Parishes: Graveney

Pages 28-38

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

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LIES the next parish north-westward from Hernehill. It was called in the time of the Saxons, Graven-ea, and afterwards, by corruption of language, Gravenel, in like manner as Oxney, Pevensey, and Rumency, were corruptly called Oxenel, Pevensel, and Rumenel; (fn. 1) the name of it denoting its low and watery situation, and it is now, by contraction, usually called Grainey.

IT LIES about two miles from the high London road, on the north side of it, at the 48th mile-stone, the parish of Goodnestone intervening, in a low country adjoining the marshes, of which there is a large quantity, both fresh and salt within it, Faversham creek and the Swale being the western and northern boundaries of it. The soil of it various, there being in the level part some rich tillage land, and on the rises or small hills in it, a light soil of both sand and gravel. The church stands in the eastern part of the parish, having Graveneycourt, with an antient gateway, and numerous offices, singularly built round it, well worth observation, as denoting its former respectable state. In the western part is Nagdon, adjoining to Faversham creck, having a decoy for wild fowl, and a large quantity of marsh land belonging to it. There is but little thoroughfare here, and no village, the houses being interspersed straggling throughout it. Upon the whole though unhealthy, it has not an unpleasant aspect, being well cloathed with trees, especially elm, which are very thriving here, and in great plenty; the roads are remarkably well taken care of, as are the poor, and the whole parish seems to thrive well under the care of the inhabitants of Graveney-court. There are some parts of this parish separated from the rest by those of Faversham and Goodneston intervening.

There are several scarce plants observed by Mr. Jacob in this parish, and enumerated in this Plantæ Favershamienses.

THE ARCHBISHOP'S paramount manor of Boughton claims over the whole of this parish, as being within that hundred, subordinate to which is the manor of Graveney.

In the year 811, Wlfred, archbishop of Canterbury, purchased this place of Cenulph, king of Mercia, who had made the kingdom of Kent tributary to him, for the use of Christ-church, Canterbury, as appears by the leiger book of that priory, and that it was given L. S. A. that is, Libere Sicut Adisham, with the same liberties, immunities, and privileges that Adisham was. Soon after which, one Werhard, a powerful priest, and kinsman to the archbishop, found means to gain possession of it, and kept it till that prelate's death in 830, when Feogild succeeding to the see of Canterbury, though he sat in it but three months, yet in that time he compelled Werhard to restore Gravene then computed at thirty-two hides of land, to the church; and it was afterwards confirmed to it in anno 941, by king Edmund, Eadred his brother, and Edwyn son of the latter; (fn. 2) and it remained part of the revenues of Christchurch at the coming of archbishop Lanfranc to that see in 1070, when on his division of them, between himself and the monks of his church, this manor fell to his share, of whom it was afterwards held by knight's service. In which state it continued at the time of taking the survey of Domesday, anno 1080, in which it is thus entered, under the general title of Terra Militum Archiepi, that is, land held of the archbishop by knight's service.

In Boltune hundred the same Richard (who owed fealty to the archbishop) held of the archbishop Gravenel. It was taxed for one suling. The arable land is. In demesne there is one carucate, and eight villeins, with ten borderers having two carucates. There are five servants, and ten acres of meadow, and four saltpits of four shillings. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth one hundred shillings, now six pounds, of these the monks of Canterbury have twenty shillings.

Who this Richard was I do not find, though Somner calls him Ricardus Constabularius; however, it is not improbable, but he might afterwards adopt the surname of Gravene, from his having the possession of this place; certain it is, that it was afterwards held by a family who took their name from it. William de Gravene held it in the reign of king Henry III. of the archbishop, as one knight's fee. John de Gravene died possessed of it in the 56th year of the same reign, after which it became the property of the family of Feversham.

