The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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IT IS A PARISH but little known, having hardly any traffic through it. The greatest part is not unpleasantly situated on high ground. The village, with the church, stands at the south-east part. In it there is a handsome new-built house, belonging to Mr. Kelsey, who resides in it; and a little distance from it the parsonage. To the northward is Hawkinge-mill green, from a windmill on it, near which there is a small hamlet of houses. It is upwards of a mile and a half in length, and about one mile in breadth from east to west. The soil of it, in the south east parts, is chalk, and the lands open, uninclosed, hilly downs; but towards the north it is more even ground, and the soil either a stiff clay, or a reddish earth mixed with flints. There are large woods in this part of it, which extend into Swingfield and Alkham. At the south-west boundary of the parish is Combe farm, part of the house of which is within this parish.
There is a fair held here on Oct. 10, for the hiring of servants in the neighbourhood, whence it is called by the people, a statute fair, as all such held for that purpose are, throughout this county.
THE MANOR OF HAWKING, alias Fleggs-court, by which latter name it is usually called, was antiently held of the barony of Folkestone, or Averenches, by knight's service, and ward to Dover castle, by a family who took their surname from it; one of whom, Ofbert de Hawking, held it in manner as above-mentioned, in king Henry II.'s reign, of William de Albrincis. After they were extinct here, it came into the possession of the Fleghs, in which it continued till the reign of king Edward I. in the 23d year of which, William, son of John de Flegh, gave all his manor in the hundred of Folkestone, in Haueking and Evering, together with the church of Haueking, to the abbot and convent of St. Radigund; (fn. 1) at which time the mansion of this manor had acquired its present name of Fleghs-court. In which situation this manor continued till the dissolution of the abbey in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, who, two years afterwards, granted the scite of the abbey, with all its possessions, in exchange, to the archbishop Cranmer: and he, that year, authorised by an act, reexchanged it again with the king. Notwithstanding which, this manor, but whether by any particular exception in the last exchange, or by some future grant, I have not found, became again soon afterwards part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, where it still continues, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to the inheritance of it, Mr. Kelsey, of this parish, is the present lessee of it.
BILCHERST was a manor in the northern part of this parish, near Swingfield-minnis, which formerly belonged to the knights hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. At the dissolution of the hospital, in the 32d of king Henry VIII. this manor came into the king's hands, who in his 33d year granted it in lease to Sir Anthony Aucher, and he sold it to Thomas Smersole, who parted with his interest in it to Mr. Richard Simonds, and he owned it at his death in 1641, in whose descendants it continued for some time; but who have owned it since, or where to point out its identical situation, I have not, with the most diligent enquiries, been able to find out.
COMBE, antiently written Cumbe, is a manor, situated at the south-east bounds of this parish, though part of it is within that of Folkestone. This manor was antiently held of the barony of Averenches, or Folkestone, by knight's service, and ward to Dover castle, by a family of the same name; after which it became part of the possessions of the abbey of St. Radigund, at Bradsole, in the register of which there is mention made of several of the name of Cumbe, who were afterwards possessed of lands in and near it during the reign of king Edward I. In which state it remained till the dissolution of the abbey, in the 27th year of Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, whence it was granted in exchange, with the scite and the rest of the possessions of the abbey, two years afterwards, to the archbishop Cranmer, who, that same year exchanged it again with the king, when it was granted to Sir Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex, on whose attaint, it came again into the hands of the crown, where it seems to have staid till the reign of queen Mary, and to have been granted, with other adjoining estates, to Edward Fynes, lord Clinton and Saye, who conveyed it by sale to Mr. Henry Herdson; since which it has continued, in like manner as Folkestone, and his other estates in this neighbourhood, down to the right hon. Jacob Pleydell Bouverie, earl of Radnor, who is the present owner of it.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael, stands on the edge or knoll of a steep hill, open and exposed to the south west for a great space of country. It is a long narrow building, consisting of one isle, unceiled, and a chancel. It is but meanly built of flints, having a low wooden pointed turret, on the roof at the west end, in which there is one bell. In the chancel is a monument for John Herdson, esq. of Folkestone, obt. 1622; to whom his nephew and heir erected a monument, still remaining, in Folkestone church, in which parish he lived. And there is a tomb for Stephen Hobday, the rest of the inscription obliterated.
The church of Hawking was antiently appendant to the manor, and was given with it, as has been mentioned before, by William de Flegh, to the abbot and convent of St. Radigund, and in the register of that abbey, there is an entry that anno 1200, &c. when Lewis reigned in England, this church of Havekyng was spoiled by William de Averlinges, once baron of Folkeston, who stripped it in such a manner as to deprive it of all his tenants, with their tithes and oblations, &c. and he made them by force and compulsion give their oblations four times in a year, in his hall, before they should go to the priory of Fockerstone; after which he, with his armed followers, plundered the bodies of the dead. This church staid with the abbey till its dissolution, and was then granted with it, to the archbishop, part of whose possessions it still remains, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of it.
This church still continues a rectory, being valued in the king's books at 7l. 7s. 10d. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certisied value of thirty pounds. In 1588 here were fifty-four communicants, and it was valued at thirty pounds. In 1640, the same number of communicants, and it was valued at sixty pounds. Archbishop Tenison, by his will in 1714, left to the augmentation of this rectory 200l. to which was added 200l. more by the governors of queen Anne's bounty.
Church of Hawking.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop.||Henry Amie, A. B. July 4, 1599, obt. 1612.|
|Alexander Udnie, A. M. Feb. 26, 1612.|
|Peter Bonny, clerk, Feb. 27, 1666, obt. 1676.|
|John Barham, A. B. November 1676.|
|The Crown, hac vice.||John De Bray, A. M. Oct. 20, 1690, obt. 1696.|
|The Archbishop.||Robert Daniel, A. M. June 22, 1696, obt. 1713. (fn. 2)|
|John Sackette, A. M. Jan. 6, 1713, obt. Jan 1754. (fn. 3)|
|William Langhorne, A. M. Feb. 26, 1754, obt. Feb. 1772. (fn. 4)|
|John Tims, May 2, 1772, the present rector.|