Parishes: Gillingham

Pages 226-249

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

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NORTH-EASTWARD from Chatham lies Gillingham, called in Domesday, Gelingeham, which is bounded by the river Medway towards the north.

THE PARISH extends from north to south, near five miles, and two from east to west; the high London road crosses the centre of it eastward from Chatham hill, southward of which it is a hilly dreary country, much covered with coppice woods of oak, with small scrubby trees of the same sort among them; the soil a poor unfertile red earth, much intermixed with rotten flints; among these woods are several small hamlets, as Darling-green, Capston, &c. and at the southern boundary, next to Bredhurst, the hamlet and chapel of Lidsing, full four miles distant from the parish church. Below the London road the ground descends northward, and at about a mile and an half distance is the village of Gillingham, having the church at the east side of it, and near it a handsome house, the residence of Mr. William Danne; eastward from hence are the several estates of the Grange, Eastcourt, and Twydall; at no great distance lower down are the marshes, which reach to the river Medway, being the northern boundary of this parish; where, on the shore, a fort was erected in king Charles I.'s reign, for the defence of the dockyard and navy residing here. In the noted expedition of the Dutch up this river, in 1667, there were in this fort scarce four guns, which could be used. It is now called Gillingham castle; it never was a place of much defence, and is now totally in ruins. Westward of the village is Upberry and the manor house of Westcourt; beyond which the ground ascends to the summit of the chalk hill, on which is the town of Brompton, having a most beautiful prospect over the river and the adjoining country; and close to it the lines of fortification, both already noticed in the description of the adjoining parish of Chatham, in which part of them lie; and below these the dock yard, part of which likewise is within this parish. The lower part of this parish, not excepting the village, from its contiguity to the marshes, is exceedingly unhealthy; it is mostly inhabited by persons belonging to the dock yard and other departments of Government near it; or by those which have belonged to the royal navy, and have retired from the service. There is a fair held here on Easter Tuesday. By an order made by queen Elizabeth, in her 8th year, a survey was made of the several maritime places in this county, when it appeared that there were in Gillingham, four quays, called Twydall, Millfleet, Dean Mead end, and Beggar-hyde; ships and boats, 27; viz. seventeen of 1 ton; one of half; one of 2; two of 4; one of 5; one of 7; two of 8; one of 9; and one of 20 tons; and persons, occupied about fishing, forty. (fn. 1) This parish, with that of Chatham, ought antiently to have contributed to the repair of the second pier of Rochester bridge. (fn. 2)

Upwards of one hundred years ago there was dug up in the salt marshes in this parish a large urn, holding the quantity of a bushel, in which were some fragments of burnt bones and ashes.

The annals of St. Austin mention a sharp battle having been fought at Gillingham, between Edmund, surnamed Ironside, and Canute the Danish king. William, surnamed Gillingham, from his birth in this parish, lived in the reign of king Richard II. he was a monk of Canterbury, of the Benedictine order, a learned man, who wrote the history of this nation, and of his own monastery, which was in great esteem at that time. William Adams, a famous seaman, was likewise born here. He was the first of any Englishman who discovered Japan effectually, to which remote island he began his voyage in 1598; he died about 1612. In the year 1695, the Royal Sovereign, a first rate man of war, being judged unfit for seaservice, was laid up in the river, close to this castle, but by negligence was soon afterwards set-on fire, and burned.

THE MANOR of Gillingham, which extends over the isle of Graine, was part of the antient possessions of the church of Canterbury long before the Norman conquest. In the book of Domesday, taken about the year 1080, it is thus entered, under the general title of the lands of the archbishop of Canterbury:

In Ceteham hundred the archbishop himselfe holds Gelingeham. It was taxed at three sulings. The arable land is 15 carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and 42 villeins, with 16 borderers, having 15 carucates. There is a church and three servants, and three fisheries of 42 shillings and eight pence, and one mill of 16 shillings and eight pence, and 14 acres of meadow, wood for the pennage of 20 hogs. Of this manor a certain Frenchman holds land sufficient for one plough, and has there two borderers. In the whole this manor was worth, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, 15 pounds, when he received it 12 pounds, and now 23 pounds, and yet it pays 26 pounds all but 12 pence, what the Frenchman holds 40 shillings.

The monks of St. Andrew's, in Rochester, farmed the fishery of Gillingham before this at five shillings per annum; this rent archbishop Lanfranc raised to forty shillings; but his successor, archbishop Anselm, remitted the above increase of thirty-five shillings, to the use of their rectory. (fn. 3) In the 10th year of king Edward III. John Ufford, archbishop of Canterbury, procured a grant for a weekly market on a Thursday, and a fair yearly on Holyrood-day, and seven days afterwards, at this his manor of Gillingham.

