The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
LIES the next parish north eastward from Bexley. This place takes its name of East Wickham, to distinguish it from the parish of Wickham, near Bromley, usually called West Wickham, and that of Wickham from its nearness to the great high road; Wic signifying, in Saxon, a street or way, and ham, a dwelling.
This parish is but small; it contains about seven hundred acres of land, and about thirty-four houses. The southern extremity of it reaches to the high London road, where the soil is level; and there is some land tolerably fertile, but the western and northern parts of it are but poor and barren, being much addicted to gravel and a stiff clay, the former part being much covered with coppice wood. The village through which the road leads to Plumsted and Woolwich, is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, about a mile from the high London road. At the north-east part of it is the court lodge, an old fashioned timbered building, and a little farther eastward, the church, near which was an antient good looking seat, lately pulled down, built seemingly about queen Elizabeth's reign, probably by Sir John Oliffe, soon after his purchasing this manor, by the marriage of whose daughter, it coming into the possession of the Leighs of Addington, was let to the family of Buggin, who resided in it for some time; after which Sir Thomas Leigh (eldest son of Sir Francis Leigh by his second wife, Christian Thynne) resided in it till his death, as tenant to his father; but his son, Sir Francis, removing first to Tring, in Hertfordshire, and afterwards to Hawley, this house continued afterwards uninhabited. About a quarter of a mile northward from this village, near Borstall-heath, is a modern built seat, which was built by Thomas Jones, esq. comptroller of the laboratory at Woolwich, who resided here; after whose decease, in 1766, it descended to his son, by Miss Pelham, Col. Richard Steyner Jones, who died lately in the West Indies, and his eldest son is now entitled to it, but it is at present uninhabited.
The hamlet of WELLING is situated at the southeastern boundary of the parish, on the high road from London to Dover, which divides this parish from that of Bexley, the houses on the southern side of it being in that parish. At the east end of Welling, within this parish, is a good house, which was not many years since the residence of John, the only surviving son of Peter Denham, esq. who died in 1736, and lies buried in Plumsted church, near his wife; he had besides John, above mentioned, a daughter, married to John Lidgbird, esq. The Denhams bore for their arms, Gules, six lozenges in fess, ermine. John Denham, the son, died in 1760, leaving by Joan his wife, daughter of Thomas Willyams, esq. of Plaistow, in Essex, an only daughter and heir, Anne, who carried her interest in it in marriage to Thomas Cookes, esq. of Worcestershire, who afterwards took holy orders, and was of Hearne, in this county. He sold it to Mr. Benjamin Winkworth, who resided in it; as did, after his death, his son of the same name, who died in 1796, and his widow now resides in it.
The MANOR of East Wickham was antiently part of the possessions of the family of Burnell, who were of great antiquity in England, as appeared by an old Martyrologie, sometime belonging to the abbey of Buldewas, in Shropshire, in which many of them were recorded; and among others, Sir Robert Burnell, who died in the 20th year of king William the Conqueror, anno 1087. Of this family was Robert Burnell, who was possessed of this manor in the reign of king Edward I. (fn. 1) In the year 1275, he was consecrated bishop of Bath and Wells, and was a man of great power in those days; being first treasurer, and then chancellor of England, and always of the privy-council. He died at Berwick in the 21st year of that reign, and was buried in the cathedral of Wells. (fn. 2). He died possessed of this manor, (fn. 3) and was succeeded in it by his nephew and heir, Philip, son of Philip, his eldest brother, who had possession granted of his uncle's lands, and having married Maud, daughter of Richard earl of Arundel, died the year afterwards, leaving by her Edward, his son and heir; and one daughter, Maud, first married to John Lovel of Tichmersh, by whom she had one son, John; and secondly to John de Handloe; (fn. 4) which Edward, in the 1st year of king Edward II. had possession granted of his lands, and was summoned to parliament in the 5th of that reign, and died in the 9th year of it, without issue, being then possessed of this manor, and leaving Maud, then the wife of John de Handloe, his sister and heir. Upon which John de Handloe, had possession granted of all his lands (excepting such as Aliva his wido, daughter of Hugh de Spencer, held in Dower). He had summons to parliament in the 1st year of king Edward III. and having, together with Maud, his wife, settled this manor, in special tail remainder, to her right heirs; he died in the 20th year of that reign, then possessed of this manor, (fn. 5) leaving two sons, Richard and Nicholas, of whom the former died in his life time, leaving a son, Edmund, who died in his minority, anno 29 Edward III. and two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth, afterwards their brother's heirs; the first being married to Sir Edmund de la Pole, and the latter to Gilbert Chastelein; Nicholas surviving his brother, inherited this manor by virtue of the above entail, and in the 22d year of the same reign had possession granted of his lands, by the surname of Burnell, which he from henceforth assumed from his mother, in regard she was so great an heir.
