Parishes: North Cray with Ruxley

Pages 141-162

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

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LIES the next parish north-eastward. It is so called from the river Cray, and from its situation, being the northernmost of the three parishes before mentioned, which take their names from it.

North Cray and Ruxley were formerly two distinct parishes, and continued so till they were united by cardinal Pole, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1557.

This parish is exceeding pleasant and healthy, being situated on a gravelly soil, and in a well frequented neighbourhood. The high road from the Crays, which may be stiled the garden of this part of Kent, and Orpington to Bexley passes through the village of North Cray, in which is a neat seat called Wollet-ball, late belonging to Neighbour Frith, esq. of London, who died possessed of it in 1776, and devised it by his will to his nephew, the Rev. Edward Cockayn, who has since changed his name to Frith, and is the possessor of it, but Mr. Trimmer is the present occupier of it.

The river Cray takes its course on the eastern side of this parish, and having passed the gardens of North Cray-place, Woolet-hall, and Vale Mascall, at which last it forms a beautiful cascade, it flows on to Bexley.

On the south side of this parish is the manor bouse of Ruxley, seated on a fine eminence, just above the 13th mile stone, in the high road to Farningham; and by the foundations, which still may be traced in the farm yard, the antient mansion appears to have been a large pile, suitable to the eminent families who have resided in it. The present building is a near house, which was enlarged not many years since, and the lands contiguous to it now laid out, and much improved, by Mr. James Bedell, the late occupier of it.

This place was given by William the Conqueror to his half brother Odo, the great bishop of Baieux, and earl of Kent, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday, taken about the year 1080.

The same Anscbitillus de Ros holds of the bishop (of Baieux) another Cray. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is 1 carucate, and 7 villiens, with 5 borderers, having 1 carucate. There is 1 mill of 42 pence, and 5 servants. Wood for the pannage of 7 bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 4 pounds, and now three pounds.—These two estates were 2 manors in the time of king Edward the Confessor, and now they are in one manor. Alwin held the same of Alnod Cilt.

These two estates are North Cray and Paul's Cray; the latter of which was in the possession of the same owner as the former, viz. Anchitillus de Ros; and the description of the latter immediately precedes that of North Cray, above recited in Domesday. Most likely, when the property of them was separated, which happened no long time after, they again became two distinct manors, and as such they now remain.

In the reign of king Richard I. North Cray was become part of the possessions of a family, who were seated in the adjoining parish of Rokesle, now called Ruxley, and assumed their surname from it. Malgerius de Rokesle was seated there at the time of the survey of Domesday. His descendant, Sir John de Rokesle, accompanied king Richard I. into Paleftine, and was present with that prince at the siege of Acon there, with many others of the Kentish gentry. He died possessed of these estates, and from him they afterwards descended to his grandson, Gregory de Rokesle, a person of no small account in his time, having been lord mayor of London several times. He was also, as appears by the chartularies of London, keeper of the king's exchange there, and assay master general of the king's mint, and was a good benefactor to the Grey Friars. (fn. 1) He died in the 20th of that reign, and was buried in the choir of the church of the friars above mentioned, now called Christ church, but his monument has been long defaced. (fn. 2) His son, Sir Richard de Rokesle, was a person of no less reputation, being seneschaland governor of Poictouand Montreal, in Picardy, in the 1st year of king Edward II.'s reign. He is said to have borne for his arms a coat similar to the lord Leybornes, viz. A fess gules, between six lions rampant; (fn. 3) yet this coat was not borne by all the different branches of it; for John de Rokesle, grandson of Gregory before mentioned, who was lord of the manor of Lullingstone, in this county, bore, A cross, and in the dexter quarter a rook, (fn. 4) as appears by his grave-stone in that church. Sir Richard, above mentioned, married Joan, sister and heir of John de Criol; (fn. 5) he left by her two daughters, his coheirs, of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings; and Joan, the youngest, became the wife of Hugh de Pateshul; notwithstanding which, upon his death, the manor of North Cray descended to a younger branch of the family of Rokesle, (fn. 6) and in the 20th year of king Edward III. It was held by Roger de Rokesle, jun. and his coparcenors, who then paid aid for it, as half a knight's fee in Crey. This Roger de Rokesfe it seems died without issue, and this manor devolved to Poynings, as next of kin, whose descendant, Robert de Poynings, son of Richard de Poynings, by Isabel, daughter and heir of Robert lord Fitz pain, died anno 25 Henry VI. being then possessed of the manors of Rokesle and North Cray, (fn. 7) leaving Alianore, the wife of Sir Henry Percy, his cousin, and heir, who had, in her right, possession granted of the manors and lands of her inheritance, among which was the manor and advowson of North Cray; but the manor and advowson of Rokesle went to Robert, younger and only surviving son of the above mentioned Robert de Poynings, as will be hereafter shewn. This antient and right noble family of Percy, derive their descent from Mainfred de Perci, who came out of Denmark into Normandy.