This manor seems to have continued a part of the possessions of the archbishopric till the 3d year of queen Elizabeth, when the queen took it, among other manors and lands, into her hands, and in the room of them granted to Mathew, archbishop of Canterbury, and his successors, certain rectories and parsonages impropriate, tithes, tenths, and such like. (fn. 4) After which, though the see of this manor, and the premises belonging to it, rested in the crown, yet there were several grants made of different parts of it from time to time; particularly, queen Elizabeth, by her letters patent, in her 11th year, granted the manorplace, with its appurtenances, and several parcels of the demesne lands to Thomas Heyborne, for a term of years, as did king James in his 3d year, to Thomas and William Short; and king Charles I. in his 5th year, to William Payneter, esq. the latter term then still subsisting, which at the death of that king, in 1648, was vested in Henry Goulding, gent. there being seven years of it yet to come, after which, the reversion to William Payneter was to commence, in which situation this manor then remained after the king's death. The powers then in being seized on the royal estates, and vested them in trustees, to be surveyed and sold, to supply the necessities of the state, when it appeared, that there were quit-rents, holding of this manor in free soccage tenure in Gillingham, the isle of Graine, and within the tithings or hamlets, called the four denns, viz. Haydherst, alias Haytherst in Marden, Winceherst in Goutherst, Trendherst in Yalding, and Baveden in Horsemonden parishes, that there was a piece of land, called Bedle-close in Marden, allowed to the beadle of the said four denns, all which, with the court baron, court leets, fines, &c. ccib. annis, were of the value of 55l. 9d. all which remained in the late king's possession, but that there were demised for a term of years by the crown, the manor house with its appurtenances, and lands, marsh and woodlands, containing upwards of eight hundred and fifty acres, all which were worth, improved rents, 255l. and upwards; and that at the court baron one of the chiefest tenants was, by custom, to be chosen beadle, to execute that office, by himself or deputy, for the next year, without allowance; (fn. 5) and it appears, by roll 41, A. of the 28th of Edward III. that the homage of this manor was sued by the king in the vacancy of the see of Canterbury, for a debt due from their beadle, who was insolvent, and had been chosen according to the custom of the manor, and for whose solvency, according to the said custom, they were answerable.

The manor, with the lands above mentioned, were afterwards sold by the state to Robert Read, Robert Anderson, and others, who continued in possession of them till the restoration of king Charles II. when Alynton, son of William Payneter, took possession of them, under the above mentioned grant of king Charles I. as heir to his father. He afterwards obtained a grant of this manor as well as a further term in the above premises, in which he was succeeded by his son, Robert Payneter, esq. who alienated his interest in them about the year 1720, to Tho. Lambard, esq. of Sevenoke, on the death of whose son of the same name, within these few years, they are now become vested in his son, Multon Lambard, esq. of Sevenoke. (fn. 6)

There are hardly any remains of the ARCHIEPISCOPAL PALACE, which stood adjoining to the south side of the church yard, at this time, excepting a large building of stone, now used as a barn; which, from its having been plaistered on the inside, and the remains of a chimney at each end, was either the great hall or kitchen of the palace; within the foundations of the old circuit walls stand the house and other buildings belonging to the court lodge of the manor. A coin of the emperor Antonius was lately dug up within these walls.

EAST and WEST COURT are two manors in this parish which were antiently but one, being held of the archbishop, as of his manor of Gillingham, in the reign of king Henry III. by Sir Hugh de Gillingham. His descendant, Thomas Gillingham, died without male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs; Margaret, married to John Thorpe; and Isabel to William Greenstreet, commonly called Grensted, who divided this manor between them: the share which fell to the former being called West-court, and that to the latter East-court, from their respective situations from each other.

WEST-COURT MANOR was sold by John Thorpe to Thomas Bradbury, who died possessed of it in the 2d year of king Henry VII. and one of his descendants passed it away to Nicholas Leveson, alias Lewson, of Whorne's-place, in Cookstone; from which name it passed by sale to Duling, of Rochester, whose daughter carried it in marriage to Mr. Stephen Alcock, and he alienated it to Cæsar, who dying without male issue, his five daughters, Alice, married to John Higgons, gent. Irene, Margaret, Mary, and Alice Cæsar, became his coheirs, and entitled to their respective shares in this manor. They in the 9th and 10th year of king William III. having procured an act of parliament for that purpose, alienated it to Thomas Rogers, gent. whose daughter Anna carried it in marriage to Christopher Searles, gent. of Hackslaple in Sutton-at-Hone; on whose death, in 1741, his widow became entitled to it for her life, and since her death, in 1774, their three surviving daughters, Anna wife of John Strover, of Rochester; Jane Arabella, married to George Weekley, gent. of Ware, in Hertfordshire, since deceased; and Elizabeth, wife of Joseph Poynton; are now become joint owners of this manor, and the lands belonging to it.

A court baron is held for this manor, which extends over that part of this parish called Brompton, which is built on the demesne land of it. The tenants are all freeholders in free soccage tenure.

EAST-COURT manor was given by the will of William Greenstreet to his sister's son, and heir at law, Benedict Webb, whose grandson, John Webb, left issue two sons, Thomas, who bore for his arms, Gules, a fess between three owls, or; which coat was granted to him by Robert Cooke, clarencieux, (fn. 7) and Christopher, who in the reign of queen Elizabeth joined in the sale of it to William Payneter, esq. (fn. 8) clerk of the ordnance, in whose descendants it continued till Robert Payneter, in the 7th year of king George I. having procured an act of parliament for that purpose, alienated it to Thomas Lambard, esq. of Sevenoke, since the death of whose son of the same name, this manor is now become vested in his son, Multon Lambard, esq. of the same place.

