Parishes: Woodnesborough

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.

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'Parishes: Woodnesborough', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 121-144. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

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OR Winsborough, as it is usually called, lies the next parish northward from Eastry, being written in the survey of Domesday, Wanesberge. It took its name according to Verstegan, from the Saxon idol Woden, (and it is spelt by some Wodensborough) whose place of worship was in it; however that may be, the termination of the word berge, or borough, shews it to be of high antiquity.

View of the Mount at Woodnesborough, near Sandwich

Part of this parish, over which the manor of Boxley claims, is within the jurisdiction of the justices of the town and port of Sandwich, and liberty of the cinque ports; and the residue is in the hundred of Eastry, and jurisdiction of the county of Kent.

There are three boroughs in this parish, viz. Cold Friday, Hamwold, and Marshborough; the borsholders of which are chosen at the petty sessions of the justices, acting at Wingham, for the east division of the lath of St. Augustine.

THIS PARISH is large, being two miles and an half one way, and upwards of a mile and an half the other. The church stands nearly in the centre of it, on high ground. At a small distance from the church is Woodnesborough hill, both of which are sea marks. This hill is a very high mount, seemingly thrown up by art, and consisting of a sandy earth, it has been thought by some to have been the place on which the idol Woden from whom this place is supposed to have taken its name) was worshipped in the time of the Saxons; by others to be the burial place of Vortimer, the Saxon king, who died in 457, whilst others suppose this mount was raised over those who fell in the battle fought between Ceoldred, king of Mercia, and Ina, king of the West Saxons, in the year 715, at Woodnesbeorb, according to the Saxon chronicle, which name Dr. Plot supposes to be Woodnesborough. Vortimer, as our historians tell us, at his death, desired to be buried near the place where the Saxons used to land, being persuaded that his bones would deter them from any attempt in future. Though authors differ much on the place of his burial, yet this mount at Woodnesborough is as probable, or more so, perhaps, than any other, for it was near to, and was cast up so high as to be plainly seen from the Portus Rutupinus, which at that time was the general landing place of the Saxon fleets. Some years ago there were found upon the top of it sundry sepulchral remains, viz. a glass vessel (engraved by the Rev. Mr. Douglas, in his Nænia;) a fibula, (engraved by Mr. Eoys, in his collections for Sandwich;) the head of a spear, and some fragments of Roman vessels. Much of the earth of sand has been lately removed round the sides of it, but nothing further has been found.

At a small distance northward from hence, at the bottom of a short steep hill, lies the village called Woodnesborough-street, and sometimes Cold Fridaystreet, containing thirty four houses. The vicaragehouse is situated in the middle of it, being a new handsome building; almost contiguous to it is a handsome sashed house, belonging to the Jull family, now made use of as a poor-house; through this street the road leads to Sandwich. West ward of the street stands the parsonage-house, late the seat of Oliver Stephens, esq. deceased, and now of his window, as will be further noticed hereafter. Besides the manors and estates in this parish, particularly described, in the western parts of it there are several hamlets, as Somerfield, Barnsole, Coombe, with New-street, Great and Little Flemings, Ringlemere, and the farm of Christians Court.

In the north east part of the parish, the road from Eastry, by the parsonage of Woodnesborough northwestward, divides; one road, which in antient deeds is called Lovekys-street, going towards Ash-street; the other through the hamlet of Marshborough, formerly called Marshborough, alias Stipins, to Each End and Sandwich, the two windmills close to the entrance of which are with in the bounds of this parish. Each, Upper Each, called antiently Upriche, and Each End, antiently called Netheriche, were both formerly accounted manors, and are mentioned as such in the marriage settlement of Henry Whyte, esq. in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign. After the Whytes, these manors passed in like manner as Grove, in this parish, to the James's. Upper Each, or Upriche, has for many years belonged to the family of Abbot, of Ramsgate, and is now the property of John Abbot, esq. of Canterbury. Each End, or Netheriche, belongs, one moiety to the heirs or devisees of the late earl of Strafford, and the other moiety to John Matson, esq. of Sandwich.

It cannot but occur to the reader how much this parish abounds with Saxon names, besides the name of Wodens borough, the street of Cold Friday, mentioned before, is certainly derived from the Saxon words, Cola, and Friga, which latter was the name of a goddess, worshipped by the Saxons, and her day Frige-deag, from whence our day of Friday is derived; other places in this parish, mentioned before likewise, claim, surely, their original from the same language.

This parish contains about 3000 acres, the whole rents of it being about 3373l. yearly value. It is very bare of coppice wood; the Old Wood, so called, in Ringleton, being the only one in it. The soil of this parish is very rich and fertile, equal to those the most so in this neighbourhood, particularly as to the plantations of hops, which have much increased within these few years past. The middle of the parish is high ground, and is in general a flat open country of arable common fields. West and south-westward the lands are more inclosed with hedges. North and north-westward of the parsonage, towards Sandwich, they are low and wet, consisting of a large level of marsh land, the nearness of which makes the other parts of this parish rather unhealthy, which is not otherwise very pleasant in any part of it. There was a fair held here yearly, on Holy Thursday, but it has been for some time disused.

