Parishes: Chatham

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.

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'Parishes: Chatham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 191-226. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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LIES adjoining to Rochester eastward. It is called in Domesday, CETEHAM, and in the Textus Roffensis, CÆTTHAM. This place seems to take its name from the Saxon words cyte, a cottage, and ham, a village, i. e. the village of cottages.

THE PARISH OF CHATHAM extends four miles in length from north to south, and between two and three miles from east to west. The soil, excepting in the vale, where it is a fertile loamy land, is in general chalk, but in the southern part it is mostly a red earth, mixed with flints, and rather unfertile; its northern boundary is the river Medway, near which, in the vale, the town of Chatham, and the dock-yard, with its appendages are situated, hence the chalk hills rise suddenly on all sides. Towards the south it extends over much hilly ground, interspersed with frequent coppice woods, having the look of a wild dreary country. Through the town of Chatham the great high road leads from London to Dover, at the eastward of it is Chatham-hill, an entire surface of chalk, and just below it in the valley, on the right hand, the hamlet of Luton, near which there is some fertile loamy soil.

THE TOWN OF CHATHAM, the greatest part of which has been built since the reign of queen Elizabeth, adjoins to that of Rochester, which, with Stroud, makes one long street of more than two miles in length, of which Chatham is one, being commonly called the Three Towns, through which the high road leads from London to Dover, as above-mentioned.

It is situated close to the bank of the Medway for about half a mile, after which the river leaving the town flows north-north east. It is like most sea ports, a long, narrow, disagreeable, ill-built town, the houses in general occupied by those trades adapted to the commerce of the shipping and seafaring persons, the Victualling-office, and the two breweries, and one or two more houses, being the only tolerable built houses in it. At the east end of the town is the parish workhouse, built in 1725, on a large and extensive plan. Northward of the High street, close to the foot of the opposite chalk hills, which rise here to a great height, is another part of this town, called the Brook, from its having been built on land of that name, formerly belonging to the priory of Leeds, over most part of which the tide at times frequently flowed, till within these few years. It consists of a long row of houses, which have of late been greatly increased with streets leading from them up the hill, about the middle of which, at some distance from all others, is a number of houses, built closely together, called Slicket's hill, so as to form a little town of itself. It is exceeding populous, owing to its numerous connections with the several departments of government, and the shipping business carried on at it. It has a large and well supplied market for meat, poultry, garden stuff, &c. on a Saturday weekly, not only sufficient for its own use, but for the city of Rochester likewise, which is mostly supplied from it. A fair is held in the town yearly, on May 15, and September 19, for three days each, for cloaths, millinery, pedlary, toys, and various sorts of goods. Over a long broad road or causeway, separately railed along for the convenience of carriages, as well as foot passengers, called the Land-wall, built and repaired at the charge of government, leading from the High - street, at about a quarter of a mile's distance close to the river, is the Old Dock, being the repository of royal stores and ordnance; and further on, the Royal Dock, above which, on the chalk hill, lies the village of Brompton, situated partly in this parish, and partly in that of Gillingham, consisting of about four hundred houses, most of which have been erected within the memory of persons now living, and from its pleasantness and near situation to the dock-yard, is continually increasing. Near it are the barracks for the soldiers, which are surrounded by extensive lines of fortification, to defend the docks and stores, on any invasion of the enemy on the land side.

Close to the houses on the opposite or south side of the High-street, over the chalk hill at about a quarter of a mile distance, there has been a new road cut of late at a very great expence, by the authority of parliament, to avoid the inconvenience of passing through this street. (fn. 1) The inhabitants of Chatham were so much alarmed at this, left, the thoroughfare of their town being neglected, their traffic would likewise soon decay, that they refused to have their town comprehended in the act, which those of Rochester obtained, for the new paving and otherwise beautifying that town and Stroud, as the making this new road was to be part of the act. However, they soon found, on the other hand, that if the town of Chatham too was not made more safe and commodious for travellers, the greatest part of them would most probably avoid so unsafe and disagreeable a thoroughfare, by travelling the new road, which again alarmed them so much, that in 1772 they procured an act themselves for the like purposes, which was followed by another more extensive in 1776; in consequence of which the High-street has been new paved and lighted, and several of the annoyances have been removed, which before rendered this narrow thoroughfare so inconvenient and disagreeable to passengers; the expences of which are railed on the proprietors of houses and lands, by a rate not exceeding ninepence in the pound.

The storehouses and wharf, for the use of the ordnance, are situated on a narrow slip of land below the chalk cliff on the north side of the town between the church and the river; this is usually called the Old Dock, from its having been the original royal naval yard, till king James, in the year 1622, finding it too streight for the growing service of the navy, as it had then in it only one small dock, removed the naval yard to its present adjoining situation, and assigned this to the use of the office of ordnance, to which it continues at this time appropriated.

The guns belonging to the royal shipping in this river are deposited on this wharf in long tiers, and large pyramids of cannon-bails are laid up on it, ready for service; there is likewise a continued range of storehouses, in which are deposited the carriages of the guns, and every other kind of store, usually under the care of this office; in one of them is a small armoury of muskets, pistols, cutlasses, pikes, polaxes, and other hostile weapons arranged in proper order. This department of the ordnance is under the management of a storekeeper, who has a good house here to reside in, a clerk of the survey, and clerk of the cheque, who have each handsome salaries and separate offices to transact their business in, and two extra clerks, besides other inferior officers and labourers.

THE ROYAL NAVAL DOCK adjoins to the abovementioned one northward, and ranges along the eastern bank of the river for near a mile in length.

Though, as it has been already taken notice of, king James is said to have removed the naval yard hither, yet it is most probable, that his predecessor, queen Elizabeth, had before made some docks for the shipping here. King Charles I. much improved his father's plan, he erected several considerable buildings, enlarged the scite of the yard, and made new docks for floating the ships, in with the tide. King Charles II. on his return to his dominions, visited this dock in 1660, and viewed the Royal Sovereign, a first rate man of war of one hundred guns; about seven years after which, this dock, with every matter contained in it, had nearly been destroyed, for in the year 1667, this nation being at that time at war with Holland, Admiral de Ruyter, the Dutch Admiral, with fifty sail of ships, anchored at the Nore, whence he dispatched his vice-admiral Van Ghent, with seventeen sail of his lightest ships and eight fire ships, to destroy this dock and the navy riding in this river. Van Ghent having taken Sheerness, though it was gallantly defended by Sir Edward Spragge, blew up the fortifications and burnt the store-houses, and from thence on the 10th of June sailed up the Medway. The famous general Monk, duke of Albermarle, having in the mean time hastened to Chatham, had done every thing for the security of the river, that the short space of time would admit of, but a strong easterly wind and spring tide brought the enemy on with such resistless force, that the chain laid across the river, to prevent their approach, was presently broken, and the Mathias, Unity, and Charles the Fifth, three large Dutch prizes taken in that war, and placed there to guard the chain, were presently burnt by them, and many other vessels damaged. After which, Van Ghent pressing forward between the sunken ships, brought six of his men of war and five of his fire-ships, before Upnorcastle, and notwithstanding they met with as warm a reception as was possible, from the indifferent state that fortress was in, yet they found means to seize the hull of the Royal Charles, when finding the country alarmed, and prepared to oppose them, they ventured no farther up the river, but immediately retreating, on their return burnt the Royal Oak, and in effect destroyed the Loyal London, and the Great James, which they left a great part under water, after which Van Ghent joined Admiral de Ruyter, having lost in this expedition only two ships, which ran on shore, and were burnt by his own people, and 150 men. It appears by the account of the duke of Aibermarle, that the whole of this disgrace and misfortune was owing to the wilful neglect of Sir Phineas Pett, commissioner of Chatham yard; for which he was impeached by the house of commons, but means being found to screen him, it came to nothing.

