Parishes: West Peckham

Pages 56-70

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

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EASTWARD from Shipborne lies the parish of West, alias Little Peckham, called in Domesday, PECHEHAM, and in the Textus Roffensis, PECHAM.

It has the appellation of West Peckham, from its situation westward of Great, or East Peckham, and of Little, from its smallness in regard to that parish. They both probably had their name from their situation, peac signifying in Saxon, the peke, or summit of an hill, and ham, a village, or dwelling-place.

THE QUARRY STONE HILLS bound the northern side of this parish, consequently the whole of it is within the district of the Weald. The soil is in general a stiff clay, and in the lower or southern part of it where it is mostly pasture, it is very rich grazing land. The northern part adjoining to the hill is covered with those woods, commonly called the Herst woods, from which there are several fine springs of water, which extend over the eastern parts of this parish, where, near the boundary of it, next to Mereworth, is the village, with the church. The northern side of this parish is watered by the stream which flows hither from Plaxtool, and from hence into the Medway at Brandt-bridge, a little above Yaldham, having turned two corn-mills in its course within this parish. The seat of Hamptons, now almost in ruins, stands near the east side of this stream, in a wild gloomy situation, and at a small distance, that of Oxenhoath, an antient brick building, situated on a rise of ground, having a most extensive prospect over the Weald, and again to the hills north-eastward, the ground about it is finely wooded, and is the greatest part of it exceeding rich pasture.

There were antiently two parks in this parish, both of which were disparked at the time Lambarde wrote his Perambulation in 1570.

There is a fair held in this village yearly, on the 16th of June.

This parish, with others in this neighbourhood, was antiently bound to contribute to the repair of the fifth pier of Rochester bridge.

LITTLE PECKHAM before the conquest was in the possession of earl Leofwine, who as well as his brother, king Harold, lost their lives in the fatal battle of Hastings. After which William the Conqueror gave it to Odo, bishop of Baieux, his half-brother, whom he likewise made earl of Kent, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the survey of Domesday, taken about the year 1080.

Corbin holds Pecheham of the bishop (of Baieux). It was taxed at two sulings; the arable land is six carucates. In demesne there is one, and twelve villeins, having five carucates, and eight borderers, and five servants, and three acres of meadow, wood for the pannage of ten bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth twelve pounds, now eight pounds, and yet it yields twelve pounds. The king has of this manor three dens, where four villeins dwell, and are worth forty shillings. Earl Leuin held it.

On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, about four years afterwards, this among the rest of his estates was confiscated to the crown.

In the reign of king John, the manor of West Peckham, then valued at fifteen pounds, was held in sergeantry, by a family of the name of Bendeville, by the service of bearing one of the king's goshawks, beyond sea, from the feast of St. Michael to that of the Purification, when the king demanded it, in lieu of all other services. Soon after which it came into the possession of a family who took their surname from it.

John de Peckham held it in the reign of king Henry III. and his descendant, John de Peckham, died possessed of it in the 21st year of king Edward I. holding it in capite, by the service above-mentioned. (fn. 1) Soon after which it passed into the possession of Robert Scarlet, who died possessed of it in the 33d year of that reign, but in the next of king Edward II. Adam at Broke was possessed of it. He died in the 11th year of it, both of them holding it in capite by the service mentioned above. And it appears, that in the latter year it was accounted a manor, and that there were here a capital messuage, pidgeon-house, rents of assize, and one hundred and eighty-four acres of land and wood.

His widow, Dionisia at Broke, died possessed of it in the 5th year of king Edward III. after which this manor seems to have been separated into moieties.

John de Mereworth, of Mereworth, died in the 39th year of that reign, possessed of a moiety of the manor of West Peckham, which he held of the king in capite, by the service before mentioned. Since which it has passed through the same tract of ownership that the manor of Mereworth has; as may be more fully seen hereafter in the description of it, and it is now, as well as that manor, in the possession of the right hon. Thomas Stapleton, lord le Despencer.