In Ringleton field, in this parish, there was found about the year 1514, a fine gold coin, weighing about twelve shillings, with a loop of the same metal to hang it by; on one side was the figure of a young man in armour, a helmet on his head, and a spear over his right shoulder; on the reverse, the figure of Victory, with a sword in her hand, the point downwards.

THE MANOR OF WOODNESBOROUGH, alias SHELVING, was at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, two estates, both which were part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands they are entered in it as follows:

Turstin holds of the bishop, one yoke in Wanesberge, and there are two borderers. Tochi held it of king Edward.

And again in another place, but both within the hundred of Eastry.

Oshern,(son of Letard)holds of the bishop one suling in Selinge. There he has one villein paying two shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth sixty shillings, and afterwards, and now thirty shillings. Aluuin held it in the time of king Edward the Confessor.

Four years after the taking of this survey, the bishop was disgraced, and all his estates were confiscated to the crown; after which the seignoryof these estates was granted, among others, to the family of Crevequer, and made a part of their barony, which consisted of lands assigned by the Conqueror, for his assistance in the defence of Dover castle, and were held of the king by barony.

Of the Crevequers, as chief lords of the fee; these estates were again held by the family of Malmaines, who were succeeded in one part of them, afterwards called the manor of Woodnesborough, by one of the name of St. Ledger; and in the other, then called Selinge, by owners of the same name; and at the latter end of king Henry III's reign, Nicholas de Selinge, and the heirs of John St. Ledger, as appears by the book of knight's fees in the Exchequer, held them by knight's service; the arms of St. Leger, being Azure, a fret, argent, a chief, or, were formerly in the windows of this church, of Hamo de Crevequer; the part of the formerdescended to John de Shelving, for so the name as well as the estate was then called, and he erected a mansion on it for his residence, which afterwards bore the name of Shelving, and died possessed of it in the 4th year of king Edward III. leaving the possession of it to his wife Benedicta, daughter and coheir of Robert de Hougham, of Hougham, near Dover. The part of the latter descended to Edward de St. Ledger, on whose death, his son Thomas de St. Ledger succeeded to it, who with Benedicta de Shelving possessed this estate in the 20th year of that reign. From St. Ledger the manor of Woodneshorough afterwards passed by sale into the name of White, one of whom, Robert White, died possessed of it in the 12th year of king Henry VIII. and from Shelving, the estate of Shelving was afterwards alienated to Dynely, or Dingley, as the name was variously called and spelt; and in king Henry VIII's reign Henry Dynely was in possession of it; at which time it paid ward to Dover castle. After which their respective heirs joined in the sale of both to Knight; from which time I find no further mention of the manor of Woodnesborough, but of the manor of Shelving only, which in the beginning of king Charles I.'s reign was the property of Edward Knight, gent. who died in 1632, leaving two daughters his coheirs, who seem to have divided this estate between them; that part, with the manor and court-lodge, still retaining the name of Shelving; the other, from its situation, taking the name of Churchgate sarm. This latter estate afterwards came at length into the possession of Christopher Ernest Kien, esq. lieut. colonel of the horse guards, who died possessed of it in 1744; upon which it descended to George Cousemaker, esq. whose widow Mary marrying Sir Thomas Pym Hales, bart. he became possessed of it, and died in 1773; upon which his widow, dame Mary Hales, above-mentioned, is now again possessed of it for her life; after which it will descend to her son by her first husband, lieut. colonel George Cousemaker.

The manor of Shelving was very soon afterwards sold to Solomon Hougham, gent. of Sandwich, who died possessed of it in 1658. He was a younger son of Richard Hougham, of Weddington, in Ash, by Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Sanders, gent. of Norborne; from whose youngest son Henry, descended the Houghams, of St. Martin's, in Canterbury, which branch of the Houghams bear for their arms, Or, five chevronels, sable. Solomon Hougham above-mentioned, was succeeded in it by his eldest son Richard Hougham, gent. of the same place, who died possessed of it in 1662; not long after which, it appears to have passed into the possession of John Grove, gent. of Tunstall, in right of Mildred his wife, who died in 1677. (fn. 1) After which it descended to his grandson Richard Grove, esq. formerly of Cambridge, but afterwards of the Temple, London, who dying unmarried a few years ago, and having no near relations, devised it, with the greatest part of his estates, to Mr. William Jemmett, gent. of Ashford, and William Marshall, the latter of whom, on a division of these estates, is now become the sole possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

Shelving house is situated very near the church; the present building is very mean, and exhibits no appearance of ever having been a mansion; some antient flint foundations have however, I find upon enquiry, been found round it.

