Parishes: Horsemonden

Pages 311-322

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.

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IS the next parish northward from Lamberhurst, a small part of it is within the borough of Rugmerhill, which lies at the western side of it adjoining to that of Brenchley, and is as such within the antient demesne of the manor of Aylesford, and consequently exempt from the jurisdiction of this hundred.

A small part of this parish is said to be within the hundred of Larkfield.

THE PARISH OF HORSEMONDEN is situated much like that of Lamberhurst last described. being a surface of continued hill and dale. It is bounded towards the north-east and south by different streams of the river Medway, which flow from hence, and join the main river at Yalding, besides which it is watered by two other smaller rivulets, and several lesser springs interspersed over it, all which join the larger stream on the southern side of the parish. It is full four miles in length from north to south, but its breadth is but small, in some places not more than one, and in its broadest part not more than two miles. The high road from Maidstone through Yalding to Lamberhurst and Sussex, runs through the whole length of the parish; that from Watringbury over Brandt bridge through Brenchley towards Goudhurst crosses this parish and the other road, at a small green called Horsemonden-heath, which is built round with houses, forming the only village in the parish, the rest of the houses being dispersed singly over different parts of it. The soil, near the high road, is in general a sand intermixed with the rock or sand stone, the remainder is a deep stiff clay, exceeding miry in wet weather. It is much interspersed with coppice woods of oak, especially on the west and north sides of it, where the soil abounds with iron ore; the whole is much covered with fine spreading oak trees, which here from the soil being very kindly to their nourishment grow to a large size, and become sometimes nearly equal in value to the freehold of the estates.

The church stands, with the parsonage, about a quarter of a mile distant from it, very near the southeast boundary of the parish. In the upper part of itnear the river is a seat called Baynden, late belonging to Sir Charles Booth, of Stede-hill, deceased.

A fair is held here on St. Swithin's day, now by the alteration of the style on July 26, for cattle, pedlery and toys.

THE MANOR of Horsemonden was part of the antient possessions of the archbishopric of Canterbury, the archbishop holding it of the king in capite as one knight's fee, of whom it was again held by the noble family of Clare, earls of Gloucester and Hertford.

It appears by the inquisitions returned into the exchequer in the 13th and 14th years of king John, of the knights fees and other services held in capite, that this place was then in the possession of the family of Albrincis, (fn. 1) one of whom, William de Albrincis, or Averenches, dying s. p. Maud, his sister, at length became her brother's heir, and entitled her husband, Hamo de Crevequer, to the possession of it. He died in the 47th year of king Henry the IIId.'s reign, before which however, this manor seems to have passed in marriage with one of his daughters, Elene, to Bertram de Criol.

In the 42d year of king Henry III. there was a composition entered into between archbishop Boniface and Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester, in relation to the customs and services which the archbishop claimed on account of the lands, which the earl held of him in Tunbridge, Horsemonden, and other places in this county, by which it was agreed that the earl should do homage, and the service of one knight's see for the manor of Horsemonden, and suit at the court of the archbishop and his successors at Canterbury.

In the 8th year of king Edward II. this manor was part of the possessions of the family of Rokesle, the heirs of Roger de Rokesle then holding it of the honor of Clare; one of these was Sir Richard de Rokesle, who died without male issue, leaving by his wife Joane, sister and heir of John de Criol, son of Bertram above-mentioned, two daughters his coheirs; of whom Agnes, the eldest, married Thomas de Poynings; and Joane, the youngest, first Hugh de Pateshull, and secondly Sir William le Baud, each of whom in her right became possessed of this manor, and the latter of them died possessed of it in the 4th year of king Edward III. His widow, in the 20th year of that reign, paid aid for it, being then held of the earl of Gloucester.

After which, although their son, Sir William Baud, seems to have had some interest in this estate, at his death in the 50th year of that reign, yet on hers, the manor itself came to her nephew Michael, son of Thomas de Poynings above mentioned, by Joane de Rokesle her sister, in whose descendants it continued down to his grandson Robert de Poynings, who died in the 25th year of king Henry VI. leaving Alianore, the wife of Sir Henry Percy, lord Percy, eldest son of Henry, earl of Northumberland, daughter of Richard de Poynings, his eldest son, who died in his life-time, his next heir; upon which the lord Percy, in her right, became entitled to this manor, and from him it continued down to Henry, earl of Northumberland, who died without issue in the 29th year of Henry the VIIIth.'s reign. The year before which, he by deed, granted to the king, all his manors, castles and estates, (fn. 2) although the year before this, an act had passed for assuming to the king all his lands and possessions, in case of failure of heirs of his body.

