The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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THE next parish to Monkton eastward is Minster, antiently written both Mynstre, and Menstre, being so named from the Saxon word Minstre, signifying a church or monastery. It is divided into two boroughs, viz. Way Borough and Street Borough; the former of which lies on the ascent on the northern side of the street; the latter contains the street and church, with the southern part of the parish.
THIS PARISH is about three miles and an half from east to west, and near as much from north to south. The farms in it are perhaps as large as in any other parish in this county; the occupiers of which are, in general, men of considerable ability. The west part of this parish is bounded by a lynch or balk, which goes quite across the island to Westgate, called St. Mildred's Lynch, an account of which has already been given before, and which is the bounds of this manor from that of Monkton, as well as of the parish. This lynch has formerly been much broader than it is now, many of the farmers, who occupy lands bounding on or near it, having through a coveteous humour, not only dug up the mould or top of it, to lay on their land, but in some places have ploughed upon it. Too many instances of this kind are practised in other places, not only of this island, but of the county in general, so that there is scarce a remembrance left where those balks or lynches have been; such has the greedy avarice of the occupiers been, and this is one instance of the ill consequence of the neglect of the courts leet and baron. The village of Minster lies nearly in the centre of it, on low ground at the foot of the high lands, having the church on the south side of it; northward of the village it rises to high land, being a fine open champion country of uninclosed corn land, on which are situated Minster mill, Allan Grange, and Powcies, the latter at the extremity of the parish, close to which was, till lately, a small grove of oaks, the only one in this island. Lower down, about a mile southward, is Thorne manor, and beyond that Sevenscore farm. At the south-eastern extremity of the parish, and partly in St. Laurence, is Cliffsend, or Clyvesend, so called from its being at the end of the cliff, which extends from Ramsgate; it was antieutly a part of the estate of St. Augustine's monastery, and is called by Thorne in his Chronicle, the manor of Clyvesend. Here are now two considerable farms besides cottages.
About a mile and an half south-east from Minster church, is Ebbsfleet, formerly called by the various names of Hipwines, Ippeds, and Wipped's fleet; this seems to have been a usual place of landing from the ocean in this island; here it is said Hengist and Horsa, the two Saxon generals, first landed with their forces, about the year 449. Here St. Augustine, often called the Apostle of the English, first landed, in the year 596; and here too St. Mildred, of whom mention has been made likewise before, first landed from France, where she had been for instruction in the monastic life; and not many years ago there was a small rock at this place, called St. Mildred's rock, where, on a great stone, her footstep was said, by the monkish writers, to have remained impressed. (fn. 1) Below the church of Minster, southward, is the large level of marshes, called Minster level, at the southern extremity of which runs the river Stour, formerly the Wantsume, which, as has already been noticed before, was antiently of a much greater depth and width than it is at present, flowing up over the whole space of this level, most probably almost to the church-yard fence, being near a mile and an half distance; but the inning of the salts by the landholders, which had been in some measure deserted by the waters of the Wantsume at different places, so far lessened the force of the tide, and of the river waters mixing with it, that it occasioned the sands to increase greatly near this place, where it was at length entirely choaked up, so that a wall of earth was made by the abbot of St. Augustine, since called the Abbot's wall, to prevent the sea at high water overslowing the lands, which now comprehend this great level of marshes, at present under the direction and management of the commissioners of sewers for the district of East Kent. A part of these marsh lands have been much improved by means of shortening the course of the river Stour to the sea, by the cut at Stonar, which lets off the superfluous water in wet seasons with greater expedition, and a very valuable tract of near two hundred acres has been lately inclosed by a strong wall from the sea near Ebbs-fleet. Between the above-mentioned wall and the river Stour lie a great many acres of land, which the inhabitants call the salts, from their being left without the wall, and subject to the overflowing of the tide, so long as it continued to flow all around this island. Over against the church is a little creek, which seems to have been the place antiently called Mynstrefleet, into which the ships or vessels came, which were bound for this place. As a proof of this, there was found some years ago in a dyke bounding on this place, in digging it somewhat deeper than usual, some fresh coals, which very probably had fallen aside some lighter or boat in taking them out of it. (fn. 2)
I ought not to omit mentioning, that on the downs on the north part of this parish, where the old and present windmills were placed, is a prospect, which perhaps is hardly exceeded in this part of the kingdom. From this place may be seen, not only this island and the several churches in it, one only excepted; but there is a view at a distance, of the two spires of Reculver, the island of Sheppy, the Nore, or mouth of the river Thames, the coast of Essex, the Swale, and the British channel; the cliffs of Calais, and the kingdom of France; the Downs, and the town of Deal, the bay and town of Sandwich, the fine champion country of East Kent, the spires of Woodnesborough and Ash, the ruins of Richborough castle, the beautiful green levels of Minister, Ash, &c. with the river Stour winding between them; the fine and stately tower of the cathedral of Canterbury, and a compass of hills of more than one hundred miles in extent, which terminate the sight.
In the marshes on the south of this parish, there was found in 1723, an antique gold ring; on the place of the seal, which seemed to represent an open book, was engraved on one side an angel, seemingly kneeling, and on the other side a woman standing with a glory round her head; on the woman's side was engraved in old English characters, bone; on that of the angel, letters of the same character, but illegible. A fair is kept in this village on a Good Friday for pedlary and toys.
By the return made to the council's letter, by archbishop Parker's order, in the year 1563, there were then computed to be in this parish fifty-three housholds. By an exact account taken of Minster in 1774, there were found to be in this parish one hundred and forty-nine houses, and six hundred and ninety-six inhabitants; of the houses, sixteen were farm-houses, and one hundred and thirty three were inhabited by tradesmen, labourers, and widows.