William de Perci, his direct descendant, came into England with William the Conqueror. He had the surname of Gernon or Algernon, and being much in favour with that king, enjoyed, through his bounty, vast possessions in this realm. (fn. 8)

His descendant, William de Perci, had four sons, who all died issueless, and two daughters, Maud, married to William earl of Warwick, who afterwards died without issue; and Agnes to Josceline de Lovaine, a younger son of Godfrey duke of Brabant, who, on their father's death, in the reign of king Henry I. became his coheirs. This Agnes, before she accepted of Josceline de Lovaine for her husband, covenanted with him, that he should either bear the arms of Percy, Azure five fusils in fess or, and omit his own; or continue his own arms, and take the surname of Percy to him and his posterity for ever. He chose the latter, and continued to bear the arms of Brabant, Or, a lion rampant, azure; (fn. 9) and from this marriage sprung the Percys, earls of Northumberland, who afterwards made so illustrious a figure in the annals of this kingdom. In a direct line from the above marriage was descended Henry lord Percy of Alnwick, who being present as marshal of England, at the coronation of king Richard II. was then advanced to the title of earl of Northumberland, and in the 7th year of that reign made a knight of the Garter.

This great earl, who was slain in rebellion in the 9th year of king Henry IV. married first Margaret, daughter of Ralph lord Nevill, by whom he had three sons; of whom Henry, the eldest, surnamed Hotspur, was slain in the battle of Shrewsbury, in his father's life time.

He married secondly Maud, sister and heir to Anthony lord Lucy, and widow of Gilbert de Umfraville, earl of Angus, by neither of whom she had any issue. She joined with the earl in settling a large portion of her great inheritance, in case she should die without issue upon Henry lord Percy, his son and heir, by his first wife, on condition, that he and the heirs male of his body should bear the then arms of Percy, that is, of Brabant quarterly, with the arms of Lucy, Gules, three lucies, argent, in all shields, banners, and so forth, whensoever there should be occasion of bearing and shewing forth their own paternal arms; which agreement was made in the presence of the king, and by his special command.

The gallant and high-spirited nobleman, Hotspur lord Percy, left a son, Henry, who, upon his humble petition to parliament, in the 2d year of that reign, that the king had enabled him to be earl of Northumberland, notwithstanding any forfeiture of his ancestors, and praying a general restitution to them in blood, and all their hereditaments, which were intailed, had it then granted to him. (fn. 10)

He was succeeded in his honours by Sir Henry Percy, lord Percy, his eldest son, who married, as has been above mentioned, Alianore, daughter of Richard de Poynings, deceased, and next heir of his father, Robert de Poynings, baron Poynings, Bryan, and Fitzpain; on whose death, in the 25th year of king Henry VI. Sir Henry became, in right of his wife, intitled to the manor of North Cray, with other great inheritance in this county, and elsewhere, of which he had possession granted next year. Succeeding likewise by this marriage to the above baronies, he was summoned to parliament as lord Poynings, the writ being directed, Henrico Percy Dno de Poynings, chival. He was slain in the 39th year of that reign, fighting on the king's part, at the fatal battle of Towton-field, in Yorkshire; and the next year, being the 1st of Edward IV. an act of attainder passed against him, king Henry, the queen, and others, for the death of Richard duke of York. (fn. 11)

Henry lord Percy, his son, was in his minority when his father was slain, and was kept in the Tower, till the 9th year of that reign, when he was released, and swore allegiance; and next year, on the resignation of the title of earl of Northumberland by John Nevill, who was thereupon created marquis Montacute, had that dignity restored to him, and he had summons to parliament as earl of Northumberland, in the 12th year of king Edward IV. and the same year an act passed to restore him in blood to that earldom, and all such hereditaments of the late earl, as came to the king's hands, in his 9th year, and the attainder made against him was made void. (fn. 12) After which he was made K.G. honourably employed by him throughout his reign, and in the 1st of king Richard III. he was constituted lord high chamberlain; afterwards, repairing with all his strength to the king at the fatal battle of Bosworth-field, he was taken prisoner; but in consideration of the neutrality which he kept there, he was taken into king Henry's favour, and made one of his privy council, &c.

