The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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LIES the next parish north-eastward from Wittersham. That part of it which is within the island of Oxney, is within the hundred of it, and eastern division of the county; the remaining part, without the island, which is within the borough of Reading, is within the western division of the county, the hundred of Tenterden, and division of the justices of that corporation, the liberty of which, and of the cinque ports, claim over it.
THIS PARISH lies, the greatest part of it, within the island of Oxney, at the north-west corner of it, which part is a large level of marsh-land, being bounded on the north and east by the river Rother, and on the south and west by a small rill, which separates it from the parishes of Stone and Wittersham, being within the island, about one mile in length from north to south, and about three quarters in breadth. That part of this parish without the island, northward of the Rother, contains the hamlet of Reading-street, adjoining to the parish of Tenterden, in which there are ten houses, and five more within the island. It lies very low and is a very unhealthy situation, being enveloped with vast quantities of wet and swampy marshes, the gross vapours rising from which subject it to continual fogs.
THE MANOR OF EBENEY, alias Ebeney priory, which was given about the year 832, by Athulf, or Ethelwulph, king of England, at the instance of archbishop Ceolnoth, to the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury, L.S.A. that is, with the same liberties and privileges as had been before granted to the manor of Adisham, a clause which the archbishops usually procured to the Saxon grants made to their church of lands in this county. After which this manor seems to have continued without interruption parcel of the possessions of that priory, and king Edward II. in his 10th year, granted and confirmed to the prior and convent,free warren in all their demesne lands of it, among others. (fn. 1) Thomas Goldstone, who succeeded as prior of Christchurch in 1495, anno 11 Henry VII. among other improvements which he made on the several manors and estates of his priory, built new chambers and other conveniences at the mansion of Ebeney manor, which from this long possession of it, had gained the name of Ebeney priory, and it afterwards continued so till its dissolution, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, with the rest of its possessions, whence it was granted next year to Walter Hendley, esq. afterwards made a sergeant-atlaw and knighted, who died possessed of this manor anno 6 Edward VI. having before his death settled it on Anne, one of his three daughters and coheirs, on her marriage with Richard Covert, esq. of Slaugham, in Sussex, who then succeeded to the possession of it. At length his descendant Thomas Covert, esq. of that place, leaving an only daughter and heir Diana, she carried it in marriage to John Palgrave, esq. of the Inner Temple. After which, in pursuance of a decree of the court of chancery, it became vested in John Grundy, who, with Richard Blythe, in 1707, conveyed it by sale to William Blackmore, gent. of Tenterden, and he by will devised it to his nephew John Blackmore, whose descendant Thomas Blackmore, esq. of Briggins, in Hertfordshire, is the present owner of it.
WOODROVE is a manor in this parish, which was part of the possessions of the abbot and convent of Robertsbridge, and continued so till the suppression of it in king Henry VIII.'s reign, when it came into the king's hands, with the rest of the possessions of that abbey, before which it had been let by the abbot and convent, anno 26 Henry VIII. with its appurtenances and royalties, and all swans and cygnets on the waters of it, to Edward Godsrey, of Apuldore, for thirty years, at the yearly rent of 5l. 13s. 4d. ten quarters of whear, ten quarters of barley, two bushels of mustard seed, twelve hundred reeds, and the keeping of three horses from the seast of St. George to the feast of All Saints. (fn. 2) After the suppression of the abbey, the king, in his 33d year, granted this manor to Sir William Sidney and Anne his wife, and their heirs male, to hold in capite; and he next year, in consideration of a further sum of money, had a new grant of it, to him and his heirs for ever, to hold by knight's service. He died possessed of this manor in the 7th year of king Edward VI. and was succeeded in it by his descendant Robert Sidney, earl of Leicester, and in the 5th year of king James I. obtained letters patent to hold this manor of the king, as of his manor of East Greenwich, in free socage te nure, by fealty only, in lieu of all rents and services; soon after which he alienated it to Edward Hendon, esq. afterwards knighted, and in king Charles I.'s reign chief baron of the court of exchequer, who by his will in 1662, devised it to his nephew Sir John Hendon, of Biddenden, and he sold it to Mr. John Austen, of Tenterden, who died unmarried, upon which it came to his next and only surviving brother Sir Robert Austen, bart. of Hall place, in Bexley, in whose descendants, baronets, of that place, this manor continued down to Sir Robert Austen, bart. who died possessed of it in 1743, since which this manor has passed in like manner as that of Snavewick, alias Court-at-Week, down to the right hon. Thomas Stapleton, lord le Despencer, the present owner of it.
BROCKET is another small manor here, which had antiently owners of the same name, who were of sufficient note to have their arms carved, among those of the rest of the nobility and gentry of this county, on the roof of the cloysters in Canterbury, being, Or, a cross flory, sable; and they seem to have continued owners of it till king Henry IV.'s reign, when it was alienated to William Guldeford, in whose descendants it remained till Sir John Guldeford sold it in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. to Sir John Hales, baron of the exchequer, who at his death gave it to his youngest son Edward Hales, esq. who was seated at Tenterden, in whose descendants, as I am informed, it has continued down to Sir Edward Hales, bart. of St. Stephen's, the present owner of it.
Sir Henry Savile, provost of Eton, and warden of Merton college, having founded two mathematical lectures in the university of Oxford, for geometry and astronomy, anno 18 James I. 1620, settled among other premises in different counties for the support of them, an estate called Norlands, alias Northlands, in this parish.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, was formerly much larger than it is now, but about the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign it was burnt down by lightning, and the present little church was built upon part of the former foundation, the extent of which is still discernible. It is a very small mean building, of one little isle and chancel, having a low pointed turret at the west end, in which hangs one bell. This church has always been esteemed as a chapel appendant to the church of Apledore, and continues so at this time, the vicar of that church being collated and inducted to the vicarage of Apledore with the chapel of Ebeney annexed to it. But the parsonage, or great tithes of this parish, which have been mentioned under Apledore, belonged to the priory of St. Martin, in Dover, and at the dissolution of it anno 27 king Henry VIII. came into the king's hands, and was granted by him, two years afterwards, to the archbishop of Canterbury, with whom it was suffered to remain only a small time, for the archbishop retaining that of Apledore, two years afterwards granted this rectory or parsonage of Ebeney to the king again. After which it continued in the crown till it was granted with the advowson of the vicarage, to Sir Walter Hendley, to hold in capite, and he died possessed of it in the 6th year of king Edward VI. upon which it came to Richard Covert, esq. of Sussex, who had married Anne his daughter and coheir, and their son. Since which this parsonage has passed, in like manner as the manor of Ebeney before-described, from his descendants to the Blackmores, and is now, with that, the property of Thomas Blackmore, esq. of Hertfordshire.