There is a court baron held for this manor.

At the time that the general survey of Domesday was taken, Odo, bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's halfbrother, was possessed of an estate in this parish, which is thus described in it, under the title of that prelate's lands:

Odo holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Gelingeham. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is one carucate. In demesne there are two, and six borderers having half a carucate. There is one mill of sixteen shillings and seven pence, and thirteen acres of meadow, and eight acres of pasture. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth forty shillings, when he received it thirty shillings, now sixty shillings.

On the bishop's disgrace, in the year 1084, this estate, among the rest of his possessions, was consiscated to the crown.

THE MANOR OF TWIDALL, with an estate called DANE-COURT in this parish, was certainly part of these possessions, and were both about the reign of king Henry I. held by a family, who assumed their surname from the former of them. Adam de Twidall was then owner of this manor, as well as Dane-court, from whom they descended to Roger de Twidall, who in the 38th year of king Edward III. passed them away to Robert Beaufitz, of Acton, in Charing, whose father of the same name was before possessed of lands in this parish, by grant from Thomas de Gillingham. Robert Beaufitz, jun. resided at Twidall afterwards, and bore for his arms, Or, on a bend three bells, he married Joane, daughter of Roger de Twidall, and in their descendants these estates continued till the reign of king Henry VII. when by a daughter and coheir Joane, they went in marriage to Robert Arnold, of Sussex, whose grandson; William Arnold, in the 18th year of king Henry VIII's reign, passed them away to Thomas Benolt, clarencieux king of arms, and he, soon afterwards conveyed them to Sir Henry Wyatt, whose son, Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allingtoncastle, in the 33d year of that reign, exchanged them, as well as all his other estates in this parish, with the king, for other lands, which bargain was in pursuance of an act of parliament passed the year before. The same year the king granted this manor of Twidall, with its appurtenances, and Dane-court likewise, to Christopher Sampson, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he in the 16th year of queen Elizabeth's reign levied a fine, and alienated the manor of Twidall, with its appurtenances, to William Payneter, who resided here, and was clerk of the ordnance to the queen, and bore for his arms, Gules, a chevron between three griffins heads erased or, on a chief of the second an hetmet sable between two pellets; (fn. 9) his descendant Robert, son of Alynton Payneter, (fn. 10) and in the 7th year of king George I. having procured an act of parliament to enable him to sell the manors of Twydal and East- court, and to settle other lands of greater value to the like uses, alienated them both to Thomas Lambard, esq. of Sevenoke, on the decease of whose son of the same name, this manor is now become vested in his son, Multon Lambard, esq. of the same place.

BUT DANE-COURT, which was part of the estate which came by marriage of the daughter and coheir of Thomas de Gillingham, to John Thorpe, as has been already mentioned before, and from his possession of it for that time gained the name of Thorpe's farm, (fn. 11) which however was soon again dropped for its present one of Dane-court, probably its original name was sold by one of his descendants, at the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign to Henry Harland, who passed it away by sale to William Short, and he died possessed of it in 1641. After which his heirs alienated it to May, of Rochester, and after some intermediate owners, it came into the possession of Thomas Fletcher, esq. of Chatham, who dying unmarried in 1776, gave it by his will to his brother John Fletcher, esq. of Rochester, who died unmarried likewise in 1788, and gave it by his will to Robert Parker, esq. of Maidstone, the present owner of it.

John Beaufits, owner of Twidall, by his will in 1433, founded and endowed a chauntry here, dedicated to St. John Baptist, for one priest to celebrate for the souls of himself, his wife, and ancestors. It was suppressed in the 1st year of king Edward VI. the priest, Philip Medcalfe, having a pension of six pounds assigned to him, he was surviving in 1553.

Philipott says, the seats in the chapel and other remains shew it to have been formerly a neat and elegant piece of architecture, and it even answered that description not many years ago. However its beauty served not to preserve it, for it was pulled down in 1756, with a part of the old house. The chapel which joined to the main building, was in that wing which runs northward, or north-west, and was handsomely wainscotted. (fn. 12)

THE GRANGE, antiently called Grench, is a manor in this parish, a part of which has been accounted from the earliest times a member of the antient cinque port of Hastings, in Sussex, (fn. 13) whose civil as well as criminal jurisdiction extends over about one hundred and twenty acres of it. It appears from the certificate of Stephen de Pencester, constable of Dover castle, and warden of the cinque ports in the reign of king Edward III. that the Grench was bound to find one ship, and two able and well armed men to make up the quota of twenty-one ships, in each of which there were to be twenty-one able men well armed to continue in the king's service for forty days. (fn. 14)