THE OTHER MOIETY of the manor of West Peckham, after the death of Dionisia at Broke, in the 5th year of king Edward III. came into the possession of Lionel, duke of Clarence, the king's third son, in right of his wife Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of William de Burgh, earl of Ulster. She died in the 38th year of that reign, leaving by him an only daughter, Philippa, surviving her, who died in the 43d year of it, and the duke being then possessed of the moiety of this manor, which he held by the law of England, as of the inheritance of Elizabeth his late wife deceased, in capite by knight's service, Philippa, his daughter above-mentioned, then countess of March, was found to be his next heir. Upon which Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, her husband, had possession granted of it that year. Soon after which this moiety came into the possession of that branch of the family of Colepeper settled at Oxenhoath, in this parish, in which it remained till Sir John Colepeper, one of the judges of the common pleas, in the reign of king Henry IV. gave it to the knight's hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, in the 10th year of that reign, anno 1408.

They established a preceptory within this manor, which continued part of their possessions till the general dissolution of their hospital in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when this order was suppressed by an act then specially passed for that purpose, and all their lands and revenues were given by it to the king and his heirs for ever. It was at that time stiled the Preceptory, or commandery of West Peckham, otherwise called the Chantry Magistrale. A preceptory or commandery, was a convenient mansion belonging to these knights, of which sort they had several on their different estates, in each of which they had a society of their brethren placed to take care of their lands and rents in that respective neighbourhood.

This manor of West Peckham, for so it was then stiled, together with the preceptory, was valued at the above dissolution at 63l. 6s. 8d. annual revenue, and sixty pounds clear income.

King Henry VIII. in his 33d year, granted the fee of this manor, with it appurtenances to Sir Robert Southwell, of Mereworth, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he in the 35th year of that reign, alienated it to Sir Edmund Walsingham. In which name and family this manor continued till the latter end of the reign of king Charles I. when Sir Thomas Walsingham, of Scadbury, (fn. 2) alienated it, with Yokes-place, and other estates in this neighbourhood, to his son in law, Mr. James Master, of Yokes, in the adjoining parish of Mereworth, Sir Tho. Walsingham having married the widow of Mr. Nathaniel Master, Mr. James Master's father; since which it has passed in like manner as that seat, into the possession of the right hon. George Bing, viscount Torrington, the present possessor of it.

HAMPTONS is a seat in this parish, situated at the western extremity of it, which, as well as the borough of that name, is accounted within the hundred and manor of Great Hoo, near Rochester. In the reign of queen Elizabeth it was in the possession of John Stanley, gent. who resided here, being the son of W. Stanley, gent. of Wilmington, whose grandfather, John Stanley, gent. was of Wilmington, in Lancashire, and bore for his arms, Argent, on a bend, azure, three bucks heads caboshed, or, a chief gules. And it appears, by an antient pedigree of the family of Stanley, well drawn with the several bearings of arms, now in the hands of William Dalison, esq. that the Stanleys of this county were descended of the eldest branch of that family, being the direct descendants of William de Stanley, lord of Stanley, in Staffordshire, and of Stourton, in the 10th year of king Richard II. the elder brother to John de Stanley, lieutenant of Ireland, who by the daughter and heir of Latham, of Lancashire, was ancestor to the Stanleys, earls of Derby, of the lords Montegle, and of those of Holte and Wever. (fn. 3) He died possessed of this seat in 1616, and his eldest son Thomas Stanley, esq. of Hamptons, dying in 1668, was buried in this church near his father. He left issue an only daughter and heir Frances, married to Maximilian Dalyson, esq. of Halling, who in her right became entitled to this seat, to which he removed on her father's death.

This family of Dalyson is of good account for its antiquity in this kingdom. William d'Alanzon, the first ancestor recorded of it, is said to have landed in this kingdom with William the Conqueror, whose direct descendant in the eighth generation, was of Laughton, in Lincolnshire, and first wrote himself Dalyson. His great grandson, William Dalyson, esq. of Laughton, was sheriff and escheator of Lincolnshire, and died in 1546, leaving two sons and three daughters; George Dalyson, the eldest son, was of Laughton, whose grandson, Sir Roger Dalyson, was lieutenant-general of the ordnance, and was created a baronet in 1611.

