Parishes: Hedcorne

Pages 324-336

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

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NORTH-EASTWARD from the hundred of Brenchley and Horsemonden, a small space of the hundred of Marden and lath of Scray only intervening, lies the parish of Hedcorne, within the bounds of several different hundreds; for the hundred of Eyhorne claims over that part of it, in which the western part of the village and the church is situated. The hundred of Tenham claims over such part of it as is within that manor; the hundreds of Barkley and Cranbrooke claim over the southern part of it, the former hundred over so much as is within the borough of Stephurst, and the latter over such part as is within the north borough; both which parts are within the lath of Scray; and the hundred of Calehill claims over the eastern part of it.

So much of this parish as lies eastward of a line drawn by the east side of the church of Boughton Malherbe to the east head of the church of Hedcorne, and from thence eastward to the west head of the church of Smarden, containing all that part of it that is within the hundred of Calehill, is in the eastern division of this county, and the remaining part of the parish, on the western side of that line, is in the division of West Kent.

The manor of Tenham claims over a considerable part of this parish, and the manor of Ospringe over another part of it.

It appears by the roll of knights fees, taken anno 7 Edward I. that the archbishop of Canterbury, and the master of the Maison Dieu, at Ospringe, were returned as lords of this parish.

THE PARISH is unpleasantly situated in a very flat and low country, the aspect of which is very dreary and forlorn. The soil is a stiff clay, very deep and miry, except in the driest summers, when it becomes exceedingly hard, and the roads through it (which are very broad, with a space of green swerd on each side, and from the depth of the soil almost impassable in wet seasons) from frequent traffic acquire in the drought of summer a hardness and a smooth glaze, or polish, like that on earthen pottery. The whole parish is watered by different little streamlets, which spread over it, and run into the stream of the Medway, which rises near Goldwell, in Great Chart, and passes along this parish a little to the southward of the village in its way towards Style-bridge, and the main river, which it joins a little below Yalding.

The village or town of Hedcorne, with the church at the west end of it, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is an unfrequented dull place. There are several small hamlets built round the different greens or fostalls in the parish.

In the 47th year of king Edward III. Robert Belknap, and others, were assigned to view all the banks, &c. betwixt Hetecrone and Ealdyng, as well as between Patyndennesmell and Elherst, in this county, and to do what should be requisite concerning them according to the law and custom of the realm. A new commission of sewers has been within these few years obtained, to scour and cleanse the branch of the river Medway from Great Chart through this parish, to its junction with the main river a little below the town of Yalding.

King Henry III. in his 34th year, granted to the master and brethren of the Maison Dieu, at Ospringe, founded by him not many years before, the privilege of a market and a fair to be held in this parish of Hedcorn: (fn. 1) The fair used formerly to be held on St. Peter's day, June 29; but has been for some years past held on June 12th yearly.

The hundred of Tenham is bound to repair one arch of the bridge, and thirty yards of causeway at the end of it, lying in that part of this parish, within that hundred.

MOTTENDEN, or more truly Modinden, is a manor situated in the northern part of this parish, which with the estate belonging to it, called Great and Little Mottenden, antiently belonged to the family of Rokesle; one of whom, Sir Richard de Rokesle, in the year 1224, anno 9 Henry III. founded a priory on this manor, for friars of the order of the holy trinity, commonly called Trinitarians, being the first house of this order in England. Their rule was that of St. Austin, with some peculiar constitutions. Their habit, a white gown, with a red and blue cross on their breasts; their revenues were divided, one part for their support and maintenance, another to relieve the poor, and a third to redeem such Christians as should be taken captives by the insidels. To this priory the founder at the same time gave this manor; and there were from time to time several pardons and indulgencies granted by the succeeding popes to the benefactors of it, which increased both the reputation and revenues of it.