This manor thus coming to the crown, stayed not many years there, for the king in his 36th year, granted it to Stephen Darell, esq. and Agnes his wife, to hold in capite. He died in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, after which his two sons, Henry and George successively, possessed it, the latter of whom in the 10th year of that reign, alienated this manor to Richard Payne, who anno 17 queen Elizabeth, levied a fine of it, and some time afterwards alienated it to William Beswicke, esq. of Spelmonden, in this parish, sheriff in the year 1616. He was son of William Beswicke, alias Berwicke, alderman and lord-mayor of London, the son of Roger Beswicke, of Cheshire. They bore for their arms, Gules, three bezants, a chief or. His son, Arthur Beswicke, was of Spelmonden, and married Martha, daughter of Laurence Washington, esq. of Maidstone, by whom he left an only daughter Mary his heir, who in her life-time settled this manor on Mr. Haughton, descended from those of Haughton Tower, in Lancashire. He left two daughters his coheirs, the eldest of whom Anne, carried it in marriage to James Marriott, esq. of Hampton, in Middlesex, who bore for his arms, Barry of six, or, and sable. His son, of the same name, died s p. in 1741, and gave it by will to his sister Anne, for her life, and then to his second cousin, Hugh Marriott, esq. who died in 1753, leaving by Lydia, his wife, widow of Dr. Hutton, two sons, James; and Thomas, slain at the siege of Madras in 1765, and one daughter Anne. James the eldest son is in holy orders, and LL. D. He married in 1767, Miss Bosworth, and is the present possessor of this manor, and other estates in this parish.

There is no court held for this manor.

SPELMONDEN is an antient seat at the southern boundary of this parish, which was once possessed by a family which took its surname from it. John de Spelmonden, one of the proprietors of it, is frequently mentioned in the deeds and evidences belonging to this estate; after they were become extinct here, this seat became part of the possessions of the eminent family of Poynings, one of whom Michael, son of Thomas de Poynings, by Joane de Rokesle, possessed it at his death in the 43d year of king Edward III.

He left two sons, Thomas, who died s. p. and Richard, who became his brother's heir, and died possessed of this estate in the 11th year of Richard II. He was succeeded in it by Robert de Poynings his only son, at whose death in the 25th year of king Henry VI. Robert, his younger son, seems to have inherited Spelmonden, and died in the 9th year of king Edward IV. His son and heir, Sir Edward Poynings, in the 14th year of that reign, alienated it to John Sampson, whose son, Christopher Sampson, in the 37th year of king Henry VIII. passed it away by sale to Stephen Davell, who afterwards resided here, and his son, George Darell, in the 10th year of queen Elizabeth, conveyed it to Richard Payne, of Twyford, in Middlesex, who in the 28th year of it sold this estate to William Nutbrown, and he next year alienated it to George Cure, esq. of Surry, from whom it immediately after was sold to Arthur Langworth, and from him again as quickly to William Beswicke, esq. who afterwards resided here, and was sheriff in 1616. Since which this seat has passed in like man ner as the manor of Horsemonden down to the Rev. Dr. Marriott, who is the present possessor of it.

LEWIS-HEATH is a manor situated in the centre of this parish, which was antiently part of the possessions of the family of Groveherst, or Grotherst, one of whom, John de Grotherst, rector of this church, as his epitaph still remaining in it informs us, gave this manor of Leueshothe to the abbot and convent of Begeham, to find one perpetual chaplain to celebrate in the church of Horsemonden and chapel of Leueshothe; and it continued part of the possessions of that abbey till the dissolution of it in the 17th year of king Henry VIII. who that year granted it with all its possessions, among which was this manor, to cardinal Wolsey, for the better endowment of Cardinal's college, in Oxford; but on his being cast in a præmunire, about four years afterwards, all the estates of that college, which, for want of time, had not been firmly settled on it, came into the king's hands, where this manor lay till queen Elizabeth, in the beginning of her reign, granted it to Anthony Brown, viscount Montague, who, as appears by the inquisition taken after his death, died possessed of it in 1593. He was succeeded in it by his eldest son and heir, who not long afterwards alienated it to William Beswicke, esq. of Spelmonden, in this parish, since which it has passed in like manner as that seat, and the rest of his estates in this parish, to the Rev. Dr. Marriott, the present possessor of it.

SPRIVERS is a manor situated on the western side of this parish, which had antiently owners of that surname, one of whom, Robert Sprivers, died possessed of it in 1447, anno 26 Henry VI. and by his will devised it to his son of the same name. After this family was become extinct here, the Vanes became proprietors of it, from whom it passed into the name of Bathurst.

