The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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THE TOWN AND PARISH OF ASHFORD
LIES the next adjoining to Hothfield eastward. It is called in Domesday both Estefort and Essetesford, and in other antient records, Eshetisford, taking its name from the river, which runs close to it, which, Lambarde says, ought not to be called the Stour, till it has passed this town, but Eshe or Eschet, a name which has been for a great length of time wholly forgotten; this river being known, even from its first rise at Lenham hither, by the name of the Stour only.
A small part only of this parish, on the east, south and west sides of it, containing the borough of Henwood, alias Hewit, lying on the eastern or further side of the river from the town, part of which extends into the parish of Wilsborough, and the whole of it within the liberty of the manor of Wye, and the borough of Rudlow, which adjoins to Kingsnoth and Great Chart, are in this hundred of Chart and Longbridge; such part of the borough of Rudlow as lies adjoining to Kingsnoth, is said to lie in in jugo de Beavor, or the yoke of Beavor, and is divided from the town and liberty by the river, near a place called Pollbay; in which yoke there is both a hamlet and a green or common, of the name of Beavor; the remainder of the parish having been long separated from it, and made a distinct liberty, or jurisdiction of itself, having a constable of its own, and distinguished by the name of the liberty of the town of Ashford.
ASHFORD, at the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, was part of the possessions of Hugo de Montfort, who had accompanied the Conqueror hither, and was afterwards rewarded with this estate, among many others in different counties; in which record it is thus entered, under the general title of his lands:
Maigno holds of Hugo (de Montfort) Estefort. Turgisus held it of earl Godwin, and it is taxed at one suling. The arable land is half a carucate. There is nevertheless in demesne one carucate, and two villeins having one carucate. There are two servants, and eight acres of meadow. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth twenty five shillings; when he received it, twenty shillings; now thirty shilling.
The same Hugo holds Essela. Three tenants held it of king Edward, and could go whither they would with their lands. It was taxed at three yokes. The arable land is one carucate and an half. There are now four villeins, with two borderers having one carucate, and six acres of meadow. The whole, in the reign of king Edward the Confessor, was worth twenty shillings, and afterwards fifteen shillings, now twenty shillings.
Maigno held another Essetisford of the same Hugo. Wirelm held it of king Edward. It was taxed at one suling. The arable land is four carucates. In demesne there are two, and two villeins, with fifteen borderers having three carucates. There is a church, and a priest, and three servants, and two mills of ten shillings and two pence. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth seventy shillings, and afterwards sixty shillings, now one hundred shillings.
Robert de Montfort, grandson of Hugh abovementioned, favouring the title of Robert Curthose, in opposition to king Henry I. to avoid being called in question upon that account, obtained leave to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, leaving his possessions to the king; by which means this manor came into the hands of the crown. Soon after which it seems to have come into the possession of a family, who took their name from it. William de Asshetesford appears by the register of Horton priory to have been lord of it, and to have been succeeded by another of the same name. After which the family of Criol became owners of it, by whom it was held by knight's service of the king, in capite, by ward to Dover castle, and the repair of a tower in that castle, called the Ashford tower. (fn. 1) Simon de Criol, in the 27th and 28th year of Henry III. obtained a charter of free warren for this manor, whose son William de Criol passed it away to Roger de Leyborne, for Stocton, in Huntingdonshire, and Rumford, in Essex. William de Leyborne his son, in the 7th year of king Edward I. claimed and was allowed the privilege of a market here, before the justices itinerant. He died possessed of this manor in the 3d year of Edward II. leaving his grand-daughter Juliana, daughter of Thomas de Leyborne, who died in his father's life-time, heir both to her grandfather and father's possessions, from the greatness