Parishes: Wormsell

Pages 561-565

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

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WESTWARD from Frinsted, near the summit of the chalk hills, lies Wormsell, now vulgarly called, and as frequently written, Wormshill.

THAT PART of it northward of the church, including the borough of Bedmanton, is in the division of East Kent, but the rest of it, including the church and village, is in that of West Kent, to which division therefore this parish is esteemed to belong.

The parish is situated mostly on high ground, about three miles northward from the summit of the chalk hills, the high road through Newnham or Syndallbottom towards Hollingborne, running along the southern part of it. It is parish so obscurely situated, and of so little thoroughfare, as hardly to be known. Being exposed to the northern aspect, it lies very bleak and cold. The church stands rather in the eastern part of it, having the village, consisting of a few scattered houses, at a small distance from it; about a mile northwestward is the hamlet of Bedmanton. The hills here are continual, and very sharp, the soil much the same, as in the adjoining parishes in the like high situation before-described, only the flints, if possible, lie thicker on the ground; the land is poor, and in general let at between five and six shillings an acre; at the northern boundary of the parish there is a considerable quantity of wood, consisting mostly of hazel and oak, with numbers of trees of the latter, interspersed among them, which are but small, never here growing to any size. In Henry the IIId.'s reign there was a family resident here, who took their surname from this parish.

Thomas Pepyr, of this parish, in his will anno 1460, mentions his chief place, called Rychemonds, with other lands here, which he gave to Julian his wife, and afterwards to Richard Pepyr, his son.

THIS MANOR was antiently esteemed as an appendage to the manor of Boughton Malherb, which was held of the manor of Ospring, and they had both, for a length of time, the same owners.

In the reign of Henry III. Robert de Gatton was possessed of the manors of Bocton and Wormesell, whose grandson Hamo de Gatton dying without issue male, Elizabeth, his daughter and coheir, carried both these manors, with their appurtenances, in marriage to William de Dene, who in the 10th year of Edward II obtained a charter of free-warren for his several manors in this county. Margery, the other daughter of Hamo de Gatton, married Simon de Norwood, and had all her father's lands in Surry. In one of the windows of the north chancel of this church are painted the arms of Simon de Norwood, Ermine, a cross engrailed, gules, charged with a bendlet, azure, impaling chequy, argent and azure. William de Dene died in the 15th year of Edward III. holding these manors with their appurtenances, of the king in capite, as of his castle of Dover, and paying to the ward of it. Thomas de Dene, his son and heir, succeeded him in both of them, and in the 20th year of Edward III. paid aid for them, at the making the black prince a knight, as one knight's fee in Bocton and Wormsell, which Hamo de Gatton before held of the king. He died possessed of them in the 23d year of it.

The heirs of his son Thomas de Dene alienated these manors, with their appurtenance, to Robert Corbie, whose son and heir Robert Corbie, of Boughton Malherb, leaving an only daughter and heir Joan, she carried them in marriage to Sir Nicholas Wotton, twice lord-mayor of London. His son Nicholas Wotton, esq. alienated this manor, together with the advowson of the church of Wormesell, to Thomas St. Nicholas, of Thorne, in Thanet, whose son and heir Roger St. Nicholas left an only daughter Elizabeth, who carried this estate in marriage to John Dingley, alias Dyneley, whose descendant Francis Dingley, esq. of Charlton, in Worcestershire, passed it away, at the latter end of the reign of queen Elizabeth, to William Sedley, esq. of the Friars, in Aylesford, created a baronet in 1611, in which name and family it continued down to Sir Charles Sedley, of St. Giles's in the Fields, London, great-grandson of Richard Sedley, younger brother of Sir Wm. Sedley, bart. of Aylesford, before-mentioned. He was created a baronet in 1702, and afterwards resided at the antient family seat of Scadbury, in Southfleet. He alienated this manor, with the advowson of the church, about the year 1712, to the president and governors of Christ's hospital, in London, for the benefit of that charity, part of the revenues of which it remains at this time. It still pays a castle-guard rent to Dover-castle. A court baron is still held for this manor.

BEDMANTION is a borough in this parish, which includes within its bounds the manor of that name, which has ever been esteemed as an appendage to the manor of Bobbing, with which it has been many years in the possession of the family of Tyndale, of North Cerney, in Gloucestershire, the present owner of it being lieutenant-colonel William Tyndale, esq. of that place.

Part of this borough is within the manor of Newington, near Sittingborne, as appears by the survey taken in 1650, of the late king's manors and revenues, the several freeholders of the borough of Bedmanton, in this parish, holding their lands in it, of that manor, in free socage tenure.


A PERSON UNKNOWN gave land to be applied to the use of the poor, vested in Henry Bing, and of the annual produce of 2l. The poor constantly relieved are about ten; casually twelve.

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

The church is dedicated to St. Giles, and consists of two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end of it. There are remains of good painted glass in the great east window. Several of the family of Tylden lie buried in it, they were for some time tenants of the manor here, where they resided till king James the Ist.'s reign, when they removed to Milsted. In the church yard are some tombs of the Thatcher's, and for the Woods who resided at Northwood, in this parish and Bicknor.

The patronage of this rectory has always been accounted an appendage to the manor, and as such has had the same owners, as has been already related, being now in the patronage of the president and governors of Christ's hospital.

The rectory is valued in the king's books at ten pounds, and the yearly tenths at one pound, and is of the yearly certified value of 69l. 4s.

In 1640 it was valued at seventy-six pounds. Communicants seventy-three. It is now worth about two, hundred guineas per annum.

Church of Wormsell.

Or by whom presented.
James Tong, gent. for this turn. Robert Reader, Aug. 2, 1580, obt. Sept. 6, 1607. (fn. 1)
Anne Keele, widow. Bartholomew Newman, A. M. Feb. 10, 1607, obt. April 8, 1654. (fn. 2)
Richard Wilkinson.
T. Nightingale, A. M. obt. 1673.
Sir Charles Sedley, bart. William Payne, A. M. August 19, 1673, resigned 1681.
The Archbishop, by lapse. Giles Hinton, S. T. P. Jan. 23, 1681, obt. 1701.
Joseph Aylosse, esq. and others. Edward Christmas, A. M. March 10, 1701, obt. 1715.
Richard Wood, A. M. Sept. 1, 1715, obt. 1721.
President and Governors of Christ's hospital. Thomas Saul Hancock, A. M. Dec. 1, 1721, obt. Aug. 15, 1741. (fn. 3)
Isaac Johnson, A. M. obt. 1767. (fn. 4)
Thomas Miller, A. M. July 23, 1767, obt. April 26. 1792.
Josiah Distornell, A. M. May, 1792, the present rector.


  • 1. He lies buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 2. He lies buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 3. He was presented to the vicarage of Hollingborne in 1727, and was buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 4. Also vicar of St. Dunstan's, near Canterbury, by dispensation.