The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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IS the last parish to be described in the hundred of Kinghamford, lying adjoining to that of Denton northeastward. It was known in antient times by the name of Wooditon, but for a long time since it has been called by that of Wootton only. The greatest part of it is in the hundred of Kinghamford, over which the borough of Shelving claims. The remainder is in the hundred of Eastry, and borough of Gedding, the borsholder of which is chosen at Eastry court leet.
THE PARISH OF WOOTTON lies very obscurely and unfrequented, among the high mountainous hills of the eastern part of Kent, and like the adjoining parishes is much covered with frequent coppice wood. The soil is like Denton last-described, very poor, consisting of chalk, or an unfertile red earth, but both covered with quantities of sharp flint stones. the village, called Wootton-street, containing about eight houses, lies on very high ground, nearly in the middle of it, having the parsonage on one side of it, and the court lodge and church on the other. Eastward from hence, among the hills and woods, are the boroughs of Shelving, and of Gedding, in Eastry hundred, from which this parish extends quite up to the Dover road, near the 65th and 66th mile-stones. There are not more than seventeen houses, and about seventy-six inhabitants in the whole parish, which is about nine miles in circumference, whatever it wants in fertility, is made up by the healthiness of it, there being frequent instances of longevity noted in the register, in which the yearly average of christenings is about four, and the burials about five in two years.
IN THE YEAR 800, Cenulf, king of Mercia, with his wife Cengitha, gave to archbishop Athelard, and the church of Christ there, Geddinge and Wodetone, consisting of four ploughlands, with the same exemptions and privileges as the manor of Adisham had with it. In confirmation of which he had deposited a turf of the land on the altar of our Saviour, and he had with his own hand, on account of his ignorance of letters, made the sign of the holy cross, &c. (fn. 1) After which, on the partition of the revenues of the church of Canterbury between archbishop Lanfranc and his priory, THE MANOR OF WOOTTON, or WODITON, as it was then called, was allotted to the share of the former, of whom it was afterwards held by knight's service; and by the inquisition returned by the sheriff into the treasury anno 12 and 13 king John, it appears that John de Gestlinges held it at that time of the archbishop, by the like service. But this name was not long afterwards extinct here; for before the middle of the next reign of king Henry III. it was come into the possession of a family which took its surname from it. Ivo de Woditon seems to have held both this manor and that of Woditon, in Westwell, about that time; and it is probable, by the very antient part of Wootton-court still preserved, that either he or one of his immediate descendants soon afterwards, rebuilt this mansion; but they did not keep possession of the whole of this manor longer than the reign of king Edward II. when John de Ore was become entitled to one moiety of it, and in the 20th year of king Edward III. he, together with Richard Wotton, or Woditon, held it jointly of the archbishop as above mentioned. After which, the moiety belonging to John de Ore passed into the name of Hall, from which it was afterwards alienated to Hales; and that of Richard de Wotton, or Woditon, after continuing in his descendants so late as the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign, to Harfield, in whose family it remained till king Henry VIII.'s reign, in the 22d year of which, anno 1530, William Harfield appears to have done homage to archbishop Warham for the whole of it, which his descendant Andrew Harfield alienated, together with the advowson of the church appendant to it, in the last year of king Henry VIII. to Leonard Diggs, who afterwards resided here, as did his son Thomas Diggs, esq. both noted mathematicians; the former was second son of James Diggs, of Diggscourt, in Barham. There is a short account of him, and the books he wrote, in Biog. Brit. and of his son Thomas, who excelled his father as a mathematician, the former being, as the biographer stiles him, great in himself, but greater in his son; but the latter, (who was father of Sir Dudley Diggs, of Chilham castle) alienated it in 1573, anno 16 Elizabeth, to Thomas Arundel, esq. of Cornwall, and he again parted with it in the 25th year of it, to Richard Vincent, gent. who died possessed of it four years afterwards, and was buried in this church, having by his will ordered this estate to be sold, which it was accordingly in 1589, to Edw. Gage, gent. of Bentley, in Sussex, and he, together with John Crispe, esq. who had married his daughter and heir Mary, conveyed it in 1606 to John Coppin, gent. of Bekesborne, descended of a third branch of the Coppins, of Deal, in the neighbourhood of which they were possessed of lands in very early times. They bore for their arms, Parted