Parishes: Chevening

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

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Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Chevening', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797), pp. 105-126. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Chevening", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797) 105-126. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Chevening", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797). 105-126. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section


NORTHWESTWARD from Sevenoke lies CHEVENING, a small part of which is in the hundred of Somerden.

Chevening House

THE PARISH is about three miles long from north to south, and about a mile and a quarter on an average from east to west. Its northern boundary is the summit of the great ridge of chalk hills at Nockholt pound, where the soil is a chalk mixed with clay; near the foot of the hills, though on somewhat high ground, in comparison of that southward, are Chevening-house, the church and parsonage, Dunton, and Madamscourt. Hence the ground descends to a more fertile soil and the river Darent, which flows through the more southern part of this parish north-eastward, near which is the hamlet of Chepsted, and The Place. At the eastern extremity of it the high roads from Sevenoke and from Wrotham, through Riverhead, divide that on the right, leads along the eastern side of this parish through the hamlet of Dunton-green, towards Farnborough, and that on the left, along the middle part of the parish by the grounds of Chepsted-place towards Westerham, southward of which is the great ridge of sand hills and the Weald, into which this parish extends.

THIS PLACE, in the reign of king John, was held by one of the great family of Crevequer, as appears by one of those inquisitions made in the 12th and 13th years of that reign throughout England, of the knights, and other services held of the king in capite; in the rolls of which, delivered to the king's treasurer by the several sheriffs, (fn. 1) it is recorded, that Robert de Crevequer held of the archbishop of Canterbury one knight's fee in Cheveninges, which Adam de Cheveninges again held of him. In the 33d year of king Edward III. the archbishop obtained a patent for liberty of a chace in Chevening. (fn. 2)

This manor remained parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury till the reign of king Henry VIII. when archbishop Cranmer, in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. exchanged with that king, among other premises, the manor of Chevening, together with all his lands, tenements, &c. in Chevening, Chipsted, Donyngton, and other parishes therein mentioned, which had at any time been reputed members, or belonging to it, within forty years before; excepting to the archbishop and his successors, the advowson of the church of Chevening. (fn. 3)

This manor remained in the hands of the crown till the death of king Charles I. after which the powers then in being seized on the royal estates, and passed an ordinance to vest them in trustees, that they might be surveyed and sold, to supply the necessities of the state. Accordingly, in 1652, the manor of Chevening was surveyed; when it was returned, that there were quitrents due to the lord of the manor, holden of the honor and manor of Otford, in free socage tenure. That there were rents due to the lord from the copyholders in certain cottages, holden of the said honor by fine certain, the total profit being 17l. 4s. 1d.

That there was a court-leet and court-baron belonging to it, and two sorts of lands, yokeland and inland; that yokeland paid a heriot, being the best living thing, and the fourth part of the quit-rent; or in lieu thereof, if no goods could be found, 3s. 4d. in money, on a demise or death; and inland paid for a heriot one full year's quit-rent. At the court-baron a Reeve was chosen, who had for his pains 3s. 4d. (fn. 4)

After this survey, the manor of Chevening was sold by the state to Christopher Bodley; (fn. 5) with whom it remained till the restoration of king Charles II. when the possession and inheritance of it again returned to the crown, where it now remains; but the fee-farm rents of it, with those of other manors within the honor of Otford, were alienated from the crown in the reign of king Charles II. and afterwards became part of the possessions of Sir James Dashwood, bart. of Oxfordshire, who died in 1779, and was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Henry Dashwood, bart. the present possessor of them.

Besides the above manor there appears to be ANOTHER MANOR in this parish, called likewife THE MANOR OF CHEVENING, and Subordinate to that before-mentioned. Adam de Chevening, who had been one of the justices of the great assize in the reign of king John, possessed this manor in the next reign of Henry III. and resided here. His descendant, William de Chevening, held it of the archbishop in the 20th year of king Edward III. when he paid respective aid for it as half a knight's fee.

This family of Chevening, or Chowning, as it began then to be called, was succeeded in the possession of this place soon afterwards by that of De la Pole; one of whom, John De la Pole, held it in the 10th year of king Henry VI. soon after which it was passed away by sale to Isley; (fn. 6) and William Isley, in the next reign of king Edward IV. (fn. 7) gave it by deed to John Harneys; (fn. 8) in whose posterity it continued for some descents, till at length a female heir carried it in marriage to John Mills, in the beginning of the reign of king Henry VIII. as appears by a recovery, exemplified in the 7th year of that reign.

His son, John Mill, by deed poll, anno 3 king Edward VI. conveyed it to Henry Fitzherbert, who, in the 4th year of the above reign, passed it away to John Lennard, esq.

