Parishes: East Sutton

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

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'Parishes: East Sutton', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 375-385. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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THE next parish eastward from Town Sutton is East Sutton, having the appellation of East from its situation eastward of the two adjoining parishes of Sutton Valence and Chart Sutton, though that of Sutton, near Dover, is likewise frequently stiled East Sutton, from its situation in the eastern part of this county.

IT is a small parish, and would be but little known or frequented was it not for the residence of the Filmer family in it. It is much the same situation and soil as the last described parish of Sutton Valence, the quarry hills crossing the middle of it; the church stands near the summit of the hill, at the back of East Sutton-place, which is pleasantly situated, having a most beautiful and extensive view southward, the park lying before it, which is well cloathed with trees both of ash and oak, and has a fine piece of water in sight of the house in the lower part of it; about half a mile south-east from the manor house, about the middle of the hill, is Little Charlton, which has still the appearance of a gentleman's seat, having several good rooms in it well ornamented with stucco, fret-work, &c. and every convenience requisite for a gentleman's family, and the hospitality of former times; from the top of the hill southward it is within the Weald, a low, flat and miry country. On the other side, above the church, from the shade of the quantities of trees which spread thickly over it, that part has an unpleasant and gloomy aspect. In this part is (hartway-street, the only village in this parish, the southern side of which only, on which however almost all the houses are built, being in this parish and its northern boundary, the other side of it being in Bromfield; the rest of the houses in East Sutton, excepting the two small hamlets of Friday and Sunday-streets, being intersperted at various distances throughout it.

THIS PLACE was part of those possessions with which Odo, bishop of Baieux, was enriched by his half-brother William the Conqueror, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday:

The same Adam Fitzhubert holds of the bishop Sudtone. It was taxed at one suling and an half. The arable land is eight carucates. In demesne there are two, and fifteen villeins, with nine borderers, having four carucates. There is a church and ten servants, and eight acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of fifty bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth ten pounds, now twelve pounds, and yet it pays eighteen pounds. Leuenot held it of king Edward.

On the bishop's disgrace, which happened in 1084, about four years after the taking the above survey, this among the rest of his estates became confiscated to the crown.

In the reign of Henry the IIId, John de Salario held East Sutton (fn. 1) of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester; Geffry de Maitel held it in the latter end of that reign, and the beginning of the reign of king Edward the 1st, his successor was Adam de Martel, whose right to it was allowed against the king before the justices itinerant, in the 21st year of Edward I. Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, was in possession of it in the beginning of the next reign of king Edward II. and died in the 17th year of it s. p. upon which his three sisters 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, and in his descendants, earls of Pembroke, it continued down in like manner as Sutton Valence manor before described, till on their failure of issue in king Henry the IVth's reign, Reginald, lord Grey, of Ruthyn, became entitled to it as next of kin and heir of Aymer, earl of Pembroke, but on his being taken prisoner by Owen Glendower, in Wales, king Henry IV. in his 4th year, granted licence to I obert Braybrook, bishop of London, and others, then seoffees of his several lordships, to sell this manor among others, towards raising a sum of money for his ransom. They sold it to Richard Brigge Lancaster, king at arms, who alienated it in the third year of king Henry V. to Thomas Buttiller and Thomas Bank. After which it passed into the family of Darrell, one of whom Sir Richard de Darrel, possessed it in the reign of king Edward IV.

In the first year of king Henry VIII. John York, esq. of Ramsbury, in Wiltshire, was owner of it, and in the 6th year of that reign passed it away to Richard Chetham, prior of the priory of Ledes, and it seems to have been for the use of his convent by the receipt in the exchequer, anno 8 Henry VIII. Nevertheless they had divested themselves of the possession of it before the 20th year of that reign, when Sir Henry Guldeford, knight of the garter, and comptroller of the king's houshold, owned it. He died s. p. in the 23d year of that reign, and his heirs sold this manor the next year to Richard Hill, esq. who in the 29th year of it alienated it to Thomas, lord Cromwell, and he soon afterwards exchanged it with the crown for other lands, where the fee of it remained till the king in his 37th year granted it, with its appurtenances, to John Tuston, and Stephen Reaves, to hold in capite, and they that year alienated it to Thomas Argall, who bore for his arms, Party per fess, argent and vert, a pale counterchanged; three lions heads erased gules. He procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled by the act of the 2d and 3d of Edward VI. and died possessed of it in the 6th year of that reign.