of which she was stiled the Infanta of Kent, (fn. 2) though thrice married, yet she died s. p. by either of her husbands, all of whom she survived, and died in the 41st year of Edward III. Upon which this manor, among the rest of her estates, escheated to the crown, and continued there till king Richard II. vested it, among others, in feoffees, for the performance of certain religious bequests by the will of king Edward III. then lately deceased; and they, in compliance with it, soon afterwards, with the king's licence, purchased this manor, with those of Wall, and Esture, of the crown, towards the endowment of St. Stephen's chapel, in the king's palace of Westminster, all which was confirmed by king Henry IV. and VI. and by king Edward IV. in their first years; the latter of whom, in his 7th year, granted to them a fair in this town yearly, on the feast of St. John Port Latin, together with all liberties, and to have a steward to hold the court of it, &c. In which situation they continued till the 1st year of Edward VI. when this collegiate chapel was, with all its possessions, surrendered into the king's hands, where these manors did not continue long; for that king, in his 3d year, granted the manor of Esshetford, with that of Wall, and the manor of Esture, to Sir Anthony Aucher, of Otterden, to hold in capite; and he, in the 2d and 3d of Philip and Mary, sold them to Sir Andrew Judde, of London, whose daughter and at length heir Alice, afterwards carried them in marriage to Thomas Smith, esq. of Westenhanger, commonly called the Customer, who died possessed of them in 1591, and lies buried in the south cross of this church, having had several sons and daughters, of, whom Sir John Smythe, of Ostenhanger, the eldest, succeeded him here, and was sheriff anno 42 Elizabeth. Sir Thomas Smith, the second son, was of Bidborough and Sutton at Hone, and ambassador to Russia, of whom and his descendants, notice has been taken in the former volumes of this history; (fn. 3) and Henry, the third son, was of Corsham, in Wiltshire, whence this family originally descended, and Sir Richard Smith, the fourth, was of Leeds castle. Sir John Smythe, above-mentioned, died in 1609, and lies buried in the same vault as his father in this church, leaving one son Sir Thomas Smythe, of Westenhanger, K. B. who was in 1628 created Viscount Strangford, of Ireland, whose grandson Philip, viscount Strangford, dying about 1709, Henry Roper, lord Teynham, who had married Catherine his eldest daughter, by his will, became possessed of the manors of Ashford, Wall, and Esture. By her, who died in 1711, he had two sons, Philip and Henry, successively lords Teynham; notwithstanding which, having the uncontrolled power in these manors vested in him, he, on his marriage with Anne, second daughter and coheir of Thomas Lennard, earl of Sussex, and widow of Richard Barrett Lennard, esq. afterwards baroness Dacre, settled them on her and her issue by him in tail male. He died in 1623, and left her surviving, and possessed of these manors for her life. She afterwards married the hon. Robert Moore, and died in 1755. She had by lord Teynham two sons, Charles and Richard-Henry, (fn. 4) Charles Roper, the eldest son, died in 1754 intestate, leaving two sons, Trevor-Charles and Henry, who on their mother's death became entitled to these manors, as coheirs in gavelkind, a recovery having been suffered of them, limiting them after her death to Charles Roper their father, in tail male; but being infants, and there being many incumbrances on these estates, a bill was exhibited in chancery, and an act procured anno 29 George II. for the sale of them; and accordingly these manors were sold, under the direction of that court, in 1765, to the Rev. Francis Hender Foote, of Bishopsborne, who in 1768 parted with the manor of Wall, alias Court at Wall, to John Toke, esq. of Great Chart, whose son Nicholas Roundell Toke, is the present possessor of it; but he died possessed of the manors of Ashford and Esture in 1773, and was succeeded in them by his eldest son John Foote, esq. now of Bishopsborne, the present owner of them. There are several copyhold lands held of the manor of Ashford. A court leet and court baron is regularly held for it.
BUT THE FARM OR DEMESNE LANDS of the manor of Esture, or Eastover, was many years ago alienated by one of the Smythes, viscounts Strangford, and has been from that time in the possession of separate owners from those of Ashford manor. It is now the property of the heirs of Mr. Rooke, late an officer in the East-India company's service.
