Parishes: Hoo, St. Warburgh

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

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'Parishes: Hoo, St. Warburgh', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 2-16. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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SO CALLED from the dedication of the church, and to distinguish it from the adjoining parish of St. Mary, Hoo, is the principal one in this hundred, to which it gives name. It is about two miles across each way; the soil is in general a stiff clay and heavy tillage land, but on the hill inclined to gravel; one half of it is marsh land, which extends to the river Medway, its southern boundary. Adjoining to the marshes is Hoo-street, having the church at the south end of it, the high spire of which is a conspicuous object to all the neighbouring country for some miles round, on the opposite side of the Medway. There are two other hamlets at the two extremities of the parish, Broad-street, close to Hoo common, at the western boundary; and at the opposite East-end. At Hoo street the ground rises from the marshes to the high hill. The inclosures are small and the hedge rows thick, with a continuance of high spiry elms, and some scrubby oaks interspersed here and there, in different places. The roads are very deep and miry, and full of water, and the air, from its contiguity to the large tract of marshes, very unhealthy.

In consequence of king Richard II.'s writ to the sheriffs of Kent and Essex, in his 1st year, one beacon was erected here at Hoo, and another opposite, at Fobbyng, in Essex, among other places along the banks of the river, that by the firing of them notice might be given of any sudden attempt of the enemy. (fn. 1) Peter Gunning, bishop of Ely, son of Peter Gunning, vicar of this parish, was born here. He was a person of the most diffusive charity, and a benefactor to all places he had any relation to, and at his death gave whatever he possessed to charitable uses, particularly the endowment of poor vicarages; he died in 1684, and by his will bequeathed a service of communion plate to the church of Hoo.

BEFORE the conquest, the MANOR of Hoo, ST. WARBURGH, with the court of the hundred, was in the possession of Godwin earl of Kent, from whom it descended to king Harold, and after the conquest was given by the Conqueror to his half brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the general survey of Domesday.

The bishop of Baieux himself holds Hou in demesne. It was taxed at 50 sulings, and now at 33. The arable land is 50 carucates. In demesne there are 4 and 100 villeins, wanting three, with 61 cottagers, having 43 carucates. There are 6 churches, and 12 servants, and 32 acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of 30 hogs. The whole manor, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, was worth 60 pounds, when the bishop received it the like, and now as much, and yet he who holds it pays 100 and 13 pounds. To this manor there belonged nine houses in the city of Rochester, and they paid six shillings, now they are taken away. This manor earl Godwin held. Of this manor Richard de Tonebrige held half a suling, and wood for the pannage of 20 hogs. In the time of king Edward and afterwards it was, and now is worth 40 shillings. Adam, son of Hubert, holds of the same manor one suling, and one yoke of the bishop, and one of his tenants has there in demesne half a carucate, and four villeins with half a carucate and one cottager. It is and was worth 30 shillings. Anschitil de Ros held of this same manor three sulings, and he has there in demesne one carucate and five villeins, with 12 cottagers, having one carucate and a half. There are five servants, and one mill of ten shillings, and 12 acres of meadow, and two fisheries of five shillings. In the time of king Edward, and afterwards, it was worth six pounds, now six pounds and five shillings.

On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, about four years afterwards, his estates were confiscated to the crown, and among them this of Hoo.

King Richard I. exchanged the manor and hundred with Hugh Bardolf, for the honour of Bampton, in Devonshire, which had been forfeited to the crown by Fulk Paganel, or Painel, as he was usually called, to whom it had been given by king Henry II. (fn. 2) He was a younger son of William Bardolf, of Stoke Bardolf, and bore for his arms, Azure, three cinquefoils pierced or, as they remain on the roof of the cloisters of Christ church, Canterbury. He died without issue, (fn. 3) on which this estate of Hoo became vested in the crown, whence it was granted, anno 17 king John, to Hubert de Burgh, (fn. 4) then chief justice of England, and afterwards earl of Kent, on whose disgrace it seems to have become vested in Henry Grey and Hugh Poinz, in right of their wives, two of the five nieces and co. heirs of Robert Bardolph above mentioned, in separate moieties.

