Parishes: Knolton

Pages 87-94

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

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LIES the next parish westward from Tilmanstone. It is written in the survey of Domesday, Chenoltone, in other antient records Cnoltone, and afterwards both Knoldon and Knolton, taking its name from its situation on the knoll of a hill. There is no borsholder appointed for this parish.

The PARISH of Knolton is very small; it contains only 432 acres. Almost the whole of it, except a very few acres, is the property of the D'Aeth family, whose mansion in it is beautifully situated on the knoll of a hill, having an extensive prospect over the neighbouring country and adjacent channel. The house, which is large, was built by Sir Thomas Peyton, the south part of which is still remaining; the centre of the front and the north wing have been modernized. The offices, which are exceedingly commodious, were built by Sir Thomas D'Aeth in 1715. In the old part of the house are the arms of Peyton on a chimney-piece; and the arms of Peyton, impaling Calthorpe, in every window, &c. which sufficiently point out the builder, but the arms of Langley are no where in the house. The park in which it stands contains about two hundred acres. It is finely wooded, and the soil of it, as well as the rest of the parish, is exceedingly healthy and dry, though being rather inclined to chalk, it is not very fertile. The lands are mostly arable and uninclosed; the hill and dale is frequent and continual throughout it; the whole arrangement of them forming a most pleasing and chearful view to the eye. Adjoining to the gardens, at the back of the mansion, is the church and parsonage-house, and beyond this, on the declivity of the hill northward, close to the bridle-way to Eastry and Deal, a small parcel of coppice wood. Besides the above two houses, there is only one more, a farm-house, in the parish. There is no fair.

At the time of taking the survey of Domesday, in the 15th year of the Conqueror's reign, this manor was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is entered in it as follows:

Turstin holds of the bishop, Chenoltone. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there are two carucates, with two borderers. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth four pounds, now seven pounds, and yet it pays eight pounds. Eduuard held it of king Edward.

Four years after the bishop was disgraced, and all his estates confiscated to the crown, whence the seignory of this manor seems to have been granted to William de Albineto, or Albini, surnamed Pincerna, who had followed the Conqueror from Normandy, in his expedition hither. Of his heirs it was afterwards held by knight's service, by the family of Perot, or Pyrot, as the name was frequently spelt; one of whom, Alanus Pyrot, held it in king Henry III.'s reign, by knight's service, of the countess of Ewe, to whom the seignory paramount of it had descended from William de Albineto before-mentioned; Sir Ralph Pyrot, his successor, was possessed of this manor in the next of Edward I. in the 13th year of which he had a grant, dated at Acton Burnel, October 4th, of free warren in all his demesne lands of Cnoltone, among others in other different counties.

In his descendants, who bore for their arms, Argent, a fess, sable, in chief, three escallops; as appears by the coat, quartered with those of Langley on the font, and in the windows of this church, it continued down to Henry Perot, who was of Knolton, and served the office of sheriff at the latter end of the 6th year of that reign, though before the end of it John de Sandhurst appears to have been lord of it. He left an only daughter and heir Christian, who married William de Langley, by which means William Langley their son afterwards became entitled to the inheritance of it. He resided at Knolton, and was sheriff of this county several times, as were his descendants afterwards, residents of Knolton, in whom it continued down to Edward Langley, esq. of Knolton, (fn. 1) who died S.P. The arms of Langley, Per pale and fess, indented, azure, and or, are carved on the stone roof of the cloysters at Canterbury; and they are painted on the glass of the windows of the church of Knolton, as will be further mentioned hereafter; and they were formerly in the windows of the churches of Sheldwich, Tilmanstone and Nonington, those in the latter having on them, A bend, company, argent, and gules. Their arms were formerly over the door-way of the house of Knolton, which was re-edisied by one of them, but there are none such remaining now. Edward Langley married Elizabeth, daughter of Tho. Peyton, esq. of Peyton-hall and Iselham, in Cambridgeshire, whom he left surviving and in the possession of it; she afterwards remarried Sir Edward Ringeley, who became entitled to it in her right, and afterwards resided at Knolton, where he died in 1543, S.P. Upon her death this manor, with other estates in this county, became the property of her brother Sir Robert Peyton, of Iselham, as heir general at law of her first husband above-mentioned, by the marriage in king Henry VI.'s reign, of his great-grandfather John Peyton, of Peyton-hall, with Grace, daughter of Langley. This family derived their descent from William de Mallet, a noble Norman, who came into England with the Conqueror, whose eldest son and heir John, was lord of the manor of Peyton-hall, in Suffolk, who left Robert de Ufford, his eldest son, so surnamed from his manor of Ufford, in that county, ancestor to the earls of Suffolk of that name, and other eminent persons in the several ages in which they lived. Peter de Peyton, his second son, so surnamed from his manor of Peyton-hall; and John de Peyton, his third son, so surnamed from the same manor likewise, whose son and heir was Sir John de Peyton, of Stoke Neyland, from whom, by direct descent, in the fifth degree, was John Peyton, esq. of Peyton hall and Wyken, who died in Henry VI.'s reign, having married Grace, daughter and heir of Langley, as above-mentioned. The Peytons, of Knolton, bore for their arms, Sable, a cross, engrailed, or; in the first quarter, a mullet, pierced, argent, being a difference, to shew their descent from the third house of this family. (fn. 2) Sir Robert Peyton died in 1518, leaving two sons; Sir Robert, who was of Iselham, ancestor of the Peytons, baronets, of Cambridgeshire; and Sir John Peyton, to whom he gave Knolton and his other estates in this county.

