Parishes: Hernehill

Pages 19-28

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

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The next adjoining parish northward is Hernehill, over which the paramount manor of the hundred of Boughton, belonging to the archbishop, claims jurisdiction.

THIS PARISH lies near the London road, close at the back of the north side of Boughton-street, at the 50th mile-stone, from which the church is a conspicuous object, in a most unpleasant and unhealthy country. It lies, the greatest part of it especially, northward of the church, very low and flat, the soil exceedings wet and miry, being a stiff unfertile clay, and is of a forlorn and dreary aspect; the inclosures small, with much, rusit ground; the hedge-rows broad, with continued shaves and coppice wood, mostly of oak, which join those of the Blean eastward of it, and it continues so till it comes to the marshes at the northern boundary of it.

In this part of the parish there are several small greens or forstals, on one of which, called Downe's forstal, which lies on higher ground than the others, there is a new-built sashed house, built by Mr. Thomas Squire, on a farm belonging to Joseph Brooke, esq. and now the property of his devisee the Rev. John Kenward Shaw Brooke, of Town Malling. The estate formerly belonged to Sir William Stourton, who purchased it of John Norton, gent. This green seems formerly to have been called Downing-green, on which was a house called Downing-house, belonging to George Vallance, as appears by his will in 1686. In the hamlet of Way-street, in the western part of the parish, there is a good old family-house, formerly the residence of the Clinches, descended from those of Easling, several of whom lie buried in this church, one of whom Edward Clinch, dying unmarried in 1722, Elizabeth, his aunt, widow of Thomas Cumberland, gent. succeeded to it, and at her death in 1768, gave it by will to Mrs. Margaret Squire, widow, the present owner who resides in it. Southward the ground rises to a more open and drier country, where on a little hill stands the church, with the village of Church-street round it, from which situation this parish most probably took its name of Herne-hill; still further southward the soil becomes very dry and sandy, and the ground again rises to a hilly country of poor land with broom and surze in it. In this part, near the boundary of the parish, is the hamlet of Staple-street, near which on the side of a hill, having a good prospect southward, is a modern sashed house, called Mount Ephraim, which has been for some time the residence of the family of Dawes. The present house was built by Major William Dawes, on whose death in 1754 it came to his brother Bethel Dawes, esq. who in 1777 dying s.p. devised it by will to his cousin Mr. Thomas Dawes, the present owner, who resides in it.

Mr. JACOB has enumerated in his Plantæ Favershamienses, several scarce plants found by him in this parish.

DARGATE is a manor in this parish, situated at some distance northward from the church, at a place called Dargate-stroud, for so it is called in old writings. This manor was, as early as can be traced back, the property of the family of Martyn, whose seat was at Graveneycourt, in the adjoining parish. John Martyn, judge of the common pleas, died possessed of it in 1436, leaving Anne his wife, daughter and heir of John Boteler, of Graveney, surviving, who became then possessed of this manor, which she again carried in marriage to her second husband Thomas Burgeys, esq. whom she likewise survived, and died possessed of it in 1458, and by her will gave it to her eldest son by her first husband, John Martyn, of Graveney, whose eldest son of the same name died possessed of it in 1480, and devised it to his eldest son Edmund Martyn, who resided at Graveney in the reign of Henry VII. In his descendants it continued down to Mathew Martyn, who appears to have been owner of it in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. In which reign, anno 1539, one of this family, Thomas Martyn, as appears by his will, was buried in this church. The arms of Martyn, Argent, on a chevron, three talbot bounds, sable, and the same impaled with Petit, were, within these few years remaining in the windows of it. Mathew Martyn abovementioned, (fn. 1) left a sole daughter and heir Margaret, who carried this manor in marriage to William Norton, of Faversham, younger brother of John Norton, of Northwood, in Milton, and ancestor of the Nortons, of Fordwich. His son Thomas Norton, of that place, alienated it in the reign of king James I. to Sir John Wilde, of Canterbury, who about the same time purchased of Sir Roger Nevinson another estate adjoining to it here, called Epes-court, alias Yocklets, whose ancestors had resided here before they removed to Eastry, which has continued in the same track of ownership, with the above manor ever since.