This attempt so surprising and disgraceful, gave the English nation such a just alarm for the safety of the royal navy and yards on the Medway, that the several forts along the banks of it were immediately put in a proper posture of defence, especially the fort of Sheerness, where the fortifications were greatly increased and a line of such heavy cannon mounted on them, commanding the entrance of the river, that it is hardly possible for the fleet of any power to attempt to pass them for the future, without being torn to pieces.

This dock-yard has been from time to time greatly improved and enlarged, especially within these few years; there are many elegant buildings in it, inhabited by the commissioner and other principal officers belonging to it, which well become the opulence of the nation, and the importance of the navy; besides which there are many neat and commodious offices for transacting the business of the yard. There are large storehouses, one of which is six hundred and sixty feet long, and work-rooms, which by their spaciousness, convey to us a magnificent idea of their vast contents, and the extensive works carried on within them. The sail-lost, in which the sails are made, is two hundred and nine feet in length. In these magazines are deposited prodigious quantities of sails, rigging, hemp, flax, pitch, tar, rosin, and every other ingredient necessary for the building and equipping of ships. The coils of cordage, and heaps of blocks, with every other article, are arranged in such order, that on any emergency they may be taken out without the least confusion. For every department there are proper officers and attendants assigned, for the more expeditious dispatch of business; so that even a first rate is often equipped for sea in a few weeks. The masts are carefully deposited in storehouses, peculiarly adapted for this purpose, one of which is two hundred and thirty-six feet in length, and one hundred and twenty feet wide; some of these masts are near one hundred and twenty feet long, and thirtysix inches in diameter. There are also two spacious basons of water, where the timber for these masts is kept continally floating till it is wanted for use. The smith's shop contains twenty-one fires; here the anchors are made, some of which weigh near five tons. The new rope-house is very extensive, being 1140 feet in length; here large quantities of hemp are twisted into cables, some of them one hundred and twenty fathoms long, and twenty-two inches round. In this yard there are four deep and wide docks, for docking and repairing large ships, in one of these the Victory was built, a first rate ship, the largest then in the universe, as it is said, carrying one hundred and ten guns. There are also six ships or launches, on which new ships are constantly building. The new Royal George, of one hundred guns, was built here in 1788, and was the first ship of that rate ever launched from a ship. The Royal Charlotte, of the same dimensions, was launched in 1790, and the Ville de Paris, of one hundred and ten guns, and of much larger dimensions, has been launched here since. The whole of the yard, towards the land, is surrounded with a wall; the approach to it is through a large handsome gateway, flanked by two towers and embattled. This gate is strictly watched by the porter and his assistants, who examine every stranger before he is permitted to enter the yard.

The business of this yard is transacted by a commissioner, who has three clerks under him, a clerk of the cheque, storekeeper, master-shipwright or builder, clerk of the survey, and two master attendants, two master shipwright's assistants, master caulker, clerk of the rope-yard, master ropemaker, a boatswain, purveyor, surgeon, and other inferior officers. The better to secure these magazines from any mischief or accident, there passed two acts in the 8th year of queen Anne, for vesting certain lands and tenements in trustees, for the better fortifying and securing this dock, among others; in pursuance of which a large quantity of land, and many houses, which lay adjoining to this yard and the Old Dock, were purchased for the crown; but nothing further was done in this matter, till the year 1758, anno 31 George II. when this nation being then at war with France, and threatened with an invasion from the enemy, it was thought necessary, as far as possible, to secure the docks from any attempt that might be made on them; to effect which, another act passed that year, for the purchase of more lands, and vesting them in the crown, and extensive lines were immediately formed round the dock on the land side, secured by rampants, pallisades, and a deep broad ditch, extending from the river above the Old Dock, to the same again below the yard next Gillingham, about a mile in length, and including the hamlet of Brumpton, and Chatham church, with several houses near it, near which spot the most antient street of this town is supposed to have been situated. Large and commodious barracks were likewise erected within them, sufficient to contain five regiments of soldiers, and a battalion of artillery, which are constantly quartered here, to guard and defend these lines and the docks, whenever occasion should require. These fortifications have been repaired and augmented, at a very considerable expence; a new redoubt has been made, at the summit of the hill, at the south-east extremity of them, called Amherst's redoubt, and a sort is intended to be added on the river Medway, for the better protection of it against the common enemy. Since which another act passed in 1782, for vesting further lands on the south side of the town in the crown, for extending the lines on that side to wherever it should be thought proper, for the further security of this grand arsenal of the navy of GreatBritain.

At the entrance of Chatham from Rochester, on the north side of the High-street, is the Victuallingoffice, for the use of the royal navy lying here, at Sheerness, and the Nore. In it there is a cooperage, pickling, baking, cutting, slaughter, and store-houses. A new wharf has been lately made to it, and additional buildings erected for the further convenience and service of the victualling. (fn. 2) This office is under the management of an agent victualler, and a store-keeper. The inhabitants of Chatham, with those of Gillingham, were antiently bound to contribute to the second pier of Rochester bridge.

From the vicinity of this place to Rochester, which was most undoubtedly a station in the time of the Romans, it would appear strange if some vestiges of that nation were not found in Chatham, or near adjoining to it. The summit of the hill to the northward of the town points out from its situation, how necessary the possession of it must have been to the Romans, for the safety of their adjoining station. Indeed within these few years, there have been discovered sufficient proofs of its not having been neglected by them; for in throwing up the lines of fortification, for the defence of the dock-yard, at Brompton, in the year 1756, on the west side, a little below the summit of the hill, at the south-east extremity of the lines near Upbery-farm, were found ten or twelve graves in which were human skeletons, and in some of them different pieces of armour, a part of a helmet, the head of a spear, the umbo of a shield, a large sword, many beads of different colours, &c. and afterwards a tumulus was discovered, having in it an urn filled with ashes. Many more graves have been opened since near the above, as the military works have been carried on, in which human skeletons of both sexes have been found entire, together with swords, heads of spears, &c. and in one of them a bottle, made of red earth, resembling in shape a modern water bottle. Great numbers of Roman coins, but mostly obliterated, have been found scattered about this place, and it seems probable that there have been many tumuli over the whole of it, which the plough has long since levelled, the graves of which have not been as yet discovered. On the breaking up the ground for the making of Amherst's redoubt, in 1779, about forty rods west-north-west of Upbery-farm, in a line with Chatham church, the workmen met with the strong foundation of a building, in some parts not more than four or five inches below the surface, but in others somewhat more. Its depth was about six feet and an half, the width twelve feet, and apparent length, as far as can be judged at present from the breadth of the trench, about eighteen feet. On clearing the earth from it, this foundation ap- peared to be the outside and party walls, about two feet thick, of several small cells or rooms, lying in a range south-south east; one of these was in size nine feet three inches, by seven feet three inches, another ten feet square, and a third ten feet by seven feet; the floors of them were of sand, for there was no pavement remaining, about four feet and a half below the surface of the hill; the insides of the walls were done in the antient fresco, with red, blue and green spots, and among the rubbish many pieces were found with broad red and other coloured narrow stripes on them; and on some the marks of the brush were very visible.

