The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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LIES the next parish to Egerton, south-eastward, being written in antient records, Cert. It lies on the north side of the range of quarry hills, where the soil is mostly the quarry stone, thinly covered with a sertile loam; the village is situated about a mile northward from the summit of the hill, having the court-lodge and church adjoining to it. The stream, which rises at Streetwell, in Lenham, being a head of the Stour, having passed Egerton as before related, runs through the midst of this parish; on the hill northward of the stream stands Calehill, an elegant well-built mansion, beyond which the soil becomes a very deep and barren sand, especially about the warren and Calehill-heath, near which there is much open waste land, where the late Mr. Darell made large plantations of the Scotch sir, which seem to thrive exceedingly well.
The very extensive demesnes of the manor of Little Chart, the manors of Newland, stilley, and Burleigh, the lands of Raywood, with Calehill and its warren, all belonging to Mr. Darell, form as complete and compact an estate as any in this neighbourhood.
Across Calehill-heath the Ashford high road to Maidstone went, till by the late improvements it was made to go by several new cuts further northward through Charing and Lenham. The high road likewise from Faversham through Charing crosses this parish southward towards the top of the hill, through Pluckley towards Cranbrooke and Tenterden, in the Weald, a road of no great traffic, except for timber, and the produce of the woodlands. Near the warrenhouse by Calehill, on the left hand, as the road leads thither from Sandway towards Charing, not far from where the direction post stands, and from Stonestreet, there were some years ago several urns, with bones and ashes in them dug up. (fn. 1)
THIS PLACE in the time of the Saxons, belonged to one of their princes, named Halethe, of whom it was purchased by archbishop Ceolnoth, with his own money, in the year 839, and given to the monks of Christ church, with the consent of king Ethelwulf, who declared it to be free from all secular service and regal tribute, excepting the repelling of invasions, and the repairing of bridges and castles, this land being de cibo eorum, i.e. allotted to the use of their refectory, for their food, and it was confirmed to them in 1044, by one Elgeric Bigge, in which state THE MANOR OF Little Chart remained at the taking of Domesday, in the year 1080, in which it is thus entered, under the general title of their lands:
In Calehelle hundred, the archbishop himself holds Litelcert. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was taxed at three sulings, and now for two hides and an half. The arable land is. . . In demesne there are two, and nineteen villeins, with five borderers having seven carucates. There are two mills of five shillings and ten-pence, and eleven acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of fifteen bogs. Of the arable land of this manor William holds of the archbishop half a suling, and there he has in demesne one carucate, with four servants and ten acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of twenty bogs. The whole manor was worth, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, one hundred shillings, now eight pounds and eight shillings and four-pence. What William held was valued at forty shillings.
This manor continued in the possession of the prior and convent till the 8th year of king Henry III. when, on consideration of Peter de Bending's releasing to them all his right and claim to the manor of Westwell, they granted to him this their manor of Little Chart, with all its appurtenances, excepting Wadetune and the denne of Biddenden, with their appurtenances, to hold in see farm.
In the 10th year of king Edward II. the prior obtained a charter of free-warren for this manor, among others. Soon after which it was become the property of the family of Brockhull, of Saltwood, in which it remained till Thomas de Brockhull, of Calehill, who bore for his arms, A cross engrailed, between twelve cross-croslets, sitchee, as appears by the seal appendant to the deed in the Surrenden library, in the 12th year of king Henry IV. enfeossed John Darell in it, together with the manors of Calehill and Hacchenden; in whose descendants his interest in this manor continued down to George Darell, esq. of Calehill, who, after the dissolution of the priory of Christ church, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. was found to hold this manor to him and his heirs in fee farm, at the yearly rent of 18l. 4s. 3d. and when the king founded the new dean and chapter of Canterbury, in the 33d year of his reign, he granted the fee of this manor, held as before-mentioned, among others to them, as part of their endowment. Since which it has continued to be held, in like manner, in see-farm, at that yearly rent, by the family of Darell, of Calehill, and is now by Henry Darell, esq. of Calehill. A court baron is held for it.