Thomas de Feversham died possessed of it in the beginning of the reign of king Edward III. leaving Joane his wife surviving, and in the window of the north chancel were formerly the arms of Feversham, A fess chequy, or, and gules, between six crosses, bottony, or; and underneath, Thomas Feversham, susticiar, & Johanna Uxor. ejus; on the pavement is a stone with two half-figures in brass for them, with an inscription round it in old French, part of which is gone; probably that which Weever mentions. (fn. 3) She afterwards entitled her second husband Sir Roger de Northwood to this manor, during her life; accordingly he paid aid for it in the 20th year of that reign, as one knight's see, which he held in right of his wife, of the archbishop, which was formerly held by Richard de Gravene. After her death her son Richard de Feversham succeeded to this manor, of which he died possessed in 1381, and was buried in this church, having married the daughter of Robert Dodde. His tomb, of Bethersden marble, remains against the south wall. In the south chancel, on the top, were two figures, and four coats of arms, the brasses gone; round the edge is this inscription, in brass, Ora pro aibs Roberti Dodde & Rici de Feuersham filii sui quonda dni de Gravene obiit, &c. Above the tomb, is a recess in the wall, with an antient carved arch above it. He had a daughter Joane, who became his heir, and married John Botiller, esq. and in her right became entitled to this manor, she died in 1408, and was buried in the south chancel here, her figure in brass on her gravestone is gone, but the inscription still remains. By her he had a son of his own name. Either he or his father was sheriff anno 22 king Richard II. John Botiller, esq the son, was knight of the shire in the 1st year of king Henry V.'s reign. They bore for their arms, Sable, three covered cups, or, within a bordure, argent; and John Botiller, probably the father, was esquire to archbishop Courtney, and mentioned in his will, proved anno 1396, being the 20th of Richard II.

There is a gravestone in the south chancel here, which most probably was for John Botiller the son; on it was his figure in brass, now gone, and four coats of arms; the two first are gone, the third Botiller, the fourth Feversham, a fess chequy, between six crosses, bottony, or. The inscription was remaining in Weever's time. This stone, I am informed, was some years ago removed out of the north chancel hither, and in the window of this chancel is this coat of arms, quarterly, first, Botiller, as above; second and third, a fess chequy, or, and gules, in chief three crosses, bottony, or; the bottom part being broken, the fourth is likewise broken. Underneath are these words remaining, Johes er, & Jonna ux ejs. Joane his wife was daughter and heir of William de Frogenhall, by whom he had a daughter and sole heir Anne, who carried it in marriage to John Martyn, judge of the common pleas, the son of Richard Martyn, of Stonebridge, who built much at his seat of Graveney court, where he partly resided. (fn. 4) He died in 1436, leaving his widow surviving, who then became again possessed of this manor in her own right. She afterwards married Thomas Burgeys, esq. whom she likewise survived, and dying in 1458 was buried beside her first husband in the north chancel of this church. His gravestone is of a very large size, and is most richly inlaid with brass, which is well preserved, having the figures of him and his wife, and other ornaments over the whole of it. There were four coats of arms, only the second of which, that of Boteler, is remaining. He bore for his arms, Argent, on a chevron, gules, three talbot bounds, passant, or. Her second husband Thomas Burgeys died in 1452, and was buried in the same chancel, where his gravestone remained till within these few years. At the upper end of the stone are two coats in brass, first Boteler impaling Frogenhall; second, a fess chequy impaling the like. Another coat, at the bottom, is gone, as is his figure.

In the descendants of Judge Martyn, residents at Graveney-court, this manor continued down to Robert Martyn, who likewise resided here, and died in the first year of Edward VI. (fn. 5) leaving his two daughters, Joane, married to Richard Argall, and Elizabeth to Stephen Reames, of Faversham, his coheirs. From them this manor was passed away by sale to John Pordage, of Rodmersham, in whose name it continued till it was at length sold to Daniel Whyte, esq. of Vinters, in Boxley, whose descendant of the same name, about the beginning of king George II.'s reign, alienated it to Mr. Edward Blaxland, who afterwards resided here, and bore for his arms, on a fess, three falcous volant, jessed and belled. He died in 1739. This occasioned this manor to be separated in several divisions and again afterwards in further subdivisions, among his descendants, in which state it now remains; but those of the male line of the name of Blaxland, still continue to reside at it. From the beginning of the last century to the middle of it, the Napletons, a family of good account in these parts of the county, were lessees of Graveney-court, and resided at it; and from that time to the latter end of it, the Houghhams were occupiers of it, and resided here. Many of both families lie buried in this church, as do all the Blaxlands, since their coming to the possession of this estate.

