Parishes: Staplehurst

Pages 119-129

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.

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Is the last parish to be described in this hundred, being situated the next north-west from that of Frittenden. So much of it as is in the north borough, the boroughs of King's Franchise and Faircrouch, or Lovehurst, is in the bailiwic of the Seven Hundreds, and hundred of Cranbrooke; and another part of it is in the hundred of Marden; all which above-mentioned is in the lower division of the lath of Scray.

The residue of this parish is in the lath of Aylesford, viz. that part of it which is in the hundred of Eyhorne, and that part likewise called Detling borough, which contains in it six or seven houses, is in the hundred of Maidstone.

The liberty of the court of the bailiwic of the Seven Hundreds claims paramount over that part of this parish which is in the hundred of Cranbrooke, subordinate to which there are several small manors, or rather manor farms in it. It is within the division of West Kent.

THE PARISH of Staplehurst, though healthy like its neighbourhood, is, excepting the village of it, an unpleasant situation, having a gloomy and dreary appearance; the country is low, flat, and miry; the houses dispersed at distances from each other, and along the broad green swerds, and small forstals in it. The stream which comes from Cranbrooke runs along the southern boundary of it, as the Hedcorne stream to wards Stylebridge does along the eastern and northern parts of it. The soil is in general a wet clay, intermixed with marle at different places, and in the southern part of it some sand. The high road from Maidstone over Cocksheath, and by Stylebridge to Cranbrooke and Tenterden, leads through it, being like the rest of the high roads in these parts fabricated of sand; the bye roads are equally bad, and nearly impassable as the neighbouring ones in wet weather and winter. There is but very little wood in it.

The village, or street of Staplehurst, is built on each side of the great road, at the 47th mile-stone from London, being the only part of this parish which can be called tolerably pleasant and dry, being situated on the side of a hill, from the knoll of which it continues to the bottom of it, having the church at the south end of it, and the parsonage-house just below it. The houses are mostly old-fashioned and large timbered; most of them shops, but there are three or four good modern built houses interspersed among them, which stand pleasantly on the hill, having a fine view over the Weald southward,

The parish contains about eighty-eight houses, and not quite a thousand inhabitants. The rents of it are about 3000l. per annum. There are two meetinghouses; one for the Baptists, the other for the Presbyterians.

At the entrance of the village, on the hill, at a small distance from the high road, on the east side of it, is a large antient manor-house, called Loddenden, situated within the borough of its own name. It was lately the property of Mr. Edward Usborne, deceased, and now of his widow, who lives in it.

THE MANOR OF STAPLEHURST was once part of the possessions of the family of Fremingham, or Farningham, as they were usually called. John, son of Ralph de Fremingham, of Lose, died in the 12th year of king Henry IV. possessed of it, and leaving no issue, he by will devised it to certain feoffees, who next year assigned it over, according to the directions of it, to John, son of Reginald de Pimpe, and his heirs male, with remainder to Roger Isle, as being nearest of blood to him.

John Pimpe died possessed of this manor in the 9th year of king Henry V. and in his descendants it continued down to Reginald Pimpe, esq. who, about the 12th year of Henry VII. conveyed it by deed to John Isley, esq His grandson Sir Henry Isley, (whose lands were disgavelled by the act of 2 and 3 Edward VI.) together with his son William Isley, being both attainted for the rebellion raised by Sir Thomas Wyatt, in the 1st year of queen Mary, their lands and estates became forfeited to the crown, and Sir Henry was executed at Sevenoke; but this manor staid with the crown but a very small time, for the queen granted it that year, together with lands here, which had been formerly belonging to the abbey of Boxley, and on the suppression of it had been granted by Henry VIII. to Sir Thomas Wyatt, and come to the crown on his attainder at the time above-mentioned, to Sir John Baker, her attorney general, in whose descendants they continued, in a like succession as Siffinghurst, already described, in the adjoining parish of Cranbrooke, till they were sold in 1752 to Galfridus Mann, esq. whose son Sir Horace Mann, bart is the present owner of them.