THE MANOR and ABBEY OF MINSTER was antiently called Thaket manor, and continued so till, from the foundation of the abbey or minster within it, it acquired the name of the manor of Minster, though in the survey of Domesday, taken in the year 1080, it is still called Tanet manor, Kar exoxnv; but I have met with it no where else so late by that name.
This manor was in the year 670 in the possession of Egbert, king of Kent, whose two nephews Ethelred and Ethelbright, sons of his father's elder brother Ermenfride, deceased, (who left likewise two daughters, Ermenburga, called also Domneva, married to Merwald, son of Penda, king of Mercia, and Ermengitha, were left to his care, under promise of their succeeding to the kingdom. These princes were kept under the inspection of one Thunnor, a flattering courtier, who persuaded the king to have them murdered, left they should disturb him in the possession of the throne; which Thunnor undertook and perpetrated. To expiate this crime, the king, by the advice of archbishop Theodore, and Adrian, abbot of St. Augustine's, sent to Domneva, who had taken the vow of chastity on her, to offer her any satisfaction for this crime, when, as an atonement, she requested of the king, according to the custom of those times, to grant her a place in Tenet, where she might build a monastery to their memory, with a sufficient maintenance, in which she, with her nuns, might continually pray for the king's forgiveness, who immediately by his charter, which concludes with a singular curse on the infringers of it, (fn. 3) granted her for the endowment of it full one half of this island, being the eastern part of it, comprehended within the bounds of this manor, and since separated from the western part of the island and manor of Monkton, by a broad bank or lynch, made quite across the island, since called St. Mildred's Lynch, and remaining at this day.
The story of this grant, as told by Thorn, a native of this parish, and a monk of St. Augustine's monastery, in his chronicle of that abbey, is, that Egbert granting Domneva's petition, demanded of her how much land she desired; who replied, as much as her deer could run over at one course; this being granted, the deer was let loose at Westgate, in Birchington, in the presence of the king, his nobles, and a great concourse of people. Among them was Thunnor, the petrator of the murder, who, ridiculing the king for the lavishness of his gift and the method of its decision, endeavoured by every means to obstruct the deer's course, both by riding across and meeting it; but Heaven, continues the chronicler, being offended at his impiety, whilst he was in the midst of his career, the earth opened and swallowed him up, leaving the name of Tunnor's-leap, or Thunor's hyslepe, to the ground and place where he fell, to perpetuate the memory of his punishment, though it was afterwards called Heghigdale. Meanwhile the deer having made a small circle eastward, directed its course almost in a strait line south-westward across the island from one side to the other, running over in length and breadth forty-eight plough-lands; and the king, immediately afterwards delivered up to Domneva the whole tract of land which the deer had run over.
This tract or course of the deer, which included above ten thousand acres of some of the best lands in Kent, is said to have been marked out by the broad bank, or lynch, across the island, since called St. Mildred's Lynch, thrown up in remembrance of it; (fn. 4) but notwithstanding this well-invented story of Thorn, it is more probable that this lynch was made to divide the two capital manors of Minster and Monkton, before this gift to Domneva.
Puteus Thunor, (or Thunor's leap) says the annalist of St. Augustine's monastery, apparet prope Cursum Cervi juxta Aldelond; and the place where the king stood to see this course is represented to be by it, where formerly was a beacon, it being some of the highest land hereabouts, where the king might see the course. This Puteus Thunor, or Thunorslep, is very plainly the old chalk pit, called Minster chalk-pit, which its not unlikely was first sunk when the abbey and church here were built, and the bottom of it in process of time, being overgrown with grass, gave occasion for the invention of this sable of Thunor's being swallowed up by the earth at this place. The name of Thunorslep has been long since obliterated, and even the more modern one of Heghigdate has been long forgotten. Weever says, he lieth buried under an heap of stones, which to that day was called Thunniclam.
Domneva being thus furnished with wealth and all things necessary, founded, in honor of the B.V. Mary, a monastery, or cloyster of nuns, afterwards called ST. MILDRED'S ABBEY, on part of this land, on the south side of the island near the water, in the same placewhere the present parochial church stands. Archbishop Theodore, at the instance of Domneva, consecrated the church of it, and she afterwards appointed the number of nuns to be seventy, and was appointed by the archbishop, the first abbess of it; she died here and was buried on the glebe of the new monastery. Ermengitha, her sister, was after her death sainted, and lived with Domneva, in the abbey here, where she died, and was buried in a place about a mile eastward of it, where the inhabitants have found numbers of bones, and where it is probable, she built some chapel or oratory. In a field or marsh called the twenty acres, a little more than a quarter of a mile eastward of the church of Minster, are several foundations, as if some chapel or oratory had been built there. (fn. 5)
Domneva was succeeded as abbess by her daughter Mildred, who was afterwards sainted. She is said to have been buried in this church. On her death Edburga succeeded in the government of this monastery, who finding it insufficient for so great a number of nuns, built another just by, larger and more stately, which was consecrated by archbishop Cuthbert, and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul; and to this church she, about the year 750, removed the body of St. Mildred, at whose tomb many miracles were said to be wrought afterwards. Edburga was buried at Minster in her own new church, and was afterwards sainted. She was succeeded as abbess of this monastery by Sigeburga. In her time was the first depredation of the Danes in Thanet; who sell upon the people, laid every thing waste, and pludered the religious in this monastery; from this time they continued their ravages throughout this island almost every year; hence by degrees, this monastery fell to decay, and the nuns decreased in number, being vexed with grief and worn down with poverty, by the continual insults of these merciless pirates, who landed in this island in 978, and entirely destroyed by fire this monastery of St. Mildred, in which the clergy and many of the people were shut up, having fled thither for sanctuary; but they were, together with the nuns, all burnt to death, excepting Leofrune the abbess, who is said to have been carried away prisoner.
