Parishes: Trottesclive

Pages 549-555

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

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NORTH-WESTWARD from Addington lies Trottesclive, vulgarly called Trosley; so named, as I imagine, from its situation, quasi Trodes-clif, i e. the hilly tract, this place being close at the foot of the great chalk hills, which extend themselves across the county.

THE PARISH of Trottesclive is of no great extent, containing not more than one thousand acres of land, and thirty-two houses and cottages. The situation of it is, though healthy, far from being pleasant or even desireable; the soil is but poor and hungry. The great ridge of chalks hills cross it, near the foot of which, though yet on high ground, is the village, having the church and antient palace in another part of it, about a quarter of a mile distance eastward. The high road from Dartford by Longfield, Hartley bottom, and Berry's Maple, leads through it towards Ofham and Malling; below the village the soil is a sand, and above it chalk. Above the hills it reaches for more than a mile along a dreary country, but thinly inhabited, and much covered with coppice woods, the soil of which is a heavy tillage land, consisting of an unfertile red earth, mixed with a quantity of flint stones, which make the narrow roads through it most disagreeable to travel through.

The parish ought antiently to have contributed to the third pier of Rochester bridge.

In the year 788, Offa, king of the Mercians, gave a part of his land, containing six plough-lands, called Trottesclive, to the church of St. Andrew, and the bishopric of the castle, which was called Hrofesester, to hold for ever, together with all rights and appurtenances belonging to it. The bounds of it were on the east and south, Boerlingas; on the west, Wroteham; and on the north, Meapaham, and there belonged to it in different places, pannage of hogs, in the Wealdberies, as in the grant are particularly mentioned.

The church of Rochester did not continue long in the possession of this estate; for it was wrested from it in the time of the Danish wars, which quickly followed, and continued so till archbishop Lanfranc recovered it, in the solemn assembly of the whole county held at Pinenden-heath in 1076; and he immediately restored it to bishop Gundulph and the church of St. Andrew. (fn. 1)

In the general survey of Domesday, taken about the year 1080, this place is thus described, under the title of the bishop of Rochester's lands:

The same bishop (of Rochester) holds Trotesclive. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was taxed at three sulings, and now at one suling. The arable land is three carucates. In demesne there is one suling, and one carucate there, and ten villeins with two carucates. There is a church, and one servant, and two acres of meadow, and wood for the pannage of ten hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth sixty shillings, and now seven pounds.

Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was elected to that see in the year 1077, divided the revenues of his church between himself and his monks, and in that division, the manor of Trottesclive was allotted to the bishop, and was by him appropriated to the support of his table, or ad victum Episcopi, as it was then stiled.

Soon after which there was an episcopal palace erected at this place, the buildings of which were grown so ruinous when bishop Gilbert de Glanvill came to the see in 1185, that he was forced to rebuild them, which he did in a much more convenient manner.

On a taxation of the bishop of Rochester's manors in 1255, it appeared, that this manor had within it two hundred acres of arable land, each of which was estimated at four pence, and the pasture of the meadows and the out-woods at twenty shillings, that the annual rent amounted to the sum of seventy-three shillings and nine-pence farthing; the sum total of the whole manor being 8l. 0s. 5¼d. and that the buildings required for the necessary repair of them thirty shillings yearly.

And again at the latter end of that reign, on a valuation of the manors appropriated to the bishop's table, of this manor it appeared that the rents of it, as well in money as in hens, eggs, and ploughshares, were yearly 4l. 0s. 7d. that there were in it two ploughs, and yet there were not in reality two plough lands, each of which, according to the custom of the country, ought to contain one hundred and eighty acres of arable land, which there were not within the manor; that the yearly value of the same, together with the pasture, was seventy-six shillings and eightpence, and that there was one mill only here, which paid ten shillings per annum. The sum total of the value 8l. 7s. 3d. per annum.

In the 21st year of king Edward I. anno 1292, the bishop of Rochester was summoned to answer the king, before John de Berewyke and others, justices itinerants, at Canterbury, in a plea of quo warranto, by what right he claimed to hold pleas of withernam, and to have return of the king's writs, and assise of bread and ale, in this manor, and the bishop appeared, and claimed the above liberties in it, and view of frank-pledge within it; and as to the return of writs, &c. he said, that this manor was within the precinct of the liberty of the archbishop, and that the bishop's bailiffs received such returns by the hands of the archbishop's bailiffs; therefore he prayed judgment, &c. And as to the other liberties, that he and his predecessors, beyond the memory of man, had used them without interruption; on which it was found for the bishop, and the record of these pleas was, at the request of John de Shepey, bishop of Rochester, exemplified by inspeximus under the great seal, in the 30th year of Edward III. anno 1355.

Hamo de Hethe, bishop of Rochester, having resided during the Lent of 1322, at Halling, came from thence to Trottesclive, where he celebrated the feast of Easter; (fn. 2) and caused some additions to be made to the buildings of this palace, and six years afterwards, coming hither a few days after the Purification, he resided here the whole year, during which he surrounded his court with high walls, and made a new chamber for the bishop, and another for his clerks, and a new kitchen; the whole of which expence amounted to one hundred marcs.

