Parishes: Challock

Pages 332-340

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 westward from Godmersham. It is, the greatest part of it, in the lower half of the hundred of Felborough, and the rest in that of Wye. The manor of Godmersham claims over the former, in which the Lees, the eastern and south-eastern parts of this parish are included; and the liberty of Wye manor claims over the remaining part in the latter hundred. There are two boroughs in this parish, those of pested and Challock.

THIS PARISH lies on high ground, in a healthy, though rather an unfrequented country. The soil is in general poor and barren, the upper part of it is covested with slints, and the rest of it a stiff clay. In the middle of the parish is a large common, called Challock lees, so called from the Saxon word leswe, which signifies a pasture, which extends itself, in two branches, near two miles in length. At the end of the lees is the principal village, in which is a good house, called the Clock-house, from a square tower and clock in it, adjoining to the house; it belongs to, and is inhabited by Mr. Thomas Young, who some years ago erected a windmill near it, for grinding seeds, the first of the kind erected in these parts. In 1779, a flash of lightning, which was instantaneously succeeded by a very loud clap of thunder, set fire to this mill, and it was burnt down, but it was immediately afterwards built up again. Nearly at the opposite part of the lees is another hamlet of houses, where it is called Lorendens forstall; in the whole there may be upwards of sixty houses in it. On the sides of this parish, (excepting the south) there are great quantities of coppice-wood; great part of that on the north and west parts being called Longbeech-wood, which contains about eleven hundred acres, most of which is within the bounds of this parish, and belongs to the archbishop, Sir Edward Dering, bart. being lessee of it. Archbishop Parker, in 1570, was sued in the court of exchequer, for selling some part of this wood, under pretence of its being the queen's, and the council determined it in his favor; yet the archbishop was obliged to relinquish his right to it; but archbishop Whitgift, on his first advancement to the see, found such favor with the queen as to recover the possession of it, and turned out Sir James Crosts, who then held it under the crown. (fn. 1) The church stands at the bottom of the hill, along which there are several very large sand-stones, about three quarters of a mile from the village, and close adjoining to the pales of Eastwell-park, the greatest part of which is within this parish. The high turnpike road from Faversham through Sheldwich to Ashford, crosses this parish. Before the present trust was created by parliament for this road, the old road through this parish went still more southward close to the park; but the last lord Winchelsea procured it to be turned more to the north, and rather than have his farm cut through by the new making of it, as was intended, gave the woodland to the public, in order for it to be made where it now goes; as does another branch of it along the north side of it, from Faversham to Charing and the Weald of Kent. At Blacks-sorstall, in this parish, the ground is so exceeding high, that both the seas may be seen from it; that is, on one side, the Thames' mouth, and on the other, the harbour before Rye.

William the Conqueror, on his foundation of the abbey of Battel, in Sussex, granted a fair to it, to be held in that part of this parish in the hundred of Wye, on the day of St. Cosinus and Damian, Sept. 27, for one day; the privileges and profits of which belonged to the abbey at the suppression of it, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it came, with the manor of Wye, to which it seems to have been an appurtenance, into the hands of the crown, and was afterwards, from time to time, granted as such with that manor; George Finch Hatton, esq. of Eastwell, the present lord of Wye manor, being now the proprietor of this fair as appurtenant to it. This fair is now held, by the alteration of the stile, on the 8th of October yearly, and is accounted a great fair for the sale of cattle of all sorts.

