Parishes: St Mary, Hoo

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

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'Parishes: St Mary, Hoo', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 4, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 20-27. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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NORTH EASTWARD from Halstow, lies St. Mary's, distinguished from others of the same name in this county, by the addition of at Hoo, and near Rochester, both which are frequently used in deeds relating to it.

There are two parishes mentioned in the Textus Rossensis, by the names of Ordmæres circe de Hou, and Deremannes circe de Hou, which certainly mean this parish, and that of Alhallows adjoining. I should imagine the former was the name belonging to this parish of St. Mary.

THE CHURCH of St. Mary's, with the village adjoining to it, is situated about half a mile from the marshes, which extend as much farther towards the river Thames, which is its northern boundary. It lies much lower and more level than the adjoining parish of Halstow; the soil of it is in general more fertile, and not so much subject to gravel, though about Combe, which is situated midway between St. Mary's church and the marshes, the land is poor, and much covered with furze and heath. It is in other particulars of much the same description as the other parishes in this hundred.

The MANOR of St. Mary's Hoo, which is held of the paramount manor of Hoo, was, together with the mansion, called St. Mary's-hall, antiently part of the possessions of the family of Bardolf; and on the division of the estates of Robert Bardolf among his five nieces and coheirs, this manor fell to the share of Hugh Poinz, in right of Maud his wife, who was one of them. (fn. 1) His descendant, Sir Nicholas de Poinz, sold it to William de Halden, who died possessed of it in the 50th year of king Edward III. in whose family it remained till the reign of king Edward IV. when William de Halton, as the name was then spelt, in the 8th year of that reign, alienated this manor to William Lemyng, citizen and grocer of London. He was succeeded in this manor by Sir John Brooke, lord Cobham, who in the 7th year of king Henry VII. conveyed it by sale to Sir Robert Read, afterwards made chief justice of the common pleas, who died about the 10th year of king Henry VIII.'s reign, (fn. 2) and on the partition of his lands among his four daughters and coheirs, this manor was allotted, among other premises, to the daughters and coheirs of his daughter Mary, then deceased, by her husband, Sir William Barentyne; and on a further partition of her share among them, Margaret, one of her daughters, became entitled to this manor, which she carried in marriage to Sir John Harcourt, of Elnall, in Staffordshire. (fn. 3) They, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. exchanged the manor of St. Mary's with John Wiseman, gent. for the priory of Ronton, in Staffordshire, who died possessed of it in 1558, leaving three sons; (fn. 4) of whom, Ralph, the second son, succeeded to the manor of St. Mary's Hoo, and was knighted in 1603. He was of Rivenhall, in Essex, where he died in 1608. The family of Wiseman bore for their arms, Sable, a chevron, between three cronels of tilting spears, argent. This branch of Rivenhall, bore the chevron ermine. His descendant, Sir William Wiseman, of Riven-hall, was created a baronet in 1660. He alienated this manor, at the latter end of the reign of king Charles II. to captain John Daniel; his arms were, Argent, a pale fufilly sable; whose sole daughter and heir carried it in marriage to Mr. Thomas Faunce, gent. of St. Margaret's, Rochester; whose son, Tho. Faunce, esq. was of Sutton-at-Hone, and succeeded his father in this manor, and bore for his arms, Argent, three lions rampant sable, ribboned argent. In 1735, he married Jane, daughter of Edmund Barrell, A. M. prebendary of Rochester, by whom he had two sons, Edmund, vicar of Sutton-at-Hone; and Thomas, town major of Quebec; and three daughters, Anne, married to John Tasker, esq. of Franks; Mary, to Alured Pincke, esq. of Sharsted; and Jane to William Hey, esq. chief justice of Canada, and a commissioner of customs. The Rev. Edm. Faunce, the eldest son, married Anne, sister of James Chapman, esq. of Paul's Cray hill, by whom he had a daughter Anne, married to Mr. Stephen Lee, of Doddington; and one son, Mr. Edmund, Faunce, who is now entitled to the inheritance of this estate. Among the Harleian manuscripts, in the British museum, No. 590–1, is part of a roll, containing a survey of the marsh of Kent, with pictures of several of the manor houses, and among them this of St. Mary's, then belonging to the lord Cobham.

NEWLAND'S is a reputed manor in this parish, which was as high as any evidence can be traced, the inheritance of the family of Somer, since vulgarly called Somers, (fn. 5) who bore for their arms, Vert, a fess dancette ermine.