In the 4th year of that reign, being commanded by the king to levy the aids, which he was extorting from the people, and entering Yorkshire for this purpose, the people conceiving that the earl was the cause of it, tumultuously rose and murdered him, near Thrisk, in that county.

Henry Algernon, his eldest son, became the fifth earl of Northumberland, and was K.G. and in the 12th year of king Henry VII. was one of the chief commanders of the king's forces in the battle of Blackheath, against the lord Audley and others, and the year afterwards had possession granted of his lands; and dying in the 18th year of that reign, was buried at Beverly, leaving several children; of whom Henry, the eldest son, succeeded his father in titles; and, in the 19th year of king Henry VIII. had possession granted of all the lands which descended to him as heir to his father; and having married Mary, daughter of George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, whom his father had caused him to marry, to prevent his giving umbrage to the king, by his addresses to Anne Bullen, of whom he had been much enamoured. He died without issue, in the 29th year of that reign, and was buried in the church there. The year before his death, being possessed of this manor of North Cray, he that year, by the title of earl of Northumberland, lord of the honour of Cockermouth, baron of Percy, Lucy, Poynings, Fitzpayne, and Bryan, warden of the East and Middle marches of Wales, and K.G. granted to the king, whom he stiles, The most dread, invincible, and most excellent prince, Henry VIII. all his manors, castles, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, within the realm of England, though the year before this, an act had passed, for assuming to the king and his heirs, all the lands and possessions of this earl, in case of failure of heirs of his body.

This manor, thus coming into the king's hands, he granted it in his 36th year to Sir Roger Cholmley, together with the rectory and advowson of the church of North Cray appendant to the manor, to hold in capite. (fn. 13)

Sir Roger Cholmeley was the natural son of Sir Richard Cholmondeley, or Cholmeley, a younger son of the Cholmondeleys of Cheshire, and in the 27th of king Henry VIII. being then sergeant at law, was chosen recorder of London, and in the 33d year, one of that city's representatives in parliament, and afterwards chief baron of the exchequer, and then chief justice of the king's-bench. (fn. 14)

He held this estate but two years; for in the 38th year of that reign he alienated this manor and advowson to Sir Martin Bowes, (fn. 15) the son of Thomas Bowes, of the city of York, and being of the Goldsmithscompany, was lord mayor of London in the 37th year of the same reign. He was buried in the church of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, with his three wives. He bore for his arms, Ermine, three bowes in fess erect gules, on a chief azure, a swan argent billed and membered gules, having in its bill an annulet or, between two leopards faces of the last. (fn. 16)

By the act of the 2d and 3d of king Edward VI. his lands and possessions were disgavelled. He died anno 9 queen Elizabeth, and was succeeded in this manor of North Cray, with the advowson of the church of it, by William Bowes, his son and heir, who held it in capite. He died without male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs, Elizabeth, married to William Buggin; and Anne, to Sir Edward Fowler, who, in right of their respective wives, became joint possessors of his estates; (fn. 17) but upon a partition of their inheritance, in the year 1634, this manor, together with the advowson, became the sole property of Mr. William Buggin; whose descendant, John Buggin, esq. sold them about the year 1710 to Thomas D'Aeth, esq. afterwards created a baronet in 1716. He joined with his eldest son, Narborough D'Aeth, esq. about the year 1738, in the sale of both manor and advowson, the mansion-house, called North Cray-place, and other premises belonging to them in this parish, to Jeffry Hetherington, esq. who resided here; and dying unmarried, possessed of them, in 1767, by his will devised them, among his other estates in this county, to his only surviving brother, the Rev. William Hetherington, fellow of Eatoncollege, and rector of Farnham Royal, in Buckinghamshire; a gentleman, whose universal benevolence and liberality of mind, gained him the praise and admiration of every one. He died in 1778, unmarried, and by his will (his younger brother, Mr. Samuel Hetherington, having died likewise unmarried, in 1765) devised them, among his other estates, to Thomas Coventry, esq. descended of the same ancestors, as the present earl of Coventry. He is the present owner of this manor and advowson, and resides here. Mr. Coventry is a widower; his wife, Mrs. Coventry, died in 1779, without issue.

This manor has a court leet and court baron, and the custom of the manor is for the jury in the leet to present two persons to the lord, or his steward, for the office of constable of the parish of North Cray, out of which they appoint one. In the court baron the tenants are all freeholders.