Sir John Wilde was grandson of John Wilde, esq. of a gentleman's family in Cheshire, who removed into Kent, and resided at St. Martin's hill, in Canterbury. They bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron, sable, on a chief, argent, two martlets, sable; quartered with Norden, Stowting, Omer, Exhurst, Twitham, and Clitherow. Sir John Wilde died possessed of this manor of Dargate with Yocklets, in 1635, and was buried in Canterbury cathedral, being succeeded in it by his eldest surviving son Colonel Dudley Wilde, who died in 1653, and was buried in that cathedral likewise. He died s. p. leaving Mary his wife surviving, daughter of Sir Ferdinand Carey, who then became possessed of this manor, which she carried in marriage to her second husband Sir Alexander Frazer, knight and bart. in whose name it continued till the end of the last century, when, by the failure of his heirs, it became the property of Sir Thomas Willys, bart. who had married Anne, eldest daughter of Sir John Wilde, and on the death of her brother Colonel Dudley Wilde, s. p. one of his heirs general. He was of Fen Ditton, in Cambridgeshire, and had been created a baronet 17 king Charles I. He lived with Anne his wife married fiftyfive years, and had by her thirteen children, and died possessed of it in 1701, æt. 90. By his will he gave it to his fourth son William Willys, esq. of London, and he held a court for this manor in 1706, and died soon afterwards, leaving two sons Thomas and William, and six daughters, of whom Anne married Mr. Mitchell; Mary married William Gore, esq. Jane married Henry Hall; Frances married Humphry Pudner; Hester married James Spilman, and Dorothy married Samuel Enys. He was succeeded in this manor and estate by his eldest son Thomas Willys, esq. who was of Nackington, and by the death of Sir Thomas Willys, of Fen Ditton, in Cambridgeshire, in 1726, s. p. succeeded to that title and estate, which he enjoyed but a short time, for he died the next year s. p. likewise; upon which his brother, then Sir William Willys, bart. became his heir, and possessed this manor among his other estates. But dying in 1732, s. p. his sisters became his coheirs. (fn. 2) By his will he devised this manor to his executors in trust for the performance of his will, of which Robert Mitchell, esq. became at length, after some intermediate ones, the only surviving trustee. He died in 1779, and by his will divided his share in this estate among his nephews and nieces therein mentioned, who, with the other sisters of Sir William Willys, and their respective heirs, became entitled to this manor, with the estate of Yocklets, and other lands in this parish; but the whole was so split into separate claims among their several heirs, that the distinct property of each of them in it became too minute to ascertain; therefore it is sufficient here to say, that they all joined in the sale of their respective shares in this estate in 1788, to John Jackson, esq. of Canterbury, who died possessed of it in 1795, without surviving issue, and left it by will to William Jackson Hooker, esq. of Norwich, who is the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

LAMBERTS LAND is a small manor, situated at a little distance northward from that last mentioned, so near the eastern bounds of this parish, that although the house is within it, yet part of the lands lie in that of Bleane. This manor seems to have been part of the revenue of the abbey of Faversham, from or at least very soon after its foundation, in the year 1147, and it continued with it till its final dissolution. By a rental anno 14 Henry VIII. it appears then to have been let to farm for eleven pounds per annum rent.

The abbey of Faversham being suppressed in the 30th year of that reign, anno 1538, this manor came, with the rest of the revenues of it, into the king's hands, where it appears to have continued in the 34th year of it; but in his 36th year the king granted it, among other premises in this parish, to Thomas Ardern, of Faversham, to hold in tail male, in capite, by knight's service.