OTTERPLEY is a manor here, the mansion of which has been for many years pulled down, and the scite and demesnes of it, which lay near Eastwell, included in the upper park there, which was formerly from it called Aperfields garden. This was one of the seats, of which there were several in this county, belonging to the antient family of Appulderfield, called by contraction, Apperfield, whose original arms, Ermine, a fess vaire, or, and gules, as well as their augmentation, granted by king Richard I. to Henry de Apulderfield, Sable, a cross, or, voided of the field, are in several places on the roof of Canterbury cloisters, and in the windows of several churches in that city. Henry de Apulderfield, who resided at Apulderfield, in Cowdham, was possessed of it in the reign of Henry III. and is said to have had a grant anno 38 of that reign, of a market and fair at his manor of Otterpley, but if ever they were held, they have been long since disused. His descendant Henry de Apulderfield held his shrievalty at Otterpley, in the 50th year of king Edward III. being the last of that prince's reign. From him it passed to Richard, lord Poynings, who died possessed of it in the 11th year of king Richard II. His grandson Richard left a sole daughter and heir Eleanor, who married Sir Henry Percy, afterwards earl of Northumberland, and he in her right became afterwards possessed of this manor. How long it continued in his descendants I have not found; but in the reign of king Henry VII. it was become the property of Moyle, whose descendant Sir Thomas Moyle, of Eastwell, chancellor of the court of augmentation, dying in 1560, without male issue, Catherine his daughter and coheir carried it in marriage to Sir Thomas Finch, of Eastwell, whose son Sir Moyle Finch, of Eastwell, having in 1589 obtained licence to inclose his grounds in Eastwell and the adjoining parishes, for a park, this manor and the scite of the antient mansion of Otterpley, were included by him within the pale of it, in that part of it called the upper park, near Eastwell, and the mansion of it, pulled down. Since which it has continued in the same succestion of ownership with that park and manor, down to George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present proprietor of it. (fn. 2)

LORRINGDEN AND DEAN are two manors in this parish, the former of which is written in antient deeds, Lourding, alias Lurdingden, and was formerly possessed by a family of that name, the place on which it stands being yet called Loringdens forstal; and Philipott says, that there was a tradition very frequent among the country people in these parts, that Loringden was once the mansion of gentlemen of this name, one of whom had a combat with one of the Apulderfields, of Otterpley, about the building of a chapel in the valley, which was pretended by Loringden to have been erected on his land. The latter manor antiently belonged to owners likewise of its own name, who stiled themselves from their residence here, as appeared by several antient deeds without date, At-Dean, and sometime A-Dean, and at last Dean. When the Loringdens lest their possessions here, I cannot find; but from the earliest deeds remaining, which reach no higher than the reign of king Henry IV. that manor was become the property of Cadman, a family which had been long before resident in this neighbourhood, and who in the reign of Henry VI. became, by purchase from the Deans, likewise possessed of the manor of Dean.

These manors continued in the family of Cadman till the beginning of king James I.'s reign, when by a sole daughter and heir Mary, they went in marriage to William Plumer, gent. of Cranbrooke, (fn. 3) who died in 1622, and by will devised them to his second son, William Plumer, who was likewise of Cranbrooke, and he afterwards alienated them to Peers, one of whose descendants John Peirs, at his death in 1685, devised these manors by will to his only daughter and heir Elizabeth, (fn. 4) who entitled her husband Thomas Brisley, of this parish, to them. Their two sons, William and Thomas Brisley, succeeded to them as coheirs in gavelkind; and on a division of their inheritance, the latter became possessed of the whole property of these manors, which he conveyed in 1737 to Mr. Edward Watts, of Bersted, who on his death devised them to his great-nephew Mr Edward Watts, gent. of Gravesend, the present owner of them.

There were formerly several families of good account resident in this parish, and possessed of considerable estates in it for a long series of years, the Lewknor resided at Bodshead, in this parish. Richard Lewknor was resident here in the reign of queen Elizabeth, as was his son William; soon after which this estate came in to the possession of the Moyles, by one of whom it was laid into Eastwell park. The house is on the west side of the avenue leading from Challock lees to Eastwell house. They bore for them arms, Azure, three chevrons, argent, an annulet for difference. The Gyles's, who had been long settled in this county, and were owners of Lords, in Sheldwich, as early as Richard II. resided here, but they are now extinct. Several of them lie buried in this church, and their wills are in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury. The Hawkers, as appears by their wills in the same office, were settled here as early as the reign of king Edward IV. and that they were resident here till the middle of the last century. The family is, I believe, now extinct, the last of them being Mr. Gibbon Hawker, gent. of Sittingborne, who died unmarried some years ago; they bore for their arms, Sable, a back standing on a perch, argent. And the Thurstons, written likewise in their several wills, Thurstyn and Thursian, likewise were resident here as early as king Edward IV.'s reign, when they were possessed of estates here called Baylis, Propchauntis, and Parvoche. Several of them lie buried in this church and churchyard, the last in 1632; soon after which they became extinct here, their arms being, Argent, on a bend, gules, three mullets, or. The familes of the Gyles's, Hawkers, and Thurstans, had continued intermarriages one with the other, as appears by their vills, all of whom have been removed from hence many years.


