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 next parish northward from Great Chart, and is so called from the bothe, or heath within it. The greatest part of this parish lies within the hundred of Chart and Longbridge, and the remainder in that of Calehill. It is in the division of East Kent.
THE PARISH of Hothfield lies a little more than two miles from Ashford north-westward, the high road from which towards Lenham and Maidstone goes through it over Hothfield heath. It contains about 1250 acres, and fifty houses, the rents of it are about 1300l. per annum. It is not a pleasant, nor is it accounted a healthy situation, owing probably to the many low and watry lands in and about it. The river Stour, which rises at Lenham, runs along the southern side of the parish, which is watered likewise by several small streams, which rise about Charing and Westwell, from under the chalk hills, and join the Stour here. The heath, which contains near one half of the parish, consists mostly of a deep sand, and has much peat on it, which is continually dug by the poor for firing. On the east and west sides of the heath, the latter being called West-street, are two hamlets of houses, which form the scattered village of Hothfield. The Place-house stands on a hill, at a small distance from the corner of the heath southward, with some small plantations of trees about it, forming a principal object to the country round it. It is a square mansion, built of Portland stone, by the late earl of Thanet, on the scite of the antient mansion, close to the church; it has a good prospect round it. The adjoining grass grounds are extensive, and well laid out for the view over them; the water, which rises at no great distance from the house, becomes very soon a tolerable sized stream, and running on in sight of it, joins the Stour a little above Worting mill; these grass lands are fertile and good fatting land, like those mentioned before, near Godington, in Great Chart. The parsonage house, which is a neat dwelling of white stucco, stands at the southern corner of the heath, at the foot of the hill, adjoining the Place grounds, near West-street. Between the heath and Potter's corner, towards Ashford, the soil begins to approach much of the quarry stone.
Though the land in the parish is naturally poor, it is rendered productive by the chalk and lime procured from the down hills. The inhabitants have an unlimited right of commoning with those of the adjoining parish of Westwell, to upwards of five hundred acres of common, which affords them the means of keeping a cow and their poultry, which, with the liberty of digging peat, draws a number of certificated poor to reside here. There is not one dissenter in the parish.
Jack Cade, the noted rebel, in Henry the VI.th's reign, though generally supposed to be taken by Alexander Iden, esq. the sheriff, in a field belonging to Ripple manor, in the adjoining parish of Westwell, was discovered, as some say, in a field in this parish, still named from him, Jack Cade's field, now laid open with the rest of the grounds adjoining to Hothfieldplace.
THE MANOR OF HOTHFIELD seems, in very early times, to have had the same owners as the barony of Chilham, and to have continued so, for a considerable length of time after the descendants of Fulbert de Dover were become extinct here. Bartholomew de Badlesmere, who in the 5th year of king Edward II. had a grant of this manor as well as of Chilham in see, appears to have held this manor of Hothfield by grand sergeantry of the archbishop, and accordingly, in the 8th year of it, at the enthroning of archbishop Walter Reynolds, he made his claim, and was allowed to perform the office of chamberlain for that day, and to serve up the water, for the archbishop to wash his hands; for which his fees were, the furniture of his bedchamber, and the bason and towel made use of for that purpose; (fn. 1) and in the next year he obtained of the king, a charter of free-warren for his demesne lands within this manor among others. After this the manor of Hothfield continued to be held by the like service, and continued in the same owners as that of Chilham, (fn. 2) down to Thomas lord Roos, who became entitled to the see of it, who for his attachment to the house of Lancaster, was, with others, attainted, in the 1st year of king Edward IV.'s reign, and his lands confiscated to the crown. But Margaret his mother, being possessed of it for her life, afterwards married Roger Wentworth, esq. whom she survived, and died possessed of it in the 18th year of that reign; upon which, by reason of the above attaint, the crown became entitled to it, the inquisition for which was found in the 4th year of that reign; immediately after which, the king granted it to Sir John Fogge, of Repton, who was comptroller of his household and one of his privy council, for his life. On king Richard III.'s accession to the crown, he took shelter in the abbey of Westminster, from whence he was invited by the king, who in the presence of a numerous assembly gave him his hand, and bid him be confident that from thenceforward he was sure to him in