrying Burston, on the partition of their estates, he became entitled to this manor, which was alienated by his descendant, about the beginning of king James I.'s reign, to John Moyle, esq. of Buckwell, whose son Capt. Robert Moyle, of that place, sold it to Thomas Finch, earl of Winchelsea, who died possessed of it in 1639, and in his descendants this manor continued down to Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, who at his death in 1769, devised it, among his other estates in this county, to his nephew George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present owner of it.
RAYMONDS is a manor in this parish, situated about a mile southward from Wye bridge, which was not only the seat, but gave surname to a family, who were for a great length of time stewards to the abbot and convent of Battell, for their lands near this place; and it is probable that it was once the original stock, from which the Raymonds of Essex, Norfolk, and other counties, derived their extraction. This family was extinct here before the 36th year of Henry VIII. when Roger Kingesland held it of the manor of Perie. It afterwards passed into the name of Back, in which it continued till Robert Back, almost within memory, conveyed it to the executors of Fenner, of Ashford, who left three daughters, Mary-Frances; Sarah, who intermarried with Mr.George Smith, of Faversham, and Priscilla; and upon the division of their estates, this manor was allotted to Mr.Smith, in right of his wife Sarah, and he settled it on one of his daughters, on her marriage with Mr.Collet Mawhood, who alienated it to George Carter, esq. of Kennington, whose son, the Rev.George Carter, of Kennington, is the present owner of it.
THERE WAS a manor in this parish called GERMANS, formerly possessed by a family of the same name, afterwards the property of the Hawker's, of Challock, and then of the Dryland's, the late Mr. Brett called the above the manor of Snatts, alias Germans, and said he met with another manor here called the manor of Dyton's, about the time of Edward IV. lying near the boundary of this parish, towards Crundall.
CARDINAL, ARCHBISHOP JOHN KEMPE, beforementioned, was the son of Thomas, younger brother of Sir Roger Kempe, whose ancestors, as has been mentioned before, had been settled at Ollantigh, in this parish, for some generations; a knightly family, the honor of knighthood having been constantly conferred on the eldest son of it till the death of Sir Thomas Kempe in 1607, when his great estate was by his daughters transferred to other families. The archbishop was born in this parish in 1380, and was of Merton college, Oxford, and of which he was fellow, and became LL.D. He was afterwards archdeacon of Durham, dean of the arches, vicar-general to archbishop Chichele, and not long afterwards made by king Henry V. on his conquering Normandy, chief justiciary of that province; all which he seems to have kept at one time, and till, in 1419, he was consecreated bishop of Rochester. In 1421 he was translated to Chichester, where he did not continue long, for the latter end of that year he was translated to London, and in 1424 to York. In 1427, anno 4 king Henry VI. he was made lord chancellor, and in 1452 translated to Canterbury, where he sat till his death in 1454. In 1439, being then archbishop of York, he was made cardinal priest, with the title of St.Bal bina, and on his promotion to Canterbury, a cardinal bishop, with the title of St.Rusina. Our historians are very short in their accounts of this great man; scarce any have done more than barely to mention his name; but, without doubt, his abilities were very great, otherwise it is improbable he could have arrived at the highest preserments both in church and state; for, as the author of the Antiquitates Britanniœ, observes, his executing the offices, to which he was first preserred, so admirably, was the cause of his still higher promotion. He was munificent, in his works of charity, in particular to the divinity schools and to Merton college, in Oxford; and the university had such greateful remembrance of it, that a particular day was appointed there, to solemnize the memory of him and his nephew John Kempe, bishop of London, on which they were stiled the two Mecænas's of the university. Besides which, he beautified the collegiate church of Southwell, and last of all he founded and bountifully endowed the COLLEGE OF WYE, intending it for the celebrating of divine service, and for the education of youth in this parish, in the 10th year of king Henry VI. whilst archbishop of York, he obtained the king's licence for that purpose, (fn. 9) and afterwards, by his instrument under his great seal, in 1447, being the 26th year of that reign, converted the parish church of Wye into a college, to consist of a proper number of chaplains and priests to administer daily in it; one of which should be called the master or provost of the college of St.Gregory and St.Martin, to have the government over the others; and for them he caused a college to be built adjoining the parish church-yard, on his own ground. After which he gave them a set of statutes, and endowed it with sufficeient estates in this parish, and others in this county, for their support and maintenance. In which state this college remained till the reign of king Henry VIII. when Edward Bowden, the provost, and the fellows of it, by their instrument under their common seal, dated Jan. 19, in the 36th year of that reign, surrendered it, with all its possessions, into the king's hands, (fn. 10) at which time the revenues of it were worth 93l. 2s. 0½d. per annum.
