Parishes: East Peckham

Pages 91-106

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

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SOUTHWARD from Mereworth lies the parish of East or Great Peckham, written in Domesday, PECHEHAM, and in the Textus Roffensis, PECHAM. It has the appellation of East Peckham from its situation eastward from West or Little Peckham, and of Great, from its large extent in comparison of that parish.

They both had their name of Peckham probably from their situation; peac signifying in Saxon the peke or summit of an hill, and ham, a village or dwellingplace.

THIS PARISH is situated within the district of the Weald, in a country, which though for the most part too deep and miry to be pleasant, is yet exceedingly fertile as to its products, in corn, hops, and cattle, and is full of fine oak timber, with the trees of which it abounds. It joins northward up to Mereworth, and lord Despencer's park, whence it descends southward for upwards of two miles to Brandt, formerly called Stidal's bridge, and Sladis bridge, and the river Medway, which flows along the southern boundaries of it, besides which it is watered by a small stream, which rises near Yokes, in West Peckham, and runs through this parish into the river. The high road from Maidstone through Mereworth, towards Hadlow and Tunbridge, runs along the western boundary of this parish, as that from Watringbury through Nettlested to Brandt bridge, and across the Medway towards Cranbrook, does along the eastern boundary of it. In that part of this parish next to Mereworth, is the village and church of East Peckham, and on the rise of a hill the antient and respectable looking mansion of Roydon-hall, the grounds of which are bounded on each side by coppice woods; hence the ground descends to a more wet and deeper country, being a stiff clayey soil, mostly grazing land, exceedingly rich and fertile, on which are bred and fatted some of the largest beasts of any in these parts. On the roads leading to Brandt-bridge in this part of East Peckham are several hamlets, as those of Chitley-cross, North-hatch, Halestreet, and others.

This parish was antiently bound with others in this neighbourhood to contribute to the repair of the 5th pier of Rochester bridge.

IN THE YEAR 96y, queen Ediva, mother of king Edmund and king Eadred, gave to Christ-church, in Canterbury, among other lands, this estate of Peckham, free from all secular service, excepting the trinoda necessitas of repelling invasions, and the repair of castles and highways.

Peekham remained part of the possessions of Christchurch at the consecration of archbishop Lanfranc, in the 4th year of the Conqueror's reign.

The revenues of this church were at that time enjoyed as one common stock by the archbishop and his convent; but archbishop Lanfranc, after the example of foreign churches, separated them into two parts; one of which he allotted for the maintenance of himself and his successors in the see of Canterbury, and the other for his monks, for their subsistence, cloathing, and other necessary uses.

In this partition, Peckham fell to the share of the monks, and it is accordingly thus entered in Domesday, under the title of Terra Monachorum Archiepi, i e. the land of the monks of the archbishop.

The archbishop himself holds Pecheham. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was taxed at six sulings, and now for six sulings, and one yoke. The arable land is ten carucates. In demesne there are two, and sixteen villeins, with fourteen borderers, having four carucates and an half. There is a church, and ten servants, and one mill, and six acres of meadow. Wood for the pannage of ten hogs.

Of the land of this manor, one of the archbishop's tenants holds half a suling, and was taxed with these six sulings in the time of king Edward the Confessor, although it could not belong to the manor, except in the scotting, because it was free land.

Richard de Tonebridge holds of the same manor two sulings and one yoke, and has there twenty-seven villeins, having seven carucates, and wood for the pannage of ten hogs, the whole value being four pounds. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, the manor was worth twelve pounds, when the archbishop received it eight pounds, and now what he has is worth eight pounds.

In the 10th year of king Edward II. the prior of Canterbury obtained free warren for his manor of Peckham among others. About which time it was valued at ten pounds. It continued part of the possessions of the priory of Christ-church till its dissolution in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered up to the king, who that year granted this manor to Sir Thomas Wyatt, and his heirs male, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he in the 35th year of that reign conveyed it to George Multon; but there being no fine levied, or recovery had of it, the crown, on the attainder of his son, Sir Thomas Wyatt, for high treason in the 1st year of queen Mary, seized on it as part of his possessions.

