Parishes: Kennington

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

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Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Kennington', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7, (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 545-557. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

Edward Hasted. "Parishes: Kennington", in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7, (Canterbury, 1798) 545-557. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

Hasted, Edward. "Parishes: Kennington", The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7, (Canterbury, 1798). 545-557. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section


IS the adjoining parish, northward from Ashford, and was so called, most probably, from its having antiently belonged to some of the Saxon kings during the heptarchy. Kennington, or as it was written in Saxon, Cining-tune, signifying in that language, the king's town; and there is at this time a small street of houses northward of the village of Kennington, called King-street.

THE PARISH is situated in a healthy country, being for the most part a gravelly, though not an unfertile soil, not much more than a mile from Ashford, close to the west side of the high road from Canterbury, which is joined by that from Faversham, which runs along the opposite side of the parish, and joins the former a little beyond Burton. It is watered by two small streams which rise northward of it, the one at Sandyhurst, the other near Eastwell park; the former running by Bybrooke, where it is called Bacon's water, and the other at the opposite part of the parish, by Clipmill and Frogbrook, near Wilsborough lees, into the river Stour, which flows along the eastern side of the parish. The village is situated on rising ground, at a small distance from the Canterbury road, with the church at the further end of it, close to the edge of the lees, or heath, called Kennington lees. The places of note in this parish, are situated near the last-mentioned road; besides which, there is near Kennington-house, a small neat box, built by the late Geo. Carter, esq. of this parish, and given by him to his daughter Mary, who married the Rev. John Clotworthy Skeffington. She died s. p. and her two sisters, Mary and Anne Carter, now possess it; and at the further part of the parish, beyond Clipmill, on the same road, is a large built by Mr. Carter above-mentioned, for his own residence, on an estate which he bought for this purpose of the family of Brett, who had resided here for some generations. He was the second son of George Carter, of Smarden, son of James, of Wilsborough, a younger son of George Carter, gent. of Crundal, whose family has already been mentioned before under that place. He died here in 1782, and his only son the Rev. George Carter is the present possessor of this seat, and resides in it.

There is a fair held here for pedlary, toys, &c. on the 5th of July yearly.

THIS PLACE was given in the year 1045, being the 4th of king Edward the Confessor, to the abbey of St. Augustine, near Canterbury, the manor of it being afterwards called, from the low situation of the courtlodge of it near the river, The Manor Of Coning brooke, alias Kennington. Although there is no mention of this manor among the lands and possessions of that abbey, in the general survey of Domesday, yet it had afterwards, as appears by the registers of it, and other records, several privileges and immunities granted to it by the different succeeding kings, the first of which that I meet with is of king Henry III. who in his 54th year granted to the abbot and convent free warren in all their demesne lands in Kennington; and on a quo warranto brought against the abbot in the 21st year of the next reign of king Edward I to shew his right to the privileges of a manor here, he was allowed them, when the abbot made it appear to the jury, that Coningbrooke and Kenyngton were one and the same place. In the 6th year of king Edward II. the abbot had another charter of free warren within his manor here, and next year being summoned by another quo warranto, to shew his right to other liberties, he was allowed them before the justices itinerant; and king Edward III. by his charter of inspeximus, in his 36th year, confirmed the same, among the rest of their other manors and possessions; (fn. 1) and Henry VI. like wise confirmed their several liberties here, and in particular free warren in their demesne lands of this manor; which, together with the rectory and advowson of the vicarage of Kennington, remained part of the possessions of the monastery till its final dissolution, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands, who, in his 36th year, granted the capital messuage of Kennington, the manor of Kennington, alias Coningsbrooke, with the rectory and advowson to Sir Anthony St. Leger, and his heirs male, to hold in capite by knight's service; and king Edward VI. in his 4th year, made a new grant of them, to hold to him and his heirs by the like service. (fn. 2) Immediately after which, most probably by exchange, they became again vested in the crown; for that king the same year, granted them to John Dudley, earl of Warwick, afterwards created duke of Northumberland, on whose attainder for high treason in the 1st year of queen Mary's reign, anno 1553, which attainder was confirmed by act of parliament the same year, this estate, among the duke's other possessions, came into the hands of the crown, where it seems to have remained till king Charles I. in his 4th year, granted this manor of Kennyngton, alias Conyngbroke, to Edward Ditchfield and others, in trust for Sir Thomas Finch, knight and baronet, of Eastwell, (fn. 3) who, on the death of his mother in 1633, succeeded to the titles of viscount Maidstone and earl of Winchelsea, and in his descendants this manor continued down to Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, who at his death in 1769 devised it by will to his nephew George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present possessor of it. A court baron is regularly held for this manor.

