Parishes: Stockbury

Pages 572-585

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

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IS the next parish northward from Hucking. It is called in the survey of Domesday, Stochingeberge, in later records, Stockesburie, and now Stockbury.

The western, which is by far the greatest part of it, lies in the hundred of Eyhorne, and division of West Kent, the remainder of it in that of Milton, and division of East Kent, over which part that manor claims, but the church and village being in the former district, the parish is esteemed as being in the former division of the county.

This parish lies on each side of the valley, called from it Stockbury valley, along which the high road leads from Key-street to Detling-hill, and thence to Maidstone; hence it extends on the hills on each side, for more than a mile. It lies mostly on high ground, and though exposed to the northern aspect, is not, especially on the northern side of the valley, near so bleak and cold as the parishes on the hills, lately before-described, nor is the soil, though much like them, and very flinty in general, quite so poor; and on the north side next to Hartlip and Newington, there is some land much more fertile, partaking more of the loam, and much less mixed with flints; the sides of the valley are covered with coppice woods, which extend round the western boundary of the parish, where there is some uninclosed. downe, being poor ruffit land, and a wild and dreary country.

On the north side of the valley, close to the summit of the hill, is the church, with the court-lodge near it, and a small distance further, on the north side of the parish, the village called Stockbury-street, in which stands the parsonage, and a little further Hill-greenhouse, the residence of William Jumper, esq. having an extensive prospect northward over the neighbouring country, and the channel beyond it, the former owners of which seat will be mentioned in the description of Yelsted manor hereafter; at a small distance southward from hence are the two hamlets of Guilsted and South-streets, situated close to the brow of the hill adjoining to the woods.

On the south side of the valley the woodland continues up the hills, westward of which is the hamlet of Southdean-green adjoining the large tract of woodland called Binbury wood. The manor of Southdean belongs to Mr. John Hudson, of Bicknor. On the eastern side of the woodland first mentioned is the hamlet of Pett, at the south-east boundary of the parish, which was formerly the property and residence of a family of that name, Reginald atte Pett resided here, and by his will in 1456 gave several legacies to the church towards a new beam, a new bell called Treble, the work of the new isle, and the making a new window there. Near it is a small manor called the Yoke of Hamons atte Deane, and upon these hills the small manors are frequently called Yokes.

There is a fair for pedlary, toys, &c. formerly on St. Mary Magdalen's day, July 22, but now by the al teration of the style, on August 2, yearly, which is held by order of the lord of the manor on the broad green before the Three Squirrels public-house in Stockbury valley.

On June 24, 1746, hence called the Midsummer storm, the most dreadful tempest happened that was ever remembered by the oldest man then living. The chief force of it was felt in the northern part of the middle of the county, and in some few parts of East Kent. It directed its course from the southward, and happily spread only a few miles in width, but whereever it came, its force was irresistible, overturning every thing in its way, and making a general desolation over every thing it passed. The morning was very close and hot, with a kind of stagnated air, and towards noon small, bright, undulated clouds arose, which preceded the storm, with a strong south wind; it raised a torrent, and the flashes of lightning were incessant, like one continued blaze, and the thunder without intermission for about fifteen or twenty minutes. When the tempest was over, the sky cleared up, and the remainder of the day was remarkably bright and serene. From an eminence of ground the passage of the storm might easily be traced by the eye, by the destruction it had made, quite to the sea and the waters of the Swale to which it passed. Neither the eastern or western extremities of the county felt any thing of it.

This place, at the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, in the year 1080, was part of the extensive possessions of Odo, the great bishop of Baieux, the Conqueror's half brother, under the general title of whose lands it is thus described:

The same Ansgotus, de Rochester, holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Stockingeberge. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is. In demesne there are two carucates, and five villeins, with nine borderers having two carucates. There is a church, and two servants, and one mill of sixty-four pence. Wood for the pannage of fifteen hogs. In the time of king Edward the Consessor, and afterwards, it was worth four pounds, now six pounds. Elveva held it of king Edward.

After the bishop's forfeiture of all his lands, which happened about four years afterwards, this place came into the possession of the family of Auberville, being held by them of Roger de St. John, as one knight's fee. Roger de Aubervill, for de Albrincis, was a man who held large possessions at the time of the general survey before-mentioned. William de Aubervill, his descendant, in 1192, anno 4 Richard I. founded the priory of Langdon, in this county, and his descendant of the same name died possessed of the manor of Stokinburie in the 36th year of Henry III. holding it by knight's service.