THE MANORS OF GREAT AND LITTLE REPTON, called in Domesday, Rapentone, were formerly part of the possessions belonging to St. Augustine's monastery, and are accordingly thus entered in that survey, under the general title of the abbot's lands:
The abbot himself holds one yoke, Rapentone, and Ansered of him, and it was taxed at one yoke. The arable land is two carucates. In demesne there is one, with four borderers. There are eleven acres of meadow, and the fourth part of a mill, of fifteen pence, and wood for the pannage of ten hogs, and as yet there are two yokes, which the abbot gave to it of his demesne, and there are two villeins, with eight borderers. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards, it was worth three pounds, now four pounds.
Of the abbot, the manor of Rapentone, or Repton as it was afterwards called, and since split into two manors, called Great and Little Repton, was held by knight's service by the family of Valoigns, who made this mansion of Repton one of their seats of residence; for at times they resided both at Tremworth in Crundal, and Swerdling in Petham. Ruellon de Valoigns held these manors at the latter end of king Stephen's reign, of the abbot, by knight's service, and resided at times at Repton, as did his descendants, several of whom served the office of sheriff, and were knights in parliament for this county, and in the south window of the cross isle of this church, was once the figure of one of this family, habited in his surcoat of arms, Argent, three pales, wavy, gules, with his spurs on, kneeling at an altar; and opposite to him, in the same attitude, two women, in their surcoats of arms likewise, on the first those of Haut, and on the second, Fogge. Henry de Valoyns possessed these manors in the reign of king Edward III. in the 14th year of which he had a charter of free-warren for his lands and manors in this county. His descendant Waretius de Valoyns left by his wife, daughter and coheir of Robert de Hougham, two daughters his coheirs, one of whom married Thomas de Aldon, and the other, Sir Francis Fogge, and on the partition of their inheritance, these manors were allotted to the latter, in right of his wife. This family was originally of Lancashire, from whence Otho Fogge came into this county in the beginning of king Edward I.'s reign, and was grandfather of Sir Francis Fogge, who became possessed of Repton as above-mentioned, which his descendants, whose possessions afterwards spread widely over the eastern parts of this county, made their future residence, bearing for their arms, Argent, on a fess, between three annulets, sable, three mullets, pierced of the first, which coat is carved in stone on the porch of Ashford church, on the roof of the cloysters at Canterbury, and in several windows of the cathedral there. (fn. 5) He died possessed of these manors, and lies buried in Cheriton church, having had his figure, habited in armour, lying crosslegged on his tomb, with his arms on his furcoat, impaling those of Valoyns. His descendant Sir John Fogge, resided at Repton-house in the reign of king Edward IV. with whom he was in great esteem, being comptroller and treasurer of his household, and a privy councellor. He was several times sheriff of this county, and served as knight for it in parliament. But his attachment to that king brought on an attainder in the 3d year of king Richard III. and the forfeiture of his lands, though king Richard gave him his royal word for the protection of his person; and he lived to be restored, by a reversal of the above act on the accession of king Henry VII. He died in the 6th year of that reign, anno 1490, and was buried in this church under a handsome tomb; and his figure, among those of other great personages, kneeling, with his furcoat of arms, on which were those of Fogge, quartered with Valoyns, was formerly in one of the windows of it, having rebuilt the church in his life-time. He founded a college in it, and became still a further benefactor to it by his will, which is in the Prerogative-office, Canterbury, in which he mentions his chapel at his seat of Repton, and much of the costly ornaments and furniture in it; and in his descendants these manors of Great and Little Repton continued down to Sir John Fogge, of Repton, who, on the dissolution of the college of Wye, in the 36th year of king Henry VIII. had a grant of The Manor of Licktopp, in this parish likewise, which had been part of the possessions of it, and then, by reason of the dissolution of that college, in the hands of the crown. In the 31st year of that reign he procured his lands to be disgavelled, and being afterwards knighted, kept his shrievalty here in the 36th year of it, and dying in 1564, anno 7 Elizabeth, was buried with his ancestors in this church, being succeeded in these manors by his only son and heir Edward Fogg, esq. who dying s. p. in the 20th year of that reign, they came, by the entail of it made in his father's will, to his uncle, next brother to his father, George Fogg, esq. of Braborne, who soon afterwards sold them to Sir Michael Sondes, of Throwley, and he conveyed them to John Tuston, esq. of Hothfield, afterwards knight and baronet, whose son Nicholas was created Earl of Thanet anno 4 king Charles I. and in his descendants, earls of Thanet, these manors of Great and Little Repton and Licktopp have continued down to the right hon. Sackville, earl of Thanet, the present possessor of them.
