Parishes: Tong

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.

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Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Tong', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 132-143. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Tong", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798) 132-143. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Tong", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798). 132-143. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


NORTWARD from Bapchild lies Tong, called in the Saxon language Thwang, which took its name, by antient tradition, from the following circumstance:

After the arrival of the Saxons in this kingdom, and their victory over the Scots and Picts, at Stamford, in Lincolnshire, Vortigern, king of Britain, highly satisfied with the conduct of the two Saxon chiefs, Hengist and Horsa, expressed himself very desirous of rewarding them for their services; when Hengist requested, as a pledge of the king's affection, only as much land as on ox-hide could encompass; which being readily granted, he cut the whole hide into small thongs, and inclosed within them a space of ground, large enough to contain a castle, which he accordingly built on it, and named it from thence Thwang-ceastre, i. e. Thong-castle; whence the parish itself afterwards took its name.

Writers differ much in the situation of this land, Camden, and some others, place it at Thong castle, near Grimsby, in Lincolnshire, others place it at Doncaster; whilst Leland, Kilburne, Philipott, and others, six it here, with the same old trite story to each place, which rather casts a shew of doubt on the whole of it. Indeed it seems but an imitation of Virgil's story of Dido's building of Byrsa, Æneid 1, 1. 369, where, speaking of that queen and her companions, he says,
Devenere locos, ubi-nunc ingentia cernesv
Mænia, surgentemque novæ Carthainis arcem.
Mercatique solum, facti de nomine Byrsam,
Taurino quantum possent circumdare lergo.

They came where now you see new Carthage rise,
And yon proud citadel invade the skies.
The wand' ring exiles bought a space of ground
Which one hull-hide inclos'd and compass'd round,
Hence Byrsa nam'd.

This castle was most conveniently situated for Hengift's purposes, close to the great high road on the one side, and not far distant from the water, called the Swale, on the other, through which it is supposed, the usual passage was for the shipping, between the main land and the Isle of Shepey, in former times.

At this castle, Hengist, some years afterwards, led on by his unbounded ambition, resolved to attain that by fraud and treachery, which he could not accomplish openly by force of arms. Accordingly, there being a good understanding between the Britons and the Saxons, he invited Vortigern, the British king, whose attachment to pleasure he was well acquainted with, to a splendid entertainment at this castle, who, unsuspecting the treachery, attended the summons, being accompanied by three hundred of his chief nobility, unarmed, who were all of them, towards the end of the feast, persidiously massacred by the Saxons, Vortigern only being spared, and detained as a prisoner, who was at last forced, as a ransom for his li berty, to surrender up to the Saxons a large tract of land, which Hengist added to his former territories.

This happened in the year 461, and Vortigern being set at liberty, retired into Wales. It was at a feast held at this castle in 450, that the story is told of Vortigern's being so enamoured with the beauty of Rowena, Hengist's daughter, that he repudiated his wife, and married her, and in recompence to Hengist, gave him up the sovereignty of Kent. That such a marriage did take place, is very certain; but the story of the king's falling in love with her at such a feast here, and the circumstances of it, are not much credited. Indeed Bede and Gildas mention nothing of it, and Malmsbury tells it only as a report.

THE HIGH DOVER ROAD crosses the centre of this parish, at the eastern boundary of Bapchild, just beyond Radfield. It extends on the southern side of it as high up as kingsdown, in which part of the parish are the estates of Newbarrow and Scuddington, and part of Wood-street; on the northern side of the road it extends to the marshes, which are bounded by the waters of the Swale, flowing between the main land and the Isle of Elmley, in Shepey. It contains about 1300 acres of land, of which not more than ten acres in the southern part of it are wood; that part of the parish on the northern side of the road is a flat and low country, almost on a level with the marshes, and is equally unhealthy as Bapchild, perhaps more so, even to a proverb, as lying lower, and rather more exposed to the marsh vapours; however the lands are exceedingly fertile for corn, being the same kind of round tilt land which extends along this plain. There is no village, the church stands about a mile northward from the road; the scite of the old castle is three fields only from the north side of the road, and is plainly seen from it. It consists of a high mount, containing about half an acre of ground, thrown up out of a broad and deep moat, which surrounds it, the north-west part of which is nearly dry, but the springs which rise on the South-west side of it, and formerly supplied the whole of it, now direct their course into a very large pond on the eastern side of the moat, and produce so plentiful a supply of water there, as to afford sufficient to turn a corn-mill, belonging to the lord of the manor, and afterwards flow from hence northward into the Swale; a large cutlas sword, with a buckhorn handle, was dug up within the scite of this castle about thirty years ago.