THOMAS BAKKE, of Challock, by will in 1485, ordered possession to be delivered to the guardians of the church of Challock, and to ten or twelve principal or senior men of the same, of and in his two tenements called Bretts and Haiors, with eight acres of land in this parish, to hold for ever, with a renewal of the feossment. And he ordered that the guardians should ever provide one good fermour to hold the premises of them, in the name of the church, and of the money received thence, and he ordered certain services to be performed in this church.

WILLIAM OURE, yeoman, of Challock, by will in 1618, devised to the poor of Pest-street, in this parish, after the manner of Almesland, two acres of land called Priecrast, provided it should be always occupied by those who should occupy his then dwelling-house at Pest-street, who should yearly for ever pay to the poor, as a rent, five bushels of wheat yearly for ever, to such poor as by his feoffees should be appointed, with power of distress, &c. on non-payment. And if it happened that his feoffees at any time should die, or leave the parish, that then the churchwardens and overseers should have the like authority to order it for the poor.

A house and two acres of land, near the church, seemingly the above-mentioned land, was heretofore allotted to the parish clerk's use, who lived in it; but that being burnt down about 12 years ago, the overseers, &c. have taken the land, and applied the profits to the general use of the poor of the parish.

The poor constantly relieved are about twenty; casually the same number.

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

The church stands at the boundaries of the hundred of Felborough, part of the church-yard, being in the hundred of Wye. It is said to have been founded by one of the family of Apulderfield, and consists of three isles, a high and a north chancel, having at the west end a tower steeple embattled, with a beacon turret at the south-east corner, in which hang four bells. There are several memorials in this church for the Gyles's, Hawkers, and Thurstans. In the north chancel, on the south side, there is a plain flat tomb, very antient; and on the north side, a low plain tomb, cos fin-shaped; and on the pavement, an antient gravestone of the like shape, with five or six letters, in French capitals, remaining on the upper side, but illegible. There has been much good painted glass, as appears by different fragments in the windows. In the north isle still remain the arms of Apulderfield, Ermine, a bend vaire, or, and gules; and in the east window of it a shield, 1st and 4th, as above; second, Azure, fretty, argent; third, Azure, a lion rampant-guardant, double tailed, or. The north chancel is now repaired by the parish. Part of one of the isles is said formerly to have belonged to the Lewknors to repair. In the churchyard are six yew-trees, of a remarkable large size. The lessee of the parsonage now repairs the chancel; but in the endowment of the vicarage, the repair of it was allotted to the vicar.

The church of Challock is esteemed only as a chapel of ease to that of Godmersham, and as such is not rated separately in the king's books.

The parsonage or great tithes of this parish, like that of Godmersham, was parcel of the possessions of the priory of Christ church, in Canterbury, and on the dissolution of it, in the 31st year of king Henry VIII. came into the hands of the crown, where it staid till queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, exchanged it, among other premises, with archbishop Parker, when it was valued at 14l. 13s. 4d. per annum. Since which it has continued to this time parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury. Mr. John Hilton, of Sheldwich, is the present lessee of it.

This church being a chapel of ease to that of Godmersham, constitutes a part of that vicarage, though it had a separate endowment, (fn. 5) and the vicar of Godmersham is presented and instituted to that church, with the chapel of Challock annexed. It is separated from the jurisdiction of the archdeacon. Archbishop Juxon, in conformity to the king's letters mandatory, anno 15 Charles II. augmented this vicarage with a pension of ten pounds per annum, to be paid by the lessee of the parsonage. The lessee of the parsonage claims all tithes in this parish, (except turneps, hops, potatoes, gardens, and of lands pastured, which belong to the vicar) and are worth to him about twenty-six pounds per annum. There are no tithes payable from woodland in this parish.

In 1588 here were communicants one hundred and seventy-seven. In 1640, only one hundred and twenty.


  • 1. See Strype's life of archbishop Parker, p. 314.
  • 2. See a further account of the owners of this manor under Eastwell.
  • 3. There is a pedigree of this family in Vistn. co. Kent. 1619.
  • 4. Several of their wills are in the Prerog. off. Cant. Richard Pierce, for so he spelt his name, died here.
  • 5. Liber. Dict. Berthona in Thesau. Ecclæ Christi, Cant. fol. 225.