Parishes: Chilham

Pages 263-292

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

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LIES upon the river Stour, about six miles southward from Canterbury. It is called in Domesday, Cilleham; in Saxon, Cyleham; which signifies the cold place; and some think this place was antiently called Julham, or Juliham, i. e. the village or dwelling of Julius, in regard to Julius Cæsar, the Roman emperor, who had several conflicts with the Britons in and near it.

The Parish of Chilham is situated exceedingly pleasant, in a fine healthy part of the county, about six miles southward from Canterbury, and nine from Ashford, the high road leading through it, a little below which the river Stour runs along the eastern part of the parish, on which there is a corn mill, long known by the name of French Mill, belonging to Mr. Wildman, and on the height above it the noted mount of earth, usually called Julliberries grave. On an eminence, almost adjoining to the opposite or west side of the road, is the village, built mostly on the summit of the hill, round a small forstal, having the church and vicarage, a neat modern built house, on the north side of it, and the antient castle, with the stately mansion and park of Chilham. On the opposite side from which there is a most beautiful view over the spacious Ashford vale, through which the river Stour directs its course; a vale which comprehends within it a most beautiful scene, ornamented with seats, parks, towns, and churches, in the various parts of it, bounded by the majestic tower of Ashford church in front, the fine down hills, the summits of which are well cloathed with soliage on one side, and the extended range of Wye and Braborne downs on the other, all together forming a most rich and luxuriant prospect.

The parish is nearly circular, between three and four miles across. The ground in it is very unequal and hilly, the soil of the hills being mostly chalk, and the vales clay. There is some coppice wood in the south west part of it towards Molash, where it becomes, among the hills, which are bold and romantic, a barren and slinty country. About a mile northward from Chilham church is the common, or small heath, called Old Wives lees, over which the branch of the turnpike road goes which leads for the Ashford road abovementioned to Faversham. Near the lees is Lower Emsin, and adjoining the Blean woods. There are about one hundred and twenty houses, and seven hundred and twenty inhabitants in this parish.

The market mentioned to be granted below, has been disused time out of mind, and the fair on the Assumption has likewise been long disused, but there is one held here yearly on Nov. 8, for cattle, &c.

THE MANOR OF SELGRAVE in Faversham, having fallen to Sir Dudley Diggs, by escheat, and being also purchased by him of the heir of Sir Christopher Cleve, he, by a codicil to his will in 1638, devised it to charitable uses, ordering that it should be let to some tenant, who should pay over and above the quit-rents, twenty pounds per annum; and so soon as that sum should be raised, then that the lord of Faversham, or in his absence, the mayor, with the advice of four of the jurats, and the lord of Chilham, or in his absence, the vicar of Chilham, with the advice of four of the best freeholders, should chuse a young man, and a young maiden, of good conversation, between the ages of sixteen and twenty four; and these two young men and two young maidens, on the 19th of May yearly, should run a tye at Chilham, and the young man and young maid who should prevail, should each of them have ten pounds.

This running is still kept up; several young men and maids run at Old Wives-lees, in this parish, yearly on the first of May, and several others at Sheldwichlees on the Monday following, by way of trial; and the two which prevail at each of those places run for the above-mentioned ten pounds on Old Wives-lees, on the 19th of May, among a great concourse of the neighbouring gentry and inhabitants, who constantly assemble there on this occasion. (fn. 1) The late Mr. Heron, as lord of Chilham, endeavoured to put an end to this diversion, but found it out of his power.

CAMDEN says, it was the current opinion among the inhabitants, that Julius Cæsar encamped here in his second expedition against the Britons, and that thence this parish acquired its name of Julham, i e. Julius's station, or house; and if he mistook not, they had truth on their side. (fn. 2) Meaning this to be the place where Cæsar, in his Commentaries, says, that having marched about twelve miles he discovered the Britons, who were advanced to the banks of a river, and begin from a rising ground to oppose the Romans and give them battle; but being repulsed, they retired to a place fortisied both by art and nature in an extraordinary manner. Camden surely seems to be mistaken here; for this place is full sixteen statute miles in a direct line from Deal, which is nearly seventeen miles and a quarter by the Roman estimation; too great a difference, we must suppose, for Cæsar to be mistaken in. It is more probable, that this was the place where the Britons, the next day after the attack, which they under the command of Cassivelaun, had made on the Romans, immediately after Cæsar's return from fortifying his camp, had posted themselves, on the hills at some distance from the Roman camp, and harassed from thence their cavalry and attacked their foragers under C. Trebonius, rushing on them so suddenly from all parts, as even to fall in with the legions and their standards. If their post for this purpose was here, the spot of it must have been at Shillingheld wood, where there are large and extensive remains of strong fortifications and entrenchments, and where the Romans afterwards, from the works already made there, and the eligibility of its situation, placed one of their castra stativa, or more lasting encampments, to which probably the scite, where the antient castle of Chilham stands, might be an exploratory fort.

In the conflict before-mentioned between the Romans and Britons, Quintus Laberius Durus, the tribune, was slain, and is supposed to have been buried under the long barrow of earth upon the chalk-hill, close on the south-east side of the river here, near French Mill, almost midway between Swerdling-downs and Shillingheld, and declining towards the latter. This is now vulgarly called Julliberries grave, and is supposed to take its name from him, and to be a corruption from the words Jul. Laber. or Julii Laberius, i. e. the grave of Julius's tribune Laberius. It is in its present state, from north to south, one hundred and forty-eight feet, and in breadth forty-five feet. At the north end it has been cut away to dig for chalk, and has been reduced perhaps forty or fifty feet, or more. Archdeacon Battely, in his Antiq. Rutup. says, it was more than one hundred and eighty feet long, more than forty broad, high seven or eight, rising to the summit in like shape as our present graves, and placed in length east and west, and differing from them only in size. Heneage, earl of Winchelsea, a nobleman curious and well versed in the knowledge of antiquities, searched by digging into this barrow, but found nothing to ascertain its origin, whether it was Roman or Saxon, whether it belonged to Laberius, or Cilla, from whom this village is by some supposed to take its name.