GROVE is another manor, situated at no great distance north eastward from Shelving, which in antient time was held by the family of Malmains, by ward to Dover castle, being held of the family of Crevequer, and they continued in the possession of it till the latter end of king Edward II.'s reign, or the beginning of king Edward III. when it was become the property of Goldsborough, and Peter de Goldsborough died pos sessed of it in the 32d year of that reign; his successor in it was William atte Welle, of Sandwich, who died two years afterwards, as appears by the inquisition taken after his death, holding it of the king in capite, as of his castle of Ledes, by knight's service, and by the service of ward to Dover castle, upon which two parts of it escheated to the crown, (fn. 2) and the remaining part came into the possession of Agnes his widow, who died in the 36th year of that reign, holding it by the service above-mentioned, when the king became entitled to the whole of this manor, which afterwards was granted to a family of its own name; one of whom Sir John Grove, died possessed of it in Henry VI.'s reign, and lies buried in St. Peter's church, in Sandwich, to which he was a good benefactor, under a monument, on which are his effigies lying at full length, and on his shield, as well as underneath, his arms, viz.Three leaves, in sinister bend, their stalks upwards, on a canton, three crescekts, which arms were likewise formerly painted on the windows of this church; not long after his death it became the property of Sir John Whyte, merchant of the staple of Canterbury, who died in the 9th year of Edward IV. His descendant Henry Whyte, son of Sir Thomas Whyte, one of the masters of the court of requests, died possessed of it in the 14th year of queen Elizabeth's reign, leaving three daughters, Agnes, afterwards married to Thomas Scudamore; Philippa, to Walter Gifford; and Jane to Henry Ferrers, who became his coheirs. (fn. 3) After which, Thomas Scudamore and Agnes his wife, in 1581, conveyed their third part of it to William Fleet, as did the two other sisters and their husbands their remaining two thirds afterwards, to Roger James, merchant, of the city of London. He was of Dutch parentage, and coming into England, at the latter end of king Henry VIII.'s reign, was made denizen; of whom, and his descendants, an account has been already given, under Ightham, in vol. v. of this history, p. 36. Tho. James, hereafter mentioned, was his fourth son, who died s.p. and John, who settled at Grove, was his sixth son; from William, the third son, descended the James's, now resident at Ightham.

In 1594, Sarah, widow of Roger James, with her two sons Thomas and John, purchased of William Fleet, mentioned before, the remaining third part of it, and thus became entitled to the whole of this manor, which afterwards, on the death of Tho. James, s.p. became the property of his brother John, who afterwards resided at Grove. His son Henry, left four daughters his coheirs, Joice married to Edward Sayer, esq. Catherine; Elizabeth to William Bix; and Afra. They afterwards joined in the conveyance of the whole of this manor to Peter de la Pierre, or Peters, as the name was afterwards called and spelt, who was of the Black Friars, in Canterbury, and it afterwards continued in his descendants, till threefourths of it were, about the year 1757, alienated to Mr.Thomas Alkin, of Canterbury, who in 1773 devised his interest in it, after his wife's death, to his son Thomas Verrier Alkin, clerk, and his daughters Margaret Alkin, and Susan, then the wise of John Fowell, D.D.

The other fourth part of this manor remained in the descendants of Peter de la Pierre, or Peters, till partly by marriage, and partly by sale, it became the property of Mr. Isaac Warner, merchant, of Bermondsey, whose son Simeon Warner, conveyed it to Dr. John Fowell above-mentioned, and he, together with the descendants of Mr. Alkin, conveyed the whole of it to Mr. Henry Jessard, of Statenborough, who alienated it to Mr. Stephen Southerden, and he in 1793 passed it away by sale, to Peter Fector, esq. of Dover, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

The manor-house is old and ruinous, but not beyond a common farm-house. The antient mansion stood a little northward of the present house, as it should seem, where there is a small square plat of ground, moated round, which could hardly be for any other purpose. The manor of Knolton claims over this manor, which pays a castle-guard rent to Dover castle.

THE VILLE AND FARM OF BUCKLAND, written in Domesday, Bocoland, lies at a small distance southeastward from Grove manor. About the year 1074, Odo, bishop of Baieux, had some interest in this place, for he then gave to St. Augustine's monastery, certain tithe in the small ville of Bocklande, which Roger de Malmaines, who became lord of the see after the bishop's disgrace not long afterwards, and the confiscation of his estates, took from it; (fn. 4) and it appears by the survey of Domesday, that the archbishop had likewise some estate here, which was held of him by knight's service, under which title it is thus entered in it:

In Estrei hundred, Osbern, son of Letard, holds one yoke of the archbishop in Bocoland, and there he has in demesne one carucate, and it is worth ten shillings.