The bishops of Rochester continued to reside occasionally at this palace, till some years after the reformation; about which time this, as well as the rest of their antient manors and mansion houses in this county, excepting Bromley, were leased out by them for lives or years to different tenants; in which state the manor and mansion-house of Trottesclive continue at this time. The family of Whitaker have for some generations been lessees of it, under the bishop of Rochester, and have resided in the manor-house, during which time they have acquired the rank of gentlemen, bearing for their arms, Sable, a tess between three muscles argent. Thomas Whitaker, esq. of this place, was sheriff in 1743, as was his eldest son Thomas Whitaker, esq. in 1748, and both kept their shrievalties at this place, and his son of the same name now resides here.

THERE WAS AN ESTATE in this parish, which was antiently accounted a manor, and was likewise called THE MANOR OF TROTTESCLIVE. It was held of the bishop of Rochester in the 12th and 13th years of king John, as appears by the inquisitions then taken by Roger de Cressi, as half a knight's fee. (fn. 3) His descendant Stephen de Cressi, in the same reign, possessed this manor, and likewise a park here called Cressy park, and le west Park, and was soon afterwards succeeded in it by Roger de Leyborne, but this estate seems about this time to have been vested in the crown; for king Henry III. in his 48th year, granted the manor of Trottesclive to his niece Isabel, the illegitimate daughter of Richard, earl of Cornwall, a younger son of king John, who afterwards married Maurice, lord Berkeley. (fn. 4) If so, it could remain in the crown, or in Isabel above-mentioned, but a very few years before it passed to Roger de Leyborne, who having some claim to the manor of Ledes against Robert de Crevequer, it was settled by the interposition of friends, in consequence of which, Roger de Leyborne, in the 52d year of that reign, granted his manors of Trottesclive and Flete wholly to Robert, son of Hamon de Crevequer, junior, and Yseude his wife, they performing to him the free service of one knight's fee, and to the bishop of Rochester all other services due and accustomed, in consideration of which, Robert had granted to him, by way of exchange, his manor of Ledes, with all its appurtenances, together with a moiety of all his fees, and as the above manors of Trottesclive and Flete were not of equal value to the manor of Ledes, he granted to them one hundred shillings rent in Redleghe.

Robert de Crevequer, anno 6th Edward I. released to John, bishop of Rochester, all his right in this manor of Trottesclive, with its appurtenances in Malling, Wroteham, and elsewhere, to hold to him as in right of his church for ever. In consideration of which, the bishop had given him fifty marcs, and one palfrey, as a fine. (fn. 5) This estate which is now called West-court, alias Wrotham-water, and lies in the parishes of Trottesclive and Wrotham, still continues part of the possessions of the bishop of Rochester, the present lessee of it under the bishop, being Mr. Whitaker.


THE REV. PAUL BARISTOX and MARY GODWIN gave by will in 1711, for the purpose of a charity school, land vested in trustees, and now of the annual produce of 9l.

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

The church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul.

The church of Trottesclive has always been accounted an appendage to the manor, and as such is at this time in the patronage of the right reverend the lord bishop of Rochester.

It is valued in the king's books at 10l. 2s. 11d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 0s. 3½d. (fn. 6)


PATRONS, Or by whom presented. Rectors.
Bishops of Rochester, lords of the manor. John, in the reign of Henry IId. (fn. 7)
James, in the reign of Henry III. (fn. 8)
Nicholas de Rokelunde, in the same reign. (fn. 9)
John de Denyngtone, and 12th Edward III. (fn. 10)
Bishohs of Rochester, lords of the manor. Thomas Rither, clerk, in 1589. (fn. 11)
Edmund Jackson, S. T. P. in 1630. (fn. 12)
John Warren, about 1692. (fn. 13)
Thomas Cockman, A. M. inst. July 28, 1704. (fn. 14)
Charles Lambe, in 1723.
Hugh Pugh, in 1724.
James Webb, A. M. obt. 1759. (fn. 15)
Francis Lloyd, A. M. in 1759, refig. 1779.
Francis Taynton, A. M. 1779, obt. 1794. (fn. 16)
Crawford, 1794, the present rector.


  • 1. See the confirmations of it in Reg. Roff. p. 442. Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. p. 2.
  • 2. Wharton's Ang. Sacr. vol. i. p. 363, 368.
  • 3. Lib. Rubr. Scacc. Dugd. Bar. vol i. p. 708.
  • 4. Dugdale's Baronetage, vol. i. p. 765.
  • 5. About this time and afterwards, several small parcels of lands and rents, parcel of the above estate, were conveyed to the bishops of Rochester, as may be seen in Reg. Roff. p. 657, 658, 659.
  • 6. Bacon's Lib. Regis.
  • 7. Reg. Roff. p. 161.
  • 8. Ibid. p. 664.
  • 9. Ibid. p. 321.
  • 10. Ibid. p. 682.
  • 11. Presented to by the chancellor, as being vacant by lapse.
  • 12. MSS. Twysden.
  • 13. And vicar of St. John's, Margate.
  • 14. Also vicar of East Malling.
  • 15. In 1748 a dispensation passed for his holding this with the vicarage of West Malling.
  • 16. Likewise vicar of West Farleigh.