This family was settled at Chevening as early at least as king Henry VI's time, when we find George Lennard living here, who, by Maud his wife, had John Lennard, his son and heir, whose eldest son John Married Catherine, the sister of Thomas Weston, of Chepsted, one of the prothonotaries of the common pleas, by whom he left two sons; John, of whom hereafter, and William, whose son Sampson, was in the low countries with Sir Philip Sydney, and was a skilful and industrious member of the college of arms, as may be seen by his large collections preserved in the British museum.

John Lennard, the eldest son, inherited his father's house and lands in this parish. He studied the law, and by his abilities in that prosession raised his family to that degree of eminence it afterwards held. He was of Lincoln's-Inn, and being called to the bar, besides other offices, in the 37th year of king Henry VIII. obtained the office of prothonotary of the common pleas, and in the 4th of Edward VI. purchased this manor as before-mentioned, he was in the commission of the peace from the 34th year of king Henry VIII. to his death. In the 4th year of queen Elizabeth he obtained the office of custos brevium of the common pleas. In the 12th year he was sheriff of this county; and soon afterwards became possessed of a term in the manor of Knole, in Sevenoke, where he thenceforth resided much, as did Sampson, his son, afterwards.

He died in 1590, and was buried in this church, under a sumptuous tomb of alabaster, on which are the figures of himself and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William Harman, of Elham, in Crayford, who lies buried with him.

He was possessed, at the time of his death, as appears by his will, of the manors of Chevening, Chepsted, Appulderfield, Northsted, and Wickhurst, with estates in the parishes adjoining to them, besides other manors and lands in different counties, all which he left to his eldest son Sampson, for he had two sons. Of whom Samuel, the youngest, was knighted, and being settled at West Wickham, in this county, was ancestor to the Lennards, baronets, of that place, and he left besides five daughters.

Sampson Lennard, the eldest son, married, in his father's life-time, Margaret, daughter of Thomas, and sister and heir of Gregory, Fynes, Lord Dacre of the south, at which time his father delivered up to them Knole manor, where they afterwards resided.

On her brother's death, anno 36 queen Elizabeth, without issue, she not only inherited a great fortune from him in this and several other counties, but became entitled to the barony of Dacre; which, on her laying claim to it, was adjudged in the 2d year of James I. to her and her issue, to be held and enjoyed in as full and ample a manner as any of her ancestors had enjoyed the same. (fn. 9)

Margaret lady Dacre died in 1611. Her death prevented the king's intention of calling her husband, Sampson Lennard, up to the house of peers, as lord Dacre. However, he granted him, by his patent that year, the like place and precedence during his life, that the eldest son of the late lord Dacre of the south, formerly had and enjoyed. He had been sheriff of this county in the 33d year of queen Elizabeth, and dying in 1615, lies buried in Chevening church, with the lady Dacre his wife, under a stately tomb of alabaster, on which are both their effigies in full proportion, with their children kneeling round.

Sir Henry Lennard, who had been knighted by the earl of Essex, at the taking of Cales, in Spain, was their son and heir, and on the death of his mother in 1611, became lord Dacre, and on his father's death, succeeded, as well by settlement as by his father's will, to an estate tail in all the manors, lands, &c. which he possessed, at the time of his death, in the county of Kent. (fn. 10)

Henry lord Dacre married Grysogon, daughter of Sir Richard Baker, of Sissinghurst, and, in the 13th year of king James I. suffered a common recovery of the manor of Chevening, and all his lands in Chevening and Nockholt, except the manor of Chepsted and appurtenances, to the use of him and his right heirs, and died soon after, in the 14th year of king James I. leaving one son Richard, who succeeded him in titles. and estate; and four daughters.

Richard Lennard, lord Dacre, the son, succeeded to his father's estates in Chevening, and elsewhere, and rebuilt Chevening house, on a plan of Inigo Jones.

He died in 1630 at Hurstmonceaux, in Sussex, where he lies buried, on which Dorothy, his widow, daughter of Dudley lord North, who was his second wife, took possession of lands in Chevening and Chepsted among others, as part of her jointure, but none of his manors, or Chevening-house, were included in it, but Francis lord Dacre, his eldest son by his first wife, when but nine years of age, succeeded him in title and in his manors, and all other his estates in this county, the above only excepted, which had been settled on him by his father, as well by deed, anno 22d James I. as by his last will.

He married Elizabeth, sister and coheir of Paul viscount Banning, by whom he had three sons and three daughters. Of the sons, Thomas, was his successor; Francis died without issue in 1706; and Henry left three daughters, and died in 1703.

Lord Dacre died in 1662, and was buried at Chevening, leaving Elizabeth his wife surviving, who was afterwards created countess of Shepey for her life, and died in 1686.