In the Surrenden library is a deed, which shews the tenor of these pardons and indulgencies, and the benefits arising from them, from the weak superstition of different persons, some of whom appear to have been of no mean rank and consequence; by it Brother Richard, minister (by which name the head of this house was called) of this house of Motynden, certified that many of the Roman pontiffs having endowed the co-brethren and co-sisters of his order with many privileges, especially in that they might each chuse for themselves a consessor, who might absolve them from all matters not reserved to the apostolic see, and once in their lives, even from all those likewise concerning which the see itself was of course to be consulted. And as John Dering, esq. of Surrenden Dering, had taken on himself this fraternity in the manner of a confreer, and become a benefactor to comply with the tenor of the apostolic letters, he associated him in his life, as well as in death, together with all their friends alive and dead, in all masses, and prayers, and suffrages of their religion, which deed is dated under the seal of their confraternity in the year 1495.

In the 38th year of king Henry III. they procured the grant of a fair to be held yearly at this manor. In the 8th year of king Richard II. the temporalities of this priory were valued at one hundred shillings per annum, (fn. 2) and it continued in this state till the 27th year of king Henry VIII's reign, when an act passing for the suppression of all such religious houses, whose revenues did not amount to the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, and for giving them to the king, this priory, the yearly revenues of which amounted to no more than 60l. 13s. 0½d. was surrendered, with all its lands and possessions, the principal of which lay in this and other parishes, in this county, and in that of Sussex, to the king's use. At which time it appears that there was a houseof friars at Hertford, called Le Trinitye, subordinate to this of Mottinden. (fn. 3)

This manor, with the scite of the priory and lands belonging to it, did not after this long remain in the hands of the crown; (fn. 4) for the king granted them in his 30th year to Thomas, lord Cromwell, who was the next year created earl of Essex; but the year after being found guilty of high treason, was executed on Tower-hill, in the 32d year of that reign, anno 1540. On which they came again into the hands of the crown, where the see of them lay till the king, in his 36th year, granted the manor of Motynden, with its appurtenances, the scite of the priory, or house of the late Crouched-friars there, and several lands late belonging to it, to Anthony Aucher, gent. of Swinfield, (who was the eldest son of James Aucher, esq. of Otterden-place) to hold in capite by knights service. He assigned this estate, in the 2d year of king Edward VI. to Walter Hendley, esq. in trust, who quickly afterwards conveyed it to his son-in-law, Thomas Colepeper, esq. and he in the 4th year of that reign, passed it away to his son-in-law, Christopher Sackville, esq. who soon afterwards alienated it to George Sydenham, esq. and Elizabeth his wife, who were in possession of it anno 3 Elizabeth. His son George Sydenham, in the 25th year of it vested this estate in trustees, who quickly afterwards sold it to Franklyn, whose son George Franklyn dying s. p. gave it by his will to his kinsman Sir William Sedley, of the Friars, in Aylesford, created a baronet in 1611, whose son, Sir John Sedley, bart. of Aylesford, had three sons, the two eldest of whom, Sir Henry and Sir William, dying s.p. this estate came to their youngest brother, Sir Charles Sedley, a posthumous son, who became noted for his wit and gallantry in the reign of king Charles II. (fn. 5) whose only daughter Catherine, was by king James II. created countess of Dorchester and baroness of Darlington for life. She inherited this manor and estate on her father's death, and afterwards carried it in marriage to Sir David Colyear, bart. in 1699, lord Portmore, in Scotland, and in 1703, earl of Portmore and viscount Milsington. His eldest son Charles, earl of Portmore, in 1732, succeeded him in title, and in this estate, and in 1770 passed away this manor, with the farms of Great and Little Mottenden, to John Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, in this county, who a few years ago sold them to Jeremiah Curteis, gent. who is the present owner of them.

A court baron is held for this manor.

Peter Husey, archdeacon of Northampton, by his will in 1499, appointed his body to be buried in the choir of the Holy Trinity convent at Mottenden, where he had made his tomb; and it seems he died in this priory.

