Parishes: Kingsdown

Pages 475-493

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

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NEXT to Ash, south-westward, lies Kingsdown, called in antient records Kingledune, and Kingesdune. (fn. 1)

This parish is near two miles and a half in length, from north to south, and about a mile in width. It lies among the hills, on high ground in general, the soil of it is mostly very thin and poor, consisting either of chalk or a dark red earth, covered with a rotten kind of slint stones; it has in general a very unpleasant and dreary appearance. The village of Kingsdown is situated about twenty-one miles from London, on the high road from London through Farningham, towards Wrotham and Maidstone. The church stands by itself, very remarkably, in the midst of a wood of near eighty acres, about a quarter of a mile from the village, and about half a mile southward from it is the estate of Woodland. At the eastern boundary of the parish is Hever, with a large wood eastward of it, and on the opposite side of the high road, at the foot of the hills, Maplescombe, with the ruins of the chapel.

It appears, by the certificates of knights fees, delivered into the exchequer, in the reign of Henry II. that Reginald de Cornhill, who resided at Minster, in Thanet, and was sheriff of this county during the greatest part of the reign of king John, held one knight's fee in Kingsdown, of William Fitzhelt, who held it of the king in capite. (fn. 2)

The family of St. John, of Basing, next held this manor, immediately of the king, of whom it was again held by the Fitzbernards. In the reign of Henry III. John Fitzbernard held this manor of Kingsdown, of the king in capite, and died possessed of it in the 55th year of that reign, (fn. 3) soon after which this estate seems to have been divided into moieties; and Philipott says, there were two manors, called North-court and South-court, which made up the estate held here by the Fitzbernards; the names of which I never yet met with in any records; though if there were such, it is most probable these were the names given to the separate moieties on this division. However that may be, one of the above moieties descended to Ralph, son of John Fitzbernard before-mentioned, who died possessed of it in the 34th year of king Edward I. (fn. 4) He left a son Thomas, and a daughter Margaret, married to Guncelin de Badlesmere; which Thomas died without issue, in the 6th year of king Edward II. and Bona his wife held it in dower; on whose decease, two years after, it was found that the reversion belonged to Giles, son of Bartholomew, the son of Guncelin de Badlesmere, and Margaret Fitzbernard before-mentioned. He died in the 12th year of Edward III. without issue, leaving his four sisters his heirs; Maud, wife of John de Vere, earl of Oxford; Margery, wife of William lord Roos. Elizabeth, wife of William de Bohun, earl of Northampton, but before of Edmund Mortimer; and Margaret, wife of Sir John Tibetot, or Tiptost.

But to return to the other moiety, which seems to have continued in the name of Fitzbernard, for Sir John Fitzbernard paid aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. as half a knight's fee, which Robert Fitzbernard before held of John de St. John, and he of the king.

Sir John Fitzbernard died possessed of this part of Kingsdown manor, in the 35th year of that reign, without issue, (fn. 5) on which it devolved to the four sisters of Giles de Badlesmere, as his heirs, and next of kin, and they then possessed the whole of this manor as one knight's fee.

In the division of it among them, it does not seem that Maud, wife of John, earl of Oxford, had any part of it.

Margery, wife of William lord Roos, became entitled to a sourth part of this manor, held in capite, by knight's service, which her great grandson Thomas, being attainted in the 1st year of king Edward IV. for supporting the cause of the house of Lancaster, sorseited with his life to the crown. (fn. 7)

This family of Roos bore for their arms, Gules, 3 water bougets argent; which coat remains in many places in and about the cathedral of Canterbury, as well in the windows as stone-work. The Ros's of Horton Kirkby were of a different family, and bore, Or, 3 roses, gules. (fn. 6)

Elizabeth, wife of William Bohun, earl of Northampton, became possessed of two other parts of a moiety of it, (fn. 8) which continued in her descendants, by Edmund Mortimer, her first husband, down to Anne, only surviving sister of Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, on whole death, s. p. (fn. 9) she intitled her husband Richard, earl of Cambridge, to the possession of his interest in it, whose son Richard, duke of York, father of king Edward IV. who was slain exerting his endeavours to secure the crown, to his posterity, was slain in the battle of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, in the 30th of king Henry VI.

