The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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NEXT southward from Seale lies the parish and town of SEVENOKE, called, in the Textus Roffensis, SEOUENACCA, which name was given to it from seven large oaks, standing on the hill where the town is, at the time of its being first built. It is now commonly called SENNOCK.
THE PARISH of Sevenoke is situated partly above and partly below the great ridge of sand hills which runs across this county, and divides the upland from the Weald or southern district of it. It is divided into three districts, the Town Borough, Rotherhith or Rethered, now called Riverhead, and the Weald. The parish is of considerable extent, being five miles in length, from north to south, and about four miles in width. The soil of it varies much; at and about the town, it is a sand, as it is towards the hill southward, below which it is a stiff clay, and towards the low grounds, to Riverhead, a rich sertile soil. It reaches more than a mile below the hill, where there is a hamlet, called Sevenoke Weald, lying within that district, for it should be known, that all that part of this parish, which lies below the great range of sand hills southward, is in the Weald of Kent, the bound of which is the narrow road which runs along the bottom of them, and is called, to distinguish it, Sevenoke Weald; thus when a parish extends below, and the church of it is above the hill, that part below, has the addition of Weald to it, as Sevenoke Weald, Sundridge Weald, and the like.
THE TOWN of Sevenoke lies about thirty-three miles from London, on high ground above the sand hill, the church, which is situated at the south end of it, is a conspicuous object each way to a considerable distance. The high roads from Westram; and from London through Farnborough, meeting at about a mile above it; and that from Dartford through Farningham and Otford, at the entrance of the town; and leading from thence again both to Penshurst and Tunbridge. Between the town and the hill there is much coppice wood, and a common, called Sevenoke common, on which is a seat, called Ash-grove, belonging to Mrs. Smith. The town of Sevenoke is a healthy, pleasant situation, remarkable for the many good houses throughout it, inhabited by persons of genteel fashion and fortune, which make it a most desirable neighbourhood. In the middle of the High-Street is the house of the late Dr. Thomas Fuller, afterwards of Francis Austen, esq. clerk of the peace for this county; near which is the large antient market-place, in which the market, which is plentifully supplied with every kind of provisions, is held weekly on a Saturday; and the two fairs yearly, on July 10, and Oct. 12, and where the business of the assizes, when held at Sevenoke, as they were several times in queen Elizabeth's reign, and in the year before the death of king Charles I. and once since, has been usually transacted. At the south end of it is a seat, the residence of Multon Lambard, esq. at a small distance westward is the magnificent mansion and park of Knole; and eastward, a small valley intervening, the seat of Kippington; at a little distance northward of the town is an open space, called Sevenoke Vine, noted for being the place where the great games of Cricket, the provincial amusement of this county, are in general played; this joins to Gallows common, so called from the execution of criminals on it formerly. In the valley below it is Bradborne, and the famous silk mills, belonging to Peter Nonaille, esq. called Greatness, near which are the ruins of the hospital or chapel, dedicated to St. John, where this parish bounds to Otford.
About a mile north-west from the town, where the two roads from London and Westerham meet, is the large hamlet of Riverhead, bounded by the river Darent and the parish of Chevening; in which, among others, is the seat of Montreal; that of Mrs. Petley; and of the late admiral Amherst and others; most of which the reader will find described hereafter.
In the Account of the Roman Stations in Britain, written by Richard, a monk of Cirencester, published by Dr. Stukely, the station, called Vagniacæ, is supposed to have been at Sevenoke, which is there set down as eighteen miles distant both from Medum, Maidstone; and Noviomagus, Croydon; but in this opinion he has hardly been followed by any one.
THE MANOR OF SEVENOKE was always esteemed as an appendage to that of Otford, and as such was part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, till it was exchanged with the crown for other premises, by archbishop Cranmer, in the 9th year of Henry VIII. as will be further mentioned below.
THE MANOR OF KNOLE, with that of Bradborne, in this parish, had, according to the earliest accounts, for some time the same owners as the manors of Kemsing, Seale, and Bradborne. Accordingly, in king John's reign, they were in the possession of Baldwin de Betun, earl of Albemarle, from whom they went in marriage into the family of the Mareschalls, earls of Pembroke. Whilst one of these, William Mareschal, earl of Pembroke, sided with the rebellious barons at the latter end of king John's, and beginning of king Henry III's reign, the king seized on his lands, as escheats to the crown; during which time these manors seem to have been granted to Fulk de Brent, a desperate fellow, as Camden calls him. He was a bastard by birth, of mean extraction, who had come out of the low countries, with some foreign auxiliaries and freebooters, to king John's assistance, and became a great favorite, both with that king and his son, Henry III. from both of whom he was invested with much power, and had the lands of many of the barons conferred on him; till giving loose to his natural inclination, he became guilty of many cruelties and oppressions, and at length sided with prince Lewis of France in his design of invading England. But failing in this, he fled into Wales, and the king seized on all his possessions throughout England; after which, returning and pleading for mercy, in consideration of his former services, he was only banished the realm, and died in Italy soon afterwards, as is said, of poison. After which, the earl returning to his obedience, obtained the possession of these manor's again. (fn. 1) Hence they passed again in like manner to Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk, whose heir in the 11th year of king Edward I. conveyed them to Otho de Grandison; on whose death without issue, William de Grandison, his brother, became his heir; his grandson, Sir Thomas Grandison, passed away Knole to Geoffry de Say, and Braborne, Kemsing, and Seale, to others, as may be seen under their respective descriptions.
Geoffry de Say was only son and heir of Geoffry de Say, by Idonea his wife, daughter of William, and sister and heir of Thomas lord Leyborne, and was a man of no small consequence, having been summoned to parliament in the 1st year of king Edward III. and afterwards constituted admiral of all the king's fleets, from the river Thames westward, being then a banneret. He died in the 33d year of king Edward III. leaving William, his son and heir, and three daughters. William de Say left issue a son, John, who died without issue in his minority, anno 6 king Richard II. and a daughter Elizabeth, who was first married to Sir John de Fallesley, and afterwards to Sir William Heron, but died s. p. in the 6th year of king Edward IV. (fn. 2) so that the three sisters of William de Say became coheirs to the inheritance of this family. (fn. 3)
How the manor of Knole passed from the family of Say I do not find; but in the reign of king Henry VI. it was in the possession of Ralf Leghe, who then conveyed it by sale to James Fienes, or Fenys, as the name came now to be called, who was the second son of Sir William Fynes, son of Sir William Fienes, or Fynes, who had married Joane, third sister and coheir of William de Say above-mentioned. He was much employed by king Henry V. and no less in favor with king Henry VI. who, in the 24th year of his reign, on account of Joane, his grandmother, being third sister and coheir to William de Say, by an especial writ that year summoned him to parliament as lord Say and Seale; and, in consideration of his eminent services, in open parliament, advanced him to the dignity of a baron, as lord Say, to him and his heirs male. After which he was made constable of Dover-castle, and warden of the five ports, lord chamberlain, and one of the king's council; and, in the 28th year of that reign, lord treasurer; which great rise so increased the hatred of the commons against him, that having arraigned him before the lord mayor and others, they hurried him to the standard in Cheapside, where they cut off his head, and carried it on a pole before his naked body, which was drawn at a horse's tail into Southwark, and there hanged and quartered.
His only son and heir, Sir William Fenys, or Fynes, lord Say and Seale; being much engaged in the unhappy troubles of those times, occasioned by the contention of the houses of York and Lancaster, was necessitated to sell the greatest part of his possessions. (fn. 4) In consequence of which, in the 34th year of king Henry VI. he conveyed to Thomas Bourchier, archbishop of Canterbury, for four hundred marcs, his manor of Knolle, with its appurtenances, in the shire of Kent, and also all those messuages and lands, called Panters, Joses, and Frenches, in Sevenoke and Tunbridge, and all his other lands and tenements lying in the same, with all the tymbre, wood, ledde, stone, and breke, lying within the said manor, at the quarry in Seale; all which manor the father of the said William Saye late bought of Rauf Legh, (fn. 5) the archbishop being at that time possessed in fee, in right of his archbishopric, of the hundred of Codsheath, and the manor or lordship of Sevenoke. (fn. 6)
King Edward IV. by letters patent, in his 3d year, granted to archbishop Bourchier, several large and great liberties, enfranchisements, and exemptions for his manor or lordship of Sevenoke, (fn. 7) the archbishop being then possessed of the hundred, leet, or view of frank pledge, held twice in a year, and of two fairs, one on the feast of St. Nicholas the bishop, (fn. 8) and the other on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Sevenoke, and a market weekly there on a Saturday.