The Danes, however, spared the two chapels of St. Mary, and of St. Peter and St. Paul, in one of which divine service was afterwards performed, for the inhabitants of this parish and the adjoining neighbourhood. The antient scite of the monastery, together with this manor, and all the rest of the possessions of it remained in the king's hands, and they continued so till king Cnute, in the year 1027, gave the body of St. Mildred, together with the antient scite of the monastery, this manor and all its land within this island and without, and all customs belonging to this church, to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, which gift was confirmed by king Edward the Confessor. (fn. 6)
The abbot and convent of St. Augustine becoming thus possessed of this manor, fitted up the remains of the abbey to serve as the court-lodge of it; accordingly it has ever since borne the name of Minstercourt. In the survey of Domesday, taken in the 15th year of the Conqueror's reign, anno 1080, this manor is thus described, under the general title of Terra æcclæ Sci Augustini, the land of the church of St. Augustine.
In Tanet hundred. St. Mildred's.
The abbot himself holds Tanet manor, which was taxed at forty-eight sulings. The arable land is sixty-two carucates. In demesne there are two, and one hundred and fifty villeins, with fifty borderers having sixty-three carucates. There is a church and one priest, who gives twenty shillings per annum. There is one salt-pit and two fisheries of three pence, and one mill.
In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth four times twenty pounds, when the abbot received it forty pounds, now one hundred pounds.
Of this manor three knights hold so much of the land of the villeins as is worth nine pounds, when there is peace in the land, and there they have three carucates.
After which king Henry I. granted to the monastery of St. Augustine, about the 4th of his reign, a market, to be yearly held within this their manor of Minster, with all customs, forseitures, and pleas; which was confirmed among other liberties by Edward III. in his 36th year, by inspeximus.
King Henry III. in his 54th year, anno 1270, granted to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, free-warren in all their demesne lands of Minster. (fn. 7) King Edward II. in his 6th year, confirmed to the abbot free-warren in this manor among others, and next year anno 1313, in the iter of H. de Stanton and his sociates, justices itinerant, the abbot, upon a quo warranto, claimed and was allowed sundry liberties therein mentioned, in this manor, among others, and likewise free-warren in all his demesne lands of it, view of frank pledge, and wreck of the sea; one market weekly on a Friday, and one fair yearly on the eve and day of St. Mildred the Virgin, and other liberties therein mentioned; as having been granted and confirmed by divers of the king's predecessors, and allowed in the last iter of J. de Berewick and his sociates, justices itinerant; and that king Edward II. by his charter in his 6th year had sully confirmed all of them, and by the register of this monastery, of about this time, it appears that this manor had within its court the same liberties as those of Chistlet and Sturry. King Edward III. in his 5th year, exempted the abbot's homagers and tenants of this, among other of their manors, from their attendance at the sheriff's tourne, and afterwards by his charter of inspeximus in his 36th year, confirmed to this abbey all the manors and possessions given to it by former kings; and by another charter, the several grants of liberties and confirmations made by his predecessors, among which were those abovementioned; and king Henry VI. afterwards confirmed the same.
Next year the abbot and his servants taking distresses on their tenants of this manor, the tenants, to the number of six hundred, met and continued together for the space of five weeks, having got with them a greater number of people, who coming armed with bows and arrows, swords and staves, to the court of this manor and that of Salmanstone, belonging likewise to the abbot, laid siege to them, and after several attacks set fire to the gates of them. For fear of these violences, the monks and their servants at Salmanstone kept themselves confined there for fifteen days, so that the people enraged at not being able to encompass their ends in setting fire to the houses, destroyed the abbot's ploughs and husbandry utensils, which were in the fields; and cut down and carried away the trees on both these manors.
At the same time they entered into a confederacy and raised money here by tallages and assessments, by means of which they drew to them no small number of others of the cinque ports, who had nothing to lose, so that the abbot dared not sue for justice in the king's courts; but a method it seems was found to punish these rioters, or at least the principal of them, who were fined to the abbot for these damages six hundred pounds, a vast sum in those days, and were imprisoned at Canterbury till the fine was paid. The uneasiness of the tenants under such respective suits and services, seems to have occasioned the abbot and convent to have compounded with them, which they did in the year 1441, anno 20 Henry VI. By this composition the abbot and convent agreed, that the tenants should not in future be distrained for the rents and services they used to pay; but instead of them should pay compositions for every acre of the land called Cornegavel and Pennygavel, (fn. 8) which composition for the Cornegavel and Pennygavel land, continues in force at this time, being sixpence an acre now paid for the Cornegavel land.
In the time of king Richard II. this manor, with its rents and other appurtenances, was valued among the temporalities of the abbot and convent, at 232l. 4s. 3d. per annum; and the quantity of land belonging to it was by admeasurement 2149 acres and one rood.
In which state this manor continued till the final dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, which happened in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when it was surrendered, together with the rest of the possessions of the monastery, into the king's hands; at which time the manor and rents were of the value of 276l. yearly. (fn. 9) After which, the see of this manor, with the antient court-lodge of it, formerly the monastery, and then called Minster-court, with all the lands and appurtenances belonging to it, continued in the crown, till king James I. in his 9th year, by his letters patent, granted to Sir Philip Cary, William Pitt, esq. afterwards knighted; and John Williams, citizen and goldsmith of London, this lordship and manor of Menstre, with its rights, members, and appurtenances, late parcel of St. Augustine's monastery, except and reserved to the king's use, all advowsons and patronages of churches, chapels, &c. belonging to this manor; and he granted likewise all the rents of assize called Cornegavel land, in the parish of St. John, parcel of this manor; and the rents of assize of free tenement called Pennygavel land, in the parishes of St. Peter and St. Laurence, (fn. 10) to hold the manor, with its right, members and appurtenances, of the king, as of his manor of East Greenwich, by sealty only, in free and common socage, and not in capite, nor by knight's service; and to hold the rents of assize of the king in capite, by the service of one knight's fee; which grant and letters patent were conconfirmed by an act specially passed for the purpose, that year.
