The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 9. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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OTHERWISE called Hoad borough, lies the next parish south-eastward from Herne. It was antiently, as its name implies, accounted but as a borough to the adjoining parish of Reculver, to which, as to its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, it still belongs.
THE PARISH of Hothe is situated in a lonely unfrequented country, both unwholesome and unpleasant, the soil being for the most part a deep stiff clay. The road from Sturry, through Rushborne to Reculver, goes along the western part of it, upon which stands Maypole-street, one side of which only is in this parish, the other side being in Herne; further in the valley, close to a rill of water, stood the old palace of Ford, and several houses near it; a habitation, says archbishop Parker, in such a soil, and in such a corner as he thought no man could delight to dwell there. The street or village of Hothe, in which the chapel stands, though as well as Maypole-street, situated on high ground, are both very wet, from the land springs which the ground is much subject to. Towards the south this parish is mostly woodland.
Within the bounds of this pairsh is THE MANOR OF FORD, alias SHELVINGFORD, which was once the patrimony of the family of Shelving, who possessed it in the beginning of the reign of king Edward III. and prefixed their name to it. Soon after which it passed, by the marriage of Benedicta, daughter and heir of John Shelving, to Sir Edmund Haut, in whose descendants it continued down till king Henry VIII.'s reign, when Sir William Haut, of Bishopsborne, leaving two daughters his coheirs, the eldest of them, Elizabeth, carried it in marriage to Thomas Culpeper, esq. of Bedgbury, in Goudhurst, son and heir of Sir Alexander Culpeper, who by an act in the 35th year of that reign exchanged this manor with the archbishop of Canterbury, for other premises. (fn. 1) Since which it has remained parcel of the possessions of that see to the present time.
FORD PALACE, in the northern part of this parish, was parcel of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, built probably on lands given to it sometime before the Norman conquest, and from the few remains left of it, appears to have been the most antient palace, excepting that of Canterbury, which had been erected for the archiepiscopal residence. Archbishop Moreton, in king Henry VII.'s reign, a magnificent prelate, who expended large sums, in the building and augmenting of his different palaces, almost rebuilt the whole of this of Ford, at which afterwards, in the summer of the year 1544, king Henry VIII. in his journey towards France, dined with archbishop Cranmer, who frequently resided here, and rode the same night to Dover, to go over thither. But in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, it had fallen greatly to ruin, insomuch that archbishop Parker, made his petition in the year 1573, to the queen, though in vain, for her consent to pull it down, in order to enlarge his palace at Bekesborne, representing it, though large, yet as very inconvenient, being an old, decayed, wasteful, unwholesome, and desolate house; for Forde was in such a corner, and in such a soil, as he thought no man could have any delight to dwell there. After which archbishop Abbot, in 1627, being suspended from all his archiepiscopal functions, retired with the king's consent to this palace. (fn. 2)Archbishop Whitgift, his next successor in the see, used at times to reside here, and is said to have hunted in the park of Ford. Nearly in which state this palace continued till the civil wars, when the revenues of the archbishopric being seized on by the state, and sold to different purchasers, this house of Ford was pulled down in 1658, and the materials disposed of. On the restoration, the scite of Ford palace, with the park and other lands belonging to it, returned again to the see of Canterbury, and were soon afterwards demised by the archbishop on a beneficial lease. In which state it still continues, Mr. Vincent Varham being the present lessee of it. There are but very small remains left of this antient palace. Some of the walls have flues in them, the use of which cannot be ascertained, part of the old gateway is still remaining. The park and vineyards still netain their names, and the forms of the fish-ponds are yet visible. (fn. 3) There is a farm-house now built on the scite of the old lodge, a small part of which yet remains.
WILLIAM YVE, of Hothe, by his will in 1526, gave to Margery his daughter, wife of William Alyn, land in Parkfield, beside Chistlet park pale, and beside the chantry meadow in Hothe, and wood lying in Combe wood, on condition, that she and her heirs should evermore brew, against the nativity of St. John Baptist, a quarter of malt; and bake half a quarter of wheat yearly against that feast; and the bread and ale thereof coming, to be distributed within the borough of Hothe, on that and the days following, as long as it should last, to such persons as would eat and drink of it.
CHRISTOPHER MILLES, esq. of Herne, by his will in 1638, devised to the poor of this parish, 40s. to be paid yearly, (as has been already mentioned under Westbere and Herne) out of his lease of the parsonage of Reculver, Hoade, and Herne, so long as the lease should continue in any of his surname. Which lease is now in the name of his descendant Richard Milles, esq. of Nackington.
The church, called Hothe chapel, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity. It is a small neat building, of one isle and a chancel, having a low square turret of wood at the west end, in which hang three bells. In the isle is an inscription in brass, for Anthony Maycot and Agnes his wife, with their figures, and underneath two sons and five daughters. He died in 1535. And a memorial for Richard Wightwick, A. B. obt. 1779. In the chancel an inscriptions in brass, for Isabella Chakbon, the date obliterated.
This chapel is annexed to the church of Reculver, in the parsonage and vicarage of which the tithes and profits of it are included, being distant about four miles from it. It was probably built at the charge of the inhabitants, to prevent the trouble of going to the mother church, on account of which distance, at their petition in 1303, they had granted the privilege of a church-yard, near their chapel here, to bury their dead in; and in the year 1410, archbishop Arundel dedicated and consecrated this chapel anew, and granted it the right of sepulture, so that the vicar of Reculver should not by that means be any ways prejudiced. And lastly, he decreed that they should be bound to contribute to the repair of the church of Reculver.
In the year 1360, Thomas Newe, then vicar of Reculver, for the perpetual discharge of himself and successors, from officiating in the cure of this chapel, and for furnishing it with a constant resident priest, who beside the duty of the chantry which he at that time founded in it, should officiate in the cure here, partly of himself, and partly of the inhabitants, endowed it with competent means, and a house, and glebe, for the priest, who from that time till the dissolution duly served the cure of Hothe, the vicar of Reculver being during that time acquitted of all care and attendance on it. But this chantry being dissolved among others, in the 2d year of king Edward VI. frequent disputes arose between the inhabitants of Hothe and the vicar of Reculver, the latter often neglecting the cure of this chapel for years together, holding himself acquitted of the cure by the antient endowment made as above-mentioned, which plea was allowed by the visitors in queen Mary's days, and by archbishop Abbot, on a suit between them, which lasted some years. But the vicar of Reculver has for some years past constantly served the cure of this chapelry, and received the emoluments belonging to it.
There is a yearly pension of forty shillings paid from the archbishop's estate of Forde. The profits of the tithes of it do not amount to fourteen pounds per annum. (fn. 4) It is valued in the king's books with the vicarage of Reculver. In 1640 here were one hundred and forty communicants.