Parishes: Selling

Pages 38-50

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

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ADJOINING to Boughton southward lies the parish of Selling, on the south or opposite side of the London road to Graveney, last described.

It is written in Domesday, Selinge, and Sellinges, and in some antient records, Sellinge subtus Bleane. (fn. 1) A small part of it, that is, so much as is within the borough of Rode, is within the hundred of Faversham.

Besides the manor of Selling, those of Rhodes-court, Shillingheld, and Tenham, claim over different parts of this parish.

The archbishop's paramount manor of Boughton claims over so much of this parish as is within that hundred, to the court leet of which the occupiers of the houses and lands in this, as well as the other parishes above-mentioned, within it, are amenable, by reason of their resciancy; notwithstanding which, the lands and houses themselves, throughout them, hold of other manors, which claim over them, by heriot, relief, rent, &c. which is the general case, where there is a manor paramount, and inferior manors under it, the one claiming a civil, the other a military jurisdiction over the same district of country.

SELLING is situated about two miles southward of the high London road, and the 49th mile-stone on it. It lies on rising ground towards the south, in a dry and healthy country. It is not a large parish, the rents in it are about 1900l. per annum, and the houses about sixty-two. The middle part of it, in which is the church and village, is far from being unpleasant, the soil inclining about the church to gravel, and the hill and dale very gentle. The branch of the turnpike road from Faversham over Old Wives lees to Chilham, where it joins the Ashford road, runs along the northern part of the parish; on this road, about a mile eastward of the church, is a neat villa, built by Collet Manhood, esq. who resided for some time in it, since which it has been usually inhabited by persons in a genteel line of life, it is now the property of Mr. Mapleton, who resides in it; on the same road, still more eastward, is the borough of Rhode, almost adjoining to the Boughton woods.

At a small distance westward of the church is the court-lodge, now a farm-house, near which in the vale, is an old mansion, but lately modernized, called Marshes, which was at the latter end of the last century the property of the Chambers's, several of whom lie buried in this church, who bore for their arms, Sable, a chevron, between three cinquefoils, or. From an elder son was descended the late Abraham Chambers, esq. of Tunstall, and by a daughter and coheir of a younger son, this estate came partly by marriage, and partly by sale, to Mr. Robert Hilton, gent. of this parish, whose son Mr. Thomas Gibbs Hilton now resides in it; further westward from hence is the hamlet of Hanvillegreen, with the estates of Harefield, in a poor rough hilly country, the soil chalky, and covered with flints. In the southern part of the parish is a very high and conspicuous hill, called Shottenton hill, commanding on all sides of it as extensive a prospect as any in this county; the North Foreland cliff, the county of Essex, and an uninterrupted view into the north sea are seen towards the east and north-east, and the channel again overan extensive view of the county, towards the southeast. The top is a flat, which seems levelled by art, and is near a furlong in length; the lower and middle parts of the hill, excepting the southern, are covered with rich coppice wood, and the upper and southern parts with broom, heath, and low beach, straggling thinly over it. The soil is gravel on the surface, and under it sand, the pits in which, by the digging of it, reach near a quarter of a mile under-ground.

Upon the level of it, upon which the windmill stands, are the plain remains of an antient camp, the intrenchments of which inclose about an acre and three-quarters of ground, more than half of which seems to lie on the declivity towards the south-east.

The form of the intrenchments vary according to the rounding of the hill; the north-east, north-west, and south-east angles are pretty near right angles, but that to the south-west is rounding. There are two ports, the principal one of which is very fair towards the south, the other eastward. This has been thought by some, to have been a Roman camp, whilst others have conjectured it to be Danish. But from the very large remains of strong fortification and entrenchments thrown up in Shellingham wood, about two miles south eastward from hence, which seems to have been one of the castra stativa of the Romans, for by that name they called their more lasting encampments, according to Vegetius, I conjecture this on Shottentonhill, from its nearness to that, to have been one of the castra æstiva, or smaller summer encampments, as well as an exploratory fort for the use of that larger one. This certainly was an excellent situation for their purpose; for, besides the command of the country from it on all sides, it is well supplied with water, there being numbers of pits or wells of water in places over disserent parts of this hill, which are supplied plentifully, frequently overflowing, but never dry; many of them are of a mineral quality, as appears by the ochreous substance in them. They seem mostly to have been formed by nature.