There was formerly an hospital situated in this parish. Leland in his Itinerary says, "There was a poor hospital a mile beyond Sittingborne, called Pokeshaulle. King Henry the VIIth gave it to Linche, his physician, and Linche gave it to a son of his, I suppose. It is now (that is in king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign) quite down." This is, I should suppose, the same house mentioned in the Harleian Mss. where there is a commission signed by Richard III. in his 1st year for suffering Arnold Childre, to occupy the almoux house beside sittingborne, which the king had given to him for life. Queen Mary, in her 4th year, granted this hospital of St. James, of Puckleshall, late in the tenure of Richard Newton, to Sir John Parrot.

There was a family of good account formerly, which took their name from this parish. Semanus at Tong was so considerable a man, that is the 21st year of king Richard II. he lent the king twenty pounds, no small sum in those days. He possessed lands at Bredgar, Tonstall, and other places in this neighbourhood and elsewhere, and at Bredgar, his descendants remained till within memory.

THE CASTLE OF TONG, most probably sell to ruin during the time of the Saxon heptarchy, and, with THE MANOR OF TONG, came in that situation into the hands of William the Conqueror, on his obtaining the crown, who gave both castle and manor to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, among other great possessions; accordingly it is thus described in the book of Domesday, under the general title of the bishop's lands:

The same Hugo (de Port) holds of the bishop (of Baieux) Tangas. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is two carucates. In demesne there are two, and five villeins with one carucate. There is a church, and four servants, and one mill of eight shillings. Wood for the pannage of four hogs.

In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth seven pounds, now ten pounds. Osward held it.

Of these sulins, which Hugo de Port held, Osward held five, at a yearly rent; and three sudins and one yoke and an half, which he took from the king's villeins.

On the bishop's disgrace about four years afterwards, the king confiscated all his possessions, and this estate among them probably reverred to the crown, and was afterwards held by the above-mentioned Hugh de Port, who then became the king's immediate tenant for it, being held by him as two knight's sees, parcel of the fourteen knight's sees and a quarter, of which all, but two, which were in Herefordshire, lay in this county, making up together the barony of Port, being held by barony of the castle of Dover, by the service of performing ward there for the defence of it. Of his descendant John de St. John, this manor was again held in the 22d year of king Edward I. by Ralph Fitzbernard, who died in the 34th year of king Edward I. leaving a son Thomas, who died s. p. and a daughter Margaret, married to Guncelin de Badlesmere, whose son Bartholomew de Badlesmere at length succeeded to this manor and castle, as part of his mother's inheritance.

He was a man much in favor with king Edward II. who made him constable of the castle of Leeds, Tunbridge and Bristol, and granted to him the manors and castles of Chilham and Leeds, with several other estates in this county and elsewhere; besides which, he obtained many liberties and franchises for his different manors and estates, among which was a grant of a fair to be held yearly at this manor, on the eve, day, and morrow, after the feast of St. Giles the abbot, and also for free-warren in the demesne lands of it. Being afterwards executed for rebellion in the 16th year of that reign, this estate became forfeited to the crown, but in the 2d year of king Edward III. the process and judgment against him being reversed, the manor of Tong, among others, were then restored to his son Giles de Badlesmere, who died in the 12th year of the same reign, s. p. so that his four sisters became his coheirs, (fn. 1) and upon a partition of their inheritance, this manor fell to the share of his third sister Elizabeth, then the wife of William Bohun, earl of Northampton, who in her right became entitled to it, holding it by the like service as before-mentioned.

Though he left issue by her, yet this manor did not descend to them, but to the issue of her first husband Edmund Mortimer, by whom she had one son Roger, who, in the 28th year of that reign, had obtained a reversal in parliament of the judgment given against his grandfather Roger, late earl of March, as erroneous and utterly void; upon which he thenceforth bore the title of earl of March.

His son and heir, Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, died possessed of it in the 5th year of Richard II. being then possessed of the tost of the castle of Tong, together with the castle annexed to the said tost, with the manor appurtenant to it, held of the king in capite, as of his castle of Dover, by the service as beforementioned. At length his descendant, Roger, earl of March, dying anno 3 Henry VI. Richard, duke of York, son of Anne his sister, was found to be his next heir, and accordingly became possessed of this estate. After which, endeavouring to assert the title of the house of York to the crown, he was slain in the battle of Wakefield, anno 39 Henry VI. being then possessed of the manor of Tong, as was found by the inquisition, which, by reason of the confusion of those times, was not taken till the 3d year of Edward IV. when the king was found to be his eldest son and next heir.

