Parishes: Kemsing

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: Kemsing', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797), pp. 32-50. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Kemsing", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797) 32-50. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Kemsing", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3, (Canterbury, 1797). 32-50. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


THE next parish eastward from Otford is KEMSING, called in the Testa de Nevil, CAMESING, and in the Textus Rossensis, CIMICINGA. (fn. 1) The name of this place seems to have been given to it from some royal camp or fortress, situated here.

THIS PARISH of Kemsing, from its situation, is not much known or frequented, nor is it a pleasant one. It lies partly in the valley and partly on the chalk hills, at a small distance southward from the foot of which the village is situated, at the intersection of the roads from Otford to Ightham, and from the chalk hills to the high road by Seal Chart. Near the centre of it is a water, called St. Edith's well, who was a famous female saint, said to have been born in this parish, and to have wrought many miracles for such as applied to her for relief. (fn. 2) The parish is about two miles square; the soil of it, in the northern part, is mostly chalk, in the southern very fertile, it has about one hundred acres of wood; in the eastern part of it is the seat of Crowdleham, situated near the boundary of the parish of Ightham.

There was a market antiently kept here on a Monday, by grant from king Henry III. which has been long since discontinued, and a fair, which is still kept on Easter Monday. (fn. 3) There was an old knightly family, who took their surname from this place, being called Kempsing, whose coat of arms was, Argent, a sess and chevron, interlaced sable, which was quartered by the Harts of Lullingstone, in right of Peche, who married the heir general of it. (fn. 4)

IN THE SCUTAGE, levied as well on the prelates as the rest of the barons, in the 32d of king Henry II. being the seventh of that reign, towards the expences of the army in Wales. The honour of Kemesing, as it is there called, then being in the king's hands, answered for twenty-nine shillings by the hands of the sheriff of the county. (fn. 5) Soon after which it came into the possession of the earl of Albermarle, who held it of Walter Fitzhelt, as he again did of the king in capite.

In the reign of king John, Baldwin de Betun, who, by favour of king Richard I. had enjoyed the earldom of Albermarle, in Hawis his wife's right, who was daughter land sole heir of William le Gross, earl of Albermarle, was owner of this place, and in the 5th year of that reign granted the lordships of Kemesing, Braborne, and Sutton, in this county, to William Mareschal, earl of Pembroke, with Alice, his sole daughter and heir, in frank marriage. (fn. 6)

In the reign of king John he attached himself closely to the rebellious barons, when his lands were seised on, as escheats to the crown; and this manor, then valued at thirty-six pounds per annum, as appears by the Testa de Nevil, was granted to Fulke de Brent; on the confiscation of whose estates, and the earl's return to his obedience, he again came into possession of it, which happened on the king's death, his father having persuaded him to return to his loyalty once more, and he had many favours conferred on him by king Henry III. in the 7th year of whose reign he had, for his good services against the Welsh, scutage of all his tenants in this and other counties. In the 10th year of that reign, his first wife being dead, he married Alianore, the king's sister, by which he greatly incurred his displeasure; but a reconciliation quickly after taking place, he was again taken into favour, and in the 14th year of that reign had a confirmation of the manors of Kemsing, Braborne, and Sutton, in this county, upon condition, that in case Alianore, his wife, survived him, she should enjoy them during life. (fn. 7) He died possessed of Kemsing in the 15th year of that reign without issue, and lies buried in the Temple church, having his effigies cross legged on his tomb; on which the sheriff of this county had the king's precept to make livery to Alianore, his widow, of those manors. She, after seven years widowhood, remarried Simon de Montford, earl of Leicester, and steward of England, in St. Stephen's chapel, Westminster, the king giving her away with his own hand.

In the 45th year of that reign, the earl of Leicester, heading the discontented barons against the king, continued with them till the battle of Evesham, in the 49th year of it, in which the earl was killed; after whose death, the countess Alianore and her children were forced to forsake England, and she died some time afterwards in the nunnery of Montarges, in France.

