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 parish northward from Westbere, being called in antient records by the various names of Esturai, Sturigao, and Sture, all relative to its situation near the river Stour, which runs close to it. There are six boroughs in this parish, viz. Sturrystreet, Butland, Buckwell, Calcott-common, Blaxland, and Hoth. There is a small part of this parish, near the south-west boundaries of it, within the corporation of Fordwich; and there is, at the opposite extremity of it, a small part of the borough of Rushborne in it, over which only, the hundred of Westgate claims.
THE PARISH of Sturry is situated for the most part very low and unpleasant, about one mile from Canterbury; the village stands on the north-east side of the river Stour. It is called Sturry-street, and consists of about one hundred and forty houses, built on each side of the high road leading to the Isle of Thanet. The church stands on the west side of it, and near it the court-lodge, now called Sturry-court, which appears to have been a handsome brick mansion, seemingly of the time of king James I. and of sufficient size and stateliness for the residence of the lords Strangford, owners of it. It has been for many years made use of as a farm-house, and has been lately much deformed by some modern windows put in different parts of it; it has also lately been much reduced in size. At a small distance is a corn mill, belonging to the lord of the manor, and a little below it a losty brick bridge, built over the antient ford here in the year 1776, for the greater safety of travellers, the river here, from the depth and continued floods, being frequently very dangerous to be passed. But there appears to have been an antient bridge over the river here, belonging to the abbot as early as king Edward the IId.'s reign. (fn. 1) A little higher up, in this parish, though within the bounds of the corporation of Fordwich, there is an antient fulling-mill, and adjoining to it a newly-erected corn mill. The river Stour was undoubtedly, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, of much greater account and width here than it has been for a great length of time past; for at that period here were only, as appears by it, twenty-eight acres of meadow or grass land, but there were ten mills and seven fisheries on it. There are now upwards of sixty acres of grass land, three mills only, and no fishery, on the river here.
On the opposite side of the village, about half a mile eastward on the Margate road, is Whatmer-hall, in the possession of Mr. Thomas Denne, who lives in it. From hence the hill rises northward, over which the road leads towards Herne, over a dreary and barren country, where the soil is a deep unfertile clay, covered with continued coppice woods. On this road are Broadoak and Calcot commons, and an estate called Blaxlands, formerly accounted a manor. It formerly belonged to Sir Edward Boughton, (fn. 2) afterwards to Sylas Johnson, then to the Browns, whence it was sold to Mr. George Lilley, from whom it descended down to Mr. Thomas Lilley, who dying in 1798, it came to his widow Mary Lilley, as devisee for life, and trustee for their children. Hence the bounds turn north-eastward, towards the borough of Rushborne, near which is an antient mansion called Buckwell, the appearance of which denotes it to have been once a gentleman's habitation, though for many years past used as a farm-house. It formerly belonged to the Gilberts, (fn. 3) but now to Mr. Benjamin Godfrey, of London. A fair is held yearly in Sturrystreet, on Whit-Monday.
In the year 1755, as some workmen were digging gravel in the land at Whatmer-hall, they discovered at the depth of five feet, a larger broad stone, and under it a stone coffin, with a leaden one inclosed, containing the remains of a person seemingly of a short stature, which was decayed, excepting the teeth, which seemed perfect. Some of the lead, as well as the stone coffin itself, was much wasted. There was no inscription, nor any one letter discovered on it. An earthen vessel, shaped like a jug, was found near it, which upon being handled, crumbled to pieces. The leaden coffin was put together in six pieces, without any solder, and was thought to have been very thick at first, and that each foot of it might weigh about thirty pounds.
KING ETHELBERT, on his founding the monastery of St. Augustine, in the year 605, gave to it this parish of Sturigao, otherwise called Cistelei, with all its lands and appurtenances, which seems as if this parish and Chistelet were then esteemed together but as one. However that be, the possessions of the above monastery in this parish were afterwards increased, not only by gifts from several of the Saxon kings, but by those lands in it belonging to that of Minster, in Thanet, which, after the demolition of it, were given by king Cnut, in the year 1027, with all the revenues of it, to this of St. Augustine, (fn. 4) in the possession of which the manor of Sturry continued at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in which it is thus entered, under the general title of the lands of the church of St. Augustine:
In Esturai hundred, the abbot himself holds Esturai, which was taxed at five sulings, but discharged. The arable land is twelve carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and thirty-nine, with thirty-two borderers having twelve carucates. There is a church, and ten mills of eight pounds, and seven fisheries of five shillings, and twenty-eight acres of meadow. Of pannage sufficient for thirty bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth fifty shillings, when the abbot received it forty-five pounds, now fifty pounds, and yet it pays fifty-four pounds.
