Parishes: Kingsnoth

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Parishes: Kingsnoth', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 583-592. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


THE next parish south-eastward is Kingsnoth, sometimes called Kingsnode, and by Leland written Kinges-snode.

THIS PARISH is so obscurely situated as to be but little known, the soil in it is throughout a deep miry clay; it is much interspersed with woodlands, especially in the south-east part of it, the whole face of the country here is unpleasant and dreary, the hedge rows wide, with spreading oaks among them; and the roads, which are very broad, with a wide space of green swerd on each side, execrably bad; insomuch, that they are dangerous to pass except in the driest time of summer; the whole of it is much the same as the parishes adjoining to it in the Weald, of which the church, which stands on the hill nearly in the middle of the parish, is the northern boundary, consequently all that part of it southward is within that district. There is no village, the houses standing single, and interspersed throughout it At no great distance eastward from the church is the manor house of Kingsnoth, still called the Park-house, the antient mansion, which stood upon a rise, at some distance from the present house, seems from the scite of it, which is moated round, to have been large, remains of Mosaic pavement, and large quantities of stone have been at times dug up from it. South-eastward from the church is Mumfords, which seems formerly to have been very large, but the greatest part of it has been pulled down and the present small farm-house built out of it; westward from the church stands the court-lodge, now so called, of East Kingsnoth manor, it is moated round, and seems likewise to have been much larger than it is at present, and close to the western boundary of the parish is the manor-house of West Halks, which has been a large antient building, most probably of some consequence in former times, as there appears to have been a causeway once from it, wide enough for a carriage, which led through the courtlodge farm towards Shadoxhurst, Woodchurch, and son on to Halden, remains of which are often turned up in ploughing the grounds. In the low grounds, near the meadows, is the scite of the manor of Moorhouse, moated round. The above mansions seem to have been moated round not only for defence, but to drain off the water from the miry soil on which they were built, which was no doubt the principal reason why so many of the antient ones, in this and the like situations were likewise moated round. There is a streamlet, which rises in the woods near Bromley green, and slows along the eastern par to this parish northward, and joining the Postling branch of the Stour near Sevington, runs with it by Hockwood barn and under Alsop green, towards Ashford. Leland in his Itinerary says, vol. vii. p. 145, "The river of Cantorbury now cawled Sture springeth at Kinges Snode the which standeth sowthe and a lytle by west fro Cantorbury and ys distant of Cant. a xiiii or xv myles."

THE ROYAL MANOR OF WYE claims paramount over this parish. The lord of that manor, George Finch Hatton, esq. of Eastwell, holds a court leet here for the borough of East Kingsnoth, which claims over this parish, at which a borsholder is yearly appointed; subordinate to which is THE MANOR OF KINGSNOTH, which in early times was the residence of a family to which it gave name, who bore for their coat armour, as appeared by seals appendant to their antient deeds, Ermine, upon a bend, five chevronels; and John de Kingsnoth, who lived here about the latter end of king Edward I. sealed with that coat of arms; yet I find that Bartholomew de Badlesmere, who was attainted about the 17th year of king Edward II had some interest in this manor, which upon his conviction escheated to the crown, and remained there until Richard II. granted it to Sir Robert Belknap, the judge, who had, not long before, purchased that proportion of this manor which belonged to the family of Kingsnoth, by which he became possessed of the whole of it; but he being attainted and banished in the 11th year of that reign, that part which had belonged to Badlesmere, and was granted by the king to Sir Robert Belknap, returned again to the crown, a further account of which may be seen hereafter. (fn. 1) But the other part of this estate, which belonged to the family of Kingsnoth likewise, henceforward called the manor of Kingsnoth, which seems to have been the greatest part of it, on the petition of Hamon Belknap his son to parliament, to be enabled in blood and lands to his father, notwithstanding the judgement against him, was restored to him, and he was found by inquisition to die possessed of it in the 7th year of king Henry VI. Soon after which I find Sir Thomas Browne, of Beechworth castle, treasurer of the king's houshold, to have become possessed of it; for in the 27th year of that reign, he obtained licence for a fair in this parish, on the feast of St. Michael, and that same year he had another to embattle his mansion here and to inclose a park, and for freewarren in all his demesne lands within this manor; and in a younger branch of his descendants this manor continued down to Richard Browne, esq. of Shingleton, in Great Chart, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Andrews, of Lathbury, in Buckinghamshire, and dying soon after the death of king Charles I. Elizabeth, their only daughter and heir, carried it in marriage to Thomas, lord Leigh, of Stoneleigh, who afterwards alienated it again to Andrews, in which name it continued till Alexander Andrews, executor and devisee of William Andrews, in 1690, conveyed this manor, with the farm called the Park, the manor of Morehouse, and other lands in this parish, being enabled so to do by act of parliament, to the company of haberdashers of London, as trustees, for the support of the hospital at Hoxton, commonly called Aske's hospital, in whom they are now vested. There is not any court held for this manor.