Robert Poynings, carver, and sword bearer to Jack Cade, after he had been pardoned for being in that rebellion in the 29th year of king Henry VI. raised another rebellion in this place, in the 32d of that reign.

ROKESLE, otherwise RUXLEY, as has been already mentioned, was a distinct parish, from North Cray, till it was united to it by cardinal Poole, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1557.

This place, as well as North Cray, was given by William the Conqueror to Odo, bishop of Baieux, his half brother; and it is accordingly thus entered in the survey of Domesday, taken in that prince's reign under. the general title of the bishop of Baieux's lands.

In Helmestrei hundred, Malgerius holds Rochelei of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at 1 suling. The arable land is . . . . . . In demesne there is 1 caracute and an half, and 10 villeins, with 10 borderers, having 2 caracutes and an half. There is 1 mill of 12 shillings. Wood for the pannage of 3 hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 4 pounds, when he received it 3 pounds, and now 100 shillings. Alured held it of king Edward.

This Malgerius, from his possession and residence at this place, assumed the surname of Rokesle, being called Malgerius de Rokesle, (fn. 18) and notwithstanding the disgrace and forseiture of the bishop of Baieux, continued in the possession of Rokesle, though the fee of it was granted to Hugh de Crevequer, who held it in capite, by barony of the king, as of his castle of Dover, it making part of the barony of Crevequer. Of him it was held by Malgerius de Rokesle, by the tenure of performing watch and ward within the castle for a certain time, according to his proportion of land. His descendant, Sir John de Rokesle, who attended king Richard I. into the Holy Land, died possessed of this place; and from him it descended to Richard de Rokesle, who held it in the 7th year of king Edward I. (fn. 19)

In the 21st year of that reign, John de Rokesle, was owner of Rokesle, and then endeavoured to get his lands here exempted from suit and service, at the hundred court, but the jury gave it against him. (fn. 20) He died possessed of it in the 29th year of Edward I.

In the next reign of king Edward II. this place was held by Sir Richard de Rokesle, seneschal and governor of Poictou and Montreal in Picardy, who died without male issue, leaving by his wife Joan, sister and heir of John de Criol, two daughtets his coheirs, of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings; and Joan, the youngest, married first Hugh de Pateshull, and secondly Sir William le Baud, (fn. 21) who in her right became possessed of this manor, and died owner of it in the 4th year of king Edward III. In remembrances of which marriages the arms of Baud, Three cbevrons, in chief a label of three points, impaling Rokesle, and of Rokesle impaling Criol, were carved on the roof of the cloisters at Canterbury; and in St. Peter's church, in Canterbury, were the coats of Rokesle and of Poynings, single; and of Poynings impaling severally Rokesle, Talbot, Norwood, and Fitzpain; and of Baud impaling Rokesle. The arms of Rokesle were likewise in the windows of Sheldwich church.

Their son, Sir William Baud, died in the 50th year of king Edward III. possessed of it, with the advowson of the church of Rokesle, holden of the king of his castle of Leeds, as of the barony of Crevequer, by homage and fealty, and by the service of paying to the ward of Dover castle, Richard de Poynings being his kinsman and next heir, (fn. 22) who was the younger brother of Thomas, grandson of Thomas de Poynings, who married Agnes, the eldest daughter and coheir of Sir Richard de Rokesle, and sister of Joane, mother of the said William le Baud last mentioned. He died possessed of this estate in the 11th of king Richard II. holding it by the tenure before mentioned. (fn. 23) On his death Isabel, his widow, daughter and heir of Robert lord Fitzpain, held it in dower, till her death, in the 17th year of that regin; upon which Robert de Poynings, their son, succeeded to them, and died possessed of them in the 25th of king Henry VI. (fn. 24) His eldest son, Richard, whose daughter, Alianore, married Sir Henry Percy, died in his life time, so that Robert de Poynings, the younger and only surviving son of Robert, became intitled to it, and died possessed of it in the 9th year of king Edward IV. he was succeeded by his son, Sir Edward Poynings, a man much in favour, both with king Henry VII. and VIII. being governor of Dover castle, lord warden of the five ports, and K. G. who died possessed of them in the 14th year of the latter reign, (fn. 25) having married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Scott, by whom he lest no issue, though he had several natural children. He died not only without legitimate issue, but without any collateral kindred, who could make claim to his estates; so that this manor and advowson, among others, escheated to the crown, and were afterwards granted by king Henry VIII. to Thomas Crornwell, earl of Essex, who, in the 31st year of that reign, had, among others, an act passed for disgavelling his lands and possessions in this country; (fn. 26) on whose attainder and execution, in the 32d year of that reign, they reverted again to the crown; four years after which the king made a grant of them, among other premises, to Sir Martin Bowes, to hold in capite, by fealty only. (fn. 27) He was succeeded in them by William Bowes, esq. his son and heir; after which they descended in the same course of ownership that the manor of North Cray did, to Sir Narborough D'Aeth, bart. who, about 1746, conveyed them to Jeffry Hetherington, esq. to whom he had, about seven years before, sold the manor, and appendant advowson of North Cray. He died, unmarried, in 1767, and devised them by his will to his only surviving brother, the Rev. William Hetherington, who died, unmarried likewife, in 1778, and by his will devised this, among his other estates, to Thomas Coventry, esq. now of North Cray-place, who is the present owner of them.