Of the family of Malmaines this estate was held by those who assumed their name from it; and in antient deeds of the gift of lands to St. Bartholomew's hospital, mention is made of lands in this parish abutting to those of this name of Bockland. How long they continued here, or who possessed it afterwards, I have not found for a great length of time, but in the year 1553 it was in the possession of the name of Wollet, for William Wollet, of Eastry, then died possessed of it, and devised it to Daniel Wollet his son, by the name of Buckland Barns, with the lands, &c. so that then, most probably, there was no house here. He sold it to Thomas Appleton, of Eastry, who left two daughters his coheirs, Joane married to Thomas Boteler, gent. of Hernden, and Elizabeth to Thomas Berry, gent. of Canterbury, which latter became, in right of his wife, possessed of it, and he sold it to Sir Samuel Peyton, bart. of Knolton, who owned it in 1622, in whose descendants it continued for some time afterwards. The next owner that I have found of it, is of the name of Barnes, and in 1750, Eliz. Barnes, of London, appears to have been owner of it; she devised it by will to Mr. Rich, of London, whose widow Elizabeth is in the possession of it for her life, but the reversion of it was purchased by Samuel Whitbread, esq. late of London, who sold it to Mr. John Bushell, of Ash, since deceased, and his heirs now possess his interest in it.

THE GREAT AND SMALL TITHES of the ville of Buckland, containing eighty-six acres, together with those of the manor of Ringleton, being an estate in see, have been in the hands of the lessees of the parsonage of this parish for many years past, the present proprietor being the widow of Oliver Stephens, esq. of Woodnesborough parsonage, lately deceased.

POLDRES, or Poulders, GREAT and LITTLE, are two estates in this parish, the former of which was antiently accounted a manor. It was once the estate of the Clitherows, but how long it continued in that name I know not; however, in the beginning of the last century, it was in the hands of several different owners, whose properties in it at length passed wholly into the name of Hatchet, who conveyed it to Barton, and he, at no long interval afterwards, passed it away to Elgar, and George Elgar alienated it to John Dowden, but in the year 1703, Scorier and others conveyed it to Smith, in which name it descended to Mr. Richard Smith, who becoming a bankrupt, his assignees sold it to Richard Solly, esq. of Sandwich, upon whose death it came to his only son Richard Heaton Solly, of St. Margaret's, who lately sold it to Thomas Godsrey, (before Jull)esq. of Brook-street, in Ash, and he is the present possessor of it.

LITTLE POULDERS was formerly the property of the Terrys, of Ospringe, in which it continued till it was carried in marriage by Olive Terry, in 1749, to Nathaniel Marsh, esq. whose son Terry Marsh, esq. of Canterbury, died possessed of it in 1789, and was buried in a vault, with the family of Terry, in Staple church. His son afterwards sold it to Mr. Baldock, of Canterbury, as he did again to Mr. David Taylor, of Sandwich, the present possessor of it.

DENN-COURT is a manor in the southern part of this parish, adjoining to the borough of Hammill, which in king Richard II.'s reign belonged to Sir Nicholas de Daubridgecourt, who in the 13th year of that reign conveyed it by sale to Thomas Elys, of Sandwich, and he having procured a licence of mortmain, conveyed it to seoffees for the endowment of the hospital of St. Thomas, of Sandwich, usually called Ellis's hospital, part of the possessions of which it remains at this time. It pays a quit-rent to the manor of Queen-court, in Ospringe, and another to the manor of Hamwold. In 1535, this estate containing one hundred and sixty acres of land, was of the annual rent of ten pounds. In 1703 it was let at 95l. In 1757, at 110l. afterwards at 140l. By lease in 1792, at 220l. per ann. (fn. 5) which is an instance of the great increase of the value of lands in this part of the county.

HAMWOLD, or as it is now called, Hammill, is a boroughand districtin the western part of this parish, which in the survey of Domesday is written both Hamolde, and Aimolde, at the time of taking which it was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's half-brother, under the title of whose lands it is thus described in it:

Adam holds of the fee of the bishop in Hamolde half a yoke. Riculf held it of Adam, and another half yoke of Aimolde. Herbert holds it of Hugh, the grandson of Herbert; both these are worth twenty shillings.

This description certainly comprehends, at least, the two manors of Hamwold, one of which, now called

SOUTH, alias UPPER HAMWOLD, or Hammill, as it is usually pronounced, was antiently written in deeds and old evidences, Hammonds, alias Teukers, and sometime after the conquest was become the estate of Osbern Hacket, who gave the tithes of it to the priory of Rochester, and in his descendants it continued down to Ralph Hacket, who held it by knight's service at the latter end of king Henry III. or beginning of king Edward I.'s reign, as appears by the book of knight's fees of that time; how long it continued in this name, does not appear.