He had summons to parliament in the 24th year of that reign, and afterwards till the time of his death, in the 6th year of king Richard II. being then possessed of this manor, leaving Sir Hugh Burnell his son and heir, who had possession granted of his lands; and having married Joyce, daughter of John Botetourt, grand child and heir of Sir John Botetourt, he had possession granted of the lands of her inheritance.
In the 10th year of king Richard II. he was constituted governor of Bridgnorth castle; soon after which, being reputed one of the king's favourites, he was, with others, banished the court; but the king getting strength again, he was recompensed for his losses, and on the deposal of king Richard, became so popular, that he was one of the lords then sent to the Tower of London, to receive his resignation of the crown; and he afterwards stood in such esteem with king Henry IV. as to have several important trusts conferred on him; having been summoned to parliament from the 7th of king Richard II. to the 8th of king Henry V. in which year he died. He had by Joyce his wife, before mentioned, only one son, Sir Edward Burnell, who died in his life time, leaving by Alice his wife, daughter of the lord Strange, only three daughters, heirs to their grandfather.
The issue male of the Burnells becoming thus extinct, this manor, by virtue of the entail made by John de Handloe and Maud his wife, in the 18th year of king Edward II. devolved to her right heirs, viz. her descendant by her first husband Lovell, in consequence of which Sir William Lovell of Tichmersh, lord Lovell, became entitled to it. (fn. 6)
The first we have any account of, who assumed this surname of Lovell, was William, son of Asceline Goell, son of Robert, lord of Iveri, in Normandy, and Isabel his wife, natural daughter of William de Britolio, brother of Roger, sometime earl of Hereford.
Of this family was John Lovell, who flourished in the reign of king Henry III. and was made sheriff of the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon, and governor of the castles of Northampton and Marleberge. Sir John Lovell, his son and heir, was first summoned to parliament in the 25th year of king Edward I. whose son and heir, John, married Maud, the daughter and heir of Sir Philip Burnell, afterwards re-married to John de Handloe, by whom he had John, his son and heir, as has been already mentioned, whose descendant, of the same name, in the 47th of Edward III. married Maud, the daughter of Robert de Holand, son of Robert de Holand, deceased, and heir to her grandfather of the same name, having received summons to parliament throughout the reign of king Richard II. and to the time of his death, by the title of John Lovell of Titchmerch, chiv. He died in the fourth year of king Henry IV. bearing the title of John, lord Lovell and Holand, whose grandson, William, succeeded to the possession of this manor, as before mentioned.
He died possessed of it in the 33d year of king Henry VI. leaving by Alice his wife, who survived him, John, his son and heir; and a second son, William, who married Alianore, daughter and heir to Robert lord Morley, by reason of which he had the title of lord Morley. (fn. 7) John Lovell, the eldest son, above mentioned, was afterwards knighted; and, in the 30th year of that prince's reign, had summons to parliament; before the end of which year, upon the landing of the duke of York and his party, this John lord Lovell, accompanied the lords Scales and Hungerford to London, in hopes to gain the citizens over to king's Henry's interest, but failing therein, he was forced to flee to the Tower for refuge; soon after which he seems to have made his peace with king Edward IV. for he received summons to parliament both in the 1st and 3d year of that prince's reign, and died in the 4th year of it, leaving Joane his wife, daughter of William viscount Beaumont surviving; and Francis, his son and heir, an infant, and two daughters. Francis lord Lovell, on his father's death, inherited this manor; and in the 22d year of king Edward IV. had summons to parliament by the title of Francis Lovell de Lovell, chiv (fn. 8) and before the end of it, he was advanced to the dignity of viscount Lovell. Being a great friend and favourer of Richard III. he assisted him in every step he took to obtain the crown, in reward for which he was advanced to the office of lord-chamberlain of his household, made constable of the castle of Wallingford, and constituted chief butler of England; upon which this distich was made on him, Ratcliffe, and Catesby, two other of king Richard's adherents:
"The rat, the cat, and Lovell, the dog,
Rule all England, under the HOG."