King Henry III. in his 54th year, granted to the abbot and convent, free-warren in all their demesne lands of Sturry; (fn. 5) and in the 7th year of Edward II.'s reign, anno 1313, in the iter of H. de Stanton and his sociates, justices itinerant, the abbot, upon a quo warranto, claimed in this manor, and was allowed that liberty in all his demesne lands of it, and other liberties therein mentioned, as having been granted and confirmed by divers of the king's predecessors, and confirmed by him likewise in his sixth year, and that they had been allowed in the last iter of J. de Berewick. And the abbot further pleaded, that Swalclyve was a member of Sturry, and that the tenants of the abbot in Swalclyve ought to come to the abbot's view of frank pledge in Sturry. And the jury found for the abbot, only that he had but one view of frank-pledge here, and not two. All which was allowed by the said H. de Stanton and his sociates, as before-mentioned; (fn. 6) and they were again confirmed by king Edward III. by inspeximus, in his 36th year, and by king Henry VI. afterwards.
In king Richard the IId.'s reign the admeasurement of the abbot's lands here were three hundred and forty-six acres and an half of arable, and four hundred acres of marsh, then valued, with the rent in Fordwich, at 40l. 11s. 8d. After which this manor remained with the monastery till its dissolution, anno 30 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, and was that year granted, with all its lands, members and appurtenances in this parish and elsewhere, to John Essex, the late abbot of it, for his life, or until he should be promoted to one or more benefices of the yearly value of two hundred marcs or upwards. (fn. 7) But he enjoyed this manor but a small time, for he died within a year afterwards, and it appears to have returned again into the king's hands, where the fee of it remained till king Edward VI. in his 4th year, granted it, with the rectory impropriate, to Sir Thomas Cheney, treasurer of his houshold (who was then in the possession of it by a lease from Henry VIII.) to hold in capite, and he died possessed of it anno I Elizabeth. His only son and heir Henry Cheney, esq. afterwards alienated it to Ralph Sadler, who in the 20th year of it sold it to John Tufton, and he that same year seems to have passed it away to Thomas Smith, esq. of Westenhanger, commonly called the Customer, whose grandson Philip, viscount Strangford resided here, and dying in 1700, Henry Roper, lord Teynham, who had married Catherine, his eldest daughter, by his will became possessed of this manor, with the rectory impropriate of Sturry, and divers farms and lands belonging to it. After which this manor, with the impropriation, continued in his descendants, in like manner as that of Ashford already described in this history, till it was with that manor sold, under the direction of the court of chancery, in 1765, to the Rev. Francis Hender Foote, of Charlton-place, who died possessed of it in 1773, and his eldest son John Foote, esq. now of Bishopsborne, is the present owner of it. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.
MAYTON, otherwise Maxton, is a manor in the north-west part of this parish, not far from Broadoak common, which was formerly of some note, having antiently, as appears by the register of St. Augustine's monastery, been held by knight's service, of the abbot by the eminent family of Cobham. In Edward II.'s reign, Stephen de Cobham held it in manner as beforementioned, and died possessed of it anno 6 king Edward III. When this name was extinct here, it passed into the possession of the Chiches, and thence to the Maycotts, one of whom, Anthony Maycott, alienated it to James Diggs, esq. of Barham, from whom it descended to his grandson Christopher Diggs, esq. of that place, and he afterwards sold it to Goodhugh, whose daughter and heir carried it in marriage to Baggs, who dying without male issue, it went in like manner in king Charles I.'s reign to Farmer. How it passed from this name I have not found; but after some intermediate owners, it became by sale the property of Thomas Dawkins, gent. of Dover, who died in 1726, having devised it to his two sons, Thomas and Richard, the former of whom dying unmarried, the latter became entitled to the whole of it, and on his marriage with Mary, sister of Augustine Greenland, gent. he settled it on her for life, and their issue afterwards. He died s. p. and she re-marrying with Charles Robinson, esq. recorder, and late M. P. for Canterbury, he became in her right entitled to it. She died in 1798.