NEWSTED is a manor in this parish, which was annexed to the free chapel erected here by Flamon de Crevequer, and invested with several privileges; which gift, with all its franchises, was confirmed to it in the 41st year of Edward III. (fn. 1) But this chapel, with all others of the like sort, being suppressed, and their revenues given to the crown, by the act passed anno 1 Edward VI the king, not long afterwards, granted this manor to Sir Edward Wotton, Knt. one of his privycouncil, in whose descendants it continued down to Thomas, lord Wotton, who died in 1630, and before his death had settled it in marriage upon his eldest daughter and coheir married to Henry, lord Stanhope, son and heir of Philip, earl of Chesterfield. After which, she, by her feoffees in trust, passed it away to Mr. Robert Oliver, of Leyborne, whose son, of the same name, leaving an only daughter and heir Juliana, she carried it in marriage to Edward Covert, esq. of Sussex, who likewise left one daughter and heir, and she marrying Mr. Henry Saxby, entitled him to it. Soon after which it was alienated to Hales, and Mr. James Hales, of Rochester, in 1730, conveyed it by sale to Mr. Thomas Mercer, of Hawkhurst, whose son Mr. William Mercer died possessed of it some few years ago, and his son John Dunmoll Mercer, now of Hawkhurst, is the present owner of it.

This estate consists of two farms, adjoining to each other, called Great and Little Newsted, the latter of which claims an exemption of tithes. On this farm are the remains of a moat, and there is some appearance of a building having antiently stood within it.

There has not been any court held for it for many years.

HENHURST, as it is now called, was in antient times known more properly by the name of Engehurst, as appeared by some old dateless deeds relating to the bounds of some lands in this parish, in which they were mentioned to be situated juxta terras Osberti de Henghurst Supra dennam de Enghurst, and from this denne did that antient family of Enghurst, or Henhurst, take the first origin of its name, bearing for their arms, as appeared by several seals, for their paternal coat, Barry, of six pieces; and having continued in possession of this place from the reign of Edward II. till that of Henry VI. at length Henry Henghurst, in the 23d year of it, settled it, by his feoffees in trust, on his kinsman John Nash, in which name it continued in the reign of Henry VII. and was then alienated to Sir William Kempe, of Ollantigh, sheriff anno 20 Henry VIII. and he died possessed of it at the latter end of that reign. His son Sir Thomas Kempe, alienated it to Thomas Roberts, who held it of the manor of West-court, in Detling, and died possessed of it anno 5 and 6 Philip and Mary. At length one of his descendants John Roberts, alienated it to Henry Moody, who died before the middle of king James I.'s reign, and left an only daughter Sybell, who carried the manor of Henhurst in marriage to Thomas Lusher, who, before 1634, had alienated it to Samuel Hovenden, gent. who bore for his arms, Chequy, argent, and sable, on a bend, gules, three lions heads erased, or, and died soon after the death of king Charles I. by one of whose daughters and coheirs Elizabeth, it was carried in marriage to Patrick Tyndall, gent. whose son Thomas was possessed of it at the latter end of the reign of Charles II. (fn. 2) His heirs alienated it to Mr. John Love, whose grandson leaving an only daughter and heir, she entitled her husband Mr. John Waller to the possession of it; but the remainder, on failure of issue by them, is vested in her kinsman Mr. John Love, of this place.

SPILSILL-COURT was once, as appears by antient deeds, the residence of a family of that name, who, before the end of king Edward II.'s reign, were extinct here, and it was become the property of Stangrave, of Stangrave, in Eatonbridge; for Sir Robert de Stangrave, at his decease in the 12th year of Edward III. held some estate at Spilsill, but about the end of that reign the Maineys were become owners of it; in which name it continued down to Walter Mayney, second son of John Mayney, esq. of Biddenden, who kept his shrievalty here in the 13th year of queen Elizabeth. (fn. 3) His descendant, in the reign of king James I. sold it to Mr. John Sharpye, clothier, who resided here, and died in 1613. His son, of the same name, who died in 1617, left an only daughter Frances, married to Mr. George Thomson, of London, in whose right he became possessed of it; and in his descendants it continued till it was sold to Nicholas Toke, of Maidstone, by whose daughter Constance it went in marriage to Mr. William Usborne, gent. of this parish, descended of ancestors of long standing in these parts, who bore for their arms, Quarterly, first, and fourth, ermine, of five spots; second and third, azure, a cross, or; (fn. 4) and his son Nicholas Toke Ulborne, gent. now of Staplehurst, is the present owner of this estate.

AYDHURST, usually called Little Aydhurst, is a manor here, lying about three quarters of a mile north-west from the church, the mansion of which has been some time gone to ruin. It was formerly the property of the family of Lambe, of Sutton Valence, one of whom, Thomas Lambe, gent. possessed it in 1692, whose daughter and heir carried it in marriage to Thomas Peene, junior, and he sold it to Jeremy Parker, whose descendant Augustine Parker, in 1752, passed it away by sale to Mr. John Rawlins, of Maidstone, whose widow Mrs. Rawlins, at her decease within these few years devised it by her last will to Mr. George Prentice, timber-merchant, of that place, who is the present possessor of it.