The present keep or castle of Chilham has not the least remains of Roman antiquity visible in or about it. The construction of the whole is plainly Norman, composed of fling, chalk, and much asheler Caen stone mixed with them. It is of an octagon form, with a square building on the east side, in which is a wooden circular staircase. It is three stories high, the uppermost of which seems to have had the grandest apartments on it; but there are no door-ways, arches, windows, or pillars left of its time of building, to form any judgment of its original state; the ivy, with which it is venerably covered, and the modern uses it has been altered and fitted up to, (fn. 3) having disguised and altered every part of it. There are two wells in it, one filled up with rubbish, the other now used for the supply of the mansion. The whole area within the ditches is eight acres, and is of an oval shape. The keep or castle stands close to the north-west side of it, on an eminence, below which the ditch is very deep, and the side of it almost perpendicular. From the top of the castle there is an extensive view of the country for many miles round, excepting towards the southwest, where the adjoining hills rise much above it.

CHILHAM was of eminent account in the earliest times, and from its situation was most probably, in the time of the antient Britons, fortified, and held by them as a place of strength against the Romans, who had several encounters in and near it with them; and afterwards, when that nation had gained a more permanent footing in this island, was more strongly fortified by them, and made use of as one of their castra stativa, or more lasting encampments; and many Roman remains have been from time to time discovered in it, in the spot where the present mansion of the castle now stands, with the plain appearance of a much more antient building under the foundations of it. This appeared when Sir Dudley Digges pulled down the old mansion of Chilham, and dug the foundations deeper for the present house, when the basis of a much more antient building was discovered, and many culinary vessels of the Romans were found at a considerable depth. After the Romans had deserted Britain, the Saxon chiefs seem to have kept possession of it, and to have had a fortress or castle on or just by the scite of the present one; and in the time of the heptarchy, Widred, king of Kent, who reigned at the latter end of the 7th century, resided at it, and made it a place of much greater strength and defence; and Bede notices that the villæ regiæ of the Saxons were mostly placed upon or near the places where the Romans had before made their stations and principal fortified encampments. After which, as this kingdom made but an inconsiderable figure, historians have made little mention of the several princes who reigned, or their transactions in it, so that there is no following account of this place till the invasion of the Danes, who in one of their in cursions, probably in either the year 838 or 851, in both which they took and plundered Canterbury, sacked and demolished this castle, which seems after this to have remained desolate till the time of the Conqueror; though the scite and domains belonging to it appear by the record of Domesday to have been, in the reign of king Edward the Consessor, in the possession of Sired de Cilleham, a noble Saxon, who had large possessions in different parts of this county, and was in the battle of Hastings, on the side of king Harold, by which he forfeited this estate to the Conqueror, who soon afterwards granted it to his half-brother Odo, bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in the book of Domesday:

In Feleberge hundred, Fulbert holds of the bishop, Cilleham. It was taxed at five at five sulings. The arable land is twenty carucates. In demesue there are two carucats, and thirty eight villeins, with twelve corttages having twelve carucates. There is a church, and six mills and an half, of six pounds and eight shillings, and two fisheries of seventeen pence, and pasture of eighteen shillings and seven pance.

In Canterbury, city there are thirteen houses belonging to this manor, paying fifteen shillings, and nine acres of meadow. Wood sufficient for the pannage of twenty hogs.

In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was valued at forty pounds, and afterwards at thirty pounds and forty shillings. Sired held it of king Edward.

Four years after which, on the bishop's disgrace, Chilham, among the rest of his possessions, became forfeited to the crown. After which this place was given to Fulbert, the former tenant of it before-mentioned, and with other lands then granted to him, made up together the barony of Fulbert, or Fobert, as it was vulgarly called from him, being held of the king in capite by barony, the tenant of them being bound by his tenure to maintain a certain number of soldiers from time to time for the defence of Dover castle, on which account he took the name of De Dover, making Chilham the caput baroniæ, or chief seat of this barony, thence called THE HONOR OF CHILHAM, (fn. 4) on which the other manors which comprehended it were dependant, which word honor, in antient times, usually signified the lordship or fee of an earl or baron, and in process of time, honor and barony came to be used as words of the same import; so that what is said of an honor, is also to be understood of a barony created by the king himself, the chief lord of the whole realm, and could be holden immediately of no other lord. He died in the reign of king Henry I. His descendant Robert de Dover, died, as it seems, before the 6th year of king John's reign, possessed of this castle and honor, and was succeeded by Roese his daughter and heir, during whose time that king came and resided at Chilham castle, in order to treat of a reconcilation with archbishop Langton. She married first Richard, son of Roger de Chilham, afterwards called Richard de Dover; secondly, Richard le Fitzroy, natural son of king John, and lastly, William de Wilton. By inquisition taken after her death, anno 56 Henry III. she was found to die possessed of the manors of Chilham, Northwood, Kingston, and Rudelingweald, all belonging to the barony of Chilham, to which barony were appendant the five churches of Rudelingweald, Kingston, Northwood, Charlton, and Hothfield, in this county. Richard de Dover, her son, died afterwards s. p. and John, earl of Asceles, or Athol, in Scotland, son of Isabel his sister, by David de Strabolgie, earl of Athol, was found to be his heir; though her second husband Alexander Baliol, in her right, took possession of this castle and manor, which by the courtesy of England he held during his life. She died at Chilham in 1292, and was buried in the undercroft of the cathedral of Canterbury, where her monument yet remains, with her effigies lying at full length on it, and three shields of arms, two of them, three cinquesoils, two and one; and the other, the arms of the Isle of Man. He died in 1305, anno 34 king Edward I. and it appears that he had summons to parliament among the barons of this realm on his possessions of this barony, and in right of it, as he had several times afterwards, the writs being directed, Alex. de Balliolo Dno de Chilhan. (fn. 5) And in the 19th year of the above reign, he and his wife Isabel, obtained a grant of a market here, on a Tuesday weekly, and a fair on the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary.