NICHOLAS FRANKLYN, by will in 1577, gave lands, the produce to be bestowed on the impotent and poor, and such as are overcharged with children, being inhabitants of this parish, vested in trustees, and of the annual produce of 5l.
STEPHEN BIGG, by will in 1646, gave lands, the produce to be bestowed on six poor housekeepers, and to put out poor children, boys and girls, apprentices, vested in the minister, churchwardens, overseers, and other trustees, and is of the annual produce of 10l.
The church, which is a handsome large building, is dedicated to St. Nicholas. It consists of three isles and a chancel, having a high slim spire steeple at the west end, in which are five bells and a clock. It is kept very clean and neat. In the middle isle, is a stone and inscription on brass, for Thomas Childmas, who gave lead to the covering of this church, to the value of forty pounds, and was otherwise a good benefactor to it, obt. 1496. The chancel is much older than the rest of the church. On the springs of all the arches of the windows, on the outside, are carved various heads, two of which, on the window at the west end of the north isle, are a king and a bishop, no doubt meant for king Ethelbert and St. Augustine. The church-yard is remarkably large.
About the year 1295, the abbot of St. Augustine made an institution of several new deanries, one of which was the deanry of Sturry, and apportioned the several churches belonging to his monastery to each of them, in which this church was of course included. This raised great contentions between the archbishops and the abbots, which at length ended in the total abolition of this new institution, the churches of which returned to the same jurisdiction that they were under before. (fn. 8)
This church was antiently an appendage to the manor of Sturry, and as such was part of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, to which it was appropriated in the beginning of king Edward II.'s reign, about the year 1311, with the king's licence, on condition of a proper portion being allotted out of the profits to the vicars in it, from which they might be comfortably maintained, and the burthens incumbent on them supported. All which was confirmed by archbishop Walter Reynolds, (fn. 9) who in the year 1323, anno 17 Edward III. endowed the vicarage of it, decreeing, that the vicar should have all oblations whatsoever, the tithes of calves, chicken, lambs, wool, milkmeats, eggs, pigs, ducks, pigeons, bees, gardens, orchards, pasture, hemp and flax; and of all profits of mills, belonging as well to the religious as the rest of the parishioners; and the tithes of hay, and of every sort of corn, growing in small spots or gardens dug with the foot; and all other small tithes in the whole parish, whether arising of cattle or other matters whatsoever, but that the vicars should receive nothing of the estates, and possessions which the religious then possessed, and their cattle or other matters, their said mills only excepted, and that the vicar for the time being should have the mansion, houses, and buildings, together with the area and garden, which of antient time belonged to the rectory of this church; but that the burthens of repairing the chancel, and of new building it, and of finding and repairing the books and ornaments, and all burthens extraordinary, should belong to the religious; but that the vicar should acknowledge wholly all other ordinary burthens. (fn. 10) After which, the church and advowson of this vicarage remained part of the possessions of the monastery till its final dissolution, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, where they both remained till the king in his 34th year, separated them, by granting the advowson of this vicarage only (for the manor and rectory appropriate remained for some time longer in the crown, as has been already mentioned before) to the archbishop, in exchange for other premises, parcel of the possessions of whose see it now remains, his grace the archbishop being the present patron of this vicarage.
The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 13l. 1s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 6s. 2d. In 1588 here were two hundred and ninety-five communicants. In 1640 it was valued at sixty pounds, the like number of communicants. By a late return it was certified to be of the clear yearly value of sixtythree pounds.
Church Of Sturry.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop.||Thomas Jones, A. M. August 6, 1662, obt. 1680.|
|Isaac Gostling, A. M. May 20, 1680, resigned 1691. (fn. 11)|
|The Crown, sede vac.||William Sale, A. M. June 26, 1691, deprived 1696.|
|The Archbishop.||William Comberland, A. M. November 27, 1696, resigned 1709. (fn. 12)|
|John Crane, A. M. March 2, 1709, obt. 1734.|
|Thomas Clendon, A. M. June 27, 1734, obt. 1757.|
|Wheeler Twyman, September 1, 1757, obt. Nov. 25, 1779. (fn. 13)|
|William Chafy, A. M. inducted April 1, 1780, the present vicar. (fn. 14)|