Some years after which, the heirs of the beforementioned Sir Philip Carey and John Williams, then Sir John Williams, bart. of Carmarthenshire, divided this estate; in which division, the manor itself with the court-lodge, part of the demesne lands, royalties, and appurtenances, was allotted to Sir John Williams, bart. (who died in 1668, and was buried in the Temple church, London); whose descendant of the same name, bart. of Carmarthenshire, dying without male issue, his daughter and sole heir, then the widow of the earl of Shelburne, carried it in marriage, at the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign, to Col. Henry Conyngham, afterwards a major-general in king William's reign, who died possessed of it in 1705. He left two sons, William and Henry, and a daughter Mary, married to Francis Burton, esq. of Clare, in Ireland. William, the eldest son of the general, succeeded him in this manor and estate in Minster, but died without surviving issue, upon which this estate descended to Henry Conyngham, esq. his younger brother, second son of the general, who was in 1753, anno 27 George II. created baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, in Donegall, in Ireland; and afterwards by further letters patent, in 1756, viscount Conyngham, of the same kingdom; and again in 1780, earl Conyngham, and likewise baron Conyngham, of the same kingdom, with remainder of the latter title to his sister's sons. He married Ellen, only daughter of Solomon Merret, esq. of London, by whom he had no issue. He died s.p. in 1781, and was succeeded in his title of baron Conyngham by his nephew Francis Pierpoint Burton Conyngham, eldest son of his sister Mary, by her husband Francis Burton, esq. above-mentioned, which Francis, lord Conyngham, died in 1787, leaving by his wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Nathaniel Clements, esq. and sister of Robert, lord Leitrim, (who survived him) two sons, Henry, who succeeded him in title, and Nathaniel, and three daughters, Catherine married to the Rev. John Shirley Fermor, of Sevenoke; Ellen, to Stewart Weldon, esq. and Henrietta.
Henry, so succeeding his father as lord Conyngham, was created in December 1789, viscount Conyngham and baron Conyngham, of Mount Charles, in Donegall, to whom the inheritance of this manor and estate now belongs; but the possession of it for life is vested in the right hon. Ellen, countess dowager Conyngham; widow of Henry, earl Conyngham, above-mentioned. The arms of lord viscount Conyngham are, Argent, a shake-sork, between three mullets, sable. Supporters. The dexter—An horse charged on the breast with an eagle, displayed, or, maned and hoofed of the last. The sinister—A buck proper, charged on the breast with a griffin's head, erased, or, attired and unguled of the last. Crest—Anunicorn's head erased, argent, armed and maned, or. Motto—Over fork over.
A court leet and court baron is held for this manor, by the stile of the courtleet, and view of frank pledge, for the manor of Minster, in the hundred of Ringslow, alias Tenet, and the court baron for the said manor.
The court-lodge, formerly a part of the nunnery, was, after the dissolution of it, made use of as a farmhouse, in which some of the monks of St. Augustine resided, to manage the estate of it, which they kept in their own hands. On the north side of it, which seems to have been the front or entrance, is a handsome stone portal, on the top of which, in the middle, within a circle, are the arms of the abbey of St. Augustine, viz. Sable, a cross, argent. At a small distance from it stood antiently a very large barn, sufficient to hold the corn growing on all the demesnes, being in length 352 feet, and in breadth 47 feet, and the height of the walls 12 feet, with a roof of chesnut. When the estate was divided, 154 feet in length of this building was carried to Sevenscore farm, where it was burnt, by an accident unknown in 1700, and the remaining part here was burnt by lightning afterwards. On the south side of the house stood a chapel, said to have been built by St. Eadburga, the third abbess here. In it the body of St. Mildred is said to have been placed by her, or rather translated from the other monastery. Some of the walls and foundations of this chapel were remaining within the memory of some not long since deceased, but it is now so entirely demolished, that there is nothing to be seen of it, excepting a small part of the tower, and of the stairs leading up into it. Just by these ruins of the tower is a small piece of ground, in which lately in digging for mould, several human bones were dug up. There is a view of the remains of this nunnery in Lewis's Thanet.
THE OTHER PART of this estate, the scite of which lies about a mile eastward from Minster-court, since known by the name of SEVENSCORE, on which is built a substantial farm-house, with large barns and other necessary buildings, was allotted to —Carey, in whose successors viscounts Falkland, this estate continued down to Lucius Ferdinand, viscount Falkland, who not many years since alienated it to Josiah Wordsworth, esq. of London, whose son of the same name died possessed of it about the year 1784, leaving two sisters his coheirs, one of whom married Sir Charles Kent, bart. and the other, Anne, married Henry Verelst, esq. who afterwards, in right of their respective wives, became possessed of this estate in undivided moieties; in which state it still continues, Sir Charles Kent being at this time entitled to one moiety, and Mrs. Verelst, the widow of Henry Verelst, esq. above-mentioned, who died in 1785, and lies buried in this church, being entitled to the other moiety of it.
WASCHESTER is an estate lying at a small distance westward from Minster church, part of which was formerly parcel of the demesnes of the manor of Minster, and was included in king James's grant to Sir Philip Carey, William Pitt, esq. and John Williams, goldsmith, as has been mentioned before in the account of that manor; they in the year 1620, joined in the sale of them to Jeffry Sandwell, gent. of Monkton, who purchased other lands of different persons in this parish, Monkton and Birchington, the whole of which he sold in 1658, to John Peters, M. D. Philip le Keuse, and Samuel Vincent, which two latter alienated their shares soon afterwards to Dr. Peters; at which time all these lands together, not only comprehended Waschester farm, but likewise part, if not the whole of another called Acol. From Dr. Peters this estate descended to Peter Peters, M. D. of Canterbury, who died in 1697, upon which the inheritance of it descended to his sole daughter and heir Elizabeth, who in 1722 carried it in marriage to Thomas Barrett, esq. of Lee, whose second wife she was; he died possessed of it in 1757, upon which it descended to their only daughter and heir Elizabeth, who entitled her husband, the Rev. William Dejovas Byrche, to the fee of it. He died in 1792, leaving an only daughter Elizabeth, married to Samuel Egerton Brydges, esq. of the Middle Temple, barrister-atlaw, but now of Denton-court, who in her right possessed it, and afterwards sold it to Mr. Ambrose Maud, who now owns it.