A court baron is held for the manor of Great Repton, and another likewise for that of Licktop.
The manor court of Repton is first called on at a great stone, north-westward, in the road from Ashford to Potters corner, from whence it is adjourned to Repton-house, which is situated on the west side of that road, at one field's distance from it, and somewhat more than half a mile from the town of Ashford. There was formerly a park here, which was in being when Lambarde wrote his Perambulation, in 1570. The lands of it are still called the Old Park, and with the adjoining warren, lie on the northern or opposite side of the above-mentioned road from Repton-house. Great part of this mansion, in which Sir John Fogge dwelt temp. Edward IV. is remaining.
THE TOWN OF ASHFORD stands most pleasant and healthy, on the knoll of a hill, of a gentle ascent on every side, the high road from Hythe to Maidstone passing through it, from which, in the middle of the town, the high road branches off through a pleasant country towards Canterbury. The houses are mostly modern and well-built, and the high-street, which has been lately new paved, is of considerable width. The markethouse stands in the centre of it, and the church and school on the south side of it, the beautiful tower of the former being a conspicuous object to the adjoining country. It is a small, but neat and chearful town, and many of the inhabitants of a genteel rank in life. Near the market place, is the house of the late Dr. Isaac Rutton, a physician of long and extensive practice in these parts, being the eldest son of Matthias Rutton, gent of this town, by Sarah his wife, daughter of Sir N. Toke, of Godinton. He died in 1792, bearing for his arms, Parted per fess, azure, and or, three unicorns heads, couped at the neck, counterchanged; since which, his eldest son, Isaac Rutton, esq. now of Ospringeplace, has sold this house to Mr. John Basil Duckworth, in whom it is now vested. In the midst of it is a large handsome house, built in 1759, by John Mascall, gent. who resided in it, and died possessed of it in 1769, and was buried in Boughton Aluph church, bearing for his arms, Barry of two, or, and azure, three inescutcheons, ermine; and his only son, Robert Mascall, esq. now of Ashford, who married the daughter of Jeremiah Curteis, esq. is the present owner, and resides in it. At the east end of the town is a seat, called Brooke-place, formerly possessed by the family of Woodward, who were always stiled, in antient deeds, gentlemen, and bore for their arms, Argent, a chevron, sable, between three grasshoppers, or; the last of them, Mr. John Woodward, gent. rebuilt this seat, and died possessed of it in 1757; of whose heirs it was purchased by Martha, widow of Moyle Breton, esq. of Kennington, whose two sons, the Rev. Moyle Breton, and Mr. Whitfield Breton, gent. alienated it to Josias Pattenson, esq. the second son of Mr. Josias Pattenson, of Biddenden, by Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Felix Kadwell, esq. of Rolvenden; he married Mary, daughter of Mr. Henry Dering, gent. of this parish, and widow of Mr. John Mascall above-mentioned, by whom he has no issue, and he is the present owner of this seat, and resides in it. There have been barracks erected lately here, which at present contain 4000 soldiers. The market is held on a Saturday weekly, for the sale of corn, which is now but little used; and a market for the sale of all sorts of fat and lean stock on the first and third Tuesday in every month, which has been of great use to prevent monopolies. Two fairs are annually held now, by the alteration of the stile, on May 17, and Sept. 9, and another on Oct. 24; besides which, there is an annual fair for wool on August 2, not many years since instituted and encouraged by the principal gentry and landholders, which promises to prove of the greatest utility and benefit to the fair sale of it. That branch of the river Stour which rises at Lenham, runs along the southern part of this parish, and having turned a corn mill belonging to the lord of this manor, continues its course close at the east end of the town, where there is a stone bridge of four arches, repaired at the expence of the county, and so on northwards towards Wye and Canterbury. On the south side of the river in this parish, next