Alluding to king Richard's crest, which was a boar. Having thus entwined his interest with that of the king, he was present on his part at the battle of Bosworth, where the king being slain, and his army totally routed, the lord Lovell made shift to escape with his life; and at last got safe into Flanders, to Margaret duchess of Burgundy (sister to king Edward IV.) by whom he was sent with two thousand men into Ireland, in support of Lambert Simnell (the counterseit duke of York); from thence he came over into England with John de la Pole, earl of Lincoln, and the rest of that party, and afterwards underwent the same fate as they did, being slain in the battle of Stoke, near Newark upon Trent, in the 3d year of king Henry VII. In the 1st of which an act had passed for his conviction and attainder, and of the duke of Norfolk, earl of Surry, and others; as did another for his attainder again in the 11th year of that reign. The Lovells bore for their arms, Barry of six nebuly, or, and gules.
Upon his death, without issue, this manor, by the entail before mentioned, descended to Henry Lovell, lord Morley, son of William, son of William lord Lovell, father of John, lord Lovell and Holand, father of the above Francis, viscount Lovell, and he died possessed of it in the 5th year of king Henry VII. holding it in capite by knights service. (fn. 9)
On his death without issue, he being the last in the entail of this manor, it became vested in the crown, where it remained till the 5th year of king Henry VIII. when it was granted by letters patent that year, with many other manors in different counties, in special tail, to Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, to hold by the service of one knight's fee. (fn. 10)
This illustrious family of Howard derive their descent from Sir William Howard, who was chief justice of England, in the reign of king Edward I. from whose eldest son, Sir William Howard, in a direct line, was descended Sir Robert Howard, who flourished in the reign of king Henry VI. and married Margaret, eldest daughter and coheir of Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and coheir to Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and cousin and coheir to John Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, which marriage was the foundation of all the grandeur and rank, which the family of Howard afterwards attainted to; for by it one moiety of the inheritance of those great families, became at length vested by her in the family of Howard, and the other moiety by the other coheir in that of Berkeley. By her Sir Robert Howard had one son, John, who died in his father's life time. (fn. 11) leaving one son, Sir John Howard, who began in his youth to distingnish himself as a soldier, and became one of the most illustrious noblemen of his time, being employed, during the remainder of the reign of king Henry VI. and throughout that of king Edward IV. in the most important trusts, civil as well as military.
In the 12th year of king Edward IV. he was first summoned to parliament; after which, being then a knight of the Garter, he obtained a grant of constable of the Tower of London; and having been thus faithful to the house of York during the whole of that reign, he continued no less stedfast to king Richard III. after he had obtained the crown; in recompence for which, and to oblige him the more to his interests, he was, in the 1st year of his reign, made earl marshal of England, to hold to him in tail male, and on the same day advanced to the title of duke of Norfolk; and, in order to the folemnity of king Richard's coronation, was constituted high steward of England for that day, as also lord admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitain, for life. But he did not long enjoy these great honours and vast possessions, for next year, being placed in the front of the king's army, at Bosworth-field, he was, with the king, slain there, and was buried in the abbey of Thetford, in Norfolk. He had been warned by some of his friends from going into this battle, by this distich, set on the gate the night before:
"Jocky of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon, thy master, is bought and sold."
Yet he would not absent himself from it, but as he had faithfully lived under the king, so he manfully died with him, and for his great worth was lamented, even by his enemies. After which he was attainted in parliament in the first year of king Henry VII.
This great duke married two wives; by the first, Catharine, daughter to William lord Molins, he had Thomas, his son and heir, who was first page and then squire of the body to king Edward IV. and in the 16th year of that reign was created earl of Surry at the time his father was created duke of Norfolk, by king Richard III. as has been already mentioned; and was elected knight of the Garter. At the battle of Bosworth he was taken prisoner, and committed by king Henry VII. to the Tower; after which he was attainted with his father; notwithstanding which the king afterwards received him into favour; and in the 4th year of that reign he was in parliament restored to the title of earl of Surry, and he remained in such trust and confidence with the king, that he made him one of the supervisors of his will.