He left an only daughter and heir Joane, who carried it in marriage to Nicholas de Criol, a man of eminence in his time, who attending Edward I. at the siege of Carlaverock, in Scotland, was there made a knight banneret for his services performed at it, and in the 21st year of it he was allowed, by the justices itinerant, to have free-warren for all his estate here, except one plough-land, which was called Stannerland. He died possessed of this manor in the 31st year of that reign, and Philipott says many of their deeds bore teste, from their castle of Stockbury, which means no more, than its being one of the castellated seats of the family, as did his grandson John, in the 9th year of king Edward III. at which time he spelt his name Keryell.

After which it remained in his descendants down to Sir Thomas Kiriell, knight of the garter, eminent for his services to the house of York, during the reign of Henry VI. but being taken prisoner at the battle of Bernards-heath, near St. Albans, sought anno 38 king Henry VI. in which the Yorkists were defeated, he was, by the queen's order, beheaded, notwithstanding the king had granted him his life, when it was found by inquisition, that he held this manor of the king in capite by knight's service, by homage, and paying to the ward of Rochester castle yearly, and to the king's court of Mylton. He died without male issue, leaving two daughters his coheirs, one of whom, Elizabeth, carried this manor in marriage to John Bourchier, whom she survived, and afterwards died possessed of it in the 14th year of Henry VII. holding it in manner as before-mentioned. Soon after which it appears to have been alienated to Robert Tate, who died possessed of it in the 16th year of that reign, holding it by the like service. His descendant William Tate, who in the reign of James I. alienated it to Sir Edward Duke, of Cosington, in Aylesford, whose widow held it in jointure at the time of the restoration of king Charles II.

Her son, George Duke, esq. alienated it to John Conny, surgeon, and twice mayor of Rochester, and son of Robert Conny, of Godmanchester, in Huntingdonshire. John Conny, together with his son Robert Conny, of Rochester, M. D. conveyed it in 1700 to Thomas Lock, gent. of Rochester, who bore for his arms, Parted per fess, azure, and or, a pale counterchanged, three falcons, volant of the second, and his widow Prudentia, together with her three sons and coheirs in gavelkind, Robert, Thomas, and Henry, in 1723, passed it away by sale to Sir Roger Meredith, bart. of Leeds-abbey, who dying s.p. in 1738, left it by will to his niece Susanna Meredith, in tail general, with divers remainders over, in like manner as Leedsabbey before-described, with which it came at length, by the disposition of the same will, the intermediate remainders having ceased, to William Jumper, esq. of Hill-green-house, in this parish, who resided at Leeds-abbey, and afterwards joined with Sir Geo. Oxenden, bart. in whom the fee of it, after Mr. Jumper's death without male issue, was become vested, in the conveyance of this manor in fee to John Calcraft, esq. of Ingress, who died in 1772, and by his will devised it to his son John Calcraft, and he sold it in 1794 to Flint Stacey, esq, of Maidstone, the present owner of it.

YELSTED, or as it is spelt, Gillested, is a manor in this parish, which was formerly part of the possessions of the noted family of Savage, who held it of the family of Auberville, as the eighth part of one knight's fee. John de Savage, grandson of Ralph de Savage, who was with Richard I. at the siege of Acon, obtained a charter of free-warren for his lands here in the 23d year of Edward I. Roger de Savage, in the 5th year of Edward II. had a grant of liberties for his demesne lands here, and Arnold, son of Sir Thomas Savage, died possessed of it in the 49th year of king Edward III. and left it to his son Sir Arnold Savage, of Bobbing, whose son Arnold dying s.p. his sister Elizabeth became his heir. She was then the wife of William Clifford, esq. who in her right became possessed of this manor among the rest of her inheritance, and in his descendants it continued till the latter end of king Henry VIII.'s reign, when Lewis Clifford, esq. alienated it to Knight, whose descendant Mr. Richard Knight, gent, of Helle-house, in this parish, died possessed of it in 1606, and was buried in this church; his descendant William Knight leaving an only daughter and heir Frances, widow of Mr. Peter Buck, of Rochester, who bore for his arms, Argent, on a bend, azure, between two cotizes, wavy, sable, three mullets, or. He died soon after the death of Charles I. when she entered into the possession of this manor, after whose death her heirs passed it away by sale to Sir William Jumper, commissioner of his Majesty's navy at Plymouth. He had been knighted in 1704, for his services, as well at he taking of Gibraltar, as in the naval engagement with the French afterwards, being at both commander of the Lenox man of war, who died at Plymouth, where he was buried in 1715. He bore for his arms, Argent, two bars gemelles, sable, between three mullets of six points, pierced, gules. His son, William Jumper, esq. was of Hill-green-house, as it is now called, and died in 1736, leaving by Jane his wife, daughter of Thomas Hooper, gent. one son, William Jumper, esq. of Hill-green, likewise, who sold it, about 1757, to the Rev. Pierce Dixon, master of the mathematical free school at Rochester, and afterwards vicar of this parish, who died possessed of it in 1766, leaving it in the possession of his widow, Mrs. Grace Dixon, (daughter of Mr. Broadnax Brandon, gent. of Shinglewell), who soon afterwards remarried with Mr. Richard Hull, of London, who resided at Hill-green-house, and afterwards sold this manor, together with that seat, to William Jumper, esq. the former owner of it, who now resides here, and is the present possessor of both of them.