The scite of the college of Wye remained in the hands of the crown only a few months, when the king granted it, with other possessions lately belonging to it, to Walter Bucler, esq. secretary to queen Catherine, being then valued, including the tenth at 68l. 12s. 5¼d. to hold in capite by knight's service. He alienated it, in the 38th year of that reign, to Sir Maurice Dennis, and he in the first year of queen Mary sold it to William Damsell, esq. afterwards knighted. In which year there was a survey taken of the scite of the college, as well as the rest of the estates of it, in which there is the following description of it. The college was built four-square, the over part timber, the nether part stone, adjoining to the east side of the church-yard of Wye, saving the hall of it, which is all stone, covered with slate, in length forty feet, and in breadth twenty-three. At the upper end of the hall is a parlour, ceiled with old wainscot, twenty feet square, with a chamber over it of like size; the rest of the lodgings on that side, little chambers, both above and beneath. By the parlour is a fair cellar, to lay in wine, and at the end of the hall, a kitchen, with a fair well in it; the buttery, larder, and other offices on that side, over them are two large chambers, the one ceiled. At the entry of the gate, on the right hand, a fair chapel, with seats and altar of wainscot, on the left hand, the porter's lodge. Behind the parlour is a garden-plot, of one rood, well walled with stone. On the back of the hall are the bakehouse, brewhouse, stables, barns, and other houses, all well covered with tile. Sir William Damsell left four daughters and coheirs, who in the next reign of queen Elizabeth, became entitled to it; but how it passed afterwards, I have not found; though before the latter end of the last century it was become the estate of Sir George Wheler, prebendary of Durham, who died in 1724, and by a codicil to his will, gave the scite and buildings of the college of Wye to the master of the grammar-school there, and to the master and mistress of the Lady Joanna Thornhill's charity-school, and their successors for ever, for their habitations; and lands and tenements adjoining, to the value of tourteen pounds per annum, for keeping the buildings of it in repair.
ARCHBISHOP KEMPE intending his college here for the instruction of youth in the knowledge of grammar, as well as for the celebration of divine service, took good care in his statutes for the government of it, that this part of his intention should have its proper effect. In THIS SCHOOL all scholars were to be taught gratis, both rich and poor, in the art of grammar, (unless a present was voluntarily made, and except the usual offerings of cocks and pence, at the feast of St.Nicholas). The grammer master was to be a graduate in the same, or some other faculty, and he was to have liberty to instruct scholars privately, out of school hours, and to take pay for it, so that he did not neglect the school. In which situation the school remained at the dissolution of the college, in the 36th year of king Henry VIII. when it became, with that, likewise suppressed. However, the king took some care for the revival of it; for in his grant that year, of the rectories of Bocton Aluph, Bren et, and Newington, and the advowsons of the vicarages of them, and the vicarage of Wye, parcel of the possessions of the late college here, to Walter Bucler; there was a proviso, among other things, that he, Walter Bucler, and his heirs, should at all times provide and main tain a sufficient schoolmaster, capable of teaching boys and young lads in grammar, without see or reward, in this parish; and he was to pay him, out of the revenues of these premises, the salary of 13l. 6s. 8d. yearly. But he neglecting to perform these conditions, the school continued unprovided for, and his grant became forfeited on that account to the crown, in consequence of a commission of enquiry, taken anno 35 of Elizabeth, for that purpose. And another commission was had, and inquisition taken, in the 24th year of king James the 1st.'s reign, by which it was found, that Walter Bucler had not fulfilled the conditions of his grant, by which the crown was entitled to resume the estates again. Upon which account, king Charles I. in his 2d year, granted all of them to Robert Maxwell, esq. and his heirs for ever; provided that they should provide and maintain such a schoolmaster, and pay him sixteen pounds yearly. After which the king, in his 5th year, made a new grant of them to him, on the like conditions, in consideration of his services, at the like rent; and that if the salary of sixteen pounds was not paid in the whole or in part, within thirty days after it was due, he was to forfeit four pounds, over and above the payment due, and so for every month after, so long as it should continue unpaid, with the usual power of distress, &c. Which salary to the master continues to be paid by the possessor of the vicarage of Wye, George Finch Hatton, esq. who is the present patron of it. And a further benefaction, towards this school, was added, beside the gift of the college itself, and the buildings and lands already mentioned, by Sir George Wheler, who died in 1724, and by his will gave ten pounds a year, out of a farm called Skinners, as an exhibition, to a boy chosen out of the charity school of lady Johanna Thornhill's foundation, and educated in this grammar-school of Wye, to be sent to Lincoln college, in Oxford. But his son, the Rev. Granville Wheler, observing that in the course of almost forty years, no boy had been so educated, augmented it by deed to twenty pounds per annum; and ordered, that if no such boy should be so educated, it should be given to any boy of this parish, or in default, to any other, provided he was educated at this school.