The court-lodge and demesnes of this manor were afterwards granted away by the crown; but THE MANOR ITSELF continued part of the royal revenue at the death of king Charles I. in 1648; after which the powers, then in being, seized on the royal estates, and passed an ordinance to vest them in trustees, to be surveyed and sold, to supply the necessities of the state; in pursuance of which, there was soon afterwards a survey taken of this manor, by which it appeared, that the quit-rents due from the freeholders in free socage tenure, the like due from the freeholders in the township of Marden, the rent of hens and eggs from the tenants in those townships, and the profits of courts, were worth altogether seventeen pounds and upwards. That there was a court leet and court baron held for the manor, and a heriot was due from the freeholders of the best living thing of such tenant, or in lieu thereof 3s. 4d. in money.

Soon after which this manor was sold to colonel Robert Gibbon, with whom it continued till the restoration of king Charles II. when it again became part of the revenues of the crown.

The grant of it has been many years in the family of the duke of Leeds, the present grantee of it being his grace Francis, duke of Leeds.

THE COURT-LODGE WITH THE DEMESNES of the manor of East Peckham was granted the nextyear after the attainder of Sir Thomas Wyatt, by letters patent, anno 1st and 2d of king Philip and queen Mary, to Sir John Baker, to hold in capite by knight's service, (fn. 1) who passed his interest in them, in the 2d year of the reign of queen Elizabeth, to Anthony Weldon, esq. but the crown afterwards disputing his title to them, the queen, in her 10th year, granted them to William Dodington, and the next year, the attorney-general exhibited an information against the heirs of Weldon in the court of exchequer, on account of these premises, and judgment was had against him. After which a writ of error was brought, and divers other law proceedings had, by which, however, at last, Ralph, son of Anthony Weldon above-mentioned, established his title to them; and his son, Sir Anthony Weldon, (fn. 2) in the latter end of the reign of king James I. passed them away by sale to George Whetenhall, esq. after whose death they came by descent into the possession of Thomas Whetenhall, esq. of Hextalls-court, in this parish, whose descendant, Henry Whetenhall, esq. alienated this estate to Sir William Twysden, bart. of Roydon-hall, whose descendant, Sir William Jarvis Twisden, bart. is the present possessor of it.

ROYDON-HALL, antiently called Fortune, is a seat here, which was of no great account till about the reign of king Henry VIII. when Thomas Roydon, of son of Thomas, second son of Thomas Roydon, of Roydon-hall, in Suffolk, where this family had been seated many generations, and bore for their arms, Chequy, argent and gules, a cross azure, came into this county, and seated himself at Fortune, and erected this seat; on which he affixed his own name, and in the 31st year of that reign procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled, by the act passed that year for this purpose. He married Margaret, daughter of William Wheten hall, esq. of this parish, by whom he had three sons and five daughters.

On the death of the sons without issue, his five daughters became his coheirs; the second of whom, Elizabeth, had this estate as part of her share, and intitled her husband, William Twysden, esq. of Chelmington, in this county, to the fee of it. She survived him, and afterwards remarried Cuthbert Vaughan, esq. and lastly Sir Thomas Golding. She left by her first husband, one son, Roger Twysden, and a daughter, Margaret, married to Richard Dering, esq. of Pluckley.

The family of Twysden, written in antient deeds, Twisenden, and in Latin, De Denna Fracta, were originally of the parish of Sandhurst, in this county, the place where they resided being called the Den, or borough of Twisden, at this time, and bore for their arms, Girony of four, argent and gules, a saltier between four cross-croslets, all counterchanged.

Adam de Twysden resided at Twysden borough, in the 21st year of king Edward I. and dying without issue, as well as his brother Gregory, John de Twysden, the youngest brother, became his heir. His descendant, Roger Twysden, in the reign of king Henry V. married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Chelmington, esq. of Chelmington, in Great Chart, who bore for his arms, Argent, three chevrons azure, nine cross-crosiets sable. At which seat his descendants, who lie buried in Great Chart church, afterwards resided, down to William Twysden, esq. who was of Chelmington, and married Elizabeth, second daughter and coheir of Thomas Roydon, and in her right became possessed of Roydon-hall, as above-mentioned, to which he removed soon afterwards. He procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled by the act of the 2d and 3d of king Edward VI. in which he is called William Twisenden, and was sheriff of this county in the 41st year of queen Elizabeth. He died in 1603, and was buried in this church, as was Anne his wife, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington, who died in 1592. by whom he had issue twelve children, of whom only six survived him.