Henry Grey left a son, Sir Richard Grey, whose principal seat was at Codnor, in Derbyshire, whose descendants were the barons Grey of Codnor. One of these, John lord Grey, of Codnor, paid respective aid for it in the 20th year of king Edward III. as half a fee, which Henry de Grey before held in the parish of Wereburghe in Hoo of the king. He lived to a good old age, and dying about the 15th year of king Richard II. was succeeded by Richard, his grandson, (son of Henry, who died in his life time) who in the reign of king Henry IV. purchased the other moiety of this manor, and so became entitled to the whole fee of it.

But to return to this other moiety, which came into the possession of Hugh Poinz. His great grandson, Nicholas Poinz, died possessed of it in the 1st year of king Edward I. holding it in capite, by the service of half a knight's fee. (fn. 5) He left Hugh Poinz, his son and heir, who had summons among the barons of this realm, in the 23d year of king Edward I. as had Nicholas, his son, in the next reign of king Edward II. whose descendant, Nicholas lord Poinz, having married Alianore, the daughter of Sir John Erleigh, died about the middle of king Edward III.'s reign, leaving two daughters his coheirs, Amicia, wife of John Barry, and Margaret, wife of John Newborough. (fn. 6) They joined in the sale of this moiety to Judd, from which name it passed in the reign of king Henry IV. by sale, to Richard lord Grey, of Codnor, as before mentioned, who then became possessed of the entire fee of the manor of Hoo.

Richard lord Grey was much in favour with king Henry IV. who conferred many great offices on him, and employed him much, as well in war as in civil negociations. He died in the 5th year of Henry V. it then descended down to Henry lord Grey, who died possessed of it in the 11th year of king Henry VII. without lawful issue, and was buried at Aylesford, (fn. 7) under which parish a further account of this family may be seen. Upon which, although the manor and castle of Codnor came to Elizabeth, his aunt and heir, wife of Sir John Zouche, a younger son of William lord Zouch, of Haringworth, who bore for their arms, Gules, ten bezantes; which arms, with a canton, remain on the roof of the cloisters at Canterbury; yet this manor of Hoo continued in the possession of the lady Catherine Grey (afterwards remarried to Sir William de la Pole) for the term of her life, and she died possessed of it, as appears by the Escheat Rolls, anno 1521; after which it devolved to Sir John Zouche above mentioned, who likewise died possessed of it in 1529. He was succeeded in it by Thomas Cornewall, who was possessed of it at his death, in the 30th year of that reign, as appears by the inquisition then taken. Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington-castle, was the next proprietor of this manor; and he, in the 34th year of king Henry VIII. conveyed the hundred and lordship of Hoo, and the manor of Little Hoo, late belonging to Boxley abbey, (fn. 8) among other premises, to that king.