to Kingsnoth, within the borough of Rudlow, is the yoke of Beavor, with the hamlet and farm of that name, possessed in very early times, as appears by the register of Horton priory, by a family of that name, one of whom, John Beavor, was possessed of it in the reign of Henry II. and was descended from one of the same furname, who attended the Conqueror in his expedition hither. The parish contains about 2000 acres of land, and three hundred and twenty houses, the whole rental of it being 4000l. per annum; the inhabitants are 2000, of which about one hundred are diffenters. The highways throughout it, which not many years ago were exceeding bad, have been by the unanimity of the inhabitants, which has shewn itself remarkable in all their public improvements, a rare instance in parochial undertakings, and by the great attention to the repairs of them, especially in such parts as were near their own houses, are now excellent. The lands round it are much upon a gravelly soil, though towards the east and south there are some rich fertile pastures, intermixed with arable land, and several plantations of hops; but toward the west, the soil is in general sand, having much quarrystone mixed with it, where there is a great deal of coppice wood, quite to Potter's corner, at the boundary of this parish.
At the latter end of the summer of the year 1625, the plague raged dreadfully in this town and neighbourhood, insomuch, that the justices of the peace, finding the inhabitants unable to support and relieve the sick who were poor and in necessity, taxed this and the neighbouring hundreds for that purpose, according to the directions of the privy council; left, as was said, the sick should be forced, for the succour of their lives, to break forth of the towne, to the great danger of the country.
The family of Osborne, of which his grace Thomas. Osborne, duke of Leeds, is descended, was of this town; Richard Osborne, esq. of Ashford, being father of Sir Edward Osborne, cloth-worker, lord-mayor of London in the 25th year of queen Elizabeth, the duke's direct ancestor.
Robert Glover, esq. Somerset herald, a laborious antiquary, son of Thomas Glover, gent. of this town, was born here. He died in 1588, and was buried in Cripplegate church, in London.
King William III. in 1696, created Arnold Joost Van Keppel, baron Ashford, of Ashford, in Kent, vilcount Bury, in Lancashire, and earl of Albermarle, in Normandy, whose great-grandson William-Charles now enjoys the titles.
SIR JOHN FOGGE, of this parish, who died in 1490, gave to the use of the poor, three acres and two roads of land, near Barrow-hill, in this parish, now vested in trustees, the annual produce of which is 4l. 10s. per annum; and three roads of land, now the work-house garden, vested in like manner, the trustees being Isaac Rutton and Edward Norwood, esqrs. And likewise a tenement in Marsh-lane, in Ashford, called the Bridwell, inhabitated by such poor as have no parish relief, and now vested in the churchwardens and overseers.
In the return made to parliament anno 1786, by the officers of this parish, of the charities given to it, these donations are said to have been made for the above purposes, by the will of Sir John Fogge, in 1490; but this must be a mistake, for in his will, proved that year, there is no mention of such donations in it. But I think it very probable, that this tenement and the lands above-mentioned, were those left by Sir John Fogge, towards the perpetual repair of the church, as may be further seen hereafter.
THOMAS MILLES, ESQ. of Davington, (descended from Richard Milles, of this parish, by Joane, sister of Robert Glover, Somerset herald) by his will in 1627, gave to the churchwardens 200l. for the use and relief of the poor, to be employed as a stock for their maintenance, to set them to work, and to remain in perpetuity for that purpose for ever. With this money, and 20l. more from the interest of it, a house and 21 acres of land in Hinxhill, were purchased, and vested in trustees, being now of the annual produce of 14l.
MARTHA COPLEY, widow, by her will in 1663, gave to be distributed yearly on June 3, to ten poor householders of this parish, after a sermon on the same day, 10s. per annum, out of a tenement now in the possession of John Austen, vested in the churchwardens and overseers.
