The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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STOWTING is situated in a wild and forlorn country, for the most part on the great ridge of chalk, or down hills which cross this parish. The church stands in the vale, at some small distance southward from the foot of them, in which part of it is the court-lodge. A little above the church arises the spring, which is the head of the stream, which running through this parish southward by Broad-Street, and thence by Horton priory, joins the Postling branch of the river Stour at some distance below Sellindge. There are several small hamlets. Above the hill is Stowting common, and a little further Limridge green; round both which are hamlets of houses. In this part the hills are very sharp and frequent, the soil barren and very flinty, consisting either of chalk, or a poor reddish earth, mixed with quantities of flint stones; and here there is much rough ground and poor coppice wood, and a very comfortless dreary country, which continues for several miles northward, on each side the Stone-street way, towards Canterbury, throughout which, if the country cannot boast of wealth, yet it can of being exceeding healthy, as all the hills and unfertile parts of this county in general are. Below the church, in the vale, the soil is rather more fertile, though still inclined to chalk, having much wet and swampy pasture ground in it, and some few hops on a piece of land belonging to Stowting court, which thrive exceeding well.
It appears by a manuscript in the Surrenden library, that in the old park here, long before it was dis parked and laid open, there were several urns found, lying in a trough of stone; and Dr. Gale, in his Comment on Antoninus's Itinerary, says, Romancoins have been found in this parish at different times, which may easily be accounted for, from its contiguity to the Stone-street, which was the Roman way between their stations Durovernum and Portum Lemanis. (fn. 1)
THE MANOR OF STOWTING was given, in the year 1044, by one Egelric Bigge, to Christ church, in Canterbury, and on the partition of the lands of it soon after the conquest, between the archbishop and his monks there, was allotted as a limb of the manor of Aldington, which it was then accounted, with it to the former, being held of the archbishop, as such, soon afterwards, by the earl of Ewe; accordingly it is thus entered, under the general title of the archbishop's lands, in the survey of Domesday, in the next entry to that of the manor of Aldington:
Of the same manor (viz. Aldington) the earl of Ewe holds Estotinges for one manor. It was taxed at one suling and an half. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now, for one suling only. The arable land is eight carucates. In demesne there are two, and twentyseven villeins, with thirteen borderers, having seven carucales, and one mill of twenty-five pence. There is a church, and twenty acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of ten bogs, and eight servants. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth eight pounds, now ten pounds.
In the reign of king Henry II. this manor was held of the archbishop by the family of Heringod, who were good benefactors to the priory of Horton, as appears by the register of it; (fn. 2) one of them, Stephen de Heringod, in the beginning of king Henry III. had the grant of a market, to be held weekly here, on a Tuesday, and a fair yearly for two days, on the vigil and day of the assumption of the Virgin Mary, and died possessed of this manor in the 41st year of that reign. After which, by a female heir, Christiana Heringod, this manor went in marriage to William de Kirkby, who farmed the whole hundred of the king, and he died possessed of it in the 30th year of king Edward I. holding it by knight's service. Soon after which it passed into the family of Burghersh, and Robert de Burghersh, constable of Dover castle, died possessed of it in the 34th year of that reign, whose son Stephen de Burghersh, in the 1st year of king Edward II. obtained a charter of free-warrenin all his demesne lands within it. How long his descendants continued in the possession of this manor I have not found; but it appears by the escheat-rolls of the 1st year of king Edward III. that Walter de Pavely died that year possessed of it, and in the 20th year of the same reign, Thomas de Aldon appears by the Book of Aid, to have died possessed of it in the 35th year of that reign; after which it came again into the family of Pavely, for Sir Walter de Pavely, knight of the garter, died possessed of it in the 49th year of that reign, whose grandson, of the same name, in the 3d year of king Richard II. released and quit-claimed to Sir Stephen de Valence and others, all his right and interest in this manor; (fn. 3)and they passed it away to Sir Thomas Trivet, whose widow Elizabeth died possessed of