After which, the family of Greenshield, whose principal seat was at Whitstaple, became possessors of it, probably long before there is any mention made of them as such, for there is no evidence of their property here, till the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, when John Greenshield was possessed of it, whose son Henry Greenshield, of Sandwich, died in the last year of king Edward IV. s.p. possessed of this manor, which he by his will, proved at Canterbury, ordered, as well as his other estates, to be sold; and he appears by it to have been possessed by descent, of lands besides at Whitstaple, Herne, and Sandwich. His feoffees alienated this manor to the Elys's, of Sandwich, whence it passed by sale to Wilson, from which name it was alienated to Mr. Edmund Parbo, of Sandwich, descended of a family in Cheshire, who bore for their arms, Vert, semee of fleurs de lis, fretty, or, a chief, ermine. He died possessed of it in 1640, and this manor came by his will to the issue of his sole daughter and heir Elizabeth,(who died before her mother in 1657,) by her husband Capt. John Boys, of Sandwich, by whom she had a numerous issue; one of whom, William, being his second son, was ancestor of William Boys, esq. now of Walmer, and in their descendants it continued, till it was at length, by one of them in 1711, conveyed by sale to Mr. Ralph Terry, who built the present house, which is a handsome one, on it.

After which it became vested, as it is presumed,by way of mortgage, in John Lynch, esq. of Groves, in Staple, by virtue of which he came into possession of it, and his heirs afterwards in 1762, together with the sons of Mr. Ralph Terry, above-mentioned, joined in the conveyance of the fee simple of this manor to Sir Brook Bridges, bart. of Goodnestone, who died possessed of it in 1791, and his eldest surviving son, Sir Brook William Bridges, bart. is at this time entitled to it. A court baron is held for this manor.

HAMWOLD-COURT, usually calledHammill-court, and formerly Lower Hammill, to distinguish it from that above-mentioned, is situated at no great distance from it. This estate was always accounted a manor, though for some time since it has lost all the usual rights and privileges belonging to one.

In the 20th year of king Edward III. Tho. Brockhull was possessed of this manor, held of the castle of Rochester, by the service of ward to it; when this name became extinct here, a family of the name of Stokes, or Stokys, became possessed of it, from whom it passed by sale to Michael Francis, whose heirs sold it about the latter end of king Henry VIII. to Mr. Nicholas Moyes, gent. and he conveyed it to Rogers, of London, brewer, whose heir passed it away to Everard, as he did to Roger James, merchant, of London, who by will in the 31st year of queen Elizabeth devised it to his two sons, Thomas and John, in separate moieties; Thomas died s.p. on which the whole of this manor became the property of John James his brother, after whose death I find it in the possession of his descendant's widow, Afra James, who settled it on her son Henry James, esq. of London; after which it became vested in his four daughters and coheirs, whose heirs Joice Sawyer, Henry Marsh, esq. and Thomas Halles, esq. in 1710, conveyed it to Thomas Sladden, gent. whose son William Sladden, gent dying unmarried and intestate, this estate came to his only sister Mary, who married the Rev. William Howdell, whose five sons, in 1758, joined in the conveyance of it to John Elias Sawbridge, esq. of Canterbury, who died unmarried in 1789, and by his will devised it to his nephew Col. Jacob Sawbridge, son of his elder brother Jacob, deceased, for his life, who died in 1776 unmarried, on which it came, by the limitations of the same will, to Samuel-Elias Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, and he is the present possessor of it.There is no court held for it.

THE PORTION OF TITHES in this district of Hammill, which belonged to the priory of Rochester, as mentioned before, as given to it by Osbern Hacket, owner of the manor of Upper Hamwold, (fn. 6) on the dissolution of the priory, in the 31st year of Henry VIII. came into the hands of the crown, and was granted by the king, in his 33d year, to his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose possessions it remains at this time.

THE MANOR OF RINGLETON, or Ringston, as it is sometimes written, is situated at some distance westward from Woodnesborough church, and at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, was likewise part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

In Estrei hundred, Herbert holds to ferm of the king, Ringetone, of the see of the bishop. The arable land is . . . In demesne there are two carucates and four villeins, with seven borderers, having two carucates and an half. There is one mill of forty shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth eight pounds, when he received it one hundred shillings, now eight pounds, and yet it pays thirteen pounds. Edward held it of king Edward.

Four years after the taking of this survey, the bishop was disgraced, and all his estates were confiscated to the crown, whence this manor seems to have been granted to William de Albini, surnamed Pincerna, who had followed the Conqueror from Normandy in his expedition hither; he was succeeded by his son of the same name, who was made earl of Arundel anno 15 king Stephen, of whose successors, earls of Arundel, it was afterwards held by the countess of Ewe, and of her again by knight's service, by the family of Perot, one of whom, Sir Ralph Perot, or Pyrot, as the name was frequently spelt, held it as above-mentioned in king Edward I.'s reign, (fn. 7) and Mr. Boteler, of Eastry, has in his possession some deeds of the Perots, of Ringleton, in king Richard II.'s time, having their seals appendant, on which are these arms, A shield with a crescent for difference, in chief, three escallop shells, the legend—Si Johis Perot. From his heirs it descended in like manner as Knolton to John de Sandhurst, who left an only daughter and heir Christian, who married William de Langley, by which marriage he became entitled to it; his heirs passed it away to Robt. White, whose heirs held it in the 20th year of Edward III.