By his will in 1655, he gave all his manors and lands to his eldest son, Thomas, in tail male, who accordingly succeeded his father in them, as well as to the title of lord Dacre, and was created earl of Sussex by king Charles II. in his 26th year.

In June, 1706, Mary, widow of Henry Lennard, the earl's youngest brother, who died in 1703, had exhibited a bill in chancery against him, demanding a third part (for Francis, the earl's other brother, was then living) of all the manors and lands that Francis, lord Dacre, father of the said Henry, or Richard, lord Dacre, his grandfather, were possessed of in this county, and among others, of these of Chevening and Chepsted, according to the custom of gavelkind, in behalf of her three insant daughters, Margaret, Anne, and Catherine, daughters and coheirs of her late husband, Henry Lennard, who was one of the three sons and Coheirs in gavelkind, as she alledged, of Francis and Richard, lords Dacre; to which the earl of Sussex put in his answer, wherein he proved, that this manor of Chevening, with its appurtenances, was held of the king by knights service, and consequently not subject to the custom of gavelkind; upon which no further proceedings were had, till after the death of Mary Lennard before-mentioned; when, in Trinity term, 1709, her three insant daughters by their guardian, laid claim to the moiety of this manor, among other of the earl's estates in Kent; for that Francis Lennard, the earl's other brother, being dead without issue, one moiety only of the above manor and lands descended to the earl, and the other moiety to them, as coheirs of their father, Henry Lennard, who was one of the three sons and coheirs in gavelkind to Francis and Richard, lords Dacre, before-mentioned.

But the earl of Sussex, in a trial had at the queen's bench bar, in Michaelmas term, 1709, and on full evidence, proving this manor to have always been held of the king by knights service, had a full verdict in his favor. The earl of Sussex had come very young and unexperienced to the court of king Charles II. and was therefore very easily drawn into the extravagant fashions then in vogue there; and which was most fatal to him, contracted a love for play, which he never shook off; this, and the neglect of his affairs, from an easy indolence of temper not to be excused, as he neither wanted parts or capacity, involved him in such vast expences, that he was obliged at times to sell several considerable estates, and at last his noble seat at Herstmonceaux, and all the estate round it, in Sussex; and the manors of Cowdham and Apperfield, and other estates in Kent. As the first part of his life had been spent in gaiety and the bustle of the court, so the latter part of it was dedicated to retirement at his house of Chevening; where that sweetness of temper and affability, for which he was so remarkable, gained him the love and esteem of all the gentry of his neighbourhood.

He died possessed of Chevening manor and house, with Chepsted, alias Wilkes manor, the warren, and other estates in this parish, in 1715, and lies buried in Chevening church.

He left Anne, his countess, surviving, who died in 1722, by whom he left two daughters, Barbara and Anne, his coheirs, the former of whom was married to Charles Skelton, lieutenant-general in the French service, and grand croix of St. Louis; and the latter to Richard Barrett Lennard, esq. of Belhouse, in Essex, grandson of Richard Lennard, who took on him the name of Barrett, and was only son of Richard Lennard, lord Dacre, by Dorothy, daughter of Dudley, lord North, his second wife before-mentioned.

The ladies Barbara and Anne not only succeeded to the earl's, their father's estates at Chevening, Brasted, Sundridge, and elsewhere, in Kent, but likewife became entitled to the barony of Dacre, which rested in abeyance between the two sisters; of whom the eldest, lady Barbara, died at Paris, without issue, in 1741; on which lady Anne, as sole heir of her father, became baroness Dacre. Richard Barrett Lennard, her first husband, died in his father's life-time, in 1716, leaving by her an only son, the late Thomas Barrett Lennard, lord Dacre. She married secondly, Henry Roper, lord Teynham, by whom she had two sons and a daughter; the eldest of whom, George, left a son, Trevor Charles Roper, who succeeded after the death of Thomas Lennard Barret, lord Dacre, to the barony of Dacre, and died S.P. in 1794. She was, thirdly, married to Robert Moore, a younger son of Henry, earl of Drogheda, by whom she had one son.

But to return—the ladies Barbara and Anne, the earl of Sussex's daughters and coheirs as before-mentioned, in 1717, joined in the sale of Chevening manor and house, the manor of Chepsted, alias Wilkes, and the rest of their lands in this parish, and elsewhere, in the county of Kent, to major-general James Stanhope, who was the eldest son of Alexander Stanhope, only son of Philip, first earl of Chesterfield, by his second lady, Anne, daughter of Sir John Packington, of the privy council to queen Elizabeth, who died in 1707, leaving by Katherine his wife, daughter of Arnold Burghill, esq. of Herefordshire, five sons and two daughters.