Among the rubbish of the adjoining ground, as well as in sinking the ditch to the southward of them, there have been found scattered about many human bones, pieces of Roman brick and tile, numbers of Roman coins, among which was one of the empress Faustina, and one of the emperor Claudius, very fair; several small pieces of iron, heads of spears, an iron ring, together with a variety of broken urns, pots, lachrymatories, &c. but all of them much broken, which might happen from their being deposited on the summit of the hill, from whence the plough continually forcing the earth into the hollow below, at the same time broke these vessels in pieces with the point of it, though it might not penetrate deep enough to turn them upon the surface of the ground. The bones were so much decayed as to crumble into dust, on being pressed between the finger and thumb. The urns, &c. were composed of different kinds of earth; some of them, among which were the pateræ, were of a fine coraline red, as well within side as without; others were of a lead colour, and the larger ones of a coarse black earth, mixed with sea sand, as appeared by the small pieces of shells remaining in them. On the west-south-west side of these cells the foundation of a larger building, not so deep in the ground as the others, was discovered, which was traced within the redoubt, as far as the bank of earth thrown out of the ditch would permit, and was found to measure thirty feet by twenty-one.

What these foundations are the remains of, time only can shew; in all probability much more of them remain undiscovered, to clear up the use of them. But the tumuli, and other sepulchral fragments, belonging to persons of both sexes, plainly shew it to have been a common place of burial in the time of the Romans, as well for their station at Rochester, as the use of their stationary summer camp, established here, or near adjoining to it. Mr. Douglas, in his Nenia Britannica, has published his observations on the various Roman remains discovered within these lines at different times, with several engravings of the tumuli opened, and the contents found in them. Besides the Roman coins a great number of old English, French, and German coins, and many different sorts of tradesmen's tokens have been found scattered about grounds here.

The Roman road, as has been already mentioned, is not to be found on this side Cobham park-gate, where it loses itself in the woods, and does not discover itself again till it comes to the top of Chatham-hill, although in the field where the above-mentioned foundations have been discovered, there appears a very large raised way, running quite across the field, and pointing southsouth-east, beyond which there is nothing further to be seen of it. Some of our antiquarians have doubted, if this was not part of the Roman road; but as this would leave Rochester, which is by all allowed to be the Roman station after Vagniacæ, near a mile to the southward, they have given that conjecture up, and have rather chosen to follow it up Chatham-hill, at the top of which the left hand or north hedge of the high road seems to stand upon it for a great way, as may be perceived not only from the rising and falling of the ground on each side, but from the breaks of the hedges, and the intersections of other crofs roads between Chatham and Rainham.

Indeed, lately some further discovery has been supposed to have been made of the remains of it, from the top of Chatham hill westward, close to the south fide of the present high road, as far down the hill as the house known by the name of the White Horse, which seems to stand upon them, beyond which nothing more of them is to be seen, these remains of the Roman road, if they are such, point in a direct line south-westward to the windmill near St. Margaret's church in Rochester, and the gate of Cobham-park above-mentioned.

CHATHAM gave the TITLE OF BARON to John, the great duke of Argyle, who was in 1705, anno 4 queen Anne, created baron of Chatham and earl of Greenwich in this county, to him and his heirs male. In 1719 he was created duke of Greenwich, and died in October, 1743, without male issue, so that the above titles became extinct. (fn. 3)

The lady Hester Pitt, sister of Richard, earl Temple, and wife of the right hon William Pitt, in consideration of his great and important services to this nation, was in 1761, created baroness of Chatham, with a continuance of the title to her and her heirs male, by her said husband.

On July 30, 1766, the above-mentioned right hon. William Pitt, on a further consideration of his services, was created viscount Pitt, of Burton Pynsent, in Somersetshire, and earl of Chatham, with remainder to his heirs male. He died in 1778, leaving by the lady Hester his wife, John, now earl of Chatham, William, now a privy counsellor, chancellor of the exchequer, and prime minister of this kingdom, &c. and JamesCharles, who died in the West-Indies in 1780, unmarried, and two daughters, Hester, married to Charles, viscount Mahon, now earl Stanhope, and Harriot, married to Edward, eldest son of lord Eliot.

ON THE SOUTH side of Chatham-hill, and on the chalk hills in this parish southward from it, are found several different kinds of the satyrion, or orchis plant, viz.

Orchis hermaphroditica, the butterfly satyrion.

Testiculus psycodes, the gnat fatyrion.

Testiculus vulpinus spegodes, the humble-bee orchis.

Orchis melittias, the bee orchis.

Orchis myodes, the fly satyrion.

Orchis ornithophora, birds fatyrion.

Orchis ornithophora folio maculoso, spotted birds orchis.

All these sorts I have frequently gathered myself there, year after year.

The following have been observed by our old botanists in this parish:

Limonium, sea lavender, below the Old Dock.

Rubra spicata cretica, small candy madder, in great plenty on Chatham-bill. (fn. 4)

IN THE TIME of Edward the Consessor, Chatham was in the possession of Godwin, earl of Kent, on whose death it descended to his eldest son, Harold, afterwards king of England, who being slain at the battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror seized Harold's possessions, and gave this estate, among others, to his halfbrother, Odo, bishop of Baieux; accordingly this place is thus entered, under the general title of that prelate's lands, in Domesday:

In Cetebam hundred, Robert Latin holds Ceteham to ferm of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at fix fulings. The arable land is sixteen carucates. In demesne there are three, and 33 villeins, with four borderers having 10 carucates. There is a church, and 15 servants, and one mill of thirty-two pence, and twenty acres of meadow, and fix fisheries of 12 pence. Wood for the pannage of one hog. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth 12 pounds, now 15 pounds, and yet it pays 35 pounds. Earl Goduin held it.

On the disgrace of the bishop, about four years afterwards, the king seized on this, among the rest of his possessions, which became confiscated to the crown. After which Chatham appears to have been granted to the eminent family of Crevequer, written in Latin,De Crepito Corde, this being their seat, or Caput Baroniæ, i. e. the principal manor of their barony, for some time, until they removed themselves to Leeds castle, being before frequently written Domini de Cetham. They bore for their arms, Gules, a plain cross, or, as they appear on the roof of the cloisters at Canterbury, and impaled with those of Albrineis, were put up in the window of All Saints church, in that city.

Robert, son of Hamon, or Hamo de Crevequer, who had probably the grant of this estate from the Conqueror, appears to have held it of the king, as of his castle of Dover, in capite, by barony, their barony, which consisted of five knights fees, being stiled Baronia de Crevequer. His son Hamo, commonly called from his office Hamo Dapifer, left a son Robert, who erected Leeds castle, and the priory there, in 1119, to the former of which he afterwards removed the capital seat of his barony, whose great grandson Hamo died in the 47th year of king Henry III. being then possessed of this manor of Chatham, held as before-mentioned, and the manors of Farleigh and Teston, likewife in capite, as members of it, belonging, as well as the manor Ledes, to his barony. He left Robert, his grandson, son of Hamo his heir, who afterwards taking part with the barons against the king, this among other estates was seized on, and though he was afterwards restored to the king's favor, yet he never gained posesssion of this manor, which seems to have remained in the hands of the crown till the 19th year of king Ed- ward I. when it was granted to Guido Ferre for the term of his life. He died possessed of it in the 4th year of Edward III. the fame being then of the inheritance of Giles de Badlesmere, and held in capite by knight's service.

