Parishes: Acrise

Pages 111-117

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 8. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1799.

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LIES the next parish south-eastward from Eleham. It is written in the survey of Domesday, Acres, taking its name from its high situation, and the plenty of oak trees growing in it. It is vulgarly called by the common people in the neighbourhood, Awkeridge, by which name I have sometimes seen it written, both in wills and deeds. The north-east part of it, in which part of the manor of Brandred lies, is in the hundred of Folkestone, and the remainder of it within this hundred of Loningborough.

Acrise is an obscure parish, which, like all the others on these hills, is, though poor, exceedingly healthy. It is situated great part of it on high ground, in a wild, dreary and flinty country, among those hills which are here very frequent and steep. It is rather more than two miles long, and about one mile broad. In the south-west part of it, encircled by a large grove of trees, is Acrise-court, a respectable brick mansion, seemingly of the age of Henry VII. and almost close to it, on the north side of the church, about a mile from which stands the parsonage, and a small hamlet of houses round Acrise-green. At some distance further is Hode, the house of which is built of stone, with arched windows and doors of the gothic form, belonging to Mr. Nicholas Marsh, of Eleham; and at the northern boundary of the parish is the hamlet of Brandred, near which there is some coppice wood. The large heath, called Swinfield minnis, extends along the eastern side of this parish, part of which is within the bounds of it. The soil is mostly a red earth, mixed with quantities of flints, the rest of it is chalk, a barren unfertile soil.

There is a fair held here, on the Tuesday next after Oct, 10, yearly.

Acrise, at the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, was part of the possessions of the bishop of Baieux, under the general title of whose lands it is thus entered in it:

In Nuniberg hundred, Anschitil de Ros holds of the bishop, Acres, which two brothers held, and each had a balimote; now it is for one manor, and it was taxed for one suling. The arable land is two carucates. In demesne there is one carucate and an half, and five villeins, with five borderers having one carucate. Wood for the pannage of ten hogs, aud a church. In the time of king Edward the Confessor it was worth forty shillings, and afterwards thirty shillings, now sixty shillings.

Four years after the taking of the above survey, the bishop of Baieux was disgraced, and all his possessions were confiscated to the crown; upon which the seignory of this manor seems to have been immediately granted to the above-mentioned Anschitil de Ros, the mesne tenant of it, who thenceforward became lord paramount, holding it immediately of the crown in capite. Of his descendants this manor was again held by the family of Cosenton, or Cossington as they were sometimes spelt, who resided both here and at Cosenton, in Aylesford.

This manor of Acrise, alias Okeridge, was granted to them to hold of the barony of Ross, as of the manor of Horton Kirkby, which seems to have been the chief manor of that barony, and in imitation of whose arms, Or, three roses, gules, the Cosentons bore Azure, three roses, or. Sir Stephen de Cosenton possessed it in the 7th year of Edward III. and that year obtained a charter of free-warrenfor his lands in Acrise, Cossyngtone, and Suthbertone. (fn. 1) At length, after it had continued in his descendants till the reign of king Henry VIII. Thomas Cosenton, esq. dying in the beginning of it without male issue, his three daughters became his coheirs, and shared a large inheritance between them; upon the division of which, this manor was allotted to the youngest, Elizabeth, married to Alexander Hamon, esq. who bore for his arms, Azure, three demi lions, passant-guardant, or. He afterwards resided at Acrise-place, as did his grandson Alexander Hamon, esq. who died possessed of this manor in 1613, leaving two daughters his coheirs; Elizabeth married to Sir Edward Boys, of Fredville, and Catherine to Sir Robert Lewknor, to the latter of whom, by his will, he devised this manor and estate. He afterwards resided at Acrise-place, and bore for his arms, Argent, three chevronels, gules. His descendants continued possessed of it till Robert Lewknor his grandson, in 1666, alienated it, with other estates in this neighbourhood, to Thomas Papillon, esq. of Lubenham, in Leicestershire.

The family of Papillon, or Papillion, seems to have been of good account in this kingdom in very early times; for I find Toraldus de Papilion, one of the witnesses to a deed of confirmation of William the Conqueror, to the church of Durham. William Papilion was one of king Edward I.'s faithful servants, and recommended by him to the abbot and convent of Leicester, for a corodie from that house in the 31st year of his reign. (fn. 2) And from him it is very probable the Papillons, of Lubenham, in that county, derive their descent and first settlement in it. Thomas Papillon, of Lubenham, the purchaser of this manor, was an eminent merchant of London, for which he served in parliament, as he had before done for Dover, and bore for his arms, Azure, a chevron, or, between three butterflies, or papillons, argent. He was of the Mercers company, to which he gave 1000l. Philip Papillon, his son, served in parliament several times for Dover, and once for New Romney. His first wife was Anne, eldest daughter of William Jolliffe, esq. of Staffordshire, by her he had a son David. He married secondly Susan Henshaw, by whom he had a son Philip, who was of East Malling, and three daughters. David Papillon, the eldest son, was chosen to serve in parliament for New Romney, and for Dover likewise. He was one of the commissioners of excise, and resided both here and at Lee. He died in 1762, leaving by Mary, daughter of Timothy Keyser, esq. of London, a son David, and five daughters. David Papillon, esq. the son, resided at times both here and at Lee, and was one of the commissioners of excise. By his first wife Bridget, daughter of William Turner, of the White Friars, Canterbury, son of William, by Anna-Maria Papillon, he had surviving seven children, Thomas, born in 1757, now lieutenant-colonel in the East Kent battalion of militia, and by his father's gift the present possessor of this manor and seat; Philip, rector of Eythorne, and vicar of Kennington; William, in orders likewise, of Wymundham, in Norfolk, who married the daughter of the Rev. Richard Drake, of that parish; John-Rawsterne, vicar of Tunbridge, and George, Elizabeth and Sarah. He married secondly Hester, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Curteis, of Sevenoke, and prebendary of Canterbury; by his second wife, who died s. p. in 1782. Thomas Papillon, esq. the eldest son above-mentioned, the present possessor of this manor, married Anne, daughter of Henry Pelham, esq. and now resides at Acriseplace.