James, the eldest son, who purchased the manor of Chevening, following a military life, rose by degrees to the highest honors in it. In 1708, being declared commander in chief of the British forces in Spain, he reduced the castle of St. Philip, and the celebrated port of Mahon, in the island of Minorca; in 1710, the signal victory at Almenara was owing to his prudence and valour.

On the accession of king George I. he was sworn of the privy council, and made one of the principal secretaries of state; after which, being much in the king's confidence, he was appointed first minister to manage the affairs of the nation, and on July 2, the same year 1717, was promoted to the dignity of lord viscount Stanhope, of Mahon, in the island of Minorca, and baron Stanhope, of Elvaston, in Derbyshire, with limitation for want of heirs male, to Thomas Stanhope, of Elvaston, and his brothers Charles and William, which last was created earl of Harrington.

In 1718, he was again made principal secretary of state, in the room of the earl of Sunderland, who, by mutual exchange, had his place at the treasury board; and on April 14 following, was further advanced to the dignity of earl Stanhope. In 1719 and 1720, he was appointed one of the lords justices for the governing of this kingdom during the king's absence, and continued a principal minister of state to the time of his death. He was suddenly taken ill in the house of lords, from too great an agitation of spirits, as is said, on Feb. 4, 1721, and died the next day. He was buried at Chevening, where his funeral was attended with all the honors due to a great general, by the king's express command.

He married Lucy, youngest daughter of Thomas Pitt, esq. of Stratford, in Hants, sometime governor of Fort St. George, who survived him, and dying in 1723 lies buried in this church, beside her husband: He had by her four sons and three daughters; of whom Philip, the eldest son, succeeded him as earl Stanhope, and married lady Grizel Hamilton, sister to Thomas, earl of Haddington, by whom he has had two sons; Philip, who died at Geneva in 1763; and Charles, who succeeded him as earl Stanhope, and is the present possessor of this manor, as well as Chevening-house, which he makes the principal place of his residence. He married in 1774, Hester, one of the daughters of William, the great earl of Chatham, who died in 1780, by whom he has three daughters; Hester-Lucy, married to Mr. Taylor, of Sevenoke; Grisilda, and Rachael. He married secondly in 1781, Louisa, daughter of Henry Grenville, esq. late governor of Barbadoes, by whom he has two sons and one daughter. He bears the same arms as the earl of Chesterfield, a crescent for difference. And for his supporters: on the dexter side, a talbot ermine; on the sinister, a wolf or, ducally crowned azure; each charged on the shoulder with a crescent azure. His crest is the same as the earl of Chesterfield's. (fn. 11)

There was a part of the demesne lands of this manor in Chevening, containing three hundred acres, called Chevening-warren, alias the Warren-farm, which was conveyed by John Mills and Margaret his wife, by deed and fine in the 32d year of Henry VIII. to William Roper, who in the 2d and 3d year of king Edward VI. procured his lands to be disgavelled, by the general act then passed for this purpose. He in the 3d and 4th years of Philip and Mary, conveyed the above estate to William Isley; who, anno 20 queen Elizabeth, enseoffed John Lennard in it; from whom it descended to the earl of Sussex by hereditary descent, and on the trial of the earl's lands in this county, at the queen's bench bar, in 1709, as above related, he had a verdict for this farm too. Since which it has passed, with the earl's other estates in this parish, to the right honorable Charles earl Stanhope, the present possessor of it.

THE MANOR OF CHEPSTED, alias WILKES, in the reign of king Edward III. was in the possession of a family who took their name from it; in the 20th year of which, the heirs of John de Chepsted paid aid for it, as the tenth part of a knight's see, which John de Chepsted formerly held of the archbishop of Canterbury.

From the heirs of John de Chepsted this manor, with Whitley-woods, a small division in this manor, lying near the sand hills, passed into the name of Wilkes, whence it acquired the name of Chepsted, alias Wilkes; in which family it continued till about the beginning of the reign of king Henry VIII. when Anne, daughter of Ralph Wilkes, carried her interest in it to James Hall; whose ancestor, Hubert de Haule, was possessor of lands in Chevening in the reign of king Edward III. which he then conveyed to Adam de Chivenigg and his heirs.

Another heir of John de Chepsted above-mentioned, as appears by an old pedigree once in the hands of Sir Sackville Crow, married John de Bore, who in her right became possessed of some interest in this manor. From which name it was again carried in marriage by another female heir to Stocket, who passed away his right in it to William Isley, about the end of king Henry VI's reign. (fn. 12)

His descendant, Sir Henry Isley, of Sundridge, in the reign of king Henry VIII. had several suits at law with the before-mentioned Hall, and his wife, concerning this manor; however, they, by bonds entered into, in the 15th year of that reign, agreed to stand to the award of certain persons; who awarded that Sir Henry Isley should hold to himself and his heirs for ever, this manor, and all lands therein, late the said John Chepsted's; and that James Hall and his wife, should assure the same to him and his heirs.