William Twysden, esq. the eldest son, greatly improved Roydon-hall, and having been before knighted, was afterwards made a baronet on June 29, 1611. He was a man, who addicted his time mostly to study, being versed in different parts of learning, especially in the Hebrew and Latin languages, and collected many choice manuscripts and books, which he left to his eldest son. He died in 1628, and was buried in this church leaving by Anne his wife, eldest daughter of Sir Moile Finch, knight and baronet, several sons and daughters; of whom Sir Roger, the eldest son, was his successor in title and estates here; Sir Thomas, the second son, was on the restoration of king Charles II. made one of the justices of the king's bench, and being afterwards made a baronet, seated himself at Bradbourn, in East-Malling, the seat of his descendant, the present Sir John Papillon Twisden, bart. under which place an account has already been given of that branch; and Charles, the third son, was created LL. D. and had given him, by his father's will, the seat of Chelmington before mentioned.

Sir Roger Twysden, knight and baronet, the eldest son, resided at Roydon-hall, round which he obtained licence from king Charles I. to inclose a park, and likewise a grant of a charter of free warren for the ground inclosed. He died in 1672, and was buried in this church, having suffered greatly for his loyalty during the great rebellion, being forced at last to compound for his estate for a large sum of money. He was a great encourager of learning, and a generous patron of learned men, being himself a master of our antient Saxon and English history and laws, and left behind him the united character of the scholar and the gentleman. In whose descendants resident at Roydon hall, who severally lie buried in East Peckham church, this seat with his other estates in this parish, came down to Sir William Twysden, bart. who resided at Roydon-hall, and married Jane, daughter of Francis Twisden, esq. youngest son of Sir Thomas Twisden, bart. of Bradbourn, by whom he had three sons; William, his heir and successor; Thomas, a colonel in the army; and Philip, late bishop of Raphoe; and three daughters. He died in 1751, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir William Twysden, bart. who at first followed a military life, but afterwards retired to Roydon hall, and married Jane, the daughter and heir of Mr. Jarvis. He died at Roydon-hall in 1767, leaving his lady surviving, and by her three sons, WilliamJarvis, Heneage, and Thomas, and one daughter, Frances, who in 1783 married Archibald, late earl of Eglington. Sir William Jarvis Twysden, bart. the eldest son, married in 1786, the daughter of governor Wynch, and resides at Roydon-hall, of which he is the present owner.

THE MANOR OF ALBANS, alias Wimplingbury, now commonly called AUBORNE, as well as THE MANOR OF BLACKPITTS, alias Guildfords, both in this parish, were antiently the inheritance of a family named Pollard; for John, son of John Pollard, in the 34th year of king Edward I: demised them by sale to Alban de Wandsworth, who probably erected a mansion for his residence on the former of these manors, which from thence acquired the name of Albans. His grandson, William de Wandsworth, died possessed of them without issue, and by his last will gave them to his widow, Mabel Wandesworth, who was remarried to Richard Ryner; and they, in the 2d year of king Richard II. joined in the sale of these manors to John Mew, who that year likewise purchased of Joane Onley some interest, which she had in them, and which was purchased by one of her ancestors in the reign of Henry III. and in the 9th year of king Richard II. the said John Mew procured from Richard Goldsmith all the interest and claim he had in them. John Mew, about the latter end of king Henry IV. passed away these manors, with their appendages, to John Tutsham and Nicholas Remkin, of Eastmere, in this parish; the latter of whom leaving an only daughter Alice, she carried his moiety of these manors, with other lands in this parish, in marriage to Thomas Rolfe, of Tunbridge, whose descendant, in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, alienated his interest in them to Thomas Stidulfe, esq. of Badsell, who likewise purchased the other moiety of the heir of Tutsham, and then by deed, bearing date in the 4th year of king Edward IV. settled the entire fee of these manors on his two sons, Robert and Henry Stidulfe, in which deed there is mention made of their having been purchased of Rolfe and Tutsham.