There is no court held for this manor, which is held of that of Sutton Valence, and is described in the rolls by the name of part of the denne of Adburst.

WIDHURST, alias LOWER PAGEHURST, by which latter name it is usually called, is a manor, situated at a very small distance southward from that last described. It was sometime since owned by Mayo, who devised it by will to Mary his wife, for her life, and she having remarried Mr. John Philcocks, entitled him to it for that time, but on her decease it became divided in shares among her several children, and they are now respectively entitled to it. A court baron is held for this manor.

LOVEHURST is a manor, which lies about a mile and a quarter southward from Lower Pagehurst, and is of somewhat more considerable account than those last mentioned, giving name to a small borough in this hundred. This manor was given among other premises, in the reign of Henry II. by Robert de Thurnham, by the description of all his land at Lofherste, with its appurtenances, to the priory of Combwell, in Goudhurst, at that time founded by him, (fn. 5) and it remained part of the possessions of it till the 27th year of Henry VIII. when it was suppressed by the act then passed, as not having revenues to the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds.

This manor remained but a small time in the crown, for the king, in his 29th year, granted it to Thomas Culpeper, gent. to hold in capite by knight's service; but he did not continue possessed of it long, for it appears by the escheat-rolls, that it was again in the crown in the 34th year of that reign, when the king granted this manor, with its appurtenances, to Sir John Gage, to hold in like manner. He sold it to Thomas Wilsford, esq. of Hartridge, whose son, of the same name, had possession granted of it in the 7th year of queen Elizabeth. Soon after which he a ienated it to Mr. John Baker, from which name it passed in that name reign, to Stanley; at length, after some intermediate owners, it came into the name of Johnson, one of which, about fifty years ago, gave it by will to St. Bartholomew's hospital, in London, part of the revenues of which it continues at this time.

The borough of Lovehurst has a court leet of itself, holden at the manor of Loverhurst, and the inhabitants of it owe no service to the court leet for the hundred of Cranbrooke; but at this court leet of Lovehurst, a constable for that hundred may be chosen out of this borough.

AT A SMALL DISTANCE from the south end of the village of Staplehurst is Iden-green, on which stood, till within these few years, the mansion of THE MANOR OF IDEN. This manor was formerly the property of Chiffinch, from one of which name it passed to Brain Faussett, esq. of Heppington, whose son the Rev. Mr. Bryan Faussett sold it, about twenty years ago, to Mr. Thomas Simmons, gent. the present owner of it.

There was a court held for this manor about seventy years ago, on Iden-green, under an oak, and some years afterwards in the mansion; but the oak being felled, and the house taken down, none has been held since, nor probably will be again.

MAPLEHURST and EXHURST, are two manors here, which in antient times were of no small account, the former of them being situated within the bounds of one of those thirteen denberries which Kenewulf, king of Mercia, and Cuthred, king of Kent, gave to Wernod, abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, at the time he gave to that monastery the manor of Lenham, being called in that grant Mapulterhurst. This estate was in the reign of Edward I. in the possession of the family of St. Leger, and Thomas de St. Leger, in the 29th year of that reign, had a grant of free warren for his lands at Mapelherst; (fn. 6) and in his descendants it continued till it was at length sold to Roberts, or Robesart, one of which name. Sir Lewis Robesart, died possessed of it in the 10th year of king Henry VI. How long it continued in that name, or who were the successive owners of it from that time, I have not found; but in later times they both became the property of Speke, one of whom, in 1720, sold them to David Papillon, esq. of Acrife, in this county, whose son David Papillon, esq. late of that place, is the present owner of it.


LANCELOT BATHURST gave by will in 1639, 150l. for the support of a schoolmaster, to instruct the sons of the poor in reading, writing, and accounts, which, with 40l. raised by the contribution of the parishioners, purchased a farm, rented at 10l. per annum, which the schoolmaster receives, and is obliged to teach ten boys for it.

MAJOR JOHN GINBON, who was born and baptised in this parish, gave by will in 1707, the remaining term in three Exchequer annuities of 70l. value (after the death of three relations) to the churchwardens and overseers of this parish, for the educating of poor boys in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and binding them apprentices to handicrafts and other trades. Phi. lips Gibbon, esq. survivor of the three, dying in 1762, there were then forty-two years to come unexpired, which being sold, by virtue of a decree in chancery, and the money laid out in the purchase of three per cent. consolidated annuities, produced a dividend of 50l. per annum, which is applied by the trustees appointed by the said court, according to the testator's intention.

THIS PARISH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Sutton.

