Parishes: Ditton

Pages 455-463

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

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WESTWARD from Allington lies the parish of Ditton, called in antient records, Dictune. It takes its name from the Saxon words dic and tune, which signify the village situated on the dike, or trench of water.

THE SITUATION and soil of this parish is much the same as that of Allington, last described. The high road from London, through Wrotham, to Maidstone, crosses the middle of it, at the thirty-first mile stone; the village stands on it, and the church about a quarter of a mile further southward, on an ascent, beyond which, the parish reaches into the large tract of coppice woods, which extends as far as Teston and Barming. The stream, from Bradborne park runs through this parish and village, across the above road, and having turned two mills, one above and the other below it, runs on to the river Medway, which is the northern boundary of this parish, near the north-west extremity of which, on the road leading from Larkfield to Newhith, and not far distant from that hamlet and the river, is Borough court. This parish is rather an obscure place, and has nothing further worthy of notice in it.

This parish, among others, was antiently bound to contribute to the repair of the fifth pier of Rochester bridge.

IN THE WOODS, at the southern part of this parish, are many trees of the mountain ash, with berries, called in Gerarde, Sorbus silvestris, five fraxinus bubula, the quicken tree, wild ash, or service tree; (fn. 1) and by Miller, Sorbus aucuparea, the wild service, or quicken tree.

THIS PLACE, at the time of the taking of the survey of Domesday, in the reign of the Conqueror, was part of the possessions of Odo, bishop of Baieux and earl of Kent, the king's half brother, under the general title of whose lands it is thus described in it.

Haimo the sheriff holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Dictune. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there are two, and 20 villeins, with five borderers, having three carucates. There is a church and 6 servants, and one mill of 10 shillings, and eight acres of meadow, and 35 acres of pasture. Wood for the pannage of six hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth 8 pounds, when he received it 100 shillings, now 8 pounds. Sbern held it of king Edward.

There was at the above time in this parish likewise another estate, called SIFLETONE, part of the possessions also of the bishop of Baieux, which is thus entered in the same book, immediately after that above described.

Vitalis holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Sifletone. It was taxed at three yokes. The arable land is one carucate. In demesne there is one caracate and an half, and six villeins, with one borderer, having half a carucate. There are six servants, and one mill of 10s. There are ten acres of meadow, and thirty acres of pasture. In the time of the Confessor it was worth 40 shillings, when he received it four pounds, now 100 shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, two men, Leuuin and Uluuin, held this land in coparcenary, and could turn themselves over with this land to whomever they would.

The estate first described appears to have been what has since been known by the name of the MANOR of DITTON, with the appendant MANOR of BRAMPTON.

On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, Ditton became confiscated to the crown; after which it appears to have been held of the Clares, earls of Gloucester, by a family who assumed their surname from it.

In the reign of king Edward I. William de Ditton held the manor of Ditton of the earl of Gloucester, at which time the manor of Brampton, once part of it, was held by William de Brampton of the above Wm. de Ditton, and by him of the earl of Gloucester. (fn. 2) In the beginning of the next reign of king Edward II. Ralph de Ditton and Joan de Lewkenore were owners of these manors; after which they both passed into the name of Aldon, and Thomas de Aldon, in the 20th of king Edward III. paid aid for both of them, held in manner as above mentioned.

THE MANOR OF SIFLETONE came to the crown likewise on the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, and was afterwards held by a family who took their name from it. In the reign of king Henry III. and beginning of that of king Edward I. William de Sifleston held it of Wm. Ditton above mentioned, as he again did of the earl of Gloucester; from which name it passed into that of Burghersh, and Robert de Burghersh, constable of Dover-castle, warden of the five ports, and a baron of this realm, died possessed of this manor, in the 34th year of king Edward I. anno 1305, (fn. 3) whose son and heir, Stephen, in the 1st year of Edward II. obtained a charter of free warren for all his demesne lands within it. He was succeeded, in the 3d year of king Edward II. by Bartholomew lord Burghersh, from whom this manor seems to have passed to Tho. de Aldon, who, in the 20th year of king Edward III. was likewise possessed of the manor of Ditton, with that of Brampton, as has been already mentioned. He died in the 35th year of that reign, anno 1360, and these manors came into the family of Paveley, from which they passed to that of Windlesor, or Windsor, in the 1st year of king Richard II. in which name they continued till the 15th year of that reign, when they were conveyed by sale to Sir Lewis Clifford, K.B. descended from the Cliffords, of Clifford castle, in Herefordshire, whose son, Wm. Clifford, of Bobbing, esq. in Kent, sold them in Henry V.'s reign to Sir Wm. Colepeper, whose son, Sir Rich. Colepeper, (fn. 4) of Oxenhoath, sheriff in the 11th year of king Edward IV. died possessed of these manors in the 2d year of king Richard III. and leaving no issue male, his three daughters, Margaret, married to William Cotton, of Oxenhoath; Joyce to Edmund lord Howard; and Elizabeth to Henry Barham, esq. became his coheirs. They, in the next reign of king Henry VII. joined in the sale of these manors to Thomas Leigh, of Sibton, in Liminge, who left a son and heir, John Leigh, alias a Legh, esq. of Addington, in Surry; (fn. 5) and he, in the 35th year of king Henry VIII. exchanged these manors with the king for other lands elsewhere, (fn. 6) who next year granted, among other premises, his lordships or manors of Dytton, Syfflyngton, and Brampton, with all their appurtenances, in Dytton, Syfflyngton, Est Malling, Maidstone, and Brampton, to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, lord Wriothesley, or Wriseley, as the name was usually pronounced, to hold for his life, without any rent or account whatsoever; and the year afterwards he granted to him the fee of these manors and their appurtenances, to hold in capite by knights service, and the next year he had a grant of the tenths reserved by it.