His son and heir, Richard Argall, esq. had by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir Reginald Scott, of Scots-hall, a son John, and two daughters, Catherine, wife of Ralph Bathurst, esq. of Horton Kirkby, and Elizabeth, of Sir Edward Filmer, of Little Charleton, in this parish, John Argall, esq. the son, was of Colchester, in Essex, and in the 8th year of king James I. sold this manor to his brother-in-law, Sir Edward Filmer before-mentioned, who upon that removed from his seat of Little Charleton to the manor house of East Sutton, called East Sutton-place, where he kept his shrievalty in the 13th year of that reign. The family of Filmer was originally seated at the manor of Herst, in the parish of Otterden, where Robert Filmer lived in king Edward the IId.'s reign. His descendants continued there till Robert Filmer, son of James, removed to the manor of Little Charlton, in this parish, which he had purchased of the family of Kempe, and had built a seat on it for his residence, it was antiently called Charlton-court, and had owners of its own name in the reigns of king Edward II. and III. (fn. 2) He was one of the prothonotaries of the common pleas for twenty years in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and to him Cooke, clarencieux, in 1570, granted, or rather confirmed the arms of the family, viz. Sable, three bars, and as many cinquefoils in chief, or. He died in 1585, and was buried in this church, which has ever since continued the burialplace of the family. He was the father of Sir Edward Filmer, the purchaser of this manor of East Sutton as before mentioned. (fn. 3)

He had by his wife before mentioned, nine sons and nine daughters, and died in 1629, being succeeded here by Robert, his eldest son, who was knighted by king Charles I. and resided at East Sutton. He employed his pen in defence of the rights of the crown. He was educated at Trinity-college, Cambridge, and wrote the Anarchy of a limited or mixed Monarchy; Patriarcha, or the natural Power of Kings; the Freeholder's grand Inquest, and Reflections concerning the Original of Government, besides several other tracts, all which were published after his death by his son. He was a great sufferer during the civil wars of king Charles I.'s reign, having his house here plundered ten times by the rebels, and himself imprisoned in Leeds-castle for his loyalty. He died in 1653, having married Anne, daughter and coheir of Martin Heton, bishop of Ely, by which an addition of fortune, as well as of arms, accrued to him.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Edward Filmer, gentleman of the privy chamber both to king Charles I. and II. who dying unmarried at Paris, in 1668, was succeeded in his estates by his next brother, Robert Filmer, esq. barrister-at-law, of Gray's inn, who, in consideration of his father's sufferings and loyalty to Charles I. was, on Dec. 24, 1674, created a baronet. He resided at East Sutton-place, which, as well as the park round it, he greatly augmented and improved, inclosing the whole with a stone wall. He died in 1675, leaving several sons and daughters, of whom Sir Robert Filmer, bart. his eldest son and successor, resided here, and in 1689, being the last of king James II. served the office of sheriff. He died in 1720, having married Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Sir William Beversham, of Holbrookhall, in Suffolk, one of the masters in chancery, (fn. 4) by whom he had several sons and daughters. Beversham Filmer, esq. one of the younger sons, was of Lincoln'sinn, barrister-at law, master of the Nisi Prius office in B. R. and one of the most able conveyancers this kingdom has produced. He died unmarried in 1763, and was buried in this church, having by his last will bequeathed his estates in this county to his nephew, Sir John Filmer, bart.