The antient structure of the church of Rokesley is still standing, at a very small distance from the manor house: it has been many years made use of as a barn, for the use of Rokesle farm. In the chancel part there yet remains two consessionary stalls, with mitred arches and feats in them, and near them the receptacle for holy water.

Several lands in Chesilhurst, Foot's Cray, and Horton Kirby, are held of this manor. It has a court baron held for it.

There was, in 1650, a chief rent of two shillings payable from the messuage of Ruxley to the manor of Horton, known by the name of redvelet money. (fn. 28)

MOUNT MASCALL is situated in that part of the parish of North Cray next Bexley. This seat, which stands on an eminence, having a double avenue of trees in front of it, down to the road, is built on part of the lands antiently belonging to a mansion which stood two fields southward from it, which, though now almost unknown, was once of some note, being called Jacket's-court, from the owners, who resided in it; and Philipott saw an old roll of Kentish arms, wherein Jacket, of Jacket's-court, is recorded; but the arms were so obliterated by time that he could not distinguish what they were.

From this family it went by sale to Switzer, a name of long standing in this neighbourhood, as gentlemen; one of whom, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, conveyed it to Edmund Cooke, esq. of Lesnes-abbey in this county, the eldest son of Henry Cooke of that place, second son of John Cooke of Broadwater, in Suffex, who bore for their arms, Gules, three crescents and a canton, argent. (fn. 29) By Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Nichols, comptroller of London-bridge, he left two surviving sons, Lambert and George.

Lambert Cooke, the eldest son, was of Mount Mascall, but died without surviving issue. George, the second son, was of Bexley, and by Anne, daughter of Sir Timothy Lowe, of Bromley, had two sons; of whom George, the eldest, was of Mount Mascal, which he passed away, together with Jacket's-court, to Sir John Leman, the second son of John Leman, esq. of Gillingham, in Norfolk, who bore for his arms, Azure, a fess between three dolphins naiant, embowed, argent. He was lord mayor of London in 1616; and afterwards alienated them to William Wiffin, citizen of London; whose daughter and heir, Hannah, be ing married to Thomas Bayles, esq. of the Middle Temple, he became possessed of this estate, and continued owner of it in 1670; after which he passed it away by sale to Sir Thomas Fitch of Eltham, descended from the Fitches of Effex, who bore for their arms, Vert, a chevron between three leopards heads, or, Sir Thomas bore the like within a bordure gules; he was made a baronet Sept. 7, in the last year of king James II. and died possessed of both Mount Mascal and Jacket's-court in 1688.

By Anne, his wife. daughter and heir of Richard Comport, gent. of Eltham, who bore for his arms, Argent, on a chevron gules, between three torteanxes, as many quarterfoils, or, which coat was granted to his ancestor Christopher Comport, of Eltham, (fn. 30) in 1663, by Sir Edward Walker, garter. (fn. 31) He left Sir Comport Fitch, bart. his only son, who was of Eltham, who died in 1720, leaving an only daughter and heir, Alice, to whom the inheritance of both Mount Mascall and Jacket's-court descended. She carried them in marriage, in 1740, to Sir John Barker, bart. of Sproughton, in Suffolk, who died possessed of them in 1757, leaving one son, Sir John Fitch Barker, bart. who died without issue.