Giles de Badlesmere was only son and heir of Bartholomew de Badlesmere, who had had a grant of this manor from king Edward II. in his 11th year. (fn. 5) In the 7th year of king Edward III. he had possession granted of his lands, though he had not then accomplished his full age. After which having received summons to parliament, he died in the 12th year of that reign, without issue, being then possessed of this manor, and leaving his four sisters his coheirs.

On the division of whose inheritance, the manor was allotted to the share of Margaret, the youngest sister, wife of Sir John Tiptoft, (fn. 6) who died before him; but he having issue by her, continued in possession of this manor by the courtesy of England, for his life, and died possessed of it anno 41 king Edward III. holding it in capite, by the service of one knight's fee. Their son and heir, Sir Thomas Tiptost, died in the 46th year of that reign, without male issue, so that his three daughters became his coheirs; of whom the youngest, Elizabeth, married Sir Philip le Despencer, who on the partition of their estates, had this manor allotted to her share, she died before her husband; but leaving a daughter and heir, Margery, Sir Philip continued in possession of it for his life, on whose death, in the 2d year of king Henry VI. Margery, his daughter, inherited this manor, being then the wife of Roger Wentworth, esq. who in her right became entitled to it. (fn. 7) Their descendant, Sir Thomas Wentworth, of Nettlested, in Suffolk, was summoned to parliament anno 20 Henry VIII. among the peers of this realm, and died in the 5th year of king Edward VI. being then lord chamberlain of the king's household, and was buried in Westminster abbey. Thomas lord Wentworth, his son and heir, succeeded to this manor, and was made deputy of Calais, from which trust he was, however, shortly after removed, on account of his youth and inexperience. On king Edward's death he was one of the first who appeared for queen Mary, who, in the 1st year of her reign, made him a privy counsellor, and again deputy of Calais, and the marches of it; which office he held till the fatal loss of that place.

In the 8th year of queen Elizabeth, he alienated the manor of Chatham to Francis Barneham and Stephen Slanie, who quickly after passed away their interest in it to John Hart and Michael Barker; and they, in the 20th year of that reign, had licence to alienate it to Reginald Barker, esq. who died in 1600, and was buried in Chatham church, where an altar tomb was erected to his memory, with the effigies of him and his wife on it. He bore for his arms, Barry or and sable, a bend gules, in chief a crescent sable, for difference. Anne his widow sold it to Sir Robert Jackson, who, in the reign of king Charles I. conveyed it by sale to Sir Oliver Boteler, then of Teston; whose grandson, Sir Oliver Boteler, bart. gave it in marriage with his daughter Joan, to Christopher Rhodes, esq. whose son of the same name, afterwards possessed it, and bore for his arms, On a bend a lion passant guardant, in the dexter point an acorn. On his death, s. p. his sister marrying Charles Birkhead, esq. intitled her husband to it, and he is the present possessor of this manor.

There is a market and two fairs belonging to this manor; the former is held weekly on a Saturday, and the latter on May 15, and Sept. 19, yearly, and holds for three days each time.

Wadeslade, or Walderslade, now vulgarly called WASLETT, is a manor here, which was formerly accounted a member of the manor of Chatham, of which it is now held. After the bishop of Baieux's disgrace, it came into the possession of the Crevequer's, from whom it passed into the family of Leyborne, of Leyborne in this county.

Henry de Leyborne, in the 4th year of king Edward II. obtained a charter of free warren for his lands in Warderslade, Sharstede, and Lydesynge, in this parish. (fn. 8) In the 28th year of king Edward I. he, with his brother Simon, had attended the king in his expedition into Scotland, and was present with many others of the gentry of this county at the siege of Carlaverock, and were both knighted for their services there. They seem both to have been younger brothers of William de Leyborne, of Leyborne castle. On the death of Sir Henry de Leyborne, it is probable this manor descended to his niece, Juliana de Leyborne, who having issue by neither of her husbands, each of whom the survived, it escheated to the crown for want of heirs, for it appears by the inquisition, taken in the 43d year of king Edward III. after her death, that there was then no one who could make claim to her estates, either by direct, or even collateral alliance. After which, this estate continued in the crown till king Richard II. in his 11th year, gave it to the priory of canons, alias Chiltern Langley, in Hertfordshire, where it continued till the dissolution of that house in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. who, in his 31st year, granted to Richard, sussragan bishop of Dover, this manor, together with the scite of the above monastery, and all other lands and possessions belonging to it, in Hertfordshire and Kent, excepting two marshes and a small parcel of land in Preston, in this county, to hold during his life, without any rent or account whatever, provided, that if he should be promoted to one or more ecclesiastical benefices, or other dignity or annuity of the yearly value of one hundred pounds, that then this grant should be void. His name was Thornden, alias Stede. On the foundation of the dean and chapter of Christ church, in Canterbury, anno 33 Henry VIII. he was made one of the new prebendaries of it, and soon after rector of Adisham, in this county, which probably vacated the above grant; however, this certainly happened before the 36th year of that reign, for the king that year granted it to Sir Thomas Moile, to hold in capite by knights service; and he gave it in marriage with his youngest daughter and coheir, Amy, to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Ollantigh in Wye; who, in the 9th year of queen Elizabeth, passed it away, by the name of the manor of Waldesland, alias North Waldesland, in Chatham, to John Mabbe, sen. goldsmith, of London, as he did in the 20th, to William Emmes and Catherine his wife; who, in the 25th year of that reign, alienated it to Rich. Fogge, gent. and he the next year sold it to Mr. Thomas Cocks, who transferred it in like manner in the 36th year of the same reign, to Richard Lee, esq. of Delce, in Rochester; whose eldest son, Richard Lee, esq. succeeded to this estate, but quickly afterwards gave up his right in it to his next brother, Thomas Lee, who dying without issue, gave it by his will to his nephew, Richard, eldest son of his brother, Richard Lee, of Delce, (fn. 9) and his descendant of the same name passed it away in queen Anne's reign to Sir Owen Buckingham, alderman of London, and lord mayor in 1705. He died possessed of Wadeslade in 1713, leaving by Frances, his second wife, a son, Owen Buckingham, esq. who died possessed of it in 1720, (fn. 10) being killed in a duel. After his decease it came to the Manleys of Reading, and from that name it passed in moieties, one of which came into the possession of William Bofville, esq. whose eldest son and heir, Henry Bosville, esq. of Bradborne, in Sevenoke, dying in 1761, unmarried, devised this moiety to his kinsman, Sir Richard Betenson, of Bradborne, bart. on whose death, s. p. this moiety went, by the limitation of Mr. Bosville's will, to Thomas Lane, esq. of Sevenoke, who is the present owner of it. (fn. 11) The other moiety of Wadeslade passed from the Manleys into the name of Lisle, from whence it was alienated to Dr. Philip Bearcroft, on whose decease it descended to his three sons, Philip, Edward, and John Bearcrost, and they some few years ago joined in the sale of it to Abraham Chambers, esq. of London; he died in 1782, leaving his widow surviving, and two sons, who are, as coheirs in gavelkind, the present possessors of his moiety of it. There is a court baron now held for this manor.

