Parishes: Langley

Pages 346-352

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

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THE next parish north eastward from Boughton Monchensie is Langley, written in Domesday, Languelei, which signifies the long pasture, a name well adapted to it at this time.

LANGLEY PARISH is but small, it lies rather on high ground, the soil of it is mostly a red earth mixed with flints, not very fertile, it is very woody towards the east and west; the former part extending into the large tract of woodland called Kingswood, which with the numbers of large oak and elm trees, to which latter the soil is particularly kind, interspersed throughout it, gives it rather a gloomy appearance. Midway between these woods is the village of Langley, with the church in it, and at a little distance from it adjoining to Kingswood is Langley-heath, a waste of no great extent, about a quarter of a mile north-westward from the village is the estate called Langley-park, the park of which has been disparked a long time since, as will be further noticed hereafter. Near this part of the parish there rises a small spring, which at about a mile's distance from its source, loses itself at Brishing underground, running through a subterraneous passage for near half a mile, when it rises again, and running through Loose it meets the Medway, just above Maidstone. (fn. 1) Kilburne says, that in 1472 a spring or bourn newly broke forth in the park here, which I think must be the same that Leland mentions, where he says, there was a pit in Langley park, which again any battle would be dry; but if there was no battle toward, it would be full of water, was the weather ever so dry.

LANGLEY was part of those great possessions with which William the Conqueror enriched his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, whom he also made earl of Kent; and it is accordingly thus entered, under the general title of that prelate's lands, in the survey of Domesday as follows:

The same Adam Fitzhubert holds of the bishop of Baieux, Languelei. It was taxed at one suling and an half. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there are two, and seven villeins, with five borderers having three carucates. There is a church and seven servants, and three acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of twenty-five hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth sixty shillings, when he received it fifty shillings, now sixty shillings. Turgis held it of king Edward.

About four years after the taking the above-mentioned survey, the bishop of Baieux was disgraced, and this, among the rest of his estates, became confiscated to the crown.

In the reign of king Henry III. it was become the property of a family named Ashway; one of whom, William de Ashway, held it, as appears by the Testa de Nevil, in the 20th year of that reign, when he paid aid for it at the marriage of Isabel, that king's sister: Soon after which it came into the possession of the Leybornes, of Leyborne-castle, in this county. Roger de Leyborne died possessed of the manor of Langley in the 56th year of the above reign. After which it descended down to Juliana de Leyborne, who being heir both to her father and grandfather, was from the greatness of her possessions usually stiled the Infanta of Kent. Sir William de Clinton, earl of Huntingdon, to whom and to her last husband king Edward III. in his 9th year granted licence to enlarge their park here with two hundred acres of land, held this manor in her right in the 20th year of that reign, when he paid aid for it as half a knight's fee in Langele, held of the countess of Albermarle.

Juliana de Leyborne had no issue by either of her husbands, all of whom she survived, and died possessed of this manor in the 41st year of king Edward III. on which it escheated to the crown; for it appears by the inquisition taken after her death, that there was no one who could make claim to her estates, either by direct, or even by collateral alliance. (fn. 2)

The manor of Langley remained in the hands of the crown, till in king Richard II.'s reign it became vested in John, duke of Lancaster, and other feoffees, in trust for the performance of certain religious bequests, devised in the last will of Edward III. who had by his letters patent, in his 22d year, endowed and completed the chapel, which had been begun by his predecessor king Stephen, in his palace at Westminster, and made it collegiate, to consist of a dean and canons, and other ministers, to whom he granted, that they should receive at his treasury, as much as would supply them with necessaries, until he could give them as much lands and rents as amounted to five hundred pounds yearly income, which he bound himself and his heirs, kings of this realm, to perform; to which likewise he, by his last will, enjoined the duke of Lancaster, and others his feoffees.

They, in compliance with the king's will, purchased of the crown, in king Richard II.'s reign, this manor of Langley, among others, and then, in the 5th year of it, demised it to the dean and canons, to the intent that they being in the actual possession of it, the king might grant it to them in mortmain for ever. After some years the king, through some false representations made by Sir Simon de Burley, granted it to him and dispossessed the dean and canons of it; but he having forfeited his interest in it, with his life, in the 10th year of that reign, king Richard II. by his letters patent, in his 12th year, at the petition of the dean and canons, granted to them the rents and profits of this manor among others, to them as a sufficient endowment, until he should otherwise alter it, or provide for them.

After which, by his letters patent in his 21st year, he granted it, among other premises, to them for ever, for the performance of the religious purposes therein mentioned, and in part of the exoneration of the sum to be taken at his treasury as before-mentioned. (fn. 3)

In which situation this manor continued till the 1st year of king Edward VI.'s reign, when an act passing for the surrendry of all free chapels, chantries, &c. this, among others, was soon afterwards dissolved, and the lands and possessions of it were surrendered up into the king's hands. But the park here, mentioned before to have been in king Edward the IIId.'s reign in the possession of William de Clinton, and his lady Juliana seems, after her death, not to have been granted with the manor to the college, but to have remained in the hands of the crown, for king Richard II. in his 11th year granted the custody of this park, then in his hands, to William, archbishop of Canterbury, and it appears by the patent rolls in the tower, anno 27 king Henry VI. pt. ii. m. 18, to have been then granted to Thomas Kent and Isabella his wife, and in the 2d year of king Henry VIII Henry Guildford, esq. had a grant for life of the parkership of this park. This park was dilparked when Lambarde wrote his perambulation about the year 1570.