Sir H. Isley continued in possession of this manor during the remainder of the reign of king Henry VIII. and all the reign of king Edward VI. and he held court for it in the 34th year of the former reign and the 1st year of king Edward VI. as appears by the rolls, in the 2d and 3d years of which latter reign, all his lands subject to the custom of gavelkind, by the general act of parliament were disgavelled. (fn. 13)

Soon after which, Sir Henry Isley, and William, his eldest son, by way of mortgage, conveyed to Robert Cranwell the chief house of Chepsted, and certain lands there, and he in the 1st year of queen Mary, sold all his estate in them to John Lennard; and Sir H. Isley having joined in Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion that year, was attainted, and all his manors and lands forfeited to the queen; who, in her 1st year, by her letters patent, (reciting the above attainder, and that Sir H. Isley, before that, was seized in see of the manor of Chepsted, alias Wilkes, with its appurtenances, in Chevening, in the tenure of several persons therein named; and in a heath, or wast;, called Cheveningheath, and East-hoth; and certain rent issuing out of divers lands in Chevening and Chepsted, held of him as of this manor: and further, reciting the mortgage made to Cranwell, who had sold his interest in them to John Lennard), at the humble petition of the latter, released to him all her right and title, and equity of redemption in them; and further granted them with their appurtenances to him and his heirs, for ever.

Since which, this manor, now called by the name of Wilkes only, with Whitley-woods, and land, formerly called the Moss, alias the Brickhills, but now Raylybanks, in Chevening and Sundridge, (all which were Sir Henry Isley's at the time of making the disgavelling act of the 2d and 3d year of king Edward VI. and which passed to John Lennard, under the denomination of the manor of Chepsted, with its appurtenances), continued in his descendants, in like manner as the manor of Chevening, till the ladies Barbara and Anne, the two daughters and coheirs of Thomas, earl of Sussex, joined in the sale of it, with the lands and appurtenances belonging to it, as before-mentioned, to Major-General Stanhope, afterwards created viscount Mahon and earl Stanhope; whose grandson, the right honorable Charles, earl Stanhope, is the present possessor of them.

CHEPSTED-HOUSE is a seat and estate, situated on the southern verge of this parish, and was probably once part of the demesne land of the last-described manor. The first mention I find of it, separate from it, is in the latter end of the reign of queen Elizabeth; when it was in the possession of Robert Cranmer, who resided here. He was son of Thomas Cranmer, esq. of Asflaction, in Nottinghamshire, and married Jane Graie, daughter of Henry. Graie, esq. of Sussex, by whom he had an only daughter and heir, Anne, who on her father's death in 1619, carried this seat and estate in marriage to Sir Arthur Herrys, eldest son of Sir William Herrys, of Cricksey, in Essex, by him she had two sons; Cranmer and John, and a daughter, Jane. (fn. 14)

Sir Arthur died possessed of this estate in 1632, and was succeeded in it by his second son by his first wife before-mentioned, John Herrys, esq. who married Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Dacre, of Cheshunt, in Hertfordshire, and widow of Mr. John Norris. (fn. 15) She survived her second husband, by whom she had one son, and afterwards carried this seat, with the estate belonging to it, to her third husband, William Priestley, of Wild-hill, in Essingdon, Hertfordshire, who with Frances, his wife, Cranmer Herrys, gent. her son by her second husband, and Sir Thomas Dacre, her trustee, in 1652, conveyed Chepsted, and the estate belonging to it, to Jeffrey Thomas, gent. who in 1654, conveyed it to Ralph Suckley; and he, in 1658, parted with it in like manner to Mr. David Polhill, gent. of Oxford, (fn. 16) who was descended from David, the third son of Thomas, the second son of Thomas Polhill, alias Polley, of Detling, in this county, by Alice, daughter and heir of Thomas Buckland, of Luddesdown.

David Polhill having purchased Chepsted of Ralph Suckley, as before-mentioned, resided here, and on his grandfather's death, in 1658, became his heir, and entitled, among other of his estates, to his seat at Otford, where he frequently afterwards resided.

He was high sheriff in 1662, and died without issue, leaving his estate by will to his only surviving brother, Thomas Polhill, esq. of Clapham, in Surry, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Ireton, esq. by Bridget, daughter of Oliver Cromwell, by whom he left three sons; David, of whom hereafter; Henry, who died in 1753; and Charles, who was a commissioner of excise, and died in 1755, leaving no issue by Martha his wife, daughter of Thomas Streatfield, esq. of Sevenoke.