John, earl of Athol, above-mentioned, having been guilty of several acts of treason in the wars of Scotland, against king Edward I. was in the 34th year of that reign, hanged at London, and in order to make his punishment exemplary and public, in proportion to the greatness of his birth, he was hanged upon a gallows fifty feet high, and taken down when half dead, and beheaded, and his body thrown into the fire; a punishment so inhuman, as rarely to be practised in this kingdom, (fn. 6) and his lands were confiscated to the crown, where this castle and manor staid till king Edward II. in his 5th year, granted the fee of it, together with the hundred of Felebergh, among other lands, to Bartholomew de Badlesmere, who, from his greatness and possessions was stiled, the rich lord Badlesmere of Ledes; but in the 15th year of that reign, having joined with the discontented barons, and refusing queen Isabel entrance into his castle of Leeds, his lands were seized, and he himself, being soon afterwards taken, was executed. Upon which the king, in regard of the eminent services of David de Strabolgie, son of John, earl of Athol, before-mentioned, granted him that year, being his 15th, for the term of his life, the castle, manor, and honor of Chilham, part of the possessions of Isabel de Dover his grandmother; and on his being restored to the possession of this honor, he was frequently summoned among the barons of this realm, by reason of it, to parliament. (fn. 7) On his death, anno 1 Edward III. they reverted again to the crown, whence they were granted the next year, to Giles de Badlesmere, son of Bartholomew above mentioned, the process and judgment against his father having been reversed, and two years afterwards he had a grant of free-warren in all his demesne lands here and elsewhere, and a confirmation of the grant of the market and fair in his manor of Chilham. He died s. p. in the 12th year of that reign, leaving his four sisters his coheirs; and upon the division of their inheritance, Margery, the wife of William, lord Roos, of Hamlake, had this castle and manor, among others, assigned to her for her share of it. At length his descendant Thomas, lord Roos, afterwards becoming a firm friend to the house of Lancaster, was attainted anno 1 Edward IV. and this castle and manor, among the rest of his estates, became confiscated to the crown, where it did not re main long, for the king that year granted it to Sir John Scott, of Scotts-hall, one of his privy-council, for the term of his life, who in the 16th year of that reign, had a confirmation of the market and free-warren, and in the 22nd and 23rd year of it he had an exemplification of all the various liberties in Chilham and Whitstaple. He died in 1485, anno 3 king Richard III. and then it again returned to the crown, where it seems to have continued till it was granted by king Henry VIII. to Thomas Manners, lord Roos, afterwards created earl of Rutland, who in the 30th year of that reign conveyed it back again, by sale, to that king, by the description of the honour, castle, lordship, and manor of Chylham, with all its rights, members, and appurtenances, (fn. 8) all which the king, in his 32d year, granted to Sir Thomas Chene, treasurer of his houshold and warden of the five ports, to hold to him and his heirs male in capite, by knight's service; and in the 4th year of Edward VI. he had a grant from the king of the same, to him and his heirs, by the like tenure. He resisded here during the former reign, having added much to the grandeur of the buildings, but afterwards preferring his manor of Shurland, in the Isle of Shepey, for his future residence, he pulled down the greatest part of this seat of Chilham, and removing the materials to Shurland, completed a noble mansion there, at which he resided afterwards; and Lambarde, in his Perambulation, says, that in Leland's time, (who died in 1552) the building here at Chilham was not only commodious for use and beautiful for pleasure, but strong for defence and resistance, and continued so till the materials were removed to Shurland. His only son Henry, afterwards kinghted and created lord Cheney, of Tuddington, anno 3 Elizabeth, levied a fine of all his lands, and in the 10th year of it sold this castle and manor to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Wye, whose son of the same name, of Ollantigh, leaving four daughters his coheirs, Anne, married to Sir John Cutts; Dorothy, to Sir Thomas Chicheley; Mary, to Sir Dudley Diggs, and Amy, to Sir Henry Skipwith; they, in right of their wives, became entitled jointly to this estate, and the three others soon afterwards conveying their respective shares, Sir Dudley Diggs and his lady became possessed of the entire fee of it.

