Parishes: Lenham

Pages 415-445

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

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NORTHWARD from Boughton Malherb, close at the foot of the chalk-hills, lies Lenham, written in the book of Domesday, Lerham and Lertham, no doubt corruptly for Leanham, by which name it is called in most of the antient charters and deeds, as well before as since that time. It takes its name from the stream which rises in it, and ham, which signifies a town or village.

The western part of this parish is in the lath of Aylesford, hundred of Eyhorne, and the western division of this county, that is all of it which lies westward of a line drawn from the centre of Chilston-house, northward to the east end of the church, and thence to Warren-street, on the summit of the chalk hills.

The residue of it, including that part of it called East Lenham, is in the lath of Shipway, and hundred of Calehill, and the eastern division of the county.

THE PARISH of Lenham is of large extent, being upwards of five miles in length from east to west, and four in breadth from north to south, where it encompasses the whole width of the valley from the chalk to the quarry hills. However healthy it may be it is far from being a pleasant situation, owing to its untoward soil, which towards the south and west is mostly a deep sand; near the foot of the chalk hills a cludgy chalk mixed with flints, the whole a poor unfertile country, the fields of which are in general large, having but few trees round them, and those of a stunted unthriving aspect; above these hills northward is Downe-court and Warren-street, beyond which the parish extends more than a mile, as far as Ashden and Syndal, in the valley between Hollingborne and Doddington, a poor country and a flinty barren soil.

The town of Lenham stands in the valley between the quarry and chalk hills, which is here about two miles wide, rather nearer the latter, in a damp and moist situation, owing to the springs which rise near it, of which further mention will be made hereafter. It is rather a dull and unfrequented place, and of but little traffic, in short I cannot give a better description of it than in the words of the inhabitants themselves, who, on travellers passing through it, and enquiring if it is Lenham, in general make answer, "Ah, Sir, poor Lenham."

The church stands at the south end of it, and being westward of the line which separates the two divisions of the county, the town itself, as well as the parish, is esteemed to belong to West Kent, and all the parish business is transacted at the Maidstone sessions accordingly; the market, which was granted to the abbot of St. Augustine's, as has been mentioned before, to be held within his manor here, has been discontinued many years, but in 1757 there was an attempt made to revive it for the buying and selling of corn, and other such commodities, and it was ordered by the lord of the manor to be held on a Friday weekly, but I am informed it has been but little resorted to. The fair, which has been mentioned as having been granted likewise to the abbot, is now held yearly by the alteration of the stile on June 6, for horses and cattle, and there is another fair held on October 23, for the like purpose. A market is likewise held at Sandway, in this parish, for bullocks, upon every Tuesday after Allhallows-day, Nov. I, until Christmas.

Near the foot of the chalk hills lie the three estates of Shelve, on the opposite or southern part of the parish, where the soil is mostly a barren sand, there are several small heaths or fostalls; through this part of the parish the high road from Ashford runs over Lenham, formerly called Royton heath, and by Chilston park pales and Sandway, over Bigon-heath, towards Leeds castle and Maidstone; southward of this heath the parish extends westward, taking within its bounds the estate of Ham, the house of which has been rebuilt in a handsome manner within these few years, and thence southward to Runham-place, Platt-heath, and Leverton-street, at the boundary of it, near the quarry hills, where it joins to Bought on Malherb.

The western and south-east parts of this parish are watered by two several streams, for at the eastern extremity of the town of Lenham, at Streetwell, there rises a spring, which is accounted the head of the river Stour, which flowing from thence southward by Royton-chapel, at about a mile distance from its rise, receives into its stream two other small ones from the north-west, which rise in the grounds at Chilston, at a small distance from each other, and then flowing in one stream through the hamlet of Water-street south-eastward, it turns a mill in its way to Little Chart, and so goes on in its way to Ashford and Canterbury.

A head of one of the branches of the river Medway likewise rises at Ewell, adjoining to Bigon-heath, in the western part of this parish, whence it is frequently called the river Len; from hence this stream directs its course first westward, then northward by Runham, and so on to Holme mill in Harrietsham, in its way towards Leeds-castle and the main river at Maidstone.

LENHAM has been supposed by several of our learned antiquaries, among whom are Camden, Lambarde, and Gale, to have been the Roman station, mentioned in the 2d iler of Antonine, by the name of Durolevum, corruptly, as they say, for Durolenum, and the latter, in the British language, signifying the water Lenum, induced them, together with the situation, to conjecture this place to have been that station.

And Camden is further confirmed in this opinion, from this place being situated on a circular way of the Romans, which formerly, as Higden of Chester affirms, went from Dover through the middle of Kent. (fn. 1)

The aqua Lena, or the spring at Streetwell here, so, called perhaps from the strata of the Romans, which led hither, is thought to have been meant by the water Lenum, and that this, might give name to this station; and indeed Roman remains have been from time to time discovered from Keston, by Comb Bank, Stone-street, Oldberry camp, Ofham, Barming, Maidstone, Boxley, &c. in a continued and almost strait line, to within a few miles of this place and Charing.

But there having never been any Roman antiquities found at Lenham, induced Mr. Somner and others to look elsewhere for this station. That learned antiquarian, as well as Mr. Burton and Dr. Thorpe, have fixed it at or near Newington, in the great road from Rochester to Canterbury, near which great quantities of urns, and other relics of Roman antiquity, have been dug up.

Mr. Talbot hesitates between Sittingborne and Charing, and Dr. Stukeley, changing his opinion, having first adopted Newington, afterwards adheres to the latter.

Dr. Horsley says, should he abandon Lenham, and suppose it only to be a notitia way, he should transfer this station to the north side of the present great London road to Dover, and suppose it to be a short and direct excursion, like that of Tripontium in the 6th iter, the distance on each hand requiring the excursion to be made about Sittingborne, or perhaps Milton. But should this station be transferred to near Faversham, in the vicinity of which, as well on Juddes-hill, on the great road, half a mile west of Ospringe, or at Davington, about a mile north-east of it, many Roman coins, urns, and other relics of antiquity, have been found within these few years, and on the former, there are still remaining at the back of Juddes-house, a small distance north of the high road, just within the wood, the vestigia of a strong Roman work, there need not be any transposition of numbers, nor alteration of them in the greatest part of the copies of Antonine's Itinerary, for the distances will every way tally with them.