affection. This is rather mentioned, as divers chronicles have erroneously mentioned that he was an attorney, whom this prince had pardoned for forgery. He died possessed of it in the 17th year of Henry VII. where it remained till Henry VIII. granted it, at the very latter end of his reign, to John Tufton, esq. of Northiam, in Sussex, whose lands were disgavelled by the acts of 2 and 3 Edward VI. who afterwards resided at Hothfield, where he kept his shrievalty in the 3d year of queen Elizabeth. He was descended from ancestors who were originally written Toketon, and held lands in Rainham, in this county, as early as king John's reign; (fn. 3) one of whom was seated at Northiam, in Sussex, in king Richard the IId.'s reign, at which time they were written as at present, Tufton, and they continued there till John Tufton, esq. of Northiam, before-mentioned, removed hither. He died in 1567, and was buried in this church, leaving one son John Tufton, who resided at Hothfield-place, and in July, in the 16th year of queen Elizabeth, anno 1573, entertained the queen here, in her progress through this county. In the 17th year of that reign he was sheriff, and being a person of eminent repure and abilities, he was knighted by king James, in his 1st year, and created a baronet at the first institution of that order, on June 19, 1611. He married Olimpia, daughter and heir of Christopher Blower, esq. of Sileham, in Rainham, by whom he had three daughters; and secondly Christian, daughter and coheir of Sir Humphry Brown, a justice of the common pleas. He died in 1624, and was buried in this church, having had by her several sons and daughters. Of the former, Nicholas the eldest, succeeded him in title and estates. Sir Humphry was of Bobbing and the Mote, in Maidstone, and Sir William was of Vinters, in Boxley, both baronets, of whom further mention has already been made in the former parts of this history.
Sir Nicholas Tufton, the eldest son, was by letters patent, dated Nov. 1, anno 2 Charles I. created lord Tufton, baron of Tufton, in Sussex; and on August 5, in the 4th year of that reign, earl of the Isle of Thanet, in this county. He had four sons and nine daughters; of the former, John succeeded him in honors, and Cecil, was father of Sir Charles Tufton, of Twickenham, in Middlesex. John, the eldest son, second earl of Thanet, married in 1629 Margaret, eldest daughter and coheir of Richard, earl of Dorset, by his wife the lady Anne Clifford, sole daughter and heir of George, earl of Cumberland, and baroness of Clifford, Westmoreland, and Vescy, by which marriage these tithes descended afterwards to their issue. In the time of the commonwealth, after king Charles the 1st.'s death, he was, in 1654, appointed sheriff, and however inconsistent it might be to his rank, yet he served the office. He left six sons and six daughters, and was succeeded by Nicholas his eldest son, third earl of Thanet, who by the deaths of his mother in 1676, and of his cousin-german Alethea, then wife of Edward Hungerford, esq. who died s. p. in 1678, he became heir to her, and sole heir to his grandmother Anne, lady Clifford, and consequently to the baronies of Clifford, Westmoreland, and Vescy; dying s. p. he was succeeded as earl of Thanet and lord Clifford, &c. by his next brother John, who, on his mother's death, succeeded likewise by her will to her large estates in Yorkshire and Westmoreland, and to the hereditary in sheriffdoms of the latter and of Cumberland likewise, for it frequently happened in these hereditary sheriffdoms that female heirs became possessed of them, and consequently were sheriffs of those districts; but this was not at all an unusual thing, there being many frequent instances of women bearing that office, as may be seen in most of the books in which any mention is made of it, some instances of which the reader may see in the differtation on the office of sheriff, in vol. i. of this history. That part of their office which was incompatible for a woman to exercise, was always executed by a deputy, or shyre-clerk, in their name. But among the Harleian MSS. is a very remarkable note taken from Mr. Attorney-general Noys reading in Lincoln's inn, in 1632, in which, upon a point, whether the office of a justice of a forest might be executed by a woman; it was said, that Margaret, countess of Richmond, mother to king Henry VII. was a justice of peace; that the lady Bartlet, perhaps meant for Berkley, was also made a justice of the peace by queen Mary, in Gloucestershire; and that in Suffolk one ..... Rowse, a woman, did usually fit upon the bench at assizes and sessions among other justices, gladio cincta. John, earl of Thanet, died unmarried, as did his next brother earl Richard, so that the titles devolved to Thomas Tufton, who became the sixth earl of Thanet, and lord Clifford, which latter title was decreed to him by the house of peers in 1691. He left surviving issue five daughters and coheirs, the eldest of whom, Catherine, married Ed. Watson, viscount Sondes, son and heir of Lewis, earl of Rockingham; and the four others married likewise into noble families. He died at