Robert Bathurst possessed this manor and resided here in the reign of queen Elizabeth. He was second son of Laurence Bathurst, of Staplehurst, whole eldest son Edward was ancestor of the Bathursts, of Franks, in this county, under which more may be seen of them. Robert Bathurst, above-mentioned, was ancestor by his first wife to those of Letchlade, in Gloucestershire, and of Finchcocks and Wilmington, in this county, and by his second wife of those of Richmond, in Yorkshire; soon after this it was alienated to Malbert, and from thence again, after no long intermission, to Morgan, in which name it remained till it was sold to Holman, whose descendant Anne Holman, in 1704, passed it away by sale to Mr. Courthope, who bore for his arms, Or, a fess azure between three estoils sable. Some account of the different branches of whose family has already been given before under Brenchley. That branch of it, from which the Courthopes of Danny, in Sussex, and those of Horsemonden were descended, was seated at Goddards-green, in Cranbrook, in the reign of king Henry VIII. one of whom, Alexander Courthope, of Cranbrook, possessed lands there, in Biddenden, and Maidstone, as appears by his will in the Prerogativeoffice, Canterbury, as early as the year 1525.

Mr. Courthope, the purchaser of this estate, left by his wife, one of the sisters of Edward Maplesden, of Cheveney, in Marden, a son, Alexander, and five daughters, who all died unmarried, except Barbara, who married Mr. Cole, of Marden, and died in 1783, by whom she had two surviving sons, Peter and John. Alexander Courthope, esq. the son, rebuilt the mantion house of Sprivers at some distance from the antient one, and afterwards resided in it with true old English hospitality, and with a reputation of the highest integrity. He died unmarried in 1779, and by his will gave this manor, with the estate belonging to it, to his nephew, John Cole, esq. the present possessor, who resides in it.

A court baron is regularly holden for this manor.

Grovehurst is a manor which lies on the eastern side of this parish, and was in very early times part of the possessions of a family who took their surname from it. William Grovhurst died possessed of it, with Puleyns in this parish, (now the property of the Rev. Richard Bathurst, late of Finchcocks in Goudhurst) in the 7th year of king Edward III; his descendant Richard Groveherst left three daughters his coheirs, one of whom, Anne, carried this manor in marriage, about the latter end of the reign of king Richard II. to Richard Hextall, of Hextalls-court in East Peckham. His eldest son William, in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, increased his property in this parish by the purchase of four estates here, called Hothe, Smeeths, Capell, and Augustpitts. He left Margaret his sole daughter and heir, who carried them in marriage to William Whetenhall, esq commonly called Whetnall, whose descendant of the same name, was sheriff in the 18th year of king. Henry VIII.'s reign, and in the 31st year of it procured his lands to be disgavelled by the act passed that year.

His descendant, Henry Whetenhall, in the reign of king James I. passed away the manors of Grovehurst, Hoathe, Smeethe, and Capell, (for that of Augustpitts had been before sold off, being now the property of Mr. John Osborne, who resides at it,) together with a seat in this parish, called Broadford, situated near the bridge of that name over the river here, to Francis Austen, the fifth son of Mr. John Austen, of this parish, who dying in 1620, was buried in this church, where his arms still remain, viz. Or, on a chevron sable three plates, between three lions paws erect and erased, sable. He afterwards resided at Grovehurst, of which he died possessed in 1687, and was buried here. He left a son, John Austen, who was likewise of Grovehurst, where he died in 1705, and was buried here. His son; John Austen, esq. resided at Broadford, and died the year before him, leaving six sons and one daughter, of whom John, the eldest, became his grandfather's heir to his estates in this parish, and Francis, the second son, was father of Francis Motley Austen, esq. now of Sevenoke in this county.

John Austen, esq. the eldest son, was of Broadford, and married Mary, daughter and coheir of Stephen Stringer, esq. of Goudhurst, by whom he had John Austen, esq. now of Broadford, who married Miss Joanna Weekes, of Sevenoke, by whom he has one daughter Mary, and he is the present possessor of these manors and estates.

There is a court baron regularly held for the manors of Grovehurst, Hoathe, and Smeethe.

BADMONDEN is a reputed manor in this parish, in which there was formerly a cell, but not conventual, belonging to the priory of Beaulieu, in Normandy; in which situation it continued till the general suppression of the alien priories throughout England, in the 2d year of king Henry V. anno 1414, when their houses and possessions were in parliament given to the king and his heirs, who the next year gave it to the priory of St. Andrew, in Rochester, where it remained till the dissolution of that society in 1540; when all the rents and revenues of it were surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation charter in his 33d year, settled it on his new-founded dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom the inheritance of it remains at this time.