This manor, in the reign of king Henry III. was held in sergeantry, by Manasser de Hasting, at which time it was valued at one hundred shillings. In the 5th year of king Edward I. Matthew de Hasting was found to die possessed of the manor of Grench, belonging to the port of Hastings, which he held of the king by the service of finding one oar, whenever the king should sail towards that port. From the name of Hasting it went by purchase to Richard Smelt, alderman of London, whose daughter and heir, Margaret, carried it in marriage to Richard Croydon, likewise an alderman of that city, and he dying without male issue, Margery, his sole daughter and heir, entitled her husband, John Philipott, esq. to the fee of it. He was at that time an alderman of London, and of the Grocers company, an active and worthy magistrate of that city, which he represented in the 1st, 5th, and 7th parliaments of king Richard II's reign. In the third year of it he served the office of lord-mayor, bearing then for his arms sable a bend ermine. Next year he was, among others, knighted by the king in Smithfield, as a reward for his service, and the assistance he gave to Sir William Walworth, lord-mayor, in the destruction of the rebel Wat Tyler; at the same time he had a coat of augmentation made to his own coat armour, viz. gules, a cross between four swords argent, the pomels and hilts, or, for this and for the services he had before performed to the king and that city, in fitting out a fleet of ships to clear the seas of the pirates that then infested them, for he surprised and took John Mercer, a Scotch pirate, with all his companions, who had greatly destroyed the trade of the city, and fifteen sail of Spanish ships richly freighted with merchandize, which they had made prizes of; of which he made no other use than to give the king assistance in his war in France, which he did by maintaining one thousand men there. Notwithstanding which he was called before the council, for setting out this fleet without the king's licence, where he would have been dealt hardly with, had not Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, stood his friend, and brought him off with honor and reputation. He erected a chapel at his manor of Grange, which has been long since desecrated, and made use of only as a barn. It was valued at the dissolution at six pounds per annum. In this chapel the stone work round the great window was entirely covered with coats of arms, being his augmentation, each coat being joined to the next in one continued cross; which arms were likewise impaled with On a fess three mullets, on a chief a mullet between a leopard's face and a star of six points. He died in the 8th year of the above reign, and was buried with the lady Jane Stamford his wife, before the entrance into the choir of the Grey Friars church, in London, (fn. 15) having bequeathed by his will several charitable legacies to the poor, and this manor to his second son, (fn. 16) whose son, Mr. John Philipotts in the 11th year of king Henry VI. exchanged it for Twiford, in Middlesex, with Richard Bamme, esq. the son of Adam Bamme, esq. of London, goldsmith, and lord-mayor in 1391; who bore for his arms, Exmine, on a chief indented sable a ring between two tresoils slipt. He resided here, and died in 1452, anno 31 king Henry VI. (fn. 17) whose grandson, John Bamme, esq. kept his shrievalty here in the 2d year of king Richard III. Thomas Bamme, esq. his grandson, possessed it in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, who dying without male issue, his daughter Katherine became entitled to it. She alienated this manor to William Haward, gent. whose arms were Or, a bull's head caboshed between three mullets sable, (fn. 18) who afterwards resided here, and married Alice, sister of Sir Christopher Clive, of Copton, by whom he had two sons, Samuel and Thomas, he died in 1612; after his death, Thomas Haward, his second son, possessed this manor of Grange, as it came now to be called, and dying in 1637, was buried near his father in this church, in the Grange chapel belonging to the owners of it; he left an only daughter and heir Anne, who carried this estate in marriage to William Delaune, esq. afterwards knighted, and of Sharsted, in Doddington, in this county; after which this manor passed at length by the entail made in the will of his son, colonel William Delaune, in like manner as that of Sharsted above-mentioned, to his sister Mary, widow of Edward Thornicroft, esq. who gave it to her two unmarried daughters, Dorcas and Anne Thornicroft, and they possessed it jointly till the death of Dorcas, unmarried in 1759, who by her will devised her moiety of it to her sister Elizabeth, then lady dowager Abergavenny, for life; remainder to her daughter Jane, by her second husband, Alured Pincke, esq. and then the widow of the Rev. Henry Shove. Mrs. Jane Shove, her mother lady Abergavenny being deceased, became possessed of her moiety of this manor, which on her death in 1779, descended to her son, A. H. Shove, esq. barrister at law, and Mrs. Anne Thornicroft dying unmarried in 1791, her moiety of it passed by her will to her nephew Alured Pincke, esq. of Sharsted; (fn. 19) and they joined in the sale of the whole of it in 1796, to the present possessor of it.

At this seat there was formerly a chapel, which was valued in the king's books at six pounds per annum, it was built by Sir John Philipott, great part, of it still remains standing near the house at the west end; it is built of stone, and very fair, but is now covered with thatch. The east end becoming ruinous has been taken down. (fn. 20)

There is a portion of tythes arising out of upwards of three hundred acres of land within this manor, which has from time to time had the same, owners, and is held of the crown by the yearly fee-farm rent of 3l. 6s. 8d.