Soon after which this manor was granted to St. Leger, from which name it was alienated to Lewin Bufkin, of Sussex, and he obtained of queen Elizabeth new letters patent of it, to be holden in free socage of the queen, as of her manor of Est Greenwich. His descendant of the same name alienated it, in king James I.'s reign, to Nathaniel Powel, of Ewhurst, in Sussex, who sold it to Sir Edward Hales, knight and baronet, whose grandson, Sir Edward Hales, bart. vested it in trustees, and they about the year 1670 sold it to Sir William Drake, of Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, the trustees of whose grandson, Montague Gerard Drake, during his infancy, anno 5 queen Anne, procured an act to enable them to sell this manor, with Sutton Valence and other estates in this neighbourhood in pursuance of which, they conveyed it by sale, about the year 1708, to Sir Christopher Desbouverie, of London, and he died possessed of it in 1733, leaving two sons, Freeman and John, who both died s.p. and two daughters, Anne, married to John Hervey, esq. afterwards of Beechworth, and Elizabeth. On the death of the two sons s.p. each of whom possessed this manor in succession, it came, in 1750, to the two sisters and coheirs of their brother John, and on the partition of their inheritance in 1752, it was, among other estates in this neighbourhood, allotted to the share of Mrs. Elizabeth Bouverie, the youngest sister, now of Teston, who continues owner of it.

BRISING, usually called Brishing, is a manor here, which had antiently owners, who took their name from it.

Thomas de Brissinges held this manor in the beginning of king Edward I.'s reign, as half a knight's fee, of William de Leyburne, as did his descendant Sarah de Brissinges, in the 20th year of Edward III. and then paid aid for it. After this family was extinct here this manor came into the possession of the Astrys, descended originally out of Bedfordshire. John Astry, of which family was Sir Ralph Astry, son of Geoffry, of Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, was lord-mayor in 1493. They bore for their arms, Barry wavy of six, argent and azure, on a chief gules three bezants. One of them held this manor in the beginning of the reign of Edward IV. as did his descendant John Astry, who died possessed of it in the 35th year of Henry VIII. when it was found that this manor was held of that of Langley, and lay within the see of the dutchy of Lancaster.

Soon after which it was alienated to Ralph Bufkin, esq. whose descendant Lewin Bufkin, esq. sold it in the reign of king James I. to Nathaniel Powel, of Eweherst, in Sussex, who reconveyed it back to the same family, in the person of Lewin Bufkin, the direct descendant of Lewin Bufkin first-mentioned, and it continued in this name till it came at length to Ralph Bufkin, esq. who dying without male issue, it descended to John Martin, esq. of Stanmer, in Sussex, as his heir at law. His son Denny Martin, esq. of Salts, in Loose, married Frances, one of the daughters of Thomas, lord Fairfax, by whom he had five sons and three daughters. His widow surviving him, died here possessed of it in 1791, on which it descended to their eldest surviving son the Rev. Denny Martin Fairfax, now of Leeds castle, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

LANGLEY is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sutton. There are no parochial charities.

The church is dedicated to St. Mary, and has always been an appendage to the manor, and as such is now in the patronage of Mrs. Elizabeth Bouverie, of Teston, the present possessor of the manor of Langley.

It is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 61. 19s. 9½d. and the yearly tenths at 13s. 11¾d. In 1640 this rectory was valued at one hundred pounds per annum. Communicants, fifty-five.

The parsonage-house was wholly rebuilt in the year 1767, by the late rector Mr. Waterhouse, who was a good benefactor likewise to the church, as has been Mrs. Bouverie, the present patron of it.

Church of Langley.

Or by whom presented.
Charles Whalley, in 1553. (fn. 4)
Lords of the manor of Langley. Henry Wiborne, obt. 1591.
Thomas Crumpe, April 8, 1591, obt. 1619.
William Carr, A.M. July 3, 1619, obt. 1625.
Joseph Bennet, Oct. 2, 1625, resigned 1627.
Frederick Tilden, A. M. June 14, 1627.
Tilden, 1653, ejected in 1662.
Peter Browne, S.T.P. May 24, 1662, obt. 1692.
Edward Brown, A.M. March 11, 1692, obt. 1710.
David Waterhouse, A.M. March 24, 1710, obt. 1758.
David Waterhouse, A.M. June 24, 1759, obt. Nov. 30, 1780.
John Kennedy, Dec. 23, 1780, resigned 1789. (fn. 5)
James Edward Gambier, 1789, the present rector.


  • 1. See Loose, vol. iv. p. 360.
  • 2. Dugd. Bar. vol. ii. p. 14. Rot. Esch. anno 41 Edward III. No. 47. See Leyborne, vol.iv. p.498.
  • 3. See the confirmations of them anno 1 Edward IV. and 1 Henry IV, and VI. in Dugd.Mon.vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 61 to 67.
  • 4. See Rymer's Fæd. vol. xv. p. 348. He had been canon of Leeds priory at the time of its dissolution. See Willis's Mitred Abbeys, vol. ii. p. 102.
  • 5. See vol. v. of this History, p. 126, 136.