He died possessed of the above two parts of this manor, as was found by the inquisition, which, by reason of the consusion of those times, was not taken till the 3d year of king Edward IV. when the king was found to be his eldest son, and next heir.

Margaret, the youngest sister and coheir of Giles de Badlesmere, wife of Sir John Tibetot, had for her share the remaining fourth part of this manor. Their son and heir, Sir Thomas Tibetot, died possessed of it anno 46 king Edward III. (fn. 10) leaving three daughters his coheirs; of whom the youngest Elizabeth, married Sir Philip le Despencer, (fn. 11) and he, in his wife's right, possessed this part of the manor of Kingsdown, for his life, and died in the 2d year of king Henry VI. the inheritance of it then belonging to Margery, their daughter and heir, the wife of Roger Wentworth, esq. (fn. 12) her first husband having been John, lord Roos, of Hamlake, great grandson of Margery, by William lord Roos, before-mentioned. She survived both her husbands, and died in the 18th year of king Edward IV. possessed of this fourth part of this manor, which then escheated to the crown, but by what means, I do not find.

The whole manor of Kingsdown, being again thus united in the hands of the crown, remained there till king Henry VIII. in his 36th year, granted it, together with certain woods here, containing one hundred and eighty six acres, and other premises elsewhere, to Jane Wilkinson, widow, to hold in capite by knights service; (fn. 13) and she, the next year, alienated this manor, with the other premises in Kingsdown, to Thomas, son of Martin Bowes, to hold of the king in like manner. (fn. 14) He passed it away by sale to colonel Richard Lovelace, of Hever, in this parish, who was afterwards knighted, and was of Lovelace-place, in Bethersden. He died in 1658, and was buried in St. Bride's church, London. His ancestor Launcelot Lovelace, was of Bayford, in Sittingbourne, and purchased the manor of Hever, in this parish. By the daughter and heir of Eynsham he left three sons; Sir Richard, of Bethersden, who was marshal of Calais, and died without issue in the 1st year of king Henry VII. William, of whom hereafter; and John, who was ancestor to Sir Richard Lovelace, created by king Charles I. in his 3d year, baron Lovelace, of Hurley, in Berkshire; which branch is now extinct.

William, the second son of Lancelot, died in 1501, leaving two sons; John, whose descendants settled at Bayford, in Sittingbourn; and William, whose son William was a serjeant-at-law, and resided at the White Friars, in Canterbury, who died anno 1576, and was buried in Christ-church, Canterbury, leaving issue Sir William Lovelace, of Bethersden, who by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Edward Aucher, esq. of Bishopsborne, had Sir William Lovelace, of Woolwich, who was killed at the Grill. He married Anne, daughter of Sir William Barnes, of Woolwich, by whom he had four sons; Richard, of Hever, in this parish, beforementioned; Francis, William, and Dudley Posthumus Lovelace. This branch of the family, seated in Kent, bore for their arms, Gules, on a chief indented argent, 3 martlets sable. The lords, Lovelace bore the chief sable and the martlets argent. (fn. 15)

But to return to colonel Richard Lovelace, who left an only daughter and heir Margaret, who carried it, together with Hever, and a moiety of Chipsted, both in this parish, in marriage to Henry Coke, esq. of Thurrington, in Suffolk, fifth son of the lord chief justice Coke, who was descended from William Coke, of Doddington, in Norfolk, mentioned in a deed dated the 8th year of king John, bearing for his arms, party per pale gules, and azure, 3 eagles displayed argent. Henry Coke before-mentioned had, by Mar garet his wife four sons; of whom only Richard, the eldest, and Ciriac were married; but from the latter there is no issue remaining.

Richard Coke, esq. was of Thurrington, and on his father's death possessed these estates in Kingsdown. He married Mary, daughter of Sir John Rous, bart. of Suffolk, by whom he had one son, Robert Coke, esq. who, on the death of John Coke, esq. of Holkham, in Norfolk, (the youngest and only surviving son of John the fourth son of the chief justice) who died unmarried, became possessed of that feat, and the greatest part of the lord chief justice Coke's estate.