it in the 12th year of Henry VI. when it was found, that Elizabeth, then wise of Edward Nevill, fourth son of Ralph, earl of Westmoreland, was her next heir in remainder to this manor. She entitled her husband Edward Nevill, above mentioned, lord Lergavenny, to the possession of it. He survived her, and died anno 19 Edward IV. being then possessed of it, among others of her estates, as tenant by the courtesy of England. His eldest son Sir George Nevill, lord Bergavenny, seems to have sold this manor to Sir Thomas Kempe, whose youngest son Thomas, bishop of London, died possessed of it in the 4th year of king Henry VII. leaving Sir Tho. Kempe, K. B. of Ollantigh, his nephew, his next heir, when there was a park here, which continued as such when Lambarde wrote his Perambulation in 1570. His descendant Sir Thomas Kempe, of Ollantigh, dying in 1607, without issue male, devised this manor by will to his brother Mr. Reginald Kempe, afterwards of Tremworth, in Crundal, whose three daughters at length became his coheirs, and they with their trustees, in the 19th year of king James I. joined in the conveyance of the whole of it to Josias Clerke, esq. of Westerfield, in Essex, who had married Anne the eldest of them. He alienated it, in king Charles I.'s reign, to Mr. Thomas Jenkin, gent. of Eythorne, who was descended from a family of this name in the north of England, from whence they came into Kent, and settled at Folkestone about the reign of Henry VIII. There are several memorials of them, after the purchase of this manor, in the chancel of this church. They bore for their arms, Argent, a lion rampant regardant, sable. (fn. 4) In whose descendants it continued down to Wm. Jenkin, gent. of Horsemonceux, who barred the entail made of this manor, and then devised it by will to his brother John Jenkin, gent. since dead, and to his nephew Wm. Jenkin, clerk, of Frampton, in Gloucestershire, who, with the four children of the former, are the present proprietors of this manor. A court leet and court baron is held for the hundred and manor of Stowting.
VALENTINE KNOTT, gent. gave by will to the poor not receiving constant relief, out of a farm in Bonnington, called Bonnington-pinn, in the occupation of Robert Goddard, of Mersham, the annual sum of 8s.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of one isle and one chancel, having at the west end a low pointed turret of wood, projecting over the lower part of it, which is built of brick. In it are four bells. This church has hardly any thing worth notice in it. The memorials of the Jenkin family, as has been already mentioned, are in the chancel, and in the window of the north isle is this legend, on the glass, Orate paibs Rycardy Stotyne & fuliare Statyne ux. ejus; and three figures of antient men with beards, their staves in their hands; and underneath six smaller figures, in a praying posture. In the upper part of the window is a canopy, very finely painted. In the church-yard, which is of higher ground than that round it, seemingly thrown up in former times as a place of defence, are two fine large yew trees, of great age, and three others, younger and more flourishing, near them.
The patronage of this rectory was antiently appendant to the manor of Stowting; and in the 21st year of king Edward I. the king brought his claim for the advowson of it, against William de Kirkby, then owner of the manor by marriage with Christian Heringod; but the jury gave it against the king; and the property of it continued in his successors, lords of the manor, till the death of Mr. Reginald Kempe in 1622, whose coheirs afterwards became entitled to it.
How it passed from them, I have not found, only that it was afterwards separated from the manor, and in the hands of different owners. In the reign of Charles II. Margaret Ansell, widow, was owner of it, and her son John Ansell, clerk, afterwards became entitled to it, from whose heirs it passed to John Collier, esq. who owned it in king George I's reign; afterwards James Cranston, esq. of Hastings, became possessed of it; from whom it passed to the Rev. George Holgate, the present patron and rector of this church.
This rectory is valued in the king's books at 7l. 17s. 11d. and the yearly tenths at 15s. 9/12d. In 1588 it was valued at eighty pounds per annum, communicants eighty. In 1640 it was valued at the same, and the like number of communicants. It is now of about the like annual value.
Church of Stowting.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Thomas Kempe, of Wye.||Thomas Wood, Aug. 20, 1593, vacated 1605. (fn. 5)|
|Sir Thomas Kempe.||Richard Allen, S. T. B. May 9, 1605, and in 1633.|
|Reginald Ansell, obt. 1679.|
|Magdalen Ansell, widow.||John Ansell, A. M. January 8, 1679, obt. 1725. (fn. 6)|
|John Collier, esq.||James Cranston, A. M. 1725, obt. 1771.|
|James Cranston, esq. of Hastings.||George Holgate, LL. B. June 7, 1771, the present rector. (fn. 7)|