About half a mile north from Shottenton-hill is a very large barrow, or tumulus, on which is now planted a toll of beech trees.

There is a fair now held in the village of Selling on Whit Tuesday, which, by report, was formerly held of old custom in November.

This parish has the reputation of having been the birth-place of William Tylle, alias Selling, a man as noted as any of his time, for learning and wisdom, prior of Christ-church, in Canterbury, where he died in 1494; but it appears by several wills of his family, in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury, (contrary to the uncontradicted opinion from that of Leland down to the present time) that he was born at Sellinge, by Hythe, in the description of which parish a further account of him will be given.

MR. JACOB has observed several scarce plants in this parish, inserted in his Plantæ Favershamienses, to which the reader is referred.

SELLING was given, about the year 1045, to St. Augustine's monastery, in Canterbury, and it is accordingly thus entered in the general survey of Domesday, taken about the year 1080, under the title of the lands of that abbey.

In Boltone hundred, the abbot himself holds Sellinges manor, without a court (or halimote) which was taxed at six sulings. The arable land is eleven carucates. There is nothing in demesne. There are thirty villeins, having ten carucates. There is a church. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth fifteen pounds, when be received it eight pounds, now thirteen pounds and five shillings.

In the latter end of king Henry I.'s reign, about the year 1130, this manor, together with the rectory, was assigned by the abbot of St. Augustine's, to the cloathing of the monks there.

The manor, with the rectory, remained part of the possessions of the monastery till its final dissolution, in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when this great abbey, with all its revenues, was surrendered into the king's hands, where both manor and rectory remained till the 36th year of that reign, when the king granted it to Sir Anthony St. Leger, in tail male, to hold in capite by knight's service, and he obtained a new grant of them anno 4 king Edward VI. to him and his heirs, by the like tenure, at the yearly rent of 16l. 5s. 5½d. (fn. 2) His son Sir Warham St. Leger passed it away by sale to Sir Michael Sondes, of Throwley, who died in 1617, and his descendant Sir George Sondes, earl of Faversham, leaving only two daughters his coheirs, Mary, married to Lewis, lord Daras, afterwards earl of Faversham, and Katherine to Lewis Watson, earl of Rockingham, each of them successively, in right of their wives, became possessed of this manor and rectory; and the latter of them died possessed of them in 1724, and his grandsons, Lewis and Thomas, both successively dying s.p. the latter devised them among his other estates, to the hon. Lewis Monson, who afterwards took the name of Watson, and in 1766 was created Lord Sondes, whose son the right hon. LewisThomas, lord Sondes, is the present possessor of them. A court baron is held for this manor.

PERRYWOOD and HARESFIELD are two manors in the south-west part of this parish, the former of which is called Perie in the general survey of Domesday, being then part of the possessions of Odo, bishop or Baieux, under the general description of whose lands it is entered in it; but as there are two estates called by this name described in it, which of them belongs in particular to this above-mentioned, cannot now be ascertained. (fn. 3)

After the consiscation of the bishop's estates, in 1084, this estate seems to have come into the possession of owners, who assumed their surname from it. One of these, Randal de Pirie, held this manor in the reign of king John, as did his descendant William de Pirie in that of king Edward II. but in the 20th year of king Edward III. this family was extinct here, and it seems then to have been in the hands of different coparceners. The Darells afterwards held it, and after them the Finch's, and the Martyn's of Graveney. John Martyn, judge of the common pleas, died possessed of it in 1436, leaving his widow possessed of it, who afterwards married Thomas Burgeys, esq. whom she likewise survived, and died possessed of it in 1458, having by her will given the manor of Perrywode to her second son Robert Martyn, who was afterwards of Perrywood. How long it continued in that name I do not know; but both that and Haresfield afterwards became part of the possessions of Corpus Christi college, in Oxford, where they remain at this time, the present lessee of them being the right honorable Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes.