The manor of East Farleigh and East Peckham claims over this part of Horsemonden; the freeholders in Badmonden holding their lands of it in free socage tenure.

BRAMBLES is a small manor in this parish, which was heretofore the property of Mr. John Barnes, and now belongs to Mr. Usherwood.

A court baron is held for this manor.

The manor of Gillingham claims over the tithing or hamlet of Baveden, in this parish, being one of the four denns in the Weald holden of that manor, the freeholders holding their lands of it in free socage tenure.


WILLIAM WYKES gave by will in 1682, for the maintenance of the poor in land, vested in trustees, the yearly produce of 14l. 6s. 6½d.

LADY ABERGAVENNY gave by will for the like purpose, in money and jewels, which were recovered by a decree in chancery in 1618, and laid out in the purchase of two farms, one in Tunbridge, of the clear annual produce of 19l. 16s. 5d. the other in Ticehurst, of 7l. 8s.

The number of poor constantly relieved here is yearly about fifty, those casually twenty.

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

The church is dedicated to St. Margaret; it is a handsome building; in it are memorials of Groshurst, Browne, Austen, Courthope and Campion, and in the chancel, on the south side, a fair altar tomb, without the appearance of having ever had any inscription on it. Over the west door are the arms of Poynings and Fitzpaine; one of the former might very probably be the builder, or at least a considerable benefactor to the building of it.

It is valued in the king's books at 26l. 3s. 9d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 12s. 4½d.

The patronage of this church was, from the earliest time, an appendage to the manor of Horsemonden, and consequently has had the same proprietors. There are two small manors annexed to it, called the manors of Hasellets alias Radmanden, and Cossington alias Heyden, for which there are court barons held—These, with the rectory, are now part of the possessions of the Rev. Dr. Marriot, lord of the manor of Horsemonden.

Robert de Grosshurst, of Horsemonden, in 1338, founded a perpetual chantry in this church, in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built in honor of her annunciation in the north part of it, to the praise of God, and for the souls of himself, his wife, &c. And he ordained, that after the first vacancy, the parishioners should nominate the priest of it, to be presented to the bishop of Rochester, to be instituted and inducted into the said chantry. The priest to reside constantly, and to celebrate daily in it, according to the rules therein mentioned. And he ordained, that Sir William Langford, the first priest, and his successors, perpetual chaplains of it, should receive yearly for their maintenance, and the burthens incumbent on it, from the abbot and convent of Boxley, six marcs sterling yearly rent, which he had purchased of them for the endowment of it. Anno 1445, the bishop directed his official, &c. to enquire by inquisition, among other matters, concerning the dotation and endowment of this chantry, when it was returned that it consisted in six marcs annual rent from the abbot of Boxlay, of forty shillings annual rent from lands in the parish of Merden, granted to the chaplain for a term of years, and in one messuage and gardens of the value of twelve-pence, and in rent in Horsemonden of six shillings per annum; and that the house of the chantry was so much out of repair, that six marcs would scarce be sufficient to put it in good repair; and that thus the true value of this chantry, the burthens belonging to the chaplain of it being borne by him, amounted according to their estimation to eight marcs per annum.

Sir Edward Poynings gave twenty-four acres of land to the maintenance of lights in this church; from whence they obtained their present name of Torchfield. (fn. 3)

In the year 1701, this church was repaired by the aid of a brief collected for that purpose.

Church of Horsemonden.

Or by whom presented.
John de Groshurst. (fn. 4)
John Wickham, in 1587. (fn. 5)
Jeffry Amherst, D. D. sequestered in 1643. (fn. 6)
John Crouch, A. M. sequestered in 1653. (fn. 7)
Edward Rawson, 1653, ejected 1662. (fn. 8)
John Crouch, restored in 1662. (fn. 9)
Stephen Bate, obt. October 22, 1724.
William Hassel, A. M. inslit. Oct. 19, 1724, obt. March 3, 1785, æt. 90.
Upon his own peninon James slarriott, LL. D. 1785, the present rector.


  • 1. Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 468. See more of the family of Albrincis, under Folkestone.
  • 2. See a further account of the Percies under North Cray, vol. ii. of this history, p. 144.
  • 3. Harris's History of Kent, p. 155.
  • 4. He lies buried in this church.
  • 5. Reg. Roff. p. 881.
  • 6. White's Century, p. 33, and Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 183, 220.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. He was ejected by the Bartholomew Act. Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 286.
  • 9. White's Century, and Walker, ibid.