BYBROOKE is an antient seat, in the southern part of this parish, which, as appears by very old evidences, was the patrimony of a family named Gawin, who resided here in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. the last of whom mentioned in the public records to have been possessed of it was, William Gawin, or Godwin as he is sometimes written, who died in the 32d year of king Edward III. After which it came into the possession of the family of Belknap; but Sir Robert Belknap, chief justice of the common pleas, being attainted in the 11th year of king Richard II. this, among the rest of his estates, became forfeited to the crown, where it did not remain long, for that king, in his 13th year, granted it to William Ellys, esq. of Burton, in this parish, and one of the justices of the peace at that time for this county; but Bibrooke did not continue long in this name, for in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, it had been by purchase conveyed to Shelley, by whose heir-general it devolved, in the time of Edward IV. to May; from whom it was, not long afterwards, alienated to Tilden, where it remained till the beginning of the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was sold to Richard Best, who bore for his arms, Sable, a cinquefoil, between eight cross-croslets, or, (fn. 4) and rebuilt this mansion, the ruins of which still remain; but his son John Best, afterwards of Allington castle, alienated this seat to Sir William Hall, who resided here, and was succeeded in it by his eldest son Nevil Hall, esq. who possessed it in the reign of king Charles I. being the son of John Hall, of Wilsborough, and his arms, Sable, three battle axes, or; from his heir it passed by sale to Charles Nott, esq. who resided here at the latter end of king Charles II.'s reign; after whose death his heirs alienated it to Sir John Shorter, lord mayor of London in 1688. He was second son of John Shorter, of Staines, in Middlesex. He never was even a freeman of the city, having been appointed lord-mayor by king James II. His arms were, Sable, a lion rampant, or, crowned argent, between three battle-axes of the last, the handles of the second. (fn. 5) He died in the year of his mayoralty, and was buried in St. Saviour's church, in Southwark. John his eldest son, succeeded him here, and left three sons and two daughters, viz. Catherine, married to Sir Robert Walpole, K. G. afterwards created earl of Orford; and Charlotte, to Francis, lord Conway. John Shorter, esq. the eldest son, succeeded him here, but dying s. p. Captain Arthur Shorter, his next surviving brother, became entitled to this estate. He died in 1753, unmarried, and by will left it to Mr. John Dunn, surgeon, of Bath, who died in 1769, as did lately his wife Mrs. Dunn, and her devisees are now entitled to it.

The antient mansion of Bibrooke has been uninhabited and in ruins for several years; but the front of it, which has a stately appearance, is still remaining entire. A low mean building has been erected against the south side of it, which is made use of as the farmhouse belonging to the estate.