Archbishop Bourchier rebuilt the manor-house of Knole, (fn. 9) and inclosed a park round it, and resided much at it, and at his death in 1486, bequeathed it with its appurtenances, to his successors in the see of Canterbury for ever. (fn. 10)
Archbishop Morton, his successor in the see, cardinal of the church of Rome, and lord chancellor of England, resided here much, during which he laid out great sums in repairing and augmenting this house, among others, belonging to the archbishopric. (fn. 11)
King Henry VIII. in his 6th year, appears to have honoured him with a visit here more than once. (fn. 12)
This great prelate, who left behind him the character of having been born for the good of all England, of being deeply learned and honorable in his behaviour, and who deserved so well both of the church and commonwealth, that the high honors and offices which were conferred on him, were too small a recompence for his singular worth, died at his manor-house here, in October, 1500, (fn. 13) and was succeeded in the see of Canterbury by Henry Deane, afterwards lord chancellor; who, preferring the situation of Otford in this neighbourhood, laid out much money in the archiepiscopal house there, where he mostly resided. He died at Lambeth in 1502, (fn. 14) and was succeeded by William Warham, who was likewise lord chancellor, a most perfect and accomplished prelate, as Erasmus calls him. (fn. 15) After his coming to the see, he resided much at Knole, as appears by king Henry VII. and king Henry VIII, being frequently to visit him here from the year 1504 to 1514; (fn. 16) after which, laying out vast sums at the neighbouring palace at Otford, he resided chiefly there till his death in 1532.
His successor, archbishop Thomas Cranmer, observing the murmurings and envy his possession of this, and his other sumptuous palaces and lordships in these parts occasioned among the hungry courtiers, in compliance with the rage of that time, in stripping the church of its rights and possessions, was obliged to give up several of them, to save the rest of his church's patrimony. He therefore compounded with the king, to give up the best and richest of them, by way of exchange, if it could be called so; and accordingly in the 29th year of that reign, the archbishop and the prior and convent of Christ-church, in Canterbury, granted to the king, among several other estates, his manors of Otford, Wrotham, Bexley, Northflete, Maidstone, and Knole; and his manors and lands of Otford Stuyens, alias Sergeants Otford, Sevenoke, Shoreham, Chevening, Panters, and Brytains, and the advowsons of Shoreham and Sevenoke, with the chapel of Otford annexed to the parsonage of Shoreham; the advowsons of the hospital or chapel of St. John, in the parish of Sevenoke; and the advowson and nomination of one chantry, and chantry priest, in the church of Sevenoke; and his messuages, lands, and tenements, called Panters and Brytains, and all liberties, &c. belonging to them within the county of Kent, and all rents and services in the Weald to them belonging, except to the archbishop and his successors, all presentations, advowsons and donations to all churches and vicarages to the above manors and estates belonging, and not otherwise therein excepted and named. All which were of the yearly value of 503l. 14s. 5d. over and above all reprises, excepting certain small payments and annuities, as mentioned in it, of all which the king covenanted to save the archbishop harmless (fn. 17)
The manors of Sevenoke and Knole, with Knolehouse, the park and lands belonging to it, and the messuages and tenements called Panters and Brytains remained afterwards in the hands of the crown, and it appears that the king, in his 35th year, purchased lands to inclose within his new park here, but Edward VI. in his 4th year, by his letters patent, granted to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, and his wife, in exchange for other premises, the manor of Sevenoke, and a messuage there called Britayns, the park called Panters, and the manor and park of Knole, together with other estates in this county and elsewhere; and in the month following, the king granted to him, among other premises, the forest, chase and wood of Whitcliffe, late parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, to hold in capite by knights service. (fn. 18)
The earl of Warwick was the eldest son of Edmund Dudley, a man of infamous memory, for his numberless acts of cruelty and extortion, to satisfy the avarice of king Henry VII. whose instrument he was, in oppressing the people, by stretching the penal laws to their utmost extent, who as soon as king Henry VIII. ascended the throne, was attainted in parliament and beheaded. The earl of Warwick was so great a favorite with both king Henry and Edward VI. that he seems to have been the peculiar object of their bounty, which was continually lavished on him; and being thus elated with titles, commands, trusts and large domains, he became vain, proud, and ambitious, insomuch that he cared not whom he ruined, so he accomplished the ends he aimed at. In the 5th year of the latter reign he was created duke of Northumberland; two years after which he sold in exchange for other manors and lands, to the king, the manors and lordships of Sevenoke and Knole, and all other lands, tenements, &c. to them belonging, which had been let by him to Sir George Harper and Thomas Culpepper, esq. excepting to the duke, the capital mansion-house of the manor of Knole, and the orchards, gardens, houses, &c. belong ing to it, and the park of Knole, and the woods and underwoods in it, which deed was the same day inrolled in the Augmentation-office. On the attainder and execution of the duke for high treason, in the first year of queen Mary, Knole, and the other premises above excepted to the duke's use, came into the queen's hands.
Soon after the duke of Northumberland's attainder, which was confirmed in parliament the same year, queen Mary granted the manors and lordships of Sevenoke and Knole, with the mansion-house of Knole, and the park and lands belonging to it, the park of Panthurst, Whitley-wood, and other premises, to Reginald Pole, archbishop of Canterbury, and cardinal of the church of Rome, to hold during the term of his life, and one year after, as he should by his last will determine.
Cardinal Pole died possessed of these manors and estates in 1558, the same day that queen Mary died; and as it should seem without any particular devise of them, upon which they came to the crown; and queen Elizabeth, by her letters patent, in her first year, granted the manor of Sevenoke, with its appurtenances, and the hundred of Codsheath, and the leets and views of frank pledge, and fairs, and markets, in Sevenoke, with their rights, members, franchises, liberties, &c. to her kinsman, Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon, who, in the 13th year of that reign, claimed certain franchises, liberties, and immunities for this his manor, as having been granted to it by king Edward IV. by letters patent in his 3d year, to Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, all which were then allowed to him. (fn. 19)
His grandson, Henry lord Hunsdon, conveyed this manor, with its appurtenances, to Richard Sackvill, earl of Dorset, in the reign of king James I.
As to Knole, queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, granted the manor and house of Knole, with the park and lands belonging to it, and the park of Panthurst, and part of Whytley-wood, all the demesne lands of Rotherden, (now called Riverhead) and lands called Le Bredgers, in Sevenoke, to Sir Robert Dudley, afterwards earl of Leicester, to hold in capite by knight's service; (fn. 20) all which the earl again surrendered up into the queen's hands in the 8th year of her reign.
There had been two leases of the above estates granted by the possessors of them, the terms of which were still subsisting. John, duke of Northumberland, made a lease of the inclosed ground, late the park of Panthurst, and the wood called Whytley, alias Whytclyff wood, in Sevenoke, to Sir George Harper and Thomas Culpepper, esq. who granted their interest in them to Christopher Roper; on whose death, Elizabeth his wife, carried it to her second husband, Thomas Bacon, who, in the 12th year of queen Elizabeth, claimed the same, against the executors of one Rolf, who had possession of them, together with the manor of Knole, and other premises which they then held at an annual rent, for the remainder of a term, granted to Rolf by the earl of Leicester. This claim was determined by the executors of Rolf, conveying their interest in these estates that year, to the assigns of Bacon and his wife, on whose behalf entry and delivery of possession was then made. Soon after which, John Lennard, esq. of Chevening, became possessed of this subsisting term in the manor of Knole, the house, park and appurtenances belonging to it, and of the see of the rest of the premises above-mentioned.
After which, John Lennard, esq. then of Knole, and Sampson Lennard, gent. his eldest son, and Margaret his wife, in the 16th year of queen Elizabeth, granted to Henry Lennard, gent. son of the said Sampson, the park of Panthurst, and the inclosed ground called Panthurst-park, and the park, forest, woods, &c. called Whytlyff-wood, or the forest of Whytlyff, in the county of Kent. (fn. 21)
Sampson Lennard, after his father's death beforementioned, resided at Knole till after the year 1603, when his term in it being expired, he surrendered up the manor of Knole, and the mansion, park, lands, and woods belonging to it, to Thomas Sackvill, earl of Dorset, and lord high treasurer, to whom the reversion and see simple of them had been granted by queen Elizabeth, in the 8th year of her reign, soon after the earl of Leicester's surrender of his grant to her, as before-mentioned.
The earl of Dorset resided much at Knole-house, which he is said to have much improved by the additions he made to it. His grandson, Richard, earl of Dorset, about the year 1612, purchased the manor of Sevenoke, with its appurtenances, of Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon, as has been before-mentioned.
After which this earl became so excessive in his bounties, and so prodigal in his house-keeping, that he was necessitated to sell the manor of Sevenoke, the manor seat and park of Knole, and the lands, woods, and appurtenances belonging to them, and the manors of Kemsing and Seale adjoining to them, to Mr. Henry Smith, citizen and alderman of London, reserving, however, to himself, and his heirs, a lease of them, at an annual reserved rent.