The church is dedicated to All Saints. It is a large handsome building, consisting of two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple, with a beacon turret at the west end, in which are five bells. On the outside of the steeple, over the west door, is a coat of arms, viz. A lion, rampant; on the right side another coat, impaled, but desfaced; on the left, one, being a cross, engrailed, over a dormant window on the roof, on the south side in the church, is a curious antient canopy or ceiling of woodwork, in square compartments, on which are carved designs of three, such as are used by clothiers, and a crown, and a portcullis, &c. By the emblem of the sheers, it is supposed to have been put up by some one exercising that trade. The south chancel is said to have belonged to Spilsill court, there is a tomb of Bethersden marble in it, on which were the figures of a man between his two wives, that on the left hand only remains; it probably belonged to one of the family of Mayney. In the church-yard are several tomb stones for the family of Love, most of the inscriptions of which are obliterated, and one for Edward Simmons, obt. 1735.

The earliest patron I find of this rectory is, John Kempe, bishop of London, who died anno 4 king Henry VII. possessed of one acre of land in this parish, with the advowson of the church of Staplehurst annexed, held of the king, as of his manor of Marden, as was found by inquisition; and that Thomas Kempe was his kinsman and next heir. He was of Ollantigh, knight, and was the bishop's nephew, and died possessed of it, holding it by the like tenure. His son, of the same name, passed it away to Sir Richard Baker, who was possessed of it in 1578, and he soon afterwards sold it to Martin Culpeper, M. D. of Oxford, who, in the beginning of the next reign of king James, alienated it to Robert Newman, S. T. P. in whose descendants it continued several years; but in the reign of Charles II. John Clayton, esq. was owner of it; at length, about the time of queen Anne's reign, it was sold to the master and fellows of St. John's college, Cambridge, part of whose possessions it remains at this time.

It is valued in the king's books at 26l. 5s. 11d. and the yearly tenths at 2l. 12s. 7d. In 1578 there were four hundred and forty communicants here; in 1640, five hundred and eight, when it was valued at 160l. per annum.

There is no glebe land belonging to the rectory beside the scite of the house, garden, and forstal in the front of it.

In the Lambeth registers are articles of agreement between Robert Newman, clerk, D. D. rector, and his parishioners, concerning tithes in 1604; and a further order by archbishop Abbot, concerning the same, in 1607, in the library there, among the Cart. Miscell.

There are three farms in the borough of Lovehurst, in this parish, which pay the rector a modus of one shilling, in lieu of all tithes.

Church of Staplehurst.

Or by whom presented.
Robert Newman, S. T. B. April 29, 1591, obt. 1612. (fn. 7)
Millicent, widow of said R. Newman, pro hac vice. Robert Browne, A. M. Dec. 30, 1612, sequestered 1642. (fn. 8)
John Sloper, resigned 1645.
Robert Newman, gent. Henry Keat, A. M. Dec. 15, 1645.
Daniel Poyntell, ejected August, 1662. (fn. 9)
John Cleyton, esq. Stephen Lowton, A. M. Nov. 7, 1662, obt 1684.
The Archbishop Joseph Crowher, A. M. Aug. 27, 1684, obt. 1719.
Master, &c. of St. John's college, Cambridge. John Bowrell, S. T. P. Dec. 22, 1719, obt. 1752. (fn. 10)
Michael Burton, D. D. March 2, 1754, obt. March 3, 1759.
John Laylor, S. T. P. Aug. 20, 1759, obt. Dec. 29, 1784.
Thomas Thompson, A. M. 1785 obt. 1786. (fn. 11)
Henry Grove, A. M. 1786, the present rector.


  • 1. See the first book of composition kept in the Register's office at Rochester.
  • 2. The above account is entirely taken from the court-rolls of West-court manor.
  • 3. Vistn. co. Kent, anno 1574. Pedigree Mayney.
  • 4. Pedigree of this family in the hands of Mr. Usborne, beginning in 1405.
  • 5. See the confirmations of it in Dugd. Mon. vol. ii. p. 270.
  • 6. Rot. Cart. ejus an. N. 15.
  • 7. His will is in the Prerog. office, Cant. It appears by it, that he was of New College, Oxford to the fellows of which society, preaching at St. Paul's Cross, London, he bequeathed 10l. per annum for ever.
  • 8. Walk. Suff. Clerg. pt. ii. p. 203.
  • 9. Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 286, Kennet's Chron.
  • 10. Fellow of St. John's college, and vicar of Patrixsborne
  • 11. Head-master of the king's school at Rochester, and vicar of Hoo.