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 next parish westward from Chilham; it is a parish which lies very obscurely among the hills, being little known, and having very little traffic through it. The village, which is straggling, is situated near the western boundaries of it, the parish of Wye joining close up to it. The church stands close on the north side of the village; there are about fifty houses, and two hundred and sixty-five inhabitants, the whole is much covered with coppice wood, mostly beech, with some little oak interspersed among it; the country is very hilly, and the soil of it very poor, being mostly an unsertile red earth, mixed with abundance of slints.
There is a fair held here on the 16th of July yearly, formerly on the Monday after St. Peter and St. Paul.
The Honor of Chilham claims paramount over this parish, subordinate to which is The Manor Of Bower, alias Flemings, which is situated in the bo rough of Godsole, northward from the church, it took the latter of those names from the family of Fleming, who were once the possessors of it; one of whom, John de Fleming, appears by a very antient courtroll of this manor, to have been owner of it, and in his descendants it probably continued for some time; but they were extinct here in the reign of Henry VI. in the 24th year of which, as appears by another antient court-roll, it was in the possession of John Trewonnalle, in which name it continued down to the reign of King Henry VIII. and then another John Trewonnalle alienated it to Thomas Moyle, esq. afterwards Knighted, and he owned it in the 30th year of that reign; and in his descendants it remained till the reign of Kings James I. when it was alienated to Mr. Henry Chapman; at length his delcendant Mr. Edward Chapman leaving three sons, Edward, Thomas, and James Chapman, they became possessed of it as coheirs in gavelkind, and afterwards joined in the sale of it to Christopher Vane, lord Barnard, who died in 1723, leaving two sons, Gilbert, who succeeded him in the north of England; and William, who possessed his father's seat at Fairlawn, and the rest of his estates in this county, having been in his father's life-time created viscount Vane, of the Kingdom of Ireland. He died in 1734, as did his only son and heir William, viscount Vane, in 1789.s. p. (fn. 1) who devised this manor, among the rest of his estates in this county and elsewhere, to David Papillon, esq. late of Acrise, the present possessor of it.
Witherling is a manor in this parish, situated likewise in the borough of Godsole. In the antient records of Dover castle, this manor is numbered among those estates which made up the barony of Fobert, and was held of Fulbert de Dover, as of that barony, by knight's service, by a family of its own name. Robert de Witherling appears to have held it in the reign of king John, as one knight's see, by the same tenure; in whose descendants it continued down to the reign of King Henry VI. When Joane Witherling was become heir to it, and then carried it in marriage to William Keneworth, whose son, of the same name, passed it away in the reign of Henry VII. to John Moile, of Buckwell, who died possessed of it in the 15th year of that reign, as appears by the inquisition taken after his death, and that it was held of Dover castle. His son John Moyle sold this manor, in the 4th year of Henry VIII. to Hamo Videan, descended of a family of good note in this county. There is mention made of them in the Parish Register, from the first year of it, 1557, to the present time; but they have been decayed a long time, and their possessions dispersed among other owners; but there is still a green in this neighbourhood, called from them Videan's, (by the common people Vidgeon's) forstal. In his descendants it continued till the reign of King Charles II. when it was conveyed, by a joint conveyance, from that name to Mr. Tho. Thatcher, whose daughter Mary carried it in marriage to Mr. Henry Bing, of Wickhambreux, whose son John Bing (fn. 2) sold it to Mr. Edward Baker, for the satisfying his sister's fortune, whom the latter had married; and on his dying intestate, this manor descended to his four sons, Thomas Baker, clerk, Edward, Henry, and Bing Baker, who joined in alienating it, about 1771, to Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmersham, whose only son and heir of the same name died possessed of it in 1794, s. p. and by will devised this manor to Edward Austen, esq. then of Rowling, but now of Godmersham, who is the present owner of it. A court baron is held for this manor.