His grandson Thomas Coke, esq. the eldest son of Edward, in 1728, was created baron Lovell, of Minster Lovell, in Oxfordshire; and in 1744, viscount Coke, of Holkham, in Norfolk, and earl of Leicester. He married the lady Margaret Tuston, third surviving daughter and coheir of Thomas, earl of Thanet, by her he had an only son, Edward, viscount Coke, who married the lady Mary, youngest daughter and coheir of John, duke of Argyle and Greenwich, but died without issue in his father's life-time in 1753. The earl of Leicester died in 1759, leaving his lady surviving; to whom he by his will bequeathed this manor of Kingsdown, Hever, the moiety of Chipsted and Maplescombe, and his other estates in this parish, for her life. Upon whose death they came, by the earl's will, to his nephew Wenman Roberts Coke, esq. son of colonel Philip Roberts, by Anne his sister. He was M.P. for Norfolk, and died in 1776, leaving two sons, Thomas William, and Edward, and two daughters. He was succeeded accordingly by the earl's entail of these estates, by his eldest son, Thomas William Coke, esq. who in 1784 sold them to Duncan Campbell, esq. of London, merchant, the present owner of them.

THE MANOR OF HEVER was part of the possessions of the antient family of Hever, frequently written in old records Evere, who were of Hever-castle, in this county, from whom this place took its name. William de Hever was owner of it in the 4th year of king Edward III. soon after which he died without male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs; of whom Joan married Reginald de Cobham, and Margaret was the wife of Sir Oliver Brocas. On the division of their inheritance, Reginald de Cobham became entitled to this estate. He was called of Sterborough, from his residence at that castle in Surry, and was a younger son of the Cobhams, of Cobham, in this county. (fn. 16) He was succeeded here by his son Reginald, who died possessed of Hever in the 35th year of king Edward III. leaving Joan his wife, daughter of Sir Maurice Berkeley, surviving, who likewise died possessed of it in the 43d year of that reign. (fn. 17) One of their descendants sold Hever to John Urban, whose son John possessed it at his death in the 4th year of king Henry VI. on which it came to his sister, Emma Penhale, who died the next year, and left it to her son; and he conveyed it to Mr. Lancelot Lovelace, who by will, anno 1465, gave it to William, his second son, as he died in 1501 to his second son of the same name, whose direct descendant, colonel Richard Lovelace, son of Sir William, who was killed at the Grill, in Holland, leaving an only daughter and heir Margaret, she carried it, with other estates here, in marriage to Henry Coke, esq. of Thurrington, in Suffolk, in whose descendants it continued down, with the manor of Kingsdown, and his other estates in this parish, as has been already related, to Thomas Coke, earl of Leicester, who died in 1759. After which it at length descended by his will to his nephew Wenman Roberts Coke, esq. whose son Thomas William Coke, esq. in 1784 sold it, with the rest of the late earl's estates in this parish, to Mr. Duncan Campbell, of London, merchant, the present possessor of it. The arms of Lovelace, together with the several quarterings borne by this family, were in the windows of the antient chapel belonging to this seat, now made use of as a farm-house, which chapel has been pulled down not many years since.

Chespsted is another manor here, which in the reign of king Edward I. was held by William de Mowbray and William de Chepsted, as the twentieth part of a knight's fee, of the heirs of Ralph Fitzbernard, who again held it of the king. (fn. 18) In the 20th year of king Edward III. the heirs of John de Chepsted paid aid, for the twentieth part of a knight's fee here, which Isabella, widow of Stephen de Kingsdown, before held, of the manor of Swanscombe. Adam de Chepsted died possessed of this manor, in the 41st year of that reign. (fn. 19)