William Dalyson, the second son, represented the county of Lincoln in parliament in 1554, and was afterwards one of the judges of the king s bench, in the time of queen Mary, whose coat of arms, Gules, three crescents, or, a canton ermine, are still remaining in a window in Grays-inn chapel, and in another window is a like coat belonging to Charles Dalyson, anno 1660. He died in 1558, and was buried in Lincoln cathedral. He left four sons, of whom William, the eldest, will be mentioned hereafter, and Thomas was of Greetwell, in Lincolnshire, and was afterwards knighted. Lloyd in his memoirs says, Sir Thomas Dalyson, of Lancashire, lost his life for his loyalty at Nazeby, and 12,000l. in his estate, and that there were three colonels more of this name in the king's army, viz. Sir Charles Dalyson, Sir Robert Dalyson, and Sir William Dalyson, who spent 130,000l. therein, being men of great command in their country, and bringing the strength thereof to the king's assistance.

William Dalyson, the eldest son, on his marriage with Silvester, daughter of Robert Dene, gent. of Halling, in this county, in 1573 settled in this county, and resided at the bishop's palace, in Halling,' where he died in 1585, and was buried in Clerkenwell church. His widow afterwards married William Lambarde, gent. of Greenwich, our Kentish perambulator, and dying in 1587, was buried in Halling church, leaving issue by both her husbands.

Maximilian Dalyson, esq. the direct descendant of William Dalyson, by Silvester his wife, resided, in like manner as his ancestors had done at Halling, but having married Frances, only daughter and heir of Thomas Stanley, gent. of Hamptons, in this parish, as has been before related, on the death of her father, he removed thither, where he died in 1671, and was buried in this church, as was Frances his wife, who survived him, and died in 1684. They left two surviving sons, Thomas, of whom hereafter; and Charles, who was of Chatham, gent.

Thomas Dalyson, esq. the eldest son, of Hamptons, was twice married; first, to Susan, daughter of Sir Thomas Style, bart. of Watringbury; and secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Twisden, bart. of Bradborne, by the latter of whom he had no issue. He died in 1636, leaving by his first wife a daughter Elizabeth, who married John Boys, esq. of Hode-court, in this county, and Tho. Dalyson, esq. who was of Plaxtool, where he resided during his father's life-time, and afterwards removed to Hamptons, where he died in 1741, and was buried in Plaxtool chapel, as were his several descendants.

He married first Jane, only daughter of Richard Etherington, gent. of Essex, by whom he left Mary, who died unmarried, and Jane, who married Sir Jeffery Amherst, of Riverhead, afterwards created lord Amherst. His second wife was Isabella, second daughter of Peter Burrell, esq. of Beckenham, who surviving him, died in 1762. By her he had William, of whom further mention will be made hereafter. Frances Isabella married to William Daniel Master, esq. of Mereworth, and Thomas Dalison, clerk, A. M. Wm. Dalison, esq. the eldest son, is the present possessor of Hamptons, but resides at Plaxtool, and is as yet unmarried.

The family of Dalyson, of Hamptons, has a right to quarter the arms of Stanley, and with them the coats of Hooton, Houghton, Grosvenor and Harrington; and with those of Dalyson, the coats of Elkinton, Greenfield, Dighton and Blesby.

THE BOROUGH OF OXENHOATH in this parish, is within the hundred and manor of Hoo, near Rochester, at the court of which a borsholder is appointed for this borough yearly.

