The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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IS the last parish remaining to be described in this hundred. It is written in antient records, Est-welles, and Estwelle, and sometimes only Welles; taking its name from the springs, with which it is watered, such being called by the Saxons, wells; and it has the addition of East from its situation, and to distinguish it from the adjoining parish of Westwell.
THE PARISH of Eastwell is very small, being not more than a mile across each way, containing in it about thirteen houses. It lies in a very healthy country, on a clean firm soil, at the side of the Ashford vale, at the foot of the range of down hills below Molash and Challock, which are here covered with woods, at the outskirt of a dreary barren country, where the soil is much addicted to chalk; but within this parish in the vale, and within the park, it becomes a flat, even and pleasant country, the soil changing to a sertile and kindly red earth of loamy clay, which produces a great deal of rich pasture. The greatest part of it is included in the park, which extends likewise into the parishes of Westwell, Challock, and Boughton Aluph, the church of Challock standing close to the pales on the north side, and that of Eastwell and the courtlodge, to those on the opposite side of it. The mansion of Eastwell-place stands at a small distance from the south east corner of the park, the pales of which join the high Faversham road and Boughton lees.
The house is very large, though the building is not extraordinary in the whole, yet the back front has something very noble and grand in the look of it. The park, though in the vale, yet it stands on higher ground that the rest of the vale beneath, having a beautiful prospect southward as far as the quarry hills, contains about 1600 acres, and by far the sinest situation in this county, the soil of it being very firm and hard, and the lower parts exceedingly sertile; the venison sed in it being accounted the sinest of any is Kent. The north-west part of it has fine inequality of ground, and being richly clothed with wood, shews nature in a most pleasing and picturesque state. In this part of the park is a very high hill, on the top of which is an octagon plain, from whence are cut eight several avenues or walks, called the Star Walks, the intermediare spaces being filled with fine venerable trees, so thick as to exclude the light from beneath them, making a very awful and majestic appearance. The view from the top of this hill is very extensive, for from it may be seen the course of the river Medway to Sheerness, and the buoy of the Nore toward the German ocean, and on the opposite side the British channel towards France beyond Romney Marsh, besides a very extensive and beautiful land prospect almost on every side.
One side of the village on Boughton lees in within this parish, at the eastern boundary of it, and there is another hamlet at the opposite part of the parish, called Linacre street, in which there is a house called Linacrehall, late belonging to Mr. Thomas Munn, of Ashford. This parish is watered by three springs, one of which rises at the bottom of the park, under Boughton-lees, and thence runs by Wilmington and Clipmill, into the river Stour, under Frogbrooke, having been joined by another which rises near the church; the third rises at the south corner of the park, near the other, and thence flows down by Kennington-common and Burton, into the river near Wilsborough-lees, just before which it is called Bacon's water.
There is a tradition, that a natural son of king Richard III. named Richard Plantagenet, sled hither from Leicester immediately after the fatal battle of Bosworth, fought in 1485, in which the king lost both his life and crown, and that he lived here in a mean capacity, having leave given him by Sir Tho. Moyle, as soon as he was discovered by him, to build for himself a small house, in one of his fields near his mansion of Eastwell-place, in which he afterwards lived and died; which is corroborated by an entry of his burial in the parish registry. He died in 1550, anno 4 king Edward VI. aged, as is supposed, about eighty-one. The entry in the parish register is as follows, under the article of burials: V. Richard Plantagenet, Desember 22d, 1550; the letter V prefixed being put before the name of every person of noble family mentioned in it; and against the north wall of the high chancel there is an antient tomb, without inscription, with the marks of two coats of arms, the brasses gone, which is reported to be that of this Richard Plantagenet. There was then no park here, but when there was one made, this small hut was included in it, and remained in being till it was pulled down by Heneage, earl of Winchelsea, who died in 1689. (fn. 1)
At the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, in the 15th year of the Conqueror's reign, this place was part of the possessions of Hugo de Montfort, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:
Hugo de Montfort holds one manor, Estwelle, which Frederic held of king Edward. It was taxed at one suling. There are three yokes within the division of Hugo, and the fourth yoke is without, and is of the fee of the bishop of Baieux. The arable land is three carucates in the whole. In demesne there are two carucates, and five villeins, and five borderers having one carucate and an half. There are ten servants, and twelve acres of meadow, and a wood. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth seventy shillings, and afterwards thirty shillings, now seventy shillings.