Richard le Somer made his will, as appears by the records of the church of Rochester, in the year 1347, and died possessed of this manor and other lands in Halstow, Higham, Leigh, and elsewhere in this county, from whom it descended to John Somer, who was chancellor of the exchequer in the reign of Henry VI. and from him again to Jeffry Somer, who left two sons, William, who possessed the manor of Newland's, and Thomas, whose descendants were of Halstow. William was knighted, and thrice employed by queen Elizabeth, as public ambassador to foreign states, His son, John Somer, clerk, was of St. Margaret's, Rochester, and left two daughters his coheirs, of whom Maria, the eldest, married first Thomas Peniston, and afterwards Sir Alexander Temple, the latter of whom, upon the partition of their estates, became entitled to this manor, whose heir, about the time of the death of king Charles I. conveyed it by sale to the treasurers of the chest for sick and maimed seamen, at Chatham, in whom the possession of this manor and estate now remains.

There is no court belonging to this manor, which is held of the manor of St. Mary's.

COOMBE is a manor here, which soon after the conquest was in the possession of Wlfward de Hou, surnamed Henry, who became a monk of the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, and afterwards gave to that priory the half of his tithes in this parish, and the third part of his substance after his death, to which his wife and his son Robert, and his brothers Hereward, Siward, and Edward, freely consented. (fn. 6)

How this manor passed afterwards I have not found till the reign of Henry VIII. when Sir Tho. Wyatt, of Allington castle, was owner of it; and he, in the 34th year of it, conveyed it, among other premises, to that king; and it seems to have remained in the crown till queen Elizabeth granted it to Sir Thomas Walsingham.

At the beginning of the reign of king George II. about the year 1732, this manor of Combe, was purchased by the trustees, of the rector of St. George's church, Bloomsbury, London, with part of a sum of money allotted at the first erection of it, in 1731, towards the support of the rector, which money was directed to be laid out in the purchase of lands and tenements, in fee simple, as a perpetual fund for the maintenance of the rector, and his successors.

Edward Vernon, D. D. was the first rector of this church, and as such possessed and resided frequently at this manor; he died in 1761. His successor, as rector of Bloomsbury, was Charles Tarrant, D.D. afterwards dean of Peterborough, who finding it a very unprofitable estate, by reason of the great annual expence of the sea walls belonging to it, obtained an act in 1765, to enable him to sell it. In pursuance of which it was afterwards conveyed to David Lesley, esq, and Mr. John Proby; the former of whom soon afterwards died, leaving his two nieces, Frances and Sarah Meekes, his coheirs, who about the year 1773, joined with the heirs at law of Mr. John Proby, then deceased, in the conveyance of this manor, to Owen and William Meredith, of Rochester; the latter of whom, on the death of his brother, in 1780, possessed the whole of this estate, which he sold in 1786, to the Rev. Richard Hancorn Duppa, of Hollingborne; whose devisee, Richard Duppa Duppa, esq. of that place, is the present owner of it.

The PORTION of TITHES above mentioned, since called COOMBE PORTION, given to the priory of St. Andrew, Rochester, by Wlfward, surnamed Henry, remained part of the possessions of that priory, at its dissolution in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when the same was surrendered into the king's hands, who the next year settled this portion of tithes, among other premises, by his dotation charter, on his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, where the inheritance of it now remains.

On the dissolution of the deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this portion of tithes was, in 1649, surveyed, when it was returned, that the portion of tithes, called Combe, alias Coome, and also usually called St. Mary's, arising from lands, sometime before belonging to the crown of England, called Combe, with the tithe of ten fields and closes lying in St. Mary's, Hoo, containing, by estimation, one hundred and eighty-four acres, the improved rent of which was 10l. 14s. per annum, was let by the late dean and chapter, anno 16 Charles I for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of fourteen shillings per annum. The lessees of it, under the dean and chapter, have been for some time the owners of Combe manor as above mentioned, the present lessee being Richard Duppa Duppa, esq.


HENRY WHITE, formerly of Chalk (who lies buried under an altar tomb in this church yard) by his will, in 1622, devised 2l. per annum to the poor of this parish, not receiving alms, payable on St. Andrew's day; and he gave yearly sums to the poor of Chalk, Cowling, and Stoke.

The parish of St. Mary's, Hoo, has the right of nomination to one place in the New College of Cobham, for one poor person, inhabitant of this parish, to be chosen and presented so, and by such, as the ordinances of the college have power to present and elect for this parish; and if the parish of Higham should make default in electing, then the benefit of such election devolves to this parish.

