The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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THE parish of Horton, usually called Monks Horton, from the priory situated in it, as well as to distinguish it from others of that name in this county, lies the next southward from Stowting,
It LIES adjoining to the down hills which cross the parish, and though it has a variety of situation it is in the whole esteemed healthy. The high road from Canterbury called Stone-street way, leads over Hampton-hill, along the east side of it; above this it is a dreary forlorn country, the soil wretchedly poor, and covered with sharp flints, much the same as that in Stowting before described, but at the foot of the hill it changes to a better soil, and a much more pleasant aspect, in which part it may, in comparison of the lower part of the valley southward, over which there is an extensive view, be called high ground, which occasioned this part of it to be called formerly Uphorton; in which part of it is Mount Morris, standing in the midst of several hundred acres of dry pasture grounds, extending over the greatest part of this and into the adjoining parishes, which have been all open one to the other for some time; the trees and coppice wood, round the former inclosures, having been suffered to grow for many years natural and luxuriant, and being interspersed with other woods and plantations, form a scene uncommonly pleasant and picturesque for a long way round. At a small distance from Mount Morris, among these now uninclosed pastures, stands Horton court-lodge and the church. The western part of the parish is very low, wet, and swampy; the stream which rises northward from hence at Stowting, runs along this side of it by the hamlets of Horton and Broad street, and so on into the Post ling branch below Sellinge; here the soil is a deep, miry clay, though on the side of the stream there are some fertile good meadows, among which is Horton priory, standing in a bottom near the stream, below Broad-street, in a very low and damp situation, and so obscure and retired, having a large wood which reaches close up to it, that it is hardly seen till you are close to it. There is but a small part of it remaining; what is left is made use of for the dwellinghouse, being a long narrow building, of ashler stone and flints, seemingly of the time of king Henry VI though by the windows it appears to have been much altered at different times; and there are the remains of a tower at the east end, and a small part of a very fine, large, circular arch, with zigzag ornaments of a much antienter date, seemingly the great entrance into the priory, or perhaps the church of it; beyond which, still further eastward, that part which was taken down by the king's order soon after the suppression of it, seems to have stood.
At THE TIME of taking the survey of Domesday, Horton was part of the possessions of Hugo de Montfort; accordingly it is thus entered in Domesday, under the general title of his lands:
In Stotinges hundred, Alnod holds of Hugo, Hortone. Leuuin held it of king Edward, and it was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is three carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and five villeins, with six borderers having one carucate and an half. There is a church, and one mill of twenty five pence, and twentyfour acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of ten bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth forty shillings, and afterwards twenty, now sixty shillings. In the same place Alnod holds one yoke, of Hugo, but there is nothing.
The same Hugo holds three rood and a half in the same lath, which three sochmen hold of king Edward. There now one villein has half a carucate, with three borderers. It is and was worth separately ten shillings.
And a little further below, in the same record:
In Stotinges hundred, Ralph holds of Hugo, Hortun. Two sochmen held it of king Edward, and it was laxed at one yoke and an half. The arable land is one carucate and an half. In demesne there is one, with four villeins, and one mill of thirty pence, and ten acres of meadow. Of the wood there is pannage for six bogs.