This nobleman was descended from John Wryothesley, commonly called Wrythe, garter king at arms in the reigns of king Edward IV. and king Henry VII. who left issue two sons, Thomas, likewise garter on his father's death; and William, York herald, whose son was Thomas, lord Wriothesley, above mentioned. He had been, in the 35th year of that reign, created a baron, by the title of lord Wriothesley, of Titchfield, in the county of Southampton, and next year made lord chancellor, in the room of lord Audley, deceased, and a privy counsellor, and shortly afterwards knight of the Garter; (fn. 7) and anno 1 Edward VI. being three days before the coronation, he was created earl of Southamp ton, bearing for his arms, Azure, a plain cross or, between four falcons closed, argent. Soon after which, that same year, he alienated these manors, with their appurtenances, to Sir Robert Southwell, of Mereworth, who in the 1st and 2d year of king Philip and queen Mary, conveyed them to Sir Tho. Pope, in which name they remained till the next reign of queen Elizabeth, when they were alienated to Wiseman; and in the 24th year of it, these manors were the joint property of William, George, and Philip, and John Wiseman, brothers, as I conjecture, which Philip, having purchased the shares of the others, appears the next year, to have been in the possession of the whole see of them. (fn. 8)

From the name of Wiseman these manors were conveyed, in the reign of king James I. to Sir Oliver Boteler, of Teston, knight, in this county, who died possessed of them in 1632. His eldest son, Sir John Boteler, of Teston, died without issue, upon which his next brother, Sir William Boteler, became his heir, and was created a baronet in 1640. His great grand son, Sir Philip Boteler, bart. of Teston, died in 1772, without surviving issue, (fn. 9) and by will gave one moiety of his estates to Mrs. Elizabeth Bouverie, of Chart Sutton, and the other moiety to Elizabeth, viscountess dowager of Folkestone, and William Bouverie, earl of Radnor, since deceased; and on a partition of these estates, the manor of Ditton, with Brampton and Sysleston, or Sifflington, as it is now called, and the appurtenances belonging to them, was allotted to the Rt. Hon. lady dowager Folkestone, who died in 1782, and was succeeded by her only son, the Hon. Philip Bouverie, the present possessor of them, who has since taken the name of Pusey, and is the present owner of this estate.

BOROUGH COURT, the proper name of which is Brooke-court, is a manor which lies at the northern extremity of this parish, at no great distance from New hith, and the river Medway. It was part of the possions of the eminent family of Colepeper, so early as the reign of Edward III. in the first year of which, Walter Colepeper, esq. was found to die possessed of it; in whose descendants it afterwards continued down to Richard Colepeper, esq. afterwards knighted, who was of Oxenhoath, in this county; and died possessed of this manor in the 2d year of king Richard III. anno 1484, leaving his three daughters his coheirs; Margaret, married to William Cotton, of Oxenhoath; Joice to Edmund lord Howard; and Elizabeth to Henry Barham, of Teston.

After which it was alienated to Francis Shakerly, of Lancashire, the second son of Peter Shakerly, of Shakerly, in that county, who bore for his arms, Argent, a chevron, vert between three tufts, or mounts of grass of the second; who upon this removed into Kent, and resided at Brooke-court. He had six sons, of whom Richard, the eldest, was his heir; Thomas, the second son, was of Wrotham; the third son was of Otham; and by Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Darel, of Scotney, left a son Francis, who was elected fellow of All Souls college, in 1620.

Rich. Shakerley, esq. the eldest son, was of Brookecourt, and had issue a son John, born about the year 1600; and a daughter Mary, who was married to Mr. Peter Bewley, descended from those of Bewley court, in Woldham; and she, on her brother's death, without issue, entitled her husband to this manor. They had two daughters, Elizabeth, who died unmarried, in 1638; and Mary, who became her father's heir, and carried this manor in marriage to Mr. Basse, of Suffolk, who, in the beginning of the reign of king Charles II. alienated it to Sir Thomas Twisden, one of the judges of the court of King's bench.

He was second son of Sir William Twysden, bart. of East Peckham, by Anne his second wife, daughter of the first countess of Winchelsea, and was created a baronet in 1666. He afterwards seated himself at Bradborne, in the adjoining parish of East Malling; and in his descendants it has continued down to Sir John Papillon Twisden, bart. of Bradborne, the present owner of it.

There is a court baron held for this manor.