After every argument that can be made use of, the whole is so much conjecture, as appears from every one of these learned men altering the distances in the Itinerary in favor of his own hypothesis, that it is but fair at last to leave it to the reader's own judgment to fix each of these stations where he thinks it most proper.

IN THE YEAR 804, Cenulf, king of Mercia, and Cudred, king of Kent, granted THIS MANOR, afterwards distinguished by the name of West Lenham, to Wernod, abbot of St. Augustine's, near Canterbury, by the description of certain land called Lenham, containing twenty plough-lands, and twelve denns bearing acorns in the Weald; which estate was augmented in the year 139 by Athelwolf, king of the West Saxons and of Kent, who, in consideration of 2100 marcs of silver, (mancusæ) granted to the abbot five plough lands at Lenham, then called Estlenham, and lying between the place celled Scelse towards the east, and Lenham towards the west. And in 850, he made a further gift to the abbot, of forty tenements, with land (Cassata) at Lenham, in pure and perpetual alms.

What part of these estates continued in the possession of the abbot and convent of St. Augustine at the taking the general survey of Domesday, the following entry in it, under the general title of the lands of the church of St. Augustine, shews, though it does not seem to amount to so large a quantity as what is described in the above-mentioned donations; probably the bishop of Baieux had wrested some of these lands from it, as it appears by that survey, that he became possessed of lands in this parish about that time.

In Haiborne hundred, the abbot (of St. Augustine) himself holds Lertham, which was taxed at five sulings and an half. The arable land is eighteen carucates. In demesne there are two carucates, and forty villeins, with seven borderers, having sixteen carucates. There is one servant, and two mills of six shillings and eight pence, and eight acres of meadow, and wood for forty bogs.

In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth twenty-eight pounds, and afterwards sixteen pounds, now twenty-eight pounds.

Of this manor Robert Latin holds one yoke, which is worth five shillings.

In the above description the reader will observe that not only here, but in many other parts of Domesday, how much the Norman scribes, who took the names of the several places from the mouths of the Saxons, whose pronunciation could not be fit to dictate to soreigners, mistook the orthography of them, insomuch that many of them are hardly now to be ascertained without conjecture.

The possessions of the abbot and convent were afterwards increased in this parish by king Edward I. and II. granting them licence to purchase lands in this parish, and there were several different lands given to them, among which were lands called Sornden, on condition of their paying yearly the singular rent of one custard in the church-yard of Lenham. (fn. 2)

In the 8th year of king Richard II. the temporalities of the abbot in Lenham, with appurtenances, were valued at 54l. 14s. 10d. per annum, at which time he possessed in this parish, as appears by an admeasurement then made, nine hundred and thirty six acres of arable land and wood.

In the iter of H. de Stanton and his sociates, justices itinerant, anno 7 Edward II. the abbot was summoned by quo warranto, to shew why he claimed sundry liberties, therein mentioned, in the manor of Lenham, among others, and free-warren in all his demesne lands of it, and view of frank-pledge, and all belonging to it; and a market here weekly on a Tuesday, with all liberties and free customs belonging to it; and the abbot pleaded, that those liberties had been granted by the charters of king John and the succeeding kings, to the abbot and convent, in pure and perpetual alms; that those charters had been all allowed in the iter of J. de Berewick, anno 21 Edward I. and likewise in the 7th year of Edward II. before Henry de Stanton, and his sociates, justices itinerant in this county.

King Edward III. in his 5th year, anno 1330, exempted the men and tenants of the manor of Lenham from their attendance at the turne of the sheriff, heretofore made by the borsholder, with four men of each borough within it; and directed his writ that for the future they should be allowed to perform the same with one only out of each.

And by his charter of inspeximus, in his 36th year, he confirmed to the monastery all the manors and possessions, and the several grants of liberties and confirmation made by the several kings his predecessors, among which are those above-mentioned. After which king Henry VI. confirmed the several liberties granted to this monastery, and likewise free-warren, and one fair at Leneham on the feast of St. Augustine, the apostle of the English. (fn. 3)

This manor remained part of the possessions of the monastery till its final dissolution in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when this great abbey, with all its revenues, was surrendered into the king's hands.

The manor of Lenham remained in the crown till queen Elizabeth granted it to William Cecil, lord Burleigh, lord treasurer and her chief minister of state, to whose prudence and wisdom in council, the blessings this kingdom enjoyed during that prosperous and happy reign are chiefly to be attributed.

He alienated this manor, in the 18th year of that reign, to Thomas Wilford, esq. of Cranbrook, whose grandson Henry Wilford, esq. (fn. 4) at the latter end of king James I.'s reign conveyed it to Anthony Brown, viscount Montague, who was descended from Sir Thomas Brown, treasurer of the houshold to Henry VI. who in right of his wife Eleanor, daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Fitzalan, alias Arundel, brother of John, earl of Arundel, was possessed of the castle of Beechworth, in Surry, and bore for his arms, Sable, three lions passant in bend, between two gemells argent. He had by her five sons and one daughter. Of the former, Sir George, the eldest, was of Beechworth-castle, and was ancestor of the Browns of that place, baronets, now extinct; and Anthony, the third son, was seated at Cowdray, in Suffex, and was ancestor of the late lord viscount Montague.