Soon after which, Robert and Henry Stidulfe joined in the sale of the manor of Alban's, to John Fane, esq. of Tunbridge, who died in 1488 possessed of this manor of Albonys, and other lands in this parish, in whose descendants, of Hadlow, in this county, it continued down to Henry Fane, esq. of Hadlow, who alienated this manor in 1589 to Roger Twysden, esq. of Roydon hall, whose direct descendant, Sir William Twysden, bart. died possessed of it in 1767, and his eldest son, Sir William Jarvis Twysden, bart. of Roydon-hall, is the present possessor of the manor of Albans.

BUT THE MANOR OF BLACKPITTS, alias Guildfords, descended to Thomas Stidulfe, esq. of Badsell, only son and heir of Robert, and heir likewise of his uncle, Henry Stidulfe, possessors of this manor, as abovementioned, who leaving an only daughter and heir, Agnes, the carried it in marriage to Richard Fane, esq. of Tudeley, from whom it descended in like manner as the manor of Mereworth, to John Fane, earl of Westmoreland, and since his death s. p. in 1762, according to the limitations in his will it is now at length come with his other estates in this county, into the possession of the right son. Thomas, lord le Despencer.

EASTMERE is a manor in this parish, which antiently belonged to a family of the name of Remkin.

Christian, daughter of John Remkin, held it, as appears by an antient court roll, in the 34th year of king Edward III. and it continued in that name till Nicholas Remkin, of Eastmere, leaving an only daughter and heir, Alice, she carried it in marriage to Thomas Rolfe, of Tunbridge, and his son, John Rolfe, alienated it, in the 6th year of king Henry VI. to Richard Ruyton, who two years afterwards conveyed it by sale to William Hextall, of Hextalls-court, in this parish, and he dying without issue male, by Margaret, his daughter and heir, it was carried in marriage to William Whetenhall, esq. whose direct descendant, Henry Whetenhall, esq. passed it away by sale to Sir William Twysden, bart. of Roydon-hall, whose grandson, Sir William Jarvis Twysden, bart. of Roydonhall, is the present possessor of it.

SPILSTED is a place here which was once accounted a manor, and was for several descents, as appears by the evidences of this estate, in the possession of the Twysdens, the inheritance of an antient family called Keyser. John Keyser died possessed of it in the 5th year of king Edward IV. and gave it by will to his son, John Keyser, (fn. 3) who dying without male issue, on the partition of his estates, among his daughters and coheirs, one of them married to Matthew Chetwind entitled her husband to the possession of Spilsted, and he, after some short interval, alienated it, in the 41st year of queen Elizabeth, to Roger Twysden, esq. of Roydonhall, whose descendant, Sir William Jarvis Twysden, bart. of Roydon-hall, is the present owner of it.

THERE was once a seat in this parish, venerable for its antiquity, which in old rolls was called HEXTALL'SCOURT, and was the mansion of gentlemen of that name, who were of no small account in these parts, as well as at Hougham, by Dover in this county, though they were originally seated at Hextall manor, in Staffordshire.