Mr. Smith was possessed of a very considerable estate both in lands and money, gave large sums to charitable uses in his life time; for it appears, by his epitaph, that whilst he lived, he gave to the towns of Croydon, Kingston, Guildford, Darking, and Farnham, one thousand pounds each, to buy lands in perpetuity, for the relief and setting the poor people on work in the said towns; and by his last will one thousand pounds for the like purpose, unto the town of Rygate; and five hundred pounds unto the town of Wandsworth, for the like purpose; and likewise one thousand pounds, to buy land in perpetuity, to redeem poor captives and prisoners from the Turkish tyranny; and in 1620, conveyed several of his estates, among which were those in Sevenoke, Kemsing, and Seale, above mentioned, to Robert earl of Essex, Richand earl of Dorset, and others, in whom he likewise vested his large personal property in trust, to pay him five hundred pounds yearly, towards his maintenance and livelihood, and the residue in such manner as he should, by writing or will, appoint to charitable uses; after which, being dissatisfied with the conduct of his trustees, he obtained, by a decree of the court of chancery, in 1625, the disposition of his estates during his life, and the appointment of the charitable uses, to which they should be applied after his decease; and a new trust was decreed, which should be filled up from time to time by the archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chancellor, or lord keeper for the time being. The year after which he executed another deed, by which he did not appoint his estates to the use of any particular persons or parishes, but directed the rents of them to be bestowed for the yearly relief of the poor of any parish, according to the several directions pointed out by him in it.
He died in 1627, aged seventy; and was buried at Wandsworth, in Surry, in which parish he was born, having by his will given some directions as to part of his estates, and left the bulk of them, among which were the manors of Sevenoke, Kemsing, Seale, and Knole, with the capital mansion of Knole, and the park and lands belonging to it, to the disposition of his trustees.
In 1641, the earl of Essex, and other the then surviving trustees, by deed inrolled in chancery, allotted the rent of Knole manor, house, and park, then let to the earl of Dorset, at one hundred pounds per annum, to be yearly distributed to five several parishes in Surry; and the rents of certain woods there, then let to that earl, at thirty pounds, to be distributed to seventeen other parishes in that county; and the manors of Sevenoke, Kemsing, and Seale, and the lands thereto belonging, being of the yearly value of one hundred pounds per annum, as then let to the earl of Dorset, to twelve other parishes in the said county of Surry.
There are other very considerable estates in other counties, under the management of this trust, which has been several times renewed and filled up with gentlemen of rank and fortune, mostly of the county of Surry, where the rents of the chief parts of the estates are distributed; every parish in that county, except four or five, having some share, though many other parishes in other counties likewise partake of this bounty.
The manor of Sevenoke remained till lately vested in this trust for the above purposes; but the possession of it was, from time to time, demised by leases for three lives to the successive earls and dukes of Dorset, in which state it continued till within these few years, when the present John Frederick, duke of Dorset, having obtained an act of parliament for the purpose, exchanged lands in Surry, with the trustees, for the see simple of this manor, with those of Kemsing and Seale, as has been already mentioned, and he is now the owner of it.
But the see simple of the manor, mansion, and park of Knole, with the lands, woods, and appurtenances belonging to it, were, by the trustees of this charity, in the 13th of king Charles II. conveyed it. Richard earl of Dorset, nephew of earl Richard, who had alienated them, in consideration of a perpetual clear yearly rent charge of one hundred and thirty pounds, in lieu of them, issuing out of the earl's estate, in Bexhill and Cowding in Sussex, to be applied in the same manner, which was confirmed by an act, passed that year. Since which this venerable and stately mansion, with the park, in which it is situated, and the rest of the lands, woods, and appurtenances, belonging to it, has continued in the descendants of the earl of Dorset, to his grace John Frederick Sackville duke of Dorset, the present possessor of them, who makes this place the constant seat of his residence.
The FAMILY of Sackville derive their origin from Herbrand de Salchevilla, Salcavilla, Saccavilla, or Sacvill, a town in Normandy, who came over with William the Conqueror in the year 1066; after which he returned into Normandy, and was living in the year 1079.
He had three sons, John, William, and Robert, and a daughter, Alice. Sir Jordan de Sackvill, the eldest son, resided in Normandy; Sir William, the second son, resided in England, and was possessed of lands in Essex and Buckinghamshire, and ended in three female coheirs; Sir Robert de Saukevil, the third son, held lands in Essex and Suffolk, and left by Letitia his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Woodvile, four sons; of whom the eldest, Jordan de Saukevil, lived in the reign of king Stephen and Henry II. and was a baron, as appears by a deed, wherein he is written Jordanus Saukevil Miles, Baron de Bergholt Saukevill, filius et Hæres Roberti Saukevil. He married Ela, daughter of Ralph de Dene, and coheir to her brother Robert, lord of the manor of Buckhurst, with whom he had large possessions, both in England and Normandy. She survived her husband, as appears by the licence she gave to the abbat and convent of the monastery, which her father had first founded at Otteham, in Sussex, to remove themselves to Begham, in that county, which abbey was, for some ages, the burial place of this family. (fn. 22)
Sir Jordan de Saukeville, the eldest son, is mentioned to be a baron, in a charter of king Richard I. and was with that king, in his expedition to Jerusalem. In the 2d year of king John he obtained certain privileges for his town of Sauquevill, in Normandy. He married Clementia, daughter of John de Vere, earl of Oxford, but died without issue, in the 9th year of king John.
Richard de Saukeville, next brother to Jordan, succeeded him in his possessions, and was likewise a baron, but died without issue; so that his estates devolved to his next brother, Sir Jeffry de Saukeville, third son of Jordan, who with Ralph his brother, who bore the surname of Marsey, both lived in the reign of king John.
Sir Jeffry de Saukeville, possessor of the manor of Buckhurst, left issue by Constance his wife, daughter of Sir Edward Broke, two sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Jordan de Saukeville, was a man, not only wealthy, but potent among the nobility, and being himself a baron, sided with those, who at that time opposed king John; by which, as his father had done before, he lost his lands in Ireland; to which, however, on his submission, he was again restored. There are several deeds remaining, with his seal affixed to them, being, Quarterly, gules and or, a bend vairy, the arms this family now bear, with this legend: + S. IORDANI DE SAVKEVILE.
He had by Maud his wife, daughter of Normanville, three sons; William, the eldest son, who was lord of Saukvill, Bergholt, Buckhurst, &c. He afterwards married Clara, daughter of Matthew de Hastings, and died before the 19th of Henry III. His son and heir, was Jordan de Saukavill, who in the 40th year of that reign was summoned to receive the order of knighthood; after which, being in arms with the rebellious barons, he was taken prisoner in the battle of Evesham, in the 49th year of king Henry III. and died in the 1st year of king Edward I. leaving by Margery his wife, daughter and coheir of Sir Robert de Aguillon, Andrew, his son and heir, who being in his minority at his father's death, and the king's ward, was kept in the custody of Sir Stephen de Penchester, constable of Dovercastle; and then, by the mediation of his friends, obtained his enlargement, but was enjoined by the king's especial command, to marry, without dower, Ermyntrude, a lady of queen Eleanor's household, and daughter of Sir Roger Malyns, by which means he not only obtained his liberty, but thenceforwards the king's favour.
Thus may be seen the honourable and eminently distinguished situation of the ancestors of this noble family in those early times, whose descendants the small compass of this volume will not allow a minute and particular description of; sufficient therefore it must be to observe, that they continued afterwards, in their several descents, equally conspicuous and eminent, from time to time, as well in their alliances as in their military and civil employments, of sheriffs and knights in parliament, especially for Sussex, where they seem to have fixed their principal residence in Buckhurst, in which county their burial place, in king Henry VI.'s time, was at Withiam, where it continues at this time. The spelling of their name then seems to have been altered from Saukevyle to Sackvile, as it soon afterwards was to its present spelling of Sackville.
In king Edward VI.'s reign, the direct descendant of this family was Richard Sackville, chancellor of the court of augmentations, who was knighted, and made custos rotulorum for the county of Sussex. When queen Elizabeth came to the crown, she chose him of her privy council. He was elected to parliament for the county of Kent in the 1st year of that reign, and in the next parliament for Sussex, as he was afterwards in every parliament, as long as he lived. He died in the 8th year of queen Elizabeth, leaving one son and heir, Thomas Sackville, who, in the 4th and 5th years of king Philip and queen Mary, was elected in parliament for the county of Westmoreland, and in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth for Sussex, and afterwards for Buckinghamshire; after which he had a grant of the reversion of the manor-house and park of Knole, as has been already mentioned. In the 9th year of it he was, by the queen's order, knighted by the duke of Norfolk, in her presence, and the same day advanced to the title of lord Buckhurst, baron of Buckhurst, in Sussex, and afterwards made knight of the Garter; (fn. 23) from which time the queen continued to distinguish him by particular marks of her favour.
He is said to have been a very fine gentleman, as well in his person, as in his endowments, both natural and acquired. He was in his youth without measure lavish and magnificent; but years and good counsels, together with frequent admonitions, as is said, from the queen herself, to whom he was related, at length allayed this humour, and turned him from those immoderate courses; and he made amends to his family for his mispent time, as well in the increase of estate as honours.
In the 14th year of her reign he was sent ambassador extraordinary to king Charles IX. of France, to congratulate him on his marriage, and afterwards ambassador to the United Provinces. In the 34th year he was stiled Baron of Buckhurst and chief butler of England; and at the latter end of that year, succeeded Sir Christopher Hatton as chancellor of the university of Oxford. On the death of lord Burleigh he was constituted lord high treasurer, and afterwards one of the lords commissioners for exercising the office of earl marshal of England.