The latter afterwards resided at Knolton, as did his grandson Sir Samuel Peyton, who was created a baronet in the 10th year of king James I. His eldest son Sir Thomas Peyton, bart. of Knolton, dying in 1684, was buried in Westminster abbey, having had three wives; by the second of which, Cecilia, widow of Sir William Swan, he left a son Thomas, who died in his life-time in 1667, S. P. and four daughters, who became his coheirs; Dorothy, married to Sir Basil Dixwell, bart. Catherine to Sir Thomas Longueville, bart. Elizabeth to William Longueville, esq. of the Inner Temple, and Esther to Thomas Sandys, esq. After Sir Thomas Peyton's death, his widow remarrying, the possession of this seat came into the hands of his executor, who demised it for a term of years to Edward, lord Wotton, and he resided at it; and at his death in 1628, devised his interest in it to his wife, lady Margaret Wootton.

Sir T. Peyton's four daughters and coheirs joined with their trustees, not long afterwards, in the sale of this manor to Sir John Narborough, admiral of the English sleet, who was by king James II. created a baronet, and bore for his arms, Gules, a chief, ermine. He had two sons, Sir John Narborough, bart. and James Narborough, esq. who were both lost with their father in law Sir Cloudesley Shovel, admiral of the royal navy, being shipwrecked on the rocks of Scilly, with several other ships of the squadron, in his voyage from Toulon, on Oct. 22, 1707. On their death unmarried, Elizabeth their only sister and heir entitled her husband Thomas D'Aeth, esq. of North Cray, to the possession of this manor and seat, among the rest of their estates in this county. He was descended from William D'Aeth, who was of Dartford, and principal of Staple's Inn, in king Edward VI. queen Mary, and queen Elizabeth's reign, who bore for his arms, Sable, a griffin, volent, or, between three crescents, argent. He died in 1590, and lies buried with his two wives in Dartford church; in which parish his descendants afterwards resided, 'till Thomas D'Aeth before-mentioned removed to North Cray. (fn. 3)

He was afterwards, by patent, dated July 16, 1716, created a baronet, and resided at Knolton, the mansion of which he rebuilt, and died possessed of it in 1744, leaving issue by his first wife before-mentioned, who died in 1721, one son Narborough, and five daughters, Elizabeth, married to the hon. Henry Dawney, third son of Henry, viscount Downe; Elhanna to Capt. Fitzgerald, an officer in the French service; Sophia to William Champneis, esq. of Boxley; Bethia, first to Herbert Palmer, esq. and secondly to John Cosnan, esq. whom she survived; and Harriet, who married Josiah Hardy, esq. By his second wife Jane, daughter of Walter Williams, of Monmouthshire, he left one son Francis, afterwards rector of this parish. He was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. of Knolton, who married in 1738, Anne, daughter and heir of John Clarke, esq. of Blake-hall, in Es sex, and died in 1773; the survived him, and left an only son and heir, the present Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. now of Knolton, the possessor of this estate.