Sir Dudley Diggs pulled down the antient mansion of Chilham, and on entire new foundations began to erect the present magnificent structure, which seems to have been finished for his residence about the year 1616. He succeeded in 1637, to the office of master of the rolls, and dying here in 1638, was buried in the church of Chilham. He was descended from Roger de Mildenhall dictus Digge, who lived in the reign of king John, whose son John Digge lived in the reigns of king Henry III. and Edward I. and having founded the house of the Friars Minors, in Canterbury, lies buried there, bearing for his arms, Gules, on a cross, argent, five eagles displayed, sable. James Digges, his descendant, marrying two wives, his issue by his first, succeeded to the family possessions and seat of Diggescourt, in Barham, under the description of which a further account of them may be seen; by his second wife he had one son Leonard Digge, the famous mathematician in the reigns of king Edward VI. and queen Mary, whose grandson was Sir Dudley Digges above-mentioned, a man of eminent abilities, and author of several political discourses, whose character is well drawn up in his life, printed among the Oxford Writers in Wood's Ath. Oxon. (fn. 9) in which he says, after many encomiums on his public and private virtues, that the wisest men reckoned his death among the public calamities of those times. He left several sons and daughters, of whom Thomas Digges, esq. the eldest son, succeeded him here, and in the 1st year of king James I. levied a fine of the barony of Fobert, otherwise called the honor and castle of Chilham, with appurtenances, and of the manors of Chilham, Herst, and Juvenis, alias Young. He died in 1687, leaving several children, of whom Sir Maurice Digges, the eldest son, was created a baronet in 1665, who died s. p. in 1666, in his father's life-time, as did his other sons, s. p. all but Leonard the youngest, who remained at his father's death the only surviving son and heir, and afterwards resided at Chilham castle, of which he died possessed in 1717. John Digges, esq his el son, possessed this estate, and dying s. p. in 1710, was succeeded in it by Col. Thomas Digges, his brother and heir, who in 1724, conveyed the honour, manor, and castle of Chilham, with its appurtenances, and the several manors, lands, and premises possessed by him in this and the adjoining parishes, to Mr. James Colebrooke, of London, who died possessed of them in 1752. He left three sons, the eldest son, Robert Colebrooke, esq, married first Henrietta, eldest daughter of lord Harry Powlet, since duke of Bolton, who died s. p. and secondly, Elizabeth Thresher, who is still surviving, but s. p. He died in France in 1784, and was deposited in the family mausoleum adjoining to Chilham church. James, the second son, left two daughters his coheirs; Mary, married to John Aubrey, esq. and Emma, to Charles, earl of Tankerville. He was first knighted in 1759, and that year created a baronet, with remainder to his brother George, late an eminent banker, who on his death in 1761, succeeded to the title of baronet, and became chairman of the East-India company, and is still surviving. Robert Colebrooke, esq. the eldest son, succeeded him here, and resided at Chilham castle, which, together with the honour, manor, and castle, and the several other estates purchased by his father, as above-mentioned, he alie nated in 1775, under the authority of an act of parliament, to Thomas Heron, esq. of Newark upon Trent, who was heir male of the Herons, of Bokenfield, in Northumberland, of that family, which held the land-barony of Heron by antient seoffment, and of the family of the Herons, of Ford-castle, who were barons by summons. He was the son of Robert Heron, the son of John and Jane Crayle, who died at Newark in 1753, and was buried at Westborough, near Newark, leaving four sons and two daughters. Of the sons, John died at Villeneuve St. George, near Paris, in 1753, leaving only two daughters; Thomas was the next eldest surviving son, and the purchaser of Chilham castle, who had by Anne his late wife (eldest daughter of Sir Edward Wilmot, bart.) one son Robert, of Lincolnshire, who married Amelia, second daughter of Sir Horace Mann, bart. and two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth. Robert was rector of Shawell, in Leicestershire, and vicar of Basingthorpe, in Lincolnshire; and the youngest son Richard, being in 1777 appointed principal-secretary to the earl of Buckinghamshire, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, was sworn of his Majesty's privy council in that kingdom, and in 1778 was created a baronet of Great-Britain, with remainder to Thomas Heron his brother, and his heirs male. They bear for their arms, Gules, three berons, argent. (fn. 10) Mr. Heron afterwards resided at Chilham castle, to which he made considerable additions and improvements, and afterwards in 1792, conveyed this seat, with the estate belonging to it, to Thomas Wildman, esq. who is the present possessor of it, and now resides at Chilham castle.

A court leet and court baron is held for the manor of Chilham; at which the several rents due from the denberries in the Weald are likewise collected, the tenants holding them in soccage tenure. The manors and lands now held of the honour of Chilham by knight's service, are the manors of Huntingfield, Shillinghelde, Kyngeston, Denton, Estewer, Herste, Luddenham, Wetherlings, Northecourt, Colebridge, Lappington, Dyvynne, Placy, Yonge, Much Hougham, Little Hougham, Goddislande, Sibberston, and Maxton. The royalty of it, on the river Stour, extends from Shalmsford bridge to the bounds of Godmersham parish.

THE MANOR OF YOUNGS, called in antient Latin records Juvenis, alias Young, the house of which is situated a little more than a mile south-westward from the church, was part of those lands granted to Fullbert de Dover, for the defence of Dover castle, as has been already mentioned, and made up together the barony of Fobert. Of him this manor was again held of that barony by knight's service, by owners who seem to have given name to it. William Juvenis, alies Yonge, held it by the above tenure, as did his descendant Richard Juvenis afterwards in the reign of king John. After this name was extinct here, this manor came into the possession of the Everings, one of whom, Thomas Evering, held it in the reign of Edward III. Soon after which the family of Beverley, seated first at Harbledown, and afterwards at Fordwich, became owners of it. In which name this manor continued till at length it was alienated by George Beverley, in the 4th and 5th years of Philip and Mary, to Robert Barley, (fn. 11) in whose descendants it continued till about the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, when it was sold to Fleet, descended from those of Fleet, in the Isle of Thanet, who quickly afterwards passed it away to Shepheard, whose descendant Richard Shepheard, clerk, died possessed of it about 1638, leaving two daughters, Mary and Ruth, his coheirs, who became entitled to it in undivided moieties. (fn. 12) Ruth, the youngest, having married John Browne, they joined in the sale of their share of it to Anthony Hammond, esq. of St. Albans, who afterwards resided here, having married Anne, daughter of Sir Dudley Digges, by whom he had several children christened at Chilham whilst he resided at this manor-house, which at that time was a large mansion, though now reduced to a farm house. Mary, the eldest coheir, afterwards dying unmarried, John Browne above-mentioned succeeded, in right of his wife, to her moiety of it, and he and Mr. Hammond became joint possessors of it, and afterwards, about the year 1653, joined in the sale of it to Thomas Digges, esq. Since which it has continued in the same owners that the honour of Chilham has, and as such is now the property of Thomas Wildman, esq. of Chilham castle. A court baron is held for this manor.

HERST is a manor here, situated on the south-east side of the Ashford road, adjoining to the manor of Esture and Godmersham, which was likewise part of those lands granted to Fulbert de Dover, and made up part of his barony, as before-mentioned, of which it was held by knight's service, by a family who took their name from it. John de Herste held this manor in the 2d year of king John, as did his descendant Hamo de Herste in the reign of Edward II. and in the 20th year of Edward III. on the aid then levied, the heirs of John de Herste were charged for it, as being held by knight's service, as of the castle of Chilham. How long this name continued here I do not find; but the next owners that I meet with, were the Darells, and in the 30th year of Henry VIII. Thomas Darell, esq. of Scotney, held this manor of the honour of Chilham. His son Thomas Darell, esq. alienated it to Philip Chute, esq. whose son Thomas, before the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated it to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Wye; who likewise purchased the honour and castle of Chilham. Since which the manor of Hersle has continued in the same succession of ownership with it, and is now as such the property of Thomas Wildman, esq.

There was a small turret in Dover castle, adjoining to Caldercotts tower, which belonged to the owners of this manor to defend and repair.

