Parishes: Leveland

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: Leveland', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 461-467. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Leveland", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798) 461-467. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Leveland", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6, (Canterbury, 1798). 461-467. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

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IS the next parish eastward from Throwley, being but little known, and having no traffic through it. It is a very small parish, situated mostly on high ground, in a healthy country, much like that last described, only that it is more open, having less woodland, and a plainer surface. The soil is much less inclined to chalk, and it has some tolerable good level land towards the south-east part of it; the church stands towards the eastern side of the parish, with the court-lodge near it, all the other houses in it, excepting two, are, though within the bounds of it, on the west side of Badlesmere lees, over which, as well as along the eastern boundaries of this parish, at a small distance from the church, the high road leads from Faversham through Sheldwich to Ashford.

THE MANOR was part of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, being held of the several archbishops by knight's service.

Accordingly it is entered in the survey of Domesday, under the title of Terra Militum Archiepi, as follows:

In Faversham hundred, Richard, tenant (fn. 1) of the archbishop, holds of him Lelevant. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and two villeins, with one borderer, having one carucate. There is wood for the pannage of five hogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth thirty shillings, now twenty shillings.

This Richard had a grant of it from archbishop Lanfranc, to hold by knight's service, and his descendants, from their interest in this place, most probably assumed their surname from it.

In the reign of king Richard I. Nathaniel de Leveland held it of the archbishop, in the 9th year of which, he and his son Robert fined in sixty marcs to the king, to have the custody of the king's houses at Westminster, and of the Fleet-prison, which had been their inheritance ever since the conquest, and that they might not be hindered therein by the countersine of Osbert de Longchamp. At length their descendant Margaret de Leveland carried this manor in marriage to Giles de Badlesmere, who was a justice itinerant at the beginning of king Henry III.'s reign; but marrying her without the king's licence, he could not obtain his pardon till about three years before his death, and not then without great intercession. He was slain in a battle against the Welsh, in 1258, anno 43 of that reign, and she survived him, and afterwards remarried with Fulk de Peyforer, who had been sheriff in the 43d year of the same reign; he possessed this manor in her right, and died in the 5th year of the next reign of king Edward I.

She survived him likewise, and died without issue by either of her husbands, so that Ralph de Leveland was found by inquisition to be her next heir, and succeeded likewise to the custody of the palace at Westminster, and the Fleet. After his decease s. p. Stephen de Leveland his brother and heir held both those places, and left an only daughter and heir Joane, who was first married to John Shenche, by whom she had a son John, and afterwards to Edward Cheyne, who in right of her inheritance became possessed of a life-estate in this manor, and likewise in the bailiwic of the custody of the king's palace at Westminster, and surviving her, died possessed of both in the 13th year of Edward III. upon which, John Shenche, her son and heir by her first-husband as above-mentioned, succeeded as well to this manor as to that office, of both which he died possessed in the 23d year of Edward III. leaving Margaret his daughter his sole heir.

The above-mentioned estate in Leveland certainly did not contain the whole of it, for Bartholomew de Badlesmere had some property here in the beginning of king Edward II.'s reign, for in the 9th year of it he obtained, among other liberties for his estates, free-warren in his demesne lands in this parish; and the family of Northwood had likewise a considerable interest here in the next reign of Edward III. but whether from marriage with the family of Badlesmere, John de Northwood having married Joane, one of the daughters of Guncelin de Badlesmere, brother to Giles before-mentioned, by his first wife, I have not found, but his grandson Roger de Northwood was found to die possessed of the manor of Leveland in the 35th year of Edward III. Before the end of which reign, Richard de Poynings was become possessed of all their joint interests in this parish, and he died possessed of the entire fee of the manor of Leveland in the 11th year of king Richard II. (fn. 2) On his death, Isabel his widow, daughter and heir of Robert, lord Fitzpain, held it in dower till her death in the 17th year of that reign; upon which, Robert de Poynings, their son and heir, succeeded to it, and died possessed of it in the 25th year of king Henry VI. being slain at the siege of Orleans; upon which Alianore, the only daughter of his son Richard, then the wife of Sir Henry Percy, lord Percy, was found to be his heir, and entitled her husband to this manor, among the rest of her inheritance, and in her right he was likewise summoned to parliament as lord Poynings, which title he bore, till he succeeded, on his father's death, to the title of earl of Northumberland, in whose descendants this manor continued down to Henry, earl of Northumberland, who dying in the 29th year of king Henry the VIIIth.'s reign, s. p. this manor, with the rest of his estates, as had been settled by an act in the 27th year of it, which was confirmed by a deed made by the earl next year, which was acknowledged in chancery, and inrolled in the Augmentation-office, became vested in the crown, where it remained till the king granted it to Sir Robert Southwell, master of the rolls, who, in the 2d year of Edward VI. alienated it, with much other land in this neighbourhood, to Sir Anthony Aucher, and he not long after passed it away by sale to Anthony Sondes, esq. of Throwley, whose great-grandson Sir George Sondes, K. B. of Lees-court, in Sheldwich, was created Earl of Faversham. His two daughters became his coheirs, of whom Mary was married to Lewis, lord Duras, afterwards earl of Faversham, and Katherine to the hon. Lewis Watson, afterwards earl of Rockingham, each of whom successively in right of their respective wives, inherited this manor, which has since passed in like manner as Lees-court before-mentioned, to which the reader is referred, down to the right hon. Lewis-Thomas Watson, lord Sondes, who is the present possessor of it. (fn. 3) A court baron is held for this manor.