SHERIFFS COURT is an estate lying somewhat less than a mile westward from Waschester, in the hamlet of Hoo in this parish; it was formerly called Sheriffs Hope, from the hope, or place of anchorage for ships, which sailed in the river Wantsume, which once ran close by this place. It is said by some to have taken its name from its having been part of the possessions of Reginald de Cornhill, who was so long sheriff of this county that he lost his own name and took that of Le Sheriff, from whence this place gained the name of Sheriffs hope, or court. He was sheriff from the 4th to the 9th years of king Richard I. in the last year of that reign and during the whole reign of king John. His arms are on the stone roof of the cloysters at Canterbury, being Two lions passant, debruised of a bendlet, impaling three piles. After this name was extinct here, the family of Corbie became possessed of this estate; one of whom, Robert de Corbie, died possessed of it in the 39th year of king Edward III. whose son Robert Corbie, esq. of Boughton Malherb, leaving a sole daughter and heir Joane, she carried it in marriage to Sir Nicholas Wotton, who, anno 3 Henry V. was lord mayor of London. His descendant Sir Edward Wotton procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled by the acts both of 31 Henry VIII. and 2 and 3 Edward VI. and from him this manor descended to Thomas, lord Wotton, who dying anno 6 Charles I. without male issue, his four daughters became his coheirs, of whom Catherine the eldest carried this estate in marriage to Henry, lord Stanhope, son and heir of Philip, earl of Chesterfield, whose widow Catherine, lady Stanhope, sold it to Henry Paramor. He was the tenant and occupier of Sheriff's court, being the eldest son of John Paramor, of Preston, the grandson of Thomas Paramor, of Paramor-street, in Ash, near Sandwich. They bore for their arms, Azure, a fess embattled, counter embairled, between three etoils of six points, or. (fn. 11) . He left it to his brother Thomas Paramor, whose grandson of the same name died possessed of it in 1652, and was buried with his ancestors in this church; from his heirs this estate was alienated to Thatcher, in which name it continued, till at length it was sold by one of them, to Mr. Robert Wilkins, gent. of St. Margaret's, Rochester, who possessed it for many years. He died without issue, and it has since become the property of Mrs. Terry, the present owner of it.
TO THIS MANOR is appurtenant the small MANOR OF PEGWELL, or COURT STAIRS, in the parish of St. Laurence.
ALDELOND GRANGE, usually called Allen Grange, situated about a mile northwardfrom Minster church, on the open high land, was so called in opposition to Newland Grange, in St. Laurence parish. It was antiently part of the possessions of the abbey of St. Augustine, and was in the year 1197, assigned by Roger, the abbot of it, to the sacristy of the abbey, for the purpose of upholding and maintaining the abbey church, as well in the fabric as ornaments, but on the condition that the sacrist for the time being, should perform all such services to the court of Minster as were due, and had been accustomed to be done for the land of it. (fn. 12)
The measurement of this land, according to Thorne, amounted to sixty-two acres; and to this Grange belong all the tithes of corn and grain, within the limits of the borough of Wayborough, excepting those which are received by the vicar. On the dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. this estate, then amounting to six score acres, came, with the rest of the possessions of the monastery, into the king's hands, where it did not continue long, for he settled it in his 33d year, by his dotation charter, on his new founded dean and chapter of Canterbury, with whom the inheritance of it continues at this time.
It has been demised by the dean and chapter, on a beneficial lease, the rack rent of it being 413l. per annum, for twenty one years, to Mr. Edward Pett, of Cleve-court, the present lessee of it. Messrs. Jessard and Paramor are the under lessees and occupiers of it.
POWCIES, which stands about half a mile northeastward from Allan grange, was formerly a gentleman's mansion, a large handsome building standing on much more ground than it does at present, with a gate house at the entrance into the court before it; all which being pulled down, a modern farm-house of brick has been built on the antient scite of it.
This seat was once in the possession of the family of Goshall, of Goshall, in Ash, where Sir John Goshall resided in king Edward III.'s reign, and in his descendants it continued till about the reign of king Henry IV. when it was carried in marriage by a female heir to one of the family of St. Nicholas, owners likewise of the adjoining manor of Thorne, in whom it continued down to Roger St. Nicholas, who died in 1484, leaving a sole daughter and heir Elizabeth, who entitled her husband John Dynley, of Charlton, in Worcestershire, to the possession of it. By her he had two sons, Henry and Edward, the eldest of whom succeeded to this estate, which he afterwards alienated, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, to John Roper, esq. of Linsted, afterwards knighted, and anno 14 James I. created baron of Teynham; whose great grandson Christopher, lord Teynham, in king Charles I.'s reign, conveyed it to Sir Edward Monins, bart. of Waldershare, who died possessed of it in 1663, leaving Elizabeth his widow surviving, who held it in jointure at her death in 1703; upon which it devolved to the heirs and trustees of Susan, his eldest daughter and coheir, late wife of Peregrine Bertie, deceased, second son of Montague, earl of Lindsey; and they, in the reign of king William and queen Mary, joined in the sale of it to Sir Henry Furnese, bart. of Waldershare, who died possessed of it in 1712, as did his son Sir Robert in 1733. After which it became, with his other estates, vested in his three daughters and coheirs, and on a partition of them, anno 9 George II. this estate of Powcies was wholly allotted, among others, to Anne the eldest sister, wife of John, viscount St. John, which partition was confirmed by an act passed next year; after which it descended down to their grandson George, viscount Bolingbroke, who in 1790 alienated it to Mr. Henry and John Harnett, the present possessors of it.
