The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.
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THE next parish south-eastward from Horton is that of Stanford, which takes its name both from its soil and situation, slane in Saxon signifying a stone, and ford, a rivulet. The parish of Stanford itself lies in the hundred of Stowring, but that of Westenhanger, now united to it, is within the hundred of Street.
It is, the greatest part of it, a low unpleasant situation, lying at a small distance below the down hills. The greatest part of it is pasture ground, and very wet. The soil is very clity and poor near the hill, where the ground lies higher, but lower down it becomes richer, and has some good fertile meadows in it. There is but little wood, only two small coppices in the northern part of it; the rents are about 900l. per annum. The high road along the Stone-street way from Canterbury, and over Hampton hill, leads through this parish towards Newinn-green, whence it continues strait forward to Limne, the Portus Lemanis of the Romans, and to the right and left to Ashford and Hythe. Stanford-street is built on this road, in which there is a neat modern-built house, belonging to Mr. Jones, who lives in it; the church stands on a gentle rise eastward from it. The parish is watered by the stream which rises above Postling church, being the head of that branch of the river called the Old Stour, which running from thence hither, having been joined by several smaller streams from the north-west, crosses the high road westward below Stanford-street towards Ashford. The bridge under which it runs here, being broken down anno 7 Edward I. the jury found, that it ought to be repaired by Nicholas de Criol, and not by the adjacent hundreds. At a small distance westward from this bridge, and not far from the stream, stands the antient mansion of Westenhanger, having a gloomy appearance, in a low unpleasant situation, having an extent of flat country and pasture grounds in front of it, the above stream supplying the broad deep moat which surrounds it.
The ruins of this mansion, though very small, shew it to have been formerly a very large and magnificent pile of building. The antiquity of this mansion was, no doubt, very high, and if not originally built by one of the family of Criol, was afterwards much enlarged and strengthened by them. From one of the towers still retaining the name of Rosamond's tower, where the tradition is, that fair mistress of king Henry II. was kept for some time, it should seem to have been built before his reign, or perhaps even belonging to him. Which seems the more probable from there having been found among the ruins the left hand of a well carved statue, with the end of a sceptre grasped in it; a position peculiar to this prince, one of whose seals was so made in the life time of his father. (fn. 1) The scite of the house, moated round, had a drawbridge, a gatehouse and portal, the arch of which was large and strong, springing from six polygonal pillars, with a portcullis to it. The walls were very high, and of great thickness, the whole of them embattled, and fortified with nine great towers, alternately square and round, and a gallery reaching throughout the whole from one to the other. One of these, with the gallery adjoining to it on the north side, was called, as has been already mentioned, Fair Rosamond's; and it is suppoted she was kept here some time before her removal to Woodstock. The room called her prison, was a long upper one, of 160 feet in length, which was likewise called her gallery. Over the door of entrance into the house was carved in stone, the figure of St. George on horseback, and under it four shields of arms; one of which was the arms of England, and another a key and crown, supported by two angels. On the right hand was a slight of freestone steps, which led into a chapel, now a stable, curiously vaulted with stone, being erected by Sir Edward Poynings, in the reign of king Henry VIII. At each corner of the window of this chapel was curiously carved in stone, a canopy. There were likewise in it several pedestals for statues, and over the window stood a statue of St. Anthony, with a pig at his feet, and a bell hanging to one of its ears. At the west end were the statues of St. Christopher and king Herod. The great hall was fifty feet long, with a music gallery at one end of it, and at the other a range of cloisters which led to the chapel, and other apartments of the house. There were one hundred and twenty-six rooms in it, and, by report, three hundred and sixty-five windows. In the year 1701, more than three parts of it was pulled down, for the sake of the sale of the materials, which were then sold for 1000l. After this Mr. Champneis, the purchaser of it, converted the remainder into a small neat edifice for his residence; which house, within these few years, has been again pulled down, and a yet smaller modern one built on the scite of it. All that now remains therefore of this great mansion and its extensive surrounding buildings, are the walls and two towers on the north and east sides of it, which being undermined by length of time, are yearly falling in huge masses into the adjoining moat; and the remaining ruins being covered with ivy and trees, growing spontaneously on and through the sides of every part of them, exhibit an awful scene, and a melancholy remembrance of its antient grandeur; the under part of the great entrance yet remains, the arch over it having been taken down but lately; and there are numberless fragments of carved stone-work lying scattered about. The whole was built of quarry-stone, said to have been dug in the quarries of the adjoining manor of Otterpoole, in Limne, ornamented with sculptured stone brought from Caen. The park which belonged to this mansion, extended over the east and south parts of this parish, rather on rising ground, formerly comprehending the whole parochial district of Ostenhanger, at the southern boundary of which is New-Inn-green, so called from a new inn built there in king Henry the VIIIth's time, near which there is a small hamlet built on the road leading from Hythe to Ashford. Near the western boundary of the parish is a small green, built round with houses, called Gibbins brook, situated in the borough of Gimminge, its proper name, in a very wet and swampy country.
