The island of Harty

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Edward Hasted, 'The island of Harty', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 276-283. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "The island of Harty", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798) 276-283. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "The island of Harty", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798). 276-283. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section


IS another small island adjoining to that of Shepey south eastward. opposite to Leysdown. It adjoins to the island of Emley towards the west, being separated both from that and the island of Shepey by a very small narrow water; on the south side of it is the water called the Swale, which slows between it and the main land of the county. It is about two miles in length, and one and an half in breadth, and consists of one parish, of the same name as the island itself. It is within the bounds of the hundred of Faversham, and a borsholder is annually chosen for the borough of it (which extends over the whole island) at the court-leet for that manor and hundred; but being in a manner part of the island of Shepey, the description of it seems more proper to be inserted here, than to be deserred to the description of that hundred hereafter.

It is called in antient records Harteigh, which name seems to be derived from the Saxon words Heord-tu, which signifies the island filled with herds of cattle, a name well suited to the antient and present state of it.

The island lies opposite to the parish of Ore on the main land of the county, the waters of the Swale slowing between them, over which there is a ferry. The grounds sengers and cattle, called Harty ferry. The grounds are entirely pasture, on which are constantly feeding about 4000 sheep. The centure of it is rising ground. The church stands nearly in the middle of it. There is no village, and only six lookers cottages in the whole of it, these people, about twenty in number, being the only inhabitants, the unhealthiness of the air deterring all others from attempting to dwell in it. About twothird of the island are the property of Mr. Sawbridge.

It appears by the pleas of the crown, in the 21st year of king Edward I. taken before the justices itinerant, that there was formerly a bridge leading from hence into Shepey, then called Tremseth bridge, which had been broken down by a violent inundation of the sea, and the channel thereby made so deep, that a new one could not be laid; and therefore the inhabitants of Shepey, who before repaired it, maintained in the room of it two ferry-boats, to carry passengers to and fro.

There is now no bridge here, and the fleet which divided this island from that of Shepey is become so very narrow, and has for several years past been so much filled up, that, excepting at high tides and overflow of the waters, Harty has ceased to have any appearance of an island. There is no highway duty, and scarce any roads in it.

THE MANOR OF HARTY, otherwise Saye's court, was, in the reign of king Henry III. part of the possessions of the family of Champion, who wrote themselves in Latin, De Campania, and were seated at Champions court, in Newnham. Robert de Campania held this manor in the above reign, as half a knight's see, of John de St. John. (fn. 1) his descendant John de Campania died possessed of it in the reign of Edward II. and king Edward III. in his 1st year, directed his writ to Robert de Kendal, late constable of Dover castle, &c. to restore to the lady of the island of Herty, sister of Thomas Roscelyn, her lands forfeited in Kent, in the reign of his father, on account of the prosecutions of Hugh le Despencer, the elder and younger. They lest three daughters and coheirs, of whom Catherine married Robert Corbet, and Thomasine married Thomas Chevin. They divided his estates among them, but to whom this manor passed, I have not found; but the next name that I have discovered to be possessed of it, was Whalley, whose heirs sold it to Cheney, in which name it continued to Sir Thomas Chency, knight of the garter, &c. who died possessed of it in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

ANOTHER ESTATE in this island, called LE LONG HOUSE, was parcel of the possessions of the abbey of Faversham, of whom it was held as part of a knight's fee, by John de Criol, (fn. 2) in the reign of Edward I. as it was afterwards by the family of Champion, or De Campania, one of whom, John de Campania possessed it in the reign of king Edward II. whose widow Mary paid aid for it in the 20th year of that reign, as parcel of the manor of Westwood.

After which this estate passed into the family of Poynings, whose heir-general, Alianore, daughter of Richard de Poynings, carried it in marriage to Sir Henry Percy, lord Percy, afterwards earl of Northumberland, in whose descendants it continued till at length it was alienated to Cheney, and Sir Thomas Cheney, knight of the garter, &c. died possessed of it in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

THE MOTE was another part of Harty manor, and was parcel of the estate in this island belonging to the family of Champion likewise, which was carried in marriage by Thomasine, daughter and one of the coheirs of John de Campania or Champion, in the reign of king Edward III. to Thomas Chevin, of Sholand, in Newnham, in whose descendants it continued down to John Chevin, who, in the 3d year of queen Elizabeth, by conveyance and fine, sold it to Mr. Thomas Paramour, by the description of a manor and lands, in the parish of St. Thomas, in the isle of Harty, of the fee of William, marquis of Winchester, capital lord of it.