Thomas Polhill, esq. before his death, in 1665, conveyed this seat, with the estate belonging to it, to Sir Nicholas Strode, of Westerham, whose widow and two daughters passed it away in 1693 to William Emerton, esq. of the Temple, London, who bore for his arms, On a bend three lions passant. He pulled down the old house, and rebuilt the present seat. He married Elizabeth, youngest daughter and coheir of Sir John Beale, bart. of Farningham, by whom he left two daughters and coheirs. They joined with Elizabeth his widow, in the 8th year of queen Anne; in procuring an act of parliament for vesting his freehold and copyhold estates in Chevening, in trustees, to be sold for the better support of his widow, and advancement of his two daughters. In consequence of which this estate was sold to David Polhill, esq. eldest son of Thomas Polhill, esq. who had sold the same to Sir Nicholas Strode as before-mentioned; he afterwards resided at Chepsted, and in 1708 was chosen to represent this county in parliament, and in 1715 he was sheriff of it, and was keeper of the records in the tower.

He died æt. 80, in 1754, having had three wives; first, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Trevor, esq. of Glynd, in Sussex; secondly, Gertrude, sister of Thomas, lord Pelham, (afterwards duke of Newcastle) by neither of whom he left any issue; and thirdly, Elizabeth, daughter of John Borrett, esq. of Shoreham, in this county, prothonotary of the court of common pleas, who died here in 1785, æt. 87, by whom he had Charles, his eldest son and heir; Thomas, and John, who died unmarried; and one daughter, Elizabeth.

Charles Polhill, esq. of Chepsted, in 1754 married Tryphena, daughter of Sir John Shelley, bart. of Sussex, by whom he had one daughter Tryphena Penelope, now living, of whom her mother died in childbed. Mr. Polhill is since remarried to Mrs. Patience Haswell, by whom he has issue four sons, and one daughter. He is the present possessor of this seat, with the estate belonging to it, and resides in it. He bears for his arms, quarterly of four coats; first, Polhill, or, on a bend gules three cross-croslets of the field; second, Argent, an eagle displayed or; third, Azure, a fess between three garbs or; fourth, Theobald, gules, six crosscroslets fitchee, three, two, and one, or; over all a crescent for difference.

There is a fair held yearly at Chepsted, on WhitTuesday.

MORANTS-COURT, vulgarly called Madams-court, is a manor here, which lies closs at the foot of the chalk-hills, and gave both residence and surname to the possessors of it. In the 21st year of king Edward I. an assize was had before the justices itinerant, on a complaint brought against Ralph de Berners, and others, guardians of the temporalties of the archbishopric of Canterbury, for having unjustly disseosed William, son of Thomas de Moraunt, and Jordan and Henry his brothers, of their free-tenement in Chevening and Sevenoke, &c.

When the former pleaded, that they were guardians of the see of Canterbury, and that the archbishops used to have the custody of their tenants in gavelkind, when under age, for all such lands, whether holden of others, or of the archbishopric.

To which the latter replied, that their father Thomas had only part of the said tenement of the archbishop, and that the same was gavelkynde, of which there was no wardship, but to the next of kin, to whom the inheritance could not descend, and who was bound to render an account of the same when the heirs attained the age of fifteen years; and they further alledged that the residue of the said tenement was likewife gavelkynde, and not held immediately of the archibishop; and that all the aforesaid tenement was situate on the western side of the Medway, where, such as were held of the archbishop, were of a different sort from those on the eastern side of that river, nor was any wardship due for them; and the jury found accordingly. (fn. 17)

Jordan and William de Moraunt before-mentioned, were possessors of this manors, with the seat and lands belonging to it, in the 14th year of king Edward II. in which year the king granted to them charter of free warren, in all their lands in Chevening, Shoreham, Otford, Brasted, Sundridge, and Chiddingstone.

William de Moraunt was sheriff of this county in the 12th and 13th years of king Edward III. and kept his shrievalty at this place. His son, Sir Thomas Moraunt, left an only daughter and heir, Lora, who carried this estate in marriage, first, to Sir Thomas Cawne, of Ightham, and Secondly, to James de Peckham, of Yakdham, in Wrotham, who was sheriff of this county in the 3d and 12th years of king Richard II. in which family it continued in the reign of king Henry VIII. in the 16th year of which, Reginald Peckham was found to die possessed of the manors of Morantscourt, Wynsolds, and Goldsmiths, with their appurtenances, held of the archbishop as of his manor of Otford; (fn. 18) in whose descendant Morants-court continued till the beginning of the reign of king James I. when it was alienated to Blackswell, and thence again, in the reign of king Charles I. to Watson, of Oxfordshire, who bore for their arms, Three martlets in chief, in whose descendants it remained till the reign of queen Anne, when one of that name alienated it to Pendock Prince, of Westerham, whose son, Pendock Price, dying possessed of it about the year 1768, and without issue, came to his brother, Thomas Price, esq. the widow of whose son and heir, Mrs. Mary Price, is at this time intitled to the possession of it. There is a court baron now held for this manor, over which the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims jurisdiction.