OVENS-COURT is a manor in this parish, though it has lost the reputation of having been so for many years. It is corruptly so called for Owens court, having been in antient time the seat and estate of the family of Owen, extracted from those of the principality of Wales. They were possessors of it in the reign of Henry III. as appeared by old rentals and other evidences. After them the Drylands, of Cooksditch, in Faversham, became owners of it, and continued so till the beginning of king Edward IV.'s reign, when it was sold by one of them to Sir John Fogge, of Repton, comptroller of the houshold and privy counsellor, on whose attainder anno I Richard III. this manor came to the crown, and by another act, passed the same year, the king being enabled to make grants of the possessions of persons attainted, this manor of Olde Oven, alias Owene, with other lands in this county, was given to Gloucester Herald, to hold by knight's service, who however, held it but a short time, for an act having passed in the 1st year of Henry VII. for the restitution of several persons attainted by king Richard III. this manor came again into the hands of its former owner, Sir John Fogge, who died in the 6th year of that reign, and by his will gave this manor to his second son Thomas Fogge, esq. one of whose descendants passed it away in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign to Crouch, and Giles Crouch alienated it in 1588 to Michael Sondes, esq. afterwards of Throwley, whose son Sir Richard Sondes, about the beginning of the reign of king Charles I conveyed it by sale to Franklyn, from which name it was sold to Lambe; in later time, after some intermediate owners, it came by marriage, about the 2d year of king George I. to Henry Cartwright, from whence it was sold to Tempest, of Durham, whose descendant John Tempest, esq. of Wynyard, in the said county, some few years ago passed it away by sale to Thomas Hawkins, esq. of Nash, who sold it to the right hon. Lewis Thomas Lord Sondes, the present possessor of it.

RHODES-COURT is a manor situated in the south-east extremity of this parish, in the borough of the same name, which borough, though within the parish of Selling, is yet within the hundred of Faversham, the court leet of which claims over it. It was antiently written Rode, and la Rode, and was part of the possessions of the wealthy family of Badlesmere, one of whom, Bartholomew de Badlesmere, in the 9th year of king Edward II. obtained a grant of free-warren for all his demesne lands within this manor. His son Giles de Badlesmere dying in the 12th year of Edward III. s.p. leaving his four sisters his coheirs, (fn. 4) upon the division of their inheritance, this manor was, among others, allotted to Margaret, whose husband Sir John Tibetot, or Tiptost, as the name was usually called, became possessed of it in her right; his son Robert died without male issue, and this manor went into the colateral branch of that family, in which it continued down to John Tiptost, earl of Worcester, who, for his adherence to the house of York, was attained and beheaded in 1471, anno 10 Edward, IV. king Henry being then restored to the crown, through the successful services of Richard, earl of Warwick. He left by his second wife only one son Edward, then an infant, who, though he was afterwards restored in blood by Edward IV. I do not find that he was ever reinstated in the possession of this manor, which seems to have remained in the crown till the reign of Henry VIII. In the 26th year of which, anno 1534, Thomas Bealde, of Godmersham, died possessed of it, leaving two daughters, to whom he devised this manor.

After this it came into the possession of Christopher Tilghman, gent of this parish, who owned it in 1621, and he sold it to Thomas Carter, of Crundal, in whose family it remained till it was alienated by Thomas Carter. esq. of Crundal, in 1714, to Mr. George Smith, of Faversham, who died in 1763, and his son, of the same name, within these few years, sold it to John Sawbridge, esq. of Ollantigh, whose son Samuel-Elias Sawbridge, esq. is the present possessor of it.

THE TITHES of this borough were formerly accounted as part of the rectory of Faversham, to which they were accordingly paid; and in the year 1274 an inquisition was made in the church of Selling, concerning the payment of one hundred sheaves of corn, due to that church from this land of Rode, for the burial of the tenants of it, and it was decreed by the official of the archdeacon, that the tenants should in future pay the same to the church of Sellyng from their own corn, and not from the tenth belonging to the church of Faversham; and that they should make sufficient recompence to the church of Sellyng for all arrears then due on account of the same.