SHARSTED, vulgarly called SHAWSTED, is a manor lying among the woods in the fouthern part of this parish, which had antiently owners who took their surname from it.

Fulco de Sharsted held it as half a knight's fee, in the beginning of the reign of king Edward I. (fn. 12) and Simon de Sharsted died possessed of it, and likewise of a moiety of the manor of Lydsing, in this parish and Gillingham, in the 25th year of that reign, at which time he held this manor as half a knight's fee. (fn. 13) In the reign of king Edward II. Sir Henry de Ley borne was possessed of it, in the 4th year of which he obtained charter of free warren for his lands in Sharstede, Lydesinge, and elsewhere in this parish. Itabella his widow, paid aid for this manor in the 20th year of king Edward III. holding it as half a knight's fee of the honour of Ledes. Soon after which it came into the family of Say, for in the 30th year of the above reign Sir Roger de Say, granted to his brother, Sir Jeffry de Say, his manor of Sharstede and Lydesynge, in the parishes of Chatham and Gillingham, with their appurtenances, to hold in perpetual inheritance. He seems to have alienated it to Robert Belknapp, who, in the 50th year of king Edward III. granted the manor of Sharstede, and a moiety of the manor of Lidesynge in Chatham and Woldeham, with their appurtenances, to the prior and convent of Rochester, at the yearly rent of twentytwo marcs for ever, (fn. 14) and performing likewise certain religious services, as is therein mentioned. This manor of Sharsted, with that of Lydsyng, continued part of the possessions of the priory till the dissolution of it in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, settled them on his new founded dean and chapter of Rochester, where the inheritance of them remains at present. The present lease of these manors is vested in Mr. John Boghurst, of Stroud.

HORSTED is a manor in this parish, part of the lands of which are in Rochester, the boundary of the liberty of that city extending towards the south-east, as far as this house.

This place is supposed to take its name from Horsa, the Saxon general, and brother of Hengist, the first king of Kent, who engaging the Britons under the command of Catigern, brother of king Vortimer, the chiefs encountering each other hand to hand, were both killed on the spot; Catigern is supposed to have been buried near the field of battle, at the place now called Kit's Coty house; and Horsa at this place, which, from that circumstance, assumed the name of Horsted, i. e. the place of Horsa. (fn. 15) In the fields near it, there are number of large stones dispersed over the lands, some standing upright, and others thrown down by time, which it is probable were placed as memorials of those who were slain on the side of the Saxons in this memorable rencounter, and were buried here.

This manor, in the reign of king Henry III. was part of the possessions of the eminent family of Apulderfield; for in the 38th year of it, William de Apulderseld obtained a charter of free warren for his lands at Horsted. (fn. 16) After they were become extinct here, it became the property of Waryn, one of whom, John, son of Edmund Waryn, died possessed of it in the 12th year of king Edward III. From this name it passed to Benedict de Fulsham, who was lord of it in the 30th year of that reign. His descendant, Richard Fulsham, held it at his death, in the 5th year of king Henry V. Soon after which it passed into that of Love; Reginald Love died possessed of it in the 9th year of the above reign, and his successor held it till the latter end of king Henry VI. when it passed by sale to William Venour, who died possessed of Horsted in the 1st year of king Edward IV. After which it was, within a few months, conveyed to Markham, in which name it staid but a very short time before it was conveyed to Tate, who passed it away to Sir Richard Lee, citizen and grocer of London, in whose descendants this manor remained till Richard Lee, esq. of Delce, in Rochester, in the reign of queen Anne, passed it away by sale to Robert Harvey, esq. of Crimplesham, in Norfolk; and he, in 1717, alienated it, with other estates, to William Walter, esq. of Chatham, who dying in 1745, gave this manor by will to his nephew, Thomas Walter, esq. and he, soon after the year 1767, conveyed it, with other estates in this parish, to Benjamin Hatley Foote, esq. on whose death, in 1791, his son, George Talbot Hatley Foote, succeeded to it, and is the present owner of it. There is no court held for this manor.

SNODHURST, now vulgarly called Snolledge, is an hamlet here, which was formerly part of the possessions of the family of Crevequer, lords of Chatham. Part of it seems to have been accounted an appendage to the manor of Great Delce, and is said, in the records of the time of king Edward III. to have consisted of sixty acres of land, which are likewise called a carucate, and in others the fourth part of a knight's fee, and are said to lie in Parva, or Little Chatham.

Snodhurst, in the beginning of the reign of king Edward II. was in the possession of the family of Badlesmere. Bartholomew de Badlesmere, in the 9th year of that reign, obtained a charter of free warren for his lands in Snodhurst and Chatham; but at the latter end of it, associating with the barons against the king, he was taken and executed at Canterbury, being then possessed of this estate, as appears by the inquisition taken in the 2d of Edward III. Notwithstanding this delinquency, his young son, Giles de Badlesmere, found so much favour with the king, that in the 7th of Edward III. doing his homage, he had possession granted of his inheritance, though he had not then accomplished his full age. He died in the 12th year of that reign without issue, upon which his four sisters became his coheirs; and on the division of their inheritance, although Maud the eldest sister, wife of John de Vere, earl of Oxford, had some small part of it, yet Elizabeth, the second sister, wife of William Bohun, earl of Northampton, had by far the greatest share of it allotted to her; however, she appears to have parted with her interest in it before the latter end of that reign, when Benedict de Fulsham appears to have died possessed of it; and his descendant held it at his death, in the 5th year of king Henry V. after which this estate passed through the like succession of ownership as Great Delce, in Rochester, before described, till the reign of queen Anne, when Rich. Lee, esq. of Great Delce, passed it away by sale to Robert Harvey, esq. of Crimplesham, in Norfolk; and he, in 1717, alienated it, with other estates, to William Walter, esq. of Chatham, who bore for his arms, Azure, a fess indented or, between three spread eagles argent. He died in 1745, and gave this estate to his nephew, Thomas Walter, esq. who, soon after the year 1767, conveyed it, with other estates in this parish, and St. Margaret's in Rochester, to Benjamin Hatley Foote, esq. whose son, George Talbot Hatley Foote, esq. is the present owner of it.

SETTINGTON, alias SITTINGTON, is a farm and reputed manor in this parish, which, in the reign of king James I. was part of those ample possessions in this parish and neighbourhood, which were owned by Sir Maximilian Dalyson; who, at his death, gave this estate to his son of the same name, who in like manner gave it to his second son, Mr. Charles Dalyson, gent. of Chatham, and he alienated it to Mr. Isaac Walker, gent. of Luton, in this parish, who devised it by his will to his three sons, Richard, Isaac, and William, whose several shares in the year 1714, were become centered in Mr. John Walker, the only surviving son of Richard; he passed it away by sale to Richard Venner, of Northfleet, whose heirs sold it to Mr. Laurence, of Evans; from whom it was sold in the year 1773, to Mr. John Holloway, of London, the present proprietor of it; who has, as I am informed, lately alienated it.