The master of it, besides the above pension of sixteen pounds per annum, has that half of the college allotted for his residence which contains the south side of it. The whole of it has been lately thoroughly repaird and beautified by the trustees of it, and now makes a very handsome appearance. The Rev. Philip Parsons is the present master of it.
The school-room is an antient stone building, seemingly of the time of the foundation of the college, standing adjoining to the church-yard, close to the road. The Wheler benefaction was put under the management of seven trustees, the late Daniel, earl of Winchelsea, John Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, and five vicars of the neighbouring parishes. It was till of late, under the care of John Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, and the Rev. Wanley Sawbridge his brother, as heirs and successors to their late father, and the Rev. Mr. Pegge, late vicar of Godmersham, all now deceased, who found such difficulty in their applications to renew this trust, that in all probability it will not be very soon renewed again.
Lady Johanna Thornhill, of Ollantigh, by her will in 1708, among other charitable bequests to this parish, gave the residue of her estate to her executors in trust, that they should apply it to the use and benefit of the poorest sort of children of the town of Wye, for their improvement in learning. With it the executors purchased a farm in Wye and in Romney Marsh, of ninety-seven pounds per annum, out of which a schoolmaster and mistress are paid, who teach the poor children gratis. This, with the rest of her charitable bequests, was settled by the court of chancery.
The other half, or north side of the college, is allotted for the master and mistress of this school, for their residence, as well as to teach school in. This beneficial institution, so greatly to the advantage of this parish, is in a very flourishing state, there being at present more than one hundred boys and girls taught in it.
The master of the English boys school has a salary of thirty pounds per annum, for which he is to teach every poor boy in the parish reading, writing, and arithmetic, from the age of eight years to twelve. The mistress of the girls school has twenty pounds per annum, for which she is to instruct every poor girl in the parish in reading and needlework, and they are to attend the master of the boys school two hours in the day, to be taught to write.
WILLIAM GERMAN, of Wye, by will in 1479, gave to trustees, two acres and one rood of land in trust, to lay out 20d. for the health of his soul, and the residue in repairing of the church. This is now let at 2l. 10s. per annum.
It was certified by archbishop Parker, to the privy council in 1562, that there was a poor-house at Wy, called le almeshouse, without a foundation, permitted, maintained, and upholden by Sir Thomas Kempe, only upon his charitable zeal; in which lived certain poor people of alms. It stands on the bank in Boltshill, and is now in six tenements, and has been for many years disposed of by the vestry.
ROBERT SERLYS, S. T. B. by will in 1567, gave his tenement, called Funtowes, to three poor people, to be placed there by the churchwardens. This was afterwards called Serles's hospital, and was exchanged some years ago by the parish, for the present workhouse.
THOMAS WOOD, gent. of Wye, gave by will in 1612. at tenement in the town of Wye, for the use of the poor. A family is placed there by the vestry. He gave also 10l. per annum to be lent to two poor tradesmen.