THE OTHER PART of the above-mentioned estate, which had formerly belonged to the family of Badlesmere, and had escheated to the crown on the attainder of Bartholomew de Badlesmere in the 17th year of king Edward II. remained there until Richard II. granted it to Sir Robert Belknap, on whose attainder and banishment in the 11th year of that reign it returned again to the crown, whence it seems, but at what time I have not found, to have been granted to the abbot and convent of Battel, in Sussex, by the name of THE MANOR OF EAST KINGSNOTH, together with the manors of West Kingenoth, in Pluckley; Morehouse, in this parish; and Wathenden, in Biddenden, lately belonging to that monastery, in as ample a manner as the late abbot, or any of his predecessors had possessed them, (fn. 2) and they continued part of the possessions of it till its dissolution in the 30th year of Henry VIII. when they came into the hands of the crown, where they staid but a short time; for the king that year granted these manors to Sir Edw. Ringsley for his life, without any rent or account whatsoever; and four years afterwards the king sold the reversion of them to Sir John Baker, one of his council, and chancellor of the first fruits and tenths, to hold in capite by knight's service. He died in 1558, possessed of this manor, with the advowson of the church of Kingsnoth, and the manors of West Kingsnoth and Morehouse, held in capite, in whose descendants the manor of East Kingsnoth, with the advowson of the church, descended down to Sir John Baker, bart. who, in the reign of king Charles I. passed it away by sale to Mr. Nathaniel Powell, of Ewehurst, in Sussex, and afterwards of Wiarton, in this county, who was in 1661 created a baronet; and in his descendants it continued down to Sir Christopher Powell, bart. who died possessed of it in 1742, s.p. leaving his widow surviving, whose trustees sold this manor and advowson, after her death, to Mrs. Fuller, widow of Mr. David Fuller, of Maidstone, attorney-at-law, who in 1775 devised them by will to her relation William Stacy Coast, esq. now of Sevenoke, the present owner of them. There is not any court held for this manor.

MUMFORDS, as it is now called, though its proper and more antient name is Montfort's, is a manor in this parish, which was once the residence of the family of Clerc, written in antient deeds le Clerc, and afterwards both Clerke and Clarke, in which it continued till about the latter end of the reign of king Edward I. when Henry le Clerc leaving no issue male, Susan his daughter and heir carried it, with much other inheritance, in marriage to Sir Simon de Woodchurch, whose descendants, out of gratitude for such increase of fortune, altered their paternal name from Woodchurch to Clerke, and in several of their deeds subsequent to this marriage, were written Clerke, alias Woodchurch. They resided at Woodchurch till Humphry Clerke, esq. removed hither in Henry VIII.'s reign. (fn. 3) His son Humphry Clerke, about the end of queen Elizabeth's reign, sold this manor to John Taylor, son of John Taylor, of Willesborough, who afterwards resided here. His son John Taylor, gent. of Winchelsea, alienated it, about the beginning of king Charles I.'s reign, to Edward Wightwick, gent. descended of a family originally of Staffordshire, who bore for their arms, Argent, on a chevron, argent, between three pheons, or, as many crosses patee, gules, granted in 1613. He afterwards resided here, as did his descendants, till at length Humphry Wightwick, gent. about the beginning of king George II.'s reign removed to New Romney, of which town and port he was jurat, in whose descendants this manor became afterwards vested in several undivided shares. At length Mr. William Whitwick, the only surviving son of Humphry, having purchased his mother's life estate in it, as well as the shares of his brother Martin's children, lately sold the whole property of it to Mr. Swaffer, the present possessor and occupier of it.

WEST HALKS, usually called West Hawks, is a manor, situated near the western bounds of this parish, being held of the manor of Kenardington; it formerly was the residence of a family of the name of Halk, who bore on their seals a fess, between three bawks, and sometimes only one, and were of no contemptible account, as appears by old pedigrees and writings, in which they are represented as gentlemen for above three hundred years. Sampson de Halk, gent. died possessed of this manor about the year 1360, and held besides much other land at Petham and the adjoining parishes; but about the latter end of king Henry VI.'s reign, this manor had passed from this family into that of Taylor, in which name it continued till the latter end of king Henry VII. when it was alienated to Clerc, whose descendant Humphry Clerke, esq. about the end of queen Elizabeth's reign, passed it away to Robert Honywood, esq, of Charing, who settled it on his fourth son by his second marriage Colonel Honywood. How long it continued in his descendants, I cannot learn; but it has been for some length of time in the name of Eaton, of. Essex, Mr. Henry Eaton being the present owner of it.


HUMPHRY CLARKE, gent. of this parish, left by will in 1637, a parcel of land, called Pightland, containing about three acres, in the eastern part of this parish, for the benefit of the poor of it.

MRS. ELIZABETH MAY, in 1721, gave by will 9l. every third year, chargeable on Bilham farm, to be paid, clear of all deductions, to this parish in turn, during a term of years therein mentioned, to be applied yearly towards the binding out a child an apprentice, of the poorest people in three parishes in turn, as has been already mentioned more at large under Sevington. One girl only has as yet been put out apprentice from this charity, by this parish.