Anthony Brown, viscount Montague, died possessed of this manor in 1629, and his grandson Henry, viscount Montague, with the concurrence of his son and heir Anthony, alienated it to the hon. Elizabeth Hamilton, the widow of James Hamilton, esq. the eldest son of Sir George Hamilton, of Tyrone, in Ireland, and a baronet of Nova Scotia, who was the fourth son of James, first earl of Abercorn, and bore for his arms, Gules, three cinquefoils pierced ermine, quartered with argent, a ship with sails furled up, with a proper difference, they being the arms of the earls of Abercorn. (fn. 5)

She was the eldest daughter of John, lord Colepeper, and surviving her husband, who died in 1673, resided at Chilston, in the adjoining parish of Boughton, which she had likewise purchased. She died in 1709, and was buried at Hollingborne, leaving two sons surviving, James, earl of Abercorn, and William Hamilton, esq. of Chilston, to the latter of whom she by her will gave the manor of Lenham, with the rest of her estates in this parish and neighbourhood. He was one of the five Kentish gentlemen, who in 1701, delivered to the house of commons a petition from the deputylieutenants, justices, grand jury, and freeholders of this county, desiring that the house would turn their loyal addresses into bills of supply, &c. Which petition being voted insolent and seditious, they were ordered into the custody of the sergeant at-arms, and thence prisoners to the gate-house, where they remained till the end of the sessions. The other four petitioners were, William Colepeper, Thomas Colepeper, David Polhill, and Justinian Champneis.

By Margaret, second daughter of Sir Thomas Culpeper, of Hollingborne, he had several children, of whom John Hamilton, esq. the eldest son, was of Chilston, where he kept his shrievalty in 1719. He, with the concurrence of his eldest son William, joined in the sale of this manor to Thomas Best, esq. of Chilston, who dying s. p. in 1793, gave it by will among his other estates, to his nephew George Best, esq. now of Chilston, the present possessor of it.

A court leet and court baron is held for this manor.

ROYTON, vulgarly called Rayton, is a manor in this parish, situated at a small distance eastward from Chillton, the mansion of which had a free chapel annexed to it, the ruins of which still remain.

In the year 1259, anno 44 Henry III. this manor was in the possession of Simon Fitzalan; in which year a final agreement was made in the King's court at Westminster, between Roger, abbot of St. Augustine, and the said Simon, concerning the customs and services which the abbot demanded of him for his free tenement, which he held of him in Royton, viz. one marc of silver yearly, and suit at the court of Lenham, which suit the abbot released to him on his agreeing to pay the rent above-mentioned, and suit at the court of St. Augustine, at Canterbury.

His successor was Robert de Royton, who most probably assumed his name from his possessions at this place. He founded a free chapel here, and annexed it to the mansion, which thence acquired the name of Royton chapel.

In which name it continued till the reign of king Henry VI. when, by an only daughter and heir, it went in marriage to James Dryland, esq. of Davington, whose daughter and sole heir Constance, having married to Sir Thomas Walsingham, of Chesilhurst, entitled her husband to the possession of it, and he died possessed of it anno 7 Edward IV. (fn. 6) and one of his descendants, in the beginning of the reign of king Henry VIII. alienated this manor to Edward Myllys, who did homage to the abbot of St. Augustine's for it as half a knight's fee, which he had lately purchased in Royton, near Lenham. He bore for his arms, Party per fess, sable and argent, a pale and three bears erect, counterchanged, collared and chained, or, (fn. 7) from which name it was not long afterwards sold to Robert Atwater, whose arms were, Sable, a fess wavy, voided azure, between three swans, proper, who leaving two daughters and coheirs, Mary, the youngest of them, carried it, with other estates at Charing and elsewhere in this neighbourhood, to Robert Honywood, esq. of Henewood, in Postling, eldest son of John Honywood, esq. by his second wife, daughter of Barnes, of Wye.

He afterwards resided at Pett in Charing, part of his wife's inheritance, and dying in 1576, was buried in Lenham church, bearing for his arms those of Honywood, with a crescent, gules, for difference. He left a numerous issue by his wife, who survived him near forty-four years, and dying in 1620, in the ninety-third year of her age, was buried near him, though a monument is erected to her memory at Markshall, in Essex. She had, as has been said, at her decease, lawfully descended from her 367 children, 16 of her own body, 114 grand-children, 228 in the third generation, and nine in the fourth. Their eldest son Robert Honywood, of Charing, and afterwards of Markshall, in Essex, was twice married; first to Dorothy, daughter of John Crook, LL. D. by whom he had one son, Sir Robert Honywood, of Charing, and a daughter Dorothy, married to Henry Thomson, gent. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Brown, of Beechworth-castle, in Surry, by whom he had several sons and daughters; the eldest of whom, Thomas, was of Markshall, in Essex, esq. and father of John Le Mott Honywood, esq. of that place.

Sir Robert Honywood, on his death, devised the manor of Royton to Dorothy, his daughter by his first wife, married to Mr. Henry Thomson, the second son of Mr. Tho. Thomson, of Sandwich, and younger brother of T. Thomson, esq. of Kenfield, in PeTham, who afterwards resided at Royton, bearing for his arms, Gules, two bars argent, a chief ermine, a crescent for difference. (fn. 8) His surviving son Anthony, was of Royton, of which he died possessed in 1682, leaving an only daughter Dorothy, who carried it in marriage to Richard Crispe, gent. of Maidstone, in whose descendants it continued down to William Crispe, gent. of Royton, who died in 1761, and by his will devised it to his surviving wife Elizabeth, for her life; and the fee of it to his nephew Samuel Belcher, who dying unmarried and intestate, his interest in it descended to his only brother Peter Belcher, and he by his will in 1772 devised it to his brother-in-law, Mr. John Foster, in fee. Mrs. Elizabeth Crispe, before-mentioned, died in 1778, and this estate then came into the possession of Mr. John Foster, who afterwards sold it to Thomas Best, esq. of Chilston, on whose death, s. p. in 1793, it came by his will, among his other estates, to his nephew George Best, esq. now of Chilston, the present owner of it.

RUNHAM is a manor, situated at the south-west extremity of this parish, which, with the mansion of it, called Runham-place, was formerly belonging to the family of Bunce, of Otterden.

Stephen Bunce, son of James Bunce, esq. of Otterden, died possessed of it in 1634. He was first of Boughton Malherb, whose eldest son Matthew, inherited this manor, (fn. 9) which he afterwards sold to Burton, from whom it descended to his grandson Mr. Samuel Burton, who resided here, and married Anne Belchet, who joined with him in the sale of this estate, a fine being levied for that purpose, to Thomas Best, esq. of Chilston, who continued in possession of it till the year 1774, when Samuel Burton, the youngest and only surviving child of the above marriage, claimed this estate by virtue of an entail made of it; and on a proof of his mother's marriage, had a verdict in his favor, on a trail had that year; upon which he took possession of it, and afterwards sold it to Mr. Best above-mentioned, the former purchaser of it, by whose will it came with his other estates in 1793, to his nephew George Best, esq. of Chilston, the present owner of it.