Ralph de Curbespine holds of the bishop Essewelle. It was taxed at three sulings. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there are three carucates, and one villein, with seven borderers having half a carucate. There is one servant. It is worth six pounds. Molleue held it of king Edward.
The other entry is thus: Osbern holds of the bishop one manor, which three free tenants held of king Edward. It was taxed at one suling and an half. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and one villein, with one borderer having half a caruacate. In the time of king Edward it was, and is now worth four pounds.
Hugo de Montfort, before-mentioned, had accompanied the Conqueror in his expedition hither, and after the battle of Hastings was rewarded for his services with many lordships in different counties, and among them with this of Eastwell. Robert, his grandson, was general of king William Rufus's army; but favouring the title of Robert Curthose, in opposition to king Henry I. to avoid being called in question upon that account, obtained leave to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, leaving his possessions to the king, by which means this manor came into the hands of the crown, of which it was afterwards held by a family who took their surname from it; one of whom, Matilda de Estwelles, held this manor, with the advowson of the church of it, of the king in capite, at her death in the 52d year of king Henry III. Soon after which it seems to have come into the possession of the family of Criol; for Bertram, son of John de Criol, died possessed of it in the 23d year of king Edward I. holding it in the like manner, and by ward to Dover castle, being part of those lands which made up the barony, called the Constabularie. He left two sons, John and Bertram, and a daughter Joane, who afterwards married Sir Richard de Rokesle. Both these sons died s.p. the former of them left his wife Alianor surviving, who entitled her second husband Edmund Gaselyn to this manor for her life, and she died possessed of it in the 23d year of king Edward III. upon which this manor descended to Agnes and Joane, the two daughters and coheirs of Joane her late husband's sister before-mentioned, by Sir Richard de Rokesley; and upon the division of their inheritance, the manor of Eastwell was allotted to Agnes the eldest, who entitled Thomas de Poynings her husband to it; and in his descendants this manor, with the advowson of the church, continued down to Robert de Poynings, who died possessed of it in the 25th year of king Henry VI. leaving Alianore, his grand-daughter, wife of Henry, lord Percy, eldest son of Henry, earl of Northumberland, his next heir; who in the 27th year of it had summons to parliament among the barons of this realm, as lord Poynings. Six years after which he succeeded his father as earl of Northumberland, and in his descendants this manor, with the advowson, continued down to Henry, earl of Northumberland, who in the 23d year of king Henry VIII. conveyed it to seossees, who soon afterwards passed it away by sale to Sir Christopher Hales, the king's attorney-general, whose lands were disgavelled by the act of the 31st of Henry VIII. and he died possessed of it in the 33d year of that reign, holding it of the king, as of the honor of his castle of Dover, by knight's service. He left three daughters his coheirs, and they, with their respective husbands, joined in the sale of it to Sir. Tho. Moyle, of Eastwell, whose lands were disgaveiled by the acts of 31 king Henry VIII. and second and third of Edward VI. being the son of John, descended from a family of this name at Bodmin, in Cornwall, and youngest brother of Walter Moyle, of Buckwell. (fn. 2) He was speaker of the house of commons anno 34 king Henry VIII. and chancellor of the court of augmentation, who was in high esteem with that prince, and accumulated a large fortune in his profession of the law. He new built the mansion of Eastwell place, and died possessed of this manor, with the advowson of the church of it in 1560, leaving two daughters his coheirs, Catherine, married to Thomas Finch, gent. and Anne, married to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Wye, but this manor, with the advowson, had been settled on the former, on her marriage with Mr. Thomas Finch, who was afterwards knighted, and resided at Eastwell-place, The family of Finch, according to John Philipott, Rouge Dragon, was originally descended from Henry Fitz-Herbert, chamberlain to king Henry I. whose descendant Matthew Fitz-Herbert, who was one of the magnates or barons, at the compiling of Magna Charta, as was his son of the same name in that parliament, which was convened to meet at Tewksbury. The alteration of this name to Finch was about the 10th of king Edward I. at which time Herbert Fitz-Herbert purchased the manor of Finches, in