They continued in the crown till king Edward VI. in his 5th year, granted to Sir George Brooke, lord Cobham, &c. the hundred of Hoo, and the manors of Great and Little Hoo, to hold in capite by knights service; but his unfortunate grandson, Henry lord Cobham, being convicted of high treason in the 1st year of king James I. though he had pardon of his life, yet he forfeited all his estates to the crown, and among them these at Hoo, all which were confirmed to the crown by an act passed in the 3d year of that reign. Soon after which these manors were granted to Sir Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury (son of William lord Burleigh) who was afterwards lord treasurer of England, &c. and had married Elizabeth, sister of Henry lord Cobham above mentioned. He died possessed of them in 1612, and was succeeded in them by his only son and heir, William earl of Salisbury, who, in the 4th year of king Charles I. alienated them to Sir Edward Hales, bart. who possessed them at his death, in 1654; whose grandson, Sir Edward Hales, bart. became his heir, and entitled as such to these manors; but he possessed only the court baron of them; for the view of frank pledge belonging to the hundred, appears by the court rolls to have continued, from the lord Cobham's death, in the crown, and to have been in possession of the keepers of the liberties of England, as they were styled, from the death of king Charles I. in 1648, to the Restoration; three years after which, in 1663, he seems to have had, by the style of them, the full possession of both. Having risqued his fortune in the service of king Charles I. and contracted debts to a large amount, he was obliged to abandon his country, to which he never returned; and this estate being vested by him in Sir John Tufton, bart. and Edward Hales, esq. of Boughton Malherb, as trustees, was conveyed by them, by the name of the manor and hundred of Hoo, to Edward Villiers, esq. the 4th son of Sir Edward, second son of George Villiers, of Brokesby, in Leicestershire, by his first wife, Audrey, daughter and heir of William Sanders, esq. (fn. 9) upon which Edward his eldest son and heir, succeeded him in the manor and hundred of Hoo, and being much in favour with king William, was, in the 3d year of his reign, created viscount Villiers of Dartford, and baron of Hoo. He was afterwards, in 1697, created earl of Jersey, and died in 1711, leaving by Barbara his wife, daughter of Wm. Chiffinch, esq. two sons; of whom William, the eldest, succeeded his father in titles and this estate; whose descendant, George Bussy Villiers, earl of Jersey, viscount Villiers of Dartford. and baron of Hoo, is the present possessor of this manor and hundred. (fn. 10)

The manor of Great Hoo extends over part of the parish of West Pechham, in this county.

At the court of this manor, the following constables and borsholders are appointed—one constable for the Upper half hundred, and another for the Lower half hundred of Hoo; and borsholders for the boroughs of Hardlefield, Boxley, Deangate, Dalham, Fincent, Church-street, and Oxenheath. The court is held yearly on Whit Monday.

BELUNCLE is a manor in this parish, which was formerly a seat of some eminence, and most probably was part of those possessions in the hundred of Hoo, which belonged to the family of Bardolf, and passed after the death of Robert Bardolf in marriage with one of his five nieces and coheirs, to Jordan Foliot, who, in the 9th year of king Henry III. performed his homage for it. (fn. 11) His son and heir, Richard de Foliot, passed away this manor by fine, in the 20th year of that reign, to Reginald de Cobham, second son of Henry de Cobham, of Cobham, who died possessed of it in the 42d year of it. After whose death, it seems to have descended to his nephew, Sir John de Cobham, of Cobham, who died in the 28th year of king Edward I. leaving by Joane, his first wife, daughter of Sir Robert de Septvans, a son Henry, who had the addition of junior to his name, to distinguish him from Henry his uncle, of Roundal in Shorne, then living. He died soon after the 9th year of king Edward III. leaving by his wife, Maud de Columbers, three sons; John, who succeeded him at Cobham, and was ancestor of the Cobhams of that place, and of Sterborough-castle; Thomas, who was of Beluncle; and Reginald, rector of Cowling.

Thomas the second son had this manor of Beluncle by devise from his father, and was afterwards knighted. He changed his arms to, Gules, on a chewron or, three crescents sable, which coat was borne by all his posterity of this place. He resided here, and having married Agnes, daughter of Sepham, of Sepham, in this county, was succeeded by his son and heir, Thomas de Cobeham, who was likewise of Beluncle, and lies buried in Cobham church, with Maud his wife. His descendants afterwards continued to reside at Beluncle till, at length, John Cobham, esq. succeeded to this manor, and was alderman, and some time mayor, of the city of Rochester, where he resided, and in 1624, was a benefactor to the church of St. Nicholas there, by setting up the north window of the chancel. He married Elizabeth, daughter of James Ballandine, of Derbyshire, by whom he had two sons, John and William, and a daughter Elizabeth. He died in the reign of king Charles I. leaving his wife, Elizabeth, surviving. Some time after which this manor became divided into moieties, one of which became vested in colonel Richard Cobham, of Rochester; and the other in Clement Chadbourne and Elizabeth his wife, one of the daughters of John Cobham, alderman, late of Rochester.