John Martin, one of the justices of the common pleas, was owner of this manor in the beginning of king Henry VI's reign; his son, John Martin, in the 33d year of that reign, alienated it to Thomas Underdown, of Dartford; who not long after gave it to Mr. Richard Thatcher, of Warbilton, in Sussex; and he, in the 19th year of king Edward IV. fold it to William At-Wode; whose son, Robert Wood, alias At-Wood, in the 13th year of king Henry VIII. demised one moiety of Chepsted to Nicholas Taylor; whose son William passed it away, in the 1st year of queen Mary, to Sir John Champneis, of Bexley. He died possessed of it in the 4th year of that reign. Of whose sons, Justinian, the youngest, became the only survivor. (fn. 20) He conveyed this moiety by sale to colonel Richard Lovelace; whose daughter and sole heir Margaret, carried it in marriage to Henry Coke, esq. of Thurrington, since which this moiety of Chepsted, called for distinction Chepsted Hever, continued with the manor of Kingsdown, Hever, &c. in this parish, as has been already related, in his descendants, to Thomas Coke, earl of Leicester, who died possessed of it in 1759, after which it descended by his will, at length to his nephew Wenman Roberts Coke, esq. whose son Thomas William Coke, esq. before-mentioned, in 1784 sold it to Mr. Duncan Campbell, of London, merchant, the present owner of it.

The other moiety of Chepsted was demised by Robert Wood, alias At-Wood, in the 22d year of king Henry VIII. to Sibill, of Littlemote, in Eynsford, from which name it was carried in marriage by Anne, daughter of Lancelot Sibill, to Mr. John Hope, who, in the reign of king Charles I. passes it away by sale to Mr. William Hodsoll, ancestor of Mr. William Hodsoll, of South-Ash and Dartford, in this county, who died possessed of one third of it in 1776, and by his will devised his interest in it to his widow for her life, who afterwards enjoyed it; but the property of it, on her death, became by his will, vested in his cousin, Mr. Charles Hodsoll, of Ash. The other two thirds of this moiety are the property of the heirs of the late Mr. Edward Hodsoll, of St. Mary Cray, and of Richard Gee Carew, esq. of Orpington.

MAPLESCOMBE, written in the Textus Rossensis Mapeldreskampe, (fn. 21) and now called Mapscumbe, is a manor, which was formerly accounted a parish by itself, though it has long been united to Kingsdown. It had antiently a good seat on it, the estate belonging to which lay partly in the parish of Kingsdown, and partly in that of Eynsford.

This place, at the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's half brother. It was then divided into two separate estates, which are thus described in that record, under the general title of the bishop of Baieux's lands.

Ansgotus de Rochester holds Mapledescam of the bishop (of Baieux) for half a suling. The arable land is . . . In demesne there is 1 carucate, with 1 villein, and 4 borderers, and 4 servants. There is 1 acre of meadow, and wood for the pannage of 8 hogs, and 16 pence more. It was worth 4 pounds . . . . and now 110 shillings. Eustan held it of king Edward the Confessor.

And a little further, in the same record, as follows:

Wadard holds Maplescap of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is two carucates. There are . . . . with 1 villein, and 4 borderers, and 5 servants, and 1 acre and a half of meadow; wood for the pannage of 8 hogs, and 16 pence. It was worth 3 pounds, and now 6 pounds. Ultan held it of Harold.

After the disgrace of this great man, the king his brother confiscated all his possessions, part of which were afterwards distributed to certain knights for the defence of Dover-castle, under the command of John de Fienes; one of these knights was William de Arsick, whose lands, given to him on this account, made up what was called the barony of Arsick, in which one of these estates before-mentioned was at least included, being held of it as one knight's see as of the castle of Dover, to which it owed service. In the 32d year of Henry II. Alan de Valoins, then sheriff of this county, was allowed fifty shillings, for eight oxen and two carthorses, and 18s. 4d. for thirty-seven sheep, with which he had stocked this manor, then in the king's hands. (fn. 22)