per pale, azure and gules, three boars beads couped, and a chief of the second; which arms were confirmed to William Coppin, gent. of Deal, of the elder branch; Thomas Coppin, gent. of London, of the second, and John Coppin, of Wootton, of the third branch, with proper distinctions to the two latter, by Sir John Borough, garter, in 1640. He died in 1630, and was buried here. He left two sons, Thomas and John; to the eldest of whom, in holy orders, he gave by will the advowson of this church, and to the youngest, the manor of Wootton, who on his brother's death, s.p. in 1638, became his heir, and entitled to the advowson likewise. He married Anne, daughter of Thomas Gibbon, esq. of West Cliffe, and afterwards resided here, and dying in 1659, was buried in this church. His eldest son John Coppin, gent. died in 1701, without surviving issue, and devised it by his will to his two sisters, Susan, married to Robert Garret, A. M. whom she survived, and Dorothy, who died unmarried, and she settled the reversion of her moiety of it in 1704 on John Bridges, esq. barrister-at-law, who was lineally descended from Anthony, third son of Sir John Brydges, created by queen Mary baron of Chandos, of Sudley, in Gloucestershire, by patent dated April 8, 1554; (fn. 2) and accordingly he bore sor his arms those of the family, Argent, on a cross, sable, a leopard's bead, or, a mullet for difference. He died possessed of it in 1712, leaving two sons and a daughter Deborah, married to Edward Tymewell, esq. of Chigwell, in Essex. On his death, John, the eldest, became entitled to his moiety of it; and Edward, the second son, on the death of Mrs. Susan Garret, widow, above-mentioned, became in 1722, by her will, possessed of the other moiety of it; and they afterwards resided together at Wootton-court. John Bridges, esq. died unmarried in 1780, upon which his surviving brother Edward Bridges, of Wootton-court, became possessed of the whole of it, of which he died possessed soon after his brother, in 1780, leaving his widow Jemima, daughter and coheir of William Egerton, LL. D. prebendary of Canterbury, grandson of John, second earl of Bridgewater, surviving, and by her three sons and five daughters; of the former, the eldest, the Rev. Edw. Tymewell Brydges, will be mentioned below; Samuel-Egerton Brydges, esq. barrister-at-law, is now of Denton, where a further account of him may be seen, and JohnWilliam-Head Brydges, esq. is of the Middle Temple. Of the daughters, Anne married the Rev. George Lefroy, rector of Ashe, in Hampshire, and Compton, in Surry; Jane died unmaried in 1788; Deborah-Jemima married Hen. Maxwell, esq. of Hampshire; Charlotte-Jemima-Christian, is now unmarried, and Charlotte, in Essex, deceased, since remarried to John Harrison, esq. of Bourne place. By his will he gave this manor with the advowson of the rectory, to his widow, who in 1781, conveyed it to her eldest son, the Rev. E. Tymewell Brydges, who in 1785, married Caroline, daughter of Richard Fairfield, esq. of Streatham, in Surry. He now resides at Wootton-court, which he has rebuilt, and has laid out the circumjacent grounds in the modern improved state, and is the present proprietor of this manor, with the advowson of the church of Wootton.
THE TITLE OFBaron Chandos is now claimed by the Rev. Mr. Brydges, of Wootton-court, the eldest son of Edward Brydges, esq. as being the direct descendant of Anthony, third son of John Brydges, created lord Chandos, baron of Sudley, by queen Mary, and his claim to it has been for some time pending in the house of lords.
GEDDINGS is a borough and hamlet, at the northeast boundary of this parish, within the bounds of the hundred of Eastry, which was given, as has been already noticed before, by Cenulf, King of Mercia, in the year 800, to archbishop Athelard, and the church of Christ there, with the same exemptions and privileges as the manor of Adisham had with it, (fn. 3) and when archbishop Lanfranc settled the revenues of his church between himself and his monks, the latter seem to have had this estate allotted to them, and it is accordingly thus entered, under the general title of their lands, in the survey of Domesday, taken in the year 1080:
In the lath of Estreia, in Estrei hundred, in Getinge, the monks of Canterbury hold half a suling and one yoke and five acres, and there they have six villeins, with a carucate and an half. In the whole, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth twenty six pounds and ten shillings and four pence and one fartbing, now thirty-six pounds and ten shillings and four pence and one farthing.
After which the prior and Convent of Christ-church Kept only part of this estate in their possession, and granted the rest of it, to hold by rent and service, as will be surther noticed hereafter. That part which they retained, remained in the possession of the prior and convent till their dissolution in the 31st year of Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, who in his 33d year settled it, by his dotation charter, on his newerected dean and chapter of Christ church, in Canterbury, who own the inheritance of it at this time.