THE MANOR OP STANFORD was antiently part of the possessions of the family of De Morinis, whose descendants the Derings continued afterwards to possess it. Sir Richard Dering, of Hayton, was owner of it anno 22 Richard II. and then quitted the possession of it to Sir Arnald St. Leger. (fn. 2) How it passed afterwards, I have not found; but in 1659 it was the property of Richard Busbridge, of Nottinghamshire, one of whose descendants sold it in 1699 to George Hamond, of Stanford, and he in 1733 alienated it to Michael Lade, of Canterbury, who parted with it again two years afterwards to Wile, of Sandwich, from which name it came to Mr. Odiarne Coates, of New Romney, whose heirs now possess it.
THE MANOR OF BEKEHURST, alias SHORNECOURT, lay somewhere in, or near this parish; for by the Book of Aid, levied anno 20 Edward III. it appears, that the heirs of Walter de Shorne paid aid for it, as the eighth part of a knight's see, which the said Walter before held in Bokehurst of John de Criell, as of his manor of Westenhanger. In king Henry VIII.'s reign, this manor was in the possession of Humphry Gay, gent. but in 1613 it was become the property of Sir Thomas Hardres, who that year levied a fine of it; but where it is situated, or who have possessed it since, I have not, with all my eldeavours, been able to discover.
HEYTON is another manor, lying at the north-west corner of this parish, next to Horton, being frequently mentioned in antient deeds by the name of Hayte. It was in very early times possessed by a family which took its surname from it, and bore for their cognizance in antient armorials, Gules, three piles, argent. Alanus de Heyton was owner of this manor in the reign of king Henry II. in which reign he held by knight's service of Gilbert de Magminot, but dying s.p. Elveva his sister, married to Deringus de Morinis, became his heir, and entitled her husband to it, and wrote himself, as appears by several dateless deeds, Dominus de Heyton. Their son Deringus Fitz Dering, was the first who deserted the name of Morinis, whose son Richard Fitz Dering, who likewise wrote himself Dominus de Heyton, died possessed of it at the latter end of the reign of king Henry III. and left it to his son Peter Dering, whose grandson Sir Richard Dering appears to have possessed it in the 22d year of king Richard II. and that year to have quitted the possession of it to Sir Arnald Seyntleger. After which it passed into the family of Scott, of Braborne, in which it continued till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was alienated by one of them to Mr. William Smith, of Stanford, yeoman, in whose descendants, resident at it, this manor continued down to Mr. William Smith, gent, of Heyton, who dying s.p. by will devised it to his widow Anne, daughter of Mr. John Drake, of London, and she having in 1769 remarried with the Rev. George Lynch, he in her right became possessed of it, and for some time resided here, till on the death of his brother Robert Lynch, M. D. he removed to Ripple, where he died in 1789, s.p. and by his will devised it to his two surviving sisters, who are the present possessors of it. (fn. 3) A court baron is held for this manor.