But it being alledged by John Chevin, that he was under age at the time of the before-mentioned alienation, the fine was reversed, and he having again passed it away in the mean time to John Kyne and Simon Lowe; they, in the 13th year of that reign, brought a writ of right for the recovery of it against Thomas Paramour, but they were nonsuited, and the desendant was confirmed in his possession of it by the court. Upon this writ of right a trial by battle was demanded by Paramour, and awarded by the court, of which a pompous account is given in our law books, much too long for insertion here. It is sufficient to inform the reader, that the champions of each party, properly accourtred, met, at the appointed time, in Tothill-fields, Westminster, before the justices of the court of common pleas, who were to be judges of the duel (when upwards of 4000 people were present); where, after much formal solemnity, and proclamation being made, the non-appearance of the demandants, Kyne and Lowe, was recorded, and a nonsuit prayed, which was made, and the land was adjudged to Paramour, with costs of suit: for the queen had so ordered, that they were not to fight; but every part of this form was adjudged necessary to ascertain the desendant's right; and the judges themselves would, no doubt, have been well pleased to have ousted the parties of this barbarous method of trial, had the custom warranted them so to do, and it shews how much the example of it was disliked, since the queen thought fit to interpose and accommodate the matter; and this is one of the last instances in our books of battle joined in a writ of right. (fn. 3) How long this estate continued in the name of Paramour, I do not find; but it seems to have been in the possession of Henry, lord Cheney, in the 12th year of queen Elizabeth, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

THE ABBOT AND CONVENT OF FAVERSHAM, besides the fee held of them as before-mentioned, were in the possession of an estate here called ABBATS-COURT, and in the reign of Henry VII. their tenant of it was Thomas Colepeper, esq. but it did not continue in the possession of that monastery till the final dissolution of it, for king Henry VIII. in his 29th year, granted his licence to John, then abbot of Faversham, to alienate this manor of Abbots-court and its appurtenances, to Sir Thomas Cheney, knight of the garter, &c. in this parish, and he died possessed of this estate in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, holding it at the yearly sum of forty shillings and eight-pence, in the name of tenths, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

THE DEAN AND CANONS of the collegiate chapel of St. Stephen, in Westminster, were possessed of an estate in this island called PERY MARSH, which they continued in the possession of till the 1st year of king Edward VI.'s reign, when this chapel being dissolved, among others, by the act then passed, all the lands and possessions of it were surrendered up into the king's hands, (fn. 4) where it did not remain long, for the king in his 3d year, granted it, among other premises, to Sir Thomas Cheney, knight of the garter, &c. beforementioned, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he died possessed of it in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth's reign, as will be further mentioned hereafter.

The Benedictine nunnery of Davington was possessed of lands in this parish, as well as the church or parsonage of Harty; the former, in the 17th year of king Edward III. consisted of one hundred and forty acres of pasture, which were then valued, over and above the chief rent paid for it, fifteen pounds yearly.

This nunnery being left without prioress or nuns, escheated to the crown in the 27th year of Henry VIII. and this estate in Harty remained there, till the king, in his 35th year, granted it, among other possessions of the nunnery, to Sir Thomas Cheney, knight of the garter, &c. to hold in capite by knight's service, and he died possessed of it in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, as will be further taken notice of hereafter.

Sir Thomas Cheney dying possessed of all the beforementioned manors and estates in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth, as has been mentioned before, under the several descriptions of them, was succeeded in them by his son and heir Henry Cheney, esq. afterwards knighted and created Lord Cheney of Tuddington, who had possession granted of them in the 3d year of that reign, and that year levied a fine of all his lands.