THOMAS TURNER, D. D. president of Corpus Christi college, in Oxford, by indenture in 1702, gave a barn and 14 pieces of land, containing 60 acres, for putting to school some poor children of this parish, and placing out one of them an apprentice yearly; which premises are now vested in trustees, and are of the annual produce of 24l. 10s.
WILLIAM BRETT, gent. gave by will in 1704, 20s. to be annually paid out of land called Pellicars, towards the cloathing of the poor.
There has been a parish workhouse erected with workshops, storehouses, a large yard, with every necessary implement for the carrying on a compleat manufactory on an excellent plan, for the bleaching of Irish linen, a process lately established here, in which about sixty poor persons are employed, who earn on an average about 1s. a week, or 160l. per annum.
The poor constantly relieved are about eighty four, casually sixty-six.
SIR NORTON KNATCHBULL, in the reign of king Charles I. began the foundation of A FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL in the town of Ashford, and for that purpose erected a school-house adjoining the church-yard, and having appointed a master, he allowed him a salary of thirty pounds per annum, which, by a proviso in his will in 1636, he ordered his executor, his heirs and assigns should yearly pay for ever, to the master of the free school by him founded in Ashford, for the good of the town, out of all those his lands in Newchurch, containing thirty acres. This endowment, with several other necessary regulations, were afterwards confirmed by deed by his executor, who was his nephew and heir, Norton Knatchbull, esq. afterwards knighted and createrd a baronet. The schoolmaster is appointed by the Knatchbull family, and must be always a master of arts at least, of one of the universities.
This school acquired a very high reputation some few years ago, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Barrett, master of it, now rector of Hothfield; most of the sons of the neighbouring gentry having received their early part of education at it under him. He resigned in 1773, having been a good benefactor to it, and was succeeded by the Rev. Charles Stoddart, A. M. the present master. Besides the above school, there is an exceeding good English academy kept by Mr. Alderson, one for teaching writing to the poor children of the town, and a boarding-school for young ladies.
ASHFORD is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURIS DICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry or Charing.
The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a large handsome building, consisting of three isles, with a transept, and three chancels, with the tower in the middle, which is losty and well proportioned, having four pinnacles at the top of it. There are eight bells in it, a set of chimes, and a clock. In the high chancel, on the north side, is the college John Fogge, the founder of the college here, who died in 1490, and his two wives, the brasses of their figures gone; but part of the inscription remains. And formerly, in Weever's time, there hung up in this chancel six atchievements, of those of this family whose burials had been attended by the heralds at arms, and with other ceremonies suitable to their degrees. Underneath the chancel is a large vault, full of the remains of the family. On the pavement in the middle, is a very antient curious gravestone, having on it the figure in brass of a woman, holding in her left hand a banner, with the arms of Ferrers, Six masctes, three and three, in pale; which, with a small part of the inscription round the edge, is all that is remaining; but there was formerly in brass, in her right hand, another banner, with the arms of Valoyns; over her head those of France and England quarterly; and under her feet a shield, being a cross, impaling three chevronels, the whole within a bordure, guttee de sang, and round the edge this inscription, Ici gift Elizabeth Comite D' athels la file sign de Ferrers . . . dieu asoil, qe morust le 22 jour d'octob. can de grace MCCCLXXV. Weever says, she