WESTENHANGER is an eminent manor here, which was once a parish of itself, though now united to Stanford: Its antient and more proper name, as appears by the register of the monastery of St. Angustine, was Le Hangre, yet I find it called likewise in records as high as the reign of Richard I. by the names both of Ostenhanger and Westenhanger, which certainly arose from its having been divided, and in the hands of separate owners, being possessed by the two eminent families of Criol and Auberville. Bertram de Criol, who was constable of Dover castle, lord warden of the five ports, and sheriff of Kent, for several years in the reign of king Henry III. who from his great possessions in this country, was usually stiled the great lord of Kent, is written in the pipe-rolls of the 27th year of that reign, of Ostenhanger, where it is said he rebuilt great part of the then antient mansion. He left two sons, Nicholas and John, the former of whom marrying with Joane, daughter and heir of Sir William de Aubervilse, inherited in her right the other part of this manor, called Westenhanger, as will be further mentioned hereafter. John, the younger son, seems to have inherited his father's share of this manor, called Ostenhanger, of which he died possessed in the 48th year of king Henry III. as did his son Bertram de Criol in the 23d year of Edward I. leaving two sons, John and Bertram, who both died s.p. and a daughter Joane, who upon the death of the latter became his heir, and carried Ostenhanger, among the rest of her inheritance, in marriage to Sir Richard de Rokesle, seneschal and governor of Poictu and Montreul in Picardy, a man of eminent character in that time, having been created a knight-banneret by king Edward I. at the siege of Carlaverock, in Scotland. He died without issue male, leaving his two daughters his coheirs, of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings; and Joane, the youngest, first Hugh de Pateshall, and secondly Sir William le Baud, and upon the division of their inheritance, Ostenhanger was wholly allotted to Thomas de Poynings, who died anno 13 Edward III. bearing for his arms, Barry of six, or, and vert, over all a bend, gules. He left three sons, Nicholas, Michael, and Lucas de Poynings, all three summoned at different times to parliament, among the barons of this realm. The descendants of the latter being summoned as barons Poynings de St. John, which barony became vested in the late duke of Bolton. Upon the division of their inheritance, this manor was allotted to the second son Michael, who died anno 43 king Edward III. and left two sons, Thomas and Richard. Thomas de Poynings, the eldest son, possessed it on his father's death, but he died anno 49 Edward III. s.p. having bequeathed his body to be buried in the midst of the choir of St. Radigund's, of his own patronage, before the high altar, appointing that a fair tomb should be placed over his grave, with the image of a knight made thereon. Upon his death, Richard de Poynings, his youngest brother, succeeded to it, and died possessed of it in the IIth year of king Richard II. as did his son Robert anno 25 Henry VI. having had two sons, Richard de Poynings, who died in his life-time, leaving a sole daughter and heir Alianore, who married Sir Henry Percy, afterwards earl of Northumberland, and brought him a large inheritance, together with the baronies of Poynings, Bryan, and Fitzpain, now enjoyed by the present duke of Northumberland; and a second son Robert, who succeeded his father in Ostenhanger, of which he died possessed anno 9 Edward IV. (fn. 4) who, as well as his several ancestors above-mentioned, were summoned among the barons to parliament, and his son Sir Edward Poynings, who having purchased the other part of this great manor, called Westenhanger, became possessed of the whole property of it, as will be further mentioned hereafter.
To return now to that part of this eminent manor, distinguished from its situation by the name of Westenhanger, which was in the reign of king Richard I. in the possession of the family of Auberville, one of whom, Sir William de Auberville, descended from William de Ogburville, mentioned in the survey of Domesday, being one of those who attended the Conqueror in his expedition hither, resided in that reign in the borough of Westenhanger, and was founder of the abbey of West Langdon, and a benefactor to the priory of Christ church, and as appears by his seal appendant to a deed in the Surrenden library, dated 29 Henry III. bore for his arms, Parted per dancette, two annulets in chief, and one in base. His grandson, of the same name, left an only daughter and heir Joane, who marrying with Nicholas de Criol, brought him this estate as part of her inheritance. His descendant Sir John de Criol, in the 19th year of Edward III. obtained a licence to found and endow a chantry in the chapel of St. John, in Westenhanger,; and before, in the 17th year of that reign, he had a grant to embattle and make loop-holes in his mansion-house of Westenhanger. His descendant Sir Nicholas de Criol, or Keriel, died possessed of it in the 3d year of king Richard II. and from him it devolved at length by succession to Sir Thomas Keriel, for so their name was then in general spelt, who was slain in the second battle of St. Albans, in the 38th year of Henry VI. in asserting the cause of the house of York. On his death without male issue, his two daughters became his coheirs, (fn. 5) viz. Elizabeth, married to John Bourchier, esq. and Alice, to John Fogge, esq. of Repton, afterwards knighted, whose second wife she was; and on the division of their inheritance, Westenhanger was allotted to the latter. He had by her one son, Sir Thomas Fogge, sergeant-porter of Calais in the reigns of king Henry VII. and VIII. who sold his interest in it to his elder brother, (by his father's first wise Alice Haut) Sir John Fogge, of Repton, and he, about the beginning of king Henry VIII.'s reign, alienated it to Sir Edward Poynings, the possessor of the other part of this manor, who thereupon became possessed of both Ostenhanger and Westenhanger, being the entire property of the whole manor. He was a man of much eminence of that time, and greatly in favour both with king Henry VII. and VIII. being governor of Dover castle, lord warden of the five ports, and knight of the garter. He resided at Westenhanger, where he began building magnificently, but he died before his stately mansion here was finished, anno 14 Henry VIII. having married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Scott, of Scotts-hall, by whom he had one only child John, who died in his life time; so that thus deceasing without legitimate issue, and even without any collateral kindred, who could make claim to his estates, this manor, among the rest of them, escheated to the crown. Although Sir Edward Poynings died without legitimate issue, yet he left by four different concubines three sons, Sir Thomas, who afterwards died s. p. Sir Adrian Poynings, who died without male issue; and Edward, slain at Bologne in the 38th year of Henry VIII. and likewise four daughters.
