Parishes: Alkham

Pages 133-142

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 Liddon. THIS PARISH is situated about three miles westward from Dover, and about two miles from the high London road on the right hand. It lies very much unknown and unfrequented, among the hills, which are in this part of Kent very high and bold, consisting mostly of open and uninclosed grounds, which, as well as the deep vales between them, are without trees or hedge-rows, clumps of coppice woods being interspersed at distances here and there on them, the whole affording a most wild and romantic scene; but these deep vales and high mountains are much pleasanter to view at a distance, than to travel over, the roads being intolerably bad. The village of Alkham, with the church in it, is situated on a small knoll in the bottom of the valley, nearly in the middle of the parish. There are numbers of spreading elms growing throughout the village, which make a pleasing contrast to the open exposed country round it. At about half a mile's distance is the small hamlet, called, from its situation, South Alkham, which was once accounted a manor, having had owners which took their name from it. About half a mile northward from the village is Woolverton; and further on, Chilton, both which belonged for many years to the Wollet's, of Eastry; the latter was in 1683 the property of Simon Yorke, of Dover, merchant, who died that year, and was the father of the lord chancellor Hardwick; and of an elder son, Henry, to whom he gave Chilton, and it now belongs to his descendant Philip York, esq. of Denbighshire. At the south west boundary of the parish is Evering, with a small street of the same name; and at the south-east is the hamlet of Drelingore, where the spring of the Nailbourn rises, which occasionally flows northward as far as that head of the river Dour which rises in this parish, at Chilton, about a mile and an half from it, and runs thence till it meets the other branch of that river, a little below Castney court, in River. The soil throughout the parish is in general chalk, and the lands exceedingly poor and barren.

THE LORDSHIP of the barony of Folkestone claims paramount over this parish, as being within the hundred of Folkestone, subordinate to which is THE MANOR OF ALKHAM, alias MALMAINES ALKHAM, which was part of those lands which made up the barony of Averenches, of which it was held as one knight's fee, as of the castle of Dover, by the performance of ward to it, by the family of Malmaines, whose principal seat was at Waldershare; the last of which name, who was possessed of it about the reign of king Edward II. was Lora, widow of John de Malmains; she afterwards remarried Roger de Tilmanstone, who held this manor in her right. After which it passed into a family who took their name from their residence in this parish; one of whom, John Alkham, descended from Peter de Alkham, who possessed lands here as early as the reign of king Henry III, was possessed of it in the beginning of king Henry IV.'s reign, in the 4th year of which he was charged for it towards the subsidy for the marriage of Blanch, the king's daughter; from which payment several parcels of land in this county were afterwards called by the name of Blanch lands. In this family of Alkham the manor of Malmains continued till the beginning of king Henry VII.'s reign, when Peter Alkham passed it away to John Warren, gent. from which name it was alienated, about the latter end of the next reign of king Henry VIII. to Sir Matthew Browne, of Beechworth-castle, whose descendant, of the same name, sold it, at the very latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, to Lushington, who conveyed it to Broome, and in the 22d year of James I. Robert Broome, S. T. B. of Ringwold, alienated it to John Browne, of Alkham, whose descendant in 1656 passed it away to Alban Spencer, esq. of Walmer castle, and his descendant of the same name left three daughters his coheirs; Sarah, married to Richard Halford, gent. of Canterbury; Susannah, to Mr. Robert Buck, of Covent-garden, mercer; and Mary, to the Rev. Robert Gunsley Ayerst, clerk, and they jointly succeeded to this estate. Mr. Halford died possessed of his third part in 1766, and left it to his only son Richard, who sold his third part of it, to Mr. Smith, of Alkham, the present possessor of it. Mr. Buck died s. p. and by will devised his third part to his niece Jane Ayerst, daughter of the Rev. Robert G. Ayerst, by Mary his wife above-mentioned, who is now entitled to it; and the Rev. Mr. Ayerst, in right of his wife, is the present possessor of the remaining third part of it. A court baron is held for this manor, which is held of the manor of Folkestone, by knight's service, and ought to have inclosed fifteen perches of Folkestone park. It pays a rent to the ward of Dover castle.

There is an estate in this parish, probably once part of the above-mentioned manor, and still called Malmains farm, which was for many years, and till lately, the property of the Graydon's, of Fordwich.

HALMEDE, alias HALL-COURT, is another small manor here, which in some antient records is mentioned as having been originally the scite of the lastdescribed manor of Malmaines; the name of Halmede being seemingly a corruption for that of Halimote; certainly it had the same owners from the ear liest times till the reign of queen Elizabeth, when it was in the possession of Sir Matthew Browne, of Beechworth-castle, who passed it away by sale to Daniel Wollet, some of which name was then possessed of lands in the neighbouring parish of Eleham. His son Ingram Wollet alienated it to John Browne, of Alkham, whose son, of the same name, about the year 1656, conveyed it to Alban Spencer, esq. Since which it has passed, in like manner as the manor of Alkham, alias Malmaines before-mentioned, to Mr. Smith, Jane Ayerst, and the Rev. Robert G. Ayerst, who are the present owners of it, in undivided third parts.