KELSHAM is an estate in this parish, which lies at a small distance southward from Mottenden, and though now only a farm-house, was formerly accounted a manor, and was the residence of gentlemen, known by that surname, who bore for their arms, Sable, a fess engrailed argent, between three garbs or, as appeared by the figure of one of them, with these arms on his tabard, formerly in painted glass in the windows of this church, but long since destroyed. In this name the possession of it seems to have continued till the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, when it was conveyed to Johnson, whence it came by purchase to John Stringer, of Triggs, in Goudhurst, (fn. 6) who gave this estate by his will to his second son, John Stringer, gent. of Ashford, who died possessed of it in 1679, leaving by Anne Witherden his wife, an only daughter Mary, who entitled her husband, Anthony Irby, esq. to it. He sold it in 1706 to George Charlton, esq. of Boxley, who had issue by Elizabeth his wife ten children; of whom the second son John Charlton, esq. of Boxley, by his father's will inherited this estate, and dying unmarried in 1770, by his will devised this estate to his nephew, the Rev. George Burvill, rector of Leyborne, in this county, eldest son of his sister Anne. But. Mr.John Burden, only son of Charlotte, another of Mr.Charlton's sisters, claiming a moiety of this estate; on a trial in 1772, he had a verdict in his favor; presently after which, he sold the whole of his interest in it to the Rev. Mr.Burvill before-mentioned, who resides at Boxley, and is the present possessor of the whole of this estate. (fn. 7)

KENTS CHANTRY, now called the Chantry farm, had the former of these names from there having been a chantry founded on it, by one John Kent, in the 6th year of king Edward IV. who settled a handsome income to support the priest, who was to officiate at it. This chantry was suppressed before the 30th year of king Henry VIII. for the scite of it seems then to have been granted to Thomas, lord Cromwell, afterwards earl of Essex, who soon afterwards exchanged it with the king for other premises.

This estate remained in the crown till the 36th year of that reign, when the king granted the scite of this suppressed chantry, with several lands belonging to it, in Hedcorne and elsewhere, to Sir Anthony St.Leger, and the heirs male of his body, to hold in capite by knights service, and in the 4th year of Edward VI. he obtained a fresh grant of it to him and his heirs, to hold by the like service. He was lord deputy of Ireland, knight of the garter, and of the privy council, and died in 1559, whose eldest son, Warham St. Leger, esq. afterwards knighted, lord president of Munster and a privy counsellor of Ireland, sold it, about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, to Thomas Colepeper, and he, in the 23d year of it, alienated it to Michael Beresford, of Westerham, (fn. 8) who settled it on one of his daughters Anne, married to Sir William Southland, of Lee, in Ickham. Their son Thomas Southland, esq. alienated it to Mr. William Belcher, rector of Ulcombe, in whose descendants it continued down to the Rev. Mr. Stringer Belcher, likewise rector of that parish, who died in 1739, and by Sarah his wife, daughter of Justinian Champneys, esq. of Boxley, left four daughters his coheirs, Catherine, married to Benjamin Neale Bayley, esq. of Ireland; Judith, since deceased; Elizabeth, now single; and Sarah, married to the Rev. Joseph Milner, afterwards Butler, of Aylesford, in this county. (fn. 9) They possessed this estate in undivided shares, which they afterwards joined in the sale of to Mr.John Boreman, of this parish, who is now entitled to the entire fee of it.

RISHFORDS, usually called Rushfords, is a manor in this parish, which antiently gave name to a family who were possessors of it; one of them, Adam de Rishford, held this manor in the reign of king Edward II. of the master of the Maison Dieu, in Ospringe; but they were extinct here before the 20th year of king Edward III. when John, son of John de Peende, held it of the said master, and then paid respective aid for it. This manor continued in his descendants till Stephen Peend, alias de la Pynd, and Martha his wife, in 1611, conveyed it to Christopher Fullagar, alias Domine, who, in the 9th year of king Charles I. conveyed it to Mr. John Hulkes, of Newnham, from whom it descended to Mr. Nathaniel Hulse, gent. of Acrise, for so he spelt his name, and he, with Elizabeth his wife, in 1772, conveyed this manor to Mr.John Goldsmith, surgeon, of Chatham, who in 1736 settled it in marriage with his daughter Frances, on the Rev. Peter Wade, rector of Cowling, vicar of Boughton Monchensie, and a minor canon of Rochester cathedral. By her he had one son John, a captain in the military branch of ordnance, who is married and has issue; and three daughters, Frances, married to Mr.alderman Stephens, of Rochester; Anne, to Mr. Gother Mann; and Mary. He died in 1783, and his son captain John Wade, is the present possessor of it.