There is a good old mansion, called Room-house, situated at a small distance from the High-street of Chatham, on the south side of it, in the road leading from thence to Maidstone. This was formerly the seat of the Walkers, who alienated it to commodore Mihell; he sold it to George Hinde, esq. after whose death it was possessed by his widow, and she carried her interest in it in marriage to George Monroe, esq. since which it has been sold to James Best, esq. of Chatham, who died in 1782; one of whose sons, Mr. Richard Best, now resides in it.

ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S HOSPITAL, founded by Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, in 1078, the year after his advancement to that see, (fn. 17) was situated adjoining to the south side of the High-street, less than a quarter of a mile from the entrance into this parish from Rochester. It was originally instituted as a lazar-house, i e. for the reception of poor and leprous persons, and consisted of a master, who was sometimes stiled custos, or warden, and at others, prior, and of brethren and sisters. (fn. 18) The original revenues of it were but small, and though they were afterwards increased at different times, and confirmed by king Henry III. and his successors, yet this hospital probably would before long have sunk into ruin, had not the founder so firmly connected it with the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, the prior and chapter of which he ordained perpetual patrons of it. From the time of their foundation, the poor brethren received weekly and daily allowances of provisions from the above convent, who permitted them to take to their use the oblations and profits of the altars of St. James and St. Giles in their cathedral; they had besides the privilege of taking alms from those persons who dined at the archbishop's table on the day of his installation, and the cloth which covered the table was their perquisite. In the reign of king Henry VI. an attempt was made to prove this hospital to have been founded by the king's progenitors, but on an inquisition being taken it was found that neither the king, nor any of his predecessors ever were founders of it, nor had he or they any interest in it as such.

Notwithstanding what has been mentioned before, concerning the dependence of this hospital on the priory of St. Andrew, there is no doubt of its having always been a corporation distinct from the priory; for especial grants were made to them, and the master and brethren were tenants to the convent, for lands held by them of one of the manors belonging to it. They also demised their estates in a corporate capacity, and were from time immemorial possessed of a common seal. The dissolution of the priory of Rochester was, no doubt, sensibly felt by the poor members of this hospital; for the constant charitable supply held forth to them by the convent being withdrawn, they had no other support than what arose from the revenue of their small estate, which probably did not much exceed thirteen pounds per annum.

How this hospital escaped the general dissolution of these houses in the reigns of king Henry VIII. and king Edward VI. I have not found; but it was certainly in being, in the year 1579, anno 22 queen Elizabeth; probably the poverty of its revenues might be the cause of its preservation. In the above year a suit was commenced in the exchequer against the brethren, upon the pretence of concealment, as appears by the letter wrote that year by Yonge, bishop of Rochester, to the lord treasurer Burleigh, in behalf of this house, which he stiles, the poor hospital of Chatham; and Lambarde, who wrote his Perambulation about this time, calls it a poor shew of a decayed hospital, and the bishop, in his letter above-mentioned, says, that the suit would be to the utter spoil and undoing of certain poor lazars, and other poor and impotent persons then resiant here, and not only of them, but of such like, who might stand in need of the same in time to come. This letter seems to have had the desired effect, and to have stopped all further proceedings against it at that time. In the reign of king James I. a like plea was again set up, and a grant was made by that prince, in the 17th year of his reign, to several different persons, at the nomination of James, viscount Doncaster; which suit was defended by the poor brethren, by the advice and with the assistance and cost of the successive deans of Rochester, till the beginning of Charles I's reign, when the whole was referred to arbitration, and settled to the satisfaction of the hospital; the above grant and all other claims on it, being dismissed and compromised by the pains and at the cost of Dr. Balcanqual, then dean of Rochester. In this deed of arbitration, it appears, that from the foundation of the chapter anno 33 Henry VIII. the deans of Rochester had been patrons of this hospital, and ever had the placing of the poor brethren in it, and the disposing and letting of all the lands and tenements belonging to it. (fn. 19)

Since the restoration the estates of this hospital have been enjoyed by the successive deans of Rochester, as patrons of it. The hospital itself has been long since demolished, part of the chapel being all that remains of this antient structure. There were formerly only three brethren, one of whom was always a clergyman, and officiated as the chaplain in this chapel. But in 1718, dean Pratt made an alteration in this respect, by appointing a second chaplain, who was likewise to enjoy the privileges and emoluments of a brother, and at present there are four brethren of this society, two of whom are in orders. (fn. 20) No part of the mansion of this hospital remains at this time, houses having been long since erected on the scite of it, but the chapel, which in the time of king Edward III. appears to have had a cemetery belonging to it, is now standing close by it, and has been erected at different periods. (fn. 21) The most antient part is the east end, which is probably the remains of the original structure, which was erected by Hugh de Trottesclyve, a monk of Rochester, in the time of Henry I. for the use of the lepers, and dedicated by him to St. Bartholomew. It is a small circus, having three narrow gothic windows, and is built and roofed with stone; hence a chancel extends to the west, which, though antient, does not appear of equal antiquity with the others. Dean Pratt purchased the remainder of the lease of this part of the building, then demised out to other uses, and having repaired it, fitted it up with wainscotting and pews. From this chancel an additional building is continued farther westward, new built in 1743, at the expence of William Walter, esq. of Chatham, who new pewed it, erected the sleeple, and was otherwise a considerable benefactor to this chapel, which is of the greatest use to the inhabitants of this part of the town, the parish church being at so great a distance from it.

The FUND, usually stiled THE CHEST AT CHATHAM, the produce of which is regularly appropriated to the relief of sailors, who have been wounded in the service of the Crown, was first planned by Sir Francis' Drake and Sir John Hawkins, in the year 1588, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, when the seamen of the royal navy voluntarily agreed to advance a certain proportion of their pay towards the support of their distressed brethren. This was found to answer so well the benevolent purposes for which it was designed, that it has been continued to the present time, and has at various times been countenanced and encouraged by the crown and legislative authority; and in the 1st year of king James II. when a further duty of five shillings per ton was laid on all foreign built ships, one moiety of it was given, by parliament, to the use of this charity, which is besides possessed of several estates of land in this county. It is under the management of several governors, with an accountant, paymaster, clerk, and surgeon. The gratuities and pensions are distributed from the produce of the revenues to such seamen, wounded or hurt in the service, as appear adequate to their loss or sufferings, as are set forth in the smart ticket made out by the surgeon, and signed by the captain, lieutenant, master, and all the warrant officers.