ESTURE, vulgarly called Estower and Estuart, so called from its situation on the river Stour or Sture, is a manor in the south part of this parish, adjoining to Godmersham, which was likewise another part of those lands given to Fulbert de Dover, and became part of his barony of Chilham, or Fobert, as it was afterwards called from him, of which it was held again by Knight's service, by a family of its own name. Stephen de Esture held it in the reign of king John, as did his descendant John de Esture, who lived here in the reigns of king Henry III. and Edward I. as appears by several antient deeds, without date, belonging to it. At length John de Esture leaving an only daughter and heir, she carried it in marriage to Thomas de Valoyns, who, in right of his wife, paid aid for it, in the 20th year of Edward III. being held as of this castle of Chilham. Soon after which it came into the possession of the family of Apulderfield, of Otterpley, in Challock, a younger branch of those of Badmangore, in Linsted, in which it continued till by a female heir Isabel it went in marriage to John Idelegh, whose descendant William Idelegh leaving likewise an only daughter and heir Agnes, she entitled her husband Christopher Ellenden, owner of Ellenden, in Seasalter and Bleane, to it, and from him this manor descended to Thomas Ellenden, whose daughter and heir Mary, about the reign of Henry VIII. marrying Edward Thwayts, he became in her right possessed of it, and in the 31st year of that reign had his lands disgavelled, by the act then passed for that purpose. He died anno 4 Edward VI. and his grandson Thomas Thwayts, whose name is spelt Twayts, alias Twatts, in the escheat rolls, anno 7 Elizabeth; the arms of whose family were formerly in the windows of this church, being Argent, a cross, sable, fretty, argent; quartered with Sable, a lion, rampant, crowned, or, sold this manor, about the middle of that reign to George Moreton, esq. who resided here, being descended from those of Milborne St. Andrews, in Dorsetshire. George Moreton above-mentioned, had three sons; Sir Robert, the eldest, was a captain in the Netherlands, and possessed this manor, where he afterwards resided, and lies buried in Chilham church, as does Anne his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Finch, and sister of John, lord Fordwich, by whom he had two sons, George and Albert, and a daughter Mary, who all died s. p. She was the widow of Levin Palmer, son and heir of Sir Henry Palmer, of Howletts. Sir Thomas, the second son, was a colonel in the army, and left a son Thomas; and Sir Albert, the third, was secretary of state to king Charles II. and married Elizabeth Apsley, by whom he had no issue. (fn. 13) They bore for their arms, Quarterly, gules and ermine; in the dexter, chief and sinister, base, each a goat's head erased, argent, attired, or. Sir Robert Moreton, of Esture, the eldest son, died in 1637, and was succeeded by his son George Moreton, esq. who, about the year 1642, alienated this manor to Sir Nathaniel Finch, king's sergeant-at-law, who bore the same arms as the Finch's, of Eastwell, as appears by them in the windows of Grays Inn hall, under which he is stiled sergeant to queen Henrietta Maria. He was succeeded in it by his kinsman John, lord Finch, baron of Fordwich, who died possessed of it in 1661, s.p. leaving his window Mabella, daughter of Sir Charles Fotherbye, dean of Canterbury, surviving, who afterwards by his will became possessed of this manor for her life. She died in 1669, and on her death it came, by the lord Finch's will, to Anne, lady Morgan, his niece, on whose death it came by his entail of it to his niece Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Modyford, knight and baronet, late governor of Jamaica, who bore for his arms, Ermine, on a bend, azure, a mullet, argent, between two garbs, or; and he in her right became entitled to it, and dying about the year 1692, it descended to his son, of the same name, and on his death, by the limitations in lord Finch's will, to Anne Modyford, Mary and Richard Oldfield, and William and Charles Bowles, who about the year 1734 alienated it to Thomas May, esq. of Godmersham, who afterwards took the name of Knight, and died possessed of it in 1781, as did his only son and heir Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmersham, in 1794, and his widow Mrs. Catherine Knight, now of the White Friars, in Canterbury, is the present owner of it.

OLD WIVES LEES is a manor situated in this parish, on the south side of the lees, about a mile eastward from the church. It is now usually called Oldslees, but its more antient and true name was Oldwoods-lees, as appears by various deeds belonging to it, some of which are very antient and without date, and was so called from a family of that name, who continued owners of it till the reign of Henry VI. when the daughter and heir of John Oldwood carried it in marriage to Payne, in whose descendants it continued down to William Payn, who resided here, and dying in 1594, lies buried in this church, bearing for his arms, Parted per saltier, sable, and argent, a lion rampant, counterchanged. (fn. 14) He left four daughters his coheirs, and upon the division of his estates among them, this manor was alloted to Mary the eldest, as the seat of her father, then married to Mr. Thomas Cobbe, the son of Martin Cobbe, of Limne, fourth son of Thomas Cobbe, of Aldington, in Henry VIII.'s reign, who in her right became possessed of it, and afterwards resided here; and in his descendants, who most of them lie buried in this church, it continued down to Mr. Thomas Cobbe, of Chilham, who alienated it in the beginning of this century to Thomas Belke, D. D. who died possessed of it in 1712, and by his will devised this estate, among others, to his niece Mary, daughter of his brother Anthony, who in 1713 married Mr. Bryan Bentham, gent. of Chatham, (fn. 15) whose eldest son Edward afterwards became possessed of it, and in 1772 conveyed it by sale to John Garlin Hatch, of Deal, afterwards of Canterbury, who in 1776 alienated this manor to Thomas Heron, esq. of Chilham castle, as he again did. to Thomas Wildman, esq. the present owner of it.

DINGLEY, alias BORELAND, is a small manor, situated in the borough of Boreland, in this parish, the house of it lying about three-quarters of a mile north. east from the church, which in the reign of king Henry VIII. was in the possession of Sir Mattehew Brown, whose son Sir Anthony appears by the king's receiver's roll, in the Augmentation-office, to have been possessed of it in the 30th year of that reign. (fn. 16) After this name was extinct here, it came into the possession of Austen, one of which name, Matthew Austen, died possessed of it about the year 1640; it afterwards descended down to Thomas Austen, who in 1681 alienated it to Sir John Fagg, bart. who at his death devised it to his second son Charles Fagg, esq. whose great-grandson the Rev. Sir John Fagg, bart. of Chartham, is the present possessor of it.