CALEHILL is a manor in this parish, which in former times was so eminent as to give name to this whole hundred, and it has been rendered still more so since, by having been for such a length of time the residence of the family of Darell. In the reign of Henry III. it was the inheritance of the family of Frene, one of whom, Hugh de Frene, had a charter of free-warren for this manor, and Stilley, in Charing, in the 1st year of king Edward I. He was the grandson of Osbert de Pluckley, junior, the second son of Osbert de Pluckley, of Pluckley, whose eldest son John inherited that manor, which by a female heir passed to the Surrendens, and thence in like manner to the Hauts and Derings. This junior branch of Pluckley, and the Frenes, bore for their arms, Or, a fleur de lis, sable, being the arms of Pluckley, and, as a difference, within a bordure of the second. But before the middle of king Edward III.'s reign, this family was become extinct here; for about the 23d year of it, Richard de Frene, his descendant, passed it away to Thomas de Brockhull, of Saltwood, whose son Thomas de Brockhull, of Calehill, in the 12th year of Henry IV. enfeossed John Darell, esq. in it, together with his interest in the manor of Little Chart, as has been mentioned before. He afterwards resided at Calehill, which he rebuilt. It seems that he resided here before the above year, having been a knight of the shire for this county anno 9 Henry IV. sheriff of it in the 11th year of the same reign, at which time he was stiled of Calehill, and he again kept his shrievalty here in the 5th and 10th years of king Henry V. In the 3d year of Henry VI. he had by inspeximus the charter of free warren, granted to Hugh de Frene as before-mentioned, renewed for this manor and Stilley, in Charing. The family of Darell is descended from one of this name, who is mentioned in the roll of Battel abbey, a descendant of whom was of Sesay, in Yorkshire, in king Henry III.'s reign, and bore for his arms, Azure, a lion rampant, argent, crowned, or, membered, gules; from whom came all the different branches of Darell in this kingdom. At length his descendant William Darrel, esq. of Sesay, left three sons, Marmaduke, who inherited Sesay, where his descendants continued; William, the youngest, who was of Littlecote, in Wiltshire, and under-treasurer of England, ancestor of the Darells of that place; and John, the second son, who was of Calehill, which he purchased as before-mentioned, and died in 1438, having married first Joane, daughter and heir of Valentine Barrett, of Perry court, by whom he had William, who succeeded him at Calehill. He married secondly Florence, niece of archbishop Chichele; who she had one son Thomas, who inherited Scotney in this county, where his descendants remained till the reign of king George I. In the descendants of John Darell, esq. by his first wife, who were of eminent reputation among the gentry of this county constantly resident here, whose monuments and memorials are still remaining in the church of Little Chart, it continued down by the strict entail made of it at different times to Philip Darell, esq. who rebuilt this seat on an eminence, at a small distance from the antient mansion of Calehill, in which he afterwards resided. He died at Canterbury, and was brought to this church and buried among his ancestors. He left by Mary his wife, daughter of Robert Constantine, who died in 1785, four sons and two daughters, John, Edward, Philip; Catherine, who married Michael Bray, esq. of London, and Barbara; of the former, Henry Darell, esq. the eldest son, is the present possessor of this manor and seat. He married Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Thomas Gage, bart. by whom he has several children. The antient arms of the family of Darell are, Azure, a lion rampant, argent, crowned, or, armed and langued, gules; but when the antient house of Sesay branched off into the two houses of Calehill and Littlecote, in the two sons of Sir Marmaduke Darell, of Sesay, the difference of the coat armour of those two houses was thus ordered: That the house of Calehill should bear a tresoil, slipt on the shoulder of the lion; and that of littlecote, A cross-croslet, sitchee, for difference sake; but by the death of Thomas Darell, of Sesay, without issue male, anno 17 king Henry VIII. the Darells of Calehill becoming the eldest heirs male of this family, gave of right the antient arms entire without difference, in which manner they are borne by the Darells of Calehill at this time. Those of Scotney, descended from John Darell, of Calehill, by Florence Chichele his second wife, bore A crescent, within the tresoil, slipt, for difference.