King James, on his accession, confirmed him in his office of treasurer, granting him a patent of it for life; and on the 13th of March, in his 1st year, created him earl of Dorset. At length this great man died suddenly at the council table, on April 19, 1608, aged seventy-two, and was buried at Withiam, in Sussex. (fn. 24) By Cecile, daughter of Sir John Baker, of Sissinghurst, he left several sons and daughters; of whom Robert, the eldest son, succeeded as earl of Dorset, and likewise to the inheritance of this manor and seat of Knole; but he enjoyed his dignity not quite a year, when dying, he was succeeded by Richard Sackville, his eldest surviving son (by his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk) in his honours, as earl of Dorset, &c. and in this mansion of Knole, as well as his other estates. He married, two days after his father's decease, the lady Anne, daughter and heir of George Clifford, earl of Cumberland. He being then not quite twenty years old, and she about nineteen. He resided at Knole with great magnificence and hospitality, and purchased of Henry Carey, lord Hunsdon, the manor of Sevenoke, with its appurtenances, as has been before-mentioned. (fn. 25)
He died in 1624, leaving by his wife, who survived him, two daughters, his coheirs; Margaret, married to John Tuston, earl of Thanet; and Isabella, to James Compton, earl of Northampton.
This earl's prodigality and expensive housekeeping here, by which he so greatly diminished his estate, has already been noticed before, which brought him to the necessity of selling, among other estates, his seat and park of Knole, reserving however to himself and his heirs a lease of them, at an annual reserved rent.
On the earl's decease, Sir Edward Sackvill, K. B. his youngest and only surviving brother, succeeded him as earl of Dorset, who in the reign of king James I. had been elected member for the county of Sussex; and had been one of the principal commanders of the forces sent to assist Frederick, king of Bohemia, and was in the battle of Prague, fought in 1620, and was next year sent Embassador to Lewis XIII. of France; after which he was called by king James to be of his privy council. (fn. 26)
After the accession of king Charles I. he was elected knight of the garter, and on the king's marriage made lord chamberlain to the queen, (as he was afterwards to the king, (fn. 27) being then a privy counsellor, and joint lord lieutenant of Sussex); and in 1640 he appears to have been lord lieutenant of Middlesex.
He shewed himself, on every occasion, a loyal and faithful subject to king Charles I. during his troubles; and when the king was murdered, he took it so much to heart, that he never after stirred out of his house, but dying in 1652, was buried with his ancestors at Withiam.
By Mary his wife, daughter and heir of Sir George Curzon, of Croxhall, in Derbyshire, he left Richard, his eldest, and at length only surviving son, who succeeded to his father's titles and estates, and inheriting at the same time his loyalty and noble principles, became a chief promoter of the restoration of Charles II. after which he was appointed, in 1660, joint lord lieutenant of Middlesex and the city of Westminster, and next year he again purchased the inheritance of the manor, mansion, and park of Knole, making it his chief residence, as it has been of his family ever since.
In 1670 he was constituted, jointly with Charles, lord Buckhurst, his son, lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Sussex, and died in 1677.
By the lady Frances his wife, daughter of Lionel Cranfield, earl of Middlesex, and at length heir to her brother Lionel, earl of Middlesex, he left several sons and daughters; of whom, Charles, the eldest-son, succeeded him in honors and estates. He had the character of being one of the best bred men of the age, and became noticed for the sprightliness of his wit, which recommended him very early to the intimacy of king Charles II. with whom he soon became a great favorite. He was of a temper generous to excess, and a constant and munificent patron to men of genius, learning, and merit. Being possessed of the estates of his uncle, the earl of Middlesex, who died in 1674, he was created Earl of that county, and baron Cranfield, in Bedfordshire, by letters patent dated April 4, 1675, and in 1677, he succeeded his father as earl of Dorset. He was lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Sussex; and having been warmly engaged in those measures, which brought on the revolution, and placed king William and queen Mary on the throne, he was, the day after their acceptance of it, sworn of the privy council, and made lord chamberlain of their household, and was elected knight of the garter; after which he was four times one of the lords regent of the kingdom during the king's absence from it.
The earl died at Bath in 1706, and was buried with his ancestors at Withiam, (fn. 28) leaving one son, Lionel Cranfield, earl of Dorset and Middlesex, who in the year 1708 was appointed constable of Dover-castle, and lord warden of the five ports; and after the accession of king George I. was sworn of the privy council; and a few days afterwards elected a knight of the garter; on June 13, 1720, he was by letters patent advanced to the dignity of Duke of Dorset; in 1724 he was made lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Kent, after which continuing high in the royal favor and considence, he had from time to time the greatest and most important offices of the state conferred on him, which he continued to hold during that reign.
At the accession of his present Majesty, George III. he was continued of the privy council, and in his commission of lord lieutenant, custos rotulorum, constable of Dover-castle, lord-warden, and vice-admiral of this county, of which he had had a grant in the former reign during life; and he was high steward of Tamworth and of Stratford-upon-Avon, and LL.D. After which, being greatly advanced in years, he retired from public business, and died in 1765, aged about eightytwo years.
The Duke, in 1709, married Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant-General Walter-Philip Colyear, brother to the earl of Portmore, who survived him, and died in 1768. By her he left six children; Lady Anne, who died in 1721; Charles, earl of Middlesex, who was twice elected to serve in parliament for Sussex, and in 1747, was appointed master of the horse to Frederick, prince of Wales; in which office he continued till the prince's death, who shewed him continual marks of his favor and confidence; Lady Elizabeth, married to Thomas, lord viscount Weymouth, but died before cohabitation, whilst on his travels, in 1729; lord John-Philip, who married lady Frances, daughter of John, earl Gower, by whom he left a son, John-Frederick, now duke of Dorset, and a daughter Mary, married in 1767 to Sackville, earl of Thanet. Lord John died in 1765 at Tour du Pin, on the Lake of Geneva. Lord George Sackville was the youngest son, who, following a military life, arrived to the highest preferments and rank in the army, and in 1758 was sworn of the privy council, and next year was commander in chief of the British forces in Germany; but before the end of it he gave up all his military posts, and retired from the army. After which, on the death of lady Elizabeth Germaine, who bequeathed a large fortune to him, he took the name of Germaine, in addition to his own, and was afterwards one of his Majesty's principal secretaries of state for the American department. By letters patent in 1782, he was created viscount Sackville, &c. and dying in 1785, was succeeded by his eldest son, (by his wife Diana, daughter and coheir of John Sambrooke, esq.) Charles, the present viscount Sackville.
The youngest of the duke's children was lady Caroline, who married Joseph Damer, afterwards created lord Milton.
On the decease of Lionel, duke of Dorset, Charles, earl of Middlesex, his eldest son before-mentioned, succeeded him in titles and estate. In 1766 he was appointed lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum for this county, and died in 1769, leaving no issue by his wife Grace, daughter and sole heir of Richard Boyle, viscount Shannon, who died in 1763. On which he was succeeded in titles and estate by his nephew, John-Frederick, only son of his next brother, the lord John Philip Sackville, who is now duke and earl of Dorset, earl of Middlesex, baron of Buckhurst and of Cranfield, lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum, and vice-admiral of the county of Kent, being so appointed in the room of his uncle. In 1782 he was sworn of the privy council, and made captain of the yeomen of the guard; after which he was made master of the horse. In 1784 he was sent ambassador and plenipotentiary to the court of France; on his return from which he was elected a knight of the garter, and appointed lord steward of the king's houshold; he is high steward of Stratford-upon-Avon, and colonel of the West-Kent regiment of militia. His grace married in 1790, Arabella-Diana, daughter of the late Sir Jonathan Cope, bart. by whom he has a son, George Frederick, and several daughters. He resides at this noble and stately mansion of Knole, to which and the park he has made considerable improvements.
He bears for his arms, Quarterly, or and gules, a bend over all vaire; which single bearing, without quarterings, it has been the constant custom of this family to use; and for his crest, an estoile of eight points argent. His supporters are, Two leopards argent, spotted sable.