NAGDEN, formerly spelt Negdon, is a noted estate in the north-west part of this parish, consisting mostly of marsh land, which was once part of the endowment of the abbey of Faversham, and continued amongst the revenues of it till its final dissolution in the 30th year of Henry VIII. at which time it was valued at eight pounds per annum.

This estate thus coming into the hands of the crown, was granted by the king next year to Sir Thomas Cheney, lord warden, to hold in capite, who alienated it, in the 36th year of that reign, to Robert Martyn, of Graveney-court, who died in the first year of king Edward VI. (fn. 6) leaving his two daughters his coheirs, Joane, married to Richard Argall, and Elizabeth to Stephen Reames, who jointly possessed this estate. After which both these moieties seem to have been conveyed to Ciriac Petit, of Colkins, in this neighbourhood, who died possessed of the entire see of it in 1591, and in his descendants it continued down to Mr. William Petit, who in 1709 conveyed it by sale to dame Sarah Barrett, of Lee, widow, who died in 1711, upon which this estate came to her only son by her first husband, Sir Francis Head, bart. who died possessed of it in 1716. (fn. 7) He left four sons, who became entitled to this estate on their father's death, as coheirs in gavelkind. On the death of the eldest Sir Richard Head, bart. in 1721, his share devolved to his three brothers. James Head, esq. died afterwards intestate in 1727, and unmarried, on which Sir Francis Head, bart. and John Head, D. D. became possessed of it in undivided moieties, and the latter that same year conveyed his moiety of it to the former, who in 1745 sold the entire fee of it to John Smith, esq. of Faversham, who has since conveyed it to his son, John Smith, junior, esq. of Ospringe, the present possessor of it. The estate of Nagden pays nine shillings per annum, on Lammas day, to the vicar of Graveney, in lieu of tithes.


On a tablet in the church, the benefactions of several pieces of land are recorded, amounting in the whole to upwards of four acres. These are put up as benefactions to the church; but by the information of the clerk, they belonged to the poor, to whom the yearly produce of them was distributed till of late. It is now applied to the repairs of the church.

The poor constantly relieved are about ten, casually 25.

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

The church is dedicated to All Saints, and consists of three isles and a high chancel, and two side ones formerly called chapels, the south one being dedicated to St. John, and the north one to the Virgin Mary. The steeple, which is a tower, stands at the north-west corner. In it are three bells. The antient gravestones in this church have been removed from where they originally laid, to make room for the present ones. Thus that of John Martyn, as I am informed, has been removed out of the north into the south chancel. In this north chancel they have been likewise still further displaced; there are now two rows of gravestones in it, lying three and three. In the west row are now, the first southward, Judge Martyn's; the second, Mr. Edward Blaxland's, who died in 1739; and the third, Thomas Burgeys, esq. For the making room for Mr. E. Blaxland's, Judge Martyn's stone was removed from the middle or second place to the first, where before his son's lay, till removed to the south chancel. This practice, of disturbing the ashes of the dead, as is but too frequent in churches of late, calls loudly for some authority to prevent it in future.

The church of Graveney, with the advowson of the vicarage, was in very early times part of the possessions of the priory of St. Mary Overies, in Southwark, with which it continued till the final dissolution of it in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when it came into the hands of the crown, together with all the revenues and estates belonging to it.