In the reign of king Edward I. William de Valoins held of the king in capite a moiety of the manor of Maplescomp, by the service of finding an halfpenny for the king's offering, whenever the king should come to hear mass at this place. (fn. 23) In the 18th year of king Edward I's reign, Roger de Mereworth obtained for himself and his heirs free warren in his demesne lands here. (fn. 24) His descendant, John de Mereworth, died in the 39th year of king Edward III. possessed of certain tenements at Maplescompe, together with the advowson of the church of the ville, holding the same of the king as of his castle of Dover, by the service of paying to the guard of Dover-castle, and of making suit to the King's lath of Sutton twice in a year, and of suit to the king's hundred of Greenstreet. He died possessed of them anno 44 of that reign, (fn. 25) without issue, and John de Malmains, of Malmains, in Pluckley, was found to be his heir, who sold his interest here, two years afterwards, to Nicholas, son of Sir John de Brembre, who becoming obnoxious by his attachment to the unwarrantable measures adopted by Richard II. was attained of high treason, in the 10th year of that reign, and forfeited both his life and estate. (fn. 26) Soon after which, king Richard, in his 13th year, granted this estate to John Hermensthorpe, who not long after passed it away to Richard Fitz-Alan, earl of Arundel, lord treasurer and admiral of England; whose son, Thomas Fitz-Alan, earl of Arundel, dying without issue, in the 4th year of king Henry V. his three sisters became his coheirs, viz. Elizabeth, duchess of Norfolk, then the wife of Sir Gerard Vseslete; Joane, late wife of William Beauchamp, lord Abergavenny; and Margaret, wife of Sir Rowland Lenthall. (fn. 27)

On the division of their inheritance, one moiety of this estate of Maplescombe became the property of Joane, the second of them, late wife of William Beauchamp, lord Abergavenny, on whose death, in the 13th year of king Henry VI. it descended to her son and heir, Richard Beauchamp, earl of Worcester, and lord Abergavenny, who possessed it at his decease next year. He left one sole daughter and heir, married afterwards to Edward Nevill, fourth son of Ralph Nevill, earl of Westmoreland; who, doing his homage, had possession granted of the lands of her inheritance, and was afterwards, in the 29the year of Henry VI. summoned to parliament by the title of lord Bergavenny. (fn. 28) He died in the 16th year of Edward IV. and was succeeded here by his eldest surviving son, by his first wife, Sir George Nevill, lord Abergavenny. whose son of the same name and title, conveyed this estate, which then appeared to be the moiety of the manor of Mapescombe, to John Lovelace, esq. the eldest son of William Lovelace, second son of Lancelot, who purchased the manor of Hever, in Kingsdown, and he being in possession of the other moiety, which he had before purchased of Chicksend, as will be surther mentioned hereafter, became owner of the whole manor.

This moiety last-mentioned, appears by the record called Testa de Nevill, to have been, in the 20th year of king Henry III. in the possession of William de Chellesfield, from which name it afterwards passed to Adam de Shoveholt, and from him to the family of Rokesle. In the 20th year of king Edward III. Roger, son of Thomas de Rokesle, paid aid for it as one knight's fee, which Adam de Shoveholt before held in Maplescombe of Richard de Ros, and he of the heirs of Robert Arsick, and he of the king.

Joane, wife of Thomas de Rokesle, died possessed of it in the 40th year of that reign, soon after which it came into the possession of Sir John Wisham, who made a feossment of this estate to John Peche, citizen of London, and Ellen his wife, and the heirs of their bodies. He was afterwards knighted, and died pos sessed of it in the 4th year of king Richard II. leaving Sir William Peche his son and next heir. (fn. 29)

How long this part of Maplescombe continued in this family I do not find, but it afterwards passed into the name of Chicksend; one of whom, in the latter end of the reign of king Henry VIII. conveyed it by sale of John Lovelace, esq. owner of the other moiety of this place, as before-mentioned, who died possessed of this manor, and five hundred acres of land, in Maplescombe, Farningham, and Eynsford, in the second year of king Edward VI. holding it of the king as of his castle of Dover, by knight's service. Thomas Lovelace being his son and heir, (fn. 30) who, in Hilary term, in the 4th year of queen Elizabeth, levied a fine of this manor, as he and Leonard Lovelace did again, in Michaelmas term, anno 15th of that reign; soon after which it passed into the younger branch of this family seated at Bethersden, in this county, and owners of the manor of Kingsdown, and much other lands adjoining, in which it continued till colonel Richard Lovelace, leaving an only daughter and heir, Margaret, she carried it in marriage to Henry Coke, esq. of Thurrington, in Suffolk, in whose descendants it remained till Thomas Coke, earl of Leicester, dying without issue in 1759, bequeathed it to his widow Margaret, countess of Leicester, for life, and she died possessed of it in 1775, after which it came at length, in manner as before-mentioned, by the earl's will, to Thomas William Coke, esq. who sold it in 1784 to Mr. Duncan Campbell, of London, merchant, the present possessor of it.