A court baron is held for this manor, which is very extensive, for it not only claims over this parish, but great part of Chillenden and Woodnesborough, part of Eythorne and of Denton.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly maintained are not more than one, casually six.

KNOLTON is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sandwich.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Clement, is a small building, consisting of one isle and a chancel, having a small wooden tower at the west end, in which is a clock and one bell. The church is very neat, and is paved with black and white stone; the font is of stone, elegantly carved, on it on two shields are the arms of Langley, Per pale, and fess, indented, counterchanged, or, and argent; on two other shields, both alike, Langley quartering, first, Argent, a fess, sable, in chief, three ogresses; second, Argent, a fess, sable, in chief, three escallop shells of the last; third, Gules, a cross-crosiet, argent. On the stone work in different parts of the church, are several shields of the arms of Langley and Peyton, with their quarterings; their monuments against the walls are many, and well preserved. Weever, in speaking of an antient tomb in this church, for one of the Ringeley family, certainly meant Langley; such a tomb might exist in his time, and was removed or cased over, when the large altar monuments were erected, which remain at present. Sir Edward Ringeley had only an interest in this estate for life, and was buried at Sandwich, as appears by his will. This tomb of Langley had on it his portraiture kneeling on a cushion, his hands joined and uplifted, his hair cut round, his sword and spurs on, and his surcoat covered with the arms of Langley; all long since destroyed. An altar marble monument, richly sculptured, on which is a ship in a storm, driving on the rocks, in memory of Sir John Narborough, bart. and James Narborough, esq. only surviving sons of Sir John Narborough, admiral of the fleet, who with their father-in-law, Sir Cloudesley Shovel, were shipwrecked in the night upon the rocks of Scilly, 22d Oct. 1707, the elder in his 23d year, the younger in his 22d— arms, Gules, a chief, ermine, with the hand of Ulster, for Narborough. An altar monument to the memory of Sir John Narborough, obt. 1688. A monument, altar fashion, on which is a medallion, elegantly sculptured, with the head of a lady, to the memory of lady Elizabeth D'Aeth, only daughter of Sir John Narborough, married to Sir Thomas D'Aeth, bart. by whom she had twelve children, of whom seven survived her, obt. 1721. Several other monuments for the D'Aeth family. In the chancel the windows are filled with shields of arms, and among others, are those of Ofborne, Peyton, Calthorp, and Langley, with different impalements and quarterings.

The church of Knolton, which is a rectory, was ever accounted an appendage to the manor, and continues so at this time, Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. of Knolton, being the present patron of it.

It is valued in the king's books at 6l. 5s. 2½d. and the yearly tenths at 12s. 6¼d. but it is now of the yearly certisied value of 56l. 15s. 11¼d.

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

There are ten acres of glebe land belonging to this rectory, of which one is in Chillenden.

Church of Knolton.

Or by whom presented.
Sir Thomas Peyton. Peter Pury, A. M. January 15, 1638, obt. 1684.
The Archbishop, hac vice. Peter Purey, Feb. 17, 1684, obt. 1708. (fn. 4)
Thomas D'Aeth, esq. John Andrews, A. M. April 5, 1708, obt. 1711.
Robert Skyring, A. M. July 21, 1713, obt. March 26, 1753.
Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. Francis D'Aeth, A. M. 1753, obt. Jan. 29, 1784. (fn. 5)
Anthony Egerton Hammond, B. A. 1784, resigned 1792. (fn. 6)
William Lade, A. M. June 1792, the present rector.


  • 1. See an account of the Langleys, and their pedigree, in Dugdale's Warwick, p. 135, 136.
  • 2. There is a pedigree of this family in the Visitation of the county of Kent, anno 1619.
  • 3. There is a pedigree of this family in the Heraldic Visitation of the county of Kent, anno 1619.
  • 4. He was son of the former.
  • 5. He was half-brother to the late Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. In 1767 he was collated to the vicarage of Godmersham, which he held with this rectory, but resigned it in 1771, on being presented to the rectory of Eythorne, which he likewise held with this rectory.
  • 6. Now rector of Ivychurch, and vicar of Lympne.