was wife to David de Strabolgie, the fourth of that name, earl of Athol, in Scotland, and daughter of Henry, lord Ferrers, of Groby; and being secondly married to John Malmayns, of this county, died here in this town. Though by a pedigree of the family of Brograve, she is said to marry T. Fogge, esq. of Ashford; if so, he might perhaps have been her third husband. Near her is a memorial for William Whitfield, gent. obt. 1739. The north chancel belonged to Repton manor. In the vault underneath lay three of the family of Tuston, sometime since removed to Rainham, and it has been granted to the Husseys; Thomas Hussey, esq. of this town, died in 1779, and was buried in it. In the south chancel are memorials for the Pattensons, Whitfields, and Apsleys, of this place; and one for Henry Dering, gent. of Shelve, obt. 1752, and Hester his wife; arms, A saltier, a crescent for difference, impaling, on a chevron, between three persons, three crosses, formee; and another memorial for Thomasine, wife of John Handfield, obt. 1704. In the north cross are several antient stones, their brasses all gone, excepting a shield, with the arms of Fogge on one. At the end is a monument for John Norwood, gent. and Mary his wife, of this town, who lie with their children in the vault underneath. The south cross is parted off lengthways, for the family of Smith, lords of Ashford manor, who lie in a vault underneath. In it are three superb monuments, which, not many years since, were beautified and restored to their original state, by the late chief baron Smythe, a descendant of this family. One is for Thomas Smith, esq. of Westenhanger, in 1591; the second for Sir John Smythe, of Ostenhanger, his son, and Elizabeth his wife; and the third for Sir Richard Smyth, of Leeds castle, in 1628: all which have been already mentioned before. Their figures, at full length and proportion, are lying on, each of them, with their several coats of arms and quarterings blazoned. In the other part of this cross, is a memorial for Baptist Pigott, A. M. son of Baptist Pigott, of Dartford, and schoolmaster here, obt. 1657, and at the end of it, is the archbishop's consistory court. In the south isle is a memorial for Thomas Curteis, gent. obt. 1718, and Elizabeth his wife; arms, Curteis impaling Carter. Under the tower is one for Samuel Warren, vicar here forty-eight years, obt. 1720. The three isles were new pewed and handsomely paved in 1745. There are five galleries, and an handsome branch for candles in the middled isle; the whole kept in an excellent state of repair and neatness. There was formerly much curtious painted glass in the windows, particularly the figures of one of the family of Valoyns, his two wives and children, with their arms. In the south window of the cross isle, and in other windows, the figures, kneeling, of king Edward III. the black prince, Richard, duke of Gloucester, the lord Hastings. Sir William Haute, the lord Scales, Richard, earl Rivers, and the dutchess of Bedford his wife, Sir John Fogge, Sir John Peche, Richard Horne, Roger Manstone, and—Guildford, most of which were in the great west window, each habited in their surcoats of arms, not the least traces of which, or of any other coloured glass, are remaining throughout this church. Sir John Goldstone, parson of Ivechurch, as appears by his will in 1503, was buried in the choir of this church, and gave several costly ornaments and vestments for the use of it.
In the Philosophical Transactions, No 474, mention is made of a date, cut in Arabian figures, on a beam running from the north-east corner of the steeple, expressed as follows:
which some have supposed to mean the year 1295, but it is certainly of a much later time, though probably ealier than the repair of the church by Sir John Fogge. On the outside of the church, on the point of the arch over the west door, is a shield of arms, being a lion, rampant, double tailed; on the south side, those of Leeds abbey; and on the north, oblit. impaling a chevron. On the north porch are two shields; one, three quaterfoils; the other, the arms of Fogge.