In the 8th year of king Henry VIII. he was made one of the privy council, and had his patent for lordtreasurer renewed, and the next year was constituted earl marshal of England for life. In the 4th year of that reign he gained a most memorable victory over the Scots at Floddenfield, the earl leading the battle himself, his two sons, Thomas and Edmund, the van of the English army; in which fight the king of Scotland was slain, and the Scots entirely routed. For this eminent service the earl of Surry had a special grant from the king of an honourable augmentation to his arms, to bear on the bend in them the upper half of a red lion, depicted, as the arms of Scotland are, pierced through the mouth with an arrow.
On February 1, following, he was advanced to the dignity of duke of Norfolk; (fn. 12) and by other letters patent, bearing the same date, he obtained a grant, in special tail, of several manors and lands in different counties, among which was this manor of East Wickham, as has been mentioned before.
He died in the 16th year of that reign, at his castle of Framlingham, and was buried, according to his will, in the priory of Thetford, whence his bones were removed, at the dissolution, to Framlingham. By his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter and sole heir to Sir Frederick Tilney, widow of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, he had several sons and daughters, of whom William was ancestor of the earls of Nottingham, now extinct, and the present earl of Essingham; and Thomas, the eldest son, had been, in his father's life time, created earl of Surry. In the second year of the same reign, he was elected knight of the Garter, and in the 5th year of it constituted lord admiral, in which post he signalized himself with great conduct and valour; in consequence of which, and of the great service performed by him at Floddenfield, he was on February 1, following, being the day of his father's advancement to the title of duke of Norfolk, created earl of Surry.
In the 16th of that reign, upon his father's death, he had special possession granted of his lands; (fn. 13) and among them, of this manor of East Wickham; and in the 25th of it was constituted earl marshal of England; but notwithstanding his great and signal services, both in the station of a soldier and a statesman, through the king's jealousy of his greatness, which was not a little fomented by several of the nobility, who bore no good will to him, on account of some expressions of contempt which he had made use of concerning them, as new raised men, he was, in the 38th year of Henry VIII. suddenly apprehended and committed to the Tower; and although he submitted himself with all humility to the king's mercy, yet he was, together with the earl of Surry, his eldest son, attainted by special bills in parliament. The earl was soon afterwards beheaded; and a warrant was sent for beheading the duke, on Jan. 28, 1546; but the king dying that day, his executors did not choose, at that critical juncture, to put his order in execution.
Though by the king's death, the duke's life was preserved, yet his enemies were so powerful, that he was by name excepted out of king Edward's general pardon, and he remained a prisoner in the Tower till Aug. 3, 1553, the day on which queen Mary made her triumphant entry into London; when, without any pardon or restitution, he was allowed to be duke of Norfolk, and had such of his lands restored to him as then remained vested in the crown, and had not been granted from it. An act likewise passed for the repeal of the duke's attainder, by which he was restored to all estates, possessed by him at that time; by virtue of which he again became entitled to this manor of East Wickham.
In the 2d year of queen Mary, being then more than eighty years of age, he retired to his seat at Kenning-hall, in Norfolk, where he soon after died. By the different inquisitions then taken it was found, that Thomas, his grandson, son of Henry Earl of Surry, was his heir, and that he was married to the lady Mary, daughter and coheir of Henry Fitz Alan, earl of Arundel, lord steward of the queen's household.
The duke of Norfolk was twice married; first to Anne, one of the daughters of king Edward IV. by whom he left no issue; secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter to Edward duke of Buckingham, by whom he had Henry, his eldest son, who bearing the title of earl of surry, in his father's life time, became not only eminent as a soldier, but as an accomplished gentleman and a scholar. But his great virtues became the cause of his ruin, for the king being jealous of him, caused him to be accused of treason, the principal charge being his bearing the arms of king Edward the Confesfor with his own; upon which, being arraigned and condemned, anno 38th Henry VIII. he was beheaded on Tower-hill, and was first buried in the church of Allhallows Barking, near the place of his execution; but his body was afterwards carried to Framlingham, in Suffolk, where it was honourably intombed.