Clement Chadbourne and Elizabeth his wife, in 1708, conveyed their undivided moiety of this manor to colonel Richard Cobham above mentioned, who died without male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs, the eldest of which, Mary, carried one moiety of this manor in marriage to captain James Hayes, of Rochester, who bore for his arms, Gules, a chevron or, between three boars heads couped; who having purchased the other moiety, became possessed of the whole, and died in 1755, without male issue, leaving two daughters and coheirs, the eldest of whom Jane, carried it in marriage to the Rev. Mr. Js. Parsons, of Botherep, in Gloucestershire, who, in 1788, sold it to Richard Webb, esq. and he is the present owner of this manor. There is no court held for this manor.

ABBOT'S-COURT, now corruptly called ABBEY'SCOURT, was formerly the mansion of an estate here, called the manor of Little Hoo, alias Hoo Parva, which belonged to the abbey of Boxley; in consequence of which it has always been esteemed as lying within the borough of Boxley. King Richard I. confirmed to that abbey a market in Hoo, of the gift of Maud de Canvill. (fn. 12) King Edward III. in his 33d year, granted free warren to the abbot and convent for their demesne lands within their manor in Hoo; and they continued in possession of this estate till the dissolution of their abbey in the 29th year of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands; who, in his 32d year, granted this manor to Sir Thomas Wyatt, at the yearly rent of 48s. 2d. since which it has had the same possessors as the manor of Great Hoo, and is now, with that, the property of the Right Hon. George earl of Jersey.

John lord Cobham, in the 36th year of king Edward III. settled two hundred and fifty acres of marsh, called Rowe and Slade marshes, lying within the lordship of St. Werburg's, in Hoo, on his new founded chantry or college in Cobham church.

Queen Elizabeth, in her 10th year, granted to Philip Conwaye, two marshes, called Estwike and Sprete, in this parish.


THIS PARISH of St. Warburge, alias Hoo, has the right of nomination to three several places in the New College of Cobham, for three poor persons, inhabitants of this parish, to be chosen and presented so, and by such, as by the ordinances of the college have power to present and elect for this parish. And if the parish of Stroud should make default in their turn, then the benefit of such election devolves to this parish.

THOMAS WALKER gave by will, in 1629, for the benefit of the poor, not receiving alms, a house and lands, vested in Mess. Gilbird and Cart, of the annual produce of 5l.

Hoo is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church is dedicated to St. Warburgh. The church consists of three isles and a chancel.

In it, among others, are the following inscriptions on brasses: In the chancel, two for the family of Plumley, in 1615 and 1642; two others, for John Brown and Rich. Bayly, vicars; the latter, anno 1412. In the nave, one for Stephen and Richard Charlis, obt. 1446; another, John Beddyll, obt. 1500. In the south isle, one for Thomas Cobham, esq. obt. 1465, and Matilda his wite. In the north isle, one for William Alton and Gelyane his wife, by whom he had fifteen children. (fn. 13)

Robert Bardolf, lord of the manor of Hoo, in the reign of king John, granted to this church all the land, called Elwruetche, which joined to his field, called the Lese, towards the south; and also a piece of land, containing half an acre, in pure and perpetual alms, to find one lamp to burn nightly before the altar of St. Werburge, where the sacrament was kept.

Laurence, bishop of Rochester, in 1252, appropriated the church of St. Werburge of Hoo, with the chapel of All Saints, and all things belonging to it, to the prior and convent of Rochester, to the use of their almonry, they being the real patrons of it, by the grant of it, by the lady abbess and convent, and by the prior of St. Sulpice, provided that the church was served by a proper vicar, to be presented to him, and his successors, who should in no wife neglect the cure of souls therein.