THORNE, or as it is vulgarly called, Thourne, is a manor in this parish, situated about a mile southward from Powcies above mentioned, being so named from the quantity of thorny bushes growing on and about it. This manor was antiently the seat of a family which took their name from it, one of them, Henry de Thorne, was owner of it in the year 1300, anno 29 Edward I. and resided here; against whom it seems complaint was made to the abbot of St. Augustine, that he caused mass to be publicly said in his private oratory, or chapel, (the remains of which are still so entire as to be made use of as a granary, &c.) at this his manor of Thorne, (apud spinam) to the prejudice of the mother church, and the ill example of others; and he accordingly was inhibited from so doing in future, by the archbishop's letters to the vicar of Minster, dated that year. And under the cross in this church, in the north wall of it, is an antient tomb or coffin of solid stone, let into the wall under an arch of antient Saxon ornaments. On the stone which covers the tomb is a cross flory, on each side of which are two blank shields, and round the edge of the stone these words in old French letters: Ici gift Edile de Thorne, que fust Dna del Espine. This seems probable to have been one of the family, owners of this manor.
After this family of Thorne were become extinct here, that of Goshall, of Goshall, in Ash, appear to have been possessors of this manor; in whom it continued till about the reign of king Henry IV. when it went by marriage by a female heir to one of the family of St. Nicholas, in whose descendants it continued down to Roger St. Nicholas, who died in 1474, and as appears by his will, was buried before the image of St. Nicholas, in the chancel of Thorne, at Minster. Roger St. Nicholas, his son and heir, left an only daughter Elizabeth, who entitled her husband John Dynley, esq. of Charlton, in Worcestershire, to the possession of it. After which it continued down in the same owners as Powcies last above-described, till it came into the possession of George, viscount Bolingbroke, who in 1790 alienated it to Mr. Henry Wooton, the present owner of it.
See a custom for the demise of tenements by will within the borough of Menstre, secundum consuetudinem manerii, anno 55 Henry III. Itin. Kanc. rot. 18, in Robinson's Gavelkind, p. 236.
THE OCCUPIER of Salmeston Grange, in St. John's parish, is bound by his lease to distribute to six poor inhabitants of the parish of Minster, to be nominated by the minister and churchwardens, in the first week, and on the middle Monday of Lent, to each of them, nine loaves and eighteen herrings; and to three poor people of the same, to each of them, two yards of blanket; and every Monday and Friday in each week, from the Invention of the Holy Cross to the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, to every poor person coming to Salmeston Grange, one dishfull of peas dressed.
THOMAS APPLETON, of Eastry, yeoman, by his will in 1593, gave to the relief of the poor of this parish, the sum of 5l. to be paid to the churchwardens yearly, for the use of the poor people, inhabitants there, fourteen days before Christmas day, the same to be paid out of certain lands belonging to him, called Hardiles, in the parish of Woodnesborough.
RICHARD CLERK, D. D. vicar of Minster, partly by deed in 1625, and partly by will on Nov 6, 1634, gave 120l. to be lent unto four parishioners, born in Minster, whose fathers were deceased, and they not sufficiently stocked, for the term of one, two, or three years, but not exceeding that; the interest arising from it to be divided among the poor of the parish. With this money the trustees purchased houses, which are at present divided into four tenements, besides the parish work-house, called the seoffees houses; and seven other tenements, called Cheap Row, the rent of which is annually distributed in clothing to the poor persons of the parish. They are all at present let to the churchwardens and overseers for the time being, by a lease of 99 years, from 1729, at the rent of 6l. This trust is now vested in Mr. William Fuller, of Doctors Commons, as heir of the last trustee; the trust not having been filled up since the year 1696.
JOHN CAREY, esq of Stanwell, in Middlesex, by will in 1685, gave 10l. per annum to be paid yearly to the churchwardens, out of his farm of Sevenscore; to be disposed of to the poor yearly, on St. Thomas's day.
THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Westbere.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a very handsome structure, consisting of a nave and two side isles, a cross sept, and east chancel; the nave is of Saxon, the transept and chancel of gothic architecture; the last is curiously vaulted with stone, and provision was made for the same in the transept, but it was never completed. In it are eighteen collegiate stalis, in good preservation. At the west end of the church is a tall spire steeple, in which is a clock and five bells.
