The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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Padlesworth is a lonely and unfrequented parish, situated very high, among the hills; the saying in this country being, that Padlesworth is the highest ground and the lowest church in the whole county. It is very small, the church standing in the middle of it, near three or four mean cottages, which make the village, the inhabitants of which are poor indeed. The soil is much like that of the last described parish of Acrise, only still more barren, with a great deal of health or common throughout it, a wretched and miserable country.
The manor or Padlesworth was antiently part of the estate of the great family of Criol, one of whom, Bertram de Criol, died possessed of it in the 23d year of king Edward I. whose two sons dying without issue, Joane their sister became possessed of this manor, with the rest of her brother's inheritance, which she carried in marriage to Sir Richard de Rokesle, who left his two daughters his coheirs, of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings, and entitled her husband to the possession of this manor. He died anno 13 Edward III. and in his descendants it continued down to Robert de Poynings, who lived in king Edward IV.'s reign, and was, as his several ancestors were, summoned to parliament among the barons of this realm, and he passed it away by sale to Sir Thomas Fogge, of Repton, in whose descendants it remained till king James I's reign, when it was alienated to Dingley, whose heirs conveyed it to Thomas Talbot, esq. and he sold it to Mr. Ralph Harwood, from which name it passed by sale, in 1748, to Mr. James Hammond, of Dover, since whose death in 1790, it has been sold by his heirs to Thomas Papillon, esq. of Acrise, the present proprietor of it.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Oswald, is, I believe the lowest and the least in the county. It is very antient indeed, being built of large slint stones, and consists of one very small isle, and still smaller chancel; the roof of both is unceiled, and the east and only window of the chancel being boarded up, it is quite dark at noon-day. Between the isle and chancel is a circular arch, with Saxon ornaments. At the west end of the isle is part of a large circular pillar, about two feet high, very antient, seemingly the basis of the font, which there is none now. There is no steeple or turret, but at the west end of the roof hangs one bell. There are no memorials in it. On each side of the isle is a very small circular door; on each side of the southern one are two remarkably small pillars, of Saxon architecture, different in their ornaments from each other.
This church has always been esteemed as a chapel to the church of Liminge, in the value of which it is included in the king's books; the rector of Liminge being instituted and inducted to that rectory, with the chapels of Stanford and Padlesworth annexed. In 1588 here were communicants eighty-six, and in 1640 the same.