Parishes: Wood, alias Woodchurch

Pages 310-311

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

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SOUTH-eastward from, and adjoining to Birchington, lies the ville or parish of Wood, otherwise Woodchurch, corruptly called by the people Willow-wood, for Villa-wood, taking its name from its being antiently almost all a wood.

It is, as Birchington, a limb of the town and port of Dover, and under the government of the same deputy, and assessed, with Birchington, to the land-tax, though antiently it was taxed by itself. This town of Wood, in queen Elizabeth's reign, paid more to the tenth and fifteenth, than was paid at that time by the town of Monkton; and yet in the return made by archbishop Parker, in pursuance of a letter from the privy council, it is said there were no housholds in this parish; the meaning of which probably was, that this parish, being chiefly woodland, there were no farm-houses in it, but only cottages.

The high road from Sarre to Margate separates Wood from Birchington; about a quarter of a mile or a little more from which, southward, are the ruins of Wood, or Woodchurch chapel; near it there is but one house, the rest of the houses being near a mile from it, at a ville, antiently called the Millburgh, and now Acholt, which is about the same distance from Birchington, where there is a fair held at Acholt, on May 30, yearly, for pedlary and toys. For this reason it is likely this chapel was so far suffered to go to decay, as at length to fall down; however this may be, it has been long since demolished, only part of the walls being left; its yard, containing about half an acre, surrounded by the original walls of it, converted to a lay fee. The building must have been of a considerable size, as the foundation measures eightyfour feet in length, and fifty-six in breadth; there is a mount of eight or ten feet high in the middle of the area of the church, which evidently appears to be the ruins of the tower. There is a farm-house adjoining the inclosure, which is about a quarter of a mile from the great road leading from Canterbury to Margate. The inhabitants of this parish are assessed towards the repair of the church or chapel of Birchington, though it still maintains its own poor. (fn. 1)

The chapel of Wood was dedicated to St. Nicholas, it was exempt from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, and was standing and used as a place of worship in the year 1563. The vicar of Monkton, to which church this was a dependent chapel, was bound by the endowment of his vicarage, to find a chaplain, to celebrate in this chapel on Sundays, and every Wednesday and Friday, and to officiate in it duly, in divine services, as is more particularly described in it; for which duty he paid him 3l. 14s. 4d. yearly.

The parsonage of this parish is united with that of Birchington, an account of which has already been given before, and is demised with it, on a beneficial lease; the present lessee being Mr. Benjamin Bushell, of Minster.


  • 1. See Lewis's Hist. Thanet, p 74.