When the Danes plundered and burnt the abbey of Minster, they seem to have spared the two chapels of St. Mary, and of St. Peter and St. Paul, or however the stone work of them was preserved, and not burnt with the roof and other works of timber. The former of these was afterwards made into the present parish church, and has since been considerably enlarged.—The nave or body of the church seems to have been the old building; the pillars of which are thick and short, and the arches all circular, and a low roof was probably upon them, according to the simplicity and plainness of those times; but since the wall has been built higher, as appears by the distance there is, betwixt the top of the arches and the wall plate across; and an handsome chancel added at the east end, and a square tower on the west, with a high spire covered with lead placed on it. The chancel or choir and the middle of the cross are vaulted, and by the footings which are left, it was certainly intended that the whole cross should have been finished in the same manner. The eighteen stalls mentioned before, have very handsome wainscot behind, according to the mode of those times; in these the monks, vicars, and priests used to sit during the performance of divine service. Besides the high altar in this church, there were before the reformation other altars in it, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St. James, and St. Anne. At these, as likewise before the Holy Cross, were lights constantly burning; for the maintenance of which, there were societies or fellowships, who contributed towards the maintenance of them, and those who died left in their last wills constantly small sums of money for that purpose. Under the middle of the cross was the rood-lost, the going up to which out of the chancel is yet to be seen, as are the mortice holes in which the timbers were put, on which the lost was built. On the north wall of it is the antient tomb of Edile de Thorne. On the pavement, as well as in the church porch, are several large flat gravestones, the inscriptions, if any on them, entirely worn away; they seem very antient, and are not improbably, memorials of some of the religious of this place, but they do not seem always to have lain where they do now. On the front of the tower of the steeple is a shield, carved in the stone work, viz. A fess, between three lion's passant. Among other memorials in this church, in the chancel, is one for Francis, son and heir to Edward Saunders, gent. of Norbourne-court, which Edward married the female heir of Francis Pendrick, esq. by his wife, who was nurse to queen Elizabeth. He died anno 1643; arms, A chevron, between three elephants heads, impaling a saltier, ermine, between three leopards faces. In the middle isle a monument for Bartholomew Sanders, gent. and Mary his wife, daughter of Henry Oxenden, esq. of Wingham; arms, Per chevron, sable and argent, three elephants heads, counterchanged, impaling Oxenden. On a mural monument are the effigies of a man and woman. kneeling at a desk, for Thomas Paramor, esq. sometime mayor of Canterbury, and Anne his first wife; arms, Azure, a fess embattled, between three stars of six points, or, impaling or, on a chevron, three stars of six points, sable, between as many dragons heads, quartered. In the north isle are several memorials for the Paramors. On a wooden frame, near the altar, a memorial for Col. James Pettit, obt. 1730. On the south side of the chancel, a mural monument for Mary, youngest daughter of Robert Knowler, gent. of Herne, wife of John Lewis, vicar of this church, obt. 1719. A memorial for John Lewis, formerly vicar of this church, obt. 1746, æt. 72. A memorial for Elizabeth Blome, daughter and coheir of John Blome, gent. of Sevenoke, obt. 1731; arms, in a lozenge, A cross fitchee, and cinquefoil, quartered with a greybound, current. A mural monument for Harry Verelst, esq. of Aston, in Yorkshire, formerly governor of Bengal, obt. 1785; he married Anne, coheir of Josiah Wordsworth, esq. of Wadworth, in Yorkshire, and of Sevenscore, in this parish, and left by her four sons and five daughters. In the south isle memorials for the Harnetts, Kennetts, and Colemans. In the middle isle are memorials for several of the Jenking's. Leland, in his Itinerary, vol. vii. p. 130 says, S. Florentius jacet in Cemiterio S. Mariæ in Thanet, cujus Tumba Crescit signis. (fn. 13)
On the top of the spire was formerly a globe, and upon that a great wooden cross, covered with lead, over which was a vane, and above that, an iron cross; but about the year 1647, the noted fanatic Richard Culmer, having got the sequestration of this vicarage, took it into his fancy that these were monuments of superstition and idolatry, and got these crosses demolished by two persons of the parish, whom he had hired, after he had himself before day, by moon light, fixed ladders for them to go up and down, from the square of the tower to the top of the spire. But if all the figures of a cross are monuments of idolatry, and to be removed, the poor caitiff has done his work but by halves, or rather not all, when he took down these from the spire and left the church standing, which is itself built in the form of a cross.
The church of Minster was antiently appendant to the manor, and as such was granted with it, first to Domneva, and afterwards became part of the possessions of the abbey founded by her here; and after the destruction of it came with the manor, by king Cnute's grant, to the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, to which it became appropriated in the year 1128, anno 29 Henry I. and was at that time assigned, with the chapels of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Laurence, with all rents, tithes, and other things, belonging to them, to the sacristy of that monastery; which regulation was confirmed by archbishop Theobald, and afterwards, in 1168, by pope Alexander, who consigned it to the reparation of the church of the monastery, which had been but just before burnt down. (fn. 14)
In the year 1176, anno 23 Henry II. the tenants of the Halimot, or manor court of Minster, agreed, that from thenceforth they would all cop their corn; and that they and their heirs, then and for ever afterwards, should pay all their tithes lawfully by cops, and all other matters of tithes, which they were accustomed to pay, as amply as they had ever paid them from the time of the dedication of the church of St. Mary of Menstre.
By an agreement entered into in 1182, between the archbishop and the abbot of St. Augustine's, this church was exempted from the payments of all dues and procurations to the archdeacon; and that year the archbishop confirmed this church to the monastery; which agreement was renewed in 1237, by archbishop Edmund; and further, that the abbot and convent should present to the archbishop, in the chapels of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Laurence, fit perpetual chaplains to the altarages in them, provided those altarages were worth ten marcs, with which the chaplains should be content, on pain of forfeiting the same; the vicar of the mother church of Menstre, having a sufficient vicarage taxed from antient time in the same, taking and receiving in right of his vicarage, the tenths of small tithes, viz. of lambs and pigs, and the obventions arising from marriages and churchings, which were forbid at the chapels, and were solemnized, &c. at the mother church only, and the burials of certain corpses, being those of the tenants or occupiers of lands in these chapelries, who were to be buried at Minster, unless the vicar gave leave to the contrary. At the same time the archbishop, with the consent of the archdeacon, confirmed this church to the abbot and convent, together with the several archiepiscopal confirmations of it, and those of the several kings of England. This part above-mentioned of the revenue of the vicarage of Minster, arising from these chapelries, has long since been lost, except that out of Salmestone Grange, amounting to 10s. a year; which, perhaps, might be a composition for the tenths of the small tithes, &c. in them. The altarages above-mentioned were the customary and voluntary offerings at the altar, for some religious office or service of the priest. To augment these, the regular and secular priests invented many things. For it is to be observed, that only a portion of these offerings, to the value of ten marcs, or 6l. 13s. 4d. was what the chaplains of these three chapels were presented to, and that they were accountable for the residue to the abbot and convent, and that if they presumed to detain any more of these offerings beyond that sum, they were to be deprived even of that. For this reason, they were to swear to the abbot and convent, to give a true account of the offerings made at their several altars, on their respective offering days, and in no shape to detriment their parish of Menstre, as to legacies or obventions, personal or predial, but to conserve all the parochial rights of the same, entire and untouched, to the utmost of their power. Then marcs appear now but a small sum for the maintenance of a parish minster; but when the value of money at the time when this composition was made is considered, it will be found to be a handsome and generous allowance to a chaplain, especially as their stipends were then paid by authority; ten marcs were then equal to more than sixty pounds now, and in a council held at Oxford but fifteen years before, it was decreed, that where the churches had a revenue as far as five marcs per annum, they should be conferred on none but such as should constantly reside in person, on the place, as being a sufficient maintenance. In 1348 H. Kinghton informs us, a chaplain's usual stipend was no more than four or five marcs, or two and his board; as for the chaplains of these three chapels, though they were to receive no more than ten marcs of these altarages, they were not excluded the enjoyment of the manses and glebes, given to these chapels when they were first consecrated, which made some addition to their income, and perhaps enabled them to keep a deacon to assist them. (fn. 15)
On the great and principal festivals, the inhabitants of these three chapelries, preceded by their priests and other officers, with their banners, tapers, &c. were used to go in procession to Minster, their mother church, there to join at the solemn mass and other divine service then performed, to make their offerings and pay their accustomed dues, in token of their subjection to their parochial or mother church.