By Frances his wife, daughter of John de Vere, earl of Oxford, he left two sons, Thomas and Henry, which latter was, with his three sisters, restored in blood in the parliament, held in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth; and in the 1st year of James I. he was made of his privy-council, and lord warden of the cinque ports, and constable of Dover castle; after which he was created earl of Northampton, knight of the Garter, and made lord privy-seal. He died unmarried in the 12th of king James I. and was interred in the church in Dover castle, from whence his body was removed, and placed in the chapel of his hospital, commonly called the Duke of Norfolk's college, in Greenwich. He was also chancellor of the university of Cambridge, and founded two other hospitals, besides this at Greenwich.
Thomas, the eldest son, was earl of Surry, being eighteen years of age, at his grandfather's death, and succeeded him as fourth duke of Norfolk.
In the 4th and 5th of king Philip and queen Mary, he had possession granted of the lands of his father's inheritance, and among others of this manor of East Wickham. After the death of queen Mary, he grew much in favor and esteem with queen Elizabeth; insomuch, that he was, in the 1st year of her reign, elected one of the knights of the garter, at which time he bore for his arms a coat, containing those of Howard, Brotherton, Warren, Mowbray, and Maltrevers.
In the 4th year of that reign he alienated this manor to trustees, (fn. 14) who, by his direction, conveyed it that year to John Olyffe, (fn. 15) afterwards knighted, and an alderman of London, who died possessed of it in 1577, and bore for his arms, Or and sable, party per pale and chevron, three greyhounds heads, erased and coloured, counter changed.
On his death, Jane, his wife, became possessed of a life estate in it, and in the 24th year of queen Elizabeth, in 1581, having married John Omsted, he had in her right possession granted of it, to hold in capite by knights service.
On her death Sir Olyffe Leigh, son of John Leigh, esq. of Addington, in Surry, became entitled to it, in right of his mother, her sole daughter and heir, by her first husband, Sir John Olysse, as will be further mentioned hereafter.
This family of Leigh is descended from William a Legh, who lived in the beginning of the reign of king Edward III. His son, Robert de Legh held the manor of Est-Legh, in this county, of the archbishop, by knights service. In the 20th year of king Edward III. Walter a Legh possessed the above manor of Est Legh, or Leigh, and the manor of Sibeton adjoining; of which his descendant, Thomas Legh, was possessed in king Henry the VIth's reign. He left one son, John Legh, who was of Addington, in Surry, of which county he was sheriff in 1469, and dying in 1479, lies buried in that church, his son John Leigh, alias a Legh, was of that place likewise, and was sheriff of the same county in 1486, (fn. 16), and justice of the quorum. His descendant, of the same name, was of Addington, and appears to have been possessed of good estates in Kent and elsewhere, for, by a deed of exchange made by him, with king Henry the VIIIth, in the 35th year of that reign, anno 1543, he passed away several manors in this and other counties, for other lands therein mentioned, (fn. 17) bearing for his arms, Or, on a chevron sable, three lions rampant argent. He married Isabel, daughter of John Harvey, of Thurley, in Bedfordshire, and sole sister of Sir George Harvey, by whom he had Nicholas Leigh, esq. of Addington, who, in consequence of a bargain made by his father, with the same king, conveyed to him the manor of Leigh before-mentioned, in consideration of which he had granted to him the manor of Addington, and other premises there, late belonging to the priory of St. John of Jerusalem, of which himself and his ancestors had been tenants from the time of king Henry the VIth. (fn. 18) He married Anne, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew, of Beddington, in Surry, by whom he had John Leigh, esq. of Addington, who died in 1576, having married Joane, daughter and heir of Sir John Olyffe, as before-mentioned, who survived him, by whom he had several sons and daughters; Olyffe, the eldest son, will be further mentioned, and Charles went captain of a ship to Guinea, to make discoveries in 1604, and died there soon afterwards. (fn. 19)
The eldest son, Sir Olyffe Leigh, was likewise of Addington, and succeeded his mother in this manor as has been before mentioned. He died in 1611, and lies buried with his ancestors in Addington church, leaving by Anne his wife, daughter of Sir Thomas Browne, of Beechworth-castle, an only son Sir Francis Leigh, who was of Addington, and had been sheriff of Surry during his father's life-time in 1600. (fn. 20). He was twice married; first to Elizabeth Mitton, alias Morton; and 2dly, to Christian, second daughter of Sir John Thynne, of Longleat. He died in 1644, leaving by his first wife a son and heir, Wooley Leigh, esq. who was of Thorpe, in Surry, and by his second wife two sons, Thomas, who was ancestor of the Leighs of Hawley, in this county; and William, ancestor of Thomas Leigh, of Farnham, in Surry.