HOPTONS is a manor in this parish, which was antiently held of the barony of Folkestone, by knight's service, and ward to Dover castle; and by the Book of Aid anno 20 Edward III. it appears that the abbot of St. Radigund's, and Peter de Hall, and their coparceners, held this manor in manner as above-mentioned. How it passed from them, I have not found; but it afterwards came into the possession of the Bakers, of Coldham; the last of whom, John Baker, was gentleman porter of Calais, under king Henry V. and VI. and died s. p. in the 17th year of the latter reign, (fn. 1) leaving five daughters his coheirs, one of whom, Joane, carried it in marriage to Robert Brandred, whose son Robert, about the latter end of Henry VI. passed it away to Sir Thomas Browne, of Beechworthcastle, treasurer of the king's houshold, whose greatgrandson of the same name had his lands disgavelled by the acts of the 1st and 8th years of queen Elizabeth. His son, Sir Matthew Browne, at the very latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, alienated it to Thomas Godman, of London; from which name it was sold, in the 3d year of king Charles I. to John Elred, esq. one of whose descendants, in the 34th year of king Charles II. passed it away to John Michel, esq. and from him, anno 5 queen Anne, to Jacob Desbouverie, esq. who, the next year, conveyed it to Henry Barton, gent. of Folkestone, and he died possessed of it in 1730, leaving two daughters, Frances, married to John Jordan, and Catherine; the former of whom conveyed their interest in it to the latter, who marrying the Rev. Thomas Barton, he became entitled to it; he bore for his arms, Azure, three bars ermine. His three sons, Thomas, Henry, and John, and daughter Catherine, joined in levying a fine of it, and afterwards, in 1767, in the sale of it to Peter Fector, esq. of Dover, who is the present possessor of it. A court baron is held for this manor.

I find mention of a family of the name of Hopton, who were of this parish, of whom Walter de Hopton was a witness to king Edward IV.'s charter to the five ports, anno 1477. Michael Hopton was a benefactor to the church of Alkham, and William Hopton was the pope's notary in this parish.

EVERING, now usually called Everden, is a manor in the western part of this parish, which was likewise held of the barony of Averenches, or Folkestone, by knight's service, and ward to Dover castle; of the family of Averenches, or Avereng, as their name was pronounced in French, antient lords of that barony, this manor was held by that of Evering, who are said to have been branched out from them. Certainly, as was frequently the custom, they used the same coat of arms, perhaps as that of their superior lord, of whom they held the fee, but with a difference, to distinguish it; the Averenches bearing Or, five chevrons, gules; whereas the Everings bore the chevrons azure. (fn. 2) From their possession of this manor, it assumed their name. Wolvardus de Evering held it in king Henry II.'s reign; and from him it descended down to John de Evering, who held it in the 20th year of Edward III. in like manner, of the above-mentioned barony. At length, after this manor had continued, in an uninterrupted series of descent, till the reign of James II. John Evering, gent. in 1688, alienated it to Benjamin Timewell, gent. of Chatham, and he, in 1698, passed it away to Elizabeth, widow of Peter Peters, M. D. whose only surviving daughter and heir Elizabeth marrying Thomas Barrett, esq. of Lee, whose second wife she was, entitled him to it. He died possessed of it in 1757, leaving by her an only daughter Elizabeth, to whom it descended, she afterwards carried it in marriage to the Rev. W. Dejovas Byrche, of Canterbury, whose sole daughter and heir Elizabeth marrying Samuel Egerton Brydges, esq. of Denton, he is, since their decease, become by settlement the present owner of it.

A court baron is held for this manor, which was bound formerly to inclose forty-six perches and an half of Folkestone park.

HALTON and WOOLVERTON are two small manors in this parish, the former of which was antiently held of the prior and convent of Christ-church, by a family of the same name, one of whom, William de Halton, held it, at the ferme of nine pounds, in the reign of king Stephen; after whose death his widow Iden claimed it, as holding it to her and her heirs as an hereditary fee, but she afterwards renounced all her right and title to it. How long the prior and convent retained their interest in this manor, I have not found; but the fee of it afterwards came into the possession of the family of Poynings, one of whom, Robert de Poynings, appears by the escheat-rolls to have died possessed of both these manors anno 25 king Henry VI. and his grandson Sir Edward Poynings, lord warden of the cinque ports, and K. G. in king Henry VIII.'s reign, gave them in dower with Mary his natural-daughter, to Thomas Fynes, lord Clinton and Saye, (fn. 3) whose son Edward, lord Clinton and Saye, in the beginning of the reign of Philip and Mary, conveyed them to Mr. Henry Herdson; Since which it has continued in the like succession of ownership as the manor and barony of Folkestone, down to the right hon. Jacob Pleydell Bouverie, earl of Radnor, who is the present owner of them. There are courts baron held for both these manors.