On his death, without heirs male, being murdered in his own house, by the contrivance of his wife and others, anno 4 king Edward VI. this manor reverted to the crown, whence it was soon after granted to Sir Henry Crispe, of Quekes, to hold by the like service, and he passed it away to his brother William Crispe, lieutenant of Dover castle, who died possessed of it about the 18th year of queen Elizabeth, leaving John Crispe, esq. his son and heir. He sold this manor to Sir John Wilde, who again passed it away to John Hewet, esq. who was created a baronet in 1621, and died in 1657, and in his descendants it continued down to his grandson Sir John Hewet, bart. who in 1700 alienated it to Christopher Curd, of St. Stephen's, alias Hackington, and he sold it in 1715 to Thomas Willys, esq. afterwards Sir Thomas Willys, bart. who died in 1726, s. p. and devised it to his brother and heirat-law Sir William Willys, bart. who likewise died s. p. By his will in 1732 he devised it to his three executors, mentioned in it, in trust for the performance of it. Since which it has passed in like manner as the adjoining manor of Dargate last described, under the description of which a further account of it may be seen.

This manor, with its demesnes, is charged with a pension of twelve shillings yearly to the vicar of Hernehill, in lieu of tithes.


WILLIAM ROLFE, of Hernehill, by will in 1559, gave one quarter of wheat, to be paid out of his house and nine acres of land, to the churchwardens, on every 15th of December, to be distributed to the poor on the Christmas day following; and another quarter of wheat out of his lands called Langde, to be paid to the churchwardens on every 18th of March, to be distributed to the poor at Faster, these estates are now vested in Mr. Brooke and Mr. Hawkins.

JOHN COLBRANNE, by will in 1604, gave one quarter of wheat out of certain lands called Knowles, or Knowles piece, to be paid to the churchwardens, and to be distributed to the poor on St. John's day, in Christmas week.

Mr. RICHARD MEOPHAM, parson of Boughton, and others, gave certain lands there to the poor of that parish and this of Hernehill; which lands were vested in feoffees in trust, who demise them at a corn rent, whereof the poor of this parish have yearly twenty bushels of barley, to be distributed to them on St. John Baptist's day.

RICHARD HEELER, of Hernehill, by will in 1578, gave 20s. a year out of his lands near the church, to be paid to the churchwardens, and to be distributed to the poor, one half at Christmas, and the other half at Easter, yearly.

ONE BRICKENDEN, by his will, gave one marc a year out of his land near Waterham Cross, in this parish, to be distributed to the poor on every Christmas day.

BETHEL DAWES, ESQ. by will in 1777, ordered 30s. being the interest of 50l. vested in Old South Sea Annuities, to be given in bread yearly to the poor, by the churchwardens.

The poor constantly relieved are about thirty, casually 12.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael, consists of two isles and a chancel. At the north-west end is a tower steeple, with a beacon turret. In it are five bells. The two isles are ceiled, the chancel has only the eastern part of it ceiled, to the doing of which with wainscot, or with the best boards that could be gotten, William Baldock, of Hernehill, dwelling at Dargate, devised by his will in 1547, twenty-six shillings and eight-pence. In the high chancel are several memorials of the Clinches, and in the window of it were within these few years, the arms of the see of Canterbury impaling Bourchier. The pillars between the two isles are very elegant, being in clusters of four together, of Bethersden marble. It is a handsome building, and kept very neat.

The church of Hernehill was antiently accounted only as a chapel to the adjoining church of Boughton, and as such, with that, was parcel of the antient possessions of the see of Canterbury, and when archbishop Stratford, in the 14th year of Edward III. exchanged that rectory with this chapel appendant, with the abbot and convent of Faversham, and had appropriated the church of Boughton with this chapel to that abbey, he instituted a vicarage here, as well as at the mother church of Boughton, and made them two distinct presentative churches. The advowson of the mother church remaining with the archbishop, and that of Hernchill being passed away to the abbot and convent of Faversham, as part of the above mentioned exchange.