DITTON-PLACE is a mansion in this parish, which was, in the beginning of king James I.'s reign, the residence of the family of Brewer, many of whom lie buried in this church, and it continued with them till the beginning of this century, when, by mortgage or purchase, it came into the possession of Thomas Golding, esq. of Leyborne, sheriff in 1703, who gave it by will to his nephew, Mr. Thomas Golding, of Ryarsh, who sold it to John Brewer, esq. counsellor at law, whose neice, Mrs. Carney, of West Farleigh, about 1735, reconveyed it back again to Mr. Tho. Golding, whose son, Mr. John Golding, is now in the possession of it.


THOMAS GOLDING, gent. by will in 1704, gave a rent charge of 10s. to be paid yearly out of a house vested in admiral Forbes, in St. Leonard's-street, in Town Malling, to be distributed to the poor on Easter and Christmas days, and now of that annual product.

THE REV. THOMAS TILSON, by will in 1750, gave 100l. in money; the yearly produce to be distributed annually on the feasts of All Saints and the Purification, in wood and wheat to the poor, vested in Sir John Twisden, and of the annual produce of 3l.

DITTON is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Malling.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, is a small building, with a square tower at the west end.

The church of Ditton was given, in the reign of king Henry II. by William, whose surname is not mentioned, though it appears that he was lord of this parish, in free and perpetual alms, to the canons of the priory of Ledes, which was confirmed by Hamo his son, likewise lord of Ditton, and by Gualeran, at that time bishop of Rochester.

Gilbert de Glanvill, the successor of bishop Gualeran, further granted to the prior and canons, the par sonage of this church, in perpetual alms, and assigned to them, in the name of the parsonage, one bezant. In Latin bezantus. This was a piece of money coined by the western emperors at Constantinople, or Byzantium; of this there were two sorts, gold and silver, both which passed in England; the latter was worth two shillings, of which kind was that above-mentioned. It was to be received yearly from this church for ever, by the hand of the vicar of it, to be presented by them, and instituted by the bishop. Bishop Richard de Wendover, in the reign of king Henry III. confirmed the same, and granted that the religious should possess the parsonage and two shillings per annum, as a pension to be paid by the vicar, who being by them presented to the bishop, should possess the residue of this church, in the name of the vicarage of it. (fn. 10) By which it appears that this church was a vicarage endowed with the parsonage of it, held of the religious, by the yearly pension of two shillings, how it came since to be esteemed a rectory I know not.

It is valued in the king's books at 11l. 15s. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 3s. 6d.

The patronage of this rectory, (for such it seems to have been accounted at the dissolution of the priory of Leeds, in the reign of king Henry VIII.) was, together with the pension of two shillings, and the rest of the possessions of that house surrendered into the king's hands, and became part of the possessions of the crown.

In the reign of king James I. Richard Shakerley, esq. was patron of this church. The present patron is the right hon. Heneage, earl of Aylesford, in whose family it has been some time.

The pension of two shillings yearly, payable to the priory of Leeds, as above-mentioned, was settled by king Henry VIII. in his 33d year, by his dotation charter, on his new-sounded dean and chapter of Rochester, who now enjoy it.


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. RECTORS.
Priory of Leeds Laurence Skoye, in 1501. (fn. 11)
The Queen William Clough, Oct. 10, 1553. (fn. 12)
Richard Shakerley, esq. William Prew, A. M. obt. Sept.28, 1638. (fn. 13)
William Jole, A. M. obt. Sept.19, 1678. (fn. 14)
Thomas Tilson. (fn. 15)
Thomas Tilson, inst. Oct. 29, 1702. (fn. 16)
Earl of Aylesford John Oare, 1750, obt. 1773.
Joseph Butler Milner, 1773, S.T. P obt July, 1784. (fn. 17)
Samuel Bishop, A. M. 1784, ob.Nov. 17, 1795. (fn. 18)
Richard Warde, A. M. 1796.Present rector.


  • 1. Johnson's Gerarde's Herbal, p. 1473.
  • 2. Book of Knights Fees, in the exchequer.
  • 3. Dugdale's Bar. vol. ii. p. 34. Rot. Esch. ejus an.
  • 4. Philipott, p. 132; and pedigree of Colepeper.
  • 5. MSS. pedigree of Leigh. See East Wickham, vol. ii. p. 197.
  • 6. Deeds of Purchase and Exchange. Augtn. Off. Box D. 8.
  • 7. Dugdale's Baronetage, vol. ii. p. 383, 384.
  • 8. Rot. Esch. anno 24 Eliz. pt. ii. Ibid. anno 25 Eliz. pt. 9.
  • 9. MSS. pedigree of Boteler. See Teston. Philipot, p. 232.
  • 10. See the further confirmations of this church, Reg. Roff. p. 212.
  • 11. Reg. Roff. p. 426.
  • 12. Rym Fæd. vol. xv. p. 348.
  • 13. He lies buried in the chancel.
  • 14. He lies buried in the chancel.
  • 15. And vicar of Aylesford.
  • 16. Son of the former, and vicar of Aylesford.
  • 17. And vicar of Burham.
  • 18. Head master of Merchant Taylor's school, and rector of St. Martin's.