Parishes: Betshanger

Pages 44-49

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

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WRITTEN in antient records, Betteshangre, lies the next parish southward from Ham.

BETSHANGER is a pleasant and healthy situation. It is very small, containing about 260 acres of land, the soil of which is much the same as that of the neighbouring parishes, but much inclining to chalk. There are only three houses in the parish. The courtlodge, or mansion of Betshanger, situated in the bottom, of a valley, having the church near it, the farm-house of the Betshanger estate, and a farm-house in the northern part of the parish, formerly belonging to the Napletons, but now to John Minet Fector, esq. The road from Canterbury to Deal runs along the north-east side of it, at a small distance from the mansion, round which the hills rise, which are arable, mostly open, and uninclosed.

THE MANOR OF NORTHBORNE claims paramount over this parish, subordinate to which is THE MANOR OF GREAT BETSHANGER, so called to distinguish it from the adjoining one of Little Betshanger, in the parish of Northborne. This manor was among those lands which were assigned to Hugh de Port, for his assistance under John de Fienes in the defence of Dover castle; and together made up the barony of Port, being held by barony of the above castle, by the ser vice of performing ward there for that purpose. It was held of his descendants, the St. Johns, by knight's service, by a family named De Marinis, or Marney; one of whom, John de Marinis, or Marney, obtained a charter of free-warren for his demesne lands within this manor in the 1st year of king Edward III. after which it did not continue long in this name, for John de Tenacre, or Tancre, soon afterwards appears to have become possessed of it, and he sold it before the 20th year of king Edward III. to John de Soles. How long it continued in his descendants I have not found, but in the reign of king Henry IV. it was become the property of Rutter, from which name it passed about the begining of king Edward IV.'s reign, into that of Litchfield, in which it continued some time. Philipott says, their arms were in his time in the windows of Dane-court, in Tilmanstone, viz. Bendee of six pieces, azure, and ermine. Roger Lychfeld died in the 4th year of king Henry VIII. after which it came by the entail in his will at length to his three daughters; and on the division of their inheritance this manor was allotted to Alyce the eldest, who entitled her husband, Thomas Cocks, esq. customer of Sandwich, to the possession of it, and he at the latter end of that reign alienated it to John Boys, afterwards knighted, and of St. Gregory's, in Canterbury, who dying s.p. in 1612, devised this manor to Edward Boys, esq. his nephew, one of the sons of his brother Vincent Boys, of Bekesborne, who resided in this mansion, (which he most probably rebuilt, the arms of Boys with the quarterings being over the mantle-piece in the hall, carved in stone) for near fifty years, and was buried in 1649 in this church. His son John Boys, esq. possessed this manor, and was a member of that long parliament, which began in 1640, in which he zealously sided with those who were enemies to the king and the established church. He died in 1678, and was buried here, having been thrice married; by his first wife he had Edward, John, and other children; and by his second he had Letitia, married to Thomas Brett, gent. of Wye; Jefferay, of whom hereafter; Thomas, rector of Betshanger, and master of Catherine-hall, Cambridge; and two more daughters. His two sons by his first wife Edward and John, afterwards succeeded to this manor, but both dying s.p. the latter in 1698 left this estate by will to his eldest half-brother, Jefferay Boys, esq. of Canterbury, a bencher of Grays-inn, whose only son Edward Grotius Boys, esq. of Canterbury, died possessed of it in 1706, and was buried with his ancestors in this church. (fn. 1) This branch of the family of Boys bore for their arms, Or, a griffin segreant, sable, within a bordure, gules. Edward Grotius Boys dying s.p. he by will gave this manor to his kinsman, the Rev. Thomas Brett, rector of this parish, the son of Thomas Brett, gent. of Wye, by Letitia, his father's eldest surviving sister, and he about the year 1713 alienated it to Salmon Morrice, esq. a captain of the royal navy, and afterwards promoted in 1733 to the rank of admiral. He almost rebuilt this seat, in which he afterwards resided till his death in 1740. He was the son of Captain Morrice, of the royal navy, and a younger son of the family of that name, of Werrington, in Devonshire. At the time of his death he was vice-admiral of the white. He lies buried under an elegant marble monument, in a small building adjoining to the church, with his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William Wright, esq. a commissioner of the navy, by whom he had two sons and four daughters. The sons were, Wryght Morrice, esq. who married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Peke, esq. who died in 1732, in his father's life-time, s.p. and William, who became his father's heir, was settled by his father at Betshanger, and afterwards resided at Canterbury. He died in 1758, having married Mary, eldest daughter of Robert Chadwick, esq. of Northsleet, a captain in the royal navy, who is still living, by whom he had four sons. William, a lieutenant-colonel of dragoons, who possessed the manor of Betshanger, &c. on his father's death, and died unmarried at Putney in 1787, and was buried at Betshanger; Robert, who died an infant. The Rev. James Morrice, clerk, vicar of Flower, in Northamptonshire, who became his brother's heir, and is now possessed of the manor and seat of Betshanger, and is rector of this parish. He married Maria, second daughter of Adrian Ducarel, merchant, of London, (brother of the late Andrew Coltee Ducarel, LL. D. of Doctors-Commons) by whom he has issue two sons, Frederick-Edward and Andrew-Ducarel, and three daughters, Charlotte-Elizabeth, Mary-Margaret, and Theodosia-Frances. The fourth son, Thomas, was bred to the navy, of which he was a lieutenant, and having retired from that service, now resides in Monmouthshire. The arms of Morrice are Gules, a lion rampant, regardant, or. There is no court held for this manor, and indeed at this time, it has only the reputation of being one.