COWSTED is another manor in Stockbury, which was antiently written Codested, and was possessed by a family who took their surname from it, and resided here. They bore for their arms, Gules, three leopards heads, argent; which coat was afterwards assumed by Hengham. William de Codested died possessed of this manor in the 27th year of Edward I. holding it of the king in capite by the service of one sparrow-hawk, or two shillings yearly at the king's exchequer, as did his son William de Codestede in the 3d year of king Edward III. when it was found by inquisition, that he held this manor by the above-mentioned service, and likewise a burgage in Canterbury, of the king, of the serme of that city, and that Richard de Codestede was his brother and next heir, whose son John de Codestede, vulgarly called Cowsted, about the beginning of king Richard II.'s reign, leaving an only daughter and heir, married to Hengham, he became in her right possessed of it, and assumed her arms likewise.

His descendant, Odomarus de Hengham, resided here, who dying in 1411, anno 13 Henry IV. was buried in Christ-church, Canterbury, and it continued in his name till the reign of Henry. VI. when it was car ried, partly by marriage and partly by sale, by Agnes, a sole daughter and heir to John Petyte, who afterwards resided here, and dying in 1460, lies buried with her within the Virgin Mary's chapel, or south chancel, in this church. One of his descendants, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, sold it to Osborne, and Edward Osborne, gent. died possessed of it in 1622, and lies buried in the north chancel of this church. He bore for his arms, Quarterly, argent, and azure, in the first and fourth quarter, an ermine spot, sable; over all, on a cross, or, five annulets, sable; whose son, of the same name, leaving an only daughter and heir Mary, she entitled her husband, William Fagg, to the possession of it.

His descendant, John Fagg, esq. of Wiston, in Sussex, was created a baronet on December 11, 1660, and died in 1700, leaving three sons, Sir Robert, his successor; Charles, ancestor of the present baronet, of whom an account will be given under Chartham; and Thomas, who married Elizabeth, widow of John Meres, esq. by whom he left a son John Meres Fagg, esq. of whom an account will be given under Brenset. (fn. 1) Sir Robert Fagg, bart. his successor, left one son Robert, and four daughters, one of whom married Gawen Harris Nash, esq. of Petworth, in Sussex, and Elizabeth, another daughter, was the second wife of Sir Charles Mathews Goring, bart. of that county. Sir Robert Fagg, bart. the son, dying s.p. in 1740, devised this manor, with that of Cranbrooke, in Newington, and other estates in these parts, and in Sussex, to his sister Elizabeth, who entitled her husband Sir Charles Mathews Goring, bart. above-mentioned, to the possession of them. He left by her a son Charles Goring, esq. of Wiston, in Sussex, who sold this manor, with his other estates in this parish and Newington, to Edward Austen, esq. who is the present possessor of them.

IT APPEARS by the antient ledger book of the abbey of St. Austin's; near Canterbury, that the abbot and convent were antiently possessed of A PORTION OF TITHES issuing from the manor of Cowsted in Stockbury, which portion continued part of the possessions of the monastery till the dissolution of it, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when the abbey, with all its revenues, was surrendered up into the king's hands.

This portion of tithes, or at least part of it, consisting of the great tithes of two hundred and thirty five acres of land, was afterwards granted in fee to Petytt, from which name it was alienated, with the manor of Cowsted, to Osborne, and it passed afterwards with it in like manor down to Sir Robert Fagg, bart. on whose death s. p. in 1740, one of his sisters entitled her husband Gawen Harris Nash, esq. by his will, to the possession of it, whose son alienated it to Charles Goring, esq. before-mentioned, and he sold it to Edward Austen, esq. the present owner of it.