Lady Barker, on her husband's death, became by her marriage settlement again possessed in see of both Mount Mascall and Jacket's-court, and afterwards remarried with Philip Brooke, esq. of Nacton, in Suffolk, and surviving her son, Sir John Fitch Barker abovementioned, died in 1771, having by her will devised this estate to Isabella, Elizabeth, and Thurland, three of the daughters of her husband Philip Brooke, by his former wife. They joined in the sale of it to John Maddocks, esq. one of the king's council, and a bencher both of Lincoln's-Inn and the Middle Temple, who resided here, and died possessed of it in 1794, leaving his widow surviving, who, by the devise of his will, now resides in it, and likewise three sons, John Edward, who married the Hon. Miss Craven, sister of lord Craven, and resides at Holly-hill, in Erith; Joseph; and Erasmus, who married the daughter of Shovel Blackwood, esq. of Charlton, in this county. Mount Mascall had not before been inhabited by the owners of it for some years. Sir Robert Ladbroke, an alderman of London, formerly resided in it, and some years ago Sir William Calvert, and before him Sir William Billers, both aldermen of London.

VALE MASCALL is a small seat, which stands at the end of the avenue of trees leading up to Mount Mascall, on the opposite side of the road near the river, which is here elegantly disposed, as well as the grounds adjoining to it.

It was built not many years since by Thomas Tash, esq. second son of Sir John Tash, late alderman and lord mayor of London, on part of the Mount Mascall estate, belonging to Sir John Barker, bart. on whose death, in 1757, by some omission in lady Barker;s settlement, the inheritance of Vale Mascall and its appurtenances, passed to their son, Sir John Fitch Barker, bart. who died without issue in 1766, and by his will devised it to Robert Nassau, esq. second son of the hon. Richard Savage Nassau, brother to the earl of Rochford. He sold it to the late John Maddocks, esq. whose eldest son, of the same name, afterwards resided in it, till he removed to Erith. It now belongs to this family, but is inhabited by Mr. Burdett.

It appears by the escheat-rolls, that in the 19th year of king Edward IV. the prioress and convent of Dartford were possessed of lands in North Cray. (fn. 32) After the suppression, king Henry VIII. in his 36th year, granted to Henry Cooke part of them, called Jordens, alias Joydens, wood, containing one hundred and forty acres, in this and the adjoining parishes of Dartford and Wilmington, to hold in capite, (fn. 33) and in the 5th of king Edward VI. Edward Cooke, his son and heir, was found to possess them. (fn. 34)


SIR MARTIN BOWES and WILLIAM SOUTHWOOD, in 1557, gave by will a sum of money, for 12 halfpenny loaves, to be distributed every Sunday by the churchwardens to 12 poor people, or housekeepers, and one to the clerk, amounting to 1l. 6s. ten shillings towards the repairs of the church, and 2s. a piece to the churchwardens, in all 40s. payable out of estates belonging to the Goldsmith's Company, in which it is vested, for the wardens to pay the same to the minister and churchwardens, now of the above annual produce.

A PERSON UNKNOWN, before the year 1712, gave three tenements, and a small piece of garden, for the use of the parish poor, who are placed in them by the parish officers, the same being vested in the parish.

The Rev. WILLIAM HETHERINGTON, in his life-time in 1771, erected upon the parish ground 5 tenements, having small gardens to them, viz. one for a school-house, one for the parishclerk, and the other three for 3 poor persons or families, not receiving alms, the same being vested in the parishioners, and at the disposal of the minister and churchwardens.

Mrs. ELIZABETH HETHERINGTON, of Queen's square, London, in 1776, gave by will towards a parish school, in money, 100l. vested in the rector and churchwardens, who have placed the same in the New South-Sea Annuities, and it is increased to 181l. 14s. 9d. being of the annual produce of 5l. 8s. 11d.

The Rev. WILLIAM HETHERINGTON before-mentioned, gave in 1777, for a fund, to keep the five houses he had erected in repair, and other purposes, at the discretion of the minister and churchwardens, to be approved of by the parishioners in vestry, 200l. placed in Old South-Sea Annuities, and vested in the minister and churchwardens, being 300l. in stock, of the annual produce of 9l.

Besides the above, PETER COLLETT, alderman of London, who lies buried in this church, gave to it 24s. per annum; CHRISTOPHER SMITH ordered by his will that the heirs of CHRISTOPHER TINGEWICK, and AGNES, his wife, should yearly pay out of his messuage with its appurtenances, to the churchwardens, 20d. the Sunday next before Easter, for ever, with power to distrain, &c. EDWARD HARVILL, clerk, gave by will to the poor of this parish, 40s. to make them a stock, and account thereof yearly to be given by the churchwardens, with SIR MARTIN BOWES'S gift. (fn. 35)

NORTH CRAY is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Dartford. The church is a small mean building, having a low spire at the west end. It consists of one isle and a small chancel. It is dedicated to St. James.