Lid, of which being entire lord, which he was not of his more antient patrimony of Netherfield, in Suffex, he assumed his surname from that, as many other families in that age did from those places of which they possessed the entire seignory, bearing for his arms, Argent, a chevron between three griffins, segreant, sable. Vincent Herbert, alias Finch, was of Netherfield, about the end of the reign of king Edward II. and left two sons, Henry and John, the latter of whom was father of John, prior of Christ-church. Henry Herbert, alias Finch, the eldest son, inherited Nethersfield, and died anno 8 king Richard II. and left Vincent Herbert, alias Finch, (with whom the pedigree of this family begins in the Heraldic Visitation of this county, in 1619) whose son Vincent, was living in the reigns of king Richard II. and Henry IV. and by his wife Isabel, daughter and coheir of Robert Cralle, of Cralle, in Sussex, had two sons, William and John; which latter married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Seward, of Linsted, from whom descended the Finch's, of Sewards, Norton, Kingsdown, Faversham, Wye, and other places in this county. William Finch, the eldest son, by which name only he and his descendants wrote themselves, was of Netherfield, and had a son Henry Finch, esq. who married Alice, only daughter and heir of Philip Belknap, of the Moat, near Canterbury, uncle to Sir Ed ward Belknap, which marriage not only occasioned the first residence of this branch of the family in Kent, but rendered it more illustrious by a descent from many noble ones. Their eldest son Sir William Finch, was of the Moat in king Henry the VIIIth's reign, and was father of Sir Thomas Finch, of Eastwell, before-mentioned, (fn. 3) of which he died possessed in 1563. They had three sons and one daughter, of whom Henry, the third son, was sergeant-at-law, and left one son John, who was chief justice of the common pleas, lord keeper, and created anno 16 Charles I. lord Finch, baron of Fordwich, and died in 1661; the eldest, Sir Moyle Finch, was created a baronet at the first institution of that order, and surviving his mother, who had remarried Nicholas St. Leger, esq. (and lies buried in this church, as well as her father Sir Thomas Moyle, and all her descendants, to the present time) became possessed of this manor and advowson. He married Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Heneage, and resided at Eastwell-place, which he made very great additions to, and in 1589, obtained the queen's licence to inclose his grounds here, not exceeding one thousand acres, and to turn the highways that might be annoyed by it, and to embattle his house of Estwell. He died in 1614, leaving his widow, the lady Elizabeth Finch, surviving, who was by letters patent in 1623, anno 21 James I. created viscountess Maidstone; and afterwards, in 1628, anno 4 king Charles I. countess of Winchelsea, in Sussex. She died in 1633, and was buried at Eastwell, under a noble monument erected there for her and her husband, by whom she had several sons and daughters, the eldest son, Sir Theophilus Finch, bart. died s.p. the second, Sir Thomas, succeeded as earl of Winchelsea; the third, Sir John, was resident with the grand duke of Tuscany, and ambassador in Turkey, of whom there is no issue. He died in 1642, and was buried in Queen's college chapel, in Cambridge, to which he was a good benefactor; the fourth, Sir Heneage Finch, sergeant-at-law, and recorder of London, who died in 1641, was ancestor to the late earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham; and the fifth, Francis, was barrister-at-law, and an ingenious poet, who died s.p. Sir Thomas Finch, bart. the eldest surviving son, succeeded her as earl of Winchesea, &c. and in her possessions here, whose eldest son Heneage, second earl of Winchelsea, was one of those nobles who favored the restoration of king Charles II. and as such, was by general Monk entrusted with the government of Dover castle, and after king Charles's return was, in acknowledgment of his services, and of being descended from the antient family of Herbert, created baron Fitz-Herbert, of Eastwell, in the 12th year of his reign, and constituted lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of this county, and shortly after sent ambassador extraordinary into Turkey. He was lord lieutenant when king James II. was taken, on his leaving this kingdom, and brought to Faversham, where, for protection from the insults of the populace, he sent to lord Winchelsea from Eastwell, who immediately came and persuaded the king to return to London. He died in 1689, having married four wives, by whom he had in all twenty-seven children, of whom sixteen lived to some maturity. At length these honors and estates descended afterwards down to John his son, by his fourth wife, his other intermediate descendants being