ASHDEN, formerly called Esseden, is a small manor in the northern part of this parish, which at the latter end of the reign of queen Elizabeth, was the property of Edward Jackman, esq. of Hornchurch, in Essex, and he in the 5th year of king James I. passed it away to Oliver Style, esq. of Watringbury, whose son Thomas was created a baronet, and died in 1637, leaving this manor to his only son and successor Sir Thomas Style, bart. who died in 1702; on which an agreement was entered into by his heirs, for a partition of his estates among them, which was confirmed by an act, passed anno 2 and 3 queen Anne. In this partition, the manor of Ashden was allotted, with Frinsted and other estates, to Margaret, his only daughter by his second wife, who in 1716 alienated it to Mr. Abraham Tilghman, whose son Abraham Tilghman, esq. of Frinsted, died in 1779, leaving by Olivia, one of the daughters and coheirs of Charles Finch, esq. of Chatham, one daughter his heir, married to the Rev. Mr. Pierrepont Cromp, of Frinsted, who died in 1797, and his heirs are now possessed of it.

THE REMAINING, or NORTH-EAST PART of this parish is situated within the lath of Shipway, and hundred of Calehill, in which is the manor of East Lenham.

ALTHOUGH the abbot and convent of St. Augustine possessed an estate in Est Lenham, consisting of five plough-lands, by the gift of king Athelwolf in the year 839, as has been already mentioned, yet the manor itself never belonged to that monastery; but was given in the year 961, by queen Ediva, mother of king Edmund and Edred, to Christ-church, in Canterbury, free from all secular service, except the repairing of bridges and the building of fortifications.

Archbishop Lansranc, who came to the fee of Canterbury in 1070, gave this manor to one Godifrid, surnamed Dapiser, who held it of him by knights service; accordingly it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday, under the general title of Terra Militum Archiepi, or land held of the archbishop by knights service:

In Calehell hundred, Godefrid Dapifer holds of the archbishop Lenham. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is . . In demesne there are two carucates, and fifteen villeins, with two borderers, having four carucates. There are four servants, and six acres of meadow, and one mill of seven shillings, and wood for the pannage of ten bogs. In the whole it was worth eight pounds, and yet it pays twelve pounds and ten shillings.

It was afterwards held of the archbishop in like manner by knight's service, by the family of Lenham, who took their name from their possessions here, and bore for their arms the same as those borne by Peysorer, Roger de Lenham held this estate in king John's reign, as appears by the returns made to the king's treasurer in the 12th and 13th years of that reign, of all those who held by knight's service and in capite. Nicholas de Lenham, his descendant, held it in the next reign of king Henry III. in the 35th year of which he sined to the king for a charter of liberties, for his lands in this county. (fn. 10)

John de Lenham held it in like manner of the archbishop in the reign of king Edward I. of whom it was again held by Roger de Handlo, whose descendant Simon de Handlo held it in the 20th year of Edward III. holding it of the archbishop as half a knight's fee.

In latter times the manor of East Lenham was in possession of the Hornes, but whether descended from those of Hornes-place, in Kenardinton, I have not found.

John Horne, esq. was of East Lenham, in the reigns of king Henry V. and VI. in whose family it continued till John Horne, gent. of East Lenham, leaving an only daughter and heir Alice, she carried it in marriage to John Proffit, gent. of Barcombe, in Sussex, who bore for his arms, Argent, a lion rampant, and semee of escallops, sable, whose sole daughter and heir Elizabeth, widow of Richard Manfield, gent. of Middlesex, entitled her husband, John Chauncy, esq. of Hertfordshire, to this manor, of which he died possessed in 1546, and was buried in the church of Sawbridgeworth. He was ancestor of Sir Henry Chauncy, serjeant-at-law, the historian, and bore for his arms, Gules, a cross patonce, argent, on a chief, azure, a lion passant, or, which he quartered with those of Horne, Argent, on a chevron gules, between three bugle horns, sable, three mullets or. his eldest son, Robert, having taken on himself the habit of a Carthusian, Henry, the second son, became possessed of all his father's estates.

After which this manor passed by sale into the family of Knatchbull, of Mersham-hatch, in this county; of whom, Sir Norton Knatchbull, was created a baronet in 1641, and in his descendants it has continued down to Sir Edward Knatchbull, bart. now of Mershamhatch, and the present possessor of this manor. (fn. 11)

THERE WAS AN ESTATE formerly part of the demesnes of this manor, which was for several generations in the possession of the family of Hussey. Henry Hussey had a charter of free warren for his lands at Chilston, East Lenham, and Stourmouth, in the 55th year of king Henry III. and from him the property of this estate descended down to Henry Hussey, who about the latter end of king Henry VIII. passed it away to John Parkhurst, descended from an antient family of that name in Norfolk, one of whom, John Parkhurst, was consecrated bishop of Norwich in 1560. His descendant Sir William Parkhurst, in the reign of king Charles I. alienated it to Mr. Wood, of London, merchant, who possessed it at the restoration of king Charles II. From this name it passed by sale to Edward Hales, esq. of Chilston, whose three daughters and coheirs, in 1698, conveyed it to the hon. Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton; since which it has passed, in like manner as Chilston, in Bocton Malherbe, to George Best, esq. of Chilston, the present owner of it.

ARCHBISHOP LANFRANC, in the time of the Conqueror, gave the tithes of his whole manor of Lenham, which he had given to Godfrid, as has been already mentioned, to the priory of St. Gregory, in Canterbury, which had been founded by him in 1084. Which gift was confirmed by archbishop Hubert, among the rest of the possessions of that priory, with which this portion of tithes remained till the dissolution of it in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when not having the clear yearly income of two hundred pounds, it was dissolved by the act of that year, and was surrendered into the king's hands. After which the king granted these tithes, with the scite; and most of the possessions of St. Gregory's priory, to the archbishop of Canterbury in exchange, in pursuance of an act which had passed for that purpose.