The number of poor constanly relieved are about twentyfive, casually twelve.

KINGSNOTH is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Michael, is small, consisting only of one isle and one chancel, having a square tower steeple at the west end, in which are five bells. In the isle is an antient gravestone, coffin-shaped, with old French capitals round it, now illegible. In the chancel is a stone, with an inscription on it in brass, for Thomas Umfrey, rector, no date; and a monument for Thomas Reader, A. M. son of Thomas Reader, gent. of Bower, in Maidstone, obt. 1740. Against the north wall is the tomb of Humphry Clarke, esq. made of Bethersden marble, having the figures of him and his wife remaining in brass on it, and underneath four sons and five daughters. Over the tomb, in an arch in the wall, is an inscription to his memory, set up by his daughter's son Sir Martin Culpeper, over it are the arms of Clarke, Two pales wavy, ermine, impaling Mayney. In the glass of the south window of the isle are several heads remaining, and in the north-west window the figure of St. Michael with the dragon. The north chancel fell down about thirty years ago. It belonged to the manor of Mumfords, and in it were interred the Wightwicks, owners of that manor; the gravestones of them, nine in number, yet remain in the church-yard, shut out from the church; and on one next to theirs, formerly within this chancel, is the figure of a knight in armour, with a lion under his feet, and an inscription in brass, for Sir William Parker, son of William Parker, esq. citizen and mercer of London, obt. 1421; arms, On a fess, three balls.

The advowson of the rectory of this church was formerly parcel of the possessions of the priory of Christ-church, and at the dissolution of it in the 31st year of Henry VIII. came into the king's hands, where it remained till that king in his 34th year, granted it in exchange, among other premises, to archbp. Cranmer, (fn. 4) who did not keep it long; for four years afterwards, he reconveyed it, with the consent of his chapter, back again to the king, (fn. 5) who soon afterwards granted it to Sir John Baker, one of his council, and chancellor of his first-fruits and tenths, who died possessed of the manor of East Kingsnoth, together with the advowson of this church, in the year 1558, in whose descendants it continued down to Sir John Baker, bart. who in the reign of king Charles I. alienated it, with that manor, to Mr. Nathaniel Powell. Since which this advowson has continued in the like succession of ownership with that manor, as may be seen more fully in the account of it before, to the present patron of it, William Stacy Coast, esq. now of Sevenoke.

There was formerly a pension of forty shillings payable from this church to the abbot of Battel.

This rectory is valued in the king's books at 11l. 9s. 9½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 2s. 11¼d. In 1578 it was valued at sixty pounds, communicants one hundred. In 1640 it was valued at fifty pounds only, and there were the like number of communicants. It is now worth about one hundred and forty pounds per annum. The rector takes no tithes of wood below the hill southward. There are about seventeen acres of glebe land.

Church of Kingsnoth.

Or by whom presented.
Thomas Dunscombe, A. M. Nov. 6, 1592, obt. 1608.
John Sympson, A. M. Jan. 12, 1608, resigned 1609.
Sir Henry Baker. William Baldwin, A. M. March 15, 1609, obt. 1626.
The King, hac vice. Humphrey Peake, A. M. Dec. 28, 1626, resigned 1627.
The like. Thomas Allen, A. M. March 12, 1627, obt. 1636. (fn. 6)
Sir John Baker, bart. Francis Worrall, January 19, 1636.
Nathaniel Wilson, clerk, obt. 1676.
Sir Nathaniel Powell, bart. Timothy Wilson, A. M. July 10, 1676, obt. 1705.
Samuel Wightwick, A. M. July 16, 1705, obt. 1706. (fn. 7)
Lady Elizabeth Powell. Thomas Reader, A. M. March 21, 1707, obt. January 15, 1741. (fn. 8)
Duncan Menzies, March 18, 1741, resigned 1749 (fn. 9)
Philip Hawkins, A. M. 1749, obt. March 1798. (fn. 10)
Glover, the present rector.


  • 1. See Cotton's Records, p. 540. See A further account of the Belknaps, vol. ii. p. 102.
  • 2. Deeds of Inrolment, Augmentation-office.
  • 3. See more of this family in Coll. Bar. vol. i. p. 282. There is a pedigree of them in Vistn. co. Kent. anno 1619.
  • 4. Deeds of purch. and exch. Augtn. off. box. C. 50.
  • 5. See Rymer's Fœd. vol. xv. p. 77, 92.
  • 6. Rym. Fæd. vol. xviii. p. 100l, and by a dispensation passed that year, vicar of Eleham.
  • 7. And rector of Burwash.
  • 8. He lies buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 9. Afterwards rector of Teston.
  • 10. Mr. Hawkins resided in his parsonage house to the time of his death, whose character in his parish was that of a most worthy clergyman, having the blessings of the poor especially, for his goodness and benevolence to them.