Hothfield in 1729, having by his will bequeathed several legacies to charitable purposes, especially towards the augmentation of small vicarages and curacies. He died without male issue, so that the titles of earl of Thanet and baron Tufton, and of baronet, descended to his nephew Sackville Tufton, eldest surviving son of his brother Sackville Tufton, fifth son of John, second earl of Thanet. But the title of baroness Clifford, which included those of Westmoreland and Vescy, upon the death of Thomas, earl of Thanet, without male issue, became in abeyance between his daughters and coheirs above-mentioned, and in 1734, king George II. confirmed that barony to Margaret, his third surviving daughter and coheir, married to Thomas Coke, lord Lovel, afterwards created earl of Leicester, which title is now again in abeyance by his death s. p. Which Sackville Tufton died in 1721, leaving Sackville the seventh earl of Thanet, whose eldest son of the same name succeeded him as eighth earl of Thanet, and rebuilt the present mansion of Hothfield-place, in which he afterwards resided, but being obliged to travel to Italy for his health, he died there at Nice in 1786, and was brought to England, and buried in the family vault at Rainham, in this county, where his several ancestors, earls of Thanet, with their countesses, and other branches of the family, lie deposited, from the time of their first accession to that title. He married Mary, daughter of lord John Philip Sackville, sister of the present duke of Dorset, by whom he had five sons and two daughters, Elizabeth; and Caroline married to Joseph Foster Barham, esq. Of the former, Sackville, born in 1769, succeeded him in honors; Charles died unmarried; John is M. P. for Appleby; Henry is M. P. for Rochester, and William. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the present right hon. Sackville Tufton, earl of Thanet, baron Tufton, lord of the honor of Skipton, in Craven, and baronet, and hereditary sheriff of the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, who is the present possessor of this manor and seat, and resides here, and is at present unmarried. (fn. 4)
The antient arms of Tufton were, Argent, on a pale, sable, an eagle displayed of the field; which coat they continued to bear till Nicholas Tufton, the first earl of Thanet, on his obtaining that earldom, altered it to that of Sable, an eagle displayed, ermine, within a bordure, argent; which coat was confirmed by Sir William Segar, garter, in 1628, and has been borne by his descendants to the present time. The present earl of Thanet bears for his coat of arms that last-mentioned; for his crest, On a wreath, a sea lion, seiant, proper; and for his supporters, Two eagles, their wings expanded, ermine.
SWINFORT, or Swinford, which is its more proper name, is a manor in this parish, lying in the southern part of it, near the river Stour, and probably took its name from some ford in former times over it here. However that be, it had formerly proprietors, who took their name from it; but they were never of any eminence, nor can I discover when they became extinct here; only that in king Henry V.'s reign it was in the possession of Bridges, descended from John atte Bregg, one of those eminent persons, whose effigies, kneeling and habited in armour, was painted in the window often mentioned before, in Great Chart church; and in this family the manor of Swinford continued till the latter end of king James I.'s reign, when it passed by sale from one of them to Sir Nicholas Tufton, afterwards created earl of Thanet, whose son John, earl of Thanet, before the 20th year of that reign, exchanged it for other lands, which lay more convenient to him, with his near neighbour Nicholas Toke, esq. of Godinton, in which family and name it has continued down, in like manner as that feat, to Nicholas Roundell Toke, esq. now of Godinton, the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
FAUSLEY, or FOUSLEY, as it is now usually called, is the last manor to be described in this parish; its more antient name was Foughleslee, or, as it was usually pronounced, Faulesley; which name it gave to owners who in early times possessed and resided at it. John de Foughleslee, of Hothfield, was owner of it in the second year of king Richard II. and in his descendants this manor seems to have continued till about the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, when it passed by sale to Drury; from which name, at the latter end of it, this manor was conveyed to Paris, who immediately afterwards alienated it to Bull, who soon afterwards reconveyed it back again to the same family, whence, in the next reign of king James I. it was sold to Sir Nicholas Tufton, afterwards created earl of Thanet, in whose successors, earls of Thanet, it has continued down to the right hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet, the present owner of it.
RICHARD PARIS, by deed in 1577, gave for the use of the poor, a rent charge of 16s. per annum, out of land called Hanvilles, in this parish; the trustees of which have been long ago deceased, and no new ones appointed since.