Sir John White, of Canterbury, a descendant of Robert White above-mentioned, died possessed of it in the 9th year of king Edward IV. His descendant Thomas White, in pursuance of his father's will, for the purpose of raising a sum of money for charitable uses, alienated it to Boteler, or Butler, of Heronden, in Eastry, from which name it was passed away by sale to Neame, whose son Daniel Neame sold it to Spencer, and his successor Nicholas Spencer, gent. customer of Sandwich, in queen Elizabeth's reign, dying s.p. was buried in St.Clement's church, in Sandwich. His arms were,A chevron engrailed, in chief, three lions rampant, on the chevron a crescent, for difference. His sister Anne entitled her husband Mr. Andrew Hughes to the possession of it. He was descended, says Philipott, from the Hughes's, of Middleton Stoney, in Oxfordshire, who were branched out from those of North Wales, and bore for his arms,Gules, on a bend, argent, a demi lion, between three fleurs de lis, sable. In his descendants it continued, till it was at length carried by a female heir of this name, in marriage to Justinian Champneis, esq. of Westenhanger, who died possessed of it, far advanced in years, in 1748, leaving three sons, Justinian, William and Henry, on whom this manor devolved, in such proportions as was limited by his marriage settlement, according to which it has, with Westenhanger, and his other estates, ever since continued. Since which it has descended in like manner as Westenhanger, and is accordingly now vested in the same proportions as that is, being one sixth part vested in Miss Frances Champneis, and the two sons of John Burt, esq. by Harriet her sister, and the remaining part in the Rev. William Henry Burt Champneis, the eldest son of John Burt, esq. before-mentioned. (fn. 8) A court baron is held for this manor.

IN THE YEAR 1074, Odo, bishop of Baieus, gave to St. Augustine's monastery, those tithes which his tenants had, that is, Adelold, the chamberlain, in the three villes of Cnolton, Tickenhurst, and Ringleton, among others, and these he gave with the king's con sent, who by his charter confirmed it; but these tithes were afterwards taken away from the monastery by William de Albeni, the lord of the see of those lands.

The great and small tithes of the manor of Ringleton, and the ville of Buckland, were granted by king James I. in fee, to Thomas Blychenden, esq. This estate has constantly belonged to the lessees of the rectory appropriate of Woodnesborough, and as such was lately the estate of Oliver Stephens, esq. of the parsonage of Woodnesborough, (fn. 9) and is now of his widow Mrs. Anne Stephens.

THE MANOR OF POLTON, as it is usually called, is situated in the part of this parish next to Ash; its original name was Poltmans, being so called from a family who resided at it, their mansion here being castellated and surrounded with a moat, and they continued lords of it down to Peter Poltman, who was possessed of it in the reign of king Richard II. in the 15th year of which he passed it away, by fine, to Langley, of Knolton, in whom the possession of it remained till king Henry VI.'s reign, when it was alienated to Sir John Whyte, of Canterbury, whose descendant Thomas Whyte, in pursuance of his father's will, which directed it to be sold for charitable uses, conveyed it to Richard Boteler, of Heronden, in Eastry, and in his descendants it staid till the beginning of king James I.'s reign, when William Boteler sold it to Benskin, from whom it descended down to Vincent Benskin, who possessed it in the 22d year of king Charles II. the heirs of whose grandson, John Benskin, sold it to Mr. William Barne, of London, whose nephew of the same name succeeded him in it, and was owner of it in the beginning of king George I.'s reign; after which it became the property of lieutenant-colonel Christopher Kien, who died in 1744, leaving his wife Jane surviving, who possessed it at her death in 1762,s.p. she devised it by her will to Evert George Cousemaker, esq. who died next year, upon which his wife Mary, daughter of Gervas Hayward, gent. of Sandwich, became entitled to it, and carried her interest in it to her second husband Sir Thomas Pym Hales, bart. of Howlets. He died in 1773, and then it again reverted to her, and she is at this time the possessor of it; but the reversion of it at her death, by Mrs. Kien's will, devovles on her only son by her first husband, lieutenant colonel George Kien Hayward Cousemaker. He married the hon. Miss Southwell. He bears for his arms those of Cousemaker, originally of the province of Brabant; viz. quarterly, first and fourth, Azure, on a chevron, between three mullets, or, as many trefoils slipped, vert; second and third,Azure, two chevrons interlaced, one issuing from the chief, and the other from the base, between eight mullets of six points, all, or; as the same were certified at the college of arms, in London, in 1779, to colonel Cousemaker.

This manor is held of the manor of Patrixborne. There has not been any court held for it time out of mind. The house of Polton is a large square building, seemingly of the reign of king James I. probably erected by the Benskins; colonel Kien modernized it in part, and although in a low situation, being moated round, it exhibits a respectable appearance.