This church was re-edified, as has been already noticed before, by Sir John Fogge, in the reign of king Edward IV. who built the present beautiful and costly tower of it from the ground, and out of gratitude for the favours he had received from that king, founded, with his licence, a college, or choir, to consist of one master or prebendary, as head, being the vicar of this church for the time being, two chaplains, and two secular clerks, to celebrate divine service in it, according to the ordinances and statutes made by him for the welfare of the king, George, archbishop of Yorke, and Sir John Fog and Alicia his wife, during their lives, and afterwards for the souls of them and some others of the king's liege subjects of this county, lately slain at several battles in defences of his right and title. And Sir John gave them books, jewels, and other ornaments, and obtained of the king an endowment of lands sufficient for their support in this county, and those of Essex and Sussex. All which were confirmed by the king in his 7th year, to the vicar of Ashford, Thomas Wilmote, and his successors, in pure and perpetual alms, for the purposes above-mentioned. (fn. 6) But the king dying before the whole of this foundation was legally completed, and Sir John Fogge being in the next reign of king Richard III. attainted, nothing further was done towards it; so that having no common seal, the members were removeable at pleasure; though on the death of William Sutton, who succeeded Wilmote before-mentioned, as vicar of Ashford and second master of this college, in the 12th year of Henry VII. Hugh Hope, the next vicar, succeeded him in the mastership of it, of which he appears to have been possessed in 1503. Not long after which there seems to have been a dissolution of it, and it is not unlikely that John Poynet, the succeeding vicar, who was likewise bishop of Rochester, and held this vicarage in commendam, might surrender it, and the lands with which it was endowed, into the hands of the crown; and I find no further mention whatever made of it. Sir John Fogge, the founder, by his will, took care towards the repair of this church, for which he had intended and done so much, by devising a legacy in trust for that purpose, being a tenement and lands in Asshetisford, which he had purchased, to four the most trystiest and discrete dwellers in the parish, to the entent, that the hoole revenues be paid yerely to the wardens of the church, to be applied by them in the reparacion of it; and that where two of the said four dwellers decease, that the other two make good state of the same to four other like dwellers, that the same might continue for evermore.
William de Sodington, rector of this church, had licence anno 17 Edward III. to found a perpetual chantry in the chapel of St. Mary, in this church; which he endowed with lands lying in this parish, Kennington, Wilsborough, and Charing. (fn. 7) It was suppressed, with others of the like kind, in the 1st year of Edward VI.
The church of Ashford was once part of the possessions of the priory of Horton, having been given at the first foundation of that priory, by Robert de Ver, constable of England, and Adeleia his wife; which gift king Stephen confirmed to it, as did Henry de Essex, constable of England, likewise in the reign of king Henry II. How long this church remained with the priory of Horton, I have not found; but in the reign of king Edward III. it was become part of the possessions of the priory of Ledes, to which it was appropriated in the 48th year of that reign. In which state it remained till the dissolution of that priory in the reign of king Henry VIII. when this parsonage appropriate, together with the advowson of the vicarage, came into the hands of the crown, and the king settled them in his 32d year, on his new-erected dean and chapter of Rochester, part of whose inheritance they remain at this time.
The parsonage is demised by the dean and chapter, on a beneficial lease, to the Rev. Francis Whitfield, vicar of Godmersham, and in 1649, with the tithes, barn, and twenty-four acres of glebe, was valued at seventy-two pounds per annum; but the advowson of the vicarage they retain in their own hands.
This vicarage is valued in the king's books at 18l. 4s. 2d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 16s. 5d.
In 1640 it was valued at one hundred pounds. Communicants six hundred and thirty. In 1649 it was valued at only fifty pounds.
Church of Ashford.
|Or by whom presented.|
|Dean and Chapter of Rochester||Thomas Poulter, A. M. Nov. 19, 1594, obt. 1602.|
|John Wallis, A. M. April 9, 1602, obt. Nov. 30, 1622. (fn. 8)|
|Edmund Hayes, A. M. Dec. 20, 1622, obt. 1638.|
|Walter Balcanquall, S.T. P. dean of Rochester.||John Maccuby, A. M. Sept. 29, 1638.|
|Nicholas Shrigg, ejected 1662. (fn. 9)|
|Dean and Chapter of Rochester||Richard Whitlock, LL. B. Sept. 13, 1662, obt. 1667. (fn. 10)|
|Thomas Rysden, A. M. April 5, 1667, obt. 1673.|
|Samuel Warren, A. B. Oct. 16, 1673, obt. March 16, 1721. (fn. 11)|
|John Clough, August 29, 1721, obt. Dec. 1764. (fn. 12)|
|Charles Colcall, A. M. May 11, 1765, resigned 1765. (fn. 13)|
|James Andrew, A. M. Dec. 13, 1765, resigned 1774. (fn. 14)|
|James Bond, A. M. 1774, the present vicar. (fn. 15)|