HENRY HAULE, Esq. of Maidstone, by will in 1622, devised to the overseers of Wye, 20l. to be employed upon some hemp, flax, wool, or other such matters, to employ the poor children and aged persons of the parish, in work; so that out of the increase of it, they should have some recompence for their labours, and yet the principal sum or stock reserved whole.
THOMAS CARKERIDGE, of Maidstone, by will in 1640, gave out of lands lying at Bilting, in Wye, Godmersham, and Crundal, 6l. per annum; to the overseers of the poor of this parish, 3l. and to those of Godmersham the other 3l. for ever, to be every year bestowed to cloath four poor widows, two of Wye and two of Godmersham; and if there were not such poor widows, then to cloath other poor women; and he ordered that the cloathing should be given on the first Thursday in November yearly, with power of distress, &c. This is regularly distributed.
ROBERT COLE, ESQ. by deed in 1653, settled 100l. and ordered that out of the interest should be paid 40s. yearly to a preacher for two sermons on the 30th of January, on certain texts therein specified, and that the remainder should be distributed in bread. To which sum the parish have since added 20l. and have laid it out in the purchase of six acres of land in Braborne.
WILLIAM BRETT, of Kennington, by will in 1704, gave 20s. per annum out of a tenement in Wye, to cloath a poor boy.—This house has been since purchased by the parish, and is in two tenements, being situated near the workhouse. It is inhabited by two poor families.
JOHN FINCH, gent. of Lympne, by will in 1707, gave his farm and lands, containing 105 acres, (now let at 75l. per annum,) in St. Nicholas at Wade, in Thanet, to the ministers, churchwardens, and overseers of the parishes of St. Nicholas and Wye, in trust, that the yearly rents and profits should be yearly distributed to eight of the eldest, poorest, and most honest, industrious and labouring men of each of these parishes, or any other parish (that is to say, 16 in all) that never received any relief from them. And he devised his messuages, lands, and appurtenances, containing 45 acres, in Wye, (now let at 62l. per annum) to the minister, churchwardens, and overseers of Wye, in trust, that they should distribute the rents and profits half yearly for ever, unto five of the eldest and poorest widows of the parish, who had never received relief of that or any other parish. And he gave his tenement, and 16 acres of land, in acres, at Bilting; and his tenement, and 16 acres of land, in Wye, Godmersham, and Crundal; and his six cowshares, lying in a meadow called Laines, in Wye and Godmersham; and a piece of ground, called Temple-hope, adjoining to Wye and Crundal, to the ministers, &c. of Wye and Godmersham, in trust, that they of Wye should dispose of the rents and profits of that land, with its appurtenances, which lay in Wye, to six of the poorest and eldest labouring people of Wye, who never had received relief of that or any other parish, half-yearly for ever.
LADY JONNA THORNHILL, by will in 1708, gave 100l. to trustees, to dispose out of the interest 40s. to the minister to preach a sermon upon Good Friday in the forenoon, annually; 30s. to be equally distributed between three poor men and three poor women, that should attend divine service on that day, and the remainder to be laid out in bread, to be given to the poor on Easter-day. Also the profits of 500l. to poor housekeepers, in sums not exceeding 30s. to each family, nor less than 20s. These two sums of 100l. and 500l. were laid out in the purchase of an estate at Sevington, which is now let at 24l. per annum, 5l. a year is allotted to the purposes for which the interest of the 100l. was given; and the residue is distributed pursuant to the will, on every Easter Monday annually. And the residue of her estate the gave to her executors in trust, that they should apply the same to the benefit of teaching the poor children of this parish gratis; the particulars of which have been mentioned before, under the account of her school, commonly called Lady Thornhill's school, in this parish.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Gregory and St. Martin, stands at the north-west corner of the town of Wye, and was built by cardinal Kempe, when he founded the college of Wye in the reign of king Henry VI. being a handsome, large building, with three isles and as many chancels, and a high spire steeple in the middle, which stood on four lofty arches, supported by a like number of large pillars. The great chancel was made choir fashion, wainscotted, and seated round for the members of the new col lege. The north chancel was appointed for the burying-place of the Kempes, owners of Ollantigh; and in the south chancel the parishioners of the better sort were interred. According to tradition, it stood antiently on a little hill just at the entrance into the town from the river, and which is now called Boltshill, but was removed to this place, where it now stands, by the cardinal. In 1572, the steeple was burnt by lightning, and though it was soon afterwards rebuilt, under the care of Gregory Brett, then churchwarden, who