The parsonage of East Lenham becoming thus part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, was let by the archbishop, among the rest of the revenues of the priory of St. Gregory, in one great lease for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of fifty-five pounds.

In 1643, Sir Robert Honywood, of Charing, was head lessee of these premises. Philip, earl of Chesterfield, afterwards held it, as heir to the Wottons, after whose decease, s. p. in 1773, the lease of them was sold by his executors to George Gipps, esq. of Canterbury, M. P. for that city, who is the present possessor of it; but Sir Edward Knatchbull, bart. owner of East Lenham manor, is the present lessee under him, for the parsonage of East Lenham, at the yearly rent of seventeen pounds.

THERE ARE THREE DIFFERENT MANORS in the north-east part of this parish, called in the time of the Saxons, Scelse, afterwards Selve, and now SHELVE, distinguished from each other by their different situations.

These manors were part of those possessions given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands they are thus entered in the survey of Domesday, taken about the year 1080.

Adam Fitzhubert holds of the bishop of Baieux, Est Selve. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is one carucate, and there is in demesne . . . . . together with one villein, and one borderer, and five servants. There are four acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of four hogs. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth twenty shillings. Godric held it of king Edward.

William Fitzrobert holds of the bishop of Baieux West Selve. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is three carucates and an half. In demesne there are two, and a certain Frenchman, with ten villeins, and one borderer, having one carucate and an half. There are five servants, and one acre of meadow, and one mill of fifteen pence. Wood for the pannage of fifteen bogs. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth four pounds. Eddid held it of king Edward. To this manor there belonged in Canterbury, in the time of king Edward the Consessor, one house paying twenty-five pence.

Hugh, grandson of Herbert, holds of the bishop of Baieux, Est Selve. It was taxed at half a suling. The arable land is one carucate, and there is in demesne . . . with one villein, and one borderer, and two servants. There are four acres of meadow, and wood for the pannags of four bogs. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, and afterwards, and now, it was and is worth forty shillings. Ulviet held it of king Edward.

The first of these estates described above, seems intended for that which is now known by the name of Old Shelve, the second for that called West Shelve, and the last for Cobham, alias East Shelve.

After the bishop of Baieux's disgrace, about four years after taking the above-mentioned survey, all his estates were consiscated to the crown, after which.

THE MANOR OF WEST, alias NEW SHELVE, so called from its situation in regard to the others, and to distinguish it from the adjoining manor of Old Shelve, became part of the possessions of the family of Criol, one of whom Bertram de Criol held it in the reign of Henry III. in whose descendants it continued down to John de Criol, who dying s. p. in the reign of king Edward I. Joane his sister became his heir, and carried this manor among the rest of her inheritance, in marriage to Sir Richard de Rokesle, seneschal and governor of Poitou and Montreul, in Picardy, who left 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, nevertheless, they did not inherit this manor, which descended to a younger branch of the family of Rokesle, and it afterwards, on failure of issue, devolved as next of kin, in like manner as Ruxley heretofore described, by reason of the above marriage to the family of Poynings, in which it continued till Sir EdPoynings, dying in the 14th year of Henry VIIIth's reign, without legitimate issue, and even without any collateral kindred who could make claim to his estates, this manor among the rest of his possessions escheated to the crown.

Soon after which, the king granted this manor to John Millys, who died possessed of it in the 17th year of that reign, (fn. 12) the same being held by knight's service, of the abbot of St. Augustine, in right of his abbey. He was succeeded by James Milles, his son and heir, by whose only daughter Joane, this manor of West Shelve went in marriage to Nicholas Darell, second son of Sir James Darell, of Calehill, who afterwards resided here. He died in 1564, leaving two sons, of whom Anthony the second son seems to have at length possessed this manor, and leaving an only daughter and heir Anne, she entitled her husband William Wilkinson to it. He died in 1618, and was buried in this church. He was son and heir of Richard, who was one of the clerks in chancery, and owner of Watringbury manor in this county; and in his descendants it continued down to John Wilkinson, esq. who died possessed of it in 1713, without surviving issue.

Upon which it became the property of Mr. John Dering, of Chalk, on whose marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Milles, esq. of the Inner Temple, he had, by deed, in 1713, in which he stiled him his cousin and adopted heir, settled this manor, with his other estates in this parish, to him and his issue by her in tail male. Mr. John Dering above mentioned, was, if I mistake not, descended from John Dering, of Egerton, sixth son of John Dering, esq. of Surrenden, in the reign of king Henry VIII. by Margaret, his wife, sister and heir of Thomas Brent, esq. of Charing. He was of West Shelve, gent. and dying possessed of this manor in 1724, was buried in this church.

On his death, Henry his eldest son succeeded to this manor, and was of Ashford, in this county. He married Hester Wightwick, of New Romney, by whom he left eight children, viz. Mary, married first to Mr. John Mascall, and secondly, to Mr. Josiah Pattenson, both of Ashford; Hester, to Mr. William Lostie, of Canterbury; Elizabeth to Mr. Baker Coates, of New Romney; John Dering, of Canterbury, who married Rose Hatley; Henry; Martha, married first to Whitfield, and secondly, to Henry Creed, of Ashford; Edward, who married Mary Sweetlove; and George; and having cut off the entail of this estate, he, by his will devised this manor, by the name of West Shelve, alias Royton, in equal shares among his children before mentioned, who are now entitled to it, excepting John Dering and George, who alienated their respective interests in it to their only surviving uncle, Mr. Edward Dering, of Doddington, who died in 1786, and his widow Mrs. Margaret Dering is at this time possessed of them. These Derings bear for their arms, Or, a saltier, sable, a crescent for difference; but this is not their proper bearing, for that is, Or, a saltier, sable, a chief, gules; each of the younger branches of John Dering, by Margaret Brent, his wife, bearing for distinction, A chief over the saltier, but differently blazoned.

A court leet was formerly held for this manor, but it has been long since discontinued.