NORTHWARD from Morants-court, at the soot of the chalk hill, close to the boundary of Otford parish, lies the manor of Donington, now called DUNTIO, which in the reign of king Edward III. was in the possession of William Morante, who in the 20th year of that reign paid respective aid for it, as one quarter of a knight's fee, which the heirs of Osbert Longechampe formerly held at Denyngton of the archbishop.

This estate passed in like manner as Morants-court above-mentioned, to the Peckham's, and Reginald Peckham was possessed of it in the reign of king Henry VIII. After which it passed by sale to the family of Polhill, in whose possession it has been many years, and at present is the property of Charles Polhill, esq. of Chepsted.

There is a house in this parish called POLLARDS, which was formerly possessed by the family of Thomas.


REBECCA WINDHAM, gave by will, in 1714, to be applied every two years to place out one or more children to trade or business, at the appointment of the minister and churchwardens, in money vested in Charles Polhill, esq. the sum of 100l. now of the annual product of 3l.

Mrs. CATHERINE STROUD gave by will in 1718, to be applied to the setting up in trade or business, girls put out apprentices under the trust and inspection of the ministers and churchwardens, a sum of money, being 100l. vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 3l.

LUCY, COUNTESS Stanhope, gave by will in 1724, for the putting out three or more children to such trades and occupations, as the trustees appointed by her will should think fit, a sum of money, now increased to 3332l. 5s. in O. S. S. Annuities, being of the annual product of 39l. 19s. 4d.

A GIFT, by whom unknown, of 100l. which in 1741, by agreement between the parish officers and David Polhill, esq. was limited to the putting out of apprentices, now vested in his heir Charles Polhill, esq. and of the annual produce of 3l.

CHEVENING is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and being a peculiar of the archbishop, it is as such in the deanry of Shoreham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Botolph, is situated on the north west side of the parish. It is a handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels.

Among other monuments and memorials in this church are the following:—In the south isle, memorials for the Denhams, and for William Fuller, gent. of this parish, obt. 1710; in a pew adjoining to the south chancel, a fine altar tomb of Bethersden marble, with a brass plate and inscription for John Lennard, gent. obt. 2d and 3d Philip and Mary, æt. 76; arms, Lennard with quarterings. In the north isle, a memorial for Mrs. Mary, widow (fn. 19) of Richard Thomas, of Sevenoke, gent. obt. 1638. In the south chancel, a stately tomb of alabaster, on which are the figures of a man in armour, and a lady in her robes, with their heads resting on cushions; at his feet is a brass head out of a ducal crown, and at her's a dog; on the south side are three sons kneeling on cushions, the first in robes, the others in armour; on the north side are five daughters, erected for Sampson Lennard, esq. with his wife Margaret Fiences, lady Dacre, &c. obt. 1615; on the top are six coats of arms with their quarterings. On the north side is a noble altar tomb, with the figure of a man in armour lying at length, with his crest, a boar's head out of a ducal crown, at his feet at his right side is his lady resting on a cushion, at her feet a dog, erected for John Lennard, esq. and Elizabeth his wife, obt. 1590, æt. 82; in the east window of this chancel are the arms of Lennard with quarterings. — In the great chancel, are memorials for the Watsons of Madams-court, arms in chief, three martlets, a label of three points for difference; on the north side a monument for lady Anne Herrys, sole daughter and heir of Robert Cranmer, esq. of Chepsted, wife of Sir Arthur Herrys, of Crixey, in Essex, by whom she had Cranmer, Jane, and John, obt. 1613, æt. 27; arms above, Herrys, or, on a bend azure three cinquefoils of the field impaling on a chevron three cinquefoils, or, both with quarterings. At the east end a mural monument, with the figures of a man and woman kneeling at a desk with books open; in an arch underneath sits a daughter, erected for Robert Cranmer, esq, of Chepsted, son of Thomas Cranmer, esq. of Asflacton, in Nottinghamshire, whose only daughter Anne married Sir Arthur Herrys, obt. 1619; within the rails, on a grave-stone, are the figures of a man and woman curiously engraved in brass, the inscription for them is lost, but there remains the date, obt. 1596, æt. 61; above are these arms, ermine a saltier charged with a crescent in chief, an escallop and eleven quarterings, beneath are the figures in brass of seven boys and two girls.

