The island of Emley

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, 'The island of Emley', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 272-276. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "The island of Emley", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798) 272-276. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "The island of Emley", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798). 272-276. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

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OR Elmeley, as it is frequently spelt in antient records, is a small island adjoining to that of Shepey, of which it is indeed, in general terms, accounted a part, being separated from it only by a very narrow water, called the Dray, on the north side of it, the south side being bounded by the Swale, which slows between it and the main land of the county. It is in length upwards of three miles, and in breadth about two miles It consists of one parish, of the same name as the island excepting a small tract of land on the northern side of it, which is within the bounds of the parish of Eastchurch.

THIS ISLAND contains about 4700 acres of land, o which about 2600 are salt marshes, excepting which the whole of it, especially the southern hills, consists o very rich pasture; there are generally seeding on i upwards of 6000 sheep, the wool of which has in some years sold for 1000l. It has been held for many year in lease, by the family of Blaxland, of Graveney- court There is no village, and indeed only two houses in the whole island, which, as well as the church near them stand on high ground near the centre of it, so as to be plainly discernible from the adjacent parts of the county There is a ferry for horses and other cattle from thi island across the Swale towards the county, and a son on the other side at low water into the Isle of Shepey From its situation it is as unhealthy a place as an within that Island.

THE PARAMOUNT MANOR of Milton claims over this island, as being within that hundred, subordinate t which the manor of Emley claims, as did formerly the of Milsted over part of it. (fn. 1)

THIS ISLAND was, great part of it, the demesnes of the family of Peyforer, one of whom, Fulk de Peyforer, died possessed of this estate in the 5th year of king Edward I. From which family it seems to have passed into that of Potyn, one of which, Nicholas Potyn, was possessed of it in the reign of Richard II. and left an only daughter Juliana, who carried it in marriage to Thomas St. Leger, afterwards of Otterden, second son of Ralph St. Legerm of Ulcomb. He lest an only daughter and heir Joane, who marrying Henry Aucher, esq. of Newenden, entitled him 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, confirmed a life-estate in Elmele and other places, in the 19th year of king Henry VI. After which he passed it away to Sir William Cromer, who was possessed of a large estate in this place before, which had antiently belonged to the Cobhams, (fn. 2) and was sold by one of them, about the beginning of the reign of Edward III. to Sir Walter Manny, whose only daughter Anne married John de Hastings, earl of Pembroke, who died possessed of it in the 49th year of it, leaving a son John, who succeeded him in title and estate, but was unfortunately killed at a tournament, in the 13th year of Richard II. being then only seventeen years of age. He died s.p. and this estate, which consisted of one thousand acres of land, became the property of his heirs, Reginald Grey and Richard Talbot, whose seossee in trust, Sir Robert Knollys, by their direction, conveyed them in the 7th year of Henry IV. to Sir William Cromer, of Tunstall, whose son William Cromer, esq. afterwards purchased the manor of Elmele, as above-mentitoned; his descendant Sir James Cromer, died in 1613, leaving by his second wife three daughters his coheirs, of whom Christian, the youngest, married John, eldest son of Sir Edward Hales, knight and baronet, of Tenterden, and on the partition of their estates she entitled him to the possession of it. He was afterwards knighted, but died in his father's life time, leaving a son Edward, who succeeded his grandfather likewife in title and estate, in whose descendants this manor continued down to Sir Edward Hales, bart. of St. Stephen's, (fn. 3) till 1789, when it was conveyed by purchase by Sir Edward and Mr. Hales, to George Gipps, Esq. of Harbledown, M. P. for the city of Canterbury, who is the entire possessor of it, as well as of this whole island.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about four; casually one or two at most.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. James, has been many years in a dilapidated state, for though the walls and roof are entire, they are quite bare on the inside, without pavement or cieling, door or window, being made use of as a storehouse only; nor has there been any kind of divine service performed in it for many years, except at the induction of a rector, the duty afterwards being excused, by agreement between him and the occupier of it.

This church antiently belonged to the priory of Leeds, and John, prior, and the convent of Christchurch, confirmed it in 1278, as well as the former confirmations of the archbishops of Canterbury. How it happened that these religious were divested of their property in this church, I have not found; but in the 27th year of Henry VI. it was in the hands of the crown, for that year the king granted the patronage and advowson of it to the warden and fellows of All Souls college, in Oxford, and they continue patrons of it at this time.

There was a yearly pension of forty shillings payable out of this church to the abbot of St. Mary Graces, near the Tower. (fn. 4)

It is valued in the king's books at five pounds, and the yearly tenths at ten shillings. In 1578 there was only one dwelling-house here; communicants, six. In 1640 there were ten communicants, and the rectory was then valued at seventy pounds. The present yearly value is supposed to be about eighty pounds.

Church of Emley.

Or by whom presented.
Warden and Fellows of All Souls college. Thomas Creech, S. T. B. March 16. 1697, resigned 1699. (fn. 5)
Edward Digges, A. M. May 10, 1699, resigned 1700.
Peter Preaulx, S.T.P. Aug 13, 1700.
Francis Offley, resigned 1708.
Robert Bright, A.M. March 30, 1708, resigned 1723.
Milo West, A. M. May 23, 1723, resigned 1724.
Thomas Martin Fiddes, May 21, 1724, resigned 1725.
Thomas Leigh, A. M. May 21, 1725, resigned 1732.
Robert Chernock, A. M. July 26, 1732.
William Stephens, LL.D. resigned 1746.
Savage Tyndall, D. D. Dec. 20, 1746, resigned 1751. (fn. 6)
Thomas Bathurst, A. M. June 12, 1751, resigned 1765. (fn. 7)
Thomas St. Loe, LL. D. Aug. 6, 1765, obt. 1766.
John Long, D. D. Nov. 20, 1766, resigned 1788. (fn. 8)
John Montague, 1788, the present rector.


  • 1. See Rot. Esch. anno. 10, 37 and 46 Edward III.
  • 2. Coll. Peer. vol. ii. p. 617. See Penshurst and Tunstall
  • 3. See more of the Cromers and Hales's, under Tunstall, p. 86.
  • 4. Ext. from, see-farm rolls, temp. interregni. Roll 3, N. 3.
  • 5. The noted poet, who translated so many of the classicks, and other books, both in verse and prose. See Wood ib. fasti, p. 1104.
  • 6. He resigned this rectory for that of Barking, in Effex.
  • 7. He resigned on being presented to Welwyn, in Hertfordshire.
  • 8. In 1781 presented to the rectory of Cheisfield.