Notwithstanding the duke of York is said by the above-mentioned inquisition to have died possessed of this manor, yet the year before his death, a long attainder had passed against him and others, with the forfeiture of all their hereditaments in fee or fee tail; upon which this manor was granted by Henry VI. to Thomas Browne, esq. of Beechworth-castle, afterwards knighted, and made comptroller and treasurer of his houshold, who soon afterwards obtained a grant of a fair at this manor, on St. Jame's day yearly, and another for liberty to embattle his mansion, and to impark his lands here. His eldest son Sir George Browne, in the 11th year of king Edward IV. surrendered up all his right and title to it, to Cicely, duchess of York, the king's mother, who was then in possession of it. She died anno 10 Henry VII. upon which it came to the crown, where it continued till king Edward VI. granted it in his 1st year to Sir Ralph Fane, afterwards created a banneret, for his signal behaviour at the battle of Musselburgh, in Scotland, that year, to hold in capite by knight's service. (fn. 2)

He alienated this manor soon afterwards to Sir Rowland Clerke, who in the 4th and 5th year of king Philip and queen Mary, alienated it to Saloman Wilkins, who was succeeded by his son David Wilkins, who resided at Bex, or Bexle court, in this parish, an estate which had formerly belonged to the Nottinghams, of Bayford, in Sittingborne. He alienated this manor, with the scite of the castle to William Pordage, of Rodmersham, who purchased likewise some lands which had formerly belonged to this manor and had been sold off to Norden some few years before; in whole descendants it continued till it was at length sold to the Iles's, by a daughter of which name it passed in marriage to Hazard, whose son Richard Hazard, esq. died in 1784, after which it came into the name of Shard, and William Shard, esq. owned it in 1791, since which it has passed to Richard Seath, esq. of this parish, who is the present proprietor of the scite of this castle, and the manor annexed to it. There is a court baron held for this manor.

CHEEKS COURT is situated in this parish, though great part of the estate belonging to it lies in the adjoining parish of Murston. It was antiently written Chicks-court, and was once the property and residence of a family called At-Cheek, and sometimes de Cheeksell, as appeared from antient deeds; but in the reign of king Edward II. William de Ore was become intitled to it, with whom however, it did not remain long, for in the 9th year of that reign, Fulk Peyforer, who had been knight of the shire for this county in the 6th year of that reign, died possessed of it.

From the name of Peyforer it passed into that of Potyn, one of which family was possessed of it in the reign of king Richard II. and left an only daughter Juliana, who carried it in marriage to Thomas St. Leger, second son of Sir Ralph St. Leger, of Ulcomb, (fn. 3) who afterwards resided in her right at Otterden, and was sheriff anno 20 Richard II. He left an only daughter Joane, who marrying Henry Aucher, esq. of Newenden, entitled her husband to the possession of it. She survived him, and afterwards married Robert Capys, to whom Henry Aucher, esq. her only son and heir by her first husband, in the 19th year of king Henry VI. confirmed a life estate in Cheekscourt, Elmely, and other parts of her former inheritance. He afterwards, on her death, became possessed of it, and then sold it to Sir William Cromer, of Tunstall, sheriff in the 2d year of king James I. who alienated this estate to Mr. Christopher Allen, whose descendant the Rev. Thomas Allen, rector of the adjoining parish of Murston, died possessed of it in 1732, and devised it by will to his first cousin Mrs. Finch Allen, married first to the Rev. Mr. Mills, and secondly to Thomas Hooper, gent. of Stockbury, by whom she had three sons, Walter, Thomas, and Finch, and two daughters; Jane, married to William Jumper, esq. of Stockbury, and Catherine to the Rev. Theodore Delafaye. Walter Hooper, the eldest son, became possessed of this estate on his farther's death, and left only two daughters his coheirs, of whom, Sarah married first Steed, and Secondly William Huggessen, esq. of Stodmarsh, and Dorothy married Mr. Robert Radcliffe, who entitled their husbands to their respective shares of this estate, as devised to them by their father's will. At length William Huggessen, esq. about the year 1764, purchased the other part, and so became possessed of the whole fee of it, of which he continues owner at this time.

NEWBURGH, commonly called Newbarrow, is another estate in the southern part of this parish, adjoining to Linsted, which was formerly accounted a manot, though the reputation of its ever having been one is now almost forgotten. It was antiently owned by a family which assumed its surname from it, after who it came into the possession of the family of Apulderfield, whose antient seat was at Challock, in this county.

Henry de Apulderfield died possessed of it in the reign of king Edward I. in whose descendants it continued down to William Apulderfield, esq. who died in the reign of king Henry VI. leaving his two daugh ters his coheirs, one of whom, Elizabeth, carried this estate in marriage to Sir John Phineux, chief justice of the king's bench, and he too leaving only daughters and coheirs, one of them, Jane, entitled her husband John Roper, esq. of Eltham, to the possession of it. (fn. 4) He was attorney-general to Henry VIII. and died in 1524, leaving by her two sons and several daughters; of the former, William succeeded him at Eltham, where his descendants continued till of late, and Christopher was of Lodge, in the adjoining parish of Linsted, and by his father's will inherited this estate. His son Sir John Roper, anno 14 James I. 1616, was created lord Teynham, and died in 1618, possessed of this estate, which continued in his descendants till Henry Roper, lord Teynham, in the year 1766, alienated it to Mr. William Chamberlain, gent. of London, the present possessor of it.