ENSINGE, otherwise Lower Ensinge, is another small manor here, situated within the borough of Northerne, the house being about a mile and a quarter north-east from the church, which was formerly in the possession of a family of the name of Ensinge, one of whom, Robert Ensinge, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. was in possession of it, and then held it by knight's service of the manor of Chilham, and in one of the windows of Chilham church were formerly the arms of Ensing, Sable, three swords erect, two and one, argent, pomels, or. After this it came into the family of Petit, in which it continued till about the year 1640, when it became divided into moieties, one of which continued in the name of Petit, whence it came to Belke, in which it remained till Anne Belke, widow, at her death in 1734, devised her interest in it by will to her relation Mrs. Elizabeth Master, widow, who in 1744 purchased of Richard Grant the other moiety, and then became possessed of the entire fee of it. She died about the year 1759, and by her last will devised this manor, with the lands belonging to it, to Sir Henry Oxenden, bart. the present owner of it.

SHILLINGHELD is a manor here, situated about a mile north-westward from the church, adjoining to Selling, and was once of eminent account, though now almost sunk into obscurity. The mansion of it stood, for there hath not been any remains of one left time out of mind, in the wood still known by the name of Shillingheld wood, being part of a farm called Stone-style, in Selling. In this wood there still appear among the various intrenchments thrown up in and about it, evident marks of large buildings having once been erected in it.

It was part of those lands granted to Fulhert de Dover, for the defence of Dover-castle, as has been mentioned before, and made parcel of his barony of Chilham, called likewise from him the barony of Fobert; of which it was held again by knight's service, by owners who took their surname from it. John de Shyllyngheld held it in the reign of king John, as did his descendant Guido de Shillyngheld in that of king Edward II. and on the aid levied in the 20th year of Edward III. his heirs paid aid for it. After which it came into the possession of John Clerke, who held it, as appears by the escheat-rolls, at his death in the 41st year of that reign; but soon after that Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, was become possessed of it; and he died possessed of it in the 5th year of king Richard II. when it was found by inquisition that he held it of the king in capite as of his castle of Dover. His two grandsons, Edmund and Roger, both died s.p. and by the inquisition taken after the death of the latter, anno 3 Henry VI. he was found to die possessed of this manor, and that Richard, duke of York, son of Anne his sister, was his next heir. He succeeded accordingly to this manor. But he was slain anno 39 Henry VI. in the battle of Wakefield, fought against the house of Lancaster; and yet the inquisition after his death, by reason of the confusion of those times, was not taken till the 3d year of king Edward IV. when the king was found to be his eldest son and next heir; (fn. 17) in which the duke is said to have died possessed of this manor, which in fact was not so; for the year before his death, a long attainder had passed against him, and others, with the forfeiture of all their hereditaments. About the middle of king Edward IV.'s reign, Cicely, duchess of York, his widow, the king's mother, seems to have come into the possession of this manor, of which she died possessed anno 10 king Henry VII. and it remained in the hands of the crown till king Henry VIII. granted it in his 29th year to Thomas Hawkins, esq. of Boughton, and he had again in the 35th year of that reign new letters patent of it, to hold of the king in socage. Since which it has continued in his descendants to the present time, Thomas Hawkins, esq. of Nash, in Boughton, being now owner of it, as well as of the adjoining farm of Stone-style, in Selling.

DANE, usually called Dane court, is a manor in this parish, situated about three quarters of a mile westward from Chilham church. It was antiently the partimony of Thomas de Garwinton, of Welle, in Littleborne, and he held it, as appears by antient court-rolls, in the reigns of king Edward I. and II. His great-grandchild William Garwinton, of Welle, dying s.p. in the 11th year of Henry IV. Joane Garwinton was found by inquisition to be his cousin and next of kin, and she having married Richard Haut, a younger branch of those of Bourne, he, in her right became entitled to it. His son Richard lived in the reign of Henry VII. and left an only daughter and heir Margerie, who carried it in marriage to William Isaak, whose descendant, Edward Isaak, in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated this manor to Mr. Edward Hales, the third son of Edward Hales, esq. of Tenterden, who, as appears by a date now remaining on this house, rebuilt it in 1580, and resided in it. He died in 1586, and was buried in this church. His son Edward resided at Faversham, where he died in 1634, leaving his four sons, Edward, Thomas, James, and John, his coheirs in gavelkind, who in 1635 conveyed this manor, with its appurtenances, to Robert Dixon, of Chilham, yeoman, and he in 1650 conveyed it to Robert Sprakeling, gent. of Boughton Aluph, descended from those of St. Laurence, in the Isle of Thanet, being of a younger branch of them. In whose descendants it continued down to Robert Sprakerling, gent. who in 1743 conveyed it to James Colebrooke, esq. of Chilham-castle, after which it passed, in like manner with the honour of Chilham, to Thomas Heron, esq. who sold it to Thomas Wildman, esq. the present possessor of it.

DENNE is a manor which lies at the north west extremity of this parish, and seems to have had the same owners formerly that the above-described manor of Dane had, and continued so till Robert Dixon, owner likewise of that manor, alienated it to Clement, whose descendant Richard Clement, gent. devised the manor of Denne by his will, about the year 1736, to his daughter Catherine, Wife of Bryan Taylor, gent. after whose death it was, in 1785, conveyed by sale, under a decree of the court of chancery, to Cyprian Rondeau Bunce, gent. of Canterbury, who afterwards alienated the same to Mr. James Finch, of that city, the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.


HENRY PEMBLE, gent. of Chilham, by will in 1599, gave to the poor 10l. with which was purchased a piece of land. containing an acre and an half, in Chilham, which was conveyed in trust, for the churchwardens to bestow the profits yearly upon poor people, who should dwell in this parish.