In this church are, among others, the following monuments and inscriptions:—In the chancel, on a grave-stone, a memorial for Josias Bull, 24 years rector of this church, obt. Oct. 22, 1656, æt. 54; a small stone in the wall, by the altar, and memorial for Charles Weale, and two daughters; he was rector of North Cray, and died May 8, 1701, æt. 51. On the north wall, opposite the above, Jonathan Reade, rector, anno 1709; on the north side, above the pulpit, a mural monument and inscription for Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of William Bowes, wife of William Buggin, obt. 1657, æt. 79. The arms, Buggin and Bowes, and their several quarterings. (fn. 36)

The patronage of the churches of North Cray and Ruyley have ever been appendant to those manors; and as such, the advowson of the church of North Cray cum Ruxley is part of the possessions of Thomas Coventry, esq. lord of those manors, as before noticed.

In the 25th year of king Henry VI. a presentation to this rectory was exhibited to the bishop of Rochester, who commanded his official to enquire of the right of patronage, by inquisition, who found that the church of North Cray was vacant by the resignation of master Edward Poynings, and that the lord of North Cray was the true patron of it, viz. Sir Henry Percy, and the lord Robert Poynings, lord of the manor; and that their seoffees presented Sir William Ipever Chaplain; that the church was neither in litigation, nor payed pension or portion; that the payments out of it were, archdiaconal procurations, five shillings; the finding of bread, wine, and lights, which amounted in a year to five shillings; and that it was taxed at five marcs; and according to that taxation the rector paid towards the expences of the proctors of the clergy, and other contributions, and thus the true annual value of the benefice one year with another, by their estimation, was eight marcs; that the rectory was wholly ruinous, and that the defect had happened chiefly through Thomas Ripple, the rector there, and that twenty marcs would scarce suffice for the fit reparation of it; and that the last rector had received nothing towards the repairing of it; and that Sir William Nittingall, who was then presented, was in priests orders, and of sufficient age, but whether he was beneficed elsewhere they knew not. The bishop therefore admitted him to this church, and instituted him in it, with all its rights and appurtenances, &c. and the archdeacon was commanded to induct him, &c. (fn. 37)

In the year 1557, anno 5 and 6 of Philip and Mary, on the petition of Sir Martin Bowes, patron of the churches of North Cray and Rokesley, made to archbishop Pole, then cardinal Legate, setting forth, that the parish church of Rokesley, the profits of which did not exceed by estimation the sum of six pounds, as well in the steeple as in the roof and walls of it, was much decayed and ruinous; and that there was no one, especially on account of the great scarcity of clergy in those parts, who could be conveniently found to serve it, infomuch that a priest could not be provided to perform the service there for scarce a fourth part of the year, to the great prejudice and inconvenience of the parishioners; and praying that the church might be suppressed and wholly abolished as a parish church, and all the goods and rights of it might be appropriated to, and incorporated with, the church of North Cray, which was not distant from it above one mile, and had been hitherto well and sufficiently repaired, and decently furnished with bells and other necessaries; and that, as far as might be, the ruinous timbers, stone, mortar, leads, and whatsoever other materials there were of the church of Rokesley, or its appurtenances, in building or other necessaries, should be assigned to the upholding of the church of North Cray; and that the parishioners of the church of Rokesley, who did not in the whole exceed the number of ten persons, might be added to the cure of the church of North Cray; and that out of the above two parishes, there might be made one and the same parish, under the name, style, and denomination of the parish of North Cray. In consequence of this petition, an inquisition was made towards effecting the above union; who found that the church of North Cray, all outgoings being satisfied, was well worth ten pounds yearly; and that the church of Rokesley was worth in like manner eleven marcs.

To which petition the archbishop consented, and by virtue of his legantine power, granted his faculty to the bishop of Rochester that year, for completing this union, according to the above-mentioned petition, and for turning to common use the church and churchyard, and for pulling down and removing the building, as far as might be, and the several materials of it to the end, that out of the price for which they were sold, the church of North Cray, when it wanted reparation, might be upheld in its building, and for assigning, appropriating, and incorporating, with the church of North Cray, the whole scite and precinct, and the tenths, fruits, prosits, obventions, rights, and goods of the church of Rokesley, moveable and immoveable for ever, &c. (fn. 38)

In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Nordcray was valued at ten marcs, and that of Rokesley at eight marks. (fn. 39) This rectory is valued in the king's books at 13l. 19s. 9½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 7s. 11¼d. (fn. 40)

By virtue of a commission of enquiry in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that North Cray was a parsonage, with a barn, and some thirty acres of glebe land, worth ten pounds per annum, altogether sixty-five pounds per annum, master Bull then preaching there. (fn. 41)

There has lately been a new parsonage-house built in this parish, for the use of the rector, there having been none for a great number of years before. It was built chiefly by the liberality of the Rev. William Hetherington, the patron of it.