The vicarage of this church had no endowment for many years afterwards; but in 1337, Hamo, bishop of Rochester, with the consent of all parties, by his instrument that year decreed, first, that the religious, to whom the appropriation belonged, should have the mansion of the rectory of the church, together with all lands and the meadow belonging to it, which the religious had till that time possessed, as the glebe of it; and that all tithes of sheaves, wheresoever arising, as well from land dug with the foot, as cultivated with the plough, should in future belong to them; and that they should hold and possess the above lands and meadow, and should take the said tithes of sheaves of this kind for their portion, and that the burthens of sustaining and repairing the chancel of the church, and the buildings of the rectory, and the burthen of finding books, vestments, and other new ornaments, which did not belong to the parishioners to find (surplices, rochets, albes, and other habits and linen ornaments only excepted) should belong to the religious; and that they should cause to be delivered to the vicar and his successors, from the barns of the rectory yearly, at the time in which wheat was sown, one quarter of wheat; and at the time in which Palm barley was sown, one seam of Palm barley; and at the time in which peas were sown, two bushels of peas for porridge, and one load of straw for litter for his cows; all which should be carried to the house of the vicar. And he further decreed, that the mansion of the vicarage of this church, with the garden and plat adjoining, and all tithes of rushes, hay, lambs, wool, calves, milkmeats, pigs, geese, flax, hemp, mills, pidgeons, sylva cedua, eggs, fruits of trees, bees, curtilages, conies, and fisheries, orchards, pannage, herbage, fowlings, merchandisings, and all personal tithes of things whatsoever, and oblations at the exequies of the dead in the parish churches of St. Mary's and Halstow, and other parish churches in Hoo, the bodies of whom ought to be buried in the cemetery of the church of St. Werburge, and all other oblations and obventions whatsoever to the church belonging and accruing, and not above assigned to the religious, should belong to the vicar and his successors in the vicarage; and that the burthen of the procuration belonging to the archdeacon, and also the burthen of providing surplices, rochets, albes, and other habits and ornaments of linen, and the burthen of repairing and maintaining the buildings and mansion of the vicarage wholly, and of books, vestments, and other ornaments to be provided by the religious, as also the providing of bread and wine for the sacrament of the altar, of processional tapers, and other lights belonging to the church, and of other matters necessary for divine worship, which did not belong to the parishioners to provide, nor were specified as above, should belong in future to the vicar and his successors in the vicarage. And that Sir John Reginald, of Chatham, then vicar, and his successors, should take the above mentioned tithes, oblations, and obventions for his portion in future, and should be contented with them, and should undergo and acknowledge the above burthens; but that all other burthens, ordinary and extraordinary, not before specified, as well the religious as the vicar and his successors, should undergo and acknowledge, in proportion according to the then taxation of the church and vicarage, as the same belonged to each of them.

The churches of Halstow and St. Mary's, as well as that of All Saints, now called Alhallows, in this hundred, were accounted but as chapels to this church of St Warburgh. In 1724, Laurence, bishop of Rochester, by his instrument, reciting that the chapels of Halstow and St. Mary of Hoo had been beyond memory pensionary to the church of St. Wer burge, as to their mother church, viz. the former in two marcs, the latter in half a marc; of which annual pensions the church of St. Werburge, and the rectors of it, had been, as then plainly appeared, in possession for more than forty years before his time, confirmed them to the said church; and for the greater security of this matter, he decreed, that the parsons, who should be instituted in those chapels in future by the religious, to whom he had formerly granted the church of St. Werberge, with all things belonging to it, to their own proper uses, should, in the presence of him and his successors, having taken an oath for that purpose, promise to pay the pensions as above mentioned. (fn. 14)

The church and vicarage continued part of the possessions of the priory of Rochester till the dissolution of it in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into his hands; and the next year the king settled this church and vicarage, by his dotation charter, on his new erected dean and chapter of Rochester, where they now remain.