The church of Maplescombe has been a long time in ruins. In the 15th year of Edward I. it was valued at 100s. The remains of it are situated in a corn field, in a very deep valley, about half a mile from the antient seat, now a farm-house, and the nearest dwelling to it. In ploughing near the walls, particularly on the south side, where perhaps was the cemetery, human bones are at times turned up; the walls are of a great thickness, and the windows, as appears by the remains, were turned with semicircular arches, on which, from the inside of the east end of the chancel, part is rounded off. The parish of it was united to Kingsdown in 1638, the following is a list of some rectors of it:

JOHN WYCKHAM, adm. March 17, 1394, resig. an. 1400. (fn. 31)

JOHN STOCKWOOD, obt. 1610.

RICHARD HARVEY, ind. Nov. 29, 1610. (fn. 32)

The fee-farm now paid to the crown, for the manor of Maplescome is 1l. 1s. 8¾d. (fn. 33)

WOODLAND, alias WEEK, is a manor here, which, as to it civil jurisdiction, is part of the parish of Kingsdown, though it was once a separate parish of itself. It lies in the hundred of Codsheath, and the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTIION of it is within the deanry of Shoreham, as having been united to Wrotham, in the 15th year of queen Elizabeth; (fn. 34) since which the church of it has been in ruins.

Woodland, called in the Textus Roffensis, Watlande, (fn. 35) formerly belonged to the great family of Crevequer, called in Latin, De Crepito Corde. Hamon de Crevequer, who flourished in the reigns of king John and king Henry III. died possessed of this place in the 47th year of king Henry III. (fn. 36)

In the 9th year of king Edward III. John, son of John St. Clere, enjoyed it, as appears by inquisition taken after his death. (fn. 37) Thomas St. Clere was possessed of it at his death, in the 4th year of king Henry IV. whose descendant, about the latter end of Henry VII's reign, passed it away to Pett, of Pett-house, in Sevenoke, whose successor, John Pett, sold it, in the 17th year of queen Elizabeth, to William Rowe, of London, from which name, by a female heir, it was carried in marriage, in the reign of king James I. to Jenny of Norfolk, who, in King Charles I's reign, settled it on his daughter, married to Thomas Norton, esq. of Coventury; (fn. 38) since which it has passed into the name of Bowles, in which it continued down to Charles Bowles, esq. of North Aston, in Oxfordshire, who died in 1780, on which it came to Oldfield Bowles, esq. the present owner of it.

A court baron is held for this manor, and the tenants of it pay a heriot on every death, &c.

The church of Woodland antiently paid ninepence chrism. rent to the mother church of the diocese. (fn. 39) It stood in a field near the manor-house, after it was desecrated it lay neglected and in ruins, in which state it continued, till a few years ago, when it was totally pulled down, and the stones carried away, but the foundations are still visible. In the 15th year of king Edward I. it was valued at seven marcs. (fn. 40)

The rector and vicar of Wrotham receive all ecclesiastical emoluments within the district of the chapel of Woodland, which they possess only, till a chapel shall be built for the use of the inhabitants of it. There are twenty acres in it possessed by the rector of Wrotham, as part of his glebe.

Reginald, son of Gervas de Cornhill, sheriff of this county, &c. gave one acre of his land in Kingesdune, &c. to the monastery of St. Austin, near Canterbury, and time confirmed to it all the tythes of his land, which king John had granted to him in Kingesdune. (fn. 41)

The hospital of St. John, of Jerusalem, was possessed of some demesne lands in this parish, and others held by rent, and suit of court, to their manor of Suttonat-Hone belonging to that hospital.