This manor thus becoming vested in the crown, was by the king's bounty soon afterwards conferred on his eldest natural son Sir Thomas Poynings abovementioned, who was a gentleman noted for the beauty and elegance of his person, and was of equal merit; and being of remarkable strength and courage, greatly signalized himself at the justs and tournaments of those times of which the king being himself exceedingly fond, it recommended him still more to the royal favour, and he was made K. B. and was summoned to parliament as baron Poynings, of Ostenhanger. But in the 32d year of the same reign, he, with dame Catherine his wife, exchanged this manor, park, and sundry premises belonging to it, with the king, for other estates in Dorsetshire and Wiltshire. (fn. 6) Soon after which, the king seems to have intended this manor as a mansion fit for his royal residence; for he not only expended much on the completing of the unfinished state of it, but two years afterwards laid into the park a large circuit of land, inclosing many mansions, houses, and buildings of the inhabitants within the pale of it; at which time this manor seems to have been indiscriminately called by both the names of Ostenhanger and Westenhanger. After which, the manor, together with the mansion, park, and other appurtenances belonging to it, continued in the hands of the crown till the reign of Edward VI. when that prince, in his first year, granted it with its appurtenances, to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, to hold in capite by knight's service; but in the 3d year of that reign, the earl joined with dame Joane his wife, in the reconveyance of it to the king, in exchange for premises in other counties. The next year after which the king granted it, among other premises, to Edward Fynes, lord Clinton, son of Thomas, lord Clinton, by Mary, one of the four daughters of Sir Edward Poynings before-mentioned, to hold in capite by knight's service, and in the 6th year of his reign, he made a new grant to him and Henry Herdson, his trustee of it, together with the advowson of the rectory, to hold by the like service; and they not long afterwards alienated the manor of Westenhanger with its appurtenances, to Richard Sackville, esq. who died possessed of it in the 8th year of queen Elizabeth; but it should seem that he had it only for his life, or perhaps might not be in possession of the mansion of Westenhanger itself; for that queen, in the progress which she made through this county, at the latter end of the summer in the year 1573, is said in the course of it to have stayed at her own house of Westenhanger, the keeper of which was then Thomas, lord Buckhurst, son of Richard Sackville, before-mentioned, And further, for that the queen, in her 27th year, granted the manor of Eastenhanger with its appurtenances, in see to Thomas Smith, esq. He was commonly called the Customer, from his farming the customs of the port of London, and he having greatly increased the beauty of this mansion, which had been impaired and defaced by fire, with magnificent additions, resided here; and when Lambarde wrote his Perambulation in 1570, there were here two parks, which continued till one of the family of Smith disparked them both. He died in 1591, and was succeeded by his eldest son Sir John Smythe, who was of Ostenhanger, where he kept his shrievalty in the 42d year of queen Elizabeth, and died in 1609. His son Sir Thomas Smythe, K. B. resided likewise at Westenhanger, (for by both these names this place was yet at times differently called) and was in 1628 created viscount Strangford, of the kingdom of Ireland. His son Philip, viscount Strangford, conveyed it to trustees, (fn. 7) and they, at the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign, alienated this manor, with its mansion, lands, and appurtenances, to Finch, who having in 1701 pulled down by far the greatest part of this stately mansion, then passed it away by sale to Justinian Champneis, esq. The family of Champneis are descended from Sir Amyan Champneis, who flourished in king Henry the IId's reign, whose descendants settled in Somersershire; one of whom, Robt. Champneis, of Chew, in that county, was father of Sir John Champneis, lord mayor of London anno 26 king Henry VIII. who was possessed of Hall-place, in Bexley, where he resided, and in which he was succeeded by his son, the youngest and only surviving son of seven, Justinian. One of his descendants, Walter Champneis, son of William, appears by the parish register of Boxley to have lived in that parish in queen Elizabeth's reign, anno 1582. After which there is continued mention in it of them down to the burial of Justinian Champneis, esq in 1712. Justinian Champneis, the purchaser of this estate, bore