In the mean time the four brothers of William earl of Pembroke, successively earls of Pembroke, being dead without issue, their inheritance became divided between the heirs of their five sisters and coheirs; and upon the partition of their interest in the manor of Kemsing, it seems to have become the sole property of Roger, eldest son of Maud the eldest sister, by her husband, Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk, (fn. 8) though the time of his coming into the possession of it. I do not find, as Alianore, second wife of William earl of Pembroke, was then living, who was entitled to it for her life.

Roger earl of Norfolk, and marshal of England, who bore for his arms, Per pale or and vert, a lion rampant gules, died of a bruise, which he received at a tour nament, about the 54th of Henry III.'s reign, leaving no issue by Isabel his wife, daughter of William king of Scots; upon which he was succeeded, as earl of Norfolk and marshal of the king's palace, as well as in the possession of this manor, by Roger his nephew, son of Hugh his brother, chief justice of England, (fn. 9) who, in the 7th of king Edward I. claimed, before the justices itinerant, large privileges for this manor; (fn. 10) and afterwards, in the 11th year of that reign, sold it, together with the advowson of this church, to Otho de Grandison, descended of a family, who were of the dukedom of Burgundy, in France, their residence there being called Grandison castle, a man of great account with that prince, who employed him much, and conferred many favours on him.

In the 18th year of that reign, he obtained free warren for all his demesne lands in Kemsing, (fn. 11) and having had summons to parliament among the barons of this realm, he departed this life without issue, leaving William de Grandison, his brother, his next heir; who died possessed of this manor, leaving by his wife, Sibilla, youngest daughter, and one of the coheirs of John de Tregoze, three sons; Peter de Grandison, his eldest son and heir, who, as well as his father, had summons to parliament; John bishop of Exeter; and Otho; and four daughters. (fn. 12)

On his death this manor became the property of Otho, the youngest son, who paid aid for it, in the 20th of king Edward III. as half a knight's fee, which William de Grandison before held in Kemsing of the earl of Leicester. He died possessed of this manor in the 33d year of that reign, (fn. 13) leaving by Beatrix his wife, daughter and coheir of Nicholas Malmains, one son and heir, Thomas, and a daughter, Elizabeth.

Thomas de Grandison, being of full age, had possession granted of this manor, among others; he was afterwards knighted, and died possessed of it in the 50th year of king Edward III. without issue, leaving Margaret his wife surviving, who likewise possessed it at her decease, in the 18th year of king Richard II. After which it came to Sir William de Bryene, or Bryan, who died possessed of it in the 19th year of the same reign, and lies buried in Seale church.

After his death, Sir William Fynes (whose name was originally spelt Fiennes, but about this time came to be written both Fynes and Fenys) became possessed of it, bearing for his arms, Azure, three lions rampant or. He was son of William Fiennes and Joane his wife, third sister and coheir of William de Say; and by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and heir of William Batisford, left issue two sons, Roger and James; from the former of which were descended the several lords Dacre of the south; and from the latter, the viscounts Say and Seale, both which titles are now extinct, (fn. 14) and the present lord Say and Sele.

James, the second son, above mentioned, possessed this manor, and in the 14th of king Henry, VI. was sheriff of this county, and soon afterwards made esquire of the body to that king. In the 24th year of whose reign, being then a knight, he was, by reason that Joane his grandmother was third sister and coheir of William de Say, by a special writ, on March 3d, next year, summoned to Parliament by the title of lord Say and Sele; (fn. 15) and two days afterwards, in consideration of his eminent services, he was, in open parliament, advanced to the dignity of a baron of this realm, by the above title, to him and his heirs male, and in the 27th year of that reign, he had a full confirmation and release of that title from John, lord Clinton, and of the arms of Say, which, on account of his descent from Idonea, the eldest sister of William de Say, might belong to him. In consideration of which he then granted to the lord Clinton, all advowsons of churches, knights fees, &c. which belonged to the latter, by reason of the lordship of Say. (fn. 16)

After which he obtained a grant of the office of constable of Dover-castle, and warden of the five ports, to him and his heirs male; was made lord chamberlain, and one of the king's council, and next year lord treasurer of England.