WILLIAM FOGGE, gent. of Chilham, by will in 1616, gave to the poor 101. to be laid out in the purchase of land; which, in consequence of a decree by the commission for charitable uses in 1627, was laid out in the purchase of one acre and an half of land, which was conveyed in trust to the churchwardens, for the use of the poor of this parish.

THOMAS PETIT, ESQ. of St. George's, Canterbury, by his will in 1626, devised 50l. to be disposed of to young married people for ever, the poorest, as near as might be, of each of the four parishes of Chilham, Chartham, the parish where he should died, and Chilstlet, to be nominated by the several ministers, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor respectively; and that no controversty might be, how many of each parish should be appointed, he willed, that the commissary, or official of the diocese of Canterbury, should from time to time direct how many poor couples of young married people of each of the parishes respecttively should enjoy this gift; and he ordered that when the trustees originally named, should be reduced to five, they were to convey this land to other seoffees, of this parish, so that there should always be ten seofees.

SIR DUDLEY DIGGS, by a codicil to his will in 1638, charged his lands in Chilham with 20l. per annum, to be paid every 25th of March, to the churchwardens, for the yearly repair of the little burying-place he had then built; and that then on the 19th of May, they should give to the young men of Chilham, who should ring a peal in remembrance of him, 20s. for their dinner; which done, whatever should be left, should be distributed between 20 poor men, 20 poor women, and 20 poor children of Chilham, as took no allowance from the common purse; to be nominated by the advice of the lord of the manor, he vicar of the church for the time being, and the steward of the court, or some one of them.

The churchwardens and overseers of the poor of this parish, for the sum of 50l. purchased one parcel of land, called Badlesmere land, in Selling, containing five acres; and another piece, called Women's knole, in Chilham, containing two acres, to the use of the poor of this parish for ever.

A FIELD in Chilham, containing one acre and a quarter, belongs to this parish; but by whom given, or to what use, is unknown.

JOHN FINN, in 1702, sold to the churchwardens all his interest for several long terms of years, in a house and orchard, containing hald an acre, in trust for this parish, for the relief of the poor of it. After which, the house becoming so decayed and ruinous, as to be no longer in a condition to be supported, the parishioners rebuilt it at at considerable expence, and kept their poor in it till 1736, when James Colebrooke, esq. of Chilham castle, in consideration of the terms and premises being assigned to him, conveyed to trustees, for the use of the parish, a piece of ground, situated near Burgoine lane, in this parish, on which he had erected for this purpose, a range of buildings, containing eight rooms or different dwelling for the poor of it to dwell in, and to be disposed of from time to time afterwards, in like manner as the other house and land was directed to be disposed of.

LEWIS GOLD, who lived servant with Robert Colebrooke, esq. at Chilham castle, by his will in 1785, gave to this parish 20l. to be laid out at interest for the benefit of the poor of it for ever.

The poor constantly relieved are about fifty, casually forty.

CHILHAM is within the Ecclesiastical Ju risdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Bridge.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a handsome building, consisting of a body and two isles, all covered with lead, and a high chancel, with two chaples, one of which is dedicated to St. Anne, on the south side; there was a chantry on the north side, now pulled down, with a transept, all covered with tile. It has a tower steeple at the west end, on one corner of which is a beacon turret, which till of late was covered with a small spire. There are six bells and a clock in it. The steeple was built about the year 1534, as appears by a legacy towards the building of it. In the chancel is a monument for Margaret, sister of Sir D. Digges, wife of Sir Anthony Palmer, K. B. obt. 1619. He lies buried here, within the altar-rails, obt. 1630. A memorial for Anne St. Leger, mother of Sir D. Diggs, obt. 1636, and several memorials for the Fogges. In the body of the church are memorials for the Cumberlands, Paynes, Cobbes, Belkes, and Bates; in the north transept, for Masters, Petits, Spracklyns, and Cobbe; and in the south one for Dixon. There were formerly in the windows the arms of Ensing and Thawyts, as has been already mentioned, and of Ross and Honywood. In the chapel on the south side of the chancel, probably that of St. Anne, is the burial vault built by Sir Dudley Diggs, for himself and family, and referred to by his will, in it many of this family lie buried; and in the chapel is a monument for Mary Kempe, lady Digges, wife of Sir Dudley, with her genealogy and that of Digges, and another for Sir D. Digges himself, 1638; and on the north side, probably where the old chantry above-mentioned was, is a circular mausoleum, with a cupola at top, built by the Colebrooke family for their use.

The church of Chilham was antiently an appendage appurtenant to the honor and manor of Chilham; but so early as the reign of king Stephen it was separated from it, and in the possession of William de Ipre, who in 1153 gave it to the priory of Throwley, which was confirmed by king Stephen that year. (fn. 18)

This religious house was an alien priory, established as a cell to the Benedictine abbey of St. Bertin, the capital of Artois, in Flanders, from whence a certain number of monks, who were mostly foreigners, and removeable at pleasure, were sent over, with a prior at their head, who were little more than stewards to their superior abbey, to which they returned the revenues of their possessions annually; for which reason, during the wars with France, as their revenues went to support the king's enemies, these kind of houses were generally seized, and restored again upon the return of peace.

In the 8th year of king Richard II. this church of Chilham was valued at forty pounds, at which time it was become appropriated to this cell, and a vicarage was endowed in it. In which situation both parsonage and vicarage remained till the general suppression of the alien priories throughout England, in the 2d year of Henry V. when this of Throwley was, among others, suppressed, and it seems to have remained in the hands of the crown till king Henry VI. in his 22nd year, settled it on the monastery of Sion, founded by his father. With which this church and vicarage continued till the general suppression of religious houses, this of Sion being one of those greater monasteries dissolved by the act of 31 Henry VIII. by which all such, together with their possessions, were given to the king. This parsonage and vicarage thus coming into the hands of the crown, the king in his 32d year, granted the rectory of Chilham, together with the chapel of Molash, and the advowson of the vicarage of the church of Chilham, with all their appurtenances, together with the manor of Chilham, to Sir Thomas Chene, in manner as has been already mentioned; (fn. 19) whose only son and heir Henry, lord Cheney, of Tuddington, in the 3d year of queen Elizabeth levied a fine of all his lands, and soon afterwards seems to have alienated a moiety of the parsonage of Chilham, with all the tithes and emoluments belonging to it, arising on the east of the high road leading from Godmersham, through Chilham town to Faversham; and they are now the property of the Rev. Sir John Fagg, bart. The great tithes of the chapel and parish of Molash seem to have been alienated by him at the same time, as will be further mentioned hereafter; but the other moiety and remainder of the parsonage of Chilham, with all the tithes arising in the parish, on the other or west side of the above-mentioned high road, together with the advowson of the vicarage of Chilham, with the appendant chapel of Molash, was alienated by him, together with the honor and castle, in the 10th year of queen Elizabeth, to Sir Thomas Kempe, since which they have passed together in manner as has been more fully mentioned before, in a like succession of ownership down to Thomas Wildman, esq. the present possessor of this part of the parsonage, and parton likewise of the advowson of the church of Chilham.