The great tithes of this borough now belong to the right hon. lord Sondes, as part of his rectory of Selling, as do the above-mentioned one hundred sheaves in part of the same rectory. But the small tithes of such part of this borough as is within the parish of Boughton, are claimed by the vicar of that parish, and are accordingly paid to him.

SOUTHOUSE is an estate in this parish, which had owners of that name in very early times. Valentine Southouse was possessed of lands in Selling in 1449, and his eldest son William gave the south window in this church. Of this branch was Thomas Southouse, esq. author of the Monasticon Favershamiense, and other tracts, who died in 1676, and was buried there, whose second son Filmer Southouse, was a man of learning, and studious in his father's line of knowledge. (fn. 5) They bore for their arms, Argent, on a bend cotized, three martlets, gules. Other branches of it were settled in this neighbourhood, in Sheldwich, and in Faversham; but though they continued in this parish till the beginning of the present century, yet this estate in particular, for there were others belonging to them, called likewise by their name, which were at times alienated to different persons, which had been the antient inheritance of this family, was alienated from them before the reign of queen Elizabeth, when Robert Dodde was possessed of it, and conveyed it in separate parcels, anno 4 Elizabeth, back again to John, George, and Thomas Southouse. That part of it, which consisted of the house, with the land adjoining to it, was in Charles II.'s reign, become the property of Mr. Richard Southouse, who by his will in 1675 devised it to his sister Elizabeth, and the next year conveyed it to James Hardres, esq. whose descendant John Hardres, in 1702, conveyed it to Isaac Denew, esq. who in 1719 passed it away by sale to John Wotton, of Sturry, whose descendant John Wotton, in 1777, conveyed is to Lewis, lord Sondes, whose son the right hon. Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes, is the present owner of it.


AN ALMS-HOUSE in this parish was given to it by Mr. Abraham Chambers of Marsnes, for the benefit of two poor persons of this parish, to be nominated by his heirs, on condition, that the parish from time to time should repair it.

The poor constantly relieved are about forty; casually 95.

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

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of three isles, at the upper end of the outer ones are two chancels, of which the southern is the largest, and with the rest of the church seemingly forms a cross; in the middle between these stands the steeple, which is a tower, in which are six bells. Above this is the high chancel, with another on each side of it, and one more small one on the north side, the entrance of which is entirely stopped up. In the east window of the high chancel are remains of good painted glass, being figures of several saints and warriors; under them are several coats of arms. In the high chancel is a memorial for William Norwood, S. T. B. rector of St. Dunstan's in the East, London, and late fellow of All Souls college, Oxford, obt. 1596. Under the upper south chancel is a vault, made by Mr. Thomas Gibbs Hilton, for his family. The chancel below that above-mentioned, belonged to the family of Gate, owners of Luton, in this parish, now Sir Harry Oxenden's, to whom this chancel now belongs. Several of the Gates lie interred in it. In the south isle several of the Gyles's, and in the middle isle several of the Greenstreet's, of this parish, lie interred. In the window at the upper side of the north isle, is a fine head of a saint, and these arms, A lion rampant, guardant, double tailed, ermine, over all, a fess.