The parsonage, together with the advowson of the vicarage of this church, remained after this among the revenues of that abbey, till the final dissolution of it, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when they both came, among its other possessions, into the king's hands, who in that year granted the parsonage to Sir Thomas Cromwell, lord Cromwell, who was the next year created Earl of Essex; but the year after, being attainted, and executed, all his possessions and estates, and this rectory among them, became forfeited to the crown, where it remained till queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, exchanged it, among other premises, with archbishop Parker; at which time it was valued, with the tenths of Denge-marsh and Aumere, at the yearly sum of 9l. 13s. 4d. Pension out of it to the vicar of Hernehill 1l. 3s. Yearly procurations, &c. 1l. 6s. 8d. Since which it has continued parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to this time.

In 1643 Susan Delauney was lessee of it at the yearly rent of 9l. 13s. 4d. The present lessee is Mrs. Margaret Squire, of Waystreet.

The advowson of the vicarage remained in the hands of the crown, from the dissolution of the abbey of Faversham till the year 1558, when it was granted, among others, to the archbishop; (fn. 3) and his grace the archbishop is the present patron of it.

This vicarage is exempted from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon. It is valued in the king's books at fifteen pounds, and the yearly tenths at 1l. 10s. and is now of the yearly certified value of fifty-eight pounds. In 1640 it was valued at forty pounds. Communicants one hundred. In 1695 there were houses sixty, inhabitants one hundred and eighty-four, recusants none.

There were several pensions due to the vicar, as appears by different records: from the parsonage an annual pension of 13s. 4d. In the 14th year of king Henry VIII. a pension of 4s. 8d. paid by the abbot's lands of Cocham and Mentylham, in this parish, and of 13s. 4d. from their marsh here, called Gore-marsh. The farm of Lamberts-land pays twelve shillings yearly pension to the vicar, in lieu of tithes.

Two examinations of witnesses relating to the bounds of the parishes of Seasalter and Hernehill, in 1481, are in the Lambeth library.

A very few years ago Mr. Lade, tenant to the archbishop, for grass lands, part of Boughton demesnes, then in his own occupation, in this parish, claimed an exemption of tithes for them, which the vicar denied, and commenced a suit, which, however, he soon gave up, acknowledged the exemption, and paid Mr. Lade's costs; on this ground, as I am informed; that an archbishop, or ecclesiastical person, may claim such exemption for grass land by prescription for his lessee, the same as if in his own occupation, which a lay person cannot do.

Church of Hernehill.

Or by whom presented.
Archbishop of Canterbury. William Hull, S. T. P. resigned 1605.
Basil Beacon, 1605. (fn. 4)
Thomas Paine, Jan. 6, 1612, ob. 1629.
Thomas Hieron, A. M. June, 1629.
Robert Skneene, obt. 1676. (fn. 5)
John Gamlyn, inducted 1676, resigned 1681. (fn. 6)
Thomas Allen, A. M. inducted Jan. 1681. obt. May 1687. (fn. 7)
John Johnson, A. M. inducted Nov. 1689, resigned 1697. (fn. 7)
Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. John Conold, A. M. inducted May 1698. obt. October 31, 1704. (fn. 7)
William Plees, A. M. April 1705, obt. Oct 12, 1752. (fn. 7)
Henry Heaton, B. D. Dec. 1752, resigned 1754. (fn. 7)
Samuel Phipps, A. B. Dec. 28, 1754, resigned 1758.
Charles Hall. D. D. Feb. 18, 1758, resigned 1760.
Thomas Hebbes, A. M. 1760, ob. Dec. 30, 1766. (fn. 8)
Henry Poole, A. M. Feb. 1777, the preient vicar.


  • 1. See Jacob's Hist. Fav. p. 86, and more of the Martyns hereafter, under Graveney, p. 32.
  • 2. See more of this family under Nackington.
  • 3. Willias's Councils, vol. iv. p. 177.
  • 4. He resigned for the vicarage of Silkeston, in co. Ebor.
  • 5. Also vicar of Boughton Blean. He was a Scot by birth, and conformed to the church, as he himself said, for the sake of his wife and children.
  • 6. Afterwards vicar of Preston and of Faversham.
  • 7. Vicars of Boughton Blean, under which more of them may be seen.
  • 8. He lies buried in the south isle of this church.