At New Shelve house in 1755, I saw a curfew, or coverfew, much of the same sort as that, lately belonging to Mr. Gostling, of Canterbury, and of which a plate may be seen in the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. i. p. 89, which had been in the manor house here, time out of mind, and had always been known by this name. They were first made use of in the time of the Conqueror, who commanded, that at the ringing of a bell every evening at eight o'clock, which is still called the curfew bell from thence, all lights should be put out, and the fires covered up. King Henry I. commanded the use of lights to be restored. The cursew bell is still rung at eight o'clock in most market towns and places of resort. (fn. 13)

THE MANOR OF OLD SHELVE lies adjoining to the last described manor, eastward. It was formerly called likewise Middle, alias Red Shelve, and after the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, came into the possession of a family, which assumed its surname from it. Anusius de Selves held it in the reign of king Henry III. and had licence to change his service from sergeantry to knight's service, (fn. 14) his descendant William de Shelve paid aid for this manor in the 20th year of Edward III. as half a knight's fee, which he then held of the earl of Albermarle, and he of the king. It afterwards most probably passed into the family of Poynings, and escheated to the crown in like manner as the last described manor of West Shelve, on the death of Sir Edward Poynings, without heirs, in the 14th year of king Henry VIII. Soon after which it was granted with that manor to John Millys, and afterwards passed in like manner with it to William Wilkinson, one of whose descendants passed it away by sale to Plomer, from which name it was alienated to Dr. Ludwell, late of Oriel college, Oxford, whose widow Mrs. Elizabeth Ludwell, gave it by her will to Benjamin Francis Tribe, esq. with an injunction for him to take the name of Poole, for which he obtained an act anno 5 king George III.

Francis Tribe Poole, esq. was afterwards of Charing, and in 1772 sold this manor to Mr. John Winder, the present proprietor of it, together with that of Marshall adjoining to it.

THE MANOR OF EAST SHELVE, alias SHELVE COBHAM, lies at the foot of the chalk hills, eastward of that last described.

After the bishop of Baieux's disgrace, this manor came into the possession of the family of Cobham, of Cobham, in this county. Henry de Cobham, in the reign of king John, left three sons; John, who succeeded him at Cobham; Reginald; and William, called Cobham of Aldington, a justice itinerant in Henry the IIId.'s reign, which last inherited this manor, and died in the 14th year of Edward II. and, as it should seem, s. p. for Reginald his nephew, stiled likewise Cobham of Aldington, son of his eldest brother John de Cobham, of Cobham, by his second wife Joane de Nevill, succeeded him in it. He lived in the reign of king Edward II. and left by Joane his wife, daughter and heir of William de Hever, a son Reginald de Cobham, in whose descendants of the name of Reginald likewise, seated at Sterborough-castle in Surry, this manor continued down to Reginald, lord Cobham, of Sterborough, who died possessed of it about the 24th year of king Henry VI. (fn. 15) leaving Sir Thomas Cobham, his then only son, his heir, who likewise died in the 11th year of king Edward IV. possessed of this manor, which from the length of time which this family had been proprietors of it, was now usually known by the name of Shelve Cobham, alias East Shelve, which his only daughter and sole heir Anne, carried in marriage to Sir Edward Borough, of Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, whose son and heir Thomas, lord Burgh, procured his lands to be disgavelled by the act of the 31st of king Henry VIII. His son William, lord Burgh, in the 12th year of queen Elizabeth, sold this manor to John Pakenham, who in the 35th year of that reign, alienated it to Boteler, in which name it remained till the 5th year of king Charles I. when it was passed away by sale to Sir John Melton, whose son John Melton, esq. soon after the death of that prince, sold it to Mr. Solomon Adye, from which name it passed into that of Wilkinson, whose descendant John Wilkinson, esq. died possessed of it, as well as New Shelve, in 1713, without surviving issue. Since which it has passed in the same succession of ownership as that manor, to the present time, to the description of which before, p. 433, the reader is referred.

THE MANOR OF DOWNE, or Downe-court, as it is now usually called, is situated in the northern part of this parish, on the summit of the chalk hills. In the reign of king Henry III. it had owners which assumed their surname from it. Hamo de la Dune then held it as half a knight's fee, as did Laurence, heir of Robert de la Downe, in the 20th year of Edward III. when he paid aid for it as half a knight's fee, in which name it continued to John Downe, who resided here, in the 6th year of Edward IV. and left two sons, John and Thomas Downe, to both of whom he by his will devised this estate, which had then lost all reputation of being a manor. How it passed afterwards I have not found; but Robert Atwater, of Royton, in this parish, died possessed of it in 1565, and his daughter and coheir Mary, carried it, with other estates in this parish and neighbourhood, in marriage to Robert Honywood, esq. of Postling. He died in 1576, leaving a numerous issue by her; of whom Robert Honywood, esq. of Charing and of Markshall, in Essex, the eldest son, succeeded him in this estate, in whose descendants it continued down to Philip Honywood, esq. of Markshall, a general in the army, who married Eliz. Wastell, but died s.p. 1785, having by his will given this, among his other estates in this county and in Essex, to his kinsman, Filmer Honywood, esq. the eldest son of the late Sir John Honywood, bart. by his second wife Dorothy Filmer. He is now of Markshall, in Essex, and is unmarried, having been M.P. for this county in the last two successive parliaments, and is the present owner of this estate.

AT SOME DISTANCE north-westward from Downecourt, in the valley on the east side of the road leading from Doddington to Hollingborne hill, at the extreme bounds of this parish, lies an estate called SYNDALL, but more properly Syndane, which, as appears by the evidences belonging to it, as high as the reign of king John and king Henry III. was the inheritance of a family of that surname, who were gentlemen of some note in these parts; but they continued owners of it for no long time afterwards, for in the 23d year of king Edward III. Fulk de Peyforer was possessed of it; from which name it was alienated, before the end of that reign, to Henman, in whose descendants it continued down to Allen Henman, who sold the mansionhouse and principal part of the estate, in the reign of queen Anne, to Sir Robert Furnese, bart. of Waldershare, and he died possessed of it in 1733, being succeeded in title and estate by his only son, Sir Henry Furnese, bart. who survived him but a small time, and dying abroad in 1735, under age and unmarried, his estates, by virtue of the limitations in his grandfather's will became vested in his three sisters, as the three daughters and coheirs of his father Sir Rob. Furnese, in equal shares and proportions, in coparcenary in tail general, and afterwards, by a decree of the court of chancery, anno 9 George II. a writ of partition was agreed to by them, which was confirmed by an act passed the next year, in which this farm of Syndall, among other premises, was allotted to Selina, the third daughter, who afterwards married Edward Dering, esq. who survived his wife, and afterwards succeeded his father in the title of baronet. He continued in the possession of this estate till the year 1779, when he conveyed it by sale, in which his son Edward Dering, esq. joined, to Mr. William Hills, of Boughton Blean, who is the present proprietor of it.