JOHN FOTHERBY, clerk, by will in 1619, gave to the miniscer, churchwardens and overseers of the parishes of Little Chart and Hedcorne, one annuity or yearly rent charge of 4l. out of all his messuages, lands, &c. in those parishes, to be paid on the first day of the month in which he should be buried, with power of distress, &c. upon trust, that yearly on the same day 10s. should be given to the minister of Little Chart, or each other as should preach there that day; and 30s. among such poor people and householders of the poorer sort of the parish, as should be at the sermon; and he gave the like sums, in like manner, to the minister, &c. and poor householders of Hedcorne.
THOMAS AND ROBERT CHITTENDEN, by indenture in 1698, assigned a house and garden, and half an acre of land in Charing, to trustees, for the use of the poor of this parish.—The present rent is about three guineas per annum.
JANE JENNINGS, by will in 1773, gave to the poor of this parish, 5l. 10s. per annum, the principal money being vested in the public funds, in the names of Mr. Richard Jennings and Mr. John Ashbee, who pay the interest of it.
The church, which is dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary and the Invention of the Holy Cross, is a handsome building of sand-stone, consisting of two isles and two chancels, and having a tower steeple at the west end, with a beacon turret, in which are five bells. The steeple is said to have been built in Henry VII.'s reign, by Sir John Darell, then of Calehill. In the high or south chancel is a gravestone, robbed of its brasses, except the shield of arms, being A cross, lozeny, florette; another, the brasses of the inscription, the figures of a man and woman, and four shields of arms, gone. A monument within the altar-rails for Richard Camden, gent. of London, obt. 1642, arms, Or, a fess engrailed, between six cross-croslets, fitchee, sable; a crescent for difference. Another for Rhoda, wife of Richard Camden, gent. of London, obt. 1625. In the second south window these arms, Azure, a lion, rampant, argent, impaling the like arms, the glass very antient. Between the pillars which separate the north from the south isle, there is a partition of wood, in the gothic stile, with open spaces like window-frames, which returns across it from the west end of the isle, inclosing the eastern part above it as a chancel or chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, for the burial-place of the Darell family, in which are several of their monuments and gravestones, and a vault underneath the whole of it; in which isle there is likewise a monument for Mary Halles, widow of John Halles, esq. late of Tenterden, deceased, daughter of Robert Horne, bishop of Winchester, obt. 1629. This isle or chancel is not ceiled, and for want of repair of the roof of it, is, in many places, exposed to the open air; the pavement in the middle is fallen into the vault underneath; the monuments are broken and defaced; and the whole is in a very dirty and ruinous condition.
It is valued in the king's books at 13l. 10s. 10d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 7s. 1d. In 1588 here were communicants eighty-four. In 1640 it was valued at ninety pounds. Communicants one hundred and twenty-six. In 1778 the tithes were let for one hundred and twenty pounds per annum, and the house, glebe, &c. were worth besides 27l. 6s. 8d.
By an antient manuscript it appears that twenty-nine acres of land were given to this church in Edward II.'s reign, by Peter de Bending, a descendant of Peter de Bending, who in the reign of king Henry III. had a grant of the manor of Little Chart from the convent of Christ-church in see farm. He built the north part of this church, where he was buried in the middle passe of that isle, which was soon after the purchase of Calehill, by John Darell, esq. beautified and glazed by him, as a burying-place for himself and his posterity.
Church of Little Chart.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop.||Francis Lyndley, S. T. B. Dec. 12, 1582, obt. 1602.|
|John Fotherbye, A. M. May 6, 1602, obt. 1619.|
|John Moseleye, S. T. P. June 11, 1619.|
|The King, hac vice.||Francis Drayton, A. M. April 11, 1646. (fn. 2)|
|The Archbishop.||Basil Drayton, August 11, 1669, obt. 1715.|
|The King, sede vac.||Thomas Pearson, Jan. 15, 1715, obt. Jan. 1744.|
|The Archbishop.||Edward Watkinson, M. D. May 25, 1744, obt. October 19, 1767. (fn. 3)|
|William Allen, A. B. Jan. 30, 1768, the present rector.|