Church Of North Cray.

Or by whom presented.
Lords of the Manor of North Cray. Thomas Ripple. (fn. 42)
William spever. (fn. 43)
Edward Poynings, resigned 1445 (fn. 44)
William Nitingall, instituted March 27, 1447. (fn. 45)
Roger Frith. (fn. 46)
Edward Hariull.
Josias Bull, instit. 1532, obt. Oct. 22, 1656. (fn. 47)
Richard Owen, B. D. 1656, obt. Jan. 1683. (fn. 48)
Charles Weal, obt. May 8, 1701. (fn. 49)
Jonathan Read, obt. 1709.
Jacob Rice, obt. Sept. 1728.
Hopton Willians, A. M. resigned 1729. (fn. 50)
William Ayerst, D. D. instituted Dec. 24, 1729, obt. May 9, 1765. (fn. 51)
Hotham, 1765.
Thomas Moore, present rector. (fn. 52)


  • 1. Philipott, p. 108. Strype's Stow's Survey, book ii. p. 106. Howel's Londin. p. 312. Nich. Hist. Lib. p. 254.
  • 2. Stow, book iii. p. 129, 132. Coll. Aug. Min. part ii. p. 5. Newc. Rep. vol. i. p. 461.
  • 3. Camden's Rep. p. 213.
  • 4. Pat. 1 king Edw. ii. p. I. Rym. Fæd. tom. iii. p. 19.
  • 5. Dug. Bar. vol. i. p. 771.
  • 6. Philipott, p. 108.
  • 7. Rot. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 8. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 269, et seq.
  • 9. Lel. Itin. vol. viii. p. 6.
  • 10. Cott. Rec. p. 540, 545.
  • 11. Dugd. Bar. vol i. p. 281. Cott. Rec. p. 670.
  • 12. Cott. Rec. p. 681, 689.
  • 13. Rot. Esch. ejus anni, pt. 3 and pt. 18.
  • 14. Coke's Rep. pt. ii. p. 113. Ir. Peer. vol. iii. p. 71. Strype's Stow's Surv. book v. p. 160. Ibid. second Appendix, page 9. Dudg. Orig. p. 86, 88.
  • 15. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. II.
  • 16. Strype's Stow's Surv. book ii. p. 161. bk. v. p. 132. Coll. Aug. Min. pt. ii. p. 4.
  • 17. Philipott, p. 109.
  • 18. Text. Ross. p. 182.
  • 19. Rot. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 20. Harris's Hist. Kent, p. 263.
  • 21. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 771.
  • 22. Rot. Esch. ejus anni.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 136.
  • 26. See an account of Cromwell, Biog. Brit. vol. iii. p. 1538.
  • 27. Rot Esch. ejus anni, pt. 16.
  • 28. Augm. office, Parl. Surveys.
  • 29. Visit. Co. Kent, 1690.
  • 30. Coll. Bar. vol. iv. p. 702.
  • 31. See the grant, Harl. MSS. No. 1172–44. Guillim, p. 361.
  • 32. Tan. Mon. p. 236.
  • 33. Rot. Esch. ejus anni. pt. 13.
  • 34. Ibid. ejus anni.
  • 35. See Custumale Roffen. p. 39.
  • 36. See the monuments and inscriptions in this church at large, in Reg. Roff. p. 1006.
  • 37. Reg. Roff. p. 268.
  • 38. Reg. Roff. p. 588.
  • 39. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 40. Bacon's Lib. Regis.
  • 41. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth-libr.
  • 42. Reg. Roff. p. 269.
  • 43. Ibid.
  • 44. Ibid. p. 268.
  • 45. Ibid. p. 269.
  • 46. He was no graduate.
  • 47. He lies buried in this church.
  • 48. He had been vicar of Eltham, and was there buried.
  • 49. He was buried in this church, as was his successor.
  • 50. See Stourmouth, and Preston by Wingham.
  • 51. See Southfleet.
  • 52. And rector of Foots Cray.