This rise to so high a pitch of honour, increased the hatred of the commons towards him, and served but to make his fall the more sudden and unhappy, for next year they accused him and others in the parliament held at St. Edmunds Bury, of treason, for having ing assented to the release of Anjou, and the delivery of Maine to the French; upon which the king, to appease them, sequestered him from his office of treasurer, and shortly after, on the insurrection of the Kentish men, under Jack Cade, observing their clamour against him, to mitigate it, he committed him prisoner to the tower; shortly after which, this riotous mob entering London, and finding their numbers increase, fetched him thence to Guildhall, and there arraigned him before the lord-mayor, and other the king's justices, notwithstanding his request to be tried by his peers; after which hurrying him to the standard in Cheapside, they cut off his head there, and carried it about on a pole, causing his naked body to be drawn at a horse's tail into Southwark, and there hanged and quartered, though his body was afterwards buried in the church of the Grey Friars, London. (fn. 17)

He left issue, by Emeline Cromer his wife, one son and heir, Sir William Fienes, who was that year, by special writ, summoned to parliament, being seized of an estate tail of the office of constable of Dover-castle, and warden of the five ports, by virtue of the patent above-mentioned, to James, his father, his interest in which he soon afterwards sold to Humphry, duke of Buckingham, and his heirs male.

The unhappy contention subsisting at that time between the houses of York and Lancaster for the throne, in which he risqued not only his person, but his whole fortune, brought him into great distresses, and necessitated him to mortgage, and fell the greatest part of his lands. (fn. 18) He married Margaret the daughter and heir of William Wickham, great-grandson of Agnes, sister to William of Wickham, founder of New College, Oxford. The lands of the lord Say being thus alienated the barony lay dormant, and the heirs male of the family were only called Fienes. Henry, his son and heir, though he used the title of lord Say, had never summons to parliament, and it remained unclaimed till the year 1733, when it was claimed by John Twisleton, esq. of Broughton, in Oxfordshire, descended by the female line from the above Sir William Fienes, lord Say and Sele, which claim, though it then failed, was renewed by his son Thomas, who was summoned to parliament as lord Say and Sele, in 1781, and was father to the present Gregory, lord Say and Sele. In the second year of king Edward IV. Sir William Fienes, lord Say and Sele, mentioned above, sold this manor of Kemsing to Sir Geoffry Bulleyn, (fn. 19) a wealthy mercer of London, who had been lord mayor in the 37th year of king Henry VI. whose grandson Thomas, was sheriff of this county in the 3d and 9th years of Henry VIII. and became a man of great note in that reign; for the king in his 3d year made him one of the knights of his body, and afterwards embassador several times to the emperor, and the kings of France and Spain, and in the 17th year of his reign, on account of the great affection which he bore to the lady Anne Bulleyn, his daughter, advanced him to the title of viscount Rochford; and in his 21st year, created him, being then knight of the garter, earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and made him lord privy seal. (fn. 20) He died in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. possessed of this manor, have ing had by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, one son, George, executed in his life-time, and two daughters; Anne, wife to king Henry VIII. and Mary, wife of William Carey, esq. of the king's body, and ancestor of the lords Hunsdon, and of the earls of Dover and Monmouth.

