Parishes: Sutton Valence

Pages 364-375

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 eastward from Chart Sutton. It has the name of Valence from that eminent family, who continued long owners of it, and is called Town Sutton from the largeness of the village or town of it, in comparison of those of the adjoining parishes of the same name.

THE PARISH of Town Sutton is situated much like that of Chart Sutton last described, and the soil the same, being about the hill, the quarry stone covered with a thin loam, fertile for corn, fruit and hops; above it a red earth mixed with flints, and below the hill a stiff clay, rendered more prolific by the mixture of marle with it. The village, now a poor mean place, is situated a little lower than the summit of the quarry hill, having the church at the west end of it; the manor-house stands on the small green adjoining the church-yard, having an extensive view over the country southward. The road from Chart to East Sutton, of but little traffic, leads through the village, and another crosses it from Langley down the hill into the Weald; at a small distance below the village is Sutton-place and the parsonage, and below the foot of the hill the little manor of Forsham, formerly the estate of the Austens, baronets, beyond which this parish extends southward across a low flat country, deep, wet, and miry, till it joins that of Hedcorne; above the village it joins to Kingswood, part of which is within it.

On the brow of the hill at a small distance eastward from the village, and adjoining to the parsonage-yard, stand the venerable ruins of SUTTON CASTLE, now almost covered with ivy, and the branches of the trees which sprout out from the walls of it. What remains of it seems, to have been the keep or dungeon of this fortress, two separate rooms of which are still in being; and by the cavities where the joists have been laid into the walls, appear to have been at least a story higher than they are at present. The remains of the walls are more than three feet in thickness, and about twenty feet high, and have loop-holes for arrows at proper distances; they are composed of the quarry stone and flint mixed, together with some few thin bricks or paying tiles interspersed throughout. The whole appears to have been exceeding strong, though of very rude workmanship; and seems to have been built in the time of the barons wars, most likely by one of the family of Valence, earls of Pembroke, whilst the church and its demesnes yet remained as appendages to their manor of Sutton Valence, and the part of their possessions. It stands high, commanding a most extensive view over the adjacent country southward, and was most probably made use of as a place of defence for the partizans of the lords of it, to make their excursions from, and retreat again to, when likely to be overpowered by their enemies. Fronting the title of this volume is a view of it in its present state.

Kilburne imagines the sea came up this valley underneath Sutton castle, which he supposes to have been built when it did so; and he seems to be confirmed in that opinion by an anchor's having been found not far below it, in the memory of some men then living.

A fair is kept in this village yearly, on the day of St. Edmond the king, on the 20th of November.

THIS PLACE was given by William the Conqueror, on his obtaining the crown of this realm, to his halfbrother Odo, bishop of Baieux; it having been part of the possessions of Leoswine, a younger brother of king Harold, who was slain fighting on his brother's part, at the fatal battle of Hastings; accordingly it is thus entered, under the general title of the bishop's lands, in the survey of Domesday:

Adam Fitzhubert holds of the bishop of Baieux, Sudtone. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is seven carucates. In demesne there are two, and eighteen villeins, with five borders, having four carucates. There is a church and four acres of meadow, and one mill. Wood for fifty hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth twelve pounds, when he received it ten pounds, now fourteen pounds, and yet it pays eighteen pounds. Earl Leuuin held it.

Four years after the taking this survey, the bishop was disgraced, and this among the rest of his possessions was confiscated to the crown. After which it became the property of Baldwin de Betun, earl of Albermarle, who in the 5th year of king John's reign, granted this manor, among others in this county, to William Mareschal, earl of Pembroke, with Alice his daughter, in frank marriage.

In the 10th year of king Henry III. he again married Alianore, the king's sister, and in the 14th year of that reign had a confirmation of this manor, upon condition that Alianore his wife, if she survived him, should enjoy it during her life. He died in the 15th year of that reign, s. p. on which the Sheriff had the king's precept to deliver possession of it to his widow. She afterwards re-married Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, who was slain in the 49th year of that reign, fighting on the part of the discontented barons, at the battle of Evesham; after which, the countess Alianore and her children were forced to forsake the realm, and she died sometime afterwards in the nunnery of Montarges, in France.