was a great contributor to the expence of it; for which the parishioners granted to him and his heirs, a vault, in the middle isle, for their burial; yet in 1685 it fell, and beat down the greatest part of the middle chancel, almost all the two side ones, and the east end of the body of the church, by which all the monuments in the north chancel, of the Kempes, and Thornhills, of Ollantigh, were wholly destroyed, and the tombstone which lay over the cardinal's father and mother, broken to pieces, whose epitaph is preserved by Weever, p. 274. The fragments of several of the old tombstones lay for several years afterwards seattered about the church-yard, and some statues and parts of monuments lay at the lower end of the church; but they have since been removed and there are now none remaining. After this, the remaining part was inclosed with boards, at the east end, to make it fit for divine service, and the rest lay in ruins till the year 1701, when a brief was procured for the rebuilding of it, and within a year or two afterwards it was begun, the remainder of the old chancels was taken down, and only the present small chancel built up at the east end, in the room of that where the choir was, and a tower steeple on the south side, between the chancel and the body of the church, with battlements, and four pinnacles with gilt vanes on them. The present building is small, but neat. It consists, of three isles, the middle one having an upper story and range of windows. There is only one small chancel, new built, circular at the east end, which does not reach near so far as the old one, which extended several feet further, Mr. Chamberlain Godfrey's monument, in the church yard standing, as is said, where the altar formerly did. Towards building the steeple and chancel, the lady Joanna Thornhill, the prebendaries of Canterbury, and others, were contributors, and Richard Thornhill, esq. gave the pavement of the chancel. In the steeple are eight bells and a clock, which were completed in 1774. The only memorials of any time remaining, are three in the body of the church, viz. two for the Bretts, and one having the figures, in brass, of a woman between her two husbands, and underneath of several children, and at bottom an inscription, beginning John Andrew Justus, Thomas Palmer q; venustus, &c. In the chancel is a memorial for Mrs. Catherine Matchem, daughter of George Finch, gent. of this parish, obt. 1713; a monument over a vault, in which lie Agnes and Mary Johnton; the former died in 1763, the latter in 1767, they were descended from Sir Robert Moyle, of Buckwell; and a monument for lady Joanna Thornhill, daughter of Sir Bevill Granville, second wife of Richard Thornhill, esq. of Ollantigh, commander of a regiment of horse raised at his own charge, obt. 1708.
This church, appurtenant to the manor of Wye, was given, with it, to the abbey of Battel at its foundation by the Conqueror, and was appropriated to it before the year 1384, being the 8th year of king Richard II. In which state it continued till the reign of king Henry VI. when cardinal Kempe obtained the king's licence to purchase the advowson of the vicarage of the abbot of Battel, and settled it on his newfounded college here, as will be further mentioned hereafter; but the rectory appropriate of Wye remained part of the possessions of the abbey till its dissolution in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, where this rectory staid till king Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted it and the manor of the vicarage, together with the two tithebarns and the tithes themselves, all parcel of the late monastery of Battel, to Edward, lord Clinton and Saye, who reconveyed them back again to the king, within a month afterwards.
The rectory of Wye, with the barn and tithes of Craphill, in this parish, which tithery is very small, consisting mostly of woodlands, and lying adjoining to Molash and Challock, (the other corn tithes and premises above-mentioned being granted elsewhere) remained in the hands of the crown, till queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, by her letters patent, granted them, the former being of the yearly rent of 26l. 13s. 4d. and the latter of 1l. 6s. 8d. to archbishop Parker, in exchange for other premises, and in his successors they have continued to this time, his grace the archbishop of Canterbury being now possessed of them. SamuelElias Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, is the present lessee of this rectory. In 1684 the parsonage of Wye was assessed to the church and king's tax at one hundred and five pounds yearly rent. THE OTHER CORN TITHES, mentioned above to have been granted elsewhere, which consisted of the town barn and the corn tithes belonging to it, extending into Crundal and Waltham, came into the possession of the Finch's, earls of Winchelsea, and are now the property of George Finch Hatton, esq. The tithes of Fannes, in this parish and Crundal, belonged to the priory of Stratford Bow, in Middlesex, and on the suppression of it in the reign of Henry VIII were granted by that king to Sir Ralph Sadler, to hold in capite.