Wooley Leigh, esq. married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Hare, of Stow Bardolph, in Norfolk, (who surviving him, afterwards married Sir John Lowther, of Westmoreland).
By her he had Sir Thomas Leigh, who left two sons, Sir John Leigh, his heir, and Wooley Leigh, esq. who, left two daughters his coheirs, Mary, married to John Bennet, by whom she had issue; and Anne, to Henry Spencer, by whom she had a son, Wooley Leigh Spencer, (fn. 21) of both whom further mention will be made hereafter.
Sir John Leigh, the eldest son of Sir Thomas, by Catherine his wife, daughter of John Barton, serjeantat-law, who afterwards married William Walsham, esq. and lies buried in this church, left Sir John Liegh, his son and heir, who was of Addington, and died in 1737, having been twice married; first, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Stephen Lennard, of West Wickham, bart. and 2dly, to Elizabeth, daughter of William Vade, of Bromley. He had issue only by his first wife a son Francis, who was of Addington, and died without issue in his father's life-time, in 1731.
But before I proceed further in the account of this manor, it will be proper to give some account of the branch of this family, afterwards seated at Hawley, in this county.
Sir Francis Leigh, of Addington, left by Christian Thynne, his second wife, two sons, as has been already mentioned. Of these, Thomas, the eldest, resided in this parish, and married Christian Lutterel, by whom he had issue Sir Francis Leigh, who first settled at Hawley, and was knight of the shire for this county in the first parliament of queen Anne. He first settled at Tring, in Hertfordshire, where he married his first wife, Sarah Lovell, niece to Henry Guy, esq. of that place. She died in 1691, and lies buried in Addington church; where his arms, having a crescent for difference, as a younger branch of Leigh, are impaled with hers, Argent, a chevron azure, between three squirrils gules. After this he removed into Kent, and settled at Hawley, near Dartford, and died there in 1711, leaving by Francis Cheney, his second wife, Francis, his heir, and several daughters, of whom, Christian married Francis Isaac Bargrave of Eastry, by whom she had Isaac Bargrave, esq. late of Lincoln's-inn-fields, but now of Eastry, and Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. Robert Bargrave.
Francis Leigh, esq. the son, was likewise of Hawley. He died in 1734, and was buried at Sutton-at-Hone church, leaving by Jane his wife, daughter and coheir of Thomas Gifford, esq. of Pennis, and widow of Mr. Finch Umphrey, who died in 1766, and was buried at Eynesford, two sons; Francis Leigh, esq. who was of Hawley, and died without issue in 1774; and Richard Leigh, esq. serjeant-at-law, who died in 1772, leaving one son, Richard, heir likewise to his uncle Francis, and a daughter named Elizabeth, who married John Mumford, esq. of Sutton-at-Hone.
Having thus finished the descent of the different branches of this family, I shall now return to the account of the manor of East Wickham.
Sir John Leigh, last mentioned above, as of Addington, died in 1737, leaving no issue surviving, by either of his wives, and possessed, among other premises, of this manor of East Wickham. By his will he devised it with other his lands in Kent to his father-in-law, William Wade, and his lands in Surry to Francis Leigh, esq. of Hawley, and afterwards made a deed of settlement of them accordingly.
On Sir John's death, in 1737, William Wade entered on these estates in Kent, as did Francis Leigh and others on those in Surry. Two years after which John Bennet, who had married Mary, and Henry Spencer, who had married Anne, the two daughters and coheirs of Wooley Leigh, younger brother of Sir John Leigh, father of Sir John Leigh, the testator, and as such his nearest kin, and heirs at law, in right of their wives, exhibited a bill in chancery, setting forth, that the will and settlement were obtained by the management of William Wade, and others, and executed by Sir John Leigh, at a time when he was incapacitated, as well by weakness of body as of mind, to dispose of his estates.