On the voluntary exile of Robert de Montfort, grandson of Hugh above-mentioned, in the reign of king Henry I. his estates in this parish, among the rest of his possessions, came into the king's hands, whence they were, with others adjoining in this neighbourhood, soon afterwards granted to Robert de Ver, constable of England, who had married Adeliza, daughter of Hugh de Montfort, and they jointly, by which it should seem that she had a special interest in this manor as part of her inheritance, granted THE MANOR OF HORTON, alias UPHORTON, in the early part of the reign of king Henry II. to the prior and monks of their new-founded priory in this parish, to hold to them, on the payment of one marc of silver yearly to the church of St. Pancrace, of Lewes, as an acknowledgment. (fn. 1) It appears by the record of Dover castle, taken in king Edward I.'s reign, that the prior of Horton held one knight's fee in Horton, by the service of ward to that castle, being part of that barony held of it, called the Constabularie; so called from its being held as part of the barony of the earl of Bologne, constable of that castle in the reign of king Henry I. and Darell, in his treatise, says the possessors of this manor, among others, were bound to repair a tower in it, called Penchester tower; which service was afterwards changed for the annual payment of ten shillings in lieu of it. In which state it continued till the general dissolution of religious houses in the reign of king Henry VIII. in the 27th year of which, an act having passed for the suppression of all such, whose revenues did not amount to two hundred pounds per annum, this priory was surrendered into the king's hands; whence this manor, as well as all the rest of the possessions belonging to it, was granted by the king, in his 29th year, to archbishop Cranmer, and it continued part of the possessions of that see till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was by act again vested in the crown, where it staid till king Charles I. in his 4th year, granted it to trustees for the use of the mayor and commonalty of the city of London; whence it was sold two years afterwards to George Rooke, gent. of Mersham, from whose family were descended the Rookes, of St. Laurence, near Canterbury, now extinct. They bore for their arms, Argent, on a chevron engrailed, sable, three chess rooks, argent, between three rooks, sable. (fn. 2) His descendant Heyman Rooke alienated it in the reign of queen Anne to Tho. Morris, esq. of this parish, who dying without issue male, devised this manor by will to his daughter's son Morris Drake Morris, esq. and on failure of issue male in that branch, to the issue male of the said Morris's sister Elizabeth Drake, by her husband Matthew Robinson, esq. of Yorkshire; by virtue of which, their eldest son the Right Hon. Matthew Robinson Morris, lord Rookby, of whom a further account will be given hereafter, is now become entitled to it. A court baron is regularly held for this manor.
THE MANOR OF SHERFORD, alias EAST HORTON, was, in the time of king Edward the Consessor, part of the possessions of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, being then esteemed as one yoke of land; but after the Norman conquest it was taken from them, and given, among much other land in this neighbourhood, to Hugh de Montsort, not withstanding the opposition which the monks made to it, which their chronicles say, was all in vain, and this manor is accordingly included in the description before-mentioned of his lands in the survey of Domesday. On his voluntary exile in the reign of Henry I. it was, with the rest of his possessions, seized on by the crown, and was most probably afterwards returned to the abbot; for in the 23d year of king Edward III. Sir Richard de Retling held it of the abbot at his death, that year, and left it to Joane his sole daughter and heir, who marrying John Spicer, entitled him to it, and in this name and family this manor continued till the reign of queen Elizabeth, about the latter end of which it was alienated by one of them to Thomas Morris, gent. of London, whose grandson Thomas Morris, esq. late of London, merchant, in the reign of king William, erected on the scite of this manor, on an eminence, a handsome mansion for his residence, which he named MOUNT MORRIS. He died in 17'7, having had an only son Thomas, who was drowned under London bridge, on his return from Holland, in 1697, æt. 23; and one daughter, married first to Drake, of Cambridgeshire, and secondly to the learned Dr. Conyers Middleton; by the former of whom she had Morris Drake, and a daughter Elizabeth, who married Matthew Robinson, esq. The family of Morris bore for their arms, Argent, a spread eagle within a bordure, sable. (fn. 3) Thomas Morris, esq. by will devised this seat, as well as the manor of East Horton, among his other estates, at his death in 1717, to his grandson Morris Drake, esq. who took the name of Morris, and afterwards resided here, and dying s.p. it came by the entail in the above will to his sister Elizabeth Drake, married to Matthew Robinson, esq. of Yorkshire, for her life, and afterwards to her issue. The Robinsons are originally descended from the Robinsons, of Strouan, in Perthshire, in the highlands of Scotland, where at this time there is a considerable and numerous clan of this name. The first of them, of this branch, who came into England, settled at Kendal, in Westmoreland, in the reign of king Henry VIII. After which William Robinson, of the eldest branch of them, resided at Rookby, in Yorkshire, which he had purchased in queen Elizabeth's reign, whose eldest son Thomas was