ST. MARY'S is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a small building of one isle and a chancel.

In this church, in the nave, an inscription for Thomas Lukyn, obt. 1412, and Joane his wife. In the church yard is a tomb, partly sunk in the ground, for Henry White, a benefactor to this parish, and others in this neighbourhood.

This church was formerly esteemed but as a chapel to the church of St. Warburgh, Hoo, as appears by the instrument of bishop Laurence, in 1274, recited more fully before, being pensionary to that church, beyond memory, as to its mother church, in the payment of half a marc yearly. This pension continued part of the revenues of the priory there till the dissolution of it in the 32d year of Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into that king's hands, who the next year settled it, by his dotation charter, on his new erected dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose revenues it now remains. Notwithstanding the above decree of bishop Laurence, the patronage of this church seems to have passed in the same chain of ownership that the lordship of Hoo did, and on a dispute concerning the right of presenting to this rectory, on a vacancy in 1501, Sir William de la Pole, in right of his wife Catherine, formerly wife of Sir Henry lord Grey, who had in his life time presented to it, brought his claim before the bishop's official, to establish his right to it, and it was decreed to him by the definitive sentence of the official; after which this patronage continued in the possession of the proprietors of the manor of Hoo till Sir Edward Hales, bart. in the reign of king Charles II. alienated it; and after some intermediate owners it was conveyed to Chapman, whose heirs sold it to Richard Fletcher, A. M. rector of this church, whose son, the Rev. Richard Fletcher, sold it, in 1786, to the Rev. Robert Burt; whose widow, Mrs. Sarah Burt, is now entitled to it.

In the year 1476, a suit was commenced before the bishop's official, against Richard Fletcher, rector of St. Mary's, by the rector of the adjoining parish of Halstow, for the recovery and establishment of certain tithes, as rector of the parish of Halstow, which claim was then established to him, by the definitive sentence of the official, as has been already recited fully under that parish.

This rectory is valued in the king's books, at 16l. 12s. 1d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 13s. 2½d.

On the dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. a survey was taken in 1650, of the several ecclesiastical livings in this diocese, by which it appeared, that here was a parsonage presentative, worth 83l. 13s. per annum, Sir Edw. Hales, patron; and Mr. Tracy, who had been sequestered from Bredherste, incumbent.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. RECTORS.
Lords of Hoo manor Henry Patriche, in 1381. (fn. 7)
John Rafe, in 1465. (fn. 8)
Richard Fletcher, in 1476. (fn. 9)
Ralph Samsbury, obt. Sept. 20, 1501. (fn. 10)
Tho. Ward, A.M. about 1630. (fn. 11)
Sir Edward Hales, bart Richard Tracy, in 1640, obt. 1679. (fn. 12)
Samuel Colyer, 1679, ob. Feb. 3, 1719.
Robert Hodges, 1719, ob. 1751. (fn. 13)
Richard Fletcher, A.M. 1753, ob. 1763. (fn. 14)
Richard Fletcher, A. M. resigned 1786. (fn. 15)
Robert Burt, 1786, ob. 1788.
George Chandler, 1788. Present rector.


  • 1. See Hoo, St. Warburgh.
  • 2. See Chiddingstone, vol. iii. p. 219.
  • 3. Collins's Peerage, last edit. vol. vi. p. 66. Philiport, p. 231.
  • 4. Guillim, pt. ii. p. 191, 198. Kimber's Bar. vol. i. p. 327. See Morant's Essex, vol. ii. p. 146, 479.
  • 5. Visitation of the County of Kent, 1619. Philipot, p. 234.
  • 6. Text. Roff. p. 162. Augm. Off. Box C. 39. and D. 27.
  • 7. Reg. Roff. p. 425.
  • 8. Ibid. p. 406.
  • 9. Ibid. p. 404.
  • 10. In his room, Sir William de la Poole presented the vicar of St. Margaret's, Rochester, but what his name was I do not find.
  • 11. MSS. Twysden.
  • 12. Parl. Surveys, Lamb. lib, Walk. Suff. of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 379. See also Bredhurst and Murston.
  • 13. Also vicar of Alhallows.
  • 14. Also rector of Halstow, by dispensation, in 1753, and patron of both churches.
  • 15. Likewise rector of Halstow by dispensation, in 1763, patron of both churches, and son of the former.