Sir John Hawkins above mentioned, was the son of William Hawkins, who was the first Englishman that made a voyage to Brasil; he was born at Plymouth in 1520, and was esteemed a valiant and experienced seaman; Hawkins, Drake, and Forbisher, then reputed three of the best sea officers of the time, acted as vice admirals under Charles lord Howard of Effingham, on board the fleet prepared to oppose the Spanish Armada, and the former was knighted by that nobleman, then lord high admiral, for his skilful and gallant conduct in that expedition. Sir John Hawkins died in 1595, aged 44, on board the Garland man of war, in sight of the island of Porto Rico, in the Spanish West Indies, and his body was committed, as is usual, to the sea. His second wife survived him, and erected a monument to his memory, in St. Dunstan's in the East church, London, in which parish he had lived. By will he bequeathed sums to the poor of that parish, Deptford, and Plymouth. (fn. 22)

SIR JOHN HAWKINS, not satisfied with having promoted this benevolent scheme, soon afterwards founded and endowed, at his own costs, an HOSPITAL in this town, nearly opposite to St. Bartholomew's before mentioned, as a comfortable retreat for poor decayed mariners and shipwrights. The building for their reception appears, from an old inscription cut in the wall over the entrance, to have been finished in 1592; and in 1594, queen Elizabeth, at the request of the founder, granted a charter of incorporation, by the name of, The Governors of the hospital of Sir John Hawkins, in Chatham. By this charter the governors were to consist of twenty-six persons, of which number four only were to be elective, and the others were to be invested with this trust by virtue of their respective offices, viz. the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of Rochester, the lord high admiral, the lord warden, the dean of Rochester, the treasurer, the comptroller, surveyor and clerk of the navy, six principal masters of mariners, two principal shipwrights, and the master and wardens of the Trinity house for the time being, and their successors; that at the election of any new governor there should be five governors, who dwelled in the county of Kent, present. Power was likewise given to Sir John Hawkins and others, to assign, and for the governors to purchase and take lands and tenements, not exceeding the clear yearly value of one hundred marcs, that is, 661. 13s. 4d. After which, Sir John, during his life time, conveyed to the governors the lands and tithes which he intended for this hospital, the rents of which then amounted to 661. per annum. The beneficent founder of this charity did not long survive this institution, for he died in 1595; soon after which twelve pensioners were settled in this hospital, and a weekly stipend of two shillings was paid to each poor person; but this allowance being found to exceed what the annual revenue would admit of, in the year 1609, it found requisite to reduce their number to ten. The estate belonging to it has been since so considerably improved, that the poor men's stipend is now augmented to 3s. 6d. per week each; and they are besides allowed a chaldron of coals yearly. No person is eligible who, whilst in the service of the royal navy, has not been maimed, disabled, or otherwise brought to poverty. The deputy governor is appointed under the common seal, and inhabits the principal house belonging to the hospital, with the yearly fee of forty shillings. The archbishop is visitor of the hospital. This hospital has been, not many years since, taken down and rebuilt on a more commodious plan than before; the principal entrance is now facing the street, and the apartments are rendered light and airy, one of the elected governors having generously given a benefaction of five hundred pounds for this purpose; but excepting this one instance, notwithstanding the many large and superfluous fortunes which have been acquired in the royal navy, only one other person has followed the laudable example of the founder of this charity, viz. Robert Davis, who, as the inscription on the mansion house of the hospital, put up in memory of it by the governors, tells us, was an honest, upright seaman, who was slain in battle in 1692, and by his will left the whole of his effects to this hospital, the produce of which, amounting to sixty pounds, was paid by his executrix towards the relief of this foundation. It was at first recommended by the governors to the minister incumbent of Chatham, to examine the poor of this hospital in matters of religion and piety once in each quarter at the church, and 2s. 6d. was to be allowed him for each time of examination. This was altered by dean Pratt in 1718, and at present four pounds per annum, charged on this mansion house, which the governors hold by lease from the members of St. Bartholomew's hospital, are paid to those brethren of it, who are in orders, and the service stipulated for it is, that one of them shall preach every Sunday in the chapel of their own society, and once in every quarter instruct the poor persons of Sir John Hawkins's hospital in the truths of the Christian religion.


SIR EDWARD GREGORY, commissioner of the yard here, by his will gave to the minister and churchwardens 100l. to be placed out at interest, the produce to be distributed at their discretion to the most necessitous poor. This was, in 1714, placed in the South Sea stock, but in 1720, it was sold out at 750l. and an estate, called Pett's farm, in Burham, containing thirty-two acres was purchased with the money. This estate is now let at 18l. per annum.

THOMAS MANLEY, esq. charged his farm of Waldeslade, with the annual payment of 10s. to this parish for ever, to be distributed in bread to poor widows frequenting divine service.

For the reception of the numerous poor of this parish, a spacious building was erected for a poor house, near the east end of the High-street, in 1726, the expence of which was defrayed by voluntary subscription among the inhabitants.

CHATHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester.

The church, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, stands on the chalk cliff, just above the Old Dock, more than a quarter of a mile north-westward from the High-street. The first building that was probably erected was destroyed by fire in the beginning of the fourteenth century, though by what means this calamity happened is not known. This church was rebuilding in the year 1316, for bishop Thomas de Woldham, by his will, dated that year bequeathed ten shillings towards this work; but it seems the inhabitants were not able to finish it, for the pope's letter of indulgence was published in 1352, for the remission of a year and forty days pennance to all such as should contribute to so pious a work. The east end of of the church was all that remained lately of the above mentioned building; the north and south isles being of a more modern date, for the dock and navy establishments here having been so greatly enlarged, the inhabitants became so numerous, that the old church was by no means capable of holding them; on this account the commissioners of the navy, in 1635, repaired this church, rebuilt and enlarged the west end of it, and erected the steeple; and in 1707, commissioner St. Loe built a gallery over the south isle, for the use of the navy and ordinary. But notwithstanding these additions, those who resorted to it were much straitened for room, insomuch, that in 1788, the whole of the church was pulled down, excepting the steeple part, and rebuilt with brick on a much larger scale; the galleries are made spacious and uniform, insomuch that it is now capable of holding the parishioners without inconvenience. The expence of it being defrayed partly by a brief and partly by a parochial contributon.

Among other monuments and inscriptions in this church are the following—In the chancel, a memorial for Wm. Nurse, gent. obt. 1702; and for Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Thomas Best, of this parish, brewer, and widow of William Nurse, gent. by whom she had only one son, obt. 1706. A monument for Jeremy Gregory, esq. clerk of the cheque, and son of major Jeremy Gregory, of London, obt. 1713; he married Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Gregory, and had six children by her; another for Edw. Yardley, gent. of Chatham, obt. 1655; and Dorothy his wife, 1657; had six sons and two daughters; arms, Argent on a chevron, azure, three garbs or. A monument, arms, a man between his two wives, impaled—his, Or, two bars in chief, a lion passant azure, for Sir Edward Gregory, commissioner of Chatham yard, obt. 1713; he married first, Mary, daughter of Wm. Coppin, esq. of Deal, by whom he left three daughters; secondly, Anne, relict of Sir John Godwin, commissioner of the navy, by whom he had no issue. In the nave, two brass plates, fixed in a stone, arms, a bend wavy between two fleurs de lis, and inscription for Steven Borough, who died in 1584, born at Northam, in Devonshire; he discovered Muscovia, by the northern sea passage to St. Nicholas, in 1553; at his setting forth from England, he was accompanied by two other ships, Sir Hugh Willobie being admiral of the fleet, who, with all the two ships companies, were frozen to death in Lappia the same winter after his discovery of Russia, and the adjoining coasts of Lappia, Nova Zembla, and the country of Samoyeda, &c. he frequented the trade yearly to St. Nicholas, as chief pilot for the voyage, till he was chosen one of the masters in ordinary of the queen's royal navy, which he was employed in till his death. A monument for Sir John Cox, a captain and commander in the navy, slain in a sea engagement with the Dutch, in 1672. A memorial for the Fletchers, master carvers of the dock yard, and their families. A memorial for the Mawdistlys of this parish; and for Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Tho. Best, of this parish, brewer, obt. 1702. A monument for Robert Wilkinson, alias Edilbury, gent. of Denbighshire, obt. 1610. Near the west door, on a pedestal, the figure of a man to the middle, lying his right hand on a death's head, and holding a book in his left, arms, azure a unicorn passant, regardant or, for Kenrike, Edisbury, esq. of Marchwell in Denbighshire, surveyor of the navy, ob. 1638; he married Mary, daughter and heir of Edward Peters, alias Harding, gent. of Rochester. There are besides the above, in different parts of this church, as well as in the church yard, numbers of monuments and memorials for persons who have been principal officers in this dock-yard, and their families. In the belfry stands the figure of a man, in a praying posture, dressed in the habit of queen Elizabeth's time. When the church was rebuilt in 1788, the several monuments were refixed in the different parts of it; and the church yard being too small for the great number of burials required in it, the office of ordnance granted a large piece of ground, at no great distance from the church, for an additional burying ground.