Sir Edward Filmer, bart. the eldest son, resided at East Sutton, and married Mary, daughter of John Wallis, esq. of Oxfordshire, only son and heir of the learned John Wallis, D. D. Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford, and F. R. S. by whom he had twenty children, viz. eleven sons and nine daughters; of the former, John, the eldest, succeeded him in title and estate; Beversham married Dorothea, second daughter of William Henley, esq. late of Gore-court; the died in 1793, s. p. Edmund is rector of Crundall, and married Arabella-Christiana, the eldest daughter of Sir John Honywood, bart. by his first lady, by whom he has had six sons and two daughters; Francis, barrister-at-law, of Lincoln's-inn, is unmarried. Of the daughters, Dorothy, married the late Sir John Honywood, bart. He died in 1755, æt. 72, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John Filmer, bart. of East Sutton, who died in 1797, æt. 84, and was buried with his ancestors in this church. He married Dorothy, daughter of the Rev. Julius Deedes, prebendary of Canterbury, by whom he had no issue. She survived him, but the title, and this manor and seat, together with the rest of his possessions in this parish, devolved to his next brother and heir, now Sir Beversham Filmer, bart. who resides here, and is the present owner of them.

BOYTON is a manor in this parish, which formerly belonged to the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury, and continued so till the dissolution of it in the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was, together with the rest of the possessions of the priory, surrendered into the king's hands, who by his dotation-charter in his 33d year, settled this manor on his new-erected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose possessions it still remains.

The lessee of this manor, in the year 1645, was Sir Robert Stapleton, bart. who held it under the ruling powers of that time, the dean and chapter being dissolved, at the yearly rent of 5l. 6s. 8d. and one pound for entertainment money to the receiver of the church.

The family of Hope have been lessees of it for many years, the present lessee being Mrs. Sarah Hope.


STEPHEER PENDE, gent. of this parish, by deed, anno 23 Henry VIII. gave a messuage, barn, garden, and two crosts of land, containing four acres in this parish; and GEORGE USMER, gent. of this parish, by deed, anno 6 Elizabeth, gave two pieces of land, containing three acres, in this parish; and by his will, anno 8 Elizabeth, gave three pieces of land, called Randalls and Lakefield, the latter in Town Sutton, and the former in this parish, all which were given for the habitation and maintenance of the curate of this parish, but if such curate should not reside in the said messuage, then the churchwardens were to receive the rents of all the before-mentioned premises, and apply them towards the repairs of the church. And he gave by will a piece of land called Park-corner, otherwise Lodge-land, in this parish, to the intent that the churchwardens should receive the rents, and, with the assent and advice of the inhabitants, yearly distribute the same amongst the poor on Good Friday and All Holland day, by equal proportion. And he further willed, that the churchwardens should receive the rents of two pieces of land in this parish, called Huntings, to be by them bestowed, with the advice of the inhabitants, in bread, cheese, and beer, among the poor of it on St. George's and Christmas day, yearly.

DAME ELIZABETH FILMER, widow of Sir Edward Filmer, in 1638, gave 100l. to the use of the poor of this parish.

MRS. SUSAN WATTS, of this parish, widow, gave 50l. for the use of the poor, and directed, that poor antient widows should be first preferred, and most relieved, according to their necessities.

The above-mentioned sums of 100l. and 50l. having been many years placed out at interest upon a mortgage, were, in 1722, together with 10l. raised by subscription among the parishioners, and 10l. given by Sir Edward Filmer, bart. and the further sum of 25l. raised by the sale of timber growing on the lands called Huntings and Lodge-lands above-mentioned, amounting in all to 1951. laid out in the purchase of a messuage, barn, orchard, and six pieces of land in Hedcorn, upon the den of Hockenbury, purchased of one William Fleet, and now in the occupation of John Croucher, at the yearly rent of 10l. 1s. 8d. to the uses following: to pay 40s. a year to the curate of this parish, so long as he inhabited here, and demeaned himself well, and diligently served the cure, and preached four quarterly sermons as therein directed; but in default of such residency, &c. to pay one moiety of the said 40s. towards the repairs of the church, and the other moiety, together with all the residue of the rents of the said Hockenbury farm, to the use of the poor.