THE MANOR OF OXENHOATH, alias Toxenhoath, is held of the manor of Great Hoo, by the service of the yearly payment of a pair of gilded spurs, but the payment of them has been forborne many years. It was in antient times part of the possessions of a branch of the family of Colepeper, or Culpeper, as they were called, and sometimes wrote themselves, in which it continued till it became part of the possessions of Sir John Colepeper, justice of common pleas, in the 7th year of king Henry IV. in the 10th year of which reign, he gave his manor of West Peckham to the knights hospitallers, as has been mentioned before. He resided at Oxenhoath, of which he died possessed in, or soon after, the 3d year of king Henry V. and was buried in this church with Katherine his wife, by whom he left Sir William Culpeper, of Oxenhoath, sheriff of this county in the 5th year of king Henry VI. whose son, Sir John Colepeper, likewise resided here. His son, Sir William Colepeper, was of Aylesford, and sheriff in the 5th year of king Henry VI. By his wife, daughter of Ferrers, of Groby, he had three sons; Sir Richard Colepeper, of Oxenhoath, William, of Preston-hall, in Aylesford; and Jeffry.

Sir Richard Colepeper was sheriff in the 11th year of king Edward IV. and died possessed of Oxenhoath, in the 2d year of king Richard III. leaving by Isabella, daughter and coheir of Otwell Worceley, of Stamworth, three daughters, his coheirs, Margaret, married to William Cotton, third son of Sir Thomas Cotton, of Landwade, in Cambridgeshire; Joyce, to the lord Edmund Howard, younger son of Thomas, duke of Norfolk; and Elizabeth, to Henry Barham, of Teston. (fn. 4) And on the division of their inheritance, this estate was allotted to William Cotton, in right of his wife Margaret. He resided here, bearing for his arms, Sable, a chevron between three griffins heads erased, argent. (fn. 5) He was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas Cotton, who alienated this manor to John Chowne, gent. of Fairlawne, and his great grandson, Sir George Chowne, of Fairlawne, intending to confine his possessions within Sussex, passed away this manor to Nicholas Miller, esq. of Horsnells Crouch, in Wrotham, sheriff of this county in the 8th year of king Charles I. who bore for his arms, Ermine, a fess gules, between three griffins heads erased, azure. He died in 1640, and was buried in Wrotham church, leaving by Jane his wife, daughter of John Polley, esq. of Preston, two surviving sons, Nicholas of Oxenhoath, and Mathew of Buckland, in Surry, and several daughters.

His eldest surviving son, Sir Nicholas Miller, resided at Oxenhoath, which he greatly, augmented and beautified. He died in 1658, leaving four sons and four daughters surviving, of whom Humphry became his heir; and Nicholas, to whom his grandfather, Ni cholas Miller, bequeathed his family seat of Crouch, in Wrotham, and other estates. Humphry Miller, esq. the eldest son, succeeded his father in this manor and seat, where he resided, and in 1660, was created a baronet, and in 1666 was sheriff of this county, and kept his shrievalty at Oxenhoath. He died in 1709, leaving a son and heir, Borlase, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who will be mentioned hereafter.

Sir Borlase Miller, bart. was of Oxenhoath, of which he died possessed in 1714, s. p. leaving his wife, Susanna, daughter of Thomas Medley, esq. of Sussex, surviving. On which this estate came by survivorship to Elizabeth his sister, before-mentioned, then the wise of Leonard Bartholomew, esq. of Rochester, who afterwards resided at Oxenhoath, who served the office of sheriff in 1713, and bore for his arms, Or, three goats heads erased, sable. He died in 1720, being buried with Elizabeth his wife in this church, and leaving three sons, Philip, Leonard, and Humphry; the eldest of whom, Philip Bartholomew, esq. possessed and resided at Oxenhoath. He first married the only daughter and heir of Mr. John Knowe, gent. of Ford, in Wrotham; by whom he had two sons, Leonard, and John-Knowe-Bartholomew, the latter of whom died before his brother, without issue. He married secondly Mary, younger daughter of Alexander Thomas, esq. of Lamberhurst, by whom he had a daughter Mary, married to Francis Geary, esq.