MR. WILLIAM HOUSSON gave by will in 1783, for instructing poor children of this parish, Murston and Bapchild, to read and write, 200l. now vested in the 4 per cent. consolidated annuities, a further account of which may be seen before under Bapchild.

SIR WILLIAM STEDE, of Stede-hill, gave by will in 1620, 101. per annum, to be paid out of lands in Sandhurst, for binding out yearly the children of the poorest people in this parish, Harrietsham, and Milton by Sittingborne, for ever, to be nominated by the owners of Stedehill-house, now vested by deed of settlement in trustees.

The poor constantly relieved here are about sixteen, casually sixty-five.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Giles, consists of one large and two narrow side isles, and has a tower steeple on the south side, in which are three bells. It was given by king Edward I. to the abbey of West Langdon, to which it was appropriated by archbishop Walter Reynolds, in 1325, and it continued part of the possessions of that monastery till the surrendry of it, anno 27 Henry VIII. This house being one of those lesser monasteries, whose revenues were not above the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, which were suppressed by the act passed that year.

The parsonage of the church of Tong did not remain long in the hands of the crown, for the king granted it in his 29th year, with the monastery, and the lands and possessions of it, to the archbishop of Canterbury, in exchange for other premises; but all advowsons were excepted out of this grant.

Soon after which, this parsonage was demised on lease by the archbishop at the yearly rent of six pounds, and in this state it still continues parcel of the possessions of the archbishopric of Canterbury.

But the advowson of the vicarage, by virtue of the above-mentioned exception, still remained in the crown, where it continued till it was sold anno 1557, to Salomon Wilkins; but in the next reign of queen Elizabeth, it was become vested in William Potter. It afterwards become the property of Mr. Daniel Pawson, of Harrietsham, and then of the Stede family. Since which it has had the same possessors as Harrietsham manor and place, and as such, is now become vested in Wm. Baldwin, esq. of Harrietsham place.

The vicarage is valued in the king's books at 8l. 6s. 8d. the yearly tenths being 16s. 8d. and is of the yearly certified value of 55l. 3s.

In 1640 it was valued at fifty pounds. Communicants seventy-five.

In 1661 archbishop Juxon augmented this vicarage, in conformity to the king's letters of recommendation, ten pounds per annum out of the great tithes.

Church of Tong.

Or by whom presented.
The archdeacon. Daniel Pawson, A. B. July 3, 1593, obt. 1593.
John Bungey, preb. of Canterbury William Potter, A. B. March 22, 1593, obt. 1620.
Mr. Dan. Pawson, of Harrietsham Henry Pawson, A. M. June 7, 1620, obt. 1627.
Daniel and Thomas Pawson. Christopher Batcheler, A. M. March 27, 1627. (fn. 5)
The Archbishop. William Pell, A. M. Aug. 22, 1662, obt. 1672.
Edwin Stede, esq, Thomas Cradocke, A. B. June 14, 1672.
John Napleton, A. M. Jan. 26, 1676, obt. 1712.
Dutton Stede, esq. Richard Coliere, A. M. Nov. 17, 1712. resigned 1716.
Daniel Prat, A. M. Feb. 10, 1716, resigned 1723. (fn. 6)
The Archbishop, by lapse. Jude Holdsworth, A. M. Sept. 28, 1723, resigned 1750. (fn. 7)
Elizabeth, daughter of Jude Holdsworth, clerk. Benjamin Longley, LL. B. Dec. 12, 1750, obt. 1783. (fn. 8)
Sir Charles Booth. Robert J. Moreton, 1783, the present vicar.


  • 1. See more of the Badlesmeres, vol. v. of this history, p. 482.
  • 2. Rot, Esch. ejus an. pt. 6. Inrolments, Augtn. off.
  • 3. See Otterden, vol. v. of this history, p. 535.
  • 4. See more of the Apulderfields, under Challock.
  • 5. In 1627 by dispensation rector of Kingsdown near Sittingborne. See Rym. Fœ. vol. xviii. p. 1007.
  • 6. Likewise rector of Harrietsham. He was the son of dean Prat, and lies buried in Rochester cathedral.
  • 7. He resigned this for the rectory of Rucking, which he held with that of Hinzhill, by dispensation. He died in 1759.
  • 8. Likewise vicar of Eynsford, and perpetual curate of Ash near Sandwich