Parishes: Ham

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

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'Parishes: Ham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 10, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 37-44. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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THE parish of Ham, in the hundred of Eastry, lies the next to that of Northborne, described before in the hundred of Cornilo, north-westward. It is written in the survey of Domesday, Hama, and in several records, Kings Ham. There was no borsholder chosen for this parish or Betshanger, till within these few years, when one was appointed at the petty sessions to act for both parishes jointly, which they have continued to do ever since. The constable for the lower half hundred of Eastry always acted in that capacity before.

THIS PARISH lies at the northern boundary of the uplands of East Kent, so far it is both pleasant and healthy, having beautiful views of the adjoining open country, the town of Deal, and beyond, the Downs, and the rest of the channel as far as the coast of France. The village, having the church adjoining to it, contains only four houses. It is pleasantly situated on high ground, the hill sloping towards the north-east. There are about five hundred acres of land in this parish; the soil of it is in general fertile, consisting partly of chalk and partly of a rich loamy earth. The grounds, which are mostly arable, are open and uniclosed, at the extremity of which, towards the east, is the high road to Deal. Northward of the village, the ground falls towards Ham bridge, over the south stream, which directs its course from hence towards Hackling, Worth chapel, and so on to Sandwich, through which town it runs into the river Stour. In this part of the parish the lands are marshes and pasture, and the country becomes damp in a foggy unwholesome air. About three quarters of a mile southward from the village is the hamlet of Updowne. This parish is about a mile and an half from north to south, and not much more than half a mile the other way. There is no fair.

THE MANOR OF HAM, at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the 15th year of the Conqueror's reign, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, his half-brother, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

In Estrei hundred. Osbern, son of Letard, holds of the bishop, Hama. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, with one villein, and two borderers, and two servants. In demesne there is one carucate, with one villein, and two borderers, and two servants. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth fifty shillings, and afterwards twenty shillings, now sixty shillings. Three thanes held it of king Edward.

Four years after which the bishop was disgraced, and this, among the rest of his estates, was confiscated to the crown; and the king having put Dover castle under a new order of government, his manor was granted, among other lands, to Hugh de Port, for his assistance under John de Fienes, in the defence of it. These lands together made up the barony of Port, and were held by barony, by the service of performing ward there for the defence of it. In king Henry III.'s reign this manor was held by knight's service of his descendant John de St. John, (fn. 1) by John Fitzbernard; soon after which, it appears to have been separated into moieties, ONE OF WHICH was held by Henry de Sandwich, heir of Ralph Fitzbernard, in king Edward I. 's reign, in manner as above mentioned, as it was by Ralph de Sandwich afterwards; soon after which it passed into the family of Leyborne, in which it continued till Juliana, daughter of Thomas de Leyborne, usually stiled the Infanta of Kent, died possessed of it in the 41st year of king Edward III. leaving no issue by either of her husbands, when it escheated to the crown for want of heirs, among the rest of her estates, (fn. 2) where this manor remained till king Richard II. granted it to Sir Simon de Burley, knight-banneret, warden of the cinque ports, and knight of the garter, but he being attainted in parliament in the 10th year of that reign, and afterwards beheaded, it became again vested in the crown, and the king, in his 11th and 22d years, settled it on the priory of canons, aliasChiltern Langley, in Hertfordshire, where it remained till the suppression of that house, anno 30 Henry VIII. when it came into the king's hands, and was next year granted, with the scite of the priory and other estates and lands belonging to it, to Richard, bishop suffragan of Dover, to hold for his life, or until he should be promoted unto some ecclesiastical benefice of 100l. yearly value, which happened before the 36th year of that reign, in which this moiety of the manor was granted by the king to Sir Thomas Moyle, to hold in capite, who alienated it in the 2d year of king Edward VI. to Sir Robert Oxenbridge, who becoming possessed of the other moiety in right of his wife Alice, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Fogge, enjoyed the whole of this manor, which his descendant passed away at the latter end of of queen Elizabeth's reign, to Edward Boys, esq. of Betshanger.

THE OTHER MOIETY of this manor, which in the 20th year of king Edward III. was held by Richard, son of John Fitzbernard, passed from him into the family of Criol, and Sir Nicholas de Cryell, or Keriell, died possessed of it in the 2d year of king Richard II. and from him it devolved at length by succession to Sir Thomas Keriell, who was slain in the 38th year of king Henry VI. in asserting the cause of the house of York; on whose death, his two daughters became his coheirs, and on the division of their inheritance, this moiety of the manor was allotted to Alice, married to John Fogge, esq. of Repton, afterwards knighted, and he in her right became possessed of it, and by his will devised it to his son Sir Thomas Fogge, sergeantporter of Calais, both under king Henry VII. and VIII. one of whose two daughters and coheirs Alice, upon the division of their inheritance, first carried it to her husband Edward Scott, esq. of the Moat, in Suffex, and afterwards to her second husband Sir Robert Oxenbridge who having purchased the other moiety of this manor of Sir Thomas Moyle became entitled to the whole of it. The family of Oxenbridge was seated near Winchelsea, in Sussex; in the church of which, Camden says, there were the effigies on tombs of three knights templars lying cross-legged, one of which, he supposes, was for one of the family of Oxenbridge. His descendant passed away this manor as above-mentioned, at the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, to Edward Boys, esq. of Betshanger, whose descendant, Edward Grotius Boys, dying s. p. in 1706, gave it by will to his kinsman, Thomas Brett, LL. D. rector of this parish, being the son of Thomas Brett, gent. of Wye, by Letitia, the only surviving sister of Jeffray Boys, esq. of Betshanger, the father of Edward Grotius Boys, esq. above-mentioned. He not long afterwards alienated it to Sir Henry Furnese, bart. of Waldershare, whose son Sir Robert Furnese, bart. of the same place, died possessed of it in 1733. After which it became, with his other estates, at length vested in his three daughters and coheirs, and on a partition of them, anno 9 George II. this manor 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, (fn. 3) who in 1790 sold it to Mr. Thomas Petman, of Eastry, and he is the present owner of it.