Philip Bartholomew died in 1730, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Leonard Bartholomew, esq. who was of Oxenhoath. He died without issue in 1757, and by will gave Oxenhoath, with his other estates in this county, to the second son, then unborn, of Francis Geary, esq. of Polesdon, in Surry, afterwards admiral of the royal navy, and created a baronet on August 10, 1782, by Mary, his half sister abovementioned, in tail male, with remainder to the admi ral's eldest son, in like tail, remainder to the family of Beaumont, in Yorkshire.

His second son before mentioned was afterwards born and christened William, and his eldest brother having died unmarried, became his father's heir, and succeeded on his death in 1796, to the title of baronet, being the present Sir William Geary, bart. who resides at Oxenhoath, of which he is the present possessor. He is M. P. for this county, and at present unmarried. The arms of Geary are, Gules, two bars argent, on each three mascles of the first, a canton ermine.


DAME MARY CHOWNE gave by will in 1619, to be distributed to the poor of this parish on Michaelmas day yearly, the sum of 40l. with which a house was bought, which is vested in trustees, and now of the annual produce of 40s.

THOMAS STANLEY, esq. gave by deed in 1637, to an aged married pair for life, or an antient widow, a house and land, vested in the churchwardens and overseers, and now of the annual produce of 1l 10s.

THE REV. SAMUEL COOKE gave by will in 1637, to ten poor persons of this parish yearly, on Lady-day, a sum of money, vested in the minister of this parish, and now of the annual produce of 5l.

NICHOLAS JAMES and THOMAS DUNMOLL gave by their several wills in 1695, 1705, and 1708, the sums of 20s. each, to be paid out of lands in this parish, and to be distributed to the poor on Christmas day, which sums are vested in the churchwardens and overseers, and now of the like annual produce.

MILDMAY, EARL OF WESTMORELAND, gave a field, containing two acres, to the inhabitants of this parish, for a sporting place and for a more commodious way to the church.

WEST OR LITTLE PECKHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester and deanry of Malling.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Dunstan, is a small building, with a low pointed steeple.

King Edward I. in his 14th year, granted to the prior and convent of Ledis, in this county, the advowson of the church of Parva Pecham, to hold in free, pure, and perpetual alms; and he granted that they should hold it appropriated to their own use, whensoever they would, without any hindrance of him, his heirs and successors. (fn. 6)

In the 21st of the above reign, a quo warranto was brought before the justices itinerant against the prior and convent, to enquire by what right they possessed this church, then valued at forty pounds per annum, and formerly in the king's gift; and on their pleading the above grant, the jury gave it for them.

In the reign of king Edward III. the valuation of this church was, forty acres of the endowment of it, twenty shillings hay; twenty shillings tithe of pannage and herbage; ten shillings tithe of geese, calves, pigs, and mills; with oblations and other small tithes belonging to it.

Bishop Thomas de Brinton, by his instrument in 1387, the 11th year of king Richard II. granted licence to the prior and convent of Ledes to appropriate this church, then vacant and of their own patronage, to their own uses, saving a competent vicarage in it, the presentation of which should belong to them, which he ordained to consist of all small tithes, oblations, obventions, pannages, and all other things belonging to the altarage, except the tithe of hay itself of the parish wheresoever, excepting of twenty acres of meadow, then belonging to the earl of Gloucester, in the western part of the parish; the tithe of which twenty acres the vicar of the church for the time being, should take and have for ever. And that the vicars themselves should have the hall, with the chambers adjoining to it, and the garden, together with four acres of land, with the tithe arising from them, and two acres of wood of the demesne of the church, as they were bounded off; and also two shillings annual rent, which John, called le Kinge, of this parish, and his heirs, should pay to the vicars for ever, for land which he held of the fee of this church, together with the tithes arising from it; and that the vicars should take all tithes in the gardens of the whole parish, which were dug with the foot. But that the prior and convent should, for their portion, sustain all burthens, as well ordinary and extraordinary, happening to the church, saving the right, dignity and custom of his church of Rochester, and of all others.