UPBERY is a manor lying on the western part of this parish, which antiently belonged to the Benedictine nunnery of St. Sexburg, in the Isle of Shepey, to which it was given, together with the rectory of Upbery, alias Gillingham, in the 22d year of Henry I. and it remained part of the possessions of that nunnery till the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when an act passing for the suppression of all such religious houses, which were not of the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, his nunnery was, with all its possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, who in his 31st year, demised for a term to Sir Thomas Cheney, trea surer of his houshold, among other premises, this manor of Upbery, and the rectory of Upbery; alias called Gillingham, late belonging to the above monastery, with all their appurtenances, excepting the advowson of the vicarage of the church of Upbery; and afterwards in his 35th year he granted them, with all their rights, members, and appurtenances, to him, to hold in capite by knights service. (fn. 21) His son, Sir Henry Cheney, was in the 14th year of queen Elizabeth created lord Cheney, of Tuddington, (fn. 22) and two years afterwards alienated the reversion of this manor, and the rectory and advowson of Gillingham, to Dr. Alexander Nowell, dean of St. Paul's, and James Walton, which last name seems to have been made use of only in trust, for Dr. Nowell, at his death, in 1602 by his will devised the fee of this manor and rectory for ever to the principal and scholars of Brazen Nose college, in Oxford, governors of queen Elizabeth's free school, in Middleton, in Lancashire, with a proviso, that if any one could claim alliance to him, he should hold it by lease from that society, paying a yearly rent of 66l. 13s. 4d. per annum. Dr. Nowell was the second son of Mr. John Nowell, of Great Meerly, in Lancashire, and was bred at Brazen Nose college, where he was first fellow and afterwards principal, and became greatly celebrated both for his religion and learning; after which, when he was created D. D. he had an allowance of seniority over all the doctors then in the university, not only in regard to his age, but dignity in the church. In 1560 he was made dean of St. Paul's. He was buried in his own cathedral, leaving behind him the character of a learned, good, and charitable man. (fn. 23) After Dr. Nowell's death, the demesnes of this manor, and the rectory or parsonage of Gilling- ham, for the manor itself, as well as the advowson of the vicarage of Gillingham, were excepted out of the lease, seem to have been held of the college by Edward Blunt, of Wricklesmarsh, in Charlton, second son of Thomas Blunt, by Elizabeth his wife, remarried secondly to Dr. Nowell, before-mentioned. (fn. 24)

His eldest son, Thomas, possessed the lease of this estate after the restoration of king Charles II. at the latter end of whose reign it was sold to Adam Baynes, gent. who alienated it to John Kingsford, esq. of Canterbury, and his son, Zachariah Kingsford, gent. of Chartham, in 1706, passed away his interest in it to Mr. Augustine Simpson, of Southwark, who by his will gave it in 1720, to his kinsman, Thomas Simpson, of London, counsellor at law, and he in 1721 sold it to Mr. John Adlam, gent. of London, whose widow, Hester, alienated her interest in it in 1739, to Mr. John Proby, of Woldham, who died in 1758, intestate, leaving his widow surviving, and five children. Soon after which she became by agreement entitled to the entire interest of this lease, which at her death in 1771 she devised to Christopher Fullagar, of Cliff, yeoman, during the infancy of his children by her niece Anne, the interest and profits of it to be afterward divided among them. He afterwards lived in the manorhouse, and occupied the estate of which he has had a new term granted to him, subject to Mrs. Proby's will.

There is a court-baron, which is excepted out of the lease granted by the college, held for this manor. The tenants are all freeholders in common socage tenure, holding by fealty and suit of court, from three weeks to three weeks.

LIDSING, usually called Lydging, is a manor and hamlet, lying at the southern extremity of this parish next to Bredhurst, part of it being in the parish of Chatham.

This estate was formerly the inheritance of the antient family of Sharsted, Simon de Sharsted held it at his death in the 25th year of king Edward I. Sir Henry de Leyborne was possessed of it in the next reign of king Edward II. in the 4th year of which he obtained charter of free-warren for his lands in Lydesinge and elsewhere. (fn. 25)

In king Edward III's reign, it was come into the family of Say; for Sir Roger de Say, in the 30th year of it, granted to his brother, Sir Jeffry de Say, his manor of Sharsted and Lydesinge, with their appurtenances, to hold in perpetual inheritance. (fn. 26) He seems to have alienated these premises to Robert Belknapp, who in the 50th year of king Edward III. anno 1375, granted, among other premises, a moiety of this manor of Lidesinge, lying in Chatham, to the prior and convent of Rochester, on certain conditions therein mentioned, the further account of which has already been given under that of Sharsted, in Chatham.

The other moiety of this manor continued longer in the name of Belknap. Robert Belknap above-mentioned was afterwards knighted, and chief justice of the common pleas; but favoring too much the designs of king Richard II. for the extending his prerogative, he was in the 11th year of that reign attainted, and banished to Ireland, by the parliament; and though he was by the same power permitted to return again in the 20th year of it, yet his attainder still continued, and his lands remained forfeited as before. Notwithstanding which the king, who considered him as a martyr to his interest, granted him several of his estates again, and among others this moiety of Lidesinge in his 22d year. But it did not continue long with him; for by his deed in the 2d year of king Henry IV. he gave it to the priory of St Andrew, in Rochester, for one monk, being a priest, to celebrate mass in the ca- thedral there for ever, for the souls of himself, his predecessors, and successors. The priory of Rochester, becoming thus entitled to the whole fee of this manor, continued in the possession of it till the dissolution of the monastery 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 this manor, with its appurtenances, on his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, where it now remains; the lessee of it being the same as for the manor of Sharsted abovementioned.