dead without issue, who became the fifth earl of Winchelsea, who dying likewise s.p. in 1729, the titles of earl of Winchelsea and viscount Maidstone, for that of baron Fitz-Herbert became extinct, together with this manor and advowson, and the mansion and park of Eastwell, with the rest of the earl's estates in this county, devolved on Daniel, second earl of Nottingham, son and heir of Sir Heneage Finch, who had been created earl of Nottingham in 1681, son and heir of Sir Heneage Finch, the fourth son of Sir Moyle Finch, of Eastwell, knight and baronet, by his wife Katherine, who was created countess of Winchelsea as beforementioned. Sir Heneage Finch above-mentioned, was eminent in the profession of the law, and was recorder of London, and in the first year of king Charles I. elected speaker of the house of commons, and resided at Kensington, in the house now the royal palace. He died in 1631. Heneage, his son and heir, was in 1660, made solicitor-general, knighted, and created a baronet, being then of Raunston, in Buckinghamshire. He was afterwards attorney-general, and in 1673 made lord keeper; shortly after which he was in 1674, created lord Finch, baron of Daventry; and next year made lord chancellor, and in 1681 created earl of Nottingham; he had fourteen children, of which seven sons and one daughter survived him. Of the sons, Daniel succeeded him as earl of Nottingham; 2, Heneage was created baron of Guernsey and earl of Aylesford, of whom and his descendants a full account may be seen under that parish. (fn. 4) Charles was fellow of All Souls college, and Henry was dean of York, and lies buried there with his brother Edward, who was prebendary of that church. Daniel, second earl of Nottingham, above-mentioned, became the sixth earl of Winchelsea, and entered early into life, being of the privy council to king Charles II. after whose death he took an active part in the politics of the succeding reigns, and was, for his great learning and abilities, highly trusted and employed in the great affairs of state till the year 1716, when he retired from all public affairs, and lived so till his death in 1730. He was twice married, first to lady Essex Rich, second daughter and coheir of Robert, earl of Warwick, by whom he had one daughter Mary; secondly to Anne, only daughter of Christopher, viscount Hatton, by whom he had five sons and eight daughters, besides seventeen other children who died young. The eldest son was Daniel, who succeeded him in titles and estate; William was envoy extraordinary to Sweden and the States General, and afterwards privy counsellor and vice-chamberlain of the houshold, who left a son George, who on his uncle's death, succeeded him in his titles, as will be further mentioned; John was solicitor-general to king George II. when prince of Wales, and afterwards king's council. Henry was surveyor of his Majesty's works; and Edward afterwards took the name of Hatton, pursuant to the will of Anne his aunt, the youngest daughter of Christopher, viscount Hatton, and heir of her brother William, viscount Hatton. He married Anne, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Palmer, bart. of Wingham, by whom he had George Finch Hatton, of whom more hereaster, and four other sons, and three daughters.—He was succeeded in the titles of earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, viscount Maidstone, and baron of Daventry, as well as in his estates in this county, by Daniel his eldest son, who was constantly employed from the accession of king George I in the most important offices of the state, till the year 1766, when he retired from all public business, having been in 1752 elected a knight of the garter. He was twice married; first to Frances, daughter of Basil Fielding, earl of Denbigh, by whom he had one daughter Charlotte; and secondly, to Mary, daughter and coheir of Sir T. Palmer, bart. above-mentioned, by whom he had four daughters, Heneage, Essex, Hatton, and Augusta. He died in 1769, æt. 81, full of years and wisdom, and was buried among his ancestors, in the church of Eastwell. On his death without issue male, his titles, together with his seat at Burleigh, and estates in Rutlandshire and other counties, descended to his nephew George, son of his next brother William, but he by his will devised the manor and advowson of Eastwell, with the park and mansion of Eastwell-place, together with all the rest of his Kentish estates, to his nephew George Finch Hatton, esq. eldest son of his youngest brother Edward Finch Hatton, who is the present possessor of them. He married Elizabeth-Mary, daughter of David, late lord viscount Stormont, afterwards earl of Mansfield, by whom he has issue, and now resides at Eastwell-place. He bears for his arms those of Finch before-mentioned, quartered with those of Hatton, being Azure, a chevron, between three garbs, or.