BRADEBORNE is a manor here, the seat of which is situated near a mile north-west from the town of Sevenoke. This estate had the same owners as Knole, as has been already described, till Sir Thomas Grandison, in the reign of king Edward III. (fn. 29) passed it away by sale to Walter de Pevenley, or Pemley, who very probably first erected this mansion, which in old deeds was written Pevenley, alias Pemley-court; but before the beginning of king Henry VI's reign, this family was extinct, and then the Ashes succeeded to the possession of it, who were before owners of much property in this neighbourhood. They were written, in antient Latin deeds, De Fraxino, and were probably descended from Thomas de Esse, who was one of the recognitores magnæ assisæ, in the 4th year of king John, as appears by the pipe rolls of that time. They rebuilt undoubtedly a great part of this antient fabric, as appeared by their coat of arms, Azure, three chevrons argent, in several of the windows. (fn. 30)
After this estate had remained for some generations this family, it became part of the possessions of the family of Isley, in which it remained till Sir Henry Isley, of Sundridge, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. exchanged it with that king. (fn. 31)
How long it remained in the crown I do not find; but in the reign of queen Elizabeth it was become the property of Sir Ralph Bosville, clerk of the queen's court of wards, who was descended from Sir John Bosville, lord of Ardesley, in Staffordshire, who was living anno 19 king Henry III. whose direct descendant was John Bosville, esq. of Newhall and Ardesley, who lived in the reign of king Henry V. He was twice married; first, to Maria, daughter and coheir of Thomas Barley, esq. of Woodsome, by whom he was ancestor of the Bosvilles, of Newhall; and secondly, to Isabel, daughter of Percival Gusacre, of Brandenburg, afterwards remarried to Henry Langton, by whom he had Richard Bosville, of Guilthwayte, whose grandson John Bosville, of Guilthwayte, left by Maria his wife, daughter of John Barnby, of Barnby-hall, a son, Ralph, who was of Bradborne, as before-mentioned, and clerk of the queen's court of wards, who bore for his arms, Argent, a fess lozengy gules, in chief three bears heads erased sable. (fn. 32)
He died in the 23d year of queen Elizabeth, leaving by his first wife Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Clement, two sons, Henry Bosville, esq. who was of Bradborne, and married Elizabeth, daughter of William Morgan, of Chilworth, in Surry, and Robert, who was knighted, and was ancestor of the branch at Eynsford, in this county; whose sister was married to Thomas Petley, of Halsted. Henry Bosville, esq. the eldest son before-mentioned, left Sir Ralph Bosville, who married Mary, second daughter of Sampson Lennard and the lady Margaret Dacre, his wife, by whom he had two children, Lennard Bosville, who married Anne, eldest daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Ridley, LL. D. by whom he had no issue; and Margaret, who at length became her brother's heir, and carried this estate of Bradborne in marriage to Sir William Boswell, who was resident at the Hague twenty-one years for king Charles I. She survived her husband, and dying in 1692, æt. 88, without issue, was buried in this church.
By her will, in which she was a munificent benefactor to the schools of Tunbridge and Sevenoke, as will be mentioned hereafter, she bequeathed this manor and estate to her kinsman, William Bosville, esq. who died possessed of it, having had by Jane his wife, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Clement Hobson, several children, of whom Henry Bosville, esq. the eldest, succeeded his father in this estate. He rebuilt the mansion-house of Bradborne, as it now remains, and dying in 1761 unmarried, bequeathed this estate in tail to his kinsman Richard, only son and heir of Sir Edward Betenson, bart. who was son of Edward Betenson, of LincolnsInn, who died in 1700, (by Catherine his wife, daughter of Sir John Rayney, bart. of Wrotham) the second son of Sir Richard Betenson, created a baronet in the 15th year of king Charles II. On failure of the descendants of the eldest son of Sir Richard, in 1733, the title of baronet came to Sir Edward Betenson, who was of Wimbledon, in Surry, from whence he removed to his son's seat at Bradborne, where he died in 1762, and lies buried in Wrotham church, leaving by Ursula his wife, daughter of John Nicks, late of Fort St. George, merchant, an only son and heir, Richard, before-mentioned, who succeeded him in title and estate; and a daughter named Helen, who died unmarried in 1788 leaving by her will several extensive charities. Sir Richard Betenson, after his father's death continued to reside at Bradborne, the house of which, as well as the park, he greatly improved, and in 1765 served the office of high sheriff of this county. He married Lucretia, one of the daughters and coheirs of Martin Folkes, esq. late president of the Royal Society, who died without issue, and was buried in Wrotham church.
On the death of Sir Richard Betenson without issue, Bradborne, with the rest of the Bosville estates in this parish, went, by the limitation of Mr. Bosville's will to Thomas Lane, esq. of Sevenoke, who is the present owner of this seat, but John Hatsell, esq. resides in it.
The liberty of the duchy of Lancaster claims over the manor of Bradborne. (fn. 33)
There is an estate called BLACKHALL in this parish, which was formerly in the possession of a family called Totihurst, of which William de Totihurst flourished here, as appears by antient court rolls, in the reigns of king Edward III. and king Richard II. Thomas de Totihurst held it in the reigns of Henry V. and VI. His son, Robert Totihurst, who was, as appeared by the inscription on his tomb in this church, now defaced, servant to cardinal Bourchier, archbishop of Canterbury, died possessed of this estate in 1512. He was succeeded in it by his son, Thomas Totihurst, esq. who was a justice of the peace for this county. He some years afterwards alienated it to Ralph Bosville, esq. afterwards knighted, (fn. 34) and clerk of queen Elizabeth's court of wards; since which this estate has had the same proprietors as Bradborne, and as such is now in the possession of Thomas Lane, esq.
KIPPINGTON is a seat here, which was formerly the estate of a younger branch of the family of Cobham, of Cobham in this county. Reginald de Cobham, of Sterborough, so called from his residence at that castle in Surry, died possessed of this place in the 35th year of king Edward III. as did Joane his wife, daughter of Sir Maurice Berkeley, in the 43d of the same reign. Their grandson, Sir Thomas Cobham, died possessed of it in the 11th year of king Edward IV. (fn. 35) leaving a daughter and sole heir, Anne, who carried it in marriage to Sir Edward Borough, who survived him, and died anno 21 king Henry VIII.
Thomas, their son and heir, was summoned to parliament as lord Borough the next year. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Tirwhit, of Lincolnshire, by whom he had Thomas, his son and heir, who bequeathed this estate to his younger son, Sir William Borough, and he, in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated it to Burges, by whose sister and heir it was carried in marriage to Hanger, from whence it was sold to Cowper, and he, in the reign of king Charles I. conveyed Kippington, and the estate belonging to it, to Mr. Thomas Farnaby, (fn. 36) who was the most eminent schoolmaster of that time.
He was an excellent scholar, so famous in his teaching, and his school so much frequented, that more eminent men, in church and state, issued thence, than from any other schools taught by one man in England.
He had removed from London, where he had upwards of three hundred noblemen and others under his care, to Sevenoke, in 1636, and taught here with great esteem, and, what is scarcely to be heard of in his prosession, grew rich, and purchased Kippington and other estates here and at Otford, and near Horsham, in Sussex.
At length, on the breaking out of the civil wars, being suspected of being a loyalist, he was much persecuted till his death, which happened in 1647, He was then about seventy-two years old, (fn. 37) and lies buried in the chancel of Sevenoke church. His direct descendant and grandson, Charles Farnaby, was of Kippington, and in the 2d year of king George I. was knighted; and in the 6th year of that reign, was sheriff of this county, and in the 12th, viz. July 21, 1726, was advanced to the dignity of a baronet.
This family at first bore for their arms, Gules, two bars gemells argent, on a bend or, a lion passant of the field, armed and langued azure; which coat was granted to John Farnaby, eldest son of Mr. Thomas Farnaby, by his first wife, by Sir Edward Walker, garter, in 1664, in consideration of his services to the royal family; but in the 2d of queen Anne, the above coat was altered to, Argent, three bars gemells gules, on a bend or, a lion passant of the second; and then confirmed to Charles Farnaby, esq. of Kippington above mentioned, afterward a baronet, by Sir Henry, St. George clarencieux.
He married Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Letten, merchant, of London, by whom he left only one son, Thomas, his successor in title and estate; and two daughters, Sarah, who married Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, late lord chief baron of his majesty's court of exchequer; and Elizabeth, who married William Hale, esq. of Abbot's Langley, in Hertfordshire; he died in London, in 1741.
Sir Thomas Farnaby, bart. his only son, was of Kippington, and in 1737, married Mary, one of the daughters and coheirs of Montague Lloyd, D.D. He died in 1760, leaving three sons, Charles, his successor in title and estate; John, now of West Wickham, esquire; and Thomas; and one daughter, (fn. 38) married to Charles Dering, esq. of Barham, in this county.
Sir Charles Farnaby, bart. the eldest son, is the present baronet, who married Penelope, daughter of Ralph Radcliffe, esq. of Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, widow of Mr. Charlton, of London, merchant, by whom he has no issue, and on his brother-in-law, John Radcliffe's death, in 1784, s.p. he became, in right of his wife, his heir, and has since taken the name of Radcliffe. In the 7th of king George III. he was chosen in parliament for this county, and in the next parliament for Hythe, as he has been ever since to the present time. He resided for some years at Kippington, the house of which he almost rebuilt, but removing to Hitchin, he sold this seat to Francis Motley Austen, esq. only son of Francis Austen, esq. of Sevenoke, by his first wife, the daughter and heir of Thomas Motley, esq. Mr. Austen married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Thomas Wilson, of West Wickham, by whom he has six sons and three daughters, and now resides at Kippington.
There is an estate in this parish, called RUMP-SHOT, which is written, in old evidences, Rumpsted. It was antiently the inheritance of a family of the surname of Rumpsted, which seems to have been its original name, who possessed it for many generations. Sir William de Rumpsted was an eminent man, and flourished here in the reign of king Edward III. and, as the constant tradition of the inhabitants is, was the foster-father of William de Sevenoke, who was found a desolate and forlorn orphan, in the hollow body of an oak, and received both maintenance and education from his charity and benevolence.