This vicarage is a discharged living, in the king's books, of the clear yearly certified value of 46l. 3s. the yearly tenths of which are, 1l. 17s. 7d. (fn. 15)

On the intended abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed and valued in 1649, when it consisted of a parsonage and manor belonging to it, with the tithes of all manner of corn and grain, and a fair manor or parsonage house adjoining to the church yard, with the garden, orchard, and yard, containing, by estimation, one acre, and other lands, which manor house, and its appurtenances, together with the tithes, were valued at one hundred pounds per annum. All which, as well as rents of assize, and perquisites of courts, lands, &c. were let by the late dean and chapter, among other things, in 1638, to James Plumley, at the yearly rent of twenty pounds and two good capons, or four shillings in money, for the term of twenty-one years; but the premises, with the lands, were worth, upon improvement, over and above the said rent, the yearly value of 122l. 16s. 7d. the widow Plumley being then the immediate tenant of them; that the lessee was to repair the premises and the chancel of the church; that the patronage of the vicarage, worth sixty pounds per annum, and upwards, was reserved by the dean and chapter, Mr. Lewis Howard being then incumbent of it; that there was due by custom from the rectory to the vicar, and payable annually at Christmas, a seam of wheat, a seam of barley, two bushels of peas, and a load of straw. There is a manor now belonging to the parsonage.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented RECTORS.
Priory of Rochester Robert (fn. 16)
Wm. de Lichefield, the last rector, resigned in 1252. (fn. 17)
Sir John Reginald de Chatham, in 1337. (fn. 18)
John Browne. (fn. 19)
Rich. Bayly, obt. July 10, 1412 (fn. 20)
Thomas Barry, LL.B. in1423. (fn. 21)
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. Peter Gunning, obt.1613. (fn. 22)
Christopher Dale,S.T.B. 1628 (fn. 23)
Robert Cheeke, S.T. P. prefented in 1622, resig. 1625 (fn. 24)
Dean and Chapter of Rochester Baxter.
Lewis Howard, in 1649.
John Wren.
George Wren, A. M. inst. 1685.
William Dormer, 1720.
Ralph Bishop, pres. July 1729, obt. 1759.
Thomas Thomson, A.M. 1759, ob. 1786.
Evan Rice, June 24, 1786. Present vicar. (fn. 25)


  • 1. Rymer's Fœd. vol. vii. p. 155.
  • 2. Madox's Exchequer, p. 409, 507. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 684.
  • 3. There are several pedigrees of this family among the Harleian MSS. in the British museum.
  • 4. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 693. vol. ii. p. 14.
  • 5. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 2. Rot. Esch. ejus ann. No. 46.
  • 6. Ibid. History of the Grevilles. Rot. Esch. No. 62.
  • 7. Dugdale's Baronetage, vol. i. p. 711, 712, 692.
  • 8. See farther, Abbots' court in this parish. Inrolments, Augm. Off. Box C. 39. D. 27.
  • 9. Dugdale's Bar. vol. ii. p. 428, et seq. Collins's Peer. last edit. vol. iv. p. 159, et seq.
  • 10. Collins's Peerage, vol. iv. p. 178.
  • 11. Dugdale's Baronetage, vol. i. p. 679. Philipott, p. 188.
  • 12. Dugd. Mon. vol. i. p. 827. Tan. Not. Mon. p. 214.
  • 13. See these inscriptions at large, in Reg. Roff. p. 741.
  • 14. Reg. Roff. p. 422, 424. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 15. Ect. Thes. p. 386. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth library, vol. xiv.
  • 16. Vide Rights of English Convocacation, p. 575.
  • 17. Reg. Roff. p. 421.
  • 18. Ibid, p. 424.
  • 19. He lies buried in this church, Reg. Roff. p. 741.
  • 20. He likewise lies buried here. Ib.
  • 21. Reg. Roff. p. 568.
  • 22. He was likewife reft, of Gravesend, where he lies buried; he was father of Peter Gunning, bishop of Ely.
  • 23. And rector of Halstow, by dispensation, in 1628. Rym. Fæd. vol. xix. p. 57.
  • 24. Twysden MSS. See More's Hist. of Tunstall, p. 56.
  • 25. Upper master of the King's school of Rochester.