THE OTHER PART, which was granted by the prior and convent to hold by suit and service, came into the possession of the family of Foche, who seem to have been proprietors likewise of another estate within the bounds of this hamlet, which, as early as the reign of king John, had owners who took their name from it, and bore for their arms, Parted per chevron, argent and sable, three griffins heads erased, counterchanged; one of whom, Robert de Geddinges, in the 12th and 13th years of that reign, as appears by the inquisition returned into the treasury by the sheriff of this county, held land by knight's service in Geddinge, of the archbishop. The family of Foche before-mentioned, were first settled at Dover, and afterwards at River. John Foche, of River, had three sons, John, who was the last abbot of St. Augustine's monastery; Henry, who was of Ripple, from whom those of Wootton were descended, and Robert. Henry lest a son John, of Ripple, from whom those of Wootton were descended. They bore for their arms, Gules, a fess, dancette, between six lozenges, or; granted by Cooke, clarencieux, in 1576. (fn. 4) Those settled at Wootton were proprietors, and resided at HILL-HOUSE, in this parish, situated about half a mile southward from Gidding, which they became entitled to in king Henry IV.'s reign, by marriage with a female heir of Merriweather, to whom it came from the Hills's, of Hills-court, in Ash, the last of which name, John Hill, prebendary of Canterbury, sold it anno 32 Elizabeth to Henry Foche, who afterwards resided here and possessed both these estates, which his grandson Thomas Foche, esq. of Hertfordshire, about the restoration of king Charles II. alienated to Capt. Miller, of Ratcliffe, mariner, in whose name they continued till about the year 1734, when Mrs. Mary Miller carried them in marriage to Sir William Dodwell, of Gloucestershire, whose sole daughter and heir marrying Thomas Tracey, esq. of Sandiwell, in Gloucestershire, he became entitled to it, and in 1755 conveyed it by sale to Herbert Crosts, esq. of the sixclerks office, and he sold them to Sir George Oxenden, bart. whose son Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. of Brome, is the present owner of them.
WICKHAM BUSHES is a small manor, situated at the eastern boundaries of this parish, next to Liddon, in which part of it lies. In very early times it was part of the possessions of the eminent family of Guldeford, or Gyldford, as they were sometimes written, and in king Edward II.'s reign Henry de Gyldford was in the possession of it, in which name it did not continue long, for in the 20th year of king Edward III. the heirs of Hugh Champneis held it by knight's service. After which it came into the possession of the Diggs's, of Diggs-court, in Barham, and was given, about king Henry V.'s reign, by John Diggs, esq. of Barham, to his younger son Odomarus, who was of Newington, near Sittingborne, in whose descendants it continued till Thomas Diggs, of Newington, dying anno 18 Elizabeth, s. p. Christopher Diggs, esq. of Barham, became his heir and possessed of it, whose grandson Thomas Posthumus Diggs, esq. sold it at the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign to Coppin, in which name it continued till it was at length alienated to Brome, in which family it remained till of late years, when Col. John Brome leaving two daughters and coheirs, one of them carried this manor in marriage to Mr. John Hamond, surgeon of Chatham, and he died possessed of it in 1774, soon after which it was alienated to Mr. Basil Rogers, of Hythe, whose daughter Elizabeth Rogers, is now entitled to the possession of it.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Martin, consists of a body and one chancel, having at the west end a low flat tower, in which there is one bell. This church is small and neat. In the chancel is a memorial for James Janeway, rector twenty-six years; he died in 1739. Several memorials for the Coppins. A memo rial for Robert Garret, rector, obt. July 3, 1712. A memorial for John St. Pierre, rector, obt. 1586; one for Thomas Pritchard, rector, obt. 1615. In the body a memorial for Mr. Edward Coppin, of Bishopsborne, rector of this parish, obt. July 30, 1689. An antient stone, without inscription, on it the arms of Foche—There were some time ago three bells in the steeple of this church, but two of them were sold towards the repair of it.
The church of Wootton was antiently appendant to the manor, and continued so till John Coppin, gent. at his death in 1630, separated them, by devising the advowson to his eldest son the Rev. Thomas Coppin, and the manor to his second son John Coppin, gent. who afterwards, by the death of his brother abovementioned, became possessed likewise of the advowson; and though they had afterwards the same unity of possession, yet being once separated, the latter continued, notwithstanding, an advowson in gross, and remains so at this time, the Rev. Edw. Timewell Brydges, owner of the manor of Wootton, being the present proprietor of the advowson of this church.
This rectory is valued in the king's books at 81. 10s. 2½d. and the yearly tenths at 17s. 0¼d. In 1578 it was valued at sixty pounds, communicants seventy-five. In 1640 it was valued at seventy-eight pounds, communicants fifty. In pursuance of the king's letters mandatory, this rectory was augmented in 1661 with the yearly sum of forty pounds. There are fifteen acres of glebe land.
The archbishops had a right to give, as of usual custom, to one secular clerk, for his better advancement in learning in the schools, a yearly pension of two marcs, to be received from this church of Wodeton. (fn. 5)
Church of Wootton.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Edward Coppin, A. M. 1646, ejected 1662. (fn. 6)|
|Jonas Owen, LL. B. Nov. 11, 1663, obt. April 1680. (fn. 7)|
|Robert Garret, A. M. July 7, 1680, obt. July 3, 1712. (fn. 8)|
|The family of Brydges.||James Janeway, A. M. Feb. 4, 1712, obt July 1739. (fn. 9)|
|Samuel Fremoult, A. B. Jan. 4, 1739. obt. Sept. 28, 1779.|
|E. I. Brydges, A. M. April 15, 1780, the present rector. (fn. 10)|