The parsonage remained in the crown some years longer than the advowson of the vicarage, as will be mentioned hereafter, that is, till the 3d year of queen Elizabeth, when the queen granted this rectory, being then valued at 7l. 6s. 8d. yearly rent, to archbishop Parker and his successors, in exchange for other premises. (fn. 8) Since which it has continued part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to this time.

This parsonage has been from time to time demised on a beneficial lease, at the above yearly rent. In 1643 Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson, widow, was tenant of it. John Baker, esq. of St. Stephen's, near Canterbury, is the present lessee of it.

But the advowson of the vicarage did not continue so long in the crown, for it was granted, among others, in 1558, to the archbishop and his successors, (fn. 9) with whom it now continues, his grace the archbishop being now patron of it.

This vicarage is valued in the king's books at fifty pounds, and the yearly tenths at 1l. 4s. per annum. In 1578 there were communicants here ninety. In 1640 the communicants were sixty-five, and it was valued at sixty pounds per annum.

In the year 1244 archbishop Boniface, on the presentation of the prior and convent of St. Mary Overies, as appears by an antient book belonging to it, instituted Ralph, the curate of Gravene, to the perpetual vicarage of this parish, so that he should receive and take in the name of it, all fruits and oblations, with all other things belonging to the church, excepting two sheaves of the tithe, and should take the same to his own use.

In the same manuscript, on a dispute between the prior and convent, rectors of this church, and Richard, lord of Gravenel, concerning tithes in this parish, it was decreed in 1283, before the rural dean of Ofpringe, that the vicar should receive, in the name of the religious, as well as in his own right, all tithes arising in future from the feedings and pastures in his own marshes, called North-marsh and Leved-marsh, which should be paid to him without any cavil or exception. (fn. 10)

The vicar has a house and two acres of glebe land.

The vicarage is worth about fifty pounds per annum. He is entitled, by the above composition, to all tithes, excepting the two sheaves mentioned in it, and by prescription likewise; which third part of the corn tithes is now usually known by the name of the vicar's third sheaf. But the impropriator's lease being for all the tithes of the parish, without any such exception, has occasioned many quarrels and disputes about this third sheaf, which are now entirely subsided, and the vicar is accustomed to take one shock out of every thirty shocks of corn, in right of his vicarage.

Church of Graveney.

Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop. William Clovell, S. T. P. resig. 1609.
David Platt, Feb. 9, 1609, resigned.
Edward Platt, A. M. June 9, 1641.
Michael Bilson, clerk, Nov. 10, 1660.
Francis Worrall, A. M. Jan. 20, 1667, obt. Oct. 1671. (fn. 11)
Thomas Lees, A. M. March 2, 1679, obt. Nov. 25, 1724. (fn. 12)
Francis Inman, clerk, Jan. 18, 1724, resigned 1725.
Edward Brown, A. B. Oct. 2, 1725, resigned 1727.
William Henry Giraud, A. B. July 12, 1727, obt. March 18, 1769.
Athelstan Stevens, A. B. May 30, 1769, the present vicar. (fn. 12)


  • 1. See Somn. Roman Ports, p. 62.
  • 2. Kilburne's Survey, p. 112. Dugd. Mon. vol. i. p. 20.
  • 3. See Weever, p. 283 Lewis's Hist. Fav. p. 76.
  • 4. See Cotton's Records, p. 553.
  • 5. Vistn. co. Kent, 1574. pedigree Martyn. See several of their wills in Prerog. off. Canterbury.
  • 6. Rot. Esch. ejus an. See before, p. 29.
  • 7. See more of the Heads, in vol. iii. of this history, p. 489.
  • 8. Inrolments, Augtn. off.
  • 9. Rym. Fæd. vol. iv. p. 177.
  • 10. Lewis's MSS. Lambeth-libr. See also Ducarel's Rep. 2d edit. p. 52.
  • 11. He had been before vicar of Faversham and curate of Davington, and afterwards held this rectory with the vicarage of Preston.
  • 12. And rectors of Goodneston.