Brandred is a manor, in the north-east part of this parish, having a hamlet of its own name within it, which, at the time of taking the general survey of Domesday, seems to have been part of the possessions of the canons of St. Martin's priory, in Dover, under the description of which it is entered thus: The land of Brandet pays twenty shillings and six-pence to St. Martin in alms. And a little below, under the same title of their possessions: Among the common land of St. Martin there are, among others, one hundred acres of land at Brand which acquit themselves, that is, are free from payment of custom and scot.

This manor continued part of the possessions of the church and priory of St. Martin above-mentioned, till its dissolution in the 27th year of the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was suppressed, as not having revenues to the amount of the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, those of this priory not amounting to more than 170l. 14s. 11½d. clear yearly income, and was surrendered that year, with all its lands and possessions, to the king's use. But they did not remain long in the hands of the crown, for the king, in his 29th year, granted the scite of the priory. with all lands and possessions belonging to it, except the patronage of certain churches mentioned in it, in exchange to archbishop Cranmer, (fn. 3) in whose successor, they have continued to the present time, his grace the archbishop being now entitled to the inheritance of it.

In the hamlet of Brandred, is an estate, the house of which, though now only a farm-house, was, as early as queen Elizabeth's reign, the property and residence of the Marsh's, descended from those of Marton, in East Langdon, and it continued so down to T.Marsh, of Brandred, who died in 1664, leaving by Anne, daughter of Thomas Nethersole, of Nethersole, in Wimlingswold, a son, John Marsh, who in 1665, removed thither, in whose descendants it has continued down to John Marsh, esq. of Salisbury, afterwards of Nethersole, who is the present possessor of this estate, but now resides at Chichester, in Sussex.


A person unknown gave land in this parish, for the benefit of the poor, now of the annual value of 1l. occupied at present by John Sharp.

The poor constantly relieved are about eleven, casually nine.

Acrise is within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Eleham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Martin, is but small, consisting of only one isle and one chancel, having a tower at the west end, with a low turret on it, flat at top, in which there is one bell. The church is kept very neat. In the chancel, on a stone, is a memorial and figure of a woman in brass, for Mary, wife of Peter Heyman, esq. daughter and coheir of William Tirrill, esq. of Essex, obt. 1601. On a stone, a memorial in brass, for Alexander Hamon, esq. obt. 1613. A monument for William Turner, esq. late of Grays-Inn, obt. 1729; married Anna-Maria, daughter of Thomas Papillon, esq. obt. 1738; arms, Turner, argent and ermine, three fer de molins, sable, a pale counterchanged in fess, on a chief, or, a lion rampant-guardant, between two roses, gules, impaling Papillon; and a monument for Anne, late wife of Mr. Philip Papillon, of London, merchant, eldest daughter of William Jolliffe, esq. obt. 1693. There are many hatchments of the Papillon family round the isle; between which and the chancel there is a large pointed arch, with zig-zag ornaments.

This church was given, about the reign of king Henry II. by William de Cosenton, lord of the manor of Acrise, to the priory of Leeds, to which the patronage of it afterwards belonged; but it never was appropriated, and archbishop Baldwin, who lived in that reign, granted out of it to the priory an annual pension of forty shillings. In which state the patronage of it continued till the dissolution of the priory, or abbey of Leeds as it was then called, in the 31st year of Henry VIII. when it came, with the rest of the possessions of it, into the hands of the crown, in which it has continued ever since, the king being the present patron of it.

The above-mentioned pension of forty shillings has not been paid since the dissolution of the priory.

This rectory is valued in the king's books at seven pounds, and the yearly tenths at fourteen shillings. In 1588 it was valued at eighty pounds, communicants sixty-eight. In 1640 the like number of communicants, and it was valued at one hundred pounds.

Church of Acrise.

Or by whom presented.
The Crown. John Bankes,1620.
Humphry Peake, D.D. June 12, 1627. (fn. 4)
Thomas Gage, 1642.
John King.
John Floate, obt. 1699.
John Lewis, Oct. 6, 1699, resigned 1706. (fn. 5)
Thomas Rymer, D.D. 1706, ob. March 23, 1761. (fn. 6)
John Hardy Franklyn, A. M. April 11, 1761, obt. June 1782.
William Swanne, inducted 1782.
Giles Powell, in 1786, the present rector.


  • 1. See more of the family of Cosenton under Aylesford.
  • 2. See Dugd. Mon. vol. i. p. 44. Willis's Mitred Abbies, p. 202. Prynne, vol. iii. p. 1011.
  • 3. Augmentation office, Kent, box A. 21.
  • 4. Likewise rector of Liminge and prebendary of Canterbury, and had a second induction to this rectory on May 20, 1636.
  • 5. He resigned this rectory for that of Saltwood. See his life in Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 2927, and more of him under Minster, in Thanet.
  • 6. Likewise rector of Wittersham, and perpetual curate of Swinfield.