At this hamlet of Lydsing there has been of long time, and is now, a chapel of ease to the parish of Gillingham; in it divine service continues to be performed once a month, though there are but six houses within this district. The chancel, or east end of this chapel, was rebuilt a few years since with brick at the expence of the late vicar Mr. Jenkinson. (fn. 27) It is endowed with all the tithes of this hamlet, and was valued in the year 1650, in a survey then taken by order of the ruling powers, at 251. per annum. (fn. 28)


MRS. KATHERINE BAMME, by deed in 1572, devised 40s, per annum towards the relief of the poor of Gillingham; to be paid out of an estate called Darland, in this parish, since belonging to Bernard Hyde, esq. This rent was suffered to run in arrear until it amounted to the sum of 81l. which by a decree in chancery was recovered and paid to the parish, and 20l. of it was lent upon bond to William Manser, of Gillingham in 1629, and 60l. to Sir William Brooke in 1633.

RICHARD HOMER, in 1629, gave a pulpit cloth to this church.

THOMAS RANDALL gave by will, in 1631, 40s. per annum, to buy garments yearly for four widows, to be paid out of that part of his land at Bredgate, called Bostalls.

WILLIAM SHORT gave by his will, in 1641, 40s. per annum out of the tenement and its appurtenances in this parish, which he had purchased of Henry Harland, provided his heirs were not assessed to the poor for the salt marsh, called Dane marsh.

THOMAS HAWARD, esq. in 1637, gave by will 50l. to be laid out on a purchase for the use of the poor; which was not effected till the year 1657, when in consideration of that sum, Henry Jowles, esq. made over a yearly rent of 4l. 5s. 4d. to be paid out of his farm at Lydsing in this parish, for the use of the poor of Gillingham.

EDMUND EDRIDGE, in 1669, gave by will 40s. per annum, out of the house and land in this parish, which he had purchased of Mr. Richard Head, of Rochester, to be divided equally between eight widows, or poorest inhabitants, if not so many widows, in this church, every 25th day of December.

WILLIAM ROACH, in 1670, gave by will 40s. per annum, out of the said house for the like purpose, which including the last-mentioned gift, is now of the annual produce of 5l.

JOHANNA ELIZABETH PETTY, in 1723, gave by will for keeping poor children to school in the parishes of Gillingham and Chatham, to learn to read, a yearly sum to be paid out of three houses vested in trust, and now of the annual produce of 14l. 10s.

PHILIP TIDD, by will in 1733, gave a messuage, garden, orchard, and appurtenances in this parish, for a widow woman, being a parishioner of it, to reside in, who should teach and instruct six poor children, born in this parish, and to be chosen by the parish officers, to read English, and instruct them in the church catechism.

MARY SMITH, by will, in 1739, gave 20l. to be distributed to six poor widows, at 10s. per year, till the whole sum should be expended. Mr. John Simmons, of this parish, appropriated this sum to the purchase of an annuity of 10s. for ever, to be distributed in bread among the most necessitous widows on St. Thomas's day, to be paid out of land, called Whitehouse-field, in this parish.

JOHN HOARE, in 1753, gave by will, to be distributed in bread to the poor of this parish and Chatham, 40s. on NewYear's day, and the like sum of 40s. on St. John's day, payable out of houses vested in Anne Moseley, widow, and now of that annual produce, deducting repairs, taxes, &c.

BESIDES the above there are some charities which seem once to have paid to this parish, but which have been many years discontinued.

It appears by depositions taken in 1588, before William Lambarde, esq. that the vicar and parish officers usually repaired upon the Friday next before Easter, to Upbery farm, and there received the value of 30s. in wheat and malt, and at their discretion distributed it afterwards to the poor. The donors of it being the nuns of St. Sexburg, in Shepey. Mr. Mansell, the tenant of the farm, first denied the payment of it in 1587; Sir Edward Hoby, his successor, paid it for some years, but it has never been paid since his time.

JOHN GRINSTEAD is reported to have given by his will, anno 3 Henry VII. four acres of land, called Bragg, to be continued in feoffees in trust, to pay 20d. out of the yearly rent of it to the poor of this parish, and the remainder towards the repair of the church.

There is a marsh, called Church marsh, which the sexton used to enjoy through custom, for keeping the church decent; but it has been detained by the rectors of this parish for several years.

GILLINGHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and being a peculiar of the archbishop, is as such within the deanry of Shoreham.

The church, which is situated at the east end of the village, is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. It consists of three isles and three chancels, with a handsome tower steeple at the west end.