Richard Hextall resided here in the reign of king Richard II. and increased his possessions greatly by marriage with Anne, the daughter and coheir of Richard Grovehurst, of Horsemonden. He left two sons, William and Henry, the eldest of whom seems to have inherited this place; he died without issue male, leaving his two daughters his coheirs, of whom Jane, the eldest, married Sir John Bromley, but Margaret, the youngest, (fn. 4) carried this seat in marriage to William Whetenhall, esq. commonly called Whetnall, son of William Whetenhall, citizen and alderman of London, (fn. 4) who was descended from an antient family of that name, seated at Whetenhall, in Cheshire. He resided here at the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign, and at his death left a son William, and Margaret his wife surviving, who soon afterwards was remarried to Henry Ferrers, esq. of Hambleton, in Rutlandshire, second son of Thomas Ferrers, of Tamworth-castle, in Warwickshire, by whom she had Sir Edward Ferrers, of Badlesley, in Warwickshire. He possessed this seat in his wife's right, and kept his shrievalty here in the 9th year of king Edward IV. as he did again in the 3d year of king Henry VII. at which time he was stiled of East Peckham, and bore for his arms, Gules, Jeven mascles or, a canton ermine. But on the death of his wife, Margaret, Hextalls-court reverted to her son, by her first husband, William Whetenhall, esq. alias Whetnall, who bore for his arms, Vert, a bend ermine, and in the 18th year of king Henry VIII. was sheriff of this county, and in the 31st year of it procured his lands in this county to be disgavelled by act of parliament; in whose descendants it continued till one of them, not many years since, alienated it to John Fane, earl of Westmoreland, Since whose death, s.p. in 1762, it is with Mereworth, and the rest of his estates in this county at length come, by the limitations in his will, into the possession of the right hon. Thomas, lord le Despencer, the present owner of it.

THE mannor of East Farleigh extends into this parish, including within its bounds THE BOROUGH OF STOKENBURY, which lies in the lower part of it.

At the time of taking the survey of Domesday, this borough was of sufficient account to be thought worthy of a place in it, being part of the possessions of the great bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

Ralph Fitz Turold holds of the bishop (of Baieux) half a suling in Estochingeberge. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, two freemen held it, and the like now, and it is valued at twenty shillings.

On the disgrace of the bishop of Baieux, about four years after the taking the above survey, his possessions were all confiscated to the crown, whence this estate seems to have passed to the priory of Christ-church, in Canterbury, as an appendage to the manor of East Farleigh and East Peckham, which, as has been already mentioned, still claims over it, all the lands lying within this borough now paying quit-rent to it; and at the court-leet of that manor a borsholder is constantly chosen for the borough of Stokenbury.

The pound belonging to this borough stands within it, in the highway leading from Brandt-bridge towards East Peckham church.

There are no parochialcharities.

This parish is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Rochester, and being a pecu liar of the archbishop of Canterbury, is as such within the deanry of Shoreham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael, is a fair large building, with a square tower at the west end. It stands near the summit of the hill almost adjoining to the southern pales of Mereworth-park.

In the 15th year of king Edward I. the church of Peckham was valued at thirty-five marcs, and the vicarage of it at twelve marcs. (fn. 5)

In the reign of king Edward III. the taxation of East Peckham was one carucate of arable land, with a meadow of the endowment of the church, worth six pounds per annum, and two dove-houses of the rectory, of the endowment of the church, and worth two marcs, and the profit of the garden, of the like endowment, worth 2s. 5d. (fn. 6)

The church, with the advowson of the vicarage, was always appendant to the manor of East Peckham, and as such part of the possessions of the priory of Christchurch, in Canterbury, till the dissolution of that monastery in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, who granted the manor to Sir Thomas Wyatt, and he settled this church, with the advowson of the vicarage, by his dotation charter, in his 33d year, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose possessions they remain at this time.

This church is valued in the king's books at 231. and the yearly tenths at 21. 6s.

The vicarage of it is valued at 141. and the yearly tenths at 11. 0s. 8d.

It appears by the terrier of the lands belonging to the impropriate rectory, and vicarage of East Peckham at the visitation of archbishop Laud in 1634, that the glebe lands belonging to this parsonage in the park of Mildmay, earl of Westmoreland, which he had from the church of Canterbury, were twenty acres, called Keamehatches; that there were to the parsonage house two gardens, one orchard, two yards, three barns, one stable, one pidgeon-house, one granary, eight acres of meadow, called Well-mead, alias Parsonage mead, one mead called the Vicarage-mead, containing three acres, and two other parcels of land, containing seven acres, called Quarrey-mead, and the Quarrey, and that the tenant of the parsonage was Stephen Arnold; that there was to the vicarge one house, with a little orchard, by estimation almost an acre, and a little garden plot, but that which was called the Vicarage-mead, the impropriator of the parsonage kept and used.