In the mean time the four brothers of William, earl of Pembroke, successively earls of Pembroke, being dead s. p. their inheritance became divided between the heirs of their five sisters, when the manor of Sutton was allotted among others, to Joane, the second sister, then the widow of Warine de Montchensie, (fn. 1) by whom she had one son William, and a daughter Joane, married to William de Valence, the king's half-brother, who in her right became possessed of it. He died in the 23d year of king Edward I. leaving Joane his widow surviving, who had this manor assigned to her as part of her dowry, when it was found to be held of the king in capite, and that it was of the king's marechasly. She left one son, Adomar, or Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, and three daughters,

Aymer, earl of Pembroke, the son, on her death became possessed of this manor. He was murdered in France in the 17th year of king Edward II. being then possessed of this manor of Sutton Valence, for so it was now usually called, and leaving no issue by either of his wives, for he was three times married, his three sisters above-mentioned became his coheirs; of whom Isabel married to John de Hastings, of Bergavenny, seems to have had this manor allotted to her, as part of her share in the inheritance. In consequence of this match, the arms of Hastings quartering Valence, were put up by some of his descendants on the roof of Canterbury cloysters, where they now remain. She was then a widow, her husband having deceased in the 6th year of that reign, leaving John de Hastings his son and heir; who likewise died anno 18 Edward II. leaving no issue by Juliana de Leyborne his then wife. But by his former wife he had one son, Lawrence, who was in the 13th year of king Edward III. made earl of Pembroke, by reason of his descent from Isabel, the eldest sister and coheir of Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke; and he died possessed of this manor in the 22d year of that reign, as did his grandson John, earl of Pembroke, s. p. in the 13th year of king Richard II. about which time I find this manor stiled in some records the manor of Sutton Hastings, which name however it soon dropped, and resumed its former one of Valence. Philippa, countess of Pembroke, survived her husband, and afterwards re-married Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and died in the possession of this manor in the 2d year of king Henry IV. she then bearing the title of countess of Pembroke, when Reginald lord Grey, of Ruthin, became entitled to it, as next of kin, and heir of Aymer, earl of Pembroke; and as such, at the coronation of king Henry the IVth, he carried the great golden spurs. After which being taken prisoner in Wales, by Owen Glendower, he was obliged to give ten thousand marcs for his ransom. To raise which, king Henry in his 4th year, granted licence to Robert Braybrooke, bishop of London, and others, feoffees of several of Reginald's lordships, to sell this manor among others towards the raising of that sum.

They sold it soon afterwards, as it should seem, to St. Leger, for Juliana, widow of Thomas St. Leger, esq. of Otterden, died possessed of it in the 5th year of the next regin of king Henry the Vth. Soon after which it became the property of William Clifford, esq. son of Sir Lewis Clifford, descended from the Cliffords, of Clifford-castle, in Herefordshire, who bore for his arms, Chequy or and azure on a fess gules, a crescent for difference, all within a bordure argent. He was sheriff in the 4th and 13th years of king Henry the VIth, and died three years afterwards, leaving by Eleanor his wife, sister and sole heir of Arnold Savage, esq. of Bobbing, two sons, Lewis and John, of whom Lewis Clifford, the eldest son, died in his life time, leaving a son Alexander, who was of Bobbing, esq. and on his mother's death, in the 19th year of Henry VI. succeeded to this manor. After which it continued in his name down to his grandson Nicholas Clifford, who leaving a sole daughter and heir, Mildred, she carried it in marriage to Sir George Harpur, (fn. 2) who resided at Sutton Valence, where he kept his shrievalty in the 2d year of king Edward VI. and in the windows of the manor house were formerly the coats of arms of the family of Clifford, and their several matches; and among others of Clifford impaling Culpeper, Savage, and Bourne. On the gateway was carved Clifford impaling Isley, quartering Fremingham, and a shield of Isley quartering Fremingham. In the windows of the hall was the coat of Harpur, Argent, a lion rampant sable, within a bordure engrailed of the second, with all its quarterings, and the same impaling Gaynsford, and a coat, Argent, a saltier gules, within a border sable, Bezantee, for De La Poyle. After his death she remarried Sir Edward Moore, who afterwards settled at Mellefont, in Ireland. By her first husband she left a son Edward, who was knighted, and by her second she had several children.