SOUTHOLMENDEN is a manor in this parish, the name of which is mentioned in a charter of Offa, king of Mercia, dated in 791, by which he gave among other premises Suthelmingden to Christ-church, in Canterbury. In the 2d year of Edward IV. Thomas Whytingbroke, of Hedcorne, gave by will his capital messuage and lands, lying in Sowtholmynden, to his son John; of later times it has been for several generations possessed by the family of Austen, with whom it continued till Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Austen, of Marden, carried it in marriage to William Gammon, of Wrotham, whose son, the Rev. Austen Gammon, of Watringbury, in this county, is the present owner of it.

A court baron is held for this manor.

BLECHENDEN, alias CRUTTENDEN, is a manor here, which was part of the antient possessions of that branch of the eminent family of Colepeper, seated at Aylesford; of whom, William Colepepyr was created a ba ronet in 1627. In his descendants it continued down to Sir Thomas Colepepyr, bart. of Preston-hall, who died in 1723, s. p. leaving Alicia his sister, then the widow of Sir Thomas Taylor, bart. of Maidstone, his heir, and she passed it away to Mr.Thomas Best, of Chatham, whose grandson, Thomas Best, esq. of Chilston, dying s. p. in 1795, gave it by will to his nephew George Best, esq. now of Chilston, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

THE MANORS OF WISPERHAWKE, alias Whitsperbawke and HAMPDEN in this parish, were formerly owned by a family of the first of those names; one of whom, Simon Whytsphawk, was possessed of them anno 2 Edward IV. They afterwards passed into the name of Hennand, and descended down to Thomas Hennand, whose heir-at law conveyed them by sale to Galsridus Mann, esq. who died possessed of them, together with Hedcorne-place, in 1756, and his only son, Sir Horace Mann, bart. is the present possessor of these estates.


THE REV. JOHN FOTHERBYE gave by will in 1616, 40s. of which 10s for a sermon on the day of his burial, and 30s. among the poorest sort of inhabitants who should come to hear it, to be paid out of the rent of a small farm, vested in the minister, churchwardens and overseers.

JOHN TOPLIFE gave by will in 1637 a house, barn, garden, and orchard adjoining the church-yard, rented now at 3l. 15s. per annum, the clear produce of which to be distributed at Easter yearly to four poor householders or widows, who receive no weekly pay, vested in the churchwardens, and to be distributed at their and the minister's discretion.

CLEMENT FISH, in 1638, as is supposed, gave to the poor who receive no alms, 40s. payable yearly out of a farm in this parish, vested in the minister, who disposes of it.

THOMAS SWAFFER gave by will in 1646, for the use of the poor, 15s. per annum, payable out of the rent of a house and garden in this parish vested in the parish officers.

REV.SAMUEL WHISTONE gave by will in 1716, 5l. per annum, that is 10s. for a sermon, on May 2, yearly, O.S.2s.6d. to the clerk, for ringing out the great bell before sermon; and 37s. 6d. to such poor as should come to hear the sermon, and were willing to accept of it. The other 50s. to be distributed in like manner yearly on the day of his burial, the 2d of August, O.S. He gave likewise to the poor of the parish a house and garden in the town of Hedcorne, the clear rent of which to be distributed on Whit-Sunday and Christmas-day, yearly, to such poor persons as receive no relief, vested in the minister and churchwardens, and now rented at 4l. per annum.

The number of poor constantly relieved are about sixty-five, casually eighteen.

HEDCORNE is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Charing.

The church is dedicated to St.Peter and St.Paul. It was founded by one of the family of Colepeper, owners of considerable property in this parish. The monument and arms of the founder still remain in the south wall of it, and the latter are carved in stone over the west door of the belfry. One of these coats has a a crescent on the upper part of the bend; there are likewise two coats of Kelsham, the one impaling, Ermine, on a chief gules, two mullets or; the other, Sable, a chevron between three tents argent, and a coat, having A chevron between three garbs, and three crosscroslets sitchee, one and two.

