The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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SOUTH-WESTWARD from Preston, last described, across those marshes within the parish of Wickham, lies Stodmarsh, spelt in antient records, Stodmerch and stodmeres, taking its name from the Saxon word stode, signifying a mare, and merse, a marsh, denoting its situation among the marshes used for the feeding of that kind of cattle. There is only one borough, called the borough of Stodmarsh, in it. A borsholder is chosen at the court leet of this manor.
Stodmarsh is an obscure situation, neither pleasant nor healthy, the village, which is very neat and pretty, stands on a kind of green. It is situated very low, at the extremity of the upland, below which the parish extends over the marshes, called Stodmarsh level, as far as the river Stour. Very near the church is a small stream, which is the boundary of the parish, on each side of which is a large marsh or swamp, overgrown with alders and willows, almost all of which is in Wickham parish. The court-lodge is situated in a bottom, close to the marshes, at no great distance from the village, and above it an open pasture down, over which the road leads to Canterbury. The upland is very hilly, and far from being fertile. There is but one small piece of coppice wood in it, which belongs to Stodmarsh-court. There are about sixteen houses in the parish. A fair used to be held on Whitsun-Tuesday, but it has been for some years discontinued.
Lothaire, king of Kent, in the year 673, gave this manor, by the description of three ploughlands in the marsh called Stodmersh, to St. Augustine's monastery, to hold as free as his predecessors had ever held it. (fn. 1) King Henry III. in his 54th year, granted to the abbot and convent, free-warren in all their demesne lands of Stodmarsch. In the 7th year of king Edward II. in the iter of H. de Stanton and his sociates, justices itinerant, the abbot, upon a a quo warranto, claimed and was allowed free-warren, view of frank-pledge, and wrec of the sea, and other liberties within this manor, among others, as having been granted by divers of the king's predecessors, and confirmed by him in his 6th year, the same having been allowed in the last iter of J. de Berewick and his sociates, justices itinerant, and the liberty of the view of frank-pledge was in particular further confirmed by that king in his 10th year, as all of them were afterwards by king Edward III. by his charter of inspeximus, in his 36th year, among the rest of the possessions and liberties of the abbey, and king Henry VI. likewise confirmed the same. In king Richard II.'s reign, the abbot's possessions in the manor of Stodmarsh were valued at 15l. 4s. 9d. the admeasurement of the lands beings four hundred and eighty-eight acres. After which this manor remained with the abbey till its dissolution anno 30 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, where it staid till the 36th year of that reign, when it was granted to John Master, of East Langdon, to hold in in capite by knight's service, His eldest son Thomas Master, (whose younger brother was of East Langdon) resided at Stodmarshcourt, and died S.p. having by his will devised this manor to his sister Elizabeth, who marrying William Courthope, gent. of Sandwich, entitled him to it. He bore for his arms, Argent, a sess, azure, between three estoiles, Sable. (fn. 2) He afterwards resided here, as did his descendants, down to William Courthope, esq. of Stodmarsh-court, who died in 1727, leaving two daughters his coheirs, Amye, married to John Hugessen, esq. and Sarah, to Mr. John Jull, of Ash, and upon the division of their inheritance, the former became entitled, in his wife's right, to this manor. He was second son of William Hugessen, esq. of Provenders, by Elizabeth, sister of James Adey. He died in 1766, and was buried at Linsted, leaving two sons, William, to whom he gave this manor of Stodmarsh, who married one of the daughters of Walter Hooper, esq. of Stockbury, since deceased, by whom he had no issue; and John, who possessed the manor of Nutstede, and dying in 1772, was buried at Linsted; and two daughters, Amye, married to John Mason, and Elizabeth to Robert Spratt. They bear the same arms as those of Provenders, in Norton. William Hugessen, esq. the eldest son above-mentioned, is now of Stodmarsh-court, and is the present owner of this manor. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is but small, consisting of one isle and a chancel, having a low pointed turret at the west end, in which are two bells; This building is remarkably long and narrow, and seems very antient, especially the chancel. In the isle is a stone, coffin-shaped, having on it a cross with four pomels; near it a stone with an inscription in brass, the figure lost, for William Barnevyle, obt. 1464. In the chancel are several memorials for the family of Courthope, and a monument for William Courthope, esq. of Stodmarsh-court, obt. 1727. In the north-west window of the isle is the figure of the blessed Virgin, crowned, with the child in her arms; and the figure of a woman, with the head of an old man lying on her arm; both beautifully done.
This church was antiently appendant to the manor of Stodmarsh, and as such, part of the possessions of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, and continued so till the year 1243, when Robert, abbot of it, at the instance of archdeacon Simon de Langton, granted it to the hospital of poor priests in Canterbury, together with four acres of their demesne of Stodmarsh, on condition, among other restrictions, that they should not demand in future any tithes of the convent's demesne here, the proctor, or some priest of the hospital being bound yearly to give a waxen taper, of one pound weight, on the altar of the church of St. Augustine, as a token of acknowledgment. After which this church became appropriated to the hospital, the master of which, with the poor priests of it, nominated a curate to serve in it, and allowed him a yearly stipend of 5l. 6s. 8d. In which state it continued till the dissolution of the hospital, which did not happen till the 17th year of queen's Elizabeth, when it was surrendered into the queen's hands, who gave it, with all its revenues, to the mayor and commonalty of the city of Canterbury, for the use of the poor there. But the parsonage and advowson of the church of Stodmarsh seems not to have been included in this grant; for the advowson of it became, not many years afterwards, part of the possessions of the archdeaconry of Canterbury, where it continues at this time; and the parsonage appropriate seems to have been given up and annihilated, though the mayor and commonalty, in 1627, were engaged in a suit at law to maintain their right to it, in which however they were cast. It is now esteemed as a donative, the minister being entitled to all the great and small tithes, excepting from the demesne lands of this manor, the owner of which pays eight pounds as a composition for them, and excepting from 400 acres of marsh, which have time out of mind been exempted whilst they continue grass-land.
After the dissolution of the hospital, it was valued at nine pounds, and in 1640 at sixteen pounds. It is of the clear yearly certified value of thirty pounds, but by the augmentation from Mrs. Taylor's legacy, paid by Sir Philip Boteler, bart. to which was added a like sum from queen Anne's bounty, it is now worth sixty pounds. In 1588 here were sixty-two communicants; in 1640 the like.