The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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LIES the next adjoining parish to Patrixborne southward, being written in old deeds, Bregge, and taking its name from the bridge, which was antiently over the stream which crosses it. This parish was in early times so considerable, as to give name both to the hundred and deanry in which it is situated.
IT IS SITUATED about two miles and an half eastward of Canterbury, on the high Dover road, formerly the Roman Watling-street way, which appears high and entire almost throughout it; in the valley on this road stands the village of Bridge, with the church and vicarage in it, a low moist situation, the bourn or stream of the Little Stour crossing it under a stone bridge, built a few years ago by the contributions of the neighbouring gentlemen. At a small distance southward is Bridge place, now inhabited by lady Yates, widow of the late judge Yates, and of Dr. Thomas, late bishop of Rochester. The hills, form which there is a most pleasing prospect, are wholly chalk, as are in general the other upland parts of it, towards the south especially, where the country is very barren, with heathy ground and woodland, and much covered with stones. In this part of the parish is Gosley wood, once belonging to St. Augustine's monastery, afterwards granted to Thomas Colepeper, esq. It belongs now to Mr. Beckingham.
The MANOR OF BLACKMANSBURY, alias BRIDGE, claims over the greatest part of it, and the manor of Patrixborne over that part of this parish on the north side of the Dover road. There are two boroughs in it, viz. of Blackmansbury and of Bridge.
The MANOR OF BLACKMANSBURY, alias BRIDGE, was parcel of the possessions of the abbey of St. Augustine, belonging to the sacristie, as appears by the registers of it, in which frequent mention is made of this manor, with the free tenants belonging to it, in Honpit, Rede, and Blackmansbury. In which state this manor continued till the suppression of the abbey in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, (fn. 1) where it remained till the 36th year of that reign, when this manor, with divers lands in Houndpit and Blackmanbury, was granted to Henry Laurence, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he that year held a court here; and in his descendants it continued till the 18th of queen Elizabeth's reign, when it was alienated by fine levied, by John Laurence, to William Partherich, esq. whose arms were, Vaire, argent and sable, on a chief of the second, three roses of the first. His grandson Sir Edward Partherich, of this place, passed it away in 1638 to Sir Arnold Braems, descended of a family originally out of Flanders, where his ancestors were opulent merchants. Jacob Braems, his ancestor, was of Dover, merchant, and built the great house now the Custom house there, where he resided. Sir Arnold Braems above-mentioned, bore for his arms, Sable, on a chief, argent, a demi lion Tampant, gules. He built a spacious and magnificent mansion on the scite of the antient court-lodge here, which he named BRIDGE-PLACE, in which he afterwards resided, as did his son Walter Braems, esq. till his death in 1692; but the great cost of building this seat so impoverished the estate, that his heirs, about the year 1704, were obliged to part with it, which they did by sale to John Taylor, esq. of Bisrons, who soon afterwards pulled down the greatest part of this mansion, leaving only one wing of it standing, the size and stateliness of which being of itself full sufficient for a gentleman's residence, cannot but give an idea of the grandeur of the whole building when entire. He died in 1729, since which this manor and seat has continued in his descendants, in like manner as Bisrons abovedescribed, down to his great-grandson Edward Taylor, esq. the present possessor of them. There is not any court held for this manor.
BEREACRE, now called Greatand Little Barakers is another manor in this parish, which in the 21st year of king Edward I. was in the possession of Walter de Kancia, as appears by an inquisition taken that year, at his decease; not long after which it has passed into a family of its own name. After this name was become extinct here, it came into the possession of the Litchfields, who owned much land about Eastry, Tilmanstone, and Betshanger, and in this name it continued till the 22d year of Edward IV. and then Roger Litchfield passed it away to Richard Haut, whose only daughter and heir Margery carried it in marriage to William Isaac, esq. of Patrixborne, from whose descendant Edward Isaac, about the latter end of king Henry VIII. it was sold to Petyt and Weekes, who joined in the sale of it to Naylor, of Renville, from which name it was alienated to Smith and Watkins; after which it was conveyed by sale to John Taylor, esq. of Bisrons, in whose descendants it has continued down to Edward Taylor, esq. the present owner of it.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, consists of three isles, a high chancel, and a north sept or chancel in the middle of the north isle. It has a spire steeple at the south-east corner, in which are three bells. In the high chancel, within the altar-rails, is a monument for Jane, second daughter of Walter Harslete, of Bekesborne, first wife of Sir Arnold Braems, ob 1635, and lies buried in St. Mary's church, in Dover; and for Elizabeth, (second daughter of Sir Dudley Diggs) his second wife, obt. 1645, and lies in the middle of this chancel. Against the north wall is a painted portrait of Robert Bargrave, gent. of Bridge, obt. 1649. Under a circular arch in the same wall are two rows of small imagery, carved in stone, the uppermost repre santing God the Father, with several figures on each side; the lower one, figures taken from the history of the Old Testament. Underneath these, in the hollow of the wall, is the figure of a man lying at full length, in robes, with his two hands joined and uplifted, having on his head seemingly a full perriwig. A memorial for John Hardy, esq. of Bridge-place, obt. 1779. On the east side of the south window is a hollow in the wall, and under it an inscription for Macobus Kasey, vicar of Patrixborne, obt. m.v.c.i.xii. and of his being vicar there xxi years. On the opposite side of the window is carved the figure of a scull, with a snake entering in at one eye, and the end of it out at the other, and a hand with a finger pointing up to it, as if it had been the cause of the person's death, and several bones are interspersed about it. The north chancel is made use of for a school, by voluntary contributions. On the south side of the chancel is a circular arched door-way, with Saxon ornaments. In the register are many entries, from the year 1580 to 1660, of the family of Bargrave, alias Bargar, residents in this parish, and one for Thomas, son of John Cheney, gent. who died in 1620.
The church of Bridge, which is a vicarage, was always esteemed as a chapel to the church of Patrixborne, and as such is included in the valuation of that vicarage in the king's books, the vicar of which is instituted and inducted into that vicarage, with the chapel of Bridge annexed to it. (fn. 2)
The parsonage of this parish therefore, as an appendage to that of Patrixborne, is the property of Edward Taylor, esq. of Bifrons. In 1588 here were eightynine communicants, in 1640 one hundred and twenty.