She seems to have entitled both her husbands to the possession of this manor during her life, after which it became the property of her son Sir Edward Harpur, who alienated it to Sir Edward Hales, knight and baronet, who died possessed of it in 1654, upon which it came to his grandson and heir, Sir Edward Hales, bart. whose trustees sold it in 1670 to Sir William Drake, of Agmondesham, in Buckinghamshire, and he settled part of it in jointure in 1675, on Elizabeth his wife, daughter, and at length sole heir of William Montague, chief baron of the exchequer, their son, Montague Drake, esq. of Agmondesham, left by Mary, sole daughter and heir of Sir John Gerrard, bart. of Hertfordshire, a son Montague Gerrard Drake, whose trustees, during his infancy, anno 5 queen Anne, having procured an act for that purpose, in 1708 sold this manor with the demesnes, and other estates in this and the adjoining parishes (excepting such of them as were in jointure to dame Elizabeth, widow of Sir William Drake as above mentioned, then the wife of Samuel Trotman, esq. of Siston, in Gloucestershire) to Sir Christopher Desbouverie, of Chart Sutton, (fn. 3) who afterwards in 1720, purchased of Montague Gerrard Drake, esq. the remainder of his estates which had been settled in jointure on his mother as above-mentioned, and so became possessed of the entire fee of them. He died possessed of this manor in 1733, and was buried at Beechworth, in Surry. Since which this manor has descended in like manner as those of Langley and Chart before described, to his youngest daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Bouverie, now of Teston, the present owner of it. A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.

But though this manor, on the division of Sir Christopher Desbouverie's estates between his two daughters and coheirs, after the death of their two brothers, who both died s. p. was allotted to the youngest, Elizabeth, yet several farms and lands in the out-parts of this and the adjoining parishes, were allotted to the eldest daughter Anne, married to John Hervey, esq. afterwards of Beechworth, which on his death descended to his only son Christopher Hervey, esq.

It should be noticed here, that in the 10th year of king George II. an act passed enabling the family of Desbouverie to use the surname of Bouverie only, in pursuance to the desire of Jacob Desbouverie, esq. and Sir Christopher Desbouverie, deceased.

SUTTON-PLACE, alias CLENKARDS, is a seat in this parish, situated about the middle of the hill, at a small distance south-eastward of the town.

In the reign of king Charles II. it was the estate and residence of Archibald Clenkard, esq. who kept his shrievalty here in the year 1682, and the two succeeding years, bearing for his arms, Argent, a bend sable cotized and charged with three grissins heads. After his death it passed into the possession of Livesey, from which name it was sold to John Payne, esq. of London, one of the directors of the East-India company, who bore for his arms, Argent, a chevron vaire or, and azure between three lions rampant of the last. He died possessed of it in 1747, leaving three sons, of whom John the eldest, was a merchant of London, and was high sheriff of Leicestershire in 1738; and Edward the youngest, to whom by his will he gave this estate, was of London, esq. and a director of the bank. He lessened this mansion, which was before very large, and made other considerable improvements in this estate. He died in 1794, since which it has been sold by his heirs.


WILLIAM LAMBE, sometime a gentleman of the chapel to king Henry VIII. and a great favorite of that prince, was of the company of cloth-workers, in London, and among many other extensive charities, out of his great love for learning, and for the place where he was born, erected in 1578, at his own proper costs and charges, a free grammer school, in this parish, for the education and instruction of youth, allowing yearly to the moster 20l. and 10l. yearly to the usher from time to time, as either place should be supplied by succession, and to the former a good house and garden to reside in.

MR. GEORGE MAPLESDEN, in 1713, left by will 5l. per annum for 30 English usher, to be appointed by the master of the school.

THERE ARE LIKEWISE two exhibitions of ten pounds per annum each, given to St. John's college, in Cambridge, by will in 1720, by the Rev. Francis Robbins, B. D. who had been fellow of that college, for the benefit of two scholars educated at this school.

The Rev. John Griffin is the present master of this school.

MR. WILLIAM LAMBE, above-mentioned, also founded in the village of Town Sutton six alms-houses, having an orchard and gardens to them, for the benefit of six poor inhabitants of this parish, and allotted the sum of ten pounds to be divided among them yearly, and entrusted the company of cloth-workers with the estates and direction of these charities. By some means 6l. of the above sum has been some-time with-held, and 4l. only is paid yearly. The poor inhabitants are usually appointed by the master of the school. The arms of the founder, being a fess between three cinquefoils, are carved in stone on the front of the alms-houses.

THE REV. MR. ROBBINS above-mentioned, left likewise 3l. to be paid yearly on March 11, to the poor of this parish, by the church-wardens, vested in Mrs. Felicia and Elizabeth Smith.

TOWN SUTTON is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sutton, to which it was once so considerable as to give name.