A court baron is held for this manor, which claims over some few lands of trifling extent in Chillenden.

UPDOWNE PLACE is a seat in this parish, situated in the hamlet of Updowne, in the north-west boundary of it, adjoining to Eastry. This seat, for beauty of situation, for healthiness of country, and extent of prospect, stands almost unrivalled, even in these parts, where pleasantness and beauties of situation are entitled to constant admiration. The prospect from it commands a delightful view over the adjacent country, the North Foreland, Ramsgate, the town of Deal, the Downs, and the adjoining channel.

The estate formerly belonged to Mr. Rich. Thompson, of Waldershare, who alienated it to Capt. Thomas Fagg, of Dover, who first fitted it up as a gentleman's residence. He died in 1748, and was buried in this church. After whose death it was sold, according to the direction of his will, to Sir George Oxenden, bart of Dean, and he conveyed it to his son Henry Oxenden, esq. who, as his father had before, resided here occasionally, and made some improvements to it; and afterwards passed it away to Matthew Collett, esq. who laid out much money in the further beautifying of it, making several plantations round it, and purchasing an adjoining farm, which he added to the grounds of it. He died possessed of it in 1777, and was buried in the nave of this church, after which his widow became entitled to it, and resided here, during which time she purchased of Sir Edward Dering, bart. another small farm, part of the Furnese estate, adjoining to the former in this hamlet; but she alienated the whole of her estate here in 1778, to John Minet Fector, esq. of Dover, banker and merchant, who in 1786 enlarged his property here by the purchase of an estate, called Updowne farm, in this hamlet; since which he has added considerably to the size and improvements of this seat, and has imparked the lands round it, and he is now the possessor of it, and resides here occasionally. (fn. 4)

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about four, casually two.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. George, is but a small mean building. It consists of a nave and chancel, having a small wooden pointed turret at the west end, in which is one bell. In the chancel are several memorials for the Bunces, of this parish. In the nave, a memorial for Thomas Fagg, esq. obt. 1748, æt. 65. Also for Lydia his daughter, obt. 1737, æt. two months. She was murdered by her maid, who was hanged for the fact. A memorial for Matthew Collet, esq. of Updowne-place, obt. 1777.

The church of Ham was granted by archbishop Baldwin, about the latter end of king Henry II.'s reign, at the petition and presentation of Sir William de Norfolk, lord of the soil, to the prior and convent of Ledes, to hold to them in pure and perpetual alms. After which, archbishop Edmund, in 1235, granted to them, in the name of a perpetual benefice, forty shillings yearly from this church. At the time of the dissolution of the priory there seems to have been only a pen sion of twenty shillings yearly paid by this church to it, which pension was granted by the king, in his 33d year, among other premises, to his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, where it now continues.

With the priory, this church continued till the dissolution of it in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. since which the advowson of this rectory has continued in the crown, the king being at this time patron of it.

This rectory is valued in the king's books at 5l. 6s. 5½d. and the yearly tenths at 10s. 7¼d. In 1588 here were communicants twenty nine, and it was valued at fifty pounds. In 1640 only twenty communicants, and it was of the same value. It is now computed to be of the yearly value of sixty pounds. There is some glebe land, but no parsonage-house.

It seems not improper to remark here, that the value of church livings in the two divisions of East and West Kent are differently estimated by the respective courts of quarter sessions, viz. In East Kent, the court, in all valuations of church livings, as to parochial and other assessments, never allows the stipend of the curate as a reprise or out going, to be deducted in favour of the incumbent; whereas in West Kent, the court, on the contrary, always deducts it in his favour, and allows it to him as a reprise out of the yearly value of his living.

Church of Ham.

Or by whom presented.
The King. James Burvill, clerk, August 8, 1661, obt. 1678.
John Plymley, A. B. June 17, 1678. obt. 1734. (fn. 5)
Nicholas Carter, S. T. P. Oct. 29, 1734, obt. October 23, 1774. (fn. 6)
Wheler Bunce, A. M. Nov. 11, 1774, the present rector. (fn. 7)


  • 1. See more of the St. John's, under Tunstall.
  • 2. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 14. See Leyborne, vol. iv. of this history, p. 498.
  • 3. See a full account of this family, vol. I. of this history, under Beckenham.
  • 4. See more of the Fectors, under Eythorne.
  • 5. He was in 1729 supposed to be dead, and the archdeacon's court put the rectory under sequestration accordingly; but he was then at Wolverhampton, and enjoyed this rectorysome years afterwards.
  • 6. In 1755 he had a dispensation to hold the rectory of Woodchurch with this of Ham, and was likewise curate of Deal chapel.
  • 7. And vicar of St. Clement's, Sand. wich, by dispensation.