The appropriation of the church of Minster, together with the advowson of the vicarage, continued, in manner as has been already mentioned, with the abbot and convent till the dissolution of their monastery in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered, together with the rest of the possessions of the monastery, into the king's hands. After the dissolution of the monastery, there could not be said to be any parsonage or appropriation of this church, for the demesne lands of the manor of Minster, which are very extensive in this parish, were subject, as to the tithes of corn, to only a small modus or composition to the vicar, of eighteen shocks or cops of wheat, and eighteen shocks or cops of barley, or thereabouts; and the vicar was intitled, in right of his vicarage, to the corn tithes of the lands in the remaining part of the parish, as will be further noticed hereafter.
When the vicarage of this church was endowed and a vicar instituted, is no where found; but certainly it was before the year 1275; for in the act of consecration of the church or chapel-yard of St. Laurence that year, when that chapel was made parochial, mention is made of the vicar of Menstre, &c. and in the year 1384, anno 8 Richard II. this vicarage was valued at thirty marcs. After the dissolution of the abbey of St. Augustine, the advowson of this vicarage continued in the hands of the crown, till king Edward VI. in his first year, granted it, among other premises, to the archbishop, since which it has continued parcel of the pos sessions of that fee, the archbishop being the present patron of it.
This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 33l. 3s. 4d. and the yearly tenths at 3l. 6s. 8d. In 1588 here were three hundred communicants, and it was valued at 1501. It is endowed with a manse and glebe of about twenty-four acres of land, upland and marsh; all the corn tithes, and other tithes of that part of the parish called Street-borough; and of about one hundred acres in the other borough, called Weyborough, except the corn tithes of the demesnes of the manor of Minster, for which the modus or composition above-mentioned is paid.
The land in Minster level, which is pasture, paying but four-pence an acre for tithes, Dr. Richard Clarke, vicar here in 1597, made a composition with his parishioners, by which they obliged themselves to pay him at the vicarage house, within three days after every quarter, after the rate of twelve-pence an acre for their marsh land, or else to lose the benefit of the composition. (fn. 16) Dr. Meric Casaubon, who succeeded Dr. Clarke, would not abide by this composition, but afterwards compounded with the occupiers, at the rate of twelve-pence an acre for the worst of the land, and of fourteen pence and sixteen pence for that which is better; and in the year 1638 he demanded his tithes of the marsh land in kind, or eighteen pence per acre, which was agreed to by the parishioners, and paid by them till the year 1643; when the civil wars being begun, and this county in the power of the parliament, Dr. Casaubon, being continually threatened to be turned out of his vicarage, was content to receive one shilling per acre for the marsh land; in which manner he received it till the end of the year 1644, when this vicarage was sequestered, and one Richard Culmer was put into possession of this vicarage, (fn. 17) who to ingratiate himself with the parishioners, agreed to take no more than twelve pence an acre of them, as did Dr. Casaubon in 1660, on his being restored to this vicarage; at which rate the tithes were afterwards uniformly taken, till the time of the present vicar; the several vicars not being disposed to quarrel with their neighbours, though the land now lets for as much again as it did in Dr. Casaubon's time, viz. at 28s. an acre and upwards. There have been several litigations and issues at law tried between the present vicar, Mr. Dodsworth, and his parishioners, on account of this modus for the marsh land, all which have been decided in the vicar's favor, who set aside the modus of one shilling per acre by the verdict in his favor, and now takes from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. for the grass land, according to its goodness; yet there are ten acres of grass land late in the possession of Josias Fuller Farrer, esq. which never having paid more than four-pence per acre, remain at that composition. The present value of it is about 350l. per annum.
Church of Minster.
|Or by whom presented.|
|The Archbishop.||Meric Casaubon, S. T. P. collated June 19, 1634, resigned Oct. 4, 1662. (fn. 18)|
|John Castillon, S. T. P. collated Oct. 9, 1662, obt. Oct. 21, 1688. (fn. 19)|
|Henry Wharton, A. M. collated Nov. 12. 1688, obt. March 5, 1695. (fn. 20)|
|Thomas Greene, S. T. P. collated April 2, 1695, resigned 1708. (fn. 21)|
|John Lewis, A. M. collated March 10, 1708, obt. Jan. 16, 1747. (fn. 22)|
|James Tunstall, S. T. P. collated Feb. 12, 1747, resigned 1757. (fn. 23)|
|Francis Dodsworth, A. M. collated Dec 12, 1757, the present vicar. (fn. 24)|