Six alms-houses, and a house for a governor, were founded by Anthony Honywood, esq. of Langley, in this county; for the building and endowing of which, he gave an estate in 1622, to this parish for ever, directing 40l. per annum to be paid out of it to six poor people inhabiting the alms-houses; and the remainder to be to the use of the governor, now vested in the minister and churchwardens, and of the annual produce of 50l.

THREE pounds per annum were given in 1720, by the REV. FRANCIS ROBINS, A.M. of Town Sutton, to the most indigent, honest, and industrious poor of Lenham, to be distributed yearly among them on March 11, by the minister and churchwardens, and now of that annual produce.

JOHN FOORD: late of Lenham, yeoman, by his will in 1766, gave to the minister and churchwardens of Lenham, and their successors for ever, the sum of 300l. the interest of it to be paid to a fit and proper schoolmaster, to be appointed by the said minister and churchwardens, to teach ten poor boys of Lenham, reading, writing, and accounts, now of the annual produce of 12l.

The poor constantly relieved are about 120, and casually about 45.

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

The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a large handsome building, with a square tower at the west end, in which is a good clock, which strikes the hours and quarters, and a set of chimes. It consists of two isles, and two chancels; on the north side of the high chancel, in the hollow in the wall, there is a figure in long robes, lying at full length, which seems very antient, probably that of Thomas de Apulderfield, who lived in king Edward the IIId.'s reign, and was buried in this church. At the west end of the chancel, there are sixteen stalls, eight on each side, though of a different size, for the use of the monks of St. Augustine's, when they visited their estate in this parish, and for such other of the clergy as should be present at the services of the church; and at a small distance from them, on the south side, a stone confessional chair.

The pulpit is an octagon, curiously carved in each compartment. There are several of the family of Honywood buried in this church; and memorials, among many others, for the Codds, Brockwells, Marshalls, Baldocks, Dixons, and Perrys, of which last there is a memorial over James Perry, gent. once principal of Staples Inn, in 1577, and over, Anne his wife, daughter of Thomas Turner, of Sutton Valence, in 1593. They bore for their arms, On a bend, three pears. There are likewise memorials of the Thomsons and the Derings, and one for the hon. John Hamilton, in 1714. Thomas Horne, esq. of East Lenham, by his will in 1471, proved in the Prerogative-office, in Canterbury, ordered his body to be buried in St. Edmund's chancel, in this church, before the altar there. At the east end of the north isle is a tomb of Betherlden marble, having on it this shield of arms, Six crosscroslets, fitchee; at the south end of it, a cross-croslet, fitchee; on one side of which are two crescents one above the other; and on the other side of it is a bugle born, hanging by a string on the cross-croslet. This tomb, however different the arms may be from those of this family quartered by Chauncy as above-mentioned, it is not improbable might be erected for Tho. Horne, in St. Edmund's chancel, which might be in this part of the church. Weever says, Valentine Barrett and Cecile his wife, and likewise William Maries, esquire to king Henry V. lie buried here; but it is a mistake, for Preston near Faversham, in which church they lie buried.

The church of Lenham, as an appendage to the manor, became part of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, above-mentioned, to which it was appropriated by pope Celestine III. (fn. 16) in the reign of king Richard I. towards the replenishing of the furniture of the refectory from time to time, which was afterwards confirmed by several popes and archbishops of Canterbury.

After which, a vicarage was endowed in this church by the abbot and convent, by which the vicar was entitled to receive the oblations and obventions commonly arising from the altarages, and the small tithes, with the tithes of hay and of curtilages. But controversies afterwards being likely to arise between them, concerning certain small tithes of the pasture ground, and of the corn of certain lands really purchased by the abbot and convent out of their manor of Lenham, since the endowment, and the vicar asserting, that his vicarage was overloaded with ordinary, as well as extraordinary burthens, humbly prayed of them some relief; the abbot and convent, therefore, willing to grant his petition, and to cut off all grounds of difference between them in future, and to provide for his portion more liberally, granted to him and his successors, all the messuage, with its appurtenances, in which he then dwelt. And further, they released to the vicar and his successors, ten shillings annual rent, which they used to receive from the said messuage; and they granted that he and his successors should receive and have for ever, twelve-pence yearly, which the prior and convent of Ledes, and in like manner two pounds of wax, which the prior and convent of St. Gregory's, in Canterbury, used yearly to offer on the great altar of the before-mentioned church; and they granted to him besides, three seams of corn, viz. one of wheat and two of barley, to be taken yearly by him and his successors, from them in their manor of Lenham, at the hands of their bailiff, at Michaelmas and Lady-day, by equal portions; so that the vicar and each of his successors, thus content with the said corn, should in future carry away nothing in the name of tithe, or of his vicarage, of the sheaves of any kind of corn, within curtilages or without, arising within the bounds of the parish. Adding likewise to his portion, that he and his successors should have every year two cows, feeding with their cows, in their pasture at Lenham, but not to go to their sheep-cote, from the feast of St. Philip and St. James to the feast of St. Michael. They confirmed likewise to him and his successors, the land called Langebregge, near Markewell, inclosed with hedges on every side, together with the appropriation of the tenement or messuage, in which the vicar then dwelt, which the vicar and his successors should possess in future to the use of the vicarage, in manner as abovementioned; and the vicar, bona fide and expressly for himself and his successors, released, that in either of their manors aforesaid, or of their demesne lands or tenements in it, of the small tithes of corn, hay, pasture, the three mills, of Abbottesmill, Slakke, and the Windmill, of the nutriment of cattle, or of any other sort of small tithes, or any thing else besides what has been already mentioned, he or they would not make any demand or claim in future, by reason of the said vicarage, but with the income and endowment as aforesaid, according to the manner of it, should hold themselves content; but with this proviso, nevertheless, that if the said premises should be let to ferme to others, then the vicar should carry off his just tithe from the farmer for that time. Saving to the vicar and his successors, the oblations and obventions, and other small tithes and rents only, with which the vicarage was originally endowed, excepting the tithes of the abbot and convent, as aforesaid. And that the vicar and his successors should properly perform their duty to the church of Lenham, and the chapel of Royton, either by themselves or other proper curate, and should find lights in them, in the due and accustomed manner, and that they should be bound to the payment of the procuration of the archbishop, and all other ordinary burthens of his church for ever; all other instruments or writings, if there should be any, of compositions between the said parties, or any of their predecessors, before made, touching the said vicarage, only obtaining force by this writing, but as to any thing else totally void of all. To which instrument the said abbot and convent had put their common seal.