Chiles, alias Slow-Court, is a small manor in this parish, which some years since belonged to the family of Goatley, which had been settled here from the time of queen Mary. One of them, Laurence Goatley, died possessed of it in 1608. He then dwelt at his house in this parish, called Bedles, and was lessee of the parsonage. Searles Goatley, esq the last of this family, was brought from Maidstone a few years ago, and buried in this church. Laurence Goatley devised this manor to his third son Laurence, one of whose descendants passed it away to Moter, and in 1661 Alice Moter, alias Mother, of Bethersden, sold it to John Franklyn, gent. of this parish, whose daughter carried it in marriage to Thomas Benson, of Maidstone, and he in 1676, by fine and conveyance, passed it away to Robert Saunders, gent. of that town, as he again did in 1703 to Esther Yates, widow, of Mereworth, whose executors in 1716 conveyed it to David Fuller, gent. of Maidstone, who dying s. p. devised it in 1751 by will to his widow Mary, who at her death in 1775, gave it to her relation, William Stacy Coast, esq. now of Sevenoke, the present proprietor of it.
Simon Ruck, gent. of Stalisfield, and Sarah his wife, by indenture in 1672, in consideration of 35l. granted to Thomas Chapman, gent. and John Thatcher, both of Molash, a piece of land containing three acres, called Stonebridge, in this parish, for the use, maintenance, and relief of the poor of this parish for ever.
Thomas Amos, yeoman, of Ospringe, by will in 1769 gave 100l. in trust, to be laid out in the public funds, and the dividends to be yearly paid, on the day of St. Thomas the Apostle, to the churchwardens, to be distributed to the most necessitous poor of Molash; which, with other money of the parish was laid out in the purchase of 125l. three per cent. reduced Bank Annuities.
The poor constantly relieved are about nine, casually twenty. five.
This Parish is within the Ecclesiastical Juris diction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Bridge.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, is a small mean building, consisting of one isle and one chancel, having a pointed turret, shingled, at the west end, in which are three bells. There are several memorials of the Chapmans in this church, and in the isle is a stone, inscribed Pulvis Chapmannorum, under which is a vault, wherein several of them lie. In the chancel there is an antient gravestone, cossin-shaped, with an inscription round, in old French capitals, now, through time, illegible. The font is antient, having on it, Gules, three right hands couped, argent; a crescent for difference. In the Parish Register, which begins in 1558, are continual entries of the Videans, Goatleys, Franklyns, Thatchers, Chapmans, Moyles, and Wildish's, from that year almost to the present time. It is esteemed only as a chapel of ease to Chilham, and as such is not rated separately in the king's books.
The great tithes or parsonage of this parish were formerly a part of the rectory or parsonage of Chilham, and as such belonged to the alien priory of Throwley, on the suppression of which, anno 2 king Henry V. they were given to the monastery of Sion, which being dissolved by the act of 31 Henry VIII. they came, with the rest of the possessions of that house, into the king's hands, whence the parsonage of Chilham, which included this of Molash, was granted next year, together with the honor and castle, and other premises, to Sir Thomas Cheney, whose son Henry, lord Cheney, alienated the whole of them in the 10th year of queen Elizabeth, to Sir Thomas Kempe, of Wye, who in the 21st year of that reign alienated the parsonage or great tithes of this parish to William Walch, who held the same in capite, and he that year sold it to John Martyn, who as quickly passed it away to Richard Tooke, whose descendant Nicholas Tooke, in the 25th year of that reign, conveyed it in 1633, by the description of the manor of Molash, and all the glebes and tithes of this parish, to Sir James Hales, in which name it continued some time, till it was at length sold to Sir Dudley Diggs. who devised it to his nephew Anthony Palmer, esq. whose brother Dudley Palmer, esq. of Gray's Inn, in 1653, was become owner of it. It afterwards belonged to the Meads, and from them came to Sir Thomas Alston, bart. of Odell, in Bedfordshire, who lately died possessed of it, and his devisees are now entitled to it.
This church being a chapel of ease to that of Chilham, constitutes a part of that vicarage, the vicar of it being presented and institued to the vicarage of the church of Chilham, with the chapel of Molash annexed.
In 1585 here were communicants one hundred and twenty-six. In 1640 there were only forty communicants here.