killed in the civil wars in 1643, leaving several sons and daughters. From William the eldest, descended William Robinson, of Rookby, of whose sons, Thomas the eldest, was of Rookby, and created a baronet in 1730, but died s.p. Richard, the sixth son, was archbishop of Armagh, and primate of Ireland, and on failure of issue by his brother, succeeded to the title of baronet in 1777. He was created Lord Rokeby, of the kingdom of Ireland, with remainder to Matthew Robinson, esq. his kinsman, of West Layton, in Yorkshire, and his heirs male. He died unmarried in 1794, and Septimius, the seventh son, was knighted and gentleman usher of the black rod. Leonard, the youngest son of Thomas, who was slain in 1643 as above-mentioned, was chamberlain of London, and knighted. He left three sons and six daughters, of whom the eldest and only surviving son was Matthew Robinson, esq. of West Layton, who married Elizabeth Drake, by whom he became possessed of Horton during her life, as above-mentioned. He died in London in 1778, æt. 84, having had by her seven sons and two daughters. Of the former, Matthew Robinson Morris, esq. of Horton, twice served in parliament for Canterbury, and is the present Lord Rokeby; Tho mas was barrister-at-law, author of the celebrated treatise on Gavelkind, who died unmarried in 1748; Morris was solicitor in chancery, who died in Ireland in 1777, leaving two sons, Morris and Matthew; William was late rector of Denton, whose son Matthew is in orders, and his daughter Elizabeth is the second wife of Samuel Egerton Brydges, esq. of Denton; John was fellow of Trinity-hall, Cambridge; and Charles is barrister-at law, recorder of Canterbury, and served twice in parliament for that city; he has one daughter Mary, who married William Hougham, jun. esq. The two daughters were Elizabeth married to Edw. Montague, esq. of Allethorpe, in Yorkshire; and Sarah to G. L. Scott, esq. They bear for their arms, Vert, a chevron between three roebucks trippant, or. (fn. 4) By virtue of Mr. Morris's will, on the death of Elizabeth, wife of Matthew Robinson, esq. this estate passed immediately, notwithstanding her husband survived, to her eldest son Matthew Robinson, esq. who in compliance with the same will, took the additional name of Morris, of whom a full account has already been given before. In 1794, on the death of the lord primate of Ireland, unmarried, he succeeded, by the limitation of the patent, to the title of lord Rokeby, which he now enjoys. He is now entitled to this manor and seat, in which he resides, being at present unmarried.
IN THE VERY beginning of king Henry II.'s reign, Robert, son of Bernard de Ver, with the king's licence, founded A PRIORY in this parish, (on part of the demesnes of the manor of Horton) in honor of the Virgin Mary, and St. John the Evangelist, placing in it monks of the order of Clugni, and subjecting it as a cell to the priory of St. Pancrace, of that order, at Lewes, in Sussex. After which he, together with his wife Adeliza, daughter of Hugh de Montfort, gave to them their manor of Horton, with its appurtenances, and other lands and services elsewhere, the prior paying yearly to the church of St. Pancrace before-mentioned, one marc of silver as an acknowledgment. And they ordained that the prior of St. Pancrace, of Lewes, should have the management and disposition of the prior and monks of Horton, in the same manner as of his own, according to the rule of St. Benedict, and the order of Clugnt; and they gave to them besides, by different subsequent charters, several other lands, tithes, churches, and other possessions, and confirmed their former donations to it; and these were afterwards increased by others made at different times to it, as appears by the several charters in the register of it, and those again confirmed by Henry de Essex, by king Stephen, and by several different popes. King Edward III. in his 47th year, released this priory from its state of an alien priory, and made it indigenous, prioratus indigena, that is, upon the same footing as other English priories. In the 8th year of the next reign of king Richard II. the revenues of it, in temporalities and spiritualities, were valued at 98l. 16s. 8d.
In the reign of king Henry VI. they were taxed at 106l. 16s. 8d. though the total revenue of it was 117l. 12s. 6d. At which time, as appears by the register of the priory, there were here only six monks, with the prior, all priests and prosessed, though by their charter of foundation, they were to maintain thirteen monks, or if their revenue came short, at least eight. And in this state it continued till the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when this priory was suppressed by act, as not having revenues of the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, the yearly revenues of it amounting to no more than 95l. 12s. 2d. clear yearly income, and 111l. 16s. 11½d. total yearly revenue, (fn. 5) and it was surrendered up with all its lands and possessions, into the king's hands, by Richard Gloucester, alias Brisley, then prior of it, who had fifteen pounds a year pension granted to him. (fn. 6)
The original of the register of this priory was formerly in the possession of the family of Rooke, afterwards of William Somner, of Canterbury; and a transcript of it was not many years since in the Surrenden library, though now in other hands. Among the Harleian MSS. are collections from the chartularie of this priory, taken anno 1648, No. 2044-38; and there is a manuscript chartularie in the Bodleian library at Oxford, Dodsworth LV, which seems to be that once in the possession of William Somner abovementioned.
