The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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USUALLY called Womenjole, lies next to Nonington south-eastward. It is situated at a small distance northward from the east end of Barham Downs; the country is much the same as Nonington last-described, open and uninclosed arable land and downs, but the soil is still less fertile, being more chalky and stony. The village, having the church in it, is nearly in the middle of the parish; near the eastern boundary is Snowdown, where there is a hamlet and large wood, named Woolwich, commonly called Wollege, the manor and estate of it belongs to Mr. Papillon, and the wood to the archbishop; and at a small distance further is a down, called Three Barrow Down, from three large barrows, or tumuliremaining on it; here are plain remains of Cæsar's works, a part of the continued course of them leading to his main camp at Denne-hill. These works here begin to be singular, as they are large, and the trenches deep and particularly adapted, and continued up to a great extent and variety of intrenchments, that possess all the hill between Denne-hill terrace, on the edge of Barham Downs, and the scite of Nethersolehouse under Snowdown. This place was very proper for the station of his main corps, as by its situation, it commanded all the open conquered country behind him to the sea, where he had left his fleet, and the woody country before him, where the Britons harboured, and from thence frequently alarmed and annoyed his foragers.
Sir Thomas Browne, comptroller and treasurer of the houshold to king Henry VI. who was owner of the adjoining manor of Eythorne, obtained the grant of a fair to be held yearly at this village of Wimlingswold, on the feast of St. Margaret the Virgin, on the 20th of July, (fn. 1) but it is now held yearly on Old May-day.
NETHERSOLE, now called Old Nethersole, is an antient mansion, situated at a small distance from the church, which, as early as the reign of Henry III. was in the possession of a family of the same name, who bore for their arms, Parted per pale, gules, and azure, three griffins, segreant, or; (fn. 2) and it appears by an antient deed of the 38th of king Henry III. that William, the son of Thomas de Nethersole, enfeoffed Richard de Wolwiche in certain lands lying in Nethersole, and in his descendants this seat continued down, without interruption, till at length Mr. John Nethersole, gent. of this place, leaving three sons, John, of Barham; Stephen, of Wimlingswold; and William, of Canterbury, it became divided among them, in undivided thirds, and they all dying without male issue, their respective shares of it became again divided among their daughters and coheirs, and afterwards into several more minute subdivisions among their heirs; however, at last Mr. Jacob Sharpe, of Canterbury, who possessed a share of it by marriage with Elizabeth, the eldest of the three daughters and coheirs of William Nethersole, gent. of Canterbury, before-mentioned, in the years 1771 and 1772, purchased all the other shares of it, and so became possessed of the whole of it, which at his death in 1774 he gave by will to his third son Jacob Sharp, esq. now of Barham, the present owner of it.
BUT A PART of the Nethersole estate, in this parish, came into the possession of Thomas Nethersole, esq. a younger son of this family, who boilt on it a mansion for his residence in the valley, at the south-east boundary of this parish, which he named NETHERSOLEHOUSE, and left it to his son Sir Francis Nethersole, who resided here for some time, but in the civil wars he retired to Pollesworth, in Warwickshire, where he built and liberally endowed a free school. He died there in 1659, s. p. and by will gave his estates in this county to his nephew John Marsh, son of his sister Anne, by Thomas Marsh, esq. of Brandred, whose arms were, Quarterly, gules and argent, in the first quarter a horse's head, couped of the second. (fn. 3) His descendant John Marsh, esq. of the Inner Temple, counsellor-at-law, afterwards resided here, but dying s. p. in 1752, he devised this seat, with his other estates, by his will to Mr. John Winchester, surgeon, of London, for life, and he died possessed of it in 1781, leaving one son and a daughter, who became the second wife of Sir Edward Dering, bart. Upon his death it came by the entail of the above will, to the eldest surviving son of his cousin Capt. Henry Marsh, of the royal navy, which was John Marsh, esq. of Salisbury, who afterwards removed hither, but in the year 1786 he alienated it to Hardinge Stracey, esq. of Denne-hill, one of the clerks of the house of commons, who has since entirely pulled down this mansion, and he continues owner of the scite where it stood, with the lands and appurtenances belonging to it.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Margaret, consists of one isle and a high chancel, with a small cross sept on the north side, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which there is one bell. The church appears long and low, without any partition on the roof, or on the pavement in the inside, between the isle and chancel; the latter part seems much the more antient. In the chancel in the walls, are two tombs, under pointed arches; one of them has half the stone on the tomb remaining, inscribed with old French capitals, nearly obliterated. A monument, with marble bust, for John Marsh, esq. of Nethersole, obt. 1752. He lies buried in a vault underneath, with others of his family. Within the altar-rails a memorial for Francis Levett, esq. Turkey merchant, who died at Nethersole in 1764; arms, A lion rampant, between an orle of cross-crosiets, fitchee. A monument for John Winchester, esq. obt. 1781. At the east end, where the altar should have been, a very handsome and superb pyramidical monument, with a medallion, for Thomas Marsh, esq. lieutenant-colonel of the militia of the cinque ports, captain of Sandown castle, deputy lieutenant of Dover castle, &c. obt. 1739. Near it, in the south wall, is another antient tomb, with three small pointed arches at top. On the pavement are several stones, coffin-shaped, with remains of old French capitals round them. The north cross sept, which belonged to Old Nethersole, is covered with a a pew. In the isle, near it, are monuments and gravestones for several of the family of Nethersole.
The church of Wimlingswold was antiently esteemed as a chapel of ease to that of Wingham, and was on the foundation of the college there, in 1286, separated from it, and made a distinct parish of itself. Very soon after which it appears to have been united, as to its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as a chapel of ease to the church of Nonington, and continues so at this time, being as it were but one and the same curacy; and the appropriation of the parsonage of it, in like manner as that of Nonington, was settled on the college of Wingham, from which the curate, officiating in this church, received a pension, or stipend of 4l. 13s. 4d. over and above all the small tithes arising in this parish, (fn. 4) and after the suppression of it was granted, with that parsonage, to the see of Canterbury, part of the revenues of which it still continues, William Hammond, esq. of St. Albans, being the present lessee of both parsonages.
The small-tithes of this parish, together with those of Nonington, were given to the minister serving the cure of these parishes, under certain restrictions, by Edward Boys, esq. of Nonington, by his will in 1596, as has been already fully related before. In 1640 here were fifty-six communicants.