THOMAS APPLETON, yeoman, of Eastry, by his will in 1593. gave to the relief of the poor 5l. to be paid to the churchwardens yearly, to be distributed by them to the poor people, inhabitants here, fourteen days before Christmas day, to be paid out of lands belonging to him, called Hardiles, in this parish.

The poor constantly relieved are about sixty, casually one hundred.

THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanryof Sandwich.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of a nave, and two isles, having a square tower steeple at the west end, with a modern wooden turret and vane at the top of it, in which are five bells, made in 1676. It had a high spire on the tower, which was taken down some years ago. At the east end of the chancel is a marble tablet for John Cason, esq. of this place, justice of the peace, obt. 1718; John Cason, esq. his son, obt. 1755; arms,Argent, a chevron, sable, between three wolves heads, erased, gules, on an escutcheon of pretence, sable, a chevron, between three fleurs de lis, of the field; another for Thomas Blechenden, of the antient family of that name, of Aldington, in Kent, obt. 1661; arms, Azure, a fess nebulee, argent, between three lions heads erased, or, attired, gules, impalingBoys. On the south side, an antient altar monument with gothic pillars and arches, having had shields and arms, now obliterated. Against the wall, under the canopy, two brass plates, which have been removed to this place, from two grave-stones in the chancel; the first for Sir John Parcar, late vicar of this church, who died the of May, a°o dni m° v° xiij° on the second are Latin verses to the memory of Nichs Spencer, esq. obt. 1593. In the middle of the chancel, a gravestone for William Docksey, esq. of Snellston, in Derbyshire, a justice of the peace, obt. 1760; Sarah his wife, youngest daughter of John Cason, esq. obt. 1774; arms,Or, a lion rampant, azure, surmounted of a bend, argent. On a gravestone on the north side of the chancel, on a brass plate, On a chevron, three quatersoils, between three annulets, quartering other coats, now obliterated, for Master Myghell Heyre, sumtyme vicar of this churche, who dyed the xxii day of July, m° v° xxviii. In the north isle are several memorials for the family of Gillow, arms, A lion rampant, in chief, three fleurs de lis. At the entrance into the chancel, on a grave-stone, on a brass plate, John Hill, gent. of the parish of Nassall, in Staffordshire, obt. 1605. A mural monument for William Gibbs, of this parish, obt. 1777; arms,Argent, three battle axes, in fess, sable. In the church-yard are altar tombs to the memory of the Julls, and for Sladden; one for John Verall, gent. sometime mayor of Sandwich, obt. 1610; and another for John Benchkin, of Pouton, obt. 1639.

There were formerly painted in the windows of this church,Or, a chief indented, azure, for John de Sandwich. Several coats of arms, among which were those of Valence and St. Leger,Argent, three leaves in sinster bend, their points downward, proper.— On a canton, azure, three crescents, or, for Grove.— Argent, three escallops in chief, or, in base a crescent, gules, for Helpestone, usually called Hilpurton, bailiff of Sandwich, in 1299. A shield, being Helpeston's badge, another On a fess engrailed, three cinquefoils, between three garbs, for John Hill, of Nasall, in Staffordshire, who lies buried in this church. —A fess engrailed, three lions rampant, in chief, on the fess, a crescent for difference, for Spencer, customer, of Sandwich. — Quarterly, four coats; first, On a chevron, three quaterfoils; second, Per pale, ermine and argent; third, A cross, between four pomegranates, slipped; sourth,Three bars, wavy, for Michael Heyre, vicar here in 1520.

The church of Woodnesborough was given, in the reign of king Henry I. by a religious woman, one Ascelina de Wodensberg, to the priory of Ledes, soon after the foundation of it; to which deed was witness Robert de Crevequer, founder of the priory, Elias his son, and others; which gift was confirmed by the said Robert, who by his charter, released to the priory all his right and title to it. It was likewise confirmed by archbishop Theobald, and several of his successors, and by king Henry III. by his charter of inspeximus in his 41st year.

Archbishop William Corboil, who came to the see of Canterbury, three years after the foundation of Ledes priory, at the instance and petition of Ascelina above mentioned, who resigned this church into his hands for this purpose, appropriated it to the prior and convent, for the finding of necessary cloaths, for the canons there; and a vicarage was accordingly endowed in it.