for his arms, Parted per pale, argent and sable, a lion rampant, gules, within a bordure, engrailed and counterchanged, of the field. He afterwards resided here, having built a smaller house on the same scite, out of the ruins remaining of it. He was one of the five Kentish gentlemen, who in 1701, delivered the noted petition from this county to the house of commons. He died possessed of this manor and estate, far advanced in years, in 1748, leaving three sons, Justinian, William, and Henry. On his death, by the settlement made on his marriage, one sixth part of this estate devolved to the two younger sons, and the rest of it on the eldest son Justinian Champneis, esq. who dying abroad, s. p. in 1754, gave by will his interest in it to his younger brother Henry; and the remaining sixth part came by compromise wholly to the then eldest surviving brother William Champneis, esq. who resided at Vintners, in Boxley. He left by his first wife two daughters his coheirs, Frances, now unmarried, and Harrior, who married John Burt, esq. of Rochester, by whom she had two sons, WilliamHenry and Thomas, and a daughter Harriot, as will be further mentioned hereafter. On his death in 1762, his sixth part of this estate came to his two daughters and coheirs before-mentioned, the eldest of whom, in her own right, and the two sons of John Burt, esq. deceased, in right of the youngest, is at this time entitled to it. The remaining part of this estate was by Henry Champneis, esq. of Vintners, in Boxley, who died unmarried in 1781, devised to his great nephew William-Henry Burt, the eldest son of John Burt, esq. by his wife Harriot before-mentioned, for whom he had in his life-time obtained a privy seal, to take the surname and bear the arms of Champneis. Which William-Henry Champneis, esq. is now entitled to the inheritance of it.
The parish of Ostenbanger stood, as to its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in the deanry of Limne and diocese of Canterbury. The church, which was a rectory, was formerly in the patronage of the owners of the manor, and came to the crown on the death of Sir Edward Poynings, in the 14th year of king Henry VIII. whence it was granted, as appurtenant to the manor, to Sir Thomas Poynings, who in the 34th year of that reign, granted it to the crown in exchange; in which year the king having laid a large circuit of land into his park here, of which the rector had received the yearly tithes, and having likewise inclosed and imparked in it many houses, barns, and glebe-lands belonging to the rectory, and injoined the parishioners and inhabitants to resort to the parish to which they lay nearest, by which means the rector was destitute of a maintenance, granted to him for life, a yearly pension of six pounds, to be had of his treasurer of the Augmentation-office. Thus this parish became, as to its ecclesiastical juridiction, united to Stanford, to which church the owners of this estate, in whom the tithes of the whole of it are vested, pay a composition of eleven shillings as an acknowledgment for the privilege the inhabitants within it enjoy of the rites of the church there.
The church of Westenhanger has been entirely pulled down, and the materials removed, several years ago. It stood at a small distance westward of the house, and of the drawbridge at the entrance to it, between the latter and the great barn, which report says, was partly built out of the ruins of it. Several skeletons have from time to time been dug up within the scite of it and adjoining to it; and in some of the graves, several sculls in one grave; and some years ago a stone coffin was dug up. The font, which was in this church, was removed to, the church of Stanford, where it now remains.
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, in Romney Marsh; which portion to this parish is of the annual produce of 4l. 12s. 4¼d. to be distributed annually to the poor, and vested in certain trustees.
The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is but a small mean building, and consists of one isle and one chancel, having a low pointed turret at the west end, in which are two bells. There are no memorials in it.
The church of Stanford has always been esteemed as a chapel to the church of Liminge; the rector of which is inducted to the rectory of Liminge, with the chapels of Padlesworth and Stanford annexed, under which parish a further account of it may be seen. In the year 1588 here were communicants forty.
There was an acre of land in this parish, given to maintain a light, called the paschal light, in this church; which, on the suppression of such lights, with others of the like sort, by the act which passed in the beginning of king Edward VI.'s reign, became vested in the crown.