George Bulleyn, the son above-mentioned, bearing the title of viscount Rochford in his father's life-time, was, in the 26th year of that reign, made constable of Dover-castle, and warden of the five ports, and was much favored by that king, till the time of his change of affection from queen Anne Bulleyn; when the king, to make the path more easy towards the enjoyment of his new passion, in a sudden and unexpected gust of anger, in his 28th year, committed him to the tower, a few days after which, he was arraigned and beheaded, having had no issue, and was buried in St. Peter's chapel in the tower. (fn. 21)

On the death of the earl of Wiltshire without male issue, the king seized on this manor, in right of his late wife, the unfortunate Anne Bulleyn, the earl's elder daughter; and it remained in his hands till the 32d year of his reign, when by his indenture that year, reciting, that as the most noble lady, Anne of Cleves, daugh ter of John, late duke of Cleve, &c. came into his realm of England, on a certain treaty of marriage between himself and the said lady Anne; which marriage, although celebrated in the face of the church, yet was never consummated, for the conditions of it were never performed in due time, and there being other great and important causes, on account of which the convocation of the realm, with assent of the parties, and of the parliament, had declared the marriage to be invalid, there being no prospect of any children from it, notwithstanding which, the said lady was contented to conform to the laws of the realm, and to free herself and her conscience of the said marriage, and to remain at liberty within the realm; therefore the king, considering her high birth and nobility, of his especial grace and favour, granted her, for the maintenance of her noble estate, among other premises, his manors of Hever, Seale, and Kemsing, and his park of Hever, with all their rights, members, and appurtenances, late belonging to Thomas, earl of Wiltshire, deceased, and then in the king's hands; and all messuages, lands and hereditaments whatsoever, in Hever, Seale, and Kemsing, lately purchased by the king of Sir James Bulleyn, and William Bulleyn, clerk, to hold to her during life, so long as she should stay within the realm of England, and not depart out of it, without the licence of the king and his successors, and the king granted the premises free and discharged of all outgoings, rents, pensions, &c. except among others of forty shillings, issuing yearly out of the lands of John Tybolde, called Seale Park. (fn. 22)

The lady Ann of Cleves died possessed of these manors and estates in the 4th and 5th year of king Philip and queen Mary, when they reverted again to the crown; where the manors of Seale and Kemsing, and the other premises in those parishes, lay till queen Elizabeth, in her first year, granted them to her kinsman, Sir Henry Carey, whom she had advanced that year to the title of lord Hunsdon, baron of Hunsdon, in Hertfordshire, to hold in capite by knights service. (fn. 23) He was descended of an antient family, seated at Cockington, in Devonshire; one of whom was Sir Robert Carey, who in the beginning of king Henry V's reign, acquired great renown by his encountering and overcoming an Arragonian knight, who had performed many notable feats of arms in different countries, and then came to make trial of his prowess here in England, in a long and doubtful combat in Smithfield; for which he was by the king knighted, and restored to part of his father's inheritance, which had been forfeited. From which time he bore, as by the law of arms he might, the coat armour of the vanquished knight, viz. Argent, on a bend sable, three roses of the field barbed and seeded proper; the present bearing of this family: their antient bearing before this being, Gules, a chevron argent between three swans proper; one of which they still retain for their crest. His son was William Carey, who being in the battle of Tewksbury, in the 10th year of king Edward IV. on the part of the Lancastrians, upon the loss of that day, was taken prisoner, and notwithstanding he was promised a pardon, lost his head.

By his first wife he had a son, from whom the Careys of Cockington descended; and by his second a son, Thomas, who by Margaret, daughter and coheir of Sir Robert Spencer, had two sons; John, ancestor of Lucius, viscount Falkland, slain at the battle of Newbery in the reign of king Charles I. and William, who being esquire of the body to king Henry VIII. married Mary, the youngest daughter of Thomas Bulleyn, earl of Wiltshire, and sister to queen Anne Bulleyn, by whom he had one son, Henry, created lord Hunsdon, as before-mentioned; and a daughter, Catherine, married to Sir Francis Knolles, knight of the garter.