RICHARD MADOCKE, clothier, of this parish, by will in 1596, ordered that the 11l. which he had lent to the parishioners of Hothfield, towards the rebuilding of their church, should, when repaid, be as a stock to the poor of this parish for ever.
SIR JOHN TUFTON, knight and baronet, and Nicholas his son, first earl of Thanet, by their wills in 1620 and in 1630, gave certain sums of money, with which were purchased eight acres of land in the parish of Kingsnoth, of the annual produce of 10l.
THOMAS, EARL OF THANET, and SACKVILLE TUFTON. Esq. grandfather of the present earl, by their deeds in 1720 and 1726, gave for a school mistress to teach 24 poor children, a rent charge and a house and two gardens, in Hothfield, the produce in money 20l. The premises were vested in Sir Penyston Lambe and Dr. John Grandorge, long since deceased; since which the trust has not been renewed; and the original writings are in the earl of Thanet's possession.
Such of the above benefactions as have been contributed by the Tufton family, have been ordered by their descendants to be distributed annually by the steward of Hothfield-place for the time being, without the interference of the parish officers, to such as received no relief from this parish; the family looking upon these rather as a private munisicence intended to continue under their direction.
The church, which is small, is dedicated to St. Mary, and consists of three isles and a chancel, having a low spire steeple, covered with shingles at the west end, in which are five bells, and though it stands on a hill, is yet very damp. There is not any painted glass in the windows of it. On the north side in it, is a monument of curious workmanship, having the figures of a man and woman, in full proportion, lying at length on it; at three corners of it are those of two sons and one daughter, kneeling, weeping, all in white marble; round the edges is an inscription, for Sir John Tufton, knight and baronet, and Olympia his wife, daughter and heir of Christopher Blower, esq. On the monument are the arms of Tufton, with quarterings and impalements; on the sides are two inscriptions, one, that he re-edified this church after it was burnt, at his own charge, and under it made a vault for himself and his posterity, and after that he had lived eighty years, departed this life; the other enumerating his good qualities, and saying that by his will he gave perpetual legacies to this parish and that of Rainham. This monument is parted off from the north isle by a strong partition of wooden balustrades, seven feet high. The vault underneath is at most times several feet deep with water, and the few coffins which were remaining in it were some years since removed to the vaults at Rainham, where this family have been deposited ever since. On the north side of the chancel is a smaller one, formerly called St. Margaret's chapel, now shut up, and made no use of. In the south isle is a memorial for Rebecca, wife of William Henman, esq. obt. 1739, and Anna-Rebecca, their daughter, obt. 1752; arms, A lion, between three mascles, impaling a bend, cotized, engrailed. This church, which is a rectory, was always esteemed an appendage to the manor, and has passed accordingly, in like manner with it, down to the right hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet, lord of the manor of Hothfield, the present patron of it.
There was a pension of ten shillings paid from it to the college of Wye. In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and ninety-three, and it was valued at eighty pounds. In 1640, communicants one hundred and ninety, and valued at only sixty pounds per annum. There is a modus of two pence an acre of the pasture lands in the parish. There are twelve acres of glebe. It is now worth about one hundred and twenty pounds per annum.
Richard Hall, of this parish, by will in 1524, ordered that his feoffees should enfeoffe certain honest persons in his house and garden here, set beside the pelery, to the intent that the yearly serme of them should go to the maintenance of the rode-light within the church.
This church was burnt down in the reign of king James I. and was rebuilt at the sole expence of Sir John Tufton, knight and baronet, who died in 1624. His descendant Thomas, earl of Thanet, who died in 1729, gave the present altar-piece, some of the pewing, and the pulpit.
Church of Hothfield.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Thomas Horsemonden, in 1680, obt. Aug. 1607. (fn. 5)|
|Sir John Tufton, knt. and bart.||John Viney, A. M. Nov. 24, 1607.|
|William King, obt. 1682.|
|Richard, earl of Thanet.||Gideon Maude, A. M. Oct. 25, 1682, obt. 1721.|
|Thomas, earl of Thanet.||John Grandorge, S. T. P. obt. Jan. 19, 1730. (fn. 6)|
|Sackville, earl of Thanet.||John Norcross, 1730, obt. June 1773. (fn. 7)|
|Stephen Barret, A. M. Oct. 16, 1773, the present rector. (fn. 8)|