Tomb of John Lennard

Tomb of Sampson Lennard

This church is a rectory; the patronage of which was part of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, and continues so at this time; the same being expressly excepted to the archbishop and his successors in that great deed of exchange which archbishop Cranmer made with king Henry VIII. in the 29th year of that reign, when he conveyed to that king the manor of Chevening, and all other his estates in this parish.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. the rectory of Chevening was valued at twenty-five marcs. (fn. 20) By virtue of the commission of enquiry, taken by order of the state, in 1650, it was returned, that Chevening was a parsonage and a vicarage; the parsonage-house and seven acres of glebe land being worth nine pounds per annum; the vicarage being worth 1011. per annum, in all 110l. and that master Clarke was incumbent, being put in by the parliament. (fn. 21)

This rectory is valued in the king's books at 21l. 6s. 8d. and the tenths at 2l. 2s. 8d. Pension to the rector of Shoreham twenty shillings (fn. 22)

Mr. Sidney, rector of this parish, in the 19th year of the reign of king James I. claimed the tythe of cordwood and saggot, felled in woodland in this parish, called Calverley's, in Whitley, as being in the hill country, i. e. above the lower or sand hill, and he accordingly on trial recovered the same. (fn. 23)

In 1718 there was an exchange of glebe lands in this parish, made by Edward Gee, D.D. then rector, and earl Stanhope.

Church Of Chevening.

Or by whom presented.
Archbishop of Canterbury. Peter de Brixia. (fn. 24)
Panucius Bonoditi, professor of physic and arts, 1320.
Richard Astall, A. M. obt. Aug. 21, 1546. (fn. 25)
Griffin Fludd, 1572. (fn. 26)
Francis Sidney, 1621. (fn. 27)
Buckner, D. D. 1640. (fn. 28)
Clarke, 1650. (fn. 29)
Henry Maurice, D. D. in 1680, resig. April 1685. (fn. 30)
Skinner, obt, 1713.
Edward Gee, D. D. 1713, obt. March 1, 1730. (fn. 31)
William Geekie, D. D. presented 1730, resig. 1732. (fn. 32)
Edward Bateman, D. D. 1733, obt. 1751.
Thomas Herring, A. M. 1751, obt. April 20, 1774. (fn. 33)
Samuel Preston, 1774, the present rector.


  • 1. Libr. Rubr. Scacc. p. 132.
  • 2. Pat. p. 3, m. 10, vol. xi.
  • 3. Augmentation Office, Box A. 21.
  • 4. Parl. Surv. Augtn. off.
  • 5. Ibid. Roll of Partic. H. 16.
  • 6. Philipott, p. 113.
  • 7. Rot. Esch. N. 34.
  • 8. What follows relating to this manor is most of it taken from the late lord Dacre's papers.
  • 9. See more of the Lennards and Dacres family under Cowdham, vol. ii. p. 66.
  • 10. From lord Dacre's papers and Coll. Peer. last edit. vol. vi. p. 521, et seq.
  • 11. Coll. Peer. last edit. vol. v. p. 37.
  • 12. Philipott, p. 113.
  • 13. See Robinson's Gavelkind, p. 300.
  • 14. Morant's Essex, vol. i. p. 363.
  • 15. Chauncy's Hertf. p. 301.
  • 16. From the information of Mr. Polhill.
  • 17. Robinson's Gavelkind, P.191.
  • 18. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 19. Philipott, p. 113.
  • 20. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 21. Parl. Surv. Lamb. lib. vol. xix.
  • 22. Ect. Thes. p. 386.
  • 23. MSS. Twysden.
  • 24. He exchanged this rectory with Panucius in 1320. Blomfield's Norf.
  • 25. He was also rector of Ightham, and prebendary of Wingham. He lies buried in Ightham church.
  • 26. From lord Dacre's papers.
  • 27. MSS. Twysden.
  • 28. Put in by the parliament.
  • 29. Ibid.
  • 30. And rector of Llandrillo in Wales, and treasurer of Chichester. He resigned Chevening for the rectory of Newington, in Oxfordshire, and was afterwards Margaret Professor at Oxford. He died in 1691. Wood's Ath. vol. ii. p. 872.
  • 31. He was also dean of Lincoln, senior prebendary of Westminster, and rector of St. Margaret's, in Westminster.
  • 32. Also prebendary of Canterbury, and archdeacon of Gloucester. He resigned Woodchurch on being presented to Chevening, and was afterwards rector of Southfleet.
  • 33. In 1751, a dispensation passed for his holding the rectory of Cullesden, in Surry, with this of Chevening. He was also prebendary of Southwell, treasurer of Chichester, and one of the principal registers of the prerogative court of Canterbury.