Lord Hunsdon was afterwards highly favored by the queen, who continually employed him in offices of trust, and negociations of great importance. In her 4th year he was elected knight of the garter, being then captain of the band of pensioners, and of the privy council, and afterwards lord chamberlain, and general warden of the marches towards Scotland; notwithstanding which, thinking himself slighted by the queen, in her not giving him the dignity of earl of Wiltshire, a title which he thought in some measure belonged to him, in right of Mary his mother, and which he had frequently solicited of her, he took it so much to heart, that it threw him into a dangerous sickness, which at length put an end to his life in the 38th year of that reign, though the queen, to make some amends for her hard usage of him, whilst he lay on his death bed, paid him a gracious visit, causing his patent for the above earldom to be drawn, his robes to be made, and both to be laid on his bed. But this lord, who could dissemble neither sick nor well, told her, that as he was counted by her unworthy of this honour whilst living, so he counted himself unworthy of it, then dying. He was buried in the abbey church of Westminister, where a noble and costly monument was erected to his memory. He left four sons, George and John, of whom hereafter; Sir Edmund Carye, whose descendants succeeded to the title of lord Hunsdon, after the failure of the descendants of his two elder brothers; and Robert, who, after being knighted, was created baron of Lepington, and earl of Monmouth, which branch is now extinct.

George, the eldest son, succeeded his father in honours, and in this estate; soon after which, he was made captain of the band of pensioners, and lord chamberlain. He was also elected knight of the garter, made governor of the Isle of Wight, and of the privy council. He died in the 1st year of king James, leaving by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir John Spencer, of Althorpe, in Northamptonshire, one sole daughter and heir, Elizabeth, afterwards married to Sir Thomas, son and heir of Henry, lord Berkeley, upon which this estate came to his next brother, John, who succeeded him likewise in the honour, and who, during his brother's life, being then a knight, had been constituted a warden of the east marches towards Scotland. John, lord Hunsdon, died possessed of this manor, in 1617. (fn. 24) He was succeeded in the possession of it by Henry, his eldest son and heir, who soon afterwards conveyed the manors of Sevenoke, Kemsing, and Seale, to Richard Sackvill, earl of Dorset; who, reserving to himself and his heirs a lease of them for ninety-nine years, quickly after passed them away again to Mr. Henry Smith, citizen and alderman of London; who, during his life-time, vested them in trustees for the performance of certain charitable uses, which he confirmed by his last will, dated in 1627, as will be related more at large under Sevenoke; but the possession of it continued by lease in the successive earls and dukes of Dorset, until his grace, JohnFrederick, duke of Dorset, by exchange for other lands elsewhere, a few years ago obtained the fee of it, an act of parliament having passed for that purpose, and he is the present owner of it.

The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims over the manor of Kemsing.

CROWDLEHAM is a seat in this parish, which has been for some generations in the possession of the family of Bunce, who came out of Wiltshire in the reign of king Henry VIII. and settled in Kent; one of whom, Edward Bunce, was of Malmsbury, and had a son, John, who was of Otterden, in this county, whose son James died in 1606, and was buried at Otterden, leaving, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Matthew Rayner, five sons and two daughters, of whom Simon, the eldest, was of Otterden and Linsted, in this county. He died in 1611, and lies buried at Otterden, with Dorothy his wife, daughter of — Grimsditch, of Chester, leaving an only daughter and heir Anne, married to Sir William Brockman, of Newington; James was of London, of whom hereafter; Stephen was of Boughton Malherbe, and by Anne, daughter of Arthur Barnham, was ancestor of the Bunces, of Throwley, &c. Of the daughters, Anne, married Henry Elwin, of Stalisfield; and Margaret was the wife of Thomas Southouse. (fn. 25)

James Bunce, one of the younger sons as abovementioned, was bred a merchant in London, for which city he was sometime burgess in parliament. He died in 1631, having left by his will several charities to the parish of Otterden, and augmented the vicarage of Kemsing, and lies buried in St. Benet, Grace-church, London, with Mary his wife, daughter of George Holmeden, gent. of this county, who died in 1612. (fn. 26) By her he left two sons, James and Mathew, and a daughter Mary.