The church of Hedcorne was part of the possessions of the crown, and remained so till king Henry III. granted the parsonage or rectory of it to his newerected Maison Dieu, founded by him at Ospringe, and the advowson of the vicarage to the archbishop of Canterbury and his successors.

In 1267 friar Elyas, master of this hospital, agreed that archbishop Boniface, patron of this church, by the grant of the prince their founder, should allow over and above the income of the vicarage, which William de Tilemanstone, perpetual vicar of it then had, the sum of one hundred shillings out of the gross fruits of it to be paid without any diminution. (fn. 10)

The parsonage of the church of Hedcorne, with the manor of it, remained part of the possessions of the before-mentioned house or hospital till the dissolution of it in the 22d year of king Edward IV. by its being deserted by the two only remaining members of it; and thus devolving to the crown, the king committed the custody or guardianship of it to secular persons; in which state it continued till bishop Fisher obtained it, with all its lands and revenues, of king Henry VIII. in his 7th year, for St.John's college, in Cambridge, as a fit compensation for the lands which that society had lately lost. This grant was afterwards renewed by the king in his 11th year, and confirmed by the archbishop, the prior and convent, and the archdeacon of Canterbury, for their several parts and interests. In which state this parsonage, with the manor of it, now remains, being part of the possessions of the master and fellows of the above-mentioned college.

In the 8th year of king Richard II. anno 1384, the parsonage of Hedcorne was valued at 13l. 6s. 8d.

The advowson of the vicarage still continues part of the possessions of his grace the archbishop of Canterbury. It is a discharged living in the king's books, of the clear yearly certified value of forty-five pounds, the yearly tenths of which are 1l. 11s. 4d. In 1640 it was valued at fifty pounds per annum. Communicants four hundred.

Church of Hedcorne.

Or by whom presented.
Henry de Osprenge, clerk, son of Symon. (fn. 11)
William de Tilemanstone, in 1267.
William Ketellysden, 1507. (fn. 12)
Francis Rawson, ind. August 1566.
John Fotherley, A.M. March 1, 1584 resigned 1602.
John Raynard, A.M. May 8, 1602, obt. 1610.
John Wood, Aug. 11, 1610, resigned 1610.
Thomas Harman, A B. Dec. 6, 1610, resigned 1638.
Nicholas Bret, S.T.B. Jan. 10, 1638. (fn. 13)
Thomas Philips, obt. 1673.
Samuel Whistone, 1673, obt. 1716. (fn. 14)
Henry Hodson, A.B. Oct. 9, 1716, resigned 1723.
James Barham, May 27, 1723.
Peter Heyman, 1733. (fn. 15)
The archbishop. Joseph Hardy, 1762, obt. 1786.
Daniel Evans, 1786, the present vicar.


  • 1. Tan. Mon. p. 222. Dugd. Imbanking, p. 45.
  • 2. Decem. Script. Thome, coll. 2163.
  • 3. Tan. Mon. p. 221, 189. See the pensions paid to the late members in 1553, in Willis's Mitred Abbeys, vol. ii. p. 103.
  • 4. See Frindsbury, vol. iii. of this history, p.533.
  • 5. See more of this family under Aylesford, vol. iv. p. 429.
  • 6. See a full account of the Stringers under Goudhurst.
  • 7. See more of the Burvills under Boxley, vol. iv. p. 325.
  • 8. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 9. See Westerham, vol. iii. p. 166.
  • 9. See more of the Belchers under Hucking and Ulcombe.
  • 10. MSS. of bishop Tanner in Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. p. 99.
  • 11. Regist. Eccles. Christi, Cant. cart. 1526.
  • 12. Wills, Prerogative-office, Canterbury.
  • 13. See Walker's Suff. of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 203.
  • 14. Brother to Jonathan, vicar of Bethersden.
  • 15. A younger son of Sir Peter Heyman, bart.