KINGSDOWN, excepting the manor of Woodland, is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church, which is dedicated to St. Edmund the King, is a small mean building with a low tower and shingled spire, in which is one bell. It consists of only one isle and a chancel, there is only one grave-stone, which is in the isle near the pulpit, on which were the figures of a man and woman, with their children, all now lost, but the inscription in black letter remains, for John Lovelace, esq. and Mary his wife, he died in 1500. The shield of arms is lost. There are good remains of painted glass; in the second window on the north side is the Virgin, with a crown on her head and a flower in her hand. In the third window is our Saviour sitting on an an altar tomb, with his hands and feet extended, as on the cross; these figures are very antient. (fn. 42)

In the church yard are two yew trees, the least of which is twenty-two feet and a half in girt.

In the windows of Hever-house, in this parish, the arms of Lovelace in coloured glass yet remain, and in the windows of the chapel now pulled down, were originally these arms, Lovelace, gules on a chief indented sable, three martlets argent impaling azure on a saltier, ingrailed argent, five martlets sable; second coat, quarterly of two coats as above, impaling azure three chevrons argent; above the arms, 1548, and on the sides of the shield are these name, Lovelace, Lewknor; third coat, Lovelace impaling Clement, 1549, the names on each side; fourth coat, Lovelace impaling Harman, 1548, the names on each side; fifth coat, Lovelace quarterly; sixth coat, Peckham.

This church was antiently esteemed but a chapel to the church of Sutton-at Hone, in this neighbourhood. King Henry I. granted the church of Sutton, with the chapels of Kingsdown and Wilmington, and the tythes of the same, in corn, cattle, pannage, mills, and in all other things to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester. (fn. 43)

Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was elected to that see in the time of the Conqueror, having divided the revenues of his church between himself and his convent, allotted the church of Sutton, with the chapels belonging to it, to the share of the monks. (fn. 44) But bishop Gilbert de Glanvill, in the reign of Richard II. on the compromise concerning the gifts which bishop Gundulph, his predecessor, had made to the priory, greatly to the prejudice of the revenues of his see, decreed, that this church of Kingsdown should be at the disposal of the bishops of Rochester; saving to the monks their accustomed pension of sixteen shillings from thence. (fn. 45)

Benedict, bishop of Rochester, granted and confirmed to the church of St. Andrew, and the monks there, the church of Kingsdown, being a chapel to Sutton, to their own proper uses to the support of their almonry; saving a vicarage for a vicar, to whom he allotted all alterages and obventions, and all the land belonging to the church, except the chief messuage, and its appurtenances, as the same were then parted of by a ditch; which was to remain to the almoner of the priory. He ordained likewise that the vicar should receive yearly two seams of corn at the hands of the almoner, before Christmas; one of wheat, and one of barley; and that the vicar should sustain all the burthens of right belonging to the church, excepting the accustomed pension of sixteen shillings, for the use of the dormitory, and of twelve-pence payable yearly to the cellarer, as from the church of Sutton; both which pensions the almoner was to pay.

Before which, there had been much controversy between the priory of Rochester and Ralph Fitzbernard, concerning the right of presentation to this church, which was now accommodated, by the prior and convent's acknowledging the right of it to belong to him; upon which he granted to their church in free and perpetual alms, to the support of the almonry there, his right and title to it.

Bishop Thomas Brown, in 1436, made a new endowment of this vicarage, the former provision for the vicar being too small for his support and maintenance; in which he decreed, that the vicar and his successors should have all tythes, real as well as personal; and all profits and emoluments whatsoever, as well to the church of Kingsdown, as to the vicarage of it, in any wife, then or in future belonging, saving to the prior and convent, 6s. 8d. yearly to be paid to them in the cathedral church there, out of the fruits and profits of the vicarage; which endowment was confirmed by the prior and convent the same year. (fn. 46)

This church, together with the pension before mentioned, was surrendered into the hands of the crown, with the rest of its possessions, at the dissolution of the priory in the reign of king Henry VIII. and was two years afterwards, settled by that king on the newerected dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose possessions the advowson of this church, which has for many years been accounted a rectory, and the above pension, still remain.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. this church was valued at ten marcs. (fn. 47)

By virtue of a commission of enquiry in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that Kingsdown cum Maplescumbe was a parsonage, with a house and glebe land, all worth ninety pounds per annum, one master Edward Masters enjoying it, put in by the parliament. (fn. 48)

The church of Kingsdown, with Mapescombe annexed, is now valued in the king's books at 9l. 1s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 18s. 2d. (fn. 49)

Church Of Kingsdown.