In the reign of king Henry VI. this place was in the possession of the family of Nisell, of Wrotham, in which it remained till Alice, only daughter and heir of William Nisell, carried it in marriage to John Bere, of Dartford; who, in the reign of Henry VIII. alienated it to Peckham, who not many years after conveyed it to Bedell; and Nicholas Bedell, in the 3d and 4th year of king Philip and queen Mary, passed it away to John Stacy, of Hollenden, in Tunbridge, who quickly after sold it to Mr. Richard Lone, of Sevenoke, son of Robert Lone, of Ellow, in Suffolk, who bore for his arms two coats, Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Lone, azure, a tiger passant or; 2d and 3d, ermine, a cross formee sable. (fn. 39)
His second son, Richard, seems to have succeeded to this estate, which he soon after conveyed by sale to Thomas Lambard, esq. son of Sir Multon Lambard, and grandson of William Lambard the perambulator; of whom a full account has been given in the description of Westcombe, in Greenwich, in the first volume of this History. Thomas Lambard, the purchaser of this estate, as above mentioned, married Isabella, daughter of Sir John Garrard, of Hertfordshire, by whom he had Thomas, who died s. p. and William, who became his heir, and two daughters, Isabella, married to Allington Paynter, esq. of Gillingham, and Mary, to Thomas Hatton, of London; he died, in 1675, and was succeeded by William, his only son and heir, who was of Sevenoke, esquire, where he died, in 1711, leaving by Magdalen, his wife, daughter of William Humphries, esq. of Merioneth, two sons, Thomas, who succeeded him at Sevenoke, and Multon, who was knighted at the coronation of king George II. and died in 1758, leaving Jane his wife surviving, who was the sole daughter and heir of Edward Fowler, esq. of Ash, by whom he had no issue. Thomas Lambard, esq. the elder brother, was of Sevenoke, and died in 1769, leaving by Grace, his wife, daughter of Sir William Parsons, bart. of Nottingham, who died in 1778, two sons, Multon, esq. now of Sevenoke, who married in 1789, Aurea, daughter of the late Francis Otway, esq. of Ashgrove, and is the present possessor of this estate. Thomas, now rector of Ash, near Wrotham, who married Sophia Otway; and four daughters, Grace, now unmarried; Mary, married to John Halward, A.M. Anne to Sackville Austen, A.M. and Jane to John Randolph, D.D. They bear for their arms, Gules a chevron vaire between three lambs of the second.
The house and lands, called BRITAINS, in this parish, were, with the manors of Sevenoke, Knole, and other premises, conveyed in exchange, by archbishop Cranmer, anno 29 king Henry VIII. to that king, as has been mentioned more fully before.
King Henry VIII. in his 35th year, granted this estate for life to Matthew Colthurst, (fn. 40) but the fee remained in the crown till king Edward VI. in his 4th year, granted it by the name of the manor, messuage, and brewhouse, with the appurtenances, called Britains, in Sevenoke, to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, who that year granted a lease of the same for forty years to Sir George Harper and Thomas Culpeper. The earl of Warwick was the next year created duke of Northumberland; and in the 7th year of that reign, conveyed this estate, among other premises in Sevenoke, back again to the king; (fn. 41) where it staid but a short time, for queen Mary, in her 1st year, granted the fee of it to Sir Thomas Woodhouse and Thomas Reynowe, (fn. 42) who, that year, passed it away to John Dawnsey and Anne his wife.
Sir Ralph Bosville of Bradborne, in this parish, died anno 23 queen Elizabeth, possessed of the manor, or farm of Brittons, and three hundred acres of land, and one water mill, holding the same in capite by knights service, whose second son, Sir Robert Bosvyle (for so he spelt his name) succeeded him in this estate; in whose descendants, seated at Eynsford, in this county, it seems to have continued till Sir Henry Bosvyle, dying without issue in 1702, devised it by will to his kinsman, Robert Bosville, esq. of Staffordshire; whose son, of the same name, about the year 1765, sold it to Sir Thomas Farnaby, bart. of Kippington, in this parish; whose son, Sir Charles Farnaby Radcliffe, bart. in 1797, alienated it to Francis Motley Austen, esq. of Kippington, the present owner of it.
Sampson Lennard, esq. of Herstmonceaux, in Sussex, in 1611, in consideration of twelve hundred pounds, conveyed to John Cacott, gent. of Sunderidge, among other premises, the manor or farm, called WICKHURST, with its appurtenances, containing one hundred and sixty acres of land, in Sevenoke; out of which there was a rent of ten shillings and eight pence, granted by deed, indented to Thomas Lock and James Wood, churchwardens of Sevenoke, and their successors. This estate afterwards became the property of Thomas Streatfield, esq. of Sevenoke; since which it has passed to Nathaniel Barham, esq. the present owner of it.
STEDALLS, or Stidulfe's Hoath, is an estate in this parish, adjoining to Seal, which has already been mentioned in the description of that parish, as having been part of the demesnes of that manor, and as having passed from the family of Stidulse to that of Quintin, alias Oliver, from whence it was sold to Richard Tybold, alias Theobold, in the reign of queen Elizabeth. His grandson, Stephen Theobald, esq. died in 1619, leaving by Catharine his wife, daughter of Richard Caryll, esq. two daughters and coheirs; whom Catherine married to Edward Michell, esq. who upon the division of their inheritance had this estate, with Stidulse's-place, in Seale, and other premises there, allotted to her; and in this name of Michell, Sted-alls continued till a female heir of this family carried it in marriage to Bishe Shelley, esq. of Sussex, who married Elizabeth, second daughter of William Perry, esq. of Turville-park, by Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Col. Thomas Sidney, and grand daughter and heir of Robert earl of Leicester, by whom he had one son, John Shelley, esq. who, in 1793, took the surname of Sidney, pursuant to the will of his grandmother above mentioned, and he is the present possessor of this estate.
The family of Newman were for some generations tenants of this house and estate, and resided here; many of whom lie buried in this and in Seale church; a younger branch of them afterwards settled at Westbere, near Canterbury, where a farther account of them may be seen.
Of the THREE DISTRICTS, into which this parish is divided, of which those of Town Borough and the Weald have already been described, the remaining one of Riverhead is by no means inconsiderable. It lies about a mile from Sevenoke town, and seems formerly to have been written both Rotherhith and Rothered, comprehending the western part of this parish; it contains the large hamlet of Riverhead, in which are situated lord Amherst's seat of Montreal; that of Cool Harbour, late admiral Amherst's; and Mrs. Petley's; through this hamlet the road branches on the one hand to Westerham, and on the other across the river Darent towards Farnborough and London; hence it extends beyond Bradborne to the bounds of this parish, north-eastward, at Greatness, which is within it.
In this hamlet was the antient mansion, called Brook's Place, Supposed to have been built by one of the family of Colpeper, out of the materials taken from the neighbouring suppressed hospital of St. John. It afterwards came into the possession of a younger branch of the family of Amherst. Jeffrey Amherst, esq. bencher of Gray's-inn, was owner of it, and resided here at the latter end of the last century. He was descended of ancestors, who had been seated at Pembury in the reign of king Richard II. from whom, in a direct line, descended Richard Amherst, esq. who left three sons; the eldest of whom, Richard, was sergeant at law, and of Bayhall, in Pembury, in the description of which a full account will be given of him and his descendants. Jeffry, the second, was ancestor of the Riverhead branch, as will be mentioned hereafter; and William, the third son, left an only daughter, Margaret, married to John Champs of Tunbridge.
Jeffry Amherst was rector of Horsemonden, and resided at Southes, in Sussex, where he died, and was buried in 1662; whose grandson, Jeffry Amherst, esq. was of Riverhead, as has been before mentioned. and a bencher of Gray's-inn, and dying in 1713, was buried at Pembury. By his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Yates, esq. of Sussex, he had several children, of whom, Jeffry, the second son, only arrived at maturity, and was of Riverhead; he was a bencher of Gray's-inn, and dying in 1750, was buried in Sevenoke church, having married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Kerrill, esq. of Hadlow, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters, viz. Elizabeth, married to John Thomas, clerk, of Welford, in Gloucestershire; and Margaret, who died unmarried.
Of the sons, Sackville, the eldest, died unmarried in 1763, Jeffry the second, will be mentioned hereafter; John, the third, was of Riverhead, and viceadmiral of the blue squadron; he married Anne, daughter of Thomas Lindzee, of Portsmouth, by whom he had no issue; he died in 1778, and his widow re-married Thomas Munday, esq. The seventh son, William, was a lieutenant-general in the army, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Patterson, esq. of London. He died in 1781, leaving one son, William-Pitt, and a daughter, Elizabeth-Frances.