BURTON is another seat in this parish, about half a mile southward from the church, which in very old deeds is written Burston, from its having been once the residence of a branch of a family of that name, who were extinct here before the reign of king Edward III. when it appears to have become the property of a family named Elys, or as they were frequently written in later times, Ellys; and in the Surrenden library there is a deed, dated anno 44 Edward III. of Thomas Elys, of Kenyngton, the seal appendant being Bendy, impaling three annulets. His descendant William Ellys, esq. was of Burton, in the 13th year of Richard II. being then one of the conservators or justices of the peace for this county. Thomas Ellys, esq. kept his shrievalty at Burton in the 6th year of king Henry VI. William Elys, gent. of Kennington, died in the year 1494, possessed of the manor of Burton and Northpends, in this parish, in whose descendants, who bore for their arms, Or, on a cross, sable, five crescents, argent, as they were formerly in the windows of this church, it continued till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when one of them alienated it to Sir William Hall, of Bibrooke, in this parish, whose eldest son Nevil Hall, esq. passed it away by sale, in the reign of Charles I. to William Randolph, gent. of Canterbury, who afterwards resided at Burton. He was the eldest son of Bernard Randolph, of Biddenden, whose fourth son Herbert succeeded to the family estate at Biddenden, and was ancestor of the Randolphs, late of Canterbury, and to those now of the university of Oxford, as may be further seen before. His grandson William Randolph, gent. of Burton, died before his father of the same name in 1705, s. p. and was buried with his ancestors in this church; upon which Alice, his only surviving sister, married to William Kingsley, esq. of Canterbury, became his heir, and entitled her husband to this estate. He was descended from William Kingsley, of Chorley, in Lancashire, whose arms were, Vert, a cross engrailed, ermine, in the first quarter, a mullet, or. (fn. 6) His son William Kingsley, D. D. was archdeacon of Canterbury, and married Damaris, daughter of John Abbot, of Guildford, by whom he had a numerous issue, of whom George the eldest, was grandfather of William Kingsley, who by marriage became possessed of this manor as before mentioned; his grandson William Kingsley, at length succeeded his father here, and taking to the military line, became a lieutenant-general, and at the latter part of his life resided at Maidstone, where he died in 1769, unmarried, and by will gave this manor for life, to his kinsman Mr. Charles Kingsley, of London, descended from a younger son of the archdeacon. He died in 1785, leaving two sons, Charles, who died at Canterbury next year, leaving issue, and a second son Mr. William Pink Kingsley, of London, who by the entail in the general's will, succeeded his father in this manor, and is the present possessor of it.

ULLEY is a small manor, within the hounds of this parish, next to Boughton Aluph, having now neither mansion nor any demesnes that can be ascertained belonging to it. The family of Criol owned it in antient time, from whom it went afterwards in like manner as Seaton, in Boughton Aluph, to the Rokesley's, and thence again to the Poynings and the Percys, earls of Northumberland, in whom it continued till Henry, earl of Northumberland, in the 23d year of Henry VIII. vested it in seoffees, who soon afterwards sold it to Sir Christopher Hales, attorney-general, whose three daughters and coheirs joined in the sale of it to Sir Thomas Moyle, of Eastwell, and his daughter and coheir Catherine, carried it in marriage to Sir Thomas Finch, in whose descendants, earls of Winchelsea, it continued down to Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, who dying in 1769, without male issue, gave this manor, among the rest of his estates, to his nephew George Finch Hatton, esq. now of Eastwell, the present possessor of it.

KENNINGTON-HOUSE is a seat in this parish, near the east end of the village of Kennington, and a very small distance from the west side of the high road from Canterbury to Ashford. It was formerly, with an adjoining farm called Kennington farm, the property of the Moyles, seated at Buckwell, in the adjoining parish of Boughton Aluph; in which it continued till Mary, sole daughter and heir of John Moyle, esq. and granddaughter of Sir Robert Moyle, carried it, with much other land in that parish, in marriage to Robert Breton, esq. of the Elmes, near Dover, who died possessed of it in 1708. Moyle Breton, esq. his eldest son, succeeded him here, and resided at Kennington-house, (fn. 7) where he died in 1735, and was buried in the high chancel of Boughton Aluph church. He left three sons, Moyle; Richard, who left two daughters; and Robert, now vicar of Boughton Aluph. Moyle Breton, esq. the eldest, on his father's death, possessed and resided at this seat. He died some years ago, leaving two sons, Moyle and Whitfield; the eldest of whom, the Rev. Moyle Breton, LL. D. late vicar of this parish, and now rector of Kenardington, is the present possessor of this seat, with the estate of Kennington farm.


HENRY WATTS gave by will in 1602, a sum of money for the relief of the poor, now vested in land of the annual produce of 1l. 14s. and in the churchwardens and overseers.

MARY MARSHALL, by deed in 1624, gave to the use of the poor, land in it, now of the annual produce of 1l. vested in seoffees.

WILLIAM PIPER gave by will in 1657, to the like use, 1l. annually, payable out of a house and lands vested in feoffees.

WILLIAM BRETT gave by will in 1704, 1l. annually, payable out of a house vested in the Rev. George Carter, towards cloathing the poor.