THE MANOR OF THE VICARAGE OF WYE remained in the crown only till the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, who then granted it, with the royal manor of Wye, and other premises and lands here, to her kinsman Henry, lord Hunsdon, to hold in capite by knight's service, whose grandson Henry, earl of Dover, soon after 1628, alienated them to Sir Thomas Finch, of Eastwell, afterwards earl of Winchelsea, whose descendant Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, in 1769, devised them to George Finch Hatton, esq. of Eastwell, the present owner of this manor.
CARDINAL KEMPE, on the foundation of the college here, in order to prevent any difference which might happen between the master of it and the vicar of Wye, had the king's licence to purchase the advowson of the vicarage from the abbot of Battel, and to give it to his master and chaplains, who had leave to appropriate it to themselves; (fn. 11) with whom this advowson and appropriation remained, as part of the possessions of the college, till the surrendry of it in the 36th year of Henry VIII. when it came into the hands of the crown, and was granted, with all its rights and appurtenances, that year, with the college and other premises here and elsewhere, to Walter Bucler, esq. to hold in capite, and in his grant was a proviso, that he should always provide two curates, one to be called the head, and the other, the inferior curate, to administer the sacraments and divine service in the church, and to take the cure of souls in the parish, to whom he was to pay, out of the rents of the premises therein granted, all which had formerly belonged to the college, to the head curate nine pounds, and to the other eight pounds half-yearly, or within one month after. But he neglecting to perform these conditions, the cure remained unprovided for, and the grant became forseited to the crown. After which, Robert Maxwell preferred a petition to king James I. for a grant of such estates as Walter Buckler before had in his grant, and offering to pay, of his own accord, forty pounds per annum to one curate here, instead of the seventeen pounds to the two, as before stipulated; upon a commission of enquiry it was found, that for the space of twelve years, there had been no curates appointed, nor any salary paid according to the proviso in the patent. After which, king Charles I. in his 2d and 5th years, made two several grants of the same premises, among which was the vicarage of Wye, to the beforementioned Robert Maxwell, with a proviso, that he should at all times provide and maintain a sufficient curate to serve in this parish church, to take the cure of souls, and should pay him yearly fifty pounds, by halfyearly payments, with penalty of forfeiture, and power of entry and distress for the sum of 12l. 10s. for every month during which this salary, or any part of it, should be in arrear over and above thirty days after either of those times of payment. The premises granted as before-mentioned, consisted of the rectories and churches of Bocton Aluph, Brenset, Newington, and the vicarage of Wye; the latter of which passed afterwards into the family of the Finch's, earls of Winchelsea, in whom it continued down to Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, who in 1769 devised it to George Finch Hatton, esq. of Eastwell, the owner of the appropriation of this vicarage, and patron of the perpetual curacy of Wye church.
The premises in the grant as above-mentioned, are now in different hands. Brenset and Newington parsonages, are in the possession of James Drake Brockman, esq. who pays annually from them twenty-one pounds to the curate of Wye. The parsonage of Bocton Aluph belongs to the Rev. Moyle Breton, who pays twenty pounds, and the remainder of the salary is paid by George Finch Hatton, esq. as owner of the vicarage of Wye.
Thomas Jackson, 1596. (fn. 12)|
Richard Shepherd, 1623.
Ambrose Rickman. 1640.
Thomas Swan, 1648.
Thomas Ferrers, 1654.
William Belke, 1656. (fn. 13) Jeremy Dodson, 1662.
Samuel Smith, 1675.
George Gipps, 1681.
W.M. Newar, 1706, obt. 1729.
John Wilkinson, 1729.
Heneage Dering, A.M. 1743.
Wm. Whitmell, 1743.
Heneage Dering, S.T.P. 1754, resigned the same year. (fn. 14)
Johnson Towers, A.M Oct. 27, 1754, resigned 1761. (fn. 15)
Philip Parsons, A M. 1762, the present curate. (fn. 16)