Or by whom presented.
Dean and Chapter of Rochester Francis Inman, A. M. in 1626.
Edward Masters, interreg.
Ashpool, in 1680.
John Wyvil, obt. 1704. (fn. 50)
John Gillman, A. M. obt. Nov. 17, 1710. (fn. 51)
John Grant, D. D. 1710. (fn. 52)
Walter Hodges, D. D. obt. Jan. 1757. (fn. 53)
Erasmus. Saunders, D. D. 1757, obt. Dec. 30, 1775. (fn. 54)
John Clarke, D. D. 1776, obt. 1781. (fn. 55)
Charles Coldcall, A. M. Dec. 1781, obt. 1793. (fn. 56)
Thomas Willis, D. D. 1793, the present rector. (fn. 57)


  • 1. Text. Roff. p. 153. Reg. Roff. p. 3, 653, &c.
  • 2. Lib. Rubr. Scacc.
  • 3. Rot. Esch. ejus an. No. 5.
  • 4. Ibid. anno 34, No. 54.
  • 5. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 6. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 59.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 186.
  • 9. Ibid. p. 151, Rot. Esch. See more of the Mortimers under Erith.
  • 10. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 161. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 11. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 40.
  • 12. Rot. Esch.
  • 13. Ibid. ejus an. pt. 20.
  • 14. Ibid. pt. 8.
  • 15. Vistn. co. Kent, 1619, pedigr. Lovelace. Coll. Peer. edit. 1735, vol. iv. p. 217. Wood's Ath. vol. ii. p. 228. Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. ii. p. 493.
  • 16. See more of them under Chiddingstone.
  • 17. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 66, 67.
  • 18. Book of Knights Fees in the Exchequer.
  • 19. Rot. Esch. No. 16.
  • 20. See Bexley, p. 174.
  • 21. Text. Roff. p. 229.
  • 22. Mad. Excheq. p. 643.
  • 23. Blount's Tenures, p. 29.
  • 24. Rot. Cart. ejus and. No. 21.
  • 25. Rot. Esch.
  • 26. Philipott, p. 45.
  • 27. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 321.
  • 28. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 309, 310.
  • 29. Inquis post. mort.
  • 30. Petit's Foedary Book of Kent.
  • 31. He exchanged this rectory for the vicarage of Selmenstone, in Suffex.
  • 32. See an engraving of the remains of this church in Cust. Roff. p. 122.
  • 33. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 34. Lamb. Peramb. p. 367.
  • 35. Text. Roff. p. 229.
  • 36. Rot. Esch. No. 33.
  • 37. Ibid. No. 48.
  • 38. Philipott, p. 205.
  • 39. Text. Roff. p. 229.
  • 40. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 41. Regist. of St. Austin's Mon.
  • 42. See the monuments and inscriptions at large, Reg. Roff p. 1026.
  • 43. Text. Roff. p. 153. Reg. Roff. p. 2.
  • 44. Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. p. 1.
  • 45. Reg. Roff. p. 53, 54.
  • 46. Reg. Roff. p. 653.
  • 47. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 48. Parl. Surv. Lambeth-lib. v. xix.
  • 49. Bacon's Lib. Regis.
  • 50. He was prebendary of Rochester.
  • 51. He was prebendary of Rochester, and lies buried in Rochester cathedral. He was also vicar of St. Nicholas, Rochester.
  • 52. Prebendary of Rochester, and provost of Oriel college, Oxford.
  • 53. Prebendary of Rochester.
  • 54. He resigned a canonry of Windsor in 1756, for a prebendary of Rochester, and the vicarage of St. Martin in the Fields. In 1757 he had a dispensation to hold this rectory with St. Martin's. He was baried in Bath cathedral.
  • 55. Provost of Oriel college, Oxford. He resigned the vicarage of Woodnesborough near Sandwich on being presented to Lamberhurst, as he did that for this rectory, which he held with Purley, in Essex.
  • 56. In January, 1781, a dispensation passed for his holding the vicarage of Ashburnham with this rectory.
  • 57. And prebendary of Rochester.