The vicarage of Chilham, with the chapel of Molash, is valued in the king's books at 13l. 6s. 8d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 6s. 8d. In 1578 here were communications three hundred and fifty nine. In 1640 it was valued at eighty-nine pounds. Communicants three hundred and seventy-seven. It is now worth two hundred pounds per annum.

IT HAS BEEN mentioned, that there was A CHANTRY on the north side of this church. It was endowed with twenty-two acres of land, as appears by the roll in the Augmentation-office, of 30 Henry VIII. This chantry was dissolved by the act of the 1st year of king Edward VI. The last incumbent of it, John Castelyn, was living anno 1553, and had then a pension of six pounds. (fn. 20)

By the survey of chantries in the above office, taken in the 2d year of king Edward VI. it appears that Robert Pell gave a house and garden in Chilhæn, on condition that the stipendiary priest there should live in it.

There was in 1349 A CHAPEL in the castle of Chilliam, called the free chapel of the blessed Virgin Mary, of which Margery, lady Roos, daughter of Bartholomew, lord Badlesmere, and widow of William, lord Roos de Hamlake, was patroness, and accordingly that year, at her presentation, the see of Canterbury being then vacant, one Osbertus was admitted by the prior and chapter of Christ-church, personally to serve as a perpetual chaplain in it.

Church of Chilham, with the Chapel of Molash annexed.

Or by whom presented.
Sir Thomas Kempe Ezechias Fogg, gent. 1568, obt Sept. 22, 1622. (fn. 21).
Sir Dudley Diggs. Thomas Jackson, S. T. P. ind Dec. 17, 1624.
Thomas Diggs, esq. William Belke, A. M. ind. Oct. 21, 1646, resigned.
Sampson Horne, A. M. ejected 1662. (fn. 22).
Robert Cumberland, A. B. ind. Feb. 2, 1663, obt. March 9, 1711. (fn. 23).
Leonard Diggs, esq. Richard Bate, A. B. inducted Oct. 9, 1711, obt. March 4, 1736. (fn. 24)
James Colebrooke, esq. Wadham Knatchball, LL. B. ind. March 8, 1739, obt. Dec. 1760. (fn. 25)
Robert Colebrooke, esq. Philip Francis, A. M. inducted June 22, 1761, resig. 1762. (fn. 26)
John Key, patron for this turn. Jarvis Kenrick, A. B. inducted July 1762, the present vicar.


  • 1. See vol. vi. of this history, p. 482.
  • 2. Camd. Brit. p. 238. Lamb. Peramb. p 306.
  • 3. An engraving of the ichnography of it is added to this volume.
  • 4. See Lamb. Peramb. from pat. anno 15 Johan, p. i, m. 8.
  • 5. See Dugd. Bar. vol. i. p. 462. 525. Rymer, tom. ii. p. 74, 248, 343.
  • 6. Camden, p. 238. Dugd Bar. vol. ii. p. 95.
  • 7. See Dugd. Summ. to Parliament, Preface.
  • 8. Augtn. off. deeds of purchase and exchange, box A. 35.
  • 9. Vol. i. col. 618. See his speeches in parliament among the Harleian MSS.
  • 10. A continuation of his pedigree from the Herons of Bokenfeld; the original whereof, signed by Robert Heron the father, is now remaining in the Herald's office, book 3d, D. 14, p. 95 and 96. And in 1771 his sons, the above-named Thomas, Robert, and Richard, entered in the College of Arms, a continuation of their pedigree; the original of which, signed by them, is now in that office, in book marked 6th, D. 14, p. 83, 84.
  • 11. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 14, 15.
  • 12. Court rolls of Chilham, from which most of the following account is taken.
  • 13. Aubrey's Antiquities of Surry, vol. i. p. 39, and pedigree of Moreton in Herald's office.
  • 14. See pedigree of Payne, Visitation co. Kent, 1619.
  • 15. See more of them, vol. vi. of this history, p. 491.
  • 16. The account of this manor is taken from the court-rolls of that manor.
  • 17. See more of the Mortimers, vol. ii. of this history, p. 225.
  • 18. The charters of this gift and confirmation were till lately in the treasury of the abbey of St. Bertin, as where several others relating to this church.
  • 19. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 7. Ibid. pt. 1.
  • 20. Willis's Mitred Abbeys, vol. ii. p. 104.
  • 21. He lies buried in the chancel, and is called gentleman on his gravestone. He is there said to be descended from the Fogges of Ripton. He was possessed of estates in this parish, where his pesterity, many of whom lie buried in this church, continued many years afterwards.
  • 22. Ejected by the Bartholomew Act. See Kennet's Chron. and Calamy's Life of Baxter, p. 286.
  • 23. He lies buried in this church.
  • 24. He was likewise rector of Warehorne, and was buried in this church.
  • 25. Brother of Sir Wyndham Knatchbull, bart. and was chancellor and prebendary of Durham. He rebuilt the present vicarage-house.
  • 26. He was also rector of Skeyton, in Norfolk, and resigned this vicarage for the rectory of Barrow, in Suffolk, He was author of the translation and commentaries on Horace, a translation of Demosthenes, and several other learned works.