NETTLESTED is an estate here, which by the remains of the antient mansion of it, situated in Stockburystreet, appears to have been once a seat of some note. The family of Plot, ancestors to that eminent naturalist Dr. R. Plot, possessed it, at least as early as the reign of Edward IV. when William Plot resided here, where his descendants continued till Robert Plot, gent. of Nettlested, having, in the 2d year of queen Elizabeth, purchased Sutton barne in the adjoining parish of Borden, removed thither. His heirs alienated Nettlested to Mr. Richard Allen, of Stockbury, whose descendant Thomas Allen, afterwards, with Gertrude his wife, anno 9 George I. alienated it to Mr. John Thurston, of Chatham, whose son Mr. Thomas Thurston, of that place, attorney-at-law, conveyed it to that learned antiquary John Thorpe, M. D. of Rochester, who died possessed of it in 1750, and was buried in the chancel belonging to this estate, on the north side of Stockbury church. He left one son John Thorpe, esq. of Bexley, whose two daughters and coheirs, Catherina-Elizabeth married to Thomas Meggison, esq. of Whalton near Morpeth, in Northumberland, and Ethelinda-Margaretta married to Cuthbert Potts, esq. of London, are the present possessors of it. (fn. 2)

THERE is a portion of tithes, which consists of those of corn and hay growing on forty acres of the lands belonging to the estate of Nettlested, which formerly belonged to the almonry of St. Augustine's monastery, and is called AMBREL TANTON, corruptly for Almonry Tanton. After the dissolution of the above-mentioned monastery, this portion was granted by Henry VIII. in his 36th year, to Ciriac Pettit, esq. of Colkins, who anno 35 Elizabeth, passed it away to Robert Plot; since which it has continued in the same succession of owners, that Nettlested, above-described, has, down to the two daughters and coheirs of John Thorpe, esq. of Bexley, before-mentioned, who are the present owners of it.


A PERPETUAL ANNUITY of 2l. 10s. per annum was given in 1721, by the will of Mrs. Jane Bentley, of St. Andrew's, Holborne, and confirmed by that of Edward Bentley, esq. (fn. 3) her executor, payable out of an estate in the parish of Smeeth. which was, in 1752, the property of Mrs. Jane Jumper, and now of Mr. Watts; to be applied for the use of three boys and three girls, to go to school to some old woman in this parish, for four years, and no longer, and then 40s. more from it to buy for each of them a bible, prayer-book, and Whole Duty of Man.

MR. JAMES LARKIN, of this parish, gave by will an annuity, payable out of the lands of Mr. James Snipp, to the poor of this parish, of 1l. per annum produce.

SIX ACRES OF LAND, near South-street, were given by a person unknown to the like use, of the yearly produce of 2l. 8s. vested in the minister and churchwardens.

AN UNKNOWN PERSON gave for the use of the poor a cottage on Norden green, in this parish, vested in the same, of the annual produce of 1l.

AN UNKNOWN PERSON gave for the like use a field; containing between two and three acres, lying near Dean Bottom, in Bicknor, now rented by Robert Terry, vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 12s.

A COTTAGE in the street was given for the use of the poor, by an unknown person, vested in the same, and of the annual produce of 1l.

The number of poor constantly relieved are about thirty-six, casually fifteen.

STOCKBURY is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sittingborne.

The church, which is both large and losty, is very antient, and consists of a middle and two narrow side isles, a high chancel, and two cross ones. The pillars and arches in it are more elegant than is usual in country churches, and the former, on the north side, are of Bethersden marble, rude and antient. It has a square tower at the west end, in which hangs a peal of six bells, and is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. In the great chancel lie buried several of the Hoopers, Knights, Bentleys, and Jumpers. The south chancel belongs to the Cowsted estate, in which lie buried the Pettits and Osbornes, and in the north chancel belonging to the Nettlested estate, Dr. Thorpe and his wife, formerly owners of it.

The church of Stockbury was part of the antient possessions of the priory of Leeds, to which it was given, soon after its foundation, by William Fitzhelt, the patron of it.

Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of king Richard I. confirmed this gift, and appropriated this church to the use of the priory, reserving, nevertheless, from the perpetual vicar of it, the annual pension of one marc, to be paid by him to the prior and convent. Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, confirmed the above in 1237, anno 22 Henry III. and granted to them the further sum of ten marcs from it, to be paid half yearly by the vicar of it, (fn. 4) which grants were further confirmed by the succeeding archbishops.

The church and vicarage of Stockbury remained part of the possessions of the above-mentioned priory till the dissolution of it, in the reign of Henry VIII. when it came, with the rest of the revenue of that house, into the king's hands.