On the abolishing of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. their lands were by the powers then in being, ordered to be sold, to supply the necessities of the state; previous to which a survey was made, in 1649, of this parsonage, by which it appeared, that there were here a house, outhouses, &c. one orchard, one garden, and one great yard, worth fix pounds per annum, and the tithes and other profits eightyeight pounds per annum; that the parsonage, with the house, glebe lands, tithes, profits, &c. was let by the dean and chapter of Canterbury, in 1638, to John Tucker, gent. of Egerton, excepting one parcel of land, called the Hatches, demised to Sir Francis Fane, late earl of Westmoreland, and the advowson of the vicarage, at the yearly rent of 23l. 6s. 8d. but were worth upon improvement, over and above the said sum, 85l. 14s. 3d. per annum; that the lessee was bound to repair the premises, and the chancel of the church, and likewife to pay twenty shillings for entertainment money. (fn. 7) And by another valuation, taken the next year, the vicarage was valued at twenty-four pounds yearly income. (fn. 8)

In the 19th year of the reign of king Charles II. anno 1667, in consequence of the king's letters of injunction, the dean and chapter of Canterbury augmented this vicarage with the yearly sum of forty pounds, the yearly income of it is now upwards of 270l. per annum.

The present lessee of the parsonage is Sir William Jarvis Twysden, bart.

Church of East Peckham.

Or by whom presented.
Prior and convent of Christ-church William Banson.
Richard Etelesly, obt. May 20, 1426. (fn. 9)
Dean and Charter of Canterbury. Francis Warrell, in 1634. (fn. 10)
William Polley, 1650. (fn. 11)
Grimes, about 1660. (fn. 12)
Valentime Chadwick, 1693, obt. 1717.
Francis Walwin, S. T. P. resig. 1756. (fn. 13)
Henry Hall, A.M. 1756, obt. Oct. 31, 1763. (fn. 14)
John Davis, S. T. P. Nov. 1763, obt. Feb. 9, 1766. (fn. 15)
William Tatton, June 27, 1766, resigned 1775. (fn. 16)
George Berkeley, LL. D. 1775, resigned Nov. 1788. (fn. 17)
John Lucas, D. D. Nov. 1786, resigned 1789. (fn. 18)
Thomas Vyner, LL.D. 1789, the present vicar. (fn. 19)


  • 1. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. i. See Coke's Entries, p. 78.
  • 2. See Swanscombe, vol. ii. of this history, p. 411.
  • 3. See Tremain's Pleas of the Crown, Rot. 143.
  • 4. See Newe. Rep. vol. ii. p. 547, 548, 612, 613.
  • 5. Stev, Mon. vol. i. p. 456.
  • 6. Folio Christ Church MSS.
  • 7. Lambeth Surveys, vol. xix.
  • 8. MSS. Twysden.
  • 9. He lies buried in this church.
  • 10. MSS. Twysden.
  • 11. He was put in by the parliament. MSS. Twysden.
  • 12. He had been vicar of Hadlow, from which he was sequestered. Walker's Suff. of Clergy, pt. ii. p. 252.
  • 13. In 1752 a dispensation passed for his holding this with St. Mary Bredman, in Canterbury. He afterwards resigned this for Adisham. He was prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 14. And rector of Harbledown, by dispensation, in 1756. He was likewife rector of the sinecure of Orpington, and treasurer of the cathedral of Wells.
  • 15. He was preb. of Canterbury, and rector of Hamsey, in Suffex. A dispensation passed in 1764 for his holding this vicarage with Hamsey.
  • 16. Prebendary of Canterbury, and rector of Rotherfield, in Suffex. In 1766 a dispensation passed for his holding this vicarage with Rocherfield. He resigned this on being presented to St. Dionis Backchurch, London.
  • 17. Son of the late bishop of Cloyne. A prebendary of Canterbury. In 1775 a dispensation passed for his holding this vicarage with that of Cookham, in Berkshire. He resigned this vicarage for St. Clement Daues, London; as he afterwards did Cookham, on being presented to the vicarage of Ficehurst, in Suffex.
  • 18. And prebendary of Canterbury.
  • 19. And prebendary of Canterbury.