There was a controversy between the prior and convent, and Adam, vicar of this church, in 1627, anno 14 Henry II. concerning the great tithes arising from the crofts and curtilages within this parish, which was referred to the prior of Rochester, who was the pope's delegate for this purpose, who determined that the prior and convent of Ledes, as rectors of this church, should receive, without any exception, all the great tithes of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, and of every fort of corn arising, or to arise from all lands, crofts, curtilages, or other places whatever, situated within the bounds, of this parish; and that the prior and convent should yearly pay to the said vicar, and his successors, half a seam of barley, and half a seam of beans, at the nativity of our Lord. (fn. 10)

After which, this parsonage appropriate,(which appears to have been esteemed as a manor) together with the advowson of the vicarage, remained with the prior and convent of Ledes, till its dissolution in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was, with all its lands and possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, settled both parsonage and advowson on his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom they remain at this time. On the dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed in 1649, when is appeared that the manor or parsonage of Woodnesborough, with the scite thereof, and all manner of tithes belonging to it, with a garden and orchard of one acre, was valued all together at 300l. that the lessee was to repair the premises, and the chancel of the church; that the vicarage was worth fifty pounds per annum. The then incumbent was under sequestration, and there was none to serve the cure; and that the church was then quite ruinated, and in great decay. (fn. 11)

THE RECTORY or PARSONAGE, together with THE MANOR OF THE RECTORY OF WOODNESBOROUGH, which still continues part of the possessions of the dean and chapter of Rochester, has been from time to time demised by them, on a beneficial lease. It was formerly held by the family of Appleton, and, afterwards by that of Blechynden, both of whom resided at the parsonage; at length the heirs of the latter, who passed away their interest in it to John Cason, esq. who resided here, whose for of the same name dying s.p. in 1755, Sarah his youngest sister, married to William Docksey, esq. of Shellston, in Derbyshire, became, as his heir, entitled to it; she survived him, and by her will in 1774, devised the lease of it to Anne, the daughter of Matthew Bookey, clerk, vicar of St. Laurence, in Thanet, by Anne, daughter of Thomas Peke, esq. then the wife of Oliver Stephens, esq. who in her right became entitled to it, and resided at the parsonage. His arms were,Per chevron, azure and ermine, in chief, two eagles displayed, or; the Bookeys bore, Gules, on a bend, argent, three rooks, sable, within a bordure, engrailed. He died in 1795, leaving her surviving, and she is now in possession of his interest in it, as well as the rest of his estates in this parish and neighbourhood. A court baron is held for this manor. There are thirtyfive acres of glebe belonging to the parsonage.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 10l. os.7½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l.os.3/4d. It is now of the yearly certified value of 56l.12s.53/4d.

In 1640 it was valued at eighty pounds per annum. In 1713 but at sixty pounds per annum. There are three acres and an half of glebe land belonging to the vicarage. In the king's books in Henry VIIIth.'s time, they are said to have been five acres.

Church of Woodnesborough.

Or by whom presented.
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. Jasper Green, in 1628, obt. 1661.
Joseph Jackson, clerk, April 4, 1661. (fn. 12)
. . . . Becker, obt.1672.
Isaac Lovell, A.B.March 14, 1672, obt. 1729. (fn. 13)
John Head, A. M. February 1, 1730, resigned 1736. (fn. 14)
J. Billingsley, July 7, 1736, resigned 1737.
John Upton, A. M. Nov. 11, 1737, resigned 1747. (fn. 15)
Jonathan Soan, A. M. Sept. 5, 1747, obt. Jan. 14, 1768. (fn. 16)
John Clarke, S. T. P. July 23, 1768, resigned Dec. 1775. (fn. 17)
James Williamson, A. M. June 28, 1776, resigned 1785.
. . . . Loddington, A. M. 1785, resigned 1785.
John Smith, A. M. Nov. 1785, the present vicar. (fn. 18)


  • 1. See more of the Groves, vol. ii. of this history, p. 581.
  • 2. See Boys's Sandwich, p. 155, 156.
  • 3. Rot. Elch. an. e2, Elix. The remainder of the account of this manor is taken from the Title Deeds.
  • 4. See Decem. Scriptores, Thorn, col. 1789.
  • 5. See Boys's Sandwich, p. 149 et seq.
  • 6. Stev. Mon. vol.i.p.39 Confirmed to the priory by the archbishops Richard, Baldwin and Hubert.
  • 7. Book of knight's fees, in the Exchequer.
  • 8. See Westenhanger, vol.viii.p.74,75.
  • 9. See hereafter, under the description of the parsonage, for a more particular account of the owners of this portion of tithes, as well as of the rest of the late Mr. Stephens's estates in this neighbourhood.
  • 10. Chartularie of Ledes priory, fol.IO. In the year 1302, there was an agreement concerning the parochial bounds of the churches of Estri and Wodnesberge.
  • 11. Parliamentary Surveys,
  • 12. He left by will 20s. to the poor of Bromley, of which parish he had been curate.
  • 13. And curate of Guston.
  • 14. Likewise vicar of Sellinge, and resigned this vicarage for the rectory of Burmarsh.
  • 15. Prebendary of Rochester, and the learned editor of Spenser's Fairy Queen, and other works.
  • 16. Head master of the king's school in Rochester, and held this vicarage with that of Thurnham, by dispensation.
  • 17. Prebendary of Rochester, and provost of Oriel college, in Oxford, and resigned this vicarage for that of Lamberhurst.
  • 18. And vicar of Chart Sutton, by dispensation.