James Bunce, the eldest son, was free of the Fishmonger's company, and was sheriff of London in the 19th year of king Charles I. and afterwards made an alderman; but being a steady royalist, and refusing to comply with those in power, in establishing a commonwealth in this kingdom, he was, with the lord-mayor, and others of his brethren, in 1647, committed to the tower; after which he was displaced from all his offices, (fn. 27) and his estates were declared, by an order in parliament, passed in 1651, forfeited for treason against the parliament and people of England, and were vested in trustees, to be sold for the benefit of the state. (fn. 28)

After the restoration of King Charles II. he was restored to his place as alderman, and knighted; and further, in consideration of his sufferings for the royal family, he had a warrant for a baronet's patent, which neither he, nor any of his descendants, ever took out, (fn. 29) though I find him stiled in deeds and writings, Sir James Bunce, of East Greenwich, knight and baronet. He married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Gipps, esq. by whom he left James Bunce, who was of Kemsing, and in 1661 married Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Hugessen, of Norton, by whom he had seven sons, and also two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, of whom John, the eldest surviving son, in 1699 married Mary, daughter of John Bernard, gent. of Playhatch, in Oxfordshire, his father being then living, who settled his estate in Kemsing, together with the parsonage or rectory impropriate of Kemsing and Seale, on his son, and his issue on this marriage. After his father's death he called himself Sir John Bunce, bart. of Kemsing. (fn. 30) He had by his wife above-mentioned, a son James, who likewise stiled himself of Kemsing, bart. He died in 1741, and was succeeded in this seat and estate by his son and heir, James Bunce, who now possesses it, and resides here. He has been three times married, and has by his present wife one son and two daughters. The family of Bunce bear for their arms, Azure, or, a fess argent three eagles displayed vert, between three boars passant of the second. (fn. 31)


JOHN PORTER gave by will, in 1678, to the usher of Sevenoke school and his successors for ever, for educating the youth of Kemsing and Seale, out of lands in Seal, vested in Mrs. Harding, and now of the annual produce of 10l.

Kemsing is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Malling.

The church stands on the north side of the village, and is dedicated to St. Edith, whose image, set up in this church-yard, was greatly frequented for the singular benefits she daily dispensed in preserving corn and grain from blasting, mill-dew, and other harm incident to it. (fn. 32) It is a small church, consisting of only one isle and a chancel, having a pointed steeple at the west end, in which are two bells. There are but few monuments or inscriptions in it, in the chancel there is a grave-stone, with the figure of a man, and an inscription in brass in black letter, for Thomas de Hop, and at the east end a mural monument for Michael Jermin, D. D. obt. August 14, 1659, æt. 70. (fn. 33)

In the year 1397, anno 21 king Richard II. the king granted licence to Guy Mone, to give the advowson of the church of Kemsing to the prior and convent of Bermondsey for ever. (fn. 34) In which year they obtained the pope's bull, (fn. 35) to appropriate it with the chapel of Seale annexed to it, to the use and support of their convent; reserving, nevertheless, out of the fruits, rents, and profits of the church and chapel, for a perpetual vicar to be instituted in it by the ordinary, a fit portion, by which he might be maintained, the episcopal dues be paid, and other burthens incumbent on him might be conveniently borne. (fn. 36)

In consequence of which, John (de Bottlesham) bishop of Rochester, by his instrument, dated Oct. 12, anno 1402, (fn. 37) with the consent of the abbot and convent of Bermondesey, endowed the vicarage of this church as follows:

First, he decreed, that there should be a perpetual vicarage, to be held and possessed as a perpetual ecclesiastical benefice in the church of Kemsing, which he endowed out of the fruits, rents, and profits of the said church and the chapel of Seale; the vicar of which, who should be intitled to it, by the abbot and convent, proprietaries of this church, should be from time to time presented to the bishop and his successors, and inducted by the archdeacon; and he ordained, that the abbot and convent, and their successors, proprietaries of it, in right of the same, should take, have, and freely enjoy, all and every kind of great tythes, viz. of corn, of whatsoever sort it be, and of hay, growing within the bounds and limits, or titheable places of the church and chapel, the tithe of the grange or field of Budirevere within this parish only excepted; and he ordained, that the repair of the chancel of the church, in the walls, glass windows, and roof, and also the paying of all papal and royal tenths and procurations, and the procurations of legates of the apostolic see, of archbishops, bishops, and archdeacons, (the bishop and his church of Rochester being always saved harmless, on account of this appropriation) should belong to the abbot and convent, and their successors, to be paid and performed at their costs and expences; and he ordained, that the abbot and convent, and their successors, should cause forty pence in money, or meat and drink of as much value, to be yearly distributed to, and bestowed on, the poor, and more indigent parishioners of the church of Kemsing, towards their relief and support, out of the profits of the church; and he ordained, that the tithes of the food of all animals, and of pidgeons, and other titheable matters accruing within the rectory, and the straw of the church and chapel, so long as the rectory should remain in the hands of the abbot and convent, and be in no wife let to ferm, should belong to them, as proprietaries of the parish church; but if the same should be let to ferm, then he ordained, that the tithes of the food of animals, &c. as above-mentioned, should belong to the vicar of the vicarage of the same, for the time being, for ever, with this exception however, that if the abbot and convent should let to ferm any of their stock, with the rectory, no tithe should be taken of that stock; and he ordained, that the abbot and convent should cause to be built at their costs and expences, for that time only, a competent dwelling on a part of the glebe and soil of the rectory allotted for that purpose, in which he ordained, that the vicar for the time being should reside; and he ordained, that the portion of the vicar should be as follows: that he should take and have all oblations and obventions of the altar, as well in the parish church of Kemsing, as in the chapel of Seale, and the small tythes, of what kind or nature soever they be, accruing within the parish of the said church and chapel, and the titheable places of the same, and also all great and small tithes whatsoever, in and of the grange or field called Budyrevere, within the bounds and limits of the parish of the church of Kemsing; and he ordained, that the vicar for the time being should have the cure of all and singular the parishioners of the said church and chapel, and that he should find, at his own costs and expences, a proper chaplain to celebrate divine offices in the said chapel, and duly administer the sacraments and ecclesiastical sacramentals in the same, and also the bread, wine, and lights, necessary and accustomed at the celebrating divine offices in the said church and chapel; and, lastly, he pronounced and declared, that the above was a sufficient and competent portion for the vicar, and such as from it he would be able to support himself, to keep hospitality, and conveniently support the burthens incumbent on him. Which endowment was confirmed by the abbot and convent the day after, under their common seal. (fn. 38)

The above appropriation and endowment was confirmed by John Langdon, bishop of Rochester, in 1422, who further ordained, with the consent of the abbot and convent, that no future vicar might have any cause to complain, that he should receive yearly, from the abbot and convent, fourteen shillings of English money, beyond the portion before assigned to him as before-mentioned; and it was then agreed between the bishop and the abbot and convent, that the bishop should receive in future, out of the fruits and profits of the said church and chapel, 6s. 8d. yearly of English money, as an indemnity to the church of Rochester for any injury it might have received, by reason of the appropriation of this church and chapel.

All which was confirmed by the abbot and convent, under their common seal, the day and year abovementioned. (fn. 39)

On the dissolution of the monastery of St. Saviour's, Bermondesey, which happened in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. this church, with the chapel of Seale annexed was surrendered, among the rest of the possessions of that house, into the king's hands, and became part of the possessions of the crown, after which queen Elizabeth granted this rectory to Sir Peter Manwood; in king Charles I's reign, it was in the possession of James Bunce, esq. whose descendant, James Bunce, esq. of Crowdleham, in this parish, is the present owner of it.