The church of Selling was in very early times, together with the manor, part of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, as has been already mentioned before, and so early as the latter end of king Henry I.'s reign, about 1130, was assigned by the abbot of it, to the cloathing of the monks there, the appropriation of it being confirmed by pope Urban III. about 1185, and by pope Alexander IV. in 1255, with the four privileges annexed to it. (fn. 6) Notwithstanding which, there was no endowment of a vicarage here till the time of archbishop Peckham, when Thomas de Fyndone, then abbot of St. Augustine, about the year 1284, on the petition of J. de Bedele, then vicar, granted that he should receive, as a perpetual augmentation of his portion, being the oblations and obventions commonly belonging to the altars, the five acres of land, with the garden and all other its appurtenances, lying in this parish, in the place where the parsonage was sometime situated; and he confirmed for him and his successors for ever, the appropriation of the tenement where the vicar then dwelt, near the church. And the granted, that the vicar and his successors should receive of him and his church yearly, by the hand of their chamberlain, ten shillings sterling at Michaelmas and Lady-day, and one seam of peas on Christmas-day; so that being content with the oblations and obventions aforesaid, (not corn or sheaves, unless planted or dug with the foot) belonging in common to the altars, and to these his augmentations, —he should exact nothing, in the name of tithe of gardens, beasts, tillage, or any other matters existing within the bounds of the manor of their chamber, nor should receive any thing of mills, or nutriments of cattle, belonging to the chamber, but that the same should remain there, safe, free, and quiet to it, without any tithing or exaction as aforesaid, free and exempt as they were elsewhere in their demesnes. But yet, if the premises were let to ferme to others, then the vicar should have of the farmer of them his just tithe; but that the vicar and his successors, should pay to the ordinarie the procurations, by reason of any visitation, and should be liable to all other ordinary burthens of the church for ever: and that, when the above benefit was granted to the vicar, it was so accepted by him, for himself and his successors. The cyrograph of which grant and endowment was confirmed by archbishop Peckham, at the request both of the vicar and the abbot, under his seal at the same time.

The rectory or parsonage, together with the advowson of the vicarage appendant to it, continued part of the possessions of the monastery till its dissolution, anno 30 Henry VIII. when they were, together with the manor, a few years afterwards, passed by grant from the crown to Sir Anthony St. Leger, as has been already fully related before, and from him through the several intermediate owners there mentioned, down to the right hon. Lewis-Thomas, lord Sondes, the present owner of them.

In 1578 here were communicants 133. In 1640, communicants 186. Value sixty pounds. It is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of thirty-seven pounds, the yearly tenths being 13s. 4d.

Church of Selling.

Or by whom presented.
Richard Sondes, esq. William Daud, A. M. May 8, 1598, obt. 1639.
The King. William Annand, A. M. Nov. 16, 1639. (fn. 7)
Sir G. Sondes, K. B. Onesephorus Paul, Nov. 18, 1669, resigned 1671.
James Kay, A. M. May 9, 1671, obt. 1677.
Dame Mary Sondes, countess of Faversham. John Sidway, A. M. Dec. 13, 1677, deprived 1680.
Lewis Watson, esq. Edward Fisher, clerk, Aug. 1, 1680, obt. 1710.
Edward Watson, esq. Thomas Nicholls, A. M. Oct. 7, 1710, resigned 1714. (fn. 8)
Hon. Edward Watson. George Sykes, A. B. May 5, 1714, resigned 1715. (fn. 9)
James Bernard. A. M. Feb. 6, 1715, resigned 1726. (fn. 8)
Lewis, earl of Rockingham. John Burton. A. M. Feb. 28, 1726, obt. Dec. 1735.
John Arnald, A. B. Dec. 20, 1735, resigned 1762.
Lewis, lord Sonaes. William Gurney, A. M. Feb. 2, 1763, resigned 1763. (fn. 8)
Henry Thomson, A. B. June 15, 1763, resigned 1784. (fn. 8)
Richard Halke, A. M. 1784, the present vicar. (fn. 10)


  • 1. Leland, in his Itin. vol. vi. p. 7, spells this parish Celling.
  • 2. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 7. Rolls of fee-farm rents, temp, intorregni, Roll 6, No. 11.
  • 3. A transript of both may be seen in vol. vi. under Perry Court in Ospringe.
  • 4. See Badlesmere, vol. vi. of this history, p. 470.
  • 5. See Wood's Ath. vol. ii. p. 788.
  • 6. Decem. Script. col. 2248, 2095, 2267, 1891.
  • 7. By reason of the lunacy of dame Catharine Sondes, window. Rym. Fœd. vol. xx. p. 383. He resigned on being presented to the rectories of Badlesmere and Leveland.
  • 8. He resigned on being presented to the rectories of Badlesmere and Leveland.
  • 9. He resigned this for the vicarage of Preston.
  • 10. And vicar of Faversham by dispensation.