SIR ROBERT FILMER, bart. gave by will in 1703, a piece of land, the yearly produce of it to be given in wheat, among eight of the poorest inhabitants at Christmas, vested in Sir John Filmer, bart. and now of the annual produce of 20s.

The number of poor relieved constantly are about twentyfive, casually about ten.

EAST SUTTON is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sutton.

The church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. It is not a large building, and has a square tower at the west end of it. It is kept remarkably neat, and in good repair. The grave-stones of the Filmers in it are a complete series of this family, from the time of their coming to reside in this parish. All the brasses on them are perfect. The grave-stone over Sir Edward Filmer, who died in 1629, within the altar rails, is very curious, having an entire sheet of copper over it, with the portraits of himself, his wife, and his numberous issue, engraved on it, and their names respectively over them, and the coats of arms and quarterings, belonging to him and his wife, at the corners of it. There is a neat bust in white marble of the late Sir Edward Filmer, bart. who died in 1755, with an inscription to his memory against the wall, over the pew where the family sit.

The church of Sutton was antiently part of the possessions of the priory of Leeds, to which it was appropraited, and the duty of it was first served by a chaplain, appointed by the prior and convent, at whose request it was afterwards united to the adjoining church of Town Sutton, of their patronage likewise, to which it has been ever since esteemed as a chapel.

On the dissolution of the priory of Leeds, in the reign of Henry VIII the parsonage appropriate of East Sutton came into the hands of the crown, as did likewise the patronage of the church of Town Sutton, with the chapel of East Sutton annexed, where they did not continue long; for the king settled them both, in his 32d year, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom they remain at this time.

The parsonage has been for many years held in lease, by the family of Filmer; the present interest of the lease being vested in Sir Beversham Filmer, baronet.

The vicar of Town Sutton serves the cure of this church, as a chapel annexed to it, and as such is entitled to the vicarial profits of this parish, in right of his vicarage.

The church of East Sutton is not valued in the king's books, being included in that of Town Sutton.

On the abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed in 1649, when it was returned, that the parsonage, late belonging to the late dean and chapter of Rochester, consisted of a parsonage house, and all tithes, and the glebe land lying together, containing forty-three acres and two roods, at the improved rent of seventy-five pounds; also seventeen acres more of glebe land, let at fifteen pounds per annum; all which premises were let by the late dean and chapter, anno 13 Charles I. to Sir Robert Filmer, for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of ten pounds, and of two good capons, or four shillings in money, so there remained a clear rent of 79l. 16s. per annum; and that the lessee repaired the chancel of this church; out of which lease the vicarage was excepted, then worth twenty pounds per annum.

The lessee of the parsonage claims the tithes of all corn, hops, and grass, growing in this parish. In the reign of queen Anne these tithes were estimated at upwards of eighty pounds per annum; besides which, the glebe land belonging to it, was let at fifty pounds per annum.

In 1648 the communicants of this parish were one hundred and thirty.

The small tithes and other emoluments of this benefice, in the beginning of queen Anne's reign were estimated at eighteen pounds per annum, there being no glebe land belonging to it.

The land given and devised by Stephen Pende and George Ulmer, as before mentioned, was worth ten pounds per annum, in the above reign, and seems to have been intended for the better performance of divine service in this church every Sunday; before which, the vicar of Sutton Valence used to perform it here but once or twice in a quarter of a year. From the year 1648 to 1680, the parishioners bestowed the above income on the repairs of the church; but since that time, the vicar of Sutton Valence has generally had it, in consequence of which, he preaches here and at Sutton Valence alternately on a Sunday, morning and afternoon.

A list of the vicars of Sutton Valence, or Town Sutton, with this chapel of East Sutton annexed, has been already given in the description of that parish.


  • 1. Harris's History of Kent, p. 306, from the evidence of the Filmer family.
  • 2. Mr. Petit Fœdary of Kent his book. Harris's History of Kent, p. 307.
  • 3. Visitation of Kent, 1574 and 1619. Pedigr. Filmer.
  • 4. See Morant's Essex, vol. ii. p. 368. Sir Wm. Beversham died in 1689, and was buried in this church.