The abbot and convent obtained from time to time several grants and extensive privileges from the popes, among which was, an exemption from all archiepiscopal or any ecclesiastical jurisdiction whatsoever, and subjecting them and all their possessions solely and immediately to the see of Rome. In consequence of which, the abbot instituted several new deanries and apportioned the several churches belonging to his monastery to each of them according to their vicinity, one of them was the deanry of Lenham, which church he ordained should be the head of the deanry; and he appointed a dean to each, with officials, consistories, &c. and exacted an oath of canonical obedience from each of them. This proceeding raised great contests and animosities between the archbishops and the abbots from time to time, each appealing in his turn to the court of Rome. After more than five years altercation, the determination of their disputes was entrusted by pope Boniface VIII. in the year 1300, to the abbots of Westminster, Waltham, and St. Edmund: in consequence of which, after near eight years controversy, and great sums of money spent on both sides, the abbot, three years afterwards, was stripped of these exemptions, and by the pope's bull, declared to be subject to the archbishop's jurisdiction in all matters whatsoever, in like manner as heretofore; (fn. 17) which entirely dissolved this new deanry, as well as the rest of them.

The church and vicarage of Lenham remained part of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine till the final dissolution of it in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands.

The rectory of Lenham, with the advowson of the vicarage, remained but a small time in the king's hands, for the same year he granted the rectory of Lenham, the manor of it and their appurtenances, to Sir Anthony St. Leger, at the yearly rent of seven pounds. From him these premises descended to Sir Warham St. Leger, who in the reign of queen Elizabeth, sold them to Francis Barnham, esq. and he, in the 21st year of that reign, sold this rectory and manor, with their appurtenances, to Robert Honywood, junior, the same being held of the queen in capite.

Henry Wilford, esq. possessed this rectory and advowson in the reign of king James I. at the latter end of which, he alienated them to Anthony Brown, viscount Montague; since which they have had the same owners as the manor of Lenham, and are both, with that, now in the possession of George Best, esq. of Chilston.

In the 8th year of king Richard II. the church of Lenham was valued at 23l 6s. 8d.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 13l. 15s. 2½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 7s. 6¼d.

In 1640 it was valued at eighty pounds. Communicants four hundred.

Church of Lenham.

Or by whom presented.
Abbot and convent of St. Augustine Andrew, in the reign of king Henry II. (fn. 18)
Sir Thomas Horseman. George Hudson, A. M. Nov. 14, 1605. obt. 1614.
Robert Barrell, A. M. May 20, 1614.
William Cobb and William Collins, gents. Laurence Fox obt. 1631.
Robert Marriott, A. M. Sept. 12, 1631. (fn. 19)
The King. The same again, September 27, 1636.
The Archbishop. John Lord, in 1663, obt. 1670.
Henry Gerrard, A. M. Dec. 9, 1670, resig. 1677.
Viscount Montague. Thomas Robins, 1677, obt. 1701.
Richard Styles, of Petworth. Thomas Nicholson, 1701, obt. 1763. (fn. 20)
Thomas Best, esq. Richard Laurence, LL. B. ind. Feb. 24, 1763, obt. August 1772. (fn. 21)
Thomas Best, esq. Thomas Verrier Alkin, A. M. ind. Oct. 24, 1772, resigned March 1781.
Thomas Scott, A. B. 1781, resigned 1792 (fn. 22)
Maurice Lloyd, A. M. 1792, the present vicar.


  • 1. See Gale on Antonine, p. 76. Camd. Brit. p. 228.
  • 2. Regist. Sci Aug. court, 406, 411, 417, 424, 430, 440. See also Stev. Mon. vol. ii. p. 39.
  • 3. Rot. Cart. de 21 usq. ad 24 an. ejus Regni, N. 11, Tanner, Monast. p. 206. Cart. 11 Edward III. N. 18.
  • 4. See under Hartridge in Cranbrooke, and Ilden in Kingston.
  • 5. See Irish Peerage, vol. iii. p. 156 et seq.
  • 6. See Chiselhurst, vol. ii. p. 7.
  • 7. Pedigree of Darell.
  • 8. Vistn. co. Kent, 1619. Pedigree Thomson.
  • 9. See more of them under Otterden, and Vistn. eo. of Kent, 1619, pedigree Bunce.
  • 10. See Madox's Exchequer, p. 687.
  • 11. See more of this family under Mersham.
  • 12. His will, proved in Prerogative. office in Canterbury.
  • 13. See Dugd. Orig. p. 8. Stow's Annals, anno 1100.
  • 14. Roll of knight's fees in the Exchequer.
  • 15. Rot. Esch. ejus an. See a full account of this branch of Cobham under Chiding stone, vol. iii. p. 211.
  • 16. See Dec. Scrip. col. 2097. Reg. Mon. Sti. Aug. Cart. 75.
  • 17. See Decem. Script. col. 1970 to 2003.
  • 18. Selden of Tythes, p. 415.
  • 19. Rym. Foed. vol. xx. p. 138.
  • 20. Also rector of Wichling.
  • 21. In 1763 he had a dispensation, for holding Bredgar with this vicarage.
  • 22. By dispensation in 1785 rector of Denton.