Jeffry Amherst, esq. the second son, became, at length, possessed of the mansion of Brooks, and attaching himself early in life to the prossession of a soldier, he acquired the highest military honours and preferments, after a six years glorious war in North America, of which he was appointed governor and commander in chief in 1760; which, when he resigned, the king, among other marks of his royal approbation of his conduct, appointed him governor of the province of Virginia.
The victorious atchievements of the British forces in North America, during Sir Jeffry Amherst's continuance there, cannot be better summed up than by giving two of the inscriptions on an obelisk, in the grounds of his seat at Montreal; viz.
In 1761, he was made a knight of the Bath, and afterwards a privy counsellor; after which he succeeded to the highest military preferments; being, in 1796, made field marshal of his majesty's forces; before which he had been created a peer of this realm, by the title of lord Amherst, baron of Holmsdale; and on August 30, 1788, he had a new grant of that barony, with remainder to his nephew, William Pitt Amherst, eldest son of his younger brother, lieut. gen. Amherst before mentioned.
Soon after lord Amherst's return from America, having pulled down the old mansion of Brookes, he erected, at a small distance from it, an elegant mansion, built of Stone, in which he now resides, naming it MONTREAL, in remembrance of his great success in taking that city in Canada.
In 1764, lord Amherst, with consent of the lord of the manor, inclosed some common ground, and turned the road farther from his house; to effect which there was a writ, Ad quod damnum, issued, which was returned and recorded at the Easter sessions, held at Maidstone for that year.
His lordship has been twice married; first to Jane, only daughter of Thomas Dalyson, esq. of Hampton's, in this county, who died without issue; and, secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of the Hon. Major General George Cary, only brother to lord viscount Falkland, by whom he has as yet no issue. He bears for his arms, Gules, three tilting spears erect or, headed argent; for his crest, on a wreath, or and gules, a turf vert, and on it three tilting spears, one erect, and two saltier-wise or, headed argent, incircled with a garland vert; and for his supporters, on the dexter side, a Canadian war Indian, his exterior arm embowed, holding a war-axe proper; on the sinister side, a like Canadian, holding in his exterior hand a staff argent, thereon a scalp proper.
There is ANOTHER SEAT in this hamlet, which has been for some generations the property and residence of a branch of the family of Petley, (fn. 43) of whom some account has already been given in the former part of this History. Ralph Petley, eldest son of Thomas Petley, of Filston, in Shoreham, who lived in the reign of king James I. by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph Cam, of London, first removed hither. His son, Ralph Petley, was sheriff of this county, in the 31st year of king Charles II. He married Jane, daughter of Sir John Seyliard, bart. of Chidingstone, by whom he had four children; Thomas; John, who married Jane Lockyer, by whom he left one son, Charles, afterwards heir to his first cousin, Ralph Petley; and a daughter Jane, who died unmarried; Jane, wife of . . . . . Fowler, esq. and Ralph, who died without issue. He died in 1704, and lies buried in this church, with Jane his wife.
His eldest son, Thomas Petley, esq. succeeded him in this seat, and married Margaret, one of the three daughters and coheirs of Thomas Gifford, esq. by whom he left Ralph Petley, esq. his son and heir, and other children.
Ralph Petley died unmarried, in 1751, and at his death bequeathed this seat, and the rest of his estates, to his first cousin, Mr. Charles Petley, (son of his uncle John, by Jane Lockyer) who was storekeeper of the ordnance at Chatham. He removed hither; and, in 1752, married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Paul, esq. of Northumberland. He died at Riverhead, in 1765, leaving his wife surviving, and three sons and three daughters; of the former, Ralph Robert Carter married Miss Elizabeth Campbell of Poole, and died in 1788, leaving three sons, Charles, John, and Horace. John was a captain of dragoons, and died in 1792, unmarried; and Twisden died under age and unmarried; of the three daughters, Elizabeth married Philip Cade, esq. Judith is unmarried, and Sarah married K. Mackenzie, esq. of Cromartie. After Mr. Charles Petley's death, the fee of this seat became at length vested, by the death of the third son unmarried, in his two elder brothers, Ralph and John, the latter of whom left his interest in it to his mother, who is now possessed of one moiety of it, and resides here; the other moiety of it is vested in Elizabeth, widow of Ralph, the eldest brother; after whose death it will become the property of her two younger sons, John and Horace. They bear for their arms, Argent two chevrons ingrailed sable, a canton ermine.
The School and Alms house.
ABOUT the latter end of king Edward III.'s reign, there was found, by Sir William Rumpsted, in the hollow of a tree, or, as some report, in the street of Sevenoke, a poor child, whose parents were unknown, who for that reason was named after the place where he, was discovered, William Sevenoke, or Sevenokes, as his name was sometimes written. This orphan was, by the assistance of Sir William, and other charitable persons, brought up, and put out apprentice, (fn. 44) and was admitted to the freedom of the Grocers company. By degrees he accumulated wealth, and rose to be lord mayor of London, which office he served in the 6th year of king Henry V. and received the honour of knighthood, then bearing for his arms, Seven acorns, three, three, and one. (fn. 45) He served in parliament for the city of London, in the 8th year of king Henry V. and was, by his will, a benefactor to the parish of St. Dunstan in the East, and was buried in the church of St. Martin, Ludgate.
In gratitude to the place of his birth, he by his will, in 1432, founded an hospital, consisting of an alms house and a free school within this town, endowing both with a sufficient maintenance. After which, in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, through the care of Sir Ralph Bosville, and several of the inhabitants here, not only the yearly stipends were much increased, but their former litigated possessions were settled and quietly established by the queen's letters patent that year, which directed, that there should be for ever, in the town of Sevenocks, a free grammar-school, called The grammar school of queen Elizabeth; and that there should be an incorporation of it, to consist of two wardens of the school, four assistants of the town and parish of Sevenocks, which was confirmed by an act, passed in the 39th year of that reign, not only as to this school, but the incorporation was more firmly established as to the hospital or alms house, for the relief of the poor, supported in it; the endowment of both having been greatly augmented, among others, by John Potkyn, D. D. in king Henry VIII.'s reign, who lies buried in this church.
This school is at this time a free grammar school, for the education of poor children of this parish (and two from each of the parishes of Kemsing and Seale, by Dr. Potkyn's donation) free of all expences of education. The alms houses are appropriated for elderly trades people to live in, and an allowance of 2s. 6d. each, being in number thirty-two, and sixteen out pensioners, with the like allowance. There is a house and school, with a salary of fifty pounds per annum, allotted to the grammar master, who must be a bachelor of arts, and a pension to the minister of Sevenoke of 6s. 8d. per annum. There are four exhibitions to Cambridge for four scholars, at fifteen pounds each; the endowment of all which arises from houses, wharfs, and warehouses, in the parish of All Saints Barking, in London; in annuities or yearly rent charges, issuing out of lands; and in the stock of one thousand pounds, New South Sea annuities, vested in the four assistants and two wardens, amounting to thirty pounds per annum interest 3 per cent. the whole annual produce being 654l. 12s. 9d. of which a farther account will be given below.
The lady Margaret, daughter of Sir Ralph Bosville, and widow of Sir William Boswell, before her death, in 1675, settled a farm in Essex upon trustees, to pay the rents and profits to the founding and endowment of two scholarships in Jesus College, in Cambridge, of twelve pounds per annum each; the scholars to be called Sir William Boswell's scholars, and to be chosen out of Sevenoke school; and from want of lands fitting there, out of Tunbridge school; and upon every vacancy three pounds a-piece to two of the fellows of Jesus College, to come over to prove the capacities of the lads, and five pounds to one examiner, or six pounds between the two for a piece of plate; twelve pounds yearly to a schoolmaster, to instruct fifteen of the poorest children, born in this parish, in the catechism of the church of England, and to write and cast accounts; and eighteen pounds per annum more, to be kept in public stock, to place them so taught to handicraft trades or employments. In the 8th year of king George I. the leases of the warehouses, erected on part of the lands, called Woolquay, devised by Sir William Sevenoke, for these charitable purposes, being expired, and the school and alms-houses much out of repair; on a proposal made to the wardens and assistants for the purchase of them, tending greatly to the advantage of this charity, an act of paliament passed to vest the fee and inheritance of them in trustees, for the use of the crown, as lying contiguous to the royal customhouse, that they might be fitted up for warehouses, offices, or other conveniences for merchants, or the commissioners and officers of the customs; and the king, to promote this so useful and beneficial a charity, ordered the wardens and assistants to be then paid 2500l. towards the rebuilding the school, alms house, &c. which sum was confirmed to them by the act then passed. And the wharf, quay, and other premises, were made subject by it to a yearly rent of 550l. to be paid for the future to the wardens and assistants, and their successors, for ever, for the perpetual support and maintenance of the charitable uses, ordered by the founder and other benefactors.
In pursuance of which the present school house was erected on the old foundation, in 1727; and the hospital or alms house was completely repaired and fitted up.
There are at present six exhibitions belonging to this school, four of which are of fifteen pounds a year, and confined to no college or either university in particular; and it is now in a flourishing condition, being of good esteem in the county as a seminary of learning, for the education of youth.