The high turnpike road from Ashford through Challock and Sheldwich to Faversham runs along the east side of this parish, at a very small distance from the church eastward.


ARNOLD BONSE, of Trevlegth, by his will dated 1465, directed his seossees to enseosse the wardens of the church of Lyvelonde, in two acres of land lying in the parish of Trowle, between the rectory of Lyvelonde towards the east, and the land of Thomas Easden south, and the lands of William Norton west and north, which land of old time belonged to the church of Lyvelonde, and was unjustly taken from it by his ancestors, and withheld to that time.

The poor constantly relieved are not more than two on an average, casually about forty.

LEVELAND is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Ospringe.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Laurence, is a small mean building, consisting of one isle and a chancel, with a low pointed wooden turrent on it.

Against the north wall of the chancel, there is a monument for Mrs. Katherine Rooper, married first to Thomas Herdson, esq. and secondly to Edward Rooper, esq. with her figure kneeling at a desk, behind her a man in armour, and these two escutcheons of arms, Argent, a cross, sable, between four fleurs de lis, gules, impaling, Per chevron embattled, argent, and sable, in chief, two castles, in base, an escallop, or; the second, Paly of six, sable, and or, in the first, third, and fifth, a buck's head erased of the second, impaling as before.

Archbishop Lanfranc, in the reign of the Conqueror, on his founding the priory of St. Gregory, gave to it, among other premises, the tithes of the lordship of Leveland, which he had granted to Richard. (fn. 4) How long these tithes remained with the priory, I have not found, but as they are not inserted among the possessions of it in archbishop Hubert's confirmation of them, in the reign of king Richard I. it is reasonable to suppose they did not belong to it at that time; (fn. 5) and it appears that they were possessed by the said Richard's descendants, one of whom, Nathaniel de Leveland, lord of the manor of Leveland in the year 1206, gave the chapel of Leveland, with five acres of land, to the Benedictine monastery of St. Bertin, at St. Omers, the capital of Artois, in Flanders; but I think it could not be under the cognizance of their cell established at the adjoining parish of Throwley, as there is no mention made of it in the several taxations and valuations of its revenues.

In the 7th year of king Henry III. anno 1222, this church having been newly erected, was consecrated, but how long it continued among the revenues of St. Bertin's, I have not seen, but it is probable, till the 2d year of Henry V. when the possessions of all the alien priories throughout England were given to the king. After which, I have not found any account of it till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was come into the possession of the family of Sondes, of Throwley, in the descendants of which the patronage of this rectory has continued, in like manner as the manor of Leveland, down to the right hon. Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes, the present patron of it.

This rectory is a discharged living in the king's books, of the clear yearly certified value of thirty pounds, the yearly tenths of which are eight shillings.

In 1598 the communicants here were twenty-one; in 1640 they were thirty-six, and the yearly value of it forty pounds.

Church of Leveland.

Or by whom presented.
Michael Sondes, esq. William Copel, S. T. B. June 28 1597, resigned 1603.
Sir Michael Sondes. Thomas Taylor, A. B. May 27, 1603. obt. 1604.
Bartholomew Newman, A. M. Feb. 21, 1604, resig. 1608.
William Pulley, A. M. June 14, 1608. (fn. 6)
William Annand, in 1651.
Sir George Sondes, Knight of the Bath William Bagnall, A. M. May 6, 1662, obt. 1713.
Hon. Edward Watson. Edward Nicholls, A. M. Nov. 2, 1713, obt. March 10, 1726. (fn. 7)
Lewis, earl of Rockingham. James Bernard, A. M. Oct. 5, 1726, obt. 1763. (fn. 8)
Lewis, lord Sondes. William Gurney, A. M. May 6, 1763. obt. April, 1784. (fn. 9)
Henry Thomson, June, 1784, the present rector. (fn. 10)


  • 1. Homo, in the original, which in antient records signified generally a homager, or one that owed fealty.
  • 2. Rot. Esch. anno 12 Richard II. N. 148.
  • 3. See more of him and the Watsons, under Lees-court, in Sheldwich.
  • 4. Dugd. Mon. vol. ii. p. 373.
  • 5. Ibid. p. 374.
  • 6. He was vicar of Throwley, as was his successor, who had been before vicar of Selling, which he resigned for the rectory of Badlesmere.
  • 7. And rector of Badlesmere, as were his two next successors.
  • 8. He had been before vicar of Selling. His two livings were sequestered in 1740, on his insanity, and continued so till his death.
  • 9. He was vicar of Selling, which he resigned for the rectory of Luddenham, which he held with the above.
  • 10. Also rector of Lower Hardres.