THE SCITE OF THE PRIORY of Horton, with the possessions belonging to it, did not remain long in the hands of the crown, during which time however much of the buildings of it were pulled down and carried off, for the king, in his 29th year, granted them, subject to certain exceptions and payments to archbishop Cranmer, who that year conveyed them back again to the crown; whence they were next year granted, to hold in capite by knight's service, to Richard Tate, esq. of Stockbury, who was then in possession of them by a former lease from the crown. He was afterwards knighted, and in the I st year of Edward VI. alienated the scite of the priory, with the lands belonging to it, to Walter Mantell, esq. grandson of Sir Walter Mantell, of Heyford, in Northamptonshire, who bore for his arms, Argent, a cross engrailed, between four mullets, sable; but he being, with his nephew Walter Mantell and others, attainted and executed, for being concerned in Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion, in the I st year of queen Mary, this estate became forfeited to the crown, where it staid till queen Elizabeth, in her 13th year, restored it to his eldest son Matthew Mantell, to bold to him and his heirs male, whose direct descendants continued to reside in it for several generations afterwards, in one of whom it still continues, being at this time vested in Mr. Augustus William Mantell.
WILLIAM FORDRED, by will in 1550, gave to this parish, among others, a proportion of the rents of twenty-five acres of land in St. Mary's parish, in Romney Marsh; which portion to this parish is of the annual produce of 4l. 12s. 4 1/2d. to be distributed annually to the poor, and vested in certain trustees.
The poor constantly relieved are about eight, casually four.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Elham.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, is but a small building, consisting of one isle and one chancel, having a low pointed turret at the west end, in which are four bells. In the chancel are two monuments for the family of Rooke, and several memorials for the Morris's, who lie in a vault underneath. In the isle there are monuments and memorials likewise of the Morris's. Against the north wall, over lord Rokeby's pew, is a curious tablet of vellum, on which is written a long copy of Latin verses, round it are ornaments, with the last-mentioned arms, and the date, 1647, seemingly done in needle-work, most probably by Mrs. Sarah, wise of Thomas Morris, gent. of Horton, who died in 1646, whose monument is here near it. There are no remains of painted glass in the windows. Richard Burcherde, of Canterbury, by will in 1534, gave three pounds to this church, to buy two tables of alabaster for two altars in the body of it, on one to be the story of our Lady, and on the other that of St. John; near them was the tabernacle of St. Nicholas; and he gave four pounds towards making a window, the same as that on the north side there.
The church of Horton appears, after the general dissolution of monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. to have been vested in the crown, where it remained till the king, in his 34th year, exchanged the advowson of this rectory, among other premises, with the archbishop of Canterbury, and it has remained parcel of the possessions of that see ever since, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of it.
This rectory is valued in the king's books at 7l. 10S. 8d. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of forty pounds. In 1588 it was valued at thirty pounds, communicants 108. In 1640 it was valued at sixty pounds, communicants 180.
There was a decree made in the court of exchequer, on the complaint of Laurence Rook, then the queen's farmer, of the scite and demesnes of Horton manor, in the 39th year of queen Elizabeth, touching the payment of tithes to the rector of this parish, by which, certified by the queen's letters of inspeximus, a modus was established as having been time out of mind, for all pasture grounds, and of the dry cattle, and the wool of sheep and lambs feeding on them, and for certain sorts of wood mentioned therein.
Bryan Faussett, soon after he became rector, commenced a suit in the exchequer, for tithes due to him, in opposition to the above decree; but after carrying his suit on for several years, he dropped it, and the tithes have been ever since received by the succeeding rectors according to the above-mentioned decree.
Church of Monks Horton.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop.||Adam Cleater, A. B. May 21, 1588, obt. 1625. (fn. 8)|
|John Strout, A. B. February 11, 1625.|
|The King, sede vac.||Edward Tuke, A. M. Oct. 10, 1645.|
|The Archbishop.||Samuel Smith, in 1663.|
|William Johnson, A. B. Jan. 12, 1668, obt. 1675. (fn. 9)|
|John Richards, A. M. inducted March 8, 1675, obt. 1728.|
|John Clough, A. M. Feb. 22, 1728, obt. Dec. 1764. (fn. 10)|
|Bryan Faussett, A. M. May 11, 1765, obt. Feb. 10, 1776. (fn. 11)|
|Joseph Price, B. D. March 11, 1776, resigned 1786. (fn. 12)|
|A. Purshouse, 1786, the present rector.|