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

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a small mean building, consisting of a nave and chancel, both which are kept uncommonly neat. Over the south door is a circular arch with a zig-zag moulding. Under it the figure of our Saviour. This seems much older than the church, which shews no signs of antiquity. There is a small wooden turret at the west end, in which are three bells. In the east window of the chancel are these shields of arms, Sable, on a chevron, between three stags, attired, argent, a mullet of the first, for Cocks.—Chequy, or, and azure, a fess, gules, all within a bordure of the last, for Clifford. In this church are buried many of the family of Boys, formerly possessors of the manor and residents in this parish, whose monuments and grave-stones are still remaining in it.

Within a covered building, connected with the church, erected for the purpose, is an elegant marble monument, made by Scheemaker, with the arms of Morrice and Wright, erected to the memory of admiral Salmon Morrice, esq. who died in 1740; and of Elizabeth his wife, daughter of William Wright, esq. a commissioner of the navy, obt. 1733. Besides the above, there is in this church a mural monument for John James, A. M. rector of this parish and Deal, obt. 1775.

This church, which is a rectory, has always been appendant to the manor, and continues so at this time, the Rev James Morrice, owner of Betshanger manor, being the present patron and rector of it.

This rectory is valued in the king's books at 7l. 14s. It is now a discharged living, and is of about the clear yearly value of sixty pounds.

In 1588, here were thirty communicants, and it was valued at forty pounds. In 1640, here were twenty communicants, and it was valued at sixty pounds.

It has no parsonage-house or barn, nor any other glebe but the church-yard, which is very small, though it appears by the king's books, taken anno 26 king Henry VIII. that there were then seven acres of arable glebe belonging to it.

Church of Betshanger.

Or by whom presented.
Family of Boys. John Boys, A. M. September 30, 1597, obt. 1625. (fn. 2)
John Sacket, A. M. March 22, 1625, resigned 1628. (fn. 3)
Moses Capel, A. M. August 13, 1628, resigned 1644.
Nicholas Billingsley, A. M. Nov. 23, 1644, resigned July 4, 1651.
Robert Scudder, 1651, ob. 1660.
John Dod, A. M. Nov. 9, 1661, ejected 1662. (fn. 4)
Thomas Brett, 1662, obt. 1680. (fn. 5)
Thomas Boys, A. M. Sept. 27, 1680, obt Dec. 1702. (fn. 6)
Thomas Brett, LL. D. April, 1703, deprived Jan. 1716. (fn. 7)
Family of Morrice. Edward Lloyd, A. M. inducted July 17, 1716, obt. April 11, 1741. (fn. 8)
James Lavaure, A. M. May, 1741, obt. Nov. 1743
John James, A. B. Dec. 1743, obt. Nov. 27, 1775. (fn. 9)
John Kenrick, A. M. April 5, 1776, obt. April 8, 1793. (fn. 10)
James Morrice, Sept. 1793, the present rector. (fn. 11)


  • 1. See an account of the branch of this family settled at Fredville, vol. xi. of this history, p. 258. and of Sir John Boys, of St. Gregory's, under Bleane, vol, viii. p. 528.
  • 2. Also rector of Great Mongeham, by dispensation, and dean of Canterbury.
  • 3. He resigned this rectory for Great Mongeham.
  • 4. He was ejected by the Bartholomew act. Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 286.
  • 5. Likewise curate of Sutton.
  • 6. Master of Catherine-hall, in Cambridge, and curate of Sutton by Dover. He lies buried in this church.
  • 7. Likewise rector of Rucking, of which as well as this rectory he was deprived.
  • 8. Likewise rector of Ripple, and curate of Walmer.
  • 9. Likewise rector of Deal, and lies buried in this church.
  • 10. And rector of Ripple by dispensation.
  • 11. Patron of this rectory; collated by the archbishop on his own petition.