Mr. John Pyham, late minister of this parish, gave to this church a silver flaggon and two silver plates, in 1636. Mr. Benjamin Ruffhead, anchorsmith of the dock, gave the branch and iron work, in 1689; he also gave a silver bason, in 1694.

Robert de Crevequer, the founder of Leeds abbey, in the reign of king Henry I. gave in free and perpetual alms, to the canons at Leeds, all the churches and advowsons belonging to his estates, and among them this of Chatham, with thirty acres of land in this parish; after which, John, bishop of Rochester, at his request, and with the consent of the archbishop, granted the appropriation of it to the canons there for ever, (fn. 23) the gift of both church and appropriation being confirmed to that priory by the bishop and priors of Rochester, and by king Edward III. in his 41ft year, by letters of inspeximus. (fn. 24)

The cure of this parish, from the time of the grant of this church to the priory of Leeds, was constantly supplied by one of the canons of it, appointed by the prior, and removeable at his pleasure, who being approved of by the diocesan, professed canonical obedience to him; he was styled, Custos vel Guardianus Ecclesiæ de Chatham, keeper or warden of the church of Chatham. This customary right in the prior, of appointing an incumbent was ratified by the bishop, and the prior and chapter of Rochester, in 1316.

Margery, daughter of Adelard de Suthleuetune, i. e. South Luton in this parish, granted to this church, in pure and perpetual alms, all her wood, with its appurtenances, at Punghurst in Chatham.

The church of Chatham continued part of the possessions of the priory of Leeds till the dissolution of it in the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands; who, by his dotation charter, under his great seal, in his 33d year, settled this church, with the advowson of it, on his new erected dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom it remains at this time.

This church being esteemed as a curacy, is not valued in the king's books. The parsonage, or great tithes, are held under lease from the dean and chapter of Rochester. The cure is supplied by a curate, nominated by them, and licensed by the bishop, who enjoys by lease from that body, at the rent of one penny per annum, all the small tithes and vicarial dues of this parish.

On the intended abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. an ordinance of parliament passed for the sale of their lands, to supply the necessities of the state; for which purpose this parsonage was surveyed in 1649, when it appeared, that the parsonage consisted of a parsonage house, barn, yards, &c. and thirteen acres of glebe land, with the tithes, all which were let in 1638, to Edward Yardly and Dorothy his wife, and Robert Yardly, by the dean and chapter, for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of 18l. and two good capons; but were worth, over and above the same, 81l. 16s. per annum; that the vicarage of Chatham was a donative, worth 50l. per annum, and that there was 1d. paid annually by the minister of this parish to the dean and chapter, by way of acknowledgment; Mr. Walter Rosewell, the last incumbent, being then in prison.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. CURATES.
Prior and Concept of Leeds William de Berdome. (fn. 25)
Henry de Uppechurche.
Nicholas de Chartham.
Henry de Apeldreselde.
Dean and Chapter of Rochester James Breadshaw, in 1601.
John Pikam, 1627. (fn. 26)
Thomas Vaughan, 1642. (fn. 27)
Walter Rosewell, sequestered in 1649. (fn. 28)
Thomas Carter, ejected in 1662. (fn. 29)
Walter Rosewell, rest. in 1660.
Charles Lowton, obt. 1723. (fn. 30)
J. Bromfield.
George Pratt, A. M. 1724, obt. March 11, 1747. (fn. 31)
Walter Frank, A. M. 1747, obt. April 1784. (fn. 32)
John Law, D. D. June, 1784 (fn. 33)


  • 1. See more of this road under Roehester.
  • 2. History of Rochester, p. 275.
  • 3. See vol. i. of this history, under Greenwich, p. 382, and Sundridge, vol. ii. p. 14.
  • 4. Johnson's Gerarde's Herbal, p. 412.
  • 5. Pat. in Turr. de anno 11 and 12 Edward II. pars 1 ma.
  • 6. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 39, 59. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 7. See the second volume of this History, p. 478.
  • 8. Rot. Cart. ejus an. N. 42. Philipott, 104, 218.
  • 9. Philipott, p. 104. MSS. pedigree, Lee. See Great Delce, in Rochester.
  • 10. Chatham court rolls.
  • 11. See Bradborne, in Sevenoke, vol. ii. p. 84.
  • 12. Book of Knight's fees in the Exchequer. Rot. Esch ejus an.
  • 13. Rot. Cart. ejus an. N. 42.
  • 14. Reg. Roff. p. 220, 221, 222. See more of this manor in Tan. Not. Mon. p. 203. viz. Pat. 6 R. 2. p. 2. m. 18. Pat. 16, R. 2. p. 3. m. 7. Rec. in Scacc. 12 Hen. VIII. Pasch. Rot. 12.
  • 15. Lambarde's Peramb. p. 393. See vol. i. p. 5, of this History.
  • 16. Philipott, p. 293. Rot. Esch. an.
  • 17. Tan. Not. Mon. p 211. History of Rochester, p. 277.
  • 18. Reg. Roff. p. 218.
  • 19. Reg. Roff. p. 224.
  • 20. History of Rochester, p. 281.
  • 21. A view of it is engraved in the Custumale Roffense, pl. 1.
  • 22. Strype's Stow's Survey, book ii. p. 44. See his Life, in Biog. Brit. vol. iv. p. 2556.
  • 23. History of Rochester, p. 267. Reg. Roff. p. 209, 210.
  • 24. Reg. Roff. p. 211, 212, 217. Dugd. Mon, vol. ii. p. 110.
  • 25. He and the three following curates were canons of the priory of Leeds, and were living here in the reign of Henry III. See Reg. Roff. p. 215.
  • 26. MSS. Twysden.
  • 27. Walter's sufferings of the Clergy p. 388
  • 28. He was sequestered and imprisoned. Lambeth Surveys, vcl. xix.
  • 29. Kennet's Chron.
  • 30. He had been minister upwards of fifty years.
  • 31. Son of dean Pratt. He was also vicar of Boughton Monchelsea, and lies buried in Rochester cathedral.
  • 32. He was vicar of Hartlip; he died aged 82, being then minor canon of Rochester.
  • 33. Archd. and Preb. of Rochester.