The advowson and parsonage of West Peckham continued with the priory of Leeds till the time of its dissolution in the reign of king Henry VIII. when the same, together with all the lands and revenues of it, was surrendered into the king's hands, after which the king, by his dotation-charter, in his 33d year, settled this church of Peckham Parva, and the advowson of the vicarage, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom they now remain.

On the intended dissolution of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. the parsonage of Little Peckham was surveyed in 1649; when it appeared that it consisted of a barn, yard, &c. and twentyfive acres and an half of glebe land, of the improved rent of sixty pounds per annum; which premises were let anno 13 Charles I. to James, Elizabeth, and Duke Stonehouse, for the term of their lives, or the longest liver of them, by the dean and chapter of Rochester, at the yearly rent of six pounds. In which lease the advowson was excepted, and the lessess covenanted to repair the premises, and the chancel of the parish church. (fn. 7)

The present lessee of this parsonage, under the dean and chapter, is Sir William Geary, bart.

In the reign of queen Anne, the small tithes of this vicarage amounted to about twelve pounds per annum. It had then an augmentation of fourteen pounds per annum which had been given to it by the dean and chapter of Rochester about the year 1690. There was likewise a small augmentation to it from John Warner, bishop of Rochester, of about ten pounds per annum, but not fixed to it.

The vicarage is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of forty-five pounds, the yearly tenths of which are 14s. 7d.

In 1732 it was augmented by the governors of queen Anne's bounty, and by the benefactions of one hundred pounds per annum, from the trustees of Sir William Langhorne, bart. being part of his legacy towards the augmentation of small livings, and of 100l. 17s. 6d. by Henry Burville, vicar of this parish, with which, and fifty pounds, added by George Richards, the succeeding vicar, a farm of fifteen pounds a year was purchased in this neighbourhood. The vicarage, which is a handsome sashed brick house, situated near the church, was built by the bounty of Philip Bartholomew, esq. of Oxenhoath.

Church of West Peckham.

Or by whom presented.
Prior and convent of Leeds William Allen, resig. 1372. (fn. 8)
William Huberd, 1372. (fn. 8)
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. Edward Drayner, A. B. in 1627, obt. 1630. (fn. 9)
Samuel Cooke, A. B. in 1630, obt. Aug 26, 1638. (fn. 10)
Bartholomew May, obt. June 21, 1709. (fn. 11)
Henry Burvill, A. M. ob. April 20, 1749. (fn. 12)
George Richards, A. M. 1749, obt. Feb. 1783.
Peter Wade, A. M. July 1783, obt. Sept. 1783. (fn. 13)
Arnold Carter, A. M. 1783, resigned 1795. (fn. 14)
Richard Bathurst, A. M. 1795, the present vicar. (fn. 15)


  • 1. Rot. Esch. ejus an. No. 35, p. servicium mutandi unum Osturcum per ann.
  • 2. See Chesilhurst, vol. ii. ct this history, p. 7.
  • 3. See Visitation county of Kent, anno 1619. Pedig. Stanley.
  • 4. MSS. pedigrees of Colepeper, Lee, Cotton, &c.
  • 5. Vistn. co. Kent, anno 1619, pedigree of Cotton.
  • 6. Rot. Cart. ejus an. N. 1. Reg. Roff. p. 514.
  • 7. Parl. Surveys, Lambeth-library, vol. xiv.
  • 8. Willis's Buckingham, p. 354. William Alleyn exchanged this vicarage with William Huberd, for that of Westbury, in Buckinghamshire.
  • 9. MSS. Twysden.
  • 10. He was also rector of Mereworth, where he lies buried.
  • 11. He lies buried in this church.
  • 12. He was a good benefactor to this vicarage, and lies, and buried in this church.
  • 13. He had been before vicar of Boughton Monchelsea, which he resigned, and in 1783 a dispensation passed for his holding Cowling rectory with this vicarage.
  • 14. He was minor canon of Rochester. He resigned this vicarage for that of St. Margaret's, Rochester.
  • 15. He was minor canon of Rochester, He was before vicar of Alhallows, Hoo, which he resigned for this vicarage.