Among other monuments and memorials in this church are the following—In the chancel, are brasses for William Beaufitz, obt. 1433; John Bragge, vicar; in French, round the verge for John Beaufitz, obt. 1427, and Isabel his wife, arms remaining on a bend three bells. A memorial for Francis Philips, born in Herefordshire, afterwards of Brazen Nose college, and A. M. vicar of this church, obt. Sept. 22, 1679.—In the south chancel, called the Grange chancel, as belonging to that manor, are brasses for Joane, wife of Richard Bamme, esq. daughter of John Martyn, judge of the common pleas. and mother of John Bamme, who lies on the north fide of this chapel, obt. 1431. Memorials for Chrisagon Towles, obt. 1648, arms, a tower triple-towered between three pheons impaling three fleurs de lis; for John Goulding, only son of Henry Goulding, gent. obt. 1625, arms, a cross voided between four lions passant, for Clare Gouldinge, mother of Henry Towles, esq. obt. 1631; for Thomas Hayward, lord of the manor of Granch, obt. 1637. An altar monument for William Haward, of Granch, gent. obt. 1612, and Alice his wife, daughter of Thomas Clybe, gent. obt. 1610. A monument for Anne, wife of Thomas Haward, esq. of Granch, daughter and coheir of Rowland Odell, left an only daughter, obt. 1628.— In the north chancel, belonging to the manor of Twydall, is a monument for Anthony Paynter, gent. of East-court, son and heir of William Paynter, esq. of Twydall, he married Katherine, eldest daughter and coheir of Robert Harris, esq. master in chancery, obt. 1653, leaving William his only son and heir, arms, Gules, a chevron between three griffins heads erased, or, on a chief of the last an helmet sable between two pellets.—In the nave a brass for William Godfrey, Joane, and Marion, his wives, the died in 1420. In the Registrum Roffense, p. 826, is an account of the painted glass remaining in the windows of this church, as well as of the monuments and inscriptions then remaining in it in the year 1621, collected by Baptist Tustoh, parish clerk. By it the windows appear to have been most beautifully ornamented with scripture history, as well as with the arms and names of the family of Beaufitz, most probably the principal benefactors of it. Besides the historical parts in them, there was the portrait of Robert Beaufitz, who lies in the chancel, the coat of Gillingham quarterly, Ermine and gules; the portrait of John Beaufitz, esq. the younger, with a garland of roses on his head, he lies buried in the north chapel, the arms of Beaufitz and Gillingham as above impaled; the portrait of Sarah, wife of Robert Beaufitz; the arms of William Beaufitz, clerk, who glazed this third window on the north side at his own charge.

In the chancel were formerly many brasses, with figures; arms and inscriptions for the family of Beaufitz, all which have been, excepting the one above-mentioned, long since lost.—In the north chancel, besides scripture history, the portrait of John, son of John Beaufitz, esq. kneeling with his book before him, with the arms of Beaufitz and Gillingham quartered, and the portrait of Alice, wife of John Beaufitz before-mentioned, her arms impaled were, Argent, a chevron gules between three stars sable; the arms of William Beaufitz, clerk, Argent, or a fess between three lozenges Barry, a crescent of the field; in the niche over the porch, at the west end of the church, stood the image of the Virgin Mary, commonly stiled, our Lady of Gillingham, which was esteemed of such great sanctity, that pilgrimages were formerly made to it.

At the foot of one of the main beams of the church are the arms of Beaufitz, which shews perhaps that the roof was made at their charge, or at least that they were great benefactors to it.

King Henry I. in his 22d year, gave this church, by the name of the rectory of Upbery, alias Gillingham, with the chapels, tithes, and other appurtenances belonging to it, to the nunnery of Minster, in Shepey; which was confirmed by king Henry IV. in his first year. After which it continued part of the possessions of the nunnery till the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when that house was dissolved by act of parliament as not being able to dispend two hundred pounds per annum clear yearly income. The church of Gillingham coming thus into the king's hands, was granted by him in his 35th year, by the name of the rectory of Upbery, alias Gillingham, and the advowson of it, with all its rights, members and appurtenances, to Sir Thomas Cheney, to hold in capite by knight's service. After which it passed in like manner as has been already mentioned in the description of the manor of Upbery to Brazen Nose college, in Oxford, since which it has had the same lessees.

In the lease this rectory is said to consist of all the tithe corn of this whole parish, excepting of that part which is within the liberty of the Five Ports, being about one hundred and twenty acres; of about one hundred and ninety-three acres, part of West-court; and also of those of the demesne lands of Upbery manor, and of the lands held of it, and paying a quit-rent to it; and those of the hamlet of Lidsing.

The presentation to the vicarage continues in the possession of the principal and scholars of Brazen Nose college.

The taxation of this church, i. e. the rectory, in the reign of king Edward III. was, of the endowment of it, eight acres of arable and forty acres of pasture, worth yearly eleven marcs; rents of assise of the like endowment sixty shillings, and the rent of twenty hens of the like endowment 3s. 4d. and fifty acres of marsh of the like endowment 67s. and 6d. (fn. 29) In the 8th year of king Richard II. the church of Gillingham was valued at forty pounds. (fn. 30)

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 15l. 13s. 11½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 11s. 4¾d.

In a survey made of the ecclesiastical revenues in this diocese, in 1650, it was returned, that in Gillingham there was a vicarage, presentative by the college or Brazen Nose, in Oxford, worth forty-eight pounds per annum, Mr. John Trafford being then incumbent.