N. B. The owners of the two last-mentioned estates have, ever since the year 1782, resused the payment of these gifts.

RICHARD BRETT gave by will in 1711, to the use of the poor 1l. annually, payable out of lands vested in the churchwardens and overseers.

The poor constantly relieved are about twenty-eight, casually twenty-five.

KENNINGTON is within the Ecclesiastical Ju risdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Charing.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, consists of one isle and two chancels, with a small lower chancel on the south side. It has a tower steeple, with a beacon turret at the west end, in which are five bells. In the south chancel are several memorials for the Randolph family, and the Kingsleys; for colonel Johnston, obt. 1725, and Caroline his wife; for Mary, daughter of Thomas Knevett, esq. obt. 1713, and colonel Stephen Otway, obt. 1759. And there was in this church a memorial for John Best, esq. of this parish, in the time of king James I. having on the stone the arms of Best, quartered with Barrow. In the windows of this church were formerly, in Weever's time, a shield of arms, Parted per fess; in the upper part, gules, a goat's head erased, ermine; and in base, gules, a fess, or, between three owls, argent, impaling Shurland; and underneath, Orate pro aia Willielmi Walkesley militis. And in another window the figure of a man, kneeling with his sword and spurs, and on his coat, the arms of Brent; and opposite to him a woman, in the like posture, with these arms on her mantle: A chevron, between three roses; and underneath them, Orate pro aiabs Willi Brent ari & Elisabethœ uxoris ejus filiœ Risc. Madris. They lived in Edward IV.'s time. In another window were the arms of Towne, impaling Ellis. In the church yard, just by the churchdoor, is a memorial for George, son of George Marshall, of Boughton Aluph, obt. 1619, and near it another, round the verge of the stone, for George, son and heir of George Marshall, of Kennington, who lay entombed nigh him, obt. 1623. There are 30s. per annum devised to keep the former of these stones in repair; and when that wants no repair, it is to be given to the poor. On a large old stone is a memorial for Susan Barrow, widow, obt. 1655; and there is another close to it, without an inscription, supposed to be her husband's. The vicar, I am informed, repairs the lower south chancel of this church.

This church was formerly an appendage to the manor, and as such was part of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, to which it was appropriated in the beginning of king Edward II.'s reign, about the year 1311, with the king's licence. (fn. 8) But the vicarage was not endowed till more than twenty years afterwards, by archbishop Stratford, who assigned to the vicar and his successors, the house of the vicarage, which the vicars of it were wont theretofore to inhabit, and all oblations belonging to this church, and all and singular the tithes of hay, pasture, mills, lambs, milk, wool, calves, pigs, chicken, ducks, pigeons, geese, flax, hemp, apples, pears, and gardens, as well then, as in future, of the whole parish; and also 40s. sterling annual pension, to be received twice a year at Kenyngton, from the religious, which portions, together with the pension, had been assigned from the beginning to Sir J. de la Toute, the first vicar instituted in it; all which they estimated to be worth yearly 8l. 10s. And over and above all these, the religious, in augmentation of the vicarage, assigned, together with them, to the vicar and his successors, the tithes of hay of four acres and one rood or virgate of meadow, arising from their demesne meadow at Kenynton, which tithe of hay the vicar or his predecessors did not use to receive; and eight bushels of sweet and clean corn, viz. four bushels, of wheat, and four bushels of barley, to be received yearly of the religious or their servants at Kenynton, at Michaelmas, all which, with the consent of both parties, was judicially decreed by the archbishop's commissary, with the penalty of sequestration on failure of payment by them. And he decreed and adjudged, with the consent of both parties, that the vicar and his successors should serve the church in divine rites, and in future time in the finding of one clerk to minister there; and that they should support the burthens of wax lights, of bread and wine for the celebration of masses, and the payment of the tenth, and the procurations of the archdeacon, and all other extraordinary burthens of it, and the books to be given to the church by the religious, the vicar and his successors should cause to be bound at their sole costs, and that the religious should perpetually undergo and acknowledge the amending and repairing of the chancel, and finding of books, or vestments and ornaments, the burthens of which belonged to rectors of places, of custom or right wholly, and all other burthens, ordinary and extraordinary, belonging to it, reserving nevertheless to the archbishop, full power to augment or diminish the vicarage whenever it should be thought fit: all which the archbishop approving, confirmed by his authority, as ordinary, &c. (fn. 9)