After which he, together with Jane his wife, anno 12 Elizabeth, by conveyance and fine levied, alienated the manor of Harty, and the rectory of St. Thomas the Apostle, in the isle of Hartye, called Stanger, alias Stangarde, alias the parsonage of Hartie, together with the advowson and right of patronage of the vicarage; and the manor or farm called Abbattes court, with Pery marsh, and the farm called the Long House, and the tenement called the Mote, with all their lands and appurtenances in this island, and all other premises in it, which the above-mentioned Sir Thomas Cheney was possessed of in it, at the time of his death, or which Henry Cheney, or Jane his wife had a right to in it, to the use of Richard Thornhill, esq.

His grandson alienated that part of the above-mentioned premises called Abbats court, since known by the name of Hall farm, with Pery marsh, and other lands, to Robert Cole, esq. who in 1662 settled this estate on his sole daughter and heir Jane, on her marriage with Sir Thomas Darcy, of St. Clere hall, in Effex, who had been created a baronet in 1660, (fn. 5) he afterwards sold it to Mr. Thomas French, who by his will devised it to be sold, and it was purchased in 1701 by Thomas Clark, merchant, of London, whose heirs sold it in 1765 to Mr. Thomas Buck, of Faversham, on whose death in 1779, it became the property of his son of the same name, who is the present possessor of it. This estate claims and exemption from the payment of all king of tithes.

BUT THE REMAINING PART of the several estates of Henry, lord Cheney, continued in the descendants of Richard Thornhill, esq. down to Richard Thornhill, esq. of Ollantigh, who in the fourth year of queen Anne, anno 1704, having obtained an act for that purpose, sold the manor of Harty, the rectory or parsonage of the church, and the advowson of the vicarage, the estate called the Long House, the Mote, since called the Church farm, a farm called Elliots, a parcel of marshlands called Napletons, with divers lands, marshes, &c. part of the above-described premises, to Mr. Jacob Sawbridge, of London, who died possessed of them in 1748, and his great grandson, Samuel-Elias Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, in this county, is the present possessor of them.

The company of oyster dredgers of Faversham hire of Mr. Sawbridge, the right or privilege of laying oysters on some part of the shore of this island, and the like of Mr. Buck on another part of it.

There are no parochial charities. The poor constantly relieved are about six, casually three.

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

The church, which is a small building, consisting of a body, chancel, and two side chantries, with a pointed turret at the west end, is dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. It was formerly part of the possessions of the Benedictine nunnery of Davington, to which it was appropriated before the 8th year of king Richard II. anno 1384, and it continued part of the possessions of it at the time of its escheating to the crown in the reign of Henry VIII. when it was esteemed as a parsonage appropriate, with the advowson of the vicarage of the church annexed. It was afterwards granted to Sir Thomas Cheney, and by his son Henry sold to Richard Thornhill, esq. whose descendant sold it to Jacob Sawbridge, esq. whose great-grandson, Samuel-Elias Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, is now entitled to it, of all which a more ample account has already been given.

In the 35th year of Henry VIII. the yearly stipend to the curate of Harty was 6l. 13s. 4d.

This church is set down in the king's books as a rectory, and valued at 20l. 6s. 0½d. the tenths of which, being 2l. 0s. 7¼d. are paid to the crown receiver, and not to the archbishop. The cure of it has been many years esteemed as a vicarage; the vicar has a stipend of twenty pounds per annum paid to him, in lieu of tithes, and divine service is performed here, except in very severe weather, once in a fortnight.

In 1578 there were communicants here forty-seven; in 1640 communicants fifty.

Church of Harty.

Or by whom presented.
John Sawbridge, esq. Wanley Sawbridge, 1760, obt. 1796. (fn. 6)
Samuel Elias Sawbridge, esq. Mordaunt Leathes, 1796, the present vicar.


  • 1. Book of Knights Fees in the Exchequer.
  • 2. Book of Aid, anno 20 Edward III. Mr. Petit Fœdary of Kent his book.
  • 3. See a full account of it in Dyer's Reports, p. 301. Coke's Entries, p. 182. Speed's Chron. p. 1166. Spelman's Glossary, in verbo Cambus. Robinson's Gavelkind, 259.
  • 4. See a further account of this free chapel under Bredhurst.
  • 5. See Morant's Hist. of Effex, vol. i. p. 396, 459.
  • 6. Brother to the patron and vicar of Stalisfield.