The church which stands at a small distance westward from the village, is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a handsome church, the steeple stands on the north side of it, and had a high spire on it formerly, the upper half of which having been burnt down by lightning, it is at that part flat and covered with lead.

This church was antiently an appendage to the manor of Sutton Valence, in which state it continued down to John de Hastings, earl of Pembroke, lord of that manor, who died possessed of it in the 49th year of king Edward II. as appears by the escheat rolls of that year. Soon after which it must have passed into the possession of the priory of Leeds; for in the 2d year of the next reign of king Richard II. that king granted his licence to the above-mentioned priory, to appropriate this church; and it was confirmed to the priory by patents of the 18th and 20th years of king Henry VI. when at the request of the prior and cannons there, the parish church of East Sutton, likewise of their patronage, was united to this church, to which it has been ever since esteemed as a chapel.

On the dissolution of the priory of Leeds in the reign of king Henry VIII. this parsonage, with the advowson of the vicarage, and the chapel of East Sutton annexed, came into the hands of the crown, where it did not continue long, for the king settled it in his 32d year on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose inheritance it still remains.

The parsonage, with the manor annexed to it, has been for many years held in lease from the dean and chapter, by the family of Payne. Edward Payne, esq. of London, who has been already mentioned before, died in 1794, possessed of the lease of it, and his heirs are now entitled to it.

The advowson of the vicarage is reserved by the dean and chapter in their own hands.

On the abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles the 1st, this parsonage was surveyed by order of the state in 1649, when it was returned, that the parsonage of Sutton Valence, with the rights of it, and the manor or parsonage-house, three barns, a stable, and several other necessary outhouses, with a yard, garden and orchard, containing by estimation two roods, together with the tithes, were altogether worth sixty pounds per annum. All which were let by the late dean and chapter, anno 16 Charles I. to Thomas Shipton, gent. for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of fourteen pounds, and one quarter of wheat, two quarters of oats, and one good brawn every Christmas; which rent was valued at 18l. 16s. and that the premises were worth upon improvement over and above the said rent 56l. 2s. per annum.

The vicarage of Sutton Valence is endowed with all tithes whatsoever, except corn and hay. It is valued in the king's books at 7l. 9s. 7d. and the yearly tenths at 14s. 11½d.

In 1640 it was valued at seventy-three pounds. Communicants, 226.

The vicar of Sutton Valence serves the cure of the church of East Sutton, as a chapel annexed to it; and as such is entitled to the vicarial tithes of that parish in right of his vicarage, he being presented and inducted to the vicarage of Sutton Valence, with the chapel of East Sutton annexed.

Church of Town Sutton.

Or by whom presented Gilbert. (fn. 4)
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. David Smithe, ind. Nov. 7, 1566.
Robert Wells, May 1568, obt. Jan. 21, 1573.
John Baker, March 18, 1580, obt. 1588.
Thomas Compton, Dec. 3, 1588, obt.
Thomas Sandford, A. B. May 22, 1606, resigned 1614.
Edmund Henshaw, A. M. March 19, 1614.
Robert Smith, A. M. June 15, 1641, vacant by resignation.
Hezekiah Holland, 1653. (fn. 5)
Thomas Pollington, August 7, 1661, resigned 1666.
James Browne, April 11, 1666, obt. 1679.
John Rumney, A. M. April 8, 1680, obt. 1698.
John Gohier, A. M. October 7, 1698, obt. 1713.
Samuel Pratt, A. B. Nov. 9, 1713. resig. 1720.
George Pratt, A. M. April 5, 1720, resig. 1722.
Daniel Pratt, A. M. Nov. 5, 1722, obt. 1723.
Culpeper Savage, A. M. Nov. 20, 1723. resig 1747. (fn. 6)
Samuel Venner, A. B. July 1747, obt. 1764.
Nicholas Browne, ind. March, 1765, the present vicar.


  • 1. See Swanscombe, vol. ii. of this history, p. 405.
  • 2. See Rot. Esch. ejus an. 36, Henry VIII. pt. 19. Vistn. co, Kent, anno 1574. Pedigree Harpur.
  • 3. Harris's Hist. of Kent, p. 307. See more of this family under Teston, p. 134.
  • 4. Comber's Vindication of Tithes, vol. i. p. 234.
  • 5. Also rector of Crundal.
  • 6. Before vicar of Stone, in Oxney. He resigned this vicarage for that of Eastry.