Dr. Thomas Fuller, M. D. of this place, who died in 1734, is said to have prosecuted the managers of this charity, and obtained an order, that they should pass their accounts in chancery, and be subject in future to annual elections.
GEORGE SCOTT. gent. gave by will, in 1645, to be distributed among such poor of the ville or precinct of Riverhead, frequenting divine service every Sunday morning, fifteen twopenny loaves, of good wheaten bread, arising out of a house called the Bull and Bush formerly, and estates in Riverhead liberty, vested in the churchwardens and clerk, being 2s. 6d. per week, and of the annual produce of 6l. 10s.
Sir HENRY FERMOR gave by will, in 1732, to forty industrious poor people, men and women, not receiving alms of the parish, one load of wheat bread corn yearly, on Oct. 18, arising out of his estate in Hadlow and Great Peckham, now vested in his heirs.
RALPH BOSVILLE, gent. gave by will, in 1748, established by decree in chancery, in 1751, to provide sixteen three-penny loaves of good wheaten bread, to be given away every Sunday morning to sixteen of the poorest housekeepers of Sevenoke town liberty, not receiving alms of the parish, money, being now the sum of 1184l. S. S. Ann. of the year 1751, at 3 per cent. annual produce, 10l. 10s. and to two of the oldest poor persons of Riverhead liberty, not receiving alms of the parish, the occupier of the post-house to be one, 2s. 6d. per week, each vested in trustees. amount in money, 35l. 10s. 4d. annual produce 13l. and for educating ten poor children of Riverhead liberty, 12l. all which are vested in three trustees.
JEFFRY AMHERST, esq. on or about the year 1725, gave to the poor of this parish in general, an annuity of 5l. per annum, issuing out of his estate in this parish, and of that annual produce.
MRS. EWER gave by will, in 1781, 150l. a part of it to put two children out apprentices, and the remainder to be distributed among the poorest and most deserving families; which gift is now depending in the court of chancery.
SEVENOKE is in the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester. It is a peculiar of the archbishop, and as such is in the deanry of Shoreham. The church stands at the south end of the town, and is an handsome large building, with a square tower at the west end. It is dedicated to St. Nicholas.
Among other monuments and memorials in it, are the following: In the middle isle, memorials for Heath, Wall, Dr. Oliver Theobald, M.D. of Sevenoke, and others of this name; Duck, Fowlers, and Streatfields, of this parish. In the north isle, a memorial for John Fermor, esq. ob. 1722; a mural monument, removed hither from Greenwich church, for Wm. Lambarde, the perambulator, who died in 1601, at Westcombe, in that parish; and for Sir Moulton Lambarde of that place, his son and heir, who died at Westcombe, in 1634. On the north side, a monument for John Fermor, esq. son of Wm. Fermor, esq. of Walshes, in Sussex, obt. 1722, erected by his brother, Henry Fermor, esq. In the south isle, memorials for Woodgate and Lucknor; a monument for Thomas Fuller, M.D. obt. 1734; his mother, wife, and several of his children. In the chancel, memorials for Ralph Petley, esq. of this parish, and Jane his wife, ob. 1704; another for Sir Charles Farnaby, bart. of Kippington, ob. 1741, and lady Elizabeth his wife, ob. 1757; and for Sir Tho. Farnaby, bart. their only surviving son, ob. 1760; for Tho. Farnaby, esq. ob. 1647; and one for dame Anne Coell, eldest daughter of John Howson, bishop of Durham, first married to Thomas Farnaby, esq. of Kippington, and afterwards to Sir John Coell of Suffolk, ob. 1683. Within the rails of the altar, a grave stone, on which has been the effigy of a man in brass, underneath an inscription for Hugh Owen, formerly rector of this church; a monument, with the figure of a woman kneeling, with a book in her hand, and other figures of Sculpture on each side, for the lady Margaret, relict of Sir Wm. Boswell, resident at the Hague for twentyone years for king James I. with an inscription, reciting her charities to this parish and elsewhere; she died in 1692, and lies buried in a vault underneath. At the east end, a monument for the lady Margery Clerke, of the antient family at Ford, in Wrotham, wife of Thomas Scott, esq. of those of Congherst, in Hawkhurst, ob. 1618. There were formerly inscriptions, but long since lost, for Edward Bourgchier, son and heir of Sir Tho. Bourgchier, son of John Lord, of Berners, and Agnes, the wife of the said Tho. Bourgchier, daughter of Sir Tho. Carlton, which Edward died in 1496. One for Robert Law, chaplain of St. Mary's Chantry, in this church, ob. 140; and for Wm. Potken and Alexandria, his wife; he died in 1499. And of Brooke, Gregbye, Tottlehurst, and Yardley. (fn. 46)
The church of Sevenoke was part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, where it remained till archbishop Cranmer, by that great deed of exchange, which he made with king Henry VIII. in the 29th year of that reign, conveyed it to the king, by the name of the advowson and patronage of Sevenoke.
By virtue of the commission of enquiry into the value of church livings, in 1650, it was returned, that there were in Sevenoke a parsonage and vicarage, with houses to each, and that the parsonage had been let at one hundred and forty pounds per annum, and the vicarage at 20l. per annum, and that Mr. Kentish was the only incumbent put in by the parliament. (fn. 47)
The rectory is valued in the king's books at 13l. 6s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 6s. 8d. The vicarage is there valued at 15l. 3s. 1½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 10s. 3¼d. (fn. 48) Pension to the rector of Shoreham, 3l. 6s. 8d.
The rectory of Sevenoke has been for many years a sinecure, divided from the vicarage, each requiring separate institution and induction, and a conformity, in every particular, to the act of Uniformity. The patronage of both was for some time possessed by the family of Curteis. Dr. Thomas Curteis, rector and vicar of this parish, died in 1775, which then descended to his daughter, Hester, married to David Papillon, esq. of Acris, who in her right became entitled to it, and he is the present possessor of this patronage.
Mr. John Lennard had a judicial sentence in the arches, in 1579, for tithe wood in this parish, against Foster and Pecock.
He had inclosed lands and wood into Otford-park, and seventy-four acres of land and wood into Knolepark, which joined to Whittley, and lay below the hills, and sixty acres into Panter's park, adjoining to Whittley, but lying nearer the Weald; and because the tithe of land and wood belonged to the vicar of Sevenoke, and twenty shillings for tithe pannage out of Knowle; therefore, by decree of the court of augmentation, by the king's command, the vicar had five pounds decreed to him, 35 king Henry VIII. which has been paid ever since.
There was, before the Reformation, a CHAPEL, or CHANTRY, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in this church, which was founded by Sir Henry Gawdy, clerk, sometime parson of this church, for a priest to celebrate in it, for his soul, and the souls of all other Christian people. The advowson and nomination of whom was to be in the archbishop of Canterbury and his successors.
Archbishop Cranmer, in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. exchanged this right of nomination with the king, for other premises elsewhere, and it remained in the hands of the crown at the suppression of the chantry itself, by the act of the 1st of king Edward VI. when the revenues of it, consisting of a messuage and garden, called the Chanter's-house, and other premises, of the clear yearly value of 8l. 9s. 4d. were surrendered into the king's hands; and in 1553, there was remaining a pension of six pounds paid to William Hopkins, late incumbent of this chantry. (fn. 49)
At the northern extremity of this parish, near Greatnesse, there was an HOSPITAL with a chapel, dedicated to St. John Baptist, in the patronage of the archbishop, as appears by the patent of the 23d of Edward III. when the king granted to John de Tamworth the custody of it, by reason of the vacancy of that see.
This seems to have been the chapel mentioned in the Textus Roffensis, by the name of Gretenersce, as paying a yearly chrism rent to the mother church of the diocese.
Archbishop Cranmer, by deed of exchange, in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. conveyed to that king the advowson of this hospital, after which the king, in his 31st year, procured, from John Clayton, the master, a surrendry of it, with all the lands, rents, &c. belonging to it, in Sevenoke, Otford, or elsewhere; in consideration of which, the king, of his especial favour, granted him, during his life, an annual pension of 8l. 2s. 10d. (fn. 50)
Church Of Sevenoke.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Archbishop of Canterbury||Roger de Sevenoke, anno 22 king Edward I. (fn. 51)|
|Thomas de Capella, in 1286, 1297. (fn. 52)|
|Henry Gawdy. (fn. 53)|
|Thomas Havard, presented in 1553. (fn. 54)|
|Richard Milbourne, in 1607. (fn. 55)|
|Nicholas Gibbon, D. D. presented in 1632. (fn. 56)|
|Kentish, in 1650. (fn. 57)|
|Nicholas Gibbon restored in 1660, obt. 1692. (fn. 58)|
|Hugh Owen. (fn. 59)|
|Curteis, esq.||Thomas Curteis, obt. 1747.|
|Thomas Curteis, D. D. 1747, ob. April 27, 1775. (fn. 60)|
|William Hardy, A M. 1775, resigned 1778. (fn. 61)|
|David Papillon, esq.||Thomas Curteis, 1778. Present rector and vicar. (fn. 62)|