The church and advowson of the vicarage after this, remained part of the possessions of the monastery till the final dissolution of it, in the 30th year of king Henry VIII. when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered into the king's hands; (fn. 10) where the manor and rectory staid but a small time, for the king, in his 36th year, granted them, with their appurtenances, to Sir Anthony St. Leger, in manner as has been already mentioned before, and on the attainder of John, duke of Northumberland, in the 1st year of queen Mary, these premises became forfeited, among his other estates, to the crown; where this rectory and advowson seem to have remained till the year 1558, when queen Mary granted the advowson of this vicarage, among others, to the archbishop of Canterbury; and queen Elizabeth, in her 3d year, granted the rectory, then valued at six pounds, subject to the payment of forty shillings to the vicar, in exchange to archbishop Parker. Since which they have both continued parcel of the possessions of the see of Canterbury to the present time.

This vicarage is valued in the king's books at twelve pounds. But it is now a discharged living, of the clear yearly certified value of thirty pounds. In 1587 here were communicants one hundred and twenty-five. In 1640, one hundred and sixty-six, when it was valued at seventy pounds. It is now worth about one hundred pounds per annum. The lessee of the parsonage in 1643, was Nevill Hall, esq. at the yearly rent of 6l. 13s. 4d. and the yearly payment of forty shillings, was made by the archbishop to the vicar. The present lessee is Mr. John Hilton, of Sheldwich.

By a lease granted anno 17 Henry VIII. by the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, of the rectory, there was a payment reserved of one quarter of wheat, and one of barley yearly, to the vicar from it, which lease was renewed by the king in his 33d year, after the dissolution of the abbey. (fn. 11)

Church of Kennington.

Or by whom presented.
The Archbishop. John Braynforth, inducted Feb. 6, 1564, obt. 1605. (fn. 12)
Henry Hull, A. M. January 2, 1605.
John Player, in 1643.
The King, by lapse. Henry Walker, clerk, June 30, 1677, resigned 1681.
The Archbishop. John Walker, A. B. Feb. 8, 1681, resigned 1683.
William Martin, A. M. July 20, 1683, obt. 1687.
Samuel Markham, clerk, June 21, 1687, obt. May 1729. (fn. 13)
Thomas England, A. M. July 1, 1729, obt. Oct. 1729. (fn. 14)
John Head, Oct. 1729.
Philip Warham, A. B. March 2, 1730.
Moyle Breton, LL. B. Nov. 9, 1777, resigned 1785. (fn. 15)
Philip Papillon, A. M. 1785, the present vicar. (fn. 16)


  • 1. See these liberties particularly mentioned, in Dec. Script. col. 2134.
  • 2. Rot Esch. ejus an. pt. 6. at the yearly rent of 16l. 5s. 5½d.
  • 3. Rolls of particulars for sale of see-farm rents, temp. interregni, rot. 60, No. 178.
  • 4. See their pedigree in Vistn. co. Kent, 1619.
  • 5. See Strype's Stow's Survey, book v. p. 150.
  • 6. There is a pedigree of this family in the Vistn. co. Kent. anno 1619.
  • 7. Anno 13 George I. and 3 George II. two acts passed for this estate.
  • 8. Pat. 5 Edward II. p. 1, m. 12. Tan. Mon. p. 205.
  • 9. Dec. Script, col. 2104. Ordinatio vic. (sans date) in Regist. St. Aug. Cant. called the Black Book. MSS. in Cotton library in British Museum, marked A. fol. 234. a. b. Assignatio portionis vic. A. D. 1316. Regist. Reynolds, fol. 18.
  • 10. MSS. Lambeth. Copia compositionis dict. vic. extat, in MSS. notat A. 11, f. 38, in archiv. Ecc. Cath. Cant. See Dec. Scrip. col. 1891.
  • 11. See Augtn. off. bundle of conventual leases, Kent. 2.
  • 12. See Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 127.
  • 13. And rector of Eastwell.
  • 14. And vicar of Westwell.
  • 15. In 1777 by dispensation rector of Kenardington, with this vicarage.
  • 16. And rector of Eythorne in 1785, by dispensation.