But the advowson of the vicarage seems to have been granted, with the manor of Kemsing, to Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon, since which it has continued unalienated, for many generations, the property of the earls and dukes of Dorset, and is now in the possession of his grace John Frederick duke of Dorset.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. this church was valued at fifteen marcs. (fn. 40)

By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, it was returned, that here was a parsonage and vicarage; the parsonage tithes being about forty pounds per annum, and the glebe land thereunto belonging, worth ten pounds, master Bunce being patron, but it was then sequestered, and that the vicarage, tythes, and house, were worth one hundred pounds per annum; that there was issuing out of the parsonage to the vicar, by composition from the abbot, two pounds per annum, and by the will of master Bunce six pounds per annum, in all eighteen pounds, master Barton then incumbent. (fn. 41)

This vicarage, with Seale annexed, is valued in the king's books at 19l. 13s. 4d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 9s. 4d.

Church Of Kemsing.

Or by whom presented.
Abbot and Convent of Bermondesey James Sinebald, rector, anno 22 Edward I. (fn. 42)
John de Dittone, in 1316. (fn. 43)
Earl of Dorset John Baker, in 1644.
Barton, in 1650.
Max. Buck, 1673, obt. April 18, 1720. (fn. 44)
Rob. Parran, inst. Ap. 30, 1720.
Duke of Dorset. Thomas Curteis, instituted June 1739.
Gregory Sharpe, D. D. resigned 1761. (fn. 45)
Casewell Winder, obt. July 30, 1770. (fn. 46)
William Humphry, 1770, the present vicar. (fn. 47)


  • 1. Text. Ross. p. 229.
  • 2. Lel. Col. vol. iii. p. 356.
  • 3. Kilb. Survey, p. 156.
  • 4. Philipott, p. 201.
  • 5. Madox's Excheq. p. 431. Libr. Rubr. Scacc.
  • 6. York's Honor, p. 240. Dugd. Baron. vol. i. p. 602. Newc. Rep. p. 546.
  • 7. Sandford, p. 87. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 602.
  • 8. Ibid. p. 135.
  • 9. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 134. Camb. Brit. p. 475.
  • 10. Leland's Itin. vol. iii. p. 66. Harris's Hist. of Kent, p. 166.
  • 11. Philipott, p. 200. Rot. Cart. No. 71.
  • 12. Leland's Itin. vol. iii. p. 67. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 18.
  • 13. Rot. Esch. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 18. Cooke's Bar. MSS.
  • 14. See a further account of these families under Cowdham, Chevening, and Seale.
  • 15. The exemplification of this writ is among the Harleian MSS. No. 1178–21.
  • 16. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 245. These instruments are among the Harl. MSS. No. 1178, No. 22. Among these MSS. there are many pedigrees of this family of Fiennes, alias Fynes.
  • 17. Strype's Stow's Survey, book iii. p. 133.
  • 18. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 246.
  • 19. Philipott, p. 201.
  • 20. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 305 et seq.
  • 21. Ibid. p. 306.
  • 22. Izacke's Antiq. of Exeter, p. 72.
  • 23. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 9.
  • 24. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 398.
  • 25. Vistn. co. of Kent, 1619.
  • 26. Strype's Stow's Surveys, book ii. p.178.
  • 27. Ibid. book v. p. 144.
  • 28. Scob. Coll. pt. ii. p. 156.
  • 29. Coll. Bar. vol. iii. p. 29.
  • 30. Family deeds, penes E. H.
  • 31. Guillim. pt. ii. p. 203. Vistn. co. Kent, 1619,
  • 32. Lamb. Peramb. p. 560.
  • 33. See Wood's Ath. vol. ii. p. 236.
  • 34. Dugd. Mon. vol. i. p. 642.
  • 35. Pope Boniface IX. in his 8th year.
  • 36. Reg. Roff. p. 450.
  • 37. Regist. Bottlesham, f. 177.
  • 38. Reg. Roff. p. 450.
  • 39. Reg. Roff. p. 453.
  • 40. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 41. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth-library, vol. xix. Ect. Thes. p. 383.
  • 42. Prynne, p. 598.
  • 43. Reg. Roff. p. 113.
  • 44. He lies buried in the north isle of Seale church
  • 45. Master of the Temple.
  • 46. Also rector of Halsted.
  • 47. He was presented to Birling rectory in 1782, which he holds with this by dispensation.