After which, the king, by his donation-charter, in his 33d year, settled both the parsonage and advowson of the vicarage of the church of Stockbury on his newerected dean and chapter of Rochester, with whom they now remain.

On the abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed, by order of the state, in 1649, when it was returned, that the rectory or parsonage of Stockbury, late belonging to the dean and chapter of Rochester, consisted of a fair dwelling-house, dove house, and other necessary buildings, yards, &c. and the tithes belonging to it, all which were valued at eighty pounds per annum, and the glebe-lands, containing one hundred and forty-four acres, were worth, with the above, 132l. 10s. all which premises were let by the dean and chapter, anno 16 king Charles I. to John Hooper, for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of 14l. 5s. 4d. That the lesse was bound to repair the chancel; and that the vicarage was excepted, worth fifty pounds per annum. (fn. 5)

The presentation to the vicarage of this church is reserved by the dean and chapter, in their own hands; (fn. 6) but the parsonage continued to be leased out to the family of Hooper, who resided there; several of whom lie buried in this church, particularly John, son of James Hooper, gent. of Halberton, in Devonshire, which John was receiver of the fines, under king Philip and queen Mary, for the Marches, of Wales, and died in 1548. He married Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Roberts, of Glassenbury. At length, by marriage of one of the daughters of Walter Hooper, esq. it passed to William Hugessen, esq. eldest son of John Hugessen, esq. of Stodmarsh. He resided here till his father's death, when he removed to Stodmarsh, and he is the present lessee of this parsonage, under the dean and chapter.

In the 8th year of king Richard II. the church of Stockbury was valued at 26l. 7s. 8d. (fn. 7)

It is valued in the king's books at 9l. 11s. per annum, the yearly tenths being 19s. 11/4d.

In 1640 it was valued at eighty pounds yearly income. Communicants one hundred and sixty.

Church of Stockbuury.

Or by whom presented.
John Crompe, resigned 1616.
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. Henry Pawson, A. M. June 27, 1616, obt. 1628.
John Lorkin, A. M. March 26, 1628, deprived 1631. (fn. 8)
The King. Thomas Lane, A. M. April 2, 1631. (fn. 9)
Christopher Blackwood.
Dean and Chapter of Rochester. John Maccubie, A. M. June 27, 1631; resigned 1638.
Thomas Lorkin, A. M. Jan. 11, 1638, obt. May 8, 1670. (fn. 10)
Robert Dixon, S. T. P. Sept. 7, 1670, obt. 1711. (fn. 11)
James Axe, A. M. Sept. 10, 1711, obt. 1716. (fn. 12)
John Clough, A. M. April 10, 1716.
Charles Birbeck, B. A. 1721, ob. Feb. 20, 1725. (fn. 13)
Isaac Finch, A. M. July 1725, resigned 1737. (fn. 14)
Christopher Beeke, 1737.
John Butler, A. M. 1737, obt. 1747.
Richard Husband, A. M. July 31, 1747, resigned 1750.
Cæsar Curtis, A. B. August 6, 1750, obt. 1759.
Peirce Dixon, B. D. Oct. 22, 1759, obt. 1766. (fn. 15)
Thomas Frank, LL. B. Dec. 16, 1766, obt. 1795. (fn. 16)
James Jones, A. M. 1795, the present vicar. (fn. 17)


  • 1. See an account of the Thorpes under Bexley. vol. ii. p. 167.
  • 2. Mrs. Jane Bentley died Oct. 29, 1721, and Edward Bentley, esq. of Stockbury, on Jan. 18, 1735. They both lie buried in the north chancel of this church.
  • 3. See Kimber's Baronetage, vol. ii. p. 125.
  • 4. See the further confirmations of it in the Register of Leeds priory.
  • 5. Parliamentary Surveys, Augmentation office.
  • 6. In the Consistory-court at Canterbury, there is a terrier of this vicarage, dated May 20, 1630.
  • 7. Stev. Mon. vol. i. p. 40.
  • 8. He held Lympsfield with this vicarage by dispensation. Rym. Fæd. vol. xviii. p. 1007.
  • 9. Rym. Fœd. vol. xix. p. 359.
  • 10. He was prebendary of Rochester, and lies buried in this church.
  • 11. He was prebendary of Rochester, and vicar of St. Nicholas, in Rochester.
  • 12. He was perpetual curate of Stroud.
  • 13. He was minor canon of Rochester.
  • 14. And vicar of Goudhurst.
  • 15. And master of the mathematical school in Rochester.
  • 16. And vicar of Borden.
  • 17. And vicar of Cobham, and usher of Rochester grammar school.