POTHERY is a small manor within the bounds of this parish, which seems to have been part of that estate belonging to Odo, bishop of Baieux, described in Domesday before, which, on his disgrace about four years afterwards, that is, about the year 1084, became with the rest of his possessions, consiscated to the crown, of which it was afterwards held by the family of Criol; and John de Criol, younger son of Bertram, held it, together with the manor of Seaton, in Boughton Aluph, already descriebed before, in the account of that parish, at his death in the 48th year of Henry III. In his descendants it continued till it passed at length with that manor in marriage to Rokesle, and thence again in like manner to the Perys, and was sold with it by Henry, earl of Northumberland, in Henry the VIIIth.'s reign, to Sir Christopher Hales, whose three coheirs sold it to Sir Thomas Moyle, whence it went by marriage again to Finch, whose descendant Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, dying in 1769, without male issue, gave it by will to his nephew, George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present owner of it.
SIR WALTER MOYLE, of this parish, by will, anno 1480, ordered that his feoffees should deliver an estate in see simple to three or four honest and trusty men, in two acres of arable land in this parish, in a field called Cotingland, to the use of the church of Eastwell, in recompence of a certain annual rent of two pounds of wax, by him wrested and detained from it against his conscience.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of two isles and two chancels, having a square embattled tower at the west end, in which hang three bells. It is an antient building of slint, with ashler stone round the windows, which are small, and of only one compartment. The arms of Poynings still remain in the east window of the high chancel. Within the altar rails is a memorial for Nicholas Toke, clerk, obt. 1670, and for Nicholas Toke, his eldest son, obt. 1673. On the south side of the chancel is the tomb of Sir Thomas Moyle. In the south chancel is a sumptuous tomb, on which lie the figures of a man and woman in white marble, at full length, their sons and daughters round the sides of it; it had till within these few years, a beautiful dome or canopy over them, supported by eight pillars of black marble, the fragments of which now lie scattered about the chancel. It was erected for Sir Moyle Finch, knight and bart. who died in 1614, and Elizabeth his wife, created counteis of Winchelsea, &c. And a monument for Sir Heneage Finch, sergeant-at law, and recorder of London, who died in 1631, and of his first wife, who died in 1627. At the upper end of the south isle is a vault, for the Finch family, in which are thirty-eight coffins; the Hon. Edward Finch Hatton, father of the present Mr. Hatton, of Eastwell, being the last who was buried in it.
It is valued in the king's books at 9l. 16s. 8d. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of forty-two pounds. In 1588, it was valued at forty pounds per annum, communicants fifty-five. In 1640 the same.
Church of Eastwell.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Nicholas St. Leger, esq. and dame Catherine Finch his wife.||Josias Nicholls, June 1, 1580, deprived 1603. (fn. 5).|
|Sir Moyle Finch.||John House, A. B. May 17. 1603, obt. 1630. (fn. 6)|
|William Sandford, resig. 1644.|
|The King, hac vice.||Nicholas Toke, A. M. Nov. 22, 1644, obt. 1670. (fn. 7)|
|Heneage, earl of Winchelsea.||William Wickens, A. M. Oct. 12, 1670, resigned 1681. (fn. 8)|
|William Martin A. M. June 23. 1681, obt. 1686. (fn. 9)|
|Samuel Markham, A. M. June 21, 1687. obt. May 1730. (fn. 10)|
|John, earl of Winchelsea.||John Wilkinson, A. M. May 26, 1730. resigned 1733.|
|Daniel, earl of Winchelsea.||Randolph Marriott, A. M. Feb. 14, 1734, resigned 1737. (fn. 11)|
|John Jortin, A. M. resigned 1742. (fn. 12)|
|Daniel earl of Winchelsea.||John Creyk, A. M. June 10, 1742, obt. 1745.|
|Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nitingham.||William Hardy, A. M. July, 1745, resigned 1747.|
|John Adcock, A. B. Sept. 11, 1747.|
|Philip Parsons, Feb. 1776, the present rector. (fn. 13)|