In the register of St. Radigund's abbey, there are many entries of lands in this parish, given by different persons to that abbey. Among the names of these benefactors, are those of de Alkam, de Suthalkam, de Northalkam, Malmaines, Tilmanstone, de Burne, de Lenham, and de Hugham.

There are no charitable benefactions. There is a charity school kept in the church, for teaching of reading, arithmetic, and writing. The poor constantly relieved are about twenty, casually ten.

ALKHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Dover.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Anthony the Martyr, is a handsome building, consisting of three isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple, with a low pointed turret on it, in which hang three bells. The north isle is shut out by boarding from the rest of the church, and made no use of at present, to which the school now kept in the chancel might be removed, and have no kind of communication with that part of the church appropriated for divine service, which would prevent that unseemly and indecent resort which it is at present subject to. In the chancel are several memorials for the Slaters, lessees of the parsonage; and on the south side, against the wall, is an antient tomb of Bethersden marble.

The church of Alkham, with the chapel of Mauregge, or Capell as it is now called, belonging to it, was given by Hamon de Crevequer to the abbot and convent of St. Radigund, together with the advowson of it, to hold in free, pure, and perpetual alms. It was appropriated to that abbey about the 43d year of king Henry III. anno 1258, and was afterwards, anno 8 Richard II. valued among the temporalities of the abbey at fourteen pounds. In which state this church and advowson remained till the dissolution of the abbey, which happened in the 27th year of king Henry VIII. when it was suppressed by the act of that year, as being under the clear yearly value of two hundred pounds, and their lands and possessions given to the king, who granted the scite of it, with the whole of its possessions, that year, to archbishop Cranmer, in exchange for other lands, who in the same year exchanged them back again with the king, being enabled so to do by an act then specially passed for that purpose; but in the deed of exchange, among other exceptions, was that of all churches and advowsons of vicarages; by virtue of which, the appropriation of the church of Alkham, together with the advowson of the vicarage, remained part of the possessions of the see of Canterbury, as they do at this time, his grace the archbishop of Canterbury being now entitled to them.

The vicarage of Alkham, with the chapel of Ferne, alias Capell, annexed to it, is valued in the king's books at eleven pounds, and the yearly tenths at Il.2s. per annum. (fn. 4) It is now of the clear yearly certified value of 53l. 9s. 6d. In 1588 here were communicants eighty; in 1640 it was valued at sixty pounds. The vicar of it is inducted into the vicarage of Alkham, with the chapel of Capell le Ferne, alias St.Mary le Merge, annexed to it. There are three acres of glebe land belonging to the vicarage.

The great tithes of Evering ward, in this parish and Swingfield ward, part of the parsonage of Alkham, are held of the archbishop for three lives, at the yearly rent of 1l. 6s. 8d. and the parsonage for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of twelve pounds.

Church of Alkham.

Or by whom presented.
William Hull, A. M. Dec. 6, 1596, resigned 1600.
John Graye, S. T. B. March 14, 1600, resigned 1607.
Francis Rogers, S. T. P. June 27, 1607, resigned 1627. (fn. 5)
Samuel Pownal, A. B. Sept. 25, 1627, living 1643.
William Russell, clerk, Feb. 16, 1675, obt. 1694.
Jeremiah Allen, A. M. May 21, 1694.
John Dauling, A. M. obt. 1727. (fn. 6)
Richard Monins, A. M. Dec. 31, 1727, resigned 1747.
Richard Smith, A. M. Dec. 23, 1747, obt. May 1772. (fn. 7)
James Smith, July I, 1772, obt. Feb. 8. 1784. (fn. 8)
John Gostling, A. M. 1784, resigned 1786. (fn. 9)
Al. James Smith, A. M. 1786, the present vicar.


  • 1. Rot. Esch. anno 18 Henry VI. See more of him hereafter, under Capell.
  • 2. See an account of this custom of bearing the arms of the superior lord, vol. v. of this history, p. 297.
  • 3. See more of the Poynings's under Westenhanger, and of the Fynes's, lords Clinton, under Folkestone.
  • 4. A terrier of the parsonage and vicarage, anno 1634, is in Regist. Laud, pars Ima. fol. 207, MSS. Lambeth.
  • 5. Son of Dr. Rogers, dean of Canterbury; suffragan bishop of Dover.
  • 6. Likewise rector of Ringwould, as was his successor, who died in 1750, and was buried in the chancel of this church.
  • 7. See Biog. Brit. vol. vi. p. 3725. Also rector of Burmarsh.
  • 8. He held this vicarage with the rectory of Eastbridge and the sequestration of Ewell, and in 1780 he was presented to the vicarage of Cosmus Blean, which, by the favour of archbishop Cornwallis, he held with all the former.
  • 9. Likewise rector of Brooke, and resigned this vicarage on being presented to that of Holy Cross, Westgate, and the rectory of St. Peter's, in Canterbury, united.