At present this vicarage is endowed, besides the vicarial or small tithes of this parish, with the great tithes of part of a farm called Brittons, being thirty acres; of part of White's farm, being seven acres; of part of Mill-farm, being five acres; of part of Westcourtfarm, being eight acres; and with the great tithes of the whole of Upbery manor and of the hamlet of Lidsing. The stile of the presentation being, to the vicarage of Gillingham and Upbery, with the chapel of Lidsing.

SOON AFTER the conquest Richard Brutin, of Gillingham, together with his wife and son, gave to the monks of St. Andrew, all his tithe in corn, lambs, pigs, cheese, and calves, and in all other things, for his brother, whom they had made a monk, and for the benefit of their society, which they had granted to him. (fn. 31) These tithes at the dissolution of that priory, in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. came into the king's hands, who by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, settled them, by the description of all that PORTION OF TITHES of Upberrie-court, in Gillingham, late belonging to the dissolved priory of Rochester, on his new-founded dean and chapter there, with whom the inheritance of them now remains.

On the intended dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. these tithes were surveyed in 1649, when it appeared that this portion of tithes late belonging to the dean and chapter, issuing out of the manors of Upbery and West-court, in Gillingham, consisted in the tithes of all manner of grain issuing out of certain lands, fields, &c. belonging to the said manors, and containing one hundred and ninetythree acres and two roods, of the yearly value of twenty pounds improved rent, and were let by the late dean and chapter, anno 12 Charles I. to Walter Blunt, esq. for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of eighteen shillings per annum; but I am informed, that this portion of tithes at present consists of those arising only from ninety-three acres; fifteen of which are part of the above-mentioned farm, called Brittons, and the remainder of West-court farm.

The present lessee under the dean and chapter of Rochester is Mrs. Jane Bingle, widow.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. RECTORS.
Prioress and Convent of Minster, in Shepey Nicholas de Crainford, anno 6 Edward I.
Thomas de Hedyrsete, LL. D. ob. 1405. (fn. 32)
John Rafe, in 1476. (fn. 33)
John Bregge. (fn. 34)
Brazen Nose college, in Oxford James Dryer, in 1629.
John Trafford, in 1649. (fn. 35)
Ralph Twisse, in 1657.
Moses Pengry, B. D. obt. Oct. 4, 1678. (fn. 36)
Francis Philips, A. M. obt. Sept. 22, 1679. (fn. 37)
John Williams, in 1692.
William Harrison, in 1720.
John Jenkinson, obt. May 27, 1780. (fn. 38)
Houstonne Radcliffe, A. M. ind. Nov. 5, 1780, and is the present vicar. (fn. 39)


  • 1. MSS. Dering.
  • 2. Lambarde's Perambulation, p. 420.
  • 3. Text. Roff. p. 154, 158, 446. Rot. Cart, ejus an. N. 31.
  • 4. Folio Christ church MSS.
  • 5. Parl. Surveys, Aug. Off. Rolls of Partic. Aug. Off Z.Z. 2.
  • 6. See a further account of this family, Vol. I. of this History, p. 390. Vol. III. p. 89.
  • 7. Guillim. p. 221.
  • 8. Philipott, p. 166.
  • 9. Pedigree of Payneter, Visitn. of Kent, anno 1619.
  • 10. See Westerham, vol. 3d of this History, p. 174.
  • 11. See Philipott, p. 166.
  • 12. See Bibl. Topograph. Britan. No. 6, pt. 1.
  • 13. Jeake's Charters of the Five Ports, p. 25, 26, 120.
  • 14. Rot. 33 Edw. III. pt. 3, m. 6. Lib. Rubr. Scacc.
  • 15. Strype's Stow's Survey, B. iii. p. 133.
  • 16. Guillim's Heraldry, edit. 5th. p. 249.
  • 17. Strype's Stow's Survey, book ii. p. 172.
  • 18. Vistn. co. Kent, anno 1619, Pedigree Haward.
  • 19. See more of the possessors of this manor under Sharsted, in Doddington.
  • 20. See an engraving of it in Biblia Top. Brit. No. vi. pt. 1.
  • 21. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 5.
  • 22. Eastchurch, in Shepey.
  • 23. Newc. Rep. vol. i. p. 49. His life is among those in the Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 3257.
  • 24. See Wricklesmarsh in Charlton, vol. i. of this History, p. 426.
  • 25. Rot. Cart. ejus an. No. 42.
  • 26. Reg. Roff. p. 217.
  • 27. There is an engraving of it in Bibl. Top. Brit. No. 6, pt. 1.
  • 28. Parliamentary Surveys, Lambeth-library, vol. xix.
  • 29. Folio Christ Church MSS.
  • 30. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 31. Text, Roff. p. 181. Reg. Roff. p. 44, 46.
  • 32. Also rector of Hayes.
  • 33. Before rector of St. Mary's, Hoo. See Reg. Roff. p. 406.
  • 34. He lies buried in this church.
  • 35. Lambeth Surveys, vol. xix.
  • 36. He was an ingenious and learned man. He lies buried in Roch. cathed.
  • 37. He lies buried in this church.
  • 38. In 1767 he had a dispensation to hold Rucking with this vicarage.
  • 39. Prebendary of Canterbury, and rector of Ickham in this county.