In 1742 the lord chancellor decreed, that the deeds of settlement were procured by fraud, and should be delivered up to be cancelled; and that William Wade should convey this manor and lands in Kent to the said Mary and Anne, as heirs at law to Sir John Leigh, to hold to them and their heirs, as tenants in common, and not as joint tenants, and they accordingly took possession of them. After which, Francis Leigh, esq. preferred a petition to the chancellor, that the might make a new defence, but this appeal was dismissed. On which he appealed to the house of lords, and the cause was heard at the bar of that house, on Jan. 28, 1744, when the chancellor's decree was affirmed.
John Bennet and Mary his wife, and Henry Spencer and Anne his wife, being thus confirmed in their right to the inheritance of Sir John Leigh's estates, both in Surry, Kent, and elsewhere, continued in possession of them, as tenants in common, till the year 1767; when both John Bennet and Henry Spencer being deceased, the devisees of the former joined with Anne Spencer, widow of the latter, in procuring an act of parliament for dividing these estates. In the partition of which this manor of East Wickham, among other lands, was allotted to the devisees of John Bennet; one of whom, the Rev. Wooley Leigh Bennet, rector of Finmore, in Oxfordshire, died there in 1790, possessed of it, and his son, the Rev. John Leigh Bennet is now the proprietor of this manor.
A PERSON UNKNOWN gave for the benefit of the poor of this parish certain houses and land, vested in the inhabitants, and of the annual produce of 2l. 12s.
Mr. WILLIAM FOSTER, of Croydon, in 1728 founded a school at this place, for 20 poor children, of East Wickham and Welling, endowing it with some lands at Croydon, now worth about 20l. per annum, as a salary for the master.
EAST WICKHAM is within the ECCLESTIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Dartford.
The church is dedicated to St. Michael, is a small antient structure, consisting of a nave and chancel; at the west end is a small turret, and a wooden spire, having two bells in it. The font is octagonal, ornamented with quaterfoils.
Among other monuments and inscriptions in this church are the following:—In the nave, a mural monument for Catherine, daughter of John Barton, serjeant at law, first married to Sir John Leigh, of Addington, in Surry; 2dly, to William Walsham, esq. of the Middle Temple, obt. 1715, æt 53; and for the said William Walsham, who died 1728, æt. 63. Beneath these arms, sable, a chevron argent between 3 cinquefoils, or, impaling argent 3 boars heads couped, gu. langued, or. In the chancel, a grave-stone, on which has been a brass plate, the length of the stone, in form of a cross flory gradated, now torn away, except the effigies of a man and woman at half length, and piece of the inscription in capitals of the 14th century, for John de Bladicdone and Maud, the rest obliterated. On the north side, on a grave-stone, the effigies of a man in brass, between his three wives. He is represented as a corpulent man, with a thick beard, and rough in his uniform, with trunk breeches and sword by his side, having on his breast a rose, surmounted by a crown, and under him an inscription in black letter, for William Payn, yeoman of the guard, and Elizabeth, Joane, and Joane, his wives, he died in 1568, beneath are the effigies of his 3 sons. (fn. 22)
This church was always accounted as a chapel to Plumsted, and as such is not in charge in the king's books. (fn. 23)
Being an appendage to Plumsted, it was of course included in the gift made of that church and manor to St. Austin's monastery, near Canterbury, and continued with it till its suppression; after which it was, together with the manor, church, &c. of Plumsted, granted by king Henry VIII. in his 30th year, to Sir Edward Boughton, as may be seen in the account of that manor as follows.
Sir Edward Boughton died possessed of the church of Plumsted and this chapel, which he held in capite by knights service. He was succeeded in it by his son, Nicholas Boughton, whose son and heir Edward, in the 9th year of queen Elizabeth, had possession granted, among other premises, of that church, with the chapel of East Wickham, held of the king as aforesaid. In the 17th year of queen Elizabeth, Edward Boughton alienated the tythes arising from all the lands in Welling and East Wickham, to John Hawkins, (fn. 24) who was afterwards knighted in 1588, for his gallant behaviour at the defeat of the Spanish armada.
Having founded an hospital for poor distressed mariners at Chatham, about the 36th of queen Elizabeth, he conveyed these tythes to the governors of it, for the use of his charity there for ever, where the inheritance of them remains at this time. (fn. 25) Mr. Christopher Chapman is the present lessee of them.
But the patronage of the chapel of East Wickham, with the other dues and profits belonging to it, still continue annexed to the vicarage of Plumsted, the vicar of which is presented and instituted to the vicarage of Plumsted, with the chapel of East Wickham annexed.